REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 (2023)

(L-R) Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Voiced by Bradley Cooper), Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Nebula (played by Karen Gillan), and Mantis (played by Pom Klementieff) in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, VOL. 3 — PHOTO: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Directed by James Gunn — Screenplay by James Gunn.

“What a bunch of a-holes,” were the last words spoken in the very first trailer for James Gunn’s original Guardians of the Galaxy film back in 2014. Here was a trailer that introduced Marvel Studios’ biggest swing at that point in time — a team-up film built around a talking raccoon, a Chewbacca-esque tree, a wrestler in body paint, Avatar’s leading lady having swapped out her blue alien for a green one, and a minor supporting actor from Parks and Recreation, who was thrust into a stardom that he still enjoys. Back then it seemed like a huge risk to back C or D-list Marvel characters, but a lot can happen in nine years. Now, Rocket, Groot, Drax, Gamora, and Star-Lord are some of the most beloved characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they had their own Star Wars-inspired Holiday Special just last Christmas, and the films’ director, James Gunn, is about to end his time with Marvel after having been both fired from (due to social media ‘receipts’ detailing offensive jokes) and re-hired for this very film in the late 2010s. Gunn didn’t just revive Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling,” and make your mom and dad know who Groot is, Gunn also established himself as one of Marvel’s actual auteur filmmakers, which is a reputation that has landed him a huge job over at Warner Bros. as the shepherd of the soon-to-be rebuilt DC Comics cinematic universe. But first, he had to finish his Marvel Studios trilogy. And, so, how did it turn out? Well, let’s just say, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy films go out on a high note, as they are now arguably the very best Marvel Studios trilogy.

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REVIEW: Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

Britain Dalton’s LO’AK interacts and bonds with Payakan, a whale-like creature, in AVATAR: THE WHALE OF WATER — PHOTO: 20th Century Studios / Disney.

Directed by James Cameron — Screenplay by James Cameron, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver.

The long-awaited sequel to Avatar that many have bemoaned was unnecessary (in spite of the original film being one of the biggest films of all time) is here. Frankly, I wasn’t sure it was ever going to come out, but, after a 13-year waiting period, it is finally here. It exists. I was 16 years old when the first film was released. Now I’m 29. The wait is over. And, hey, it’s actually an excellent improvement on the first film. Moreover, it definitely is a must-see transportive theatrical experience.

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Avatar (2009) is pretty great, even though its story feels very common | Retro Review

James Cameron’s late 2000s sci-fi epic is one of the biggest movies of all-time – Photo: 20th Century Fox.

Directed by James Cameron — Screenplay by James Cameron.

Whether it’s due to disbelief, overhype, or that product having been oversold, I think we’ve all been guilty of calling something widely praised or beloved ‘overrated.’ When Avatar first came out, people were perhaps slightly hyperbolic when it came to praising the somewhat allegorical James Cameron sci-fi epic. I was a teenager when it was released, and I remember once standing in line at a Blockbuster as people were over-the-moon excited to own the film on physical media. I hadn’t seen it in theaters and, after having seen it, I struggled to really be as thoroughly overwhelmed by it as other people seemed to have been. I really enjoyed the Leona Lewis song, and I thought it looked really good. I recognized that it was a solid picture, but, when I finally saw it, I do remember thinking something along the lines of “is that what all the fuss was about?” It wasn’t the best thing since sliced bread, which it certainly felt like it had been sold as.

Continue reading “Avatar (2009) is pretty great, even though its story feels very common | Retro Review”

REVIEW: Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The review does not include spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, (dirs. Anthony & Joe Russo) but you should absolutely expect spoilers for every film that came before it in the connected universe.

“All that for a drop of blood,” Thanos, the Mad Titan, groaned in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War moments before Doctor Strange relinquished the time stone to save Tony Stark’s life. Soon the not-so-seasoned Avengers turned to dust. The teenaged talking tree, the brave wall-crawler, an African king with a seemingly impenetrable suit made to look like an anthropomorphic big cat, and a quippy, tricker-happy, 70s music-loving outlaw — all gone from one moment to the next. Those left standing were left to live with their mistakes, as the Avengers had now well and truly lost even though a Norse God, multiple supersoldiers, an eccentric billionaire, and a magical surgeon — to name a few — had fought long and hard to save fifty-percent of the known universe. They failed. If those sentences made no sense to you whatsoever, then Avengers: Endgame isn’t for you. If, however, you’ve been waiting to see — nay, obsessing about — what comes next for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, then Endgame was designed for you. It is a somber epic like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Avengers: Endgame is peerless in scope and attention to detail, as well as moving from start to finish. Continue reading “REVIEW: Avengers: Endgame (2019)”

6th I’m Jeffrey Rex Awards, Part One – 2018

It’s the final day of 2018. What that means is that it is time to reveal the first half of my personal 2018 awards winners. This list will honor what I consider to be the best in song, heroics, and television. To see a complete of the nominees, click here. Also, do remember that the film nominations will be revealed in early 2019. Continue reading “6th I’m Jeffrey Rex Awards, Part One – 2018”

IJR Awards 2018: Nominations, Part One of Two

Today I’m revealing the first half of the 2018 nominations for this blog’s IJR Awards (I’m Jeffrey Rex Awards, but you probably already guessed that). The two legend awards (Film Legend and TV Legend) aren’t getting any nominees, instead, I’ll reveal the winners, or honorees, in the two upcoming IJR Awards 2018-posts. Continue reading “IJR Awards 2018: Nominations, Part One of Two”

REVIEW: Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

The following is a review of Avengers: Infinity War — Directed by The Russo Brothers.

“To challenge them is to court death,” the Other, a servant, said to the ‘Mad Titan’ Thanos in the mid-credits scene of 2012’s The Avengers, which was the culmination of the first phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Four years earlier, at the end of 2008’s Iron Man, the mysterious Nick Fury kicked-off the cinematic universe by telling Tony Stark about the ‘Avengers Initiative.’ A lot has happened since then — misfits and unlikely heroes have teamed up to save foreign worlds, a teenage wall-crawler has protected his neighborhood, and long-lasting friendships have been torn apart by the actions of a brainwashed super-soldier. Continue reading “REVIEW: Avengers: Infinity War (2018)”

REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017)

Theatrical Release Poster – Marvel Studios

The following is a review of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 – Directed by James Gunn

The first Guardians of the Galaxy film was very special to me. It arrived at the right time for me and family. My Godmother had just passed away, and Guardians of the Galaxy was the first film we saw as a family since she had passed away. Guardians of the Galaxy made me laugh, it made me cry, and I, to this day, still think of it as one of my favorite films of all-time. It had a huge effect on me.

I, however, never expected Volume 2 to have as big an impact on me as James Gunn’s first Marvel film had and, honestly, it didn’t. But while Volume 2 isn’t as good as the original film, I still really loved it and it did make me emotional more than once. Continue reading “REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017)”

Trailer Recap: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Teaser Trailer

Back in October, we got our first look at Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, and now we’ve gotten our first real teaser trailer. This one is filled with great shots of the endlessly entertaining Baby Groot, and we also get our first look at Mantis! Continue reading “Trailer Recap: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Teaser Trailer”

REVIEW: Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Star Trek Beyond Poster
Promotional Poster – Paramount Pictures

The following is a review of Star Trek Beyond.

Hold on to something! Star Trek is back. While the ‘Abramsverse,’ meaning the universe created or rebooted after J. J. Abrams and Bad Robot started making Star Trek, has gotten a lot of criticism from fans of the original films and series, you cannot deny, though, that Abrams got the franchise back into the public memory with the excellent Star Trek from 2009 and Star Trek Into Darkness, a solid action sequel, from 2013.
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