Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

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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)
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The Fox and the Hound (1981)

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Two childhood friends find themselves forced to become enemies. (IMDb)

The “friends forced to be enemies” premise would have resonated more if the film had dwelt more on the fox and the hound being both. As it is, it’s mostly forgettable fluff with a few good action sequences and hardly any humour, and with its unmemorable–unusually so by Disney standards–secondary characters and songs there’s not much to distract from it. Only the ever-so-slight side-plot with the odd-couple birds and the caterpillar ever really catches your fancy after all is said and done.

5.8/10

The Art of the Steal (2013)

Crunch Calhoun, a semi-reformed art thief, agrees to get his old gang back together to pull off one last heist. (IMDb)

There’s good humour here, but the editing feels like a cheap Ocean’s knock-off, the cast’s charisma and chemistry is inconsistent (Dillon is good and Baruchel does his job as comic relief, but Welsh is annoying, “Lola” inconsequential, and Russell overacts), the heists, while fun, are too brief, and the final twist has unconvincing build-up, is revealed much too quickly to revel in, and is anti-climatic to boot. There’s enough here to keep a caper film fan interested, but not enough to satisfy.

6.2/10