Hello again my geeky friends. This is the last weekend of the last official Month of the Summer movie season. Yes, August is a Summer Month and there are several decent sized films coming during the Month, but traditionally, all of the biggest guns have been fired by the end of July. This year is no exception.
This weekend does, however, offer a little something for everyone. This could be almost seen as a kitchen sink kind of weekend.
THE WOLVERINE (PG-13 116 Minutes )
This films marks the 6th time that Hugh Jackman has strapped on the mutton-chops and claws to play one of Marvel’s best known and most beloved characters, Logan, also known as The Wolverine. Based on the advance word, it is also one of his better outings, far superior to both his last X-Men team-up, 2006’s X-Men 3: The Last Stand and 2009’s universally maligned solo outing, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Set an unknown number of years after the events of X3, this film finds Logan living in self-imposed exile in the wilds of Canada, still tormented by having to kill Jean Gray. A young man who he saved moments before the bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 is now an old, very rich man who would like to repay this debt of honor by giving Logan the one gift he says he longs for: Mortality.
Drawing from the classic comic arc from the 80’s, this film does still manage to stand on its own. It gives us something that most X-Men fans have said they wanted. Well it gives us two things we’ve said we’ve wanted actually. One, it gives us the classic “Wolverine goes to Japan” arc and it gives him a true stand-alone film. Kind of like a single adventure story for our hero.
When original director, Darren Aronofsky, left the project shortly before filming was set to begin, we all had flashbacks to when Bryan Singer left X3 to make Superman Returns and we were left with half-wit Brett Ratner to try to figure out what the X-men universe was all about. He failed. I am happy to say that James Mangold doesn’t. While we will always wonder what Aronofsky would have brought to this world, Mangold is a pro and he brings a lot of class and a sure hand to the proceedings.
The film has a much more grand scope than anything in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and even though compared to recent films like Man of Steel or Iron Man 3, the scale is considerably more intimate, I think it works for the most part.
Even though some of the fights do seem stage-bound, for the most part the film feels expansive and while not epic, it does not feel like a TV movie either. It says something about expectations that, that fact is viewed as a success, but…well there you have it.
SPECIAL SCREENINGS BEGIN TONIGHT AT 10PM IN 2D, REALD 3D AND RPX AND OTHER LARGE FORMAT SCREENS (EXCEPT IMAX). OPENS EVERYWHERE FRIDAY.
THE TO-DO LIST (R 104 Minutes)
This is the part of the column where I make a true confession. I usually have at least one a week. This week is rather tame: I have a crush on Aubrey Plaza. The first time I became aware of her was in 2009’s Funny People, where she played the (sort of) love interest to Seth Rogen and a fellow stand-up comedian. She can also be seen stealing scenes weekly on Parks and Recreation and was the lead in the subtle and sweet Safety not Guaranteed.
Here she plays high-school graduate Brandy, who feels she needs to become a lot more sexually experienced before she heads to college in the fall. She sets out to learn as much as she can over the Summer with the help of and sometimes in spite of, her best friends.
Every since 2011’s Bridesmaids proved that a raunchy female led comedy could be both funny and make money, Hollywood has taken that lesson to heart. There have been a few mis-fires and a few non-starters since, but this is the first true blue teenage sex comedy that is female led that I’m aware of. Having an actual funny female as the lead is a strong start.
Aubrey Plaza is sharp and witty. She has a dead-pan delivery that can work wonders with the right material. It’s also refreshing to see a film like this that isn’t starring one of the five of seven actresses that we usually see in films like this, rare as they might be.
Writer/Director Maggie Carey based the screenplay on her own experiences growing up, so this could be the sleeper film that we have so far not seen this Summer. The last week of July would be a nice place for one to make itself known.
SPECIAL SCREENINGS BEGIN TONIGHT AT 10PM. OPENS EVERYWHERE FRIDAY.
That about covers it for this week. There are a couple of other smaller films opening this weekend in the Charlotte area, but I’m not going to go into detail about them here. I have some research to do and I might do a special report this weekend. I also hope to have a full review of The Wolverine up by the end of the weekend as well. I am also working on something really cool that I hope to bring to you in the next week or so, but I don’t want to jinx it by talking about it too soon.
Until next time, Keep the Projector Threaded!