Christmas, December 1974. Cyclone Tracy hits Darwin and destroys the city, killing and injuring a whole lot of people. And that’s about all I knew about it. (To be fair, I wasn’t actually born at this point, it’s not like I was just ignoring the news).
Sophie Cunningham presents the story of Tracy in a manner similar to the cyclone – the events of the cyclone overlap and are traumatic to experience. Then, there is the aftermath; bureaucracy, differing opinions on how to deal with the town and its people and the trauma, still present in many today. If you want to know about this time in Australia’s history, Warning: The Story of Cyclone Tracy is an excellent book to read.
During World War Two, Logan (Hugh Jackman) is being held in a POW camp in Nagasaki when the atom bomb is dropped. He saves the life of an officer, then in the present day, he is summoned to say goodbye to the now-dying, elderly Yashisa (Hiroyuki Sanada), but the invitation is not what it seems, and heaps of running, chasing and fighting ensues.
Spectacular and stunning, with a whole heap of Japanese sensibilities and style. I found the start a bit odd – if Wolverine is so amazing, how did he end up as a prisoner of war? And later, when he is having issues regenerating, why does that not hurt more? But perhaps I am being a bit picky – I really liked it.
It’s the early sixties, and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is starting to get quite vocal about his discoveries about mutants. Meanwhile, Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender as the character who becomes Magneto) is seeking revenge on the Nazis, in particular Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who killed his mother. Then there is Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) who is trying to find her place in the world. Oh, but the world doesn’t really know about them. As they are revealed, people are scared.
Fun and exciting with cool characters who (mostly) I am really enjoying. I really love the depictions of the sixties, the styles and fashion and getting these parts of the characters’ backstories.
You know what I’m really enjoying about watching all of these X-Men films in close succession? The way they play with time. Characters are introduced in one film but not properly introduced, but then their story becomes clear in the next film. So here we are at X-Men Origins : Wolverine.
Logan (Hugh Jackman) and his brother Victor (Liev Schreiber) are brothers who, from a very early age, discover they are both mutants who cannot be killed and don’t age (though I got confused on that, as one moment they were little boys, then they were adults. What’s that all about, aging?). The title sequence shows them fighting in a variety of wars over time, but Logan chucks it in when his unit begins killing innocents. He gets a quiet job in a forest, meets a girl and settles down. Then Victor turns up again, and things get nasty.
Reading a bit about the reception of these films, this is the low point, but I disagree. I really liked it – Hugh Jackman got to be brooding and angry and the bad guys got beaten in a way that didn’t quite negate the stuff that happened in the earlier films, which were actually later in the timeline of Wolverine’s existence. Cool fun.
Sacha Baron Cohen is Aladeen, dictator of a small, fictional country in Northern Africa. He ends up in the US, where he is ousted by his brother (played by Ben Kingsley… seeing him in this makes me feel like the great have fallen) and an idiot body double. He has to rely on the kindness of a man he had executed (don’t ask) and a girl who is smart enough to have a large ecologically friendly co-op in New York yet is too stupid to run in efficiently or to tell this offensive creep to bugger off (Anna Ferris as the extremely offensive to all women character, Zoey).
Yup. I didn’t like it. I have memories of Ali G being an amazing television show, of going to the film of Borat and laughing (although I walked out of the cinema feeling that I’d watched something pretty crappy), but I have avoided Cohen’s more recent work. I watched this because I’d heard the review on Plato’s Cave (this is a RRR film criticism podcast which I thoroughly enjoy. I don’t always agree; sometimes I vehemently disagree, but I always like what they have to say) and Thomas Caldwell had said some surprisingly good things about it.
Perhaps I’m over poo, torture and rape jokes. Perhaps I just like humour that is clever (though I do love slapstick). Whatever. The Dictator did not even raise a smile from me.
The mutants are out, the whole world knows about them. Then someone comes up with a cure (source from a mutant whose power is that he strips people of their powers) and there is outrage. Some mutants want the cure and to be normal, but there is also the sinister side of things – the government will force the cure on the mutants. Plus, it will be weaponised. Oh, and the good chick who died at the end of the last film? She’s not dead. But she’s evil. Awesome.
I quite liked this film, although I didn’t like Wolverine’s attempts to be cheeky. He is brooding and, for once, I like that brooding. Don’t make him have snappy one-liners and the like. Just don’t. Oh, and there was a guy with amazing wings. Oh, and finally, how is this the last stand when there are more films to come? Stupid title for a film.
Magneto (Ian McKellen) is in prison, a plastic prison that he can’t control the metal bits and pieces. Stryker (Brian Cox) has turned up, a military guy who, as it happens, wants to destroy all of the mutants. He goes after Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his school and it is all on.
Heaps of explosions, fighting, supernatural stuff, and yet I was a bit bored. There were certainly part that were most impressive, but whatever. But everything was made better by the presence of Alan Cumming. Let’s face it, he can make anything better.