Monday, 17 June 2024

‘Guardians’ end with a bang; ‘A Small Light’ shines on TV



‘GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 3’ RATED PG-13

Maybe it’s just me, but the Marvel superhero movies have become more tiresome and repetitive. At least the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise has more heart and humor with its band of misfits.

Now is the time to catch the Guardians in action as “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3” is the final film in writer-director James Gunn’s wildly popular trilogy. We are not even sure the gang will survive to the end of this installment.

Gunn makes sure that this last chapter will not go out without a huge bang, namely delivering enough action driven by fights, aerial battles, pyrotechnics, and computer-generated creatures ranging from adorable to the grotesque.

Settling in a place called Knowhere, the Guardians are set on repairing the damage done by Thanos and are determined to make their new home a haven, not only for themselves, but for all refugees displaced by the harsh universe.

Meanwhile, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) aka Star-Lord, the leader of the group, is drowning his sorrows over the death of his girlfriend Gamora (Zoe Saldana), who returns here as an alternate version of herself.

Because she’s come back as a different person, Gamora’s relationship to the Guardians is really estranged. She’s spunky and wild, but the romantic sparks are not going to fly with the Star-Lord this time.

While the Guardians would love for life to return to normal, they are soon under attack from a new enemy, the mad scientist known as the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), who has a direct connection to Rocket’s past.

“Volume 3” is basically the story of the lovable raccoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), who was one of the mad scientist’s creations. Now in great jeopardy, he must be saved by the Guardians, a tricky task if they can’t deactivate the implanted kill switch.

All the favorite characters are still in the gang. Groot (Vin Diesel) has not expanded his vocabulary. Drax (Dave Bautista) is a lot more mellow, but still not very bright. Nebula (Karen Gillan) remains in need of anger management.

Anyone not familiar with the first two films may not find “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3” to be easy to follow or appreciate. Fans of the series are not likely to be disappointed.



‘A SMALL LIGHT’ ON NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

The unimaginable terror of German Nazis during World War II resulted in most of Europe being conquered in a relatively short span of time, from Norway to Poland to France to Yugoslavia, and points in between.

The Netherlands was no exception, and this is where Anne Frank, a German-born Jewish girl, documented life in hiding from Nazi persecution in a diary that described everyday life in an Amsterdam attic.

An eight-episode limited series on National Geographic, “A Small Light” tells the remarkable story of secretary Miep Gies (Bel Powley), who didn’t hesitate when her boss Otto Frannk (Live Schreiber) asked her to hide him and his family from the Nazis during World War II.

For the next two years, Miep, her husband Jan (Joe Cole) and several other everyday heroes watched over the eight souls hiding in a secret annex. It was Miep who found Anne’s diary and preserved it so that she and Otto could later share it with the world.

The series title comes from something Miep said late in her life: “I don’t like being called a hero because no one should ever think you have to be special to help others. Even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can turn on a small light in a dark room.”

Bel Powley turns in a powerful performance as Miep Gies, observing during the winter press tour that in researching for her role she found the main source was Miep’s own book called “Anne Frank Remembered,” which allowed her to “get a sense of her voice.”

As there are few remaining Holocaust survivors with us to tell their stories, “A Small Light” demonstrates that keeping the accounts of what Jewish people had to endure under the horrific thumb of Nazi persecution is so important.

A special exhibit of the horrors of the Holocaust is now underway at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away” brings together more than 700 original objects of the horrors of the Nazi concentration camp.

Selection of objects from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum as well as more than 20 institutions and museums all over the world portray the reality of the notorious camp and human tragedies that resulted from Nazi ideology.

Southern California is also home to the Holocaust Museum LA, the oldest of its kind in the United States, which was founded in 1961 when a group of survivors met and had artifacts from before the war that should be preserved.

The mission of Holocaust Museum LA is to commemorate those who perished, honor those who survived, educate about the Holocaust, and inspire a more dignified and humane world.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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