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Marvel introduces a new crop of heroes, Douglas and Keaton unite and the Coppola clan's next generation makes her debut.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (M, 122mins *****)
This is the first of this series aimed more at kids than adolescents and adults. There's a silliness and a goofiness about Guardians that perhaps wouldn't have been indulged earlier on by Marvel.
But with the brand established as a reliable supplier of dark and occasionally quite grim entertainments, it seems as though with this outing the men and women of Marvel Studios are ready to wave their knickers in the air and just have themselves a bit of a laugh.
Terrific writing, great casting, stunning cinematography and effects, and the year's best soundtrack, all help serve a story that'll access and delight the inner 10-year-old in all of you. I love this film. GT
AND SO IT GOES (M, 94mins *1/2)
You've seen this film before. Rob Reiner's latest is no more than a generic amble through the countryside of a late-age rom-com.
Best and most recently it was called Something's Gotta Give, and it starred Jack Nicholson alongside a sassier and less self-loathing Diane Keaton than the one we meet here. Fine, it's a genre, we know what to expect. But And So It Goes also witlessly co-opts heroin addiction, bigotry, and a general mean-spiritedness into its narrative.
There's a couple of good support roles on show, while Douglas' and Keaton's comic timing is a fine thing to behold, but overall, this is a poor film, done badly. GT
PALO ALTO (R16, 100mins, ***)
Following in the footsteps of granddad Frances (The Outsiders) and Aunt Sofia (The Virgin Suicides), Gia Coppola's debut film is a look at the lives of some comfortable-living, but clearly troubled teens in San Francisco's Bay Area.
Despite clearly showing the family flair behind the camera (and an ear for a suitable soundtrack), Coppola's sometimes rambling tale lacks a standout performance, compelling character or sense of verve to really set it apart from the crowded teen-angst movie field.
The message of the movie seems to be that the adults are just as flawed and wacky as their kids, but Palo Alto lacks the punch of say Thirteen or the grittiness of the works of Larry Clark (Kids, Bully). And in the end, it is overshadowed by Aunt Sophia's own recent take on California teen behaving badly - the flashier, funnier, fresher The Bling Ring.