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The exquisitely visual, effects-crammed Marvel space romp “Guardians of the Galaxy” isn’t nearly as smart and cutting-edge as the filmmakers believe it to be. Sure, the film, directed and cowritten by James Gunn, is funny in fits and starts, injecting bold silliness into scenes pleading for a comic payoff. But this is a movie with a confused purpose. Does Gunn want it to be a blistering genre parody or a lighthearted, yet sincere love letter to outer space action movies?
Comic-book movies aren’t all capes and aliens
The Marvel Studios juggernaut is taking a bit of a risk with Friday’s release of "Guardians of the Galaxy,” an astronomically budgeted adaptation of a comic book most of us had never heard of. Not all offbeat, lesser-known comics and graphic novels make for great or successful movies. Most of us would like to forget duds like “Cowboys & Aliens,” “Jonah Hex” or “Barb Wire.” But sometimes risks pay off.
Maggie Gyllenhaal glows as ‘The Honorable Woman’
An eight-hour miniseries premiering at 9 p.m. Thursday on SundanceTV, “The Honorable Woman” is a virtuoso effort by Hugo Blick, who wrote and directed it. And in the lead role of Baroness Nessa Stein, an Anglo-Israeli businesswoman who wants to span a raging divide with communication cables laid between Israel and the West Bank, Maggie Gyllenhaal delivers the most nuanced yet full-bodied performance you could hope to see.
Local Gemini Club brings mix of rock, electronica to Lolla stage
Electronic music has been on the rise to the extent where it can almost challenge good, old-fashioned rock 'n' roll for ascendancy at Lollapalooza, the annual alternative rock festival that has made Chicago its home since 2005. So perhaps it's fitting that no band better reflects that shift than Gemini Club, a band with suburban members that sits on the cusp between rock and electronica, with a date to play at 1 p.m. Sunday in the Grove on the last day of the three-day fest starting Friday.
Weekend picks: Finesse Williams brings three days of standup
Comedian Finesse Mitchell, a veteran of the 2013 Shaq All-Star Comedy Jam tour, continues his run of standup shows this weekend at the Improv Comedy Showcase in Schaumburg. Tots get a chance to sit in the driver's seat of some heavy machinery at the Big Trucks Event in Barrington Saturday. And Downtown Libertyville's MainSweet Dessert Walk coincides with the David Adler Festival of the Arts Saturday. All this and more in Chicago and the suburbs.
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