Paul McGuire Grimes of Paul’s Trip to the Movies gives us his take on the new Avengers movie and one he thinks is worth streaming.
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (theatrical release)
All of our favorite Marvel characters have all banded together for the first time to take on the ultimate villain, Thanos, portrayed by Josh Brolin via motion capture technology. Infinity War picks up with Thanos and his army of minions capturing a space station carrying Thor, Loki, and the Hulk. Thanos is looking for the tesseract which holds one of six infinity stones he’s looking to get his hands on. His massive golden glove holds the power once all six stones are set in place. The stones represent six different elements: time, reality, space, mind, power, and soul. If you’ve been following along with every other movie, you may remember that these stones are in hiding for this very reason. The time stone is guarded safely around Doctor Strange’s neck, but when the Hulk is transported back to New York, Strange and Iron Man know something must be up. What the Hulk doesn’t know is that the Avengers separated ways following the events of Captain America: Civil War making this new mission against Thanos a bit complicated. One of the other stones coming into play is embedded into the forehead of Vision who’s off in hiding with Scarlet Witch (Olsen). Thanos and his swarm don’t make it easy for any of our heroes who are forced to make life-altering decisions in order to save their loved ones and the galaxy from Thanos’ reign.
-Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Brolin, Chris Evans, Tom Holland, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman
-The 19th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s best to remember that this is the first in a two-part Avengers movie. It’s best to go in with the right expectations knowing that it doesn’t have your traditional standalone feel and will end with a major cliffhanger. There’s an incomplete feeling to it given its overall trajectory.
-The writing team does a great job of bringing thirty characters together oftentimes pairing them with other characters they’ve never met before. For example, this is the first time Thor is meeting the Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s a lot of humor that comes with the various introductions. Due to how they are grouped together with their own subplots, we only really get each character a fraction of the time that we’re used to and then clamoring for them to hopefully be united as one army by the end.
-The film comes with a hefty run time of two and a half hours, yet the directors know there is no time to waste and get the ball rolling with an explosive opening. Thanos makes his presence known, and we get our first taste of the fatalities at hand. There’s really no slowing down from there, and the runtime flies by faster than expected.
– Josh Brolin does a fantastic job at bringing Thanos to life via motion capture without drowning under the motion capture. He’s a brutal and unapologetic villain and is given an emotional backstory with Gamora that drives this story.
-The end leaves you wanting more as there are far too many questions left unanswered.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Buckle up Marvel fans
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
WILD, WILD COUNTRY (streaming release)
The city of Antelope, Oregon is a small quiet spot in the middle of nowhere. Everyone knows each other and gets along. I’m sure we can all picture or have been to a place like this. The residents are working class, many are retired, and love the fact there’s a certain degree of being alone. In 1981, an outside group bought a 60,000-acre ranch in town much to the surprise of the local residents. What proceeded was a massive intrusion of mobile homes and trucks as a commune of people rapidly ascended into Antelope. The head of this group is a religious guru named Bhagwan Rajneesh and his secretary Ma Anand Sheela. Bhagwan appealed to intellectuals with practices of meditation, yoga, and sexuality. He wore long white robes, while others wore red, orange, and yellow fabrics. It was Sheela’s idea to move his followers from India to America to build this new city. The residents of Antelope became livid as this “sex cult” started taking over their town. As the members of this group grew and outnumbered the Antelope residents, it became a fight for ownership of the land as the longtime residents tried to draw out the new community in any way they could.
-Six part docu-series now streaming on Netflix. Each episode runs about sixty minutes. Many will want to binge it, as it’s a head scratcher. I let it savor, as it was almost too much craziness for one long sitting.
-People who love and/or are fascinated with religious movements, cults (Scientology!), or how a city and community is formed will want to check this out.
-The documentarians really get you to side with the Rajneeshes at the beginning by showcasing this group in a very spiritual and loving light. You start to feel like you could belong to this group.
-As the series progresses, you start to question many of the behind the scenes antics at the hands of Sheela and some of the other leaders.
-From the first episode, you know that Bhagwan has since passed away and this new community in Antelope has since been demolished. It’s puzzling to watch it knowing and guessing what would be their ultimate downfall.
-It begs to audience to contemplate religious discrimination and what the difference is between a cult or religious movement and how they differ or seem less valid compared to centuries old traditions of Christianity or other religions.