I missed loading up my reviews for last week, so this is a blend of two weeks of films and two separate podcasts. In Episode 38 I review last week's three films and Episode 39 is this week's with Guardians of the Galaxy.
By the way, if you are not a member of my Gang newsletter, then you should jump in now because I'm about to launch a competition this week giving away a Kindle Fire and a bunch of books, along with a Kindle Unlimited six month subscription.
Click or tap the button to join.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL.2 ✪✪✪✪ Opened April 27th
The first Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014 was a breath of intergalactic fresh air. Part of the Marvel family, the anti-heroes who accidentally found themselves saving the galaxy provided the situational comedy fizz that has been quickly evaporating from the other Marvel franchises.
This sequel has been on many people's must-see list, including mine, for the past few months. From the opening scene where the cutest creature you'll ever see, Baby Groot, hip-hops to ELO's Mr. Blue Sky, to the CGI'd Kurt Russell, to the razor-sharp repartee between the leads, I was in love with Volume 2. Five stars I was thinking in the opening scenes.
By the time we'd moved to the middle act, there was less hip-hop and too much of the usual naval-gazing exposition where we learn what the Kurt Russell character Ego is all about. Here I was throwing around 3.5 to 4 stars. There's some rather dumb scenes where Ego explains his history to Peter Quill's/Star-Lord. Instead of just telling him he demonstrates using what look like store-window dummies. There's corny and then there's cornball.
However, throw in another couple of Groot scenes, where I was so close to shouting, "Please no more, he's too cute and I can't take it," and I was back up to four again. If I ignored all the patchy moments in the second half, I could almost give it a 4.5 for the two Stan Lee cameo's alone. But I'm a tough old reviewer and I gotta save a star for the truly remarkable films I know must be coming. Still it's a 4 star for the fun and baby Groot, and one of the most entertaining four star films you'll see.
Great music. Tick. Witty. Tick. Fun Fights. Tick. Baby Groot. Aww. Hug!
P.S. Stay to the very end of the credits. There are five extra scenes in total and the last two are the best.
Film Blurb The Guardians of the Galaxy leap back into action in this Marvel Studios sequel from writer/director James Gunn. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi. The team struggles to keep its newfound family together as it tires to unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage in the outer reaches of the galaxy." Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan and Michael Rooker and Vin Diesel's voice as Groot.
GOING IN STYLE ✪✪✪Opened April 20th
As a fellow reviewer commented, this is a forgettable film and about what you would expect from three aging, sorry aged actors in a remake. I don't have any problem with older actors, especially these three plus the addition of Anne Margaret and Christopher Lloyd, but it's the script where I struggle. Why does that have to be doddery and aged too? The running joke of them being old, quickly becomes as tired as the characters claim to be.
In saying that, I wasn't bored and certainly not the worst film I've seen this year. I'll scrape it in at a three star for sentimental value. Several people who came with me to the screening actually 'loved' the film. You might too so, as I always say, watch the trailer and if it looks like your style then give it a go.
Oscar winners Morgan Freeman ("Million Dollar Baby"), Michael Caine ("The Cider House Rules," "Hannah and Her Sisters") and Alan Arkin ("Little Miss Sunshine") team up as lifelong buddies Willie, Joe and Al, who decide to buck retirement and step off the straight-and-narrow for the first time in their lives when their pension fund becomes a corporate casualty, in director Zach Braff's comedy "Going in Style." Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, the three risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.
BERLIN SYNDROME ✪✪✪✪ Opened April 20th
An Australian/German production, Berlin Syndrome is quality Australian drama. We've seen abduction and hostage films like Room, but this is a little different and certainly shares a cautionary story about backpacking and trusting strangers.
There is something particularly creepy about this film and even visceral. Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies) gives a strong, in-depth performance as the Aussie traveler who enjoys a holiday fling with the wrong person. I'm sure this is one story I will not forget, which is saying something for me.
Most people coming out of the screening commented on how good the film was but that they never wanted to see it again. I suspect some of the intensity will be lost on a small screen. Well worth a visit to the cinema. If you have teenagers might be a good idea to show them as an education in not trusting everyone you meet, no matter how charming and good looking.
While holidaying in Berlin, Australian photojournalist, Clare meets Andi, a charismatic local man and there is an instant attraction between them. A night of passion ensues. But what initially appears to be the start of a romance suddenly takes an unexpected and sinister turn when Clare wakes the following morning to discover Andi has left for work and locked her in his apartment. An easy mistake to make, of course, except Andi has no intention of letting her go again. Ever. Starring Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt, Emma Bading Lucie Aron and Matthias Habich
THE FINEST HOURS ✪✪✪½ Opened April 20th
This film has been previewed as much as Lion, which means the film company wants to create a buzzing word of mouth for a film that may not look exciting enough for people to spend their money on
Good publicity move because the buzz is spot on. This is one of those lovely British films based on a true life story that delivers the laughs, the poignant moments and Bill Nighy. Honestly I'd watch Bill Nighy in anything. If you enjoyed Trumbo, Lion, Hidden Figures then this is definitely your cup of tea with it's lovely blend of strong characters, snappy script and fascinating history.
The year is 1940, London. With the nation bowed down by war, the British ministry turns to propaganda films to boost morale at home. Realizing their films could use "a woman's touch," the ministry hires Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) as a scriptwriter in charge of writing the female dialogue. Although her artist husband looks down on her job, Catrin's natural flair quickly gets her noticed by cynical, witty lead scriptwriter Buckley (Sam Claflin). Catrin and Buckley set out to make an epic feature film based on the Dunkirk rescue starring the gloriously vain, former matinee idol Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy, About Time, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2, Pirates of the Caribbean). As bombs are dropping all around them, Catrin, Buckley and their colorful cast and crew work furiously to make a film that will warm the hearts of the nation. Also Starring Richard E. Grant and Jack Huston
I hope you're enjoying my website. You can subscribe now and receive an alert whenever there is a new post. So you never need to miss out on the weekly film reviews or any news.
If you've arrived here as a fan of my stories, please join my Wonderful Readers' Club to receive these page turning books as a welcome gift.