Director: James Gunn
Writers: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman
Stars: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
The latest Marvel mashup brings a ragtag gang of unusual characters together to save the universe. Led by a sweet, swaggering human (Chris Pratt), the group includes a tree creature, a green woman, a literal hulk and an armed raccoon. This opens things up for irreverent humor, which isn’t always that funny. Action is inevitable, but most of it’s fast & noisy without standing out. There’s also lots to look at, including dozens of fun creatures and some cool design. The playful tone and unusual individuals make it entertaining, but the underlying lack of originality keeps it from soaring.
GAY ANGLE: Pratt proves he lost weight and buffed up nicely in one 5 second scene.
Get On Up
Director: Tate Taylor
Writers: Jez Butterworth (screenplay), John-Henry Butterworth (screenplay)
Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd
Chadwick Boseman is dynamite in this biopic of James Brown. He’s got the moves and the style, while creating a character who’s convincingly arrogant and occasionally touching. The story unfolds in a non-linear structure that expects the audience to know some aspects of Brown’s life, but that keeps it interesting. Even with the no-holds-barred depiction of his flaws, all of his hits are performed (with the real Brown’s vocals) to make the experience a super-funky groove. The Godfather of Soul’s genius is fully on display (especially on stage), but this film does a good job of detailing the emotional complexity of the man. Viola Davis, as his mother, is wonderful as always.
GAY ANGLE: Apparently, nobody was gay in Brown’s world.
Jerry Williams reviewed movies for WTVR-TV for 14 years and for Style Weekly for 10 years. When he launched his own website in 1998 at TVJerry.com, he took his reviews to the Internet. Through those hundreds of reviews, Jerry kept his sexual orientation muted. So, he's excited to be adding "gay angles" to his postings for GayRVA.com.