Tag Archives: patrick stewart

‘Charlie’s Angels’ Review

And so the “sequel that acts as a soft reboot” trend continues.

“Charlie’s Angels” is the latest installment in the titular spy franchise which began with the 1970s TV series followed by the two films in the early 2000s. This rendition stars Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska as the three new Angels, alongside Elizabeth Banks, Djimon Hounson, Sam Claflin, Noah Centineo and Patrick Stewart. Banks also directs and wrote the screenplay.

This is one of those films, one of those reviews, where it is just a light watch and there’s nothing wrong with that. The three main Angels, Stewart, Scott and Balinska, all have a nice energy about them, and Stewart, returning to studio tentpoles after a stint in the indie world, continues to show that she is capable of succeeding in any genre. Not all of her jokes land, and sometimes Banks’ script has her make these bad quips at the wrong time or on the wrong beat, but Stewart seems to be having a ball and manages to produce a few solid chuckles with her animated movement.

The action sequences are a bit of a mixed bag, as some of them are fun and seem like they were choreographed well, however the editing is so quick (like a cut a second) and the camera is held so close to the actors that it is hard to tell what is going on. I don’t get why movies do this, like why rehearse a fight scene if it’s just going to come across as random chaos, but that’s been a problem for a while so can’t expect this to be the last time we see it.

The plot is, serviceable. It is your classic “we have to find out who is trying to buy this new weapon before it’s too late” storyline, and the few twists that do come into play are pretty predictable. As I touched on with Stewart, Elizabeth Banks’ script (and she also produced, so all flaws on this project truly fall on her shoulders) feels lazy at times, many of the jokes are obvious or dialogue full of exposition (at one point a character explains a plot point we just learned to another, just to ensure the audience caught it).

“Charlie’s Angels” is perfectly sufficient entertainment, although the action is scattershot and the humor only lands every now and again. Based on the reactions from my audience I’m guessing there are Easter eggs sprinkled in for fans of the previous installments, and if you thought the trailers looked fun then I’m sure you’ll get exactly what you want out of this.

Critics Rating: 6/10

‘Logan’ a Depressing, Bloody Sendoff

Logan_2017_posterI’m all for trying to shake up the typical superhero formula, but there has to be some sort of a means to an end…


“Logan” marks the ninth and final time of Hugh Jackman playing everyone’s favorite clawed X-Man, and this time he must escort Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and a young mutant (Dafne Keen) from Texas to the Canadian border. Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook and Stephen Merchant also star as James Mangold returns to direct.


“X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” Jackman’s first solo outing as the character in 2009, was botched on almost every front (except for his performance) and is often cited as one of the worst superhero films ever made. His second attempt in 2013, “The Wolverine,” faired a better, with the Japanese and samurai mythos really carrying the film until it betrayed its tone with a cartoony climax. This time around, thanks to the success of R-rated “Deadpool” last February, Jackman got his R-rated swansong; it’s just a shame we aren’t ending things on better terms.


On a technical level, there isn’t much wrong with “Logan.” It looks good, with settings ranging from dusty, sun-soaked Texas to lush, green North Dakota, and for the most part the action is captured well by cinematographer John Mathieson. Mangold and company take advantage of the R rating and don’t shy away from Logan eviscerating henchmen left and right. There are some points where the action does get extra-bloody and they overcompensate, like showing a man get decapitated and having his bloody head roll around. It’s almost as if to make up for the past 17 years of us having to use our imaginations as to what happens when a man with claws impales a human.


Jackman portrays Logan at his most broken-down and vulnerable we’ve ever seen him, although at some points it is hard to see where Jackman’s take on the character ends and his own exhaustion of the role begins. No one is questioning his dedication to the character that he will forever be synonymous with, however there are times throughout the film it appears he is simply going through the motions, which may not even entirely be his fault, as stepping to the same shoes for almost two decades may make putting on that façade second nature.


There are some attempts at humor, and a lot of them do hit thanks to Patrick Stewart’s dry British wit, Jackman’s growling delivery or newcomer Dafne Keen’s nuanced actions, even if it is at the expense of creating a slightly-tonally confused narrative.


Which brings me to my biggest gripe about “Logan” and that is its tone and delivery of its story. Like I started off with, I have no problem with films trying to reinvent the wheel of their respective genre, so that “Logan” wants to be a gritty, grim and realistic take on one of the more tortured souls of the comic book world is fine with me. However the pacing of the story is equally as bleak, with the action all too often not coming across as fun and more so as numbing, and the character moments, as well-acted as they are, feel weary.


“Logan” is made with the best intentions and diehard fans of the character and comics will find more to love in here than the casual filmgoer, but otherwise the film is a letdown, and drags for many portions throughout. If this truly is Hugh Jackman’s final bow as the character of Wolverine then he deserved better, but just as the film strives to tell us: no matter how dark and unsatisfying the world is, you just have to keep on grinding along.

Critics Rating: 5/10

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

‘Days of Future Past’ Best X-Men Yet

X-Men_Days_of_Future_Past_posterThere was a time when the X-Men franchise was the best in the business. The first film, released in 2000, really was the first big-budget comic book-based film. The sequel, which brilliantly titled “X-Men 2”, was considered better than the first. Then writer/director Bryan Singer left and “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” were released, both being met with mixed reviews, and even some hate from fans. Hope seemed lost. Then a very successful prequel, “X-Men: First Class” came out, and that brings us to today.

In “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, the X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants. Bryan Singer returns to the director’s chair, and Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen return as Professor X and Magneto, respectively, among other stars of the original trilogy. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender portray the younger versions of Professor X and Magneto, and Hugh Jackman once again plays Wolverine.

I’ve never been the biggest X-Men fan. I love superhero movies (“Spider-Man 2” and “Iron Man” are among my favorite all-time films), but for whatever reason I have never fallen in love with the X-Men. So I am surprised that I loved “Days of Future Past” as much as I did.

Hugh Jackman is great in most every film he does, so it is no surprise that he once again kills it as Wolverine. He carries the film for the first half, as he is tasked with convincing a depressed Professor X (McAvoy) to help him save the future. He has his sarcastic moments along with his badass ones, but he also has a few scenes of pure emotion, which is rare for such a normally stoic character.

My personal favorite character of the film is Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters. Some people, myself included, were worried when they saw the character design (a punk teen), especially compared to the one that will be featured in the Avengers sequel (yeah, there will be a different Quicksilver in a different movie played by a different actor, it’s confusing). But Singer handles him well, inserting just enough humor into the character so he doesn’t come off as corny, and Peters in fact adds an extra sense of fun to the film.

For the most part, the special effects are top notch, and the action sequences are very well shot. Whether it is mutants fighting robots or mutants fighting mutants, the action is clear and crisp, and doesn’t fall victim to the PG-13 rating. There was one instance, however, where I was actually in shock that the sequence made the final cut. The CGI looked so obviously fake that I actually chuckled; luckily that is just one 10 second segment of the film.

There isn’t much that “Days of Future Past” does wrong. As with most summer blockbusters, it may drag a little towards the middle and of course the time-travel aspect has some holes when you really think about it, but these are minor flaws that do not hold the movie down too much.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” benefits from the return of the old cast and especially the presence of Singer in the director’s chair. Even someone who does not know much about the X-Men (like me) will be entertained, and the movie explains any and all necessary plot points from previous films. “Days of Future Past” is immensely entertaining and at times emotional and thought-provoking, and it is some of the most fun I’ve had at the movies all year.

Critics Rating: 8/10