hugh jackman

Review: Logan

Posted by: |

Review: Logan

James Mangold’s Logan is the definitive Wolverine movie. Subdued, mature, contemplative and brutal, Logan arguably could be called the best X-Men movie, period. It’s Hugh Jackman’s tenth on screen portrayal of Wolverine, three in his own personal films. This marks the end of an era; we watch Jackman and Patrick Stewart bow out, as their time as X-Men comes to close. What could have been another throw away comic book movie ends up having more in common with a John Wayne western than a mutant laced action flick. This is by far one of the best comic book movies to date and will go down in history as such.

thumbnail_25475 Read On

Movie Issues: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Posted by: |

Movie Issues: X-Men: Days of Future Past

One of the most anticipated movies of this summer would be the new installment in the X-Men franchise: X-Men: Days of Future Past. In this new chapter, the future of humanity is a dark and desolate place. Humans created a new weapon to hunt mutants, The Sentinels. Things look pretty bleak as the mutants are on the edge of extinction. But the X-Men have once last hope, they send Wolverine back to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants. With a mix of the original cast and new cast, this becomes one epic adventure and race against time for all.

XMEN Read On

Movie Issues: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Posted by: |

Movie Issues: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

With the new X-Men flick opening this weekend the guys decided to watch one of the other movies in the franchise. They went for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Yup. That one. It’s not good. Even after all this time this movie still just doesn’t work. From the muddled plot, random characters here and there for no reason, Gambit, and of course the adamantium bullet and its spell for forgetfulness. The guys also discuss X-Men: Days of Future Past as well, with little spoilers, nothing major. So please download and join us in our crazy discussion.

Read On

Movie Issues: Rise of the Guardians

Posted by: |

Movie Issues: Rise of the Guardians

This week the guys go and get their holiday animation on! They watched the 2012 animated flick, Rise of the Guardians. You know, that movie where Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, The Sandman and Jack Frost all have to team up and fight The Boogie Man. Yup! It was really the only “easter” flick we could come up with. So please download and enjoy as we talk all about the flick, WonderCon and Agents of SHEILD. It’s another full episode of their BS.  Read On

Movie Issues: The Wolverine

Posted by: |

Movie Issues: The Wolverine

This summer has been full of superheroes fighting evil and standing up for good, but out of all of them, The Wolverine stands alone. Unlike Superman, The Lone Ranger, Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, Wolverine has been played by one actor only, Hugh Jackman, who at this point has Wolverine down to a perfect science. Here in The Wolverine he’s once again proven he is the best at what he does. Directed by James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line), The Wolverine finds out savage hero sometime after the events of X3. Logan travels to Japan, where he engages an old acquaintance in a struggle that will have lasting effects. Logan must then battle deadly samurai as well as his inner demons.

the-wolverine-official-poster-hugh-jackman Read On

Australia

Posted by: |

Baz Luhrmann’s few movies can be described as anything from whimsical tweaks to wild, ecstatic fantasias, but rarely have they followed any sort of formula. When I say that Australia is a good old-fashioned Golden Age of Hollywood romantic epic, I mean it in the best sense. The wild setting of Australia’s Northern Territory, the impossible gorgeousness of leads Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, and the story’s 1939 period and high stakes — it’s so grand and glorious and familiar, yet the Australian setting makes it exotic and new again. Australia (like all Luhrmann’s movies) demands viewing on the big screen — not just for Mandy Walker’s lush cinematography or the intensity of the sequences writ large — but for the sublime collective experience of being in a room with hundreds experiencing the movie together. One moment in particular elicited a mass groan of ecstasy from our packed audience, which then elicited empathetic giggles from everyone. You’ll know the moment when you see it.

The story, while engaging, is pretty standard fare, predictable by the rules that cinema has taught us. The real pleasure is in the rediscovery of what it must have felt like to see those old classics for the first time. I am not necessarily equating Australia with Gone With The Wind, even though I really did love both films; my point is the event of seeing a classic film on the silver screen with a full audience around you is an increasingly rare experience. In the film, we get a taste of what it was like back then to see the Wizard of Oz for the first time, and Luhrmann even manages to make “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” sound new and poignant again.

Kidman might lose the ranch to Carney the cattle baron (or his henchman Fletcher) unless she gets the lone wolf known as The Drover (Jackman) to help her. Nullah is a “half-caste” (born of white and aboriginal parents) child hiding on her property to escape “rescue” by the Aboriginal Assimilation missions. (For a thorough exploration of this terrible Australian legacy, see the wonderful 2002 film Rabbit-Proof Fence.) And there’s a drought. And World War II is crouched on their doorstep. And Jackman has to ride horses in open-necked shirts. The whole situation is fraught. The film is not over the top like Moulin Rouge; it strikes just the right tone of seriousness and reverence for the subject and it is crammed with action, excitement, loss, and romance.

Kidman (sporting the first suntan she ever got in her life) is clearly having a fantastic time with her buttoned-up Brit character (and no doubt being immersed in her native Australia), and it shows. She is always best as an actress when she is relaxed, and her barramundi-out-of-water Lady Ashley character is delightful. Jackman has to do no work to remind us he’s Sexiest Man Alive, but don’t forget this guy is a quadruple threat singer-dancer-actor-athlete — and he too is having a ball playing the rough and rugged Drover. Australian machismo makes that of other nations look pasty and wan in comparison. Jackman’s tanned and ripply form next to the porcelain waif Kidman speaks volumes about the colony’s divergence from the motherland.

David Wenham (Fletcher) twirls his wicked moustache with panache and bile, but thankfully never quite gets to the cape flinging “you must pay the rent” malevolence that a lesser actor might have limned. He is the lynchpin to the story, keeping the large-scale epic drama really an intimate conflict painted on a huge, luxuriant canvas. At last we come to first-timer Brandon Walters as Nullah, the boy mystic who sings his aboriginal magic and tightens the bonds among the other leads. His performance is fantastic and his eyes are as deep as Australia is wide.

If you can forgive the Elton John song over the credits (I could, my companion could not) I think you can walk out of the movie theatre feeling you got your money’s worth. Thanks to parking fees, I actually paid $25 to see this movie, and I still feel OK about it.

MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 11/26/08
Time in minutes 165
Director Baz Luhrmann
Studio 20th Century Fox

The Prestige

Posted by: |

I fear that August’s release of The Illusionist will do an unexpected harm to The Prestige. The harm is unexpected in that despite being about Belle Epoque magicians, these films are very, very different, despite audience perception. Where the Illusionist is about the rivalry of a lowly magician and a crazed duke, with a little murder mystery thrown in, The Prestige chronicles the parallel rivalries of two magicians through the intimacies of diaries and the public arena of the stage, exploring dualities in lives built on secrets and magic.

For those of us who have read Christopher Priest’s excellent novel, the film adaptation of The Prestige is a narrative improvement overall – a rare treat to love the movie more than its source material. Screenwriters Jonathan and Christopher Nolan (Memento as writers; Nolan directed Memento and this, as well as Batman Begins) sketch a tight double helix of narrative arcs, following the two leads forward and backward through time to my perpetual delight. Most of the minor story changes were for the better of the overall work. The three stages of an illusion are being deconstructed by the screenplay even as they are being adhered to. It’s a screenwriting treat overall, even if it leaves a little plot hole right in the middle.

The film overall is very elegant and reverent of the craft of illusionmaking and the novel itself. Nolan vets Christian Bale and Michael Caine’s characters feel a little like their respective Batman Begins characters in the beginning, but they shake it off by Act II. Hugh Jackman gets to give us some new work we haven’t gotten to see much of before. Jackman is so patently a Movie Star as an actor that he occasionally inadvertently outshines his scene partners; he especially out-glitzes Bale’s slow simmer in a manner that truly serves their characters well.

Did I mention that Andy Serkis and David Bowie are also in this movie? I won’t reveal who they play, but they are perfectly cast and plenty of fun to watch. I haven’t mentioned Scarlett Johansson only because I felt she was a little dialed in. Her gorgeous dame mode is dialed up to 8, but her role’s importance compared to the novel gets washed over a bit.

I can understand an audience member being non-plussed by the final act of the film and its revelations; I agree that to much is revealed to the audience too soon at times. If you can appreciate the intimacy of this rivalry and the parallels of their respective damnations, you’ll appreciate how deft this film really is. The surface gloss loses some of its shine, like a well-worn stage trick, but the deeper story is strong.

MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 10/20/06
Time in minutes 128
Director Christopher Nolan
Studio Warner Brothers