Cinema Scoop  

'The Wolverine' set to skewer box office

Greetings movie lovers, it's time to take a look at what the cinema has to offer us this weekend.

     The Wolverine

In modern day Japan, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is out of his depth in an unknown world as he faces his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.

     My Take

As a self professed comic book geek and lover of all things Marvel, it should come as no big surprise that I'm looking forward to seeing the latest exploits of everyone's favourite indestructible, steel-clawed, ass kicker. This film will mark the sixth appearance of Wolverine on the big screen, if you count his cameo in X-Men: First Class of course. Now, I wasn't exactly the biggest fan of the previous Wolverine film from 4 years ago as I found it to be pretty lame, but from everything I've been hearing about this new movie, I think we might be in for a treat.

The Wolverine is based on the excellent 4 issue limited series of comic books by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller that was released in 1982 and dealt with Wolverine's time in Japan. It still remains one of the best stories involving his character and it provides the film with tremendous source material from which to work with. The screenplay was written by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects), Mark Bomback (the upcoming Planet of the Apes sequel) and Scott Frank (Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Minority Report).

Directing duties were handed to James Mangold, who has a decent track record having made the excellent films Copland, Walk the Line and 3:10 to Yuma, so I have faith that this project was placed in capable hands. Hey, as long as he focuses more on the emotional core of the character and provides us with some decent action scenes of Wolvie fighting samurai, ninjas and the Yakuza rather than making an over-the-top special effects extravaganza like the 2009 film was, then I'm on board. 

The popularity of superhero and other comic book related movies is at an all-time high right now as we are getting several new ones each year, and based on the announcements at last week's San Diego Comic Con, it doesn't look like it will be slowing down anytime in the near future. Sounds good to me as long as they maintain the high quality of some of the recent films. Hopefully The Wolverine won't get lost in the shuffle and be just another superhero movie. If it can achieve the level of the superb X-Men: First Class, I will be a happy camper. By the way, there is a post credits scene in The Wolverine that apparently leads directly into next year's X-Men: Days of Future Past, so be sure to stick around until the end.

Oh, and hey, while we're on the topic of comic books, I thought I would mention that there will be the 2nd Annual Kelowna collectibles convention this Sunday July 28 from 11-5 at the Sandman Inn on 2130 Harvey Ave. It will feature a ton of cool, geeky stuff for sale such as comic books, toys, trading cards and a whole host of other memorabilia. You should definitely come by and check it out. 

Anyways, I think that Wolverine has an enormous fanbase out there and they are likely eagerly anticipating seeing Logan skewer the competition at the box office this weekend. I just hope that The Wolverine lives up to its potential. I have a feeling it will.

     The Way, Way Back

This is the funny and poignant coming of age story of 14-year-old Duncan's (Liam James) summer vacation with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette), her overbearing boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), and his daughter, Steph (Zoe Levin). Having a rough time fitting in, the introverted Duncan finds an unexpected friend in gregarious Owen (Sam Rockwell), manager of the Water Wizz water park. Through his funny, clandestine friendship with Owen, Duncan slowly opens up to and begins to finally find his place in the world - all during a summer he will never forget.

     My Take

This small, character driven comedy-drama is garnering a tremendous amount of critical buzz as it's said to be a charming and heartwarming crowd pleaser. It marks the directorial debut of comedic actors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who are noted for having written the Academy Award winning screenplay for the excellent film The Descendants back in 2011.

I usually enjoy a really good coming of age story and based on the clips I've seen of this film, it appears to contain the quirky and charming type of humour that I typically embrace. I think this will be the perfect choice for folks who want to get away from the usual big summer blockbuster and watch an intelligently scripted film dealing with real life situations. 

In addition to Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Sam Rockwell, the film features a tremendous cast that also includes Allison Janney, AnnaSophia Robb, Maya Rudolph, Rob Corddry and Amanda Peet.

The Way, Way Back really does appear like it will be a winner, so if you are in the mood for something funny and heartfelt, head on down to the Paramount Theatre where it will be playing exclusively.

Also opening this weekend exclusively at the Grand 10 is the new comedy The To Do List.

Featuring an all-star comedy cast including Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, Alia Shawkat, Sarah Steele, Rachel Bilson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Andy Samberg, Connie Britton and Clark Gregg, "The To Do List" is a comedy about close friends and a special summer project, loosely inspired by the real-life adventures of first-time writer/director Maggie Carey (wife of Bill Hader). Set in 1993, valedictorian Brandy Klark (Plaza) wants to shed her uptight image before college, so she assembles a to do list of all the "activities" she missed out on in high school. Quickly realizing that she's way out of her depth, Brandy solicits her best friends, older sister and burnt-out boss for their help and advice. If the group is going to complete the list by September they'll need plenty of imagination and very open minds.

The advanced reviews are pretty decent for this raunchy sex comedy so it might be worth checking out if you are in the mood for an R-rated show. The To Do List is rated R for pervasive strong crude and sexual content including graphic dialogue, drug and alcohol use, and language - all involving teens. So yeah, leave the kids at home for this one.

Have a great weekend everyone, see you at the movies!  

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About the Author

Just to give you a little background on my qualifications, I've been a film buff my whole life and I enjoy all different genres.

I especially have a passion for classic cinema.

I spent most of the past 17 years working for Rogers Video, so not only have I seen an immense amount of movies, but I've recommended many films to people over the years.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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