Guardians of the Galaxy in Infinity War

If you’re as outspoken an advocate of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy as I am, Avengers: Infinity War probably left you with loads to internally process. Yes, we’re going to grade the Guardians of the Galaxy in Infinity War.

James Gunn’s lovable cosmic cowboys play a pivotal role in challenging Thanos’ scheme to collect all six Infinity Stones. Star-Lord, Drax and Mantis end up alongside Tony Stark’s space clan, Rocket and Groot aid Thor’s Stormbreaker quest, Gamora reunites with her father Thanos – the Guardians have plenty going on, but not every arc struck me as complete. We knew there’d be some character development issues with such a cluttered team-up feature, but the range of representation for my favorite MCU heroes endure scales from “Is Groot as mighty as Thor?” to “Gamora hitting rock-bottom.”

Oh, should I mention spoilers will follow? I mean, why would you click on an Infinity War article without seeing the movie anyway. In any case, here goes:

Massive Infinity War spoilers follow.

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Death in the MCU

(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, political, and opinionated about anything and everything. In this edition: Marvel has no idea how to make death matter in its movies.)

We’ve come a long way since 2008’s Iron Man introduced Marvel Studios’ ambitious Phase One initiative. Ten years, nineteen movies, one sacrificial offering of Kevin Feige’s soul to ward off genre fatigue – but despite critical, monetary, and filmmaking successes that continue to redefine the increasingly iconic Marvel Cinematic Universe, the elemental truth of insufficient stakes remains the franchise’s greatest foe.

Marvel stresses event-level entertainment and exhibits the ability to spectacularly deliver on that promise, proven by my continued desire to witness the Avengers pound tyrant after tyrant into submission. Plucky do-gooder confidence plays into ultimate showmanship, yet it cannot be denied that hero sendoffs are scarce and oddly unaffecting when implemented.

Does death even matter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? At this franchise milestone, I submit that it does not. Warning: spoilers ahead. Read More »

braid review

I’ve never robotripped, ingested geltabs of acid or licked stimulant toad excretions, but if I did, I’d imagine the experience to resemble Mitzi Peirone’s Braid. Style over substance just had a new league invented by this hallucinogenic rabbit’s hole, laced with uppers and light on explanations. Keeping up isn’t an option here – audiences are better served soaking in sugar plum scenic drenches than trying to rationalize character motivations. Peirone marches to the beat of her own drum, that’s part of a massive in-tune band, performing on her own made-up holiday. Hold onto something and try not to lose your mind…there’s no Mad Hatter to save you this time.

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Cargo Review

Netflix’s “zom-dram” Cargo – what’s essentially an Australian The Walking Dead spinoff – boasts far more inspiration from survival instincts over typical rotter squashing. No tactical military platoons, just a father and child fighting against outbreak paranoia. Supplies are scarce, native tribes echo ritualistic thinking and do I detect a hint of anti-fracking commentary? Man’s mutilation of Mother Nature pits industrial complexes against respect for cavernous and magnificent brushlands in this greed-poisoned flatlands march. An environmentally sound subgenre take that’s powered by 2018’s strongest horror theme: parental fears and intergenerational unrest.

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The Endless Trailer

Those of you paying attention, yes – I’ve been quite busily covering Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s The Endless around these parts. I premiered an exclusive clip that teases an existential “Struggle,” interviewed the duo about their cinematic inspirations, and now comes the most fun reveal yet in the form of a giveaway contest! It’s time for us here at /Film to give back with a little help from our filmmaking friends, specifically, the team behind your new favorite mindfreak (according to myself and Jamie Righetti who reviewed the film out of Tribeca).

The Endless begs to be seen, and hopefully what’s about to come ignites your motivational fire.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

What a time to be alive, horror fans. This blessed year of 2018 is bursting at Oogie Boogie’s seams with goodies month after month (A Quiet Place right now, Hereditary to come), the latest of which is set to have y’all tripping something fierce in honor of 4/20.

The title? Ghost Stories, written, directed and adapted by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman based on their own West End play. It is, quite astonishingly, a cerebral headtrip that dances a fine line between cinema and stage. Two deceptively similar mediums that are also so remarkably different come together in a way that lays nasty little tricks of the mind with intent to thrill. Which it does…handily and confidently.

That’s just one of the many reasons we’re honored to debut this new exclusive clip for IFC Midnight’s Ghost Stories.

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Pinnacles of cinematic cult achievement are rarely surpassed by their long-gestating sequels, and – as Rodney “Rod” Farva might say – I’m not gonna tickle your taint over Super Troopers 2. Super Troopers remains king, a film that withstood my college years and still delights to this day, but numero dos is still a goofy state patrolman farce worth your time. For as much crap as these boys give our pancake-pounding “Canucklefucks” to the North, American pot-shots are none the duller. With dashes of nostalgia but plenty of furtherment in highway havoc antics, wheels keep spinning once Thorny and his crew reach tops speeds and hold momentum. It just takes a hot minute to get there, so patience is a must.

That and a regulation-sized mustache.

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the endless influences

As a film critic or journalist, you’ll often find yourself assigning influences to specific movies without creator clarification. That’s part of art – an audience drawing their own connections from singular perspectives – but recently I had the chance to ask two of my favorite working filmmakers if we’re getting it right. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead were my subjects, a cinematic duo who’ve run a gamut of “x meets y” comparisons over their career.

Spoiler alert, we (critics) were wrong…and right? Chalk up mystery of life.

In specific, Benson and Moorhead got down to exploring their most recent release, The Endless. With their heady brand of poke-around exhibitionism, it’s anyone’s guess as to where their cult-based universe came from (aside from beaming creativity). Do “Lovecraft and Linklater” play as big a role in their inspirations as critiques make it seem? Are their styles more aligned with other directing icons? Do classic films even play a part in their formation as filmmakers?

Those questions and more were answered over coffee and conversation. Welcome to the minds of Benson and Moorhead.

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truth or dare review

Jeff Wadlow’s Truth Or Dare is an inconsequential brand of horror likened to Stiles White’s Ouija or more recently John R. Leonetti’s Wish Upon. Actors such as heartthrob Tyler Posey and pretty little liar Lucy Hale entice younger audiences who may find a scream or two in the shallow slog, but hardcore hellhounds will sniff out confliction from scene one. Aggro college-bred stereotypes, telegraphed jumps from miles away, nonsense plot connectivity – hope you like your demon possessions overshadowed by hormonally volatile love triangles and “white girl problems.” And if you don’t? I dare you to reach the credits of this generic schoolyard excuse for genre furtherment.

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the endless clip

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead are two of the most interesting and inquisitive voices echoing throughout today’s cinematic landscape, and their latest title The Endless showcases precisely why. Two creators likened to disciples of Richard Linklater and H.P. Lovecraft, blazing a dialogue-driven trail of twisty genre exploration. Theirs is a style that’s cerebral and striking in ways others have fumbled clumsily, ponderous but still so engagingly addictive. Resolution rocks, Spring rolls and The Endless shows no slowing of momentum.

With that said, it’s our honor to debut a new clip from The Endless that spoons an ominous taste of what to expect from their third release.

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