Film Friday #141

The Wolverine
This latest installment of the X-Men franchise finds Logan (Hugh Jackman) hiding out in the mountains, depressed drinking heavily and tortured by visions of Jeam Grey (Famke Janssen). When he ventures out of his self-inflicted solitude to deal with some dodgy hunters, he meets Yukio (Rila Fukushima), who convinces him to return to Tokyo with her to bid farewell to her dying employer (Hal Yamanouchi), a man whose life he once saved. Once there his former acquantaince, Yashida, offers him a deal: he will take Logan’s healing powers from him in order to extend his life and give Logan the mortality he craves. Before Logan can make a decision Yashida dies but Logan discovers that Yashida’s mysterious doctor, mutant, Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) appears to have stripped his powers anyway. With Yashida’s granddaughter and heir, Mariko (Tao Okamoto) now under threat from the Yakuza, Logan must reluctantly become a hero once again, while coping with the his new found fallibility. There’s a lot of fun action going on here and Jackman is at his best playing the surly Wolverine but Viper and her entire subplot are just utterly lame and I wasn’t convinced by the romance between Logan and Mariko. This is definitely worth a watch (and do stick around for the credits) if you can turn off your internal logicometer but it feels unnecessarily bloated. 3/5

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I’m defacing myself, geddit? De-facing… oh never mind!

Downfall
Set during the final days of the Third Reich, this intense drama tells the story of the unraveling of Hitler’s (Bruno Ganz) regime through the eyes of his personal secretary, Traudl Junge (Alexandra Maria Lara). Watching Hitler’s stalwart refusal to face the inevitability of Germany’s defeat, intermingled with the vastly different reactions if everyone within the inner circle – from an absolute abandonment of all propriety to a steadfast focus on maintaining the status quo is fascinating. As blasé conversations about suicide methods abound, the last remaining medical staff in Berlin desperately try to help the wounded and the Russians advance relentlessly. Ganz is outstanding at adding humanity to a figure vilified by history and the atmosphere that is created is a real achievement. 4/5

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What do you mean I’ve ruined this style of moustache for all future generations?

Mysterious Skin
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Neil McCormick, a reckless teenage rent boy dealing with an incident in his past. As Neil flirts with sexual excess and indulges his daddy issues, Brian (Brady Corbett) has nightmares about what he is convinced was a series of alien abductions. When Brian realises that the boy who appears in his dreams actually exists he goes in search of Neil but it’s not until the two boys meet that they uncover the whole terrible truth of what happened to them as children. This is a breakout role for Gordon-Levitt portraying someone deeply conflicted about the abuse they experienced as a child and this incredibly sensitive topic is explored openly but never exploitatively. It’s hard to believe that this was directed by the same Greg Araki that brought us the turd that is Kaboom. Recommended but be prepared for graphic sex and disturbing themes. 3.5/5

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Want a ride? We have bad fashion choices!

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader) has been inventing things his whole life… most of them a bit rubbish… but when he invents a machine that converts water into food, causing it to rain meals and saving his town from a largely sardine based diet, he is suddenly a hero. It’s not long though before the food starts to over-mutate, and Flint must team up with weather girl, Sam Sparks (voiced by Anna Faris) to save the town from being swamped in giant burgers. The best thing about this whacky family film is unquestionably Flint’s pet monkey, Steve (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris), who is fitted with a monkey thought translator and regularly shouts out random things. Sam Sparks is also a wonderfully feisty female lead and Flint’s relationship with his dad (Tim Lockwood) forms a touching subplot. Lots of fun. 3/5

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Haggis… please for the love of god, don’t be haggis!

10 Comments

  1. Downfall was such a great, under-rated film.

    1. Abbi

      My husband is a bit of a WWII buff and when he suggested we watch this I was like oh man… not Hitler AGAIN but it’s just such a different look at it. And the acting is outstanding.

      1. It is indeed. it really blew me away.

  2. Wow – four I’ve not seen! Well, I saw some of Meatballs. Would like to see The Wolverine but don’t think I’m going to have time to catch that one. :-/

    1. Abbi

      The Wolverine is worth a watch but I don’t think you’d miss out if you waited for DVD or VOD… except maybe the train scene – that’s pretty much made for the big screen.

      1. Well, I did manage a movie but chose The Conjuring instead. 🙂

        1. Abbi

          I am way too much of a pussy to anywhere near that but I look forward to your review.

          1. I’ve reviewed it. I actually didn’t find it as scary as others seemed to. It’s just a good, solid haunted house movie. 🙂

  3. I just wish The Wolverine wasn’t so dull. A minor entry in the X-Men series. And your Viper=lame comment was spot on. It was a shock to see the Poison Ivy villain from Batman & Robin make an appearance in The Wolverine. Didn’t expect a Marvel-DC crossover.

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