Movie Review: Australia (2008)

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Plot: Set in northern Australia before World War II, an English aristocrat who inherits a sprawling ranch reluctantly pacts with a stock-man in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. As the pair drive 2,000 head of cattle over unforgiving landscape, they experience the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by Japanese forces firsthand.

Some human rights are less equal than other human rights.

That is an unambiguous fact displayed in Australia, the Baz Luhrman epic. The Aboriginal people were the first people to inhabit Australia 45 000 years ago. They are fascinating and diverse group with over 500 different types of Aborigines, with different languages and territories spread over the dangerous continent. The Aborigines have suffered greatly since the first British invasion, and have lost land, culture and their freedom. The film Australia explores this as one of its’ concepts, primarily the fate of children who had an Aboriginal mother and a white settler father. The making of these children were depicted as consensual sex, although I really doubt whether that was the case most of the time.

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I have a deep appreciation for Baz Luhrman. He has directed a large portion of films I call my favorite. – Moulin Rouge, Romeo and Juliet, The Great Gatsby. He has a sense of fancy and shine, and a love for the epic that can’t be anything but admired. Moulin Rouge is my favorite, but after seeing Australia again I realized my vague recollection of the film didn’t do justice to its’ true quality.

Nicole Kidman displays an astonishing amount of wit and humor, a role which I haven’t seen her embody until now. Baz Luhrman and his extravagant affairs suit her – my other favorite of hers (and his) is the heartbreakingly beautiful Moulin Rouge, which is on my soon-to-be-rewatched list as well.

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I will keep my comments regarding Hugh Jackman as clean as possible, but this is one of his finest physical appearances I have ever seen. It is greatly exaggerated it is good to see the sexual focus on a male instead of a female (I can really only think of The Guest as the only other example)

Australia is both heart-breaking and beautiful. The chemistry between Kidman as Lady Sarah and Jackman as Drover is strong, and their love story is beautiful and unrestrained. There is a beautiful romance I read that takes place in the Australian outback (I sadly can’t recall the name), and the struggles of Drover and Sarah reminded me very much of their plights.

Brandon Walters as Nullah is a fast talking child, and his innocence and freedom is beautiful. It broke my heart how badly the Aborigines were treated, how very little rights they were afforded and how they had everything taken away from them – the Australian government only issued an official apology to the Aboriginals in 2008 for the crimes against their race, which is a fine case of too little, too late.

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The backdrop of the film is naturally the raw and intense landscape of Australia’s Outback, which provides a visually stimulating experience. Australia has been accused of being overly long, and yes, it certainly is a doozy, clocking in at two hours and forty-six minutes. As many of you know, I am always first to complain about movies that are too long without any real substance, so if I tell you I didn’t feel that Australia was drawn out and overly long, I really mean it. You just have to be willing to sit down for quite a while and get through it, but the conclusion is rewarding and beautiful.

I thoroughly enjoyed Australia, and would recommend it to people who love Baz Luhrman. It made me read up on the Aboriginals, the atrocities against them, improved my already substantial admiration for Nicole Kidman and convinced me that the acquired taste of an Australian accent could be easily achieved if Hugh Jackman strutted in tight pants across a desert uttering words that I could barely understand but definitely appreciated.

Have you seen Australia? How did it rank for you?

Rating: 8.5/10

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Watched, Read, Loved: September 2017

Yay! Spring is here in South-Africa and I couldn’t be more excited. When the weather is so much better I am so much better. Getting to work while the sun is actually up makes me a much nicer colleague.

I’ve been doing a couple of Parkruns. My work gave us all the opportunity in taking part in the Discovery Pulse challenge, which made me realize (again) how little steps I take each day. I’ve been trying to average it at 5000 steps, but that is already a challenge. The challenge officially began on the 27th of September 2017, and I really am working hard to do everything healthier – eating, sleeping, more exercise, less stress (HA!). It runs for three months and I will definitely let you know how it progresses.

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Movies

The Fate of The Furious: Continuing the ridicule of series that is the Fast Franchise, Dominic Toretto this time abandons his family for some obscure reason. I really enjoy these films because they are so brain dead and is just easy entertainment, but this one was particularly ridiculous.

Hidden Figures: So.Much.Love. It is heartwarming and beautiful with excellent performances, and I am so happy the film was released in such an important time in history. Not only is it about racial prejudice, it is about female empowerment, determination, love, courage and there are also great scenes of the early days of NASA.

Walk the line

Walk The Line: I was SO proud when I finally watched this – I’ve had the DVD on my shelf for many years now, and I remember hearing people rave about it but I never really made the effort to see for myself. Well, it was great, and a great Blindspot choice for me.

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The Girl on the Train: It was okay. I enjoyed Blunt (I always do), and her supporting female co-stars where all very strong. I also really do like Luke Evans. The big plot twist – I caught it half right so I was marginally impressed. Definitely not as good as Gone Girl, but interesting all the same.

Easy A (Official Movie Poster)

Easy A (2010): Emma Stone is one of my favourite young Hollywood stars. She’s just so incredibly talented and really funny. Easy A is some of her earlier work and she’s hilarious as Olive Pendergast. If I ever have daughters I hope they are like Olive – not willing to take bad behaviour from friends, loyal, hilarious, inventive and wildly inappropriate.

Wild Child

Wild Child (2008): Many people wouldn’t necessarily like this film, but I really do. It is one of my favourite teen movies, and although it isn’t as sharp as Easy A, Mean Girls, Heathers or Clueless (other favourites), it still remains one of the nicest things to watch, reminiscent of a time where Emma Roberts and Alex Pettyfer were clean cut, sweet individuals (probably not that sweet).

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Australia (2008): One of Baz Luhrman’s work I have had the least exposure to, Australia is a tribute to the wild and terrifying glory that is the continent of Australia. Hugh Jackman is ridiculously attractive, wildly blown out of proportion delicious, and the dainty and unexpectedly hilarious Nicole Kidman impressed me with some of the humour she injected into her character. This was definitely a great watch and I will watch it more in the future

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Clueless: Clueless is one of my favorite “high-school” films. It is so silly and sweet and Paul Rudd is so adorable and Alicia Silverstone is so friggin adorable. You can’t feel bad after watching something like this, you just can’t.

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Books:

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Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn I actually started reading this after The Girl on The Train, because it made me want to explore more thrillers. I am really enjoying so far and finding the writer pretty good at telling a story.

Hot Rocks: Nora Roberts I can’t decide whether it will be worth my time actually reviewing this. I’ve now successfully proven to bestie that I can actually read and review a book and then just not remember it, and it might very well happen with this novel. It wasn’t bad and I actually had a pretty great time, but it feels superfluous reviewing every single Nora Roberts book I read

Watched, Read, Loved: April 2017

April is the best month for South-Africa. Seriously – we have so many public holidays people are actually nice to each other. I took off a chunk of time as well, and it did me the world of good. I actually got some sleep in, saw my bestie and watched some amazing films. Without further ado, here is my rundown of April 2017.

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Movies:

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Beauty and the Beast (2017): The painful excitement that came when I heard they were doing a live animation of my favorite Disney classic was excruciating. Would it work? Would it fail? The QUESTIONS that plagued me.Additionally, B&B was released in South-Africa later than the rest of the world because of South-Africaitis, and there were conflicting reports to be read. Anyway, grabbing popcorn and sitting down to see this was really wonderful. I liked it, and will watch it again. I had Gaston stuck in my head for a week. I better not hear that tune soon.

One day

One Day (2011): HATED IT.

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Basic Instinct(1992): This is part of my Blindspot 2017 series. This year I am doing remarkably well with it, because Zoë and I watched a bunch of them in December because #besties. Basic Instinct is next on the list and quite the shocker. OMFG my poor eyes.I might never recover.

Anywhere but home (2008): I thought this comedy was quite funny the second time around (I know I’ve seen this before but I can barely remember it). It’s also titled “Four Christmases”. I’ve never understood exactly why some movies get two titles. Anyway, if you can believe that someone like Reese Witherspoon would end up with someone like Vince Vaughn, you can get through the movie. It has some funny moments, and sure they are the typical things you’d expect, but they are funny regardless.

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Twilight: New Moon (2009): I’ve been meaning to blog about Twilight as a set for ages now. I did Twilight (2008) easily, but had a couple of months delay by what succeeds it. New Moon is the most insufferable – both book and movie – but I sat through it eventually.

Eclipse

Twilight: Eclipse (2010): Eclipse is a strong successor and definitely superior to the ghastly New Moon. Edward is still an obsessive stalker, Bella is still pathetic, R. Patz and Kristen Stewart still can’t act. But decisively better than the infuriating New Moon.

Safe Haven (2013): The casting for Nicholas Sparks film is never specified for acting abilities. I guess the author/filmmaker knows his audience too well, and knows if he provides enough pretty people the film will be acceptable to his fans. He’s not wrong. I enjoyed Safe Haven and the acting is really better than the acting in The Lucky One. The kids were cute and the story was okay.

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He’s just not that into you (2009): I always enjoy watching HJNTIY. My brother-in-law did not appreciate us making him watch it though, telling me that it is not also a guy-friendly film as I initially thought.

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Warm Bodies (2013): I just love this film. Nicholas Hoult is a zombie, and when he eats the brains ofTeresa Palmer’s boyfriend, he starts seeing some memories and slowly returns to human form. The cast, led by Hoult, are all quite charming and for a story that shouldn’t work it works really well.

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The DUFF (2015):yes, I watched it again. One of my favorite films at the moment. Such hilarity.lethal weapon

Lethal Weapon 1 (1987) & Lethal Weapon 2 (1989):
It was my first time around watching this buddy-cop series, and I really enjoyed it. The 1980’s were a glorious time to be alive obviously!

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Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

SO SLOPPY.

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Chef (2014): Chef is a film about good food and happy endings, and well deserved of its’ praise. I really quite liked this film!

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Arrival (2016): My review will be up next week. I loved this. Handsdown one of the finest films of 2016.

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Drive (2011): I remember enjoying Drive the first time around, but I really couldn’t remember everything about it. I enjoyed it so much this time too, it is a phenomenal film and some of Gosling’s best work.

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The Guest (2014): This film has a lot of science reasons it works well to the appreciative eye, but I can tell you that I would have loved it without the science too. Gorgeous directing, a solid plot and excellent score, this film is a great film to watch again and again.

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Prisoners (2013): Prisoners currently ranks as my least favorite Villeneuve film. It is on no level a poor film, it was just not my favorite of his. And it is five hundred hours long. *Scientific fact*

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016):

I can watch this movie indefinitely. It is the best!

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Crazy Stupid Love (2011): I definitely need to review this film again – It has been ages since I’ve posted it on my blog. One of the most inoffensive romantic comedies produced in later years, this movie will make you laugh and relate with some character in here.

Nocturnal animals

Nocturnal Animals (2016): This is my new hated film. Gosh, what a spectacular waste of my life. Pretentious bullshit.

 

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Black Hills – Nora Roberts

This is a particular favorite book of mine. I enjoy Dr. Lillian Chance – she is passionate about her work in the refuge she built and is smart and cool.

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The Concannon Sisters trilogy – Nora Roberts

While I do enjoy this series of books – Born in Shame, Born in Ice and Born in Fire, they certainly aren’t my favorite of the author. However, her love for Ireland does show when reading this, and I particularly enjoy the description of the scenery.

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Two Broke Girls Season 4 and 5

I’m enjoying myself way too much with this comedy. It shouldn’t be as funny as it is, but I end up really laughing at it.

What did you do in April?

#ForScience

Hehehe

Happy Friday, ladies.

And the gentlemen who prefer.

There’s a lot of reasons I’m putting up a #ForScience post. 1) It is a long time coming 2) I’m done with exams = celebration time and 3) It was examination time and I didn’t watch a lot of things and need some blog post posts. I’ve tried to be a bit more original with my choices – not just my usual picks, so I hope it finds resonance and brightens up your day 🙂

Let’s start off with Chris Hemsworth

I know, I know. I always pick him. He‘s beautiful, T9M agrees. Muscly, tall, handsome and by all accounts sweet. YEAH.

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2. Beautiful and younger brother Liam Hemsworth

Some parents equal genetic lottery, and the Hemsworth line is certainly blessed as such. I’ve always been primarily on the Chris-train, but Liam Hemsworth has been catching my eye as of late.

Reasons: He’s 25, I’m 25, PERFECT MATCH OBVS. 2) All that leg – same reason I love those cricket players so much. 3) Those puppy eyes that shows such goodness.

Liam Hemsworth

3. The only man I prefer with Less Beard – Tom Hardy

I love beards. The just add to the manly man that no amount of muscle can do. Yet, on Tom Hardy, I prefer him clean faced. No idea why, but maybe it is because that scraggly beard hides that lovely mouth and we can’t have that, can we?

4. Max Irons

The guy looks like Prince Charming from a Disney Movie. It makes my heart sigh.

Max IronsMax Irons Smoking

The above picture is for perusal of my dear Bestie

5. Another new comer, Armie Hammer

I’m just going to say straight off the bat that if Armie Hammer didn’t take up a Russian accent in the Man from U.N.C.L.E, he probably wouldn’t have made the list. He’s not my usual type of guy, but that accent combined with the length, and perplexingly, his affection for polo-necks in that film, made me drool.

6. The I’ll make straight men gay, Henry Cavil

Just bless him

Henry Cavill

7. Scott Eastwood

Looks like his dad, but HOT.

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8. HUGE Jackman

Not really my taste usually, but yummy still.

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9. My Husband, Dan Stevens

❤ ❤ ❤ <3<3 <3<3 <3<3 ❤

 10. and Finally, my other husband, Chris Pratt

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There we go. Let me know who you wish to see next time 😉

Blindspot 2015: The Prestige (2006)

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Plot: Two stage magicians engage in competitive one-upmanship in an attempt to create the ultimate stage illusion.

Rating: 9/10

I’ll start off saying that I’m not one of the Nolanites who obsessively watch for new releases and get violent in his defense. That does not stop me from recognizing the true genius of the man, but I don’t faint with excitement is all I’m saying. But he directed two of the Blindspots I’ve most enjoyed this year, so obviously this guy is on to something.

I chose amazing Blindspots for 2015. Both the Godfather One and Two, Fury, Interstellar, Casablanca and now the Prestige were all well worth the time I devoted to them. I have Pulp Fiction and A Good Year left and I think we can safely say that Pulp Fiction is the one that might upset the rankings here.

THE PRESTIGE, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, 2006, (c) Newmarket/courtesy Everett Collection
THE PRESTIGE, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, 2006, (c) Newmarket/courtesy Everett Collection

The Prestige is a phenomenal movie. It is entertaining, well-paced, and non-linear in its storytelling (I’ve come to realize that ol’ Nolan likes doing this). Michael Caine, Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Scarlett Johannson, Andy Serkis and David Bowie are the main cast and they entertain non-stop. I’ve always thought Christian Bale is a fantastic actor, but I haven’t really seen him as jaw dropping good. I’m told that this is more his natural accent than any other, but just realizing how excellently he does accents and how his whole demeanor changes when he slips into a role is terribly impressive. Without giving plot reveals on here, because if you haven’t seen it you really should, I called one of the big ones pretty early on. All you have to do is pay attention to Tesla’s experience (an already fascinating character and his incorporation into this was a great idea). The last one, just before the end of the movie? I had my suspicions but wasn’t totally correct there – it was very well done. The movie has a fantastic end – you are kept wondering and on the edge of your seat until the very end, and then it still manage to surprise.

The Prestige is well worth the watch. So happy I chose this!

Movie Review: Me, Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)

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Plot: High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl, finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer.

Rating: 7.5/10

In hindsight it might not have been the best idea to watch a movie about cancer when I just lost someone to cancer. If you want your opinions to change about cancer movies, see someone die because of it. In hindsight, that is such a stupid statement, but you know what I mean.

Movies involving cancer are most often idealistic and I don’t blame the producers for it. It is a very hard topic and by injecting some optimism here and there it can bring some happiness back into the world – for people who haven’t survived it / haven’t seen what the disease does.

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Me, Earl and the Dying girl is the best it is going to get without killing everyone’s happiness. I have great love for Sundance and this movie is so typical Sundance – relatively low budget, quite quirky and good enough to watch. The dialogue is very fast and hilarious. Greg Gaines (fantastic performance here by Thomas Mann) is a unique and entertaining character. It is easy to miss that this child obviously suffers from a crippling self-loathing and probably has a ton of social anxiety as well because he is intelligent and does not hide in his room – dangerous qualities in any teenager with problems. Greg’s friendship with Earl (RJ Cyler) is endearing, and Earl’s spot on assessment of Greg’s personality just shows that they will be friends forever.

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Oliva Cooke is Rachel, the leukemia patient. She is talented and memorable (I just had to substitute rememberable for memorable, because it is actually a real word). She did a good job with playing a cancer patient – it can’t be easy, and some of the things the character says will stay with me for a long time.

Nick Offerman plays Greg’s father, and it was nice to see him in something. Albeit strange, his character isn’t just another Ron Swanson knock-off, so it was good to see him be another character.

Jon Benrthal as Mr. McCartney is a character I really liked. Can we just get more of these teachers in school, please? Mr. McCartney wasn’t overbearing and he supplemented the story quite well.

I think the quirk and the originality of the film carries a lot of weight. It does well in addressing the genre, it isn’t this romantic film that is total bull. I enjoyed it, more than I thought I would, because it is funny and sad and has a lot of truth in it. Definitely recommended.

PS: Total LOLZ for the Hugh Jackman voice over. Was great.

Marvelous Mondays – The Wolverine by Tranquil Dreams

Happy Monday, folks!

To continue our extensive run with this blogathon, Kim of Tranquil Dreams was kind enough to review The Wolverine for me. Thanks Kim!

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I’ve never been a comic book reader, at least not for superheroes.  For the longest time, Marvel and DC Comics didn’t mean much to me.  I knew the general popular superheroes but I never knew more than that.  When X-Men hit theatres, it didn’t have such a huge appeal to me.  However, I only started being more into superheroes after The Avengers and especially my eyes were focused on Marvel.  The quality of each of their movies is almost guaranteed.  Despite X-Men not having such a huge appeal, I did enjoy the first one when I saw it and soon saw X2 and X3 also.  The most outstanding character have be The Wolverine and Hugh Jackman has been identified with him.  When The Wolverine came out, I had ever intention to go see it in theatres but never made it there. Thanks to Natasha, I managed to borrow a copy and check it out!

Director: James Mangold

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hal Yamanouchi, Will Yun Lee, Famke Janssen

Logan (aka The Wolverine) has secluded himself from everyone while living with his own demons and struggling in his own pains of immortality.  When he confronts a situation, he meets Yukio who is sent from an old acquaintance, Yashida that he saved asking him to go to Japan for his final goodbye. Except, the moment he enters into his home, he realizes that Yashida is asking for him to consider something crucial to his survival however, little did he know that Yashida would die, setting off a spiral of events.  These events are result from everyone trying to beat the the clock when the Yashida’s inheritance will be announced.  The Wolverine ends up having to face both the samurai and the yakuza as his caught in the whirlwind of affairs.  However, this trip proves to be more than he imagined when he ends up being caught in facing his past and embracing who he is as human, mutant and beast.

I have to say that X-Men has kind of dwindled a little after X-Men.  X2 and X3 wasn’t exactly movies that I’ve seen again even though I own it. The X-Men Origins wasn’t even that great either.  I have to say that although I have full confidence in Hugh Jackman being The Wolverine, I did wonder how this would turn out.  It was highly possible to turn into a disappointment.  Except, it most absolutely was not! The Wolverine was an adrenaline rush for a huge portion of it.  It had fantastic action sequences and the characters and story was really great.  The Wolverine really rises up to be this awesome character that develops quite a bit, especially when he eventually embraces his true potential.  For once, The Wolverine got a story that was not only entertaining to watch but also saw him as the focus as human as he can be but also facing the “beast” that he is.

Although Hugh Jackman does a fine job at being The Wolverine, the supporting cast did a great job also.  I must admit that it took a little while for me to get caught on the character of Yukio, she proved be an interesting one that helped lift the story a little. She carried in her the themes of loyalty and courage to fight for what was right.  At the same time, a softer character in nature was Mariko who ended up being quite key to the whole story development.  While it took me ages to figure out where I saw the ninja that played Harada (Will Yun Lee), he had a somewhat more frustrating character but we all need this sort of nonsensical characters who realize at the last minute what the real deal is.

The only thing I had to say was that, The Wolverine was a little lengthy.  At one part in the middle, I felt like it dragged a little bit, but then it picked itself up short afterwards, making me somewhat forget that feeling right to the end. Also, I’m not sure if this is a bad thing but I’m sure the Viper chick was supposed to be an annoying villainous character of sorts and I really disliked her, but I guess that just means it’s a job well done, right?

Overall, The Wolverine is a great addition to the Marvel franchise.  While it did feel dragged out for a few minutes, it has a solid back story for The Wolverine, giving him development and strength while keeping the action-filled entertaining flick. Hugh Jackman is at his best being The Wolverine/Logan.  Plus, the supporting cast does well in keeping the story engaging enough to keep watching.  I loved it! 🙂

Marvelous Mondays: X2 by MovieRob

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Welcome to the last Monday of 2015! Today we are hosting Rob again. Thanks for your continued support 😀

“Logan, my tolerance for your smoking in the mansion notwithstanding, continue smoking that in here, and you’ll spend the rest of your days under the belief that you’re a six-year-old girl” – Professor X

Number of Times Seen –  Between 5 – 10 times (Theater in 2003, DVD and 16 Dec 2014)

Brief Synopsis – While Wolverine tries to uncover his past, the rest of the X-men must deal with an Army colonel who wants to destroy all of the mutants on Earth

My Take on it – After having re-watched the original X-men movie two weeks ago for Natasha’s Marvelous Monday, I was pleased to have been able to watch the next installment not too long afterwards.

It’s hard to say whether this one or the original is better because they both are great movies which is not such a common occurrence when studios want to crank out sequels just to make a buck.

The advantage that this movie has is that it doesn’t need to waste too much time on introducing the characters since we are already familiar with most of them and they were able to dive right into the action.

One of things that I love about the X-Men characters is that there is such a diversity among their powers that they all must work together as a team (whether they are good guys or bad guys) to be the most effective.

The opening sequence of this movie is Amazing!!!!! Watching it in the theater was such a thrill because it proved to the world that movie special effects had advanced so much that superhero movies could make superpowers seem real.

Unfortunately, the next installment wasn’t as good as this one was and it took until the rebooted the franchise in 2011 for there to be another excellent installment.

Bottom Line – A very good sequel that relies on the strength of not having to introduce all of the characters to give us a very intriguing story. Opening scene is one of the best scenes in the entire franchise. Highly recommended!

Rating – Oscar Worthy