I have been a long-time Terminator fan even if I wasn't even born when… MoreI have been a long-time Terminator fan even if I wasn't even born when the first came out. The concept, while simple, is so on-point for a science fiction wet dream. Machines come from the future to eliminate mankind in the present. Boom. Done.
Unfortunately, Genisys retreads the old stomping grounds of machines taking over the world with an entirely new plot that has veered so far of course, it feels like the writers forgot what made the originals so appealing. It was the simplicity of keeping the players and the ideas limited to what I said above. In Genisys, the concept has ballooned into silliness considering over the last four films we've come to expect John Connor as the savior of mankind.
I get that in order to grab a new audience they need to do something different. Especially in this age of Hollywood with all the remakes and reboots and unoriginal ideas, pulling something out of left field seems right. It wasn't. For a summer blockbuster you sure do have to pay attention a bit more than you want to to follow the timelines we have now landed in.
As for the acting. Par for the course. Jai Courtney has certainly landed himself in these old franchise reboots; Die Hard was his other. His timing and playful dialogue doesn't really register well with Arnold. Speaking of Arnold. He's still got it. The man will forever be the best thing about Terminator. Jason Clarke put in a decent sinister performance as a changed John Connor. (It's unacceptable the trailers ruined the change he undergoes) Lastly, Emilia Clarke wasn't necessarily miscast as some other people have said, but she certainly doesn't seem as convincing as the previous Sarah Connor's we've had before. These Brits playing Americans don't really convince me.
When it's all said and done, the story gets a shot of a steroids it didn't need and the CGI overshadows the attempt to make a few of the scenes heartfelt and worth something. I cannot fathom with how they ended it that they will be making two more in this new trilogy reboot. But, just like the Terminator, he just keeps on coming back to life.
Ant Man adds to the increasing long list of Marvel standout films with… MoreAnt Man adds to the increasing long list of Marvel standout films with a surprisingly engaging and light-hearted (perhaps the most of all the films they've done) heist flick. It slides right into the universe with a few quick bits of dialogue and one cameo from an Avenger (that unfortunately TV commercials ruined). While they reference the events from Avengers 2, this movie more or less stands alone as its own entity.
What really drives the film, much like all the other Marvel movies is its lead actor, Paul Rudd. From the moment they casted him I thought, this guy can do it. Just like Chris Evans, RDJ, Chris Pratt or Chris Hemsworth, Rudd is perfectly built for Scott Lang as Ant Man. It's his ability to bounce from comedic one-liners and that soft-hearted smile with a touch of aloofness into a let's get down to business attitude. Yet again, Disney and Marvel have a hero they can market over a few more movies.
The supporting players were also well casted. Evangeline Lilly is ferocious (although her bangs leave a little to be desired). While you may see the direction her character is going from the beginning even if you don't know the comic back story, it's still spreads a smile across your face when it comes to fruition. Cory Stoll is killing it in his roles lately. He's menacing. Even though his character doesn't quite get much depth through visuals as much as he does through dialogue, which is never as effective, he pulls it off for the most part. Lastly, we get Michael Douglas in his first super hero role. While he does get to throw a punch, he settles in as the mentor, but he's such a good actor, we still get to empathize with him on how badly he still wants to wear the suit if he could. His character carries the burden of potential disaster well, and redemption is clearly his focus. Douglas adds that gravitas you want for the terrible situations the heroes are thrust into.
Finally, as the story is concerned, I applaud Marvel's attempt to yet again do something different with the super hero cookie cutter plot. Instead, we get a basic heist movie with the fate of the world (although not as big as say the Avengers was) hanging in the balance. Marvel has done better movies devoted to the depth of their characters like the first Iron Man or Captain America, but they definitely haven't had as much scope like they did in Ant Man. The camera tricks to change from normal size to ant size and back again are really well done. The action scenes are fun and fluid.
Overall, I had Ant Man pegged as a surprise hit much like Guardians of the Galaxy was a year ago. Perhaps Rudd doesn't hit the heights as well as Pratt did and maybe the storyline seems a bit simple and contained compared to Captain America or Thor, but we still get plenty of easter eggs and tie-ins into the Marvel Universe like the quantum field and perhaps one more Avenger down the road. Now all we have to do is wait for Rudd to join the rest of the group in the coming movies to really see how Ant Man and Scott Lang mesh into this age of super heroes.
Ben Stiller has to be one of my all-time favorites. His flexibility… MoreBen Stiller has to be one of my all-time favorites. His flexibility when it comes to starring in comedies or dramas has always been one of his strongest traits in the movie industry. What's great about While We're Young is, like Greenberg from a few years ago, Noah Boaumbach the director, throws him into a relatable and honest role. We still get a few Stiller-isms in both dialogue and action, but it feels like he's portraying exactly what you'd think a struggling documentarian would be like.
As for the other players, we get probably the second best performance of the movie out of Adam Driver. You can see his drive (no pun intended) to be a weasely, do-anything, youngster who is up-and-coming in the industry. Amanda Seyfried and Naomi Watts are nice additions to the cast, but really don't register in much of the movie aside from catalysts for conflict.
While it's not as focused as "This Is 40" about getting older even though Stiller and Watts are clearly dealing with their aging, it still plucks some of that aging humor to register a few laughs. The real meat of the movie is about Stiller's character and his inability to finish his documentary over ten years and change his mannerisms. The ending is both incomplete and satisfying.
Welcome to my 400th review since March 2011!
What better movie to… MoreWelcome to my 400th review since March 2011!
What better movie to take a look at other than 'This is Spinal Tap'. A cult classic. These guys put on a fantastic show over a brief 80 minutes thanks to Rob Reiner's astute portrayal of the rock and roll lifestyle. It's considered a rockumentary. A coined term for this special genre. The laughs are hearty and the dialogue is easily quotable. If you're a lover of music and have taken classes about the history of rock like I did, you'll easily recognize every little nuance they interpret from some of the most famous bands. The one part that slayed me was the Stonehenge bit.
It's cleverly written pieces like this that make you look back on what cinema was like back in the day and you only wish there was more like this on a consistent basis.
Jet Li started gathering a reputation that he was just a poser through… MoreJet Li started gathering a reputation that he was just a poser through his first few films. For some reason, people thought he wasn't the real deal. So what he did was recreate with heavy influence one of Bruce Lee's most famous films, Fist of Fury. This is why Fist of Legend is considered one of his breakout roles in the martial arts lore. There's some big skull cracking and bone breaking in the first fifteen minutes. While the plot follows your prototypical kung fu line, there were actually a few strings pulled to keep you on your feet if you weren't paying enough attention.
The sound effects could have been a bit more on point and not so conspicuous and it seemed like the dialogue was a bit delayed, but when it came to actually seeing the hand-to-hand combat on screen, there's nothing better for its time.