Tag: Chris Pratt

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

by on May.14, 2017, under Movie Reviews

guardians of the galaxy volume 2Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a blast, go see it. Let me just start with that…

So, ok, it picks up soon after the first film leaves off ultimately landing on Peter Quill being united with his long lost father, Ego. Now, there’s a lot more that happens leading up to that as our favorite band of misfits in space has managed to piss off an entire civilization while Nebula pursues Gamora in hopes of killing her, oh and then there’s some big stuff going on with Yondu to boot. Suffice it to say there’s a lot happening in the film.

The story is multi-layered and flows well to an emotional, exciting and very satisfying conclusion. James Gunn is back as one of the writers in addition to doing an excellent job directing the film. They’ve already started working on Vol. 3 by the way and for good reason, you just want them to keep going after seeing this one.

The action and effects are at the top of their game. This particular series in the Marvel universe feels a lot like this might be their Star Wars. Well, they’re owned by Disney who owns Star Wars, but you get where I’m going. The craftmanship and design of the foreign planets the Guardians travel to all feel unique and interesting. The worlds themselves feel like they have historical value when you see them, I’d be interested in hearing the backstories they came up with when developing them, that must’ve been fun to write.

The performances from the cast are all at the top of their game. It looks like they had fun making this one given the material and the passion each actor brings to the table. The stellar lineup here includes Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel (yes, he’s Baby Groot too), Bradley Cooper (who plays the voice of Rocket), Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell and Elizabeth Debicki.

Try to catch it in the theater if you can, it’s great on the big screen. On a side note, I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed that much during a Marvel film, the humor is great and don’t forget to hang out through the credits! Marvel nerds like myself will be pleasantly surprised by the easter eggs.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Jurassic World

by on Aug.02, 2015, under Movie Reviews

jurassic worldI have to say that I enjoyed this film mostly but I can’t for the life of me figure out why it’s now the 3rd biggest grossing film of all time. It was pretty good, but I didn’t think it was that good to warrant such a high spot on the list knocking the first Avengers film down to 4th (the superior film in my opinion). So let’s examine why I feel that way, shall we?

First, the premise – fast forward after the first Jurassic Park films to the future. The dinosaurs are back only there’s no origin story, we’ve already been there. So this time ‘round we have a fully imagined dino park in the form of the attraction Jurassic World. The park takes up most of an island off the coast of Costa Rica and has been getting visitors for a few years at this point. Only now, people have a seen-that-done-that kind of attitude about dinosaurs and are looking for some new thrills as well as the usual triceratops, stegosaurs, etc. Luckily the new people in charge (as well as some faces from the past) who have taken over the park are cooking up a new breed of dino sure to knock your socks off. Unfortunately the new variant they create gets a bit out of their control (surprise, surprise), breaks free and starts ripping up the place…

Not exactly a new premise for this series of films, in fact that whole losing control of nature thing has been the theme all along for every film in the collection. So, this isn’t a movie I would classify as “original” in any way whatsoever. The real pleasure for me was seeing the dinosaurs obviously, which is usually the reason to go see the films in the first place. And I must say that the film delivers there. The effects mostly look great and the way the actors interact with them is convincing too. My problem with this particular area of the film is that there are times the effects look super digital so much so that I lost the whole suspension-of-disbelief vibe on numerous occasions which presented a distraction. With the kind of insane budget they had, you’d think they could’ve been a little better with this. Don’t get me wrong, the various creatures look pretty bad ass, especially during the big fight at the end between the new breed and the other dinosaurs she locks horns with the exception of the very end of the battle which looked very digital.

What really bummed me out was the lazy writing in this movie and the continuity issues. Along the way through the storyline the film sets these rules of existence and interaction with the dinosaurs that it just seems to toss out for it’s own convenience whenever the opportunity presents itself, even to the point of violating various laws of physics. Ultimately the film contradicts itself at various points as if it never established it’s own rules in the first place. Lazy ass writing in my book. One example of this is how Chris Pratt’s character keeps stressing that he can’t control raptors but he keeps doing that anyway even to the point of riding alongside them on a motorcycle during a hunt without them being even mildly interested in eating him, hmmmm. The there’s the whole thing about Bryce Dallas Howard’s shoe issues. She’s wearing super high heels but is somehow able to run and jump full speed through various trying conditions including wet surfaces, mud, deep grass and so on. And I mean she RUNS through these things supposedly wearing high heels, even Chris Pratt points these shoes out as being problematic but there she is anyway somehow mastering this art of high speed running in heels through mud. Again, lazy ass writing.

The directing is ok but pretty standard, nothing that sticks out as being special, just another installment in this established series without anything too new to offer aside from some new dinosaurs. The actors are all pretty good but are mostly playing cookie cutter characters. Pratt’s the smarmy hero (obviously), Howard is the hot-but-distant exec playing hard to get to Pratt’s love interest guy. Vincent D’Onofrio is the main bad guy trying to weaponize raptors (yep, he’s trying to find a military application for raptors since they are the perfect killing machines). And yes, the phrase “perfect killing machine” is used a couple times in the film as if we haven’t heard that a zillion times in these films.

It’s a fun film to catch in the theater but despite the giant dinosaurs, I can’t say it’s all that big of a deal.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Guardians of the Galaxy

by on Aug.03, 2014, under Movie Reviews

This latest installment to the Marvel movie universe offers a sci-fi action film that you can enjoy whether you’re a fan of the original comic or not. I have to admit, I was aware of the comics and the characters but I never read too much of the original series other than having comics where some of the characters were introduced. I found that it didn’t matter anyway as I knew enough backstory that I understood the in-jokes and enjoyed the movie as a stand-alone as well.

The $170M budget is well spent as the film visually is breath-taking with some very elaborate effects, great action scenes, and beautiful alien worlds. There are quite a few of those worlds by the way as the storyline jumps around a bit both in time and location making the film challenging to watch. It’s a movie I’ll need to watch a few times to pick up on more of the subtleties.

The story is solid with some great dialog that didn’t bog things down or seem out of place. There isn’t a lot of backstory for the characters which is the only weak point in terms of story telling improvements as it would’ve been nice to know more about Rocket and Groot especially. There are some bullet points in here that help fill in a number of the blank spots. Additionally, some nods to the Avengers are in here too with an appearance from Thanos (who’s being put into motion for Avengers 3).

With regard to talent, Chris Pratt does a convincing and fun job playing the lead as Peter Quill (aka Star Lord) with Zoe Saldana turning in an intense performance as Thanos’ stepdaughter Gamora. Bradley Cooper is the voice of Rocket the Raccoon, Benecio Del Toro reprises his role as The Collector, along with Josh Brolin lending his talents as Thanos. The only actor that falls a bit short is Dave Bautista as Drax with a lackluster delivery at best making him look like an amateur. Vin Diesel’s voice work for Groot doesn’t really have any kind of an impact here either. Diesel’s inclusion to the lineup seems like a waste of budget as any actor with a deep voice could’ve played that role with equal efficiency and delivery. The lineup also includes Lee Pace, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, and Glenn Close.

Guardians of the Galaxy is definitely worth catching on the big screen. And if you’re any kind of fan of Marvel comics, do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave before the end of the credits.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Movie 43

by on Feb.23, 2014, under Movie Reviews

This has got to be in the top 10 list of the worst movies ever made. Movie 43 is Peter Farrelly’s attempt at making an homage to movies such as The Kentucky Fried Movie and Amazon Women From the Moon. The film is comprised of a collection of shorts that are suppose to be humorous or outrageous or both. Sadly, it just comes off as really, really poorly written and produced…

The plots are ridiculous, it’s shocking for the sake of being shocking (the word tasteless fits in here as well) while ultimately losing its shock appeal through the terrible writing and plot design. The quality of it is what is really shocking here. The Farrelly brothers have always delivered films that challenged taste but usually had a point in there somewhere. This is just shock and cheap for the sake of being shocking and cheap but with no real rewards.

The writing is well, bad. Here’s a prime example – one of the stories consists of a date between 2 people – Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman. Jackman’s character has balls on his chin. This is the big gag. That’s right, balls on his chin. That drives the whole concept of this segment – balls on his character’s chin. That seems to be the basis for most of these segments – some cheap gag that comes off as something created for the novelty of shock value with nothing else behind it. Another story premise centers around a woman wanting her boyfriend to poop on her which serves as the main plot point while everything else circles around that idea. Wow.

The directing comes off as lazy and just going through the motions as it’s very un-imaginative and doesn’t present the material in the same fun way that other films in this style were delivered in. It looks like it was shot on a low budget and just pieced together without much effort behind it. The acting is pretty bad too as most of the actors look like they’re phoning it in to repay a favor to Farrelly. Ugh.

There’s only one thing that’s impressive here, and that’s the lineup of talent. I read several articles online that mentioned that noone helped to promote this film and some even tried to squash the film from being released. The impressive credits of actors include (besides Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet): Richard Gere, Liev Schriber, Naomi Watts, Justin Long, Halle Barre, Jason Sudekis, Patrick Warburton, Anna Ferris, Chris Pratt, Greg Kinnear, Dennis Quaid, Johnny Knoxvile, Sean William Scott, Emma Stone, Common, Will Sasso, Seth McFarlane, and more…

If you liked The Kentucky Fried Movie or Amazon Women From the Moon – watch those movies instead.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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