Zoe Saldana

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James Gunn: Guardians 2 is about fathers


Get ready for a heaping helping of daddy issues
Apr 15
// Matt Liparota
The true parentage of Chris Pratt's Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord (who?), was a running subplot throughout the original Guardians of the Galaxy – well, OK, his dad was mysteriously mentioned a couple of times. That movi...

Flixist Community Discusses: Guardians of the Galaxy

Aug 08 // Nick Valdez
Here are a few comments from community members who really liked the film!  NeoShinGundam:  I AM GROOT!!! Anime Dad: James Gunned for the top and nailed it. @TalkingMagnets:  Regardless of little flaws, it succeeds leaps and bounds in the shear effort to give the audience the best time possible...the most unabashed piece of indulgence I've been treated to in a long time.  Nate:  I'm glad they kept Groot to his standard comic book dialogue. And I'm impressed that Vin Diesel took the role only saying three(4) words. Did he do the mocap for Groot or just the voice? Taytor Tot:  Guardians was the most fun I've had in the theaters in a long time. The movie didn't take itself super serious, but at the same time, it had some genuinely heartfelt moments as well. In some ways, I think it may be one of the best Marvel movies to date. At no time did it feel bogged down by exposition like most origin stories, or first films in a franchise/series. It also felt super honest to me. I agree with Nick that at times the language was crude (but tame compared to some of Gunn's other projects like Lollipop Chainsaw), but it didn't feel fake, smarmy, or over-dramatic. At times, it reminded me of the way my friends and I talk to each other. On that note, I was pleased with the friendship that developed between the characters. Sure, there was the obligatory conflict before learning to trust each other, but I believed they could be friends/teammates more than the Avengers crew. Overall, I was extremely pleased with everything from the beginning to the end, unique soundtrack included. I didn't leave the theater disappointed and haven't stopped recommending it to my friends and family. Here are two community members who didn't like the film due to a lack of oomph. I'm paraphrasing, but one of them is me so whatever.  Geoff Henao (Cool Guy/Taco Supreme):  It was meh. For a film I had so much hype and excitement for (both for the film, but what it would ultimately represent for the future of the Marvel Films universe), I felt let down. Sure, the tone was solid and very fitting of Guardians of the Galaxy, and yeah, it showed that Marvel could take risks and be just as successful and prosperous as their other, low-risk films have been. However, it felt formulaic and a bit dead. I appreciate the fact that it wasn't an origin story, but it wasn't a very captivating one, either. I'm excited for GOTG 2 because of the seeds they planted in this one that can be explored later on (Who Peter Quill's father is, the expansion of the cosmic universe and the importance of the Kree/Skull, Comso, etc.). Great cast, great tone, but ultimately empty film. Nick Valdez (Flixist News Editor and Guardians Reviewer)  Looking back I can't clearly recall very much of what I saw. Sure it's fun (and I stand by what I wrote in the review), but it might've been more hollow than I realized. It's different from what Marvel has done so far, but just barely. It's got standard adventure tropes that work because they've never been used in a Marvel film, but the references to the outside world wear thin (along with the juvenile, superfluous use of hoarse language). I guess you can liken it to Star Wars in that way. A fantastical world full of regular joes. If you're willing to be a part of the ride, then you're going to have fun. But if you find it off-putting even slightly (or somehow miss most of nostalgic gags aimed at a certain generation), prepare to be totally alienated.  And these community members like the film but have the most spoiler filled contributions. Enjoy at your own risk!  Travis Boswell:  Although I really enjoyed The Winter Soldier, I think Guardians is the most complete Marvel film yet. The humor hit the mark like 90% of the time, especially Drax's lines. I had a great theater experience because the crowd was laughing their asses off through most of it. I haven't heard an audience laugh that often in a movie in quite a while. And they even nailed the dramatic elements. Starlord's scene with his mother's present near the end was incredible. I teared up and I really can't think of another Marvel superhero movie that made me so emotional. Alec Kubas-Meyer (Flixist Reviews/Features Editor/Cool Guy): I thought it was awesome, and probably Marvel's best movie thus far. I've never read a Marvel comic in my life, but by cultural osmosis I'd heard about a lot of the big characters, but every single aspect of Guardians was new to me. (All I knew was that there was a raccoon and Chris Pratt was jacked now.) My expectations were set by the ridiculous hype, and they were totally met (and probably exceeded).  My biggest problem with it was a total lack of clarity about character powers. The green one jumped crazy high at one point, but never did that before or after. She didn't seem so overly strong, so that made absolutely no sense. And if it wasn't for Raccoon saying, "No! You'll die!" I would have had no idea that him making that shrine thing would have killed him, because his powers seemed pretty extensive. (Not that it mattered in the end.) But I mean, that movie is basically Chris Pratt being amazing and definitely the best soundtrack to a superhero film. There's some cool action and stuff, too.  I'm still waiting on the comic book movie that makes me want to read comic books, though. This wasn't it. Matthew Razak (Flixist Editor-in-Chief/Cooly McCoolerson):  This was easily my favorite Marvel film in a while. That might be because I'm a big space opera/science-fiction fan, but it's probably because James Gunn is fucking awesome and knows how to have fun. It's great that it wasn't just fun, but also touching. Spoliers: When Rocket lost Groot and Drax sat down and started rubbing his head I almost lost it. Nate:  "They got my dick message!" With Disney/Marvel, we've come to expect a level of quality from their films, and Guardians meets it. A lot of people say that this film has been the biggest risk Marvel has taken, and while I agree to a degree, they went very safe in plot and story telling. And announcing there would be a Guardians 2 before 1 even made theatres, made the already predictable plot even more so. *spoiler* Announcing that made Groot's apparent death have less meaning, as there would be no way the second movie would be made without him/it. With already knowing people have a love for these characters and that it will rake in cash, I hope they actually make the next film as risky as this one should have been. Thanos' presence felt like Nick Fury's in Iron Man 2. Forced for the sake of introducing a character further. Which worked for Fury as his role is expanded movie to movie, but if Thanos' presence is just being around around until he becomes the big bad in whichever avengers movie it is from now, why make him linger? Also, if they have him be the main antagonist in Guardians 2, then gain a power up with the Gauntlet and be the big bad in an Avengers movie; I'd be sad, as it is just retelling a rise to evil power similar to what they did with Loki. I'd rather see Kang or Civil War if that is the case. Scissors: Spot on with the Thanos bit, he was pretty much just shoehorned into the film for the sake of build up. Especially since they're building him up now and he's suppose to be the baddy in Avengers 3. Not Avengers 2, but 3. All this build up to Thanos is making them squander the potential of other villains and is one of the reasons many of the villains in the Marvel Studios films are very forgettable. Each film alluding to Thanos is just taking the power away from any other villains. As Drax put it in the film Ronan was just a pawn of Thanos. Every time they remind you of Thanos in these films it's just saying X villain is nothing compared to Thanos. By your comments, it seems you all like Guardians due to its pleasant mix of humor, nostalgia, and how the cast bounces off of each other. It seems like one of the main problems is the extended Marvel universe around them. Thanos is a huge part of this film. Although the brunt of Galaxy would have you believe that it's not the case, Thanos is mentioned several times, forced into scenes that grind the movie to a halt, and makes all other villains seem tame in comparison.  It's sort of like that running before crawling analogy. As much as folks accepted the generics this time, will they be okay with a sequel that does it again? What about when more of the comic book stuff makes it in?  We're fine with talking trees and raccoons, but what about giant talking god statues? Or Josh Brolin in purpleface?  What did you think of Guardians of the Galaxy? Comments or suggestions? Keep an eye out for future discussion opportunities! 
FCD: Guardians photo
Diesel or Dud-sel?
Guardians of the Galaxy has caused quite a stir in the Flixist Community. It's blown up on Twitter, Facebook, and I've even heard some of my non-fan friends discussing it for some reason. It's got the kind of pull I haven't s...

The Book of Life Trailer photo
The Book of Life Trailer

Trailer for The Book of Life continues to look bueno


Aug 08
// Nick Valdez
The Book of Life, produced by Guillermo Del Toro and directed by Jorge Gutierrez (who once created one of my favorite cartoons ever, El Tigre), looks absolutely stunning. I've completely fallen for this Die de Muertos film s...

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Aug 01 // Nick Valdez
[embed]218131:41721:0[/embed] Guardians of the GalaxyDirector: James GunnRated: PG-13Release Date: August 1, 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy is the story of Peter Quill aka "Star-Lord" (Chris Pratt), a boy who was abducted by space pirates in the 80s after the death of his mother. Twenty years later, he's now a thief who stumbles on a powerful stone and gets wrapped up in a fight between Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and the Nova Corps. After a couple of shenanigans he winds up with unlikely allies: the assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), and the bounty hunter Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and his tree companion, Groot (Vin Diesel). When Ronan poses a threat to the entire galaxy, it's up to this group of unlikely heroes to band together and stop him.  With Thor: The Dark World breaking ground on Marvel's cosmic universe, Guardians quite literally shoots for the stars. I was worried initially that it'd be hard to accept all of these outlandish things, but the casting fixes all of that. Pratt especially utilizes his screen time well as having him  at the center (sort of an audience stand in as he's the guy who's made the world his own, but still is an outsider) brings the film down to Earth. Pratt brings a suave awkwardness that gives the film's tone a pulpy 70s science fiction vibe. You know, like where he could start smoking at any moment and it would only make him that much cooler. Other standouts include Zoe Saldana (who by this point is used to playing the badass), Vin Diesel (he works so much out of three words), the delightfully weird Benecio Del Toro, and Bradley Cooper, who'd be even better if he weren't forced to make terrible jokes most of the time. Unfortunately, everyone else misses the mark.  While I want Dave Bautista to go on to a successful acting career after his WWE days, Guardians of the Galaxy isn't the best showcase for it. Most of his dialogue is stunted as his stiff delivery brings down every scene he's in. He's got the physicality, and his yelling is top notch, but completely hurts in smaller moments. That stiffness extends to some of the supporting cast as well. Whether it's a result of poor characterization, or poor delivery, the villains all seem hollow. While that's good for the tone of the film as the Guardians should take center stage and focus should be on the why instead of whom they're fighting, it's a shame to see their threat deemed virtually meaningless. It's hard to rally behind this group of losers when you don't care if they win or not.  But what about the plot? It's something you've see many times before, but that's not entirely a bad thing. Although it's formulaic, it's a formula that's never been applied to Marvel films and the intrinsic wackiness of this property gives it a fresh spin. Although the action scenes are a bit clunky with noticeably poor stunt work in every scene but Saldana and Karen Gillan's, Guardians of the Galaxy is having such a relaxed, good time with itself that you'll be hooked into that feeling too. Trying to fill the faulty cracks with humor (when it lands, at least), Guardians' pleasant carefree tone also makes criticism a little tough. Although it annoyed me to hear so much "shit" and "bitch," in the place of actual dialogue (thus making the Guardians seem more like children than badasses), how much of it is serious? The humor may clash with emotional wells later in the film, but how deeply am I supposed to think about this when the film repeatedly reminds me of its juvenile roots? At least it finds the time to break up the potentially monotonous action scenes with that humor...even if that leads to rough patches of stagnant space in the story.  In the end, I think I'm just floored by how this was pulled off. Sure there're plenty of little things that bother me more than they'll likely bother fans (or you), and those problems added up enough to factor into my final decision, but Guardians of the Galaxy is still entertaining. Guardians of the Galaxy may be yet another building block to a future film, sure, but for the first time in a long time, I really am looking forward to what happens next. With an ensemble rivaling The Avengers in its star quality, I can't wait for all of these dynamos to share a single screen ten-twelve years from now when all of these wrinkles are ironed out.  Guardians of the Galaxy isn't a flawless victory, but it still wins. 
Guardians Review photo
Good-ians of the Galaxy
I should admit this outright. Whether it's the nature of my job, or the seemingly endless deluge of Marvel Studios news that we write on everyday, I've succumbed to Marvel fatigue. That's why I was instantly drawn to Guardian...

GOTG photo
GOTG

See Guardians of the Galaxy early and free


Washington DC, Baltimore, and Norfolk screenings
Jul 18
// Nick Valdez
Guardians of the Galaxy is probably my most anticipated Marvel movie in ever. It looks like it's finally shaking up the stale franchises for good. And if not, at least it's got a great cast at the center. So for some lucky fo...
Book of Life Trailer photo
Book of Life Trailer

First official trailer for the Del Toro produced animated film, The Book of Life


May 30
// Nick Valdez
The Book of Life is definitely on my list of films to keep an eye out for. Produced by Guillermo Del Toro and directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez (who created one of my favorite past Nickelodeon cartoons, El Tigre, which Book of ...

Second trailer for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

May 19 // Nick Valdez
Brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits...But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand – with the galaxy’s fate in the balance. 
Guardians Trailer 2 photo
You still hooked on a feeling?
I'm still trying to figure out the hype for Guardians of the Galaxy. While I'm looking forward to it (the cast is phenomenal), it seems so much attention is being paid to this. To be blunt, when we usually post a second trai...

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Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana in Avatar forever


Guess which characters aren't going to die
Jan 15
// Matthew Razak
There is more Avatar coming. A lot more. It may be taking a while, but that's because these are really big complicated movies and James Cameron's ego has to be appeased. No matter how long it takes it appears that tall, blue ...
Guardians of the Galaxy photo
Guardians of the Galaxy

First official image of Guardians of the Galaxy is great


The usual suspects are here...
Jan 02
// Nick Valdez
Guardians of the Galaxy is quickly shaping up to be my most anticipated film of the year. While I may have begun feeling fatigue from comic book movies as 2013 provided lots of brilliant, non-comic book films, I think I'm rea...

Review: Out of the Furnace

Dec 05 // Michael Jordan
[embed]216941:40975:0[/embed] Out of the FurnaceDirector: Scott CooperRelease Date: December 6, 2013Rated: R  Out of the Furnace's story can be summed up in three sentences: Two brothers have their worlds turned upside down by extreme but unrelated circumstances. Older Brother Russell Baze (Christian Bale) tries to resume his life where he left off as his younger brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) bites off more than he can chew when he presses his local good guy loan shark John Petty (Willem Dafoe) into setting up a bear knuckle fight deal with a habitually drunk and/or high hillbilly crime boss Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson), so he can pay off his debt to said good guy loan sharks. Things go wrong, because it was the only way Scott Cooper thought would keep the plot moving along. You might have noticed that I did not mention Zoe Saldana, who plays Russell's love interest, Lena Taylor, a character which ultimately only serves as a tool try to make Russell's life even worse when she leaves him for Sheriff Wesley Barnes (Forest Whitaker). They are both extremely underutilized in this film and had the potential to provide much needed substance. Out of the Furnace is one of the most confused and oddly paced films I have ever witnessed. So much so that I had to ask myself if I was at the right screening, since the trailers and production notes seemed to be that of an entirely different film then the one I was watching. A more interesting and intense film that was filled with suspense throughout a series of backwoods bear knuckle fights in a small steel mill town with nods to our post Afghanistan treatment of soldiers. Instead, I was left watching a film that felt like bad tantric sex, changing it up every time something is almost enjoyable or about to have any substance.   Ultimately the biggest issue with the film is the pacing. Spending as much time dedicated to a driving and hunting scene as it does to show the span of four years is incredibly awkward, and leaves you asking “What was the point of that?” Actually a lot of the time you will be asking yourself this question as nothing is really ever followed through with. The direction of this film does this scenario with literally all points it tries to make. Let's talk about the problems solders coming back from war have and how they  are treated, and the motivation behind all the actions of one of the main characters, but let’s do it in a five min span of one conversation.  The cinematography is good, with some really beautiful shots, but nothing is really memorable about them outside of one scene around the middle of the film. It is also important to note, that Bale's character does not pick up a gun more then two times despite the imagery associated with the film; once nearly at the end of the film and in a hunting trip scene described above. On the bright side, the acting is actually quite good. Bale does what he does best with his brooding quite good nature role, and really tries hard with what he is given to work with in the script. Casey Affleck does a great job as a broken solder, when the film actually allowed him to go in that directing, but ultimately makes me feel like he got shortchanged on this one. Willem Dafoe’s performance is spot on and his character is genuinely interesting to the point that you actually might want to see a movie based around him being a small town good natured back ally business man. Harrelson is also spookily brilliant in his roll, even though he is also given extremely little to work with and his world is really not expanded on in a movie that kind of needs it. Ultimately this movie stands to be an example of how important direction and pacing really are. All the pieces were there to make an amazing film, but were placed in all the wrong slots, all the way through to the end. The story can be summed up in 3 sentences: Movie revolves around 2 brothers that have their worlds turned upside down by extreme but unrelated circumstances. Older Brother Russell Baze (played by Christian Bale) tries to resume his life where he left off as his younger brother Rodney (played by Casey Affleck) bits off more than he can chew when he presses his local good guy loan shark John Petty (played by Willem Dafoe) into setting up a bear knuckle fight deal with a habitually drunk and/or high hillbilly crime boss Harlan DeGroat (played by Woody Harrelson) so he can pay off his debt to said good guy loan sharks. Things go wrong because it was the only way Scott Cooper thought would keep the plot moving along.   You might have noticed that I did not mention Zoe Saldana who plays Russell love interest, Lena Taylor, who ultimately only serves as a tool try to make Russell his life changing event worse when she leaves him for Forest Whitaker, who plays Sheriff Wesley Barnes. They are both extremely underutilized in this film and had the potential to provide much needed substance.   Ultimately the biggest issue with the film is the pacing. Spending time as much time dedicated to a driving and hunting scene as it does to show the span of 4 years is incredibly awkward, and leaves you asking “What was the point of that?” Actually allot of the time you will be asking yourself this question as nothing is really ever followed through with. The Direction of this film does this scenario with literally all points it tries to make; Let us talk about the problems solders coming back from war have and how they  are treated, and the motivation behind all the actions of one of the main characters, but let’s do it in a 5 min span of one conversation.  The cinematography is good, with some really beautiful shots, but nothing is really memorable about them outside of one scene around the middle of the film.   On the bright side of all the pacing, fumbled story, and miss placed direction with total lack of substance, the acting is actually quite good. Bale does what he does best with his brooding quite good nature role, and really tries hard with what he is given to work with in the script. Casey Affleck does a great job as a broken solder, when the film actually allowed him to go in that directing, but ultimately makes me feel like he got shortchanged on this one. Defoe’s performance is spot on and his character is genuinely interesting to the point that you actually might want to see a movie based around him being a small town good natured back ally business man.  Harrelson is also spookily brilliant in his roll, even tho he is also given extremely little to work with and his world is really not expanded on in a movie that kind of needs it.   Ultimately this movie stands to be an example of how important direction and pacing really are. All the pieces were there to make an amazing film, but they were place in all the wrong slots, all the way to the end of the movie.    
Out of the Furnace Review photo
It probably should have stayed in the furnace.
When I sat down to watch Out of the Furnace, I had nothing but high hopes for the film. The trailers looked amazing and suspenseful and the premise seemed engaging. Plus, how could I possibly get burned on a film that stars some of my favorite actors? Before I knew it I was already covered in gasoline, and writer-director Scott Cooper was lighting a match.

Uhura is Gamora? photo
Uhura is Gamora?

Zoe Saldana might play Gamora for Guardians of the Galaxy


Uhura, Gamora, Alohomora
Apr 04
// Nick Valdez
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Zoe Saldana is in talks to play Gamora for James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, the make or break Phase Two Marvel film. Although most of the time a report like this means Saldana's clinc...
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Trailer: The Words


May 17
// Liz Rugg
In The Words, Bradley Cooper plays a struggling writer who has to deal with the desperation of his failing career, when he makes a decision in order to be successful that plunges his world into further turmoil. My fear with ...

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