Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy
Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman
Based on: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning‘s comic
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, Peter Serafinowicz, Sean Gunn, Stan Lee, [and – see if you can find them: Emmett Scanlan, Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof, Josh Brolin, Seth Green, Lloyd Kaufman]

Plot:
When Peter (Chris Pratt) was a little child, he was abducted by aliens. Now he is a smuggler, always looking for the next thing he can steal and sell. But his latest acquisition is also sought after by Ronan (Lee Pace) aka The Destroyer – which does not bode well for Peter. Ronan sends assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) after Peter and at the same time bounty hunters Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) try to collect the price on Peter’s head. In the ensuing confusion they are all arrested, which in turn forces them to work together – first for the money, then to keep Ronan from realizing his destructive plans.

I was really looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy. The trailer looked good. The first reviews were very promising. The cast was great. I was counting down the days to its ridiculously late Austrian release. And then finally it was time to see the film and… it was a mess. A sexist, boring mess.

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Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Based on: Rick Riordan‘s novel
Sequel to: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Cast: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Douglas Smith, Leven Rambin, Jake Abel, Anthony Stewart Head, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Fillion, Yvette Nicole Brown, Robert Knepper, Grey Damon, Ron Perlman, Octavia Spencer, Craig Robinson

Plot:
After his success with Zeus’ lightning bolt Percy (Logan Lerman) has yet to have another big success, much to his chagrin and Clarisse’ (Leven Rambin) enjoyment. But then things get quickly out of whack: Percy’s half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith), a cyclops, shows up. Camp Half-Blood is attacked by the not-dead-after-all Luke (Jake Abel) and its magical barrier starts failing. It’s Clarisse who gets tasked with finding the Golden Fleece to save the camp, but fueled by a prophecy Percy, Tyson, Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) go on the same quest.

Sea of Monsters, much like the first film, was pretty nice the most time, but also ultimately not great or awesome. There is nothing really wrong with it and it did have a great supporting cast, but I didn’t connect with it all that much.

percy_jackson_sea_of_monsters

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Monsters University (2013)

Monsters University
Director: Dan Scanlon
Writer: Dan Scanlon, Robert L. Baird, Daniel Gerson
Prequel to: Monsters, Inc.
Cast: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren, Peter Sohn, Joel Murray, Sean Hayes, Dave Foley, Charlie Day, Alfred Molina,
Tyler Labine, Nathan Fillion, Aubrey Plaza, Bonnie Hunt, John Krasinski, Bill Hader

Plot:
Ever since he was a little kid, Mike (Billy Crystal) dreamed of becoming a scarer. Even though he’s not particularly scary, he applied himself and got into Monsters University. But competition is fierce and there are just some scarers who seem more naturally suited to the task – like Sully (John Goodman). The two of them quickly become rivals, until circumstances force them to work together.

Monsters University was nice. It was not as good as the first one, but the sequels rarely are. And it had enough good things to keep you very entertained.

MonstersUniversity

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Super (2010)

Super
Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn
Cast: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, Nathan Fillion, Linda Cardellini, Gregg Henry
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
Frank (Rainn Wilson) has a pretty crappy life. The only thing he really loves about it is his wife Sarah (Liv Tyler). And then Sarah leaves him for the shady Jacques (Kevin Bacon) and Frank’s life completely falls apart. While watching some religious propaganda, Frank has an epiphany: he will become a superhero, save Sarah and win her back that way. Thus Crimson Bolt is born, despite Frank not really being the heroic type. So it comes as no surprise that things start going wrong very quickly.

Super is a to me rather controversial movie. It’s like Kick-Ass but with a morale I can agree with even less. If it wasn’t for the ending – and the way the audience around me reacted to it – I’d say that it’s pretty damn perfect. But as is, I have to show some more restraint.

[MAJOR SPOILERS]

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Slither (2006)

Slither was written and directed by James Gunn and stars Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Gregg Henry, Tania Saulnier and Michael Rooker.

Plot:
A meteorite crashes in the woods close to a small town. The rather unpleasant Grant (Michael Rooker) stumbles upon it and is subsequently taken over by the alien that came with the meteorite. The alien uses Grant to make his plan of world domination happen, which at first mainly manifests in Grant hoarding and eating loads of meat. Grant’s wife Starla (Elizabeth Banks) and the town sheriff Bill (Nathan Fillion) notice that something is wrong and try to find out – and stop – what’s going on.

Slither is an amazingly funny send-up of and homage to B-movie horror comedies. It’s gory, but never really scary and I just laughed my ass off. Best seen with friends and probably alcohol, but it should definitely be seen.

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Various TV Related Things

  • After my initial hesitation, Dollhouse won me over. It started with them having The Middleman (Matt Keeslar) [OH MIDDLEMAN, WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DIE?] on the show (Episode 2) and in a role that’s quite the opposite of his Middleman role. And then, at some point in Episode 3 they really had me, which is mostly due to Dichen Lachman and the way the overarching plot is going.
  • I finally caught up with Doctor Who (I tried not to watch Season 4 too quickly because then I’d have to be longer without any of it). And people, people… I’ve cried my eyes out! [SPOILER] How could they get rid of Donna Noble (Catherine Tate)? She was the coolest of the companions EVER! And then not even let her remember any of it? That hurts, that really, really hurts! [/SPOILER]
    But after the bumpy start I had with David Tennant (because I’m just a Christopher Eccleston fan), I’ve grown to really, really love him and will sorely miss him and now the next doctor is going to have a bumpy start. And the circle continues.
  • I watched the first episode of Castle. It has potential, but it starts off rather clichéd. If they can give it a bit more of a twist, it can be really good. Because Nathan Fillion is one of the few people who can do saucy (and I love him for it).
    Although it’s another one of those shows where they have the rational woman teamed up with the quirky man.
  • I also watched the first episode of The Mentalist. I don’t think that this one will keep me watching. I’m not much for police shows and you really have to give me characters I love to keep me watching (see The Closer). I don’t think that this will be the case here. But I might give it another try.
    And again, it’s a show with the rational woman and the quirky man teamed up…
  • I started watching Lost… I’m at the beginning of Season 1 (Episode 9) and have been for a while and I seem to be missing something – I don’t see the greatness that is supposed to be this show. Does it get better? Does it have a slow start? Or should I save myself time and stop watching?
  • In not so newsy news: I finished Black Books and oh, why does it have to be so short? How I Met Your Mother continues to be awesome. 30 Rock continues to be awesome. Are their any other shows along those lines? SitComs, which are actually funny?

Okay, that’s it. You know now that I spend WAY too much time watching TV shows. Anything you can recommend or would like to warn us about? Comment away!

This warm, fuzzy feeling…

I just watched Waitress. Now that is a happy feeling film. You know, one of those that leave you with this warm, fuzzy feeling in your belly and make you smile uncontrolably…

Adrienne Shelly was not only a good director (I especially liked the scenes where Keri Russell aka Jenna always has the same facial expression during five or so different takes), she also was a very good writer. The dialogues are beautiful, funny and witty. Do I need to say more than: “I was addicted to saying things and having them matter to someone.”?

There are some actors I like and am always kind of glad to see, although they mostly chose crappy movies and/or roles to play and this movie had two of them: Jeremy Sisto (ever since Clueless) and Nathan Fillion (ever since Buffy). It was nice to see them doing a good film for a change.

Perfect.