The Wolverine

Wolverine

Hey, have you noticed that Hugh Jackman is ridiculously buff? I think this is the 11th time he’s played Wolverine in an X-men movie. Which means he’s been working out for a long time! I can’t remember if we get a gratuitous shot of his bottom in The Wolverine and I’m a heterosexual female so you’d think I’d notice so there probably wasn’t one. We do, however, get a gratuitous abs shot which wasn’t all bad, no sir, not at all.

Now apart from the HJ factor for the ladies, I actually really enjoyed The Wolverine. There was enough action to keep me happy and enough story line to keep me thinking. Nice. The women were interesting characters with actual back stories and an arc that made sense. Woah, action film with female characters that aren’t just there for sexy times (although there was a bit of that but seeing as HJ was also getting the sexy time oily buff treatment I have no problem with such – equal treatment FTW!).

This film even passes the Bechdel test. The women talk about their concerns for someone other than Wolverine and I have to say if HJ were hanging out anywhere near me I would find that exceedingly difficult. (Oh dear, I’m one of those women – shut up, shut up, shut up, write about the film!)

I loved the Japanese location and the cultural influence on the movie. Wolverine was so far outside his comfort zone and his way of doing things (scratching people up y’know) just didn’t cut it (haha! pun bell!) in the society he was in. The Japanese just did everything better, cleaner, cooler and with less facial hair.

I think taking Wolverine out of the USA was a really good idea for this one. We really needed to be outside the goings on of the other X-men franchises and X-men Origins: Wolverine. I liked Origins but it was just so confusing and hard to place in the X-men timeline (I’ve never read the comics and I didn’t think about it for very long so I can’t comment on whether it makes sense for the pure of X-men folks). It was good not to have to think about the timing of events while watching – it just didn’t matter.

You know what’s weird about Wolverine? It’s when he has bone claws not adamantium. For some reason that really freaks me out. It actually makes my knuckles feel weird. Surely bone claws break like really long nails or something? I mean they’re quite thin. Also, why don’t they ever show the claws cutting through his skin? It must happen every time. And what about when he (SPOILER – although it’s an obvious plot hook) loses the ability to self heal? Surely he’d have permanent cuts on his knuckles? They totally should have shown that. And it probably hurt each time they got re-cut (am I over thinking this? I think so).

Back to the film… I liked it. It’s got action and it’s got a not entirely stoopid story line.

Two things I didn’t like:

1. superfluous ninja guy – he was just there to go heavy ninja all over the place and to make the big W a bit jealous – pointless and confusing

2. the big bad was too predictable, yet another evil guy being pretty obviously evil and just evilling about, c’mon people this is X-men the home of the ever conflicting Magneto (he’s bad but he’s good but he’s bad but I like him cos he’s good but he’s so bad but he’s good, you know?).

Also, Hugh Jackman looks good with his shirt off… (shut up, shut up, shut up)

Elysium

elysium

Action, sci-fi, future dystopia – is there anything I love that Elysium doesn’t have? Oh, a meaningful storyline or characters I care about? Yeh, that’s an issue.

Elysium had so much potential! I loved Neill Blomkamp’s first film District 9. It had action, sci-fi, future dystopia and it also had a meaningful storyline and characters. That film was so raw and unpolished and it worked.

Elysium was supposed to be unpolished (note the future dystopia). The Earth has been abandoned by the rich elite and the poor non-elite have been left to fend for themselves. We meet good ole Matt Damon struggling to survive and desperate to reach Elysium the floating retreat of the rich and lustrous and clean and neat and greenery loving people who used to live on Earth. They have health care you know – got an illness? Elysium can zap that. And that’s it. I just couldn’t care about it. Matt Damon was under utilised – we all know the guy can do action. Jodie Foster could have been awesome but her character just evilled about (you know walking evil, talking evil, being a bit over the top about it = evilling about).

The whole outcome of the film was telegraphed like a punch in WWE. You can see everything coming like you’re being told. Was the best friend actually wearing a red shirt a la Star Trek? – because he may as well have.

I would like to think of something positive about Elysium but I can’t think of much. I did read somewhere that Jodie Foster’s character was originally meant to be a male character so it was refreshing to have an evil woman as the person you would hate if you felt anything at all about this film.

Elysium is all about the blokes though, apparently in evil future dystopias women are either mothers or bad and can’t take care of themselves – they need Matt Damon or some South African guy to do their stuff. Come on Hollywood – get over it!!

Hey, need some feels? What about a little girl with terminal cancer who won’t live unless she gets to Elysium? Yeh, feel that audience. Except you don’t. I was so over it by the point that she was introduced that it was more an “of course” than an “oh no”. Another female for Matt Damon to save. Boring.

At least Elysium passes the Bechdel Test because the Mother and Daughter talk to each other about something other than Matt Damon. I can’t remember what they talked about because I didn’t care. (Yeh, take that Elysium…)

What a pity that Elysium was so drab. It’s a really interesting idea and there is so much current political tension around health care at the moment (I’m looking at you USA) that Elysium could have really made a statement that would make us think. But no, that didn’t happen, not at all.

Unfortunately potential and otherwise good actors doesn’t count for much when the story is so tedious and predictable.

Sad face. No. Bored face. Yes, that.

Buffalo 66

Buffalo_sixty_six_ver1

I went in to this film not having a clue about it. I knew that Buffalo 66 was the first movie from Vincent Gallo but apart from that – nothing. I didn’t even know one of my favourite actors, Christina Ricci, was in it. Great surprise and she was terrific.

Buffalo 66 is unusual. It follows Vincent Gallo’s character out of prison back to life. He has lied to his parents about where he’s been and has even made up a wife. He kidnaps Christina Ricci’s character and goes to visit the folks with his ‘wife’. This could have played out as expected but the characters are so odd that somehow this all seemed normal.

There’s certainly something very wrong with these two but I found myself hoping for a good outcome for them both. There were times when she could have run but she didn’t and he is so intense and unhappy about his life that he is hardly likeable. Weird then that I liked them both so much.

Another awesome surprise was Angelica Houston rocking it as the Mum obsessed by football (the Superbowl kind) and not much else, least of all her son.

These are two very lonely and sad people and, in fact, the kidnapping becomes quite stockholm syndrome quite quickly. The lies upon lies that develop are quite astounding and as ‘the wife’ she begins to relish her power in the situation. I should stop saying it but I remain surprised by how much I liked them because they make strange decisions and he is really quite mean to her and she just falls in love more. Sad. The fact that this movie is set over less than 24 hours makes it even sadder (yet I loved it! I just wanted them to be happy – so much for my romance immune action brain… although it ain’t a romantic film.)

There is great use of flashbacks as explanation of how he came to be in prison and the life he had with his oddball parents. The whole movie feels quirky like an early Wes Anderson film. It’s less quirky though and more sad sack. (I have no idea how to describe this, can you tell? Sweet and creepy maybe?) The flashbacks are quirky too. They appear as tiny squares in the middle of the screen and slowly take over – it kind of scared me the first time.

The ending is very unusual too. That is all I can say about that.

You should watch this film just to see Vincent Gallo’s run. So odd. So uptight.