DECEMBER 3RD, 2013
THE WOLVERINE // Expertly displayed as almost a stand-alone Wolverine film, I compare “The Wolverine” to a franchise film like “Skyfall” that gives us a deeper, emotional perspective on a character that we think we know inside and out. Bringing Logan (Hugh Jackman) to the world of the Yakuza and ninjas in Japan, not only does the story feel different from any X-Men outing, it solidifies itself as different from any comic book adaptation to date. Taking an unstoppable force like Wolverine, with his adamantium infused bones and healing skin, and making him vulnerable for the first time in his extremely long life is genius, as you watch his struggle with his new mortality, yet still doesn’t learn fast enough to not step out of the way of a bullet. “The Wolverine” builds a strong, slow beginning where we see Logan pining over the loss of Jean (Famke Janssen), who appears in his dreams, following the conclusion of “X-Men: The Last Stand”. Hiding in the woods with only a bear to keep him company, it is not until he is met by Yukio (Rila Fukushima), a young, sword-wielding Japanese girl that was sent to find him by her employer, Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), a man Wolverine saved during the Nagasaki bombing. On his death bed, he has a proposition for Logan that could make him mortal. Here is where I appreciate the marketing for this film, as it never once gave way to the actual deal that was being made between the two and which I will not explore as to keep it a secret for those going to see it. Once the action of the film begins, it never stops, following Logan as he protects Mariko (Tao Okamoto), Yashida’s grand daughter, and future heir to the Yashida company and fortune, as they are hunted by her father’s men as well as Yashida’s doctor, who is revealed as The Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova). Despite suffering from some over-stylization and changes of tone from the dark, thriller that engulfs most of the film, “The Wolverine” is a breath of fresh air in the X-Men world and builds an extremely foundation for the future sequels, including one of the most exciting after credits sequences that delivers just enough oomph to get anyone excited for the next installment.
DRINKING BUDDIES // Set apart by its strong leads, “Drinking Buddies” is a romantic comedy that escapes the bounds of the normal formula and delivers a much more natural and realistic view, all while still pleasing and offering workable silver linings in the process. Most romantic comedies that take a direct look at how relationships really are, most often, are depressing. They leave nothing to the imagination and rip your heart out with break ups and unrelenting emotion. Joe Swanberg’s film, however, provides a cushion that allows not only for the film to breath believability but also still capture the Hollywood essence needed to entertain and keep from feeling devastated. Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson’s chemistry is undeniable, bringing the highs with their comical co-worker friendship, but also bringing the lows as they struggle with their separate relationships and their feelings toward one another. Johnson’s humor is completely unique and has become his staple, made most precedent in his hugely popular role on Fox’s “New Girl”. With repetitive and cold deliveries to his jokes and the ranting styles all his own, nothing matches his comedic timing in this stellar dramedy. Anna Kendrick is as gorgeous as always and also brings a life-like demeanor to her role as Johnson’s longtime girlfriend. Ron Livingston wavers in his role, never quite landing on sincere or detached. And Ti West even supplies a decent showing as fellow co-worker and love interest of Wilde’s. Overall, “Drinking Buddies” is a well balanced romantic comedy with enough comedy and enough emotion to keep anyone entertained through the 90 minute run-time, providing the perfect platform for Johnson to continue his alluring brand of comedy.
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TV Box Set
- Enlightened: Season Two
- Lilyhammer: Season One
- The Simpsons: Season Sixteen
Special Editions/Other Releases
- Argo: Declassified Extended Edition
- Investigation of a Citizen…: Criterion
- Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United
- Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United
- Nashville: Criterion