Guradians of the Galaxy: Movie Review

Guardians was one of my most anticipated movies EVER, so it goes without saying that this has also been one of my most anticipated movie reviews. The drive home after the movies on Friday night had me all amped and excited, as I endlessly regaled my favorite quotes and characters from the film.

It’s important that I start my review by making something very clear, Guardians of the Galaxy absolutely kicked ass. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. But seriously, it was an amazing movie and so entertaining I don’t even know where to begin my review.

Marvel wasted no time at all jumping into the movie. There was a super brief yet emotional “origin story” at the beginning where you get a little history about movie front runner Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord. After that the movie is a non-stop sprint to the finish line.

10 minutes into the movie I was sold. The opening scene from the trailers with Chris Pratt and Djimon Hounsou was hilarious, action packed, an 80’s flash back, and probably had PETA shitting bricks.

Marvel managed to do in one film with Guardians, what it took them 6 movies to do with the Avengers ensemble. Guardians Director James Gunn did a phenomenal job getting audiences to fall in love with and root for a bunch of characters they had never even heard of before, in the span of just two hours without it feeling rushed.

Whereas 2012’s Avengers could have plausibly been titled “IRON MAN! …and his friends too”, Guardians does a much better job balancing the roles so that no character drowns out the other.

Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord
Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord, played by Chris Pratt

We have Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord. An 80’s American born kid who was abducted by aliens and spends the rest of his life wandering the galaxy as a thief. His only remaining earthly possessions are a Sony Walkman (remember those?) and a mix tape (or those?!) of songs his mom made him. Those songs, artfully chosen, provide the soundtrack for the entire movie. Quill clearly mastered the American art of bull-shitting, which proves to be an invaluable skillset in outer space. Chris Pratt did an amazing job bringing this no-name character to life on the big screen. In fact he did such a good job that he out Iron Man’s Iron Man, and when the Avengers and Guardians finally collide in theaters, Peter Quill is going to be more than a match for Tony Stark. Audiences will find him much more likable too as his character is so humble and down-to-earth.

Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana
Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana

Next we have the femme fatale Gamora. Zoe Saldana loves to play aqua-colored vixens, but she plays them amazingly well! Gamora is an assassin turned good, whose inside knowledge of the threats to the universe make her a pivotal character in movie. Her backstory is bloody and regrettable. She is fierce, cunning, beautiful, and incredibly lethal. She is this ensembles direct response to Black Widow.

Drax the Destroyer, played by David Bautista
Drax the Destroyer, played by David Bautista

Then we have Drax the Destroyer, another aqua colored badass in the film and played by David Bautista. This physically intimidating character is on a vengeful killing rampage across the galaxy after his family was killed by movie villain Ronan the Accuser. He comes from a race of aliens whose language and communication style does not lend itself to metaphor, idioms, or innuendo. Most jokes go right over his head, but as Drax would correct you “Nothing goes over my head! My reflexes are too fast. I will seize it.” Huge, green-ish, and not a big talker, Drax is the Guardian’s equivalent of the Hulk.

Rocket Raccoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper, and Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel
Rocket Raccoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper, and Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel

Where do I even start with Rocket? Put frankly, Rocket is foul-mouthed, bi-pedal, incredibly intelligent raccoon that has no clue he’s a raccoon, or for that matter what a raccoon even is. He was experimented on and genetically altered, making him the way he is. Perfectly voiced by Bradley Cooper, he’s rude, insensitive, and had me dying of laughter the entire movie. His backstory is also very tragic, making that a common theme amongst the movies characters. Underneath his insecurities, Rocket the bounty hunting critter has a ton of heart, and is my favorite character in the movie.

Lastly, we have Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel. Groot, the walking and occasionally talking tree alien was one of my favorites. He is Rocket’s body guard and companion as a bounty hunter. Despite his very limited vocabulary, Groot proves that when it comes to communication, it’s all about quality, not quantity. If you asked me to explain exactly why Groot is so cool and invaluable to the movie, I couldn’t give you an answer. But I promise you he is. (My mom asserts it’s because Groot’s limited vocabulary reminds me of my dad. Hardy har har, mom.) Groot isn’t chatty, fast, or oozing with intelligence, but he is emotional, caring, and extremely protective. Groot is also the dessert of the movie, and Marvel saved the best for last. You’ll have to see the movie to know what I’m talking about.

I was laughing, I was cheering, I was screaming, and I was clapping. The crowd in my theater clapped on four occasions throughout the movie. If this movie doesn’t have you rooting for the good guys, you have no heart. If it doesn’t have you dancing to the Jackson 5, you have no soul. And if it doesn’t have you cramping from laughter, you have no sense of humor. Bring the wife, bring the kids, and hope they don’t learn any new words. This action packed, star spanning movie breathes new life into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will have you begging for more. Avengers, look out! Here come the Guardians of the Galaxy!

Was it enjoyable? YES! I’ll just come out and say that Guardians of the Galaxy was twice as good as the Avengers. It had more action that action movies, more adventure than adventure movies, and way more laughs than dedicated comedies. On top of that, the movie had one thing Avengers sorely lacked: Heart. For enjoyability, I give Guardians of the Galaxy an A+.

Did it deliver what it advertised? Yes and much, much more. I was expecting a B movie with a Disney financed A movie advertising budget. I was quickly corrected. This movie is the movie you’ve been waiting for. A+.

Would I see it again? I plan on seeing Guardians at least once more in theaters and have every intention of purchasing the Blu Ray when it comes out on release, hopefully by Christmas.

The Galactic Challenge: Marvel’s Gaurdians of the Galaxy

If you are planning on going to the movies this weekend, one candidate that has probably caught your attention is Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

Guardians is bringing some heavy hitters to the plate, including: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Djimon Hounsou, Glenn Close, John C. Reilly, Dave Bautista, and Benicio Del Toro.

I, for one, am super excited to see Guardians of the Galaxy this weekend. In fact, its August 1st release date this Friday has been on my calendar since it was first announced in 2013. I’ve been a huge fan of the Marvel movies so far, specifically the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU for short.

Why is Guardians of the Galaxy such a big deal? At first glance, this movie appears to be nothing more than a one-off, family friendly space bound action movie that Marvel is pitching to milk audiences during the one year lull between Captain American: Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron coming out May 2015.

If you thought that, then you’d be dead on. Except for the first part, Guardians of the Galaxy is not a one-off movie at all. For those of you going “huh?”, gather ‘round the camp fire children.

What makes GOTG such a big deal is that this is the first new Marvel franchise to be introduced to the MCU since Captain America in 2011. Still confused?

Fine, I’ll spoil it. Marvel plans on merging Guardians of the Galaxy with the Avengers! That’s right. We can expect to eventually see Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America share the silver screen with the Guardians in the same movie. Is that epic or what? Amazingly enough, only fan boys and comic-con aficionados seem to have caught on to this.Marvel Easter Eggs 1

Are you thinking “So what?” Okay, let me back track a little. It was a big deal when Marvel slipped audiences a bunch of Easter eggs, dropping a bunch of cross-movie hints in each of the phase 1 movies.

Marvel Easter Eggs 2

It was an even bigger deal when Marvel finally combined the four movie franchises into the Avengers (2012).

Marvel continued to pick up the pace with Iron Man, Thor and Captain America sequels.

Now, Marvel intends to mix a fifth ingredient into their tried and tested, beloved recipe. Will the new concoction have audiences drooling for seconds and a doggy-bag, or have them saying “too much salt” ?

And that is why Guardians of the Galaxy is such a big deal. Marvel is using Guardians as a litmus test for other movies they hope to produce. Not only will a good reception to Guardians affect its own sequel, it will affect the direction Marvel takes for the Avengers, and whether or not they decide to release other comic book characters like Dr. Strange, Blank Panther and Ant Man.

Are audiences going to welcome a new comer, or are they content with the Big 4?

We’ll find out tomorrow when Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theaters nationwide. My bet is Marvel has done their homework. After all, Marvel has movies planned all the way to 2028. No, that wasn’t a typo. 14 years from now, kids that aren’t even born then are going to be enjoying Marvel movies in theaters.

Keep posted! I will be in line to see Guardians opening day, and posting my review shortly after!

The Purge: Anarchy: Movie review

After 90 minutes at the drive in, I made it through Lucy. After a quick  run to the restroom, I was back in my car and ready for the second feature of the night, The Purge: Anarchy.

Being that The Purge: Anarchy is a sequel, I didn’t set my hopes too high, but I was still plenty excited about it since I enjoyed the first one, and was curious to see how they were to going to take the premise of the 2013 film and build on it.

From the commotion on the grapevine – or lack thereof – The Purge (2013) didn’t do so well financially or with the critics. I didn’t hear any smack talking, but I also didn’t hear of anyone talking it up or rushing out to see it. I enjoyed the first film nonetheless, and took it for the movie it was.

Purgers and Hunters, from "The Purge: Anarchy" (2014)
Purgers and Hunters, from “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014)

For those who haven’t see either, The Purge and The Purge: Anarchy take place in the not so distant future, in the years 2022 and 2023, respectively. The U.S. is governed by “The New Founding Fathers” and every year starting on March 21, all crime is completely legal* (including theft, rape, and murder) for 12 hours (7PM March 21st – 7AM March 22nd). There are a few exceptions however, such as not being allowed to use anything over a “Class 4” weapon, which isn’t defined. The big exception is that it is still illegal to target certain government officials. Bullshit, right? This period of lawlessness is called the purge.

In this world, crime, unemployment, and other societal ills have dropped to astonishingly low levels, by U.S. standards. In The Purge (2013), it’s generally accepted that the purge is creditable for these changes. The argument in the first installation is: Do the ends justify the means? Is it worth it? Is letting people take out their aggression on others without reprimand acceptable?

Purging sacrifice
Purging sacrifice, “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014)

In The Purge: Anarchy, the moral quagmire is that the purge isn’t just the government’s way of letting people blow off steam, but that it is in fact designed to reduce the population of people society deems undesirable. Those who are weak and defenseless, the poor, the sick, the elderly, and anyone else unable to defend themselves during the 12 hour onslaught make easy pickings for the hordes of “purgers”. The rich, with their fortress style mansions (explained in the 2013 film), and private security, are practically untouchable. Naturally, government officials (class 10 or higher) have exempted themselves from the annual purge.

The Anarchy touches up on issues of class warfare, racism, greed, genocide, and a plethora of other issues and cleverly dresses them up as an action/suspense movie.

Audiences probably noticed there was no Ethan Hawk in this movie. It was a sequel, but the film centers around an entirely new lineup of cast and characters. It takes places a year after the first events. Whereas the first movie took place in white bread Suburbia, Anarchy takes place in a completely difference setting: Urban America.

I knew nothing of the cast before I watched the film. Once the movie picked up the pace, I immediately recognized Frank Grillo (Captain America: Winter Soldier, Prison Break). Grillo does an amazing job playing a grieving father whose son was killed, who is looking to enact his revenge on the night of the purge. He carries most of the major action scenes and shoot outs, and keeps the story grounded.

Frank Grillo in "The Purge: Anarchy" (2014)
Frank Grillo in “The Purge: Anarchy” (2014)

There is a couple on the edge of divorce that gets stranded in the middle of the city shortly before the beginning of the purge. Call me paranoid, but if I lived in this world, I probably wouldn’t leave my house on March 21, and if I did it’s because I was hundreds of miles in the middle of nowhere in a bunker, and armed to the teeth – or in Canada.

We also have a mother and daughter. The mother is harmless, and hardworking to support her family. Her daughter, despite having good intentions and probably being the most morally incorruptible of the cast, had me shouting “Shut the fuck up!” every couple minutes throughout the entire movie. Luckily you can scream out loud when you’re in your own car.

All said and done, it was definitely an entertaining, nail biting, thought provoking, and worthwhile film. Anarchy was to The Purge, as Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones was to the prior Paranormal films in the franchise. Each of the latest incarnations taking on more of an urban, gritty tone.

Was it enjoyable? Absolutely. Not only was it as good as the first movie, but it was better and very different. Will The Purge franchise turn into the next Saw or Paranormal Activity, where audiences can expect a new sequel every year? Will the studio use the backdrop of the annual purge to address other societal concern and controversial issues? For enjoyability, I give this movie a solid A.

Did it deliver what it advertised? The trailers were a little misleading, and omitted a lot of the finer points of the movie. Did it deliver as advertised? Yes, it did, and much more. Again, Anarchy gets an A.

Would I see it again? I might buy the DVD, but not the Bluray. Given the chance I would definitely watch this movie again, and would gladly welcome a third installment.

Lucy: Movie Review

Disclaimer: Being as this is my first movie review here, I’ll give a quick disclaimer. I’ve read some pretty nasty movie reviews from professional critics. They can really tear into a movie, even pretty decent movies. They can give a movie a piss poor rating simply because they disagree with it, not because it was a bad movie. So here’s what’s important for me:  Was the movie enjoyable? Did the movie deliver what it advertised? Would I see it again in theaters and/or would I buy the DVD?

I caught this movie Saturday night, on July 26, 2014 at the Santee Drive in Theater. With the windshield nice and clean, and some sour licorice, I was ready to rock n’ roll for the first movie of our double feature (with the second title being: “The Purge: Anarchy”)

Universal Studio’s “Lucy” 2014

With Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman as front runners, you’ve got some wind in your sails. We’re about to see two A list actors who’ve dominated the silver screen in their respective Marvel and DC movies in the past several years.

As you could have taken away from the trailer, “Lucy” is about a girl Lucy, played by Scarlet Johansson, who through a series of unfortunate events has a bag of mysterious substance sewn into her belly by criminals bent on smuggling them to be used as the next hardcore party drug. Misfortune befalls her again, and the substance leaks into her body, transforming her into something special. The movie circles around the idea of what would happen if humans could utilize more or all of our brain’s capacity, and what that entails.

Right from the get go the movie smells a lot like “Limitless”, in that a hapless person finds themselves mixed up with seedy people, and a man-made substance intended to be used as an illicit street drug ends up turning the protagonist into a quantum computerized UFC fighter.

Limitless seems much more plausible, in that by using more of our brain, or using our brain more efficiently, we can retain and recall more knowledge, and better utilize it. We could also better hone and take advantage of our senses, detecting things we would have otherwise ignored, all the while still functionally and personally remaining human.

Lucy takes this a step further, proposing that if we could use more of our brain, in addition to all of the above, we would develop all new senses, and a plethora of new abilities, including but not limited to telepathy, telekinesis, time travel, and much, much more.

Scene of Lucy altering digital data
Universal Studio’s “Lucy” 2014

There wasn’t really an antagonist. Early in the movie the title character proved that she is more than capable of taking care of herself, even when severely outnumbered against hardened bad guys. Because of this, it’s like watching a kid who is stepping on ants, and expecting you to root against the helpless ants. When the main character is virtually unstoppable, it takes some of the fun out of it. This is even explicitly mentioned in the movie, when a secondary character aiding Lucy states that he is useless to her, and that she should continue without him.

It has enough cool Jason Bourne-esque fight scenes, shoots outs, car chases, and multi-lingual prowess to keep you entertained, even if the story itself doesn’t do the job. Johansson plays her script well, though her character is robotic and hard to cozy up next to. Thankfully Morgan Freeman’s character was present, and lent some much needed humanity and morality to the movie.

Essentially the movie boils down to do the idea that if you ingest enough blue Jell-O you will not only be able to utilize 100% of your brain, but also become omnipotent and devoid of emotion.

Was it enjoyable? Not really. As stated, the only enjoyable parts were the action sequences, which would be served better by a dedicated action movie. For enjoyment factor, I give this movie a B-.

Did it deliver what it advertised? Absolutely. A sci-fi movie about people using 100% of their brains is what they put down, and what the viewer picks up. In this regards, Lucy gets an A.

Would I buy the DVD? No. Straight up no. I probably wouldn’t bother watching it on Netflix either.

Can you f*#&ing believe that guy?

The name says it all, but before I launch into some diatribe, what’s the deal?

I’ve wanted to start a website or a blog or something to vent for years and just never really got around to it. Every once in a while I’ll be perusing some web article or shared post on facebook and want to lash out at the screen. If I had purchased the warranty that the Geek Squad guy recommended, I might have thrown my computer out a window by now. But cooler heads prevailed.

I caught myself getting into arguments with friends on facebook, or better yet, strangers on news websites. What a waste of time, right?

We’ll the kicker I suppose is that some people think I’m an asshole for having the audacity to speak my mind. Apparently, I’m offensive. Newsflash to me. Not really.

But not offensive like “Your mother’s a whore” offensive. I don’t say stuff like that. More like “I have an idea that you disagree with, therefore you think I’m an asshole.” That kind of an asshole. So I mean, I’m not really an asshole in the traditional sense of the word, and definitely not in the literal sense, but more in the contemporary, people-need-to-stop-getting-so-uppity sense.

That’s where the name comes from. I feel like I have some good ideas, but I’m not always so politically correct about how I express or share them. I also cuss like a sailor and am not overly concerned about people being upset by my comments or sense of humor. These days, I almost feel compelled to use people’s reaction to my ideas as a measuring stick of their validity.

If after reading my blogs, people are saying “Can you fucking believe that guy?”, I’d consider that a win.

So don’t be dismayed or discouraged from reading my other blog posts. I’m actually a really nice guy, and I’ll be the first to line up if you ever need help moving.

Sane rantings from an insane dude.