Entries in Kurt Russell (2)

Monday
Jul292019

DOUBLE TROUBLE // A FILM REVIEW OF "ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD"

BY MATEO MORENO

Quentin Tarantino’s film career has spanned several different genres, made old stars new stars again (Hello Travolta, Hello Forster) and made the film soundtrack very cool again. For his 9th (give or take) film, he jumps back into the backlots of Hollywood 1969, right around the Manson murders. But it’s not so much about the murders. It’s really about the way life was around the Manson era. The way Hollywood was a dancing, bright and flashy, violent scene to be in. Tarantino is one of the masters of finding scenarios that have been done over and over and exploring them differently, making them look different through his lenses. And he does exactly that in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, his glorious new ‘ode to Motion Pictures, and the troubles that surround it.

There’s a duel story being told here: one of Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCarprio), a famous TV gunslinger whose career is starting to dry up, and his long-time stunt double and friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Rick wants to reclaim the feeling of his glory days but doesn’t quite know how to do it. Cliff hasn’t been a full-time stunt double in years, so he’s also become Rick’s driver, and he loves it. Taking him from place to place. Though the two of them are close friends, they are complete opposites. Rick is an emotional roller coaster, drinking his way through his sadness, while nothing at all seems to bother Cliff: he’s cool as a cucumber. Rumors abound the film, especially around Cliff, who is rumored to have killed his wife and got away with it; a flashback scene smartly plays up the moment in question without a resolution.

The film plays with time and a distorted reality, sometimes feeling like a film within a film. Whose reality are we watching? Why is there sometimes narration, and if we see an image of the past, like a scene between Cliff and Bruce Lee (Mike Moh), are we to believe it exactly, or is it simply a Point of View memory? Worlds do start to come together, as Rick now finds himself next door to Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and Cliff starts seeing Mason girls just wandering around the bus stops. However, the most fascinating part of these moments is that we don’t end up following them to the Ranch. We stay with Cliff and Rick, and only when their paths decide to cross into that world, do we explore it.

The movie bursts with small details of old Hollywood and has long sequences that play out perfectly, not necessarily moving along the plot, but adding a ton of character depth (such is the sequence with Rick and a young child co-star on a film set). Where the film goes, it takes it’s time getting to, and that’s one of the reasons to love this film. It feels just like and nothing like a Tarantino film at the same time. Every shot is there for a reason, and it’s all building to…well, I won’t spoil it in any way. But know that it’s a thrilling, nostalgic ride that only he can do. So, stick out your thumb. Hitch a ride. Take a look. You won’t know what you’re missing unless you take a look.

MATEO'S GRADE: A

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Quentin Tarantino.  STARRING Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, Luke Perry, Al Pacino, Mike Moh, Kurt Russell, Tomothy Olyphant. Now playing in cinemas.

 

Monday
May082017

STILL HOOKED ON A FEELING // A FILM REVIEW OF "GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2"

BY MATEO MORENO

There's an old saying that goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Movie sequels often go by this logic and more often than not, they don't match up to what made the original so special. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 follows this same logic; same cast of misfits, new space adventure, same writer/director. But while it might fall slightly short of the magic of the first, it's only due to the fact that we've already met them once. There's a lot of magic left in this team of heroes.

Volume 2 starts out with a great credit sequence of chaos, much like the first film. This time the whole team (Star-lord, Gamora, Rocket, Drax, and an oblivious to the battle Baby Groot) is fighting, along with a now Baby Groot, who's oblivious to the action. Groot, it should be said, stays a baby for the entire time and it NEVER grows old. Truly comic gold. They are fighting to get a valuable group of batteries away from a huge monster, the Abilisk. If they get the batteries, they can trade them for the release of Nebula (Karen Gillan), the sister of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) from a space colony known as The Sovereigns. They do indeed grab the batteries, but as they're leaving realize that Rocket has decided to steal them as well, so they go after the Guardians to get them back. Let's just say they're not too happy about it.

The Sovereigns are lead by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) and she hires the Guardians old Frenemy Yondu (Michael Rooker) to bring them to her. But his reluctance to kill the Guardians doesn't bode well for this search and destroy (it's really hard NOT to like Michael Rooker). While the "will he or won't he" internal battle is going on, The Guardians end up meeting Peter Quill's (AKA Star-Lord) father, the Celestial being named Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russell). From there the movie kicks off into a hellava space ride and goes totally weird and bonkers, in the very best way.

Writer/Director James Gunn nails the tone and humor again without ever feeling like we have "been there, done that." The cast and their rhythms rival any super hero franchise out there and the added story for Nebula really gives Gillian a chance to shine (Her scenes with Saldana are all great). Everyone seems to step up their game here, including Bradley Cooper's motion capture performance, which is not only hilarious but emotionally satisfying. And lest we not forget Kurt Russell, the man who steps onto any film set and makes it better. He's fantastic as Ego and, though there isn't much I can say without spoiling this entire review, his performance and relationship with Chris Pratt is right on target. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 is absolutely worth it, and really gets you excited to see these space pirates start playing with the Avengers crew soon (Oh Infinity War. Can't you come any quicker...?). Also make sure you stay for the 70 additional scenes during & after the credits (okay, maybe there isn't 70 but there's a lot). They range from the important (brush up on those 80's comic references kids) to the hilarious (two words: Teenage Groot).

 

MATEO'S GRADE: B+
Written & Directed by James Gunn Based on characters created by Stan Lee, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Steve Englehart, Steven Gan, Jim Starlin, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff Now Playing in Theatres Everywhere

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 OFFICIAL TRAILER