Missing Link and all the images you see in this review are owned by Laika and United Artists Releasing
Directed by Chris Butler
I feel like I should be a hundred times more supportive of Laika and their filmography; especially considering how they can use all the help they can get. It’s not that I’ve disliked any of the movies I’ve seen (Coraline, Kubo, and now this), just that despite every they get right they’ve never quite managed to be the best animated films of their respective years and end up feeling like a second tier studio when they are clearly aspiring for the very best; kind of like a Studio Ghibli where they aren’t as prolific or well known as the Disneys and Dreamworks of the world, but have garnered massive respect and influence. Perhaps they will get there one and (some would say that they are already there) and their latest movie might just be what they need to make that dream that much more within their reach. Is this yet another masterpiece from one of the most creative animation studios working today or is this a misfire for a studio that can’t afford to have one of those right now? Let’s find out!!
The movie is set in the late nineteenth century and Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) is the world’s premiere Cryptozoologist before that was a thing as he hunts down mythical creatures like The Loch Ness monster and fails to take decent pictures of them every single time. It’s a shame because the guy is a certifiable badass, but his deeds fall on less than enthusiastic ears as none believe his wild tales of mythical creatures; least of all the members of the Great Men society who snub his work and laugh behind his back. Frost is not one to give up however and after receiving a letter telling him that he can find the mysterious Sasquatch in the woods of Washington, he makes a bet with the society’s stuff leader Lord Piggot-Dunceby (Stephen Fry) that he will gain acceptance into the organization if he can bring back proof of the creature! Sure enough, he does manage to find the legendary beast, but the plot starts to thicken as it turns out that Sasquatch can not only talk (Zack Galifianakis) but was also the one who wrote the letter. You see, he’s the last of his species up here in the Washington forest (I guess the others were all killed in some sort of massacre?) and wants to find safe passage to the Himalayas where he hears that similar creatures known as Yetis have lived for thousands of years, and he can definitely use a few more friends. Frost agrees to exchange evidence of the creature’s existence in exchange for taking him to his family and dubs him Mr. Link for the rest of the journey, and first mission is that Frost needs a map that is currently being held by an old friend of his Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana) and she’s not about to give it up unless she gets to go on the journey too. However, Lord Piggot-Dunceby is getting REAL sick of Frost’s buffoonery and decides to hire a hitman (Timothy Olyphant) to kill him whether or not he finds the beast, so that’s something ELSE they’ll have to deal with on top of Mr. Link’s awkward and clumsy behavior as well as the treachery of traveling that far in this day and age. Will Mr. Link finally be reunited with his own kind and will Frost get the recognition he so desperately craves? What further challenges await them on their way to the Himalayas, and can their budding friendship endure such hardships? Seriously, this proper English explorer is traveling with this guy for weeks and he couldn’t spend an hour getting him a PROPER fitted suit!?
Logan and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by James Mangold
Dude has been playing this character since the turn of the millennium. It’s no wonder he looks so damn tired in this! For many people, the first X-Men (as well as Blade in 1998) can be pointed to as the start of the modern superhero genre as a mainstream endeavor instead of the one off success stories like Batman and Superman. Sure, Superheroes have ALWAYS been a part of the film industry (There only maybe a dozen or so fewer superhero movies made in the nineties as in the decade that followed) but with X-Men it proved that more modern and varied superheroes had a shot at connecting with a wider audience; especially with powerhouse actors like Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Hugh Jackman on hand to sell it to them. I mean say what you will for the X-Men film franchise in general, it’s managed to have a decent amount of staying power with a solid decade lead on the MCU. For all its ups and downs, it’s stayed pretty popular to this day and that’s double true for Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine. However, all good things inevitably come to an end, and this movie is here to remind us all of that fact as Hugh Jackman swears this is the last time we will see him in this role. So is it a proper send off for the role that started a global phenomenon, or has all semblances of life and effort left his franchise a long time ago like it has to the main character in this movie? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Old Man Logan (Hugh Jackman) barely scraping by as a limo driver who ALWAYS seems to run into assholes wherever he goes. Maybe those Adamantium claws of his are magnetized to attract douche bags or maybe it’s because he parks his fancy ass car in gang territory. Either way, he’s living the Max Payne dream of self-loathing, self-medication, and self-assurance that nothing is going to get better no matter what. At the very least, he IS managing to take care of Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who’s stuck with him after some incident about a year ago that no one is too keen to bring up and to make matters worse he seems to have a degenerative brain disease that is making his powers unstable as well as his memories. With a stable job and the responsibilities of taking care of Charles, somewhat helped by a new friend of theirs named Caliban (Stephen Merchant), he’s at least managing to put off putting an Adamantium bullet in his head from the time being, though I’m pretty sure the OTHER X-Men movie confirmed it WOULDN’T kill him if he did that. However, if everyone else is still okay with pretending that one didn’t exist, then so am I. Of course, things can’t stay that way for long as a little girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) enters the mix and throws all their lives into chaos. See, apparently mutants stopped being born a few decades ago, and most of the ones who are still alive have died off for one reason or another. Laura though is herself a mutant, and not just any mutant to boot. Her powers are almost exactly that of Logan’s and there are a lot of people that want her dead. And so the chase is on with Logan reluctantly dragging both Laura and Xavier (Caliban isn’t so lucky) through the United States to find some sort of refuge in Canada from the evil organization hunting them down and to possibly find some shred of redemption for the life that he led. Can Logan complete this one last mission before finally finding the peace that has eluded him for so long? Where exactly did this girl come from, and how is she a mutant in a world where they are effectively extinct? Seriously, does every Dad FigureTM nowadays have to have those beards!?
X-Men: Apocalypse and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Bryan Singer
It’s that time again for another X-Men movie to try and prove its relevance in a post MCU world! So far, I think they’ve been doing a fairly good job of keeping this series humming along since Mathew Vaughn kicked the franchise back to life again five years ago. The post First Class movies haven’t been perfect, but the second shot at a Wolverine solo picture and the one that brought Brian Singer back to the franchise were both fine enough films, and now that Deadpool is kinda sorta in the mix, there may be hope yet that this franchise can make that leap to the big leagues instead of sitting comfortably as the acceptable knock off. Is this movie the start of that transition, or is this series just gonna keep spinning its wheels until another X3 disaster kills it off for good? Let’s find out!!
The movie picks up about ten years after Days of Future Past which is still about twenty years before the original X-Men, which I THINK is still in continuity (only X3 is the one we know for sure got blinked out of existence). In the intervening time, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) has finally set up his school, Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) has gone into hiding and now has a family in Poland, and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence)… well she’s basically doing the same thing as she as in the last movie, only now she’s a symbol of peace rather than a violent radical after she had saved the president from Magneto. Things seem to be at a tentative state of peace with the humans being somewhat okay with mutants and Erik more or less retiring Magento so he can live a normal life. We don’t come to an X-Men movie to see people be happy though! What’s gonna screw it up for everyone!? Well two things really. First is that Erik suffers a tragedy that throws him back into his anti-human hobby, and second is that there is a millennia old mutant calling himself, among other names, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) that just so happened to wake up from his deep slumber and is ready to take over the world (presumably after getting a shower and a bite to eat). It doesn’t take long for him to make his presence known so the X-Men must reunite and get some of the new students to fight the greatest threat to all of humanity… at least now that the Sentinels aren’t gonna be a thing anymore. Can Charles and Mystique whip these newbies into tip top shape to fight the new bad guy and save the world? What exactly will Erik do now that he’s given up on ever finding peace for himself? How many times are they gonna blow up the damn school!?
Eddie the Eagle and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Dexter Fletcher
Despite some films that are clearly going to be awful coming through the pipeline soon (*cough* Gods of Egypt *cough* Brothers Grimsby *cough*), I think it’s safe to say that the New Year Doldrums are coming to end as we’ve been getting some pretty sold films lately like The Witch and Race. Will Eddie the Eagle, a feel good comedy about an unlikely athlete, be yet another sign that the dark times are over, or the last gasp of awfulness before such dreck is anesthetized from the local multiplexes? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton) whose one goal in life is to be an Olympic athlete and to one day participate in the games as a representative of Great Britain. He doesn’t really care for any sport in particular (and has very little skill in most of them) but he eventually finds that skiing agrees with him for the most part and hopes to qualify for the 88 Winter Games in Calgary. Sadly, he doesn’t seem to be up to snuff for any of the skiing events and is about to give up when he realizes that Great Britain hasn’t had an official Ski Jumper participate in the games for over fifty years which means that he doesn’t have to compete against anyone else to qualify! True, he’s never jumped in his life, but he’s got about a year until the next games and is determined to get there no matter the cost. He sets up camp in Germany where there’s an official training facility that he can practice at, yet the training seems to be slow going on his own. Fortunately, IT JUST SO HAPPENS that a former American ski jumper named Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman) is the unassuming and alcoholic groundskeeper (I guess that’s what you’d call him) of the facility and, after some badgering from Eddie, eventually decides to help him get just good enough to not kill himself at the games. Will Eddie be able to live out his dream to be an Olympic athlete in a sport he barely understands? Will Bronson find redemption in helping this guy become a proper ski jumper? Who wants to bet the true story wasn’t NEARLY as whimsical as they portray it here?
Pan and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Joe Wright
Raise your hand if you were dying to hear the untold story of how Peter Pan got to Neverland? Anyone? So who exactly is this movie for!? Well I guess we’re about to find out because after MONTHS of having to see that trailer, the movie is finally in theaters! Will it be yet another prequel that fails to bring anything new to the table and is soon forgotten, or is it unlike pretty much every other prequel ever made? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about young Peter (Levi Miller) who’s stuck in a British Orphanage during World War Two who as you’d expect is a precocious brat who doesn’t take well to authorities. The orphanage is run by a corrupt nun who reminds me of the Trunchbull from Matilda (except she’s far less likeable) and it seems that she has a side business going where she sells the orphans to space pirates for profit and so that she can keep their rations all to herself. I’m sorry, what?