With The Predator hitting cinemas this week we thought it would be a good chance to go behind the scenes and meet the team of McKenna (Boyd Holbrook – Logan, The Host), Nebraska (Trevante Rhodes – Moonlight, 12 Strong), Coyle – (Keegan-Michael Key – Tomorrowland, Let’s Be Cops), Lynch (Alfie Allen – Game Of Thrones, John Wick), Baxley (Thomas Jane – The Mist, Boogie Nights) and Nettles (Augusto Aguilera – 8, Ice).
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: Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) is a washed up gangster, a gangster with more notches under his belt due to his work with good friend Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris) then even he would care to admit. Those kills mount so high that he has in the ‘Moby Dick’ for Detective Harding (Vincent D’Onofrio) who is determined to bring him down but has never really been sure which murders he was responsible for and which ones were committed by somebody else.
But Jimmy isn’t living by his gun any more. No these days he spends his time drunk and asleep in Shawn’s bar, which seemingly seems to be managed by his also criminally-minded son Danny (Boyd Holbrook). Meanwhile Jimmy’s own son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) keeps out of the gangster lifestyle choosing to be away from his father and do an honest job as a limo driver.
Suddenly though Mike’s world is turned upside down when his job causes him to witness a murder committed by his former friend, Danny. Now suddenly Danny and Shawn have their sites set on Mike who suddenly finds himself being reluctantly helped by his old man.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 19th March, 2015
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Screenwriter: Brad Ingelsby
Cast: Lisa Branch (Angela Banks), Radivoje Bukvic (Victor Grezda), John Cenatiempo (Tommy), Giulia Cicciari (Catelyn Conlon), Common (Andrew Price), Ella June Conroy (Kirsten), T.J. Craig (Tim), Chris C. Cullen (Young Pat Mullen), Vincent D’Onofrio (Detective Harding), Tony Devon (Detective Angie), Dan Domingues (Uncle Ricky), Malcolm Goodwin (Officer Colston), Ed Harris (Shawn Maguire), Roderick Hill (Billy Conlon), Boyd Holbrook (Danny Maguire), Aubrey Joseph (Curtis ‘Legs’ Banks), Jelani Robert Joseph (Marcus), Patricia Kalember (Rose Maguire), Joel Kinnaman (Mike Conlon), Beau Knapp (Kenan Boyle), Anna Ladner (Maria), James Martinez (Detective Oscar Torres), Holt McCallany (Frank), Bruce McGill (Pat Mullen), Carrington Meyer (Lily Conlon), Julian Murdoch (Young Mike), Andy Murray (Paul), Tony Naumovski (Samir), Liam Neeson (Jimmy Conlon), Nick Nolte (uncredited), Genesis Rodriguez (Gabriela Conlon), Daniel Stewart Sherman (Brendan), Lois Smith (Margaret Conlon), Gavin-Keith Umeh (Officer Randle), Barrington Walters Jnr. (Terrell)
Runtime: 114 mins
OUR RUN ALL NIGHT REVIEWS & RATINGS:
The gangster film genre (yes a sub-genre of the crime genre) can be a slippery slope for females. Get it wrong and you end up looking incredibly stupid like director Ruben Fleischer did with Gangster Squad. Yes everyone wants to make the next Godfather, but few come close, in recent times it has really only been films like Animal Kingdom, The Departed, Two Hands and Killing Them Softly that have ever come anywhere near the masterpiece of the genre though.
With Run All Night though director, Jaume Collet-Serra, who started as a horror director with House Of Wax and Orphan before directing Neeson it great thrillers Non-Stop and Unknown, comes dangerously close to making a film that deserves to be listed amongst the ‘better’ films in this realm.
Collet-Serra’s horror background certainly seems to help him in the making of Run All Night. Unlike some of the softer gangster flicks around he isn’t afraid to let a little bit of blood splatter, while he brings a dark sinister urban feel to Brad Ingelsby’s script, which already uses the city of New York as a character anyway. The best part of Run All Night though is the fact that Collet-Serra keeps track of the character relationships awfully well and never allows the film to become a storyless shoot-‘em-up like the mediocre Denzel Washington led The Equalizer which surfaced last year. The fact that Ingelsby’s screenplay sets this film over the course of one night also shows that he is a screenwriter to watch.
Instead Collet-Serra keeps the tension running throughout this film, not only from having Mike and Jimmy in constant danger whether through a high speed car chase or a slow paced forest ‘hunt’, but by realizing that the friction generated from the fractured relationships that these characters share with each other is more than enough to have the audience on their seat as well… a tension that is also enhanced by a great soundtrack by Junkie XL.
In fact the only weakness with Run All Night seems to be storyline surrounding Mr. Price (played by the rapper Common), the mysterious hitman hired to track down Mike and Jimmy. While most of the characters in Run All Night escape that the Hollywood gangster clichés, Mr. Price certainly doesn’t. Very little character background is given about him which doesn’t make him mysterious, it just makes him slightly annoying. There seems to be very little motivation to why the character exists in the film except to lead up to the finale, and he would really be more at place in a film like Sin City. Not sure why he was written into the original screenplay when two great adversaries were already set up with Shawn and Detective Harding… the latter a character that certainly deserved a lot more screen time.
Also making Run All Night a must see are the performances of the cast. Neeson vs Harris is one of the best enemy pairings in modern cinema and the two veteran actors go toe-to-toe with not only violence but also a remarkably tension filled dialogue driven scene where the two face off in a crowded restaurant over a meal. Neeson shrugs off the misses he recently delivered with Taken 3 and A Walk Among The Tombstones and once again returns to what we saw in Non-Stop a man who understands the action thriller genre more than most of his counterparts.
The younger cast step up as well with Joel Kinnaman making us forget RoboCop with a performance not too dissimilar to his one in The Killing while Boyd Holbrook also seems to relish the opportunity of playing the ‘bad guy.’ Common doesn’t do much to suggest that he should turn his back on his music career while the brave casting of Law & Order: Criminal Intent star Vincent D’Onofrio to play another New York cop (like playing one on TV for ten years wasn’t enough) actually seems to pay off despite the role not having quite enough meat to make him stand out.
Run All Night is a stylish gangster flick that shows that there is still life in this genre and Liam Neeson yet. Jaume Collet-Serra again reminds us why he is the leading thriller director around at the moment with a film that I am certain is going to be talked about for years to come.