TL;DR – A absolute delight that understands how not to outstay its welcome through charm and joy.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this film.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Review –
When you hear the word ‘Holiday Special’, there can be a certain dread. That is because history is littered with failed examples, sometimes infamously failed. In my experience, they are, at best okay. However, today we have a model that might buck that trend.
So to set the scene, back in the past, we find a young Peter Quill (Luke Klein) and Kraglin (Sean Gunn) setting up their own little Christmas tree on the Ravanger spaceship when Yondu (Michael Rooker) walks in and trashes it because it shows weakness. Back in the post-Endgame, post-ditching Thor present. The Guardians of the Galaxy have bought Nowhere and have started bringing it back to its former prime. However, the gang feels that Peter (Chris Pratt) is still sad about losing the love of his life. Well, it is Christmas time, and Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) have a plan, let’s kidnap Kevin Bacon (Kevin Bacon).
TL;DR – While it was missing some of the substance of the last film, I found Thor: Love and Thunder to be a fun romp through the galaxy.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and a post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid to see this film.
Thor: Love and Thunder Review –
I don’t think I have made it any secret that I found Thor: Ragnarok one of the best films in the MCU, and indeed a film that I will always sit down and watch when it is on. But I thought this would be a one-off because of some unwritten rule that stops solo films after three outings. Well, call me surprised when it was announced that we were getting Thor 4 because that was probably the best news out of this somewhat fractured start of Phase 4.
So to set the scene, we open in on a parched land as Gorr (Christian Bale) and his daughter Love (India Hemsworth) walk one step at a time, praying for deliverance from their god Rapu (Jonny Brugh). But there is none to be found as Love dies from exposure. Gorr is beside himself when he hears voices in the wind and stumbles into an oasis, where Rapu is having a glorious feast and does not give a hoot about Gorr or his daughter. In that moment of horrific destruction of faith, the Necrosword appears in his hand, and he slays the god and begins a campaign to exterminate all the gods. Meanwhile, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been hanging out with the Guardians of the Galaxy, trying to find his place in the world. When Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) calls out, Thor comes to her aid and discovers that a mad man has their next target, New Asgard.
TL;DR – One of the funniest and engaging films I have seen this year, but also an experience that made me deeply uncomfortable in places.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film
Licorice Pizza Review –
There have been several films I have watched this year, but I don’t think any of them left such a complicated feeling with me as I left the cinema. This was a film that was a roller coaster that you strapped into at the start, and it never let you go. But it was an old roller coaster, so some sections rattle a bit more than they should (for my Brisbane fam, image the Thunderbolt towards the end of its life).
So to set the scene, we open in San Fernando Valley on a school picture day. Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) is with his friends as they prime themselves to get the best picture, while Alana Kane (Alana Haim) is working with the photo company. When Gary and Alana first meet, there is an instant connection even though they come from different worlds. Well, those worlds now collide all across 1973, Los Angeles.
TL;DR – Infinity War brings everyone together and then tares them apart leaving you with a foreboding as to what will happen next, but also an excitement as they try to work it all out.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars (this is a tentative score, it might change after Part 2)
Post-Credit Scene – There is an end credit scene
It should be no surprise that I have been eagerly awaiting the new Avengers film. In preparation not only did I map out the Marvel Cinematic Universe (see here) but I also ranked every film released in the build-up (see here). However, if I am to be perfectly honest, part of this stemmed from a nervousness, could they stick the landing, could they create a story that would give justice to all the desperate characters they were involved, could they actually bring on Thanos? Well as you can probably tell I have seen the film now, so I can now answer those questions … sort of. Now a quick note today, there will be [SPOILERS] for several of the recently released Marvel films including Thor: Ragnarok (see review) and Black Panther (see review). As well as this, I will try to avoid most of the major spoilers until a paragraph at the end when we discuss the ending, but because of how quick the film moves this is just a general [SPOILER] warning if you have not seen the film yet.
TL;DR – Volume 2 takes everything from the first film and elevates it with an interesting story, beautiful visuals, and some of the best humour in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but your mileage may vary depending on a couple of factors.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
P.S. There are 5 mid/post credit scenes
Back in 2014 Marvel undertook the biggest experiment yet in this whole expanded universe, it was an ensemble cast which they had not done outside of an Avengers film at that point, its main lead was still a mostly unknown Chris Pratt. Seriously when he was cast he was mostly known as that quirky dude on Parks and Rec, two of the main cast were CGI and one of those only said I am Groot and it was amazing. It was funny, but emotional at places and that opening still makes me tear up, and until Captain America Civil War came along it was my favourite film in the MCU, or maybe still is, I go back and forth a bit here. So it would not be a surprise to say that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 might be the film I was the most looking forward to in 2017. Now this as a reviewer is something you have to be careful with, you need to make sure your rose-tinted glasses are not blinding you to the flaws, or conversely that you don’t hype it up so much that it is a disappointment no matter how good it is. But I have just come from the cinemas and overall I really loved Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but I can also see areas that may put people off. So with this in mind let’s start the review.
TL;DR – It’s an interesting film, well-acted, and produced, but if you have seen any of the recent films in this genre, or on the same themes, namely greed, then you will probably guess how this one plays out.
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
War Dogs is many things, it’s a subversive film underscoring the incompetence of the Bush/Cheney government in both starting and managing the Iraq War, it’s a modern interpretation of the classic morality tale, it’s the proving ground for one of the most weirdly obnoxious laughs in movie history, and it’s the personification of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition in movie form.