Sunday, April 29, 2018

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)


When Guardians of the Galaxy arrived in theaters in 2014, the results were unexpected. In the lead up to the film’s release, the Marvel faithful were excited but everyone else saw what looked like Star Warsclone with a talking raccoon. What we got was something that was a lot more fun than the last crop of Star Wars prequels. A sequel was inevitable, and it had a lot to live up to.


Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is still calling himself the Star Lord and is still traveling with his rag tag group of heroes. These include Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and baby Groot (Vin Diesel). Now known as the Guardians of the Galaxy they are still getting in and out of trouble but these days they do it for “good causes” like protecting powerful batteries for the golden skinned Sovereign people. But nothing goes as planned and Rocket may or may not have stolen some of the batteries and well… things go wrong.

Before you know it Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) are dragged into the mess and the Guardians are facing hundreds of deadly Sovereign ships. But help arrives when a mysterious being named Ego (Kurt Russell) saves the day. He brings the Guardians to his home world and reveals his god-like powers. Ego then claims to be Peter’s father, and that he needs his son’s help for a special mission. It isn’t long before 70s music is playing, Rocket is shouting and shooting and the galaxy is in peril again.

Good Points:
  • Maintains the fun spirit of the previous film.
  • The cast does a great job balancing humor and drama
  • Excellent visuals and productions design

Bad Points:
  • The flow of the story moves in fits and starts
  • Looking for nonstop action, you won’t find it here
  • Gets a little too self aware at times


In some ways it would be silly to expect this film to top the predecessor. We are expecting a lot from this film and it delivers on quite a bit. Lots of humor and fun for sure. But the movie feels a little too long and could have trimmed a subplot or two to make it flow a bit better. The characters are so much fun you don’t mind spending the extra time with them. Well worth checking out, especially if you enjoyed the previous film.

Scores(out of 5)
Visuals:  5
Sound: 5
Acting:  4
Script:  3
Music: 4
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 4
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)


So there is now an official Cloverfield trilogy which is blossoming into a full-blown “series” as of this writing. So far these films all share some element of surprise in their marketing. When it comes to this film, the surprise was along the lines of “where the hell did this come from?” because I didn’t know anyone who even heard this was in the works. Springing fully formed from the head of Zeus and onto Netflix we have a sci-fi horror hybrid. But is it worth checking out?


Earth is in trouble. Natural resources are running scarce and a new source of energy needs to be found. So the Cloverfield space station is launched. Using technology based on particle accelerators, the science team believes they can create an endless source of energy… they just need to get the damn thing to work.

We meet Ava Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) the communications officer aboard the station. She is dealing with some personal tragedy in her life and is finding it hard to focus on her job. She will need to focus, because a freak accident causes the station to malfunction and be hurtled to a mysterious location in space. While trying to figure out what is happening the crew realizes that they have opened a dimensional door. That caused all kinds of horrifying and bizarre things to occur. This includes finding a living person inside a wall, strange emanations of magnetic fields, and eyeballs just not behaving in sockets. As the horrors mount the crew becomes certain that they actually crossed dimensions and being in an alternate reality may create a paradox… a Cloverfiled Paradox so to speak. David Oyelowo, Daniel Bruhl, Chris O’ Dowd, Zhang Ziyi and Elizabeth Debicki round out the cast.

Good Points:
  • Some solid acting by the cast
  • Some excellent visual effects and sets
  • Manages to build up some solid thrills and WTF moments 

Bad Points:
  • Feels very disjointed and messy at times
  • The story is very, very, very familiar
  • Connections to the previous films in the series feels like an afterthought


There are elements of a top-notch sci-fi thriller buried in this movie. It’s got a solid cast that does its best with a messy script. But the whole thing feels very uneven. It also is highly reminiscent of Event Horizon and similar films. Not a bad time for lazy Sunday viewing, but certainly the least of three films currently bearing the Cloverfield moniker. 10 Cloverfield Lane is easily the superior film.

Scores(out of 5)
Visuals:  4
Sound: 3
Acting:  4
Script:  2
Music: 4
Direction: 3
Entertainment: 3
Total:  3

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

And Then This Happened... This Island Earth

If there is one thing 1950s science fiction films taught us, it is to never trust anyone coming out of a flying saucer. There are a few exceptions, like good old Klaatu from The Day the Earth Stood Still. More often than not you end up with an Invasion of the Saucermen situation.

Sometimes you get to meet cool aliens with lumpy foreheads (before Star Trek made that a thing) and unusual wildlife (larger of course and with a higher degree of intelligence). But then there is the technology, and believe me, that technology is always something to see. This Island Earth has some pretty neat looking devices including the famed Interocitor. But just what the heck is this thing? I think we need a caption for it.

And then this happened...

Friday, April 6, 2018

Score Sample: Quigley Down Under (1990)

It has been a while since I featured some music from the Western genre on this blog. I'm not a big fan of Western films in general. There are some good ones out there for sure, but as a whole they just don't do too much for me.

But the music is another story all together. There have been plenty of great scores for Western films. Of course Ennio Morricone leaps to mind with his scores to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and many other spaghetti westerns. But you also have classic Hollywood Westerns featuring scores by Alfred Newman, Elmer Bernstein and of course Jerry Goldsmith.

But I'm gong for something a bit more recent. Basil Poledouris is best known for his wonderful score to Conan the Barbarian, but the composer became one of the few who kept getting pulled into scoring the few Westerns that came out in the 80s and 90s. One of my favorites from Poledouris is the score to Quigley Down Under. It has the classic Hollywood Western sound in the main theme, but Poledouris adds some banjo and ragtime rhythms to the piece that just makes it super memorable. The whole score is a lot of fun, but seriously the main theme is one of the best of the 1990s.

So enjoy the Main Title from Quigley Down Under composed by Basil Poledouris.