Film Notes: “Guardians” and Gere
What kind of a misanthrope would you have to be to give Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 a bad review? The Guardians protect our infinite well being, and in every film they appear in they will literally save the entire universe. The flick is on track to open domestically this weekend at over $150 million although one local theater manager told me they expect $200 million. Guardians 2 has already opened worldwide and grossed over $100 million.
Everyone wants to see GOTGV2. If I said that for every ticket sold a puppy would die, that would deter nobody. And nobody is a bigger fan of the first film than your humble scribe who owns a copy in 3D Blu-ray.
Everything I liked about the first edition – namely the most likeable group of characters in a raccoon’s age – has been watered down. GOTGV2 tastes like a Diet Coke version of the original and not even the addition of Sylvester Stone and Kurt Russell makes it go down smooth.
That being said, let’s go for some positive comments. The original Guardians had a unique look from cinematographer Ben Davis whose credits include numerous comic book movies. Director and co-writer James Gunn is now working with cinematographer Henry Braham who gives this new Guardians an added sense of depth.
Specifically there’s a technique called “tilt shift photography,” which makes wide shots of outdoor locales look like miniature sets. Tilt shift works especially well with 3D. Nuff said.
Just a note of caution, if you plan to see GOTGV2, see it in a real IMAX theater such as Edwards Marq*e. The press screening was at the AMC Studio 30 IMAX screen (which isn’t even a real IMAX theater) and while there was nothing wrong with the projection or sound, that is one filthy theater. There were gross stains on nearly every seat and while I found a chair in the press row that wasn’t stained there was gum on the back of the chair in front of me that looked ancient. The blotch on the seat to my left, which nobody sat in, looked like a combination of ketchup and raccoon spluge. Before the show a KRBE radio person told the crowd that they had taped a prize under one of seats. You do not want to put your hands under the seats in that theater.
This weekend also rolls out two films starring Richard Gere. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, about a small time political consultant, opens exclusively at the River Oaks Theatre. The Dinner opens in several area theaters.
The latter film is based on an international best seller of the same name by Dutch author Herman Koch. Previously there have been Dutch (2013) and Italian (2014) film versions of The Dinner. Writer/director Oren Moverman gives audiences a unique twist on the story of two brothers (a very dependable Gere and a superb turn from Steve Coogan) who are faced with a moral dilemma when their children commit a horrific crime. Laura Linney, Rebecca Hall and Chloë Sevigny co-star.
Naturally the two families meet at a super exclusive restaurant and debate whether to intervene with the police or use their political influence to sweep the incident under the rug. Moverman keeps the tension simmering right up to the final fade out.