Logan (2017) Review

Logan (2017)

Directed by James Mangold

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Dafne Keen

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a past-his-prime Logan embarking on a “road trip” across a dystopian future version of America for one final mission.

My Opinion:

I’m not going to say yet again how superheroed-out I am and that I skipped watching all superhero movies last year other than Deadpool & Captain America: Civil War. Oops – I guess I did just say it again? Anyway, I’m not a big superhero geek & don’t read any comics (well, I read Watchmen & Tank Girl so I’m lying a little) but I enjoy these movies when they’re halfway decent. The X-Men movie series has probably actually been my favorite. At least, character-wise, it’s the group of “superheroes” (okay, mutants) that I’ve been drawn to the most. The movies started out pretty good (although a little cheesy) but have ended up so disappointing in recent years. Hell, I didn’t even watch X-Men: Apocalypse or The Wolverine. That’s pretty bad considering how much I loved these characters after the first couple of films.

Then Logan came along, which looked a bit different and had a great trailer (plus a young girl kicking ass!) so I was finally once again excited to watch an X-Men movie. I suppose it helps that two of the absolute best X-Men characters are the stars of this one (Professor X is my personal favorite. Yay, Patrick Stewart!). I honestly didn’t miss having loads of other mutants in this. I find it overkill sometimes when you have too many characters, like in Civil War. Sometimes less is more and I liked so much focus being on Logan, Charles & Laura.

I really enjoyed Logan. It’s a very good film for this genre. I think the more violent, more grown-up thing worked very well for the character of Wolverine but wouldn’t necessarily work for all other comic book characters. It was the perfect “end(?)” to this character’s story (for me). And, I’m not gonna lie – I loved seeing a young girl kicking ass. Plus I love a good father/daughter-like relationship in a movie. Dafne Keen did a great job and I was a sucker for the relationship she developed with Logan as well as with Charles. And of course the further development of the existing relationship between Logan & Charles. I love that kind of shit. A fucked-up, crazy, loving mutant family! Good character development & angst & feelings. I like that! Good stuff.

I admit that I didn’t care too much about the actual story itself. The story was decent enough. I can’t say I ever take these comic book storylines too seriously anyway. With these kind of movies, I always care more about really good characters & just enough action to keep things moving along and Logan delivers as far as these two things are concerned. Did I like it more than the very first two X-Men movies? I don’t know. In some ways, yes. I think it’s the better film but certainly not as much “fun”. But it’s not meant to be – I guess it depends what you want from a comic book movie. I like either fun or serious depending on my mood and I enjoyed Logan as much as the first couple of X-Men films, just in a different sort of way. Other than that, I don’t have much more to say. I’m no expert on these movies as I haven’t read any of the comics so can’t compare. I like the films. I love the characters. I thought Logan was a great final film for Wolverine. For now. Until another sequel or prequel or evil twin or clone or time travel or some alternate reality bullshit comes along…

My Rating: 7.5/10

Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind (1984) Review

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Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind (1984)
Kaze no Tani no Naushika
Japanese: 風の谷のナウシカ

IMDB Top 250 Rank: 227 as of 01/01/2013

Directed & Written by Hayao Miyazaki

Starring Voice Actors:
Sumi Shimamoto
Gorō Naya
Yōji Matsuda
Yoshiko Sakakibara
Iemasa Kayumi

(English Dub Voice Cast: Alison Lohman, Shia LaBeouf, Uma Thurman, Patrick Stewart, Chris Sarandon, Edward James Olmos, Mark Hamill)

Running time: 117 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia):
The film tells the story of Nausicaä, a young princess of the Valley of the Wind who gets involved in a struggle with Tolmekia, a kingdom that tries to use an ancient weapon to eradicate a jungle of mutant giant insects. Nausicaä must stop the Tolmekians from enraging these creatures.

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Before I Start The Review:

As this is my first review for my Studio Ghibli Project (perhaps I should start calling it a project as I think it’ll carry on for longer than a month), I figured I’d talk a tiny bit about my Studio Ghibli experience. Also, as many Ghibli films are in the IMDB Top 250, a lot of these reviews will also be a part of my IMDB Top 250 Project so I’ll mention it if they’re in the Top 250. Nausicaä was at 227 when I started the IMDB thing and is currently at 198 so I’m happy to see that it’s moved up the list quite a bit.

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Here’s my Studio Ghibli experience: The first film I saw was Spirited Away in 2001. It’s a great movie but I don’t think it was the best one to start on as it’s definitely one of the more “strange” Ghiblis. A few years ago I saw My Neighbor Totoro and, of course, loved it. Who doesn’t? But it wasn’t until I watched Princess Mononoke that I really started buying into the whole Studio Ghibli thing and I’ve been working my way through them ever since. Aside from Totoro (which I’ve now seen many times) and Kiki’s Delivery Service (where I’ve seen the subtitled & the dubbed version) and Spirited Away, I’ve only watched the other Ghibli films I’ve seen one time each. I know there are some huge Ghibli fans out there and I’m FAR from being any kind of expert on them as I’m still very new to them. All I really know is that I’ve enjoyed them immensely and I’m very glad to have finally decided to explore them. I want to have the time to watch them all again as I know they’re the types of movies that will only go up in my estimation the more I see them, just as My Neighbor Totoro did. And the one I want to re-watch the most is one that I saw very recently and also one that felt very different from the other Ghibli stuff I’ve seen: Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind.

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My Opinion On Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind:

Version watched: In Japanese with English subtitles

I’m never going to be able to do this movie justice with my lack of any true writing skills. Due to this film’s success, Hayao Miyazaki & Isao Takahata were able to start up Studio Ghibli so, although this one isn’t “officially” a Ghibli, it’s considered to be the first one anyway.

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It’s very unlike any of the other Ghibli movies I’ve seen so far. It’s based on Miyazaki’s manga of the same name, which he still continued for a while after the release of the film. This movie is kind of like a weird mash-up of Heavy Metal, Dune, and the “sweeter” Ghibli stuff that came later. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic future, which is always a favorite genre for me (what’s wrong with me?!). The title character, Nausicaä, is the princess of The Valley Of The Wind. This post-apocalyptic world is covered by a toxic jungle and large mutant insects. Nausicaä is happiest when exploring the mysteries of the toxic jungle and its insects while flying on her glider. She’s able to communicate with the insects and wishes to find a way for the remaining humans to live peacefully in this toxic land.

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I don’t know what it is but this movie just really worked for me on a level that not all the Ghibli films have. I think it’s just very much my type of thing even more than the kid-friendly Ghibli films such as Kiki’s Delivery Service or the more strange ones such as Spirited Away. The environmental & anti-war themes in this are very obvious and, as with a lot of Ghibli films, there’s a very strong female lead which is something I always like in a movie. So, Nausicaä is an excellent role model and the themes are ones that are good to teach kids. However, this is NOT a child-friendly movie. As with all kids, some are more mature than others and it’s down to parents to judge if their kids can handle a movie or not. It’s definitely not one for the very young due to some violence but also the fact that the story is quite complex and epic in scope so they wouldn’t understand or appreciate it anyway. However, I think it’s a great one for older kids (11? 12?) and one that most adults (like me!) would love as well if it’s their type of thing. This is really pretty much a tie for my number one favorite along with My Neighbor Totoro but I just have so much affection for the character of Totoro that I had to put that at number one. However, THIS movie is more my type of film overall.

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Summary:

Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind is quite different from the other Studio Ghibli films most of you will have watched but I highly recommend it. I loved the excellent strong female lead and the post-apocalyptic world they created for this film. I loved the different sort of animation style of the insects compared to the human characters which have more of the look of all the later Ghibli films. Oh, and I loved the score which I completely forgot to mention! I thought it so perfectly set the right mood for the film and Nausicaä’s theme (not sure – I think it’s Nausicaä – Requiem? – The la la la la song!) was quite haunting & stuck in my head for days. Oh, I also enjoyed the supporting characters such as Lord Yupa and the totally Pokémon “pet” of Nausicaä’s. (I know nothing whatsoever about Pokémon and if it was influenced by Nausicaä or if it’s something that existed before the movie – just saying they look alike!). Oh, and I don’t know if I should point this out or if I’ll look totally stupid, but… I was a little concerned at first that Nausicaä was wearing no pants. She wears these form-fitting trousers that are so close to her skin color and she bends over her glider all the time and, really, I don’t know why they didn’t just make her pants a different color! I’ve Googled this as I felt stupid but see that I’m indeed not the only one who thought she was pretty much naked from the waist down for half the film. Now that I’ve made myself sound like an idiot, I can inform you all that she IS wearing trousers so that you don’t end up feeling as stupid as I did when you watch it.

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Either way, pants or no pants, this movie is an epic adventure that I really wasn’t expecting from a Studio Ghibli film. I’m not sure why it’s not mentioned quite as much as some of the others. I thought it was amazing.

My Rating: 9/10

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Top Ten Actors I’d Watch In Pretty Much Anything

Here we are! My final list of the four started by the fabulous Abbi of Where The Wild Things Are. You can see her list of “The Top Ten Actors I Would Watch In Almost Anything HERE. This is a great thing you started, Abbi! I believe others have made similar lists so let me know if you want me to add your link. I know Zoe of The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger also did her list of actors HERE. 🙂

I did my most annoying actors & actresses last week but, surprisingly, it took THIS LIST of my favorite actresses to piss people off the most (yes – I grew up with Drew Barrymore & I love her. So sue me!). 😉 Thanks for all the wonderful comments on these – I’ll be replying to each & every one of you soon.

Now here are my Top Ten Actors I’d Watch In Pretty Much Anything (in no particular order plus I’ve narrowed it down by only including living actors):

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Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Movie: The Wolf Of Wall Street

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Jack Nicholson
Best Movie: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

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Morgan Freeman
Best Movie: The Shawshank Redemption

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Chris Hemsworth
Best Movie: Rush

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Tom Hardy
Best Movie: The Dark Knight Rises

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Michael Caine
Best Movie: The Prestige

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David Bowie
Best Movie: The Prestige but I also love Labyrinth & The Man Who Fell To Earth

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Christoph Waltz
Best Movie: Django Unchained

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Michael Fassbender
Best Movie: Shame (is he wearing an Iron Maiden shirt?? We’re meant to be!) 😉

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Ian McKellen
Best Movie: The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy

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Patrick Stewart
Best Movie: X2 or Star Trek: First Contact

**That’s 11 but Ian McKellen & Patrick Stewart count as one! 😉

X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014) Review

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X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014)

Directed by Bryan Singer

Starring:
Hugh Jackman
James McAvoy
Michael Fassbender
Jennifer Lawrence
Halle Berry
Anna Paquin
Ellen Page
Peter Dinklage
Ian McKellen
Patrick Stewart

Running time: 131 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The story, inspired by the 1981 Uncanny X-Men storyline “Days of Future Past” by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, focuses on two time periods and Wolverine being sent to 1973 to save the future of mutantkind.

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My Opinion:

Review number 3 from my 4-Movie-Marathon from last week! I still say Edge Of Tomorrow was by far the best, A Million Ways To Die In The West was last (but still fun). I really thought Days Of Future Past would be my favorite but, unfortunately, it was a not-very-close second…

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I’ll say it for the millionth time (hey – you never know when I might get a new reader here!), I enjoy comic book movies but have no knowledge of the comic books themselves (well, I read Watchmen but that’s it). When the X-Men movies came along, I LOVED them. I thought the characters were great & they just felt very different to a lot of other comic book movies that had come before them. Plus… Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellen! Those two are fucking legends. Love them love them love them!!! They’re still my two favorite characters as well so, don’t get me wrong – it was wonderful seeing them together in this. And I think James McAvoy & especially Michael Fassbender are perfect as the younger versions of these two greats. So no complaints when it came to the scenes involving either generation of these two characters – those were my favorite bits. (And god Michael Fassbender is sexy).

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Wolverine was… Fine. Maybe I’m just a bit Wolverined-out (and I’ve not even seen The Wolverine yet – the only one I’ve missed out on). Hugh Jackman is still great but he just wasn’t my favorite character in this one. (And was he always so veiny?!). I liked Quicksilver and a couple scenes with him were probably the highlights of the movie. I don’t really have any complaints about Jennifer Lawrence in this and I liked Peter Dinklage (hey! I’ve finally made a start on Game Of Thrones, people! DON’T TELL ME ANYTHING! I’ve only seen 4 episodes!). So… All these things I’ve mentioned were good. Or at least okay. But………..

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I thought the story was a bit of a mess. Sorry! Sorry! I’m sorry! Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful! (Lol – you may all be too young to get that reference). Like I said in my Edge Of Tomorrow review, that film had the more complex plot yet it managed to pull it off nicely whereas Days Of Future Past just felt totally convoluted. I didn’t really think the future scenes worked at all & it kind of threw me out of the film whenever they’d go back to those scenes. But without them, there’d have been no Stewart & McKellen, so… that would have sucked, I guess. I just wish those scenes had worked better.

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Plus there were these new characters thrown in there that I didn’t know and they weren’t introduced at all so they meant nothing to me as I don’t read the comic books. We got zero character development on the new “future” characters yet we’re meant to care about their fate (well, Storm was there but who actually likes Storm??). Also, I often get a little annoyed at “time travel” in movies that aren’t actually ABOUT time travel. Or aren’t sci-fi. Well let’s just stick time travel in any ‘ol movie then! So, the overall plot here is what didn’t really work for me. I still love these characters. I still love the X-Men universe. This movie certainly isn’t the worst of the X-Men films (I’d personally place it as the fourth best) but it was a weaker entry than I was hoping it would be.

My Rating: 7/10

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My X-Men Sporadic Scene at The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger

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Hi! I know I’m not doing much blogging lately (other than posting guest reviews) but I did take the time to do a little something for Zoe over at The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger. Zoe is having a great X-Men Blogathon for the next two weeks. I suggest you go over there right now & join in on all the fun! There will be guest reviews & there are POLLS (I love polls!) and… Well, I don’t know – it’s only just started! But I’m sure there’ll be all kinds of crazy shenanigans. 🙂

I’ve chosen to pick my favorite X-Men scene for Zoe’s fun Sporadic Scene series. You can check out my choice HERE.

Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen Play The Newlywed Game

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I love these two so much! They’re so adorable. I love checking Patrick Stewart’s Twitter for new pictures of this “couple”. How cute is the one above??: Phoneboxes

Anyway! It looks like I’m late to the party on this but I had to share it anyway because it’s so sweet & hilarious. Here are Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellen playing The Newlywed Game. 🙂

Patrick Stewart Demonstrates How to Moo in Different Cow Accents

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I haven’t wished everyone a Happy New Year yet so I’ll do it with a Patrick Stewart photo & a clip of him, um, mooing in various accents. Oh my god – it’s hilarious! Listen to it here: Laughing Squid

It’s a fairly long clip. He starts by explaining things in this way:

It’s not a simple, straightforward answer unlike, probably, any other country where cows moo as cows moo. In England, we’re dominated by class, by social status and by location. So, for example, a cow that is in the field next to my house in West Oxfordshire would moo in one kind of way, and a cow in a field in the semi-industrial town I grew up in in the North of England would moo in another kind of way.

Bwahaha! I love this dude. Patrick Stewart rules. He’s the only celebrity I really follow on Twitter because he’s hilarious & posts great photos (often with Ian McKellen) like the one above. Link: Sir Pat Stew

Happy New Year Everyone! I’m looking forward to a great 2014 of blogging with all you great people. 🙂

My Top Five Cameron Crowe Movies

Happy Birthday to Cameron Crowe! Born 13th of July 1957. So I figured I’d do my Top Five Cameron Crowe Movies (directed & written by).

In order starting with my favorite:

1. Say Anything

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2. Fast Times At Ridgemont High

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3. Almost Famous

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4. Jerry Maguire

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5. Singles

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To be honest, 4 & 5 aren’t favorites. I’d have put them the other way around but the pictures looked better in the current order. Lol

Also…

Happy Birthday to both Harrison Ford AND Patrick Stewart today! Star Wars and Star Trek COLLIDE! (but Star Wars is still better…) 😉