Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3
It’s a stretch to expect Vin Diesel speak more than 3 words.
One of the many genius decisions of Guardians Of The Galaxy was to have the superstar provide the voice of a walking tree who only ever says “I am Groot”.
Bradley Cooper was cast as Rocket the talking, hard-boiled raccoon.
The pair has always attracted me to this Marvel Comics adaptation.
They shoot first and don’t ask questions later.
So, this third and supposedly final outing of the sci-fi heroes led by Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill deserves kudos for putting Rocket at the centre of the story.
It was an important piece to the Guardians’ puzzle, and I was happy to reveal it.
The furry hero remembers his past while on life support — and Rocket can’t be his grouchy best while unconscious.
Thankfully, the mission to save him is an action-packed blast set to the year’s best soundtrack.
Director James Gunn’s outlandish ideas include Counter Earth, a planet that looks like our own, except it is populated by talking animals.
It is full of so much blink-and-you-miss-it humour that I’d like to watch Guardians 3 again.
The comic impact of the pairings is only possible because they bring out character flaws.
Quill’s ego is regularly demolished by Zoe Saldana’s deadpan Gamora, the “kill everyone” attitude of Dave Bautista’s Drax contrasts perfectly with the empathy of Pom Klementieff’s Mantis and Sean Gunn’s not-too-bright Kraglin is jealous of his super-smart dog Cosmo (Maria Bakalova).
Two excellent villains have been added to the mix.
Will Poulter portrays Adam Warlock. His brawn, however, is compromised by an immature intellect, and Chukwudi iwuji plays a psychotic researcher with a God-complex.
The emotional impact is diminished by the fact that the life of too many adorable characters are at stake at the end.
Sometimes it’s better not to do or say too much.
I Am Groot
THIS dramatisation of the life of war poet and author Robert Graves is a superficially titillating endeavour.
Written and directed by William Nunez, it begins after Graves has returned from World War One with post-traumatic stress and writer’s block.
Tom Hughes is a master at playing the dashing, sensitive type.
But this story doesn’t really challenge him to deliver the poet’s introspective struggle to create.
It focuses instead on extramarital affairs that are sparked when an American poet and literary critic arrives.
Laura Riding arrives at Laura Haddock’s (Laura Haddock) invitation and stirs a storm.
It is a film that only scratches the surface of misogyny.
Instead it makes her more of a femme fatale stereotype and focuses on her manipulative, dangerous behaviour.
There’s lots of naked female bodies, and girl-on-girl action, yet no man-on-man, despite Graves’s noted bisexuality.
The Laureate offers a superficial glimpse into the turbulent life of one our most celebrated artists.
Return to Seoul
IF you’re looking for a gut-punch of a character study, then Return To Seoul is just the messy, identity crisis of a drama for you.
This intimate portrait of an American woman trapped between two cultures is refreshingly anything but a drama.
Freddie (Park Ji Min) is a Frenchwoman who returns to Korea after being adopted by a white couple at the age of birth.
The young woman quickly becomes friends with the French-speaking residents, but her carefree nature is challenged when she has to face her biological parents.
Park’s face does so much of the talking as we watch Freddie both turn away and face up to her dual heritage.
Davy Chou lets the camera patiently observe her as she reacts to, takes in, feels and masks her many conflicting emotions.
She’s as mesmirising as the beautifully charged Korean backdrop.
The scene can be ablaze with anarchic, bold-red energy at times; other moments are tinged with regret.
The book is an uplifting reflection on a complex and brilliant woman who has navigated the distance between her two identities in order to become whole.