Tag: Zoe Saldana

My Little Pony: The Movie

Over four years ago, I reviewed a film on a whim. I had to drive almost an hour to get to the theater (which meant something pre-Houston days), for the only screen time it was showing. Something like 12:30 pm on a Saturday. A very limited release, I guess you could say.

That movie was My Little Pony: Equestria Girls. It was my first foray into the subject. Oh, I heard about it before on the internet, and heard about bronies, but I never thought about watching the show before. I just went to see the movie because, damn it, I watch everything, so why not that as well? I went in blind. I didn’t have any background on the show.

Now sure, after it I watched a few episodes and thought it was okay. Nothing I would binge watch, but something I could watch occasionally. And now, years later, I have seen tons of episodes over seasons. I understand the characters now. I have made art with the characters. But I am still not up to some obsessed level with the show, because I haven’t seen most of it. Just parts of episodes here and there. The kids have seen a lot more than me.

But I feel qualified (As fuck!) to review My Little Pony: The Movie. New art style, same ponies, music, and fun. I was excited for this. I took my whole family to this. My youngest daughter, who is two? This is now her first movie ever seen in a movie theater.

I was excited and ready to go.

Friendship
I just really wanted to find out if Friendship was still magic.

The story starts us off with Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) and Spike (Cathy Weseluck), properly freaking out because there is about to be a Friendship Festival, with all the kingdoms and princess and even goddamn derpy all excited. They need to highlight friendship, so that everyone can be so fucking magical. For whatever reason, the highlight of the festival is a pony, Songbird Serenade (Sia) singing. She feels stressed, but it is okay, because she has her FRIENDS to help her. They got this. Rarity (Tabitha St. German), Applejack, Rainbow Dash (Ashleigh Ball), Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie (Andrea Libman).

Well, turns out friendship can’t do everything, all the time, right away. Because a few storm clouds start to gather, even though Twilight asked for good weather. Maybe she didn’t friend enough of the people?! Inside the storm clouds are some sweet airships, apparently led by Commander Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt)! With a name like that, of course she is fucking evil. She is a unicorn, with a broken horn. The saddest. With a head minion Grubber (Michael Pena), they work for The Storm King (Liev Shreiber), and Tempest goes and freezes 3 of the princesses! I don’t even have to tell you which one is able to escape.

The last words they heard were to find the Queen of the Hippos. Huh. Okay. Well, if that is the way to save everyone, then that is what they will do. And on the way, they will find a singing cat (Taye Diggs), some bird sky pirates led (Zoe Saldana), some water horse thing (Kristin Chenoweth) and her mom (Uzo Aduba).

Friends
Guys. I think friendship is back on the table.

Like the subtitle suggests, this certainly is a whole movie. 100 minutes long, big adventure, tons of fun, a beautiful heart, that is faithful and strong with…um, kindness. That last bit will only make sense to some of you.

They have about five or six songs, the best one from Rainbow dash about being awesome. A couple of decent ones, and a few forgettable, including Sia’s songs. Which on that note, Sia is my first real dislike of the film. Oh cool, they made a pony that looks like…Sia as a horse. Why couldn’t they have just made a singing pony by Sia be a pony? Kind of just feels shoe horned.

The story and plot is actually pretty good while also still being easy to follow. It isn’t entirely original, but it does some good things. The biggest problem with the story comes from Twilight Sparkle, our main character. The writers just totally seem to disregard her. She acts totally out of character from my point of view. Why? to advance the plot. And that sort of thing can really anger someone.

In a movie one can easily argue about how a character would act. But with 7 seasons behind us, it is easy to figure out what Twilight would do. They could have set it up better to better explain her actions, but she comes across as stupid, shallow, and certainly not the PRINCESS. OF. FRIENDSHIP.

My other biggest gripe? A totally huge disparity when it comes to pony importance. Of course Twilight is the most important, sure. But not too far after her is Pinkie Pie in terms of lines, jokes, and plot advancement. Then not far after, Rainbow Dash. But after that? Much further down, very far down, come our other three ponies. They basically exist as extremely minor characters with an occasional joke or reference. It was odd. Balance the main characters before you add an equal number of characters for celebrity sake.

Fans of the show should still enjoy it, minus the straight up murder of Twlight’s actions. I’m sure I will end up watching it again.

2 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.

Star Trek Beyond

I am sad. People die all the time, but now this is my third review post Anton Yelchin death, watching a movie with him in it. And sure, in this one he isn’t the lead. He is a major player, but a relatively minor part with only a few scenes to probably excel in.

Still though, he isn’t the captain.

But going into Star Trek Beyond, I am going in very weary. The last one was interesting, some cool scenes, but overall fell flat as a film. Star Trek Into Darkness was not trying hard enough to be its own movie, relying too heavily on being am unannounced remake.

So I am sad that the Star Trek movies are beginning to feel generic. Sad that Yelchin won’t be in future movies after this one. And sad that this one has unnecessary controversy relating to what George Takei does or does not give his blessing for.

Dance
Although if the film gives me a dance number, I might reconsider the generic comment.

Hey look! The USS Enterprise is still in action, still doing their normal things. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is still captain-y, Spock (Zachary Quinto) is still Vulcan-y, Scotty (Simon Pegg), Checkov (Yelchin), Sulu (John Cho), Bones (Karl Urban), and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) are all their names-y. Especially Bones.

Except there are some boredom pains. Kirk is worried he no longer cares about exploring and is just running with the motions. He is thinking bout switching up to a higher position and getting off the ship. Spock is also worried about his future. He just figured out that Future Spock has died (Fuck, I also forgot Leonard Nemoy had died since the last movie. Fuck fuck fuck). With the Vulcans a dying race, he feels he should get off the ship, help be an ambassador and start a purely Vulcan family.

But first, let’s do one more mission. They have to go into a Nebula to look for a missing space craft because only the Enterprise is built well enough to handle it. Everything is going okay, and hey, a surprise attack! Now the Enterprise is crashed on a planet, the crew separated, and a scary race of aliens who want to take down the Federation for some reason.

One last mission always does this, doesn’t it? Starring Idris Elba as the bad guy, Joe Taslim as the bad guy in second command, and Sofia Boutella as Jaylah, mysterious awesome alien lady.

NCA
And Jaylah is like Jesus, in that she is a savior of the film.

My main thought during the film and after it was over was how much better the title Into Darkness would have fit for this film than the previous film. It was definitely a darker in tone film. The crew was split up, the Enterprise fucked up, many people captured and some red shirts killed. They went into a very dark and scary Nebula to get to the plot. They went INTO DARKNESS.

But sure, a lot of the film is on a bright planet during the day, but still, that title change would be great.

The film itself is silly and full of meh moments. I honestly found myself shaking my head. Elements that were going to explain everything felt short. Action scenes might not have made a lot of sense. There was a very clusterfucky scene involving the enterprise mostly empty on the planet in the middle of the night, was written for explosions and not for anything else to make sense.

Without a few characters I would have been bored out of my mind and given this a pretty failing grade. But Urban as Bones was really on his game in this film and always brought a smile to my face. Boutella as Jaylah was a breath of fresh air, in terms of humor, action, and the whole package. Jaylah rocks, we need more Jaylah.

In fact, that is the only reason I want more Star Trek movies. Let Jaylah star in all of these movies and not get reduced down to a small bit character and I got something interesting to finally watch.

Yelchin has better movies out this year, go watch them instead. There are better action and Sci-Fi movies this year, and obviously better comedies. But if you just want filler, then there are worse ways to go.

2 out of 4.

Nina

You can’t spell controversy without an ‘s’ and you can’t spell Nina Simone without an ‘s; as well! There must be something deeper there.

If you are like a lot of movie watchers, you probably watched What Happened, Miss Simone? last year. It is free on Netflix and was nominated for an Oscar, so that is really all I should have to say on the matter. It was about the troubling life of Musician and Activist from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. She won a shit ton of Grammys, so you should know her name at least, even if you didn’t know anything about her.

But there is another film about her life. Not a documentary, but a nice musical bio film, just named Nina. It was originally supposed to star Mary J. Blige in the title role, which makes sense. She is a singer and somewhat an activist. But she had to drop out and they replaced her with Zoe Saldana which led to some issues.

Nina Simone grew up in a time where she wasn’t expected to succeed, she was a very dark woman and had a very distinct face, while Saldana was much lighter skinned, very pretty and is not known for her singing. In particular they had a problem with the skin color because Simone was SUPER active in the Black Power movement and it felt like a form of white washing, since Saldana is Hispanic. That, and they also colored Simone’s skin darker. Is it Blackface if the person doing it is not White? Eh, probably.

Because of all this and more, this film took a long time to come out. It was being filmed in the end of 2012, so it took years to release, possibly waiting for all the controversy to die down and maybe finally out thanks to the successful documentary. However, it seems like the distributors still wanted to bury it, with a very limited release and instant VOD.

Frown
Sad Simone/Saldana doesn’t like the controversy.

Nina Simone (Zoe Saldana) grew up like a normal black kid in a southern town. But some old white lady liked her and taught her how to play piano. She got really good at classical music and had a dream of playing at the Carnegie Hall and totally did as the first Black Jazz musician. She also went to Julliard. She made a lot of albums, mixing Jazz with Rock and Roll and Gospel and protest songs. She worked with Martin Luther King and a whole lot of other famous activists. She had an abusive husband/manager and a daughter.

Then, eventually, she left America to Paris to play, because America was too racist. And everything in the above paragraph was basically the first five minutes of the movie, told through newspaper headlines, and this film takes place all after that. Like, in the 1980’s, after she had already been out of America for a long time. She was put in a psychiatric hospital for a day in LA after threatening a lawyer with a gun, where she met Clifton Henderson (David Oyelowo), an orderly. She liked that he tried to help her, so she hired him as her assistant and took him back to France.

So she is a drunk and a jerk to him while he tries to help. She forces him to help her get one nigh stands and makes his life hell. But hey, he eventually gets her back into the US for a concert, despite no one wanting to work with her. Yay biography movie!

Also featuring Kevin Mambo, Ronald Guttman, Mike Epps, and Chuma Gault.

Smile
But Simone/Saldana loves that booze apparently!

I don’t plan on talking any more about the controversy. I mean, I’d say just let Saldana be her self with the fake nose and not go all out. The entire skin experience just felt distracting for the most part, because I recognized Saldana, except she was “off” the entire time. Just a distraction, just like the controversy.

But let’s focus on this trainwreck of a film. Simone has been the focus of several documentaries and part of a few more, but never a biography of her life. Out of people who deserve their own Hollywood bio film, Simone is definitely up there on the list. For whatever terrible reason, they focus on the late 80’s and early 90’s and none of the “good stuff” in her life.

Fuck. She was a domestic abuse victim for years and couldn’t get out of it. She made so many great songs and led amazing protests. She had a ton of achievements. And I only know any of this thanks to the documentary about her entire life. Most people in the current generations don’t know anything about her and will only learn this stuff through theatrical films. And they pick her lamest and a very unimportant part of her life. They ignore so many important points in her life and focus on such a small frame it just seems disrespectful.

It seems like the people who made this film hated Nina Simone and didn’t know how to hide it. They showed her as a terrible person and ignored how she got to the lowest point in her life. It is misleading and just…just so bizarre.

Watching Nina, I can only see huge amounts of wasted potential. Even if I didn’t see the documentary, this movie wouldn’t have excited me in any way. I would be left wondering what the heck happened. Why did this person get a movie? Why did Paris matter?

Nina is a mess of a film, and one of the worst biographical movies I have ever seen.

0 out of 4.

Infinitely Polar Bear

Writing a review without pictures would be like talking about Mark Ruffalo and not making a Hulk reference. You can’t do it.

Hulk had two personalities, regular, and rage. Mark Ruffalo in real life probably also has two personalities, something lame like celebrity and normal.

And in Infinitely Polar Bear? Well, I am not sure of the actual number, but they are all on his sleeve, all at the same time.

WutM8
Fuck, he is already halfway into full on Hulk mode already. THE REVIEW HASN’T EVEN BEGUN RUFFALO.

Cameron (Mark Ruffalo) and Maggie (Zoe Saldana) had a picture perfect free spirited life. Except Cameron was found out to be Bipolar. It made a lot of sense, but they didn’t let that get in the way. They had two wonderful kids, Amelia (Imogene Wolodarsky) and Faith (Ashley Aufderheide). They were loving and awesome.

But eventually, Maggie couldn’t take it anymore. Cameron was getting too out there, too unsettled and she had to separate with the kids to be away from him. Cameron got put into a mental health hospital to get his life back on track. And now? It is awhile later. Cameron wants to visit and be with his kids and be with his wife, but she can’t allow it. The problem is they are very poor. She had been lying about their house location to get them into a good school, but after that has been “corrected” they find themselves in bad housing and going to a shitty school. So Maggie wants to get an MBA to make their life better.

The problem is that she’d have to go to NYC to do it because she can stay at a friend’s apartment for free. So she has to reconnect with Cameron. You know, so he can be a full time dad, watching them every day of the week for a year and a half on his own. Sure she’d visit on some weekends, but for the most part, he will have to be a responsible individual. And hey, after a year and a half, she will move back and maybe they can all work things out and be a wonderful family that isn’t on the poverty line.

Sure, why not, he can be responsible for other lives. On his own. To make things weirder, Cameron is actually part of a really rich family. It is just all in a trust owned by his Grandma (Beth Dixon) who gives away money from it, sure, but she is very stingy about it. So they get to be poor, while his family own mansions.

Car
Strangely enough, if he transforms in the car, the car doesn’t lose any value.

Ruffalo was the emotional equivalent of a typhoon in this picture. Yes, I could have just made another Hulk reference but that would be lazy. He was all over the place, always energetic and hyper. Just sometimes he was loving life, sometimes he was yelling curses at little kids. Good family fun.

I generally don’t like learning about mental disorders from films, as they tend to over exaggerate the disease and show the most extreme versions. I always assumed being bipolar just meant someone changed from happiness to sadness real quick like. I was also turned off by the film title, it was weird and nonsensical but it makes a bit more sense now. Ruffalo isn’t bipolar. That is only two! He is infinitely polar. And a bear. Maybe they made that joke in the film and I missed it.

I should talk more about Ruffalo. He fucking wrecked this role. He smashed it. Argh I can’t stop. The references, it makes me so mad! Watching Ruffalo was a delight though. Every scene had a sense of charm and love around it, like they were a real, fucked up family.

A fucked up family. Like one that would introduce Gamma rays to their son, accident or otherwise. Damn it. Just watch the movie.

4 out of 4.

Buy It! – This movie is available now on {Blu-Ray} and {DVD}.

The Book Of Life

When I first saw a trailer for The Book Of Life, I was taken aback with the animation styling. And the story line. And everything about it. Well, everything but one thing.

Guillermo del Toro‘s name was attached to the picture. Really? I like del Toro, so I found that surprising because it didn’t seem like something that he heavily influenced. Outside of the Mexican influence, it just didn’t seem like his work. But I decided to give it a benefit of the doubt. There is reasoning behind the animation style, there is some cultural significance to the whole picture, and damn it. It might be excellent.

If you didn’t know, this movie has something to do with the Day of the Dead, which takes place from Halloween to Nov 2. In particular, they call Nov 2 the Day of the Dead, as that is the day that they celebrate the gravestones of their family members and party in their remembrance, the central theme to the story.

The non central theme hopefully is searching for this mythical Book of Life that gives everyone super powers. I hope.

Books
Oh shit, those kids found it! Run! Chaos everywhere! Ahh!

Mexico in this case is the center of the universe, not only that, but the center of Mexico is a place that looks like a guitar surrounded by water, in San Angel. That is where a lot of shenanigans take place, given its central location. I guess I should explain the afterlife. Get ready for some facts. Everyone knows that once people die, their spirits go to a really sexy place where they party all day and all night and live with their families and friends! La Muerte (Kate del Castillo) rules the Land of the Remembered and it is totally fetch. But there is another afterlife place. The Land of the Forgotten, ruled by Xibalba (Ron Perlman). That is not a fun place. You see, if people in the Land of the Forgotten ever forget about someone that has died, the spirit gets moved to the Land of the Forgotten for the rest of eternity. Not a fun time at all. 🙁 🙁 🙁

Xibalba of course doesn’t like his job and wants to rule the cool place, so they make bets and wages all the time over the lives of humans to determine who rules what.

So they see these three kids running around. Manolo (Diego Luga) with his guitar and sensitivity, Joaquin (Channing Tatum) who likes to sword fight and wants to be a soldier, and of course, sweet sweet Maria (Zoe Saldana) the object of their affection and daughter of the general.

Bets! They place them. Xibalba picks Joaquin to eventually marry Maria, and La Muerte picks Manolo. If Xibalba wins, he gets to rule the Land of the Remembered, but if La Muete wins, Xibalba has to stop interfering with the lives of humans. Oh golly.

The fate of so much on such a little arrangement. And who is to say the girl will marry either boy? Pfft. Gods.

Also featuring the voice acting talent of Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Carlos Alazraqui, Danny Trejo, and Hector Elizondo.

Hair
Not to be weird, but that is the sexiest hair I have seen on a CGI wooden puppet ever.

Turns out, del Toro didn’t have a lot to do with this movie. Sure, he was involved on some level as a producer, but he wasn’t even the executive producer. He probably provided some nice funding and helped design the Land of the Remembered, because it was vibrant and unique, but not sure what else he might have done.

A lot of music in this movie, and about half of it (or more) were actual songs but with a lot more mariachi feel to them. We got Creep and I Will Wait and much more. I think there is also unique music, but I just might not be hip enough on the music scene to get the references.

I think this is a hard movies for kids to follow. A lot is going on, a lot of characters are good and just misunderstood. After all, Xibalba isn’t a bad guy, just looks bad. Joaquin isn’t a bad guy either. The only bad guy is a bandito who doesn’t show up til the end, and I will say, he had very entertaining fight scenes.

The movie has a lot of spirit and energy, but I just found it hard to really relate to anyone. Or the story itself. It just ended up on the “okay” spectrum, which was disappointing, as I figured this one would be one of the best films of the year. Maybe I made a mistake in picking The Book Of Life over The Boxtrolls. I hope not!

2 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.

Out Of The Furnace

Out of the Furnace has the honor of being the only movie coming out this week, in a month that is typically packed to the brim with movies to take advantage of those holiday sales.

It also has the honor of making me think of the Meatloaf song, “Out of the Frying Pan,” so much that whenever I hear the film’s title, I can’t help but sing “And into the fire!” in my head.

Lollipop
This is an actual scene of the film, lollipop and all.

Russell Baze (Christian Bale) is your average factory worker living in Pennsylvania. He is a man who works for a living, a guy who will never be rich, but overall, a very caring and loving man. He has a lady (Zoe Saldana), a younger dumber brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) in the army, and his father is getting sick. But after a night of trying to do good and a few mistakes, Russell finds himself behind bars after a drunk driving accident.

Now, years later, his life has changed drastically. His father: dead. His woman: left him for a cop (Forest Whitaker). His brother: suffering from extreme PTSD after four tours in Iraq. Rodney is also deep in gambling debt and starting to take up illegal bare knuckle boxing to pay his debts. But when he gets involved with the Appalachian hill folk and their leader, Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson), his life is going to make a change for the worse.

It is up to Russell, a good man who hasn’t done a lot wrong in his life, to potentially give up his moral convictions, his good nature, and his innocence, in order to avenge or save his brother… You know, depends on what they do to his brother first.

Willem Dafoe is also in here as a small town loan shark, and Sam Shepard plays a family friend.

Gun
Here’s a hint. That gun is not for hunting. Okay, normally yes for hunting, but right now it isn’t. Shut up.

Out Of The Furnace might feature some of the better acting performances of the year. There is a scene with Bale and Saldana on a bridge and it absolutely tore my heart up. It was very unexpected and it felt incredibly real. This is the best performance for Affleck since The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. If it wasn’t for Harrelson’s goofy looking head, I wouldn’t have recognized him speech wise as the incredibly corrupt hill folk.

Unfortunately, the great acting is the only real thing I like from this movie.

It is definitely a slower moving film, as it wants to build up the fact that Russel is a great human and just trying to live his life. A lot of intense scenes involving others are spliced with Russel hunting and working, just to show how un-extreme his life is. In fact, the movie goes to incredibly lengths to make that point during the ending, which seems to drag on forever. On top of that, the ending almost feels a bit dreamlike, including an ambiguous final scene that I am unsure of its purpose.

I believe this film has a lot of symbolism incorporated within it, but potentially too much symbolism, and not enough entertainment.

Fantastic acting, a good idea for a story, but just a dull way to deliver that story.

 

2 out of 4.

Star Trek Into Darkness

For whatever reason, just like my previous review of Star Trek, I am finding the right words to describe Star Trek Into Darkness.

I feel like a fake, a liar. I am a nerd who knows not a lot about the Star Trek series and never really cared to find out. So as to whether or not this movie fits the Star Trek world, I can’t comment on. But I tell you what I can do. Ignore the source material and just tell you if the movie is awesome or not. Basically what I do for every movie anyways!

Group
I honestly don’t know if this is from the first or second Star Trek.
The movie takes place right where we left off. Kirk (Chris Pine) is still captain of the Starship Enterprise, with the exact same crew. Spock (Zachary Quinto) is the first officer, Sulu (John Cho) the pilot, Bones (Karl Urban) the doctor, Scotty (Simon Pegg) the engineer, and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) as whatever they do on the ship.

Well, things quickly hit the fan when a bombing occurs in one of Star Fleet’s libraries, plotted by John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch), a former Star Fleet officer. That’s right, someone turning against his own former employers! Must have received a very poor severance package. After a few other attacks, he escapes to Kronos, home planet of the Klingons, the warrior race who wouldn’t mind having a reason to conquer Earth.

Well, crap, I guess they are screwed. Unless…

Clearly the best plan of action is to use long range Plasma Missiles to take him out (no trial needed), while hopefully not starting an intergalactic war. I trust Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller) personally, so I am sure the strategy will work.  Bruce Greenwood also returns as Admiral Pike, and Alice Eve is brought in as mysterious science/weapons expert Carol.

No Shame
Nope. No Shame at all here at Gorgon Reviews.
I saw the sequel in 3D and I am almost certain it didn’t warrant the higher price. The film was made for IMAX and later changed to include 3D, so it was a sort of afterthought. In terms of “rounding” out the picture, it didn’t really work for me, and felt wasted. But hey, some sticks fly at your face in the beginning, and I might have actually tried to dodge them.

I loved Star Trek Into Darkness. It was exciting, it was action packed, and it refilled my lens flare quota for the rest of the year. It is of course beyond perfect. I left out a lot of plot details, but I disliked that problems introduced early in the film were fixed only a few minutes later. It made me wonder why even write those problems in the first place and made me feel like they were rehashing the first movie.

I also hate that they introduced regenerative blood into the series. Regeneration itself is a very tricky subject, as it becomes a deus ex machina. Unfortunately it also appeared in Iron Man 3 and was one of the worst plot fixers in both movies.

I’d stil suggest watching the movie and avoid IMDB/Wikipedia, there are spoilers everywhere.

Despite not being a Trekkie, I am deep enough in this Pop Culture game to understand a lot of the throwbacks and homages to the original series/films. In fact, I liked this film enough that I almost want to try and watch the older Star Trek films, out of curiosity. Almost.

3 out of 4.

The Words

From what I heard, The Words was in production for awhile. Not a pet project by Bradley Cooper, but something he believed in and fought for with the directors to get made and produced. One of those maybe artsy things.

I think that is what happened. Don’t even feel like looking it up. I am just gonna be spreading facts as if they are true. Boo yah.

Love aww
Hey look, love. Maybe. Or just walking. People can walk right?

The story begins with famous author Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid) doing some section reading from his new book The Words. People love him, and so does some grad student chick Daniella (Olivia Wilde). Yeah, but that’s enough about that. We get to watch his story!

In which we have another writer, Rory Jansen (Cooper) who is struggling. He has good words, but not the best story for a first time author to get his name out into the world. So it sucks to suck. Sucks also for his dad (J.K. Simmons) who is tired of loaning him money, and his wife Dora (Zoe Saldana) who knows her husband can write good words, just can’t get a book deal.

So they decide to do what every NYC couple who is struggling to survive does. Take a honeymoon to Paris. Fuck the police! They even visit some Ernest Hemingway shop, for inspiration. Turns out Paris has some weird gift shops, without logos or names on them, just things. So Dora spends some of their barely any money on a satchel for her husband. Later, in America, Rory finds a compartment in it with a story! The most beautiful story he has ever read. Everything he felt about his own life displayed in words, and it was magnificent. He couldn’t stop thinking about the words. So he eventually killed his family.

Okay that is a lie. But he does type up the story just to have the feeling of what it is like to write those words. But his wife reads it, cries and stuff, and it is amazing. He can’t even tell her they aren’t his words! But he runs with it, and hey look, everyone loves him as a writer.

Except for an old man (Jeremy Irons). Who tells his own story about a young man (Ben Barnes) and his French lover (Nora Arnezeder) after World War 2. Who wrote a story and lost it. And how he is that man. In case you got lost, that would make that a story, in a story, in a story.

Then you know, potential backlash from this knowledge. But not really. Obviously Rory knew the story wasn’t his, just kind of got swept in it all. But now that he knows the real story, what will happen? But that is a book, so who cares, what about the author and grad student huh?
.

Typist!
Fucking layers man. Stories and shit.

Did you follow all of that? Well good. Because that is like, 4/5 of the story. Yep.

Technically we don’t even get to see the amazing story everyone talks about. Unless it is just the old guys life as is, and not based on it. But whatever.

This movie is slow, and tries to build up to this big reveal, but you know what? Everything that happens is obvious real quickly in the movie. But they take an incredible slow time to go through it. The old guy telling his story after the War takes forever, and isn’t until the second half either. Yet he tells it as if it isn’t obviously a younger version of himself, for some reason.

Arggh. It was frustrating. Everything kind of felt pretentious. The acting wasn’t really bad, it just also didn’t matter. Get this pointless story out of my movie.

0 out of 4.