Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2- Did you know that The Guardians are part of the Marvel Universe? As in, the metaphorical universe in which all the characters are contained? That means this movie, which has a prominent character die just as they are about to become more than two dimensional, just as they become valuable or complex, exists in the same realm where Captain America can’t die in the story line based on the comic where he does die. Not only that, but it’s implied the character’s replacement will be a character played by Sean Gunn, the director’s brother. If that’s confusing I apologize but I’m trying to not be too specific. In the upcoming films, people will die. You can’t have Drax and Hulk or Starlord and Iron Man, etc. occupying the same place. That’s just too much fucking muscle and clever together. Or maybe I’m wrong and the future movies will just be a screen full of actors whose faces resemble comic book characters. No one moving and no one dying just furthering plot and merch sales.
Update: This was written before Infinity War came out and if I had put money down on the theory I’d be getting paid right now.
Update Update: Director James Gunn was just fired from the new GotG 3 film for some shit he tweeted 6 years ago. I’m not defending him, it’s just an odd world we live in. If Taika Waititi takes over I’d be fine with it.
One Good Thing: It’s a fine movie there’s lots of good but it felt kind of like Star Trek not Starlord.
The Great Illusion- Yet another movie about North Korea with which I am obsessed but when you make docs on a hermit country, there’s not a lot of new information from one to the next. I will say that these filmmakers are a bit more brazen than the others as they openly film in areas when they are not supposed to film. There’s also good insight from former party members. As per usual, I believe anyone who took part in the making of the film is now wanted by the DPRK. I think I may be wanted as well just for the sheer volume of “capitalist propaganda” I’ve seen. Come get me.
Into the Forest- Post apocalyptic dramas rarely talk about the reality of the situation unless it is convenient to the plot. They always talk about food but never toothpaste. They’re concerned with guns but not rust. You know why? Because it’s boring and no one wants their heroes to have bad teeth. That’s why The Road came and went but The Walking Dead is on Season 95 or whatever. Anyway, Into the Forest attains that realism and suffers because of it as not much happens. Power goes out and two sisters struggle to survive all the pitfalls of living in the woods. The ending hit it home for me, but it was a lot to sit through for a mildly cool pay off.
MOVIE OF THE WEEK:
In the Heat of the Night- Rod Steiger has some range. I didn’t even recognize him here because I was too distracted in how close he looked to Carroll O’Conner from the TV show of the same name. He starts off as a throw away character (racist southern sheriff) but the complexity in him builds as the film progresses. The same can be said for the powerful Poitier but even though he’s a black man in the South he starts from a much stronger position in his character. He has less room to grow so he learns but is not required to make as many changes as Steiger. Not to diminish Poitier but I’ve been pretty aware of him since childhood (Sneakers!) but Steigers is relatively new to me. Classic and a must see.
Mid-August Lunch- I came across this from a recommendation. There’s not much to say about it unfortunately other than there are small moments of humor and tenderness between the characters that seems genuine. A man who owes money takes in three older ladies to stay with him to pay off his debts. Along with his mother who already lives there he has his hands full feeding them and spends much of his time either looking for fresh ingredients or cooking them. Most can pass on this but it’s not bad by any means.
Wakefield- A man spies on his own family for an indeterminate time from his garage window. And it’s not just every now and then but long enough for him to be declared missing. That’s about all I can say here plot-wise without getting too much into it. This is a vehicle primarily for Bryan Cranston and he is enjoyable to watch as a possibly bat-shit character. All I kept thinking was that this is what happens when we are left to our own devices. It is beautiful at times, funny, and illogical.
Q: The Winged Serpent- Okay. Bear with me here. When I was a kid, I went to a daycare that had a lot of VHS tapes to watch. Stuff mainly recorded off of movie channels, labeled and put in nondescript brown cases. This was what a movie collection in the 80s consisted of. Somehow, among all the Care Bears and G.I. Joes, there was a movie from which I’ve only ever been able to recall one 10-second section. A woman is sunbathing topless on a roof and is eaten by some sort of dragon. I’ve had this blurry memory in my head for about 30 years and somehow it fell back into my lap and I actually watched the whole movie not just “the boob scene”.
There are some really interesting things happening here with live action and CGI mixed with stop motion. The main protagonist is an always down on his luck criminal who is hard to root for but there really isn’t anyone else. I liked this but it may just be deep seated nostalgia.
Gidget- I need to try and remember what this is about. A young girl goes to hang out with surf bums? There is a mix up between the two leads and throughout most of the film they are not together. In the end, they are. In between there is surfing and questioning one’s place in life. And surfer wisdom.
Patton- This is a monumental war film about the life of General George Patton and it does have amazing scenes of battle but the meat is in the dialogue and Patton’s interactions with others. He domineers and contradicts and argues all while trying to enter some mythic pantheon of great war heroes. It’s the study of the culmination of a man’s life without showing you what came before only what he has become. Karl Malden appears for the second time this year and he is an excellent actor.
The 9th Life of Louis Drax- There is a shitload to unpack here. I’ll try in one breath (deep inhale)…A kid dies at the beginning but it’s not the first time he’s died now he’s in a coma in a dream world kind of like The Lovely Bones and the 50 Shades guy is here as a sleep doctor and he’s engaged but the boy’s mom is hot but maybe she had something to do with the death that they keep flashing back to oh and the dad is Aaron Paul and he’s abusive but maybe not and he has disappeared but also might be dead (panting)…And that’s just the main plot not to mention all the side shit and flashbacks that are happening. This could have been fun or stylish but it was nothing until the very end.
One Good Thing: There is a scene towards the end that could’ve been great if it were not a last ditch attempt to explain everything.
Watch Instead: Pan’s Labyrinth