Friday, September 19, 2014

Two Mini Reviews: Guardians of the Galaxy & The Skeleton Twins

Sorry readers, it's been about two months since my last post but unfortunately I've only seen two movies in that timeframe. The end of summer brings about the void of quality movies but things are about to ramp up in the Fall as most of the Oscar-Bait films are released. That being said, I'll give you two quick-hit reviews of the past two movies I've seen.

Guardians of the Galaxy is the latest entry into the Marvel cinematic universe and ended up being the surprise hit of 2014 this far. I really enjoyed the overall feel of this movie. Thanks to a killer cast led by the personable Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and the HILARIOUS Dave Bautista (in his first major role), director James Gunn was able to introduce a new set of "superheroes" to the movie-going public. Buoyed by an eclectic soundtrack that accentuates the fun on-screen and powered by outstanding voice-over work by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, you really find yourself sitting back and enjoying the action and humor. Vin Diesel makes three words go a long way in voicing the loveable & menacing Groot.  My biggest issue with the film is the scope of the world it represents. There are just way too many new characters, races, planets that are introduced here to keep track of. If things were a little less busy / confusing, I think I would have enjoyed this film a little more.  That being said, I am giving Guardians 4 out of 5 JR's as it's definitely one of the more fun movies I've seen this year.

The Skeleton Twins is director Craig Johnson's small independent look at an estranged brother and sister duo played by SNL vets Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader who each have independent brushes with death on the same day and grow closer as a result. Both Wiig and Hader are excellent in these roles and their natural chemistry carries the film. The mannerisms that Hader uses in playing a gay man in this film reminded me a lot of his character Stefon from SNL. Overall this is a fun and slightly depressing movie. Luke Wilson is pretty good as the quasi-frat husband of Wiig's character and Modern Family's Ty Burrell give a good creepy performance as a former flame of Hader's. My favorite scene of the film is a hilarious lip-syncing moment in which Hader and Wiig goof off to Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now." The movie is slow at times and really isn't overly memorable but it is worth a rental for the SNL icons' performances alone. 3.5 out of 5 JRs for this welcome slice of dramedy.

On the near horizon are a slew of films I want to see, headlined by Christopher Nolan's Interstellar and David Fincher's Gone Girl. I feel like the best of 2014 is yet to come.