Blu-Ray Spotlight: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps moving along in the right direction, and one of the main reasons for their success is their ability to creatively think outside the box. Case in point is the choice of Super filmmaker James Gunn to direct 2014’s mega-hit Guardians of the Galaxy. Gunn’s character and genre driven sensibilities seamlessly blended into the film’s epic visual scale and narrative.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 could have been a rehash of the original, and fans would have probably forgiven the sequel if Gunn solely relied on the eye catching special affects and the pure chemistry of the leads. Though the heart of this story centers on Star-Lord’s (Chris Pratt) relationship with his long lost father Ego (Kurt Russell), the rest of the Guardians are given ample time to develop their respective arcs (one surprising element features the growing bond between Drax and Mantis). As evidenced by Gunn’s prominent use of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 centers on the importance of family, and the film doesn’t chintz on developing meaty back stories for its seemingly most incidental characters. The aforementioned Mantis (Pom Klementieff), gold-faced antagonist Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), Gamora’s vengeful sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), and returnee Yondu (Michael Rooker, delivering the film’s most memorable performance) all get their chance to shine. Instead of littering his 136 minute film with wall to wall action, Gunn also spends time developing the relationships among the Guardians and the extended family who may either break their chain or enhance their lives. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 may take a few more left turns than its predecessor, but these seeming detours pay off with a resonant final act.

Along with several informative special features that delve into the making of the film, the Blu-ray also comes with five minutes worth of deleted scenes. One sequence is an expansion of an end credits sequence that, without giving too much away, displays Pratt’s improvisational gift. Another deleted scene, which again is an extended version of a scene that’s in the film, offers up a bit more screen time to Mantis and it’s also worth a look if you’re a fan of the character.

Thankfully Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doesn’t suffer from the sophomore slump and as one of the end credits teased the Guardians will have an even more interesting villain to face them in the future.

Click on the media bar below to hear Zoe Saldana discuss Gamora’s bond with Star-Lord:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is now out on Blu-ray.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

‘Wonder Woman’ Smashes Box Office Comers With $100 Million Weekend

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Wonder Woman made history over the weekend with its $100.5 million debut, as the flick is the biggest box office opening for a female director (the film was helmed by Monster director Patty Jenkins). Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie had a solid opening weekend with a #2 debut ($23.5 million) with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales coming in at the #3 slot ($21.6 million). Here’s this weekend’s top 10:

1. Wonder Woman – It opens domestically $100.5 million and has a worldwide gross of $223 million!

2. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie – $23.5 million

3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – $21.6 million

4. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 – $9.7 million

5. BaywatchDwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s latest is a box office misfire. This weekend it collects $8.5 million

6. Alien: Covenant – The sci-fi thriller ends up being a box-office disappointment, as it’s made just $67 million domestically. This weekend it takes in $4 million

7. Everything, Everything – $3.3 million

8. Snatched – $1.8 million

9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul – Family flick makes just $1.2 million and to date its collected just $17.8 million domestically.

10. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – Movie makes $1.1 million and had amassed a paltry $37 million domestically.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Chris Pratt: ‘Guardians 2’ Bigger & Better Than The First!

With Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy becoming one of the biggest box-office hits of 2014, expectations have been raised for the sequel. And star Chris Pratt thinks it delivers. Now that audiences know and love the movie’s characters, Pratt told us that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is even more fun and more exciting than the first film.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 opens in theaters this Friday.

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Posted by Susan Brown

Guardians’ Grosses Caught Chris Pratt Off Guard!

No matter how you look at it, Guardians of the Galaxy was a massive success. Here in the U.S., it was the third-biggest movie of 2014, taking in $333 million at the box office. Internationally, it did even better; worldwide, it grossed $774 million. With its origins in a popular Marvel comic, an all-star cast and the weight of Disney behind it, very few people were surprised at how well the movie did. Some of those people, though, were the people making the movie! Star Chris Pratt admits they were caught off guard by how big a blockbuster the movie became. (Click on the media bar below to hear Chris Pratt)

You can bet that Pratt and his castmates have higher expectations for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which is now playing in theaters.

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Posted by: Susan Brown

That’s a Wrap: The Week in Movies

Director James Gunn is getting out ahead of the inevitable questions. Speaking on his Facebook page, Gunn stated that he will return to write and direct a third installment in the Guardians of the Galaxy series. The second installment is set to arrive May 5.

After Robin Williams‘ scene-stealing role, it may be hard to imagine anyone else in the role of the Genie in Aladdin, but a new live action version of the animated favorite from Disney may have found their man. According to Deadline, Will Smith is in talks for the role.

HBO Films is preparing an adaptation of the popular book Fahrenheit 451 and according to Deadline, two of the central characters have been cast. Michael B. Jordan will star as the young fireman Montag, who forsakes his world, battles his mentor Beatty (Michael Shannon) and struggles to regain his humanity.

Riz Ahmed has joined the cast of The Sisters Brothers, a film that centers on a pair of brothers who are hired to kill a prospector who stole from their boss. Set in the 1850s, Variety reports that the movie also stars Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Rosamund Pike has been tapped to play American reporter Marie Colvin in a still untitled film. Colvin, who lost her left eye in 2001 and wore a distinctive eye patch, worked primarily in conflict zones like Chechnya, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. The reporter died in 2012 during a rocket attack while covering the civil war in Syria.

Amy Schumer has signed on to star in I Feel Pretty. Deadline reports that the script was written by and will be directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein. The storyline is being kept under wraps.

Guillermo del Toro‘s Cold War drama The Shape of Water now has a Dec. 8 release date. The fantasy adventure film stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Lauren Lee Smith, Michael Stuhlbarg and Octavia Spencer.

Deadline reports that David Oyelowo has signed on for Only You, a thriller written and directed by Mean Creek‘s Jacob Estes. The film is expected to be a time travel thriller.