The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
Director: John Huston
Writers: Ben Maddow and John Huston (screenplay), W.R. Burnett (novel)
Stars: Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen
A classic heist film that is less interested in the heist itself and more interested in the characters involved. Fortunately, the characters are mostly interesting and far more three-dimensional than most cardboard cutouts you'd find in other caper films. Sam Jaffe is the highlight in an overall solid cast as the criminal mastermind. If there is a true weak link in this film, it is Jean Hagen's character who comes across as clingy and fairly annoying. Great atmosphere and quite tense at times, featuring excellent noir aesthetics.
Score: 7 / 10
The Wolverine (2013)
Director: James Mangold
Writers: Mark Bomback and Scott Frank (screenplay)
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima
If there is one thing that The Wolverine absolutely nails, it is the characterization of the title character. The film does a great job of fleshing out Logan's struggles with his immortality and the fact that he had to kill the woman he loved - Jackman is great, as always. The film also nails the action scene on top of the bullet train; it is exciting, unique and has some funny moments. Outside of these aspects, things are kind of a mess. The villains are some of the weakest I've seen and, while the Japanese setting is pleasing, the plot itself is mediocre at best. Very middle of the road overall, but a giant leap forward from Origins.
Score: 5 / 10
Side notes: 1) I still want to know how Aronofsky's R-rated Wolverine movie would have turned out and 2) I feel like I should award a bonus point for how damn awesome that poster is...