Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) — “No one talks to my friends like that.”

Ooga chaka, ooga ooga ooga chaka, Rocket is the coolest racoon ever!

I didn’t really know what to expect from Marvel’s latest. I don’t read comics, so all I know about Marvel is from all the Avengers, whom I really and truly love.1

What those films really won me over with, was the humor. Guardians takes it to a whole new level, though — I’ve never heard the theatre laugh so loud, and so much. Halfway through the scene where all the Guardians meet, I leaned over and told my friend, “this is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.”2 I guess that this threw some3 people off, but I had so much fun with it that I don’t even mind. It was actually kind of cool, to have a film that is all kinds of epic but has unconventionally many laughs.

Another great thing are the characters. Rocket is in a whole league of his own, but his relationship with Groot and the rest of the world is wonderful; Zoe Saldana lands one of the greatest female superhero roles there are, which I’m eternally thankful for, and Drax has unexpected depth to him. Star-Lord is a talking and walking cliché, but he’s a lot of fun and doesn’t cross any borders. His playlist is awesome, by the way!

Guardians hits and misses with two things for me — gets a bit too messy and hard to follow, which is easily solved by just accepting that there is a whole loud background noise going on; but harder to ignore is that at times, it becomes enormously cheesy and sappy, and it’s not fun to watch. Long, emotional speeches and stories of past? Get out. Not interested.4 It distracts, but in the end, the time spent laughing tops that, and that’s what I will remember from this film. And the characters.

Rocket wins, though.

1 I used to think Iron Man is really hot and the PTSD made him even more admirable. You want mature opinions, you come to this blog, right?
2 Alright, I was exaggerating, but only a bit. It’s the funniest thing I’ve seen ever since the Lemmons scene in The Wolf of Wall Street. I almost pissed my pants — had this scene come in half a coke cup later, I would’ve done it for real.
3 weak
4 But damn, how sweet was “We are Groot”? Almost made it worth the sap.

Six Degrees of Separation Blogathon

My nephews with whom I hang out at summer vacations every year (besides this one, because they’ve grown up and apparently want to work) used to watch MTV a lot. I sat there, too. I could survive it all.

Until one dreadful night.

They had discovered Jersey Shore. I don’t like reality TV, but that was something different. Something much, much more horrifying. And that wasn’t the end. Next summer, they were watching Geordie Shore. I had forgotten about the horrors imposed on me. All that came running back to me when m.brown of the ever-cool Two Dollar Cinema passed me the baton on  the Six Degrees of Separation Blogathon. Connect Shirley Temple with Pauly Shore.

One could understand my mistake, right? It was like a bad dream. Until, a few nights ago, I looked up that new version of Jersey Shore. Well, turns out, Pauly Shore is an actor who’s been in many films that m.brown has probably seen. My bad. (I think he might be his favourite actor, too.)

Well, here goes, my contribution to Nostra’s awesome relay:

  • Shirley Temple and Michael Sheen were both in Shooting the Hollywood Stars.
  • Michael Sheen was in Frost/Nixon with Sam Rockwell.
  • Sam Rockwell was in Seven Psychopaths with Christopher Walken.
  • Christopher Walken was in At Close Range with Chris Penn.
  • Chris Penn and the magnificent Pauly Shore were both in Pauly Shore Is Dead!

Wasn’t this fun? Sure hope the lovely Sofia at Film Flare will find this challenge as much fun (and maybe a bit less confusing) than I did! Sofia will show you how Pauly Shore and the beautiful Elle Fanning are connected.

And again, my apologies to anyone who consider mr. Shore an idol. (I think there is one person. And he’s reading this blog. Maybe two?) I almost put a halo on him.


12 Angry Men (1957)

I’ve been lazy with my blind spots, and after watching 12 Angry Men last night, that fact made me very sad. That film was so cool — what if I hadn’t chosen this one, had watched the other films on my list and just forgotten about it? This film blogging business gives and gives, why don’t I take? I’ll review all fourteen films on that list before the year is over. Maybe there’s something there that will click as well with me as this film did.

12 Angry Men is about a jury meeting. Funny thing is, we don’t know the case before they start discussing it, even though we see a glimpse of the court room. This is where you first notice how genius the writing is — you understand everything, the story doesn’t become jagged as we get insights into the case. This film doesn’t half-ass anything, doesn’t even try. The twelve men soon turn into identities. Just like in jury court, everyone is equally important.
Writing is what I want to rave about here most, because I was so impressed, but since all actors delivered stellar work, I have to mention them, just as I have to say something about the cinematography. Man, that film had some great people working the cameras, because it was smooth and beautiful and the long, uninterrupted takes were something out of this world. There were many uncomfortable close-ups, as it tends to be in older films, but they didn’t bother as much as they usually do. It’s a miracle of its own, how well the film has aged.
The whole watching experience is a thing of beauty, really. The dialogue, which is nearly everything in this film (there’s a lot of standing up, sitting down, smoking and wiping sweat), is witty and never bores. Stereotypes are crushed, and for the audience the lessons of patience, impact of our words and actions, and looking things closer are perhaps even clearer than to the characters. It doesn’t happen often anymore, but this film really has a morale. And it’s a good one.
It almost feels like theatre — like the beginning was characters taking their place, like they had done this many times before, rehearsed it all time after time, until everything was perfect. I can’t put in words how impressed I am, and if you haven’t seen 12 Angry Men, do yourself a favor and watch it.
The Blind Spot Series is a blogathon led by Ryan at The Matinee, where the aim is to watch an essential film every month. You can find my choices for 2014 here.

(On…) A Life Update

I. I have been back home for almost three weeks and everything is super confusing.

II. That notion deserved a separate point, you know. I rarely get what my life is these days. It took me a lot longer to get my hands on a computer than I expected, and I have been sick with a cold for the better part of the time I’ve been back. (I got a beautiful laptop though, so I can finally promise to post regularly! Laptops are a gift from god!) So what did I do? I went to the cinema on my first day back (and Maleficent was awesome), watched a whole lot of Shameless and found a lot of comfort in cold medicine and early seasons of Two and a Half Men, even saw Mamma Mia! again. It was wonderful, and holy shit, there were so many innuendos I missed when watching it when younger. I also read a lot. And somehow managed to meet with many people and go to a lot of parties, before I was sick and after I got better. It’s been crazy and it’s been a lot of fun. I’m honestly happy.

 Not sure if anyone keeps track, but I’ve been the worst with Blind Spot Series. I have seen a few of the films, I just haven’t reviewed them. Once life settles down a bit (August, maybe?), I’ll tend to all the stuff I’ve neglected, but I’ve kind of given up on the idea that I’ll have even one day I get to spend a day on catching up to everything. I’m always stealing snippets of time from here and there. (Right now, for example, I should be sleeping before I get up early to go surfing, but I really owe this post to this blog.)

IV. I was gone for what, less than a month, and WordPress has already redesigned everything. I’ve been staring at the new format the whole time I’ve been writing this post, and I think I like it. It looks good and clean.

V. Thanks for your attention, and see you guys soon, and more often for the rest of the summer, aye?  :)