Movie Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

And the 2018 catch-up continues. Admittedly I don’t have a super specific series set up, but catching up on the year’s movies is what one have to do when nearing the end of said year. Enough rambling, let’s shrink.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ant-Man and the Wasp”.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has to once again don the Ant-Man suit, but instead of using it to steal some shit, he has to use his abilities, as well as the assistance of his ally Hope (Evangeline Lilly), to get hold of some tech to try and pull Janet Van Dyne out of the Quantum Realm. But this quest will prove challenging as opposing forces want this technology for their own purposes. So now we have our “Ant-Man” sequel plot. And it’s good, a fun comic book romp. Has a few decent dramatic moments. Not much I can say, it’s just a fun superhero plot. Doesn’t do much, but doesn’t do little either. It’s fast-paced and easy to follow while expanding on a few of the ideas set up in the first movie. It doesn’t do anything special, but it also doesn’t need to. It’s just an easygoing and fun plot.

The characters in this are colorful, interesting, and really entertaining. Paul Rudd of course returns as Scott Lang, the charming ex-con/superhero with a heart of gold. He’s fun, he’s someone I care about, and he is just generally an enjoyable protagonist. And Paul Rudd is great in the role. Next we have Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp. She was just sort of a tough sidekick/teacher in the first movie, but here she gets to do a lot more, especially since she now has her own super suit to play with. And she’s quite an enjoyable character to follow. And Lilly is great in the role. Michael Peña returns as Scott’s best friend, Luis, and he’s just as hilarious as he was the first time around. Michael Douglas returns as Dr. Hank Pym, and he’s once again pretty great. Newcomer time! First up, Hannah John-Kamen as “Ghost”, a mysterious new villain with a pretty compelling arc that I won’t say more about here, but I found it to be pretty cool. And John-Kamen is really good in the role. We also get Walton Goggins as some shady black market dealer, and he’s as Goggins-y as ever, and while his character doesn’t have much to actually do, Goggins is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale, Abby Ryder Fortson, David Dastmalchian, Randall Park, T.I., Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Pfeiffer, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

Like with the first movie, Christophe Beck did the score for this one. And it’s just as fun and enjoyable as the first time around. It’s bouncy, irreverent, and just overall fits the lighthearted tone that the movie generally goes for. The added use of synth and (for lack of a better word) bouncy percussion really helps keep the pace up. It’s just fun. And there are a few licensed tracks used throughout that work well enough in their respective scenes.

As with the first movie, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” was directed by Peyton Reed and I think he did a good job with it. His directing is fun, fast-paced, and just generally has a certain energy that makes it all quite enjoyable to watch. The action scenes too are quite solid, giving us some good close quarters combat, as well as the shrink/grow superhero stuff we came to see. There’s of course also a lot of comedy throughout this movie, and I found most of it to be quite funny. A few jokes weren’t the best, but none of them made me want to tear my brain out. Some mild nose-wrinkling, some chuckles, a few out loud laughs… yeah, it’s funny.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 70/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a fun movie… not one of the best of the year, but an enjoyable romp nonetheless. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, really good directing, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is an 8,76/10. So while not perfect, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is now completed.

Baba Yaga…

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Movie Review: Falling Down (1993)

Sometimes life can be fucking weird… and horrible. Just look at the guy in this movie.

Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Douglas is… “Falling Down”.

William “D-Fens” Foster (Michael Douglas) is an unemployed defense worker. And during a really hot day he is trying to get to his daughter’s birthday party. And on the way he runs into several infuriating situations which causes him to irrationally lash out at the world. So now we have our plot. And is it any good? Sort of. There are some neat ideas at play, and the final act manages to create some pretty damn solid moments, but for the most part I didn’t feel fully invested. It was interesting enough to not be called bad, and there were scenes spread throughout that had some really interesting things happening in them, but for the most part I just felt like I was simply along for the ride, not getting fully invested in it.

Most of the characters are just there, not having too much to do, simply filling a role. But there are a couple that I thought were good. Let’s start with our main “hero”, played by Michael Douglas. You can tell that he is a very troubled man. He seems like a nice guy, but he can be prone to bursts of rage. There’s a lot of layers to this character, and Douglas is fantastic in the role. Robert Duvall plays a soon-to-be-retired cop who is investigating these seemingly related cases, as a sort of last hurrah before retirement. He has a lot of old man charm, and Duvall is great in the role. Then the supporting cast is rounded out by people like Barbara Hershey, Rachel Ticotin, Tuesday Weld, Frederic Forrest, and Raymond J. Barry (among others), all doing a good job.

The score for the movie was composed by James Newton Howard and it was really good. Not among his best, but definitely a good one. It helps to create a lot of tension and drama throughout, thanks to a lot of intense beats and other sounds. It does really help elevate certain scenes in the movie.

This movie was directed by Joel Schumacher (oh boy…) and I think he did a really good job here (wait, what?). Yeah, go figure that the man who directed two of the worst superhero movies ever could direct a good thriller. His shots look great and manage to create a feel of unease whenever we follow Michael Douglas throughout. And there are also some really suspenseful moments throughout the movie that actually made me tense up a little bit. There’s also an essence of dark, mildly satirical humor to it, which I thought added to the movie.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 56/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Falling Down” is not perfect, but it is a pretty damn good movie. It has a pretty good plot, pretty good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing. My flaws with it of course come from a plot that isn’t very investing, and a lack of interesting characters. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Falling Down” is an 8,72/10. While flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Falling Down” is now completed.

The summer sun, it blows my mind
Is falling down on all that I’ve ever known

Movie Review: Ant-Man (2015)

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With “Civil War” just around the corner, and by around the corner I mean that it comes out tomorrow but I might not be able to see it until saturday because of the company I keep, I deemed that it was finally time for me to see the last entry in the MCU that I had not seen yet, please don’t kill me.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ant-Man”.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) just got released from prison. However his life outside of the bars isn’t going to be the easiest after he ends up taking another job where he steals a special super-suit from scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). So now Scott has to work with Hank and also Hank’s daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) to pull off a big heist to more or less save the world. Basically it is “Iron Man” combined with “Ocean’s Eleven” when it comes to the style of the story. Don’t misinterpret, I am not saying that “Ant-Man” is as good as eitehr of those movies, but that it feels like a mix of the both. And I have to say that I really enjoyed the experience of watching this play out. It’s actually kind of refreshing to have a Marvel movie on such a small scale where the entire planet isn’t TOTALLY at risk. It’s a fun, fast-paced trip and I enjoyed every minute of it.

The characters in this movie are all very entertaining and all work pretty well within the story. Paul Rudd is fantastic as Scott Lang, he is likeable, funny and his performance overall was really good. Michael Douglas, an actor I like but haven’t seen much from recently… holy hell, he was great as Hank Pym. Seriously, I haven’t seen him this great in a lot of (if any) recent stuff. Evangeline Lilly was great as Pym’s daughter and the two had really good chemistry with each other. Michael Peña plays Scott’s buddy who kind of helps him after he’s released from prison… seriously, pretty much every word out of that guy’s mouth is comedic gold. He is so great in the movie, he constantly had me chuckling/laughing. Then we have Bobby Cannavale who plays a police officer who now has a relationship with Scott’s ex-wife… yeah, he’s great. The last one I want to mention is Corey Stoll who plays the main villain, Darren Cross/Yellowjacket… how do I put it… he’s kind of a mixed bag for me. I do think Corey Stoll gives a good performance in the movie and when he puts on the Yellowjacket costume he is absolutely badass… but as a villain he isn’t that compelling, kind of standard stuff here. His motivations aren’t that interesting and I won’t really remember him too well after this I think… at least his acting was good.

The score for the movie was composed by Christophe Beck and it was actually really good. Sure, some of the tracks sound like your typical superhero stuff that doesn’t sound bad but you’ve heard it a billion times. But then there are tracks very reminiscent of tracks for a whole bunch of different heist films and I thought that was really cool and that it really worked for the movie.

This movie went through some problems as it was getting made. Originally it was supposed to be directed by Edgar Wright (which would have been amazing), but then he dropped out due to creative differences between him and Marvel. Then it went through some different hands until finally landing in the hands of Peyton Reed (oh boy). And while I think that whatever Edgar Wright would’ve conjured up would have been much more interesting/better, I have to say that I am happily surprised with how Reed handled the direction of this movie. It is quick, it is smooth and it’s overall very well done (Still wanna see Wright’s version). The action scenes too, holy shit, they exhilarating and really entertaining. The way they use Ant-Man’s shrinking technology for the action scenes is very creative and makes for some very fun and awesome scenes. I will also say that the visual effects are overall really great. The writing is also really good, with a lot of clever and funny dialogue that kept me entertained/laughing. Also, like with every Marvel movie I recommend that you stay through the entire credits for some pretty sweet stuff. Also look out for some pretty cool cameos throughout the movie.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Ant-Man” is one of those strange supereroes that I’ve for a long time wondered how he would make it on the silver screen. Well I can safely say that his first outing is a good start. The movie is fun, fast-paced, heartfelt, well acted, well directed, well written, funny, has great action and is just pretty damn great. Yes, the villain isn’t very compelling, but I guess he’s servicable. Time for my final score. *Shrinks* Damn it… My final score for “Ant-Man” is a 9,76/10. While flawed, I think it deserves the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Ant-Man” is finally completed.

*Grows to normal size* Gotta stop leaving the buttons so easily accessible. 

Movie Review: The Game (1997)

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As you probably know, I am a bit of a David Fincher fanboy. I love his movies, they are all (and by all I mean those that I have seen) really well done and really entertaining in some way. Hell, if you look at my top 10 movies of all time you notice that two of the movies on there are Fincher films. Anyway, time to review another one of his films and this time it is an early one.

Ladies and gents, time to play… “The Game”.

Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is a straight up asshole… and a businessman. One day his brother Conrad (Sean Penn) gives him a gift of what could essentially be called a gift card for something called “CRS”. It’s according to Conrad a company that will make your life more “fun”. So when Nicholas finally signs the contract and does a few evaluations… the game is on. And from that his life takes a turn for the worse. The story for this movie is fantastic. It is suspenseful as all hell, it is well-crafted and it is very well paced. However I do have a problem with it that pulls it down a bit. My issue with the story (and movie in general) is the ending, I’m not gonna spoil it but I will say that it didn’t really work for this movie. Fun fact: director David Fincher didn’t like the ending either and felt that maybe he wasn’t the right director for this movie, and I respect him for that. Anyway, despite a lackluster ending, the story is really good.

The character of Nicholas Van Orton is interesting. Like I said, he is an asshole… but he is an interesting asshole, especially further along the movie. And Michael Douglas plays the role perfectly. Especially in parts where “The Game” itself has started, then he is just fantastic. He gives an intense and vulnerable performance in the movie and I think this might be the best I have ever seen him. Sean Penn is also great in the movie despite his limited screentime. Every actor in the movie in fact gives great performances… but Michael Douglas is the best.

The score for the movie was (like in Fincher’s previous movie “Se7en”) done by Howard Shore. And once again Shore delivers a haunting and suspenseful score that perfectly sets the mood for the movie it is used in. That is something I have noticed Shore being great at in general, setting the mood perfectly. He did it in “Se7en” and in the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” movies. And like I said, he perfectly nailed the desired feel here. It helps build the tension of the movie and it also helps hold the sense of dread that the movie wants to portray. And it is done perfectly.

Like I have stated a few times in this review already, this movie is directed by David Fincher (My favorite director). And here he proves that he is a fucking amazing director with fantastic control over the actors and the storytelling. The cinematography was done by Harris Savides who also did the cinematography for Fincher’s 2007 movie “Zodiac”. And he made it look fantastic in this movie.

This movie was pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 71% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com the movie has a score of 7,8/10.

“The Game” is a really good thriller with an excellent story, a fantastic lead performance from Michael Douglas, an excellent score by Howard Shore (Hey, that rhymed!) and fantastic direction by David Fincher. Sadly it is dragged down a bit by the not very good ending. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Game” is a 9,01/10. It is definitely worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “The Game” is now completed.

Are you ready to play?