Category: DVD

Summary: After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

Year: 2017

Australian Cinema Release Date: 28th June 2017

Australian DVD Release Date: 1st November 2017

Country: United Kingdom, United States

Director: Edgar Wright

Screenwriter: Edgar Wright

Cast: Jon Bernthal (Griff), Jeff Chase (Jeffrey), Morse Diggs (himself), Ansel Elgort (Baby), Flea (Eddie), Jamie Foxx (Bats), Eliza Gonzalez (Darling), Brogan Hall (Samm), Jon Hamm (Buddy), Lily James (Debora), CJ Jones (Joseph), Lanny Joon (JD), Kevin Spacey (Doc), R. Marcos Taylor (Armie), Paul Williams (The Butcher)

Runtime: 113 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR BABY DRIVER REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Kyle McGrath’s Baby Driver Review:

I’ve considered myself a huge fan of Edgar Wright’s films for some time. Since the release of Shaun of the Dead and with the continuation of his “Cornetto Trilogy” with Hot Fuzz & The World’s End Wright he has created what I would consider to be almost perfect films. In only a short amount of time Wright has created several instant cult classic films with their stylish presentation, music selection to characterisation and emotional moments having a kick to them even though the film itself may have an absurdist comedy twist to them. This isn’t to say I have impossibly high expectations for his movies simply that I know what Edgar Wright as a filmmaker is capable of.

Baby Driver is the story of “Baby” (Ansel Elgort) a young extremely talented getaway driver with a passion for music and a constant soundtrack to his own life playing on his iPod. Forced for years to serve as a wheelman to payback a debt to crime boss “Doc” (Kevin Spacey) Baby appears to be finally free to start building a life for himself after meeting a beautiful waitress named Deborah (Lily James). However much to Baby’s horror he is forced to take part in yet another “final job” with a team of psychopaths. Trying not to get in too deep Baby strive to stay ahead of the criminals and the cops and escape this life of crime once and for all before it’s too late.

By far the star of the film is not the actors but the music and how it is incorporated into the film. Wright has clearly put an extensive amount of effort into choreographing almost the entire film so that it synchs up with the accompanying soundtrack. Gunshots, camera edits, punches, car chases, car crashes everything is timed perfectly to match the rhythm and the beat of the song playing in the background. This has got to be the most musical-like non musical I’ve ever seen.

It’s definitely an impressive achievement and Wright shows off the slick visual style he has become known for. While definitely cool it can feel a little out of place at some points like the opening credits which serves as a single long take of Baby going to get coffee for the crew after a job well done. The scene plays out with specific lyrics from the song playing inexplicably spray graffitied around right as they come into view and right as that line in the accompanying song plays. Now this is probably the most extreme example and while being inconsequential it shows how at some points what’s happening in Baby Driver is more about creating a music video than the music enhancing the story.

That’s the main issue I personally had with the film and it’s just one of taste really, so much time and effort has gone towards these musical scenes though the actual story and characters feel underwritten.

Storylines and relationships feel completely rushed, the characters are really given room to grow or give us reasons to care for them other than on a superficial level. The romance between Baby and Deborah especially felt forced and certain characters actions contradict how they were portrayed up to that point that the audience themselves are left to fill in the gaps more often than I felt was necessary.

Like for example in Mad Max Fury Road I’m perfectly fine with some backstory left up to interpretation as it wasn’t particularly necessary. But as simple as the plot was for that film if the villain had a sudden change of heart out of the blue at the end and called off the whole chase or something I would expect more than a passing line of dialogue as an explanation.

Baby Driver I felt was all style and little substance. It’s not a bad film really it is just somewhat forgettable despite its stylish presentation. The plot and characters feel like they are just there as an excuse to create some cool car chases and music videos which is totally fine. However at the same time the film is brought down a little by that.

Not that I want to say I’m rating this film on a curve, I would have felt the same way about it if had I not known the director’s name or previous work at all. But the soul of this film doesn’t quite live up to Wright’s previous work. Rather than feeling for these characters I felt indifferent to them and what was happening. Actors like Jamie Foxx or Kevin Spacey who I know are capable of comedy and drama seemed wasted on what felt like no more than rehashes of their roles in Horrible Bosses.

I enjoyed Baby Driver as a funny and entertaining rev head popcorn heist flick. Clearly I do think Edgar Wright was capable of crafting something better overall but for a crowd pleaser he’s most assuredly delivered with his latest film.

 

 

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IMDB Rating:  Baby Driver (2017) on IMDb

 

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Trailer:

Summary: A deadly threat from Earth’s history reappears, and a hunt for a lost artifact takes place between Autobots and Decepticons, while Optimus Prime encounters his creator in space.

Year: 2017

Australian Cinema Release Date: 21st June 2017

Australian DVD Release Date: 4th October 2017

Country: United States, China, Canada

Director: Michael Bay

Screenwriter: Matt Holloway, Art Marcum, Ken Nolan, Akiva Goldsman (story)

Cast: Erik Adahl (Bumblebee voice)), Daniel Adegboyega (Saebert), Gil Birmingham (Chief Sherman), Steve Buscemi (Daytrader voice)), Santiago Cabrera (Santos), Jerrod Carmichael (Jimmy), Jim Carter (Cogman voice)), Gemma Chan (Quintessa), Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime (voice)), John DiMaggio (Nitro Zeus/Crosshairs voice)), Josh Duhamel (Colonel William Lennox), Dino Fazzini (Alden), Marcus Fraser (Gawain), Rebecca Front (Aunt Marie), Liam Garrigan (Arthur), John Goodman (Hound voice)), Minti Gorne (Young Viviane), Laura Haddock (Vivian Wembley), Jess Harnell (Barricade voice)), Richard Hills Jnr. (Cheldric), John Hollingworth (Tristan), Sir Anthony Hopkins (Sir Edmund Barton), Tom Kenny (Wheels voice)), Jason Matthewson (Spenser), Martin McCreadie (Lancelot), Isabela Moner (Izabella), Glenn Morshower (General Morshower), Phoebe Nicholls (Aunt Helen), Allen Phoenix (Luke Reynolds), Jade Quon (Cogman), Trent Seven (Hengist), Omar Sy (Hot Rod voice)),  Stanley Tucci (Merlin), John Turturro (Agent Simmons), Mark Wahlberg (Cade Yaeger), Ken Watanabe (Drift voice)), Frank Welker (Megatron voice)), Reno Wilson (Mohawk/Sqweeks voice)), Rob Witcomb (Percival)

Runtime: 154 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Kyle McGrath’s Transformers: The Last Knight Review:

Despite his negative reputation as a filmmaker I consider myself to be a fan of a lot of Michael Bay’s films. Bad Boys, Pain & Gain, The Rock, 13 Hours and even Armageddon are all films I have enjoyed. He’s drawn the ire of some film fans however with films like Pearl Harbour (which I’ve not seen) and the incredibly popular Transformers franchise.

Transformers The Last Knight is the fifth film in the live action Transformers film series. Continuing on with new series protagonist from the previous film, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), this film sees the good autobots still lumped together with the villainous decepticons and outlawed by mankind in the wake of collateral damage which they seem to have brought to earth. Leader of the autobots, Optimus Prime, upon completing his long journey back to the Transformer’s home planet of Cybertron is captured by a new enemy with plans to use him in her plan to destroy earth.

The film proceeds more or less as anyone who has seen any the previous 4 films might expect. Having not fully enjoyed the series up til now I found myself once again disappointed in the development of the story, characters and the comedic relief which still comes off as inappropriate either in timing or in content (although perhaps not quite as bad this time as cutaway shots to dogs humping or John Turturro talking about robot testicles as we saw in the franchise’s second instalment).

The over the top action which Bay and this series are both known for of course returns as well. I must say that the mixing of CGI and live action which has always been impressive still excels if you stop to appreciate the movie on such a technical level.

That is if you can actually keep track of what is going on. I’m not sure if this has something to do with the film having 6 different editors but I felt like I was inside the head of a schizophrenic at times with how the movie is shot, edited and jumps from one plot thread to another.

Something I’ve noticed with the story of each of these films is that every single one of them presents a new revelation on how long Transformers have actually been on earth. They were here building the pyramids, they were the true reason for man walking on the moon, they were here with the dinosaurs and now they were instrumental in the legend of King Arthur. I believe these revelations are to make the audience not think that the world would be a much better place, and avoid periodical catastrophic events killing thousands, if the Transformers would simply leave. Each film needs a new reason for them to be here and after a while they’re starting to pile up on each other and conflict.

On top of that it means every film feels too heavy with exposition as this new reason needs to be explained though in such a way which won’t completely bore the fans who are there for the action. This is where the inappropriate timing of humour comes in as the movie can’t go too long without the equivalent of a pie in the face gag.

Characters both human and robotic are introduced and dropped frequently. Rather than focusing more on key players we’re aquatinted with more supporting characters who don’t appear to serve much of a purpose and disappear from the film before they do. John Turturro & Josh Duhamel both series regulars who were absent from the previous film round out the cast but again don’t do much.

This wouldn’t be too much of an issue but as a result the role of major characters like Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock) seem rushed or are flat out absent from most of the film in the case of Optimus Prime or the leader of the decepticons, Megatron.

Optimus in particular whom I’ve never thought was handled well in any of the films barely makes an appearance til past the halfway mark then 10 minutes later he’s back to making these forced rallying speeches to motivate the troops to go into the final battle when he hasn’t earned the right to take on that leader role.

I think a problem with the Transformers film franchise for a lot of people has been the lack of genuine passion for what was going on. The films are visually stunning and often exhausting to watch as the staggering amount of man hours which have gone into creating them is clear to see. But at the same time they can feel hollow and boring.

When the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live action films, themselves produced by Michael Bay, were announced the details of changes to the established ideas of the property caused an uproar. In time this led to the decision to shift gears and so the sequel from the ground up was crafted with die hard fans of TMNT in mind. Familiar villains, heroes, monsters and even the theme song which any fan would know off by heart were included and I believe this made a much more enjoyable film in the process.

The Transformers films have never had this reinvention because they never really needed to being the franchise was always so popular despite negativity from some audiences. This sums up my thoughts on Transformers The Last Knight. If you have enjoyed the franchise up till now then you will definitely enjoy this latest addition. However, unlike with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, I can’t think of a reason to recommend this sequel to anyone who has felt let down by the series up till now.

 

 

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IMDB Rating:  Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Transformers: The Last Knight Reviews: N/A

 

Trailer:

Summary: The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

Year: 2017

Australian Cinema Release Date: 19th May 2017

Australian DVD Release Date: 16th August 2017

Country: United Kingdom, United States

Director: Ridley Scott

Screenwriter: Dante Harper, John Logan, Michael Green (story), Jack Paglen (story), Dan O’Bannon (characters), Ronald Shushett (characters)

Cast: Demian Bichir (Lope), Javier Botet (Xenomorph), Andrew Crawford (Neomorph), Billy Crudup (Oram), Nathaniel Dean (Hallett), Carmen Ejogo (Karine), Alexander England (Ankor), Michael Fassbender (David/Walter), James Franco (Branson), Tess Haubrich (Rosenthal), Callie Hernandez (Upworth), Lorelei King (Mother (voice)), Goran D. Kleut (Xenomorph/Neomorph), Uli Latukefu (Cole), Danny McBride (Tennesse),  Guy Pearce (Peter Weyland), Noomi Rapace (Dr. Elizabeth Shaw), Benjamin Rigby (Ledward), Amy Seimetz (Faris), Jussie Smollett (Ricks), Katherine Waterson (Daniels)

Runtime: 122 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR ALIEN: COVENANT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Kyle McGrath’s Alien: Covenant Review:

2012 saw the release of Prometheus, the first prequel in the Alien franchise and Ridley Scott’s return to the series following the original Alien (1979). It followed the ill fated crew of the unfortunately named ship Prometheus on its expedition into deep space to search for the possible  origin of mankind based on cave drawings of “Engineers” discovered worldwide by archaeologists including Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace). Several mishaps, sabotages and terrifying discoveries later, such as the team in reality discovering they were on some sort of weapons testing planet or the revelation the entire mission was in fact a means for the team’s extremely elderly benefactor, himself on board, to ask the Engineers to prolong his life. At the end of the film the entire team was wiped out and the mission a failure. The only survivors being Shaw and the severely damaged cyborg David (Michael Fassbender) on Shaw’s insistence set off to continue the search for answers and to discover the Engineer’s true home world.
Alien Covenant set 10 years after the disappearance of the Prometheus follows the crew of the Covenant, ship carrying 2000 colonists plus embryos on its way to populate a new world. A signal is picked up during repairs after a catastrophic event which awakens the dozen or so crew members from hypersleep (and kills the captain), not wishing to go back to sleep they decide to investigate the source of the signal. The planet does not turn out to be as welcoming as they had hoped and the crew come across David who had been busy.
Reaction to Prometheus was mixed to say the least, this seems to have influenced the filmmakers and the direction of the series hugely. Rather than follow on as a more direct follow up to Prometheus Alien a Covenant for the most part throws everything out the window and presents us with something more akin to a remake of Alien & Prometheus than simply a follow up to the latter.
The one almost universally liked thing about Prometheus was the creepy performance of Fassbender in the role of the android David. Now I’ll agree that he was one of the. Eat parts of the film but that doesn’t mean they should have made the entire next film about him at the expense of literally everyone else. Also what’s better than one creepy Fassbender androids? Two of them of course.
This is made worse by the way the filmmakers apparently haven’t really learned from the failings of the previous film. We don’t care about any of the characters in this film as they’re slowly picked off one by one. They’re nothing but fodder and their bizarre frankly suicidal behaviour, itself drawing the ire of fans last time, is still present here. These people invite death upon themselves because that’s what we the audience are apparently there for.
Another smart move from Prometheus this film corrupts is that the filmmakers realised that as iconic as H. R Giger’s Alien designs are they’ve largely been run into the ground or parodied to death for the last 30+ years. Fans may still eat it up but to much of the audience Giger’s Alien is now about as scary as Boris Karloff’s Mummy after Laurel & Hardy were done with him. The alien egg no longer has the mystery or horror about it that it once did, now it’s just as predictable as a jack in the box.
I’ve heard this is a “return to form” for Ridley Scott but that’s only in the most literal way as he has created something which feels like a cheap (though much more expensive) imitation of a movie he made almost 40 years ago. Alien Covenant comes off as a soulless attempt to cash in on a long dry idea. The new ideas Prometheus did well to establish this fails to take advantage of instead attempting to rehash what Alien (1979) did well which doesn’t work anymore.

 

 

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IMDB Rating:  Alien: Covenant (2017) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Alien: Covenant Reviews: N/A

 

Trailer:

Summary: After 20 years abroad, Mark Renton returns to Scotland and reunites with his old friends Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie.

Year: 2017

Australian Cinema Release Date: 31st March 2017

Australian DVD Release Date: 14th June 2017

Country: United Kingdom

Director: Danny Boyle

Screenwriter: John Hodge, Irvine Welsh (novels)

Cast: John Bell (Spud aged 20), George Best (himself), Ewen Bremner (Spud), Robert Carlyle (Begbie/Begbie’s Father), Christopher Douglas (Chris The Oracle), Kyle Fitzpatrick (Fergus), Logan Gillies (Simon aged 9), Scott Greenan (Frank Jnr.), Aidan Haggarty (Spud aged 9), Hamish Haggerty (Young Renton), Charlie Hardie (Fergus aged 9), Shirley Henderson (Gail), Daniel Jackson (Young Begbie), John Kazek (Tom), Gordon Kennedy (Tulloch),  Elik Kish (Dozo), Devon Lamb (Baby Dawn), Lauren Lamb (Baby Dawn), Pauline Lynch (Lizzy), Thierry Mabonga (Security Officer Wilson), Kelly Macdonald (Diane),  James McElvar (Simon aged 20), Connor McIndoe (Renton aged 20), Ewan McGregor (Renton), Kevin McKidd (Tommy), Jonny Lee Miller (Simon), Christopher Mullen (Begbie aged 20), Anjela Nedyalkova (Veronika), Steven Robertson (Stoddart), Michael Shaw (Tommy aged 20), Ben Skelton (Renton aged 9), Daniel Smith (Begbie aged 9), Pauline Turner (June), Tom Urie (Big Bear), Bradley Welsh (Doyle), Irvine Welsh (Mikey Forrester), Elijah Wolf (Tommy aged 9)

Running Time: 117 mins

Classification: R

 

OUR T2 TRAINSPOTTING REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Kyle McGrath’s T2 Trainspotting Review:

Over the last 10 years we’ve seen many “long time later” sequels. They’re often comedies which fall flat like Anchorman 2, Zoolander 2 or Bad Santa 2. Only earlier this week we had “XxX: The Return of Xander Cage” 12 years after the previous film in the franchise. These movies usually fail relying too much on decade old references or nostalgia alone. Rarely do we see long time later sequels to films which aren’t action or comedy which is a pity because I think it’s in these other stories where the passage of time could be much more relevant.

“T2: Trainspotting” is the 20 year later follow up to the 1996 cult hit Trainspotting. When we left Renton (Ewan McGregor) he had betrayed his so called friends Sick Boy (Johnny Lee Miller), Spud (Ewen Bremner) & the psychotic Begbie (Robert Carlyle). He had stollen the £16,000 they had just made from a drug deal he was forced into and aimed to finally remove himself from the environment which led to his heroin addiction and would consume him otherwise. Years later pushing 50 and with nowhere else to call home he has returned to make amends with his less psychotic friends and try to find some semblance of a life to live. Coincidentally Begbie has just escaped from prison and is looking to do the same, it’s only a matter of time before his 20 year grudge against Renton catches up to him.
It was several years after its release that I was finally able to watch the original Trainspotting, I do remember some of the controversy surrounding it however. It was inevitably seen by some as glamorising heroin addiction which was of course ridiculous while at the same time it wasn’t on the level of some anti-drug PSA. To me the film was more about the toxic environment which Renton inhabited than the addiction itself. The film’s most pitiful characters were those who were total slaves to their addiction while the most repulsive character in the entire story was undoubtedly Begbie who would never touch the stuff.
This new film again rather than focusing really at all on drug addiction deals more with themes of midlife crisis and a feeling of lack of achievement. The original movie (and I’ll be referring back to the original film a lot this sequel being so tied to it as it is) ended with Renton “choosing life” and possibly being able to lead a fulfilling life finally escaping the culture which was holding him down. T2 is more about the idea of what if he didn’t go on to great things? If he was middle aged and had nothing to show for it with 30-40 more years to live, what would he do with them. To say nothing of junkie Spud, pimp & blackmailing Sick Boy and the infamous Begbie dealing with similar mid life crises of their own.
It’s an interesting direction to take the story and coming back to see these characters who we remember from 2 decades ago in a completely different light really makes the movie. The movie is in a unique position to evoke legitimate feelings of nostalgia from the audience familiar with its predecessor. Something which similarly made Toy Story 3 so beloved, VERY different of a movie as that may be.
The film’s biggest problem however also stems from the time which has passed and the success of the original movie. Trainspotting really is a classic. It’s soundtrack was amazing and there was something just so real and organic about it. The actor’s chemistry with each other and Danny Boyle’s vision and style made it the cult classic it is today and was instrumental in skyrocketing almost everyone involved to stardom.
This film by comparison feels very Hollywood. It no longer has that same fresh feeling and generally seems far to much like a studio product. The comedy for example in the original was much more situational and natural, here it’s almost always: set up, punchline, pause for laughter. A bar fight between Sick Boy & Renton upon their reunion takes time out to pause and focus on an old man they’re fighting around who’s completely nonplused by the whole event. It’s a very “isn’t this funny?” moment.
Another would be Renton’s “choose life” monologue. In the original film it’s the opening and closing voice over from an omnipotent narrator. In this film it’s brought up awkwardly and somebody asks him to explain it over dinner. He then gives the same type of speech only in dialogue this time and not at one point does it feel like anything natural, made worse by the fact it’s obviously been redubbed by McGregor later on for whatever reason. These are just examples but it’s representative of how forced and scripted the whole thing felt at times.
I think like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull the problem is even if you largely have the same crew working on your film. (Same actors, same writer, same director) the issue is that those people may be very different filmmakers than they were 20 years ago. Danny Boyle is a veteran filmmaker and Oscar winner now so the film doesn’t have that independent, rough feel of 2 decades ago.
The actors are another issue. While it seems pedantic it was hard to see them in the same believable light that I did in the first movie due to their immense success. They were unknowns in 1996, now Renton is Obi Wan Kenobi, Sick Boy stars on American television as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary and Begbie was a Bond villain. While the actors still have great chemistry it was hard to see it as believable that they’d had 20 years of doing nothing when in reality they’ve almost all had 20 years of incredible successful careers as actors perhaps with the exception of Ewen Bremner which is probably why he was most believable in the role.
Again I know “it’s called acting” but there’s a reason Mickey Rourke worked so well in The Wrestler, Eminem was amazing in 8 Mile or Michael Keaton was perfect casting for Birdman. Cast Tom Hanks in the role of an out of work actor and see how believable it is.
T2 Trainspotting is definitely better than almost every other long term sequel of recent memory and we’re not likely to see many other films like this. Sadly though it’s far from living up to being as iconic as the original film in any way and feels more like something which could have been a short movie rather than a feature film.  Still I think it’s a movie for fans alone as it doesn’t really have much going for it otherwise to make it stand up on its own.

 

 

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IMDB Rating:  T2 Trainspotting (2017) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment T2 Trainspotting Reviews: N/A

 

Trailer:

Summary: After the Vietnam war, a team of scientists explores an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.

Year: 2017

Australian Cinema Release Date: 10th March 2017

Australian DVD Release Date: 19th July 2017

Country: United States, China

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Screenwriter: Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly, Dan Gilroy, John Gatins (story), Merian C. Cooper (characters), Edgar Wallace (characters)

Cast: Will Brittain (Young Marlow/Marlow’s Son), James Michael Connor (General Ward (voice), Eugene Cordero (Reles), James Edward Flynn (Sgt. Dren), John Goodman (Bill Randa), Corey Hawkins (Houston Brooks), Tom Hiddleston (James Conrad), Mark Evan Jackson (Landsat Steve), Samuel L. Jackson (Preston Packard), Richard Jenkins (Senator Willis), Tian Jing (San), Rachel Joseph (Iwi), Toby Kebbell (Jack Chapman/Kong), Brie Larson (Mason Weaver), Thomas Mann (Slivko), Thomas Middleditch (Jerry (voice)), Jason Mitchell (Mills), Miyavi (Gunpei Ikari), Terry Notary (Kong), John Oritz (Victor Nieves), Allen Rachel (Secretary O’Brien), John C. Reilly (Hank Marlow), Shea Whigham (Cole)

Runtime: 118 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR KONG: SKULL ISLAND REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Kyle McGrath’s Kong: Skull Island Review:

The second film in Legendary Pictures “MonsterVerse” Kong: Skull Island is the story of a team of soldiers, scientists and explorers who at the end of the Vietnam war set off to an uncharted island in the Pacific. Almost immediately they encounter the wrath of the mighty King Kong who destroying their military helicopters leave them stranded on Skull Island. The survivors must traverse this unknown land to reach their originally planned evacuation point completely unaware that there are things on this island much worse than a 100 foot tall monkey.
I thoroughly enjoyed 2014’s Godzilla. While I thought the movie had some issues I feel it captured the perfect tone and representation of the titular King of the Monsters. I had heard about Kong: Skull Island from one source that it didn’t take itself too seriously and then from another that it took itself too seriously. After seeing the film I think it’s a mixture of both and it isn’t alway pretty.
From the beginning the filmmakers attempts to make “Apocalypse Now but with monsters” comes off as comedic. The opening scene which itself is set at the height of WW2 as both a US and Japanese soldier crash land on the island and duke it out before being interrupted by Kong feels more like a parody than anything. I was seriously expecting it to turn out to be “golden age of Hollywood” crew making some schlocky movie as a reference to the storylines of other “King Kong” films before being attacked. But no, this is the tone of the movie, rather than awe or drama I’m expecting a punchline and usually getting one from one of the movie’s many comedy relief moments. At a moment of high tension as Kong is about to eat some unfortunate soldier it jump cuts to a man biting into a sandwich. This is comedy stuff and drives a steamroller through any tension the film has built up and turns it into a joke.
The other serious moments, or attempts at serious moments come from the characters mostly, all of whom are non entities. There are simply way too many characters in this movie and not enough plot to go around to flesh them all out in 2 hours. One of the shortcomings of Peter Jackson’s King Kong (2005) was the amount of time early on spent on supporting characters who either weren’t going to make it or weren’t going to be relevant at all by the halfway point.
Their stories felt genuine at least however. Here every other character has some monologue about their past. They talk about writing letters to their mama back home, or their newborn son they’ve never seen or they reminisce about some village they obliterated in ‘nam. All of it feels so melodramatic and ridiculous, again like it came from a parody film such as Black Dynamite and it comes from characters who probably shouldn’t be in the movie at all as their only purpose is to be fodder for some beastie or in some cases not even that. I know it’s complaining about “forced diversity” or “trying to appeal to the Chinese audience” in movies is low hanging fruit but it helps if in a movie your writers give a black guy and a Chinese girl something more substantial to do than just exist, follow the main characters around and talk to each other every now and then to remind us they’re there.
All of this damages the movie. I don’t care about the plot or Samuel L Jackson’s Colonel Kurtz-surrogate insane military commander because so much screen time is dedicated to redundancies. I would say it feels like a movie that has had 30 minutes of story cut out of it if it wasn’t for the low quality of what IS in the movie telling me otherwise.
Now while the actual monster on monster action fares much better and let’s be honest that’s what people came to see even that I found to be harmed by the need at comedy relief. We’re told about “Skull Crawlers”, the REAL threat on the island and what our hero Kong is up against, in a scene which needs to be interrupted for some jokes from long marooned soldier John C. Reilly told in exactly such a fashion that you’d expect from him. The result is on par with a Bond villain slipping on a banana peel in the middle of his master plan speech to James.
That said fans of the genre may get more out of this movie than out of Godzilla 2014. Purely from the fact that while in that film the filmmakers wished to hide the monsters from us as much as possible, here they can’t seem to wait to show it to us.
The film is what it is, a monster themed popcorn movie with cheesy comedy, wafer thin characters and story and 100 foot ape. I do believe that much more could have been done with it however if the filmmakers just knew more what tone they wished to take and story they wanted to tell. The film is tries to mix serious moments with comedy but comes off more like Hot Shots 2 than Mash.

 

 

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IMDB Rating:  Kong: Skull Island (2017) on IMDb

 

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Trailer:

Summary: In a future where mutants are nearly extinct, an elderly and weary Logan leads a quiet life. But when Laura, a mutant child pursued by scientists, comes to him for help, he must get her to safety.

Year: 2017

Australian Cinema Release Date: 3rd March 2017

Australian DVD Release Date: 7th June 2017

Country: United States

Director: James Mangold

Screenwriter: Scott Frank, Michael Green, James Mangold, John Ramita Sr. (characters), Ray Thomas (characters), Herb Trimpe (characters), Len Wein (characters), Steven McNiven (novel), Mark Millar (novel)

Cast: Daniel Bernhardt (Bone Breaker), Ashlyn Casalegno (Charlotte), Salif Celiz (Jonah), Stephen Dunlevy (Macon), Alison Fernandez (Delilah), Quincy Fouse (Nate Munson), Rey Gallegos (Rey), Jason Genao (Rictor), Richard E. Grant (Dr. Rice), Boyd Holbrook (Pierce), Hugh Jackman (Logan/X-24), David Kallaway (Rhodes), Dafne Keen (Laura), Eriq La Selle (Will Munson), Lennie Loftin (Jackson), Parker Lovein (Lizard Boy), Stephen Merchant (Caliban), Doris Morgado (Maria), Elise Neal (Kathryn Munson), Elizabeth Rodriguez (Gabriela), Krystof Soszynski (Mohawk), Patrick Stewart (Charles), Ryan Sturz (Pretty Boy), Bryant Tardy (Bobby), Hannah Westerfield (Rebecca)

Running Time: 137 mins

Classification: R

 

OUR LOGAN REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths’s Logan Review:

Sometimes the worst thing a film lover can do is believe the hype surrounding a film before it arrives in cinemas. In the months leading up to Logan we had heard that it was stand-alone Wolverine film different to any other X-Men movie, it would be R-Rated and aimed for adults and then just to make sure that our excitement levels were at their peak the rumours started coming out of the States was that Logan was going to be the best comic book movie since The Dark Knight. Then of course came the trailer which made the film appear like it was going to have amazing similarities to The Wrestler. All of the things that I was expecting from the pre-hype went out the window just twenty minutes into the film though.

Set in the not too distant future the film finds Logan (Hugh Jackman – Eddie The Eagle) hiding just over the Mexican border. All of the other mutants are now gone – dead – and Logan is left hiding out with Caliban (Stephen MerchantThe Office) while he looks after an ailing Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart – Star Trek: Next Generation) who is suffering from dementia. Logan is a mess himself – unshaven, alcoholic and making ends meet by doing a mundane job as a chauffer.

Logan’s life is turned around though when a distraught woman, Gabriela (Elizabeth RodriguezOrange Is The New Black), turns to him saying that a young girl, Laura (Dafne Keen – The Refugees), needs his help. He refuses to but that all that changes when Pierce (Boyd Holbrook – Gone Girl) shows up trying to hunt down Laura.

The premise was there to set up an almost post-apocalyptic Wolverine film, and if the film had kept to the tone of the trailer it would have done just that, but instead director James Mangold (The Wolverine) falls into the same traps that a lot of the early X-Men movies did. In fact perhaps the most frustrating part of Logan is the screenplay. At times the film threatens to become something brilliant but then it is let down by some really lazy writing. Like so often in the Marvel universe the ‘bad guys’ are walking clichés, so much so that Boyd Holbrook is wasted playing a character that pretty much has zero characterisation. Then there are simple frustrating things like those same one-dimensional baddies pulling out ‘secret weapons’ that are never referenced to earlier. They also seem dumb enough to keep trying the same tricks to bring down Logan, normally running at him and firing wildly, despite the fact he has already created a body count mowing down the last twenty or so guys that have tried the same tactic. Then there are things such as Logan and Xavier stupidly putting innocent people in danger when they should be able to predict what is going to happen and mutants seemingly forgetting their special abilities and choosing to run from those who are pursuing them. Perhaps the biggest shock though is the screenplay treating one of the franchise’s most loved characters in a really disrespectful way that is sure to infuriate those who have grown up with the franchise.

It really does feel weird that Mangold didn’t have a better handle on the subjects at hand. The director of a film like Girl, Interrupted should have had a better grasp on how to handle Xavier’s mental decay while films like Walk The Line and 3:10 To Yuma should have a better handle on dramatic storylines that serve their characters better. Mangold is normally a good director but here he seems to too easily fall into some of the traps that Bryan Singer fell into early on in the franchise.

The shame here is that Mangold wastes the skills of two men that turned up on their set with their A-Game ready to go. Patrick Stewart delivers one of the performances of his career as he plays Charles as a man that is not only struggling with his memory but also struggling with ghosts of the past. Likewise Jackman decides to go out with a bang.  His performance as the aged and disgruntled Logan is one of his performances in the franchise and as usual his action scenes are sublime.

Logan is one of those films that any fan of the franchise has to watch. The film is a finale to two of the actors that have made this series so special and while it is arguable that the story doesn’t do their characters justice Jackman and Stewart do both step up to plate and deliver memorable performances. It’s not very often that I like to see actors go back on their word and return to a role after a finale I would find it pretty easy to forgive these two men if a better script came along for their characters.

 

 

 

Harley Woods’s Logan Review:

Purportedly the final outing of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in this latest X-Men-related movie, Logan delivers a brutal, action-intense, highly emotional conclusion to the hugely famous hero.

The unrestrained action starts right at the beginning, setting up the nature of the feral hero we’ve all come to love. Immediately, we see a darker world at a point in the future where mutants (the next stage of human evolution) have died out and Logan is scraping by on a meager existence, all so he can save for a boat and medicine for his aged and dying friend – and former mentor – Professor Charles Xavier.

We are introduced to a hopeless world where everyone Logan has known and loved have died and he’s passing time taking care of his last surviving tie to the world before he can finally die himself; his mutant healing-factor finally losing the fight to keep his body functioning while suffering heavy-metal-poisoning due to the Adamantium bonded to his skeleton and claws many decades ago.

Hugh Jackman’s performance is gripping, firmly settling into the personality of a sick, disheartened and wold-weary Logan. Having lost everything he’s cared about, the effort to take care of Charles is taking its toll, but it’s also all he has to keep him going.

The medication Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) need to keep his seizures at bay has the side-effect of keeping him in a maddened state. Failure to keep on the medication causes his mutant powers to go into overdrive when he seizures – an event which could potentially hurt and kill anyone in his vicinity.

Patrick Stewart’s performance as an older incarnation of Professor X, struggling with his own sense of self during his failing health, is perfect as the grounding and conscience for Logan. He adds life and heart and hope where Logan only sees hopelessness and is a driving force in convincing Logan to take on a final mission – to take a young mutant girl across the border to a supposed ‘mutant Eden’.

The girl in question is Laura – AKA ‘X-23’ (the last of the purpose-bred mutant children intended to be used as weapons) – whose powers are identical to Logan’s. This turns Logan’s whole view of life and apparent disconnection on its head. Dafne Keen delivers an intense performance as the desperate young Laura who distrust all around her as she fights to survive. Her skills throughout the action sequences and her ability to hold her own alongside the incredible performances of her seasoned co-stars do her great credit. She is someone whose career will definitely be worth watching.

It was great to see a live-action version of Donald Pierce and his cybernetically-enhanced Reavers, even if a little understated. Further threat comes later in the film in the form of “X-24” – the ultimate weapon who is made interesting by the fact he has an almost familial connection to his creator, Doctor Rice (Richard E Grant), whose father was responsible for bonding the Adamantium metal to Logan’s bones many years ago (and was subsequently killed by those claws).

Based loosely on the Marvel Comics’ story “Old Man Logan”, this cinematic interpretation pares back a lot of the cameo- and continuity-laden comic and injects more X-men and Wolverine-specific elements while keeping the plot very ‘tight’ and personal for our protagonist. The great strength of this film is that it is so self-contained that it could stand quite well as a movie in its own right without ever referencing Marvel’s X-Men licences, with a quality of story and palpability of its emotional content.

The production team on all levels deserve a huge applaud for their work, succeeding raising the bar from the amazing previous instalment, The Wolverine (2013). Emotionally and physically brutal, this is a piece of drama recommended for serious film lovers; equally appealing to someone looking for a dark drama or an action film.

Having exceeded my expectations, it took a day or two of thought to figure out what didn’t sit right with me. The only criticism I have is that some elements or story elements could have been expanded further, including a little backstory on how some of the characters got to where they are, or taking a glimpse into the past at the fall of the mutants; maybe even seeing a little more of Charles in his ‘demented’ state. But, the

truth is that this would have distracted from the contained story and probably would have ruined the pace of the film. To be honest, I think I just want more of a great thing!

 

 

 

Kyle McGrath’s Logan Review:

Being largely seen as the superhero film franchise which began the current age of comic book movies the X-Men series has seen its ups and downs over the last almost 2 decades. Sequels, Prequels, soft-reboots, spin offs and with the recent success of Deadpool it became clear there was an audience for adult themed comic-book films. Makes sense, anybody born when the series began would be almost old enough to drink now. With the release of Logan after fan disappointment some 3 or 4 years back after learning The Wolverine wouldn’t be receiving an adult rating after rumours to the contrary fans are joyous at the prospect of finally getting the adult Wolverine film they have wanted for a long time.
Logan tells the story of an aging and weary Wolverine (High Jackman) in the not too distant future. The mutants of the world are mostly dead and the x-men are a thing of the past, their former leader and powerful telepath Professor X (Patrick Stewart) suffers from the slow onset of dementia and must be cared for and kept medicated by Logan. Working as a chauffeur he is approached by a woman asking for his help in transporting herself and a young girl across the country. Initially hesitant Logan soon discovers the girl has powers similar to his own and is being pursued by dark forces. He must decide whether to continue on his current path or to protect the girl in a world where there kind seem to have no future.
Logan the film is a very different movie to the other films in the x-men franchise. Much more brooding and down to earth than previous instalments the film’s smaller scale and deeper focus on the title character allows for a fitting send off to the character of Wolverine (or at least this incarnation of it) in what is to be Hugh Jackman’s final performance in his career making role.
The film’s adult rating too allows for a degree of fan service which was lacking in the other portrayals of Wolverine on the big screen up till now. I still recall that while the family friendly film X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) is looked at as the single lowest point of the franchise, the tie-in video game which had much more bloody chaotic violent action was generally well received as what “might have been”. Logan is much more fitting with that vision of the character.
While the graphic depiction of bloody violence, though different, still ties in well with the other films I believe the liberal use of vulgar dialogue does not. It seems a bit like the writers decided “well it’s an adult film now so everyone should swear, a lot”. It makes sense for Logan to use an F-word now and then but when his use of the word gets more and more frequent it begins to feel a bit off. But when Professor X drops like 3 F-qbombs in the first scene he’s in its very jarring with how his character has always talked previous. It’s the only way I think the mature nature of the film hurts the movie.
The story of Logan and the details leading up to it feel a little underdeveloped. Right off the bat we’re told that most of the world’s mutants are dead or gone which is depressing enough considering canonically-wise the last film was about successfully preventing exactly that from happening. It’s a bit of a downer that a time travelling Wolverine in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” managed to save all mutant kind only for them to be wiped out again anyway.
However to make it worse we’re never given much of an explanation as to how things got this way outside of quite vague handwaves. This may be on purpose as to allow the filmmakers to focus on this point of the “X-Men Saga” more but the cynic in me thinks it also was to allow future films room in the timeline to breathe.
An issue I believe plagues the film is that for how much punch there is to the violence and how much more biting the course language is ironically many of the points in the film that were supposed to have punch to them I felt lacked impact. The main antagonist showing up halfway through the film and then being underdeveloped, the death of beloved characters happening off screen without explanation, even Logan’s story of redemption felt weak  with me because I feel like I’ve seen Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine character go through this arc several times already. There’s only so many times I can see a disenfranchised character find a sense of belonging and family only to be reverted for the sake of doing the same thing in a sequel but no THIS time it’s different for some reason.
Logan is something very different to what we’re used to seeing in comic book movies and in X-Men movies as well. For that alone it deserve credit. It’s sad to see Hugh Jackman retiring from the character, but all good things come to an end and despite the issues I believe the film had this is still a respectable way to say farewell to the portrayal of a character many of us have grown up with.

 

 

Average Subculture Rating:  

 

 

IMDB Rating: 
Logan (2017) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Logan Reviews: N/A

 

Trailer: