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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Great Music #27

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen of the internet! It’s time for me to ramble about some music that I like again. I should probably also try to do more of these, as you guys seem to enjoy them. Anyway, let’s get into the song.

So for today I chose an odd little song. Not odd in the sense that it has weird lyrics or wacky noises in it, but odd in the sense that it mixes a couple of styles that one wouldn’t think could mesh very well… but somehow it worked and sounds pretty cool. The song in question is “Long Hard Times To Come” by Gangstagrass and T.O.N.E-z. Now how was I introduced to this odd song then? Well, I was introduced to it through the American action-drama series “Justified” (AKA my favorite show). “Long Hard Times To Come” is the show’s opening theme, and that makes it difficult not to notice it and remember it. It’s one of those songs that just kind of fits its show pretty perfectly. I guess I should explain what the show is about to justify (HAHA!) this pick. “Justified” aired from 2010 – 2015 and is about US Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) as he’s transferred from Miami to his old home in Kentucky after he shoots a bad dude. And after Raylan arrives in Kentucky, we follow him as he, and his colleagues, work to take down various criminals that cause trouble in the area. It’s a show filled with great characters, snappy dialogue, badass action, and top notch acting. I absolutely love it. It’s kind of like a modern day western in how Raylan has that old Clint Eastwood cowboy swagger about him, even though it’s the modern day. And that’s why the theme works so well. It has the bluegrass sound one could expect from the southern hillbilly/cowboy stuff, but then it also has the rapping that fits the more modern crime stuff. It’s an interesting mix that makes for one of the most memorable theme tunes in recent years. A great theme for a great show.

Have a good one and enjoy!

“Tomb Raider” trailer

Hello there, ladies and gents. Another “interesting” trailer has arrived, so let’s talk about it.

So we have our first trailer for “Tomb Raider”, the adaptation of the reboot of the beloved video game. People are just saying it’s a reboot, which is wrong. It’s a re-adaptation. Anyhow, what’s this about then? Well, it’s about Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) who is searching for her missing father (Dominic West) on a mysterious and very dangerous island. And there she faces danger, which seems to include a mysterious leader (Walton Goggins). So what do I think of this? Eh. It’s a generic trailer for what seems like an average adventure movie. Video game adaptations have had a bad streak in Hollywood by generally being… shit. Okay, “Warcraft” was okay. And “Mortal Kombat” was enjoyable despite it’s shortcomings. But for the most part, Hollywood’s attempts at making video game adaptations have failed badly. Will this suffer the same fate? I don’t know. We can only wait and see. But for now I’d say that it looks… meh. “Tomb Raider” is set to be released in March of 2018.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Tomb Raider”? And what’s your favorite adventure movie? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer.

Movie Review: The Hateful Eight (2015)

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Bitch and moan however much ya like about how this review is up really fuckin’ late compared to everyone else, but I’m not apologizing for having bad luck in not seeing it so soon. Anyhow, time for Tarantino and his second attempt at a western… let’s go.

Ladies and gents… “The Hateful Eight”.

Bounty hunter John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) is going through the freezing Wyoming with his prisoner, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh). However, there is a blizzard approaching, so they find shelter in a large cabin. In this cabin there are a whole bunch of other interesting people. And without saying too much, soon it’s a bit of a “whodunnit” of all these characters. I think youtube-based movie critic Chris Stuckmann put it the best when he called it an R-rated version of “Clue”. And was the plot any good? Of course it was, what else would you expect me to say? It’s a mystery, set in one location, that also happens to be a western… of course it’s great. But to elaborate it a bit better: the mystery itself (not really saying anything specific for those who might not have seen it) is really intriguing, entertaining and even a bit suspenseful. It’s one of those mysteries that really makes one think who it could have done that did the thing. Was I correct in the end? Not quite, but god damn it, I loved the plot of the movie!

I think it’s safe to assume at this point that characters in a Tarantino film are going to be interesting and entertaining. And “Hateful Eight” really does confirm that statement. All of the characters in the movie are incredibly interesting and endlessly entertaining, thanks to some great writing and of course some great acting. Kurt Russell fucking nailed it, by being both funny, badass and even a bit of a jerk. Jennifer Jason Leigh, terrific as this really terrible person (AKA piece of shit). Samuel L. Jackson is the best he’s been in years, giving a fantastic performance, even getting to give a great monologue about something that happened in his (the character’s) past… he was so amazing. Everyone else was great too; Walton Goggins, Demian Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern… they were all so damn great!

The original score was composed by none other than Ennio Morricone, a composer who’s done so much great stuff that I could sit here all day talking about it all, but I’m not gonna do that. What I want to say is that the score for “The Hateful Eight” is another masterful thing from the maestro. It’s cool, suspenseful and badass. And since this is a Tarantino film, expect there to be music from other films in here too. One of those films he took music from was John Carpenter’s “The Thing”… also starring Kurt Russell… with music composed by Ennio Morricone… I am starting to see a pattern here, guys. What I’m saying is that the this music has some damn great music.

As I’ve stated about 42 and a half times already, this film was directed by Quentin Tarantino, who also wrote the screenplay (fucking duh). And his directing is as on point as ever… if not even better. While you might prefer some of his earlier films, I think we can all agree that he’s improved a lot as a filmmaker. His direction is slow, tense yet still quick and snappy… probably thanks a lot because of the snappy dialogue. Because the writing is great, random conversations about the smallest things hold my interest without ever getting dull. There are also a whole bunch of pieces of dialogue that are hilarious in my opinion. But that is amostly because I have a really dark sense of humor and can laugh at a lot of the darkly comical stuff that happens/is being said in the movie. And when it comes to the Tarantino-violence, it’s there, but much more spread out than usual. Also, it’s not as fun as in, let’s say “Django Unchained” as an example. In fact, a good amount of the violence in this movie is really brutal and disturbing… but that jsut kinds of adds to the quality of the film in my opinion. And for the little bit of action in the movie, it’s really good. And the cinematography by Robert Richardson… phenomenal. I can’t wait to see what he’ll do with the cinematography for “Live By Night”.

This is a movie that has received mostly positive reviews. It has a 75% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10. The movie also won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Original Score (hell yeah!). It also got an additional 2 nominations in the categories of Best Supporting Actress (Leigh) and Best Cinematography.

“The Hateful Eight” is another win for Tarantino. It has a great plot, fantastic acting & characters, fantastic music, terrific directing terrific cinematography and great writing. Time for my final score. *Fires gun*. My final score for “The Hateful Eight” is a 9,89/10. This of course means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “The Hateful Eight” is now completed.

Long-time followers knows I usually add an extra segment (Gunfights/Shootouts) for westerns, but I feel like it’s superfluous and that it might not always work, as I noticed with “The Assassination of Jesse James”.

Movie Review: The Bourne Idenity (2002)

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Hello there, my friends to the first in my series of reviews on the “Bourne” movies leading up to “Jason Bourne” this July. I will review one of the movies every month, so for this month (March) it is “Bourne Identity”, for April it’s “Bourne Supremacy”, May is “Bourne Ultimatum” and June is “Bourne Legacy”. All of this will then wrap up in July with the upcoming “Jason Bourne”. Hell, if I’m in a good mood I might just throw in a surprise “Bourne” thing at some point too… But let’s move on to the review that you all came here to read.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Bourne Identity”.

A mysterious man (Matt Damon) is picked up by a fishing boat in the ocean outside of Marseille, France. Despite having been in the ocean for some time and also haivng bullets in him, he’s still alive and eventually wakes up… with no memory of what the hell happened or who he is. Soon after that he is chased all over Europe by different assassins and authorities while he also tries to find out what happened. But he isn’t doing this alone. With him is a young woman named Marie (Franka Potente) who he somehow dragged into this. The plot isn’t always very clear, sometimes invisible, but when you know what it is and when it really shows itself it is really good. It’s an interesting and different kind of spy story. It’s exciting, interesting and even pretty suspenseful… I kinda love it.

The characters all have a purpose within the story and they are all pretty interesting. Matt Damon is terrific as Jason Bourne, giving a surprisingly nuanced performance that is both vulnerable and totally fuckin’ badass. Franka Potente is great as Marie, playing a scared yet confident woman who has been thrust into this journey with Jason. Chris Cooper plays the character of Alexander Conklin, a man who seems to have some connection to Jason and is basically the one who sends all the assassins after Jason. And I think that he plays that role very well. We also get some great supporting performances from Brian Cox, Clive Owen, Julia Stiles, Walton Goggins and Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje.

The score for the movie was composed by John Powell and it was good. Not great, but good. I’m not gonna say that it felt out of place for the movie, because it didn’t. I am just saying that the overall style of it feels a little bit dated, but it never really took away from the movie for me because it was overall good and it did work for the movie. It’s very action-y and it’s well composed.

“Bourne Identity” was directed by Doug Liman who you probably know as the director of 2014’s surprisingly good “Edge of Tomorrow”. This was his first action movie and for a first timer I would say that he did a terrific job with the directing. The shots all look great and the action is very well handled. From the fist fights, to the shootouts and to the car chase (yes, there is one of those in this movie). My favorite action scene is probably the bit with The Professor (which I will not spoil here). The people who have seen this film knows which part of the film I am talking about. But for the two of you who haven’t seen the movie, I’m just gonna say that it’s suspenseful, well filmed and pretty badass.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“The Bourne Identity” is an interesting spy-thriller with a really good plot, great acting, a good score, great directing and great action. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “The Bourne Identity” is a 9,89/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “The Bourne Identity” is now completed.

For those of you who have been wondering throughout the review: Yes, I have seen all of these movies before, it’s just that I felt like a series of reviews would be appropriate with the release of the new one later this year.