Sunday, August 3, 2014
Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Get On Up & Guardians of the Galaxy
Dearest Blog, yesterday it was off to the pictures for Guardians of the Galaxy and some afterthought that dared turn up the same weekend as Guardians of the Galaxy.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
First on the docket was the afterthought, Get On Up.
Get On Up tells the story of James Brown's self-made rise from dirt-poor childhood to the Godfather of Soul.
Okey-dokey, readers: confession time...and this is an embarrassing one. I don't particularly care for James Brown. There, I said it. I respect the influence of his music on all the music I love, but I've never been a fan of the man himself. As such, my expectations for a movie full of music I don't like were middling at best.
If there's one thing Get On Up does have going for it, it's Chadwick Boseman, who follows up his stunning turn in 42 with an even more amazing performance...and some pretty terrific dance moves.
True Blood's Nelsan Ellis is especially noteworthy as Brown's best friend and longtime professional collaborator, Bobby Byrd, but, truly, the entire cast is well above average. The story is kind of a mess, but never dull. It's not told in linear fashion--beginning to middle to end--but rather jumps among various periods of Brown's life. The order is seemingly random, but the segueways are so flawless that, while I wouldn't say I precisely liked it, I will say it was effective.
I don't imagine it ever felt like there was much order in Brown's life for himself or those around him.
The movie also does a fair job of not painting Brown a saint just because he's: a.) talented, and b.) no longer with us. Then of course there's the music, LOTS of it. My understanding is Boseman lip-synched to actual James Brown recordings, and there were a couple times I felt it was a little obvious, especially having recently seen Jersey Boys, where numbers were performed live on set. If you like the music, you'll be a World Champion Chair Dancer by the end, but for me some of the numbers seemed to drag.
Get On Up clocks in at 138 minutes and is rated PG13 for "sexual content, drug use, some strong language, and violent situations." It was far more enjoyable than I anticipated, but still not the spiritual experience I expect from movies about music legends.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Get On Up gets six.
Next up was the movie the about which I (and the rest of the Internet) have been frantically abuzz for months now, Guardians of the Galaxy.
A ragtag bunch of villains-turned-heroes faces a foe set on mass destruction.
Admit it, reader(s), even if you aren't usually into superhero movies, you took one look at this trailer and were completely sold. The self-deprecating hero. The gun-toting raccoon. The green hottie. The humor. The tunes...oh, the TUNES!! The buzz has been so overwhelmingly positive for so long that, by the time showtime finally rolled around, I was a little nervous about a letdown. I needn't have worried.
There's a joke going around the Internet, something along the lines of DC Comics being all worried the world isn't ready for a solo female super-hero movie, but Marvel says, "Here's a talking raccoon."
I'm a DC girl myself, but Guardians of the Galaxy, to me, is everything Marvel does right.
The overall tone of Guardians is humorous. The movie never bogs down with backstory, yet it tells enough about each character that he's more than just the sum of his actions in this particular film.
Everyone is sympathetic to some degree...yes, even the raccoon. There's plenty of big, explosive action, yet none of those seemingly-endless scenes of run-on destruction. (Lookin' at you, Avengers and Man of Steel.)
The art and effects are beautiful and realistic. I'll happily be the latest in a long line to mention the soundtrack that's about to become the most-played thing on your iPod, filled with great 70s nuggets like 10CC's I'm Not in Love and The Runaways' Cherry Bomb.
Finally, each and every Guardian deserves credit for a solid performance full of heart and wit...though I still wonder who thought it was a good idea to give Bradley Cooper a role where we don't see his magnificent face.
Guardians of the Galaxy runs 121 minutes and is rated PG13 for "intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language." It is that very rare item that actually lives up to the hype.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Guardians of the Galaxy gets eight and a half.
Until next time...