Tag: Karen Gillan

Spies in Disguise

Ah yes, the last major animated film to be released in America in 2019.

Ah no, I am not including Playmobil: The Movie, because I said major release, major damn it. I am talking about things that probably felt they were good enough to come out and get awards or nominations or sweet Holiday money.

And it looks like Spies in Disguise is trying to get that sweet, sweet, Holiday money. Hard to make any money these days against a Star Wars release, but there is some to go around and not a lot of kid friendly movies coming out this Christmas day.

And hey, this one has Will Smith, and some people still think he is the best thing since 1999.

pigeon
But have you seen him as a bird???????????????
It turns out our main character isn’t going to be the cool spy, but the weirdo inventor! We know that Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) is the main character, because he gets a backstory at the beginning of the film, with his mom clearly going to die soon, who encourages him to keep up his science stuff and save the world with hugs.

Years later, Walter is working for the spy agency, but his gadgets are rarely picked. One of his is finally used when Lance Sterling (Will Smith), famous amazing spy that everyone loves, emits his gadget because Walter switched out Lance’s bag. Whoops.

This gets Walter fired, but because Lance is getting framed at the same exact time, Lance finds himself at Walter’s house needing help to disappear. And sure enough, Walter can do that. He doesn’t really warn him, but really he just wants to turn him into a pigeon for some sick fetish game.

Hah! Pigeons.

Anyways, now they have to save the world, when their very capable spy is a pigeon. Role credits!

Starring Karen Gillan, Rashida Jones, Reba McEntire, Ben Mendelsohn, Masi Oka, and DJ Khaled.

penis
Pigeon penis. 
Walter wants to change the world, but no one wants to listen to him. He has to put a spy’s life in danger in order to get it done and is shocked to be fired.

Better question, why does he even have a job at this place if they don’t want to use his stuff? Like, who are the hire ups to kept him working, with zero guidance or feedback? If he didn’t produce, you’d think they’d tell him to stop it and design specific stuff or get walking. But nothing? And why does a spy in the agency have the ability to even fire him at all? They clearly have oversight, and I don’t think agent would be a boss level about the scientists to fire them. That is just silly.

Oh, that’s all stuff I shouldn’t care about? Okay.

They made Will Smith into a pigeon and then didn’t do enough fun stuff with the pigeon. His character is way too antagonistic after the point when he should have stopped being so mad and learned to try to make the best of his body. The science is too dumb that is being showcased to make him a pigeon, along with the other gadgets used. And the pigeon transformation seems to work differently at the beginning and end of the movie. Because.

This could have been an okay movie.

But you know what? They even had a character named Ears act so stupid, just because DJ Khaled was his voice, and it never seemed to match the actual character. Did they let Khaled just improvise? Stop that, his ego doesn’t need that.

1 out of 4.

Jumanji: The Next Level

Jumanji: The Next Level is the sequel to the sequel/reboot that was actually the second sequel to a movie that is based on a book from the 1980’s.

But this one has characters from the last one, and is also in a video game, so people like that.

Honestly, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was better than I expected, even with dumb video game inconsistencies that movies just refuse to ever get right when we have real people sucked into video games.

And knowing that this movie had Dwayne Johnson pretending to be Danny DeVito? That was really enough for me to make sure I could see it!

awk
Seems like some glitches have affected the Avatars!
Alright! Time for more video games!

This takes place I guess about two years after the events of our first film. All of our heroes went off to do things. Spencer (Alex Wolff), our main kid I guess, went off to NYC for college, while the girl Martha (Morgan Turner) whom he started to date, went to a different school. She seemed toooo cool for him now and he broke up because of his anxieties and low self worth.

But the four of them still agree to meet up over the holidays, Spencer, Martha, Bethany (Madison Iseman) and Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), a strange Breakfast club that didn’t end.

This time though, Spencer doesn’t show up, despite coming back home. So they check for him at home and only see some old dudes, Eddie (Danny DeVito) and Milo (Danny Glover). It’s his grandparent and old business partner!

Turns out Spencer went back into the game Also turns out that Spencer even has the game again, despite being all broken. So they agree to go back in, but uh oh, old people get sucked in instead of Bethany! Now they have to explain it all to people who are bad at video games. Not only that, but the game seems to be a sequel, and a new quest!

Ack. Okay. Find Spencer. Finish the game. Don’t die. Also starring the same avatars of Karen Gillan, Dwayne Johnson, Jack BlackNick Jonas, and Kevin Hart. Also Awkwafina, Rhys Darby, Rory McCann, and Colin Hanks.

upsidedown car
In this new level, it takes place in Australia! Clearly.

I came for the Rock as Devito, but it turns out the real star was Hart as Glover. It is already hard to see Kevin Hart as anyone besides Kevin Hart. Even in the last film, it was still basically Kevin Hart. But when he was imitating Glover, his voice was deeper, his voice was more thoughtful and slow. And sure, the slower speech was important enough to the plot so that everyone would notice it, doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it.

The Rock as DeVito? Honestly, a bit more disappointing. At first I thought it must be my own hype ruining it, and maybe DeVito wasn’t as obvious as I thought. But later in the movie, ANOTHER character had to act like DeVito for long periods of time and they nailed it. It was exactly what I was hoping the Rock would do, and he didn’t deliver. And for spoiler reasons I will keep it vague, great job other acting person. You and the previous mentioned Hart description knocked it out of the park.

Now on the other fronts, the plot of this one is really weak. Not just the video game plot, which is part of the point. The real world plot. The old guy anger isn’t worth our time. The plot to get Spencer and friends into the game was terrible this time around. Why does it happen? Because they want a sequel to exist, I guess.

This film still has some fun, and some tricks up its sleeve. And still, like the first, it ends up being just okay.

2 out of 4.

Avengers: Endgame (Spoilers)

Here we are, months after the release of Avengers: Endgame, and I am now ready to post a review. Why the delay? Several reasons!

One, my review when it came out would not mean a damn thing. Who cares? Everyone who wants to see it will go see it, and I wouldn’t convince any one on any side to change their mind. No one was on the fence.

Two, I wanted to wait for it to beat Avatar‘s record. I don’t think it has yet, but I’m tired of waiting. It will break it will silly re-releases, so pretty disappointing.

And three, if I waited a long time, I could do a review with spoilers! Something I have never really done before. A spoiler review can be more specific, and hey, people can agree or disagree. So let’s get on it.

heroes
Together Each Achieves More.

Endgame takes place almost immediately after the events of Infinity War. Half the population is gone, many heroes. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is trapped in space. People are sad. But once Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) shows up, and they get their coordinates on, they all rush over to fuck over Thanos (Josh Brolin) and kill him. Hopefully also undo what he did. And it turns out they can’t. Infinity Stones are broken and gone, nothing can be done except sadness.

Five years later? Life is weird. Heroes are now fat (Chris Hemsworth). Hulks are now Professor Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Captain America (Chris Evans) is just trying to help people. But once Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is able to escape finally from the Quantum Realm, he is disgusted by what has occurred, and has ideas on how to fix what was undone. You know. With Time Travel.

Also starring…everybody. Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Tessa Thompson, Rene Russo, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Letitia Wright, John Slattery, Tilda Swinton, Jon Favreau, Hayley Atwell, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, William Hurt, Cobie Smulders, Sean Gunn, Winston Duke, Linda Cardellini, Frank Grillo, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, James D’Arcy, Jacob Batalon, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ty Simpkins, Robert Redford, Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson, Lexi Rabe, Ross Marquand, Kerry Condon, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ken Jeong, and Stan Lee

villains“Is that all you got?” Thanos, about the last paragraph, probably.

So sure, I gave Avengers: Endgame a 4 out of 4, despite being a non-perfect movie. Because it is an emotionally satisfying film. I cried, I cheered, I seized up with anticipation, I was serviced so much as a fan. It was a blast and the three hours flew by. The final battle had so many nice moments that were cool and can still be talked about today.

When Captain America was about to say Avengers Assemble, I remember bouncing in my seat for over 10 seconds, grabbing my wife’s arm and just ready to explode. That moment was necessary. It was beautiful.

And of course we lost characters, finally. Steve, despite feeling plot holey, got to live his regular life for once and die once his life was finally over. Tony sacrificed himself for the greater good, to finally fix all of his wrongs. Natasha had a fun suicide battle with Clint that we all knew were coming, and yet, the result was surprising given future movie’s coming out.

Most characters felt like they were given their proper moments to shine and showcase their power, especially the first big three of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. The throwbacks to previous films and their first fight in Avengers were nostalgic wet dreams.

And sure, a lot of might not be desired. Some newer, strong characters barely got screen time. Captain Marvel was mostly wasted (and despite the fun of the ladies of Marvel moment, it felt awkward because we know she needed zero help). Dr. Strange was left to be a defensive wizard. Of course a lot of this was done because these characters will have more time to shine in the future and are not mid swan song, but it technically also didn’t feel natural/necessary.

Honestly, a lot of the time stuff was silly. It probably could have been shortened a good amount, but again, it featured a ton of fun moments and also gave us the entrance for Loki’s future television show.

Torches were passed, heads were rolled, and franchises collided and will be changed in the future. I just hope this five year advance is handled with care and has a real significance to it. Spider-Man: Far From Home touched on it, but it didn’t go really in depth with it still. I am afraid they will mostly ignore these ramifications later in just a few movies.

Also I should note the forced disconnect of the TV shows and the movies is frustrating. All of the Netflix drama and Agents of Shield ruined us from having even more fun moments. I blame Ike.

4 out of 4.

Stuber

I imagine that if you want people to enjoy your movie, if you think you have made a fine piece of art, that you realize you need to convince them to spend money and go to see it. So you need posters, advertisements, interviews, screeners, whatever.

And part of the equation just has to be a good movie name. Something long an exciting, something that is visually appealing, just anything, right?

Stuber does nothing for me as a title. Nothing positive.

It screams like a movie I’d want to actively avoid, if I was a normal consumer. Only reason this review exists is because I was invited to watch it. If it was up to me, I would have probably avoided it forever, just on the title alone. Clever joke potential or anything aside, I just hate hate hate this title.

drive
Sitting up front? That means they feel DTT. Down To Talk.
Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) is an Uber driver and a clerk at a sporting goods store. Yeah, big player. He isn’t even a great Uber driver, which is just his side gig to make more money. He is going to start a woman’s only spin cycle class with his BFF, Becky (Betty Gilpin), whom he is of course in love with.

Vic (Dave Bautista) has spent many months, years even, trying to bring down a drug kingpin named Teijo (Iko Uwais) in LA, bringing in the hard stuff, that heroin. After tragic events, he escapes and he still has to spend all of his waking moments thinking about Teijo. This puts a strain on his relationship with his daughter (Natalie Morales), and everyone in his life really.

Also he is getting old, and losing his eyesight. So he wants to get LASIK, which is great, minus the being blind-ish a few hours after the surgery. And that is of course when Teijo is finally able to get caught again, doing a big drug bust. Aw shucks. Good thing his daughter just taught him about Uber to get to her art show.

Also starring Karen Gillan, Mira Sorvino, Jimmy Tatro, Scott Lawrence, and Steve Howey.

sex
I often contemplate teaching my driver sex moves because I assume their lifestyle.
Now that I have seen the movie and I am past the title, I have to admit, the movie itself also does nothing for me.

Excessive violence can be okay, but the amount of excessive violence in this film never felt believable. It could be partially because of the cop’s blindness for most of the film, but he never feels like he is a great cop, detective, anything. He is a big body that can look intimidating, but Bautista never seems to really match the role given.

On the other side of the coin, Nanjiani is also goddamn terrible. It’d be one thing if he was some sort of perfectionist character who needs that 5 star rating to keep it perfect. But holy shit, he is a bad uber driver and it makes the whole thing uncomfortable. Since he is playing such a passive character, it is hard to root for him throughout the film, just so he can show some growth by the end. But the character is just insufferable for most of it.

In Stuber, the twists are lazy, the violence is easy, and the message is missing. Don’t be a bitch? Go excessively towards your goals at all costs? I have no idea. I just know it was a waste.

1 out of 4.

Avengers: Infinity War

I really don’t have to spend a lot of information on this intro, do I?

Avengers: Infinity War (originally called Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, but people were nervous about half movies, and now the next one’s title is a secret because of spoilers or something.

I was an ecstatic little girl when the first Avengers film came out, waiting for it as soon as the first Iron Man film finished. Since then, things have been a bit more middling. My reviews have generally always been positive, none of them ever received under a 2 out of 4, and some of which are maybe too highly rated. Not everything I am extremely excited for, but most I definitely have a higher interest.

Last year, no superhero movies made my top of the year list (although one of them was about a super hero, sort of). This year, I already had Black Panther as a 4. And yet this film, this one right here, has me just as giddy as the first one for so many reasons.

So let’s just get into it.

Group 2
Oh yeah, look at these folks. Maybe this is just Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

At the end of Thor: Ragnarok, we had a surprise for Thor and his crew. This film takes place right after that point. Bad news for the Asgardians, Thanos (Josh Brolin) is here. At this point he has one of the infinity stones, out of six total. His goal? To wipe out half of the life in the universe.

Now presumably this just means sentient life forms who walk around and have languages. I don’t think he has anything against puppies. Or plants. He isn’t doing it out of spite, he is calling it mercy. It is sort of his thing. He has been doing it manually with his own crew for a while, but he wants the stones to do it instantly, so that the survivors can flourish. You know, by having more resources, more space, less crime, whatever. He is a benevolent God.

It turns out some people have some issues with him wanting to do this though. And with two of the stones (that we know of) being on Earth, he is going to have to come crashing down, where a few people down there are decently strong and going to have to put up a little fight.

Starring every goddamn person ever. You know, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Benedict Wong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Idris Elba, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Chris Pratt, and Benicio Del Toro.

Also featuring some newbies, like Peter Dinklage and Carrie Coon! Two whole people! Wow! And some technically regular people like Gwyneth Paltrow and William Hurt. Damn, did I get them all?

Group
What is this a crossover episode?

What’s to say that isn’t already all over the internet?

Avengers: Infinity War is a fan pleasing romp across the universe, adding most of the cast we have come to love into a few surprising show downs, where the stakes have never been higher. It is certainly one of the darker and serious Marvel films at this point. People are going to get hurt, people are going to be sad, and people are going to cry. Well, maybe. I know I cried near the end, and almost another time before then.

Acting wise, a lot of the stars gave their A-game. Shout out to Cumberbatch who really felt like a leader of this group, despite being one of the most recent additions. Holland was brought in for his acting ability, and it really showed by the end. A lot of pain was on Evans’ face throughout the film. Hemsworth is so goddamn Thor-y, its fantastic, and I am glad we got so much of him in the last few movies. And finally, Saldana, who is normally a low point from the acting carried a lot.

Of course I also have to talk about Brolin as Thanos, a role we have been waiting for for years and it really paid off well. This is a goddamn villain right here. It is really great writing when you sympathize with someone who is trying to kill half of the universe.

I don´t entirely know where Marvel is going with its ending, but I do have a feeling I will be incredibly annoyed by it in the next film. I think they are going to take what they did great here and ruin it with the second part, but that is just a gut feeling.

Avengers: Infinity Wars has some of the best fight scenes and team ups yet, and is just pure fan service through and through while giving an incredible story as well. I wish this film was longer.

I don´t have to tell you to go see this one, I know you will, and I can´t see anyone who likes the series to be disappointed with this milestone achievement.

If there is anything to be disappointed in, it is Marvel´s poor decisions to not include their other people. I haven´t seen Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in forever, but it seemed to react to the movies but never impact them, but someone from there might have been involved. And the Netflix shows? Come on, there was stuff happening in New York. If the Netflix shows ignore this event (which they didn´t ignore the first Avengers movie…) then they are just making poor decisions.

Group
You’d think with three group shots I’d have gotten all the heroes. But nope.

4 out of 4.

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

¨It only took twenty years, but we finally have a Jumanji sequel…” said no one ever about this movie, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.

Especially since everyone of course remembers that Zathura: A Space Adventure totally exists!

But also because when this movie was announced, a lot of people got pretty angry. Saying things like it would tarnish Robin Williams´ legacy, that it was changing too many things, that it didn´t feel like Jumanji, and everything else. People seem to think that movie studios were sitting on this idea for years, just waiting for Williams to fall over so they could move on. Williams did not own the rights to Jumanji.

When I saw the trailer initially I was actually a little bit excited. Getting sucked into a video game is not a new prompt. It has been done many times as one-off TV show episodes, entire shows have been based on them, and movies as well, but it feels like when it happens it is usually shit. And since I like a lot of these actors, I had a bit more hope for this one.

Group
A diverse cast of characters in a jungle, WHAT YEAR IS IT?!

Don’t worry purists, this film takes place in the same universe as the first Jumanji film! As it starts in the mid 90’s, boardgame found on a beach. However, board games are lame, so the kid doesn’ play it and goes back to his video games. So what’s an evil sentient-esque game supposed to do but morph into a playing system? That is how they will get the kids hooked.

Flash forward to modern times, and we have four kids, very distinct histories and likes, who end up getting detention at the same time. Spencer (Alex Wolff) is our nerd/video game lover, we have The Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) who is good at sports, Bethany (Madison Iseman) a popular cute girl addicted to her phone, and Martha (Morgan Turner) who also is nerdy but more reclusive. They have a task of removing staplers from hundreds of magazines in a basement, hooray child labor! They of course instead find this old video game, all agree to play, because fuck work, and lo and behold, they get sucked into a video game!

Now, they are all the avatars they chose as their characters. Spencer is now Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), good at everything, while The Fridge is Mouse Finbar (Kevin Hart), the backpack guy sidekick, Martha is now Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) a fighter good at fighting, and Bethany has become Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black), an overweight cartologist.

They must work together to balance their strengths and weaknesses in their new bodies to save the jungles of Jumanji, and also, get themselves back home.

Also starring Bobby Cannavale, Rhys Darby, Nick Jonas, Marc Evan Jackson, and Colin Hanks.

Shock
The Rock showing emotion, WHAT YEAR IS IT?

As previously mentioned, most “jump into video game movies” are poorly made. Just look at the third Spy Kids movie. The problem with all of these films or tv shows is they just never seem to “get” video games. They make them awkward puzzle based challenges, but mostly a lot of…non gaming things. The closest we have to a movie understanding video games has been Edge of Tomorrow.

If there is anything you can say about Jumanji 2, it is that it at least understands video games. Our characters have multiple lives, sharing lives, strengths and weaknesses, there are obvious levels, there are boundaries, there are goals, NPCs, weird interactions. It feels like people interacting with a video game world for the most part, that is wonderful.

It is wonderful, until they contradict themselves. For example, one of my biggest issues with this movie is Dr. Smolder Bravestone. He has no weaknesses, and his strengths include Fighting, Strength, Endurance, Speed, and being Fearless. Yeah, he has a bunch. And all the characters in avatar form obviously have strengths or weaknesses that are not normal. But hey, Ruby can actually fight despite being weak in real life. And Smolder can run fast, jump high, and all that.

Except for apparently his Fearless trait. Because a recurring plot point is watching Johnson scream at the slightest and smallest of animals, running in terror, over and over again. It causes one of his deaths. It is such a ridiculous oversight, it really bugs me because everything else was on point and this one felt glaring.

Overall, the movie is just okay still. The video game aspects are fine, the plot is really week. It doesn’t have an overall sense of awe or wonder like its predecessors. Everything is of course just extremely CGI’d and action scenes, with too many of the scenes focusing on human bad guys instead of swell animal problems. We don’t even get natural disasters, despite the several plant or weather based issues that Jumanji gave us.

A fine film, it just still could have been a lot better.

2 out of 4.

The Circle

The Circle came out earlier this year, with some amount of excitement. It had two big stars in it and it was told to be a modern thriller. Or even a technothriller , a thriller about technology. Ooooh, spooks.

And yet when it came out, it actually created no buzz, was swept under a rug, and forgotten about.

I probably would have never reviewed or remembered this film, if it wasn’t for my review of The Square. I decided I wanted a mini shape theme. First squares, then circles.

Circles
The Circle really enjoys circles.

Mae (Emma Watson) hates her temp job, hates answering calls, without benefits, and fear that she won’t be needed the next day. But her best friend, Annie (Karen Gillan), has the hook up. Annie works for The Circle, a company that you may as well consider to be Google/Apple of this fictional world. The CEO, Bailey, (Tom Hanks) is super famous, he is trying to help the world, and has the sweetest place to work. Annie is high up on the chain, she goes to all the top meetings.

Well, The Circle is hiring new customer support agents. It is what Mae is already doing, but this would be for a legit company, with benefits, helping her out immensely. And of course Mae gets the job! She knocks it out of the park!

She is initially worried about doing a good job and fitting in. She is slow to accept new things, so she finds the culture in The Circle to be overwhelming. Everyone loves doing stuff there, they have groups upon groups, they have so many weekend and night events. She is getting slightly shunned for just not spending more time at work off the clock. When she is pressured enough, she accepts the social aspects of the Circle, starts sharing her whole life, and eventually goes down a path she never figured out before.

But is it good? To be so open? You know the answer is probably know.

Also starring John Boyega, Patton Oswalt, Ellar Coltrane, and Glenne Headly/Bill Paxton as Mae’s parents.

Hanks
What a goddamn good cup of hopes, dreams, and secrets.

First sad note, both of the people who played her parents totally died this year! Paxton and Headly! Shit, is this movie cursed? Do we have to be on the watch for Boyega, Watson, or Hanks? Oswalt has already had a rough time recently, so I certainly hope he doesn’t get involved with the curse.

When it comes to this film, it is about as subtle was a laughing and dancing clown. It is obvious where the film is going, but somehow it goes an even stupider route to get there. By ending it on a supposed happy note, it seems to have also avoided any longer lasting points about society.

The big shocker event that happens near the films climax is almost laughable. The entire thing could and should have been prevented, it didn’t make sense that it was happening. A goal was achieved, and yet it became excessive for no reason. I wanted to laugh, it became so cheesy. The spiral downward up to that point was extremely chill as well. To refer to this as a thriller, when hardly any sinister things really occur is just lying.

The Circle wanted to be socially relevant and give us something to think about. Well, it was slightly relevant, and I am left only thinking on so many things they could have done to make this movie better.

1 out of 4.

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.

7 Days In Hell

Something must be in the water, because this is my second “made for TV” movie in a few weeks. Not to spoil the surprise, but I have a third one next week as well.

To give 7 Days In Hell some credit, it is at least an HBO movie, so it won’t be restricted by what stay at home moms want to call the network to complain about if it gets too violent, sexy, grotesque, or angry. They can do what they want!

The release of the film of course is due to Wimbledon about to finish, so why not have a quick mockumentary about a game that never happened. This film is of course inspired by the Isner-Mahut Wimbledon match up in 2010, that went for over 11 hours over 3 days, and was the real game that would never end. It is not based on the Wimbledon romantic comedy from 2004, which (screw you haters!) is actually one of my favorites of the year.

promo
Paul Bettany just needed better hair, like these folks.

This historic match took place in the early 2000s, but before one can find out why they battled hard enough to play tennis for 7 days straight, one has to see where the men involved came from.

Aaron Williams (Andy Samberg) had a reverse Blind Side situation, where he was a white kid on the streets and he got adopted into a black family. Note the last name, yes, he was the adopted brother of the Williams sisters. So it is no wonder he too became great at tennis. Never great enough unfortunately. Because after a huge accident one serve away from winning Wimbledon in the 90’s, Aaron has never been the same. His game was off, he had to turn to other careers and eventually wound up in prison. His hot head personality is missed on the court for many years until he gets out of jail.

On the other side, we have Charles Poole (Kit Harington), a child prodigy, starting to play tennis at the age of three. Some say his maybe abusive mom (Mary Steenburgen) forced him to be the star he is, but it worked and he became the youngest pro ever. He is also the best chance of a British person actually winning Wimbledon in a long time, coming into the tournament at the 2nd overall seed. He is also close to retarded, having no real schooling outside of tennis and graduating from a truck driving school.

Needless to say, due to (plot), these two gentlemen find themselves playing each other in the first round, Aaron to get back to the top, and Charles for his country and to be the very best.

But then rain delays were just the beginning of the issue, in this back and forth match where a player could rarely hold an upper hand, until, you know, it finally ends and stuff.

Any documentary of course has people to tell the story, so we got a few of those! Including a few tennis historians (Will Forte, Fred Armisen), a Jordache Executive (Lena Dunham), the girlfriend of Charles’ at the time (Karen Gillan), and a creepy TV interview host (Michael Sheen). But that isn’t it, the story is also told by David Copperfield, John McEnroe, and Serena Williams!

press
This is bullshit, they should be playing overnight as well. Who gave them breaks?

I tend to try and have some sort of time criteria for a review. If a movie isn’t an hour long, is it really a movie? Or is it a strange television episode? This in particular has made documentary watching harder, because there are a lot of made for TV documentaries that include commercials leaving the viewer with 40-45 minutes of material. Most notably in this group would be the ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries, which this mockumentary is actually styled after. So it makes sense for the movie to only be about 43 minutes in length, and hey, I will let it pass, because the teaser for it made me giggle. Damn it.

I was surprised at how many jokes it could cram into one tiny documentary. A lot goes on with their lives and with the game, and it feels good not really spoiling any of it. In particular, after Samberg, Forte and Armisen provide the most laughs as the historians.

This is a tiny project and it definitely works for what it is. If anything, Harington is actually the most disappointing aspect. I don’t think it is him, but they gave him a lame character to play. Either way, I hope they do more movies in this style in the future, as they can provide easy entertainment probably relatively cheaply for the channel.

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.