“Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2”- after 3 weeks at #1, taking in more than a billion dollars worldwide – the biggest movie of the year- “The Fate Of The Furious” will most likely be unseated this weekend by “The Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2”- which ironically shares two actors from “The Fate Of The Furious”: Vin Diesel (if you didn’t see the original GOTG, you’ll ask “who did Vin play?” and Kurt Russell. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, wrestler David Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel all return. A nice addition for “Sons Of Anarchy” fans: Chibb, Tommy Flanagan joins the cast. Like the first movie from the Marvel universe, this one is so much fun- a lot of it due to the awesome soundtrack – which hit #1 with the first movie. Among the great tunes: “My Sweet Lord”; “The Chain”; ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky”; “Come A Little Bit Closer” by Jay & The Americans; Sweet’s “Fox On The Run”; “Brandy You’re A Fine Girl” by Looking Glass & “Father And Son” by Cat Stevens. Music is so essential to this franchise. This movie is very female-centric with both the alien villain and the addition of a character mantis, who can feel what others feel with a mere touch.
What a perfect kick off to the summer movie season.
“Chuck”… Liev Schreiber stars as Chuck Wepner, the real-life inspiration for the “Rocky” franchise. Known as the Bayonne bleeder (in fact, “The Bleeder” was the original name for the movie!), Wepner lasted 15 rounds against Muhammad Ali and then had another 15 minutes of fame with the “Rocky” movie. This is more than a boxing movie- in fact- boxing plays 2nd fiddle to the crazy ride that was Wepner’s life, which included a stint in prison for cocaine and lots of cheating debauchery. Elizabeth Moss of “Mad Men” nails a thick Jersey accent as his feisty wife while Naomi Watts is equally as feisty as the bartender Wepner is still married to 24 years later. Schreiber and Moss give Oscar-worthy performances. The movie nails the gritty 70’s Bayonne. Great story- great acting. One of the best of the year. And you can catch my chat with the real-life Chuck Wepner on “Sonstein Sessions” on the iHeartRadio app.
“Three Generations”... Naomi Watts competes with herself this weekend (since she stars in “Chuck”) – playing the mom to Elle Fanning with Susan Sarandon as the teen’s grandmother. All of them share the same Brooklyn home. But this is not a typical family. Susan Sarandon is a lesbian with a longtime partner, Watts is her daughter- a single mom to Elle Fanning, a young transgender female to male teen. The opening scene is a doctor’s office, with all 3 sitting together as the doctor talks about prescribing testosterone to the young transgender. Watts is understanding- grandma Sarandon is the worrier. It becomes a bit soap-opery when Watts has to re-connect with her ex to get his signed permission for the teen to take the hormone. What this film does best is it nails the often difficult path of a transgender youth, fostering so much understanding, thanks in large part to a relatable, likeable cast.