Review – Ant-Man (2015)

Ant-Man tells the tale of ex-convict Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) an electronics expert who wants to get his life straight and  fix his relationship with his young daughter. He’s got two choices get a job in a fast food chain and earn a honest living OR do a heist with his new buddies! They’ve got a tip that some old man’s on holiday and he’s got this phat safe in the basement – easy payday!

Unfortunately it’s not fat stacks of cash waiting for Lang when he gets through the safe – it’s a suit? Unbeknownst to Lang, he’s being monitor by acclaimed scientist Hank Pym and he’s found his new protégé.

Enter, Darren Cross the current disciple of Pyms, but Pym stopped helping Cross after noticing Crosses intentions to militarising his fabled shrinking technology. Cross believes he’s on the cusp of mastering the formula needed to power the Yellow Jacket…

Ant-Man! Marvel takes a risk by throwing millions into an C level superhero, in hopes it’ll pay off like Guardians of the Galaxy and not like well, um, Thor 2? (it wasn’t that bad)

Marvel movies always bank is what I’m saying. Ant-Man is one of the first new era of Marvel movies that openly had issues surrounding its production; Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright left after conflicting visions with Marvel. People squinted at the news of Yes Man! Director Peyton Reed was announced as the Wrights replacement.

But is it any good? Yes, I enjoyed Ant-Man! I went in with the right level of expectation, Ant-Man isn’t an Avengers movie, don’t expect overly heroic battles, one versus thousands. It’s a close knit story with a half of the cast you normally see from Marvel, there’s not half a dozen Guardians, it’s Scott Lang, Hank Pym and his daughter Hope – and I’m certain 3/4’s of this is filmed in Michael Douglass living room! It’s a very safe project, great casting, plenty of MCU references and the right superhero; higher than the likes of Daredevil, not amongst the ranks of Iron Man etc.

Problems? Well it’s an origin movie. Which means we’ve got a slow start, it takes thirty minutes before we to see Lang as Ant-Man. We get all out dialogue heavy scenes at the start, perfect timing for some of the familiar faces from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to get their cameo appearances in.

My personal highlights are the legit tip sequences, this where Michael Peña almost animated as a Pixar character tells Scott about the tip for this heist if it’s a sure-thing or not. Cut to a a fast sequence of Peña talking to a friend, who knows a girl, who works for a man, who has safe etc. The editing is face and every character is talking in perfect sync Peña. They’re ace!

Paul Rudd, easily one of the most charming actors in the movie business, it was only a matter of time before a Marvel movie was delivered to him on a plate, hell, he even got the standard; Ooh I’ve got Marvel Abs, look at my sweat-soaked abs!

His characters dynamic as the ex-convict cat burglar/father who just wants the right life worked well. When he’s chosen to become the Ant-Man from Hank Pym we get a great teacher / student montage of Lang getting put through the ringer as he looks to live up to his expectations and a great test run montage of Lang falling through the apartment block.

Michael Douglas is ace! We even get a glimpse of CGI 80’s era Douglas opening the movie in the SHIELD HQ. Douglas is flawless when in character and he gets to drop a few choice swearwords against Rudd, you could tell Douglas savoured the delivery of those lines. Evangeline Lilly playing Douglas’s on screen daughter and love interest to Darren Cross. As you can expect she’s against the inclusion of Scott Lang into her fathers work. Lilly is great in the film, cute as heck, but the evil business woman hair cut, didn’t cut it for me (sorry).

Corey Stoll playing the role of Darren Cross / Yellow jacket was great casting. Stolls previous work on House of Cards left me confident in knowing he has the chops to pull off a decent Marvel villain. He’s excellent at delivering evil, lengthy monologues! That scene where Pym walks into his living room after finalising their heist on Cross Tech and Cross is standing there – I almost swallowed my tongue.

Overall it’s a great film, it’s not the summer blockbuster that Guardians was, but once Ant-Man gets past its slow start, the rest of the film is a Thomas the Tank Engine out of control!

4/5

DVD Review – Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014)

Before viewing Electric Bugaloo, my history with Canon movies was at a minimal, from what’s listed and discussed in the documentary, it’s Masters of the Universe! That was it and hell, I think that was at least 15-20 years since I’ve last seen it. So you can imagine my surprise as I see this detailed history reiterated by the stars and the men behind the scenes of one of the most notorious film studios in existence!

The documentary introduces to us GUY ONE and GUY TWO, the men who run a large chunk of Israeli cinema and bought their way into Hollywood!  They started with a series of black and white skin flicks and teenage romps much in the vain of Porkys to convincing the likes of Christopher Reeve to star in Superman IV: Quest for Peace and getting Rocky to star in a movie about the sport of…arm wrestling! It’s a truly incredible history of truly bizarre work behind them.

I don’t want to repeat every point and subject brought up in the documentary, but it’s amazing to see the amount of ground they covered, Ninjas, horror, fantasy. But it’s how reckless and carefree, they signed each other’s cheques, they started productions in random countries and wouldn’t mention it to the other! At times it sounds like ground breaking indie cinema, or times it looks like a complete shit-show!

Coming out of the viewing, I have to admit there are probably half a dozen Canon films I really fancy checking out now! I’d have to imagine that there is a huge cult following dedicated to various levels of Canon cinema – Ninja movies, grind-house horrors and of course Chuck Norris.

They would show us how they would discover trends – like break dancing and quickly development a movie starring the street performers and if other studios caught wind and had their own projects; Canon would always make sure they would be first in the cinema.

It’s these stories that make this documentary and absolutely engrossing watch. I don’t even know the running time to this doc! I just sat and watched it, never took my eyes of the screen, never looked through my phone, Google image searched the chick from Life Force, none it! This documentary captured my attention and my imagination.

DVD Special Features

The biggest crime committed to this documentary though is the UK DVD release; I’m stunned that there are no extras on this DVD. I would imagine an abundance of extra interviews, maybe more sordid stories, heck I would have loved it if they just had a catalogue of trailers included, listening to that great movie trailer voice describe titles like Schizoid, X-Ray etc.

It’s very unfortunate; I mean there are sound options, but there are no subtitles! The only positive about the release is that damn catchy opening song is played constantly on the DVD menu screen!

4.5/5