“Logan” does his Run, in a comics film that, after the fact, pans the alt-right

After reading the (libertarian) Foundation for Economic Education op-ed “’Logan’ eviscerates War and Demographic Planning” by Dan Sanchez, I “gave in” and saw a late show of the Marvel film last night. Yes, even Anderson Cooper like the “X-men” franchise.

Sanchez summarizes the plot pretty well, and I’m not sure all of his parallels hold.  But it’s true, that the “corporate state” (Transigen) had created the mutants as weapons and now regards them as threats the way the all-right views both Hispanic and Muslim migrants.

Hugh Jackman(now 48) looks grizzled, and maybe ready to return from exile or retirement.  The plot of this 135-minute bash concerns Logan’s road trip to rescue his 12-year-old daughter Laura (Dafne Keen) with Wolverine-like powers.

Structurally, the film is a bit like my “Tribunal and Rapture” manuscript, a long road trip (finally leading to planetary evacuation on a spaceship) by a retired FBI agent, who finds he has some subtle powers of his own – I finally decided that this sort of story works better for me when told through the eyes of the younger heroes, whose “powers” aren’t usually obvious and whose appearance is wholesome (even if that idea betrays my own erotic prejudices).

The film journeys into Oklahoma, then sidetracks to Reno (I wanted to see Taylor Wilson make a cameo and pitch his plans to save the power grids), before getting to North Dakota, with some scenery that resembles the Teddy Roosevelt badlands – but actually a lot of the film is shot in New Mexico, with mountains in the background.  The mixture of old and new technologies is interesting (like the winch and pulley in the North Dakota scene.  The mutants, by blowing liquid nitrogen breath, can freeze opponents’ limbs and break then off.  So heads, arms and legs roll in this film. (In Dallas, Joe Bob would have said “check it out.”)

To appreciate the film, you have to know some of the pre-history, of characters like Trask, with their pre-occupation with the alt-right notion of “demographic winter” and the idea that “majority” people don’t have enough kids now.  (That’s why Vladimir Putin allows the persecution of gays.)  I’m reminded of Representative Steve King’s (T-IA) doubled-down comments that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies” (story).

Patrick Stewart seems to impersonate me (as he usually does) as Charles, and Boyd Holbrook is notable as Pierce.

I’m reminded of another escapist adventure, “Logan’s Run” (1976), set around the Zale Building on Stemmons Freeway in Dallas, a building in which I worked in the 1980s, where you wonder how the twenty year-olds know think they can eliminate the thirties without facing the same fate themselves soon.

I guess that “Logan”, directed by James Mangold with story by him, was largely developed before Donald Trump won the election, but it seems well conceived as a response to the growing appearance of the alt-right during the 2016 campaigns.  The distributor, Fox, is probably closer to Ayn Rand-style conservatism.

The show opens with a “short film” (“Deadpool: No Good Deed“) about a Logan-like man challenged by a nearby mugging and a telephone booth, in the City.  I’m reminded of Joel Schulmacher’s “Phone Booth” (2002), and even of Timo Descamps and his “Phone Call” or even “Like It Rough” videos.  the 20 Century Fix fanfare then follows, along with TSG and Marvel, before the “feature” starts.  This sort of reminds me also of Dimension Films’s “Grindhouse” in 2007 (embedded double feature and connecting short).  The two short stories in my “Do Ask Do Tell III” book (2014) could be presented this way in film.

Name:  “Logan
Director, writer: James Mangold
Released:  2017
Format:  2.35:1 and Imax
When and how viewed:  2017/3/14 Regal Ballston Quarter, late, low crowd after snowstorm
Length:  137 including short
Rating:  R
Companies:  20th Century Fox, Marvel, TSG
Link:  official

(Posted: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 11 AM)

DC Shorts: “Be Careful What You Wish For”, especially in post-Soviet “Subotika”

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I got to one more DC Shorts program, “Be Careful What You Wish For”, a conservative adage.  It showed in a large auditorium at Landmark E Street.

The longest film shown was “Zero M2” or “Zero  Square Meters” (18 min, French) by Mathieu Landour.  An appealing young male graduate student (economics) arrives in Paris and looks for a flat to rent.  He finds a landlady willing to let him rent a room for a bargain basement price, and he doesn’t read the fine print on the lease.  So the room keeps shrinking.

The landlady, at one point, says she inherited the property, as if the inheritance came with strings (a “Dead Hand”) and social obligations.  So her goal is to increase the stock of affordable housing by shrinking the apartments into microtubules.

I wondered if this film could have been turned into a sci-fi story of being compressed into a black hole, and finding out what it would like to go into one.  If the black hole were really massive, you would be too sinful to notice,

Red Rover” (15 min, Australia), by Brooke Goldfinch, presents us with a young teen couple who don’t buy their evangelical family’s idea that an asteroid is going to destroy the world. They get out (after the family eats cyanide for dinner) to find the townspeople believe the same thing, and have a “motel hell” orgy.  The ending of the film will remind you of Lars Von Trier’s “Melancholia”.

Subotika: Land of Wonders” (14 min, Switzerland, “realistic” animation), by Peter Volkart, has an appealing young couple taking their honeymoon in a hidden post-Communist (specifically Soviet) enclave, where slag heaps provide scenic attractions and communication is by pneumatic tubes.  The geography of the place reminds me of the wasteland in my own sci-fi screenplay “Baltimore Is Missing” which I entered into Project Greenlight in 2004. Actually, this film is fascinating to watch.  It looks like a real place, maybe on another planet.  Is this movie “conservative” (because of the obvious attack on Soviet-style collectivism) or “liberal” (because of environmental concerns)?

40h Anniversary” (14 min, Spain), shows a 60-something couple making confessions as they sit in an outdoors Madrid café.  The camera never moves.  The worst confession is that the husband euthanized his mother after she had become a vegetable through end-stage dementia, so he could get on with his life.

Boy-Razor” (12 min, Sweden, but with actors of color), by Peter Pontikis, has a troubled kid placing a razor blade in a crevice of a water slide to get even for being bullied.  We really don’t see many of the consequences.

Sundae” (7 min, Sonya Goody), has a mom driving around Queens asking her son for the house her female enemy lives in, with a reward of an ice cream sundae,

Mine” (about 12 min), filmed in Kensington Gardens, England, by Simon Berry, seems to be a last minute replacement.  A woman leads her husband to a spot in the woods where he steps on a mine (reminding one of a recent incident in Central Park that cost a teenager a leg).  But the dead hand is active.

Last Door South” (“Derniere Porte au Sud”) by Sacha Feiner, from France, wasn’t shown, but the “Making of” video (22 minutes) for this black-and-white animation story about a two-headed mom raising her two-headed son is fascinating,  The realistic animation is shot from models and puppets that took enormous painstaking work by many artisans to create.  I couldn’t easily recreate this with my own trainset downstairs.

(Posted: Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 at 11:15 AM)