Original concepts are few and far between these days. It isn’t that they don’t exist, it’s that they aren’t marketed like remakes, reboots, and adaptations. It doesn’t mean there aren’t people still pushing the boundaries of filmmaking, and finding new ways to tell compelling stories for the sake of art. It’s just that the public rarely sees the films that push these boundaries. Are audiences blind to new compelling media? Yes and no. Your average person watches film to escape from their everyday life, and usually want something familiar. Boyhood is a bit of a conundrum, it has the familiarity of life, but the sincerity and the lack of a defined plot will keep it from becoming a financial success. People will likely feel the film too closely captures real life, even though that is exactly the point.
In 2002, Richard Linklater set out to make a movie about growing up, which on the surface may not seem like an incredible undertaking, but make no mistake, it is an incredible feat in filmmaking. Rather than rely on special effects and multiple actors to tell the story of a boy in a short period of time, Linklater had the idea to film segments of the film over a twelve year period using the same cast. It’s an incredible commitment that pays off in the film, as we see a young boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his family evolve throughout the years. There isn’t one definable plot thread throughout the film, and instead we focus on a number of important pieces of Mason’s life. We see him struggle through school, deal with an alcoholic step-father, find his passion, lose his first love, and many other moments. The film never creates shocking moments that are meant to be plot devices to move the story along. Are there shocking moments? Sure, but they aren’t defining moments of the film. The defining moments are the small moments where you see just how much the boy you’ve been watching has changed.
Most industry insiders were a bit baffled a few years ago when Marvel announced they were putting Guardians of the Galaxy into production. Even with Marvel not owning the rights to many of its top franchises, surely weren’t there better choices to help expand the Marvel cinematic universe? Even more baffling was the choice of hiring James Gunn to write and direct the film. Gunn wasn’t known as a big budget director; in fact Gunn got his start in B-movie heaven, Troma Entertainment. Many people, myself included, thought Marvel was heading for disaster. After a second viewing of Guardians tonight, I can say without reservation that my pessimistic thinking was as far off the mark as one could imagine. Marvel has hit a home run that should result in one of the biggest releases of the year.
Guardians of the Galaxy follows Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), a self-described outlaw by the name of ‘Starlord’ as he attempts to navigate a wide galaxy. The film opens with Peter being abducted shortly after his mother’s death, with only the clothes on his back, and his trusty Walkman at his side. The film catapults 26 years into the future where Peter is now calling himself ‘Starlord’, and is a skilled thief in search of a mysterious orb. Unfortunately for Peter, this is no ordinary orb and is being sought out by Thanos (Josh Brolin) and Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), two of the most feared aliens in the galaxy. Thanos quickly dispatches his cybernetically enhanced daughter Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to recover the orb. Getting in her way are bounty hunters Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a foul-mouthed racoon, and his muscle Groot (Vin Diesel), a giant tree with a limited vocabulary. Rocket, Groot, Peter, and Gamora have a beautiful fight for different motives that lands them in a high security prison. It’s only at the prison that our merry band begins to bond after figuring out the orb Peter has stolen is much more valuable than any of them could have imagined, and they must do anything to keep it out of the hands of Thanos and Ronan. Upon their eventual escape, picking up a beefy over-literal alien, Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), the newly formed Guardians of the Galaxy must race against powerful foes, and deal with more power than any of them could have ever imagined.
We have a pair of “His & Hers” action movies on Episode #52 as Lucy and Hercules get Reel Spoiler-ified. (That’s a word now.) Also, joining us on the show all the way from the internet it’s Alexis Rhiannon. Alexis is the entertainment editor for a snarky website called Crushable.com. And you know how we love the snark ‘round these parts.
And if all that isn’t enough of an enticement, um…we hated both movies.
So join us, won’t you? Revel in cinematic hatred of subpar films.
It’s Reel Spoilers #52 – Lucy and Hercules.
You’ve been warned.
Starring: Tom O’Keefe, Blake Fehl, Kevin Brackett
Run-time: 1hr 5min
Dwayne Johnson is the hottest action star in Hollywood, and with good reason. His good looks, out of this works physique, and his captivating personality has made him a hot commodity in Hollywood. All those attributes are on display in the Summer action fare Hercules.
The Brett Ratner directed film may not please mythological purists, but it’s a hell of an action film. While Hercules was known for his 12 labours, it’s apparent that Ratner didn’t find then important enough to focus on in the film. I admit, I was looking forward to seeing Johnson fight a lion, but if you have seen the trailer for the film, you’ve seen most of that battle. Instead, Ratner focuses on Hercules mission to protect Lord Cotys and the land of Thraces. Due to that focus, the audience gets an actionpacked, violent ride featuring Johnson destroying everything in his path. Throw in a little comedic humor from Ian McShane, who plays Amphiaurus, and you get a fun, summer popcornflick.
Scarlett Johansson stars as Lucy. One of my big problems with the film is that we are introduced to Lucy at the beginning of the film when her douschebag boyfriend handcuffs a briefcase to her wrist, forcing her to deliver it to a group if Chinese drug dealers. Lucy winds up getting knocked out by the drug dealers, waking up to find they have surgically implanted a bag of synthetic drugs in her abdomen.
The action scenes are nothing to write home about, as Johansson’s character is so unlikable, some of the audience was actually rooting for her demise. Besson drops the ball, as there is no emotional connection between Lucy and the audience. I couldn’t have cared less what happened to her. In fact, she comes across as more of a sociopath than anything.