Anytime a comic book movie gets praised to the stars for being dark and gritty, I take it all with a big grain of salt, and I was definitely skeptical about one of the inspirations for Logan being The Wrestler, which I hated. But this was pretty damn good. I liked how it was not just the end of the road for a couple major X-Men characters but a pretty grim future for the X-Men as a whole, with a lot of details about the story's dystopia left unspoken and implied pretty artfully. I'm not sure how I felt about Boyd Holbrook, though, it was like if the villain was played by Aaron Carter.
I laughed at the Glengarry Glen Ross reference the first time my son and I saw the trailer for The Boss Baby at the movie theater a few months ago, but I wasn't so sure about him actually wanting to go see it. I liked it more than I expected it to, though, mainly because it's basically about a 7-year-old boy with a vivid imagination coming up with a wild backstory for his new baby brother, and I saw it with my 7-year-old son while his baby brother was in daycare. It's kind of a shame that the only two times Alec Baldwin and Steve Buscemi have been co-stars were both animated movies (this and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within), they should get in front of a camera together sometime.
c) Win It All
Jake Johnson plays an aimless but lovable slacker very well, on "New Girl" and in pretty much every other role I've ever seen him in. And as he approaches 40, one wonders how long he can run with this niche, but for now it's working. In Win It All, he plays a compulsive gambler getting his life together, and it pretty much hits all the beats you'd expect, including the one last big bet. In fact, I'm often struck by how painfully conventional this movie from 'mumblecore' director Joe Swanberg is, like this movie could've been made 40 years ago with, like, Dustin Hoffman as the lead and it would've been pretty much the same movie.
d) Army Of One
Nicolas Cage has a pretty impressive and unique career for a good decade or so before it all started to go wrong, and a lot of it was built on his ability to do comedy. So I always figured that he'd eventually make a comeback and start getting respect again if he picked a few good projects, and that comedy was probably the best way to do that. And this Larry Charles movie, about the true story of an unemployed Colorado man who tried to find Osama Bin Laden, looks on paper like a pretty perfect vehicle for Cage's comedy comeback. But in practice, it just falls a little flat, and Cage, who's never been one to underplay a role, goes a little too over the top when I think this movie would've been served better with a dry approach like the topically similar The Informant!
e) The Escort
I had such a crush on Lyndsy Fonseca from all those years of seeing her for a few seconds at a time in every episode of "How I Met Your Mother," so it's nice to finally see her star in a feature film. This movie features a couple of likable characters clashing, then working together and slowly becoming friends and ending the movie as a couple, and it's all a little formulaic and predictable, but Fonseca and Michael Doneger really play their parts well and make it a pleasure to watch.
My wife was more interested in this movie than I was, but I was happy to go along for the ride. I kinda felt like the premise was so loaded, in terms of both the political context and the possibilities of the story, that they just had to play it out to its logical extreme in a way that was a little dull to watch predictably unfold. Clooney and Roberts are always fun to watch. Jack O'Connell should fire his dialect coach, though, I clocked that he was British playing an American in a matter of seconds. It was very surreal to see the words 'directed by Jodie Foster' as Del The Funky Homosapien rapped over the credits.
g) The Darkness
The most memorable thing about this movie is that Kevin Bacon and Paul Reiser work for an architecture firm called 'Fells, Point & Levinson' -- an homage to Barry Levinson's Diner (starring Bacon and Reiser and filmed in Fells Point and elsewhere in Baltimore). The actual horror movie, about a spirit that follows a family home from the Grand Canyon or some such nonsense, though, I didn't think much of that.
This is a horror comedy directed by the guy from the show "Psych," starring a lot of likable TV actors, including Jimmi Simpson as a talkative pyschopath, which is pretty much typecasting at this point. It's pretty decent bloody fun, but it's one of those movies where it feels like the people making it were a lot more entertained than you are watching it.