4 Film reviews: Logan, Get Out, John Wick 2, and the Founder

2016 was an AWFUL year for films.  I was hoping 2017 would have started out fresh and wow, has it ever.  I’ve got 4 reviews for you and it’s been too damn long and my apologies for not getting these out faster.

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First one is the final installment of Wolverine simply titled, “Logan.”  Hugh Jackman gets into ripped shit shape and straps on the adamantium for the last time.  This one takes place in the future and Wolvie is looking OLD.  He’s even having problems healing himself.  Hell, he’s even taken up being an Uber driver.  You think he looks bad?  Wait till you see Professor X, he looks like a mummy in a wheelchair.  Mutants are all but extinct.  So Logan is keeping Professor X hidden as the government put out an APB on him because Xavier’s uncontrolled mind powers have caused a few problems, including the Westchester incident.  Unfortunately, we don’t get a chance to see or hear more about it…unless they broke it down when I ran into the bathroom for 2 minutes.

Logan is approached by a Mexican woman who asks that she takes care of her daughter who turns out to be, surprise, a mutant.  Immediately, a security force wants her back and Wolverine is none too obliging.  X-23 is the mutant in question and she’s a Wolverine clone, amongst other mutants.  So of course, Xavier and Wolverine take on the challenge of getting her to safety.

The first 2 standalone Wolverine films are trash.  Xmen Origins and the Wolverine were major disappointments.  They were goofy (in a bad way, not like how Deadpool pulled it off masterfully), anti-climatic, and you left just not giving a shit what happened for 2 hours.  Logan is not disappointing for many reasons.  One: This is R-rated and you can take a good guess why.  Jackman slices and dices like OJ did Nicole Brown Simpson one fateful night in 1994.  You see limbs, heads, and dignity get sliced off with geysers of blood…as it should have been.  The other X-Men/Wolverine films were PG-13 so they were cautious about keeping the gore to a dull, singular spray of blood here and there.  Not Logan, they’re not shy about showing it all.  Secondly: this film is DARK, just as the way it should have been.  You feel for Jackman’s descent into loneliness as he attempts to patch all inward holes with drugs and alcohol.  You feel for him as he takes care of a degenerating Xavier.  You feel for him as he adopts the undesirability of protecting X-23.  One of the few knocks of this film is that I felt it did drag toward the end and could have cut out 10 minutes or so.

Third time’s the charm as they close out the Wolverine with class and sadness.

I give this a 7/10

Next up is the surprise hit of the year thus far, “Get Out.”  Jordan Peele of “Key and Peele” fame as well as infamy for “Keanu” (what a piece of cold dogshit that was) creates his directorial debut.  Get Out is the story of a interracial couple that visit the white woman’s parents’ house in upstate NY.  Chris, the lead character, has trepidation while meeting her parents (Allison Williams, the only attractive one in the show, Girls) that go over the top to prove that they’re not racist.  Katherine Keener plays Williams’s mother who is a hypnotist that can cure Chris’s penchant for smoking.  After tricking him into temporary hypnosis, he begins to notice things aren’t what they seem with the family as well as their friends.

And that’s all I’m going to tell you about this because the payoffs for this film are too great.  You can see Peele guiding the audience down a usual path in the first act but the 2nd and 3rd act are where his writing and directing skyrocket into the stratosphere.  This isn’t your typical thriller with cheap jump cuts with sound effects to scare the audience, this is much more than that.  You’ll thoroughly enjoy the ride as well as Chris’s best friend who is a TSA agent that fills his head with ideas about crazy white people.

This is easily one of the best thrillers I’ve seen and one of the smartest written films I’ve seen in a LONG time.  The hype is well deserved and this is hopefully just the beginning of a long, successful storyteller and director.

I give this a 9 out of 10

One of the surprise films of the last few years was “John Wick.”  When I saw the preview, I thought what most people did and that was, “Who gives a shit, it looks like every generic action film in the last decade.”  Well, this turned out to be a pleasant hit and a cult classic.  Keanu is back as the Russian hit man with little to say and a lot of ass whooping to do.  The film with him getting back his car that got his wife and dog killed in the first one.  Then, he’s called back out of retirement (again) when a favor is called in by your typical scumbag.  Keanu does it and of course, is double crossed and then has every hit man (and lady) hunting him down in NYC.  The only type of person NOT trying to kill him was a hipster on a unicycle.

This film seems to have coined the phrase, “Gung Fu,” which is the combination of kung fu and gun play and there is plenty of it here.  Plenty of solid action with a decent plot and they beautifully tee up John Wick 3.  If you like the first one, you’ll like the second one, maybe just a little less.

I give it 6.5 out of 10.

Last and certainly not least, is a holdover from 2016.  Michael Keaton plays Ray Kroc, one of the all time most recognized and reviled businessmen in this country.  The Founder chronicles how Kroc goes into business with the McDonald brothers, who created a workflow to get burgers to customers in less than 2 minutes, and then takes over by franchising their operation.  This film was completely shut out of the Oscars and what a joke that was.  Keaton MASTERFULLY plays the hero and the villain.  One moment, you’re rooting for Kroc to take McDonald’s to the promised land.  The next, you’re aghast he strips the McDonald’s brothers of their rights and profits.  Keaton should’ve been nominated as should have this film…and they both would have won in my book.  I only saw Arrival of the nominated films as of posting time of the article but I’ve yet to hear how Moonlight or the others could knock this off the perch.

I give this an 8.5 out of 10.

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Review of Star Wars: Rogue One (No spoilers)

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As I have said before, I like to see the schedule of films coming out and I’ll circle the ones I highly anticipate.  Usually, there about 4 per year that I get excited for and this was one of them.  However, being that Rogue 1 isn’t part of the original story, I was a little less excited for this as I was for Episode 7 last year.  Spinoff of the original tend to suck (Scorpion King, This is 40, X-Men Wolverine films are awful, and those god awful American Pie straight to DVD films) so I was slightly hesitant.  I also read that this is the first Star Wars film that John Williams wasn’t doing the score for.  John Williams is as integral to these films (Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Jaws, the list goes on) as pepperoni is to pizza.

The story takes place after Episode 3, Revenge of the Sith, when Hayden Christiansen thankfully slides into the lava after Obi-Wan slices his legs off.  I wish Obi-Wan used the force to give Hayden better acting lessons.  Felicity Jones plays Jyn Erso, whose father (Madds Mikelsen) was the architect behind the Death Star.  Young Jyn is hidden for years by Saw Gerrara (Forrest Whittaker) as the Imperials have been looking for her to ensure her father’s cooperation in the completion of the Death Star.  Jyn is freed by the Rebellion and thus begins her mission to steal the plans for the Death Star.

The new characters are instantly likable and you feel something for them all.  K2SO is the robot who embraces the newest comedic role. You’ll see a bunch of familiar faces from previous films, even some restored by CGI as their younger selves from Star Wars.  Some characters may take you a second to recall but when you do, a smile will cross your face.  And of course, Darth Vader makes several appearances in the film.  And without spoiling anything, his final scene is bad-assery at its finest. One of my complaints are they take you to several planets/moons all over the galaxy but you won’t need to remember them later on. I wish they showed you the Emperor in some capacity but no luck.  This film flows beautifully while weaving a fantastic tale.  It’s almost sad as we know the fate for most of these characters being that we’ve seen the 7 previous films.  Director Gareth Edwards ensures it ends with a flawless segue for Star Wars, Episode 4.

People ask me how I rank this amongst the other films but I really need to see this again to take it in.  I’m still processing everything but rest assured, it’s damn good.  If I were to give an early ranking, I put it after Empire and before 7.  Here’s the way I rank them as of now.  4, 6, 5, 3.5, 7, 3 (really good, people just hate the shit out of the 2nd trilogy), 2 (the last 1/3 is really good), 1 (an egregious piece of shit).

XMen: Apocalypse (No spoilers)

 

Brian Singer was on a solid streak, ripping out 4 straight fantastic Xmen films. Remember, Rattner directed that flaming elephant turd, Xmen 3, and Matthew Vaughn directed the fantastic Xmen: First Class. But no one bats 1.000, not even Babe Ruth, who’s the greatest baseball player ever. And Singer’s streak is over, as I felt Xmen: Apocalypse was disappointing. Why? Well here we go:

A few new mutants enter the mix: Cyclops, Storm, Angel, Nightcrawler, Jean Grey, Psylocke, and little cared about, Jubilee. They tell the backstory of Jean, and Cyclops just fine. But Storm gets maybe a handful of scenes and how she discovered her powers is barely touched upon. Jubilee gets maybe 3 lines but no one cared about her before so why start now? Angel also got the short shrift as well. Nightcrawler got a little more airtime but they made him look like a boy band member that fell into a cauldron of blue dye. But I thought the biggest character letdown was Psylocke, as there was a ton of hype about her when filming began. Olivia Munn looks great but there is zero back story on her and in the end, you’re left shaking your head, well now what? And she has such little screen time, not what you would think from the commercials.

The biggest flaw I had with the film is Apocalypse. The comic has him at 7 feet but can grow to much larger heights with his ability. 99% of the film has Apocalypse at eye level with most of the actors. There is nothing physically imposing about Oscar Issac’s character and Apocalypse was supposed to be one of the biggest and baddest villains ever. He didn’t show 1/10th of what powers he has and the script didn’t give him the gravitas that I expected.

And let’s also discuss how Mystique gets all Katniss Everdeen on us. She assumes a leadership role with the newer mutants? I know she watched over Rogue in the comics but this felt kind of forced, wasn’t feeling this arc.

Lastly, this film has very little of Wolverine. I just feel it’s not an Xmen film without a healthy dose of everyone’s favorite wise crackin’, cigar smokin’, Canadian bad ass. Wish they had a little more of him but guess they’re saving him for the final Wolverine film.

This film wasn’t bad, just very disappointing how they brought a lot of great characters in but didn’t give them all their fair shake. And especially, the injustice done to Apocalypse. I rank this as the 2nd worst Xmen film, above xmen 3. Like I said, no one bats 1.000 so let’s hope Singer gets back to his stellar track record with the next installment.

I give the film a 6 out of 10.  If you’re a fan of the other films (and why wouldn’t you be, they’re excellent), curiousity will get the best of you and you’ll see it in the theater.  But I wouldn’t drop 15 bucks on it, wait for Netflix.  Don’t bother with the 3D; the only reason I did is the showtime suited me best so I could sneak into my second film of the day.

Movie review: Deadpool

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Here we are, Valentine’s Day weekend and what USUALLY comes out this weekend in the theaters are lazy romantic comedies (How to Be Single.  Can we just throw a saddle on Rebel Wilson already?) or sequels that no asked for (Zoolander 2.  My streak of not seeing Ben Stiller movies is intact since I wasted 90 minutes on that piece of donkey shit, Tower Heist.)  Thankfully, the prodigies at Marvel studios picked a perfect time to drop their first superhero film of the year (Captain America 3 and XMen Apocalypse come in April and May) and Marvel opens with a hit.  

For those of you who haven’t completely blocked Wolverine: Origins out of your minds yet, you’ll recall Ryan Reynolds was in that film, playing Deadpool.  You’ll also remember how that abortion of a film mutilated (pun intended) a perfectly good character and didn’t let Reynolds do the wisecrackin’ for more than 10 minutes until they literally sewed his mouth shut. Thankfully, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick let Reynolds do what he does best, crack wise while even shitting on Wolverine: Origins and Reynolds’s other shitbag superhero “effort”, the Green Lantern.  For those of you not familiar with Deadpool, think Van Wilder (Reynolds breakthrough film) who cuts off bad guys heads.  The self-deprecating humor works as does some of the other dick and fart joke material.  Hey, that’s the character!  Some film reviewers get tight assed about that and that’s why no one takes the majority of them seriously.  You mean to tell me nearly EVER 18th century period piece gets at least 3.5 stars out of 4?  No thanks, sometimes people just want to laugh and watch shit blow up.  

Obviously, this is the origin story and Reese and Wernick do a great job of telling it efficiently.  They also bring Colossus from the Xmen as well as Negasonic Teenage Warhead.  I had no idea who she is and apparently, she was short lived in the comic book.  I felt the addition of Colossus and NTW didn’t bring anything to the table; it felt like an obvious tie in for the future Xmen films.  So that’s pretty much it for any superhero crossover discussions.

What I liked:

Reynolds jokes are fucking hysterical, couldn’t tell you the last recent film (or even comedy) I LOLed that much.

The flow was perfect, everything wrapped up nicely in 100 minutes.

This is by FAR, the best Stan Lee cameo you’ll ever see.  Not even close

This is by FAR, the best Marvel end credit scene, EVER. 

What I didn’t like:

Probably the weakest villain in a superhero film I’ve ever seen.  He’s the consistent English bad guy you’ve seen in every action film, ever.  I’m not familiar with the Deadpool comic book and maybe this guy is the Joker or Magneto of Deadpool but if he is, snore.  No charisma, nothing remarkable at all.  

Gina Carano plays Angel Dust.  I had no idea who she was; she wasn’t explained at all except she’s strong.  Nothing substantial about her either…moving along.

The Colossus and NTW addition seemed like a good idea on paper but weren’t orchestrated properly.  It feels contrived and by the end, you don’t care when they show up in the final battle.

This is the first rated R Marvel studios film (the first rated R comic book film was Blade) and it deserves it.  Plenty of violence, cursing, and nudity…just what a growing boy or girl needs.  Congrats also go to TJ Miller for finally landing a role where I don’t want to punch him in the face.  

I totally dug Deadpool but I think it will rank 3rd of this year’s Marvel films.  And that’s not a shot at Deadpool, I just have super high expectations for Cap 3 (seriously, the trailer is fucking bonkers and Cap 2 was goddamn amazing) and XMen Apocalypse (trailer again is bonkers, Singer is directing again, and this is Marvel’s crown jewel for a reason.)

I give it a 7/10, it’s totally worth 15 bucks but no need for IMAX or 3D.  And drag your gf/wife to this because honestly, do you want to see Rebel Wilson clogging up a movie screen?  She’s just biding her time until Melissa McCarthy passes over the “annoying fat girl who farts/burps/says inappropriate things” crown.