Today’s Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Note: I actually saw this movie on the Thursday before it officially came out (July 31st), and I was part of its $94.3 million opening weekend. I’ve just been dragging my feet in getting this review up, pending a potential second viewing, but instead decided to check out the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot instead.  

Of the many movies that have been released so far this year, Guardians of the Galaxy was probably my most anticipated movie. Not because I am/was familiar with the characters ahead of time, but because I was interested in seeing a movie that I had little knowledge. Even though the stories of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Transformers: Age of Extinction, for example, were new stories, it was still relatively easy to see where those movies would end up, especially considering the previous movies in their respective series.

But Guardians would be different; though I knew the general premise of the movie from reading a little about it and from the trailers, it ended up being something slightly different than what I was expecting. Because of this, it is definitely one of the best Marvel Cinematic Universe movies released to date, and it has me excited for some of the “deep cut” Marvel movies that are coming over the next few years. While DC Comics/Warner Brothers continues to struggle to build its own cinematic universe, Marvel/Disney  have shown how you can turn even lesser known characters into box office gold.

(Minor spoilers ahead) Continue reading “Today’s Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)”

Today’s Movie Review – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

As a child of the ’90s (for the most part), I missed out on many of the original Planet of the Apes movies. And since most of them were, from what I have seen, cheesy movies with bad costuming, I don’t think that I have gone back and watched even the original Planet of the Apes from 1968. I think my basic understanding of the plot comes from one of two sources: the horrible 2001 Tim Burton reboot and the classic Simpsons episode “A Fish Called Selma,” where Troy McClure (RIP Phil Hartman) gets back in Hollywood’s good graces by marrying Selma and playing Charlton Heston character in the stage musical version of Apes. Some of the best songs ever in a Simpsons episode, even if you can’t really find them on the internet anywhere.

Nevertheless, I am fully invested in the series reboot. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of my favorite movies of 2011, and I saw a lot of movies that year. I don’t usually like James Franco, but he brought just the right amount to that film, but the true star was Andy Serkis as Caesar, the main ape of both films. The art of motion capture doesn’t really receive enough credit in today’s movie landscape, but maybe that perception will start to shift with the great “mo cap” performances in Dawn, though Serkis was nominated for, and won a few, minor film awards for his performance as Caesar in the first movie and other previous movies, including a couple of the Lord of the Ring films.

(Minor spoilers ahead) Continue reading “Today’s Movie Review – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)”

Today’s Movie Review – Transformers: Age of Extinction

Sometimes, movies come along that are just meant to be fun, a chance to escape from the often mundane day-to-day life that we often finds ourselves. We shouldn’t expect these movies to be good, and if we do, we will probably be disappointed. Not every movie will be worthy of praise from those that love movies, but just because we watch a movie that some “film snob” views as beneath their perfect film taste. All of the Transformers movies have been like this, and Transformers: Age of Extinction is no different.

Continue reading “Today’s Movie Review – Transformers: Age of Extinction”

Today’s Movie Review – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Note: Instead of reviewing movies as I see them, I will simply publish a new movie review every Friday with a movie that I have seen recently or one that is on my mind. I don’t know if I’ll be seeing a movie every week, but I have seen enough movies that I haven’t reviewed that I can fill in the gaps. Spoilers are contained below, so if you haven’t seen the movie, please feel free to come back after you have.

Wes Anderson’s movies are quirky and probably not for everyone. Sometimes they are a little too quirky and of the wall, but ultimately things seem to come together in the end. His latest movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, definitely meets this criteria, and is probably best enjoyed by fans of his work. While not his best movie – I personally think that The Royal Tenenbaums wins out – it was enjoyable and a fine piece of film making.

Like many of Anderson’s movies, the story takes place in a fictionalized version of our world: The Grand Budapest Hotel is in the Republic of Zubrowka, a “European alpine state” that appears to be located in the Eastern Bloc in this world, as it is rife with war and poverty. The hotel was once grand, but is now old and run down, and the story centers on Young Writer (Jude Law) seeking out some history about the hotel. He meets the hotel’s current owner Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), who tells him the story of how the hotel came to be in its current state. Continue reading “Today’s Movie Review – The Grand Budapest Hotel”