The cast of the new powerful crime drama The Hate U Give has given us a behind the scenes look of thef film that is due to hit cinemas in October. Starring Amandla Stenberg (The Darkest Minds, The Hunger Games), Regina Hall (Scary Movie, Girls Trip), Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Captain AMerica: Civil War) and Common (Wanted, Suicide Squad) the film is also directed by George Tillman Jnr (Faster, Notorious).
Jirga, the new film from award-winning filmmaker, author and paramedic Benjamin Gilmour (Son of a Lion, Paramedico) has been selected to make its International Premiere at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in the section dedicated to showcasing first or second features, Discovery. Gilmour will be joined in Toronto by lead actor Sam Smith.
Jirga was the only Australian film In Competition at Sydney Film Festival, and screens In Competition at Cinefest Oz this week after sold-out screenings at MIFF. Following TIFF, Footprint Films presents Q&A screenings in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth ahead of the film’s September 27 release date, with other states to follow.
Set and shot in Afghanistan in extraordinary circumstances, Jirga stars Sam Smith as a former Australian soldier who returns to Afghanistan to find the family of a civilian he accidentally killed during the war. Seeking forgiveness, he puts his life in the hands of the village justice system – the Jirga.
Benjamin Gilmour said “We’re so thrilled to have Jirga at Toronto, such an important festival. I think audiences are really craving films like this, stories of reconciliation and peace.”
Jirga is directed and written by Benjamin Gilmour, produced by John Maynard. Executive producers are Bridget Ikin and David Gross.Jirga is a Felix Media production. Principal production investment from Screen Australia, in association with Definition Films.
JIRGA Q&A TOUR
Thursday 20 September
6.30pm screening of JIRGA followed by a Q&A with director Benjamin Gilmour, lead actor Sam Smith and producer John Maynard, hosted by Sydney Morning Herald’s Garry Maddox
Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace - 380 Military Road, Cremorne
eOne Entertainment has just launched the trailer for the eagerly anticipated Green Book. Starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, GREEN BOOK is the uplifting true story of a friendship that defied the odds. Set in 1962, the film follows Italian-American Tony Lip (Mortensen), who is hired to chauffer African-American pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Ali) on a concert tour through the Deep South. GREEN BOOK will have its World Premiere as a Gala Presentation at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. It will premiere in Australia on the 24th January, 2019.
Summary: Falling in love is easy, getting out of it is hard. Our hero, Josh ﬁnds himself ‘LoveStuck’ between his best friend, his ex-girlfriend and the new girl he is about to move in with. As a lowly clerk working with the public service in Canberra, Josh is used to procrastination, but his fear of con*ict and knack for stretching the truth gets him into trouble with the women that he loves.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th August 2017
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Murray Fahey
Cast: Rik Brown (Josh), Fenella Edwards (Horatio), Murray Fahey (Polonius), Cathy Hagarty (Cath), Malcolm Irvin (Rosencraztz), Ali Little (Barnardo), Jenny Lovell (Gertude), Heady Manders (Voltemand), Gabby Millgate (Bag Lady Ophelia), Glen Morrison (Laertes), Robert Morrison (Guilderstein), Rama Nicolas (Kate), Emma Reid (Hecuba), Patti Stiles (Trish), Geoff Wallace (Claudius)
Runtime: 73 mins
OUR LOVESTUCK REVIEWS & RATINGS:
The Australian film industry has been throwing up some extremely experimental films over the past few years – from one-shot action films through to filmed theatre productions. Well now comes Lovestuck – a completely improvised film from director Murray Fahey (Cubbyhouse, Dags). Not only does the film toss up a story that keeps you guessing but also gives you a look behind the scenes of what goes into making an improvised film at the same time.
The film centres around Josh (Rik Brown – Utopia, Dinner For Three) a man who is struggling with his feelings with three woman – his ex Kate (Rama Nicolas – Little Solider, The Mutant Way), his current girlfriend Cath (Cathy Hagarty – newcomer) and his best friend Trish (Patti Stiles – Neighbours, Stingers). On one disastrous day he meets with Kate to hand back some of her things – which then sets him on a journey to find a pen that she once gave him – while meanwhile Cath and Tess meet for the first time. The result is him having to make a decision about the three woman if he has any chance of moving on at all.
The danger of doing an experimental film like Lovestuck is that sometimes the experiment itself can get in the way of the story or can distract the audience from getting immersed in the film. Strangely, given that the film also shows the audience what is happening behind the scenes at times, neither happens here. The actors at hand – especially Rik Brown – are so good at the improvisation that you forget that you are watching a film that never technically had a script. The scenes flow together well and while there are some scenes that perhaps didn’t need to be there, most of the scenes featuring the main four characters tie in together well and do raise the suspense of who Josh will chose at the end… something that director Murray Fahey let Rik Brown decide as part of the improvisation.
The improvisation of the film does allow for the tone of the film to switch at times which gives Lovestuck a really unique feel. From comedic moments when Josh runs into Cath outside a massage parlour and tries to explain that he didn’t get one of ‘those’ massages right through to more dramatic scenes like Cath and Trish meeting for the first time this is a film that at one moment feels like an episode of Seinfeld one moment and the latest romance drama the next. Even the Hamlet Hip-Hop scene which had the potential of feeling out of place in the film works well because as an audience member you find yourself sitting there thinking ‘do they have the pen or not?’
The key to this film working though was the cast and to Fahey and his casting assistant’s credit they get this 100% right. Rik Brown carries the film throughout and with the tone changes that is no easy feat. From moments of complete awkwardness right through to almost slapstick comedy he delivers each time while Nicolas, Hagarty and Stiles also amazing throughout the film. Not once does there seem to be a moment where they hesitate when they think of what to say next and to be able to deliver improv lines so naturally means they deserve high credit… it is no easy feat.
Lovestuck just shows what you can create when you get together a creative team of people. While an improvised movie sounds like it shouldn’t work this one does to the point where you really do care which decision Josh makes. Worth checking out if you like your cinema a little left of centre.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
IMDB Rating: N/A
Other Subculture Entertainment Lovestuck Reviews: Nil
Summary: After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
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
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.
Average Subculture Rating:
Other Subculture Entertainment Baby Driver Reviews: N/A
Often when a horror movie is really being talked about as ‘one of the horror movies of the year’ it ends up being a complete disappointment once you actually you get a chance to watch it. That was certainly a fear for me going to watch Raw. As many of you would know horror is one of my favourite genres but often when a film is really being ‘pumped up’ I get my hopes up and then find myself largely disappointed… as was the recent case with Get Out. You’ll be happy to know though that wasn’t the case with Raw… no, once again Monster Pictures have brought us Aussies one horror film that certainly lives up to all the hype.
From French director Julia Ducournau (TV’s Mange) the film explores the events that follow after young vegetarian, Justine (Garance Marillier – Solo Rex, Junior) who during a hazing ritual tastes meat for the first time. As an unexplained taste for meat suddenly rises in her, she finds her relationships with her sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf – Tiger Girl, War) suddenly spiralling. As the gifted young student also finds herself attracted to some of the men around her another hunger is also awakened.
The only people that are going to be disappointed by Raw are those that will go into this film expecting to be like the more subtle horror films come out in Hollywood at the moment. Raw is gritty, but not to the point where it is a filmmaker only out for the shock value. Instead, it is a creative film with a well-developed and surprising screenplay also created by Ducournau. While some may argue that the film has a plot aimed at exploring man and woman’s need to eat meat, the basis of this film is a storyline that shows a young woman’s needs and desires developing in a way that cinema has rarely done in the past. Rather than using shock tactics the film instead takes an artistic Argento-style feel which only intensifies some of the film’s more suspenseful scenes.
Few screenwriters, Joss Whedon aside, have developed plots that explore human sexuality and needs with such brilliant subtext and Ducournau is a smart-enough screenwriter not to let that bog down her film and her script and instead the film delivers a fair amount suspense as the audience is taken on a journey as Justine’s needs develop and they try to work out not only exactly what is happening to her but also just how it’s going to affect her life in the long run.
Ducournau’s screenplay is also the perfect vehicle for young actresses Garance Marillier and Ella Rumpf to really show just how exciting their skills are. The pair brilliantly delivers not only during some of the film’s more confronting scenes but also excel at some of the more intense scenes as their relationship is pushed to breaking point. Normally scenes of this intensity would really challenge actresses at this age but together here Marillier and Rumpf deliver performances that should silence anyone that says horror films rarely produce classic acting moments these days.
Raw is one of those horror films that really sticks with you. Not because it plants a horrific imprint on your brain but because it is a genre film with a real arthouse feel that further enhances the film. As you watch the film, you also get a distinct feeling that Ducournau is a director that we are going to be talking about for a long time to come as her directional stylings are a breath of fresh air in a genre that is being held back by some average Hollywood films.
Summary: After 20 years abroad, Mark Renton returns to Scotland and reunites with his old friends Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie.
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
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.
Average Subculture Rating:
Other Subculture Entertainment T2 Trainspotting Reviews: N/A
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.
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
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 Merchant – The 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 Rodriguez – Orange 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.
Summary: A quiet observation of the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 22nd December 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States, Germany, France
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Screenwriter: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Adam Driver (Paterson), Golshifteh Farahani (Laura), Chasten Harmon (Marie), William Jackson Harper (Everitt), Frank Harts (Luis), Barry Shabaka Henley (Doc), Rizwan Manji (Donny), Brian McCarthy (Jimmy), Method Man (himself), Nellie (Marvin), Trevor Parham (Sam), Troy T. Parham (Dave)
Runtime: 118 mins
OUR PATERSON REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Film director Jim Jarmusch’s work isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. His films are often described by the average cinema goer as ‘hard to get’ and you can always guarantee that his films are going to make you think. His last film, Only Lovers Left Alive,may have been a vampire movie… but even that was a flick with a difference. Now comes one of Jarmusch’s most cinema-friendly films, Paterson… but even this is going to have to you thinking deeply long after you leave the cinema.
Paterson tells a simple tale. It follows the lives of Paterson (Adam Driver – Star Wars: The Force Awakens), a poet who spends his days working as a bus driver, and his partner Laura (Golshifteh Farahani –Body Of Lies) who dreams drift from being a cup-cake mogul to starting a country music career. Ironically they live in Paterson, New Jersey and for the most part, the film follows Paterson’s regular day of going to work, listening to his passenger’s conversations, writing poetry, walking his dog and visiting his local bar.
As you can ascertain from the film’s synopsis Paterson is one of those films where very little happens plot-wise yet while you are watching the movie you never find yourself getting bored. Jarmusch is a talented enough storyteller to know that you can get away with very little plot if you fill your film with enough interesting characters to hold your audience’s interest. Here, Jarmusch does that in bucket loads. While his life may be a little boring Paterson himself is a character that you find yourself rooting for because he is such a nice character and completely unaware of what a great poet he is.
The secondary source of interest for the audience in Paterson is the interesting characters that Jarmusch chooses to have interact with Paterson. Whether it be passengers such as two men who know nothing about women, teenage anarchists or those that chat to Paterson in his local bar – a barman obsessed with celebrities who lived in Paterson, Doc (Barry Shabaka Henley – Collateral) or Everett (William Jackson Harper – True Story) and Marie (Chasten Harmon – Elementary) a young couple in disarray, these characters each bring something unique to the story at hand.
Part of what makes Paterson such an interesting film is you never really know what Jarmusch is setting his audience up for. Is he planning on giving Paterson that one moment when he meets the right person who can help launch his career as a poet or even deliver the time when he finally realises that he does, in fact, have a talent that the world deserves to hear. Then, of course, the darker side of your imagination wonders whether or not Jarmusch is planning on putting his characters through something traumatic that will change their lives forever.
Jarmusch’s writing also allows for some decent performances from his leads. Fans of Adam Driver will quickly tell you that he is capable of more than what we saw in his recent performance in The Force Awakens. Serious movie fans will know that over the years Driver has delivered some powerful performances in serious films like What If, Midnight Specialand Inside Llewyn Davis, and once again he delivers the goods here as he portrays the very melancholy Paterson. This film also introduces most fans to a bright, new star in Golshifteh Farahani. This fresh face shows pure talent as she plays the free-spirited Laura and you get a real feeling that she is somebody that we are going to see a lot of in the near future.
If you go into Paterson expecting a high-octane film, then you will be sorely disappointed. Instead, once again Jim Jarmusch has created an interesting film that is largely a character study of two everyday people. This is a film that will have you debating what Jarmusch is trying to say with the film and will also have you seeing Adam Driver as a potential Oscar nominee.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Entertainment Paterson Reviews: Nil