REVIEW: “LOGAN” (2017) 20th Century Fox

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First and foremost – you don’t need to stay for the end credits! And with that important piece of information out of the way…. We all know that Wolverine solo films are always a completely different type of story, sometimes good and sometimes so-so, and in some way or another do link themselves up to the X-Men films. This one is no different and I’m keeping it simple and not spelling out the whole plotline or giving out spoilers, because no one ever should and every X-Men fan should just be able to go watch for themselves.

For seventeen years, we’ve been watching the life and career of Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) in the movies. And we have all grown a bit older. Nevertheless, it is surprising to see that mutants also grow old. And then what? This film answers a lot of questions about what happens to the mutants when the many struggles have left scars on the body and soul that no longer heal. Like the dementia that has struck Charles Xavier/Professor X (Patrick Stewart). Who ends up caring for them as they really have no family other than each other. These questions are all answered for you in James Mangold’s third part of the Wolverine series as it presents not only its history, but a storyline of the how the X-Men concludes.

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To start off with, Logan plays 25 years in the future in the year 2029 and in an America that appears almost post-apocalyptic. Trump’s wall is not built, there are the old border fences. But otherwise the society seems to be one in which, if perhaps unintentionally, could well be the result of the new American policy. The mutants have been persecuted for a long time and only a few remain. Those who do, hide. Logan himself is now a limousine driver on the American-Mexican border. His residence: remote Mexico in an old factory. Here, with only the albino-mutant tracker Caliban (Stephen Merchant) to provide care, he hides Professor X, on whom dementia has taken a toll which leads to problems with his telekinetic brain. If he is not constantly medicated with the drugs that Logan is getting on the black market, his attacks can and do trigger seismic activities that can kill hundreds of people. Logan himself is as he always was: cranky, constantly pissed and always on guard. But he too is aging. His powers have been dimishing now for some time, his body is littered with scars. And with declining healing power, the adamantium he was injected with years before is slowly poisoning him and he relieves the pain with a constant consumption of alcohol. It feels as though these last few mutants are just waiting for the end to happen when there will be none of them left.

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But then comes Laura (Dafne Keen). The young girl is a mutant, even if an artificially created one, who escapes the Transigen labroratory she’s been created in with the help of a nurse, Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez). She needs Logan’s help to quickly get to a certain place in North Dakota, which she knows only from the old X-Men comic books. Of course though, there is an army of mercenaries from the lab lead by Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and Dr. Rice (Richard E. Grant) after them.
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Logan is a somewhat unusual hybrid film. What first catches your eye is the violence that this film entails. It surpasses the predecessors in a big way with this. And it’s the one part that truly bothered me as it’s done mostly with kids. Not 13-15 year olds, but kids around the ages of 9-12 years old. I found it somewhat disturbing to say the least watching countless people slaughtered here, by kids. Dozens of times we see claws hitting heads, limbs are cut off, people mutilated. Trust me when I tell you this is no “family-friendly” film here, Logan has been given an R rating and is worthy of it. While the film has kids in it, it’s not a film to take your children to.

Oddly enough with all the violence of the film is somewhat counteracted as Logan goes a very different way. Apart from the usual slaughter, there is hardly any use of mutant forces. It’s much more melancholy than I’ve ever seen an X-Men film be. Logan is a work about the aging, about the pain which determined the last days of these mutants, who have lost everything even though they tried so hard to save it all. It is a film about people who are tired and the world has nothing left to offer and who no longer have the power to revolt against a society they do not want. Logan and Xavier are tragic heroes in the classic Shakespearian sense. Their common friendship, which is almost that of a father-son relationship, is what makes Logan really interesting on a human and emotional level. The two have only each other and Logan nurses him at the end of his days. It is quite unusual to see these once powerful characters as they are here in this film weakened by age and illness.

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Mangold pulls the perfect ending for the X-Men. Of all the mutants and superheroes, they have always distinguished themselves as those who have fought for their dignity and humanity during their lives. And while the film has a few points at the beginning that didn’t flow well right off, it’s a satisfyingly dignified and yes, surprisingly sad finish.

Grade: B
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Media Review Screening: Thursday, February 16th, 2016 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Nationwide Release: Friday, March 3, 2017

Thanks all for taking the time to give this a read. Let me know your thoughts if you liked this film or not. Don’t forget to give this page a follow or a follow on twitter as well @pegsatthemovies. Cheers!

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REVIEW OF “THE DROP” – FOX SEARCHLIGHT – 2014

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“The Drop” is a story about a man and his dog.. okay..and his cousin/boss who used to think of himself as a ‘big man’..and a girl whom he likes who randomly helps him take care of the dog..but might be linked to more…and an arm with a watch..oh and throw in a bit of Chechen syndicate who ‘the drops’ are for…and lastly..you find out the man with the dog has much more to him than meets the eye and is much darker than you thought.

But let’s start with this…

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Tom Hardy is a man of many accents..this we have learned and Hollywood’s most recent ‘it/go to’ guy does not disappoint with his interpretation of this Brooklyn/Crooklyn accent either.  As the screen rolls up you hear a voice that sorta sounds like Christopher Walken just rolled in after gargling with a shot of whiskey..and lo and behold, It’s a very believable Tom Hardy as “Bob Saginowski” in this quite mesmerizing performance as a somewhat shy, but yet charming bartender at what used to be his Cousin Marv’s (James Gandolfini) local neighborhood dive bar aptly named ‘Cousin Marvs’ which is now owned by the Chechen syndicate lead by “Chovka” (Michael Aronov) and used, when designated to do so, as the ‘drop’ bar, a place where all the nights drop payments to this syndicate are made and then picked up. Basically when it’s your night, envelopes stuffed with cash get dropped off into a time-released safe which is then picked up at the specified hour by a designated main guy. Simple enough riiiiggghhtt.except Marv, in Gandolfini’s last spin in a role that was clearly made for him, has decided he wants to go back to his glory days of being respected and plans to heist his own ‘drop’ day, tries to pull off a practice heist with 2 local guys, “Fitz” (James Frecheville) & “Rardy” (Michael Esper) which doesn’t go over well with all involved.

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Now you must be wondering where the dog fits in..well oddly enough, this movie is actually based on the short story “Animal Rescue” by Dennis Lehane in which a tough, but sweetheart of a guy, with a rather dark past, finds a badly beaten pit bull puppy in a trash can and it gets him into some big trouble.. As with that story, in this one Bob finds said dog in “Nadia” (Noomi Rapace) garbage can & she randomly offers to help him take care of it.  I won’t lie..there are some wonderfully cute scenes with Hardy & the little doggie Rocco..he’s a little scene stealer that Rocco!!! 😀  But turns out Nadia also has a bit of a history..with “Eric Deeds” (Matthias Schoenaerts) who is not only a complete psycho-path, but also the a-hole who beat little Rocco and left him for dead, yet stalks Bob with much malice to try to get the dog back insofar as even threatening Nadia’s life.  Eric has a reputation behind him, and now Marv is going to use him for the big cache heist day.  The whole time everything is going on, we see Bob attending 8am mass everyday at the local Catholic church, which we figure out later just why, but where he has the attention of the very police detective investigating not only a past neighborhood murder from years earlier,  but the recent robbery at the bar. “Detective Torres” (John Ortiz) just knows somethings fishy with the whole scene there at the bar, most especially focusing on Bob whose unassuming ways almost had me thinking at one point he might be a bit daft as in not-so-bright, but that’s really just all part of the charm of Hardy in this role..because even though you might think it for a moment or two, it’s because he wants you to.

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This gutsy, gritty & sometimes funny film ends with a plot twist that I don’t think most will see. but it definitely answers all your questions. I mean I had an idea of what it was, but it was so well thought out and done that I was really never sure which way it was going to go until it actually happened.  Again, Hardy is just simply wonderful in this role along with Gandolfini, they make a great dark comedy team which sadly we will never have the chance be able to see again. (Peace be with you James Gandolfini, you will always be remembered with your great body of work)  Noomi Rapace is good, and I enjoy her a lot in most films she’s done, but honestly she is out-played here by pretty much everyone and the character is a one that the if it was left out of the film entirely, you wouldn’t have even missed it.  A big huge kudos from me also goes to Matthias Schoenaerts. This Belgium actor deserves a big nod for playing his role so well and holding his own in such good company, hope to see much more of him in upcoming films.

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My vote is that you see this movie even if it’s not your cup of tea, for the performances alone.

Grade:  B-   (squeaks in at above average)

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Grading Scale: A = Oscar-worthy   B =  Above average-must see  C = Average – should see  D = Don’t waste your time or money  F =  Don’t see the movie     (+ or –  gives the movie an edge up or down)