Tag Archives: Hugh Jackman

LOGAN (Noir) – London Picturehouse Central 2nd Anniversary Birthday Screening.

“Caliban… a splendidly gawkish and surprisingly credible portrayal from the excellent Stephen Merchant”

Wayward Wolf.

It’s true, some of the best surprises do come in all shapes and sizes. In this instance, on the occasion of London Picturehouse Central’s second birthday anniversary weekend, this beautifully refurbished central London cinema played host to a mystery film screening. Logan (noir).

A rare opportunity – and a welcome surprise, even for a notoriously comic book hero-phobic sort, such as myself – to watch the final chapter in the travails of Wolverine, in a wonderfully evocative black and white cut, towering impressively above its audience on Picture House Central’s enormous main screen.

Perhaps the most immediately striking feature of Logan (Noir) is the brutal levels of violence which are as surprising as they are enthralling. We have perhaps become accustomed over the years to the concept of ‘the long good punch-up’ – as exemplified so brilliantly in that Fast Show sketch of yesteryear. Highly choreographed, tedious punching for punching’s sake, with very little discernible outcome.

Not so here. The fights are rapid, vicious and to the point. In this respect, Logan (Noir) is not a film that messes about, riding high as it does on the wave of one massive adrenalin rush, right from the off…

Some collateral shotgun damage to Logan’s Chrysler during a scuffle in the film’s opening exchanges, proves to be something of a red rag to everyone’s favourite machete-fingered maniac, and he proceeds to unleash ten tonnes of torment on a gang of ill-advised assailants, carving them up like a Christmas turkey.

Of course, had someone informed our hero there and then of the fate that would ultimately befall his beloved set of wheels, he may have been a little less ‘Toby Carvery’ on their sorry souls.

Still, the scene is set.

Logan (Noir) – part action flick, part dolorous lament – portrays Logan (a most visceral performance from Hugh Jackman), as something of an anti-hero, who, it’s fair to say, has seen better days. A grizzled, cantankerous alcoholic, keen for nothing more than solitude, he hides out in a remote outpost of the desert. Joining him there are his elderly father, Charles (Patrick Stewart), Caliban (a splendidly gawkish yet surprisingly credible portrayal from the excellent Stephen Merchant), and latterly, a young mutant girl named Laura (Dafne Keen), who gives as convincing a portrayal of savage youthful mania as I can remember on-screen.

In essence this is a traditional Hollywood road movie; fugitives on the run from a relentless foe.

Having been forced from their hideout, hot on their trail are those whose mission is to arrest their progress at all costs. Laura, and a number of other young mutant ‘ex-in mates’, have escaped the experimental laboratory that was their home. Now fleeing from their creators (now oppressors, who wish them harm), theirs is a desperate bid to reach the sanctuary of the border.

Through a succession of plot twists, it has now become a rather reluctant Logan’s responsibility to help Laura and her friends to safety. All considered, this is an impossibly difficult task at the best of times.

James Mangold’s direction is fast, slick and installs an omnipresent sense of menace to proceedings. No matter where the fugitives run to, there is seldom a moment’s rest, and one can only pity those kind souls that offer to help along the way, inadvertently becoming embroiled in Logan’s problems. No matter how good their intentions; chances are they’re going to end up corpses in this film’s all too generous body count.

A visually achingly beautiful piece at times, this wonderful monochrome edition thunders along with only occasional respite from the sense of impending, encroaching doom.

With a certain tip of the hat to the Terminator movies, this is a film that may well lack a little in originality, yet more than makes up for it with its sheer cut, thrust and tension.

James Mangold has got this one very right. Logan (Noir) is not simply an enthralling action movie, but a thoughtful, memorable one at that.

If only they were all like this.

 

 

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FILM REVIEW: Eddie The Eagle

For those of us of a certain vintage, hurtling around the corner of life, slipping effortlessly – not to mention majestically – into our prime years, the name Eddie Edwards will instantly transport us back in time to the decade that style forgot, the 1980s.

Side-stepping the sticky issue of the decade’s defining politics if I may, it was a decade with a propensity for a head-in-the-sand kind of innocence and naivety, and a decade of film-making quite unlike any other.

Aaah, so many rose-tinted memories of films that absolutely defined our childhoods, yet barely warrant a repeat viewing today without inducing a considerable dose of ‘curled toe’ and certainly not films that have stood the test of time in any great way or in any significant numbers.

But I guess that’s why we love them.

At the tail end of this most ‘bubble-like’ of decades and this time of ‘good and plenty,’ was the culmination of the Eddie Edwards story – one of the great triumph in the face of adversity, quintessentially British, plucky loser stories.

First and foremost, let me just say that it’s about time somebody made this film.

It’s an amazing if clearly ridiculous tale, characterised by an unconventional character that really should have known better, yet, in that rather typically British, care-free, ‘bollocks to the consequences’ manner, he didn’t, and Gawd bless him for it.

No-one perfects the art – and it is an art – of losing, quite like the British – apart from maybe Equatorial Guinea. Eric the Eel certainly made a considerable splash at the Sydney Olympics – but I digress…

Dexter Fletcher has gone the whole hog here in his depiction of events directing a movie that isn’t just set in the 1980s but actually feels like a 1980s movie; Matthew Margeson’s Dave Grusin-esque soundtrack adding considerably to this over all aura.

How much of Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton’s screenplay is faithful to actual events, I’ve no idea, but the story unfolds with Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton) as a young lad; a dreamer with a gammy leg, determined to represent his country at the Olympics by any means possible. Certainly not born an athlete by any description, his encouragement is virtually non-existent; a few resigned shrugs and a roll of the eyes from his father and a sort of genuine maternal concern from his mother.

Unperturbed by his nearest and dearest’s lack of enthusiasm for his lofty ambitions, he stumbles from one opportunity to another, eventually by some quirk of fate, finding himself representing Great Britain’s skiing hopefuls.

Ultimately discouraged from this by Great Britain’s powers that be – the excellent Tim McInnery reviving memories here, to some extent at least, of his marvellous Captain Darling role from Blackadder 4 – and on discovering that Britain has no representation in the ski jump whatsoever, Eddie sets forth to become Britain’s fresh new hope in this most glamorous, not to mention dangerous of winter sports, much to the chagrin of his father and continued concern of his mother.

Predictably, no-one takes him seriously although he does get some bewildered, reluctant help from alcoholic ex ski jumper, Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman).

A lesser man would have sneaked out of the back door, made his apologies, and taken the first plane home.

But not our Eddie.

Just how he came to end up representing his country at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics and charming the pants off the world in the process, if you don’t already know, you’ll have to find out for yourself.

It’s balls-out in your face bleedin’ obvious stuff, it’s cheesy, it’s contrived, it’s cliched and then some, but I’ve got to admit… I loved it, even to the point of welling up on the odd occasion.

Pathetic? Yes, probably, but for pure entertainment, in spite of all of the film’s considerable flaws, and believe me they are considerable, Eddie the Eagle is a film that makes you just want to punch the air! A genuinely heart-warming frolic through the life of a man whose joi de vivre and never-say-die spirit (bordering on the delusional), should give hope and courage to everyone and anyone that ever dared to believe in the improbable.

A big old uplifting slice of feel-good pie.

Lovely stuff!