It’s a new year full of hope, possibilities and a ton of brand new movies for you and me. But before I can truly enjoy any new movies this year, there are a few I missed that I wanted to catch up on first. Two movies I needed to watch so that I could be ready for what was to come. Movies that, quite frankly, I wasn’t expecting much from but turned out to be more than I was expecting.
The Wolverine (2013) [Rated PG-13]
Yeah, I know. I really expected this to be bad. lmagine my surprise when it turned out to be fairly entertaining. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a big budget, special effects driven, action flick but it has much more to give than I thought and maybe you as well.
I saw the trailers. It made this look ridiculous. And in some ways, it is. But isn’t that what you want out of a big action blockbuster? We want big explosions. We want incredible stunts. We want to live the fantasy vicariously through some actor/actress getting paid to be way more bulked up than we will ever be. Yeah, this movie has a giant metal samurai suit. In a movie where the lead character has claws that grow out of his hands and special healing powers, I think we can let that go.
What really worked for me, ironically enough, was the story. It may be because I am not deeply invested in the Marvel universe but I enjoyed seeing Wolverine in the real world with real people instead of the usual laundry list of mutant characters shoved into the X-Men movies to satiate fan appetites.
Essentially, this is a story about a man surrounded by death but who can not die himself. Wolverine has lived, loved and watched the people he cares about die but for him, there is no relief. He is forced to bare the accumulation of grief ostensibly forever. Not the most original of themes, perhaps, but original enough for an action movie. More importantly, grounding the action with this idea of immortal grief makes you care about the hero.
In the end, this is still an action movie and frankly, it’s a pretty decent one. It’s not my favorite movie but it may be my favorite of the whole X-Men series of movies. Next time you are staring at the Redbox trying to decide what to watch with your buddies, give The Wolverine a shot. It might just be better than you think.
7 paws out of 10
2 Days In New York (2012) [Rated R]
This is a sequel of sorts to Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in Paris. Don’t worry, you don’t need to watch the first one to know what is going on in the second. Actually, I think this is one of those rare movies where the second is better than the first.
The movie takes place after Julie Delpy’s character, Marion has broken up with her boyfriend, Jack (from 2 Days in Paris) and is now living in New York with their child and her new boyfriend, Mingus (Chris Rock). Marion’s father and her sister, Rose, are coming to visit from France with an unexpected guest in tow. What follows is a charming comedy of manners not unlike a (brace for it) Woody Allen film. But don’t let that association deter you. 2 Days In New York is a smart, humorous look at modern relationships that is based in reality instead of the usual romantic comedy fantasy Hollywood churns out year after year.
Delpy is an accomplished dramatic actress and it is surprising and refreshing to see her be so comfortable and effective in a goofy, lighthearted romantic comedy like this. Chris Rock is similarly good in a more serious role for him. In fact, I actually really enjoyed all of the performances in the movie (even Vincent Gallo who I usually have a low tolerance for). It’s hard to be a good actor/actress in general but to be good in comedy is especially challenging.
With Valentines Day coming up, maybe it’s not such a bad idea for you to start getting in the romantic spirit. Give 2 Days In New York your time and maybe you won’t forget the flowers for your significant other this year. Well, you probably will anyway but try writing it down or something.
7 paws out of 10