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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…

REVIEW: Dawn of the Dead: Unrated Director’s Cut (2004)

October 13, 2013 2 comments
Dawn of the Dead (2004)Directed by: Zack Snyder
Produced by: Marc Abraham, Eric Newman, Richard P. Rubinstein; Michael D. Messina (co-producer); Armyan Bernstein, Thomas A. Bliss, Dennis E. Jones (executive producers)
Written by: James Gunn (screenplay); Michael Tolkin, Scott Frank (uncredited rewrites)
Edited by: Niven Howie
Cinematography by: Matthew F. Leonetti
Music by: Tyler Bates
Starring: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer, Ty Burrell, Michael Kelly, Kevin Zegers, Michael Barry, Lindy Booth, Jayne Eastwood, Boyd Banks, Inna Korobkina, R.D. Reid, Kim Poirier, Matt Frewer, Louis Ferreira, Bruce Bohne
Based on the 1978 film directed by George A. Romero
Year: 2004

 

I’m a bit of a Zack Snyder apologist, as I actually mostly enjoy the films of his that I have actually seen – which is pretty much every film he’s directed, save for Sucker Punch and The Owls of Ga’Hoole – coincidentally, his least admired movies, so take of that what you will. I enjoyed 300, really liked Watchmen, and I honestly did not understand the backlash against Man of Steel, which I thought was a fantastic reimagining of Superman for the modern era. I think a lot of it comes from the fact that I so enjoyed his remake of Dawn of the Dead, which I managed to see ahead of the original. I saw it in high school thanks to the extinct Hollywood Video’s MVP rental program that my family subscribed to (and that I took advantage of more than anyone), and it was one of the first horror films that I decided to give a try after years of thinking the entire genre sucked. The original wasn’t available at the store near me, so I settled on the remake, which I had heard was pretty good on its own, and I remember that I thought to myself that doing so in that order would allow for me to appreciate the remake on its own terms. Perhaps nostalgia goggles have tainted my perspective, but I can still confirm that, to this day, I still like this one just a smidge better. Read more…

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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