The Road To Infinity War Part 10: Guardians of the Galaxy


Guardians of the Galaxy did what few team up movies did before. With next to no set up from a previous movie, it managed to take a group of characters and successfully make their movie a huge hit. Unlike in Suicide Squad, you not only care about this group of misfits, but the stakes they find themselves in.

James Gunn has a clear love for the material and his passion shines through. Everything from the dialogue, the music, settings, nothing was left to chance and his gamble paid off. Make no mistake, Guardians of the Galaxy was in fact a risky move by Marvel. Outside of general comic book fans, very few knew who Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Gamora, Drax, and Starlord were. In addition, setting the majority of the film in space took  away the comfort zone of Earth. In essentially the first MCU cosmic film, a lot had to go right for mainstream audiences to embrace them.

Next to the Avengers, Guardians was the second movie in the Marvel Universe that I genuinely had fun watching. While most of the previous films were great to watch and enjoy, having an actual fun experience is something that doesn’t happen very often. As far as comic book movies go, it very nearly captures page to screen perfectly.

The entire cast looks to be having a grand time and it shows. I’ve seen many movies in the past that look as if the actors could barely be in the same room together, here it really feels genuine. Clearly James Gunn was the best choice to direct, I honestly can’t think of Guardians without his influence.

The choice of villain in Ronan the Accuser was a very good one. Lee Pace gets his fanatic on and offers a genuine threat. Throughout the entire film, Ronan is all business but his reaction to watching Starlord dance is priceless! He is joined by Nebula, played by the lovely but unrecognizable Karen Gillan. While her sister Gamora has her own agenda, Nebula clearly has a pain that manifests into rage and their arc is one of the best in the film.

Guardians of the Galaxy firmly sits in my top five of the MCU films. Everything from the characters, the special effects, soundtrack, all hit just the right notes. The chemistry that made this film is a hard one to duplicate and the enjoyment watching it never gets old.

HOW IT CONNECTS TO INFINITY WAR: Thanos appears in pretty much an extended cameo, his first time speaking. Of course the Power Stone plays a prominent role in the film. The Collector recounts the history of the Infinity Stones and they, though quickly, are featured visibly on screen.

The Road To Infinity War Part 9: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)


Week 9 is here and with it brings arguably one of the best MCU films to date, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The first outing of the Russo Brothers brings an engaging, political thriller that rivals even the best films in that genre. This film would set the bar for the future of comic book movies in general. The acting talent assembled here is top notch, everyone brings forth their best and the engaging storyline brings it all home.

Winter Soldier, next to Avengers, really showcased how the Marvel Universe was indeed a shared universe. Black Widow’s involvement felt more natural here then in Iron Man 2, it worked to service the story as opposed to just cramming it in there. I wasn’t a fan of The Falcon in the comics but absolutely loved Anthony Mackie in the role, his lines and quips are so great and they continue on in future films.

The Winter Soldier himself, Sebastian Stan, really broke free from the first Captain America movie to become a menacing antagonist. Notice I didn’t say villain. His actions, while terrible, were not of his own choosing. Hydra is the true evil and how it has taken over S.H.I.E.L.D. is wonderfully compelling.

The fallout from Winter Soldier continues to reverberate even now, from the movies to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In many ways, the eventual rift that tears apart the Avengers begins with the decisions made here. The Russo Brothers truly made not only a fantastic Marvel movie, but movie in general.

As an added note, this is once again a great movie to see in 3D if you get the chance. The final battle scene with the Hellecarriers really benefits from the 3D.


HOW IT CONNECTS TO INFINITY WAR: during the first post credits scene, the Mind Stone (still encased in Loki’s scepter) is briefly shown when Baron Strucker is talking about “the twins.”



Every once in a while you need to let some rage out, we all do. It’s very cathartic and as it turns out, necessary. I have to wonder if Mom and Dad was director Brian Taylor’s own personal therapy session. Make no mistake, this is purely considered a “guilty pleasure” kind of film. The subject matter is a bit garish and not, however, for everyone. The premise is this: An unknown signal emitted through the airwaves triggers a murderous rage in parents to kill their own kids. Right away the filmmaker is going to have to walk a fine line considering the subject matter. Does he succeed? Kind of.

Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair headline this film as the title characters and I have to say, are perfect in their respected roles. The pair have two children, one high school age, the other grade school. Anyone who is a parent will probably recognize some of the drama that occurs in the family’s every day life, even as exaggerated as it is here.

From a story telling perspective, we’re given the bare minimum as far as backstory goes. The movie doesn’t just jump into the chaos, it takes a bit of time to get there. It’s a shame that our would be protagonists, in this case the children, aren’t particularly sympathetic. The friend of the oldest daughter is even less so, she’s clearly a caricature of a bitchy friend and has the survival skills of a Friday the 13th counselor. When it hits the fan, their is very little to root for but you’re still along for the ride.

When the “event” happens to the people of the world (I presume), this is easily the most interesting part of the movie. The scene starts in the classroom and I couldn’t help but compare it to a Simpsons Halloween episode. Their is a slow build but when it blows up, it offers a genuinely frightening scene of dozens of parents crazily attacking their high school kids. Despite the R rating, nothing is explicitly shown mostly due to shakey cam and other quick cuts. This was definitely the right call as hearing the various news reports on tv painted a grizzly enough picture of what was happening across the country.

When the film focuses back to the main family at their home, it harkens back to the first Purge film in style and remains there for the rest of the running time. As a result, the pacing grinds to halt and in an 86 minute long movie, that’s a problem. One or two huge jumps in logic also burden the story, but at this point you know what you’ve signed on for. A few flashbacks help shake up the narrative, some done well, others so jarring they take you out of the movie.

Essentially Mom and Dad is a direct-to video kind of movie and I think the filmmakers were aware of this. Their are a few intense moments here and there but nothing over the line taste wise, though they tip toe near it once or twice.

The Film Basement Episode #5 - ANNIHILATION Review


Ex Machina was one of the best sci-fi films in recent memory.  Director Alex Garland's follow-up, ANNIHILATION is now out and stars Natalie Portman in the center of another heady dive into the realm of fiction and science.  We begin the show by reviewing the film in broad terms as to not spoil anything for those who have not yet seen the film.  Following that we go headlong into spoiler territory to discuss the greater meanings of the production and whether it satisfies the questions offered.  Join Pete, Adam and Ashley into the shimmer as we are all about annihilation this week.  

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