Tag: Bradley Cooper

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Hey everyone! Remember Guardians of the Galaxy? No!? Then what the hell are you doing here for?

People loved GotG and claimed it to be one of the best films for Marvel. Clearly they didn’t see Captain America: The Winter Soldier that same year. But despite how fresh and funny it was, it had terribly weak villains, more so than most other Marvel films in my opinion.

But the soundtrack was dope. It revitalized old classics, and had the sweet finale of a new mixtape. Before going into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 I refused to check out the soundtrack released a few weeks ago. In the first film, it was glorious discovering the music that went along and frankly, I feel like it is almost spoiler territory for this film.

Man, I hope this new mix is just as banging. And the movie should be good too, as well.

EGO
Like how Russell is banging that old dude look. Rock on!

Set only a few months after the first film, so we have to travel back in time to the year 2014. You know, that way Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) is still a baby for a movie for cuteness reasons. The crew is still together: Starlord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), and Rocket (Bradley Cooper). And guess what! They have also pissed off an entire race of golden perfect people, led by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), while also capturing Nebula (Karen Gillan) to turn her in for a bounty. Family bonds? Fuck ’em.

There is still a lot of angst between the members, not knowing how much of their crew is a family, or how much of it is just for the convenience and money. In addition to the golden people, they also have to deal with Yondu’s (Michael Rooker) crew, trying to bring them in again for a bounty.

Oh and remember Starlord’s daddy issues? Well, the timing is wonderful for this film, because apparently some mysterious alien man named Ego (Kurt Russell) is his daddy! He has proof and all, they just have to go back to his own personal planet, to help Starlord realize his heritage, his past, and his destiny. Sounds exciting for Starlord, and no real issues will probably rise from that. Ego has a companion, Mantis (Pom Klementieff), who can read anyone’s feelings and sometimes calm them down. Alien powers!

Also starring two scenes with Sylvester Stallone as another ravager, Chris Sullivan as someone who likes mutinies with silly names, and Sean Gunn. Like, a shit ton of Sean Gunn. I expected to just get a quick cameo, maybe a line or two, but fuck, Sean Gunn is all up in this movie with a major-ish role.

Mantis
He might even have more screen time than the chick with the antlers.

A lot of your time is busy, deciding what movie to watch, so I will get to the point. In terms of Marvel films, this one felt really disappointing. The first film had issues that a lot of people seemed to gloss over, and the sequel is not as good as the first in so many levels. So I left the theater feeling extremely disappointed. GotG2 is not a BAD movie, but it just had the potential to be so much more.

For our positives, I did laugh quite frequently still. Drax is now my favorite for sure, while there was a toss up in the first film, because they made his personality so extreme in this one. It is also very visually exquisite. One scene near the end with a body reforming in particular stood out, along with colorful explosions and alien landscapes. And Yondu was elevated in this film and given the best scene(s?!) with the best song, so that becomes a standout moment.

And now, the rest. Remember how Drax was my favorite? I said so sentences ago. He is my favorite thanks to the humor, BUT, I am pretty sure he did jack shit the whole film. Outside of the opening fight scene, which is one we can ignore for this point, he did only one real battle/fight scene at all. He is supposed to be Drax the Destroyer, and he is just there for the most part, making quips, and that is it. It was like they forgot his main purpose.

The Gamora/Nebula side plot dragged. Gamora is barely given personality, and Nebula has never been really any good at all, so to see the argument play out and conclude in this film, it just feels like an incredible waste. Starlord/Ego had some interesting moments, but again, the plot just felt very messy. Not really hard to follow, but lacking significant details and just feeling rushed.

Rooker
This is the third film Rooker has been in with Stan Lee, because people tend to forget about Mallrats.

Yondu was bad ass, but just like in the first film, the made his arrow thing extremely overfuckingpowered. Why they never had him just go up to Thanos and kill they never really stated. His “backstory” and sadness in this film isn’t explored well at all either.

And it hurts me to say this, it really does. Because my own baby was Baby Groot for Halloween to my Rocket Raccoon when she was just four months old. But Baby Groot, although cute, was again, just a distraction. He got a bit annoying with his antics and it gave me scary flashbacks to the Minions in Despicable Me, taking an okay idea and running it into the ground. Rocket was cool though. They gave him a lot to do, some anger, some great humor, and he was definitely highlighted well.

Volume 2 had a few decent song choices, and the ones that work end up working REALLY WELL. A lot of the songs though also became pretty forgettable after the fact, although they did a good job incorporating the music into this movie, by also making the characters more aware of the songs.

Volume 2 is okay. It is. It just isn’t really super. It is flashy, funny, but it just lacks a lot more substance. The type of things you go into expecting in a sequel now that the “origin story” has been told.

2 out of 4.

War Dogs

War Dogs came and went and no one cared. And you know what that is?

Jonah Hill is back to being fat in it. Not only is he fat, but he looks uncomfortably rapey. Everyone thought that skinny Jonah would not be funny, but he totally is! And then from then on, Fat Jonah was put in shitty movies. Like The Sitter.

Needless to say, the Fat Jonah theory is definitely one of the main reasons I stayed away, and it sounds like a lot of people in America stayed away as well. I can only hope it is for the same reason.

Suit
Fuck, they don’t even make him reasonable to look at when they put him in a suit.

This is partially a story about David Packouz (Miles Teller), a man in love and who cannot find good work. He has spent a lot of money on some high quality sheets to sell discounted to retirement homes, but the retirement homes don’t want nice sheets for people going to die soon. His only real income is giving massages which is not his ideal job either.

His lady Iz (Ana de Armas) is taking care of them. Until he runs into an old buddy from high school, Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill), who eventually invites him to join his company. The company, AEY (which stands for nothing), is a sort of middle man company, who sells arms to the US government for the ongoing War in Iraq.

How did he get into that business? Long story, it is shady, but they are making their money by getting weapons from other countries and bringing them to Iraq, sometimes physically on their own. And once they get paid and people like what they get, they get more government contracts and start to live like fat cats. These are the deals that big contractors don’t bother with, but will still make them millions.

But eventually the money gets to their head, and the pursuit of more and more money. This leads to problems. This leads to threats.

Also featuring Patrick St. Esprit, Kevin Pollak, and Bradley Cooper.

GUNS
Making money off of war. There is a word for that I think.

It was hard to get a lot out of War Dogs. Just from the basic color scheme of the film they go out of their and way to make it unpleasant looking.

Just look at our main characters. They didn’t even try to accurately look like the people they portrayed. Nothing. Alike. At all. They are only similar in that they are men. Normally in these things they try and make them at least look similar. The casting director here gave no fucks, went for who they wanted, and in addition to it, decided to make Hill as ugly as they possibly could to drive home a point.

What was that point? That the charcter was a scumbag. Of course this is all based on testimony of the other guy, who wrote a book and got less prison time. Of course he will make himself seem not too bad.

Somehow despite everything I still found it an okay watch. They rushed through a lot of things and the entire thing seemed to hurt my eyes, but in there somewhere is an okay story with a decent lesson.

Fuck bitches, get money. Or else I think that is what the lesson was.

2 out of 4.

10 Cloverfield Lane

Cloverfield was a very polarizing movie back in 2008. Most people you would talk to had strong feelings one way or the other, but if you went on the internet you will find almost universal praise. Time changes everything.

Now imagine everyone’s surprise when the first trailer of 10 Cloverfield Lane appeared a mere three months before the release date. No one knew it was coming, nor did they know what it was about. Produced by J.J. Abrams, he described this film as a “blood relative” to the original Cloverfield. Again, a vague statement.

Needless to say, this is not a sequel to Cloverfield. The Director admitted just days before release that it technically didn’t even take place in the same Universe as the first film. No relation at all. Unfortunately, these quotes aren’t plastered on the commercials and posters. I predict a lot of people going into this film and being upset at the lack of monster. Abrams also said he intended for the Cloverfield name to be a sort of anthology of similar-esque films, but each unique and on its own. Like a Twilight Zone movie franchise, without a narrator.

Game
However, I’d watch all three of these actors play board games for two hours and rate it a 5 out of 4.

Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winston) is leaving her fiancé/husband Ben (Bradley Cooper). You don’t need to know why, but she is moving out, grabbing only a few things, and hitting the road. Hell, you don’t even have to know about the weird power outages affecting the coast. You just need to know that Michelle is now alone and driving off somewhere that no one knows about. Which is why when she gets into an accident and ran off the road, her friends and family will have a hard time finding her.

Especially when she wakes up in a room, full of scratches and hurt knee. She is down to her underwear and handcuffed to the wall in a mostly barren and locked room. Shit.

Her captor is Howard (John Goodman), a gruff man who claims he saved her life. They are in a bunker because something bad has happened on the surface and the air is toxic. So he claims. He wants her to treat him with respect, saving her life and all. He is totally the best guy right? And he just so happens to have a shelter with tons of locks, food for years and a social room, just in case anything goes down. Surely he isn’t a bad guy. He just luckily found her in the wreck and helped her, for sure, right?

Well, there is another guy in there too. Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), who claims he helped build the shelter and broke his arm trying to get in. He was not kidnapped like she might have been.

Either way, the dynamic is fucked up, lots of secrets, who the fuck knows what is going on outside, we just know that they will be together in there for some time.

Jukebox
So better get used to staring at Howard’s fat ass dancing.

10 Cloverfield Lane, as I already mentioned, with upset a lot of people because it won’t feature the monster from Cloverfield in any way, and that is appropriate backlash given the secrecy and vagueness of it all. That should only affect this film, and not any future planned movie in this franchise-lite universe thing they are planning.

The movie on its own is tense as fuck. Twists, turns, and maybe even a pitfall or two. It traps the viewer in this bunker along with our main character, creating a dense atmosphere of hopelessness and confusion. Our heroine is particularly fun to watch because she isn’t just a held captive. She is resourceful, smart, and takes an active part in her own life, attempting to both escape and figure out what the hell is going on.

Winstead does a fantastic job of carrying the film as the main protagonist, but almost equally important is Goodman. He acts the fuck out of this movie, walking the fine line between concerned father figure and potential sociopath. The viewer can never really determine with any certainty just what he is thinking, as the whole film is generally from Winstead’s point of view. He is unnerving and also a bit sympathetic.

It is important to not overlook the third member of the bunker, Gallagher Jr. His character provides some comic relief and sense of hope. This movie would be much darker and a horror film if his role wasn’t in it.

Finally, what helped amplify the movie into complete crazy territory was the sound effects. Everything was loud and jarring and the sound made every scene ten times better. The people behind it in this movie were outstanding and deserve a lot of the praise into making this film feel so unsettling.

10 Cloverfield Lane is good thriller/drama/sci-fi (maybe!) film that leads the viewer on a strange journey. Monsters do come in all shapes and sizes after all.

3 out of 4.

Joy

I am so full of Happy Happy Joy Joy. After all, it is the Christmas season, and you know what that means?

That’s right! It’s time for a David O. Russell movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.

I can’t even remember a time when Christmas was without these two somehow in my life. And for the most part, I have enjoyed it each and every year.

Wait, what’s that? 2014 didn’t give us our JLaw BCoop reunion movie? Oh that’s right. That year was supposed to be Serena. But it got shifted around and wasn’t a good movie. Let’s forget 2014. Those were dark times. Probably because someone other than David tried to use them. That must be it.

Gun
I assumed this was a revenge action flick based on only seeing this picture pre watching.

Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) used to have it all when she was a kid. She had a loving mom (Virginia Madsen), a dad (Robert De Niro), and step or half sister Peggy (Elisabeth Röhm). It might be a step sister, I don’t know. She loved to invent and create and let her mind flow. Then their parents got divorced. She now had a mom who stayed in all day to watch Soap Operas, and her sister went full time with the dad, who she only saw some of the time.

Now she had to take care of her mom and her head can no longer float in the crowds.

Seventeen years after the fact, things were going to change. Yes, she had two kids. Yes, she was divorced with her ex, Tony (Edgar Ramirez) was living in her basement. The only sane one in her life was her grandmother (Diane Ladd) and our lovely narrator! And of course her best friend is still around to help, Jackie (Dascha Polanco).

Let’s cut to the chase. This story is actually about Joy Mangano, a real person. She invented the mop that was super absorbant, able to be thrown in the washer, and with the handle to twist and wring water out of it. How she got there, and how she became the queen of HSN? Well, that is this story.

Also featuring Bradley Cooper as a QVC exec, Isabella Rossellini as a rich widow, and Isabella Crovetti-Cramp as Young Joy. And no, she didn’t get there by killing her competition.

Fierce
Although every good picture for the movie wants to confirm the revenge killing spree thing it seems.

Joy was a lot more different than Russell’s previous few movies. It started slow and took a long time for “the point” of the film to be shown. Again, going in blind, it just seems like this Joy girl has a messed up family and people are mean to her. But she is nice, so people continue their meanness.

Literally. If you like seeing unfortunate things happen to Jennifer Lawrence for 45 minutes or so, you will love the intro. But when Cooper appears, things seem to change. Yes, she still gets shit on occassionally, but not as much. Hell, a scene near the end had me filled with controllable rage over her circumstances. So in that sense, yes, Joy elicits emotions out of you and you might get pissed off.

But at least we know there is a happy ending, because she is super famous and well off now. Journeys can suck though.

This film felt full of women power. All the men kind of suck in some way, with only two male characters actually being helpful in the end. But most of the men just try to screw her over along the way. But Joy prevails.

During the film, Cooper’s character makes a big deal about a person’s hands. With hands working on TV, it is easier for the viewer to imagine the hands as their own. Once they imagine using the product, they are more willing to buy it. That is when a viewer will realize that throughout the film, before and after the scene, they do a lot of close ups of hands before we find out about the person themselves. Some subtle point there, and honestly, I am not sure what it is. But it was definitely interesting.

Joy is different. Joy is weird. Joy is overall entertaining, it just takes awhile for the hook to really sink in.

3 out of 4.

Burnt

Thank goodness this film is called Burnt. Based on the title and poster, of Bradley Cooper in a chef’s outfit, I can make inferences though. It is about a angry chef, that was wronged and he wants revenge. Maybe. He could be a Gordon Ramsay like character and his life could come crashing down.

I am happy it is called Burnt, because it used to be called Adam Jones. Movie titles where it is just a fictional characters name are already bad ideas, because they don’t mean anything. And if you character is Adam Jones? One of the plainest damn names of all time. It didn’t feature a cool name like Enrique, Pierre, or Sadrik. Just Adam. Jones.

Naming aside, it turns out Adam Jones wasn’t the original name either. The original name was Chef, and we all know why that title was eventually changed. Hell, the plot of Chef was the first thing I thought of when I heard the word Burnt. As long as it is as good as Chef, we should have nothing to worry about.

Cooking
Hey, it has food in it! Another similarity!

If you didn’t already guess it, this film is about Adam Jones (Cooper)! Turns out Jones used to be a big deal. He lived in Paris and worked for one of the finest restaurants and eventually its head chef. While he was in Paris hear earned himself TWO Michelin Stars. Which is a pretty big fucking deal. But he did some bad things. He was on almost every narcotic, and it messed with his brain. He burned bridges and disappeared from his friends, his coworkers and lovers.

He actually put himself into exile. He shucked oysters for two or three years in New Orleans, getting clean, sober, and his focus back. And now he is ready to take the cooking world by storm again. This time: London. He wants the third Michelin Star. He wants to be one of the all time greatest chefs. He just has to try and reconcile a lot of relationships and find good talent to help him get there.

Obviously it won’t be easy to fix all the issues. He left Tony (Daniel Brühl), a Maître D’ and close friend, in a shambled restaurant. He ruined his good friend and former sous chef, Michel’s (Omar Sy) new restaurant. There is the daughter of his former mentor, Anne Marie (Alicia Vikander), who he was dating at the time. He has a now rival chef, Reece (Matthew Rhys), who used to be a coworker and is now a Three Star chef. And there is Helene (Sienna Miller), a great young chef who he wants to take under his wing, but refuses to work with the guy based on his reputation. She also has a daughter, Lily (Lexi Benbow-Hart).

Here are some more important-ish people. Some of his new chefs are played by Riccardo Scamarcio and Sam Keeley. Emma Thompson is a psychiatrist who has to monitor his blood for any narcotics. Uma Thurman plays a big deal food critic in London. And Sarah Greene is the Hostess for their new restaurant, basically a little Tony.

Plating
If I get a plate that has fingerprints on it, I send the whole thing back, personally.

It turns out that my guess on him just being Gordon Ramsey was pretty accurate. Not British Gordon Ramsay, but American shitty TV Gordon Ramsay. He owns like 3/4 of Fox reality shows at this point, and Fox has the worst reality shows. They commercial break at tense moments or cliff hangers, they encourage language just so it can be bleeped out, and half of the episode is a recap, or the intro/outros that transition with the commercial breaks, which tell you what you will see and what you just saw. Except this is a movie where adults can see adults do adult things, so we get to hear the glorious Fucks and so on. One long scene early on during a particularly upsetting service, it is like just a big Hell’s Kitchen break down.

But thankfully after that moment, it gets better. He becomes less Ramsay and more actual character. He has growth in this film, he does’t yell 100% of the time, but he maintains the same passion and drive throughout. It was nice to see his highs and his lows. It was not as nice to see his stunt double clearly in one scene, and in another scene, have his face bloody with a piece of skin falling off and in the next scene a minute or two later, magically only a small cut. Those were dumb moments.

I think Cooper did a good job leading a film that wasn’t a straight up comedy. His French was also surprisingly good, that is, to a lame American’s ears at least. Thankfully, the rest of the cast was really great as well. Let’s give them their own sentence, shall we?

Miller was good as the main female lead, and she wasn’t a typical romance pretty face – she rocked it. I usually see Brühl in more interesting roles, but he helped carry the film and the restaurant with his simplestic and seemingly perfect performance as the best Maitre D’. Sy I don’t see in a lot of films, but this is the second French-ish role. His character had nice surprise and intense moments. And Rhys was a limited role, but brought his own unique intensity to it all.

Yay acting! Are there cliches? Sure. But it is a well done cooking movie that doesn’t make one feel stupid for not knowing how the fancy foods work. It tells a fun story and doesn’t turn into a sappy romcom ever. Yay food!

3 out of 4.

Aloha

It has been awhile since I have seen a film set mostly in Hawaii. Godzilla, Big Eyes, Battleship all had elements in Hawaii. But the last full on Hawaiian film was The Descendants and it was really fucking good. So if I compare all films set in Hawaii, Aloha has to have some pretty big strides to catch up to the top.

And it has to do it with controversy!

What controversy? Well, casting controversy of course. The last films to receive this much internet anger was The Last Airbender and Exodus: Gods and Kings, but to be fair, they received criticism for more than just casting choices. In this film, Emma Stone, a very white woman plays a Hawaiin. Why is that an issue? Because internet people claim white people can’t be Hawaiian of course.

Oh, they mean native Hawaiian. Fair point, sure. But she is also playing someone who is just a quarter Hawaiian, so one of her parents is only half Hawaiian, and fuck everybody she could totally qualify as someone who is a quarter Hawaiian. Saying she doesn’t look it enough is stupid complaint when she is claiming barely any Hawaiian ancestry. Just because she isn’t in real life quarter Hawaiian doesn’t mean she can’t play one on a movie and be believable. It is called mother fucking Acting. Damn it.

Adams
This looks like they were photoshopped next to each other, their chemistry is so nonexistent.

Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) used to be a great military person, and then he left! Turns out the military pays close to jack in pay, so he sold his skills to a private contractor, Carson Welch (Bill Murray) who wants to go to outer space! Brian loves space and wants to go one day. I think. Either way, he heads to Hawaii for a few days, where he used to be a big deal. People told stories about him. Blah blah blah.

He is happy to be back. For whatever reason, Allison Ng (Stone) is being assigned to follow him and help him out on his meetings. She is in in the military and young but full of spunk.

Fuck. I am dying typing out this review. The movie was so boring. Here are the only other important plot points.

Brian and Tracy (Rachel McAdams) used to have a thing like 12 years ago. They make it VERY obvious that her oldest daughter is his kid. But she is married now to Woody (John Krasinski) and they have at least one more kid. So hopefully they don’t rekindle anything, would be dickish. At the same time, Allison starts to like Brian. There is also a big controversy over the native Hawaiians and using their land to send rockets into space, as they are worried it will end badly.

Also featuring Alec Baldwin and Danny McBride is a full fledged military men!

Stone
The sexual tension is high when Cooper looks apathetic while coding.

What the hell happened to you Cameron Crowe? Seriously? What in the fuck? He gave us Say Anything…, Jerry Maguire, and Almost Famous! These are good to great movies right? Because the last thing before this one was We Bought A Zoo which was incredibly average in every single way.

And now? Now we have Aloha. Which sure had controversy which I gave no cares about. What I care about is a good entertaining movie, but Aloha is neither good nor entertaining. While watching, I couldn’t help but wait for the point of the movie to come across. Are the military supposed to be bad? Are private contractors? They sort of answer it by the end, but it almost seems like that was an after thought despite allegedly being the main plot line. What is more annoying is that most of the conflict in the end also seemingly comes out of nowhere. And it is resolved with a couple lines of dialogue, again, as an after thought.

As for the relationship angle, one never really goes anywhere and the other is also extremely forced. It is like all of the actors involved are just uncomfortable the whole movie. No one has a desire to be great in this film, it is probably just a quick paycheck for everyone and a free trip to Hawaii. You know, the Adam Sandler reason for acting. Not even Kenny Fucking Powers can save this movie, because he might be in 3 scenes. Maybe. Everything is wasted in this film that is technically quite full of talent and entertaining people. I’m going to go watch The Descendants again.

0 out of 4.

Serena

After American Hustle, I just assumed every Christmas we would get a movie with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. They did it two years a row, and that means they have to do it forever?

Sure enough, looking at their IMDBs early in 2014, you would have seen Serena, coming out sometime end of 2014. Three for three, they were going for the Turkey!

But then something happened. It never came out. It got pushed to MARCH of 2015, basically the middle of nowhere. And it had an instant VOD release. Thinks weren’t looking good for this period drama set in North Carolina based on a book…

Pink
Real lumberjacks wear pink. Just ask Monty Python!

This movie, Serena, is a period drama (early 1930’s), set in North Carolina (Mountains) based on a book (also called Serena!).

George Pemberton (Cooper) is there, trying to start (or already has?) a big timber business. He is a lumberjack, okay? He is working on expanding his business to overseas, Brazil, get some of that rain forest money.

And then there is Serena (Lawrence). You may have heard about her. She is a blonde stand out, living amongst all the mountain folk. She doesn’t need no man to get her way, but she does, in George. Speaking of George, he has a child actually, with Rachel (Ana Ularu). Kind of awkward, but boys will be boys.

That is, until it is found out that Serena can NOT have kids. So the only person to carry on George’s legacy is some bastard kid. That’s not okay. When people get in Serena’s way, people get hurt. She is conniving and maybe even a little bit mad.

But what else is there to do in the North Carolina mountains?

Also featuring David Dencik, Rhys Ifans, Sean Harris, and Toby Jones.

Craze
And of course it ends with a big dance sequence like in Silver Linings Playbook. Right? Right?!

This has taken me about 10 hours of research after watching the movie, but I think I figured out why it was delayed and eventually only a limited release and VOD.

Serena is not very good.

The book might be fine, great, grand, wonderful. I don’t care. The movie is a bore and it is awkward. First off, Cooper and Lawrence, despite their presumably best efforts, do not look like they fit at all with the rest of the actors in this film. Maybe they are too pretty, maybe just too famous, but it doesn’t work. I would also say they don’t act that great here, which is a shame, since we know what they can do.

The side characters all above were pretty good though! Which is a shame. Their collective good was not great enough to overshadow the lumps of coal that Cooper and Lawrence delivered on a platter, however.

Aside from that, the story is pretty much a bore. Some excitement happens. Maybe two exciting things. And a couple more moments that were meant to be exciting, but instead were met with yawns. By the end when I should care more about the fate of certain characters, I instead found myself checking how much time was left and when it would finally end.

This isn’t All About Steve bad, no, but at least All About Steve had some entertainment value.

1 out of 4.

American Sniper

Time to start a movie with some controversy. Maybe two levels!

First of all, I remember when the book American Sniper came out. I remember a lot of people getting it and loving it too. Biography of Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in military or something like that. I also remember all the controversy after that about all the lies in the book. He lied about several things, Jesse Ventura even won a lawsuit about the lies in the book, and the fact that he lied about seemingly random things, brings the whole truthfulness of the book into question.

How much of it is exaggerated? Apparently there isn’t even a stat of confirmed kills, so that part might have no merit either. Basically, a curve ball into the biography thing if it is based on a fictional book.

Second controversy? Oscars. American Sniper got nominated for a lot of awards and people are angry for some reason. Mostly people clamoring for diversity. Or that the Academy is old pro-war people. I dunno. I think it was mostly people who hadn’t seen the movie. Like me, until now.

Shootem
Guns, America, Yee-haw, and patriotism!

Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) came from humble beginnings. Texas. His dad told him he needed to help and protect others. He was a cowboy in the rodeo, but thought about going into a more noble career after seeing war news on TV. No, not 9/11. Some 1998 U.S. Embassy attacks in Africa.

He became a Navy SEAL, which lead to him becoming a sniper, and he went off to fight some wars. Namely, four separate tours of duty, which I have been told is quite a lot. He had a few important missions there and had to kill a lot of people, but he also saved lives. And some he did not.

Hey, and between these, he also met his future wife, Taya (Sienna Miller), who he had kids with. Being away a lot really caused a strain on the family, but at least he was doing something America.

Also with some other bros, like Kyle Gallner, Sam Jaeger, Luke Grimes, and Jake McDorman.

Fake Baby
And here is the now infamous fake baby scene!

Since them movie is based on a book based on lies, it is probably okay not calling this a biography. Right? Yeah, if we just examine this as a work of fiction, it becomes easier to judge and biases can be ignored.

Nice and simple. On its own, it is actually a pretty good war movie. It has the training, the motive, the childhood story. We have several different war plot lines with some moral ambiguity. It isn’t just about “getting the brown people!” and never even gets close to implying that. It examines PTSD and ways to work through it. It covers the whole spectrum.

I didn’t get super emotional near the end, especially since I knew kind of how it was going to end, but I can see how it tear jerks.

Cooper still looks like himself, but like, a fatter, slightly more buff version. He also has a killer Texan accent. I can say he definitely acts really well in this movie. I can understand why he is considered for Best Actor, but he has no chance of winning. At least three or four people I can think of who acted better, unfortunately only a couple of them also got nominated for that category.

Despite the controversy, despite the lies, Clint Eastwood makes a pretty good modern war movie with a character people might find relatable, that examines a lot of issues with war. It also isn’t inherently pro or anti war. Just pro soldier. That is a fine enough message.

3 out of 4.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Good news! The Marvel Cinematic Universe is finally taking bigger risks with its movies! No longer now is each film headlined by a big and famous cartoon character.

Sure, I thought their first risk would actually be Ant-Man, but who knows if that will ever happen now.

With Guardians of the Galaxy, we are given a franchise that will make a lot of casual comic fans go “Huh?” They are definitely not the biggest or baddest property Marvel still has, which is why it is surprising they are making this movie.

Unfortunately, that risk has come at a terrible price. Backed by Disney, they had a lot of money to throw around. All of this money went into advertisements. Since before Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out (of which I only saw two trailers for), I think I have seen a GotG trailer at least once a week for new releases. They advertised the fuck out of this movie. I kind of got sick of it.

It wasn’t just trailers though. TV spots, giveaways, extended looks. They even had one of the biggest bullshit things I had ever heard, showing 17 minutes of the movie, and advertising it like a special pre-screening. Who the fuck wants to watch 17 minutes of a movie?

They are over saturating the market to help ensure their risky gamble doesn’t fail. Which just pisses me off more. I am still excited for the movie, but honestly I also feel like I am more excited to stop seeing advertisements for it soon.

Group Shot
Except for the poster of this scene. It is hanging above my toilet.

Space. Like, Seriously deep space. Like far from Earth so don’t even pretend that we are dealing with any space shit you are aware of.

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), aka Starlord, aka an Earthling thought is totally far away from Earth. He was picked up from the planet when he was just a boy, just randomly. And now he is a space pirate! Well, just a junk yard ravager more like it, but also pseudo outlaw-ish. But after going after a mysterious space ball, Peter has found himself in quite a stick situation. A lot of people want this ball and he is hiding it hard to sell.

For instance, Ronan (Lee Pace), the Kree warrior madman wants the ball for some reason, probably to destroy a planet he has some serious ancient beefs with. Gamora (Zoe Saldana), adopted daughter of Thanos is sent to retrieve the ball. Because Peter decided to abandon his ravager crew, the leader Yondu (Michael Rooker) puts a 40,000 bounty on his head. This causes Rocket (Bradley Cooper), totally not a raccoon but a raccoon, and his tree companion Groot (Vin Diesel) to seek him down for that sweet money.

Well, these four get caught up in shenanigans, and they are eventually introduced to Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), who would like to kill Ronan for killing his wife and daughter.

Oh swell! A group of rag tag anti-heroes who, through eventually working together, might have to do the right things.

Also featuring Karen Gillan as Nebula, another Thanos daughter, Djimon Hounsou, a high ranking general for Ronan, Benicio Del Toro as The Collector, Glenn Close as the head of NovaCorp and John C. Reilly as a Nova captain.

Groot Fuckers
I’m a Groot, he’s a Groot, she’s a Groot, we’re all Groots, hey!

Ahhhh, excitement!

There is a lot that really works in this movie and combined, all of the elements make this one of the funniest Marvel movies yet. Let’s talk about individual characters. Starlord? Pratt knocked it out of the house. Felt like a real pseudo-leader and had some emotional moments as well. Gamora? Probably my favorite role that Zoe Saldana has done, felt a lot more believable than most of her characters. Rocket? Hell yes Rocket. Who wouldn’t like Rocket? I couldn’t even recognize Cooper’s voice. Groot? Everyone will also love Groot. He is powerful, sweet, and awesome. And Drax? I knew the least about Drax going in, as each regular trailer didn’t really do much for him outside of showing him as a big strong guy who likes to kill. But his character has a lot of depth and a lot of funnier moments, so he was the biggest surprise for me. Really loved Drax.

So all the characters are good? Great! Nice supporting people too. Unfortunately, my biggest issue with the film is the main man, Ronan, Lee Pace. He had…just no personality. He felt extremely one dimensional, and until over halfway through the movie, he was just all talk. They talked a lot about how evil and the bad stuff he had done, but they didn’t do a good way of showcasing it until closer til the end. The big baddie was a disappointment.

The Collector was also a bit wasted in this film to me.

But the graphics? The laughs? The plot? The soundtrack? The synergy? All of it worked so well together. The scenes with the main guardians just talking were some of the better conversational pieces I have heard all year.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a great movie, just not the best Marvel movie that has come out of their studios. I have a hard time believing anyone could leave the theater feeling disappointed.

3 out of 4.

American Hustle

A lot of hype went into American Hustle and rightfully so. After all, it is the third movie from David O. Russell in four years, with the last two (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook) being wildly successful and nominated for numerous awards.

Not only that, but he took the two best people from each of his previous two movies (Sorry Marky Mark), and put all four of them together in this to create some sort of mega-moviestar-zord.

Body
Featuring Bale, who has once again recklessly warped his body for a role.

One reason why I really enjoyed American Hustle is that I could never tell what was going to happen next. They had very descriptive trailers, but the plot was left vague so you could still experience the movie. So I will try to be vague here as well.

Ever since Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) was a boy, he was a con man. His dad owned a glass company, and he broke windows. So he grew up gaming the system and perfecting his craft. Next thing you know he stealing money to give out make believe loans to the crooked and desperate. Easy cash for the late 1970s. But then he meets Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), and he realizes she is special.

Soon they start scamming together, but eventually they get too big and reach too far and get busted by the FBI. Next thing they know, they are taking orders from rambunctious FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), who has big lofty goals of getting even more criminals taken down. The only way Irving and Sydney walk, is if they help out. But Richie has big dreams, can ever really be satisfied?

Oh yeah, and Irving has a wife (Jennifer Lawrence) and kid. That is important, I guess.

Jeremy Renner plays a small town mayor who gets mixed up in the bribing network, with Michael Pena as another FBI agent, and Louis C.K as a local head of FBI. Yeah, really, Louis C.K.

Costume
Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook was my Halloween costume in ’13.
Will this be my Halloween costume in ’14?

American Hustle truly was an experience. Despite the fact that it was over 2 hours in length, I still am a bit surprised at how much material was fit into that movie. Tons. A lot. I remember a specific scene that felt like the final climatic show down, that actually ended up being the halfway point of the movie. It blew my mind, in the best way possible, that it continued to go and tell the story. I was shocked that the story continued to build and reach new heights. That somehow, I couldn’t for the life of me guess correctly what would come next.

After all, this is a con movie at its core, so you are going to expect a lot of twists and turns of the plot. The biggest problem with a con movie is that if it all relies on a twist, sometimes future viewings are dampened, already knowing what to expect. American Hustle feels like a film I could watch over and over again, never getting tired of it, thanks to the brilliant acting and writing that went into the movie.

It is based on/inspired by/whatever by the actual Abscam operation that occurred in the late 1970s, for those history buffs out there.

For those of you out there who already like David O. Russell movies, you will probably like this one too. For those of you a fan of any of the actors/actresses mentioned, you will definitely find their role awesome. If you don’t like David O. Russell movies or the actors/actresses involved in this one, well, your opinion is wrong and you will like this movie too.

4 out of 4.