Film Friday #192

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

On the day of his mother’s death, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is abducted from Earth by a spaceship full of Ravagers, who scour the galaxy stealing treasure and selling it to the highest bidder. Twenty-six years later Peter or Star Lord, as he is attempting to get everyone to call him, is almost killed while attempting to retrieve a mysterious orb from the abandoned planet Morag. Realising how valuable the orb must be he decides to bypass his boss, Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) and sell it direct to The Broker (Christopher Fairbank) on Xandaria. Yondu is none to pleased and puts a bounty on Peter’s head, attracting the attention of Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a sort of raccoon and his companion, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), a humanoid tree who is only able to say, “I am Groot.” At the same time Ronan, The Accuser (Lee Pace) is also after the orb and sends Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the adopted daughter of Thanos (Josh Brolin – uncredited) to track Peter down. When these three parties converge on the treets of Xandaria things get ugly and they find themselves in prison surrounded by people who would quite like to get rid  Gamora since her adopted father and boss are both genocidal maniacs who have been wiping out their friends and families left right and centre. None is more angry than Drax, the Destroyer (John Bautista). He is prevented from killing Gamora at the last minute when he discovers that she has betrayed both Thanos and Ronan and intends to sell the orb to The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) for an unfathomable amount of money. Now these five misfits must work together to break out of prison and to broker the deal but when they find out just what exactly is inside the orb they’re going to have to look deep within themselves to find a courage they never had and take on responsibility for saving the galaxy. Guardians of the Galaxy looks amazing and has a great sense of humour. It never takes itself too seriously and the banter between the characters is excellent. That said, bits of it are really under-developed and I found myself asking lots of questions, like why is Groot so devoted to Rocket when Rocket is kind of mean to him a lot of the time? And why did Thanos do loads of experiments on Gamora and her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan)? What was Ronan actually so angry about? There are surface explanations for these questions but I wanted to know more. It felt like John C Reilly playing a Xandarian policeman was underused as was Del Toro. I also thought they could have made a lot more out of the fact that Drax’s people are completely literal because when they used it it was so funny. Overall it’s a good summer blockbuster but I can’t get on the bandwagon that’s treating it like the second coming and it’s come nowhere near X-Men Days of Future Past or Edge of Tomorrow in my books. 3.5/5

You see me rolling... you hate it...

You see me rolling… you hate it…

Aliens (1986)

Fifty-seven years after the happenings of Alien, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) awakes from hypersleep back on earth. No one wants to believe her story about what happened on LV-426 and a colony has been set up there to work on reatmosphering the surface. When communication with the colony is lost, Carter Burke (Paul Reiser) convinces Ripley to join him as a consultant on a visit to the planet to find out what has happened to the colonists. Although they are accompanied by a team of heavily armed marines, Ripley’s apprehension is proved correct when they discover that all but one of the colonists have been turned into a host for an army of aliens. Ripley rescues the final survivor, a little girl nicknamed Newt (Carrie Henn) and the group attempts to stay alive long enough to be rescued. It’s not going to be easy though, especially when they haven’t even seen the worst the aliens have to offer and the Company is obsessed with preserving the alien. My brother and I had a bootleg copy of Aliens growing up and I swear we spent one summer holiday just watching it everyday, because it’s that good. Once again Weaver puts in a compelling performance as the tough, forthright Ripley, made vulnerable not only through the PTSD she suffers after surviving LV-426 but also through her connection with Newt. The action is genuinely gripping and exciting and the marines are given enough personality to make you care about their fates. This is particularly evident from Pvt Hudson (Bill Paxton) and Pvt Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein) and Cpl Hicks (Michael Biehn), with whom Ripley appears to have a frisson of romance. The aliens are bigger and scarier than before and the body horror is ramped up to an even greater high with some really disturbing chest explosion scenes. As much as I loved AlienAliens is the one I would still end up rewatching and rewatching. Brilliant. 5/5

Did you ever get the feeling there was a giant two mouthed alien behind watching you?

Did you ever get the feeling there was a giant two mouthed alien behind you?

Alien3 (1992)

A fire causes Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) escape pod to crash on a prison planet , instantly killing Newt and Hicks and almost destroying Bishop. Here she is confined to an infirmary under the watch of prison doctor, Clemens (Charles Dance). The prisoners are part of a skeleton crew who have decided to remain on the planet as part of their religious beliefs, which prevent them from interacting with women, so needless to say the warden wants to keep her as far away from them as possible. Ripley is understandably paranoid that she might have brought an alien with her but no one wants to believe her, even when one of the prisoners is killed under suspicious circumstances. However, when it becomes evident that there is in fact an alien on the loose the Company is contacted to perform a rescue but Ripley doesn’t trust their motives and a life or death cat and mouse game ensues. While Aliens is a very worthy successor to Alien with Alien3 the wheels fall off a bit. It’s not surprising considering that the production was plagued with problems. Director David Fincher pulls the heart right out of the film by killing off Ripley’s “family” and leaving her defending a group of interchangeable cons who it’s hard to give two farts, never mind an actual shit about.  Considering the caliber of actor involved (Ralph Brown, Charles S. Dutton, Pete Poselthwaite), so much more could have been done with the characters and it’s just not. The only interesting character is Clemens [SPOILER ALERT] who also unnecessarily bites it really early on. I also struggled to understand why Fincher shied away from any actual sex scenes between Ripley and Clemens. Surely even a bit of passionate kissing would have helped to demonstrate their connection better than them happening to wake up in bed together fully clothed. Anyway, it’s all just a bit of a sad mishmash and not watching it wouldn’t take anything away from the Alien experience. Meh. 2.5/5

Ripley wished the aliens would practise better oral hygiene

Ripley wished the aliens would practise better oral hygiene

Girl Most Likely (2012)

Kristen Wiig plays Imogene, a failed playwright living a glamorous life in New York with her boyfriend, Peter (Brian Petsos) mixing with a group of high society friends. When Peter dumps her and she loses her journalist job in quick succession, Imogene decides that a good old suicide attempt for attention is in order. Peter doesn’t turn up as expected and and she is released into the care of her mother, Zelda (Annette Bening), a compulsive gambler who is dating a supposed CIA agent known as the The Bousche (Matt Dillon). In Imogene’s absence, Zelda has turned their New Jersey home into a kind of boarding house where Imogene’s former bedroom is being rented out by Lee (Darren Criss). Imogene and Lee have a lot in common since his promising singing career and Yale education have amounted to him performing in a Backstreet Boys tribute band. Since Imogene was a child she and her quirky brother, Ralph (Christopher Fitzgerald) have believed their father was dead but when this turns out not to be true, Imogene decides it’s time to find and confront him, while at the same time confronting her own failures in life. Girl Most Likely has a pretty good cast but falls flat. I found it hard to connect with Imogene and Bening somewhat overdoes Zelda’s zaniness. The whole thing is just long and tedious, which is unfortunate because it feels like it could have been good. Criss is the one little light as Lee and comes across as charming and sexy and it’s easy to see why Imogene finds him attractive. It’s less easy to see why he finds her attractive though. 2/5

I'm so bored by my own film that I have fallen asleep

I’m so bored by my own film that I have fallen asleep

10 Comments

  1. theipc

    Honesty!! YES!!! GotG CAN’T be as good as some people are spouting off about.

    Love it! Great post!

    1. Yes. Yes it can, Eric. Guardians of the Galaxy rules. But you’ll hate it. ; )

      1. Abbi

        I liked GOTG but it didn’t blow me away. Fortunately Aliens is always a winner and yeah… we need a new Princess Bride.

  2. Nice post, Abbi. I’m just gonna wait and rent it. 🙂

  3. Aliens is my favourite too!

    Plus i find Kristen Wiig incredibly sexy!

  4. Great reviews! Totally agree on GOTG!

  5. Great work lady. I really don’t think I am going to be seeing Guardian of the Galaxy. Nice to see you are a little more objective than most haha.

    1. Abbi

      People are treating it like it’s the second coming. It’s a decent summer blockbuster but I don’t think it’s a standout. I think you would enjoy it and it’s visually worth watching on the big screen but it’s not going to be the worst thing if you don’t bother.

  6. Hehe. Glad you liked it but I’m definitely on the Guardians of the Galaxy bandwagon. ; ) LOVED it! Actually was really really disappointed with Days of Future Past. : ( But we sure as hell agree on Aliens! If I could take just three movies to a desert island, that’s one of them. And The Princess Bride. LOVE IT! Why can’t they make ’em like that anymore?!?! : )

  7. Well, you saw how I feel about Guardians. Freaking loved it! Sorry it didn’t quite live up for you, lady! I must agree with you though–not quite as good as DoFP. That is definitely the superhero film of 2014 for me. 🙂 Believe it or not, I haven’t seen any of the others…including Aliens! But it is literally sitting on my desk right now, and I cannot wait.

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