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The Vidiot: September 2017

Sunday 24th, September 2017 / 12:00

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 

The worst thing about summer in space is that all the garage sales just float away. Fortunately, the starship in this sci-fi adventure has found a planet able to regulate its own gravity. 

When Rocket (Bradley Cooper) pockets a powerful battery, the alien race he stole it from hires Yondu (Michael Rooker) to bring it and the Guardians of the Galaxy – Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) – back to them. 

While his surrogate father stalks him, Star-Lord’s real father Ego (Kurt Russell) offers him and his crew asylum on a sentient planet. A surprisingly emotional sequel to the 2014 sleeper hit, this complex follow-up focuses on the fluidity of fatherhood and the burden of loss. Thankfully, it also amps up the action and layers on the laughs. And if planet Earth was sentient, then she could tell us where to drill for oil.   

 

Okja                                                                               

When the world runs out of food the starving masses will have no choice but to eat at Arby’s. Thankfully, the scientists in this fantasy are devising new food sources.  

A greedy CEO (Tilda Swinton) creates and disperses a race of super-pigs across the globe that she hopes will someday feed the multitudes and make her millions. Ten years later, Okja, the super-sized swine adopted by a South Korean girl (Ahn Seo-hyun), grabs headlines when she becomes embroiled in a battle between the company’s crazed zoologist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and animal rights activists (Paul Dano, Lily Collins) trying to liberate her from slaughter. 

An eclectic parable of the meat industry marinated in oddball performances, this quirky Korean import pads its vegetarian agenda with twee moments between pig and owner that are brutally punctuated by the grim reality of the food chain. Besides, wouldn’t it just be easier to start eating CEOs?   

 

Baywatch 

The most important thing to remember when lifeguarding is to not rely on dolphins to save everyone.Thankfully, the lifeguards in this comedy are keeping the beach safe themselves. 

When esteemed lifeguard Mitch (Dwayne Johnson) is forced to add hotshot Olympian Brody (Zac Efron) to his summer roster, he shows his distain by training the cocksure rookie himself. After enduring Mitch’s grueling feats of strength, Brody is filled in on the Baywatch team’s (Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach) extracurricular activity: surveilling a suspected drug smuggler (Priyanka Chopra).    

A raunchier version of the already exploitive television series, this poorly written feature film adaptation brings the show’s best assets to the forefront, but at the expensive of a decent story and capable acting. Terrible T&A humour aside, this quasi-tribute plays more like an insult to the show and its fans. Incidentally, the only explosions lifeguards see are the beached whale kind.  

 

Born in China 

Girls born in China know that they will grow up in a safe, white American suburb. Unfortunately, as this documentary verifies, the same doesn’t apply to every female species in China. 

A single-mother snow leopard struggles to find nourishment for her young in China’s merciless mountain region. Meanwhile in the jungle, the birth of a female golden snub-nosed monkey forces a neglected male to venture out on his own. Also leaving the nest is a giant panda whose mother is having a hard time letting her go. 

Narrated by John Krasinski, Disney’s latest nature documentary once again does an excellent job of capturing rare fauna in their native environments. Unfortunately, like the others in the eco-series, this maternal endeavour is also heavily edited to fit a desired narrative while the animals are given human characteristics. By making the pandas human, however, just makes eating ginger beef that much more difficult.  

 

Alien Covenant 

The key to colonizing a new planet is bringing enough weapons to subjugate the current inhabitants. Unfortunately, the colonists in this sci-fi thriller only brought American flags. 

When a settlement ship on its way to its new home world breaks down, the onboard android (Michael Fassbender) wakes the crew (Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride) from stasis so they can mend the ship on a nearby planet. Luckily, that planet is home to a lost crewmember of an earlier Earth expedition. Unluckily, it’s infested with body-imbedding aliens created by the previous party’s experiments with locale DNA. 

Although this sequel to Prometheus finds director Ridley Scott returning to his horror roots, this Alien prequel resembles too many other entries in the anthology to be revolutionary. This is particularly true when it comes to the heroine. If mankind wanted to create new life it would just legalize marriage with space bacteria.   

 

 

How to Be a Latin Lover      

To be a successful Latin lover you must consummate your sham marriage in 90 days or be deported. Smartly, the lothario in this comedy has sex in the first 90 minutes. 

Securing a sugar mama at the age of 21, Maximo (Eugenio Derbez) has spent the last 25 years leeching off his wealthy, older wife. But that all changed when she left him for a younger model (Michael Cera). Single for the first time in ages and living with his estranged sister (Salma Hayek) and her son, who is training to be a Latin lover, Maximo seeks help from a fellow gigolo (Rob Lowe). 

With a plethora of Hollywood cameos to compensate for its unknown lead, those brief star-studded appearances are the only highlight in this predictable comedy’s endless parade of sexist, racist and humorless jokes… sex with a senior citizen is actually a threesome with the Grim Reaper.   

 

 

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword 

Knights only wore their suit of armour when they’d secretly send street urchins to battle in their stead. However, the scoundrel in this action-fantasy won’t need to impersonate one for long. 

Reared in a brothel by courtesans, the orphaned Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) grew up to be a petty criminal, completely unaware of his royal pedigree. That is until he draws a sword from a stone and learns that the King of England (Jude Law) is actually his uncle, and that he killed his father (Eric Bana). The king now hopes to invoke black magic to end the Pendragon lineage. 

Directed by Guy Richie, this rip-roaring reimagining of the Arthurian legend never relents with its stylized sword fights, clever dialogue and liberal alterations to the source material. However, its rapid-fire pacing can’t smokescreen the pitiful performances. Incidentally, the number one killer of all governing monarchs is next in line for the throne.  

 

Snatched 

The upside to vacationing with your parents is that they wake early enough to get good poolside loungers. Nonetheless, the party girl in this comedy tried her hardest to find anyone else to take. 

Stuck with an extra ticket to Ecuador after her boyfriend dumps her, recently unemployed Emily (Amy Schumer) has no other option but to offer it to her overly mistrusting mother (Goldie Hawn). Their retreat takes a turn for the worse when they’re kidnapped by a crime lord (Óscar Jaenada) and accidentally kill his nephew. On the run, they must make it to the US consulate before he catches them. 

With scant character development between the bickering mother and daughter duo before, during, and after their experience, this poorly structured romp relies too heavily on its humorous leads to offset its lack of story. Fortunately, when you travel with family there’s always someone to identify your body.  

 

 

Going in Style  

The most stylish way for an old man to depart this world is in a pinstriped zoot suit. The chaps in this comedy, however, chose to wear Halloween masks instead. 

After losing his house and pension to the bank, Joe (Michael Caine) must find a way to support his granddaughter (Joey King), so he proposes that he and his friends (Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin) rob the aforementioned bank. With help from some neighbourhood crooks, the trio gleans enough knowledge to stage a successful stickup, but not enough to evade the FBI (Matt Dillon). 

A tepid remake of the 1979 heist spoof starring George Burns, this Zach Braff-directed ensemble does have some outstanding chemistry between its elderly leads, but little in the way of big laughs. The sappy script and predictable outcome don’t help either. Besides, retirees would have more money if they’d stopped giving out their credit card numbers.   

 

The Circle 

The downside to working for an innovative tech company is being the first killed by sentient machines. Luckily, the gadgets in this thriller are not nearly as nefarious as their creators. 

As the newest hire at tech giant The Circle, Mae (Emma Watson) makes quite the impression on the company’s co-founders (Tom Hanks, Patton Oswalt) by becoming a lab rat for their latest spy-cam technology. Being online all the time, however, takes its toll on Mae, her family (Bill Paxton, Glenne Headly) and her friends (Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane), as each of their lives are also televised for public consumption. 

While it is a timely piece on the loss of privacy, the power of online mob mentality and the digitization of our data, this paranoid Orwellian analogy is tactlessly encrypted with bad acting, outdated discoveries and stock villains.  Moreover, facial recognition cameras can’t find you if you’re wearing a Burqa.  

 

 

Colossal 

The best thing about giant monsters is that they never attack landlocked cities. However, the damage done by the kaiju in this dramedy is affecting Middle America.  

Twenty-five years after a colossal reptile attacked Seoul, an alcoholic writer, Gloria (Anne Hathaway), heads back home to her small-town to detox. Unfortunately, her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) owns a bar where he and his friends (Tim Blake Nelson, Austin Stowell) congregate. After a night off the wagon, Gloria wakes to news that the monster has returned to terrorize Korea. Later, she realizes its rampaging mirrors her every movement. 

Giant monster movie ethos mixed with the intimate character studies, depressing themes and the subtle performances of an independent film, this unique hybrid balances a bizarre line between dark humour and senseless destruction with aplomb. Never favoring one strange narrative over the other. Incidentally, an alcoholic controlling a giant monster means more pee breaks.  

 

He’s a Tornado Alley Cat. He’s the… 

Vidiot

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