Weekend film reviews: ‘Guardians 3,’ ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It?’

Written by Danielle Chiriguayo and Amy Ta, produced by Sarah Sweeney and Andrea Bautista

The latest film releases include “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” “One Ranger,” “What's Love Got to Do with It?,” and “The Eight Mountains.” KCRW gets reviews from Tim Grierson, senior U.S. critic for Screen International and the author of “This Is How You Make a Movie" and Amy Nicholson, host of the podcast Unspooled and film reviewer for the New York Times.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”

This installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is once again written and directed by James Gunn, and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, and Dave Bautista. Now the Guardians are on a mission to protect Rocket – the mercenary raccoon – played by Bradley Cooper.

Nicholson: “I actually warmed to this third ‘Guardians’ a little bit more than I have to the previous two, in part because I think this sequel has shifted both the heart and the comedy away from Chris Pratt character’s Star Lord, who I've always found annoying, and moved it over to the raccoon, to Dave Batista. … The best thing about it is it ends. It ends, ends, ends, and it ends in a way that feels really definitive. Even if it has to come after two dance numbers, it felt done, and I really hope that they're serious about it.”

Grierson: “I really liked Rocket’s origin story … and I found this movie to be pretty emotional, pretty moving. I just like this crew.”

“One Ranger”

Thomas Jane plays a Texas Ranger who’s being recruited by British Intelligence to track down a suspected terrorist. It’s written and directed by Jesse V. Johnson.

Grierson: “My consistent problem with ‘One Ranger’ is it's just never fun enough. The action sequences I thought were pretty mediocre. So you don't even get to that. And also, a good B movie embraces its B-movie-ness and has fun with the fact that like, ‘Yeah, everything's a little bit more low-budget, but we're gonna do things in a down-and-dirty way and have fun with a thin premise.’ But the movie takes itself too seriously, isn't very funny. I wasn't a big fan.” 

Nicholson: “I don't recommend ‘One Ranger.’ I'm not into the lead character because stoic guys who are perfect shots I find just innately boring. … This movie only works when it's being dumb, which it isn't dumb enough. But when it's done in the perfect way, when there's a getaway car … and has a bumper sticker that says boobies with an exclamation point, I did laugh.” 

“What's Love Got To Do With It?”

This romantic comedy stars Lily James and Shazad Latif as best friends. James’ character makes a documentary about her BFF as he gets an “assisted marriage” (aka arranged marriage). 

Grierson: “I feel like the rom-com conventions just keep fighting their way through like they will be heard one way or the other — instead of something that's a little more sophisticated or thoughtful. … I kept thinking, ‘I just wish the characters, especially Zoe, Lily James’ character, I wish they were just a little bit smarter.” 

Nicholson: “We, of course, are sitting back, waiting to see when either of them will realize that they're in love with each other, and will they do it in time to do anything about it? The film is fine. … The best thing about it is that it cuts through some of the shiny cuteness — with some stuff that actually on purpose makes you recoil.”

“The Eight Mountains”

This follows the complex relationship between friends Bruno and Pietro, who meet around age 11. Bruno lives in a village in the Italian Alps, and Pietro’s family rents an apartment there on holiday. The film won a Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes. 

Grierson: “It's about masculinity. But there's a real tenderness to it, there's a real gentleness about it. It's about two and a half hours long. … The movie benefits from its runtime because you really need to see the stages of this friendship. You need to see both of these young men grow up, become their own people, but still be very much connected to each other. … There's also … this idea of … do we find ourselves more in the natural world than we do anywhere else? And why are some of us more connected to that than others?”

Nicholson: “This movie doesn't come out and have the characters declare things like, ‘I am jealous of you for this. I am threatened of you for this.’ They don't do a lot of actual talking about the tensions underneath the relationship. But you can read into them … you can make them up if you want. The film is very long, but there's a ton of energy in it from scene to scene. And I almost want to say nothing else about the story because I really love discovering all of its turns as the film charges ahead. It's got really great momentum.”