Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy

guardian-of-the-galaxy-poster1Once again I find myself being a horrible fan. I was into comic books for most of my school life, but it was something I left behind when I graduated. Not because of some pathetic urge to grow up, but because I moved on to novels. Frankly, I got tired of the formulaic garbage that was being released about fifteen years ago.

Happily, since then some rather incredible comics have been released. One of those is Guardians of the Galaxy, which straddles the edge between scifi and fantasy nicely. Super powers fall under the umbrella of fantasy, just in case you’re objecting to the genre classification.

Now, I’ll be honest, when Marvel announced that Guardians was going to be their next project…I scratched my head in confusion. I know who Ironman is, I know who Wolverine is, Captain America…etc. These are characters I’m more than passingly familiar with as my collection of Wolverine comics will attest.

Guardians seemed like a niche comic to me despite the crossovers with more established titles like X-Men and The Avengers.

I had zero desire to get acquainted with them as a result.

I mean no offence; it’s just that when comic books make it to movie they rarely stick to the comic book storylines or precepts. Despite Hugh Jackman being awesome, a six foot tall Logan being called runt by a 6’3” tall Sabertooth would be odd…even if it is a staple of their feud.

So with that and other examples in mind, I wanted to see Guardians without any preconceptions. While a comic book fan that’s woefully behind on current events, I fought the urge to read up on the Guardians before seeing this movie.

Ironically, this both served and punished me. From all reports, Guardians is very close to the comic book. Possibly closer than other Marvel movies have been. Still, the decision was made and I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy with an open mind.

I should go off on a tangent here just a bit. I’ve never been a big fan of 3D movies. I’ve found most of them to be gimmicky at best. Most of the time, it seems like 3D was added as an afterthought to drive up ticket prices and have me look like a Big Bang Theory rejected cast-mate for a couple of hours.

I was happily surprised to see that even if 3D was added as an afterthought – it largely depends on which rage-a-holic blog/newspaper you’re reading by the way, I couldn’t find a definitive answer that some knuckle-dragging killjoy didn’t tear apart – it was done superbly. As a human being, my eyes are designed to perceive depth and I really only get to enjoy that part of my human existence outside…literally outside. It’s that place that has sunburns and insects. The 3D here was done to perfection.

That being said, let’s get off this tangent roller coaster and back to the review.

I love pithy dialogue in every medium. It often misses more than it hits, mainly because people are just trying too hard to be sarcastic and it comes off as anger fueled cruelty. I don’t think there was a scene in this movie that didn’t have a sarcastic one-liner that made me chuckle. Judging by my fellow movie goers and a couple of buddies, I wasn’t alone. There were backstory filling lulls that served to build tension before the next action scene, some byplay between the characters to show their evolution into a group dynamic and of course what Hollywood movie would exist without some sexual tension between a tree and a raccoon.

I’m kidding. Chill out.

There were some moments, for those who watch movies too closely to really enjoy them, like the leader of the Chitauri getting his neck snapped by Ronan, The Tesseract as the container for the blue infinity stone and of course…Howard the Duck.

No spoilers. You have to look for him yourself. He has a couple scenes and that’s all I’ll reveal.

I will, at this point, say that as a new Whovian I did enjoy seeing Karen Gillian in the cast.

Now, the movie itself was very enjoyable. All of the elements that make me thoroughly enjoy a film were present. Believable characters, each with their own reasons driving their actions. There was a solid plot that made sense for this universe. The dialogue was amazing and the acting very well done.

It felt like someone loved this project from the conception to delivery and that very much came across to me.

That it’s a success is the cherry on top.

Movie Review – Delivery Man

I watch quite a few movDelivery-Man-UK-Quad-Posteries, I’m always on the lookout for something unique and entertaining. Despite Vince Vaughn having a long history of delivering both unique and entertaining movies, I rarely enjoy them this much. This movie was based off of a novel called “Starbuck”.

The premise here is that the protagonist has “donated” sperm 693 times (which resulted in 533 pregnancies) and made over $24,000 in the process under the pseudonym “Starbuck”. Oddly enough, this isn’t a plot hole, donations (despite the definition of the word) tend to result in monetary reward…which was more baffling than the plot hole I thought I’d stumbled upon but has absolutely nothing to do with this review. It’s just something I found odd.


Back to the review.

I absolutely loved the premise. It’s so ridiculous that you just can’t help but smile every time someone throws out the number of donations, the resulting children or the children who stepped forward to meet their father. David (Vince Vaughn) is a lovable loser who sold sperm as a scam, yet ends up coming face to face with the prospect of actual fatherhood with his on and off girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders). When presented with the petitioners who want him to come forward, or the sperm clinic to release David’s name, his best friend and lawyer Brett (Chris Pratt) presents him with an envelop with a profile for each of the children who have stepped forward.

Obviously, this movie wouldn’t be very amusing if the children were young. Each of them appear to be in their early to mid-twenties and like most young adults, each of them are finding their way. David sets off first, innocently enough, to help each of them out. But after a dozen or so, he happens upon a sort of support group for “Starbuck’s Kids”.

The way the author gets around the legality of “Starbucks” was one of those side jokes I enjoyed.

This support group exposes David to his many children and also begins to sow the seeds of his change. He ends up at a “family reunion” of sorts playing the part of the adoptive father of a physically handicaps “Starbuck Kid”, and it forever changes his perceptions of himself, his role in their lives and his role with his girl friend and their unborn child.

You can expect some tear-jerking moments of course, along with some ironic and dark humor. Ultimately though, I really felt like the movie delivered on a lot of levels. I’m glad that I stumbled across it, but slightly irritated that I wasn’t aware of it at all until I did.

The acting was fantastic, especially Vince Vaughn (David), Cobie Smulders (Emma), Chris Pratt (Brett) and Britt Robertson (Kristen). The cinematography was top notch, which is saying a lot because there were (as you would imagine) quite a lot of extras and wide angle shots.

Overall I thought it was a fantastic movie with a great story and solid acting…even if Chris Pratt’s fake gut was brutally obvious. A minor annoyance that didn’t distract at all from enjoying the movie.