TEXAS, USA —
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3
I guess Chris Pratt has the opposite of a Midas touch.
This is the second franchise he's ended in as many years: "Jurassic Park" now "Guardians of the Galaxy." Kidding, of course, they were pretty big moneymakers!
In Volume 3, we find Peter Quill, a.k.a. "Star Lord" drowning his sorrows at the bar over the loss of his love Gamora (Zoe Saldana). Enter ... and I mean really enter ... the golden villain "Adam" (Will Poulter) with designs on snatching Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), but the fast-talking varmint is gravely wounded. We learn he was part of an engineered animal experiment by "The High Evolutionary" (Chukwudi Iwuji), and the Guardians set out to get the goods to try to repair him.
It's been six years since Volume 2, and with writer/director James Gunn moving over to rival D.C. Comics, this is truly the end of the trilogy. I was hoping for a more uplifting conclusion. With such a focus on animal cruelty, even another cool mix tape doesn't turn the frown upside down
(Disney/Marvel. Rated PG-13. Running Time 2 hrs. 30 mins. In Theaters Only.)
A couple of studios are offering the rom-com alternative this weekend.
"Love Again" stars Priyanka Chopra Jonas as "Mira," a children's book illustrator whose fiancé dies. His cell phone number is reassigned to "Rob," a music journalist played by "Outlander" hunk Sam Heughan. When Mira decides to send romantic messages to her love, he's the recipient.
Awkward? You bet!
Hey, maybe Celine Dion can help! Rob just so happens to be writing an article about her as she makes her acting debut playing herself.
The movie features some Dion hits and some new songs by her, as well. This was filmed before the diagnosis of the rare disease that's affected her voice, so it adds an unintended layer of sadness. Perking things up at one point, Priyanka's real-life husband, Nick Jonas, as a nightmare date.
(Sony Pictures. Rated PG-13. Running Time 1 hr. 44 mins. In Theaters Only)
WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
This is a cliché title for an enjoyable London-based rom-com from the producers of "Love Actually."
Lily James plays "Zoe," a documentary filmmaker. Her best friend and life-long next door neighbor, "Kazim" (Shazad Latif) is a successful doctor of Pakistani heritage who decides to enter into an arranged marriage. Zoe thinks it would be the perfect subject for her new documentary.
Meantime, her mom, played by Emma Thompson, is trying to fix her up with her dog's veterinarian. And you can tell where this one is going from a mile away.
Besides the leads, director Shekhar Kapur ("Elizabeth") makes this one work. It could be seen as culturally exploitive, but the overall effect is charming
(StudioCanal. Rated PG-13. Running Time 1 hr. 48 mins. In Theaters Only)
This one is for lovers of arthouse films, only.
Melissa Barrera ("In the Heights," "Scream 5, 6") stars in the title role. Oscar nominee Paul Mescal is her love interest. Billed as a "cinematic vision," there's a lot of interpretive dance throughout which makes sense, since it's directed by dancer/choreographer and husband to Natalie Portman, Benjamin Millepied. (They met on "Black Swan.") I have a hunch this is much more satisfying seen on the big screen. I found it to be a little hollow as I screened on a phone. (By the way, Chris Hemsworth's wife, Elsa Pataky, has a small role.)
(Sony Pictures Classics. Rated R. Running Time 1 hr. 56 mins. In Theaters Only)
LOOKING TO STREAM???
Netflix is just out with a "Bridgerton" spinoff: "Queen Charlotte." And I'm absolutely captivated by the first two episodes alone, as the older Charlotte we know from the series, Golda Rosheuvel, flashes back to her younger self, played by India Amarteifio.
Apple TV+ just released "Silo," a dystopian drama about the last people on earth living in a subterranean silo. The strong ensemble cast includes Rebecca Ferguson, David Oyelowo, Tim Robbin and Common.
You can't watch Pete Davidson host "SNL" this weekend due to the Writers' strike, but you can catch his semi-autobiographical comedy series "Bupkis" on Peacock. It's part raunchy, part heartwarming. Edie Falco and Joe Pesci co-star, with other guest stars rotating in.
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