REVIEW: Logan

Image: Twentieth Century Fox

Image: Twentieth Century Fox

Chris Luckett

Movie studios don’t usually learn the right lessons from their competitors’ successes.

When last year’s brutally violent and brutally funny Deadpool went on to be the 2nd-highest grossing R-rated movie of all time, 20th Century Fox wasted no time announcing that Logan, the final Wolverine movie, would be rated R.

Gloriously, director James Mangold (who also directed 2013’s underappreciated The Wolverine) makes all the right uses of the freedom an R-rating grants, finally depicting the true violence and profane rage of someone who’s lived as painful and tragic a life as the iconic Canadian mutant.

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REVIEW: X-Men: Apocalypse

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Chris Luckett

“At least we can all agree the third one is always the worst.”

So says a character in X-Men: Apocalypse, the latest actioner using mutants to hold a mirror up to contemporary society’s prejudices. It’s a dig at X-Men: The Last Stand, the third in Fox’s original trilogy and long considered to be the worst of the series. (Well, assuming you don’t count the abysmal X-Men: Origins — Wolverine.)

It’s not just X-Men: The Last Stand, though. While in most movie trilogies, the second entry in the worst, superhero trilogies are an anomaly. Since the first movie is usually bogged down by an origin story, the second movie is almost always the best — recall Superman II, X2: X-Men United, Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier — while the third is almost always the worst.

When 2011’s X-Men: First Class rebooted things, showing how the characters once played by Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Rebecca Romijn began, it caught people off-guard with how good it was. Days of Future Past, being the second movie, proved to be the best X-Men yet, topping the first in always every way. X-Men: Apocalypse is the third in this new trilogy. And you know what they say about the third one. Continue reading

SPECIAL: The Best Movies of 2014

Photo: Open Road Films/Elevation Pictures

Photo: Open Road Films/Elevation Pictures

Chris Luckett

Twenty-fourteen was not the best year for movies. By no means is that to say there weren’t some truly great ones, but there was more than the usual number of mediocre or simply good movies, and fewer masterpieces than in the past few years.

That having been said, while there may not have been as large an abundance, there were still 25 films that stood above all the rest. Comedy, sci-fi, drama, animation, romance, suspense, documentary, horror, and action make up these, the very best movies of the year. Continue reading

The Best Movies of 2014 (So Far)

Photo: Warner Bros.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Chris Luckett

On New Year’s Eve last year, I resolved to try and see every wide release that came out in 2014. (“Wide release,” these days, means a minimum of 600 screens.) It’s resulted in me seeing many more movies by this point in time than I usually do. Last year, I didn’t see my 50th movie until the first week of October. This year, with another month to go until October, I’ve already seen 84 movies from 2014. Continue reading

REVIEW: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Chris Luckett

In the wake of The Avengers, movie franchises have aimed for larger scales and the combining of movie casts. The Fast & Furious franchise folded in Jason Statham’s Transporter character with the closing scene of Fast & Furious 6. Man of Steel is begetting Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is ultimately begetting a Justice League movie.

Not to miss the boat, the X-Men franchise delivers their attempt at a combined hero action movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past, which unites the cast of the 2000-2005 X-Men trilogy and the cast of the 2011 prequel-boot X-Men: First Class. Gloriously, X-Men: Days of Future Past is many things at once — a combined hero action movie being just one of them — and succeeds on all fronts.

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SPECIAL: The Best Trailers of 2013

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Chris Luckett

Every year, superstars like Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, and Leonardo DiCaprio star in brilliant, two-minute movies. The fact that these short films are also advertisements for other movies and that they precede “feature presentations” at the theatre doesn’t stop some of them from being works of art in their own right. Of all the trailers that were released in 2013, these are the very best.

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