Greetings programs, it’s Awesome Friday on a Sunday, which means we’re back with another episode of the Awesome Friday Movie Podcast!
Join us this week as we discuss two new movies. First up is the new Sony Pictures Animation film Vivo, which features the voice, and songs, of Lin-Manuel Miranda and was released to Netflix this week. Second up is James Gunn’s triumphant return to superhero movies; the Warner Brothers and DC released The Suicide Squad, now in theatres (and on HBO Max in the United States).
The basic premise of Vivo is both simple and heartfelt: A kinkajou goes on a quest to deliver a love letter from his father figure to his father figures long lost love. That’s it, that’s the whole pitch, and if you pack the cast with talented actors and singers and hire a nearly-EGOT-winning songwriter to turn the whole thing into a musical, that’s a recipe for something special. Most of the time, anyway.
That’s not to say that Vivo is bad; exactly, it’s just fine. It opens with a toe-tapping duet that will stick in your head for ages and closes with a reprise of the same, but there’s a long stretch in the middle where the film takes no exactly no chances and suffers for it.
I feel like writing this review might be a little redundant. This is the tenth film in this franchise, so if you’re not on board with the fambly at this point, I’m not sure you ever will be. The franchise shifted from “people who drive good” to “international super spies” over the last few films, and this one continues the cycle of one-upmanship with a trip to space.
Yes, they go to space in this one, so it’s an apt comparison when I say that this might be their Moonraker moment when they finally abandon all pretence of realism. Please note: I like Moonraker.
Despite having the lowest summer box office in over a decade 2017 has been a great year for movies. It’s actually hard to believe that the box office has been so bad given just how many great movies have come out. It’s almost like the a glut of sequels and remakes combines with going to the movies being a kind of shitty experience is starting to take a toll. Or everyone spent the summer outside. You never know.
In any event, since I haven’t been writing reviews as diligently as I should (read: at all) I’d like to present you a few performances from this year in roughly chronological order that are worth of both your time and hefty amounts of praise. Mild spoilers for all films discussed.
The marketing for Guardians of the Galaxy has basically been omnipresent for the last few months. Hardly a day went by without a new poster or image or teaser or whatever. The reason for this is simple: this is the first real test of Marvel’s brand. Guardians, like it or not, is a lesser known property and while this film connects with the over reaching continuity of the established Marvel Cinematic Universe it doesn’t actually feature any characters that we’ve already met meaning that they can’t trade on the popularity of Iron Man or Captain America they have to rely on the corporate brand. In this world of “new things are risky let’s remake something from the 1980s” that’s kind of a big deal.
So it’s a good job they knocked it out the fucking park with this movie otherwise they’d be in trouble. Yes, it’s great and you should see it. No need to even finish reading this review. Just go. Or finish reading this review and I’ll give you a few reasons why.
Here’s another trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy. This one is (slightly) longer and features more of the Guardians themselves rather than people talking about them plus if you don’t blink you’ll catch a glimpse of Michael Rooker as Yondu (who looks awesome) and hear a line from Lee Pace as Ronan The Accuser. Lots of characters in this movie have the name “The”. It’s a thing we’re going to have to get used to if the MCU keeps heading down the cosmic path.
The first full trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy is finally online! We get a better sense of the characters, dialogue from Rocket, and the to hear Grott say “I am Groot”, all set to more classic rock. Let’s watch!