Locke
VJ Morton
(”Locke” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Blindspotting, American Animals, Clara's Ghost, The Price of Everything, The Guilty and more
(Review Source)
VJ Morton
Locke

★★★★ Watched 24 Jan, 2014

LOCKE (Steven Knight, Britain, 2014, 8)

You have to “buy into” a gimmick movie, pretty much a priori. In Locke, it’s that the camera, for all practical purposes, never leaves a car where Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is driving and taking the phone calls that will upend his life. Hardy is the only person you see, though you hear the other end of his speaker-phone conversations; it’s pure “canned theater” that could also work rather well as a radio play.… more

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PJ Media Staff
Klavan On The Culture And now a word about the culture.In the arts, success and quality are completely unrelated. That is to say, great works are sometimes hits, and sometimes failures and likewise trash. Great artists are sometimes hailed, sometimes ignored and likewise hacks. A reasonably well-educated person alive in England in 1819, say, when Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Keats, Shelley and Byron were all alive and working, would probably have read only one of them with pleasure, and heard of three of them at most. Only time ultimately sorts the great from the good and bad.So it is with today's books and movies. There are popular and unpopular good ones and popular and unpopular bad ones — and no, it's not just a matter of taste, I'm afraid; but that's an argument for another day.Today, I just want to point out one top notch talent currently working mainly in the crime genre. They know his name in the offices in Hollywood, but the general public hasn't heard about him anywhere near enough.Steven Knight is a screenwriter of the very first rank. His best work, so far, is Eastern Promises, a crime genre classic directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts. And if you're not watching his historical British gangster series Peaky Blinders on Netflix, you are missing one of the best things now on the small screen. Locke, starring the great Tom Hardy, is also good. It's an experimental film that Knight both wrote and directed and it's small — all you see for the entire movie is a man driving in a car talking on the phone! — but it's riveting, a writing tour de force, and great fun to discuss afterwards.Dirty Pretty Things, is a good and underrated film, directed by Stephen Frears. Redemption, a Jason Statham action flick, is a fine entry in the genre (most Statham action flicks are better than other action flicks). Closed Circuit didn't quite hold together for me, but the writing was intelligent throughout.In general, of course, screenwriters don't get the credit they deserve and take more of the blame than they should (all right, I'm prejudiced). For a long time, even I kept referring to Steven Knight as "that guy with the name like a chess piece," as in, "Yeah, I think that was written by that guy...  you know... with the name like a chess piece... king... knight..."  But now that I realize how good he is, I've been keeping an eye out for him and you should too.If you haven't seen Eastern Promises, see it. If you're not watching Peaky Blinders, watch it. And if you have a spare 90 minutes, take a look at Locke. This guy really knows what he's doing. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/andrewklavan/2015/8/12/a-real-talent-steven-knight/ ]]>
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The Federalist Staff
(”Locke” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Like most men of my generation, I was an enormous Star Wars fan as a kid. And, like many boys, I spent the bleak, sequel-less years watching any science fiction movie I could find to chase that high. Sometimes it worked out (Blade Runner, Flash Gordon) and other times it was a catastrophe (Krull, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone). But I saw them all. When I was around nine, though, I came across a compelling, full-page ad in the newspaper, featuring a man with a laser gun, some kind of space battle in the background, and a quartet of alluring women posing around him. Needless to say, it looked promising. Though, judging from the outfits, I suspected these characters would be less virtuous than, say, a Princess Leia. So I did what any boy who wants to do something he shouldn’t be doing does: I begged my grandparents to take me to see it. They did. The film (and I’m pushing it with the word film) was Moonraker. I found the story of a English playboy and the gigantic silver-toothed mute who chases him around the world to be mildly entertaining—though it did take around an hour-and-a-half before Bond even got near a spaceship. But it wasn’t until a few years later, wiser, older and more curious, that I ran across the same actor playing the same character in a far better movie. The Spy Who Loved Me was funny, action-packed, and it had Barbara Bach surrendering to Roger Moore’s advances. After it was over, the station ran another movie, with another guy playing that same character and soon everything in the world made sense. After a quick pre-Internet investigation, Goldfinger led to Live Or Let Die led to The Man With The Golden Gun led to From Russian With Love, and so on. With my video-club membership in hand, my obsession grew. I managed to track all of them down. All of them. I sat through On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (in which George Lazenby’s Bond gets married, wears a kilt, fights Telly Savalas, and does an admirable job filling in for Sean Connery, who abandoned both queen and country to wrangle more money of the studio.) I even sort of enjoyed Connery’s James Bond-ish Never Say Never Again. Then I began reading all of the Ian Fleming books, and as many Bond books as I could find— including, at some point, the one written by Kingsley Amis. Casino Royale with David Niven, Peter Sellers, and Woody Allen (as Jimmy Bond)? Yeah, I saw it. And I’d probably see it again. Bond gave me the high George Lucas never could. My adoration, though, began to fade as the decade wore on. Octopussy shook my confidence, and yes, A View To A Kill  personally offended me. But it was the dream-killer, Timothy Dalton, who put me out of my misery. Not even Pierce Brosnan’s workmanlike performances could pull me back in after sitting through A License To Kill. Maybe it was the perfunctory scripts. Maybe Bond was lost without the Cold War? Maybe it was bland villains? (The fifth columnist North Korean with a face transplant? Or the Russian general teaming up with heavies from some unknown Central European Slavic nation —what seemed like a mandatory storyline during the ’90s.) Whatever it was, it was bland. It was Daniel Craig who saved the franchise from decades of mediocratic acting and shiftless storytelling. Yes, Casino Royale is the finest Bond movie ever produced. Craig, the best Bond. I’m typically a traditionalist on these sorts of cultural matters, but Craig is the most aligned with Ian Fleming’s vision. He modernized and reinvented the character while strengthening its conventions at the same time (we see the franchise explicitly embrace this reality at the end of Skyfall). He offered a darker, harder, and more complicated persona, and shed the earnestness and schlockiness that had plagued the series. Despite a slight hiccup with (the not-great but underrated) Quantum of Solace, I was fully invested. And Spectre? I am going to watch the hell out of this: I only mention this personal history, which I assume other men my age share in some way, to stress how culturally important James Bond is. And, even more urgently, to stress how imperative it is to find an actor who can properly handle the job. For us. And for our children. This is because Craig recently told Esquire that he was unsure whether he would film another 007 movie, but if pushed to make a decision today he would probably leave the franchise. And so we again find ourselves at a crossroads of cultural history. My first thought was that perhaps Craig should go. Most Bonds, after all, hang around too long (see Connery’s paunchy turn in his first-last Bond film, Diamond are Forever). If he left now, Craig will be the only Bond to exit without being overmatched by the character. He’d be the only one to leave the series in better shape than he found it. This franchise, like any other, is driven by the quality of scripts and directors (and Sam Mendes, who’s been great, is also leaving the series), but few pivot so intimately on the charisma of leading actor. So what makes a Bond work? We must use the past as a guide. So I have correctly ranked all Bonds in order of effectiveness: Daniel Craig Sean Connery (including Diamonds Are Forever but excluding Never Say Never) Roger Moore (up until For Your Eyes Only) Pierce Brosnan George Lazenby The guy who played James Bond on TV in 1954 Roger Moore (post For Your Eyes Only) Actors who turned down the opportunity to play Bond (this supposedly includes Richard Burton, James Mason, Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, Liam Neeson, and many others.) Actors who auditioned to play James Bond that we’ve never heard of Timothy Dalton Even as I ponder this authoritative list, I do wonder if there should be any rigid criteria in judging a future Bond. In reality, Brosnan, despite his ho-hum movies, was probably better suited to be Bond than Roger Moore. Moore was all the things Bond should not be, according to Fleming: Too dapper. Too goofy. Too bland. Too dumb. Still, it sort of worked … sometimes. Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few obvious rules Sony should follow to make Bond plausible: If, for instance, if you feel like you could probably manhandle the actor, he can’t be Bond. So no Orlando Bloom. If an actor is prettier than your first girlfriend, he can’t be Bond. So no Henry Cavill. I guess you know him when you see him. Bond displays all tendencies you wish you could, but probably don’t. He’s dangerous, but only with the right people. He’s patriotic, but not a dupe. He’s got taste, but he’s never trendy. He’s good-looking, but in that unconventional way. He’s cerebral, but also carnal. He’s exceedingly confident, but “… by the cut of your suit, you went to Oxford or wherever. Naturally you think human beings dress like that. But you wear it with such disdain, my guess is you didn’t come from money, and your school friends never let you forget it,” as Vesper Lynd once remarked. There are plenty of great choices. Variety reports that BoyleSports, an online bookie, has Tom Hardy as the leading contender to take on Bond. He’s now a 4/1 favorite. Last week, another booking firm with absolutely no inside knowledge about this thing claimed that the Homeland guy, Damian Lewis (who is also English, by the way, like seemingly every actor playing an American on TV today), was the favorite to take over the Bond franchise. Lewis went from a 25/1 to 3/1 odds recently. Idris Elba is at 5/2. Hardy at 4/1. Henry Cavill 5/1. Michael Fassbender 7/1. There is no reason Tom Hardy shouldn’t play James Bond. There is no better actor working today. When you say a person can carry a movie by himself, you mean it literally with Hardy. Just watch Bronson or Locke. He’s got a bit of that sociopathic vibe (see “Peaky Blinders”) that Bond probably needs to get the job done. That’s not to say someone like Elba wouldn’t make a great Bond. I’ve never seen him not be great. Sony executives have discussed casting him. The author of the latest James Bond book seems to think Elba is too “street.”  I’d say Anthony Horowitz was hinting that Elba was black (as many have claimed in the media) but he suggested another black actor named Adrian Lester, which tells me he shouldn’t be writing a Bond novel to begin with. Then again, Roger Moore once said Elba shouldn’t play James Bond because the spy needs to be “English-English.”  Elba was born in London. We’ve had Scottish Bond. An Irish Bond. An Australian Bond. So in that case “English-English” does probably mean black. Now, I have my own ideas. Damian Lewis is intriguing prospect, but probably missing the grit it takes. Fasssbender is Fasssbender. He’d be great. David Oyelowo is a talent (the Fleming estate hired him to voice its new 007 novel). Dougray Scott (reportedly in contention when Daniel Craig won the role) is intriguing. As is The Wire’s Dominic West. One of my favorites is Tom Hiddleston—who admittedly slouches a bit towards the foppish. Though I possess as much inside knowledge of who is in the running for Bond as these bookies, which is to say none, using my own unscientific criteria that I often ignore, I’ve come up with a wish list: 1. Tom Hardy 2. Idris Elba 3. Tom Hiddleston 4. Michael Fasssbender 5. Dominic West 6. Unknown 7. Dougray Scott 8. Damian Lewis 9. David Oyelowo 150. Timothy Dalton 151. Henry Cavill It might turn out to bena relatively unknown, and that would be fine, too, if that makes the role work. But please don’t ruin it again. We’ve invested so much and come so far. If you think you have better ideas, send them to [email protected]/* <![CDATA[ */!function(t,e,r,n,c,a,p){try{t=document.currentScript||function(){for(t=document.getElementsByTagName('script'),e=t.length;e--;)if(t[e].getAttribute('data-cfhash'))return t[e]}();if(t&&(c=t.previousSibling)){p=t.parentNode;if(a=c.getAttribute('data-cfemail')){for(e='',r='0x'+a.substr(0,2)|0,n=2;a.length-n;n+=2)e+='%'+('0'+('0x'+a.substr(n,2)^r).toString(16)).slice(-2);p.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(decodeURIComponent(e)),c)}p.removeChild(t)}}catch(u){}}()/* ]]> */ so I can dispel them for you. ]]>
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
Once again we find ourselves in some disagreement with the Academy regarding the best films of 2014. For example, one of the great war movies was released in 2014, and if you haven’t seen it you should. “Fury” (directed by David Ayer, “End of Watch,” “Training Day”) is the story of a tank and a crew who loved it. (If you don’t get this reference, you did not grow up the 60s.) The New Yorker says it’s almost equal to “Saving Private Ryan,” and we tend to agree. Actually, it is one of Hollywood’s better efforts at capturing why soldiers fight and ordinary individuals are often willing to lay down their lives. It isn’t patriotism, it isn’t valor—it’s the bond of wartime comradeship. This isn’t a war movie in the John Ford sense, and it isn’t an anti-war movie (“Platoon,” etc.). It’s a rare attempt at merely telling the story of people at war without allegory to political cause or attempt at moral lecture. This year will mark the seventieth anniversary of World War II’s conclusion. In those decades, our culture has vacillated between viewpoints on our role in the war: Sentimental remembrances of our family members who were “over there,” weighing the balance in the moral delta between waging industrial war and the crimes of the state that started it. Is it ever right to wage war? Does committing ourselves to the field of battle simply make us like our enemies? This film manages to capture these ideas while at the same time maintaining the necessary tropes of a story well told on film, which is altogether rare in Hollywood today. Honesty About War’s Complexity Without Cynicism The cast was well above average. Even Shia LeBeouf turns in a very credible performance as a morally conflicted gunner, who quotes the Bible and talks of Jesus one scene and kills with abandon the next. I’ve never seen a better, grittier performance from Brad Pitt. Pitt enthusiastically portrays one of the great strengths of America’s military—the non-commissioned officer. His character, Sergeant Don Collier, leads a typical, ethically mixed crew of misfits including a “FNG” (military speak for “funny new guy”—or something like that). The film does a remarkable job in showing how in order to survive this total war, one had to embrace the ruthless cynicism that made the veterans so frightening. The presence of the untrained replacement who had been in the army for less than two months highlights the desperate state all of the belligerents found themselves in at the end. Even the vanquishing American army was critically low on manpower. The new guy doubts his courage, does not want to kill the enemy, and desperately wants to hang on to his other life, his old life. The film does a remarkable job in showing how in order to survive this total war, one had to embrace the ruthless cynicism that made the veterans so frightening. What good was left of them? To forego these changes meant certain death. It is interesting in the backdrop of the current brouhaha over torture to measure the crowd reaction to atrocity-committing SS troops the crew encounters. They are not merciful and not exactly with the guidelines of the rules of war. This is another area in which the film succeeds. It eschews the traditional approach, where good guys only do good things and bad guys only do bad things, but it avoids moral equivalence by providing enough context to the scenes. These are men at their lowest, pushed to their extremes and exhausted physically and emotionally. The film creates empathy for the men in these situations, and the results are complex scenes that are both shocking and revolting but also understandable. The truth this, these things all happened, and pretending they either did not or were not as bad as we think does us no favors. In its honesty and clarity, “Fury” forces viewers to contemplate the inhumane behavior of everyone involved. Realism Not Just in Emotions, But in Hardware War movie purists like me appreciate the historic accuracy. One of the stars of the film is the world’s last functional Tiger tank. It was captured in the desert by the British in 1943. The actor portraying the commander of the Tiger is actually the film’s technical advisor, a 22-year British army veteran. The film’s sequence of a group of American M4’s (called Shermans by the British and most everyone else) taking on the Tiger, using swarm tactics to overpower the German monster, are based on actual WWII doctrine. One of the stars of the film is the world’s last functional Tiger tank. The film overall pays a great deal of attention to details. Bringing the actual machines to the screen instead of the traditional mock-ups or disappointingly common CGI additions adds a layer of reality to a film that puts viewers in the scene. There are lots of war movies, but very few tank movies. Humphrey Bogart’s “Sahara” (1943) and “The Beast” (1988) are the only other standouts that come to mind. Warning, this is a visceral film. Although we would not describe it as gratuitous, its graphic depiction of the violence of a twentieth-century battlefield leaves little to the imagination. Another way this movie succeeds, and possibly the most welcome deviation from recent war movies, is the cinematography. Rejecting the commonly used “shaky cam” and filtered ground shots that have become the norm in action sequences, “Fury” takes a step back and shows you the whole scene. Viewers are still very much inside the action, but the camera doesn’t ignore the larger picture, which is vital for showing the scale and presence of the scene. It also removes narrative confusion from an action sequence, where something important might happen but gets glanced over in favor of the camera making things “realistic” with unstoppable vibrations. Overall, “Fury” is possibly one of the best war movies we’ve seen, and one of the few to bluntly show the war and the people who fought in it. Take a Look at Locke “Locke” is another 2014 film the Academy snubbed this year. It is also a film you would never choose to see based on a thumbnail description, yet we believe it is one of the most powerful movies we’ve seen in quite a long time. One actor, one car, for one hour and 25 minutes. You won’t want to miss a single one of them. One actor, one car, for one hour and 25 minutes. You won’t want to miss a single one of them. Directed by Steven Knight (“Eastern Promises,” “Dirty Pretty Things,”), the plot moves forward solely through a series of cell phone conversations Tom Hardy’s character, Ivan Locke, has as he speeds through the night on Britain’s equivalent of an interstate highway. Locke is facing a sudden, existential crisis. Think of the darkest thought of doom you might face, then cast yourself in a movie as you face it. That’s “Locke.” It is difficult to describe this movie without giving away part of its charm. The sequence of discovering Locke’s current actions, the past actions that caused them, and what he plans to do in the future is pretty much the entire movie. The pacing in this film is almost perfect. For being set entirely on driving on a monotonous highway through the night, the context of Locke’s ceaseless phone conversations and his relentless effort to keep things in control give the film an incredible level of tension. For a movie where the only actor on screen never stands up, the uncertainty and suspense keeps you from relaxing. “Locke” almost entirely disposes of Hollywood’s most common storytelling tropes. The effect this has is stunning. The story never gives itself away, and there is an incredible amount of uncertainty and anticipation from each scene. When the phone rings, which it does constantly, you’re thinking, “Well, now what?” Locke cares about it, passionately, so you care about it. That’s one of the film’s greatest achievements. It also has to be said that the nature of Locke’s crisis isn’t very important. Again, without giving up the game, we’ll say that while desperate, in the grand scheme of things the events aren’t that thrilling. But this film makes you care—this man works a real job, in way that most movie goers can relate, which is something modern films often neglect. He has a family, coworkers, and a boss, all voices on a phone, but so much effort goes into painful details of a concrete pour you have to accept that it’s important. Locke cares about it, passionately, so you care about it. That’s one of the film’s greatest achievements, If you’re still not convinced, be aware that crowd-sourced Rotten Tomatoes gives “Locke” a 91 percent rating. This is also an opportunity to witness the emergence of a new British film legend of the Hopkins-Cain level. ]]>
(Review Source)
John Hanlon
(”Locke” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Looking back at the year in cinema in 2014, pills it’s easy to get excited about film-making. Although many argue that television is offering up some of the year’s best entertainment, thumb movies can still be as exhilarating and exciting as they ever were. My two... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Birdman-Poster-270x400.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
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Debbie Schlussel
Blog Posts Movie Reviews Locke“: Most of the mainstream media movie critics are raving over this incredible waste of time. Don’t believe the hype. What is only 85 minutes seems like 185 in this long, slow, boring slog of nothing. Shot entirely in a car, the movie shows us Locke (Tom Hardy), who is a reliable, dedicated family man and construction manager. He is scheduled to oversee the cement pouring of a giant building the next morning. But he spends his time in the car letting his employers know he won’t be showing up. Nor will he show up to be with his wife and son that night, as they’d planned to watch a soccer match together. You see, Locke got a woman pregnant during a one night stand, and the woman is having her baby at a hospital in London that night. He’s driving to see the birth of his new baby. And he’s using this time in the car on the drive there to call all of them and let them know that he is “finally becoming courageous” by being with his babymama and illegitimate kid. The movie consists of his informing everyone of this and arguing with them, etc. You feel like you are stuck in a bad day at family court and can’t get out. At least, that’s how I felt. Pointless and useless. And a complete waste of ten bucks-plus and 85 minutes of your life you’ll never get back. TWO-AND-A-HALF MARXES ]]>
(Review Source)
Michael Medved
http://www.michaelmedved.com/wp-content/uploads/LOCKE.mp3
(Review Source)
Lockout
John Hanlon
(”Lockout” is briefly mentioned in this.)
It’s hard to argue that March 2012 belonged to any movie other than The Hunger Games. March had its share of disappointments and successes but The Hunger Games really won the month, pill both critically and commercially. Breaking box office records, doctor it could be... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/American_Reunion_Poster-270x400.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
(Review Source)
John Hanlon
It’s been nearly twenty-five years since Bruce Willis tore up the screen as John McClane in the unforgettable action thriller, discount Die Hard. McClane was a sarcastic but admirable police officer forced to take on a group of terrorists to... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Lockout_Poster-105x88.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
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Kyle Smith
I’m stunned that the cheesy sci-fi flick “Lockout” is going into wide release. Straight to video is written all over it. My review is up.]]>
(Review Source)
Debbie Schlussel
Blog Posts Movie Reviews Lockout“: I’m a big fan of Guy Pearce, the star of this movie, so I would have enjoyed this even if it were not a good movie (but it is).  No matter what he’s in, he’s always good, and his American accent is perfect, never belying his real-life Australian brogue.  In this movie, he’s also funny and gets to play the action hero.  And I liked the storyline in this, which is complete with the mockery of the liberal do-gooder daughter of a Democratic President.  If you like science fiction and action movies, as I do, this is for you.  It’s written by the usually excellent Luc Besson, of whom I’m also a fan. Some of the stunts weren’t believable, but they’re far more believable than what you’ll see in a James Bond movie. // Pearce plays a man framed for the murder of his friend.  He insists he didn’t commit the crime, claiming he was set up.  It involves national security secrets and the apparent theft of them, and he’s convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage.  Te President’s top advisers are heavily involved in questioning him. It’s the future, and, sadly, the President is a Democrat.  His bleeding-heart liberal, social activist daughter makes a trip to an outer space prison for violent criminals.  Set on a space station, the prison contains hundreds of prisoners who are frozen for their entire sentence.  The President’s daughter insists that this is inhumane treatment because allegedly the prisoners experience dementia and other severe illnesses as a result of being frozen for so long.  While on her visit, she meets with a prisoner, who then takes her hostage.  Pearce is sent to the outer space prison to rescue her.  But he has another plan, too:  he wants to rescue a friend of his who is imprisoned there and has the briefcase taken from the scene of the murder, which allegedly contains the national security secrets the President wants. The movie is fast-paced, full of action, and while at first, you don’t really know what’s going on, it acquits itself nicely.  Yes, the ending is predictable, but I enjoyed the ride.  And Pearce makes it even more fun with his wisecracking. TWO-AND-A-HALF REAGANS ]]>
(Review Source)
Plugged In
DramaAction/AdventureSci-Fi/Fantasy We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.Movie Review"No good deed goes unpunished," goes the old cliché. And speaking of clichés … this hyper-adrenalized masculine movie about hardened criminals and a prison built in space is full of 'em. Snow is a former government agent who tries to save a fellow agent. And for his efforts he's wrongly accused of the man's death—receiving a 30-year jail sentence on the orbiting maximum security prison known as MS:ONE. The space station prison is state of the art in every possible way—especially in the way it places inmates in a state of suspended animation known as stasis. It's a process that solves virtually every problem associated with prisons: "No physical or sexual abuse," the prison's warden brags. "No breakouts. No riots." But not everyone is sold on the futuristic facility's supposed merits—especially human rights activist Emily Warnock, a feisty social crusader who also happens to be the daughter of the President of the United States. Emily is concerned about the rumored side effects of stasis: aggression, psychosis and dementia. She also suspects that the company funding MS:ONE, an outfit dedicated to deep space exploration, is secretly using the prison as an experiment to observe the long-term outcome of stasis on humans. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where this is going. Emily zips out to MS:ONE on an investigative mission. But her interview with a particularly virulent Irish criminal named Hydell goes horribly—and predictably—awry. Hydell escapes. And with one press of a button, all 497 of MS:ONE's inmates find themselves suddenly free. And aggressive. And psychotic. And demented. Hydell's slightly less volatile older brother Alex assumes control of the station—unaware of that one of his hostages is the president's daughter. Meanwhile, Secret Service head honcho Scott Langral frets that he can't get an assault team to the orbital prison fast enough. That's when Agent Harry Shaw suggests an alternative extraction strategy: Put Snow on the job. If he rescues Emily, he can win back his freedom.Positive ElementsInitially, Snow isn't the least bit concerned with rescuing Emily. But when Shaw tells him that his friend Mace (who was arrested for accidentally shooting a cop) is in the same prison, Snow changes his mind and decides to save both of them. In doing so, he repeatedly puts his life on the line. And a strong bond forms between him and Emily as they try to stay alive and get away. When it becomes apparent that the escape pod he leads Emily to can only hold one person, Snow doesn't hesitate in offering it to her—even going so far as lying to convince her to take it. (The fib's not the positive part here, of course; it's the sacrificial part that's a decent example of the biblical principle of someone laying down his life for a friend.) Emily is made of stout stuff too, and she repeatedly shows her spunky mettle. The escape pod jettisons, but Emily's not on it. She tells Snow that if she leaves, there's nothing to stop her father from destroying the prison and everyone on it, and she's determined to rescue as many of the hostages as possible. As mentioned, Emily also cares deeply—at least initially—about the welfare of the prisoners.Spiritual ContentEmily sarcastically describes Snow's willingness to sacrifice for others as his "standards of sainthood." Mace says a nun at his Catholic school told him "angels cry" when people do "bad things."Sexual ContentThat nun was in the middle of disciplining him for exposing himself in public. We hear prisoners commenting on homosexual attraction and sex. Snow spits out a line about foreplay after performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Emily. And there is other sarcastic, sexually tinged banter as well, some delivered at the expense of a man's wife. When Emily's hand inadvertently ends up near his crotch, Snow says, "A simple thank you is enough." Snow and Emily ponder whether they might have a successful romantic relationship, and Emily says it depends on how good Snow is in bed. She wears a sometimes revealing tank top for most of the film, and there's talk about someone getting a "boob job." Emily mistakenly thinks Snow is assaulting her at one point. But Hydell actually does try. In her initial interview with him, he leers and makes suggestive comments.Violent ContentThat's the least of it, though. Among the film's most problematic scenes are two in which Hydell attempts to assault Emily. He crawls on top of her, only to be yanked off by Alex. And Emily fights him the second time, combining aerosol and a lighter to badly burn his face. It's not enough to stop him. He catches her and is about to stab and (presumably) rape her when Snow blocks the plunging knife blade with his bare hand. As the violence escalates—and keeps on escalating—we see victims die by way of gunfire in various firefights, stabbings, and massive explosions both on Earth and in space. Frenetic fistfights and melees occur frequently too, with combatants regularly slamming one another's heads and bodies into various hard surfaces. Two unfortunates find themselves in airlocks that expose them to space; they instantly die. Snow has a penchant for taking really hard falls. An example: He unsuccessfully tries to jump between two buildings, hits a window, plunges toward the ground, then bounces off a mattress on top of a dumpster before landing with a thud on the concrete. His interrogation by Langral's lackeys in the opening scene involves them repeatedly hitting his face, leaving him bruised and bloodied. To get his hands on Emily, Hydell shoots and kills another woman. Indeed, he's a trigger-happy, bloodthirsty psychopath who'd sooner kill you than look at you. One particularly nasty scene involves him methodically shooting and killing the remaining hostages as Emily and Snow watch and listen via video monitor. Alex also shoots several technicians when they can't perform the commands he gives them quickly enough. Snow puts an explosive collar around a man's neck. We don't see the ensuing decapitation when it goes off, but we briefly glimpse the headless body. A Secret Service agent protecting Emily commits suicide by putting a gun to his head. (It's a sacrificial choice he makes to save Emily's life by preserving the little oxygen left in an airtight room.) A morgue holds a dead man with half of his skull removed. Emily is hurt in Hydell's initial escape, and her wound bleeds throughout much of the film. Snow tends to it at one point, but further action reopens it. Snow also pushes a needle into Emily's eye to inject chemicals into her brain. (We see the tip begin to push against the eyeball's surface.) After the injection, Emily has a seizure. Snow also punches Emily in the mouth, giving her a fat, bloody lip that he says will make her look more authentic as they try to impersonate prisoners. Later she returns the favor.Crude or Profane LanguageOne fully spoken f-word and one partial. Ten s-words. About a dozen misuses of God's name (which is twice paired with "d‑‑n") and half that many abuses of Jesus'. "H‑‑‑" and "b‑‑ch" are used six or seven times each, "a‑‑hole" twice or three times. We hear one crude reference to the male anatomy.Drug and Alcohol ContentSnow smokes in several scenes. And Shaw chastises him for his nicotine habit, saying, "Nobody smokes anymore, Snow." While cleaning Emily's wound, Snow takes a swig from the bottle (of rubbing alcohol?) he's using. He injects Emily with two different drugs in an attempt to revive her after she suffocates from nitrogen poisoning. Langral takes an unnamed pill at a stressful moment.Other Negative ElementsWhen Shaw first offers Snow the chance to save Emily instead of going to prison, Snow snorts, "I'd rather castrate myself with blunt rocks." Snow "colors" Emily's hair (against her will) with a pasty admixture of oil, coffee and dirty toilet water.ConclusionThere's lots of at talk about Lockout being a take on Taken. I say this is Die Hard in space—with a few more special effects. Just like Bruce Willis' iconic, profane hero John McClane in that famous franchise, actor Guy Pearce sardonically and systematically seeks to outwit the platoon of nasty goons who eventually figure out they've got the president's daughter onboard. Self-sacrificial heroism is an important theme here. Emily's dedicated Secret Service agent ends up paying the ultimate price for being brave. Snow takes a pretty potent pounding in the process. As does Emily, for that matter—especially as she tries to fend off her rapacious nemesis, the truly creepy Hydell. And so do we, as we watch Hydell wreak considerable havoc, making frequent, murderous contributions to the film's ever-mounting body count. The MPAA's raters decided that the film's nonstop violence—and profanity and sexual content—never blasts past PG-13 boundaries. But they say nothing about how relentless it all is.Pro-social ContentObjectionable ContentSummary AdvisoryPlot SummaryChristian BeliefsOther Belief SystemsAuthority RolesProfanity/ViolenceKissing/Sex/HomosexualityDiscussion TopicsAdditional Comments/NotesEpisode Reviews]]>
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Logan
The Federalist Staff
It goes against every piety of the liberal elites to portray the hippies as evil, but Quentin Tarantino points out that the new liberation spawned a murderous cult in Hollywood.
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Christian Toto
(”Logan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
ford v ferrari review

Watching Oscar-bait films shouldn’t feel like doing your homework.

Too often expertly crafted tales have the whiff of a history lesson or worse, a lecture. The intentions are noble, but

The post ‘Ford v Ferrari’ Delivers Two Very Different Award-Worthy Turns appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

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Dave Cullen
(”Logan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
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The Federalist Staff
(”Logan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
The final X-Men outing gives the iconic Phoenix Saga a second try, learning nothing from the mistakes of the past and delivering an ending sure to disappoint even the most forgiving fans.
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Dave Cullen
(”Logan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
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The Federalist Staff
(”Logan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
For moviegoers looking to see something beyond superhero films and animated flicks, a variety of 2019 biopics will spotlight notable heroes and stories.
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Society Reviews

Unlike previous films, this one keeps it simple and the ‘less is more’ technique delivers the Wolverine film that we have wanted for over a decade and it is disappointing that we finally get it in the final installment.

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PJ Media Staff
Lifestyle As a series, the X-Men film franchise has to be viewed like James Bond. There is no real continuity between "Dr. No" and "Spectre." There's some vague thematic consistency, and a few concurrent films which build off each other. But the overall franchise is more a vague mythology than a concrete narrative. That quality may be frustrating to those who like consistent storytelling. On the upside, it affords opportunities to experiment.In his final portrayal of the mutant berserker Wolverine, star Hugh Jackman works with director James Mangold to craft a different kind of superhero film. Indeed, if you were to see the trailer for the forthcoming "Logan" in a theater, without knowing what it was, you may not piece together that it's a superhero film at all, at least not until the claws came out.Speaking to Empire magazine, Mangold noted that they've again dispensed with continuity:“Hugh and I have been talking about what we would do since we were working on the last one, and for both of us it was this requirement that, to be even interested in doing it, we had to free ourselves from some assumptions that had existed in the past, and be able to change the tone a bit..."Why not? It's not as though continuity has ever been particularly important to the X-Men franchise. Perhaps a true reboot can give continuity a try someday. For Jackman's final outing, it'll be fun to see a different side of the character and a somber style of film-making. var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Logan Official Trailer 1 (2017) - Hugh Jackman Movie', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2016/10/21/hugh-jackman-taking-wolverine-artsy-in-logan/ ]]>
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PJ Media Staff
Klavan On The Culture [This post contains major spoilers. Don't read it if you haven't seen the film and intend to see it.]It was Doctor Strange that convinced me I was done with superhero movies — not because the film was bad, but because it was good. I'm a big fan of writer/director Scott Derrickson. The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister are both terrific, and Strange is as well-done and expert as these things get.And because I found nothing much to criticize in the movie, I realized it was the genre itself that had begun to bore me. Every story is the droning, groaning same: the hero's personal tragedy, his acquisition of powers through or with the aid of zen-like mental training, his return to take up responsibility and confront evil, the final fight in which he destroys a city and saves the world. I get it. Believe me, I've read every word Joseph Campbell ever wrote. I know the monomyth backward and forward. But give it a rest. It's not the only tale worth telling.But Logan — the new James Mangold film starring Hugh Jackman that tells the final adventure of the X-Men hero Wolverine — is different; better. It is to superhero movies what Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven is to westerns: a valediction to a genre, and a justification of its purpose.The story takes place in a future when the X-Men's story is essentially over. They're all dead, killed apparently by their mentor Professor Xavier in a misuse of his mighty powers brought on by old age and dementia. Wolverine, dying of something like cancer, drives a limo, trying to raise the money to help his failing father-figure escape the law on a boat named Sunseeker. Drawn into helping a little girl on the run — a girl who turns out to be a little Wolverette created from Logan's DNA — Logan, Xavier and the girl, Laura, begin a fatal odyssey, looking to rejoin the child's fellow mutants at a rendezvous called Eden.Mangold shoots, plots and paces the film like a cross between a film noir and a classic western, Touch of Evil meets Shane. That's what gives it its depth and humanity. But it's also, I think, part of the movie's theme and purpose. Mangold is dignifying the superhero genre by linking its mythos to American myths of the past and their underlying meaning. Not to get carried away over an X-Men movie — The Divine Comedy it ain't — but it does use the same strategy Dante used when he let the classic poet Virgil guide him before going on alone. The message is: this is a new thing but it carries on the work of the great old things of the past. Logan's key scene takes place in a hotel room, where Laura, an unsocialized child raised in a cloning facility (flashbacks which seemed a bit, let's say inspired, by the socko novel The Girl With All the Gifts), actually watches Shane on TV. She sees a funeral scene in which a man says the Lord's Prayer, and later watches the movie's end where Shane rides off after telling the boy who loves him, "There are no more guns in the valley." class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/andrewklavan/2017/03/12/what-logan-means/ load more ]]>
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John Podhoretz
(”Logan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
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The Flyby Podcast
Cranky T-Rex and Sarjex are joined by special guest Jeremy Simser, who works as a storyboard artist for Supergirl and The Flash. Speaking of which, both shows have returned this week so they'll talk about those, and maybe give their thoughts on Logan, now that Sarjex has seen it.
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The Federalist Staff
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The Weekly Standard Staff
(”Logan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
<img src="http://cdn.weeklystandard.biz/cache/w640-25d3564aec2952588cc479c8c00f01ea.jpg"/>Some endnotes and digressions from the latest show : * We spent the first 15 minutes of the show talking about Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk trailer. If you missed it, here it is. (Friend of the show Jason O'Connell quips, "Dunkirk—the original Brexit, amirite?") * Another trailer we mention is the insanely great spot for Logan, featuring the iconic Johnny Cash cover of "Hurt." Maybe the best use of a pop song in a movie trailer, ever. It's here. * Bonus trailers? Just as we started
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The Weekly Standard Staff
(”Logan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
<img src="http://cdn.weeklystandard.biz/cache/w640-s_953ba9d76300b403ba86555bcee13662.jpg"/>Endnotes and digressions from the latest show: * We opened the show talking about how Harriet Tubman might be the original American badass. If she had been a professional wrestler, I like to think her entrance would have been something like the Undertaker’s during his biker gimmick. * Also, we all agreed that there needs to be a Harriet Tubman movie which re-imagines her as an X-Men-style mutant superhero. After much discussion, we agreed that she should probably have Kitty Pryde's power
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The Weekly Substandard Podcast
<img src="http://cdn.weeklystandard.biz/cache/w640-962216a54800465ec23d7f8e98f3e0d8.jpg"/>On this week’s episode, the Substandard takes on Logan and the X-Men series. What does Sonny really think about parents who take their kids to R-rated movies? Plus JVL has a special surprise in store for Vic! All on this week's Substandard! This podcast can be downloaded here . Subscribe to the SUBSTANDARD on iTunes or on Google Play . Endnotes and digressions * We opened the show talking about how Harriet Tubman might be the original American badass. If she had been a profess
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The Federalist Staff
(”Logan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
‘The Top 10 Westerns Ever Made, Plus 10 More Deep Cuts’ was deeply disappointing to this film buff. So here’s a deeper, better, alternative list.
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The Federalist Staff
(”Logan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
This was a truly great year for cinema, and I struggled over this list, especially since horror, my favorite film genre, has seen a massive resurgence of quality in the last decade.
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Kyle Smith
It’s been a fairly woeful year for movies: Coming up with a list of ten films I unreservedly loved was harder than usual. But there were still five absolutely first-rate blockbusters, a perfect little comedy about growing up, and several brilliant independent films that displayed amazing resourcefulness and imagination on tiny budgets. Counted down from the tenth-best to the best movie of the year, here are my picks: 10. Coco. Set in Mexico, Pixar’s latest big-hearted adventure takes a journey into the Land of the Dead with a little boy searching for the secret of his great-great-grandfather as his great-grandmother Coco
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John Podhoretz
(”Logan” is briefly mentioned in this.)

John Podhoretz

Last summer, to prepare for the upcoming movie version, I reread Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.

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John Hanlon
Hugh Jackman returns to the character of Logan/Wolverine for the ninth (and likely) final time. Check out our Logan review below to see if it’s worth your time. Logan looks and feels like Quentin Tarantino’s vision of an X-Men movie. It’s... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Logan-Review-105x88.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
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Crosswalk
In this southern-fried heist from acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh, the classic caper gets a Nascar twist. For its engaging dialogue, strong direction and charming ensemble of characters, it merits 3.5 out of 5.
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The Federalist Staff
The Marvel movies have a common problem: they lack conflict, both externally from villains and internally from lead characters’ emotional conflicts. “Logan” provides an example for the Marvel movies to follow. It builds conflict in an emotionally gratifying way, unlike the largely forgettable conflicts within existing Marvel movies. The Marvel Avengers Have Weak Conflicts The foes the various members of the Avengers square off against are never threatening enough that viewers fear for the heroes’ lives. Loki is “fun” to watch, but his performance is more akin to Jack Nicholson’s Joker, a fun character that lacks a threatening feel. In contrast, Heath Ledger’s Joker is a force of chaos. Recall the scene where he holds the fake Batman hostage. That is a frightening moment, and none of the Marvel villains ever manage to pull off something similar. “Guardians of the Galaxy” is widely considered one of the best Marvel movies, but the lead villain’s motivations are “get the macguffin,” and without consulting Wikipedia most people couldn’t name him. With the third Avengers movie coming soon and a “Guardians of the Galaxy” sequel coming even sooner, Marvel will likely continue its theme of having an entertaining main cast, fun yet forgettable set pieces, a general lack of stakes, feel-good outcomes, and in the case of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” a nostalgia-laden soundtrack. The next Avengers movie’s villain is Thanos. We’re getting into some nerd territory here. He’s the purple guy who’s super into gems. His motivations are: collect gems, rule universe. In the comics he’s in love with Mistress Death, a skeleton lady. He has to kill stuff to keep her happy. It’s weird. Thanos represents just another in a long line of forgettable modern action villains whose motivations are so big they take the stakes of the action from “this city will be destroyed” to “this country” to “the earth” to “galaxy.” The problem of weak villains can be resolved with good character-driven conflict, emotional arcs that have weight. However, the characters within the Marvel movies have all become varying levels of Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man, with varying levels of rude behavior. Each character speaks with the patented Whedon trifecta of snark, hippness, and in-jokes. They’re punchline delivery systems rather than fully formed characters. Captain America’s entire “man out of time” dilemma is cut down to a joke about him adding movies and albums to a list. What ‘Logan’ Can Teach the Marvel Universe Future Marvel movies ought to look to Logan for inspiration (some spoilers to follow). The movie’s on-paper villains aren’t particularly compelling. A scientist who was able to stop the mutant gene from appearing has been making his own weaponized mutants, and is aided by a mercenary force with robotic limbs. This provides lots of disposable things for Logan and Laura to slash their way through. However, the villains don’t have to do the work of building conflict in this movie. They only fulfill the action quota. Instead, the entire movie is built on a ticking clock, each character is driven by a fear of time. Professor X is basically living with Alzheimer’s, needing regular medicine doses or he loses control of his powers and shuts down the brains and motor functions of everyone around him. Logan’s healing powers are failing, and he’s been poisoned by the metal that made him invulnerable. He’s trying to save up to put himself and Xavier on a boat and drive out into the middle of the ocean where they can die in something akin to peace. Laura escaped her captivity in the lab she was grown in (sound familiar?) and must arrive to a safe haven within a specified window of time to escape the aforementioned evil scientist. The action stakes in Logan are small. There is no ancient Egyptian mutant god trying to bring about the end times, timelines aren’t being altered to deter the advance of Sentinels and post-apocalyptic mutant death camps, there is no climactic fight atop the Statue of Liberty where a costumed villain attempts to kill everyone in New York City. No, the action scenes in Logan are small and brutal. They take a toll on the characters. Throughout the movie, Logan’s scars are visible. As much as people anticipated seeing Logan really bare his claws and shred bad guys, he does so at his own peril, with the camera lingering on the sucking wounds that he incurs throughout, reminding the viewer of the toll violence takes. Keeping the focus on the effects action has on the characters keeps the character front and center, giving us the most human superhero story that we’ve seen on screen. This is something other Marvel movies lack. A Human Narrative We Can All Relate To Combining the various narrative ticking clocks and visual reminders that no one is impervious to violence keeps the tension high and allows the viewer to really focus on the small cast on display and their interaction with the real foe of the movie: time. Consider that Logan could be summarized thusly: a man dying from cancer takes his estranged, traumatized daughter and 90-year-old father with Alzheimer’s on a road trip to drop her off with a new family before they both die from their illnesses. Then consider the summary of the plot of “Captain America: Civil War”: super-powered people get into big fights about whether the government should make them join a registry. One is easily relatable, the other is not. The fear of the inevitable in “Logan” makes it a more effective movie than prior X-Men and Marvel movies, by forcing the characters to reconcile with a foe and situations which every member of the audience can relate to. Marvel would be wise to give their movie characters something real to struggle with rather than simply throwing pixels at the screen and promising ever-increasing scales of destruction. ]]>
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The Federalist Staff
The first “arc” of Marvel’s new X-Men Gold, written by Marc Guggenheim and drawn by Ardian Syaf, has just wrapped with issue three. The book was sold to new readers as a jumping-on point while Marvel has been proclaiming they’d be “going back to basics” and avoiding “politics” after indications infusing their lines with identity politics has tanked sales. Yet the X-Men Gold series has been marred with problems. Syaf planted references to Indonesian politics, specifically quoting a Quran verse antagonistic towards Jews and Christians (which, given the book’s trajectory, is rather ironic). X-Men Gold’s first issue begins with a tone-setting talking head page, as “The Fact Channel” shows an interview with Lydia Nance, the “Heritage Initiative Director.” She’s pointedly anti-mutant and a new character created for the series. The Heritage Initiative chyron was snuck in there, and if it weren’t for the second issue calling attention to the name, it could very well have been innocuous. In issue two the X-Men confront the “New Brotherhood of Evil Mutants” after they bomb the United Nations. Punching ensues, then the X-Men sit down with Captain America to talk about their new adversaries, which is when the “Heritage” name shifts from maybe a coincidence to a pointed reference to the actual Heritage Foundation, a mainstream conservative think tank in Washington DC. Captain America says, “Heritage Initiative. They call themselves a ‘think tank,’ but if you were to ask me—” and Kitty Pryde, now leader of the X-Men, completes his thought with, “they’re a bunch of anti-mutant racists.” Spoilers Ahead It’s later revealed that Lydia Nance and the Heritage Initiative planned and funded the terrorist attacks to get the public to hate mutants so they can start deporting them. The X-Men discover her scheme, break into her home, assault her, and vow to bring her to justice. What justice? Public exposure. Not exposure of specific deeds, but of her lack of virtue. This is key: Kitty doesn’t threaten the “Heritage Initiative” chief with publicly revealing her instigation of kidnapping, terrorism, etc. — she threatens to reveal she’s a bigot! In Guggenheim’s new take on the X-Men, actual criminal acts are less damning than wrongthink. To review, the new villain of the X-Men Universe is a barely disguised stand-in for the Heritage Foundation and the X-Men assault the president of said organization. This is after the publisher said Marvel was going to move away from politics. This Is a Far Deeper than the Quran Reference Plenty of people already wanted to jump down the editors’ throats for the mess with the artist on the book, but that’s been mitigated because, first, Marvel editor in chief Axel Alonso has said he doesn’t believe artists for comics matter and, second, to catch Syaf’s messaging you had to be familiar with Indonesian politics and the Quran, and follow him on Facebook. In the Heritage scenario, however, Guggenheim puts his disdain for those on half of America’s political spectrum right there on the page. The editors should have noticed Guggenheim’s use of Heritage combined with making the X-Men a stand-in for today’s hot-button political group, illegal immigrants, especially when their supposed directive was to be “less political. Comics have always had political angles, but never have mainstream books been so over-the-top preachy and vehement in vilifying the creators’ political enemies. Now every creator is also on Twitter, constantly spewing their opinions about everything so a large number of readers can discover these artists don’t like them. Marvel has a serious problem: they release up to 50 single issues a month, for which they charge on average of $3.99 each, with a page count between 20 and 24 loaded with ads. Couple that with books including titles like “Gwenpool” (apparently a mix between Gwen Stacey, Spider-Man’s dead-for-years girlfriend, and Deadpool?) and Occupy Avengers (remember Occupy?). They have an incredibly successful film and television division but can’t seem to sell new books that feature the characters. Is it because for the cost of two issues of a comic you can watch Netflix for a month, which includes about four full days’ worth of Marvel TV? Possibly. The movies are great, but there’s no way for someone who watched the movie to enter the comics world. There’s no obvious tie-in, and each book sharing the title of a movie shares little in plot or characterization with the movie. Captain America is either Sam Wilson or an Agent of Hydra (allegedly), Wolverine is dead but there’s an old alternate universe version of him walking around (try making sense of that one, reader who just saw “Logan”), Iron Man is currently a teenage girl or Dr. Doom, and Thor is now Natalie Portman. At least the Hulk is still a nerd, although now he’s a teenage Asian. None of these books invite new readers who are only familiar with the movies. Even if they tried, the comics are being written and edited by wannabe political pundits who can hardly hide their disdain for those they disagree with. Here’s a case in point: This. https://t.co/DrAhtHeptp — Marc Guggenheim (@mguggenheim) May 6, 2017 S**t, Venezuela is previewing America's future. https://t.co/YzUA2Jf8FQ — Marc Guggenheim (@mguggenheim) May 5, 2017 In honor of May the 4th, we watched Revenge of the Sith. pic.twitter.com/kBU7r2D3ZS — Marc Guggenheim (@mguggenheim) May 5, 2017 Rachel attacks Lydia Nance in X-Men Gold 3. Yet way back in “Uncanny X-Men 207” in 1987, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by John Romita Jr., Rachel invaded the home of the immortal mutant-vampire Selene, to torture and kill her. If anyone had it coming, it was Selene, who subsisted on the murder of innocents over millennia. Rachel had Selene cornered and was about to murder the villain, when a badly wounded Wolverine showed up to dissuade Rachel from the deed. Rachel refused to listen — Selene deserved it, she said. Logan responded that this isn’t what heroes are. Then he warned Rachel: he would do whatever it took to stop this murder, even of Selene. Rachel dared him to try. The issue ends with a full panel reading: “SNIKT.” That’s the special-effects sound for Wolverine popping his claws. Thirty years later, Rachel gets her way. And the X-Men are on board. ]]>
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Crosswalk
Movies Hugh Jackman's self-admitted final foray into the character of Wolverine strikes a different note entirely from earlier installments in the X-Men franchise. Gritty, profane, and bloody, it’s meant only for mature viewers - but both casual and dedicated fans will be moved by its Western-esque themes of family and faith. 4 out of 5.   Synopsis The modern X-Men film franchise began in 2000, and has since been complicated by time travel, dozens of characters, and plenty of high-crisis world saving. But Logan, set in a bleak year 2029, is stripped down, almost a Western. Nearly all mutants have died out, and no more mutant children are being born. Logan (Jackman) has aged more and is angrier than we've ever seen him; he and fellow mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant) care for the sick and elderly Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), whose seizures threaten chaos due to his massive mental powers. Logan's sights are set on taking Charles and escaping their bitter hideaway, but his plans are waylaid when a young girl crosses their path - the first mutant anyone has seen in 25 years. As a sinister plot unfolds, Logan must decide whether to help Laura (newcomer Dafne Keen), and where to place his hope.   What Works? A lot. For X-Men fans, there are just enough references and real Wolverine moments. For newcomers, the characterization is robust and the dialogue is easy to follow without the painful exposition so often found in sequels. The soundtrack is strong - you forget about it when you’re supposed to, but it keeps drawing back your notice (in a good way) just at the right moment. The script also has several powerful themes, and is truly deft in its handling of them. Children play a large role in the plot (unsurprising spoiler: the bad guys are trying to breed mutant soldiers now) - and one can't help but ponder the impossibly monumental importance of children to the world. Children are approached carefully and never underestimated in this film because of their unique gifts; it makes one wonder: what might change if we treated them like that all the time? This and other themes, like family and faith, really stand out. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); It almost goes without saying that the leading roles are portrayed superbly by Jackman and Stewart. Stewart's face and voice give so much life to the hopeful Professor X we know and love, and Jackman's excellent characterization is strikingly accented by his physical scars, wounds, and huge frame - constant reminders of his tragic story. Dafne Keen as Laura is also strong leading lady, though it's difficult to watch such a young child in such a violent saga.   What Doesn't? The movie is long (2 hours, 17 minutes), and for some viewers its cinematic merits won't outweigh the rough and sorrowful material. There's a lot of death, profanity, blood and violence - not something the superhero movie normally looks like. Unlike Deadpool, however, Logan doesn't feel crass or crude; rather, it feels like our characters are navigating a grittier, more violent world in the best way they know. Even so, Logan will be too extreme for some viewers.   Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes Those familiar with the X-Men franchise know that these movies are never afraid of a good worldview discussion, and Logan is no exception. The idea of humanity is questioned and discussed: what things are inborn, and what can be taught? What makes a life worth living? (Logan carries around a suicide bullet with him, and muses, "We always thought [mutants] were part of God's plan. Maybe we were God's mistake.") The theme of family, and familial responsibility, is important throughout the film. Sometimes, the world leaves us alone. But Professor X reminds us that we can still create our own communities and safe havens - our own families - if we choose to. If we truly want it. A very Christian-like faith threads through the film in ways that will give viewers a lot to ponder. A family we meet gives thanks over dinner, and has a discussion about how the Lord provides for their needs. Logan's faith journey is annotated beautifully by clips of the western film Shane which the characters watch during one scene, and also by the use of Johnny Cash's The Man Comes Around over the closing credits. Logan's one of the sinners; he's deep in darkness and he knows it. But he knows the whole picture is bigger than himself, and he's been doing all he knows to figure out the darkness around him. Laura, even in her darkness and rage, represents life, hope, and future; she is working to make her way toward a specific safe zone where she will be reunited with other mutant children, and with those who can help keep her safe. It's called Eden, and though there's evidence that this place exists, she has no hard proof. Logan doubts its existence, but Laura's faith is never shaken. Near the end, the children do converge and form a coalition very near this border, and we see them begin to build a life-affirming community together, but we never exactly glimpse Eden. This is left to interpretation: do children create Eden by teaming up? Are there more allies waiting on the other side?   CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers) MPAA Rating: R for strong brutal violence and language throughout, and for brief nudity Language/Profanity: Language throughout, including many instances of the F-word, but nowhere near the level of Deadpool, last year's R-rated superhero movie. Sexuality/Nudity: A (likely intoxicated) teen girl flashes her breasts to another character briefly. Violence/Frightening/Intense: Intense, bloody, and occasionally gory violence throughout. Several characters with steel claws are shown slashing, puncturing, impaling, stabbing and even decapitating enemies during battles. Lots of death, and the kind that looks painful. A man is shown with painful wounds, and coughing up blood. A man sets off a grenade in his own cage in order to hurt or kill captors within range. A man destroys a car with a shovel. Characters shoot others and are shot at. Much of this violence is enacted upon, or by, a young child. Drugs/Alcohol: A man is shown drinking throughout from various flasks and bottles to deal with his depression. A man is briefly seen in a bar. Mysterious drugs are used and seen that enhance mutant powers. A man appears to obtain prescription drugs in an illegal way to give to an elderly patient. An elderly man must take pills and be administered syringes every few hours to treat his seizures.   The Bottom Line RECOMMENDED FOR: Mature viewers who like a gritty action flick paired with thoughtful themes. Fans of Hugh Jackman and/or his Wolverine films. NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Children, those who are squeamish or sensitive to violence and blood, those who prefer light-hearted and family friendly comic book/superhero films. Logan, directed by James Mangold, opened in theaters March 3, 2017; available for home viewing May 23, 2017. It runs 137 minutes and stars Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant and Elizabeth Rodriguez. Watch the trailer for Logan here.   Debbie Holloway is a storyteller, creator, critic and advocate having adventures in Brooklyn, New York. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); Publication date: March 3, 2017 ]]>
(Review Source)
Armond White
Rudeness at the awards show and big-screen violence attest to our fallen film culture. The moment La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz ripped the Academy Awards announcement card from Warren Beatty’s hands told you everything you need to know about the brattiness of La La Land and the people who made it. Caught in a moment of surprise and anger, after learning that the Best Picture Award announcement was in error, Horowitz, who had just made an unfortunate acceptance speech, responded to the instant humiliation with take-charge arrogance. The annual ceremony was now his show. Instead of waiting for Academy officials to correct the slip-up (which, according to protocol, was done by notifying designated presenter Beatty, who then attempted to explain what happened) Horowitz showed the world how type-A Hollywood hot dogs operate: He summoned Moonlight’s producers (the official winners) to the stage with all the authority of a high-school principal calling order to the basketball squad, or herding cats. What are the politics of this incident? The same that we see in La La Land and Moonlight and in the adulation heaped on them by the movie industry. Both films exemplify this era’s cinematic illiteracy and social hypocrisy: La La Land director Damien Chazzelle misunderstands the movie-musical genre; Moonlight director Barry Jenkins aesthetically distorts the race-problem genre. (Currently these directors star on the Variety cover in a brotherhood pose to assure the industry that all is utopia.) But the Horowitz incident exposes the truth about Hollywood’s principles and egotism, and thus it was a fitting climax to the most politicized — and most nauseating — Oscar program in history. Horowitz’s undisguised selfishness bum-rushed Old Hollywood ceremony. Horowitz, a 37-year-old neophyte, reduced 80-year-old Beatty (forgotten producer of the classic Bonnie & Clyde and star of the classics McCabe & Mrs. Miller and Shampoo) to befuddlement. Beatty’s gallant attempt at politesse and procedure was overrun by Horowitz. Beatty looked both baffled and abused. Despite more than a half-century spent among Hollywood’s ruthless, competitive, untrustworthy jackals, this public display was something new. (Ironically, it came right after Beatty’s introductory speech had parroted PC nostrums.) Horowitz’s affront resembled the meanness of post-election protesters who, with their secretly funded placards and pink pussycat hats, intend to have their way while trying to appear righteous. But imagine Horowitz going gangsta on John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Charlton Heston, or Katharine Hepburn! (function($){ var swapArticleBodyPullAd = function() { if ($('body').hasClass('node-type-articles')) { var $pullAd = $('.story-container .pullad').addClass('mobile-position'); if (window.matchMedia("(min-width: 640px)").matches) { if ($pullAd.hasClass('mobile-position')) { $pullAd .addClass('desktop-position') .insertBefore('.article-ad-desktop-position'); } } else { if ($pullAd.hasClass('mobile-position')) { $pullAd .addClass('mobile-position') .insertBefore('.article-ad-mobile-position'); } } } }; $(window).on('resize', function(){ swapArticleBodyPullAd(); }).resize(); })(jQuery); This spectacle revealed the same money-man intimidation and artistic gentility (aggression vs. passive-aggression) behind the compromises that ruin so many Hollywood movies and keep them from being works of art. It was consistent with the evening’s low point: Kimmel’s ushering a busload of tourists into the front row of the Dolby Theater to gawk at their fancy-dressed superiors. Historians should note this as a key moment illustrating the mores of the Obama-era aristocracy and the culture war: 1-percenters lording it over 99-percenters as if Hollywood Boulevard were Versailles. Horowitz’s undisguised selfishness bum-rushed Old Hollywood ceremony. The entire disgusting display felt absolutely un-American, except that Hollywood, for the past eight years, has worked (on- and off-screen) to perpetuate the false notion that Hollywood’s liberal Democrats have a great concern for the common man — even while they reside in ranches, and exclusive penthouses, and gated mansions protected by armed guards. One has to live in a delusional La La Land to overlook Horowitz’s patronizing tone and his hostility. Naturally, he’s been praised by the Washington Post as “the truth-teller we need right now.” But, in fact, Horowitz demonstrated that peculiar yet familiar self-righteousness of white liberals who pretend to sacrifice themselves for the downtrodden black. (“But don’t take too much,” Billie Holiday warned in “God Bless the Child.”) Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs took her requisite spot to boast about “diversity” when she should have curtailed host Jimmy Kimmel’s partisan flatulence and vetoed the ugly tourists’ episode altogether. Instead of running the show efficiently, Boone Isaacs taunted America’s great unwashed by dangling the carrot of celebrity; perhaps that’s the true meaning behind La La Land. Contemporary Hollywood lacks dignity, star power (President Trump tweeted “Where’s the glamour?”), and grace, as Horowitz, in his boorishness, demonstrated perfectly. (I’ve had plenty experience handling awards events with Hollywood types; some are cordial, some are not, but it requires tact and a firm sense of occasion.) Previously, at the British Oscars, Horowitz lectured the English about “diversity,” even though La La Land’s cast is ethnically segregated. At home, he acted like one of the crybullies and snowflakes who can’t get over post-election trauma. So no wonder Hollywood rewards both La La Land and Moonlight for being snowflake and crybully fantasies. ***** Not much to say about Logan, the latest in Marvel Comics’ X-Men franchise, this one pushing Wolverine/Logan (Hugh Jackman) toward retirement. It’s really just another exercise in violence featuring Logan’s adamantium claws — a trait shared with teenage Laura (Dafne Keen) in overblown action scenes that recall the sickeningly sadistic kiddie assassin movie Kick-Ass. Mel Gibson’s Blood Father handled a similar father-daughter plot better, but this penchant for on-screen violence is part of contemporary culture’s ugliness. That ugliness is critiqued in Catfight, a sometimes-funny satire of class in which two former college rivals (trophy wife Sandra Oh and lesbian artist Anne Heche) meet years later and clash over their personal and political differences. Writer-director Onur Tukel makes pertinent points about political hypocrisy. (“Come on, there’s no such things as wealthy Democrats!”) But his absurdist storyline, perching New York sophisticates on the edge of dystopia, goes no deeper than his late-night talk-show running gag (Craig Bierko imitating Steve Colbert’s hateful partisan monologues). Oh, and Heche’s sharp performances don’t need amplification, yet the three big melees between the two women are poorly stylized — bloody and with exaggerated sound effects. A hammer-vs.–monkey-wrench battle recalls Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine in Robert Aldrich’s brutal Emperor of the North, but it lacks the ferocity of that film’s historical analogy. Tukel means to shake up “our state of unawareness” and “collective dread,” but the Oscars inadvertently beat him to it. — Armond White is the author of New Position: The Prince Chronicles. ]]>
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
As superheroes go, Logan’s Wolverine is in a class by himself: a near-immortal antihero sporting razor-sharp adamantium claws, who doesn’t hesitate to use lethal force when necessary. Yet for all his superhuman powers, Logan has faced an unending string of tragedies. Over and over again, those he loves come to bloody ends, as dark forces attempt to harness his powers for themselves. For the Wolverine, there is no joy or glory in the superhero’s life, but only an endless yearning for peace and home. I’ve enjoyed every one of Wolverine’s onscreen outings—even 2009’s much-maligned “X-Men: Origins”—but none have truly done the character justice. Three years ago, upon release of James Mangold’s “The Wolverine,” I wrote this: In case anyone from Hollywood ever happens to stumble upon this review, here’s a novel idea: make a superhero movie with no big action scenes or set pieces. Give us “Watchmen” without the gore, or “X-Men” without the big mutant throwdowns. Maybe squirrel a brief fight in at the climax, but spend 99% of the movie on plot, characters, and themes. Now THAT would be groundbreaking. Well, it seems Hollywood listened: “Logan” does exactly that, and ends up being the best superhero film I’ve ever reviewed. Hugh Jackman Offers a Stellar Performance The year is 2029, the X-Men are long gone, and no new mutants have been born in decades. Logan (Hugh Jackman) works as a limousine driver in El Paso while caring for an aging Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). The years have taken a toll on them both: Logan’s power to shrug off injuries has substantially deteriorated, and Xavier suffers from seizures that cause his telepathic power to misfire violently. But Logan’s long-term plan—buying a boat, sailing off into the sunset, and committing suicide once Xavier inevitably passes away—soon finds itself disrupted: Laura (Dafne Keen), a young girl designed from Logan’s genetic code and birthed in a Mexican lab, enters their lives. To make things worse, she’s being hunted by teams of stormtroopers from genetic technology company Transigen. After a bloody confrontation, Logan, Xavier, and Laura hit the road in search of “Eden,” a distant refuge on the Canadian border that may or may not actually exist. As you might expect, the stars all turn in solid performances. Jackman, in what will apparently be his final outing as Wolverine, is in top form as the gruff, world-weary warrior, and the rather more genteel Stewart is his perfect foil. Keen—one of the rare child actors who doesn’t detract from the film—is quite a discovery: a tiny but lethal spitfire who packs some secrets of her own. ‘Logan’ Is Haunting, Yet Also Hopeful In terms of storytelling, this definitely isn’t your ordinary superhero flick: “Logan” is an achingly grim Western in the tradition of Cormac McCarthy and Sam Peckinpah. Logan’s character reflects an age-old archetype—a gunslinger of the Old West, a ronin samurai without allegiance, a Black Knight without lord or king—infused with Sisyphean existential dread. For Wolverine, immortality means no possibility of atonement, no ability to “make things right” through self-sacrifice. All he can do is live out the fifth circle of Dante’s “Inferno”: an endless, pointless shedding of blood. Indeed, quite a lot of onscreen blood is shed. Eruptions of gore sluice across the screen from beginning to end as Wolverine’s claws shred through enemy after enemy. (Don’t take the kids.) Fans of the character have long asked for a more brutal Wolverine onscreen, and they do get their wish: at the same time, however, this violence clearly comes with a terrible price tag. After a while, the kills dissolve into an anguished flurry of crimson bursts, and you begin to understand the dehumanizing toll that endless slaughter might exact on one’s soul. That contemplative dimension is what makes “Logan” utterly unique among superhero films. This movie doesn’t rely on massive CGI battles or frenetic editing, but draws its cinematic strength from haunting imagery, deliberate pacing, and its reflection on the human condition. If “The Avengers” is a celebration of globalist technocratic triumph, “Logan” represents a simpler, more community-oriented ideal. Here, “the good life” doesn’t look like shooting the breeze in a swanky, high-tech penthouse. It looks like a father holding his daughter’s hand, and a family asking God’s blessings in a farmhouse kitchen. This is a film that criticizes cozy relationships between agribusiness and the government, contains a rendition of the hymn “Abide With Me,” and denounces paid surrogacy as exploitative of both mothers and children: it’s almost certainly the highest-budget paleoconservative movie Hollywood has ever made. What’s more, the film contains a strikingly theological thematic undercurrent. “I used to think we [mutants] were God’s gift to the world,” Logan growls mournfully early on. “But maybe we were just God’s mistake.” He got it right the first time: the narrative quest for “Eden,” which Logan initially denounces as a wild goose chase, ends up being a thinly veiled analogue for faith in the unseen—and it culminates in a powerful moment that left me misty-eyed. ‘Logan’ Is Much More Than A Superhero Movie In short, “Logan” is a phenomenal work that transcends its genre. Somehow, director Mangold juggles merciless violence, deep emotional and cultural themes, and fundamental human relationships, making it all work together brilliantly. Viewed side-by-side with its critical peers, “Logan” is a very different type of film than “The Dark Knight” or its sequel. While the latter made sweeping statements about humanity and the political order, the former’s scope is far narrower. This is a movie about personal loss, pain, hope, and redemption, and the blurry areas where those themes intersect. In its willingness to commit fully to the terrible beauty of its premise, “Logan” surges beyond any superhero movie before it. It deserves every accolade it will receive. If “Logan” wasn’t so good, I’d say it’s the system shock the “X-Men” franchise needs, but frankly, it simply feels like a different sort of film altogether. I’ve never seen anything like “Logan” before, and odds are you haven’t either. It certainly won’t be to all tastes, but for those willing to steel themselves, an unforgettable cinematic experience awaits. ]]>
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
Podcast With Peter Suderman On SXSW, Paul Ryan, And Monster Movies March 13, 2017 By The Federalist Staff Peter Suderman returns from the weekend at SXSW in Austin, Texas, to join Ben Domenech on this episode of the Federalist Radio Hour. They discussed the good and bad at SXSW this year, as well as Paul Ryan, the House health care bill, and new movies out like “Kong: Skull Island” and “Logan.” Suderman is an editor at Reason Magazine. Senator Cory Booker presented at SXSW and spoke on the power of love bringing America together. “He basically didn’t mention policy once in the opening remarks,” Suderman said. “Basically, love as a theory of government turns out to mean everything that Cory Booker supports.” Later they discussed the GOP’s messy “repeal and replace” plan, and whether this is surprising or disappointing coming from Paul Ryan. “Now that [Paul Ryan] is in leadership, Speaker of the House, I think he really feels an obligation to keep the party together and that is his first job. The policy entrepreneur part has really become secondary,” Suderman said. Subscribe here or listen below: Subscribe to The Federalist Radio Hour Photo Warner Bros. Federalist Radio Hour Kong: Skull Island Logan Movies Podcast SXSW Copyright © 2017 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1463670073398-2'); }); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({mode:'thumbs-2r', container:'taboola-below-main-column-mix', placement:'below-main-column', target_type:'mix'}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({flush:true}); 0 Comments /* * * CONFIGURATION VARIABLES: EDIT BEFORE PASTING INTO YOUR WEBPAGE * * */ var disqus_shortname = 'thefederalist23'; // required: replace example with your forum shortname /* * * DON'T EDIT BELOW THIS LINE * * */ (function() { var dsq = document.createElement('script'); dsq.type = 'text/javascript'; dsq.async = true; dsq.src = '//' + disqus_shortname + '.disqus.com/embed.js'; (document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0] || document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0]).appendChild(dsq); })(); Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. comments powered by Disqus ]]>
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Plugged In
DramaAction/AdventureSci-Fi/Fantasy We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.Movie ReviewLogan, the X-Men's famed Wolverine, bested the world's worst hombres in his day. He tangled with Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants, fought the Silver Samurai and battled his very own brother. But not even Wolverine can win the war against time. It's 2029, and the world has changed. Mutantkind has all but disappeared. The few who remain aren't all that interested in donning tights and saving the world. Logan's no superhero now but a limo driver, chauffeuring grieving widows or drunken revelers through the streets of El Paso, Texas. He lives in an otherwise-abandoned compound just south of the border, doing his best to stave off a hidden, ticking time bomb. That bomb is Charles Xavier. The mind-reading former leader of the X-Men has some form of dementia now—a degenerative brain disease eating away at the world's greatest brain. He babbles incoherently or rages at shadows. He'll suffer seizures that, because of his psychokinetic abilities, can hurt or even kill those close by. And even when Charles seems to be in his right mind, he insists that he "talks" with a little mutant girl. Laura. But Laura's just another delusion, Logan knows. It's been decades since the last mutant was born. Logan keeps Charles' seizures in check and his mind manageable through some ill-gotten meds, but they're losing their power. Charles is getting worse. So Logan's squirreling away money to buy a boat—something they can take into open waters, where Charles' increasing dementia won't hurt or kill anyone. Well, anyone but Logan. But Charles isn't the only mutant on the clock. Logan limps now. He coughs. He bleeds. His wounds don't miraculously knit themselves together like they used to. No, Wolverine's legendary powers of regeneration are failing him. He's dying. But dying or no, Logan's still a legend. And one day, a woman comes to him for help. She needs to get to North Dakota, she says. She'll pay well if he'll take her and a small, important bit of cargo: a little girl with a penchant for horses and pink sunglasses, a little girl being pursued by some very bad people. She seems normal in most ways. Except for the way she looks at people. The way she never speaks. And the way claws come out of her knuckles when she's mad.Positive ElementsLogan has no inclination to take little girls to South Dakota. He can barely stand his own company, much less that of others. The former superhero is still strong in body (at least compared to the rest of us), but broken in soul. Charles tells Logan how disappointed he is in him, what a pitiful excuse for a hero he turned out to be. But in this strange, last mission, Charles sees one last opportunity to teach Logan something about life, hope and love. And when the two are forced to take the girl with them on one of film history's strangest road trips, he drops a little life lesson on Logan at every stop for gas. When the two come across a farmer and his son, trying desperately to shoo their wayward horses off the highway, Logan's inclined to want to keep driving. "Someone'll come along," he says. "Someone has come along," Charles points out. The two wind up having dinner with the family, one filled with smiles and laughter. "This is what life looks like," Charles tells Logan. "People love each other. You should take a moment …" Logan doesn't. Not then. But as the road trip progresses and he grows ever fonder of this little girl (Laura), he begins to see what Charles was talking about. And he discovers—perhaps to his own surprise—that he'll do anything and everything to protect her.Spiritual ContentThe family that Logan, Charles and Laura eats dinner with is Christian. They pray before dinner. And when the father gripes about their rural trials, the mother tells him gently, "The Lord will provide." "I'm still waiting for the Lord to provide a new thresher," the father quips. Charles also expresses a certain level of faith. "We were all part of God's plan," he tells Logan, speaking of he and his fellow mutants. "Maybe we were God's mistake," Logan counters. There are other references to mutants being like gods themselves. We also see a funeral scene from an old Western (Shane) that includes the Lord's Prayer. Laura's mesmerized by the scene. [Spoiler Warning] Laura is revealed to be Logan's own daughter—created and raised in a lab, but nevertheless crafted from Wolverine's seed. The lab was trying to create an army of superhuman killers. ("Don't think of them as children," a scientist cautions a nurse caring for them. "Think of them as things.") What they didn't account for, however, was the presence of these children's "souls." Thus they decide to scrap the test-tube-baby program in favor of straight-up cloning—a process that creates soulless killing machines.Sexual ContentThere’s a brief topless scene when a woman pulls down her dress. Some of Logan's limo customers wear cleavage-baring evening wear.Recommended ResourceA Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About SexKevin LemanEven the bravest parents feel timid about discussing sex with their 8- to 14-year-olds! This resource offers reassuring, humorous, real-life anecdotes along with reliable information to help you with this challenging task.Buy NowViolent ContentWhen Logan discovers that Laura's mysterious female guardian has a bevy of old X-Men comics in her possession, the former X-Man is dismissive of those tales. "In the real world, people die!" he tells Laura. In this movie, people die, too. Lots of people, and often in intensely grotesque and gratuitous ways. Frankly, there's so much liquid, meaty mayhem here that I don't think we can catalog it all. Logan's (and Laura's) claws rip through reams of flesh. Logan skewers bad guys up through their jaws and into their skulls. Laura, off camera, apparently slices off someone's head. (She comes out of a warehouse and rolls the noggin to the bad guy's boss.) Limbs are hacked off. Throats are gashed. It's doubtful you'd see so much sliced meat in a beef packing plant. But Laura and (especially) Logan suffer their share of injuries, too. Both have an ability to heal the severest of wounds, of course, even though Logan's abilities are fading. Laura's own battle injuries are more suggested by the sheer magnitude of bullets and violence hurtled her way. (We do see dried blood on her knuckles where her blades come out, though.) Logan doesn't get off so cleanly. He's shot (with a shotgun no less), stabbed and shish kabobed plenty, up to the point where you're a little surprised you don't see organs hanging out of the guy. In one scene, he squeezes bullets out of freshly made bullet holes. We also see some horrific moments of violence done by other means, as well. Someone has half their head blown off. Someone else gets skewered on a farm implement, the blades sticking out of the guy's torso while he continues to squirm. In a truly horrific scene, people are slaughtered, leaving a home covered in blood. Others have their arms and heads frozen, then knocked off in sprays of blood. Vehicles fall on people. One man seems to be sucked into the very ground, wrapped in killer strands of grass. In addition, Charles' destructive mental fits have massive repercussions to those around him. While mutants seem most susceptible to his brain waves, Charles' powers can impact normal folks, too. Most patrons of what appears to be a Reno casino are paralyzed and collapse unconscious when he suffers a breakdown there. (Charles apologizes to everyone, some just beginning to revive, as Logan hurriedly wheels him out.) We also hear rumblings of another terrible happening that took place several years ago because of Charles' faltering brain—one that left several people dead. In an old video a boy jumps off the side of a building, apparently choosing suicide as opposed to serving an immoral cause. Someone else blows himself up for much the same reasons. A man carries around a special bullet, planning on using it on himself when he feels the time is right. Another mutant (Caliban), who's sensitive to the sun, is exposed to its harmful rays by bad guys who are "encouraging" him to join their cause. It burns him terribly.Crude or Profane LanguageAbout 45 f-words and nearly 25 s-words. We also hear "a--," "d--n" and "h---," along with three abuses of Jesus' name and two parings of God's name with "d--n."Drug and Alcohol ContentLogan is very sick, and he self-medicates throughout the movie with whiskey, flasks full of booze and whatever liquor is available. He also uses a vial of medication that speeds up his unique healing processes at the expense of some of his rational mind. (It seems to wear off quite quickly, however.) Logan buys Charles' drugs, apparently illegally, from a hospital worker. People drink heavily in the back of Logan's limo.Other Negative ElementsSome of Logan's limo passengers seem to taunt Latinos with chants of "U.S.A.!" insinuating that they don't belong there. Someone tries to steal the hubcaps off Logan's limosuine—much to their eventual agony.ConclusionWondering if Logan's R-rating is a light one? Forget about it. When the moviemakers decided to go for a full-blown scarlet R, they didn't skimp on the scarlet. They went full-bore bloody. I don't envy the parents of teenage X-Fans trying to navigate the conversations they'll need to have about this often gratuitously gory movie. Put the foot down, and there may be Wolverine-style howls of protest. Give permission … well, the aftermath may be, in its own way, as scarring as anything Wolverine typically suffers. It's doubly unfortunate because, for all its blood, for all its f-words, Logan delivers some powerful messages. Logan acknowledges the cost of shedding that blood. Clips of the film Shane—about an old gunfighter trying to clear a valley of guns—emphasizes this again and again. "There's no living with a killing," Shane says. "There's no going back." In his own gruff way, Logan tells Laura the same thing. Even though Laura does her share of killing, there's a sense of innocence about her. Logan wants to preserve that innocence as much as he can. "Don't be what they made you," he tells her. Don't be a killer, he's saying: Be a little girl. Be better than me. We're given something else here, too: a family. Charles, the wise, aging and sometimes infantile grandfather; Logan, the angry, imperfect father; Laura, the daughter desperately needing a guiding hand. We watch as the traditional roles reverse: Logan gently carrying Charles up a flight of stairs to bed. Laura caring for an unconscious, sick Logan, finally managing to take him to the hospital. It's strangely touching, especially in the confines of a superhero flick. And then there's this: Implicitly, Logan's story is one of redemption—one, perhaps, of salvation. Our protagonist is, after all, a wreck of a man when we first meet him, a beaten-down superhero with nothing left to save and no will to save it. Against his better judgment, against his own will, he discovers he does care. He finds someone to love, to save. And in the process, perhaps he saves himself. Logan is, in short, frustrating. It's painfully bloody and oddly beautiful, insanely profane and strangely spiritual. And there’s that brief instance of nudity, too. Because of those issues, Logan's a movie I can't recommend to anyone. But in some ways, I wish I could.Pro-social ContentObjectionable ContentSummary AdvisoryPlot SummaryChristian BeliefsOther Belief SystemsAuthority RolesProfanity/ViolenceKissing/Sex/HomosexualityDiscussion TopicsAdditional Comments/NotesEpisode Reviews]]>
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Hulk from Thor: Ragnarok

For the second straight week, it was hammertime. No one could touch Thor: Ragnarok this weekend. Marvel’s latest superhero smashfest banked an estimated $56.6 million and pulled its overall gross to around $211.6 million. That makes Ragnarok the most lucrative Thor movie of all time (though, granted, we’ve only seen three of them) and pushed […]

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(Review Source)
Plugged In
Forget about the lion. This March came in like an old, cranky Wolverine. Logan sliced and diced its way to the top of the box office, taking an estimated $85.3 million cut of the weekend’s pot. It wasn’t the biggest R-rated opening of all time: That record still belongs to fellow Marvel sorta-superhero Deadpool (which earned $132.4 million in its first weekend waaaay back last year). But it is the biggest opening of this young year and, hey, it should be still enough to buy a nice boat. Get Out, last week’s champ, broke free of the tony suburban encampment of No. 1 and found its way to second place. It lost only 22% of its audience—a pretty remarkable feat for a typically here-today, gone-tomorrow horror flick—and earned $26.1 million. Christian flick The Shack finished third with $16.1 million, outperforming the studio’s modest expectations for it. According to Box Office Mojo, The Shack banked the seventh highest opening ever for a faith-based film, trailing only The Passion of the Christ (No. 1 at $83.8 million), Son of God, Heaven is for Real and a trio of Chronicles of Narnia movies. The LEGO Batman Movie scraped up another $11.7 million to further cement its blockbuster status. (Man, I just never get tired of that pun.) It finished fourth this week and, overall, has earned $148.6 million. Another newcomer, Before I Fall, will officially spend at least one weekend in the Top Five before it falls out. Its $4.9 million weekend take was enough to stave off a push by John Wick: Chapter Two ($4.7 million for sixth). While the Oscars are over now, their impact on the box office is still being felt. Best Picture winner Moonlight—despite it being its 20th week in theaters—saw its weekend take skyrocket nearly 260% to $2.5 million. That brings its total gross to $25.4 million … or about $7.5 million less than Logan earned on Friday alone. ]]>
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Plugged In
Could the bloody, profane, R-rated movie Logan somehow deliver a more redemptive message than The Shack? Relevant contributor Seth Hurd argues that perhaps it does. “From the opening scene, it’s clear that [Logan] is a story about death. Because the badness is so real, the moments of redemption are so clear. If the darkness isn’t so bad, there’s no real need for saving,” he writes. A bit later on, he adds, “The biggest difference between The Shack and Logan is that the former wants to tell you what to do, and feels a compulsive need to explain itself. In book format, that can be categorized as self-help. But on the screen, it’s propaganda. And propaganda can’t stir like art can.” Hurd also quotes a 2015 issue of Parade magazine in which actor Hugh Jackman talked about his own faith: “I’m a Christian. I was brought up very religious. … I’m a religious person. This is going to sound weird to you. In Chariots of Fire the runner Eric Liddell says, ‘When I run, I feel His pleasure.’ And I feel that pleasure when I act and it’s going well, particularly onstage.” Meanwhile, imagine being a celebrity, being recognized everywhere, constantly having people ask to take a picture with you. Might it get a bit … tiresome? Probably. So it’s no surprise, really, that some celebs are saying no. But the reasons at least one famous actress is saying no might surprise you. Emma Watson, best known for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter films, recently told Time, “For me, it’s the difference between being able to have a life and not. If someone takes a photograph of me and posts it, within two seconds they’ve created a marker of exactly where I am within 10 meters. They can see what I’m wearing and who I’m with. I just can’t give that tracking data. I’ll say, ‘I will sit here and answer every single Harry Potter fandom question you have but I just can’t do a picture.’ I have to carefully pick and choose my moment to interact. When am I a celebrity sighting versus when am I going to make someone’s freakin’ week? Children I don’t say no to, for example.” Speaking of which, one unexpected interaction (including lots of selfies) between regular Joes and famous types recently came during the Oscar telecast. Host Jimmy Kimmel diverted a busload of tourists who thought they were going to a wax museum right into the front row of the show, where many A-listers were seated. While the stunt drew raves from some quarters, others are still asking questions about the potential unintended consequences. “Some thought it was a charming display of Hollywood’s star power, but for others it was unclear who was the butt of the joke,” writes L.A. Times reporter Libby Hill. “The success of Kimmel’s stunt depends on whom you consider the rube in this situation. Was it Jennifer Aniston, who was shamed into giving a stranger her sunglasses? Was it ‘Gary From Chicago’ whose charming antics garnered him instant Internet fame followed by immediate public scrutiny? Or was it Kimmel for trying to pierce Hollywood’s bubble with a dose of common folk? When an ordinary person becomes the punchline to Hollywood’s joke, there are consequences that Kimmel and his ilk aren’t equipped to handle.” Still, we’re reminded by these stories that smartphone distractions can show up in the most unlikely places. And several new studies recently have once again identified concerns with this technology that Culture Clips has noted before. These include the dangers of radiation, dry eyes and digital eyestrain, and, feeling lonely if you spend too much mobile time surfing social media. Maybe those are some of the reasons why the Pope has once again encouraged folks to spend less time looking at our little screens and more time reading God’s Word. He challenged a crowd gathered at St. Peter’s square to ponder what might happen “if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cellphones.” Christianity Today contributor Christina Crook proffered a similar exhortation in her article “Lent, Unplugged.” She writes, “For many, the smartphone has become the ultimate vice. We are living in a never-off culture, where the speed and gloss of our screens often makes the connection to those far away seem more interesting and urgent than the people and experiences right in front of us. It’s happening to teens at prom, parents on soccer fields, and CEOs in boardrooms. Our energy, creativity, and time—perhaps the best of us—are being spent committed to screens.” Crook also quotes Tanya Schevitz, spokesperson for The National Day of Unplugging, who adds, “The expectation that you are always reachable, that you will respond immediately to those beeps, buzzes and rings coming from your phone—it’s created a society of people who are on edge, overwhelmed and disconnected from those around them. It’s important that people take control of their technology so that it doesn’t control them.” ]]>
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Plugged In
What did the No. 1 slot at the box office tell Disney’s Beauty and the Beast? Be our guest. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast scored the biggest March opening of all time, banking $170 million this weekend, according to Disney’s own estimates. Oh, and rumor has it that those estimates might actually be a little low. Just how big was this tale as old as time? It has already outearned the original run of its animated predecessor, which earned $145.9 million in 1991. (Re-releases have boosted the cartoon’s overall total to about $219 million.) By itself, it nearly doubled the total earnings of the other 47 movies in theaters now. And it’s the seventh biggest domestic opening all time, settling in between Iron Man 3 ($174.1 million) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ($169.1 million). Add the $180 million the film earned overseas, and that makes for a tidy $350 million weekend. Beast should be able to get a nice full-body perm with that. In the wake of Beauty and the Beast’s box office onslaught, the rest of the contenders were mere afterthoughts. Kong: Skull Island proved to be the best of the rest, collecting $28.9 million. Logan banked $17.5 million to finish the weekend at No. 3. The R-rated superhero flick has now sliced its way to $184 million, making it the year’s biggest flick. It should hold that spot  for, oh, a few more hours. Horror flick Get Out finished fourth with $13.2 million, while The Shack landed in fifth with $6.1 million. Controversial underpinnings aside, the latter is now the 11th biggest faith-based film of all time, according to Box Office Mojo, trailing 10th-place Soul Surfer by about $1.2 million. The weekend’s only other wide release, The Belko Experiment, proved to be an experiment in relative failure. The pic earned just $4.1 million and finished seventh, behind the now aged LEGO Batman Movie, and typically we’d say the movie suffered (like most of its characters) an ignominious death. But given that the makers only spent $5 million to make this schlocky horror pic—about what the Beast likely spends on candlestick polish—the results weren’t abysmal. Just bad. ]]>
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In a bodacious opening bow, The Boss Baby bypassed the behemouth Beauty and the Beast in a burly battle and banked a big box office blue ribbon. Booyah! It wasn’t supposed to be like this, according to the prognosticators. Beauty and the Beast had dominated the box office like no other 2017 movie had, and The Boss Baby was just supposed to earn somewhere north of $30 million. If a fight was going to develop, experts believed, it’d be for second place, between Baby and Scarlett Johansson’s Ghost in the Shell. But the suit-wearing infant was clearly not in the mood for a nap. The cute animated story pacified all resistance and collected an estimated $49 million to feather his crib. And even though Beauty and the Beast had another strong weekend as expected—about $47.5 million—Belle et al bowed to the Baby and settled snugly into second place. But pity not Disney’s musical reboot (if you’d be so inclined). Beauty and the Beast has now earned $395.5 million in North America, making it by far the year’s biggest movie. Indeed, its collective earnings are nearly double that of 2017’s second biggest movie, Logan ($211.9 million). Oh, and the musical monster also has earned about $480.8 million overseas, bringing its worldwide total to about $876.3 million. Be our guest indeed. Ghost in the Shell, which had also been expected to clear around $30 million this weekend, clammed up instead. It earned a rather shrimpish $19 million, according to early estimates, which might make its distributors at Paramount Pictures a little crabby. Saban’s Power Rangers finished fourth with $14.5 million, while Kong: Skull Island pounded his way down to fifth and $8.8 million, presumably taking out plenty of evil dinos along the way. Looking down the list a bit, The Zookeeper’s Wife, a powerful, intense film about a family that hides Jews during World War II, appeared in just about 541 theaters and still finished 10th with $3.3 million. ]]>
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Plugged In
It wasn’t even close. OK, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 found a wormhole to the top of the box office. Everyone knew that Chris Pratt’s newest flick was going to be big. But the fact that they made every other movie look like a space-cruising Yugo operating on impulse power? That might’ve raised a few eyebrows. Marvel’s motley band of do-gooders collected $145 million in its first weekend. It made for the year’s second-biggest domestic debut (behind Beauty and the Beast’s $174.8 million) and put it light years ahead of what the original Guardians managed ($94.3 million in its first weekend in 2014). But that doesn’t tell the full story of Vol. 2′s box office dominance: For every five dollars spent on movie tickets this weekend, nearly four went to Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, et al., leaving the rest to squabble over around, say, $1.10 or so. Yeah, that kind of dominance has gotta be good for the ol’ Ego. Not wanting their own films to be trounced by the superhero behemoth, studios kept the weekend clear of any big releases, making space for Vol. 2′s utter galactic dominance. As such, a bunch of holdovers fill out the rest of the Top Five. Three-time box-office champ The Fate of the Furious finished second, banking $8.5 million. That brings Fate’s total North American haul to $207.1 million, good enough for third place for the year (behind Beauty and the Beast and Logan). ‘Course, the movie has made most of its money overseas: Its global gross now stands a little below $1.2 billion. The Boss Baby continues to thrive in a changing marketplace, earning $6.2 million in its sixth weekend of work for a third-place finish. How to be a Latin Lover landed in fourth place with $5.3. million. Speaking of Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s now long-in-the-tooth monster continues to pack on the pounds—and dollars, and euros, and yen, and galactic credits (probably). It earned another $4.9 million this weekend, giving it $487.6 million for the year. (It’s also closing in on $1.2 billion globally.) And in the strangely burgeoning genre of “classic Disney animated movies remade into live-action flicks,” Beauty is the most successful yet—besting last year’s The Jungle Book. Sorry, Mowgli. But at least you know how to make fire now! ]]>
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
movie reviews Col. Stryker, Magneto and Apocalypse? Yawn. In “Logan,” though, the “X-Men” franchise has finally discovered what really strikes fear in the hearts of men: an 11-year-old girl. Being stuck on a long car trip with her is the basis of the movie, and I’m still shuddering. No, her secret power isn’t supersarcasm or nuclear-infused eye rolling, but Laura (Dafne Keen) provides plenty of drama anyway, as does this supremely well-executed neo-Western. With its dust and its rust and its chain-link fences, it is, in a small way, revolutionary. The superhero category has gotten more boring as it’s gotten more popular, but “Logan” suggests an escape from escapism, a restoration of the human element in blockbusters, a stripped-down return to the feel of 1970s Clint Eastwood pictures. Those films made no effort to appeal to children, and “Logan” is even more violent, joining the small group of comic-book movies released with an R rating. It feels more alive from the very beginning, when Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, who says this is his last reprise of the role) is a chauffeur in a seedy drive-in theater in 2029 Texas. This Wolverine lops people’s heads off and drives his claws through people’s skulls. He and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) hide out in Mexico with the aid of Caliban (Stephen Merchant), an albino who can sniff out mutants, after a disaster that wiped out most of the rest of the X-Men. A Mexican woman seeks out Logan to rescue her daughter, Laura, who was raised in a sinister laboratory that turns out to be a nursery for a new generation of X-Men. Along with Charles, Logan agrees to drive the sullen, silent girl north, up close to the Canadian border, to a rumored new Eden where the mutants can supposedly live in peace — as a bounty hunter (Boyd Holbrook) and nefarious scientist (Richard E. Grant) give chase. Co-written and directed by James Mangold, the film recognizes that superhero movies such as last year’s forgettable “X-Men: Apocalypse” have become meaningless spectacle. The R rating of “Logan” helps restore a sense of stakes, that violence has consequences. Logan, who too often has been boringly invincible, is in this episode the most human he’s ever been. His instant-healing powers are breaking down due to a toxin in his system, and he carries with him an adamantine bullet in case he should feel like committing suicide. So the frivolity and silliness that mars most of the X-Men movies — those corny battles with innumerable mutants hurling stuff this way and that — is now replaced with a much more compelling, somber tone that gives “Logan” some heft. There is a quiet sequence in a farming community where, for instance, the movie stops to contemplate the satisfactions of authentic person-to-person relationships over technology. A cornfield where the plants are grown solely to be turned into corn syrup serves as an able metaphor for bland, mass-produced, drug-like entertainment — and also ties neatly into the fell plan advanced by the Grant character, who seeks to alter human nature for his own profit. “Logan” does occasionally fall into the rut of whipping up fight scenes that look too much like many others, and it never rises to the beauty or importance of, say, “The Dark Knight” films, but it’s a captivating throwback that promises to lead the genre away from sci-fi flash and trickery. I’d rank it beside “X-Men: Days of Future Past” among the best X-Men entries. Share this:FacebookTwitterGoogleFacebook MessengerWhatsAppEmailCopy ]]>
(Review Source)
Hugh Hewitt
“Logan” stands tall as one of the best films ever drawn from the comic book world.  Arguably there are better, but far more obscure, films drawn from less popular material, but from the mainstream of this now entertainment staple this film is masterful.  The film is a most suitable swan song for Hugh Jackman in the role.  I will confess to being a Jackman skeptic when he was first announced as Wolverine in 1999/2000.  Jackman is tall, Wolverine is short.  Jackman, what little was known, was known primarily for refined roles, and Wolverine is defined by his feral berserker rages.  But he has also set the template that the cinematic character and the comic book character need the same essence but not the same details and has come to embody the role.  Like James Bond, the character is far too good to stay out of movies for very long.  And like Sean Connery, Jackman is going to be terribly hard to replace.  This film should serve Jackman well as he continues to develop his career, for this is a film about character, not action, though there is action aplenty. The appeal of the X Men franchises has always been the audience identifying with the mutant as not quite fitting in.  Making the target demographic for things X Man the “tweens” who experience that sensation so overwhelmingly, but this film is wholly unsuitable for such an audience.  It is “R” rated and extremely violent.  It is not unlike many of the grind house movies that remain guilty pleasures of mine from time-to-time.  There is more than one beheading. I shall try to analyse the film to some extent without spoilers.  The movie is about redemption.  Some have written that it is about Logan as penitent, and certainly Logan’s redemption is at play in the film.  But the film also casts Logan as redeemer of mutantkind, and therein is one of the places where I think it gets redemption wrong. While mutants are redeemed in the film, brought back from the edge of extinction, the war with humans continues.  True redemption, it seem to me, offers not just salvation but also reconciliation.  To be saved only to continue to fight has not really solved the problem.  True redemption must also offer a hope of the end of conflict.  True redemption extends not just to “our side,” but to all sides. After the last election it feels good to be conservative again.  That election certainly has a redemptive feel to it for conservatives.  But what concerns me, what only time will tell, is if things will improve not just on the issues, but on the root conflict.  Last Tuesday the president attempted to make peace, and the opposition was having none of it.  Reconciliation cannot be achieved unilaterally.  If we allow the model of redemption in “Logan” to guide us, we will pat ourselves on the back far too soon. But it is the depiction of a redeemer in need of redemption where “Logan” gets things so terribly wrong.  Biblically redemption requires sacrifice.  This was true even as animal skins were used to cover Adam and Eve after the fall.  From Abraham’s narrow escape from having to sacrifice his own son Issac to the detailed sacrificial codes the later Pentateuch, sacrifice is the price of man’s redemption in God’s eyes.  Such sacrifice continues until the sacrifice of Christ, God Incarnate. Before Christ, all sacrifice was as broken as mankind – it bought time, but never true redemption.  It was only when that which needed no redemption paid the price of redemption that the need for redemption ended and true redemption was achieved. This is Lent – the season where we prepare ourselves to celebrate Christ’s ultimately redemptive acts.  It is also a season where due to the various school vacations, theaters fill with blockbuster films.  We dare not let the flawed filmic vision of redemption confuse us about the genuine redemption only Christ can offer. ]]>
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
The newest Wolverine movie transcends genre, delivering stellar performances and a plot full of loss, pain, hope, and redemption. This is a must-see film.
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
The film proffers a bleak, hopeless world in which the only hero to be found—Wolverine—embraces endless violence, and cannot offer redemption.
(Review Source)
1791L (Back Row Film Reviews)
(Review Source)
Acculturated
Hugh Jackman has been playing Wolverine for seventeen years and nine films, longer than his young co-star Dafne Keen has been alive. In Logan, his R-rated and final ride as the adamantium-clawed mutant, Jackman embraces his age and experience to play a grizzled, broken-down Wolverine, a man of violence who has lost his way—until a young girl in need offers a chance for something like redemption. Ultimately, Logan tells a story of an age-old fighter taking on a challenge greater than any he has before: fatherhood. Logan is a violent, even ultra-violent movie. The R-rating is no lie: the film’s bloody battle scenes are not for the faint-hearted. But if Logan is allowed to use his claws to bloodier effect than in any previous film, the toll his life takes on him is also painted vividly. This movie is well aware that even righteous violence brands the souls of its perpetrators—and so is Logan himself, as he pushes his protégée Laura away from the path of becoming a living weapon. In this Western-tinged world of weary, worn-out warriors, there’s a quiet religious streak, a faint hope of a promised land. As Wolverine puts his body on the line for a daughter he never knew, the X-Men’s X has never looked more like a St. Andrew’s Cross. Wolverine’s healing factor has slowed down in this film, leaving him more physically vulnerable—just as his newfound role as a caretaker makes him more emotionally vulnerable than he was as a growling maverick. The film underlines the traumatic nature of aging with a major role for Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier, once the X-Men’s leader, now a danger to everyone around him thanks to the combination of his degenerative brain disease and his psychic powers. Logan, the most unruly of Xavier’s surrogate mutant children, is now the last one left to care for him. Some sparse but effective world-building hints at why Logan, Xavier, and the albino Caliban are the last vestiges of the X-Men. These men, with their deteriorating minds and bodies, are an odd fit for the power fantasy of the superhero genre—which makes the film far more interesting, as it becomes instead about whether tarnished and wounded people can nonetheless do good. Back in 2000, Jackman, Stewart, and the first X-Men film ushered in the era of superhero films in which we now live. We should count ourselves fortunate that they have stuck around long enough to film this send-off in a genre that is now wide enough to include such an intimate, melancholic film about fatherhood and sacrifice. Logan wears its influences on its sleeve: Director James Mangold has his characters watch scenes of Shane on a hotel TV, and Johnny Cash plays over the credits. Here is the superhero as aging gunslinger, a midnight rider who knows God’s gonna cut him down. And it works. The scenes of familial bonding among the odd trio of Logan, Xavier, and Laura are surprisingly touching. The best part is seeing Logan, once a feral berserker, gruffly instruct the lab-raised Laura on the niceties of social interaction, like using silverware, and not shoplifting. Though Logan’s world is dark, there’s a defiant decency in many of the side characters, from the nurse who saved Laura from scientific captivity to the farm family that offers the heroes a home-cooked meal. Like our protagonists, the setting is scarred but not irretrievably broken—there are forms of love and service humble enough that no dystopian future or scientific regime can stamp them out. One of those humble, persistent loves is the responsibility of fatherhood. The film provocatively suggests that it can be easier to harden yourself to fight for someone than to soften your heart enough to give them care. The story calls on old man Logan both to protect his cub and to open up to her—even if the latter is, for him, much more wrenching. There’s even an idealistic aura surrounding comic books themselves in the movie. In this dusty-hued film, a few brightly-colored X-Men comic books figure in the plot—and though Logan scoffs at them as fabrications, it turns out even the fictional example of comic book heroism can inspire real virtue in the next generation. In the moody landscape of Logan, that’s a welcome ray of hope.           ]]>
(Review Source)