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REVIEW – Logan

March 17, 2017 Leave a comment
LoganDirected by: James Mangold
Produced by: Hutch Parker, Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner
Screenplay by: Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
Story by: James Mangold
Edited by: Michael McCusker, Dirk Westervelt
Cinematography by: John Mathieson
Music by: Marco Beltrami
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Jayson Genao
Year: 2017

 

Released in 2000, about 3 years after the abomination known as Batman & Robin seemingly killed off the superhero film genre, the first X-Men, even more so than its 1998 predecessor Blade, proved that comic book superhero movies really could find new life in cinemas, provided that the filmmakers took their subjects seriously. While Fox’s X-Men films have had more than their fair share of stumbles, particularly last year’s massively disappointing X-Men: Apocalypse as well as more egregious works like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Last Stand, they have also proven that the studio is willing to take some bold chances, too, rebooting and reorienting timelines with period films, or greenlighting a breakout R-rated comedy action film that proved that risks sometimes pay off with Deadpool. By far, however, the breakout element out of any of these films has been Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, who has been a constant presence throughout all these films from the very beginning, appearing in films even when his presence wasn’t necessarily needed because the studio knew he was just that good in the role. Hugh Jackman’s a talented guy, no doubt, but we’re all curious about whether or not it would have been as good as it has been had it not been for his casting in the first X-Men film – something that both nearly didn’t happen and was once a controversial decision at the time due to Jackman’s height betraying the comic character’s usually small stature. That was over 17 years ago, however, and now we’re facing the end of an era, with Jackman declaring Logan will be his final film as the iconic berserker. And thank God for that, as I think we’d all be disappointed if his cameo in Apocalypse was the end and not the phenomenal Logan – a film that may very well be the best superhero adaptation since The Dark Knight. Read more…

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REVIEW: Wizards

August 5, 2016 Leave a comment
WizardsDirected by: Ralph Bakshi
Produced by: Ralph Bakshi
Written by: Ralph Bakshi
Edited by: Donald W. Ernst
Music by: Andrew Belling
Starring: Bob Holt, Jesse Welles, Richard Romanus, David Proval, Steve Gravers, James Connell, Susan Tyrrell, Mark Hamill
Year: 1977

 

I’ve only seen a few films of Ralph Bakshi – Cool World, Fritz the Cat, and now this movie – but there was a time when his works were always in the back of my mind whenever the subject of animation history came up. Ever since I was a kid, in fact, which is funny since almost none of his work is remotely child-friendly, except for perhaps his adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. As a nerdy kid who studied almost anything that piqued my interest (but especially movies and video games), reading about Bakshi’s subversive, gritty, adult, and oftentimes controversial works always fascinated me. Revered as, if anything, noteworthy departures from the traditionally family fluff that, even today, is usually thought of as the default mode for animation in America, his stuff always stood out as almost mythical or even forbidden to my adolescent mind. I’d see references to it in stuff like The Simpsons and recognize the reference for what it was, but apart from maybe a few clips here and there, Bakshi’s animated films seemed to be spoken of in terms normally reserved for “banned” films like Song of the South and the infamous Censored Eleven – eleven Warner Bros. animated shorts that have been withheld from distribution due to their controversial, racially insensitive material. (I wasn’t far off in that regard, in retrospect, either.) Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: X-Men: Apocalypse

May 28, 2016 6 comments
X-Men ApocalypseDirected by: Bryan Singer
Produced by: Bryan Singer, Lauren Shuler Donner, Simon Kinberg, Hutch Parker
Screenplay by: Simon Kinberg
Edited by: John Ottman, Michael Louis Hill
Cinematography by: Newton Thomas Sigel
Music by: John Ottman
Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, Alexandra Shipp, Olivia Munn, Ben Hardy, Lucas Till, Josh Helman, Lana Condor, Tomas Lemarquis, Hugh Jackman
Based on the Marvel comics created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Year: 2016

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I actually didn’t initially intend on reviewing this, considering the number of superhero movies I’ve reviewed lately as well as the fact that, apart from The Wolverine, I haven’t reviewed any previous X-Men movies, and this was the third in the rebooted timeline series. However, in the wake of seeing it and thinking on it for about a day, I just couldn’t help myself, because I seriously needed to get this out of me in some way beyond nagging the one friend of mine who saw it with me. Read more…

2014 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (May – August)

January 24, 2015 1 comment

Maleficent - Angelina Jolie

I’m not going to waste too much time this year on introductions. For this second part of my review of films I didn’t see, we’re going through the summer blockbuster season, which is typically where a lot of hopeful franchises and big, loud, action-packed spectacles are typically placed. That doesn’t mean that they’re stupid or anything, as some of them look quite good, but don’t expect too many of them to be all that deep or groundbreaking.

Yes, 2014 may have been a record year for me seeing the most movies from that year, but there were still movies I never got around to or never even had the ability to see due to either foreign or limited release. I still like going over them, however, as this process often leads  to me finding some unexpected gems that I might enjoy. Some of these I might become so interested in that I see them before I even get to the films I did see, so there is actually a possibility you might see these films reappear in this 2014 in Review series if that becomes the case.

Anyway, here are many of the films from May to August 2014 that I didn’t see, for one reason or another. It’s by no means complete, but that’s what you get when you’re using Wikipedia and Best of/Worst of lists from other sites. Read more…

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Theatrical Review: “The Wolverine”

August 1, 2013 4 comments
The WolverineDirected by: James Mangold
Produced by: Lauren Shuler Donner, Hugh Jackman, Hutch Parker, John Palermo
Written by: Mark Bomback, Scott Frank
Edited by: Michael McCusker
Cinematography by: Ross Emery
Music by: Marco Beltrami
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Will Yun Lee, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Brian Tee, Haruhiko (“Hal”) Yamanouchi, Ken Yamamura, Famke Janssen
Based on volume one of the comic book Wolverine by Chris Claremont
Year: 2013

 

It’s pretty telling that the filmmakers were confident enough in their hero that they felt like they could ditch the entire X-Men moniker for the film and coast solely upon the loner mutant who has been the team’s most famous member, Wolverine. The previous attempt (what was to be one of many) to cash in on the clawed Canuck, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, was without a doubt one of the messiest attempts to cash in on the X-Men and superhero craze, but its relative success at the box office, despite being behind the previous two X-Men films, proved that, as with comic book fans, the character had just as much staying power with movie audiences beyond his relationships to his teammates. Obviously, this meant that a sequel would be put into production – even as the series would ditch the whole X-Men Origins pretense (with the next entry, Magneto, being put down with a plastic bullet) and go in a decidedly new, exciting, and largely well-received direction with the period film, X-Men: First Class. Read more…

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