The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Not just a great cause, but great cinema

chrispratt

Is independent cinema dead? Have the major studios killed the do-it-yourself iconoclastic spirit, or at least driven it to the margins of popular culture? One might think so. And yet there is a new breed of independent cinema that is capturing the popular imagination, a guerrilla art form made by amateurs, enjoyed by amateurs, passed around on an alternate distribution system than the traditional studio model.

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“Guardians of the Galaxy”: A guy, a girl, a wrestler, a raccoon and a tree walk into a bar . . .

guardians-galaxy-walking

“Guardians of the Galaxy” opens Friday at Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema and Sundance. PG-13, 2:02, three stars out of four.

A guy, a girl, a wrestler, a raccoon and a tree walk into a bar . . .

The punch line is “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which injects a much needed adrenaline shot of silliness into the summer blockbuster formula. Using a team of Marvel backbenchers and directed by Jason Gunn, who completely subverted the superhero film in “Super,” “Guardians’ isn’t quite the anti-Marvel Marvel film some folks were hoping for. It uses the same formula and beats as “The Avengers” or “Thor” — it just seems to have a lot more fun with them.

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“The LEGO Movie”: Humor, heart and wonder all snap into place

The Lego Movie, Still 1

“The LEGO Movie” opens Friday at Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema and Cinema Cafe. PG, 1:41, three and a half stars out of four.

Unfortunately, “The LEGO Movie” does not have a cameo by that sad little footbridge that seemed to be the only thing I could build out of LEGOs without an instruction book. Aside from that, the animated film lovingly and cleverly captures the appeal those little plastic bricks have on kids, whether you played with them yesterday or during the Carter Administration.

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