The Sisters Brothers

When is the last time we got a good western?

Oh, you mean like, every year over the last decade? Hells yeah.

Since Westerns went out of style, we get a lot less of them, and they end up being a lot higher quality. Not when we were oversaturated with the westerns decades ago. They were like the superhero movies of their time.

Needless to say, this year we already had a western Damsel, that I for sure did not see. But I saw The Sisters Brothers, which has a chance to be the western of 2018. And if not, then sure, Damsel.

Gyllenhaal
Damsel probably doesn’t have a bearded Gyllenhaal though, sooooo…

Set somewhere in the 1800’s, the brothers Eli (John C. Reilly) and Christian Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix) are good at killing and a bit proud of it. They can take out a whole group and walk away unscathed. Some say it is thanks to their dad being a straight up killer madman as well. And some people say…well, they only say that one thing.

They work for The Commodore, a man who runs a large area with his wealth and outlaws. If someone steals or messes with him, they end up dead. And now the brothers have to try and catch up with a prospector (Riz Ahmed) who stole something from the Commodore. Trying to catch up to someone before they make it many states away can be quite the burden, especially if they don’t exactly know where he will be.

Thankfully, another worker of The Commodore, John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal), has been following the prospector and keeping notes along the way for the brothers to follow. He is a writer, not a killer, so he couldn’t do anything that could cause a person that much pain. Even though it would make things simpler.

But when the prospector and the author start to develop a friendship, with dreams of making it big, then anything can change.

Also starring Carol Kane, Rebecca Root, and Rutger Hauer.

Brothers
“If there is a place you need to go, I’m the one you need to know, I’m the map!”

Let me just say, before I get really into the movie, that this film had the most infuriating credits intro I have ever seen. Apparently a lot of companies were behind this one, and so they had to show them all at the start, you know, for legal reasons. And it started with one at the bottom of the screen in a strange shimmer color font.Then the next one appeared directly on top of it. And so on. And some lines had more than one group. Overall, it was 7 rows of words stacked on top of each other, filling in the black screen, and for whatever reason, it made me angry.

Making me read down to up? Just filling things up and not fading anything away? I was mad.

And the film really didn’t make me happy. It is not a comedy or anything, a serious drama, with the occasional jokes. About two brothers, overall, who are good at killing people and have to go around killing a lot of people. And it is also a lot about the prospector and Gyllenhaal’s character.

The Sisters Brothers is about a few characters. It is definitely not about the story. The plot is pretty poor. It feels really long and drawn out, not to showcase great shots, because the shots are just okay. The acting is decent, it has some moments that are cool to see. But we also have night scenes with not great lighting, because they are going for realistic, and that is a shame if those things are big events, like the introduction or when main characters get hurt.

I was disappointed with The Sisters Brothers. This is not a knock on Reilly, Phoenix, Gyllenhaal, or Ahmed, who all acted wonderfully. But the film put me to sleep and felt like it was going nowhere fast.

1 out of 4.

The Little Hours

Finally the talk of the summer is here. People have had 7/7/17 circled on their calendar, just waiting for the movie that everyone everywhere has wanted.

No not goddamn Spider-man. I’m talking about The Little Hours?

Oh you haven’t heard about The Little Hours? My bad! Surprisingly very little advertising, but it was directed by Jeff Baena who gave us Life After Beth. Which was decent, and also had very little advertising. Guess that is his indie theme.

Either way, the number of people you would recognize in this film is actually quite staggering, so that alone one would have warranted an advertising budget, but what do I know.

Girls
Oh, and I know every single girl in this picture too.

Picture this! A nice quaint nunnery, the medieval ages, pious and chaste women just doing their thing, trying to love Jesus.

This nunnery is run by Father Tommasso (John C. Reilly) and the head nun is Sister Marea (Molly Shannon). At this point, this nunnery might seem a bit more odd already.

Our main nuns that we are looking at are all relatively young and unsure about their lives. Sister Alessandra (Alison Brie) is just there temporarily, waiting for her father to set her up with a husband, and she does cross stitch to help make some cash for the convent. Sister Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza) is quick to temper and often misses events looking for animals that keep breaking out. Sister Genevra (Kate Micucci) wants to be a good nun, but is getting caught up in other nun-anigans and also questioning her sexuality.

And they are all mean to this one poor gardener. So eventually, he is fed up and leaves, putting the convent in a pickle. But no worries, a young chap Massetto (Dave Franco) is on the run from his kingdom, for being a little shithead, and he can take the place. He just has to pretend to be deaf and mute so he doesn’t get on the nerves of the nuns.

But he is young and cute and that causes even more issues.

Also starring Lauren Weedman, Nick Offerman, Jemima Kirke, Fred Armisen, and Adam Pally.

Scream
Yelling “Hey Fuckface!” at deaf people is the only way to know if they are really deaf.

I had no idea what to expect of this movie going into it. I wondered if it would be a serious film, with comedic actors, just to be weird. But as soon as Plaza started laying down the f-bombs, it became obvious that this was just going to be a very odd period piece film. I quickly then switched my mind to Your Highness, which was mostly improv and also quite strange.

And then something else happened. It got sexy. Not sexy like Natalie Portman in a medieval thong, but sexy erotic. Because those girls are young and curious, Franco is young and desperate, and there is a lot of sexual activity in the movie. Like, a whole lot. And the scenes aren’t super quick jokes, they kind of go on for a bit, and include sexy music.

What I am saying is, this movie sort of turns into a softcore porno. Or at least a skinamax-esque picture. And it came out of nowhere and kept happening. Add on the very naked ending bit, with lots of floppy bits, this is just a surprise from start to finish.

And most of the points come from being a surprise. I laughed a few times, but it was never a film that really captured my interest. It was also intentionally slow (and brooding?), but at least it is original. And for some people out there, this might be the type of film they have been waiting for, for a long time.

2 out of 4.

Kong: Skull Island

I find it very odd to see a lot of hype for the movie Kong: Skull Island. King Kong has happened over and over in film’s history, and given everything I know about the internet, they hate reboots, reimaginings, and remakes of other films, so they shouldn’t care about this one.

But alas, here we are. I don’t have too many fucks to give about it of course, after King Kong 11 years ago. Overly long and it didn’t really do anything different.

I guess this one is bringing in some hardcore CGI and bigger acting names. Maybe that is it. Or people are freaking out over the potential of a Godzilla and Kong showdown in the future. Needless to say, if this film doesn’t do anything different, I will probably be mostly annoyed.

People
I don’t care about context, these two people are not dirty enough.

Kong: Skull Island makes sure you get to see a giant ape really early in the film, when two crashed World War II pilots land on the island, start to fight, and then he shows up. But this isn’t set during that war, this is actually set in 1973, during the end of the Vietnam war.

Bill Randa (John Goodman) is some sort of scientist, who believes there is a lot to discover on this skull island they have found in the South Pacific. Ancient civilizations have talked about it, there are constant storms that surround it, but he wants a mission to explore what has never been explored. Let’s call it a geologic mapping mission. With a military escort.

He is able to gather a team. He has his own crew, a geologist (Corey Hawkins) and a biologist (Tian Jing), along with some extra scientists from another company (John Ortiz, Marc Evan Jackson). They have a legendary British explorer to help explore the jungles, James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), who is in it for some money. A prize winning photojournalist, Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), who helped show the truth about Vietnam to the public. And of course a helicopter team lead by LTC Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and Captain Jack Chapman (Toby Kebbell), straight out of ‘Nam.

Most of them assume it is just a real exploratory mission. But really, Randa has an agenda and believes to be giant monsters on this island, and he wants to bring an end to them. They’ve got weapons of many sizes. Unfortunately, when setting off seismic blasts to detect the crust, they wake up these beasts on the island, and they do not like having explosions all over the place. Spread out over the island, the crew has three days to make it to the north side before they can be rescued.

Also featuring John C. Reilly, and a whole lot of soldiers: Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, and Eugene Cordero.

Japanese
Turns out this Kong film has a lot of Japanese influence.

At its heart, Kong: Skull Island is an action adventure flick that wants to show us giant animals fighting some dudes with bombs. Which on its own could be enough for most of the people who want to see it. I will say there are some scenes that look a bit awkward based on CGI usage. It doesn’t always mesh well. But the more pure CGI scenes like Kong fighting with the giant lizards look amazing.

The film also doesn’t pussy foot around Kong. We get to see him in the first few minutes. Within 15 more we are on the island and Kong totally fucks up the helicopters putting our characters in a perilous situation. We get a lot of Kong and they don’t tease him out.

You know what we don’t get a lot of? Character development. Basically every character in this movie is weak on that level. There is no gain. They don’t change. Well, some of them die. We have exactly one character who people will care about and does change and that man is played by John C. Reilly. His character is wonderful, an amazing addition to the film, and worthy of praise.

But Kong: Skull Island is just going to be a interesting film that could have been a lot better. With its post credit scene trying its best to imitate The Avengers it leaves some hope for the future. But have to hope they improve the scripts first.

2 out of 4.

Sing

Sing is the last animated film I need to review that is a major US release!

I will be honest that I wasn’t really looking forward to Sing at all. It is the fourth anthropomorphic animals major release this YEAR (After Kung Fu Panda 3, Zootopia, and The Angry Birds Movie), in a year where we also had regular talking animal movies as well (Finding Dory, Storks, Ice Age: Collision Course, Norm of the North, The Secret Life of Pets). Fuck.

Basically everything is about talking animals this year. Moana and Kubo and the Two Strings aren’t fully about that, and that might be why they are my favorite two of the year. The only really big animated films I can think of are Trolls (talking magic things) and Sausage Party (talking food). 2016 wasn’t the most creative film year, and it is sort of a huge let down for animated films.

Oh but wait! This isn’t a talking animal movie! This is a singing animal movie. With a lot of popular songs being sung by animals, reminding me of recent very bad animated jukebox musicals. Please be better to me 2017.

Disappointment
The face you make when your realize Cars 3 is coming out in 2017.

Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) is a koala bear who fell in love with the theater as a kid. With the help of his father, he earned enough money to buy the theater and produce shows for hundreds more to fall in love with! But now, years later, he is far in the red, unable to pay his crew, or the bills, or his loans. He is friends with Eddie (John C. Reilly), a lamb son of a rich family, but even they won’t bail him out now.

But he has an idea! Singing competitions are all the rage, so he wants to host a local one, only featuring regular people that they all know and want to show off their talents. He will give the winner a $1,000 prize and hopefully get enough money to get back in the black. But his assistant (Garth Jennings) accidentally puts a $100,000 prize, putting the whole town into a frenzy and driving up expectations through the roof.

And our contestants are of course all over the map. There is Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), a stay at home pig mom of 25 kids with a husband who is overworked. Johnny (Taron Egerton), a gorilla from a crime family who doesn’t really want to steal. Meena (Tori Kelly), a young elephant who has extreme stage fright. Mike (Seth MacFarlane), a old timey street musician mouse who just wants money and fame. Ash (Scarlett Johansson) and Lance (Beck Bennett), a hedgehog teenage rock duo, but Lance doesn’t want to share the singing spotlight. And of course Gunter (Nick Kroll), a German pig who has no fears when it comes to his body.

Who will win? Who will get screwed over? Who will die?!

Also featuring the voices of Nick Offerman, Peter Serafinowicz, and Rhea Perlman.

Pigs
Pigs are people too, and are tired of being dance shamed.

Sing is the type of film that will give you exactly what you expect. Animals, being human like, and singing pop songs. And if that is all you need to go on to enjoy a film, then you will be in for a treat. If you want something with a bit of more substance to its plot, you will be saddened and only a little bit toe-tappy.

The lessons of the film tell us to follow our dreams, no matter how many bills you wrack up, loved ones you hurt, and lives you ruin. It will all hopefully work out in the end.

McConaughey’s character seems to be a sort of more family friendly and desperate version of his character in Magic Mike. MacFarlane plays a rat who is so annoying right off the bat that I have no remorse for his character at any point in the movie. On top of that, they never resolve that characters plot line at the end. I assumed it would be an after credits scene but we were left with nothing.

Johansson as a hedgehog, Witherspoon as a pig, and Egerton as a gorilla all worked (but it took me awhile to accept the last one, because the gorilla look and clothing just felt off). I was most surprised by Egerton’s singing voice, but it isn’t the first time he impressed me this year.

Music wise, it didn’t seem to click or work until the end. And it damn well better by that point, when they put on their show and resolve all of their issues through the power of singing in public. Everyone feels like a winner. At the same time, I wonder what the entire purpose of the film was. A small story, no real steaks or issues to worry about, Sing becomes an easy movie to make on account of how easy it can merchandise.

A few of the trailers really gave away most of the bigger moments. I am most annoyed by the teaser trailer though, that decided to showcase a ton of different animals singing different songs. That is basically directly out of the film, with little editing and no more substance. We only get to see a lot of diversity for a little amount of time. And the worst part about that scene, the try outs, is they didn’t even try to make it seem realistic by having different people sing the songs. Instead it was jut playing the actual songs over their quick and quirky cast. What a let down.

If you give me an animal singing song, I want a unique voice singing that song, damn it. If I wanted to actually hear the song, I could always just use the internet myself. No amount of scantly dressed rabbit will make up for it.

2 out of 4.

The Lobster

The Lobster is weird. That is the only thing I knew about this film going into it. I only know that because that is what everyone says about the movie. And if everyone says something is weird, then it must be weird, and that excites me.

The Lobster also came out in Europe and everywhere else in the world like, last summer/fall. Seriously, everyone has seen this movie but US. It was already released on their DVDs I believe before it came over here to theaters.

That made it really tempting to just watch it online, but I am happy to say I held out and wanted to see this movie in theaters, knowing only it was weird and slightly foreign. Let’s do this!

Run
“Only foreign people run through fields like this,” he said, maybe racist-ly.

The Lobster takes place in a near future setting, somewhere in the United Kingdom, and the world is different now. Or at least this unnamed city is different.

Basically, if you aren’t with your family as a child or currently in a relationship, then you are wasting space. The world doesn’t need loaners. It isn’t as safe with them. They aren’t being productive members of society. David (Colin Farrell) is now single after his wife left him for another man.

This means that David has to go to The Hotel. He has to leave all of his possessions behind, except for his dog. The Hotel stay is only temporary though. If he doesn’t find someone to love and marry in 45 days, someone who shares a trait with him and can live with him for a few weeks without major issues, then he can move back into the city.

Oh yeah, what happens if your time is up and you don’t find someone to love? You get turned into an animal of your choosing for a second chance of life. Yay!

Also featuring the Short Sighted Woman (Rachel Weisz), the Limping Man (Ben Whishaw), the Lisping Man (John C. Reilly), the Biscuit Woman (Ashley Jensen), a Heartless Woman (Angeliki Papoulia), the Nosebleed Woman (Jessica Barden) and her best friend (EmmaEdel O’Shea).

As for people not named after physical traits, we have a maid (Ariane Labed), hotel manager (Olivia Colman), her husband (Garry Mountaine), and the Loaner Leader (Léa Seydoux).

Defining Characteristics
Bet you can’t figure out what David would want to become.

Hey! Did you read my intro? If not, The Lobster is a weird movie!

I haven’t seen any of the other films by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, but everyone is telling me I basically have to see Dogtooth if I liked the absurdness of this film. It is clearly done by a director who knew what he wanted for absolutely every moment of the film and put a lot of effort into the message.

The acting is a strange thing to talk about, because everyone on purpose tends to be emotionless and straight faced, as if they are walking talking dating profile pages. It took awhile to get comfortable with, but it produced some of the hardest laughs in the film. Sometimes I laughed due to pure jokes, sometimes due to the awkward moments, and sometimes to keep myself from crying at the darker parts of the movie.

The Lobster does seem to drag a bit though. Most notably when David leaves the Hotel. In the forest we meet interesting characters, but it just feels repetitive and, honestly, I don’t fully understand the reasoning behind all of the rules. The two hour film feels a half hour longer. The final scenes are interesting at least and say a lot about the world they are living in.

If you can make it through the forest, you can make it to the end of a pretty good and unique movie.

3 out of 4.

Tale of Tales

Fairy tales have been getting a bad rap for the last…I dunno, 60 years? Basically once Disney started to get their paws on them, everything became tamer and lamer. (Hey! That rhymes!)

But we all know that fairy tales used to have a darker past. Not everything was happily ever after. Fuck, some of the most famous ones were done by the Grimm brothers. It is in their name!

Now some of the darkness is coming back. We got the very strange Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, and Into The Woods is now gaining national exposure with a (dumbed down) film version.

They are still dealing with fairy tales we have heard over and over again. What about the less famous ones? They have to be out there, and I want to be surprised. Tale of Tales is an Italian made film, but in English, that decides to showcase three stories you haven’t heard before.

Beast
And calling them dark doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

Three nearby kingdoms live in harmony, all with their own issues. But first, a queen (Salma Hayek) needs a son. Her King (John C. Reilly) cannot help her with her desires, but a necromancer (Franco Pistoni) knows what to do. A water dragon must be slayed, his heart prepared by a virgin, and once the queen eats it, she will instantly have a child.

Complications occur, sacrifices might be made, but damn it, she finally has a kid (Christian Lees). Except he has a virtual twin, as the virgin also finds herself pregnant with child (Jonah Lees), and the brotherly bonds end up being a bit greater than the mother son bonds.

Nearby, a king (Toby Jones) ends up becoming interested in a flea that he finds on his body. The flea becomes a pet to him, growing larger and larger, taking up more of his time. He has a wonderful daughter (Bebe Cave), but she is ignored for his other passions. And even though he tries to protect her from leaving the kingdom and getting married, his own distractions will lead to peril.

And finally, another king (Vincent Cassel) is unmarried and a sex fiend, bedding everyone in the kingdom. But there is one woman he is not able to see, just heard her voice. He must have her, not knowing it is an old lady (Hayley Carmichael), living with another old lady (Shirley Henderson), who decide to play with his emotions.

Heart
Dragon hearts?! I didn’t know Dennis Quaid was in this movie!

At first, Tale of Tales seemed to be a story that took a lot of work, but failed to maintain high levels of interest. That was only about 5-10 minutes of the film though. After that, I found it hard to look away. Despite its 130 minute run time, I almost wanted it to go on forever.

The director of this picture had an amazing level of detail. From costumes, to music, to lighting, to cinematography. The only celebrities in this picture play the Kings and Queens, but even Toby Jones is questionable in terms of his celebrity status. Despite being recognizable, they don’t distract from the wonderful story that is told.

And like fairy tales, they have their common themes, they have their morals, except the film doesn’t spell it out for you like you are a child. You are expected to pay attention, figure out who is wrong and if anyone is actually right in any of the stories. If there is one thing I was disappointed in with the film, it is that the three stories weren’t more connected to each other. The stories all play out slowly throughout the film, it isn’t one complete story then the next. But I was hoping characters in each would appear throughout, but they are only connected at the very beginning and end.

Tale of Tales is also brutal. I listed Horror as one of the tags, because of the sense of dread several pats of the story induce. People will die. Graphic things occur and there is nothing we can do to stop them.

It is also a film that is so wonderfully put together, I hope the director is later inspired to give me even more tales in the future. I would watch this movie again and again. But maybe not four times. That’d be too many.

4 out of 4.

When Marnie Was There

Hayao Miyazaki, remember that guy? Famed animated director at Studio Ghibli who made a shit ton of great animated films and then retired after The Wind Rises?

Well, Studio Ghibli was basically all up on that Miyazaki hype train, so the didn’t really know what to do. Yes, they did The Tale of the Princess Kaguya which was incredibly different (and still amazeballs), but they decided they should take a break to figure out what the hell they were going to do.

Right after When Marnie Was There, which was already in development. Yes, after that, THEN they would take their break and figure shit out.

So here we are. Ho hum. Feels like a filler movie knowing these details.

Run
When Marnie was there, Anna was still a good steps from the finishing line.
That slow running bitch.

Anna Sasaki (Hailee Steinfeld) is a 12 year old girl, a bit of a loner, and a lot of a tom boy. She isn’t going to the mall or teeheehee-ing it up with the other girls. She just wants to draw and be left alone (thus my use of the term loner). Either way, she has an asthma attack, so her Foster mom (Geena Davis) sends her to her relatives over the summer to get a refresher on life.

There she stays with Setsu (Grey Griffin) and Kiyomasa Oiwa (John C. Reilly), still feeling weird. Anna gets in a fight with a girl about her blue eyes (not knowing her real family), so she runs off to the mysterious mansion across the Marsh that used to have foreigners live there. It is not abandoned. JUST KIDDING. Marnie (Kiernan Shipka)is there, and so is her whole rich family. Funny, it used to look abandoned and shit.

Marnie and Anna agree to keep each other secret, so they can be friends but let no one know.

Overtime, with Marnie, Anna is able to find out the truth about her life and her family, even though she doesn’t know it yet.

Also having the voices of Ava Acres, Vanessa Williams, and Catherine O’Hara.

Sneak
When Marnie was there behind the bushes, we could see everything. EVERYTHING.

Just so we are clear, I totally watched the English Dub, thus the actors/actresses tagged. I couldn’t even find a subtitled version if I wanted it.

And just so we are clear again, this film was nominated for an Oscar for Animated Films, as the Studio Ghibli movies tend to be. But this one just doesn’t do it for me on any level.

Ghibli in recent movies have had the sexiest animation, although going in many different directions (see the two movies I tagged in the intro). This one just felt so bland and old. It felt stylistically like a step back in the wrong direction. It wasn’t completely shit, it just wasn’t up to the standards that I have become accustomed to.

The voice acting from the English cast felt pathetic. The first half of the movie, everyone seemingly just talks in a monotone voice. It makes the story drag on and on. By the end, I didn’t give a crap about the mystery of who Marnie was. It felt like the characters were bored with it all, and the emotions were just pitiful. I wonder if the voice work was all done in one take with never any context.

As I already mentioned, the story was a big meh from me. It could never grasp me or make me care about those involved. It felt way too long, without enough happening to push the mystery closer to its conclusion. The entire mystery is told by the end of course, but if there were clues along the way to let you know what was happening, I didn’t see any of them.

Ghibli is taking a break to figure shit out. This is good. I am sad they ended the note on this film, which I almost feel like was nominated because the Academy is used to their films being so much better.

1 out of 4.

Life After Beth

Yes! More movies in the supernatural rom com genre!

There hasn’t been a lot of these, I guess. Most of them are dramas more than comedies. Apparently that is where they think the money is at, teenage girls. But the comedy element? Outside of Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies), there haven’t been that many.

So sure, Life After Beth is giving us love and zombies again, a year later, but just like regular romantic comedies, as long as they are done in different and unique ways it shouldn’t be an issue.

Pool
You don’t need a beating heart to float on water!

Beth (Aubrey Plaza) is dead. You can’t change that. Freak accident. Her boyfriend at the time, Zach (Dane DeHaan) is taking it really badly. Yeah, sure, he lost the love of his life, but it ended badly too. They were fighting. He didn’t her what he really felt.

So yeah. That sucks. Trying to cope after a death is hard. He has even been hanging out with Beth’s parents (John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon) in the down time.

But then he sees Beth. Walking around. Seemingly normal.

What in the highest amounts of fucks? Was this some joke to get him out of their lives? A shitty way to break up with him?

Or, was she resurrected, like her parents believe? They don’t care. They were missing their little girl and are happy to have her back, regardless of any complications.

You know. Zombie things.

The parents of Zach are played by Cheryl Hines and Paul Reiser, he has a brother who is a cop played by Matthew Gray Gubler, and Anna Kendrick as an old friend and old fling.

Craze
Sometimes your flirt face is the same as your scare face.

While other supernatural movies may strive for extreme supernatural things going on, Life After Beth keeps it surprisingly realistic. Yes. Sure. Zombies happen. These zombies may have big strength, start to decay, don’t feel much pain, whatever. Normal zombie stereotypes.

But the emotions and reactions are surprisingly real feeling. The grief Zach feels over words not spoken. His reactions to her being alive, the many that occur. The parents, unsure of what to do about it. And ignoring the problems as things get worse and worse over time.

Life After Beth does a great job about moving on but in a unique way. Just because the dead are rising up and walking around doesn’t mean that life is over as we know it, right?

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.

Bears

Bears.

Bears Bears Bears? Yes, Bears.

Okay, Bears.

We got a Disneynature film here, and they have been doing this for a few years. The only other movie that they did that I saw was African Cats, and man, did I love it.

So why not Bears? Why not a short movie in Alaska about a year in their life? Yeah, let me get some bears.

This is about a bear named Sky, and her two kids, Scout and Amber. They are new born cubs, and it starts with them in the den waiting for winter to end. We then get to see their journey from the mountains, to the coast, to salmon season, to hibernation. According to the movie, only half of all bear cubs survive the journey in their first years. Well, shit. There are two cubs here. Which one will it be?! The adventurous Scout, or the mama’s bear Amber?

Cubs
Maybe one will take the other out in a fight well ahead of time.

They have to face avalanches, scarcity of food, big mean adult bears who want to eat them, foxes, raging rivers, and more.

We also get John C. Reilly as the narrator. He does an okay job. I get kind of annoyed, because he decides to “speak” for a lot of the animals, which has him then carrying on a conversation with himself. It is meant for humor, to add to the story and all, but I don’t remember African Cats having that bull crap in it, but still enjoying it.

I do find parts of the film questionable. I really don’t believe the avalanche scene happened as shown. I think some splicing went on there.

I am happy that during the credits, they showed a lot of the behind the scenes filming. So they had someone filming their camera man a lot, meaning it would show them filming, and then right after, what they filmed, to get it all into perspective. That was my biggest question with African Cats: How? And they kind of answer it! Really cool to see what they had to do to try and make this as natural as possible, without interfering. Although, you know, I doubt it worked out. Just by being there, they naturally interfere.

Overall though, this movie had a TON of awesome shots that are really hard to see, with great high definition. Even the salmon were exciting. Watching all of that shit was cool. I am glad they did it.

Come for the Bears, stay for the Bears. Unless your Stephen Colbert. He will probably hate this movie.

3 out of 4.

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