Paul McGuire Grimes from Paul's Trip to the Movies reviews "Logan", Hugh Jackman's last movie as his Wolverine character. Plus reviews of "Table 19" starring Anna Kendrick and "Nocturnal Animals" starring Amy Adams.
Read Paul's thoughts and ratings below!
LOGAN (theatrical release)
Hugh Jackman first donned the Wolverine claws for the first X-Men film back in 2000. 17 years and nine appearances later, he has come to the end of his reign for playing the iconic comic book hero. Logan picks up in the year 2029 and we see him living in hiding under a new identity as a limo driver. The mutant population has practically been wiped out with Logan living a simple life in Mexico with old pal Charles Xavier and the albino mutant Caliban. Both Logan and Charles have seen better days. Charles suffers multiple seizures and no longer has full control over his mind. Logan can’t seem to shake his drinking problem and his healing powers are not as fast as they once were making the recovery time after a battle long and arduous. He’s approached by a nurse named Gabriella asking for help to take her and her daughter, Laura, to a remote location only known as Eden. As hard as Logan tries to ignore them, he finds himself caught up in their mess. Charles believes little Laura has gifted powers, and after an all-out brawl at their compound, Logan learns she is full of the same metal that fills his body. She was born in an experimental lab where mutant children were created to become killing machines. Logan and Charles find themselves on the run protecting this little girl from the authorities that are fast on her trail.
-Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Stephen Merchant, Eriq La Salle
-Given the success of Deadpool, this film was given the creative license for a hard-R rating. The violence and carnage is cranked up much higher than in the previous Wolverine and X-Men films. Feels appropriate given the character and that it’s the last movie.
-Definitely NOT a kid’s movie with the profanity and brutality at hand, especially given the fact that the young girl character is extremely violent and ruthless
-Inspired by western genre with his desert wasteland setting, survival of the fittest, epic showdown of the hero
-Director James Mangold keeps the movie as grounded in realism as possible. Unlike the other films in the franchises, it doesn’t feel overly CGI and effects heavy compared to other superhero movies.
-Great care given to flesh out where these characters are at as we approach the end of their journey. Wolverine has been very independent, and now he has to play the role of caretaker to Charles and Laura. There is a strong family theme to this film that’s been missing in the other Wolverine movies.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? An extremely satisfying conclusion for such a beloved character
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
TABLE 19 (theatrical release)
We’ve all been there before where we are invited to a wedding, and you’re unsure if you’ll know anyone else there. You were probably sat the table 19. That’s the table where all of the odd pairings and random guests are sat in the corner of the ballroom. Anna Kendrick stars as Eloise, the former maid of honor and ex-girlfriend of the man of honor. She’s a bit of a mess when the film opens due to her recent breakup but decides to attend the wedding. There’s also Bina and Jerry Kepp who are friends of the parents and are in the midst of their own marriage squabble. Other members of table 19 include the bride’s former nanny, a random high school kid, and the groom’s uncle who is fresh out of prison. The members of table 19 begrudgingly sit through the reception as they get to know each other. They offer a bit of support for Eloise who continues to crumble as she is forced to confront her ex. As the night passes on, different truths are revealed and frustrations come to light, but this group of strangers realizes the wedding may just what they needed after all.
-Starring: Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson, June Squibb, Stephen Merchant
-Given the talent of the cast, the film isn’t consistently funny. Kudrow and Merchant come out the best playing into their strengths. Showcases Kudrow as a strong actress who knows how to the play the truth versus mugging for laughs.
-Interesting premise, but it takes too long to get the story going. It opens with the guests arriving to the reception, which in turn feels like it should be the climax of the movie. It only starts to come together once table 19 starts to band together and leave the wedding
-Feels like an episode of a sitcom that’s been stretched to 90 minutes.
-Relies too heavily on easy wedding clichés: drunk mom making a scene, bad speeches, karaoke, ugly dresses, cake mishaps
-As I was watching the movie, I felt like a member of table 19 as I didn’t want to be at that wedding thus making the movie itself feel a bit unoriginal and uninspired.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Not enough laughs to make it a memorable wedding.
RATING: 2 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (home release)
Amy Adams plays art dealer Susan Morrow who continues to be unhappy in life. Her latest gallery showing is unlike anything else you’ve seen before, but the strong feedback doesn’t mean much to her. She’s in a lackluster marriage to her husband, Hutton, who happens to be cheating on her. Even being filthy rich doesn’t bring her happiness. Shortly after her opening, she receives a manuscript in the mail written by her ex-husband Edward. He proclaims in the accompanying letter that she has now given him the motivation to finish his book. The timing is suspicious and leaves Susan a little startled. When she starts reading it in bed, she realizes all too soon that it touches too close to home. Nocturnal Animals acts as two movies, the one with Susan’s troubled life and how she reacts to Edward’s book and the other detailing the events of the book. We know this thanks to Jake Gyllenhaal appearing in both as her ex-husband Edward and the husband he writes in the book. The Susan storyline flashes back to what happened in their marriage to justify the reactions she has as she’s reading the book.
-Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Armie Hammer, Michael Sheen, Jena Malone
-Fashion designer Tom Ford’s sophomore film following to 2009 film A Single Man. He pulls triple duty here directing, producing, and he wrote the script.
-Let me start off by stating that it never gets confusing switching between the two storylines. The Susan storyline is set in the posh Los Angeles scene, which drastically contrasts the book’s setting in the dark and barren Texas desert.
-As you can imagine, Tom Ford, being the designer that he is, has a way with color, pattern, and texture. Along with his cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, they make every frame look like a beautiful picture that could tell its own story.
-Ford went for more of a slow burn approach in telling this story of love, revenge, and murder. It’s all about the choices we make in life as Susan starts to reflect on the choices she has made thus far and how they all seem to be crashing down upon her.
-Rollercoaster of a ride. There are moments that are guaranteed to make you cringe in seat, while other images are breathtakingly gorgeous. It has the film noir feel while taking place in a contemporary setting.
-Tom Ford has crafted an exceptional film proving himself as a director to be taken seriously. He has a very specific style much like David Fincher or the Coen Brothers.