Our movie guy, Paul McGuire Grimes of Paul’s Trip to the Movies, shares his review for the first big summer movie kicking off the Summer Blockbusters.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (theatrical release)
Chris Pratt leads our group of Guardians as Peter Quill/Star-Lord alongside Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, feisty Rocket, and the adorable little tree Groot who are fighting off a gigantic slug with razor sharp teeth on the planet of Sovereign. Despite killing the slug they find themselves in quite the bind with the High Priestess Ayesha of the planet where everything and everyone is gold. Gamora is confronted with her sister Nebula who has a bounty placed upon her on another planet. There is no love lost between the sisters. Meanwhile, Rocket steals some coveted batteries on the planet sending Ayesha off attacking the Guardians as they try to flee. The Guardians crash land on another planet barely escaping Ayesha’s warriors. They’ve also been followed by another ship through this portal. The pilot of this mysterious vessel is Ego, Peter’s father whom he hasn’t since childhood. His guard is up and not ready to trust his father who left his mother many years ago. The question remains as to why Ego has taken it upon himself to find Peter all of a sudden.
-Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Kurt Russell
-Writer/director James Gunn, who also conceived the first film, reminds the audience why the Marvel Cinematic Universe sets itself apart from the DC movies. I sat back with a big grin and chuckled along as it never takes itself too seriously
-The script is full of pop culture references and the catchy rock soundtrack is back as Peter turns on his cassette of “Awesome Mix 2” for inspiration.
-Like most sequels, everything is bigger and more lavish in Vol. 2. This is that rare example where CGI and special effects were used exceptionally well to the point where I was never distracted by it. The costumes, make-up, and production design are exploding with color and texture in every frame. They fit right in the galactic tone without looking cartoony.
-There are plenty of dynamic action sequences yet none of them felt like they were dragged out for too long like we’ve seen in some of the Marvel or DC movies.
-Stakes are higher for the Guardians as they need to reaffirm the role family has in their lives
-It starts to feel a bit long and stretched out in the middle due to various storylines which has our team is separated for too long. It regains its momentum once a big character reveal occurs.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? Will no doubt please fans, but also those growing tired of the genre
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
SPLIT (home release)
Director M. Night Shyamalan had a string of hits thanks to some creative storytelling that involved surprise endings. Some feel he lost touch and hit a rough patch after cranking out flops like The Lady in the Water, The Happening, and After Earth. He’s officially “back” with one of his best in years. Split is as suspenseful as many of his early films. Three teenage girls are kidnapped and taken hostage one day when a mysterious young man carjacks them. He’s played by James McAvoy who shuts the girls in a random room that appears to be connected to other rooms as they care peer through a crack and see what is happening on the outside. What the girls and the audience come to find out is that their kidnapper suffers from multiple personality disorder. Each time their greeted by him, he could be a little boy named Hedwig, an older woman named Patricia, or any of his other 23 personalities. Split is a suspenseful ride as the girls figure out how many of his personalities are in on the kidnapping or if they can use one or some of them to their advantage.
-Written/Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
-Starring: James McAvoy, Betty Buckley, Anya Taylor-Joy
-The Silence of the Lambs meets 10 Cloverfield Lane. Remains suspenseful throughout as you never know which of the personalities will appear next and how/if the girls will make it out safe.
-Shyamalan throws in that classic twist ending that he’s known for, but it doesn’t feel gimmicky. There’s also a callback to one of his previous movies. He’s stated that he is open to making a follow up sequel.
-Psychologically scary and suspenseful, but wild fun at the same time thanks to James McAvoy’s performances. He’s clearly having a wicked good time without turning to camp or melodramatic acting styles.