Here we go again again…
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
When I watched the trailer for this film I thought ‘meh’. When I read the plethora of outstanding reviews for this film I thought ‘meh’. When we had nothing to do on Saturday that apathy turned around slightly into a ‘meh, why not?’
I’ve previously recorded my love for Chris Pratt way back in my first series of reviews. He’s brilliant, and has an enthusiasm that sucks you in without even knowing it, and it’s on display again here.
After little-to-no way of character introduction we’re off into space on a crazy adventure that’s a bit like Indiana Jones meets the Avengers meets the Usual Suspects sans Keyser Soze– although I’ve just realised that if I saw a review go with that description it would probably steer me AWAY from a film.
That’s not the case with this one, and it’s hard to say why. It follows a storyline that doesn’t really break any boundaries, but it’s still highly enjoyable. From the battle between good and evil itself to the endearing characters with individual redeeming qualities to the WELL WRITTEN SCRIPT (for the most part) and even the more-than-expected levels of comedy, it enthrals throughout.
That being said, there is one fairly irritating part of the film to me (spoiler alert) – are we truly expected to believe that this kid would wait until AFTER facing certain death, 25 YEARS AND MILLIONS OF MILES OF SPACE TRAVEL AWAY, to open a package that his mother gave him on her deathbed all that time before? Surely, in some way, shape or form, the desire to open the plainly wrapped package he’s had since he was 4 or 5 would have got the better of him in 25 years. Are we ALSO expected to believe that, not only does his walkman still work somehow (AA batteries at a galactic servo no doubt), but he installed a CASETTE PLAYER into his fucking spaceship? And that, when they build another at the end, the other guys were able to source one SO FUCKING EASILY? Like CASETTE PLAYERS are in unlimited supply in the far-more-advanced outer reaches of space? Surely ONE of the many, many aliens he met in his time could have been able to provide him with a more up-to-date means of listening to his freaking tape. 25 years later. It took less than a decade for us back here on Earth to follow that up with the DISCMAN FFS. Rubbish. Although the tape does supply an absolutely SUPERB soundtrack to the film that just enhances enjoyment.
There’s the funny racoon, his less (intentionally) funny tree dude, some guy that should have been in The Expendables and a green woman that hasn’t got me so aroused over a colour since that time I saw the Blue Man Group (and there IS a blue man in the movie) – and somehow it all works. I’ve said it before, but with so much Michael Bay crap dominating cinema releases and earnings, it’s reassuring to know that big budget CGI and slightly-humourous action scripts don’t have to come at the cost of good writing, characters and acting. 9/10
The Expendables 3 (2014)
I spent one of my last movie reviews staunchly defending this franchise. I claimed that it was refreshing thanks to its lack of reliance on CGI, its honesty in having people actually FUCKING DIE and an all-star cast with ‘simple, but not idiotic’ writing that helped us move between elaborate action sequences.
Then I saw the third one.
For all of my previously mentioned reasons, my hopes weren’t exactly high, and it was a good thing!
The CGI requirement is unnecessarily amplified – but instead of quality graphics we’re met with laughable green screen (IT’S 2014 FOR FUCK’S SAKE YOU LAZY BASTARDS).
The downgrade from an R to M rating means that the merciless killing and unique methods of death are PRACTICALLY NONEXISTENT, and the all-star cast is so fucking appalling they MAKE MEL GIBSON LOOK GOOD!
When Arnold tells everybody to ‘get to the chopper’ twice in less than 2 minutes you cringe so badly that a lemon would ask you ‘WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN EATING?’ Apparently a 4th one is already on the cards. I can’t wait until the scene where Arnie’s character shoots up a doctor’s office screaming “IT’S NOT A TUMOUR!”
I still (barely) stand by my defence of the first two – but this franchise reached the tipping point between making fun movies and milking the shit out of it in no time at all.
It was still better than Transformers – but that’s not saying much. 3/10
The Angriest Man In Brooklyn (2014)
I know that technically my Robin Williams reviews ended with the last one, but had this film not been brought to my attention late-on I might never have known it existed.
Williams plays a full-blown asshole who is told he has 90 minutes to live. It’s a moderately flimsy premise, yes, but that’s not really what the film is about.
Our protagonist was angry before he found out he only had 90 minutes left, and despite his numerous attempts to achieve the finality he believes will bring him closure, something always gets in the way and it’s back to being angry. He even tries to kill himself, only to be foiled again.
It’s a simple enough story, told well. It leaves you with a surprising amount to think about afterwards. If you knew that you had 90 minutes before you died, what would you do? More importantly, would the universe let you do it? Would you try, with that final 90 minutes, to change who you are, or were? Why? Would it really change anything? Would you feel injustice, or ripped off, if you didn’t get to do it? If you hadn’t known, you would never have felt it. Would you expect someone to suddenly care, or forgive you for a lifetime of shittiness, or even just one act, because you discovered that you were dying? If you didn’t KNOW you were going to die you wouldn’t give a shit, so why now? Then there’s the issue of anger, too. How do you know what someone else is going through?
That’s only scratching the surface, too. Despite the premise, conceptually it’s a beautiful film – and there is a lot of humour, with a stuttering James Earl Jones creating a scene that is so hilarious it will stay with you.
The performances are great. Williams brings a real honesty to the main character as a grumpy old man who is just SICK of everyone’s shit, which one again makes you feel a bit sad when you consider recent events. Mila Kunis plays a doctor with her own problems who also has a deadline for redemption – a redemption she would never have had to achieve were it not for her own actions.
It’s hard for me to describe this film accurately. Does it stand out as a work of cinema? It’s nice but I don’t really think so. It’s what this movie does (or doesn’t do) to you AFTER watching it that really makes the difference. It did for me. 8.5/10