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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Film Clips: July 30

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Get On Up PG-13

In order to retain its PG-13 rating, this biopic omits and/or glosses over parts of singer James Brown’s history. Starring Chadwick Boseman as Brown, the film documents the singer’s impoverished childhood and subsequent rise to fame. Along the way we’re treated to recreations of Brown’s performances and the singer’s insistence on performing his songs “his way.” Presenting Brown in a more flattering light flattens this examination of his life. Whether there’s enough here to retain viewer interest for the film’s two-and-a-half-hour runtime is anyone’s guess, but his onstage growling screams should be enough to keep us awake. (Lisa Miller)

 

Guardians of the Galaxy PG-13

Drawn from Marvel Comics, space scavenger and thief Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) travels to an abandoned planet where he steals a mysterious orb he plans to sell to the highest bidder. That is until Quill learns the orb’s destructive powers. Determined to take his booty are two villains, war criminal Ronan (Lee Pace) and Quill’s former partner, Yondu (Michael Rooker), who send a trio of bounty hunters to retrieve the prize. Instead, the threesome joins forces with Quill. They are: green alien Gamora (Zoe Saldana), gun-toting raccoon Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper) and the treelike Groot (voice of Vin Diesel). They are soon joined by Drax (Dave Bautista), who has his own axe to grind with Ronan. The acerbic screenplay allows these lesser-known Marvel comic-book characters to shine while providing numerous awe-inspiring CGI moments that include diverse landscapes, colorful aliens, hand-to-hand combat and spaceship battles. (L.M.)

 

I Origins R

As we enter an epoch when iris scans are supplanting fingerprints as standard identification, writer-director Mike Cahill (Another World) wonders whether the eyes are the window to the soul and about the existence of the soul and the survival of the soul after death. It’s a lot to cram into one hour and 50 minutes, and his indifferent pacing and odd leaps from cause to effect don’t help. And yet, I Origins becomes an interesting essay on miracles vs. molecules as hard-eyed materialist Ian Gray (Michael Pitt) falls in love with the sensually spiritual Sofi (Astrid Berges-Frisbey). I Origins also offers erotic compulsion, romantic jealousy, statistical improbability, scientific anomalies and the convergence of seemingly random occurrences into patterns. It might be worth a second look. (David Luhrssen)

Opens Friday, Aug. 1, Downer Theatre.

 

Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival Not Rated

Short documentaries seldom find their way to cinemas or even film festivals. This outdoor event is a 90-minute program of 11 shorts on environmental issues ranging from the scourge of plastic bags and fracking to an animated music video set in natural serenity. In addition to popcorn, there will be a few food vendors. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the projector begins to run at dusk, 8:15 p.m. (D.L.)

Friday, Aug. 1, River Revitalization Foundation, 2134 N. Riverboat Road. For more information, visit milwaukeerrf.org.