Archives for posts with tag: zoe saldana

Grade B+

The Guardians Of The Galaxy are back in Vol. 2, which focuses on who and what the father of Chris Pratt (the leader of the “G.O.T.G.”) is.   On the run from petty, golden colored creatures, the Guardians run into a man (played by Kurt Russell) who saves them and explains to them that he is a Celestial being — basically a god, virtually immortal with great powers.  Pratt, always wanting to know who his father was and why he was abandoned, now has an answer to his questions, as well as someone he can yell at for being an absentee father.

It isn’t long before father and son hit it off; but Russell hides a secret that may rip the Guardians apart and destroy the Universe.   As if that wasn’t bad enough, the golden colored creatures and other assorted enemies make their appearances at all the wrong moments.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2” is the scene when a major character makes the ultimate sacrifice to save a loved one.   It almost brought a tear to my eye.

If you loved “Guardians Of The Galaxy,” you will like this sequel.  It comes close to reaching the quality of the first, but comes up a bit short.  The jokes are more numerous but some feel forced and aren’t that funny.  Some of the action sequences also feel too cartoony; but overall I very much enjoyed “G.O.T.G. Vol. 2” with its irreverent humor, nods to the 1980s, and sentiments to family and friendship.

— M

 

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In a poor, working class, Pennsylvania town, two brothers (played by Christian Bale and Casey Affleck) struggle to make better lives for themselves.  Bale seems to be on a good track to achieving a bit of the American dream, working hard, staying out of trouble, and having the love of a good woman; but a small mistake leads to an accident that derails his life.  Affleck, a soldier in the US Army, has gambling problems and suffers from PTSD due to his combat tours in the Middle East.

Now out of prison, Bale has lost much, but continues to fight for what little he has.  Affleck has lost some of his sanity overseas, and takes part in illegal fighting to make money to pay off his gambling debts.  But Affleck doesn’t just fight for money, he does it to deal with his inner demons that have haunted him since his overseas deployment.  A tough fighter who never quits and isn’t afraid of anyone, Affleck wants a match that has a big payday so he can clear his debts and start fresh.  Well, he gets that match; and it sets him on a collision course with a vicious gangster played by Woody Harrelson, who will forever alter the lives of the two brothers.

“Out of The Furnace” is a grim story of brotherly love, the damage that war does to soldiers, men who feed on others for money, and how working hard and doing the right thing can still lead to failure and suffering.  Depressing, yes; but it’s a good movie filled with heavy hitters like Bale, Affleck, Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, and Forest Whitaker.

One of my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Affleck fires up his car — a classic, Oldsmobile Cutlass, I think — and revs up the engine, giving the audience an earful of that loud, beautiful exhaust that 8 cylinders produce.  Damn the gas prices and noxious crap that comes out of the exhaust pipes, that 8 cylinder rumble is music to my ears.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Out Of The Furnace” is the opening shot of the movie: rows of cars facing the screen of a drive-in movie!  Yes, Americans, they still exist!  I happen to go to one of them on a regular basis, and I always feel like a kid going there.  It’s a bit of a time warp, feels like a dream, and for about 3 and 1/2 hours (they play double features) my worries are gone.   Now, tell me what else is out there that can give you all that for $9?

— M

My red car parked near the screen of a drive-in movie theater.

My red car parked near the screen of a drive-in movie theater.

Chris Pratt plays an Earthling who was kidnapped as a boy by aliens; and now he cruises the galaxy as a hard-partying, rock and roll listening, smart-ass, fearless hustler who comes into possession of an orb that secretly has the power to destroy worlds.   Naturally, creatures from all parts of the galaxy want to take the orb, either to use it to destroy worlds, or to sell it to the highest bidder.   To make matters worse for Pratt, he also has a bounty on his head.

Enter Bradley Cooper, who plays a talking Racoon with a short temper, and Vin Diesel, who plays a tree-like creature with deadly powers and a very big heart.  Together, Cooper and Diesel are a team of bounty hunters who try to capture Pratt, only to be foiled by Zoe Saldana (playing a former henchwoman of a galaxy thug named Ronan) who is after the orb so she can hand it to the good guys and save the galaxy.   The ruckus the four people and creatures create in their attempts to achieve their goals leads to their arrest by law enforcement and a stint in prison, where the four meet a very large prisoner played by Dave Bautista.

Through a series of hilarious, sometimes heart-warming and often action-packed events, the motley group of five become “The Guardians Of The Galaxy” as they make a pact to keep Ronan from destroying the galaxy, even if their mission is most likely doomed.

Third place in my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Cooper is drunk, flips out and has a fight with Bautista.  Cooper points a weapon as big as his body at Bautista, ready to fry him, but Pratt intervenes.  Cooper tells everyone he’s had it with being made fun of, being called vermin and rodent, that he didn’t ask to be physically altered over and over again; but he’s going to stop people laughing at him when he starts pulling the trigger.   This added a whole new layer of depth to Cooper’s character, and this is when I really liked him.  In fact, the Cooper character is my favorite in the movie.  I see part of myself in this little dude.

Holding the second slot in my most memorable, movie moment of “Guardians…” is the scene when the Guardians are in a ship that is going to crash and will kill everyone in it.  One of the Guardians takes action that will save the others but will most likely cost that Guardian’s life.  Cooper asks why the Guardian is doing this.  The Guardian essentially says that they are all family.  It almost brought a tear out of my eye as I watched this part.

Coming in first place for my most memorable, movie moment of “Guardians Of The Galaxy” is the scene when Ronan is about to destroy a planet, and Pratt starts singing and dancing!   Ronan is so shocked at Pratt’s actions that he stops his planned destruction of this world to ask Pratt what the hell he is doing.  Pratt says, “I’m distracting you.”  Ha-ha!

Hey, some of you probably watched the trailer for this movie and thought, “this looks stupid.”  That’s what I thought, too!  Well, this goes to prove you can’t judge a movie’s quality by its trailer, because my first impression was wrong and now I love this movie.   This movie is really funny, has a lot of action, great special effects, connects with you emotionally, has fast pacing, and has a killer soundtrack.

Now I’m waiting for the Blu-ray to come down to $10, and this movie is mine!

— M

J.J. Abrams is on a roll with his second “Star Trek” movie being as good as his first.  “Into Darkness” has Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock) Karl Urban (Bones), Simon Pegg (Scotty) and the whole crew of the USS Enterprise going up against the genetically engineered, physically and intellectually superior Khan, played by Benedict Cumberbatch.   That’s right, Abrams has tackled and rebooted the story of Khan’s uprising, and he does it very well.

Cumberbatch (I hope this actor’s parents invested in martial arts classes for him, because that name invites all sorts of ass kickings in school) masterminded an explosion  in a Federation building, and an assassination attempt on many of the high ranking members of Starfleet, making him #1 on the Federation’s most wanted list.   Sent to kill him is Pine and his Enterprise crew.  You heard that correctly.  Pine is ordered to find and kill Cumberbatch.  There’s lots of cloak and dagger stuff going on here…who is really the bad guy, who is telling the truth — and how much of it — and hidden agendas and goals.  There are many surprises here that will please and shock many of us “Star Trek” fans.

One such surprise is one of my memorable, movie moments of “…Into Darkness.”  That is the scene when Urban is genetically modifying a Tribble, which explains why Tribbles multiply like rabbits, or cockroaches, or your most hated ethnic group.

Another memorable, movie moment of this title is what happens to the Pike character.   I won’t go into details, but it was a shocker for me, as it completely goes against the timeline of the “Star Trek” stories that come after the Abrams movies.  But I recall in the first Abrams “Star Trek” movie (I could be wrong, because I’ve only seen that movie once, years ago) that the events of that first movie had altered the future of the characters.  So we better be prepared for other changes in the movies that are to follow.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Star Trek: Into Darkness” is the scene when Pine is explaining to Quinto why Pine violated the Prime Directive in order to save Quinto’s life.  It is something Pine had been trying to tell Quinto throughout the movie, but he is always interrupted; and Quinto always looks confused as to why Pine did what he did.  But in this scene, Quinto finally gets it, and tells Pine “because I am your friend.”  This exchange between the two is made more powerful because of the dire situation one of them is in.

Friendship.  The adventures we have with our friends, the good times and the bad, the sacrifices we make and are willing to make for the ones we care about.  This is what brought us to all the “Star Trek” movies and shows, and keeps us coming back for more.  And I will be back for another Abrams “Star Trek” movie should he make another, because Abrams gets it.

M

During my visit of some of my friends in Virginia, I watched, for the second time, “Colombiana.”   This is one of those entertaining but not realistic action movies.   It seemed to me the writers and filmmaker just got lazy when it came to the script; and didn’t address many of the problems of the story.

For example, when Cataleya (the heroine/assassin) was being booked in a police precinct, they took her fingerprints…but not her mugshot!   And because she managed to shield her face from all the cameras in the precinct during her short stay, the FBI had a hard time finding out who she really was.   This makes no sense to me.

When I was arrested after helping to chase off some teenage muggers who were attacking my friend, the police took my picture as well as my fingerprints.   Another friend of mine who helped me chase off the muggers was arrested with me; and he didn’t have any identification (just like Cataleya, who only had a bogus library card).  My friend was told that unless someone can come to the precinct to verify his identity, he would not be released.  Cataleya was released.   I guess the cops trusted her library ID card, plus never bothered to run her fingerprints which were fake to begin with (she wore some kind of fake skin on her hands).

And for those wondering why my friend and I were arrested for chasing off those teenaged hoodlums: when the police grabbed a few of the muggers, they told the cops that we were the ones who attacked them.   And that we had knives (that part was true; and I’m glad we had knives because that’s what scared them off, and we were outnumbered by about 3 to 1).   Well, the cops rolled up on me and my friends and they found the knives on us, on came the handcuffs and into the back of the unmarked car we went.   No one was hurt during all this — except my victim friend who was pushed and shoved by the muggers — and my other friend and I were let go with a Desk Appearance Ticket after spending about 4 hours in the holding cell.   Bottom line, we both were given an ACD: Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal.  If we didn’t get into trouble for the next 6 months, all charges (rioting, public menacing, and possession of a weapon (a knife)) would  be dropped.  And that’s exactly what happened.

Here’s another example of a problem with the story.  Cataleya is killing an assortment of bad guys who are connected to a big, drug dealer who killed her parents and then went into hiding.  She hopes her killings (which includes her drawing a Cataleya flower on the victims’ bodies) will flush out the big, boss man.  And she believes that her relatives will be safe from retaliation because…I don’t know why she believes her relatives will be safe!   She was raised by her surviving relatives since she was a little girl!  Her name is Cataleya!  They called her Cataleya!  People in the neighborhood must have known about her as soon as she started living with her uncle and grandmother!  So…as an adult she lives on her own and changes her name to Jennifer…and the neighborhood is supposed to forget that for years a girl named Cataleya lived with an uncle who is a crime lord?  She’s supposed to be a trained killer.  A female James Bond, highly intelligent, plans out her moves.  Yet she gets retarded in thinking that the big, boss man will never find the people who are closest to her.

And now we get to most memorable moment of this movie:  Cataleya’s first victim that we see.   He is an incredibly ugly man.   You’ve seen commercials of Chia Pet, right?  Well, a few years later they came out with Chia Head.  It’s a head of a man, and the teeny plants will become his hair.  And Cataleya’s victim looks just like the Chia Head.  The Chia Head is disturbingly ugly, as is the actor who plays Cataleya’s victim.   His face is as smooth as the craters on the moon.  His skin is more leathery than that of Robert Redford.  Have you ever left a piece of beef on the grill for too long?  If that piece of overcooked meat had eyes and long, uncombed, greasy hair, that would be this guy.  We’re talking uglier than “El Guapo” from “The Three Amigos.”   We’re to assume Cataleya killed him because he’s a bad guy, but I think she did it so he wouldn’t pass on his defective genes to another generation.   Finally, some sound logic in this movie!

M

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