In this post, I’ve got to write about a mix of movies, most new, but some old that I’ve just seen for the first time ever or first time in a long time…..Sit back and enjoy the ride!
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Saw it twice! Â First time was at Pacific Theaters at Americana on Aug 2, 2014; Second time in IMAX 3D at AMC Universal City on Aug 6, 2014
If you haven’t had the chance to see this for yourself yet, the best thing is to just step away from reading this on the computer and head to your local movie palace where you can see this on a huge, massive screen. Â You owe it to yourself to see a truly surprising, entertaining and charming movie like this on the big screen.
It’s another in the line of Marvel movies we’re bound to be seeing till 2027 (I think that’s how far they’ve mapped out the Marvel Cinematic Universe – you know at that point, it will be then time to reboot; Â it’s a fuckin’ money-printing machine) BUT as opposed to feeling like a been-there, done-that experience, you walk away thinking you just saw a crazy-good movie. Â It helps that it’s a space adventure movie with endlessly charming characters inhabiting the roles of the “Guardians” – if you’ve heard it feels a lot like aÂ Star Wars movie, you’ve heard right. Â Clarification: Â a GOODÂ Star Wars movie.
Besides the character of Thanos, who you may have glimpsed in the post-credits sequence ofÂ Avengers, there’s very little tying this movie to the Marvel universe….yet. Â That is NOT a slam on the movie by any means. Â You know I LOVES ME some Captain America, but his or any of the other Avengers’ non-presence isn’t relevant. Â Star-Lord, Gamora, Groot, Rocket and Drax the Destroyer are saving the galaxy, and tearing it up at the same time. Â I won’t bother with a plot summary – it’s better to go along with it as you experience it. Â Just know you’re going to be hooked from the get-go, with super-charming performances by all involved, especially Chris Pratt as Star-Lord and Bradley Cooper as Rocket. Â Hell, the guy who played Drax was fantastic too. Â Everyone was! Â And the soundtrack gleaned from amazing 1970s hits? Â Cherry on top. Â Truly, just go and see this movie. Â Then go see it again.
Into the Storm (2014)
Watched this at Krikorian Theaters in Monrovia on Aug 9, 2014 with my mom!
Okay, if you don’t like disaster movies, you’re probably not going to be in to this kind of movie. Â Which is fine, for you. Â For me and my mom though? Â We love these damn movies. Â The Core, Twister, The Poseidon Adventure, Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Deep Impact….sign me up. Â I’m there. Â No questions asked. Â I remember seeing a trailer for this the first time and looking to Larry all excited and he just had to roll his eyes. Â Lucky for him, he was back in New Jersey when I went to see this and so I spared him.
SoÂ Into the Storm is obviously about a really shitty day in the midwest somewhere when a series of storm cells go fucking crazy. The conceit for the movie though is that every frame of the movie is from an in-universe camera, which is really kind of cool. Â Instead of getting shots from some magical perspective, you’re getting “found footage” – now, it’s notÂ Blair Witch Project jitterfests here. Â The main story follows a Storm Chasers kind of unit that ends up picking the right spot based on weather data to get footage of some ridiculous tornadoes. Â Fire tornadoes, even. Â LOL….I know, it’s ridiculous, but it freakin’ works. Â We also watch the adventures of a particularly camera-focused family that goes through some crazy shit during the storm too. Â The effects in this movie were completely insane – we’ve moved way pastÂ Twister levels of CGI effects. Â This felt real. Â It did feel at times kind of exploitative, and I would imagine anyone who’s lived through an actual tornado probably wouldn’t want to see this movie.
Yet both me and my mom loved this movie. Â A good thrill ride, good performances by the non-star cast, and jaw-dropping effects of tornadoes that will blow your mind. Â Obviously, the caveat is you have to like disaster movies!
The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
Saw this at the Pacific Theaters at Americana on August 17, 2014
Talk about travel- and food-porn! Â This movie is one of those where you just wish you could actually be drawn in to the frame. Â It’s the story of an Indian family that through happenstance and fate end up in a quaint village somewhere in the gorgeous French countryside, where they decide to settle and open a restaurant directly across the street from Helen Mirren’s Michelin-starred French restaurant. Â Things do not go well initiallyÂ until she realizes that the Indian son has unspeakable-levels of cooking talent. Â ItÂ doesn’t hurt either that Manish Dayal, who plays the son, is ridiculously cute! Â But I digress.
The Hundred-Foot Journey is amazingly charming in how things play out – of course it’s a fantasy but with the settings and the gorgeous food on display, you can’t help but be enchanted. Â I’m ready to move to France!!!! Â It’s not all about the gorgeous scenery or the mesmerizing food though – the performances of the cast are wonderful, with humor, heart and joy all at the forefront.
My Summer Movie Rankings, Thus Far! (as of August 17, 2014)
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Life, Itself
- The Hundred-Foot Journey
- X-Men: Days of Future Past
- How to Train Your Dragon 2
- Edge of Tomorrow
- Into the Storm
- Begin Again
- A Million Ways to Die in the West
- —–The Line Between the EnjoyableÂ Movies and the Meh Movies—–
- Jersey Boys
But wait! Â I have thoughts about some of the classic movies I’ve seen lately! Keep reading!
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Watched this via Amazon Prime Instant Video at home on August 16, 2014.
I have to admit right now that I had not seen this movie previously. Â I KNOW! Â But after reading repeatedly in “Best Movie Lists” all around that one simplyÂ must see this, I was like, it’s time to do this. Â Especially after a shitty day of meeting someone who turned out to be just as bad as you had hoped he wouldn’t be. Â Guess what? Â Singin’ in the Rain puts you in a freakin’ great mood. Â It’s a wonderful musical from Hollywood’s golden days and what’s nice is that it still looks great as it’s been well-preserved. Â Gene Kelly is gorgeous and talented and he owns the screen. Â Debbie Reynolds also owns the screen and so to see these two, along with Donald O’Connor, take part in the story of that transitional period when Hollywood went from silent films to “talkies” is just great. Â Songs like “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Good Morning” are magical. Â MAGICAL! Â It’s good some weird spots in it, like that loooong “modern” dance number near the end that while it’s a gorgeous showcase for Gene Kelly to dance, it is just such a tonally different part of the movie. Â But even with that part, it’s still a fun and utterly winning movie. Â Also have to give credit to Jean Hagen for playing a hilarious silent movie star who has the voice of a harpie and a mind full of vengeance. Â Can’t deny that I woke up this morning with “Good Morning” firmly in my head. Â What a great number!
It’s amazing to watch Gene Kelly dance his fucking ass off though. Â The man could make it look effortless. Â And did I mention how gorgeous he was???? Â I do declare, I have the vapors!
The Neverending Story (1984)
Watched this RECENTLY on Amazon Prime Instant Video (and many many times back in the 1980s) at home on August 16, 2014.
So when you’ve just discovered Amazon Prime’s video service and decided to take advantage of it, it’s fun to see what is offered out there for you that’s free (“free” being what is included with your yearly Prime membership). Â I had honestly been thinking about this movie for the last few days as I kept remembering a scene where Bastien is running around a city corner as he’s being chased. Â It was vague, but I remembered it. Â Then I couldn’t remember just how the movie actually starts and gets you into the world of Fantasia. Â It’s been a LONG time since I watched it. Â But once we started it up last night, it was an adventure we were going to finish.
Falcor, Atrayu, the rock monster, the evil wolf, the Empress, the Sphinxes….holy shit, it was like having your memories restored to you. Â I really had seen this movie a ton of times but lots of drinking in the interim had wiped those memories out. Â But watching it again last night made those memories vivid yet again. Â It certainly has a unique style that still mostly holds up – the effects are all practical and still fun to watch. Â The emotional beats of seeing Atrayu lose his horse Artax in the swamp, Bastien getting to ride Falcor, that big-ass tortoise, the Empress….there was a timewarp happening last night taking us back to the 80s. Â We were reading a bit today about the rest of the book that hadn’t been included in the original movie and it seems like a story that could easily be turned into a fun series of movies with modern effects. Â Who knows if it could get past the Giorgio Morodor soundtrack memories though? Â And could you do aÂ Neverending Story movie without the title song????
I think our memories certainly color the enjoyment of the movie, but it’s still a fun movie on its own, if just a little rough around the edges compared to what movies look like nowadays. Â Still holds up though, and Brad, if you’re reading this, I bet Jake or Zach would love it after reaching a certain age. Â Just be prepared to comfort them when Artex gets sucked into the swamp – I can’t deny some tears weren’t shed AGAIN during that scene last night.