Tag Archives: movie reviews

Ant-Man and The Wasp–A light and very fun comic book movie–better than Avengers

I’m gonna get right to it.  Ant-Man and Wasp is better than Avengers Infinity War.

Yeah, I said it.

Fight me.

Here is a comic book movie where the characters know they’re in a comic book movie and they are enjoy the crap out of themselves for it.  Please go away sad, dark, comic book characters. We’ve done that.  It’s played out.  And frankly, No one has done it well since Christopher Nolan six years ago—see Superman.

Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, let comic book movies be fun again.

So thank you Antman and Wasp for being fun and silly, and freakin’ enjoying yourself.

The plot is pretty simple.  Sometime in 80s Janet Van Dyne with her husband Hank Pym shrink to stop a Soviet missile, but during the mission they realize that they  need to go to the sub-atomic quantum realm, which is comic book talk for really really small.  Anyway, apparently it is impossible to come back from being too small.  So Janet Van Dyne saves the day by going really really small and shutting down the missile.

Years later, Scott Lang when he steals the Antman suits goes subamotic and comes back.   Which gives both Hank Pym and his daughter Hope Pym, hope that Janet is still alive.  So they build technology to bring her back, but that technology is very valuable.

Fast forward to today where Scott Lang is for whatever reason, under house arrest for two years.  Apparently, helping Captain America in an Avengers movies is worthy of house arrest, for whatever reason.

The house arrest is really just a plot set-up.  It gives Scott a reason to panic later when he is not in the house.

Evangeline Lilly plays The Wasp and she leads the movie.  She does a wonderful job in the action sequences, and holds her own against the comic timing of Paul Rudd who plays Antman.

But the best scenes belong to Michael Pena, as Luis, a former cellmate of Scott, who now runs X-Con security company.

We need a Luis movie.

The movie is light and fun.  Which is a nice change of pace from the super serious comic book movies we’ve been getting.

Wait for the first ends credits scene to see how this movie connects with Avengers: Infinity War.

Final Thoughts

I recommend catching this in the theater.  It is very fun.

Incredibles 2 Movie Review–It’s Jack-Jack’s Movie

It’s been 14 years since the first Incredibles movie. And it was worth the wait.

The Incredibles is a joy to watch. The energy of the movie is a mix of a Sean Connery Era James Bond movie and a comic book.

The world in which the Incredibles is set is a retro future setting of a late 1950s to 60s-cars have tail-fins, studio cameras have three rotating lenses, telephones have cords and a number pad, televisions have curved glass fronts. The style of the setting is part of the joy of the movie.

The movie begins with Agent Dicker questioning Violet’s date Tony Rydinger, the boy she had a crush on in the first movie and is scheduled to go on a date with. As per usual custom Dicker does a memory wipe, unfortunately also wiping out the memory that he has a date with Violet later that week, which will come into play later.

We move back to where the first movie left off with the Underminer attacking the city. It is loud and visually stunning action sequence. Mr. Incredible follows the Underminer down through the ground under the city where he discovers an entire laberyenth of tunnels which leads to the most elaborate bank heist ever. Blowing up explosives underneath the bank, which then falls underground, allowing the Underminer to walk into the vault and vacuum out the money from the safe. The Underminer escapes with the money, (are we looking at an Incredibles 3?) and Frozone and the Parrs stop the Underminers Runaway drill from crashing into more buildings and in the aftermath Dicker informs the Parrs that he can no longer help them, his department is being shut down. The Parrs need to move back underground and hid their identifies as superheros.

A familiar theme from the first movie, hiding ones abilities in hopes of staying safe and secure.

With the Incredibles and Frozone saving the city from even more distruction wealthy telecom businessman Winston Deavor and his sister Evelyn decide that now is a good time to changing the public perception of supers. Winston wants to change the world’s perception of supers because his father was a big believer in supers having a close relationship with previous Supers. Unfortunately their father was killed in a robbery when instead of hiding in the safe room in the house he called Gazerbeam but the phones were cut. (I love this world of superheros but landlines still in use.)

The villain in this movie is not the UnderMiner, but the Screenslaver. A hypnotist who gets people to do his bidding through screens he has hacked.

The Screenslaver and the UnderMiner provide the opportunity for Winston Deavor to show the world that Supers are useful and not a problem. Winston decided that it would be best to leave Mr. Incredible out of the first rescue, as according to the huge amount of data collected he causes a lot of damage. While on the other hand Mrs. Parr is able to do the job without as much damage or people being hurt. You don’t want people hurt when bringing Supers back into the public eye.

So Mr. Parr becomes a stay at home dad to Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack.

And this is Jack-Jack’s movie.

In the world of the Incredibles apparently Supers can have different types of powers, and Jack seems to have seventeen of them. One of them is the ability to jump to different dimensions. That’s sort of like a super-super ability. But it is played as a joke when Mr. Parr can’t find Jack-Jack when he is jumping between dimensions. He of course also shoots lasers out of his eyes, turns into a demon baby, and when he visits the ever popular Edna Mode he can’t replicate himself to other people, like a human chameleon. As in the first movie, the best scene in the movie is when Bob visits Edna Mode, and this time he brings Jack-Jack along with him.

Because he just can’t handle it anymore. Edna at first wants nothing to do with Jack-Jack, but soon Edna falls in love with Jack-Jack and the coolest relationship in the movie is born. Edna makes a suit and matching tablet to help Bob know which ability Jack-Jack is about to manifest. A very useful trick.

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A video short with Edna and Jack-Jack would be the perfect addition to the Blu-ray.

And as fun as Jack-Jack and Edna are together, the best scene in the movie is when Jack-Jack gets into a fight with a raccoon.  A scene that felt out of place, but my  six-year-old says is the best scene in the movie.  She maybe right.

 

Final Thoughts

The Incredibles 2 is a lot of fun. The style and setting is something to take in. Jack-Jack brings joy whenever he is on screen. The villain maybe too complex for younger viewers, but exists well in the universe.
If you can check out Incredibles 2 at the theater this summer.

Solo-A Star Wars Story–Movie Review–A Fun Saturday Matinee Movie

A new Star Wars movie is here.

It used to be a new Star Wars movie came out every three years.  They were major events.  Once every three years a new freakin’ Star Wars movie.

But those days are gone.  Star Wars makes way too much money to let it go away.  I am 45.  People my age grew up thinking Return of the Jedi was going to be the last film.  It took 16 years to get another film, then we got two more three years after that.  Then it took another ten years to get The Force Awakens.

Now this weekend we Solo.  It is the second Star Wars movie in six months.  I never thought I would ever see that.

I mention this because Star Wars becoming a commodity takes away some of the excitement that we use to have in going to that galaxy far far away.

But after saying that, I need to say this.

I still want Star Wars.

It is still fun.

And Solo is fun.

It isn’t a perfect movie.  It’s not the best Star Wars film.  It doesn’t break new ground.  But so what?  

It is a Star Wars movie.

Solo is played by Alden Ehenriech, Ki’ra is played by Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones Fame.  Lando Calrissian is played to perfection by Donald Glover, who sounds exactly like Billy Dee Williams who played Lando in the original trilogy.

Chewbacca is played by Joonas Suomato.  And Woody Harrleson plays Tobias Beckett a criminal who is the head of his own crew.  Thadie Newton plays his wife Val Beckett, and Jon Favereu voices Rio Durant, a new type of alien in the Star Wars universe and a member of Beckett’s crew.

The movie begins with Han as a young man on his home world of Corellia, which is ruled by gangsters.

I liked this part.  It is always cool to see new parts of the Star Wars universe.  He and his girlfriend Ki’ra are desperate to escape.  Han manages to steal some hyperfuel during a deal gone wrong, and it’s their hope to sell the fuel on the blackmarket for enough money to own their own ship and get away.  But in order to get off of the planet they must go through an Imperial check-point where they are discovered with the fuel.  Ki’ra is captured by the Empire.  In hopes of making it back to Corelia to find Ki’ra Han enlists in the Empire, in hopes of being a pilot.  As with most plans, he doesn’t become a pilot, but an infantryman.  Flash forward three years and Han is still not a pilot and is stuck as a “mudhead” and in the middle of a battle he meets Beckett.

The movie moves through it’s checklist of who he needs to meet.

When Solo meets Chewie, for my money this is one of the best scenes in the entire Star Wars series.  It is fun and a blast.  I wasn’t sure how he would meet Han, but the scene works very well.

We move through a cool train robbery with Solo and Beckett’s crew.

And then onto meeting Crime Lord Dryden Vos, played by Paul Bethany.  After owing Vos more money, Beckett, Han, Chewie, and Ki’ra head to meet Lando because he has a fast ship.

And from here the movie really takes off.  

I am not going to spoil anymore of the movie.  There isn’t a lot to spoil, but there is some.

The second half of the movie really takes off.  There is a surprise character at the end that connects the movie with the television shows.  There is a nod to the idea that Han does shoot first.  And we see Han prepare to go meet Jabba.

Final Thoughts

The movie doesn’t break new ground like The Last Jedi, but it is fun.  If you enjoyed the original Star Wars trilogy I recommend seeing this in the theater as Star Wars movies are meant to be seen.  It is a fun Saturday matinee flick as the original Star Wars movies were meant to be.

Atomic Blone Review

Atomic Blonde is a visceral experience.

Based on a the graphic novel, The Coldest City, by Antony Johnson and Sam Hart.

The time is 1989 just days before the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Which occurred when I was in high school, but now seems to be a time regulated to history books.  By setting it during this time, we can now tell spy stories between waring states, as opposed to hidden terror threats.  The good ol’ days of spy stories.

Directed by David Leitch, who was a co-director on the first John Wick movie.  David Leitch got his start in Hollywood as a stuntman, and it shows in Atomic Blonde.

Charlize Theron, plays Lorraine Broughton a highly skilled MI6 officer, is perfect for this role, tall, blond, attractive, and physically fit.

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James McAvoy plays David Purcvell, and John Goodman plays Emmet Kurzveld a CIA operative.

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The story is told from a deep briefing room, where a beaten and bruised Charlize Theron is telling the story of tracking down a double agent who has a list of all the spies who work for MI6.

And that’s really all you need to know for the story.

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The movie is all atmosphere and action.  And it is great action.

Unlike the action other movies, where the hero is never hurt, does get exhausted, and takes on thousands of faceless bad guys, here fight scenes have weight.   When protecting a Russian defector, Theron is in an elevator and stops the elevator and instead of coming out blasting, she waits with heavy breathing and waits for one of two bad guys to come at her.  In a fight with two bad guys, it is heavy and intense.

She gets hurt, injured, and the bad guys don’t die easily.  As the scene progresses she becomes more injured and tired.  She eventually narrows down her opponents to one, and at one point they are both so injured and tired they just stand across from each other with labored breathing and staring each other down.  Each opponent running on empty, bullets have run out, and fighting with only the items left in the room, in this case a wine opener, the director brings a real excitement to what could have been just another easy shoot up the bad guy scene.

The movie is a great who-done-it, but ultimately this movie is about atmosphere and style.  And what wonderful, fun style it is.  I recommend it.

Rated R-for extreme violence, nudity, and sex.

SING–Movie Review–A nice solid family outing.

 

I am a dad of a five year old.  These are the types of  movies that I see.

And SING is a good one.

Buster Moon is a  Koala Bear is wanna-be successful theater producer.  We are introduced to him when he is six years and his parents take him to the theater.  He falls in love with theater, and his six-year-old mind decides he doesn’t want to be an astronaut anymore, he wants to produce theater.  And we are with him.

Fast forward a couple of decades and we find that Buster is a failed theater producer.  So much so, that the bank is about to foreclose on his property.

He begs for money from his best-friend and business partner, a sheep named  Eddie Noodleman, whose parents are wealthy.  But this time Eddie, turns him down.  Buster’s recent plays have flopped.  Flopped.

Buster’s Big Idea to get people back into the theater is to run a singing competition.  Eddie quickly points out the obvious, that nobody wants to see a singing competition made up of only locals.

Buster ignores him.

In a silly and stupid plot point, Buster’s secretary, Ms. Crawly an aging iguana, accidently turns the $1,000 prize into a $100,000 with a typo, and then within 30 seconds thousands of the flyers are blown out into the town, where the townsfolk begin to read about the $100,000 prize.

Consequently, more people show up to Buster’s talent audition than he expected.

From here we are connected with several enjoyable characters.

Rosita, a pig, who is mother to 25 piglets.  Her dream of being a famous singer abandoned to raise a family.

Ash, a teenage punk rocker who is forced to break-up with her boyfriend, when she is allowed in the competition and he is not.

Meena, a teenage elephant, who has a gifted voice, but is crippled by debilitating stage fright. 

Johnny, a teenage gorilla, whose family is a gang of bank robbers.

Mike, a mouse, is the Frank Sinatra clone.  He gets into trouble with women and the mob.

Gunter, a German-accent pig, is Rosita’s dance partner.

The story continues as Buster tries to get the singing competition off the ground.  The movie continues through obstacle after obstacle, each more over the top than the next.  Until finally the theater itself is destroyed.

Buster hits his low, and goes into hiding.  But those that were going to sing in the competition pull a singing performance off in the end.

Overall

The movie is funny.  But there is nothing groundbreaking here.

Plot points are obvious and silly.

But we can relate to characters that have given up on their dreams, but find hope and joy when the chance to finally live those dreams happens.

And for Generation Xer parents and Baby Boomer Grandparents there are some great musical numbers here.  The writers knew who would be bringing the children to see this.

And my five-year-old got up to dance during the movie, which makes me recommend the movie.

 

Image credits:

Several of the images came from here.