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.
(Review Source)
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.

(Review Source)
Dave Cullen
(”Logan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
(Review Source)
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.
(Review Source)
Dave Cullen
(”Logan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
(Review Source)
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.
(Review Source)
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.

Read more →

Advertisement
(Review Source)
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/ ]]>
(Review Source)
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 ]]>
(Review Source)
John Podhoretz
(”Logan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
(Review Source)
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.
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
(Review Source)
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
(Review Source)
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
(Review Source)
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
(Review Source)
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.
(Review Source)
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.
(Review Source)
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
Read More ...
(Review Source)
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.

(Review Source)
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"/>
(Review Source)
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.
(Review Source)
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. ]]>
(Review Source)
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. ]]>
(Review Source)
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 ]]>
(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 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]]>
(Review Source)
Plugged In
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 […]

The post Ragnarok Rages Again appeared first on Plugged In Blog.

(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. ]]>
(Review Source)
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.” ]]>
(Review Source)
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. ]]>
(Review Source)
Plugged In
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. ]]>
(Review Source)
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)
Logan Lucky
John Nolte
If Tarantino's greatest movie was made up only of scenes showing Brad Pitt driving around Los Angeles, it still would have made this list.
(Review Source)
Conservative Film Buff

My family were all sitting around the TV after Thanksgiving, scrolling endlessly, trying to figure out what to watch. I eventually convinced everyone to put this on, pretty confident they’d like it. It was a huge hit.

It even inspired a rant from my father:

“See, they can make good movies today if they want to—but nobody’ll fund ‘em! They all spend all their money on CGI and super heroes.”

(Review Source)
VJ Morton
(”Logan Lucky” is briefly mentioned in this.)

All the 2017 US-release films I've seen, from best to worst. Only films that have currently been released are here; films I've seen at fests will be added when released.

  1. The Salesman
  2. Graduation
  3. Behemoth
  4. Phantom Thread
  5. Dina
  6. The Unknown Girl
  7. A Quiet Passion
  8. Dunkirk
  9. Nocturama
  10. mother!

...plus 76 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

(Review Source)
Society Reviews

Logan Lucky is a good movie, the cast has a great time playing their roles and it shows. The problem is the film is not very original and very clichéd. The story becomes way too convenient in order for everything to work out and takes away from the risk of the heist. That doesn’t mean you won’t have a good time watching it because you will, and perhaps you learn a thing or two about NASCAR when it’s all said and done…like why you don’t watch it.

Read more →

(Review Source)
The Weekly Substandard Podcast

On this week’s episode, the Substandard reviews Logan Lucky and ranks the Soderbergh oeuvre. Sonny does Internet research, Mike goes mulching, Vic asks: What’s mulch? Plus: Sonny makes Old Fashioneds (and his own simple syrup) and Gene Shalit returns! All on this week’s “D**k York-D**k Sargent” episode of the Substandard!

(Review Source)
The Weekly Substandard Podcast
<img src="http://cdn.weeklystandard.biz/cache/w640-e8b68531237e8d0793fa9a5af44ea7fa.jpg"/>On this week’s episode, the Substandard reviews Logan Lucky and ranks the Soderbergh oeuvre. Sonny does Internet research, Mike goes mulching, Vic asks: What’s mulch? Plus: Sonny makes Old Fashioneds (and his own simple syrup) and Gene Shalit returns! All on this week’s “D**k York-D**k Sargent” episode of the Substandard! The Substandard is sponsored by the Dollar Shave Club. Get their $5 starter box (a $15 value!) with free shipping by visiting dollarshaveclub.com/substandard . The Da
(Review Source)
Logorama
VJ Morton
(”Logorama” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Gravatar

Oscar night live-blogging

Rather than live-tweet the Oscars, I’ll do it de facto in a single post here and update continuously — this was called “live-blogging” back in the day, kids.

I’m at an Oscar party at an Arlington theater with an audience that already has shown the good taste to boo a mention of PRECIOUS and give its loudest cheers to HURT LOCKER, which I will be rooting for in the only one of the major awards about which there is any suspense — best film. Though I preferred UP, it’s between Kathryn Bigelow’s film and her husband’s.

820 — watching the red carpet. Sarah Jessica Parker looked awful — her face like old asphalt.

830 — audience at party applauds appearance of the Awesome Meryl. “I like to see my friends all cleaned up and looking good.”

832 — couldn’t they get someone who can sing instead of Doogie?

835 — “most losses” … true, some of her noms weren’t so awesome, just “it was Meryl”

840 — THE MESSENGER was a hit?

841 — yeah, kill those pagan spirits

845 — fairly entertaining, especially when they underplay (Martin’s arm gesture for Christoph Waltz)

846 — of course, they don’t use Cruz’s song from NINE ….

846 — Waltz a done deal of course. A Spaniard handing trophy to Austrian (both in mostly foreign-lingo roles) — I like.

855 — another done deal, animated film = UP, though either CORALINE or FROG or FOX would be worthy winner (didn’t see KELLS)

900 — UP win a popular choice where I am and deserved it, though it won’t win Best Pic (it was my pick for best American film of last year)

903 — thank you Jesus … no Best Song performances. just the award thank you. “Almost There” was pretty awesome song and scene, and wud be worthy winner.

906 — “inspired by events in South Africa during apartheid”? Man, to heck with Area 51, that coverup was REAL good

910 — rooting for UP or BASTERDS for script. as long as Coens don’t win.

915 — well, OK. Dunno that HURT LOCKER’s strength is script

919 — class move for scriptwriter to thank US forces

920 — it’s 80s nostalgia time with Claire and Ferris

923 — oops … didn’t realize it was for John Hughes tribute, though I like, I like … BREAKFAST CLUB was one on the most influential movies in my life. saw it about 15 times in late-80s (great choice for the scene from that film)

925 — there could only be one way to end that tribute … awesome. Hope this doesn’t replace the general necrology (one of the highlights for me every year)

927 — O man … who got caught not applauding Hughes tribute? Bad on you, whoever you are.

928 — Creepy to see all those people from Hughes movies 20 years older, especially when an obviously older Ally repeats the line about your soul dying.

929 — I just heard it was the TWILIGHT kids not applauding. Triple irony.

930 — host at party says “would have been nicer if the Academy had been kinder to him while he was alive.” Amen.

931 — now the shorts — which i’ve seen this year for first time ever and I tweeted about last night. Rooting for INSTEAD OF ABRACADABRA in live (not likely) and GRANNY O’GRIMM in animated (no chance)

932 — wow LOGORAMA wins. Deserving, tho it’d have been my third choice

933 — lumping doc shorts in here, rather than with doc feature … no idea about these

935 — bad laughs at the woman doing a Kanye impression. what a tool, big laughs now. does she realize how she comes across.

936 — damn … the one of the live-action shorts I couldn’t stand.

937 — Ben Stiller will be awesome

939 — makeup … the category where NORBIT was nominated

940 — IL DIVO was worthy and not obviously a gimmick, but scifi always does well here.

942 — yep, STAR TREK. Better that than NORBIT though — I’ll never forgive that nomination.

945 — at my party, AVATAR was overwhelmingly “voted off the island” … ftr, I am not acknowledging the I AM A MINSTREL JEW film

950 — adapted script — UP IN THE AIR should win this one, it’s Prize for the Night. BTW .. HURT LOCKER’s original script win means it’s gonna sweep

952 — wow, a PRECIOUS win. Could augur an upset in best pic.

953 — I honestly don’t hate the film, but why O why did they pick one of the two or three scenes in the film, the fried-chicken theft, that had me thinking: “Y’know maybe Armond White’s right in comparing this to BIRTH OF A NATION”

956 — man I would have loved to see these presentations. Lauren Bacall is the highlight of the show from afar. “a two-legged man in my room” … “since I’m so young” — the old-school stats had it all.

957 — audience way too slow to applaud and stand for Bacall and Corman — of all people. theme already — ungrateful classless young whippersnappers.

And get off my lawn!!

958 — ritual award to Monique. only suspense is how she’ll handle the speech.

1000 — everyone applauds at my party. I’m cool with her winning — she is very good

1002 — I dunno Monique, I dunno how taking this role was about “doing what is right not what is popular.” Would anyone have thought your taking that role was immoral (as opposed to ill-advised on account of … ahem it’d be unpopular)

1005 — art direction — whatever is the period piece

1007 — wow … guess scifi helps. but in what sense can a CGI film be said to have art direction or set decoration?

1008 — costumes — the period piece again, though that theory didn’t hold up last time

1011 — OK, worked out this time. especially since VICTORIA had a previous winner (both for period pieces tho from different eras — 16th century and 1920s/30s)

1012 — Good of Powell to note that costumers in other genres don’t get the recognition, though no way for her to segue elegantly from “this is for them” to keeping it herself

1021 — I like a lot of these horror movies, but why not cut montages and keep the life-achievement awards. Corman and Bacall would have killed tonight. it’s just as good a way to remind people the medium has a history.

1022 — they dis Roger Corman and think it’s a makeup to put 3 seconds of Jack Nicholson in Corman’s LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS on the horror montage.

1025 — sound editing — this’ll be AVATAR

1026 — HURT LOCKER beats AVATAR in 2 technical categories (sound editing and effects). Stick a fork in AVATAR for best pic. It’s a HURT LOCKER sweep or a PRECIOUS upset

1028 — Kathryn Bigelow has the look of someone on whom it’s just dawned that this is really gonna be her night

1030 — just won a flying dragon at the Oscar party for knowing the only tie for Best Actress (accumulating useless knowledge of 40-year-old films does pay off)

1035 — it had not penetrated my consciousness that WHITE RIBBON had been nominated for cinematography. AVATAR win in this category doesn’t alter by predix above.

1037 — the necrology. I really do love this every year.

1038 — I’m the lone person clapping for Eric Rohmer and for Simon Channing Williams. Malden and Schulberg same year. Sorry, Michael Jackson does not belong.

1043 — Jean Simmons, Kathryn Grayson too. (not “they don’t belong,” just both young stars of 50s)

1046 — male presenter of best score looks like Peter Suderman’s Twitter avatar.

1047 — oh yippee ki-yay … dancing with the scores

1052 — FOX was best based on that performance. But UP’s win was awesome anyway, and one of the better (if cliched) acceptance speeches.

1055 — what the hell kinda accent is that from the presenter on the left for the visual effects.

1100 — that’s it for AVATAR, I think

1102 — Clooney is starting to annoy me (his in-show schtick that is)

1104 — Best doc will turn on Social Relevance. No Holocaust film so then BURMA VJ tho every one of these films hits some liberal sweet spot.

1105 — Now I want Michael Haneke to win, even though even a second viewing didn’t change my opinion

1106 — More politics. If anyone has link to audio of Rush Limbaugh’s Extra-Dolphin Tuna parody ad, please post or send.

1107 — Tyler Perry is pretty funny

1108 — people are cheering every HURT LOCKER win (editing)

1110 — dunno if Keanu and others aren’t overplaying the “war is a drug” angle since it’s obviously true only of one of the five or six main characters (the central one admittedly).

1120 — wow … know nothing about the Argentine winner SECRET IN THEIR EYES though as usual, the non-Anglophones give the best speeches because they’re too innocent to calculate. When he looked into camera and urgently said “no, no” — awesome

1125 — Best actor to go to Jeff Bridges. After I said in early December it was Clooney or Mandela to 95 percent certainty (right, Sonny)

1130 — OK if you’re gonna introduce each nominee like last year, this make the sense — tributes from current or former colleagues rather than trumped-up encomia from previous category winners with no tie to performer. OK … Robbins gets best line, from last day of shooting SHAWSHANK, told perfectly, building from oversaccharined encomia.

1132 — no surprise for the Dude. wow … forgot how far back his first nom was (LAST PICTURE SHOW — I was 5 years old).

1135 — Lots of “man” in a kinda rambling speech that reminded a little too much of the Dude

1140 — Now for actress — only suspense is how good Bullock’s speech will be. Oh and why is Helen Mirren in THIS category and Christopher Plummer in Supporting? That is objectively incorrect.

1145 — Should Peter Sarsgaard have given away the spoiler? I guess at this point the movie out there long enough. Stanley Tucci has fun with an impossible task — how do you do “accolades for Meryl” at this point in history?

1150 — Wanna bet there won’t be a second. though Sandra is a way better actress than Hillary Swank. Good cutaway cheer by the real-life guy in audience. Can’t imagine a better speech really — right mix of well dropped-in jokes and an unfaked choke back.

1152 — Babs as best-director presenter. That means they know they’re gonna give it to the girl.

1155 — Not that Bigelow doesn’t deserve to win, i.e., it wouldnt be an affirmative action vote. But I hope she doesn’t mention it.

1158 — yeah … Bigelow gives thanks to right people, doesn’t mention her sex. But the orchestra goes and effs it up by playing a feminist anthem from 70s

1159 — just best film to go — HURT LOCKER wins

1200 — and that’s exactly what happens. Awesome. Now two years out of three that the Oscar winner made my Top 10.

Hard to believe I had a chance to see this movie 18 months ago at Toronto 2008, but couldn’t juggle my schedule around to fit.

Advertisement
Advertisements
Report this ad
Report this ad

Like this:

Like Loading...

March 7, 2010 - Posted by | awards

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

« Previous | Next »

(Review Source)
LOL
Plugged In
DramaRomance We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.Movie ReviewLola is Someone's idea of the typical teen. Her name's not that long, but she still shortens it to LOL because, you know, it's hip and all—one of those acronyms the kids use, which means it must be cool. And this movie desperately wants to be cool. I'm jiggy with it, the film tries to tell its intended audience. I know what you're about. You're all angsty due to relational drama. Your parents are always harshing your mellow, always getting bent out of shape over just a little weed or a small condom wrapper. Why can't these mothers and fathers just let y'all be … y'know, cool? And Lola is especially cool. So cool that she looks just like Hannah Montana—that one-time Disney character who graced 3 bazillion pink backpacks, notebooks and toothbrushes, and was idolized by scads of girly girls. She sounds like Hannah, too, now that I think about it. In fact, if Hannah was the sort to drink and smoke pot and sleep with her boyfriend and scream at her mother, why, Lola'd be the spitting image of her. But Lola's actually too cool to be Hannah Montana. She's so much more mature, so much more real. Hannah? No one digs that lame-o anymore: Lola, now, that's where it's at. So says this Someone who thinks Lola's a typical teen, anyway.Positive ElementsHey, in truth, LOL isn't all bad. Just mostly. Lola, for all her many, many faults, cares about her mother: She's just too wrapped up in her own too-cool angst to show it much. And Lola's mom cares about her daughter. She's just struggling, like many parents do, with when to lay down the law and when to just let teens be teens. And the movie does make an important point: If your kids are into some problematic stuff, isn't it best to know about it? To communicate about that stuff as openly and honestly as possible? The movie says yes, and so would Plugged In. The ability for parents and teens to talk with one another is absolutely critical. It's just what parents then must do with that information … well, that seems to be where LOL and Plugged In diverge a bit.Spiritual ContentAt a party, Lola figures she'll "go to hell" for allowing her friends to get her chaperoning grandmother drunk. During a field trip to France, teens hang out with host families that display religious iconography on their walls. One home is graced with a simple cross; another is filled with medieval artifacts harkening back to Joan of Arc, a national hero and Catholic saint.Sexual ContentAlas, all this apparent piety among the French has somehow made them horribly gullible. Lola loses her virginity to her boyfriend, Kyle, after she enters the host family's house under the pretext that she's his deaf-mute cousin who needs a place to sleep for the night. We see the two kissing and making out—Lola wearing a bra, Kyle shirtless. Meanwhile, over where Lola's supposed to be sleeping, her roommate, Emily, is hooking up with Max, a geeky kid at school she's been sexting on the sly. Lola and Kyle are shown in bed together before they get to France too—both in partial stages of undress. (Lola says, in narration mode, that nothing happened.) Max and Emily's relationship is one of the film's more sordid: It begins with Max just making a series of crass come-ons to the uninterested Emily. But when Emily engages in some anonymous online video chats with someone she thinks is a complete stranger, she eventually discovers that her secret online partner is Max. While online, she sticks a webcam inside a raw chicken, thinking it'll photograph like her own insides. And the two have sex in a bathroom stall, where we hear movements and moaning. They smooch on occasion and send dirty pictures to each other. Max uses a pic featuring Emily's bra-covered breasts as his phone wallpaper. Most of the time Lola's not having sex, she's thinking about it. When she learns that her old boyfriend, Chad, cheated on her during the summer, she lies to him and says she "hooked up" with someone too. (Her ex calls her a "ho" throughout the rest of the movie.) Worried about being caught in the lie, she encourages her friend Jeremy to sleep with her so she can get the "requisite" experience. He refuses. "I respect you too much," Jeremy tells her, to which Lola says that boys and their sense of respect "sucks." Jeremy does smooch with Lola to make Kyle (whom Lola breaks up with for a time) jealous. Elsewhere, girls walk around in revealing underwear. We see them dressing and undressing. And they make comments about what other girls look like in their skivvies. Lola's mother, Anne, shares a bath with Lola's younger sister (we see them from the shoulders up); Lola walks in and strips off her clothes (we see her panties fall to the floor and her wrapped in a towel), and Anne's shocked that Lola got a Brazilian wax on her pubic area. "I'm not going to let you be a porn star," she exclaims. To which Lola says it's none of her mother's business how she grooms herself. Similarly, Emily tries to sneak several thong-style panties into her Paris suitcase. Her mother finds them and shouts, "These are for bad girls with bad grades and no futures! This is garbage!" But viewers are supposed to sympathize with Emily on this score as we watch her "win" by sneaking a pair in at the last second. Anne finds a condom wrapper taped inside Lola's diary—a memento of her night with Kyle. She also finds another wrapper after a party. That's lots of bad behavior. And the teens' parents aren't any better. Anne is divorced, and her friends actively encourage her to get out there and have sex. "One night," says one. "Quick and dirty." "It's not my style," Anne says, to which another friend says that if she was divorced, she'd be sleeping with another guy every night. (Her husband walks in and hears her, taking it all in stride.) Why is Anne so hesitant? Because she's actually sleeping with her ex-husband on the sly. But when she learns that he's cheating on her with someone else (perhaps several someones), she breaks it off and starts dating a narcotics officer. They sleep together for the first time the same night Lola sleeps with Kyle. Their interlude features kissing and moving and sensuality. Students catch their French teacher leaving an adult store. Emily flirts with her trigonometry teacher. (She's rebuffed.) Chad tries to look down a girl's shirt, saying he likes what's underneath. We see a picture of Lola and Emily kissing—just for fun. Guys talk about girls being "in heat." Lola adjusts her breasts to look more attractive. We hear the word "s**t" frequently. Lola and her friends seem to make out constantly with Kyle and his friends. (Their level of PDA is such that at some schools they'd be expelled.) We see a graffiti depiction of breasts.Violent ContentLola and Chad come to blows after he calls her a "skank a‑‑ ho." (She does all the hitting.) Anne slaps Lola after Lola calls her a "b‑‑ch." Kyle's father smashes Kyle's guitar.Crude or Profane LanguageWe hear the s-word four or five times and a smattering of other profanities, including "a‑‑," "b‑‑ch" and "b‑‑tard." God's name is misused at least 20 times; Jesus' once.Drug and Alcohol ContentPretty much everyone, teens and adults alike, smokes marijuana and drinks alcohol. Anne and her friends twice share joints. And Anne's detective boyfriend—a narcotics cop, remember—is there for one of those get-togethers. During another party, adults wonder aloud if any of their children do drugs. They all say no … as those self-same kids smoke weed in Lola's bedroom. Lola throws a party brimming with alcohol and drugs. (To do away with their chaperone, Lola's grandmother, they get her drunk on Scotch. She passes out in a bedroom.) Teens are given, and accept, glasses of wine in France. At an anti-drug presentation at school, the police officer prepares students to see a picture of what long-time drug use can do to someone … then presents a picture of the school principal.Other Negative ElementsLola yells at and belittles her mother, often in front of Anne's peers. Anne responds with 1) a look of exasperation, 2) an embarrassed smile, and/or 3) a dismissive comment. The fact that Lola often lies to her mother's face is just as frequently, and easily, forgiven and/or laughed off. Yet the film suggests that Anne is incredibly strict with her children: When she expresses misgivings about Lola living with a strange family in France for a week, Lola sighs, "They're French. They're probably stricter than you." (Which, when you think about it, might be the funniest—albeit unintentionally—line in the movie.) Kyle's family situation is no better. The boy's grades are bad, and his father refuses to let him play his music until he raises them. He doesn't raise his grades, but continues to sneak out of the house to play anyway. When Kyle's father discovers Kyle's been using and carrying pot, he tells him he can't play music anymore and smashes his guitar. Kyle then buys another one in France and proceeds to practice over at Lola's house. When Kyle's father learns of the subterfuge, he goes to a "Battle of the Bands" gig his son's playing and … when he sees how nice they sound, smiles and raises his hand in salute. All is forgiven. Teens splash around in public fountains in France (great way to increase Americans' respect abroad, people!), whisper insults about their host families, draw graffiti on walls and generally just act like jerks.ConclusionListen, I'm not completely clueless. In some ways, the Someone I referred to in the introduction is perhaps more right than I'd like to admit. There are teens who use pot. Teens have sex. Teens lie to their parents. Chances are, some of you reading this right now have had conversations with your teens that you never, ever thought you'd have. Nor am I particularly shocked that onetime teen role model Miley Cyrus stars in this really horrible movie. After all, she's made a number of bad career decisions lately, and this is actually not the most egregious. But what saddens me so is the movie's core message—that what I might call a mistake or a sin, the film would call normal, unavoidable, perhaps even good. LOL does indeed laugh out loud at parental efforts to keep their kids on the straight-and-narrow. Perhaps (the movie tells us, while patting us on the head) we parents mean well when we try to keep our kids away from drugs or encourage purity before marriage or, heaven forbid, ask them to put schoolwork ahead of playing in an indie band. But, hey, these kids are teens now—maybe even older teens. Shouldn't we let them make their own decisions? Run their own lives? Live a little? Sow a few wild oats? This whole myth is such an irony, really—the idea that engaging in problematic adult behavior actually makes boys men and girls women. That smoking weed and sleeping around is somehow a sign of maturity. Truth is, there's a reason why even those who do engage in such behavior typically do so for a season, not a lifetime: They grow up. They come to understand that maturity isn't a matter of engaging in everything we could, but in everything we should. LOL doesn't care. It steadfastly says the should is a curse, and the could is cause for a party. A wild party.Pro-social ContentObjectionable ContentSummary AdvisoryPlot SummaryChristian BeliefsOther Belief SystemsAuthority RolesProfanity/ViolenceKissing/Sex/HomosexualityDiscussion TopicsAdditional Comments/NotesEpisode Reviews]]>
(Review Source)
Lola Montès
VJ Morton

Originally written as a blog post
-----------------
LOLA MONTES (Max Ophuls, France, 1955, 9)

I rented a VHS tape of LOLA MONTES from Blockbuster almost 20 years ago, and it was the first time I ever saw a video in the Letterbox (or Widescreen Video) format. The first post-credits image, of two chandeliers descending from a height practically popped my eyes out and sold me instantly and forever on letterboxing. I already well understood the geometry of the TV-screen shape and the widescreen shape but to have THAT be the first image was one of the unforgettable, seminal moments of my filmgoing life. How could I even think of looking at this film with one of those two chandeliers cropped out, or maybe both chopped in half? Or any other similar film. And since that dynamic first shot goes on for 3 or 4 minutes in a single track while a veritable circus of events goes on in the background, LOLA MONTES couldn’t have been better Providentially planned to tell me — “here’s what you miss if you don’t letterbox.”

I looked again at LOLA MONTES last week on a 20-year-old second-generation VHS tape over a period of several days, treating the film as the equivalent of bedside reading — watching as much as I could when I was tired, and stopping when I could no longer keep my eyes open. Not the ideal way to see the film, of course, but it underlined the film’s dreamy, episodic quality, and its status as a memory piece about discourse. But next week (and believe me, I’m counting the days), myself and other Washington filmgoers will get a chance to see LOLA MONTES the right way, as Rialto Pictures is giving the film a theatrical release (no doubt to gather publicity for an imminent DVD release, but I’ll take em any way they’ll give em). Here's the trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkqBkMvR6ak

Several things about LOLA MONTES are obvious from the trailer even to someone who hasn’t seen the film (and since I have, there’s no “trailer fooling” me). First of all, that the film is a marvel of art and set decoration, of sumptuous excess, which the film gobbles up, thanks to director Max Ophuls’s near-constantly moving camera. Second, that Ophuls repeatedly uses multiple-level buildings, which in the film become social-climbing metaphors (e.g., action taking place on sets with multiple floors or a narrated trapeze act. The trailer shows the former but not the latter, my favorite scene in the film). Third, that lead actress Martine Carol is rather wooden in the noncircus scenes and trying rather too hard to “Act” in the circus ones. Her role is to serve as a doll or model at best, surrounded by a gaggle of supporting paraphernalia, carefully arranged and framed and layered.

LOLA MONTES is a sort-of-biopic, structured rather like CITIZEN KANE in that both films start with a framing device — a “present tense” at the end of the titular character’s life that purports to tell about that life. These present-tense scenes weave themselves around and through a series of flashbacks to biopic episodes — with much tension between the present-tense discourse and the past-tense flashbacks. Unlike the newspaperman’s quest in KANE for “Rosebud,” LOLA’s “present tense” takes place at a single circus performance; it’s also more prominent in the overall film. I didn’t measure, but I’d estimate about 1/3 of LOLA’s running time takes place at that performance. The formerly-famous and scandalous 19th-century courtesan Lola Montes once had at her feet the men of Europe from kings to students, but now she’s been reduced to being the sort of circus act that people come to stare at and hear about. The flashbacks are her memories.

The curse on the film’s reputation has always been the performance of Martine Carol as Lola. As I said is clear above from the trailer, it is problematic to say the least. Andrew Sarris famously called LOLA MONTES “the greatest film of all time,” though he backed off that later by saying, though not in a place I can find online, that Carol’s performance is simply too weak.(2) Andrew O’Hehir of Salon also measured his praise, though on different grounds, saying:
---------
"Lola Montes comes off in 2008 as an enormous and creaky artifice, tough for modern viewers to “get” without a laborious set of CliffsNotes. What was once original and confrontational about it has been swamped by later movies, and what remains seems grand and old-fashioned without being especially absorbing. …
"Ophüls’ forward-looking technique is married to his perplexing fascination with the social rituals of 19th century Europe, and because of his total lack of interest in anything we would consider psychological realism."
---------
I understand what O’Hehir is getting at, even stipulating that I have no problem per se with out-of-time irrelevance, and indeed, vastly prefer it, all else equal, to stabs at relevance in period movies.(3) I still think he misses why I think the film remained fresh and vital to me last week, even in the very unideal manner in which I saw it and stipulating Carol’s bad performance, which I think holds the key to how the film works. (Still … to think of what this film could have been if Ophuls could have coaxed Greta Garbo out of retirement, as he tried to a couple of years previously to appear in a proposed version of THE DUCHESS OF LANGEAIS … vjm weeps.)

My “gut” reaction was that the circus scenes were magnificent and worth the price of admission by themselves because of Peter Ustinov’s sheer virtuosity as the ringmaster and the spectacle he was mastering, while the flashback scenes, the ones depending most on Carol to deliver as an actress, were often rather flat. And the scenes among them that worked best were the ones most like the circus scenes, i.e., those that had an air of public performance about them. This gap is exactly what LOLA MONTES is about — the transformation through art of banal life material into a virtuoso spectacle.

Lola Montes lived a scandalous life as a courtesan, which the judgmental among us might call a glorified and perfumed w***e. Her scandal won her fame and riches, but by the end all she’s got left is being a circus freak, turning her life into discourse, accepting an offer she rejected with contempt earlier. And yet that discourse about her life, the circus act with tales of sleeping around turned into acts of being grabbed by successive men on horses, is actually more gripping than the life itself. They call it “printing the legend” and all of that. There are shots in the trailer from the film’s flashbacks of people in “verandas,” in multiple “floors” looking out on a central “courtyard” and applauding, i.e., public performance. Is there a more-relevant and more-contemporary story in a world where “any publicity is good publicity” and where celebrity comes in layers and ranks, to the point where people make jokes about washed-up celebrities cannibalizing on their past stardom by playing themselves on reality-TV shows and the like? And yet the circus, the reality TV, where thousands line up and pay a dollar to kiss Lola’s aged hand through a cage, is what’s most gripping about the life of Lola Montes as represented in the film LOLA MONTES.

Which brings us to relationship between Ophuls and the material. He knew he was dealing with an actress he needed for box office, for name, for an attraction, but who couldn’t even act her way INTO the proverbial wet paper bag. In a review the trailer amusingly takes out of context, Stanley Kauffmann called Carol “a celebrity in today’s most-synthetic sense” and compared her to Zsa Zsa Gabor: she “never could act, and here she isn’t even pretty.” There are moments where the circus act shows us Lola’s limitations as a performer. One such moment is in the trailer — Lola dealing with the bars, set at a height that makes neither going under them or kicking up to them very impressive. The audience loves it because of the interest the ringmaster put into the circus act — in what he choreographs, in what he surrounds Lola with, in his narration, in his cinematic style.
————————————–
1 Though here it’s a screen-capture, so it’s blurrier and darker even than a good tape.
2 Replacing it with MADAME DE…, certainly a great film, and certainly one that doesn’t have the “Carol” problem, instead boasting three near-perfect ensemble leads.
3 To paraphrase one of Salon’s commenters, a great film needn’t make itself relevant to you, but rather make you relevant to it.

(Review Source)
VJ Morton
(”Lola Montès” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Gravatar

Prayer request

Now … for a big part of the reason I haven’t felt much like posting since the start of the month (those lengthy posts on DOUBT and LOLA MONTES have been sitting in my Draft folder for a week, pretty much in their current form). And it has nothing to do with Post-Obama Please-Slit-My-Wrists-NOW!!! Syndrome or anything like that. Something far more serious.

Later today, my father has triple heart-bypass surgery, to remedy 70 percent blockage in the main heart artery. This is not as risky a procedure as it would have been when he was … say, my age. Particularly since his health is otherwise good. But major surgery on a 65-year-old man is major surgery on a 65-year-old man.

I’d appreciate all y’all praying for him.

UPDATE: Things could not possibly have gone better for my father. There were no complications or snafus on the actual table. Within 24 hours, he could sit up for a time and even carry a conversation, though he was obviously very tired and on painkillers. As I type this Sunday late-night (MOVIE CONTENT: with one eye on TCM’s showing of DIABOLIQUE), all the tubes have been removed except a saline drip, and dad was able to eat a small amount of solid food Sunday afternoon, barely two days after having his chest sliced open.

Thanks for all the good wishes and prayers in recent days.

Advertisement
Advertisements
Report this ad
Report this ad

Like this:

Like Loading...

November 14, 2008 - Posted by | Family stuff

6 Comments »

  1. I can’t pray for your dad, obviously, but I do wish him a speedy recovery and continued good health.

    Comment by md'a | November 14, 2008 | Reply

  2. He’s in my prayers.

    Comment by Adam Villani | November 14, 2008 | Reply

  3. My father is also 65 and will be going under the knife for a heart and double-lung transplant next week. Your father will also be in my prayers.

    Comment by Stephen | November 14, 2008 | Reply

  4. I do wish your father the best, Victor. You and your family and in my thoughts in what I know is a difficult time.

    Comment by msic | November 16, 2008 | Reply

  5. Great news about your dad, Victor. Sounds like it went very well…

    Comment by Dan Owen | November 18, 2008 | Reply

  6. Relieved to hear about your father’s successful surgery. My own father has survived two sextuple bypass surgeries (and prostate cancer and several heart attacks and strokes), so I know the dreadful feeling of the waiting room and also the (literal) resiliency of the human heart. I’m sure your dad is hearing plenty of advice right now about how to maintain his health in the long term. Be sure to hold him to his doctor’s advice on limiting stress and maintaining a good diet– these old-timers can be stubborn as hell– and I wish both of you the best.

    Comment by Scott Tobias | November 19, 2008 | Reply


Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

« Previous | Next »

(Review Source)
VJ Morton
lola-first-image1

C’est moi, c’est Lola

LOLA MONTES (Max Ophuls, France, 1955, 9)

I rented a VHS tape of LOLA MONTES from Blockbuster almost 20 years ago, and it was the first time I ever saw a video in the Letterbox (or Widescreen Video) format. The picture at the top of this piece is of LOLA MONTES’ first post-credits image(1); it practically popped my eyes out and sold me instantly and forever on letterboxing. I already well understood the geometry of the TV-screen shape and the widescreen shape but to have THAT be the first image was one of the unforgettable, seminal moments of my filmgoing life. How could I even think of looking at this film with one of those two chandeliers cropped out, or maybe both chopped in half? Or any other similar film. And since that dynamic first shot goes on for 3 or 4 minutes in a single track while a veritable circus of events goes on in the background, LOLA MONTES couldn’t have been better Providentially planned to tell me — “here’s what you miss if you don’t letterbox.”

I looked again at LOLA MONTES last week on a 20-year-old second-generation VHS tape over a period of several days, treating the film as the equivalent of bedside reading — watching as much as I could when I was tired, and stopping when I could no longer keep my eyes open. Not the ideal way to see the film, of course, but it underlined the film’s dreamy, episodic quality, and its status as a memory piece about discourse. But next week (and believe me, I’m counting the days), myself and other Washington filmgoers will get a chance to see LOLA MONTES the right way, as Rialto Pictures is giving the film a theatrical release (no doubt to gather publicity for an imminent DVD release, but I’ll take em any way they’ll give em). Here’s the trailer.

Several things about LOLA MONTES are obvious from the trailer even to someone who hasn’t seen the film (and since I have, there’s no “trailer fooling” me). First of all, that the film is a marvel of art and set decoration, of sumptuous excess, which the film gobbles up, thanks to director Max Ophuls’s near-constantly moving camera. Second, that Ophuls repeatedly uses multiple-level buildings, which in the film become social-climbing metaphors (e.g., action taking place on sets with multiple floors or a narrated trapeze act. The trailer shows the former but not the latter, my favorite scene in the film). Third, that lead actress Martine Carol is rather wooden in the noncircus scenes and trying rather too hard to “Act” in the circus ones. Her role is to serve as a doll or model at best, surrounded by a gaggle of supporting paraphernalia, carefully arranged and framed and layered, as here.

LOLA MONTES is a sort-of-biopic, structured rather like CITIZEN KANE in that both films start with a framing device — a “present tense” at the end of the titular character’s life that purports to tell about that life. These present-tense scenes weave themselves around and through a series of flashbacks to biopic episodes — with much tension between the present-tense discourse and the past-tense flashbacks. Unlike the newspaperman’s quest in KANE for “Rosebud,” LOLA’s “present tense” takes place at a single circus performance; it’s also more prominent in the overall film. I didn’t measure, but I’d estimate about 1/3 of LOLA’s running time takes place at that performance. The formerly-famous and scandalous 19th-century courtesan Lola Montes once had at her feet the men of Europe from kings to students, but now she’s been reduced to being the sort of circus act that people come to stare at and hear about. The flashbacks are her memories.

The curse on the film’s reputation has always been the performance of Martine Carol as Lola. As I said is clear above from the trailer, it is problematic to say the least (though Ty Burr of the Boston Globe dissents well here). Andrew Sarris famously called LOLA MONTES “the greatest film of all time,” though he backed off that later by saying, though not in a place I can find online, that Carol’s performance is simply too weak.(2) Andrew O’Hehir of Salon also measured his praise, though on different grounds, saying:

Lola Montes comes off in 2008 as an enormous and creaky artifice, tough for modern viewers to “get” without a laborious set of CliffsNotes. What was once original and confrontational about it has been swamped by later movies, and what remains seems grand and old-fashioned without being especially absorbing. …

Ophüls’ forward-looking technique is married to his perplexing fascination with the social rituals of 19th century Europe, and because of his total lack of interest in anything we would consider psychological realism.

I understand what O’Hehir is getting at, even stipulating that I have no problem per se with out-of-time irrelevance, and indeed, vastly prefer it, all else equal, to stabs at relevance in period movies.(3) I still think he misses why I think the film remained fresh and vital to me last week, even in the very unideal manner in which I saw it and stipulating Carol’s bad performance, which I think holds the key to how the film works. (Still … to think of what this film could have been if Ophuls could have coaxed Greta Garbo out of retirement, as he tried to a couple of years previously to appear in a proposed version of THE DUCHESS OF LANGEAIS … vjm weeps.)

My “gut” reaction was that the circus scenes were magnificent and worth the price of admission by themselves because of Peter Ustinov’s sheer virtuosity as the ringmaster and the spectacle he was mastering, while the flashback scenes, the ones depending most on Carol to deliver as an actress, were often rather flat. And the scenes among them that worked best were the ones most like the circus scenes, i.e., those that had an air of public performance about them. This gap is exactly what LOLA MONTES is about — the transformation through art of banal life material into a virtuoso spectacle.

Lola Montes lived a scandalous life as a courtesan, which the judgmental among us might call a glorified and perfumed w***e. Her scandal won her fame and riches, but by the end all she’s got left is being a circus freak, turning her life into discourse, accepting an offer she rejected with contempt earlier. And yet that discourse about her life, the circus act with tales of sleeping around turned into acts of being grabbed by successive men on horses, is actually more gripping than the life itself. They call it “printing the legend” and all of that. There are shots in the trailer from the film’s flashbacks of people in “verandas,” in multiple “floors” looking out on a central “courtyard” and applauding, i.e., public performance. Is there a more-relevant and more-contemporary story in a world where “any publicity is good publicity” and where celebrity comes in layers and ranks, to the point where people make jokes about washed-up celebrities cannibalizing on their past stardom by playing themselves on reality-TV shows and the like? And yet the circus, the reality TV, where thousands line up and pay a dollar to kiss Lola’s aged hand through a cage, is what’s most gripping about the life of Lola Montes as represented in the film LOLA MONTES.

Which brings us to relationship between Ophuls and the material. He knew he was dealing with an actress he needed for box office, for name, for an attraction, but who couldn’t even act her way INTO the proverbial wet paper bag. In a review the trailer amusingly takes out of context, Stanley Kauffmann called Carol “a celebrity in today’s most-synthetic sense” and compared her to Zsa Zsa Gabor: she “never could act, and here she isn’t even pretty.” There are moments where the circus act shows us Lola’s limitations as a performer. One such moment is in the trailer — Lola dealing with the bars, set at a height that makes neither going under them or kicking up to them very impressive. The audience loves it because of the interest the ringmaster put into the circus act — in what he choreographs, in what he surrounds Lola with, in his narration, in his cinematic style.
————————————–
1 Though here it’s a screen-capture, so it’s blurrier and darker even than a good tape.
2 Replacing it with MADAME DE…, certainly a great film, and certainly one that doesn’t have the “Carol” problem, instead boasting three near-perfect ensemble leads.
3 To paraphrase one of Salon’s commenters, a great film needn’t make itself relevant to you, but rather make you relevant to it.

Advertisement
Advertisements
Report this ad
Report this ad

Like this:

Like Loading...

November 14, 2008 - Posted by | Max Ophuls, Uncategorized

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

« Previous | Next »

(Review Source)
Lolita
PJ Media Staff
(”Lolita” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Lifestyle var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Barry Lyndon - Official Trailer [1975] HD', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:A) in the commentsB) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. For this week’s debates we’re going to focus on individual filmmakers with inflated reputations. Monday's question: What Is Oliver Stone's Worst Movie?, Tuesday's question: Who Is Today’s Most Overrated Filmmaker?Also check out the previous weeks’ writing prompts and email in your thoughts on any questions that strike your fancy: Geeks In Love: 8 Questions To Spark Passionate Debates About Video Games and Chick Flicks, 5 Questions To Figure Out What Makes Some Adaptations Succeed and Others Fail, 5 Questions So We Can Figure Out the Cream of the Crop In Popular Music Genres, 5 Geek Questions To Provoke Debates About the Future of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, 5 Controversial Questions To Inspire Spirited Debates About Music. var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': '2001: A Space Odyssey - Original Trailer #1', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Which is a better film: 2001 or A Clockwork Orange? var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': '', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Is Dr. Strangelove superior to Lolita? var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Dr. Strangelove trailer', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Eyes Wide Shut: artistic masterpiece or pretentious porn pretending to be art? var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Eyes Wide Shut - Official Trailer [1999] HD', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); Are Full Metal Jacket and The Shining exemplars of the war and horror genres or failures? var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Full Metal Jacket (1987) Official Trailer - Stanley Kubrick Movie HD', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/6/18/what-are-stanley-kubricks-greatest-films/ ]]>
(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
(”Lolita” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Ed Driscoll So much 20th century modern art, in just about every genre, including music, painting, architecture and sculpture was purposely designed to be incomprehensible to the layman. In the mid-1970s and early-1980s, Tom Wolfe made sport of the entire enterprise with From Bauhaus To Our House and The Painted Word. The title of the latter book explains how badly art had degenerated by the mid-1970s. Whereas once any layman could instantly appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of say, Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Michelangelo's David, or a great classical symphony, modern painting in particular had almost become merely an excuse for the artist and his champion critic to write a treatise explaining the work of art in the first place.John Derbyshire has a fascinating essay, which ran almost a  year ago, but recently relinked by the Derb at the Corner, which does much to explain why this divergence occurred, and its mid-19th century origins.Meanwhile, regarding the motion picture industry, one of the few 20th century artforms that any layman could appreciate, NPR looks back at 1962 and its abundance of cinematic riches:The five Best Picture nominees that year were Lawrence of Arabia (the eventual winner), The Longest Day, The Music Man, Mutiny on the Bounty and To Kill A Mockingbird. Not a bad list for any year, certainly.But even if none of those pictures had ever been produced, the Motion Picture Academy could still have assembled a perfectly respectable 1962 list. One possible slate: The Manchurian Candidate, Birdman of Alcatraz, Days of Wine and Roses, The Miracle Worker and Long Day's Journey into Night. Believe it or not, they were all among the year's also-rans.And if none of those had been produced either? There'd still have been plenty of worthy candidates: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Billy Budd, Divorce Italian Style, Last Year at Marienbad, Gypsy, Sweet Bird of Youth, Period of Adjustment, Jules and Jim, Lolita, Advise and Consent, Peeping Tom and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance ... just to name a few.So: Is there a year that can top that?Well 1939 wasn't too shabby a year for American movies, either. And in both cases, we''ll likely never see quite a line-up of films that could appeal to the general public and contain such fine craftsmanship and (dare I say it?) art. But much like the love-hate relationship the Mad Men TV series has with the late '50s and early 1960s, it seems sort of paradoxical for the boomers at NPR to praise an era that they themselves helped to destroy shortly thereafter.Related: And speaking of movies, J.R. Taylor has some thoughts on the transformation of Roger Ebert from ingratiating middlebrow movie critic to the masses, to shrill archliberal wannabe-pundit.Update: Speaking of which... class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2010/2/12/the-two-cultures-50-years-on/ ]]>
(Review Source)