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!

REVIEW: “EDDIE THE EAGLE” (2016) ~ Post Q & A: Taron Egerton & Dir: Dexter Fletcher

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“Eddie the Eagle” is a story about an underdog in every sense of the word.
The story follows Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton) from the time he’s a little kid with dreams of going to the Olympics, through his many assorted set-backs, and all the people around him who saw only failure in his future. It also shows the moments when he got helping hands when he most needed it. This movie is about his struggle and for all his sometimes annoying flaws, Eddie is a character that you just cannot dislike.

Edwards, while maybe a somewhat good downhill skier, narrowly missed the Great Britain team for that event for the 1984 Games. To improve his chances to qualify for Calgary in 1988, he moves to Lake Placid, NY to train and enter bigger races, but he quickly finds himself short on funds. To realize his Olympic dream, he decided to switch to ski jumping for reasons of cost and easier qualification as there were no other British ski jumpers with whom to compete for a place.
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He was handicapped by his weight—at about 82 kg (181 lbs), more than 9 kg (20 lbs) heavier than the next heaviest competitor — and by his lack of financial support for training as he was totally self-funded. Another problem was that he was very longsighted, requiring him to wear thick eyeglasses at all times, which sometimes fogged to such an extent that he could not see. Maybe due to all this, Eddie seems a bit dim though his spirit of wanting to be in the Olympics never dies, even as his father tells him his only choice in life is to become a plasterer such as himself.
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Taron Egerton does an excellent job here and really assumes the part of Eddie. Hugh Jackman as ex-downhill skier-turned-coach Bronson Peary puts in a good performance, and manages not to overpower Eddie’s character. Eddie’s parents are also well played, his mother Janette Edwards played by Jo Hartley, gives a particularly poignant portrayal of the never-ending support of a mother. Eddie’s father, played by Keith Allen, is a bit of a caricature, but well acted. Actually, a lot of the supporting cast of characters are caricatures, especially the other ski-jumpers/coaches and the British Olympians/Olympic Committee. But to an extent that serves to emphasize the struggle for Eddie. Also, for those intent on seeing this film for Christopher Walken as Warren Sharp, he has wonderful, albeit, very small role that has impact.

While the struggle of Eddie is emphasized throughout the film, there is also a good dose of comedy thrown into the mix as well. The tone is upbeat throughout, even when Eddie has setbacks. While some of the failures are played for laughs, it’s mostly Eddie’s perseverance that makes this film endearing. It also feels like we’re laughing with Eddie rather than at him, since it seems Eddie’s in on the joke.
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There’s not much to dislike about the film. I absolutely loved the music choices including the score and some timely 80’s song choices. Sure, I think the stakes could have been raised a bit here or there to give an even bigger emotional moment, but I can’t say the film didn’t already bring me to teary eyes at some points. And that to me, is an experience at the movies.

Random tidbit that Taron told us all: Stay tuned for the song at the end credits as the overlying song playing is actually Taron Egerton & Hugh Jackman singing together..yep..you read that right.. Taron & Hugh are singing the closing credits song. I wouldn’t have known it had he not said so.

Grade: B

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POST Q & A WITH TARON EGERTON & DIR: DEXTER FLETCHER
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Hugh Jackman was also supposed to be in attendance, but didn’t make it. Taron more than made up for it as he was nice, fun & entertaining as was Dexter Fletcher. This guy..being my breakout star of 2015.. is just as personable as I thought he would be when I first saw him in the fantastic “Kingsman:The Secret Service”.

Started off with the basics noting that since the project was greenlit till it’s release, it’s been a short 18mos. All a very fast shoot of 8 weeks in Germany at Garmisch-Partenkirchen – the same place where the real Eddie Edwards trained – also with some being done at Pinewood Studios.
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Taron had a chance to meet with the real Eddie before & during filming and when he went to the very first screening of the finished film, he sat next to Eddie, which made him very nervous as it’s harder to portray someone who is still alive. At the end of the screening, Eddie was so moved by Taron’s performance and the film, he was actually crying. Taron noted what a fantastic feeling that was.

Dexter Fletcher is quite the character and entertained us thoroughly before & after the film with his banter with Taron. Both noting, as I did, that Hugh Jackman is really good in this role and a very big man! ha! Also, one-week into production they were told no actors could ski at all ~ so they got a bunch of crazy stunt guys – noting that downhill skiers really have to be a bit crazy to do this sport – who more than willing to do it. Except for Hugh, where at the end of his run, he is actually skiing. As Taron puts it “It’s sickening how good Hugh is at EVERYTHING!”

Fun note from Dexter – in real life, the Finnish skier, Matti Nykänen, actually became a male stripper, then a singer and sadly, turned to alcohol and is now known for some, shall we say, ‘colourful antics’.

Christopher Walken was cast because they had to get someone who coud make Hugh Jackman weak in the knees.. and clearly they did.

One theme that is repeated throughout the movie, is the quote from Pierre de Coubertin (father of the modern Olympics), “The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part; the important thing in Life is not triumph, but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.” It’s just a little something we all could use as a reminder at times and maybe apply to our own everyday lives.
Cheers..

Review Screening: Thursday, January 28, 2016 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox                                       Nationwide release: Friday, February 26, 2016                 

REVIEW OF X-MEN:DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

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To say I am an X-Men fan would probably be an understatement. I mean it’s not as big as my James Bond fandom..but it’s running a close second as it’s a cartoon I’ve watched all my life including way into adulthood. I remember waking up every Saturday morning as it would air at 11am and I was completely into it hangover or not!! 😀 Granted ‘Gambit’ was my guy, cuz he was crazy, wild loose canon and yes, just plain fun and now he’s close to finally being cast by Channing Tatum as they have only had “Gambit” ever-so-briefly before in the Wolverine movie..I am totally ready for him! As for this movie..I’ve got a favourite character too! Read on and see who it is!!!

So let’s start off though with just a briefing on the movie itself. I’ve seen it twice now..once in 2D and now just saw it in 3D (Thanks Jason!!) This adventure into X-Men is meant to take you back in time and connect all the other X-Men and possibly yes, Wolverine movies together so all the threads that you’ve already seen become woven together. It does that, though there are quite a few long, lagging points, sometimes lasting up to 15min or so where you finally go..okay..I got it!! Let’s move on. All in all this story has a definite point to it.. I do like the time-travel idea so that the X-Men may live on…:) The plot is obviously set in the future where man has turned against all mutants and has been killing them off in droves in scenes reminiscent of concentration camps footage, but of course as with all things man-kind, have taken it one step further as we’ve been known to do, and is killing of not only sympathizers but people who are even carrying the gene or if their children/grandchildren can be seen to carry it. So basically as with all war, it’s gotten ugly and out of control. So in order to save their race/species, Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellen, reprising their roles as elder “Charles Xavier/Professor X & Eric/Magneto” realize Mystique has been the catalyst to the beginning of this whole destruction with her 1st killing back in time when she found out what the research they were doing on Mutants was really headed and then became captured and used herself.  To stop all this from happening, Wolverine goes back in time to 1973, which is actually a couple of fun scenes there, and he has to convince the younger Magneto & Beast that he really is who he says and they just don’t know it yet and they need to help him to save all mutant-kind. Magneto is of course in a lock down prison 100 floors below the surface of the earth, for of all things, killing JFK or so they say. And his ‘jailbreak’ is probably my most favourite scene in a movie in a long time!! Once they get them all together, you think it’s going to work out, but of course it can’t go the way planned..there has to be problems within the group themselves, most notably Professor X & yep..you guessed it, Magneto.  You know I love my villains, I always do..a good villain has a redeemable quality and oh yes, Magneto does..and it really comes down to him and Mystique as she is rather a villainess here also.

Acting wise, Hugh Jackman in his now quite iconic role as “Wolverine” does a good job of it. I like it and damn his body is truly stunning..Next, how can you not love the ‘McFassy’ bromance aka Michael Fassbender as “Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr” and James McAvoy as “Professor X/Charles Xavier” – for me they are not ‘hott’ per se’.. but I think it’s because of their imperfections I find them just damn sexy!! 🙂 I love little imperfections/scars etc.. it makes someone interesting. But then I can also look at a Nickolas Hoult as a young “Beast/Hank” and think how stunning that little kid from ‘About a Boy’ turned into..I mean who saw that one coming.. ha! He’s like a young ‘Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ for me. Jennifer Lawrence is good here in her turn as “Raven/Mystique” ~ though I kept getting flashbacks of Rebecca Romijn as why not..they flashed everyone else back!! 😀 Peter Dinklage is just a wonderful villain as you knew he would be playing “Dr. Bolivar Trask” and all the other co-stars are back as in Ellen Page as “Kitty Pryde” Shawn Ashmore as “Bobby/Iceman” and I could only thank my lucky stars the awful Halle Berry again as “Storm” was only back for a few scenes.. WHEW!! I’m sure everyone gave a collective sigh on that one. But here it is everyone.. (I don’t give out spoilers so you will have to see the movie) in his first go-round in a blockbuster movie like this..BY FAR THE BEST PERFORMANCE and HANDS DOWN the best scene in the whole movie belongs to…(drum roll please) Evan Peters as “Peter/Quicksilver” I mean.. soooo good. It’s not a big scene..but it’s by far the most memorable and fun-est of the whole damn movie. You will love it! And if these producers know what’s good, they will bring him back in X-Men-Apocalypse for sure.quicksilver

There are many cool flashbacks in this movie towards the end.. or are they flash forwards..hmmm.. well that would give it all away now wouldn’t it..ha! so you will just have to see the movie to know..but I guarantee they will make you smile & laugh and have you wondering just who will be coming back around in the next ‘Apocalypse’. That remains to be seen..oh and if you want catch a glimpse of that..make sure you stay until the very end..I’m talking after the ENDLESS list of credits that seems to be 1/2 the population, rolls on by ..even if the lights go up.. STAY!! You will be glad you did.

To sum it up the superhero/comic book movies so far this summer..it isn’t as good as “Captain America” but it’s better than “Spiderman 2” it’s definitely entertaining. #bangformybuck

Grade: B-
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