Dog’s Movie House: Two Excellent Offerings In “Get Out” And “Logan!”
Howdy Folks! It’s The Kendog!
The blahs of winter are now behind us and we finally have some really good movies to see at the local multiplex. First, one of the better horror films in recent memory from first-time director Jordan Peele and then later we’ve got Hugh Jackman’s final turn as the clawed mutant Wolverine. Both films are sure to please fans of both genres.
For starters we have “Get Out” a unique and darkly comic thriller from Jordan Peele of “Key & Peele” fame. Young couple Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Alison Williams) go up to see Rose’s parents. There is an interesting dynamic in that Chris is black and Rose is white. It’s not a big deal to Chris except for the fact that Rose has not told her successful, wealth parents that her boyfriend is black. Rose does assure Chris that this won’t be a problem.
Upon arriving at the secluded, vast property of Rose’s childhood home, Chris meets her parents: a successful neurosurgeon named Dean (Bradley Whitford) and his wife, a psychiatrist specializing in hypnotherapy named Missy (a wonderful Catherine Keener). After welcoming Chris with seemingly open arms, the young man realizes several things are amiss, especially in the nearly zombie-like fashion the African American servants (Marcus Henderson and Betty Gabriel) act around the house. Things continue to devolve until Chris finds himself facing a life or death situation right out of the Twilight Zone.
Now I expected Peele to get the sociopolitical comedy right. If you’ve watched “Key & Peele” or “Keanu,” you know that those type of laughs are right in his wheelhouse. Peele sets up “Get Out” like a hipper version of “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” with the Armitage parents a more sinister version of Hepburn and Tracy. Dean is especially obvious when it comes to trying to cozy up to Chris, trying to imitate the younger man’s slang and telling Chris he would have voted for Obama for a third time if he could have. Keener’s Missy is even more sinister as her hypnotherapy has some rather unpleasant side effects for Chris.
What Peele handles surprisingly well in his directorial debut is the horror aspect of the film. Peele sets up the tension and the laughs in equal measure, giving the whole affair a sinister air even before the evil events start to occur. There’s a nice slow build to the film that never feels strained or overlong and the payoffs are well worth the wait. “Get Out” falls into some familiar horror tropes during the finale, but they are so well executed and have been built up so well, you can’t help but enjoy the ride. It’s a terrific debut for Peele with great performances and wonderful laughs and scares. 4 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer!
Next up is “Logan” which serves as Hugh Jackman’s final turn as the mutant Wolverine. It’s a roll he’s been playing for seventeen years and although not all of the films featuring Wolvie have been up to snuff, it’s fair to say Jackman pretty much owns the character. With “Logan” Jackman and writer/director James Mangold have constructed the definitive Wolverine film and gives Jackman an appropriate send-off to the character he first played in 2000’s “X-Men.”
“Logan” follows the title character in the year 2029 which finds our hero’s fantastic healing abilities fading with age and the metal bonded to his skeleton slowly poisoning him as a result. Logan ekes out a living as a limo driver while caring for a ninety-something Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) whose dementia-like seizures cause the telepath’s mutant abilities to rage out of control, potentially killing those around him. Their plan to quietly buy a boat and move to Mexico is put on hold with the arrival of Laura (an excellent Dafne Keen in her screen debut), a pint-sized version of Logan complete with claws, healing factor, and attitude. With the help of a compassionate nurse, Laura has escaped from a secret facility and is now being hunted by a group of mercenaries called Reavers lead by the cybernetically enhanced Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). It’s up to Logan and Xavier to get Laura to a safe haven called Eden in the Canadian wilds before Pierce and his goon catch her.
So what you have here is basically a chase picture, but Mangold and his scenarists have fashioned it in the form of a classic western in that the hero has to revert to his former nature one last time. Think “Unforgiven” with mutants. This is a sober, somewhat melancholy tale that is not afraid to get dark when the story calls for it. The action is off the chain, as is the violence (“Logan” definitely earns its R rating), and there are moments of humor, but this is no “Deadpool.” An atmosphere of tragedy and doom hang over the proceedings and while it adds to the overall mature bearing of the film, it doesn’t have the bouncy optimism of a typical comic book film. That said, if you like your heroes flawed, hurt, yet still very much heroic in the face of nearly insurmountable odds, then “Logan” is definitely for you. It is a striking departure from most comic book fare and opens up the sub-genre to a whole new method of storytelling. Not the most upbeat of films, but excellent nonetheless. 4 ½ Out Of Five On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!