You only really need to give it a moment’s thought to realise how absurd it is that movies starring Wolverine were ever geared toward kids. The guy is the product of heavily invasive surgical experimentation, his skeleton grafted with an indestructible metal which bursts forth from his knuckles in the form of lethally sharp claws – yet we’re expected to believe that when he goes snikt and swings his fists, the bad guys just fall over? Logan is by far the most violent, gruesome and potty-mouthed X-Men movie made to date – yes, even more so than Deadpool – and it would be easy to write this off as 20th Century Fox cashing in on a newly-rediscovered market for adults-only action which Deadpool proved still exists. However, there’s no denying how natural it all feels. In the first fifteen minutes alone our hero drops the F-bomb at least once a sentence, bloodily hacks limbs off his adversaries, and even enjoys a gratuitous tit shot, yet none of this in any way feels like a betrayal of what went before. Really, it feels like this is what Wolverine movies always should have been like. And not before time if, as has been promised, this will indeed be Hugh Jackman’s last time in his signature role.
What a difference a weekend makes. When I first got word last week of an upcoming new release called Mean Dreams, it was simply a promising-looking thriller; but when I finally sat down to watch it, I did so in the sad knowledge that I was about to see one of the very last performances from the late, great Bill Paxton, who left us far too soon this past Sunday.
In many respects, my first reaction to seeing that actor Tom Hardy had thrown body, mind and soul – and a lot of income – into a BBC period drama was one of complete surprise. I mean, coming fresh off the success of Mad Max: Fury Road, then swapping the big rigs for horse-drawn carriages is a sizable shift; why would he, alongside his father and co-creator ‘Chips’ Hardy, take such a strange turn, or risk such a big gamble? Critics have also raised the question: The Guardian was quick to sneer at Taboo, dismissing it as “silly”, but having watched – and enjoyed – the first series, I think I get it. Although (presumably) hundreds of years and miles apart from Hardy’s most recent success on-screen as ‘Max’, Taboo builds on what Hardy now clearly knows he does very well. He’s bloody good at being dark and ambiguous and he’s equally good as a vital underpin to a story, though, as it turns out, both men are dependent on a number of other miscreants in order to properly rally against powerful forces which do far worse things than they, in terms of scale and magnitude. James Kaziah Delaney and Max have been spat out by the machine and they have done dreadful things along their route back to freedom; this makes them problematic, but perhaps all the more engaging for it.
Once again, legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki has come out of retirement to direct a yet-to-be titled film. Miyazaki is an internationally renowned anime artist and director who has released such critically acclaimed works as Howls Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and My Neighbor Totoro (among others), and it looks like he’s not done yet. Originally announcing his retirement in 2013 following the release of The Wind Rises, during this year’s Oscars pre-show, it has been confirmed that he will be returning to his animation studio, Studio Ghibli, to work on a full length feature to be released in time for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Though there has been no confirmation about what the movie is, many speculate it is a film version of the Ghibli short Boro the Catpiller, which he spoke about in a TV documentary about his life that aired in Japan on November 2016.
There have been quite a few big announcements lately of upcoming home entertainment slates and there are some rather juicy morsels on their way from Arrow Video, Arrow Academy and Eureka in April and May!
Immortality is something that has long been sought for but never achieved (supposedly). The Fountain of Youth, eating a mermaid, a vampires bite, there are many ways to not die, but what would you do with all that time? Finally take up knitting? For the four soldiers of The Old Guard, it’s doing what they do best, fighting for the highest bidder. Written by Eisner winner Greg Rucka, The Old Guard has him step away from his usual superhero fan-fare and allows him to come back to his first passion, original comic work with longtime collaborator, Leandro Fernandez. While I don’t usually use the words ‘action-packed’ and ‘a mile-a-minute thrills,’ this work has a cinematic quality to it rarely seen in the graphic world. A tight read that never lingers, The Old Guard is a solid baseline from the finickiest of comic readers to full blown addicts.
It’s ‘classic horror comics meets classic horror writer’ madness in the latest continuation of everyone’s favorite swamp monster, Man-Thing! RL Stine, the mastermind behind such hits as Goosebumps and Fear Street, has teamed up with Marvel to release a new story titled simply, Man-Thing. The comic will be starting from the Man-Thing’s origin story, that is, with scientist Ted Sallis who in an attempt to recreate the super solider serum, accidently turns himself into Deadpool. Kidding! He actually turns himself into Man-Thing when he tries to save himself and his formula by injecting the serum straight into his veins. Now a lumbering creature of the night, Man-Thing spreads his unique form of eco-justice through a fear toxin that pours through his vines.
We’ve been saying since we launched Warped Perspective that we’d be covering a fairly broad selection of what could be termed ‘genre’ cinema, but it’s taken me until now to really put this into action. And, it has to be said, I elected to watch a film which was always going to pose certain issues for me. See, the star of the ‘based on a true story’ comedy, Army of One, is none other than Nicholas Cage. I have respect for Cage, as he’s been acting for a long time, and to be fair, he’s been in some films which I very much like – usually when his character is having the worst time of his life, now I think of it, such as in Leaving Las Vegas. However, in other roles, I find Cage’s jittery, manic stylings incredibly challenging to watch. It’s too intense; it saps the life out of the rest of the film (his performance in Vampire’s Kiss still hurts my mind). But if I veer between grudging admiration and utter exasperation when I watch Cage on screen, then it’s nothing compared to my feelings about Russell Brand, who also features here – as none other than God, a role Brand may well have felt very comfortable playing. So, a challenging cast, and a divisive director (Larry Charles, who gave us Borat). Army of One was sizing up to be a challenging prospect…
Death and the Wild West go together like chocolate and peanut butter or Australians and vegemite. From the harsh weather and even harsher land to forced labor and just-plain villainy, it’s no wonder that the horizon of US expansion is littered with the bodies of the dead. But from all the bad, something good always comes and in this case, it’s a rich history of legacy, traditions, and wild gods that still shake the earth something fierce. In BOOM! Studios newest release, Death be Damned, we see how far one man goes to find his wild gods and the length one woman goes for retribution. A retelling of the classic revenge story, the comic attempts to take a peek behind the veil in the bloody west but drops short of a truly distinctive experience. That’s not to say there aren’t good things about it.
Funny thing; it’s just over a month since we relaunched as Warped Perspective, our mission statement being to diversify from the horror-specific focus of our previous incarnation Brutal As Hell – and yet in that time, I personally have still wound up reviewing nothing but horror movies. Old habits really do die hard. Of course, we never said we’d stop covering horror, nor would that be especially feasible given our standing within the industry, small fish in a big pond though we may be. And given that we’ve always been something of an underdog site, it’s important to me that we support other underdogs, gearing up for their own David/Goliath stories. One such plucky so-and-so ready to let fly with his sling is Justin M Seaman, writer-director of microbudget Halloween horror The Barn – and like all the best microbudget horror filmmakers, what Seaman and co lack in funding, they more than make up for in ideas, ambition, and enthusiasm.