Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

Director James Gunn commits to a very interesting fear in avoiding the third film curse by shifting a lot of the focus for his odyssey of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Rather than continue on the journey of Peter Quill, Gunn focuses on the more problematic characters that have entered in to the Marvel Universe. Throughout the trilogy we’ve only know a bit about Nebula and Rocket Raccoon. We know that they’re in essence hard heroes to understand and cope with and Gunn gets down to the nitty gritty and give us compelling back stories. Along the way their back stories allow us to garner a further understanding as to why they relate to the other characters as they do.

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Peter Pan & Wendy (2023)

For a studio that has a monopoly on animation, you’d think they wouldn’t be afraid of larger color palette, by now. I don’t know what it is about Disney where they think that the best approach to remake their classic films is to suck all the life out of them. The general color schemes for “Peter Pan & Wendy” are hefty shades of browns and whites that make the movie feel drab and bland. With a movie about Peter Pan and Neverland, this movie should feel colorful, bright, and exciting. Most of the time while I appreciated certain aspects of David Lowery’s production, “Peter Pan & Wendy” was a chore.

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Scooby Doo! Pirates Ahoy! (2006)

2006’s “Pirates Ahoy!” is one of the more clever animated sequels to come from the aughts when the “Scooby Doo” movie series was pretty much stale. By this time they’d given up fighting real monsters, and reverted back to criminals and goons with fancy costumes and illusions. It’s surprising how much talent these direct to DVD movies always attract, and the cast compliments what is a pretty nifty mystery, altogether.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Much like a classic mix tape, “Vol. 2” of “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a movie that’s similar in theme to its predecessor but feels fresh and original. Director James Gunn delivered a truly remarkable adaptation in 2014, and now he offers up a sequel that’s just as good, with a hefty narrative that thankfully has so much going on, but never loses sight of its central themes of family, love, and how music is the soundtrack of our lives. With “Guardians” the group of Starlord, Gamorra, Groot, Rocket, and Drax are back committing to a difficult job for a race of aliens called the Sovereign. They’re tasked with killing a vicious monster called the Abilisk and protecting priceless batteries. In exchange, they give Gamorra her sister Nebula back, who has been held prisoner.

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Pan (2015) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

pan

Another in a line of 2015 films I really wanted to love, “Pan” left me bored, and asking did we really need a prequel? Did we really need to end the movie on Peter and Captain Hook giving one another uncomfortable glances knowing soon they’d become deadly nemeses? Why is Captain Hook called Hook if he doesn’t even have a Hook? Why is Tiger Lily played by a Lily White Actress? Hey, at least Hollywood keeps giving consistently flat Rooney Mara jobs, and turns Tiger Lily in to the heroine of a movie that’s supposed to be about Peter Pan. Or is he Peter who is a Pan? Or is he a Pan Warrior Named Peter?

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Deep Rising (1998)

DeepRisingFor a movie with so much story and set up, it’s shocking how well “Deep Rising” comes together. Stephen Sommers is really committed to delivering a squared jawed hero with a lot of his action movies, and “Deep Rising” gives us Treat Williams in rare form. Director Sommers’ B monster movie action flick is still a lot of fun, despite the aged special effects and slew of sub-plots, some of which are left unresolved. That said, “Deep Rising” has all the ingredients for a fun and raucous action horror film.

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Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

It takes a real out of the box thinker like director James Gunn to really approach “Guardians of the Galaxy” with a fresh sense of vision that doesn’t make it feel like a stock space epic. Truly, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the most complete Marvel movie since “The Avengers.” It adopts the quirks and flash of the Marvel universe, while also introducing us to a group of complex and truly interesting rejects that become saviors of the universe thanks to colliding fates and unusual circumstances. Suffice it to say “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a near masterpiece, and one with an amazing soundtrack. Rather than sidestepping everything from the comic, director James Gunn embraces the fun of the diverse alien bunch, while also injecting his own demented dark comedy.

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