Review: Guardians of the Galaxy
Posted by Mikey
This review comes a bit belated, I’ve been struggling with coming up with the words to explain just how perfect of a film Guardians of the Galaxy truly is. We’re now two weeks out since its release date (as of the writing of this piece) and I’ve seen it three times, yet the confidence I have in my own writing ability feels staggeringly inadequate to explain just what this film has accomplished, and what it means to me.
Marvel has been dealing out hit after hit, somewhat sticking to its wheelhouse of superheroes tropes; while they can be funny or a bit odd, nothing could really ready the populace for when Guardians of the Galaxy was announced.
Robin Williams July 21, 1951 - August 11, 2014
Robin Williams meant something to both of us at Push Your Glasses Up. Both Mikey and I (Reena) wanted to say goodbye to him and honor him in our own tributes:
I was on my way home when I heard the news. During a commercial break, the 91X DJ said “Robin Williams has died. So sad” before going back to their mix of rock and alternative music. While stopped at a traffic light, I quickly opened Twitter to see that it was in fact true. So strange, as my intern and I briefly discussed Dead Poet’s Society earlier today before the news broke.
At the risk of sounding melodramatic, it’s like a tiny piece of my childhood died.
From reruns of Mork and Mindy on Nick at Nite — I’ve been a night owl since I was a kid — to movies like Hook and Mrs Doubtfire, Robin Williams was the first person I thought of when you you said the word “comedian”. I loved how bananas he was, hyperactive and loud, with what seemed like a million different voices. Those voices he used to bring life to characters like Batty in Ferngully and Genie in Aladdin. I even loved his stand up, even though I was probably too young for some of the raunchiness of his earlier work. He made it OK to be weird and silly and still be respected as a comedian. He was a nerd through and through and that was OK; it made it OK for both Mikey and I to be nerds too (although, seeing as how he named his daughter Zelda after his love of the game, he definitely has us beat in the geek department!)
Even in more serious films like Good Will Hunting and even Death to Smoochy and What Dreams May Come (yes, I actually like this movie), his performance was moving. I even remember getting choked up during Jack. Maybe it’s because we were seeing more depth or maybe a little more of who he was. He wasn’t weird accents and references, he had a much more serious side too.
Every time I think I’ve included all my favorite films that he’s done, another one comes to mind. I could probably re-edit this post a dozen times and still not include all of his work that I love.
Even though all the facts aren’t in at this time, it is heartbreaking to know it may in fact be a suicide. It’s the dark side of comedy we never talk about; comedians are not the happy-go-lucky jokesters they portray on screen and stage. Depression is a disease, one that is sometimes treated too late or not at all. It’s situation but it’s also chemical and both influence one another in a perfect storm of despair. Knowing that someone that made me laugh so much in my life felt that low is hard to comprehend. A man beloved by so many, but who, for whatever reason, did not feel all that love and admiration was enough to keep going. This has really been a shit year so far.
I think it’s time to drown my own sorrows over this terrible loss in a movie marathon showcasing the work of a talented, multi-dimensional actor. As I scroll through Twitter and Facebook, it’s remarkable how many people his work touched in the same way. Only the greats have such an impact. A true genius. Rest in peace.
Ever since I was a boy, on my television and on the big screen, I can remember Robin Williams’ face and talent encompassing a great deal of the media I consumed. Some of it age appropriate, some of it not, but all of it astounding.
Re-runs of Mork & Mindy would be on T.V. as early as I can remember, which means I was switching between that and Sesame Street before I was even attending Kindergarten. By the time I was in elementary school, I was enjoying Hook and Aladdin while also seeing him do stand-up and making a difference with Comic Relief. All of this adding up to an icon that would help form my love of comedy and an appreciation for anyone who could pull off a solid punchline. Before I was ten years of age, I had seen Good Morning Vietnam, Moscow on the Hudson, Cadillac Man and Awakenings and could see a range that could travel to depths that most comedians would never accomplish.
On top of that, I’m from Boston, so I mean…Good Will Hunting…
…but there’s also a more personal side to my adoration of Robin Williams.
My parents divorced in 1992 and I began having a hard time focusing in school. Unable to convey my feelings about the situation and somewhat shutting down, I began to grow complacent. I stopped trying to keep up with my class, and I started getting in fights with neighborhood kids, whom were older and could therefore wail away on this overly aggressive eight-year-old who was lashing out because he didn’t know how to manage his emotional confusion.
The following year, Mrs. Doubtfire was released. It took a situation that I was becoming very well-versed in, while not fully understanding its normalcy as an adolescent, and allowed me to realize that I wasn’t the only kid dealing with his parents splitting up. It also explained that to me in the best way possible; by taking a situation that was hard to deal with and making me laugh through it.
Nearly twenty-two years after my parents split, I’m not afraid to admit that if I’m flipping through the channel guide and see Mrs. Doubtfire listed, I’ll immediately turn it on. Some may be quick to jump at it’s cheesiness, or they may think it’s a subpar entry in his legacy, but because of Robin Williams making that movie, I came out of my childhood feeling a little less alone.
Now, as an adult, I use another iconic screen idiom of his to remind myself that things are alright. I’ve fought through my own bouts with depression, as Williams has for decades, and it’s in the words he spoke during a scene from Good Will Hunting that now live as a mantra on a daily basis, “It’s not your fault.”
From a boy who couldn’t understand why his world was falling apart at the age of eight to a man about to enter his thirties, tearing up as he remembers a man he’s never met but owes a great deal to, all I can say is thank you, Robin, you will be dearly missed.
Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Posted by Mikey
It has flash! It has over-the-top effects! And nothing else.
That’s the problem with this reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. While we’ve all been complaining about the character designs for months now, there are far bigger issues that have severe consequences regarding the quality of the final product. Never slowing down to actually allow a connection to the characters is its main, but by no means only, downfall. These are brothers, a family; other than a cop out of voice over work you’d never realize that. All that’s ever shown as far as brotherly affection is saved until the last three minutes of what I can only describe as a train-wreck of plot and an absolute disregard for the spirit of the source material.
Guardians of the Galaxy 17 Minute IMAX Preview
Posted by Mikey
Do you remember how it felt the very first time you saw Star Wars? How visceral your response was to seeing a Star Destroyer chase down the Tantive IV in its opening sequence? I certainly remember how that felt, and it changed my life forever.
That is the exact same feeling I got while watching the seventeen minute preview of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy on monday evening.
Whether the preview is an entirely uncut scene was unclear, but it seems to be the whole prison sequence from booking to processing to break out.
The character focus is on the group, as opposed to being all about Star Lord (Chris Pratt,) which is a nice touch. You get to learn how the five GotG members meet, interact with each other and decide to team up in the heat of the moment.
The amount of humor was pitch perfect between Peter not understanding Groot’s (Vin Diesel) lack of vocabulary, Drax’s (Dave Bautista) inability to comprehend metaphor, Rocket’s (Bradley Cooper) straight up gruffness and the fact that he doesn’t know what a raccoon is. It completely balances out the action and at some points, enhances it.
And then there’s Gamora (Zoe Saldana,) right off the bat she’s as badass as we want her to be. Everyone plays their part in the prison break action, including Rocket on Groot’s shoulder firing a gun that was ripped away from a guard by Drax, but Gamora has an elegant brutality in the way she fights. To use a Lord of the Rings comparison: she has the ability and aggression of Aragorn with the grace of Legolas.
Now, I could have thrown spoilers in here left and right, giving away a list of the things that I saw within the scene, but I didn’t want to do that. The pure joy, the absolute childlike wonderment that I experienced during this preview, that’s what I want to share. If I were to just shoot off a bullet point list of what happened, or just adapted the scene into “Rocket said this and then Peter responded with this and then Drax did this,” that may take some of the magic away and I don’t want to do that to whomever ends up reading this. I want you to be able to feel just how I did while watching, I want you to feel like you’re going to burst out of your chair because what’s happening on the screen is so incomprehensibly awesome that your whole body reacts the way it would have on Christmas morning when you were seven years old and you received The Shredder’s transport module…because I guarantee you, it will. (Also, that’s exactly how that Christmas morning in 1991 went for me.)
I’d like to thank James Gunn, Marvel and Disney for sharing a glimpse into what they’ve created with GotG, because they’ve taken the heart and soul that I first learned only exists in a galaxy far, far away and brought it a little closer to home.
And for those who were unable to attend the preview screening, Marvel were kind enough to release a new extended trailer with a ton of new footage.
The Star Trek Project: Part 2 - The Next Generation
Posted by: Mikey
“Ah yes, it’s a lot like “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” In many ways it’s superior, but will never be as recognized as the original.”
No truer statement has been said about Next Gen, or the Star Trek franchise as a whole, than this line delivered by Mike Myers’ Wayne Campbell in 1992’s Wayne’s World. (And it’s not the only Star Trek reference made in the film…)
Taking cues from, but actually expanding on the themes of acceptance and equality from the original series; TNG focuses on what makes a person, and the inherent rights that come with being a free-thinking individual. In fact, many of the best episodes of the series focus on that very ideal.
Not just in the overall concept of the show do we see improvement, but in the sets, writing, special effects and quality of cast. Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner, in particular, give life to their roles and Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Data that hasn’t been seen in the franchise since.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY FROM GAME OF THRONES! (SPOILER)