A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (James Gunn, 2017)

Peter Quill / Star-lord: Chris Pratt
Gamora: Zoe Saldana
Drax: Dave Bautista
Baby Groot (voice): Vin Diesel
Rocket (voice): Bradley Cooper
Ego: Kurt Russell
Yondu: Michael Rooker
Nebula: Karen Gillan
Mantis: Pom Klementieff
Stakar Ogord: Sylvester Stallone
Ayesha: Elizabeth Debicki
Taserface: Chris Sullivan
Kraglin: Sean Gunn

Director: James Gunn
Screenplay: James Gunn
Cinematography: Henry Braham
Production design: Scott Chambliss
Film editing: Fred Raskin, Craig Wood
Music: Tyler Bates

What can I say? There's lots of swooping and zooming and crashing, some spectacularly weird computerized sets and characters, cameos by David Hasselhoff and Howard the Duck (voiced by Seth Green), some good jokes and some duds, some cheeky music cues (e.g., George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord"), Chris Pratt takes his shirt off, and everything moves along efficiently to set up the next sequel. The movie doesn't dally too long on its Oedipal subplot -- Peter kills his father because he (the father) killed his (Peter's) mother. There were times, as when the only characters on screen are CGI ones like Rocket and Groot, when I wondered if a new Oscar category for semi-animated film shouldn't be considered. So I had as much fun as the latent 14-year-old boy in me is capable of having. I actually enjoyed Vol. 2 more than the first film in the series (James Gunn, 2014) because I didn't have to sit through exposition about who and what these characters are and could get right to the swooping and zooming and crashing.

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