Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with filmmaker James Mangold, who also directed 2013's The Wolverine. But this doesn't feel like any other X-Men movie; it strikes a sombre, gritty tone from the start to take the audience on a dark and rather brutal road trip. So while it feels rather long and repetitive, the movie also has a strong emotional kick.
It's set in the year 2029, when mutants have been wiped off the planet, and no new ones have been born for years. Hiding out in a drunken haze as a Texas limo driver, Logan aka Wolverine (Jackman) has stashed Charles aka Professor X (Patrick Stewart) across the border in Mexico, watched over by albino caretaker Caliban (Stephen Merchant). Then a nurse (Elizabeth Rodriguez) appears asking for Logan's help to transport the young Laura (Dafne Keen) to North Dakota. And Laura clearly has a genetic connection with Logan. It also turns out that she has escaped from a Mexico City hospital, so as Logan, Charles and Laura hit the road, the ruthless henchman Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and sinister Dr Rice (Richard E. Grant) are hot on their trail.
Mangold holds all of this in careful control, never tipping over into the usual whiz-bang Hollywood superhero action chaos (the violence is especially grisly). The story moves at a steady pace that adds an involving note of desperation to each sequence. This also makes the movie feel a bit repetitive and even wheel-spinning at times. Since the baddies are able to stay right on the heroes' heels, it's clear that even a nicely offhandedly sojourn with a farmer (Eriq La Salle) and his family will be short-lived. But the gnawing intensity, while never quite building into proper suspense, gets deep under the skin as it fleshes out the characters.
Continue reading: Logan Review
This closing chapter of the First Class trilogy falls into the same trap as The Last Stand, the final part in the original X-Men trilogy: it shifts the focus from character detail and social commentary into a more standard effects-heavy action brawl. There's still a lot of strong character detail, and a big story that can't help but be entertaining. But it's impossible to escape the feeling that the film's scale is far bigger than it needed to be.
It's now 1983, and while Professor X (James McAvoy) works with Hank (Nicholas Hoult) to set up his school for young mutants, his old friend and nemesis Erik (Michael Fassbender) has started a family in a rural corner of Poland. But he can't hide forever. Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) is roaming the world helping mutants where she can, meeting the teleporting Kurt (Kodi Smit-McPhee) in Berlin before heading to Cairo. There, CIA operative Moira (Rose Byrne) has just uncovered a bizarre underground cult that has revived the ancient super-mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), who immediately sets out on a quest to cleanse the planet and start over again. He needs four assistants, and the question is which of the X-Men will go over to the dark side.
This is the third comic book movie in a row about superheroes fighting each other, after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War. And it's similarly enormous (all three films are around two-and-a-half hours long), with mammoth battles that don't quite make logical sense but are compelling enough that the audience goes with them. This film has a bit more emotional depth, including back-stories that have been developed with unusual complexity. But some characters fall through the cracks.
Continue reading: X-Men: Apocalypse Review
Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might just be the smuggest movie ever made. Thankfully, it's also very funny. It's a passion project for actor-producer Ryan Reynolds, who throws himself fully into his role as a snarky mercenary who becomes an indestructible superhero with nothing to lose. And in addition to a constant stream of irreverent humour, he underscores the film's snarkiness with some real emotion.
Reynolds plays Wade, a thug for hire who works out of a bar run by his comical pal Weasel (T.J. Miller), and when he meets fellow mercenary Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), it's love at first sight. The feisty pair match each other with sharp tongues and brutal physicality, but their romance is shaken when Wade is secretly diagnosed with end-stage cancer. His only hope lies in a shady treatment from the ropey Ajax (Ed Skrein) and his sidekick Angel Dust (Gina Carano), which turns out to literally be torture. Sure, it cures his cancer and sparks his innate mutant healing power, but it leaves him hideously scarred. As he sets out to get revenge, two young X-Men (Brianna Hildebrand's Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Stefan Kapcic's Colossus) try to recruit him to their cause. And Wade, now known as Deadpool, tries to work up the nerve to show Vanessa what's left of him.
All of this is revealed early on, as Wade's back-story is recounted in a series of flashbacks in the middle of a massive opening action sequence. And once we're caught up, the story heads into a succession of massive climactic action sequences. Fortunately, there are some quieter moments in between that are both hilarious and involving. Reynolds effortlessly bridges the film's wild mood swings. His sassy attitude and feisty physicality feed cleverly into his riveting chemistry with Baccarin, whose character starts off strongly before dissolving into the standard hackneyed girlfriend role.
Continue reading: Deadpool Review
Star Wars Rebels will whet the appetite of fans eager for Star Wars Episode 7.
Forget Star Wars Episode 7! A new continuation of the classic sci-fi saga will be hitting screens before Jj Abrams new movie in the form ofStar Wars Rebels, an animated series for the Disney Channel. The series comes as Lucasfilm Animation winds down the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which premiered in 2008.
According to The Wrap, X-Men: First Class' Simon Kinberg will executive-produce and write the first episode of Revels, which will premiere in the fall of 2014. Set two decades between Star Wars Episode 3 and 4, the animated series finds the Empire hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a small band of revels united against it. Lucasfilm are on-board to produce the show, with fans attending Star Wars Celebration Europe will get the first exclusive look. "I couldn't be more excited to explore new corners of the Star Wars universe," said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. "I think 'Star Wars Rebels' will capture the look, feel and fun that both kids and their parents love about Star Wars."
Making up the crew will be executive producer Dave Filoni, who fan-boys will recognise as the director of The Clone Wars. Greg Weisman, of The Spectacular Spider-Man, is also executive producing.
Continue reading: Who Needs JJ? Star Wars Animated Series 'Rebels' To Debut In 2014
As the maniacal excitement dies down after the initial news that the Star Wars franchise had been bought by Disney for an enormous sum of over four billion dollars, and the revelation that there would be at least two more movies in the pipeline, it is now time for a few details to begin getting settled.
A couple of weeks ago we reported that Michael Arndt had been picked to pen the first of the two movies on the way. Now, the Hollywood Reporter has been told that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg have signed contracts to write episodes 8 and/or 9. Lawrence Kasdan is something of a Star Wars legend, as he wrote the scripts for The Empire Strikes Back (largely lauded as the best Star Wars movie to date), as well as Return of the Jedi.
Since 1983, when The Return of the Jedi was released, Kasdan has also written The Bodyguard, which Whitney Houston starred in, as well as the award winning The Accidental Tourist, which was a very different kind of writing and film making than either Star Wars or The Bodyguard, and showed his great range and depth. Simon Kinberg has an equally impressive career history. He's written two X-Men movies, the Brad Pitt and Anjelina Joli movie Mr and Mrs Smith, plus the Robert Downey Junior version of Sherlock Holmes.
Continue reading: Iconic Star Wars Writer To Return For New Films
Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg have closed deals to write instalments of the new Star Wars trilogy, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The pair will pen either Episode VIII or Episode IX though the exact division of their responsibilities is yet to be determined.
As was previously reported, Oscar winner Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) is writing the script for Episode VII, the first movie in the new trilogy. Kasdan is a Lucasfilm and Star Wars veteran having co-wrote 1980's The Empire Strikes Back and the 1983 movie Return of the Jedi. He recently co-wrote the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark, considered the finest movie from Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones movies. However, his latest feature film writing credit is the poorly received Stephen King adaptation Dreamcatcher, starring Morgan Freeman. Kinberg on the other hand has more contemporary material on his CV, co-writing the new X-Men movie Days of the Future Past and producing X-Men: First Class. He is also on the team for the forthcoming Cinderella film for Disney.
With the writers now locked down for the new movies, we should hear something about directors pretty soon. Matthew Vaughn is rumored to be in talks for the first movie in the new triology.
Continue reading: 'Empire Strikes Back' Scribe Signs On To Write New Star Wars Movies
Frank (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are best-pal CIA operatives who wouldn't know the word "subtle" if it clubbed them over the head. After a chaotic case in Hong Kong, they're grounded back home in L.A., and both decide to use the down time to find women. The problem is that they find the same woman, Lauren (Witherspoon), who struggles to decide which one is right for her. Certainly her married best pal Trish (Handler) is no help. The bigger problem is that Frank and Tuck use the agency's resources to sabotage each other.
Continue reading: This Means War Review
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