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LOGAN 2017 WOLVERINE Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Stephen Merchant, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Elizabeth Rodriguez, James Mangold

LOGAN [Spoilers]: as Professor X’s health deteriorates Logan has to keep him – and the first new mutant in years – safe from all the bad guys. This is unlike any other big superhero film you’ve seen: grisly, balls-out, 15-rated (borderline 18!). There’s lots of “Fucks”, gratuitous boobs, and exploitation-level gore; with claws hacking up limbs & digging in to skulls etc. It’s also a film where the titular hero spends the majority of the runtime hobbling, coughing, and lumbering around like a broken man. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart give an absolute masterclass in character and acting, supplemented by a star-making performance from Dafne Keen. I wouldn’t want to be the actor that has to follow Jackman when the inevitable X-men reboot goes ahead – after 17 years in the role, he is Logan. The action scenes are sparse, but next-level-superb throughout – the highlight being the first time were introduced to Laura (a 10 minute fight-chase). As for flaws, there are only a few minor ones: Stephen Merchant’s horrific accent brings you right out of the film; and it spends a bit too much time introducing and building some minor characters. One of the main criticisms leveled against this is that it’s too “depressing” or “downbeat”, which I assume came from the same people who would prefer to see robots leveling cities. Logan is a character-driven road-trip western film (that happens to contain superheros) rammed with pathos and peril – what’s not to love?! It’s brutal, dark, raw, emotional, and – for me – this is the new standard for ALL future Marvel / Superhero / Comic Book movies.

Score: 9/10

LOGAN 2017 Xavier Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Stephen Merchant, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Elizabeth Rodriguez, James Mangold

The Heat Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demián Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport, Jane Curtin, Dan Bakkedahl, Taran Killam, Michael McDonald, Spoken Reasons, Tom Wilson, Tony Hale

The Heat: a talented but unlikable by-the-book FBI agent is paired with an unorthodox-but-gets-results detective. It’s one film where FBI could mean ‘Female Body Inspector’ like those awesome t-shirts you see guys wearing on holiday (aside: they’re not awesome). Bullock is clearly going through an “I work hard on this body, so will show it off as much as possible” phase… no complaints over here. Joke-wise, it’s got a few good laughs, but unlike Bridesmaids original script the funnies here are much lazier; with Boston stereotypes, racism, vulgarity, and albinos doing all the work. The elongated drunken montage / gratuitous dance scene underlines that this is definitely more humor than humour. At two hours the film outstays its welcome a little; every scene (and joke) feels stretched out to the max, and it feels like there was a lot of ad-libbing that nobody was allowed to cut out. Other than the central pairing being two wimin’, there’s not much here that we haven’t all seen before. The Heat started off quite strongly, but soon went down the well-worn ‘mismatched buddy cop’ path: but you expected something different – or better – given the caliber involved.

Score: 4/10

Hanna: Raised as an assassin, Hannah is cut loose in the real world and soon becomes a fugitive. It doesn’t take long for you to realise that this is nothing short of meticulously filmed – there’s some fantastic single takes, stunning framing / mise en scéne and the action is put together with enviable ease. Said action’s also heightened by a great soundtrack; not dissimilar to Lola. Being set, filmed and funded by Europeans – it has a great anti-blockbuster quality and feel that’s pretty difficult to describe. Distracting everyone from the all of the awesomeness mentioned so far is a cast jammed with as many ridiculous characters as the story could hold: a washed-up clown Grimm, two Neo Nazis, comedy homosexual hitman, ke-razy traveling family (with the worst daughter ever). Because of these characters, the tone bounces around frenetically – serious chase, followed by fish-out-of-water, followed by some action, then a Volver-esque ‘genuine’ Spanish street performance, then some serious plot development… Cast-wise, you can always rely on Eric Bana to pull through and Blanchett nails her portrayal of a determined, cold villain. Ronan was good, considering her part kept flipping between comedy and thriller. Hanna proves to be an above average, and well-directed cat-and-mouse movie with a nice backstory that’s drip-fed throughout the duration.

Score: 7/10

Shortbus: follows the shortcomings of several sexual ‘misfits’: a gay couple on the rocks, dominatrix that can’t connect and sex therapist that’s never orgasmed… Be warned, don’t watch it with your parents as some scenes are pretty much porn. The opening of this is among the most unforgettable of any movie, as are many of the zany characters you meet, and several of the scenes – it’s pretty much a one-of-a-kind. Despite being chocked-full of taboo and graphic (real!) sex Shortbus does a fantastic job of remaining funny and charming for the duration, because the emphasis is on the people and their emotions, not the sex. There’s some funky animations of NYC and most of the characters are likable. The film remains interesting as each person’s story progresses and the climactic ending is really upbeat and fitting with the movie as a whole. It’s not for the prudish, and because of the warnings on the box you’ll probably feel a bit dirty just buying this – although it’s totally worth the momentary shame! Extraordinary comedy about sexual emotions!

Score: 7/10

Omega Man: follows the last man on earth as he fends off a bunch of afro’d albino druids whilst trying to find a cure for their condition. You can watch it as a simple horror film, but there’s  more to it that meets the eye, with the most obvious theme being the cold war: ‘the family’ vs 1 man with his gadgets, cars and fancy trickery. There’s also messages about race, morality, Christianity and the biological warfare in there too if you scratch below the film’s surface. Fitting with his embodiment of the USA (and NRA figurehead) Heston is heavily armed throughout, as well as being ever-topless despite not being too buff. All-in, the acting, storyline, music and characters are all so surreal and camp that it’s hard to feel any horror / terror, although in the context of when it was made it would have definitely played on the contemporary fears. It’s watchable but really, really cheesy.

Score: 6/10