The Messiah narrative thread with Paul and the Fremen is a bit white-saviour-y, but will hopefully be nipped in the bud in the sequel, and the plot is otherwise excellent: a twisting tapestry of planet-hopping politics, breathtaking sci-fi/action, moody mysticism, and compelling coming-of-age/family drama fare. Strongly acted (Paul and parents in particular), with incredible sound and visuals (lots of big, immersive movie moments–the nighttime assault on Arrakeen being one highlight).
Years after he fought his way out of an inescapable prison, Ray Breslin has organized a new top-notch security force. But when one of his team members goes missing, Breslin must return to the hell he once escaped from. (IMDb)
Honestly, it’s not bad. Sure, the acting and dialogue are a bit cheesy, the plot is under-explained, and the actual escape seems to leave out lots of details, but the pacing is perfect: it never feels slow or boring and the tension is always rising. With the ever-present cool synth-y score, it kind of just feels like one big action sequence, which made for an engaging if unremarkable film. The villain and Huang’s lead have good energy and add some zest to the big boys’ cool and collected vibe.
A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years. (IMDb)
If I was rating individual scenes, this would have a bunch of 10/10s, no question, thanks to some incredible visuals, sounds, turns, and Villeneuve’s impeccable sense of tension and atmosphere (see the opening search, the horse discovery, Joshi vs. Luv, K and dreammaker Dr. Ana, the stunning final fight). Unfortunately, Leto’s cliche villain and Deckard’s return make for a less compelling and more tangential-feeling third act, at least plot and character-wise, keeping the film from perfection.
Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. (IMDb)
A patient, layered narrative does a remarkable job at developing our beloved characters (though some arcs are better than others: Rocket, Yondu, and the touching epilogue > the crazy sisters). Add in shiploads of comedy (not all of it lands, but Drax is always a delight) and this sequel’s almost more like a quirky dramedy set in a colourful 80s-tinged space setting than a superhero flick at times (standard “blow it up” climax aside), which is refreshing–as is the more subtly sinister villain.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
A group of intergalactic criminals are forced to work together to stop a fanatical warrior from taking control of the universe. (IMDb)
A fun and eclectic superhero movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Humour pops up in the most dramatic of moments, and an awesome retro soundtrack delights as it contrasts with the slick futuristic galactic setting. The five distinct guardians form a gang of outcasts that are easy to root for in what is admittedly a typical and lackluster “stop the bad guy, save the world” type adventure story. Standard plot-line aside, this is an entertaining flick with even an emotional moment or two.
7.5/10 (Really Good)