Archive for Paul Rudd

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1987, Janet van Dyne / Wasp shrinks between the molecules of a Soviet nuclear missile, disabling it but becoming trapped in the sub-atomic quantum realm. Hank Pym / Ant-Man raises their daughter Hope believing that Janet is dead. Years later, former criminal Scott Lang takes up the mantle of Ant-Man and discovers a way to both enter and return from the quantum realm. Pym and Hope begin work on repeating this feat, believing they may find Janet alive. Lang and Hope also start a romantic relationship and begin training to fight together as Ant-Man and the Wasp, until Lang secretly helps Captain America during a skirmish between the Avengers in violation of the Sokovia Accords. Lang is placed under house arrest, while Pym and Hope go into hiding and cut ties with Lang.

Two years later, Pym and Hope briefly manage to open a tunnel to the quantum realm. Lang receives an apparent message from Janet with whom he is quantumly entangled. Despite having only days left of house arrest, Lang decides to call Pym. Hope kidnaps Lang, leaving a decoy so as not to arouse suspicion from FBI agent Jimmy Woo. Seeing the message as confirmation that Janet is alive, Pym and Hope work to create a stable tunnel so they can take a vehicle to the quantum realm and retrieve Janet. Hope arranges to buy a part needed for the tunnel from black market dealer Sonny Burch, but Burch has realized the potential profit that can be earned from Pym and Hope’s research and double-crosses them. Hope fights Burch and his men off, until she is attacked by a quantumly unstable masked woman. Lang tries to help fight off this “ghost”, but she escapes with Pym’s portable lab.

Pym reluctantly visits his estranged former partner Bill Foster who helps them locate the lab. The ghost restrains Lang, Hope, and Pym when they arrive, and reveals herself to be Ava Starr. Her father Elihas, another former partner of Pym’s, accidentally killed himself and his wife during a quantum experiment that caused Ava’s unstable state. Foster reveals that he has been helping Ava, who they plan to cure using Janet’s quantum energy. Believing that this will kill Janet, Pym refuses to help them and the trio manage to escape.

Opening a stable version of the tunnel this time, Pym and Hope are able to contact Janet, who gives them a precise location to find her, but warns that they only have two hours before the unstable nature of the realm separates them for a century. Burch learns their location from Lang’s business partners Luis, Dave, and Kurt, and informs a contact at the FBI. Luis warns Lang, who rushes home before Woo can see him breaking his house arrest. This leaves Pym and Hope to be arrested, and for their lab to be taken by Ava.

Lang is soon able to help Pym and Hope escape custody, and they find the lab. Lang and Hope distract Ava while Pym enters the quantum realm to retrieve Janet, but the pair end up fighting Burch and his men which allows Ava to begin taking Janet’s energy. Luis, Dave, and Kurt help apprehend Burch, so Lang and Hope can stop Ava. Pym and Janet arrive safely from the quantum realm, and Janet voluntarily gifts some of her energy to Ava to temporarily stabilize her.

Lang returns home once again, in time for a now suspicious Woo to release him at the end of his house arrest. Ava and Foster go into hiding. In a mid-credits scene, Pym, Lang, Hope, and Janet plan to harvest quantum energy to continue helping Ava. While Lang is doing this in the quantum realm, Pym, Hope, and Janet all disintegrate

REVIEW:

Following the events of Avengers: Infinity War and with the way Luke Cage seems to be headed, it is way past time for something a little lighter to cleanse our palette of all this darkness in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Enter Ant-Man and the Wasp. Much like its predecessor, this is perhaps the most comedic of the MCU films, but what worked once doesn’t always work a second time. How will things pan out this go ’round?

What is this about?

In the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to re-balance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.

What did I like?

Wasp. At the end of Ant-Man, it was teased that Evangeline Lily’s character would suit up and become the Wasp. Already shown to be a capable fighter, the thought of her kicking butt and taking names had everyone, especially those fans of Lost, Iron Man 2. salivating. Well, i can officially say that does not disappoint. I was telling someone earlier that she kicks ass on the level of Black Widow when we first meet her in If you don’t believe me, just check out her scene in the hotel or during the car chase as she is saving the lab. Oh, and for those that care about that sort of thing, she looks great in her suit, but not once is it brought up, save for a “i like your suit” comment.

Daddy/daughter day. For all the laughs, hi-tech gizmos, action, peril, and what have you, the thing that works the most about this film is the relationship between Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd, and his daughter. The warmth and caring he shows to her through out the film warms your heart and the love she shows for her father, despite the fact that he is an ex-con and a superhero is amazing. On the topic of fathers and daughters, there is a similar level of love and respect shown by Hope van Dyne, played by Evangeline Lily, towards her father throughout this whole ordeal and going back even to the last film.

Ghost in the machine. I’ll be honest with you. I had to look up the character of Ghost, because i had never heard of her before. As it turns out, she is actually a him in the comics, and though this character has her own set of issues and a mean streak, she’s nothing compared to the psychopath in the comics. What i like about what they did with this character in the film is how tragic they made her backstory. Something Marvel has been doing with their villains, of late. The audience can really relate to the pain she is going through and understand why she hates Hank Pym.

What didn’t I like?

What’s that, Sonny? Ghost is fine antagonist for this film. She has a tragic backstory, complete with ties to our main character, her plan is nefarious enough that it just might work, and she has a bloodthirsty streak that is sure to bring her back to our attention at some point in the MCU. So, with a great villain like her, why do we need this guy, Sonny? My friends over at doubletoasted.com figured it out in their review of this film. He and his gang are there for the car chase scenes. As i was watching this film, that is about all they were good for, save for the one scene with the truth serum.

Post credit. These MCU movies have become known for their mid and post credit scenes. In the theater where i watched this, no one moved after the credits started rolling, except this one bitter couple who kept saying something about it needs more Black Panther. So, what is my deal with the post-credit scene? I have no issue with it at all, other than it was given away in the trailers! For Pete’s sake, these scenes are meant to be special. How can that happen when the studio is giving them out like shots at a frat house party?

No storytime. Michael Pena’s character, Luis, was a big reason the first film was such a hit. His stories were golden! So, what do the filmmaker’s decide to do with him this time? Take away his stories! WTF?!? It takes a non truth serum truth serum, you have to watch the scene in question to understand, to get him to tell us a story. One he started going, all felt right. So tell me, why is it that we weren’t able to get this in the first place?

Final verdict on Ant-Man and the Wasp? This is a film that appeals to everyone, action junkies, sci-fi nerds, feminazis, families wanting to watch a movie together, even ants cane get something out of this. That said, i didn’t quite get same feeling i got from the first film. This isn’t necessarily a rehash, but it doesn’t have the feel of a movie event as the first film seemed to have. That really is my biggest complaint about this flick, though. Do I recommend it? Yes, very highly! So, check it out when you get the chance!

4 1/3 out of 5 stars

Fun Mom Dinner

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Four moms whose only common ground is their kids’ preschool class, decide to get together for a harmless “fun mom dinner.” The night begins as a disaster, but the combination of alcohol, karaoke, and a cute bartender, leads to an unforgettable night where these seemingly different women realize they have more in common than motherhood and men.

What people are saying:

“…makes the repeated mistake of banging us over the head with its running gags and needlessly spelling everything out, making the movie feel longer than its 81 minutes. “These are indeed moms, and they do have dinner, but the “fun” part is in short supply” 1 1/2 stars

“Stereotypes and contrived shenanigans don’t seem to actually offer much catharsis for harried moms seeking escape. And the dads inevitably butt into their me-time.” 1 1/2 stars

“Based on the previews, this looked cheesy. But, it turned out to be a lot of fun! Nice surprise.. Loved it and I’m planning to watch it again with my girlfriends for our movie night.” 3 stars

“God bless Bridget Everett who tried to make this movie fun but was thwarted by everything around her. Basically no central conflict driving the plot. And it’s bewildering why all these funny people made themselves unfunny for this script and director” 1 star

“Not a great film. You are constantly expecting some kind of interesting twist but all the characters are extremely average with extremely average uninteresting motives. The pop culture references are going to be completing irrelevant in a year or so, so luckily this movie wont last the test of time. The plot is barely existent and the two/three ongoing stories have no resolution whatsoever, its almost as if the screen writers got half way through the movie, realised they had wasted too much time on random detail and gave up before they got to the end. If you’re expecting something along the lines of Bad Moms you will likely end up disappointed.” 1 1/2 stars

Wet Hot American Summer

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The setting is Camp Firewood, the year 1981. It’s the last day before everyone goes back to the real world, but there’s still a summer’s worth of unfinished business to resolve. At the center of the action is camp director Beth, who struggles to keep order while she falls in love with the local astrophysics professor. He is busy trying to save the camp from a deadly piece of NASA’s Skylab which is hurtling toward earth. All that, plus: a dangerous waterfall rescue, love triangles, misfits, cool kids, and talking vegetable cans. The questions will all be resolved, of course, at the big talent show at the end of the day.

What people are saying:

“I don’t think that a lot of people realize that yes this film is a comedy-but it’s more specifically a SATIRE. It’s supposed to be stupid and leave you thinking “What did I just watch?” It’s making fun of cheesy summer romance movies in the 70s/80s. If that’s not the type of comedy you find funny, that’s understandable. But a lot of the 1 star reviews simply say that they “didn’t get it”. That being said, I thought it was a great display of obnoxious satire. It’s definitely not one of my top ten favorites, but I still enjoyed it and would watch it again.” 4 stars

“Always enjoyed cult classics like Porky’s, Meatballs and Spring Break but this movie was like watching a Tornado crashing into a warehouse full of stupid. 97 minutes of my life I will never get back.” 1 star

“It looks like the cast had a great time and loads of fun making this film. Unfortunatlly that fun doesn’t transcend to the viewer.” 2 stars

“Charm free comedy vacuum, considering how successful some of the cast has become it seems inexplicable any would wish to revisit this joke free embarrassment. Unless you have a literacy level of a three year old I strongly recommend you do ANYTHING other than watch this .” 1 star

“This is the sort of movie that probably didn’t get any rewrites. It felt like a series of random events strewn together. I guess it’s going for the quirky vibe, but it doesn’t make it any funnier/more entertaining. That said, there were 3 or 4 laugh out loud moments and seeing some familiar comedic faces in the cast made it more forgivable. It could’ve been a great parody, but I guess that’s why it isn’t a mainstream film and achieved cult status.” 3 stars

Captain America: Civil War

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1991 the brainwashed super-soldier James “Bucky” Barnes is dispatched from a Hydra base in Siberia to intercept an automobile carrying a case of super-soldier serum. In the present day, approximately one year after Ultron’s defeat in the nation of Sokovia at the hands of the Avengers, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Sam Wilson, and Wanda Maximoff stop Brock Rumlow from stealing a biological weapon from a lab in Lagos. Rumlow blows himself up to avoid capture, and when Maximoff tries to displace the blast into the sky with telekinesis, it destroys a nearby building, killing several Wakandan humanitarian workers.

At the team’s headquarters, U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross informs them that the United Nations (UN) is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords, which will establish a UN panel to oversee and control the Avengers. The team is divided: Tony Stark supports oversight because he feels responsible for Ultron’s creation and Sokovia’s destruction, while Rogers has more faith in his own judgment than that of the government. At a conference in Vienna where the accords are to be ratified, a bomb kills King T’Chaka of Wakanda. Security footage indicates the bomber is Barnes, whom T’Chaka’s son, T’Challa, vows to kill. Informed by Sharon Carter of Barnes’ whereabouts and the government’s intentions to kill him, Rogers goes to bring in Barnes—his childhood friend and war comrade—himself. Rogers and Wilson track Barnes to Bucharest and attempt to protect him from the authorities, but all three and T’Challa are arrested.

Helmut Zemo tracks down and kills Barnes’ old Hydra handler, stealing a book containing the trigger words that activate Barnes’ brainwashing. Infiltrating the Berlin facility where Barnes is held, Zemo recites the words to make Barnes obey him. He questions Barnes, then sends him on a rampage to cover his own escape. Rogers stops Barnes and sneaks him away. When Barnes regains his senses, he explains that Zemo is the real Vienna bomber and wanted the location of the Siberian Hydra base, where other brainwashed super-soldiers are kept in cryogenic stasis. Unwilling to wait for authorization to apprehend Zemo, Rogers and Wilson go rogue, and recruit Maximoff, Clint Barton, and Scott Lang to their cause. With Ross’s permission, Stark assembles a team composed of Romanoff, T’Challa, James Rhodes, Vision, and Peter Parker to capture the renegades. Stark’s team intercepts Rogers’ team at Leipzig/Halle Airport, where they fight until Romanoff allows Rogers and Barnes to escape. The rest of Rogers’ team is captured and detained at the Raft prison, while Rhodes is partially paralyzed after being inadvertently shot down by Vision, and Romanoff is forced to go into hiding.

Stark discovers evidence that Barnes was framed by Zemo and shows this evidence to Wilson, who gives him Rogers’ destination. Without informing Ross, Stark goes to the Siberian Hydra facility and strikes a truce with Rogers and Barnes, unaware he was secretly followed by T’Challa. They discover that the other super-soldiers have been killed by Zemo, who shows them footage from Hydra’s archives; it reveals that Barnes killed Stark’s parents during his mission in 1991. Enraged that Rogers kept this from him, Stark turns on them both, blasting off Barnes’ robotic arm. Rogers disables Stark’s armor and departs with Barnes, leaving his shield behind. Satisfied that he has avenged his family’s death in Sokovia by irreparably fracturing the Avengers, Zemo attempts suicide, but T’Challa stops him and he is taken to the authorities.

In the aftermath, Stark provides Rhodes with exoskeletal leg braces that allow him to walk again, while Rogers breaks his allies out of the Raft. In a mid-credits scene, T’Challa grants asylum to Barnes, who chooses to return to cryogenic sleep until a cure for his brainwashing is found. In a post-credits scene, Parker tests a new gadget that he received from Stark.

REVIEW:

DC has had their turn up to bat, and they got a decent pop fly, but mighty Marvel is strolling up to batting box, surely to hit a home run, right? Pardon the very bad baseball analogy, but there is a baseball game playing in the background as I type this up, so I found it fitting. Captain America: Civil War is a film that many comic book fans have been looking forward to for a long time, myself included, given how compelling the story is in the comics. Fans want to see how it translates to the big screen. Will Marvel’s track record stay intact, or is this the one that breaks them?

What is this about?

With many people fearing the actions of super heroes, the government decides to push for the Hero Registration Act, a law that limits a heroes actions. This results in a division in The Avengers. Iron Man stands with this Act, claiming that their actions must be kept in check otherwise cities will continue to be destroyed, but Captain America feels that saving the world is daring enough and that they cannot rely on the government to protect the world. This escalates into an all-out war between Team Iron Man (Iron Man, Black Panther, Vision, Black Widow, War Machine, and Spiderman) and Team Captain America (Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Sharon Carter, Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye, and Ant Man) while a new villain emerges

What did I like?

Friends forever. Today, Facebook reminded me that I’ve been friends with my best friend 5 yrs today. Obviously, its been much longer than that, but its the sentiment that counts. A man needs his friends. For someone like Steve Rogers, who has outlived everyone he knew, it must be extremely tough. The filmmakers decide to show this by giving the audience a little insight into his relationship with Bucky, which we already know a little about from Captain America: The First Avenger. Seeing Cap, joke around with the guy shows a human side that we don’t see very often. Also, and I wasn’t a fan of this, his other tie to his time, Peggy Carter has an…event…shall we say, happen to her that nearly crushed my black heart!

Black Panther. I could sit here and go on and on about how awesome it is to have Black Panther make his big screen debut, but you’ve seen the trailers. He is a bad ass from those scenes alone. What you see in the film furthers that point. I do want to go a little bit into his character, a suave, smooth, respectable monarch that does not lose his cool and is highly intelligent. My knowledge of Black Panther isn’t as well-versed as others, but from what I saw in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and have read in a few comics, they nailed his personality dead on. Add in the bad ass action we get from him and we can’t forget to mention the costume…WOW! I can’t wait until we get to his movie!

Underoos. We’ve had 5 Spider-Man movies and they have yet to get him right. One franchise made got the Peter Parker side right but threw everything else out the window. The recent franchise got the Spider-Man part, right, but the actor that played him was not likable and there were just numerous other issues with that mess, which was rushed into production solely to keep the rights away from Marvel. Well, a deal was brokered to where Sony keeps the rights, but loans him out to Marvel. It isn’t the best situation, but at least we get Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If his short time on screen is any indication of what we’re going to get in the future, I’m excited. This is the Spider-Man we see in the comics and cartoons, complete with eyes that move (more of a comic thing, but they learned from Deadpool, I would imagine).

What didn’t I like?

Crossbones. It seems that the last few Marvel movies have all started with a small villain fight before the film proper gets going. That’s fine. It is a warm-up of sorts. Here’s the problem with this one, though. Frank Grillo, who I think should be playing the Punisher, was introduced as a character that seemed to be headed for a long term rivalry with Captain America in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So, what’s the problem? Well, after all that time building him up in the last film, he doesn’t make it past the first 15 minutes in this one. Making matters worse, Crossbones is somewhat of a major character in the comics…then again, so is Batroc the Leaper.

Put on the mask. In this day and age of “grounded” and “real” interpretations of superheroes and villains, filmmakers pick and choose who keeps their original costume, who gets and updated version, and who just throws the concept out the window. In the case of Helmut Zemo, they threw it out the window. In the comics he messed with a chemical that made him immortal and fused the mask to his face. I was looking for some sort of nod, if nothing else, to this origin, much like they did with Arnim Zola. Instead, there is nothing remotely Zemo about this guy.

Avengers assemble. If I’m not mistaken, this is a Captain America movie, yet it feels more like an Avengers sequel than Avengers: Age of Ultron did, and that one felt more like Iron Man 3 than the real one did. If they wanted to make this an Avengers movie, they should have just done so and given Cap a true close to his trilogy. If I recall reading early on, before this went into production, it was a totally different story (one that featured Crossbones more, too). What is it with studios masquerading sequels for one franchise as another? While I’m on this subject, how is it that what’s going on in Hell’s Kitchen with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and others not come to the Avengers attention? What about all the Inhuman stuff that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are dealing with? Just wondering, since Tony Stark was able to track down Spider-Man, as Peter Parker, mind you!

Final verdict on Captain America: Civil War? Well, it has everything you want in a Captain America movie, action, espionage, someone trying to take down American and take over the world, humor, etc. The scope and magnitude of this film won’t be as immediately felt across the MCU as the last film, but I’m sure something will come of it before the inevitable reunion in Avengers: Infinity War. In the meantime, can we just bask in the how superior these Captain America films have been to most everything else that has been released in theaters? Do you even need to ask if I recommend it? Stop reading and run go see it…multiple times!!!!

5 out of 5 stars

Ant-Man

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1989, scientist Hank Pym resigns from S.H.I.E.L.D. after discovering that they attempted to replicate his Ant-Man shrinking technology. Believing the technology is dangerous, Pym vows to hide it as long as he lives. In the present day, Pym’s estranged daughter, Hope van Dyne, and former protégé, Darren Cross, have forced him out of his own company. Cross is close to perfecting a shrinking suit of his own, the Yellowjacket, which horrifies Pym.

Upon his release from prison, well-meaning thief Scott Lang moves in with his old cellmate, Luis. Lang’s ex-wife, Maggie—engaged to policeman Paxton—agrees to let Lang see his daughter Cassie if he provides child support. Unable to hold a job due to his criminal record, Lang agrees to join Luis’ crew and commit a burglary for money. Lang breaks into a house and cracks its safe, but only finds what he believes to be an old motorcycle suit, which he takes home. After trying the suit on, Lang accidentally shrinks himself to the size of an insect. Terrified by the experience, he returns the suit to the house, but is arrested on the way out. Pym, the homeowner, visits Lang in jail and smuggles the suit into his cell to help him break out.

At his home, Pym, who manipulated Lang through Luis into stealing the suit as a test, wants Lang to become the new Ant-Man to steal the Yellowjacket from Cross. Van Dyne, who has been spying on Cross for Pym despite her strained relationship with her father, helps Pym train Lang to fight and to control ants. They send him to steal a device from the Avengers’ headquarters, where he briefly fights Sam Wilson. While van Dyne still shows anger towards Pym about her mother Janet’s death, he reveals that Janet, known as the Wasp, disappeared into a subatomic quantum realm to disable a Soviet nuclear missile. Pym warns Lang that he could suffer a similar fate if he overrides his suit’s safeguards.

Cross perfects the Yellowjacket and invites Pym to the unveiling ceremony. Lang, along with his crew and a swarm of flying ants, infiltrates the building during the event, sabotages the servers, and plants explosives. When he attempts to steal the Yellowjacket, he is trapped by Cross, who intends to sell both the Yellowjacket and Ant-Man suits to Hydra, led by Mitchell Carson. Lang breaks free and defeats most of the Hydra agents, though Carson is able to flee with a vial of Cross’ particles. Lang pursues Cross as he escapes, while the explosives detonate, vaporizing the building.

Cross dons the Yellowjacket and fights Lang before Lang is arrested by Paxton. His mind addled by the imperfect shrinking technology, Cross holds Cassie hostage to lure Lang into another fight; this time, Lang shrinks to subatomic size to penetrate Cross’ suit and sabotage it to shrink uncontrollably, killing Cross. Lang disappears into the quantum realm but manages to reverse the suit’s mechanism and return to the real world. In gratitude for Lang’s heroism, Paxton covers for Lang to keep him out of prison. Seeing that Lang survived and returned from the quantum realm, Pym wonders if his wife is alive as well. Later, Lang meets up with Luis, who tells him that Wilson is looking for him.

In a mid-credits scene, Pym shows van Dyne a new Wasp prototype suit and offers it to her. In a post-credits scene, Wilson and Steve Rogers have Bucky Barnes in their custody. Unable to contact Tony Stark due to “the accords”, Wilson mentions that he “know[s] a guy”.

REVIEW:

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is ending phase II with Ant-Man. A bit of an unusual choice to end a “chapter”, but given the importance of this character, it makes sense. I wonder, given how little people know about this guy, how audiences will react and if they will embrace him in the way they have taken to the other Avengers we have so far. If not, then I fear we will witness Marvel’s first flop.

What is this about?

Fresh out of prison and looking for a new start, master thief Scott Lang is approached by Dr. Pym, creator of a technology that can shrink a man to insect size and boost strength. Together the duo must protect the discovery while saving the world.

What did I like?

Action and effects. If there was one thing this film couldn’t afford to do, it was be boring and/or cheesy. Thankfully, it doesn’t fall into that trap. The action scenes are amazing. Watching Rudd’s Ant-Man shrink and grow while punching bad guys is like watching finely tuned dancer. The effects are really what sells his powers. Truthfully, I think the ants could have looked better, rather than descendants from the movie Them!, but they fit with the tone of the film, so no complaints.

Theme. It seems as if Marvel cannot get a memorable them for their superheroes. The lone exception is Captain America, which they swiftly took away in favor of something more generic in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I tip my hat to Christophe Beck. His percussive theme for this film not only is memorable, but it also has the heist film feel that the picture has.

Bring the funny. Marvel films have become known for the different, lighter tone compared to their DC counterparts. Some have complained and others, like me, truly appreciate and enjoy it. This is being called the funniest of the Marvel films. I won’t go that far, but I will say that the jokes were quite humorous and helped make a film that really should not have worked this well.

What didn’t I like?

Step away from the blueprint. We are a few years into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I don’t there has been a more successful series of films, but I’m starting to see a pattern. Hero is on top of the world, gets knocked down to the bottom of the food chain, fights his way up, encounters arch-nemesis (who turns out to be someone they now), giant fight, set-up for the next film. It is a formula that has worked, no doubt, but I think we are hitting the point that the formula needs a bit of spice. As it stands right now, this is very similar to Iron Man. That isn’t a bad thing, but a change is needed.

Cops and robbers. Knowing that the Scott Lang version of Ant-Man is a thief, it makes sense that the cops are involved. What doesn’t make sense is how the cop/robber angle was used. It wasn’t even a secondary plot, but rather something very throwaway. I felt as if something more should have been done with it. True, in the later half of the film, the cops remember they are cops and actually do some police work, but it is a case of too little, too late, if you ask me.

Weak villain. Yellowjacket should be a villain that instills fear into the audience. Look at him, for goodness sakes! Unfortunately, he comes off as just a carbon copy of Ant-Man with some spider-like stingers on his back. His alter ego, Darrin Cross isn’t much better. Just being a spoiled, disgruntled employee who was allegedly wronged by Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym just doesn’t seem to be enough motivation. There has to be something more to the story that would flesh him out a bit.

Ant-Man introduces audiences to a new character, Ant-Man. This film is a mix of action, comedy, drama, suspense, and it had a good bit of heart in it, as well. Will audiences fall in love with Ant-Man? That remains to be seen. I know that I personally would like to see more of Michael Douglas’ version, but that’s a personal thing. I am not a fan of being forced to watch this in 3D. MY thoughts on this overrated, overpriced way ti drain moviegoers pockets aside, I just don’t think it was necessary or used to it fullest capabilities, similar to those last couple of Spider- Man films. My biggest complaint about this film, though, is that is starts off so slow before picking up. Had they fixed that, I think this film would receive a much better rating. Still, this is very enjoyable flick and I highly enjoyed it! Don’t walk, run and go check it out!

4 out of 5 stars

The 40-Year Old Virgin

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) is a 40-year-old virgin who is involuntarily celibate. He lives alone, and is somewhat childlike and collects action figures, plays video games, and his social life seems to consist of watching Survivor with his elderly neighbors. He works in the stockroom at an electronics store called SmartTech. When a friend drops out of a poker game, Andy’s co-workers David (Paul Rudd), Cal (Seth Rogen), and Jay (Romany Malco) reluctantly invite Andy to join them. At the game (which he wins, due to playing online poker constantly), when conversation turns to past sexual exploits, Andy desperately makes up a story, but when he compares the feel of a woman’s breast to a “bag of sand”, he is forced to admit his virginity.

Feeling sorry for him (but also generally mocking him), the group resolves to help Andy lose his virginity. Throughout the next several days, the gang’s efforts prove to be unsuccessful, partly because all three men give Andy different and sometimes contradictory advice. They take him to have his chest waxed. Cal advises Andy to simply ask questions when talking to women, which makes Andy seem mysterious. His advice proves to be the most helpful, when Beth (Elizabeth Banks), a bookstore clerk, takes a liking to Andy. Andy starts to open up, and begins to form true friendships with his co-workers. David continues to obsess over his ex-girlfriend, Amy (Mindy Kaling). After meeting her unexpectedly during a speed-dating event attended by the group, he has an emotional breakdown while making a sale and is subsequently sent home by store manager Paula (Jane Lynch), who promotes Andy to fill in for him.

Jay, seeing Andy’s continued reluctance to approach female customers, attempts to force the issue by hiring Andy a prostitute. When Andy discovers that Jay has inadvertently hired a transvestite, he is prompted to confront his friends, and tells them that he is taking matters into his own hands. Andy lands a date with Trish Piedmont (Catherine Keener), a woman he met on the sales floor who owns a store across the street. After Andy and Trish’s first date, in which they are interrupted by Trish’s teenage daughter Marla (Kat Dennings) as they are about to have sex, Andy decides to tell Trish he is a virgin. Before he can tell her, Trish suggests that they postpone having sex, to which Andy enthusiastically agrees; they decide they won’t have sex until their twentieth date. Meanwhile, Paula is impressed by Andy’s salesmanship and promotes him to floor manager.

As Andy draws closer to his twentieth date with Trish, his friends begin to deal with the consequences of their lifestyles. David, still spiraling in his obsession with Amy, has become disillusioned with sex and has taken a vow of celibacy, prompting Cal to lure him out by hiring an attractive young woman named Bernadette (Marika Dominczyk) to work in the stockroom. After overreacting during an argument with an obnoxious customer (Kevin Hart), Jay reveals that his girlfriend Jill broke up with him after learning he had been cheating on her. Andy comforts Jay, who says that sex can ruin a relationship. Jill later decides to take Jay back (she is pregnant, and her misgivings about Jay as a father figure were what had spurred the breakup). Andy and Trish’s relationship grows, and Trish suggests that Andy sell his collectible action figures in order to raise enough money to open his own store.

When they finally reach the twentieth date, Andy is still reluctant and resists Trish, upsetting her. An argument ensues, in which Andy accuses Trish of pushing him into changing his life against his will, and Andy leaves for the nightclub where Jay is celebrating his girlfriend’s pregnancy. He quickly gets drunk, and after running into Beth, leaves for her apartment with her. Meanwhile, David finally relinquishes his celibacy and hooks up with Bernadette, and Trish’s daughter Marla convinces her to go and make up with Andy. By this time Andy has sobered up and, after witnessing Beth’s methods of foreplay, he starts to have second thoughts. As Andy is leaving her bathroom, he finds his friends waiting outside, having followed to warn him about Beth and encourage him to go back to Trish. They leave together (except for Cal), and Andy returns to his apartment, where he finds Trish waiting for him.

He attempts to apologize, but Trish, having found myriad suspicious belongings in his apartment, now thinks that Andy may be some sort of sexual deviant. Andy tries to convince her otherwise and declares his love for her, but she leaves in alarm and disgust. Andy chases after her on his bike, but at the moment of intercepting her, he collides with her car and flies headlong into the side of a truck. Trish rushes to his side in concern, and he finally confesses to her that he is a virgin. She is surprised to learn that this is the reason behind his strange behavior, as she does not consider it to be important, and they kiss. Later, Andy and Trish are married in a lavish ceremony with everyone in attendance, with a sidelong mention of Andy’s action figures having sold for approximately half a million dollars. Afterwards, they consummate the marriage, ending Andy’s status as a virgin. They celebrate in a musical scene where the characters sing and dance to “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”.

REVIEW:

What is it about guys’ virginity and/or celibacy that is so appealing to audiences? Before this film, The 40-Year Old Virgin, we had 30 Days and 30 Nights. It isn’t just the guys, either. I saw a commercial the other day for a show currently on TV about a girl who is a virgin and somehow got pregnant. So, maybe there is something to this topic, perhaps. Let’s take a look at this film, shall we?

What is this about?

At age 40, Andy Stitzer has a pleasant life, but there’s one thing he hasn’t done — so his sex-obsessed coworkers make it their mission to help get him laid. But it all seems hopeless until Andy meets small business owner Trish, a single mom.

What did I like?

Cast. At the time this was released, many of these stars were still up and coming. As a matter of fact, almost all of them have this film to thank for their big breakthrough. Names like Steve Carrell, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, a small cameo by Leslie Mann, and a young Kat Dennings all make appearances that are quite memorable. For me, Dennings’ was the one who stuck with me, partially because of my huge crush on her. Ha!

Weed sprung up. Still speaking on the cast, Romany Malco’s character might have very well been the most intriguing because of his relationship with his wife, his cheating ways, and the way he treats Carell’s character. At first he seems like he is going to be his best friend, then he starts to treat him as a nuisance, and ends up not quite as a friend, but not an enemy either, just a sort of colleague, I suppose. Quite interesting to see his character develop over the course of the film. Too bad we didn’t get more of him, though.

“Ah! Kelly Clarkson!” I don’t need to tell you that the best scene in this movie is when Carell is getting waxed and yelling out all different sorts of exclamations, such as “Ah! Kelly Clarkson!” I remember hearing or reading somewhere that the scene was done for real and in one take. Talk about dedication to your craft. Everytime I see this scene, I wince in pain. You couldn’t pay me to have hair ripped off of me like that. Ouch!

What didn’t I like?

Bad choice. I know that Carell’s character hasn’t exactly had the best of luck with women in his life, hence the reason he’s 40 years old, single, and still a virgin, even if the girls he was with in college were cuties. Still, I have to wonder what he saw in Catherine Keener over the likes of Elizabeth Banks. Sure, Keener is hot for a grandmother, but she looks like an overworked housewife who only has time for her kids and to somehow make it to the gym to workout. Elizabeth Banks on the other hand is downright gorgeous! I guess it just goes to show you that looks aren’t everything. Gosh, I hope this paragraph doesn’t come off sounding as fickle as I think it does.

The change. If there is one things us guys can’t stand it is for a woman to swoop in and try to change us. Guess what? That is exactly what Keener’s character does. She sees all the action figures and collectibles in Carell’s apartment and all but tells him he needs to sell them if he wants to keep her. Now, understand that this was released before the geeks inherited the earth, so collectibles and stuff were just “nerd stuff” and not something that more and more people were in to at the time. Still, a guy needs to have his own hobbies and what not, be it golf, watching football, playing video games, collecting random memorabilia, dressing up as 500 lb woman, etc. Keener’s character, and other women like her, need to get that idea through their thick skulls!

Age of Aquarius. I try not to get too annoyed when films end with a song and dance sequence. Sometimes they work very well, such as the American Idol parody sequence in Shrek 2, but other times they just come off as filler, as this “Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” sequence did. I would have been alright with it had they done and abridged version. That is to say, it started out kinda funny and clever, then it devolved into the same thing that we’ve all seen a million times over. Also, who wants to see a shirtless Seth Rogen tapping his belly?

I must say that The 40-Year Old Virgin did not live up to the hype everyone seems to have for this film. Outside of the waxing scene, I think there were maybe one or two other instances when I chuckled. The story is well written and the characters are decent enough. Perhaps it is just that I am still half asleep from the long day I had yesterday and wasn’t in the mood to watch this today, but I just couldn’t get into it. So, no, I do not recommend this.

3 out of 5 stars

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Several years after the events of the first film, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) are married and are both co-anchors for a prestigious news network in New York City. One day, Mack Tannen (Harrison Ford), the most famous nightly news anchor in New York, reveals that he is retiring. He intends to promote Veronica, making her the first female nightly news anchor in the history of television, and to fire Ron due to his continuously sloppy performance on air. Ron grows jealous of Veronica’s success and storms out of the house, leaving Veronica and his six-year-old son Walter (Judah Nelson).

Six months later, Ron is back in San Diego, but barely able to hold a job due to his depression. After being fired from Sea World and botching a suicide attempt, Ron accepts a job with GNN (Global News Network), the world’s first 24 hour news network, for GNN’s official launch. He reassembles his news team, finding Champ Kind (David Koechner), who owns a fried chicken store (that sells bats secretly to cut down on costs), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), now a famous cat photographer, and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), who is presumed dead but appears at his own funeral. They are assigned the unpopular late night timeslot while rival reporter Jack Lime (James Marsden) is put in a primetime slot. Meanwhile, Ron finds that Veronica is dating another man, a psychiatrist named Gary (Greg Kinnear) due to his absence.

As GNN launches, Ron decides to broadcast what the people want to hear, rather than what they need to hear, and devise a sensationalist and attention grabbing newscast. Their new approach to news proves to be a massive hit, beating Lime in ratings by a massive margin, and the other news networks begin to scramble to emulate them. Ron and his team are then promoted to primetime, where they enjoy much fame and fortune. Meanwhile, Ron catches the attention of GNN’s manager, Linda Jackson (Meagan Good) and they begin dating. Brick also meets a similarly eccentric GNN office worker named Chani (Kristen Wiig) and immediately falls in love. Ron begins to let his newfound fame get to his head, and he begins to neglect his parental obligations to Walter, angering Veronica. He also alienates Brian, Champ, and Brick. During a party celebrating GNN becoming the highest rated news network in the nation, Lime causes Ron to slip and suffer a head injury, becoming blind.

Unable to read the news, Ron isolates himself, but cannot adjust to living as a blind man. Veronica arrives with Walter, wanting to help Ron overcome his blindness. Ron bonds with his family, and overcomes his disability. Ron and his son rehabilitate a shark, who they name Doby. Ron finds out that Veronica was hiding that his doctor could perform an experimental procedure, leaves angrily, gets his sight restored, and returns to GNN.

Before his comeback, Ron is once again approached by Veronica, who pleads with him to attend Walter’s piano recital, as Walter had composed a piece in honor of Ron. At the same time, an exclusive news story comes in, requiring Ron to cover it. Ron goes to the set, where he proceeds to go on a rant criticizing news networks, including GNN, for focusing on ratings rather than the news and leaves the set, intending to go to Walter’s recital. However, he is intercepted by Jack Lime and the teams from a number of other national news networks, including Tannen, who want to kill him due to his fame. Burgundy’s friends then arrive to defend him and a massive free for all battle ensues. Despite the fighting, Ron manages to reach Walter’s recital in time.

Afterwards, Ron and his friends go to attend Brick and Chani’s wedding on the beach. Ron then sees Doby in the water, and swims out to meet him despite the warnings from his friends and family. Doby then attacks Ron, but he is saved when Baxter swims out and banishes Doby back to sea. Thanking Baxter, Ron swims back to shore where his friends and family are waiting for him.

REVIEW:

Sometimes you watch a film that such a joy that you don’t want it to end, but at the same time you feel that if it goes on too long or a sequel is forced upon the viewing public, it will besmirch the feeling you hold for said film. Out of nowhere, the star of said film appears in character on a late night talk show and announces that said sequel is in the works, giving you a feeling of excitement and hesitation at the same time. These are the thoughts I had about Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

What is this about?

The ’70s are over, and the anachronistic Channel 4 news team — including newsman Ron Burgundy and his co-anchor and wife, Veronica Corningstone — tries to stay classy as they reassemble to join New York’s first 24-hour news channel.

What did I like?

The gang’s back together. For a film like this to work, you have to get all or at least most of the cast from the original to return. Without them, the magic just isn’t there. While I don’t doubt Will Ferrell could have made Ron Burgundy work in somewhere like, perhaps Australia, I just don’t think the film would have been as funny without the supporting cast returning from Anchorman.

News. In the world we live in where 24 hour news networks seem to be all the rage, especially in election years, I wonder why no one has really bothered to call them out on the lies and other b.s. that they spew over the airwaves. This film does just that, even going so far as to have them all have a “war” with each other. Pretty much the only thing this film doesn’t manage to do is bring up how politically biased certain networks seem to be, but I won’t get into that hot button topic.

Good. There is some new blood to be had in this film, most notably the addition of tough as nails (and fine as hell) Megan Good. The best way I can describe her character is Pam Grier-esque, but without kicking any ass. It’s all in the attitude, which she has plenty of. A ballbusting, African-American woman in charge of a brand new 24 hour news network in the late 70s. This was unheard of, and I’m glad the film touched on the topic, especially considering these characters views on things, but they didn’t go overboard with anything, even at the dinner. A dinner that could have very well, ended up being more like The Nutty Professor rather than The Cosby Show. Good, pardon the pun, sense prevailed, there and only Ferrell was over the top, which fits this character.

What didn’t I like?

Cameos. Sometimes a good cameo can tip the scales in the right direction for a film, especially if said cameo isn’t spoiled by internet trolls. However, there is a scene near the end of this film that is filled with cameos. The amount doesn’t bother me because had they all be spread out amongst the length of the film, not a word would have been said, but the fact that they were brought in at the last minute and rapid fire introduced to us made no sense, especially since some of these cameos are from some pretty big stars that you would never imagine in a Will Ferrell film!

Dylan. No matter what role I see him in, I always feel a bit sorry for Dylan Baker. The Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies were building him up to become The Lizard and I believe that the 4th one was going to the one where he became the supervillain, but that was not to be. I see him in this film and, because of the goatee and sunglasses, he is unrecognizable. I appreciate the look he was going for, but why did he have to look like the love child of Jack Nicholson and Peter Dinklage?!?

Shark. In an effort to make Ron Burgundy some sort of human, he has an accident and loses his sight. Yes, it is as random and implausible as it sounds, but remember what movie you’re watching. During, this time, he gets reconnected with his estranged wife and son. They save and baby shark that is caught in a net and nurse it back to health and then it appears in the final scene, but I won’t spoil the ending. The term “jumping the shark” doesn’t apply here, but rather “saving the shark”. Why a shark, of all things?!? I didn’t get it, but I’m not one of these sheep obsesses with sharks (like everyone that drools over “Shark Week” every year).

Final verdict on Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues? Well, it suffers from sequelitis. The jokes that worked in the first have gotten old and the film is searching to find a new voice. Steve Carrell’s character, Brick, has been reduced to nothing but stupid one lines. There is heart to be found here, but you have to search real hard. That being said, there is still plenty to enjoy with this flick, so I do recommend it. I didn’t get the chance to watch the unrated version with all the extras and whatnot, but something tells me that is the version you would want to watch, mush as it is with Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Give it a shot sometime!

4 out of 5 stars