This week on That’s Entertainment Dave Griffiths joins Ed Phillips to chat about new films Kong: Skull Island, David Stratton: A Cinematic Life, Logan and Alone In Berlin.
This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Adam, Dave, Greg and Nick take a look at new release films ‘Jasper Jones,’ ‘Miss Sloane,’ ‘Logan,’ ‘Before I Fall,’ and ‘Alone In Berlin’.
This episode also contains interviews with Jessica Chastain, Jai Love (Dead Hands Dig Deep), Rosie Jones (The Family), David Stratton (David Stratton: A Cinematic Life), Keith Sutliff (The Mason Brothers) and Nik Kacevski (Skinford).
Make sure you also listen to this week’s episode for your chance to win a copy of Tracey Ullman’s Show on DVD thanks to our good friends at Acorn. For you chance to win make sure you listen to this week’s show and then answer the question that Dave asks through a private message on either our Facebook or Twitter page.
You can listen to The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show or download it for free from our Podcast Channel – Listen/Download here.
Over the past twenty years comic book fans have had the immense pleasure of being able to watch nine films set in the X-Men universe (if you include the stand-alone Wolverine and Deadpool movies). For a generation of film goers now Australian actor Hugh Jackman is Wolverine while acclaimed actor Patrick Stewart has shared the role of Professor Charles Xavier with James McAvoy, who has played the younger version of the fearless leader in the newer films.
Now as the curtain falls on this world of mutants and heroes for Jackman and Stewart they team up with director James Mangold (who dipped into the franchise in 2013 with The Wolverine). The film has a much darker tone and this time is more graphic than its predecessors… something that has earned it an R-Rating from the classification board.
That ‘different’ tone is something that the man himself Hugh Jackman is only too happy to talk about. “I think the whole film feels different,” he says shifting his chair. ‘Tone, character wise it’s different to any of the others. And that was our goal, I didn’t want it to feel like the final chapter of a saga I wanted it to feel like a whole new, fresh thing. I wanted to stake some new ground. Logan in this film is more human… hence the title… he’s sick, his powers are dwindlering, he’s vulnerable, he’s also looking after an aging father-figure in Charles Xavier and hiding him out. He’s also under stress, he doesn’t have money – he’s a limo driver trying to earn enough bucks to get by and to buy the meds that Charles needs and he’s got a lot of very mundane, everyday stuff going on. But clearly he has checked out, he is at the bottom and so want James Mangold and James Frank did was kind of create a world for a character whose biggest fear is love and intimacy, because that only brings pain, but now he is surrounded by a family that is forced upon him.”
The new story brings about a whole new relationship between Logan (Wolverine) and Charles Xavier with Jackman explains precisely. “Charles has dementia,” he explains. “Charles Xavier has been a father figure and mentor and probably understands him the best because Logan is a closed book. He quips and he is tough and all that but Charles knows where he comes from and knows his background – he knows the demons that he is fighting. So he knows him and but in this one the tables are turned a little bit because he has dementia, so he is confused and he is vulnerable and he’s angry and he is many, many, many different things. At times he is child-like and then at other times he is abusive and Logan is just in that carer role, that role of taking care day and night day in and day out, he also has to keep him hidden from authorities so it is a great dynamic and it was a lot of fun to play. And it was even better because it was with a great friend and one of the greatest actors I have ever met.
But then a quick look at the poster and of course trailer and fans of the series will notice that there is another potential relationship for Logan in this film as well. “Yes, then there is a young girl that has been created from DNA,” Jackman says almost teasingly. “And that DNA may very well resemble my own, and that was stolen so it wasn’t like he chose to have a daughter, which she may be, but he is confronted with genetics that are very similar to his own and a task to rescue/protect/save her. He doesn’t want that task and he pushes it away for as long as he can but that relationship between those two characters, that father/daughter relationship, is very strong, and this young girl Daphne that plays that part is absolutely astonishing.”
So what does Jackman hope that fans will take away from this film? “My hope for fans with this film and I talk to them every day, maybe every second day, over the last seventeen years is that they say that this is ‘the Wolverine movie that they have always wanted to see,” he says smiling. “That is my hope and dream and that was my guiding star while making this movie.”
The other actor also farewelling the series here is Patrick Stewart and he says audiences will also see a very different side to his character, Charles Xavier. “Not only will you see a different side to Charles you will see a transformed Charles,” he explains. “The controlled, intelligent, sensitive intellectual has been replaced with a scatter-brained, crazy, physically-fragile and highly dangerous individual. No one could ever imagine that Charles Xavier could become a dangerous being in society, it’s unthinkable, but here he is putting the world at risk.”
He to explains how this changes his relationship with Logan. “From the very beginning Charles has had a very caring relationship with him. He knew everything about Logan – his past, how he came about, what had been done to him, the misery and agony of that. He always felt a protectiveness towards him. Logan has always been a difficult personality – independent, sometimes aggressive, sometimes mean-spirited, hostile even, but essentially he has always had his heart in the right place. Now there has been a turnaround and the carer is Logan and the vulnerable, weak, fragile one is Charles. And as I said not only vulnerable but also very dangerous.”
“Our primary duty is to entertain,” says Stewart talking about his hopes for the film with fans. “But entertaining can have very different aspects to it. There are themes within this film which some people have already identified as being a contemporary commentary on present day society, particularly in Europe and the United States. I don’t think that was the overt intention of the producers and the writers of this movie but I think that has unfortunately come about that way. But yes there is some instruction in this movie. There are warning contained within this movie and if they are listened to in any way whatsoever then not only have we entertained then perhaps we have also been a benefit.”
Of course fans have also been very excited to see director James Mangold return to the franchise so what was it like for Stewart to work with him and the rest of the cast. “I had only ever done one days work with James previously,” explains Stewart. “Ian McKellan and I shot a one day short movie scenes as a fill-in for the first Wolverine movie, but I met with James very early on in the process and I enjoyed that two/three hour conversation that we had about the screenplay and about the character of Charles and particularly about his disintegration. I love working with James, he is a craftsman and he knows filmmaking so well. He knows on the one hand exactly what he wants, but I have never before worked with a director that is so open to other possibilities and to input from his cast, even bringing up the unexpected and at times even inviting us to improvise which is something that always appeals to me and some of those little improvisations even made it into the movie. With the cast – well the X-Men are reduced down to two in this film and to have such a close relationship with Logan being Hugh Jackman has been a delight as it always has been for seventeen years.”
So it seems that both cast and fans alike are sad to see Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart leaving the franchise, but at least they all have one last film to savour before the curtain-call.
Logan is out in cinemas right now.
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
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:
Average Subculture Rating:
Other Subculture Entertainment Logan Reviews: N/A
Kyle McGrath is a life-long film and television fan who has an encyclopedic knowledge of films. Kyle loves all kinds of films but is an expert when it comes to cult cinema and action films. He has also worked as a video game reviewer.
Over the years Kyle has had a number of roles in the media world from a production assistant at Melbourne Channel 31 television station and an executive producer on the popular X-Wired television show. Currently he works not only as a film reviewer for Subculture Entertainment but also for The Popcorn Experience podcast. He also writes reviews for HEAVY Mag and hosts a popular video games podcast for them.
Currently Kyle McGrath has 9 reviews on Subculture Entertainment
Currently Kyle McGrath features on 5 episodes of The Popcorn Conspiracy
Currently Kyle McGrath has 1 film feature article on Subculture
Harley is a creative talent who has lived in an amazing world inside his head since childhood (and a slightly less amazing one in the “real world” – wherever that is). Obsessed with creativity and storytelling he developed an interest in theatre, performing and writing early on and went on to study Professional Writing & Editing, where he met David Griffiths and others who formed Subculture Media / Subculture Entertainment.
In past years, Harley has also studied and dabbled in filmmaking and media, multimedia and drama.
In 2001 he started helping out with the production of “Sonic Screwdriver” – the fan club magazine of the Doctor Who Club of Victoria and quickly became the Art Director. As Art Director of the ‘zine he helped with editing and created the layout and design and the majority of the artwork included in the issues during his tenure. He was also responsible for comic strips and occasional articles printed therein and was the regular reviewer of Doctor Who related media being released at the time.
More recently, Harley has leased himself out as a freelanced artist, writer and editor. He is currently working on comic strips for release online and is developing comic book ideas (both solo and with David Griffiths) and productions for TV, film and audio; all the while dreaming of recording his music to one day release to the world.
Currently Harley Woods has 9 reviews on Subculture Entertainment:
Dave Griffiths has worked as a journalist for over twenty years now -covering topics including film, television, music, travel and sport (with a main focus on AFL Football).
That time has seen him host the popular X-Wired television program for seven seasons as well as write for various magazines such as Buzz Magazine, Heavy Mag, Stage Whispers, The Banner and Eternity. Dave is currently the Head Film Writer for Heavy Mag and also writes reviews for Thailand’s The Phuket News newspaper.
He has even branched out into writing online for Subculture Entertainment, Media Search and The Book The Film The T-Shirt. He also worked as the online editor for Entertainment 360 for three years.
Dave’s radio work has seen him work on various radio stations including Talking Lifestyle, 3RPP, Triple R and Light FM. He is currently the co-host of Melbourne’s 94.1FM’s breakfast show ‘The Motley Crew’ and he can sometimes be heard on J-Air’s ‘First On Film’. David is also the co-host of two popular podcasts – ‘The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show,’ and ‘The Popcorn Conspiracy’
As far as Film Reviewing goes David is an elected committee member of AFCA (Australian Film Critics Association and a member of IPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics)/FIPRESCI (Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique).
He has also served as a jury member for a number of international film festivals and is considered an expert on cult cinema, horror movies and Australian films.
Dave is also a keen screenwriter and is currently working on a new comic book series.
Currently David Griffiths has 42 Film Reviews on Subculture Entertainment
Currently David Griffiths has 51 Film Interviews on Subculture Entertainment
Currently David Griffiths has 10 Music Reviews on Subculture Entertainment
Currently David Griffiths has 43 Music Interviews on Subculture Entertainment
Currently David Griffiths has 11 Theatre/Comedy Interviews on Subculture Entertainment
Currently David Griffiths features on 5 episodes of The Popcorn Conspiracy