LOCAL HERO (15)
LOCK, STOCK & TWO SMOKING BARRELS (18)
D: Steven Wright
Lionsgate/Shoebox/IM Global (Guy Heeley & Paul Webster)
UK/US 2013 (released 2014)
W: Steven Knight
DP: Haris Zambarloukos
Ed: Justine Wright
Mus: Dickon Hinchcliffe
Tom Hardy (Ivan Locke), Olivia Colman (voice of Bethan Maguire), Ruth Wilson (voice of Katrina Locke), Tom Holland (voice of Eddie Locke)
Locke is a very noble attempt at a chamber play, set in one continuous location throughout its running time with a solo actor's performance carrying the entire film.
Tom Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a construction worker who makes a car journey from Birmingham to London on the eve of an important business deal. Along the course of the journey, he has various phone conversations with co-workers and his family as well as a woman who he once had a one-night stand with and it subsequently emerges that the reason for the sudden trip is to be with her as she gives birth to their child.
Though the material would make a much better fit as a stage play, it does work incredibly well on the screen, mainly because of Tom Harry's excellent performance.
D: James Mangold
20th Century Fox/Marvel/TSG (Hutch Parker, Simon Kinberg & Lauren Shuler-Donner)
W: Scott Frank, James Mangold & Michael Green [based on characters created by Stan Lee & the story "Wolverine" created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein & John Romita, Jr.]
DP: John Mathieson
Ed: Michael McCusker & Dirk Westervelt
Mus: Marco Beltrami
Hugh Jackman (Logan / Wolverine), Patrick Stewart (Prof. Charles Xavier), Boyd Holbrook (Donald Pierce), Stephen Merchant (Caliban), Richard E. Grant (Zander Rice), Dafne Keen (Laura Kinney)
Following on from Deadpool's example, Logan injects a little more violence than what the audience is accustomed to into the X-Men universe, though without the comic relief that gave Deadpool some enchantment this makes for quite a grim addition to the superhero genre.
Set in 2029, where the day of the mutant has become a part of history. Logan (Wolverine) no longer has the healing capabilities he once did, and spends his days working as a limo driver and caring for an aged Professor Xavier, whose own superhero capabilities are more destructive than they are useful.
Logan is approached by a strange Mexican woman with a young girl companion, asking for his help to take them both across the Canadian border, but she is murdered before he undertakes the job. Logan takes the girl, who has mutant capabilities of her own, under his own wing to keep her safe from the antagonists on their trail.
Upping the body count and playing down the fantasy element, this attempts to take the superhero movie into a more serious genre, and whether or not it's appreciated for doing that is completely subjective to the viewer.
It does bring some closure to Hugh Jackman playing the character after two decades and it goes without saying that Logan is much better than the other solo Wolverine projects (X-Men Origins: Wolverine & The Wolverine) and begs the question why studios waited for Deadpool to be fly or fall as a maturely marketed superhero movie before taking a chance with this.
LOGAN LUCKY (12)
D: Steven Soderbergh
Filmnation/Bleeker Street/Fingerprint (Gregory Jacobs, Mark Johnson, Reid Carolin & Channing Tatum)
W: Rebecca Blunt
DP: Peter Andrews
Ed: Mary Ann Bernard
Mus: David Holmes
Channing Tatum (Jimmy Logan), Adam Driver (Clyde Logan), Daniel Craig (Joe Bang), Riley Keough (Mellie Logan), Katherine Waterston (Sylvia Harrison), Seth MacFarlane (Max Chilblain), Sebastian Stan (Dayton White), Katie Holmes (Bobbie Jo Chapman)
Oceans Eleven meets Days Of Thunder for this crime caper set in West Virginia, where a pair of brothers, Jimmy and Clyde Logan, hatch a plan to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race, utilising Jimmy's knowledge of the underground tubes which carry money to the vault.
For the plan to be a success, they require the help of incarcerated explosions expert Joe Bang, so we also get a prison break plot device to go along with the heist.
Despite having a rather poor title, the screenplay is good, as are the majority of the performances, especially from Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Daniel Craig (Katie Holmes and Seth MacFarlane unfortunately drop the ball here). There's a couple of plot holes which might bother you if you allow them to, and a few characters are introduced for very little reason, but this is only nitpicking.
Steven Soderbergh came out of a short retirement to take the reins on this movie, releasing it through his own distribution company. On this evidence, let's hope his filmmaking career continues on.
LONELY ARE THE BRAVE (PG)
THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY (18)
LOOK WHO'S TALKING (12)
LORD OF THE RINGS (PG)
LORENZO'S OIL (15)
THE LOSERS (12)
THE LOST BOYS (15)
THE LOST CITY OF Z (12)
D: James Gray
Amazon Studios/Bleeker Street/Plan B/Keep Your Head/MICA/Mad River (Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Anthony Katagas, James Gray & Dale Armin Johnson)
US 2016 (released 2017)
W: James Gray [based on the novel by David Grann]
DP: Darius Khondji
Ed: John Axelrad & Lee Haugen
Mus: Christopher Spelman
Charlie Hunnam (Percy Fawcett), Robert Pattinson (Corporal Henry Costin), Sienna Miller (Nina Fawcett), Tom Holland (Jack Fawcett), Angus Macfadyen (James Murray), Ian McDiarmid (Sir George Goldie)
The Lost City Of Z is a biographical adventure film inspired by true events in the life of Percy Fawcett, a British explorer in Bolivia and his attempts to locate an ancient lost city.
The legend of the real Percy Fawcett is quite well known, as it was his character which served a huge inspiration to Indiana Jones, as well as other similar fictional characters in popular culture.
This isn't this type of adventure film though, taking a low key approach to the material which makes it drag quite heavily throughout its lengthy running time.
The casting leaves a lot to be desired as well, and seems to have Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson cast so the film would be marketed at a teenage audience. It has to be said that neither performances are particularly bad, but they won't win any awards either.
It is worth a watch, but it's nowhere near as epic as it really could have been.
LOST HORIZON (U)
D: Frank Capra
Columbia (Frank Capra)
W: Robert Riskin [based on the novel by James Hilton]
DP: Joseph Walker
Ed: Gene Havlick & Gene Milford
Mus: Dimitri Tiomkin
PD: Stephen Goosson
Ronald Colman (Robert Conway), Jane Wyatt (Sondra Bizet), H.B. Warner (Chang), Sam Jaffe (High Lama), John Howard (George Conway), Edward Everett Horton (Alexander P. Lovett)
A lost movie, since the original theatrical cut was not preserved and the closest thing to it now is a heavily edited version or one which utilises production stills and a remastered soundtrack to fill in the gaps.
The story, based on a novel by James Hilton, concerns a group of people who flee a Chinese revolution by plane only to crash land in Tibet, only to discover the idyllic civilisation of Shangri-La, where the weather is always pleasant and the inhabitants live in peaceful harmony.
From an artistic perspective, the film is quite wonderful, utilising brilliant cinematography, production design and visual effects to tell a story which would have been incredibly difficult to film as far back as 1937.
Unfortunately, it could also be said that Lost Horizon was a huge flop during its cinema run, failing to recoup its budget for many years following its original release. That being said, many of Frank Capra's films were unappreciated at the time, and only became hailed as the classics they are several years later.
1973 saw a bizarre musical remake released. Avoid that version at all costs.
LOST IN TRANSLATION (15)
THE LOST PATROL (PG)
D: John Ford
RKO (Cliff Reid, Merian C. Cooper & John Ford)
W: Dudley Nichols [based on the novel "Patrol" by Philip MacDonald]
DP: Harold Wenstrom
Ed: Paul Weatherwax
Mus: Max Steiner
Victor McLaglen (The Sergeant), Boris Karloff (Sanders), Wallace Ford (Morelli), Reginald Denny (George Brown), J.M. Kerrigan (Quincannon)
Dated now, but the basic premise here has been oft-imitated in the 80+ years since...
Based on the novel by Philip MacDonald, The Lost Patrol sees a small group of soldiers in hostile territory whilst on a mission in the Mesopotamian desert.
It seems unfair to judge this film from a modern perspective, as it feels incredibly stilted when compared to other films with similar plots. For 1934, it is very well done... but (from a modern perspective) it is incredibly dull.
LOVE STORY (PG)
D: Jeff Nichols
Focus Features/Big Beach/Raindog (Jared Ian Goldman, Ged Doherty, Colin Firth, Nancy Buirski, Sarah Green, Marc Turtletaub & Peter Saraf)
W: Jeff Nichols
DP: Adam Stone
Ed: Julie Monroe
Mus: David Wingo
Joel Edgerton (Richard Loving), Ruth Negga (Mildred Loving), Marton Csokas (Sheriff Brooks), Nick Kroll (Bernie Cohen), Michael Shannon (Grey Villet)
Jeff Nichols biographical drama studies the real life case of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple whose marriage in 1950's Virginia saw them arrested and exiled from their home state.
Civil rights lawyers subsequently fought the case, taking it all the way to the US Supreme Court.
The two principal performances are excellent, especially Ruth Negga, who received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
Nichols takes a low-key approach to the material, without sensationalising it with Hollywood gloss.
Certainly among the better films of 2016.