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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) — Marvel’s Weirdest Team in Marvel’s Strongest Movie

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Space Avengers.

Space Avengers.

Guardians of the Galaxy is the tenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it is directed by James Gunn (Slither, Super) and co-written by Gunn and Nicole Perlman. In a departure from the highly interconnected, Earth-bound Marvel Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy takes place in a galaxy far, far away (hmmm). Peter Quill (Chris Pratt, a massive departure from Parks and Recreation) aka Star-Lord, was abducted as a child by a group of inter-galactic marauders and has since grown up as a thief and rogue. When Quill discovers an ancient orb on a desolate planet, he finds himself in the crosshairs of Kree warrior Ronan (Lee Pace), who is also after the artefact. In his journey Quill encounters Gamora (Zoe Saldana), an assassin who looks to redeem her nefarious past; Drax (former WWE Champion Dave Bautista), looking to avenge the death of his family at the hands of Thanos (that big guy at the end of The Avengers!); Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a genetically engineered raccoon with a penchant for weaponry; and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), a hulking, anthropomorphic tree and companion of Rocket. Quill must tag with this renegade group of extraterrestrial fugitives to outrun Ronan and his subordinates who are in pursuit of the orb, which holds one of the powerful Infinity Stones and the capability to destroy the galaxy.

The strong point of this film is the outlandish cast of characters. Each character has different backgrounds and different motivations, and the greatest moments come when they are interacting with each other — both clashing and bonding. The humour is never cheap either; there is never a moment where you are laughing at Rocket just because he’s a raccoon. On the contrary, Rocket is initially established as a no-nonsense, sarcastic badass, and the humour comes from the fact that he actually doesn’t realise he’s a raccoon. That’s great scripting, because the character of Rocket is established without a mention of raccoon, that point comes up naturally in the dialogue. Another great character trait belongs to Drax, as his people do not understanding metaphors, this creates some great comic banter between himself and the sassy Quill. GOTG has a level of entertaining character interactions and dialogue on par with The Avengers.

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Review: Edge of Tomorrow (2014) — Cruise Keeps Dying, Doesn’t Stop Running, in Smart and Gripping Sci-Fi Spectacle

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In the near future, alien creatures — known as Mimics — have conquered most of mainland Europe, with global domination in mind. A last-ditch assault is planned by the military: a surprise attack on France, fueled by the addition of weaponised ‘Jackets’ worn by human soldiers. After attempting to weasel out of front-line deployment, Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is apprehended and knocked out by military general Brigham (Brendan Gleeson), who dumps him with the infantry unit J-Squad en-route to the invasion. The cowardly Cage winds up in an explosion with an advanced Mimic known as an Alpha, and the Alpha’s caustic blood spills over Cage as he dies. Cage wakes aboard the same vessel on the day before the battle. Confusion sets in as he repeatedly dies on the battlefield and awakes the day before, stuck in an infinite loop. With the assistance of war hero Rita Vrataski, the “Full Metal Bitch” (Emily Blunt), Cage realises his curse may be the key to victory over the Mimics.

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Review: Gravity (2013) — Bringing Art Back to the Multiplex; an Out-of-This-World Big-Screen Experience

Gravity

From Oscar-nominated Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity is the long-awaited directorial follow-up to the filmmaker’s acclaimed and ground-breaking dystopian science-fiction film Children of Men, released all the way back in 2006. Seven years is a long time between films — especially with the buzz that Children of Men generated with audiences — but thankfully Gravity is every bit the worthy continuation in Cuarón’s stellar filmography (which also includes the best Harry Potter: The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Gravity is minimalist sci-fi at its best: veteran astronaut Kowalski (George Clooney) leads his final space expedition and finds himself guiding rookie engineer Dr. Stone (Sandra Bullock) on her first. When debris irreparably damages their shuttle during a space-walk, the duo find themselves at the mercy of the vast isolation of space with time, and oxygen, running out and obstacles mounting.

No kidding, the WHOLE MOVIE looks like this!

No kidding, the WHOLE MOVIE looks like this!

Gravity is a visually transcendent film: amongst the best looking films in the past ten years, potentially amongst the best of all time. Cuarón made a name for himself with Children of Men with his complex visual compositions and unusually long shot takes. Gravity steps this up to another level; the opening shot of the film is a staggering 13 minutes without cuts! Considering the number of camera movements in that single shot — which starts out serenely and winds up in total chaos — along with the awe-inspiring photography (courtesy of Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life), it’s no wonder that Gravity has esteemed visual film-makers such as James Cameron and Rian Johnson gushing its praises.

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Top 10 Auxiliary Star Wars Characters

This article was published on the original Sorry I’m Late.com in 2009.

Luke Miksa's: The Negative Space Bar

Thank you, Internet.

Thank you, Internet.

The Star Wars movie universe is full of diverse and interesting characters. When you add with that the ostensibly endless and grandiose expanded universe, even the most rudimentary and meaningless characters have far more depth than they really need or deserve.
With that being said let me bring to you the Top Ten Auxiliary Star Wars Characters (just movies; not Expanded Universe. If I did Expanded Universe you know that I’d include Dash Rendar. Heck yep!) that serve no real plot purpose per se, but are memorable in their own special ways. Onward reading waits…

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10
Ponda Baba

Ponda Baba

Ponda Baba, why so needlessly aggressive? Baba and his accomplice Dr. Evazan try to pick a fight with a fresh-faced Luke Skywalker in the Mos Eisley Cantina, with a translating Evazan warning Skywalker, “He doesn’t like you. I don’t like you either!” When the situation escalates, Obi-Wan’s light-sabre quickly takes care of the two gentlemen with ‘a death sentence on twelve systems’. Ponda Baba’s arm shall be missed, and this was the first example of bitches getting pwned by Jedi.

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9
Max Rebo

Max Rebo

The leader of the eponymous Max Rebo Band; the performers at Jabba’s Palace in Return of the Jedi. Memorable because the character design is honestly so simple and rushed looking that a soft, blue elephant-looking thing appears a bit odd compared to other cool creatures in the scene, such as the Gamorrean guards. Along with compatriots Sy Snootles and Droopy McCool (I’m not making these names up) the band performed the awesome song Lapti Nek which was replaced by a horrendous CG fest in the 1997 Special Edition. Boo-urns to that. (more…)

Review: Terminator Salvation (2009)

This article was published on the original Sorry I’m Late.com on 11/06/09.

Terminator Salvation

The fourth instalment of the Terminator franchise sets us directly in the post Judgment Day world of tomorrow (2018 to be exact), where John Connor (Christian Bale) is forging on as the destined leader of  the human resistance against Skynet’s robotic army of Terminators. The appearance of the mysterious Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) seemingly alters the future in which Connor was lead to believe, an uncertain outlook which leads both Connor and Wright into the heart of Skynet to save a vulnerable Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) and uncover Skynet’s secrets to take them down permanently.

Off the bat, let it be known that I am a massive fan of this franchise. Hell, I even think Terminator 3 had some strong points (some). With that being said, I found the above synopsis incredibly hard to write. Why? Well, there isn’t that much of a story to write about. Don’t think I’m saying that as a bad thing though. On the contrary, I walked into the theatre to see pretty much one thing, robots getting blown the shit up.

I got my wish. Although the ‘family friendly’ rating severely limits the amount of violence shown, especially against humans, an ‘M’ rating apparently allows to let rip on cybernetic humanoids to no end. So I guess ratings are based on violent behaviour against living creatures and not kick ass robots.

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Retro Review: John Carpenter’s They Live (1988)

This article was published on the original Sorry I’m Late.com on 22/07/09.

They Live

An unemployed drifter on the move, George Nada (Piper) finds work labouring in an LA construction site as well as discovering some lodging at a local shantytown. Soon Nada discovers that a nearby church is a front for a mysterious rebel group which possess motives of unknown nature. When the shantytown and the rebel front is bombarded and destroyed by police, Nada finds something that the insurgent group was stockpiling – rad 80’s sunglasses. These sunglasses, however, hold much darker secrets – they allow the wearer the see the world as it truly is – full of subliminal advertising aimed at controlling humans, and all at the hand of aliens living among us! A paranoid Nada is now on an unstoppable path for answers: he’s here to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and unfortunately for the ghoul-like aliens, he’s all out of bubblegum.

No-one does 80’s style B-movie classics quite like John Carpenter. A Sorry I’m Late.com favourite, Carpenter here, as always, has a message to deliver – this one about corruption, commercialism and 80’s style excess. His throwbacks to 1950’s paranoia themed movies, such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, are evident – even down to the out-and-out cheesy special effects (Go, flying saucer, go!). Sublimely slow paced and low-key, They Live is probably Carpenter’s most intelligently written observation of the times (still relevant, perhaps?), but don’t let that fool you – this movie has enough silly B-movie shenanigans to make a truly entertaining feature. What may said shenanigans be, you ask? Well…

– One liner’s? Hell yeah.

– Killer, low budget action set pieces? Umm, yup.

– Piper giving the finger to the aliens in one final act of defiance? It’s right here.

– And the final coup de grace of awesome, when Nada’s only ally (perennial bad-ass Keith David) won’t wear the sunglasses, what happens? A five and a half minute fistfight, that’s what. Awesome. Definitely a moment of filmic significance, even parodied on South Park’s Cripple Fight episode, blow for blow.

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