Of all the on-the-nose elements of Logan my favourite happens early on. After an intro involving a band of carjackers and a rudely awoken Logan — one in which we see exactly how far this film is willing to go with its violence — we get a calm meeting with an incoming villain. Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), a so-called Reaver, with one robotic hand and a southern accent, explains that he needs Logan’s help to find a missing girl. The evil intent here is obvious, but Donald’s speech ends with a pleasant summation of why this film even exists. As he gets out of the car, Donald tells Wolverine, one of the most enduring and popular characters of the past 30 years: “I’m a fan.”
That’s the first of many problems with Kong: Skull Island—the tone is completely off from that of Godzilla. Sure, as directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, there are moments of action and suspense similar to Edwards’ flick, but the tone of this film jumps up and down like a kangaroo in a bouncy castle. How can these two films cross over successfully when one is so starkly serious and the other so ludicrously flippant?
As the tension in Get Out, the debut film from writer/director Jordan Peele, gradually mounts, my mind couldn’t help but recall the horror of America’s most recent election night. As the votes were counted and Donald Trump’s victory assured, noted Twitter user Myles Brown said of the result: “You scared? Don’t know who to trust? Feel like you’re surrounded? Congrats. You’ve been a minority for like an hour.”
If the Academy Awards were trying to conceive of a way to stay interesting, to keep atop the social media conversation, there were worse ways to do it. Believe me, they’ve tried — even elsewhere on last night’s broadcast. Thanks to a stunning last second reversal in the Best Picture category, everyone is talking about the Oscars this morning. There’s a lot to unpack here. (Not least of which: How did Warren Beatty end up with an Oscar in his hand as he retook the mic in the show’s final moments?) And look at that, we’ve largely set aside the award show’s more, uh, problematic elements.
In any case, the show is in two days, we’ve had plenty of time to think it over. Here come the Same Page predictions for the 89th Annual Academy Awards.
Just as the MCU continues to rolls on the big screen, the studio’s Netflix series are also marching on. Iron Fist, the latest show, will debut in March, to be followed by The Defenders, a sort of mini-Avengers project that will unite Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist as a crime-fighting team. We don’t know too much about which Marvel comics bad guys the Defenders will be taking on, but these are a few candidates.
John Struges’ Bad Day at Black Rock is a lean 81 minutes, largely set in one sparse locale, and driven by perhaps the most basic of narrative conceits: a stranger comes to town. While the film is not a golden age Hollywood “message” movie per se, it does indeed have something to say. After viewing it in 2017 and reflecting on its origins as a short story first published 70 years ago, what’s most remarkable is how malleable that message turns out to be.
No one wants to think about death, least of all when it involves your own family. We can make attempts to acknowledge death as inevitable, but that doesn’t make it any more palatable. While I am decidedly no expert on coming to grips with the experience, the only solace I can find is in clinging even more fiercely to death’s opposite: life. And for me, that means movies.
The 89th Academy Award nominations were announced yesterday morning, which means we’ve had over 24 hours to sit with the news. Feeling angry yet? If not, you soon will. Because it’s time for the latest edition of the Oscar Nomination Outrage Scale (or ONOS; pronounced, as always as O NOOOOOOOS). We take rage pretty seriously around here.
Here are my top ten films of 2016, the ones I responded to the most strongly, the ones I’d most want to watch again, and as is so often the case: the ones I really want to tell everyone about. I hope you’ll watch them too and feel something good.