Logan: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #51

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This time 2 years ago, Hugh Jackman hung up the claws and played Wolverine for the last time in Logan, in the only R-rated Wolverine movie ever. He had played the X-Man for nearly 17 years in 9 movies, but after all this time came his final run in 2017 with Logan.

Directed by James Mangold (The Wolverine, Walk the Line) and starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen is the third and final film in the Wolverine series in the X-Men universe, Logan. Set in 2029, an old Wolverine is suffering from his adamantium skeleton poisoning his body. He’s hiding from the public eye as a limo driver, regularly crossing over to Mexico where he and the last surviving mutants are hiding out in an abandoned smelting plant. There’s Caliban, who can track other mutants, and a nonagenarian Professor Xavier, whose telepathy has developed into dementia, where he has uncontrollable seizures. While on a limo job, he is approached by Gabriela, a nurse for Transigen, who hires Logan to take a child that has been experimented on, Laura, to Eden, a refuge in North Dakota. When Reavers, who are hunting Laura, attack Logan and Charles in Mexico, the trio escape and it’s now down to Logan to protect an ailing Professor X and Laura from the dark forces that put his own life at risk.

Hugh Jackman played Wolverine, or Logan as he goes by in this film. I think it’s fair to say that Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine in Logan was his best in the entire X-Men series. Jackman brought out a more damaged and harsher side of Logan that he brilliantly portrayed. His range of emotions blended with a new edge of agony and gruffness was perfect for the movie and was part of the reason why I enjoyed the film so much. Jackman also played X-24, Logan’s clone who is essentially an evil version of him in the movie. Again, Jackman did a superb job of playing X-24 and I had no issues with his character here. Professor Charles Xavier was played again by Patrick Stewart who was good as Professor X. Similar to Wolverine’s character in Logan, Charles’ character was more of a vulnerable and weaker man, but with more of a humorous and lighter side that we hadn’t really seen before. Stewart executed his role of Professor X wonderfully and he was one of the best parts of the movies. The role of Laura or X-23 (Logan’s daughter) was played by Dafne Keen and for such a young actress, Keen was spectacular as Laura. She was able to act well emotionally and had the ability to create complex character relationships through little words between Logan and Charles. Dafne Keen also won the award for Best Female Newcomer at the 2018 Empire Awards, showing that her performance as Laura was truly sensational. Caliban was played by Stephen Merchant who Merchant played well, though lacking in a couple areas. I also would have liked to have seen more from Caliban, as it seemed he really just served to show that mutants were on the edge of extinction. Merchant has a brilliant acting ability and I couldn’t help but feel that it was somewhat wasted in the role of Caliban. Had Caliban been featured more in the film, then I would have appreciated his character more. Boyd Halbrook played Donald Pierce, who was the head of the Reavers. I liked the way that Halbrook played Donald, as he brought a tone of creepiness and mysteriousness that made him a good character in the film. If I’m being honest, I thought there was a bit too much of his character and we should’ve seen more of some other characters, maybe Laura or Richard E Grant’s Dr Rice. Grant played Dr Rice well, but as previously mentioned, I would’ve liked to have seen more of his character. The character chemistry between each character was superbly acted out by all actors in the film, particularly by Hugh Jackman. Logan’s character had complex relationships with each and every character that Jackman was able to perfectly portray.

The music used in Logan featured no pop songs or techno or anything. Instead, the music pieces were perfectly matched to the darker, sinister tone of the film. The themes were composed by Marco Beltrami, who has also composed music for other movies such as ‘A Quiet Place’ and ‘Scream’. The themes were dramatic, wonderfully composed and added to the dark tone of the movie and also added to my enjoyment of the film.

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Logan faces his clone in his last fight.

The storyline in Logan differed from the usual superhero movie plot which actually made it so much better. There were no robots, and the plot wasn’t the world is going to end and that the heroes had to save it. It was just taking a girl to a safe haven. Honestly speaking, there weren’t many powers used either. We only see Professor X use his telepathy once or twice, and Logan only using his (failing) claws as a defence mechanism. The film was uneven, dull and boring in places, and it did not flow as much as it could have. It did use a fair amount of exposition but not as much as most movies do and the film wasn’t ruined entirely by the exposition that was in Logan. Logan was a fantastically entertaining film that I have rewatched a few times since its release in March 2017, and I have only enjoyed the film more and more. I liked the symbolism of Logan facing himself, his clone in the film too. It was a smart twist that personified Logan’s internal struggle with his adamantium poisoning and inevitable death.

Now for my favourite scenes. I loved the opening which wonderfully illustrated the change in tone from the usual superhero movies and also showed what Logan has become. He’s changed, he’s weaker, no longer to defend him and no longer the mighty Wolverine as he used to be. The development from here was interesting but was a little dull to watch, but I liked the introduction to Logan’s new life in Mexico. It showed a change in lifestyle and how different the situation was. Professor X’s introduction was well done and made for a good scene. The first attack of the Reavers in Mexico which showed off Laura’s claws and agility was brilliantly exciting to watch. It showed off a new character and marked a point that showed the film would change from here. The next best scene for me was the gory hotel scene, which built on the R-rated theme of the movie and made for a great scene. Then the film tries to further itself, which it does but could have been done in more of an engaging way. Logan, Professor X and Laura then help out the Munson’s, who invite them over. There was some exposition here, but the film begins to move forward faster from this point. It is revealed that Logan has been cloned by Transigen in a ruthless duplication known as X-24. X-24 kills Professor X in a touching scene and leads to a gruesome fight between Logan and his clone, which was a scene I loved. Logan and Laura escape and bury Charles’ dead body. They make their way to North Dakota to meet with other young mutants who are going to cross the border to Canada where they will reach safety. The forest fight scene was one of the best parts of the film. The team-up between Laura and Logan, between daughter and father, was incredible to watch, but I was left on the edge of my seat at the final fight between Logan and X-24. X-24 impales Logan on a log where he has his dying breaths. He whispers his last words to Laura: ‘so this is what it feels like’ before passing away. The young mutants bury Logan and make a cross out of some sticks. Laura turns the cross sideways, so that it is an ‘X’ now, and the film fades to black and ends; a beautifully done ending to Hugh Jackman’s legacy of Wolverine.

Overall, Logan was a fantastic conclusion to Hugh Jackman’s run as Wolverine and proved for one final time that he is irreplaceable as Wolverine. The film receives an 8.6/10 from me. It’s R-rating gave it incredible action scenes while also taking on a new plot-perspective which made it more enjoyable. As previously said, it was the perfect send off to Patrick Stewart’s Professor X and, more notably the long-lasting legacy that will never be forgotten, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.

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Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week for the recap of all the Marvel movies ahead of Avengers Endgame. See you then!

Bohemian Rhapsody: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #50

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

As the 91st Academy Awards approach, other award events take place where the films that critics loved the most shine, get nominated for and maybe even win some of the most prestigious awards in Hollywood. Of the movies nominated for this year’s Best Picture Oscar (Black Panther, Blackkklansman, Roma, Green Book, Vice, A Star is Born, The Favourite and Bohemian Rhapsody), it’s difficult to predict which will win. I’d wanted to watch Bohemian Rhapsody ever since the first trailer came out. I got the chance to watch it recently, so here is my review of Bohemian Rhapsody

Directed by Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher, and starring Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton and Ben Hardy, Bohemian Rhapsody tells the life story of Queen’s frontman, Freddie Mercury. The film follows his youth and how he joined Queen, and the making of everyone’s favourite Queen hits. We see Freddie Mercury grow and develop throughout the film, defying stereotypes, making and breaking friendships and becoming the man who has become a global cultural icon.

If you’ve been following the 2019 Awards Season, you’ll have seen that Rami Malek has won a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BAFTA (and more!) and has been nominated for an Oscar. Malek expertly played Freddie Mercury. As an American, I wasn’t expecting too much from his work, but I was so wrong! His performance was brilliantly delivered and Malek honestly deserved to win all the awards he has received so far. He fully immersed himself in the role of Mercury and it certainly paid off. There’s a pretty big chance that Malek will win the Oscar for Best Actor, and he has proved himself more than worthy of it. Only time will tell! Gwilym Lee played Queen’s lead guitarist, Brian May. Lee’s resemblance to a young Brian May was uncanny, and it made the film more enjoyable as it felt more realistic. Lee delivered a fantastic performance and was a perfect fit for the role of Brian May. Queen’s drummer, Roger Taylor, was played by Ben Hardy. Hardy looked like a young Roger Taylor and he was great for the role. Hardy’s performance was well executed and good for Roger’s character but I felt that he didn’t really convey much emotion. He seemed quite angry and depressed for most of the film, and maybe that’s how Roger Taylor was during his time with Queen, but there could have been more range from his performance. The last member of Queen was John Deacon, who was the bassist. Joseph Mazzello took on the role of Deacon, and he was good for the role. I personally would have liked to have seen more from Deacon’s character, or him having more memorable moments in the film. I can only recall one standout scene of Deacon which was how ‘Another Bites the Dust’ came about. One of the other main characters and Freddie Mercury’s love interests was Mary Austin, played brilliantly by Lucy Boynton. Boynton was well suited to the role and played the character with good range and ability. The chemistry between each character was so fantastically acted out by every actor that it really helped me to enjoy the movie more.

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Queen records the operatic section of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Because the music was all from Queen, I had no issues here. It was so cool to see how it came together, like how ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ came together by John Deacon while Freddie and Roger were in an argument or the way ‘We Will Rock You’ got its foot-stomping beat. As a huge fan of old music, the music in Bohemian Rhapsody was impeccable.

Bohemian Rhapsody was one of those movies where I want to watch it again and again because it was that good. The more I think of it, the better it was. Admittedly, I felt the film was lacking some flow throughout between one scene and another. I also felt that the film was rather uninteresting in places. Truth be told, I eventually found myself just waiting for the next Queen song to come up. One of the things that kept the film together was Rami Malek’s performance of Freddie Mercury which was so incredible that it really made the film so entertaining and better to watch. Another factor that kept the film together well was the character chemistry. It was convincing and gave a good depiction of how Queen’s band members and the people in their lives interacted with each other.

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Queen rehearsing ‘Another One Bites the Dust’

Now for my favourite moments from Bohemian Rhapsody. I loved the opening to this film, and it required no exposition to establish where the story would go. It summed up Freddie’s lifestyle and told the audience that the film would end up at the Live Aid 1985 Concert. I like how the film also wasted little time in showing us how Freddie met Roger and Brian after their lead singer from their previous band, Smile, left them, even if it did fall down the exposition hole. We then see the band make new songs, then clash with either each other or other figures, like Ray Foster. The making of the songs was great fun to watch. The way the film showed how ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was made and how the band fought to have it on the airways was fantastic to see brought to life, and it showed that the hard work had paid off. Another favourite was ‘We Will Rock You’, as it was awesome to see how Brian May thought of it and how one of Queen’s most notorious hits came about. The last song that I enjoyed watching come to life was ‘Another One Bites the Dust’, as it was John Deacon’s idea and his bass that was the skeleton of what was to become another amazing Queen song. The film dies off for a bit when Freddie moves away, but the energy is revived when he returns to London to unite with his bandmates and they prepare for Live Aid 1985. The scene of Freddie admitting that he has AIDS to his band was sweet and touching, but it was the Live Aid performance that was arguably the best scene in the movie. It depicted an iconic performance from Queen, complete with amazing songs and Freddie Mercury’s unforgettable ‘Ay-Oh’ crowd interaction moment. The film ends with ‘Don’t Stop Me’ and a summary of events after Live Aid, with a nod to Freddie Mercury and all the incredible work he contributed to the music industry.

Overall, I really loved Bohemian Rhapsody, and I give it an 8.2/10. It’s not the best movie ever made, but it is really really enjoyable to watch. It doesn’t matter if you love Queen’s music or not, Bohemian Rhapsody will have you singing along throughout and the songs will be stuck in your head for weeks on end. Bohemian Rhapsody is up for 5 Oscars this weekend (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing and Best Film Editing). It’s currently available for download on the iTunes store and Sky Movies Store, but should be added to some streaming services by the end of the year.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! Follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this weeks review. The Oscars this weekend are shaping up to be a good one, with many stars hosting, the remaining members of Queen performing and loads of brilliant movies and actors and directors having the honour of being nominated and all gunning for Hollywood’s most prestigious award, an Academy Award. Join me next week for a superhero film that is one of my all-time favourites. See you then!

Crazy, Stupid, Love: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #49

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One of the biggest genres in Hollywood is romantic movies. Every year, a fair few romantic movies are huge successes, like A Star is Born, Crazy Rich Asians and To All The Boys I Loved Before. One film that did quite well in its year of release – and was one I watched recently and enjoyed – was 2011’s Crazy, Stupid, Love. Seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day today (or was when I published this), this is my review for Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (who have also co-directed other movies such as Focus and I Love You Phillip Morris) and with a star-studded cast including Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, is Crazy, Stupid, Love. Cal Weaver’s perfect life comes crashing down when his wife, Emily reveals that she wants a divorce and has been unfaithful to him. Naturally, this is a shock to Cal and he begins to drown his sorrows at a bar he’s always passed but never been to. There, he meets Jacob Palmer, a suave playboy who will teach him how to get back in the crazy game that is love.

Steve Carell played Cal Weaver. I’m currently mid-way through The Office US so it’s hard to not picture him as Michael Scott. Nevertheless, Cal was easily the best character in the film for me. Carell is such a talented actor and his ability shone in this film. He brought humour and heart in a good blend. Julianne Moore played Cal’s significant other, Emily Weaver. She was a good character but was a bit bland and flat in some areas. Moore, like Carell, is a brilliant actress but I felt that her true acting potential was not reached in this film. Jacob Palmer, the smooth playboy who helps get Cal back in the game, was played by Ryan Gosling. His character was basically a less-funnier, cinematic version of Barney Stinson. As much as I like Gosling as an actor, I was in two minds about his character. He was a likeable character who was fun to watch Gosling play on screen, but I couldn’t help but feel that Gosling could have maybe put something more into Jacob’s character. Jacob’s love interest was Hannah, played by Emma Stone. She is revealed to be Cal and Emily’s oldest child. Stone evidently enjoyed playing Hannah, but there could have been a bit more of her character and, if there was, the film would have been better. I felt that the chemistry between characters was strongly acted out between all characters, so despite the individual character flaws, the actors all worked harmoniously together which actually helped to make the movie better.

 

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Jacob coaches Cal how to woo a woman.

 

The music was sweet and well suited to the tone of the film at parts, but was also quite irritating and just seemed to consistently play in the background of the film nonstop. It was a nice little instrumental piece but it just seemed to always be there, despite it not always suiting the mood of the film. The worst thing about the music in Crazy, Stupid, Love was that even after something big or dramatic or important to the story had happened, it would just jollily continue in the back without much regard for what had just happened.

The storyline was quite straightforward, but it could have been executed better. The story was definitely there, but it seemed that the run time for it was too short. The film tried to cram a happy ending into the last half hour, and it kind of worked but still was a bit messy in places.

Overall, Crazy, Stupid, Love gets a 7.2/10. It was a good film that I enjoyed watching and, despite its flaws, still made for a sweet and nice story that was entertaining to watch.

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Once again, thanks for reading this weeks review. As it’s the Oscars next weekend, join me next week for the review of an Oscar-nominated 2018 musical movie. See you then!

Step Brothers: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #48

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There’s a definite difference between comedy in British movies and comedy in American movies. In my opinion, most American comedies are lazier and don’t make use of what’s possible with what’s available when you can make a movie. To be fair, some American TV comedies have actually done this, such as The Office and Parks and Recreation. Other than that, the movies rely on jokes to make the movie a comedy. And some are better done than others. One movie that has pretty good humour both audibly and visually is 2008’s Step Brothers.

Directed by Adam McKay and starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly is Step Brothers. Dale Doback and Brennan Huff are two jobless losers in their forties who are still living with their respective father and mother. When Robert (Dale’s father) meets Nancy (Brennan’s mother) at a conference, the two hook up and get married. Brennan and Dale are forced to live with each other and get along. Naturally, mischief and craziness ensue, leaving Robert and Nancy no choice but to sell their house and retire so that their sons can get jobs and become adults, something they are far from.

Will Ferrell played Brennan Huff and did a great job in the role. Ferrell was good fun to watch and he was funny, but as much as I liked Brennan, I preferred Dale’s character. Dale Doback was played by John C. Reilly and is arguably one of Reilly’s best roles to date. Reilly was hilarious and made the movie more enjoyable to watch. Together, Ferrell and Reilly were a fantastic comedy duo who made the film hilarious, and their character chemistry was so natural and it was great fun to watch. Mary Steenburgen played Brennan’s mother, Nancy and was a great addition to the cast. The same is true for Robert, played by Richard Jenkins. Honestly, there’s not much else I can really comment on their characters. Adam Scott also featured in the film, playing Brennan’s brother, Derek. He was quite funny and his performance was impeccable. One character who I loved was Randy, played by Rob Riggle, but there should have been more of his character. Randy genuinely had me bursting out in laughter.

The music had some generic songs, such as ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Hall and Oates and ‘A-Punk’ by Vampire Weekend. However other songs that I’d never heard of, such as ‘Breathe and Stop’ by Q-Tip were good additions to the film that added to the mood of the movie. It’s worth mentioning the songs done by the cast too, like Derek and his family acapella-ing to ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ or ‘Boat’s and Hoes’ sung by Brennan and Dale. These moments were funny and made the film more entertaining, but the best musical moment in Step Brothers easily goes to the operatic-drum solo scene with Brennan and Dale performing Por Ti Volare at the Catalina Wine Mixer.

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Brennan and Dale show off their talents at the Catalina Wine Mixer.

It’s a straightforward story but with the right details and actors mixed in, you have a pretty decent movie. I’m not saying that Step Brothers is a bad movie, but it’s not the best. It’s quite dull and flat at times, and the comedy sometimes did not land well and just left for an awkward moment.

There were some laugh-out-loud moments that were great and funny additions to the film. I like the whole scene of Brennan and Dale getting into a fight after Brennan puts his testicles on Dale’s precious drum set was hilarious to see it escalate into a stupidly funny fight. Another scene I liked was when Dale and Brennan then became ‘best friends’ and make bunk beds and did awesome karate kits Dale’s long fart in his job interview with Seth Rogen tasting it was one of the funny awkward moments in the film too. Dale and Brennan’s big release of Boats and Hoes for their business, Prestige Worldwide was also hilarious to watch. The reveal of Derek being an unlikeable character, especially with his introduction was well done and funny. Brennan gets a job working for Derek, and there’s a scene I love that takes place in Randy’s office, with Randy yelling ‘pow!’ every so often which was funny too. The best part for me was at the Catalina Wine Mixer with Brennan and Dale’s epic performance, which had me in stitches.

Step Brothers gets a 6.8/10 from me. It’s possible that a movie that isn’t as high scoring as others that I’ve reviewed can still be loved. It has great comedy and is a film that should be watched by everyone. Step Brothers is currently available to watch on Netflix, and I highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) to stay up to date with the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more. Follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. As it’s Valentine’s Day next Thursday, I’ll be reviewing a romantic movie. See you then!