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About the Critics:

Doug Solem has been in love with movies ever since he first snuck into the Anoka Theater to see Steve McQueen in Bullitt. He goes to at least one new movie every Friday.  He has also been a voice talent for TV and Radio commercials for the past 20 years and is currently represented through the Moore Talent Agency. Click Here For Doug's Voice Demo He had his first starring role in the local independently produced movie "SEVER" Click Here for information and pictures for "Sever" - a horror film shot throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin.  He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Communications.  His favorite directors include the Cohen Brothers and Steven Spielberg.  Favorite actors include Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Brad Pitt, Daniel Day-Lewis and Christian Bale. 

Zala has always enjoyed going to the movies.  As a kid, the only option in the area was the Anoka Theater.  It was during a time when parents could drop you and your friends off to see a movie and get picked up later.  “My earliest movie experience was when I was 4 and my aunt and her high school friends took me to see 101 Dalmatians.  I was so engaged in the movie that during one of the chase scenes a speeding car nearly hit one of the puppies, and my first movie review was to stand up and yell, "Watch out!". The audience broke out laughing.  I have been lucky to have some friends and colleagues who are into making movies and television shows and I enjoy the discussions we have.  Before my retirement, I was the Dean of the Cinema program at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.  It is a great two-year program if you would like to take some courses and develop your own movies!”

 

Zala's Featured Review
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
Directed by James Dunn

I am Groot!  As for space adventures, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, is another humorous look at these cosmic vagabonds.  The action starts immediately with scenes in which you instantly fall in love with Baby Groot who is oblivious to the dangers of the battle as he rocks to Fleetwood Mac.  This MARVELous film begins shortly after the timeline of the first movie, which you don’t have to see to enjoy this one. Director, James Dunn, takes us on a journey where Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) learns more about the romance of his mother and father (Kurt Russell). 

The Story - The music for this film is set to Awesome Mixtape #2. We travel through the romance of Peter’s parents and old foes and family who bond to form new alliances. Peter’s father finds him and invites him to live in an utopian world he created. The team learns while on this planet that not all is as it seems and there is greater evil to follow. Throughout the film the Sovereign’s try to rid the galaxy of evil. They continue to show up as they are still upset because Rocket stole some batteries while the team was contracted by them. The story unfolds song-by-song until the all-out battle of supremacy.  

 

The Cast - There is a star-studded on camera and voice over set of actors in this film. The Guardians include Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax) Vin Diesel (Baby Groot-voice), and Bradley Cooper (Rocket-voice). Sylvester Stallone (Stakar Ogord) plays an antihero thug and Stan Lee (creator of many of the Marvel characters) appears briefly in many Marvel Comics movies. 

Should You See This Movie?  Grade: A

The action is exciting, the music makes you want to sing along, the dialogue will make you laugh, and the ending is touching. You will want to see this on the big screen AND in 3D!  The 2 hours and 16 minutes “fly” by. And do not leave when the credits roll. There are 5 more scenes during the credits (typical for Marvel movies). The scenes provide a few more laughs and as always, will forecast the next movie! 

 

Zala's Featured Review
Going In Style - Directed by Zach Braff

A humorous look at life as seniors…This is a classic movie showing the challenges that seniors who aren’t ready for “the home” face daily. Add a loss of pension and the tables are turned to a point of desperation.  Zach Braff directs a cast of experienced actors including Alan Arkin, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Matt Dillon, Christopher Lloyd and Ann-Margret. 

The Story - Reaching retirement age, I can realize what the three pensioners are going through in the story.  Steel manufacturing closing American offices decides to use the pension funds to cover the company debt.  Three septuagenarians are forced to find funds to survive beyond social security.  Each has unique challenges with family, health, and relationships.  When the reach their deepest struggles, they feel compelled to rob a bank replacing the money their pensions would provide. The hilarity ensues. What we see in this film are the themes of the importance of family relationships, friendship, love, and the challenges seniors face.  

 

The Cast - For those of you have enjoyed the work the of Freeman, Caine, and Arkin you realize that age humor will come into play much like the movies of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.  None of the actors are winning academy awards for their performances which at times feel a bit subdued, but they do play some feisty senior citizens who aren’t about to give up on life.  The love interest of Ann-Margret offers the memory of her role in Grumpy Old Men. If you enjoyed those movies, you ought to enjoy this one. The character that felt fresh is Joey King, Caine’s granddaughter in the movie.  Her bio includes a lot of television and movies of the week type of performances. She acts with a strong confidence and we should be seeing a lot more of her in movies to come.

Should You See This Movie?  B-

You will laugh – not rolling on the floor laughter, but there are some funny scenes and will feel good after watching this film. Not needing to view this movie on the big screen, you can easily wait to see this as a rental or on cable/dish.  I would give this movie a B minus because I enjoy these actors.  The story isn’t anything new, but it is plausible and humorous.  

Click Here for past movie reviews

                                  


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