Monthly Movie Roundup for May 2017
The Cinema Geeks podcast continues with their Monthly Movie Roundup! blog series. For this edition we are giving you our thoughts on the May releases. In order to help supplement the lack of new movie reviews we do in the actual podcast, each month we will give you our quick takes on the previous months new releases. Each release will receive a quick take from at least ONE of our resident geeks, and at times may receive a take from all four of us. In the comments section be sure to let us know if you agree or disagree with our takes. You can also tweet your thoughts to us directly. The show handle is @CinemaGeekCast or you could reach us each individually by tweeting to Kevin @OptimusSolo, Dan @MovieRevolt, Amanda @HardCandiMandi or Matt @FridleyCent. If you need a refresher on the GCRN Universal Rating Scale you can check that out by clicking here!
If you are interested in our past Roundups you can check them out here.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Release Date: 5-5-2017
Director: James Gunn
(By MovieRevolt Dan)
When Guardians of the Galaxy came out it was surprise to nearly everyone. It was unlike any Marvel movie we had seen and took characters many comic fans didn’t know and made them into household names. It is difficult to try to replicate that success but felt Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 delivered as a piece of high entertainment. A few less forced jokes would have done wonders to better the film as when it tried to be sincere it came off as artificial. Â One of its biggest overlooked accomplishments is how it created one of the MCU’s best villains. Â Many have complained that the plot was lacking, but what James Gunn decided to focus on was character development rather an massive narrative. Personally that was a welcome change.
I was a big fan of the first Guardians film and went into this one with pretty elevated expectations. That is why I was shocked when I came out loving this film even more than the first. I cannot remember the last time I had this much fun with a film that didn’t contain the words Star or Wars in the title and I for sure cannot remember the last time I laughed this much in a film. I was very impressed with how they were able to pull off the seemingly impossible task of bringing to life Ego he living Planet, who is easily one of the better villains in the MCU up to this point. I was also worried that they would overplay the cuteness of Baby Groot, especially with the marketing campaign that has surrounded that character, yet they were able to walk that line with great balance during the film. The film unexpectedly highlighted Yondu with remarkable success and allowed him to give what may be the best one-liner of the year if not the decade with “I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!”. It did break the group up a little more than most people wanted but I thought it allowed them to balance the screen time and devote some character development moments that otherwise would not have been possible. Batista continues to surprise with how perfectly he embodies the Drax character as well. The music may have been a step down from the first one as were a few of the characters, Gamora most notably. However, in every other way this film was superior to the original, including some fantastic visuals and the use of color throughout. If you didn’t have fun with Volume 2, you may want to take a break from movies for a bit and recharge your battery, because you are most likely slowly losing touch with your own humanity.
I was very excited to get more of the Guardians and was in love with this film from start to finish. I was extremely satisfied with the character development and the development of all thenew and old relationships of the team. The look of the film was stunning, the story was fun and compelling, and the cameos were on point. For me, Baby Groot and Yondu stole theÂ show, but the other characters were also far from disappointing. I loved the action, I loved the use of color, and I was thoroughly entertained. I can’t wait to own this!
Release Date: 5-19-2017
Director: Ridley Scott
Genre: Science Fiction
I will defend Prometheus for years to come against all of its naysayers. I think the thematic elements are both interesting and profound, I think it is a great companion piece to the amazing first two films of this franchise and I think it is a great set-up for these future films. Alien: Covenant however, is one of the most bi-polar films I’ve seen in a long time. It doesn’t know if it wants to be closely tied to the first two films or closely tied to Prometheus. It’s as if the powers that be, or perhaps Ridley Scott himself heard too much of the negative backlash from the previous installment and tried to adjust things to appease the idiot masses. In the end you get a film that has some great moments and thought provoking reveals within the mythology of this franchise littered with ridiculous and utterly predictable moments. The ending can do nothing but leave a sour taste in your mouth as you feel like your intelligence is insulted by Scott’s insisting on spelling things out and playing them as shocking reveals when they are anything but. I still am interested to see what lies ahead in the next film if only to see how things get to our full-circle moment of connecting with the original film. This film is no where near the top half of films within this franchise in the end though.
As a fan of the Alien franchise, I found myself in only a mild state of anticipation for Covenant. I was apprehensive going into the film, thinking it would be too similar to the previous films. I found that it was predictable, but was pleased that it closed out and answered some questions/plot holes that were left by Prometheus. The new delivery systems were interesting and I enjoyed seeing more of the actual xenomorphs we’re used to getting. Those kills are always super gross and yet cool at the same time. Overall I wasn’t impressed with the film, but satisfied with some of the closure it provided. I still am not sure how I feel about the time line as a whole however. I can’t figure out how it connect to the first alien film.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Release Date: 5-26-2017
Director: Roenning & Sandberg
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was a welcome return for the franchise to the through line and the aesthetics of the first three films and thankfully not the same direction as film number four. I enjoyed the tie-ins and connections it provided to the previous films and it felt like a small step in the right direction. It was not however a large enough step to make me yearn for any more films in this franchise. The fun of this franchise has run its course and it is time to let it find its final resting place on the high seas. They were able to pack just enough of an emotional punch to this film to make it resonate as what will hopefully be the franchises swan song. Johnny Depp is great as Jack Sparrow and gets entirely too much hate from all directions but especially from critics. The cameos are nice touches and Geoffrey Rush gave his best performance to date within this franchise. In the end though it just didn’t have the awe inspiring moments or humor that drew so many people in when the films first emerged onto the scene. Die hard fans of the franchise will enjoy this film quite a bit, every one else will be scratching their heads as to why they keep making more of them.
Despite the skepticism surrounding this latest installment of the Pirates franchise, I went into the film hopeful. It was great seeing some of the other characters we’ve grown to love and it was equally great seeing some new faces. This was another film I saw this month that had some very satisfying closure. I left the film happy for the characters. I felt it lacked some great fight scenes with impeccably choreographed sword fights like we’ve gotten in the past, but the story was unexpected and extremely enjoyable. I had a great time with this film.
Release Date: 3-12-2017
Director: Marc Webb
(By MovieRevolt Dan)
Maybe I am just getting overly sentimental in my old age but Gifted worked for me. It may be a cliche story that could easily have been a Lifetime Â TV movie but the performances of Chris Evans andÂ Mckenna GraceÂ made it into something more. I am happy to see director Marc Webb go back to more of his indie routes but I do wish he was able to elevate this the same way he did 500 Days of Summer, but instead he played it rather safe.
The LEGO Batman Movie
Release Date: 2-10-2017
Director: Chris McKay
(By MovieRevolt Dan)
I never thought The Lego Movie was going to be nearly as good as it was, and when this was announced I was concerned they would take what was a fine idea for a supporting piece and over extending it. I should have had more faith as Lego Batman managed to be this well developedÂ amalgamation of everything Batman from the 60’s TV series to The Dark Knight films to the actual comics. Unlike The Lego Movie it did not have nearly as many dimensions and got overly repetitive by the third act.