Mini Reviews of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 & Colossal

Hello there folks! It feels like it’s been ages since I wrote my last review, but it’s actually just a week ago. Well, I saw two Charlie Hunnam films in two weeks… The Lost City of Z and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. I really enjoyed both, the latter is enjoyable though probably not your thing if you don’t like Guy Ritchie’s frenetic style. I’ve liked the rugged Brit for some time but I’m really quite taken with him now, uh-oh. It’s not like I have time for a new crush now though, ahah, but I sure want to see more of the bloke 😉

So here’s my review of the last two recent movies I saw:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Ok so I have to admit the release of this one sneaked up on me. If it didn’t show up on the weekly press screening list I wouldn’t have known it’s coming out. I was one of the few people who think the first one was just okay, not spectacular. I did rewatch it months later and found it to be entertaining, but nothing that warrant a sequel. But hey it’s Marvel, of course there’ll be a sequel if it hits $100mil.

Well the team is back in full psychedelic color and fun retro 80s music. This time the main plot is basically to unravel the mystery of the protagonist Peter Quill’s true parentage. It might’ve been better to release this in June around Father’s Day, not that there’s anything particularly profound about the father/son bit though. It’s tough to care for their relationship when it’s so thinly written, I didn’t even particularly care for Kurt Russell‘s casting.

Just like the original, the best part of the movie is the team spirit and all the bantering between the supporting characters. I still find Rocket (the raccoon voiced by Bradley cooper) and Drax (Dave Bautista) the funniest characters, and I’m glad they seem to beef up their roles a bit more here. I’m getting a bit tired of Baby Groot, there I said it. Yes it’s cute at first but after a while it’s just meh. I also don’t find Chris Pratt all that charming anymore, or maybe I still haven’t recovered from how awful Passengers was). There’s also more focus on the sister rivalry between Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) that’s not particularly interesting. The only parts I did find quite moving is the plot involving Yondu (Michael Rooker). Oh, they also added a new character Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and her banter with Drax is quite amusing.

I feel like the novelty factor of the first movie quickly wears off. What seemed to work in the original just seems recycled this time around. Even the retro music sounds kinda meh to me. Director James Gunn & co. seem to put more effort in having a visual spectacle than an engaging story, but then again that’s kind of what I expected from this sequel. Overall, it was entertaining for two hours but nothing sticks in my mind and definitely not something I’m keen on seeing again.


Colossal (2016)

I saw the trailer on Friday night and immediately decided to see it the next day. I decided I didn’t want to know anything about it other than the trailer, and y’know what, it’s refreshing to go see a movie rather ‘blindly’ like that.

The concept for Colossal is pretty bizarre and it’s definitely ripe for some comedy gold, but I find it to be a pretty engaging drama as well. The story centers on Gloria (Anna Hathaway),  an out-of-work party girl forced to leave her life in NYC when her boyfriend (Dan Stevens) kicked her out. So she moved back home to her parents’ abandoned house, while at the same time a giant creature came out of nowhere destroying Seoul.

In the trailer it’s made clear that there is Gloria is somehow bizarrely connected to this phenomenon, and when it’s revealed how, it’s really quite hilarious! I don’t want to give too much away because I really think you should go into this movie knowing as little as possible, but there’s an interesting message about friendship and taking responsibilities for one’s action.

It’s kind of a coming-of-age moment for Gloria, and her character evolution is quite believable.  I have to admit I’m not Hathaway’s biggest fan but she is quite effective and relatable here, which makes me root for Gloria despite her obvious flaws. I also like Jason Sudekis as Gloria’s childhood friend Oscar, who’s more than just a comic relief in the movie. However I feel like his character is oddly written, it’s as if the revelation to his true self seemed to come out of left field. But at least his character has an arc whilst Tim Blake Nelson and Austin Stowell as Oscar’s friends barely registered.

Overall I enjoyed Colossal immensely. It was amusing with some thoroughly enjoyable moments. I haven’t seen anything by Spanish writer/director Nacho Vigalondo before, but I applaud his originality and wit, even if the execution isn’t perfect. The movie is so absurd at times but therein lies the charm. It reminded me of Safety Not Guaranteed, which I also saw on a whim a few years ago, with a bit of Pacific Rim thrown in.

I highly recommend this one if you’re in the mood for something out of the box.


Well, have you seen either one of these? What did YOU think?

Highlights from 2015 Wizard World Minneapolis Comic-Con

MplsWizardWorldComicConWhew, another packed weekend at Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con this year! This year I was able to make it to the Press Welcome Party at Hard Rock Cafe, which includes an advanced screening of Avengers: Age of Ultron [check out my review] We even had the Avengers cosplayers greeted us before we got in 😀

Comic Con Highlights:

We got to the Minneapolis Convention Center just before 11 am and immediately made our way to Room 101 for the WETA workshop: character creation through prosthetics, hair & make up.

As a big fan of the Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit trilogies and King Kong, I simply had to see the work of famed makeup/effects artist Warren Dion Smith. He asked for a volunteer from the audience who wanted to be turned into an Orc in under 40 minutes! A guy named Scott was the lucky winner, see below for pics of his transformation. Not only is he a master at what he does, Warren’s such a fun guy, answering a couple dozens questions whilst working on Scott. It was so entertaining to learn tidbits about his career and how he’s become longtime friends with a lot of the actors he’s worked with in various films.

During the panel, Warren said he’s worked on hundreds of Orcs, Elves, Dwarves, etc. during his time at WETA. But he’s also done other films besides those directed by Peter Jackson, i.e. Elysium, The Amazing Spiderman 2, Man of Steel, and the children’s classic remake of the 1960’s Thunderbirds are go Series.

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In between panels, Ivan and I walked around the exhibit hall… and I spotted Lance Reddick in his booth. My immediate reaction is ‘Oh that’s John Wick’s concierge from the Continental Hotel!” 

I asked one of the comic-con organizers if I could approach him and was allowed to do so. So I said hello to him and shook his hand. I erroneously thought he was also the same actor in HEROES, to which he graciously corrected me, oops!! Of course I had to ask him about John Wick 2 and he’s hoping that’d happen. You and me both, Mr. Reddick!

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That’s me chatting w/ Mr. Reddick

 

2:00-2:45 – No “bones” about it: Karl Urban

Ok so naturally I knew the Karl Urban panel would be one of the main highlights of the day. But I really didn’t know it’d be THAT much fun!

I had gone to the restroom just before the panel started and spotted him going into the ballroom through the side door. He looked just as tall and handsome as I had imagined it. He came to the stage to thunderous applause. Interesting that there’s no moderator present during his panel and really there’s no need for one. The hunky New Zealander handled the crowd and a throng of fans lining up for questions with aplomb! I’ve been a fan of his since his Lord of the Rings days where he played Éomer, but he’s since impressed me in various films like Bourne Supremacy, Star Trek, RED and Dredd. There were questions for pretty much every role he’s played, even Xena: Warrior Princess!

What strike me about Karl was how relaxed and polite he was. He thanked every single person after each question and he answered even the silliest ones like this guy who asked him if other people should all move to New Zealand. Karl thought he meant *his* people should move to NZ, and it was a hilarious exchange. One blond woman asked him simply ‘Cake or Pie?’ and even he entertained the audience by asking her what’s in the cake and the pie, before settling with apple pie.

Karl shared that he just wrapped Pete’s Dragon which was filmed in his native NZ, it’s a family adventure film that starred Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard and Wes Bentley. Sounds like a fun film!

Many of the questions were about Dredd 2 and he seemed keen on that idea and it sounds like there’s still hope for that project, woo hoo! He’s also confirmed to play Bones in the Star Trek sequel of course. One fan asked him if he’d have more screen time, to which the room cheered. I definitely think he SHOULD have more screen time, he’s so awesome in the role!

4:00–4:45 – The truth is out there: Gillian Anderson

I wasn’t going to stay for the whole segment as I haven’t really watched enough of her work to know what’s going on, but we ended up staying anyway.

Gillian Anderson looked even more beautiful in real life. She seems a bit shy and didn’t expect the huge crowd… “I thought there’d only be a 100 people in here…” to which the moderator said “Well you’re wrong, Gillian.” Clearly she had many fans being in the X-Files series.

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It’s cool that a couple of people asked about her stage work as I know she’s done some performances at London West End, including Doll House at DonMar Theatre in London with none other than Toby Stephens! She also talked about how much she loved playing Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Young Vic theatre in London. Based on a couple of brief clips I’ve seen, she can do a very convincing British accent!

One thing that made me want to watch after this panel is her British show The Fall that’s on Netflix. I had no idea Gillian was in Hannibal as well, not sure if she is still on that show and whether she’d have some screen time with Richard Armitage as Francis Dolarhyde.

 

 Michael Rooker called James Gunn during his panel

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I got to this panel rather late and when I arrived, Michael Rooker was goofing off on stage with his former Mallrats co-star Jason Mewes. The panel was apparently about the Mallrats 2, which is to be Kevin Smith’s next movie. [There was a special Q&A session ‘An Evening With Kevin Smith’ at the State Theatre on Friday].

At one point Mewes said, “Yeah man, why didn’t you get me into one of your movies?” Well, the next thing I know, Rooker suddenly took his mobile phone out and called James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy to ask if Jason Mewes could play one of the Ravagers (the interstellar group of thieves, smugglers and pirate led by Rooker’s character Yondu) in Guardians of the Galaxy 2!

Someone’s posted the video of the exchange on Youtube, watch it below:

 

You could hear Gunn on speaker phone and the funniest bit was when Gunn said “I got an even better idea. Why doesn’t he play Yondu?” Ahahaha, be careful Rooker, you could end up losing your job to Mewes! 😉

 

Favorite Cosplayers

One of the best parts about comic-con is the people cosplayer watching… and here are some of my favorites! The father-son team of Batman & The Joker is my absolute favorite, we saw them just outside the exhibit hall after they’d just finished their lunch and we just had to take a photo!! The two Dredd guys were pretty cool as well, they’re both pretty imposing in those costumes.

That was a blast! I definitely had even more fun this year than last year, definitely the highlight of my weekend! Big shout out to Wizard World PR people Jerry and Ryan for your hard work organizing this wonderful event!

I look forward to next year when Wizard World is back in town on May 6-7-8!

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So that’s my recap folks. Any thoughts on any of the actors/projects I mentioned above?