REVIEW: LOGAN NOIR

CAST

Hugh Jackman (Real Steel)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Richard E. Grant (Bram Stokers Dracula)
Boyd Holbrook (The Host)
Stephen Merchant (Movie 43)
Dafne Keen (The Refugees)
Elizabeth Rodriguez (Side Effects)
Eriq La Salle (Coming To America)
Elise Neal (Scream 2)

logan_noir2In 2029, alienated mutants are on the brink of extinction, with no new mutants having been born in 25 years. James “Logan” Howlett, formerly known as Wolverine, works as a limo driver in El Paso, Texas. His healing factor has faltered and, as a result, his body has aged, he can no longer heal at an accelerated rate and his adamantium skeleton is slowly poisoning him. Logan lives with mutant tracker Caliban in an abandoned smelting plant in Northern Mexico, where they care for former Professor Charles Xavier, who is suffering from an unknown brain disease which causes him to lose control of his telepathic abilities to destructive effect via seizures. Logan is approached by Gabriela Lopez, a former nurse from a biotechnological corporation, Alkali-Transigen, who asks him to escort her and an 11-year-old girl, Laura, to a place in North Dakota called “Eden”.logan-noir3Logan reluctantly accepts the job, but shortly discovers Gabriela murdered. At his hideout, Logan is confronted by Gabriela’s killer, Transigen’s cybernetically-enhanced chief of security, Donald Pierce, who is looking for Laura. Logan, Charles and Laura, who stowed away inside Logan’s limo, narrowly escape from Pierce and his enforcers, the Reavers, but Caliban is captured and forced to use his mutant-tracking abilities to locate them. Logan and Charles learn from a video on Gabriela’s cellphone that Laura is one of several mutant children that Transigen, under the guise of a cancer research project, was secretly breeding from DNA samples of several mutants in the early 2020’s. As the “X-23” project they were to be used as weapons, but proved difficult to control, and upon completion of the “X-24” project, the children were deemed obsolete and were to be euthanized. Gabriela and several other nurses helped many children escape from the Transigen compound, becoming separated from the others when smuggling Laura, who was created from Logan’s DNA, into the United States.logannoir_n95nThey take refuge at a hotel in Oklahoma City, where Logan discovers that Eden is actually from an X-Men comic book in Laura’s possession. The Reavers catch up with them, but Charles regains control long enough to telepathically freeze everyone in the hotel, allowing Logan to kill the attackers before injecting Charles with a suppressant and escaping. While on the highway, they help farmer Will Munson and his family after a traffic incident. The Munsons invite them over for dinner and they accept under the guise of being a trigenerational family. Meanwhile, Dr. Zander Rice, the surgical head of Transigen, arrives to aid Pierce and the Reavers. Realizing Caliban is withholding the whereabouts of his friends, Rice convinces him that no harm will come to Logan and Charles if they recover Laura. When the water pipe supplying the Munson house springs a leak, Logan and Will leave to fix it. Along the way, Logan learns the Munsons live near a major corporate farm that creates genetically-engineered corn for the purpose of being used in drinking products, and are stalled from returning home by a confrontation with the corporation’s enforcers.Logan-Noir-standingLater that night, Charles expresses his guilt to a man he believes is Logan of a telepathic seizure he had in Westchester, where he inadvertently injured several civilians and killed most of the X-Men. The man is revealed to be X-24, a feral clone of Logan with mindless rage and a highly developed healing factor. X-24 mortally wounds Charles, captures Laura, and murders most of the Munson family when they attempt to stop him. When Logan and Will Munson return, X-24 stabs Will and heads over to deliver Laura to Rice, but Logan attempts to save Charles instead. Before he can reach Rice, X-24 is distracted by a group of farmers from the corporate farm, who mistake him for Logan due to an earlier confrontation, and he murders them all. Despite Logan’s attempts to save him, Charles Xavier dies from his wounds as Logan repeatedly assures him that he was not his attacker. Enraged by Charles’ death, Logan engages X-24 but is no match for his younger clone. Will, struggling to stay alive, manages to incapacitate X-24 by impaling him into farm equipment using his truck, but dies from his injuries moments later. Caliban sacrifices himself by setting off two grenades to destroy the Transigen van in which he is being held captive, killing and injuring several Reavers and giving Logan and Laura a chance to escape with Charles’ body.logan-photo-trailer-nb-987843-largeAfter burying Charles, Logan passes out from rage and exhaustion. He wakes up in a clinic to which Laura had driven him, where a doctor urges him to rest and get treatment for his deteriorating condition. Logan refuses and wants to abandon the trip. Laura convinces him to complete it, and, two days later, they arrive at the location of “Eden”, where they discover it is run by Rictor and the other Transigen test subjects that managed to escape. One night, Laura asks Logan about an adamantium bullet she found in his possession. Logan reveals that he has kept it since his escape from Weapon X as a reminder of his past but now was planning to use it to commit suicide to end his suffering, as he believes it is the adamantium in his body that is killing him. Logan learns that the children plan to journey to Canada, where they will be safe, and decides to part ways with them, to Laura’s dismay. However, when the children are intercepted and captured by the Reavers, in order to save them, Logan takes an overdose of a serum given to him by Rictor that temporarily increases his physical abilities and restores his healing factor. Logan violently slaughters most of the Reavers and rescues Laura, but soon the serum wears off, greatly reducing his physical strength and mutant abilities. Locating the rest of the children, Logan and Laura split up, with Logan approaching Pierce, who has Rictor at gunpoint. Rice introduces himself to Logan and mentions his father who had been slain by Logan during his escape from Weapon X, and reveals that the destruction of mutantkind is due to a virus created by Transigen that has been dispersed in food products. Before he can continue, Logan shoots Rice dead and attacks Pierce, who saves himself by releasing a regenerated X-24, who engages Logan. With their guards distracted, the children wipe out the remaining Reavers before overwhelming and killing Pierce with their powers.logan_noir2Logan and Laura fight X-24 to no avail, but Rictor manages to use his terrakinetic powers to flip a truck onto X-24. Logan tells the children to run as X-24 claws his way out from under the truck and brutally attacks Logan again. With Logan severely beaten, X-24 drags him to a fallen tree trunk, impales him on a large branch, and resumes attacking with his claws until he is shot dead with Logan’s Adamantium bullet by Laura, who had returned to help him. Severely wounded far beyond the limits of his weakened abilities to heal, Logan tells Laura to leave with her friends and to not be the weapon she was made to be. When Laura addresses Logan as her father, Logan finally acknowledges what it feels like to be loved before dying peacefully in her arms. Laura and the other children mourn Logan’s death and hold a small burial for him. Once the other children leave, Laura turns the cross on Logan’s grave to its side to create an “X”, honoring Logan as the last X-Man before tearfully walking away, joining her friends as they continue their journey towards the Canadian border and her father’s homeland.logannoir_n95nIn the lead up to filming and casting announcements for Logan, director James Mangold released hauntingly beautiful black-and-white photos of the cast and locations. Obviously, the film was going to be released in color, but it got him wondering what the film would look like in black-and-white. Thankfully, someone over at Fox was open minded to Mangold’s desire to regrade the color of the film to black-and-white – and they also had the forethought to include this new version dubbed Logan Noir as a bonus feature with the home video release – and not a later release to double dip fans for. logan-noir-800x445For Logan, taking out the color with this properly rendered grayscale simply strips the film down to its emotional core. While the original color presentation was beautiful and director James Mangold and his cinematographer John Mathieson did a terrific job of capturing the sun-drenched vistas of a classic western like Shane and Rio Bravo, Logan Noir somehow feels more complete. As if taking a page from such westerns as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and High Noon, the black-and-white photography of Logan Noir feels more in tune with the heavy thematic dealings of true heroism and inevitable mortality.  Thankfully, Logan Noir is included with every home entertainment release —  Blu-ray in HD, and Digital HD. It’s a complete package deal, so even if you’re not as taken with Logan Noir as I was, you get to choose which version is right for you.

REVIEW: X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – SEASON 1-5

CAST

Cedric Smith (Mutant X)
Norm Spencer (Rescue Heroes)
Catherine Disher (The Good Witch)
Cathal J. Dodd (Goosebumps)
Iona Morris (Robotech)
Alison Sealy-Smith (This Is Wonderland)
Chris Potter (The Waiting Game)
Tony Daniels (Yin Yang Yo!)
Alyson Court (Elvis Meets Nixon)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

John Colicos (Battlestar Galactica)
Jeremy Ratchford (Cold Case)
Lawrence Bayne (Highlander: TAS)
Barry Flatman (Odyssey 5)
Richard Epcar (Power Rangers)
David Hemblen (Earth: Final Conflict)
Don Francks (La Femme Nikita)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Len Carlson (Swamp Thing: TAS)
Susan Roman (The Racoons)
Dennis Akiyama (Pxiels)
Nigel Bennett (Andromeda)
Maurice Dean Wint (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Philip Akin (Highlander: The Series)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)

X-Men (1992)I recently watched through the entire 90’s x-men Animated Series for the first time. So does the show hold up for someone who didn’t watch it when it first aired? Is it still a good show? Overall, the show is really good. It was also revolutionary as it was one of the first animated TV shows to have a continuing storyline throughout the first few seasons.X-Men (1992)Rather than creating exclusively new story lines, the show based most of its episodes on well known events from the comics. Stuff like the ultra-famous dark phoenix saga all the way to a modified version of Days of Future Past that included the time traveling mutant Bishop. Most of the episodes changed details here and there to keep thing simple, but the basic premise remains the same.The animation is a mixed bag. On the one hand, still shots look very good for a 90s cartoon. Both characters and environments are finely detailed and even facial expressions are usually well done. On the other hand, it doesn’t look too good in motion. The frame-rate is often choppy and at times characters in the background are just standing still. There are occasional continuity errors as well, like characters swapping outfits between shots (the episode titled “Nightcrawler” comes to mind).Characters are generally portrayed well in the TV show. The main team consists of Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Beast, Storm, Gambit, Rogue, and Jubilee. Professor X, Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast and Gambit are all portrayed well in the show. I found some of their voice actors were a little off-putting at first, but as I watched they grew on me. Rogue probably has the best voice acting of the bunch.X-Men (1992)I wasn’t quite as fond with the portrayal of Storm or Jubilee however. Storm was alright, but having her constantly talk about what she was commanding the weather to do is annoying at times. Does she have to verbally command the wind every time she blasts enemies with it? I get that she’s a bit of a showoff and that’s part of her charm, but still.X-Men (1992)The show has a great spotlight of different villains as well. It features everyone from mega villains like Magneto, Mr. Sinister, and Apocalypse to smaller villains like Vertigo, the Juggernaut, and even the Brood. The show even mentions the Juggernaut’s relationship to Xavier (they’re step brothers). Mr. Sinister in particular is very well portrayed in the series, and we even get an origins episode in season five (heavily modified of course).If you have any interest in the X-men and want to try out the comics, this is a decent show for finding out some of the franchises back-story. It’s rarely as good as the original stories it’s based on, but it’s easier to find and for the most part, it’s an easy watch.