It’s an encore from a legend worthy of the bows and two-clawed applause. And although it may not quite justify its extended running time, James Mangold’s Logan (B+) is elegiac and electric, giving Hugh Jackman’s blade-limbed hero a fitting farewell. It’s the first superhero of the sandwich generation as Boomer Wolverine becomes dual caretaker for a senile Professor Xavier, gamely reprised by Patrick Stewart, and a pint-sized mutant played by Dafne Keen. The film is largely a chase movie from a Mexican border town upwards through the U.S. to a Canadian outpost called Eden. Set in a dystopian future, the film features X-Men comic books as clues to part of the story. There’s intriguing background mythology, high stakes action, graphic violence, exciting fight choreography and a badass villain played by Boyd Holbrook. The film absolutely delivers the goods for fans of the X-Men Movie franchise and of the Wolverine character in particular. In fact, it’s the dramatic high point for the series. Jackman is wonderful, and Mangold gives the film magnificent lived-in flourishes.
Prepare your senses for the clock-woke orange pulp confection of audacious moviemaking to hit a nerve in some time. Funnyman-turned-first-time-director Jordan Peele’s psychological thriller Get Out (A-) is a suspenseful and lively tale of a twentysomething black photographer (Daniel Kaluuya) visiting the suburban family of his white girlfriend (Allison Williams), and the maiden voyage is a mindbender. Let’s just say that after the home tour, the events that follow will leave you guessing about a whole lot more than who’s coming to dinner. From the spot-on casting of Williams’ ultra-progressive parents to the sustained sense of dread around the townspeople and groundskeepers, Peele depicts the mounting terror that may be afoot in the neighborly facade. It’s like Shining-era Stanley Kubrick got an all-out David Lynching. Themes about the appropriation of race and culture are seamlessly marinated into a savory stew of a storyline; and the acting, music, sounds and setting all work in harmony to incredible effect. Catherine Keener is a standout as a therapist with unconventional hypnotic techniques, brilliantly rendered. As a horror film, it’s less gory and more allegory. But it’s edge of your seat material and sure to be the conversation starter of the year!