Film Review “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”

Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan,
Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Running time: 136 minutes

Mike G’s Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When I left the advance screening back in 2014 for Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”, I said to my wife that this movie is the “Star Wars” for our new generation and it will be HUGE! Fast forward to 2017 and here we are with Vol.2 being released and looking back at how much the first film affected Hollywood. The magic of the first film has tried to be copied since and the only film to get close was “Deadpool”. It is hard for me to scream that “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is better than the first. I really really liked it but I also watch the first film almost weekly or at least monthly, so to say I’m a big fan is an understatement. I even got my 5 year old daughter into the first film (I know I’m a terrible dad, but she LOVES IT!). Vol.2 is easily one of the best films I have seen this year and an amazing follow-up to the first film. I have a feeling as I see it a few times more my love will only grow.

Personally, I am bored with “The Avengers” in general, i.e. Iron Man, Captain America and their movies. I am more into Marvel’s releases like “Guardians”, “Doctor Strange” and even the new “Thor” looks fantastic! These are great superhero movies and I can easily add Vol.2 to that list! The sequel not only is action packed entertaining movie but also packs some mega emotional character driven dramatic moments. I love those moments. This movie has so much heart, literally so much. The jokes are funnier. I swear everything that Drax says is pure gold. Baby Groot was cute and really wasn’t overused like I assumed he would be to steal the show.

Everyone was talking about Kurt Russell’s role of Ego and Peter Quill’s father..and he was everything I wanted and more! Russell is just tearing it up with this and the “Fast and Furious” franchise. He is on fire. The star of this film is no question, Michael Rooker. His role of Yondu was expanded greatly from the first film and really gets some amazing screen time (cue Cat Stevens’ song “Father and Son”). Even Sean Gunn (James’ brother) got an expanded role and delivered some really great scenes. I really enjoyed Kraglin in this film! Sylvester Stallone popped up for a bit, cool to see him but didn’t do much. He was mostly just setup for future films playing the important character aka Starhawk. And if you are a Toby fan like me from the TV series “This Is Us” keep an eye out for Taserface! Love him! The girl power in “Guardians” was very strong, which makes me happy due to having an eager to see this 5 year old. Karen Gillan got a chance to expand Nebula more in this sequel and she was just brilliant. Zoe Saldan and her got some nice screen time together. Pom Klementieff joined on playing a very important character named Mantis and easily stole our hearts…even though she is really ugly…(according to Drax).

The songs from the first “Guardians” really made the film so special and unique. The second film doesn’t disappoint in terms of great picks and don’t feel forced like when “Suicide Squad” tried to copy. ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky” is a great track. Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” has great placement in the film. Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home to Me” was a great and very sweet moment. George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” is one of my favorite songs ever. I mentioned above Cat Stevens’ song “Father and Son,m which was just a perfect choice for this film. James Gunn’s band along with David Hasselhoff, yes David Hasslehoff even have a fun song in the end credits. The score is beautiful again from Tyler Bates. I’ve been listening to it for about a week now before seeing the film and I had a really great appreciation for the music when I saw it. Honestly this is the first Marvel film that really interested me with their score.

The visual effects are just beautiful. Ego’s planet is breathtaking for sure. This is a film that needs to be seen in the theater. Preferable the biggest IMAX screen possible. Please do not see this film at little theater. 3D was good didn’t really jump out too much. I could have gone either way on that. This franchise has a BIG future ahead of it and as long as it has James Gunn’s vision leading it down this path I am on board and very excited to see what is coming next! Hopefully Gunn will actually give Nathan Fillion a decent role in next film that won’t be cut 😉 I am just happy that Vol.2 doesn’t disappoint and I believe that it is because they didn’t just try and copy the first film. They took what worked from the first film, expanded it perfectly and ended up with one of the year’s best film.

Product Features: Samsung Gear 2 Neo / Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1


This holiday season, I received two Samsung products to review and feature in our holiday guide, the Samsung Gear 2 Neo Smartwatch and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 Tablet. These are both fantastic products and in my opinion MUST HAVE gifts for this holiday season. I will break each of them down with more details below. But since receiving them, I haven’t gone a day without using them and have quickly becoming my favorite pieces of technology outside of my smartphone, which is a Samsung Galaxy S5.

I have been researching Smartwatches for a while now and I have never really gotten on board with them as being a must have before. Once I had a chance to play with one hands on, I realized that I am unable to function without it. The Gear 2 Neo features apps, offline music playback, and heart-rate monitoring and much more. The downfall to some is that it only works only with Samsung phones and tablets but luckily enough I only use Samsung phones and tablets, so it couldn’t be more useful.

If you compare the Gear 2 Neo, which costs $199.99 to the Gear 2, which runs $299.99, it is not much different. The Gear 2 Neo has all the bells and whistles of the Gear 2 except the wrist camera, which is being fazed out of future models anyway and a metal wrist band. I personally do not need a camera on my wrist and the band of the Gear 2 Neo is absolutely perfect. In fact, I knew right out of the box that this Smartwatch was for me because I didn’t even have to adjust it either since it fit perfect instantly.

Other great features of the Gear 2 Neo are that it provide real-time notifications from your phone including Facebook and emails, as well as allowing you to receive and place calls when linked via Bluetooth to your phone. The device as an incredibly crisp 1.63″ Super AMOLED® display. It uses S Voice to allow you to speak directly to it in order to respond to texts, check email etc. All around, this is a fantastic device.

Next up is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 Tablet. Personally, I am tired of Apple’s iPads having a lock on the tablet market. Sure iPads are good but you can do so much more with a Samsung Tablet.  The 10.1″ screen comes with a beautifully sharp 1280 x 800 resolution. If you are a user of other Samsung products like myself, it will wireless integrate and sync with your contacts, music, apps and more. You can also download apps, games, movies, music and e-books from Google Play. The products cloud integration really provides a seamless crossover experience across all Android devices.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 Tablet comes with 16GB internal storage plus microSD slot, which has expandable storage up to 64GB. With the extra storage you can stores your music, movies, photos and more on the microSD card (sold separately) to save space. This is somethign that you cannot do with the Apple products. The device also features a Quad-core processor and is very fast to boot and allows rapid multitasking and stunning graphics on the games. It also features dual camera, a 1.3MP front camera and 3.0MP rear camera, which works well with face chatting with your friends and family. An iPads camera is slightly better with 5.0MP but to be me doesn’t look much different.

This Tablet also comes with get Samsung gift including trial periods to Box.com and SiriuxXM. It is also very light weight and easy to carry around. I also like the option to use Kids Mode for my daughter, so she can enjoy it without having me looking over her shoulders. If you are looking for a change from the iPad world, this is an amazing device to get started it and get introduced to the Android system. Plus the 16GB model is priced very well at around $319.99, which is a steal when you compare to the similar iPad Air 2, which is $449.99. Go Samsung for sure this holiday season!

Our Own Comic Book Guy Sounds off on “Guardians of the Galaxy”

*Warning: Probably Going to Offend Some People with this One

Ok, so I know I’m not the movie guy here (not trying to become one either…I like my little corner of the website here talking about comics and games), but I feel I have to take a break from my normal rantings and ravings to rage about a comic book movie issue that is driving me absolutely nuts (we’ll get back to the second half of my take on the independent comics reigning supreme over the current comicscape next time). All I have heard the last couple weeks is about how Guardians of the Galaxy is the best Marvel movie yet. Are you people out of your frakkin collective minds!!??!?!? Have you been fed media crack for so long that your short term memory is that completely and utterly useless??

I even went to go see it a second time, just to be sure I wasn’t the one who was hitting the bottle here (granted, I did sleep through half of it the first time, so I really did have to make sure for myself). I will admit two things and only two things, because they are the only two things that I can truly say in a positive light about Guardians of the Galaxy. #1…Groot rocked, seriously awesome, best character in the movie hands down. Vin Diesel has always been an amazing voice actor (If you haven’t seen Iron Giant, shame on you), but the fact that he was able to convey an array of emotions with only three words was incredible, while the way the character of Groot came to perceive and respond to the world around him was genius. I will give you all that. #2…the movie was fun. The problem, though, is that it was only fun in the way that every other ‘outlaw sci-fi’ movie or television show that has ever been done before was fun (Han Solo in Star Wars, Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly/Serenity, Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica etc). Thus, everyone’s ‘best Marvel movie yet’ was really just recycled, rehashed, retread special effects madness.

Also, there was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much wrong with it!!! The villains were completely and utterly flat and unbelievable with no motivation; the plot was completely (and almost insultingly) simple (good vs evil with ultimate/infinite power looming towards utter destruction), and the characters were just plain boring and rehashed (the ‘outlaw’ leader, the defector from the other side, the vengeance-seeking bruiser…ok, I will give on one more thing, Rocket did have a couple good one-liners – “Ok, so now we’re all standing…just a bunch of jackasses standing up.” That made me laugh). And don’t even get me started on the blatant sexism (the two female characters could have easily wiped the entire cast away in mere seconds. It’s what they were created/trained to do, yet they needed the males in the movie to repeatedly save/lead them..WTF?!?!?)

And need I say it…Howard the Duck?? Howard the frakkin Duck?? How in the frak can you even take that seriously?!?!?!?

Even if there weren’t all these problems with the movie, best Marvel movie yet?? Really?? Have you all really already forgotten Winter Soldier, where S.H.E.I.L.D. collapses and Cap’s best friend comes back as the villain?? Or Thor: Dark World, where Loki just straight up stole the show? Or even Avengers, where Joss Whedon actually raised the bar on comic book movies to challenge the entire world to make them better?? Even before that, Ed Norton just destroyed it as The Hulk. Even as far back as the first Iron Man, which raised questions about the morality of war and making profits of off it when we could be using the same technology for alternate energy sources, the Marvel movies that have come before have not just been ‘fun’, they raised awareness and asked questions; they made social statements. Even the ‘non-Marvel’ Marvel movies (those not done by Marvel studios) were far and above Guardians, or have you all also forgotten X-Men: First Class and The Amazing Spider-Man?

I’m sorry if I’ve offended you, folks. Sorry if I’ve challenged the status quo, but if you actually believe that Guardians of the Galaxy is the best Marvel movie, you are a simpleton who has been easily led astray by a talking raccoon and a dancing plant.

DVD Review “Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys”

Director: Brian Stillman
Number of discs: 1
Rated: Unrated
Studio: X-Ray Films
Run Time: 70 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

“Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys” tells the behind the scenes story of how one of the most successful toy lines ever came to be. From the lackluster early planning stages of a toy line/film destined for failure to the over whelming response which prompted the creation of the “Early Bird” mail order set to meet the immense demands. Directed by Brian Stillman the film is a fresh and in-depth look at not just the toy lines creation but also how it impacted countless childhoods.

This is not just another “Star Wars” documentary retelling stories fans of the series have heard time and time again. Instead Director Brian Stillman and company have put together a fun and informative documentary about the next best thing besides the films…the toys! Packed full of interviews with the people who designed the toys along with interviews from various collectors the film is part formal information and part childhood memories. Accompanying the interviews are a slew of vintage commercials, television spots and photo stills that catapult you back to the glory days of immense toy isles chocked full of your favorite “Star Wars” items. Equally impressive is the new animation that was created to transition various sections of the film. The art is fresh and new while retaining that late 70’s early 80’s feel. Something I very much enjoyed.

Alongside the film are a variety of Special Features including one titled “Know Your Lightsaber”. A fun spoof that had me cracking up from start to finish as it recounts the various light saber models and subsequent knock offs that were produced throughout the years. Whether you are a hardcore “Star Wars” collector, a casual fan or someone just wanting to take a trip down memory lane “Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys” is a fun film from start to finish that can be watched by the whole family.

Film Review #2 “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel
Directed By: James Gunn
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 121 minutes
Walt Disney Studios

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Did one of the directors for “Movie 43” and writer for both live-action “Scooby Doo” movies just create the best Marvel movie? Yes. Yes he did. “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a consistently fun and entertaining addition to the Marvel canon with enough emotional resonance to exceed beyond your stereotypical summer blockbuster. In a Marvel movie universe populated with an eccentric, metal covered billionaire, a golden haired demi-God and an experimental super soldier, the down on their luck, rag-tag bunch in “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a much needed addition.

While “The Avengers” is a cinematic juggernaut in superhero movies, “Guardians of the Galaxy” features a cast of relatable people and creatures that are far from being “super”. There’s Star-Lord/Peter Quills (Pratt), a human space outlaw who carries around an aged Walkman in the sci-fi landscape because it’s one of the few mementos he has to remember Earth before he was abducted by interstellar bandits. Pratt packed on some serious muscle for the role to give Star-Lord a tough exterior, but Pratt’s natural ability to be a spontaneous goof gives the movie a lovable charming lead.

Counterbalancing Star-Lord is Gamora (Saldana), a personal assassin to Thanos that is ready to redeem her previous misdeeds with steely gazes and swift, punishing punches and kicks. Saldana portrays one of the best superhero heroines in recent memory, providing a necessary ingredient to the group instead of being typecast as the damsel in distress. Its good Gamora can handle Star-Lord’s sarcasm and humor because also compensating for the smug Terran hero is Drax (Bautista). He’s a lumbering muscle with arms as big as my head and he’s intent on seeking vengeance for the murder of his family. It doesn’t help he can’t take a joke or grasp the concept of metaphors.

The two make-up and prosthetic covered heroes are offset by our two CGI heroes, a rambunctious space raccoon by the name of Rocket (Cooper) and a humanoid/tree called Groot (Diesel). These four help maintain an equilibrium between computer animated grandeur and hand crafted elegance. Cooper gives Rocket an arrogant East Coast gangster tone and steals a couple of scenes with his bitter quips. Meanwhile, Diesel had the arduous task of creating a vast depth to Groot since Groot’s only spoken words are “I am Groot”. Despite this hindrance, there are a lot of surprising vocal inflections in the deep rumble of Groot’s voice. He also appears to be the most heartfelt. At one point the group worries about street children pickpocketing them while Groot simply grows a flower out of his hand to offer to a dirt covered girl.

If you think I’ve been focusing on our quintet more than the plot, that’s because they are what makes this movie work. The story is a simple introduction paired with the undeveloped bad guy and explosive third act, but without these actors, their portrayals, and James Gunn’s sharp dialogue, this wouldn’t have excitedly leapt off the script pages. The obvious thing to compliment with a movie like this is the vibrant settings, majestic set-ups and awe-inspiring action, but what really left me satisfied was the foul-mouthed, crotch adjusting, band of misfits that find companionship and discover that drive to do good by the end of the movie. Although they’re still a foul-mouthed, crotch adjusting, band of misfits as the credits roll.

While I listed off a few of James Gunn’s embarrassing credits to begin this review, I’d like to point out that Gunn’s weakest efforts are still pieces that highlight Gunn’s youthful joy for nostalgia and fun with tasteless humor. Without his obscure and essential input, “Guardians of the Galaxy” would have not trekked into more peculiar territories, like Star-Lord’s mixtape that doubles as 70’s and 80’s pop-culture citations, the playful smile from Groot after he probably murder dozens of baddies, and a cameo by Lloyd Kaufman. Christopher Nolan and Marvel have been the “How-To” when it comes to making superhero movies, but they might want to learn a thing or two from Gunn since “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the best movie of the summer.

Film Review “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 122 minutes

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

You know when you walk out of film and can honestly saw it was absolutely perfect, well that is definitely the case with “Guardians of the Galaxy”. Immediately after watching it, my wife and I said that we could have easily sat down again for a second viewing immediately. Marvel Studios has really got something special going on here with their Cinematic Universe for these superheroes. Everyone knows Iron Man or Spider-Man but not everyone knows Guardians of the Galaxy, even Stan Lee was taken on record that he wasn’t sure who all of them were since he didn’t create them (he does have a cameo BTW). So this film was a risky move for them but it really paid off. It was funny, action packed, sharp and just really fun. I couldn’t help sitting in the theater and thinking that this is what “Star Wars” would have been like if it was made today. So who knows maybe in 25 years, this film will have that type of cult status, I certainly think it is capable.

Let’s talk about this ensemble cast, this film has one hell of a amazing cast. Chris Pratt, who plays Peter Quill/Star Lord, is know best from “Parks and Recreation” is blowing up and after this he is starring in “Jurassic World”. This guy really rocks in this film. He is charismatic, funny and just could help it but remind me of a modern Han Solo. Zoe Saldana, who plays Gamora, was amazing all in blue in “Avatar” and she is still kick-ass in all green for this film. Dave Bautista, who plays Drax in the film is absolutely amazing and he is known best for his WWE wrestling career. No idea how this guy said some of his lines without laughing. Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper lend their voices to Groot and Rocket Raccoon, respectively. They both easily steal the show, no question. Yes, that’s right a talking tree and a raccoon. Top of this amazing cast with Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio del Toro. Makes up a hell of a dream cast.

The film starts off with us taking a trip to 1988, where we meet a young Peter Quill at his mother’s death bed. After her passing, he runs out of the hospital and ends up getting abducted by a spaceship. Flash forward 26 years later on a distant abandoned planet we meet again Peter Quill all grown up and seeking out an orb, in order to get a pay day. He finds that this orb is much more valuable then he originally thought and has many people trying to get it for themselves leading him to meeting Gamora, Rocket and Groot. The three of them end up in a high security jail after a fight for the orb. Joining up with a inmate named Drax in the jail, the group breaks out of prison to return the orb to safety after they find out what it is capable and who is really after it. Ensue hilarity and epic space battles. Did I mention that Thanos also pops in for a few…

The film looks just really amazing. I loved the use of practical effects mixed in with CGI. Director James Gunn is known for that and if you need an example check his past film “Slither”, which is tremendously underrated. The visual effects are also top notch for Marvel. The space fights are absolutely epic and really action packed. The 3D effects are also woven in very well, so they feel very organic and really draw you into film. And of course, the music…oh the music! I haven’t stopped listening to the soundtrack for this film, which is very 70/80’s inspired with tracks like “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede, “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” by Elvin Bishop and the scene stealing “O-o-h Child” by Five Stairsteps. Music is very important to me in a film and tied in with Tyler Bates amazing score, this film’s music is literally a character itself.

Looking back on the summer so far, I think about films like “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and I enjoyed all of them but when you put them next to a film like this it honestly puts them to shame. I liked those but they were all flawed, I can say that this film is perfect. No question, Marvel’s best film to date and easily my favorite film of the summer. Can’t wait for the sequel, which is already scheduled to be released on July 28, 2017. Be sure to also stay at the end of the credits for a really cool post credits scene. It may not be incredibly important to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but still very cool. Now if you excuse me…ooga-chaka, ooga-chaka!

Meet the Guardians of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” finds space adventurer Peter Quill the object of a bounty hunt after stealing an orb coveted by a treacherous villain, but when Quill discovers the power it holds, he must find a way to rally the quartet of ragtag rivals hot on his trail to save the universe.

From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team—the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.


MEET THE GUARDIANS

Rocket Raccoon


Groot


Gamora


Drax


Peter Quill


Guardians of the Galaxy – Trailer #1


Facebook: www.facebook.com/guardiansofthegalaxy
Twitter: @Guardians
Tweet the Hashtag: #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY opens in theaters on August 1, 2014!


STORY SYNOPSIS:
From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team—the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.

Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which first appeared in comic books in Marvel Super-Heroes, Issue #18 (Jan. 1969), stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, with John C. Reilly, Glenn Close as Nova Prime Rael and Benicio del Toro as The Collector.

James Gunn is the director of the film with Kevin Feige producing, and Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jeremy Latcham, Alan Fine and Stan Lee serve as executive producers. The story is by Nicole Perlman and James Gunn, with screenplay by James Gunn. Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” releases in U.S. theaters on August 1, 2014.