Movie Review: Ant-Man (2015)

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Plot: Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

Ant Man is really the only Marvel film I haven’t specifically gone to see in cinema in the last five years. I finally sat down to watch it a while ago, and it halfway confirmed my suspicion that a movie about a superhero the size of an ant would be silly, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t end up enjoying myself quite a lot.

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Anyone who has ever seen Clueless will tell you that Paul Rudd is the most adorable person to have ever person’d (not a word, but going with it). He also hasn’t aged in the 23 years since Clueless and looks exactly the same, adorable person he was back then (although with a lack of photographic evidence I can’t really comment on whether he was as ripped back then). He takes on a big role and sort of becomes an Avenger as Scott Lang, an engineer who has some bad taste in friends, and is recruited for a big role when he steps out of prison.

Joining the Ant Man cast is Evangeline Lilly, as Hope, the daughter of inventor-technology-extraordinaire Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Hope is smart and successful and plays a double agent between her father and the rapidly mentally deteriorating ex-protégée of Hank and current evil person and CEO of Hank’s brainchild company Pym Technologies, Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). She’s also love interest of Scott Lang, because plot reasons, and she’s also not allowed to put on the suit – initially I was like poor move Marvel, not allowing her to put on the suit because of her lady parts, but the movie does try to explain it as daddy has lost mommy this way and can’t lose his daughter this way too (I’m not convinced, but at least the sequel is titled “Ant-Man and the Wasp”, where Hope becomes the Wasp. Hope is great, looking amazing in her black suits and amazing hairstyle and kicking ass while being a central part of the plot. I also really enjoyed Michael Douglas, it is good seeing him look so well after his cancer diagnosis a few years back, and he adds gravity to the movie and manages to deliver some snide remarks and sarcastic comments while he’s at it.

One of the best things about Ant-Man is Michael Pena’s performance as Luis, Scott’s former cellmate and criminally-inclined-but-still-cool-person. Not really sure why Marvel would want to tap into the stereotype of Mexican criminals, but Pena manages to make his character a hit and especially hits it off with his amazing storytelling skills.

I also enjoyed seeing Judy Greer again, she’s great and as always after seeing her in something, I wish I could see her become a leading lady in a film. She’s been in Hollywood for ages and yet has never been the sole focus of a film, which is a shame in my opinion. I liked how she wasn’t portrayed as the villainous ex-wife of Scott, but rather a mother and an ex-partner who would be open to allowing more visitation rights to the seriously cute Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) once Scott sorts himself out.

I enjoyed Corey Stoll as the villain, but I really wish there were just a bit more depth to the backstory and more explanations why he lost the plot quite so badly and turned from protégée to “I want to kill everyone” type of person. He quickly becomes the madman, and I don’t always understand why.

I also suffered some confusion, and would advise people to watch Marvel films in the order they come out in, because I got the events quite mixed up in my head at a stage.

Ant-Man had a lot of good things going for it, and it is as warm hearted as a Marvel superhero movie can and will get. I missed out on Ant-Man and The Wasp in cinema (cry cry cry) but will definitely watch it when I can. I hope that Hope gets her chance to kick some ass and become part of Luis’ excellent storytelling skills.

Rating: 7.5/10

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Movie Review: Carrie (2013)

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Based on the Stephen King novel, Carrie tells the story about a seventeen year old girl, Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) who lives with her very scary religious fantasist of a mother (played excellently by Julianne Moore).

Carrie is removed from society, shunned on the basis of the rules her mother enforces on her. She has no friends, wears clothes that don’t fit into modern society, and has no clue to what it even feels like to be normal. She doesn’t want this, but it is hard to rebel against a mother who locks you in a small closet for hours if you disobey her.

Carrie’s miserable life becomes worse when she gets her first period after gym class in the showers. The teenage girls lose their heads and follow the orders of Chris (Portia Doubleday), the school bully, and starts throwing Carrie with tampons. The coach (Judy Greer) shows up and help Carrie recover some dignity and modesty, and no one notices the one light explode in the showers, or no one thinks much of it.

Carrie is punished by her mother for having her first period and spends some time in the closet, and when the door gets a crack in Carrie seems to become aware that she has some form of magic ability, and the following day she starts researching what it might be, trying to ignore the ridiculing she is subjected to.

Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde), one of the tampon throwers is feeling horrible about herself. She doesn’t know what came over her, because she really isn’t such a bad girl. Coach punishes the girls by giving them rigorous training as punishment, and everyone but Chris does it, and when she yells at the girls to side with her, not even Sue does it because they know how wrong they were. Chris is expelled from school and banned from Prom, and vows revenge on everyone, including Carrie.

Sue is still feeling horrible about what she did and decides that Carrie deserves one normal, happy night, to go to prom with a handsome guy. Sue convinces her boyfriend Tommy (Anse lElgort) to take Carrie, and he is reluctant, but agrees to do so because Sue is beating herself up horribly about it. Tommy asks and Carrie naturally thinks it is a trap, but she is convinced eventually by Tommy that his offer is sincere.

Back at home, Carrie’s mom freaks out, sure that Tommy wants to defile her daughter. Carrie’s powers has now progressed immensely, and through her telekinesis she starts controlling her mother, and says that she will go to prom.

Prom night arrives, with Chris planning revenge, and Carrie unaware of it. Will Carrie be able to survive yet another embarrassment at school? What will she do to Chris when she is thrown with pig’s blood? Is Carrie, already unstable, capable of controlling her powers under such strain?

Rating: 7/10

I watched this movie to see how the adaption went since I read the iconic King novel sometime last year. I thought that it was rather decently done, and although there were some minor details that were changed, it didn’t deduct from the whole story.

I really pitied Carrie. This girl had so much against her, and that particular horror in the shower would have cracked any girl. She had no support at home and her mother was a lunatic, and she had no friends to even help her. Her eventual revenge on the school felt like justice and especially on Chris – who might just make it into the famed hall of asses of all time. Moretz did well as Carrie and I think it might be the first time where she didn’t irritate me senseless. I didn’t catch anything of her characteristic snottiness in this movie and she seemed genuinely unstable as Carrie is supposed to be.

I do think that Chris could have been better developed. The movie didn’t really show how awful, cruel and spoiled she is. Also, I thought the movie Sue Snell was better than the book version – she is somewhat condescendingly written I’ve perceived.

Ansel Elgort is really a very cute guy deservedly on the rise. He was perfect as Tommy – capturing the high school popular jock who isn’t a bad kid (a bit of a moron, but not bad) and on the way to becoming a good man.

Recommendation: not too much guts and gore to put you off bacon for weeks, so you can watch it for some horror street cred.