Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Movie Review: "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" (2017)

Family Matters.

2014's Guardians of the Galaxy was a delightful surprise, and even though its inevitable sequel can't quite recapture that initial thrill of discovery, it still delivers plenty of the same kind of zany personality, irreverent zingers, nostalgic pop culture awareness, colorful CGI eye candy scenery, and retro soundtrack shenanigans that made the first Guardians so much fun. To be perfectly honest, I went to see this for 2 main reasons: Rocket and Baby Groot (still adorably tiny and twiggy but now out of his flowerpot and capable of locomotion), and on that front the movie delivers in spades.

The gang's all here again, along with some new characters, including an alien who looks like an Oscar statuette come to life, Chibs from Sons of Anarchy trading in his leather jacket for Ravager gear, a girl with antennae, and a figure named Ego who really, really, really lives up (or down) to his name.

The plot has its up and downs, and there is one detail arriving late in the film that is as unnecessary as it is horrifying and jarring. Still, the whole movie looks so darn pretty with bright, eye-popping fantasy CGI that its flaws are forgotten in a second. Besides, all it took was the next shot of Baby Groot to make me forget my complaints. Seriously, though, keep an eye on the film's overarching meditation on the meaning of family and loyalty.

As always, sit through all the credits.

Mad Minerva gives Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 a grade of B+.

RottenTomatoes gives the movie the bona fide Fresh rating of 81%.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 runs 136 minutes and is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action/violence and some language.

Here's the trailer: 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Fun: "Star Wars" Theme on Accordion

Since the space opera celebrated its 40th birthday this week on May 25, here's something relevant: 

Food Fight: Who Gets to Cook Ethnic Dishes?

This is ridiculous. Give me a freaking break.

Syria: Its Breakup is a "Fait Accompli"

So says Foreign Policy.

Movie Madness: Ranking Tom Cruise Movies

I thought this was hilarious not only because ranking movies is always an exercise in amusing subjectivity but because the writer flat out announces with endearingly brutal honesty:
"Anyway, with news of a coming Top Gun sequel, it hit me that, although I’m not a particularly big fan of Cruise, from that day until this one, I’ve seen virtually every movie he’s appeared in. I’m sure I’m not alone. And because I will do virtually anything to avoid writing about Donald Trump or Russia or Congressional Budget Office scores, I correctly ranked them for you."
Since I too have been refusing to engage in political blogging because the quality of ostensibly professional journalistic coverage has been utterly absymal, I would much rather talk about movies!  Here's the (very entertaining) ranking of every Tom Cruise movie.

Let's point out a few recent personal favorites, shall we? Here are my grades with links to reviews.
  • Edge of Tomorrow (2014): A
  • Almost all the Mission: Impossible movies. I gave 2011's Ghost Protocol an A-. I didn't get around to writing a full review of 2015's Rogue Nation, but that's an A (with a huge shoutout to Rebecca Ferguson and a nod to Simon Pegg and the great Ving Rhames).
  • Tropic Thunder (2008). The flick itself gets a B overall, but Cruise's turn is amazing.