Logan: A Fitting Epilogue, Hopefully a Prologue

Logan, officially the last X-Men installment starring Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman as Professor X and the Wolverine respectively, is the darkest journey the cinematic Wolverine has faced yet (except having had to kill Jean Grey, of course). The movie is every bit as gory as can be expected of one with the titular character having claws of indestructible metal, topped off with temper issues.

The movie is a great blend of story, emotion, dark humour, action sequences and (surprisingly uncut) colourful language.

Logan (Hugh Jackman) is a tired old man (we have the make-up department of nearly 26 people to thank for presenting us with Old Man Logan and X24), with his strength deteriorating because of the the toxicity from adamantium, in 2029. He takes to becoming a Chrysler limousine chauffeur, in 2029. The mutants are all seemingly gone, except for the ill Professor X and his caretaker, Caliban, who are both housed in Mexico by Logan. X23/Laura (Dafne Keene) is entrusted to Logan for safety by a nurse, and the movie follows Logan’s mission of saving her from strangely-without-conscience authorities.

My favourite part of the movie is, without doubt, X23, played by Dafne Keen, daughter of British actor, Will Keen (The Crown, Wolf Hall) and Spanish actress, Maria Fernandez Ache (Also a trained gymnast). She is mostly quiet through the film (much like Laura Kinney of the comics) , but Keen successfully manages to convey her intent and feeling.

“[Keen] has got such powerful presence,” Priscilla John, casting director, says. “She’s got extraordinary charisma. She’s either going to be heading a huge international company, or she’s going to be a big star when she grows up.”

There are many moments in the movie where X23 steals the show from Wolverine (who for some small part of the movie, keeps falling in and out of consciousness), and it is a treat watching her shouting down The Wolverine.

“Such a nice man!” – X23 to Logan

Watching her slash people’s throats in a shirt with a unicorn on it, is particularly amusing, as well as her habit of taking things into her own hands when Logan won’t co-operate.

And Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart make a great team, both of them adding to the humour with their bickering.

“Logan! LOGAN! … I have to pee.” – Professor X to Logan

Despite the humour, it is heartbreaking to see Professor X so ill and helpless, and Sir Patrick Stewart does a brilliant job in portraying the severely ill professor.

The movie is a great watch, and in my opinion, definitely worth the hype and wait.

Why to watch the movie:

  • Dafne Keen as X23 is brilliant! Just the right amount of bestiality and innocence.
  • You simply do not want to miss the X23’s *calmly eats cereal* moment in the movie.
  • The movie makes you realize why no one but Hugh Jackman could have played Wolverine.
  • The movie successfully makes you cry and laugh a little, while clinging tightly to your seats.
  • X-Men comics feature in the movie, which I found highly amusing because it was a situation of glancing through, rather than breaking, the fourth wall.
  • The Deadpool preview

Why not to watch the movie:

  • You don’t not watch it.

Although a certain era of the X-Men movies is over, I do hope we get to see X23 again in a standalone movie. I know Hugh Jackman thinks that Shah Rukh Khan would be a great Wolverine, but why go that far when we’ve got X23. Director James Magnold is already willing to make another movie with her character in the centre.

 

The Other Thing About Moana

But (of course there is a ‘but’ isn’t there) this is the year 2016, famously dubbed as the year where everyone is offended by nearly everything. I heard a woman behind me in the theatre say “What kind of movie is this, encouraging children to run away from their parents if they are not being allowed to do something!”. Her children probably do watch Tom and Jerry and Chhota Bheem , which are relatively oh, so realistic!

Another thing I have heard about is cultural inappropriation. One of the arguments for this was that Maui was a “lithe, almost teenaged heroic demi-god”, who is portrayed as goofy, buff demigod in the movie, which apparently takes after the stereotype that Polynesians are fat (what about Moana, grandmother Tala!). There was also some kind of problem with the use of coconut as a primary resource in the islands, which also an “insulting steretype”. Well, if that was what grew on those islands centuries ago, then coconut was by all means probably staple!

There are also protests from the Pacific Island communities with banners that read “Moana is not a Disney movie… It is our grandmother, the Pacific Ocean…”. Firstly, I don’t see why the movie is offensive in terms of Moana (which means ocean, by the way) because at not point is she shown to be weak. In fact, I love the idea that a girl named after the ocean, was chosen by the ocean to save the world (although, a little narcissistic on the ocean’s part, I suppose!)

Another issue someone raised was that despite the story being about “browns”, the movie had been “white-washed”. The movie apparently still deals with “white problems”, and does not address the “brown problems”. I do not understand this, what is that even supposed to mean? On so many cultural levels that does not make any sense! How is a plot revolving around a Polynesian myth, white-washing?

Lastly, some people expressed disgust at what they called “white hypocrisy”, given the timing of the release of the movie; the protest of the indigenous people at Standing Rock (the Dakotas). They seem to need a brief lecture on the production procedures to understand that the movie has been in works for months and it’s mere coincidence that the release of the movie clashed with the Standing Rock issue. Oh, and the tribe from the movie and the native people involved at Standing Rock are entirely different peoples.

I do respect the people whose sentiments have been hurt, but it is important to keep in mind that it’s a children’s movie and not a documentary. Small inaccuracies that have the potential to be blown out of proportion are present almost in every movie, and therefore, reading too much between-the-lines is simply too exhaustive for the mind, and anything will seem possible (for instance, The Lion King could be deemed racist just because the villain was coloured darker than the rest; the simple explanation behind that is that the colour palette used for Scar consist of dark colours simply because it resonates a certain intimidating and wary presence).

Moana is a great movie, with a great message; offended are those who think too much.

The Thing About Moana

I watched the movie yesterday, and as always (maybe I am biased) Disney did not fail to amaze. A really big plus point is that neither of the protagonist’s parents died, which is a first for Disney in a while. And a very important thing to remember, please – the story is set, not in Hawaii, but in the Polynesian Islands off the coast of New Zealand.

The movie can be briefly surmised as the story of a girl who is born into a certain tradition (Moana must take up the responsibility of being the next chieftain of her village), that forbids her from doing something that seems to be calling out to her (namely, exploring the sea), but she does so anyway because the ocean chooses her to be the one to save her people from the onset of something that began with an action rooted in legends (the demigod Maui stole the heart – a tiny glowing gem – of the island goddess Te Fiti, thus triggering attacks from a lava demon, Te Ka, who is after the gem).

I found this to be great movie; the soundtrack was amazing, the script was witty and humorous, the visuals were mind-blowing and the subtext was brilliant.

The minds behind the soundtrack are Mark Mancina, Opataia Foa’i and of course the brilliant Lin-Manuel Miranda. The songs are mostly about self-discovery, self-doubt and also the song which initially takes Moana’s mind off the sea. There were bits of songs in the Tokelauan language as well; although I did not fully comprehend the meaning, the songs are few of the songs that I loved listening to even if I did not know the language. There is also a pompous song sung by Maui, the demigod and a different boastful song sung by a crab-who-loves-shiny-things.

The dialogues and narratives I found funny as well, with just the right mix of emotion, humour and not too many unnecessary dialogues. They were just enough to pull in the audience, while ensuring that the story went forward.

As for the visuals, the trailers speak for themselves. My favourite bits were the goddess Te Fiti and the ocean itself.

When it comes to subtext, people have different aspects that they perceive; what I understood is the obvious “follow your heart” despite what your parents tell you. And also, Maui’s tattoos, which are medals of sort, appear only when he has earned them; this I think sends out the message that respect is earned through deeds that others consider as helpful/altruistic and not when someone does something they themselves believe to be a good deed. And of course, Moana not having a love-interest, but only the help of a friend speaks volumes by itself.

The movie is definitely worth a watch, even two if possible, but….

(Read the next part – two parts because that addresses a different issue and it’s not criticism of the movie.)

Of Fangirls and Fandoms #5 – The Evolution of the Craze

These are dangerous waters. There’s not much to this, but this deserves a separate post.

This is Phase#5, wherein the fan(atic) starts to get curious about behind-the-scenes of behind-the-scenes.

This begins with finding out some biographical details about the actor (the very reason it’s dangerous – it’s not about the characters anymore; it’s about the people who plays them). Then moving on to the show related interviews, finding them interesting enough to move on to every single interview. There’s also stalking on Instagram, feeling stupidly happy when he/she gets married (there are also some who get insanely jealous to the point where they hate on the spouse; but we’re not going to talk about the psychotic segment of the fandom right now) and losing it when they’re about to be parents (TWINS! If you know what I mean).

And don’t you just love it when real life imitates life on-screen? Brothers on-screen, and bestfriends off-screen; Lovers on-screen and off-screen (and when they break up, you die a little too)

In conclusion, this phase is when all hell breaks lose and you know the characters and the actors as if they’re your bestfriends.

*MY LEAST FAVOURITE PIECE, BUT NECESSARY NONETHELESS*

Of Fangirls and Fandoms #4 – Cultivation of the Craze

Once anyone is past the binge phase, there are two roads that can be taken – continue to watch the show once a week, when you are all caught up with the previous season or further cultivate the craze.

The cultivation basically includes fuelling the obsession that starts out very slowly. This means spending hours on the internet, looking for bloopers/gag reels, behind-the-scenes, making-of-whatevertvshow, watching deleted scenes, directors commentaries, etc.

In short, you might as well be taking an exam on the show.

I particularly enjoy watching what goes into the making of a TV show episode (or even movies for that matter), for me, makes it much more enjoyable, especially when I am watching it again (I always do; a tale for another day).

This is the phase when the TV show becomes all-pervasive (with me, to the point where I begin dreaming about the characters coming over for dinner; an alternate episode in some cases). Thoughts centre around the show all the time, and you wonder about the what-ifs and endings, and you can’t help but talk about the show. All the time.

I have had this phase with many TV shows, and people have often ridiculed me, but try as I  might, I could never tell them that obsessing over a TV show, which has its own fixed course of things, would never disappoint me. Even if it did, it would be easy to get over (unless the disappointment is at par with How I Met your Mother series finale)unlike the kind of disappointment that comes with people.

Supernatural: Agent Beyonce and Agent Z!

I am so disoriented right now! It was a good episode… till it reached that godawful ending!

The Winchester Blood

I enjoyed the boys interacting with their mother so much! It was such a treat, drawing similarities between them and the openly happy Dean.

The conversation Sam and Dean had in the cemetery was one of my favourite scenes because their acknowledging that they have problems dealing with emotions is great character development.

“…like mother, like sons…” – Sam Winchester

Agents Beyonce and Jay-Z

Castiel was great in this episode! (Although when he told Mary that he still doesn’t fit in, it broke my heart a little!)

His search for Lucifer was predictable, though I doubt he’ll actually call the boys if he needs help.

“Do you think that happens to Sam and Dean?” – Castiel when the door was shut in his face.

I am curious to see what they will do ultimatly if they do face Lucifer… I mean, he is an archangel! I am sure the angel blade that Cas was carrying is not enough!

And there is of course, the post-Lucifer change there seems to be in Cas. He seems angrier, sassier and impatient! Tumblr theorizes that it is because there is a remnant of Lucifer’s soul still in him and maybe Lucifer has a remnant of Castiel in him (I don’t see that, honestly. Vince-Lucifer is so much more… CRASS, than the Nick-Lucifer.)

All Hail Rowena!

I thought she was done for in this episode. I even felt bad for her; a lot like Sam, actually – wanting out, but the family business pulling them back into jobs they wanted nothing to do with.

When she started casting that spell for Lucifer, her sudden compliance did make me suspicious, but she just banished Lucifer to the… ocean!?

This is a new thing for Supernatural, a female character fending for herself without dying.

“…if you get Lucifer cornered and find yourself in need, I’m there…” – Rowena to Agents Beyonce and Z.

This might have been the only nice thing Rowena has ever volunteered to do.

Mary’s Adjustment Issues

I knew she was finding it difficult to be there. So did Sam. I knew from episode one, where this was headed, but I did not think that’s how she’d leave!

She was snatched out of heaven, where she had her two little boys and her husband, and put back on earth where her sons were grown-up and her husband was dead.

“…Every moment I spend with you reminds of every moment I lost with them…” – Mary to the boys.

She might as well have said that she could not stand being around them! I was so dejected, and I don’t think I have ever seen Dean this hurt. When he backed away from Mary, I wanted to scream.

And when Mary started to head out of the bunker, she did not even look back and when Sam winced as the door shut… I sat in front of my laptop for a few seconds, unsure of what had happened.

HOW COULD MARY LEAVE!?

As Tumblr rightly put it, for Dean, his mother had been a mythical icon of perfection; she was even there in his heaven. But she left him… the boy with abandonment issues had been left by his mother, again. And I would really like to see some serious impact this has on him.

I get it and I saw it coming, but I thought her exit would be eased in to the show. It would have been less heartbreaking if Sam and Dean saw with each episode how uncomfortable she was and then, when Mary decided to leave, they’d be in full support of her! Maybe even suggest it themselves.

But of course, when has Supernatural ever tried to be less heartbreaking for its fans!

Now if you’ll excuse me I need to sit in a corner and cry.

Supernatural:”Keep Calm and Carry On” – A Heartbreaking Family Business.

I started watching the first episode of the new season with a nervous excitement. Especially given how, during the hiatus, I scoured the internet for spoilers and knowing, made me all the more nervous!

So the last season left us with a happy celestial reunion and a return gift – Mary Winchester. And of course, Sam being shot by Toni Bevell (Elizabeth Blackmore), British Men of Letters.

This episode was, according me, worth the wait! Although Sam still thinks Dean is dead, the episode was a great episode! The search for Sam was steady, with just the right dose of humour and emotional moments.

Mamma’s back!

Honestly, I love Mary! When she first sees Dean and attacks him, is one of my favourite moments in the episode (and follows after is definitely an emotional reunion)

And of course, Mary’s, “Hey sweetheart, remember me?” to the Impala. Then, Dean realizes that John and Mary had some “fun” in the backseat of the car. It was quite a comical moment.

You simply don’t mess with Mamma Winchester, especially when you lie about not knowing of your son’s whereabouts!

I like the idea of Sam and Dean having a parent, especially Mary, who has for most part been absent from their lives.

Castiel, the ex-vessel of Lucifer

Throughout the episode, he seemed on the edge (well, who wouldn’t be after Lucifer lived in your body for days!) and a little out of form.

And his relief at seeing Dean was touching. Wait till Sam finds out that Dean is alive!

And his “jerk temperament” was hined at by Misha Collins during the hiatus. At some point in the season, Dean will obviously talk to Cas about it and I am wondering what will happen when Cas finally loses his restraint.

The British (Not. English.) Men of Letters

Well Toni Bevell seems like an interesting character, to say the least. She does not seem to have any bad intentions (although her means are quite questionable).

Bring on the hate if you will, but she does have a point about the primitive methods of the American hunters. It would be interesting to see them collaborate, to make America as safe as Britain because the Men of Letters’ meticulous planning and organisation. (This might even be a premise for the show to end… not that I want it to, but just a thought…) What she wants does not seem too unreasonable but she does not seem to understand that the end does not justify the means… means of torture, that is!

There is a rumour going around that Toni might be a love interest to Sam, but I highly doubt it, although there is a very minuscule possibility. Personally, that might be interesting. I say that there is possibility because during the hiatus, one of the producers said that through the season, Dean and Sam might not be on the same page about certain things, and the “certain things” could easily be Sam inclining to working with the Men of Letters because that fits his ideology of “research” and “planning”.

One thing is evident: this season is definitely about the Men of Letters because the title/logo has the MoL symbol in the background.

Dean Winchester

I was crying when he hugged his Mom and they sat down on a bench and talked. It has been evident that Dean had been really close to his mother through the previous seasons and when they finally met, I just couldn’t not cry.

I liked how the search for Sam was methodical and steady, and not unrealistically rushed. And now, Toni Bevell knows he’s alive and coming for Sam.

Though some say the Dean underreacted to his mother being alive, I think that that was extremely in character, given how he has never been quite expressive.

It broke my heart when Dean was giving out details to Mary about her life and when the MoL car hit theirs and Mary was unconscious, he was really scared… scared that he might have lost her too soon, again.

And next episode is going to be so promising! The brothers need to reunite soon because it is very odd watching an episode where they are not working together.

“Screw you!” said Sam “Sassy” Winchester, again and again and again.

For someone who was padlocked to a chair, Sam was quite confident. The sass was strong with this one.

This episode was one of Jared Padalecki’s best in the series. Being tortured, his reaction to it and also the borderline insane fury was very well depicted in the episode.

One thing I did not understand fully well was why he was resisting Toni (aside from being shot in the leg). She did seem to have a point and all she wanted were some answers. I do understand as to why he would not give away the other hunters, but otherwise, his resistance did not completely make sense to me.

Toni herself seems a little disturbed by both Sam’s resistance and condition. And that other woman Mary killed was really getting on my nerves (Hail, Mary!)

This episode also showed the full extent of Sam’s strength, including his wits when being partially drugged when he tricks Toni into believing that he is going to kill himself.

Crowley on the Hunt

There was Crowley in the episode as well, hunting for Lucifer, following the trail of bodies with their eyes burned out.

Lucifer seems to be supported by the demons of Hell, who have lost all respect for Crowley.

Conclusion

I would really like to see Mary and John communicate somehow, and have them discuss the aftermath of her death. And I really hope Chuck appears again!

And I can’t wait for Jody and Mary to meet!

I do know for sure that Mary is going to read John’s journal, which I cannot wait for! It is going to emotional for sure.

There was also speculation that Mary might have more to her past than we know about, and I cannot wait to see what that is and how it ties up to the plot (Won’t it be great if Toni and Mary know each other from before? Unlikely, but it would be interesting).

I loved this episode and am looking forward to what looks like a promising season.

Thoughts: Once Upon a Time S06 – E01 and E02

[SPOILER(s) ALERT!]

Episode 1

It was a long wait… a rather long wait.

Three of us were watching it, lights dimmed, eating pizza.

The episode, while opening with a scene of Aladdin and Jaffar, mainly dealt with the entering of characters from the Land of Untold Stories to Storybrooke, onset of Emma’s visions of some kind and Gold attempting to Belle. There is also of course, the lingering aftereffects of Robin’s death on Regina and the resulting tension between Zelena and her.

The Evil Queen, now more vindictive and cunning than ever, is back. And as expected, she wants to eliminate Regina.

An interesting element in the episode was Belle’s father refusing to attempt to wake her, because he’d rather she be in a coma than wake up to be with Gold. Gold then resorts to dreams, to wake her up, and meets Morpheus!(!)

By the end of it, we found the episode to have been too short and some what predictable. Zelena, once again being predictable, Emma once again faced with a burden (the protagonists seem surprisingly thick-skulled, always lying and hiding truths from their loved ones for “their own safety”… But of course, how else could a new season take place!), Regina doubting herself.

What I liked in the episode:

  1. It had premiered at last!
  2. Gold using dreams to get to Belle and the consequence of doing so (!)

What I didn’t like in the episode:

  1. Regina‘s self-righteous attitude with Zelena and not seeing that both of them had lost men they loved and not just Zelena, who was trying to be the way her sister wanted her to be.
  2. The predictable consequence of the sisters’ tiff.
  3. Emma being burdened with more and KEEPING IT A SECRET AGAIN. IT’S BEEN FIVE SEASONS, DID YOU NOT LEARN!
  4. No change at all in Rumpelstiltskin’s nature and choices (You’d think he’d change after all this while!)

Predictions (SPOILERS):

  1. The red bird Emma followed was probably Iago, Jaffar’s pet bird, as seen in Disney.
  2. The hooded figure Emma is fighting in her visions, is Jaffar, as is the girl the bird lead Emma to.

Episode 2

This episode was not one of my favourite.

It revolves around a new character, Count of Monte Cristo (!?), who Regina had hired long ago to kill the Charmings. Along with this, Regina finds out that The Evil Queen is alive, while the tension continues between Zelena and Regina, and the former decides to side with The Evil Queen (Am I surprised? No.). Emma meanwhile, visits Archie for counselling.

The Evil Queen is apparently trying to prove that the darkness in Regina will never go away. Why doesn’t this make sense? Because hadn’t Regina separated herself from her evil counterpart? So what  darkness did Regina exactly still “suppress” within herself? (unless she did a bad job of the separation)

Towards the end, once again, it felt like too short an episode, with many loopholes.

What I liked in the episode:

  1. Emma confided at least in Archie about her visions.
  2. Snow “Badass” White was back for a while. Mary Margaret is (too) nice, but I still missed strategist fighter, Snow White.

What I didn’t like in the episode:

  1. Emma’s suspecting Regina. Again!
  2. Count Monte Cristo and his reinterpretation being introduced (and being killed!?) in the show! He’s a character from a classic book and I didn’t like the idea of involving magic in his story.
  3. This episode had some bad editing and videography.
  4. Loophole in terms of Regina having “darkness” in her(?!)
  5. When were Rumpelstiltskin and The Evil Queen even sexual!? Where did that even come from!

Of Fangirls and Fandoms #3 – Shipping Ships and OTP : Level 2

I

Level 2. Yes, there is a level 2.

Level 2, according to me, is when OTPs are not just fictional characters, but also the actors who play them! Blake Lively and Ryan Reylonds (Carol Ferris and Hal Jordan from Green Lantern), Jensen Ackles and Danneel Harris (Priestly and Tish from Ten Inch), Jared Padalecki and Genevieve Cortese (Sam and Ruby from Supernatural), Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas (Snow White and Charming on Once Upon a Time) Jennifer Morrison and Sebastian Stan (Emma and Mad Hatter from Once Upon a Time) for instance.

Here once again, it is irrespective of whether or not they are actually together! For example, Cockles (Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins from Supernatural), Leighton Meester and Ed Westwick (Chuck and Blair from Gossip Girl), Jennifer Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue (Once Upon a Time), etc.

This is fun as well, but one thing I really dislike is when people hate on their actual partners and say things like “You don’t deserve her/him! She/he does not belong with you!”

II

OTP also comes in the form of NOTP and BROTP. NOTP is the ship that you hate/do not see happening (Supernatural’s Dean and Amara, for example. My personal NOTP is Destiel and of course, Sam and Dean with the ship name WINCEST(!?)).

BROTP more or less enocompasses the bromance – Destiel, Sam and Dean, J2 (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles), Oliver and Diggle from Arrow,  etc.

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