When the prospect of putting together a piece on my favorite things of 2017 presented itself, I jumped at the chance. Then I almost immediately regretted it because 2017 has been a waking nightmare from which there was no escape. OR HAS IT?
While it’s super important for me to “stay woke” (as the kids say) and stay angry, it’s exhausting. So when I began to think back over the year and how I coped with it, my chosen methods of escapism began to float to the top. Let’s have a look.
I’ve had a ton of Blu-rays and digital movies come my way the last few weeks, and I’ve wanted to highlight a few of them, in case you’re looking for something to watch this weekend or over the next few weeks.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (HBO Films): I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I’d never heard the name Henrietta Lacks or her amazing story before. This was simply one of those films sent my way which I thought I’d give a chance. I’m certainly glad I did, as the legacy of Ms. Lacks is remarkable – she was an African American woman who, in 1951, had her cancer cells immortalized in the HeLa line of cells. Basically, these cells have been used countless times in major medical breakthroughs over the last 60 years. Sadly, nobody asked Ms. Lacks if her cells could be taken or used, and neither her nor her family ever received any sort of compensation for what essentially is her immortality.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is based on the book by Rebecca Skloot, who is portrayed in the film by Rose Byrne, who wrote a series of articles on Ms. Lacks and her family. Oprah Winfrey plays Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, and is absolutely captivating on screen. Deborah is hesitant to share her mother’s story with any reporter, and Oprah delivers the character as guarded but loving. It’s a bravura performance that can’t help but overshadow the rest of the film, which sometimes gets muddled as it moves across various timelines. However, Byrne and Winfrey have a great chemistry together, and help The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks rise above some of its pacing and script issues.
Today sees the release of Logan on Blu-ray. The film marks the final stand of Hugh Jackman as the character he first brought to life some 17 years ago, and who he portrayed over the course of nine films (including starring roles and cameos).
It will be hard for FOX to replace Jackman as Wolverine, and the studio is well aware of the good fortune they had of casting the actor in what will remain his seminal role. In tribute, the studio has started up the #ThankHugh Initivative, encouraging fans to share their favourite image of Jackman in character. We wanted to participate, and hope you to do, because no matter what you thought of all the X-Men films, there’s no doubt that Hugh Jackman always delivered the goods as our favourite Canucklehead.
There’s a new king of the box office jungle this weekend, as the latest high profile release in theatres took down the competition. Here’s what went down:
Kong: Skull Island debut this weekend at number one, bringing in an estimated $61.4 million, which is on the higher end of what pundits were anticipating. While the lack of a big blockbuster name draw probably hindered its crossover appeal, strong word of mouth and critical notices helped the first instalment in a new Monarch shared universe find an audience. The trouble is, Kong: Skull Island cost $185 to make, and it’s doubtful it will make that back in North America. The film will have to play well overseas for it to earn a franchise. I had a chance to see Kong: Skull Island and was thoroughly entertained. There’s a strong Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now vibe throughout the entire film, from names to soundtrack, and the sfx were solid. It’s definitely one to see on the big screen.
After an incredible debut weekend, will our previous box office number one hold on to the spot, or will a legendary King climb to the top of the heap? Here are our predictions:
Kong: Skull Island is an effects-driven film that seems like it would do well as a summer blockbuster, but instead here it is arriving just a few short weeks before Spring. This is the next in what is looking to be a shared universe between King Kong and Godzilla, with the potential for more giant monsters to come. Kong benefits from a great group of actors, including Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson, along with decent reviews, but word of mouth around the final film of Marvel’s favourite mutant is going to dash Kong: Skull Island‘s dream of number one. Look for a second place debut with $43 million. Read the rest of this entry
It was a huge weekend for the major new release to hit theatres, bringing to a close one actor’s career-making role. Here’s what went down:
Early Sunday morning estimates are putting Logan at number one with an incredible $85.2 million debut weekend. That puts it in the top five best openings for an R-rated film. It will also puts it $00.2 million ahead of X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘s $85 million debut back in 2009. Clearly, audiences were excited to see Hugh Jackman unleash his claws one last time, in his ninth and final outing as Wolverine. Also of note is the film’s standing with critics; the film has a 93% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, making it clear that this is a movie that has exceeded expectations all around.
I had the chance to see Logan on Friday afternoon with Untold Horror’s Dave Alexander, and we both enjoyed this western-style take on the character who, in theory, has always been a loner. With director James Mangold focusing on story and character rather than explosions and end of the world scenarios, the movie transcends the typical comic book movie tropes and expectations. Logan is a movie that rewards observations – not everything is obvious and spelled out. There are subtleties you may miss if you’re not careful. Jackman and Patrick Stewart are phenomenal in their roles, and Logan is a memorable way for both men to leave their characters behind. Read the rest of this entry
That’s the sound of one movie slicing through all the competition this weekend at the box office. How much will this final franchise film make? Here’s our prediction:
Comic book fans have been eager to see Hugh Jackman cut loose as the Wolverine since he first unsheathed his claws back in 2000. 17 years later, Jackman’s final film as Logan, has been generating rave reviews and huge buzz (it must be noted that this will also be Patrick Stewart’s final appearance as Charles Xavier). With director James Mangold at the helm, who was also behind 2013’s The Wolverine, this take on an Old Man Logan story and the introduction of fan favourite character X-23 is sure to light up the box office, even with its R-rating. Look for Logan to debut in first place with $75 million.
The final trailer for Logan is here.
It is outstanding.
The film opens March 3rd.
Talk is cheap. And in Civil War II #7, nothing happens but talk, and it’s not cheap. For five dollars American I got pretty pictures, a lot of talk, hardly any plot progression, and nothing happens. In a comic that includes entire pages taken up by credits, alternate covers, a next issue tease, and a minimalist roll call, that is awful. When it’s taken into account how late this event series is, it is simply an awful shame. But then again, what does or doesn’t happen in this issue may be a matter of perspective, and we may just have seen the death of another major Marvel superhero. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on what does happen in Civil War II #7…