Tag Archives: Patrick Stewart

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: Green Room

Antagonising a room full of white extremist skinheads with a cover version of The Dead Kennedys’ “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” is ill advised at the best of times, but that’s the least of this particular low-profile gigging punk band’s problems having shortly afterwards stumbled upon a brutal murder scene, backstage.

It’s fair to say that they were always going to end up really wishing they hadn’t…

Whilst there’s an apparently defining line in the sand of good against bad in writer and director Jeremy Saulnier’s rather grisly tale, the truth is in fact that neither ‘side’ here is particularly likeable at all, and it’s only ultimately by adopting the default status of outnumbered underdogs – odds stacked heavily against them – that it’s really possible to root for any of the rather brusque band members or sympathise with the increasingly fraught situation in which they find themselves.

And everything would have been so avoidable too if on witnessing the dead body in the ‘Green Room’ band member, Pat, (Anton Yelchin), had not panicked and reported the stabbing in a frantic impulse call to the police; a call witnessed unfortunately by the venue’s bouncers.

As a consequence, the band barricade themselves in a room and a tense stand-off ensues.

It’s down to venue owner, Darcy, (Patrick Stewart) – the mature voice of reason? – to attempt to convince the clearly rattled band members that they can trust him. But can they? And can he trust them not to speak of what they’ve witnessed there in The Green Room?

As mentioned to me by a friend, it takes a lot these days for a film to justify the full 18 rating certificate. Green Room does, and then some.

Be it knives, guns, home made weapons, flesh-slashing, amputations or the actions of crazed fighting dogs, this is not a film for the faint of heart.

And yet, much like its director’s previous outing, Blue Ruin, the whole thing is darkly comic making a point of placing tongue firmly in cheek – though it should be said, through the unsettling haze of incessant blood spill and grizzle, that particular feature can be rather too easily forgotten!

A refreshingly and unashamedly visceral and brutal piece.