ABC Film Challenge – Action – A – Ant-Man (2015)

Director: Peyton Reed

Writer: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comics)

Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Anthony Macke, Michael Pena

 

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.


Tagline – No shield. No armor. No problem.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Heist Movie

 

Story: Ant-Man starts when Scott Lang (Rudd) gets released from prison, he wants to try and go straight to rebuild his relationship with his daughter, but is struggling. When his best friend Luis (Pena) offers him a score which could fix the problem he jumps at the chance. the job is to break into a house and open a safe, which he does finding a suit.

The suit is the Ant-Man suit which Dr Hank Pym (Douglas) invented and planned to keep secret, until his student Darren Cross (Stoll) has learnt of the technology and has been looking to create his own form of it. Hank wants Scott to use the suit to stop Darren from using the technology that could be dangerous in the right hands.

 

Thoughts on Ant-Man

 

Characters – Scott Lang is a cat-burglar that is freshly out of prison searching for a job, so he can rebuild his relationship with his daughter, who still loves him. He can’t get employment, which sees him return to a life of crime, which sees him get an opportunity to work for Hank Pym that see him use his skills to help him steal his own technology back before it gets in the wrong hands. Scott can see this as a chance for redemption. Dr Hank Pym created the shrinking technology that made Ant-Man, he has seen the danger involved in it and has been gone into business for himself, he needs somebody to make sure his technology doesn’t get sold into the wrong hands, he doesn’t want his daughter to do the job because he knows the danger involved in it. Hope is the daughter of Hank, she has remained in the company watching over Darren’s research, reporting to her father if thing go wrong. She wants to go on the mission no matter how risky it could be. Darren Cross was mentored by Hank, he has always been waiting to step out of the shadow and after learning the secret about technology involved in creating the shrinking technology.

PerformancesPaul Rudd does get to bring us a fun character that has been left with nothing and still remains positive and isn’t the smartest person in the room. Michael Douglas fits his role perfectly as the inventor figure. Evangeline Lilly is strong in her role, even if she does a lot better in the sequel. Corey Stoll does make for a strong villain which is needed in this film.

StoryThe story here follows a former criminal that gets recruits to steal a piece of equipment from his own office that could one day create a new army becoming a threat to mankind. This story does go in a different direction to the previous outings of creating a new superhero, most before hand had been experiments or self-created heroes. Scott is given a chance to improve his life to step into a suit that was once just an experiment. We also have a heist going on which is always entertaining to watch as we do get the colourful characters involved in the film. this might get references for previous Avengers movies which shows how Ant-Man will be part of the universe too.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action in this film has a unique look because it deals with the ideas of most of the fighting happening within the miniature world. the film does target plenty of laughs which with the supporting cast come off regularly and once again we see how the sci-fi side of the film is used for the technology being used in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which does bring us to a new city for a superhero movie which is refreshing to see.

Special EffectsThe effects in this movie are amazing when you think of the world that is created with the ant army being used.


Scene of the Movie –
Training the ants.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We needed more of Luis.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun heist movie with a superhero spin on it which lightens the mood the previous films might have had.

 

Overall: Entertaining Superhero movie.

Rating

 

 

Gary Oldman Weekend – Child 44 (2015)

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Writer: Richard Price (Screenplay) Tom Rob Smith (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Paddy Considine, Jason Clarke, Vincent Cassel, Fares Fares

 

Plot: A disgraced member of the Russian military police investigates a series of child murders during the Stalin-era Soviet Union.


Tagline – How many more must die before the truth is exposed?

Runtime: 2 Hours 17 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burner

 

Story: Child 44 starts as we see how Leo Demidov (Hardy) escaped an orphanage joining the military at a young age, he went on to become a war hero leading his men Alexei (Fares) and Vasili (Kinnaman), after the war he remains in the military making sure the Soviet Union isn’t compromised by anybody who could be against the country.

When one of Alexei’s children is murdered, the country covers it up as an accident, Leo reluctantly starts to investigate and after two more murders, Leo finds himself becoming an enemy of the country, exiled from the capital under General Mikhail Nesterov (Oldman), where the killings continue. Leo continues his investigation which only draws more attention to himself, as murder can’t happen in paradise.

 

Thoughts on Child 44

 

Characters – Leo Demidov was raised an orphan only to escape and become part of a military unit, he spent years within the Russian military rising up the ranks to become one of the most respected men in the military. He remains in the military where he helps keep traitors out of the capital, he soon learns about a string a child murders, which the country wants to cover up, which puts his reputation on the line as he looks to solve them exposing a killer in a country that doesn’t admit to murder. Raisa is the wife of Leo, she has started to become a target for country believing she is a traitor, she is tired of the life within the rules given and must soon start to lie to her husband to stay safe before working with him to solve the case. General Mikhail Nesterov is the man that Leo is sent to serve under, he does notice the trends in the murders and will send Leo out to solve the case. Vasili is one of the soldiers that served next to Leo, he was considered a coward during the war, but after the war he became stricter breaking the rules creating tension between the unit for his behaviour towards prisoners.

PerformancesTom Hardy in the leading role does everything asked of him, he handles each his characters actions, while giving us a solid enough Russian accent throughout. Noomi Rapace continued to grow her reputation as she shows that she can adapt to nearly every role placed on front of her. Gary Oldman brings the experience to the role, though he does fall into the supporting role for too long through the film. The rest of the supporting cast doesn’t make the impact required with their time.

StoryThe story here follows a Russian military man that starts investigating a string of child murders that grab the attention of the country who refuses to admit that murder can happen within it. While we get to see how the investigation becomes deeper with each and every turn, it is the trying to conduct an investigation in a country that simply won’t accept murder that piles on the pressure within the story, see how he must fight his country to stop a serial killer is interesting, even if it is slightly slow at times. We don’t get many suspects because we can’t completely investigate which can hold up that side of the film at times.

Crime/HistoryThe crime side of the film follows the serial killer taking the children, the other side of the crime story comes from how the country was treating people that didn’t follow their strict orders, this does show how the history of the country did hold it back at times.

SettingsThe film is set in Russia and Ukraine, showing how secretive the country was with how they didn’t want to admit anything going on wrong.


Scene of the Movie –
The first kidnapping is creepy as the film gets.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The over slow building.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow moving crime thriller that is more interested in showing the countries strict rules that focus on solving the crime.

 

Overall: Pacing just lets it down.

Rating

 

Isolation (2015)

Director: Shane Dax Taylor

Writer: Shane Dax Taylor, Chad Law (Screenplay)

Starring: Dominic Purcell, Luke Mably, Marie Avgeropoulos, Stephen Lang, Claudia Church, Chelsea Edmundson, Tricia Helfer

 

Plot: Inspired by the true events of a couple vacationing on a remote island in the Bahamas who are hunted by a group of modern-day pirates, after their identities and their lives.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Perfect Getaway Rip Off

 

Story: Isolation starts with a holidaying couple Max (Purcell) and Nina (Avgeropoulous) who get chased away by a local in William (Lang). We move onto follow another couple Creighton (Malby) and Lydia (Helfer) who are trying to put their marriage back together after his mistake, he takes her to a remote island to relax and enjoy.

Creighton and Lydia get welcomed by William and his wife Mary (Church) who invite them over for dinner, but during the dinner their apartment gets robbed and they find themselves with nothing, needing to search for help to survive.

 

Thoughts on Isolation

 

Characters – Creighton is the successful businessman that has made a terrible error in his marriage, he is trying to in his wife’s heart back and her trust, he takes on her the holiday on the remote, he is doing everything he can, he knows how much he messed up and will need to prove this in the fight to survive here. Lydia is the wife that has seen her marriage destroyed by her husband, she is willing to give him one more try though which is what we see her going through on the holiday. Max is one of the neighbours on the island, first chased off, but soon welcoming the couple with his partner Nina. William along with his wife Mary also live on the island and have chased people off before, but he welcomes Creighton and Lydia as he enjoys the life in paradise. We are left to guess which couple is the pirates here, which is interesting even if the outcome is more confusing.

PerformancesThe performances are mixed here because you have some big named talent which the film is advertised on, with Stephen Lang and Dominic Purcell, they are both fine in what is supporting roles. it is Luke Malby and Tricia Helfer that are the main leads and never get out of the blocks because while they have an interesting problem, they still are forced into silly decisions.

StoryThe story here follows a couple trying to fix their marriage on a remote island, only to find themselves needing to fight to survive against pirates who want to steal their identities. The problems mount up early in this film, first the opening scene only confuses, the second comes from their only being 3 couples and one needs to be the pirates, much like ‘A Perfect Getaway’ this movie falls into the position of just trying to keep you guessing on one couple, only to pull the rug out, only this one doesn’t even give you the rug, it points directly at one couple then decides to go, nah, it’s the other one. there is way too much talk and bonding moments between the couple’s which doesn’t need to be here. The only interesting side of the story comes from Creighton and Lydia trying to fix their marriage, only this gets forgotten in the film too.

ActionThe action is most chases and fights that are badly edited to make them feel like if you blink you might miss something big.

SettingsThe film does use the settings to its advantage, by having it set on a remote island with no phone signal, creating the isolation needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Sharks.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The running.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak rip off, of A Perfect Getaway that did this story so much better, in a shocking way too, it has bland characters and story that doesn’t seem to go anywhere.

 

Overall: Disappointing, dull and boring.

Rating

 

Joaquin Phoenix Weekend – Irrational Man (2015)

Director: Woody Allen

Writer: Woody Allen (Screenplay)

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Parker Posey, Jamie Blackley

 

Plot: A tormented philosophy professor finds a will to live when he commits an existential act.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Drags Along

 

Story: Irrational Man starts when mysterious and celebrated professor Abe Lucas (Phoenix) starts at a new college, he is the talk of the facility and the students who all believe they know who Abe is. When Abe starts work it is clear that he has a drinking problem and filled with unfulfillment going on through his life.

Making friends with fellow teacher Rita (Posey) and student Jill (Stone) who starts to get a crush on him, Abe does find a new purpose for life and gets torn between the two women one his age, one a student, what is the right decision for Abe?

 

Thoughts on Irrational Man

 

Characters – Abe Lucas is a brilliant and complicated professor, he drinks and is in full content mode as he goes through life. When he gets a reason to become positive, he starts taking a chance on different moments in life and gets torn between two women. Jill is a student at the college that takes a shine towards Abe, she must put her own relationship aside for her feeling towards him believing he can offer her a conversation her boyfriend can’t. Rita is a fellow professor that takes a shine towards Abe, she wants him to be his latest affair.

PerformancesThis is a film where it is hard to question the performances because the actors are only playing dull and uninteresting characters. the performances are fine, none will be remembered as the actors best or worst of their careers.

StoryThe story here follows a mysterious professor with a big reputation who joins the facility of a new college where he changes the lives of two women on the campus, while finding a new zest for life. In typical Woody Allen style this story goes in the directions you would imagine without having any dialogue you could see being real. The way everything unfolds feels just like a gossip magazine dealing with a rumour and you just lose all interest in the events.

ComedyThe comedy tries to be quirky without managing to hit any of this as the film roles on.

SettingsThe setting keeps us in and around the college campus as the stories spread around the campus.


Scene of the Movie –
The lift.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The conversations feel out of place.

Final ThoughtsThis is a typical Woody Allen movie, it tries to be quirky without hitting the marks and only seems to waste the talent involved.

 

Overall: Disappointing and dull.

Rating

 

 

Kevin Costner Weekend – McFarland (2015)

Director: Niki Caro

Writer: Christopher Cleverland, Bettina Gilois, Grant Thompson (Screenplay) Christopher Cleverland, Bettina Gilois (Story)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Ramiro Rodriguez, Carlos Pratts, Johnny Ortiz, Rafael Martinez, Hector Duran, Sergio Avelar

 

Plot: Jim White moves his family after losing his last job as a football coach. He sees that some of the students are worth starting a cross-country team and turns seven students with no hope into one of the best cross-country teams.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Sports Drama

 

Story: McFarland starts as high school football coach Jim White (Costner) goes too far trying to motivate his team, which leads him to lose his job, needing find a new job, Jim relocates with his family wife Cheryl (Bello) and kids to McFarland a small town populated with mostly Mexican families.

Moving to this town opens Jim’s eyes to a potential cross-country team to help the children with little hope of a big future to aim for something, he takes Thomas Valles (Pratts) the fastest, Danny Diaz (Rodriguez) the slowest, Jose (Ortiz), David (Martinez), Johnny (Duran) and Victor (Avelar) and attempts to make them a champion cross-country team.

 

Thoughts on McFarland

 

Characters – Coach Jim White is a fallen man having lost his temper with an over privileged team not performing, needing to redeem himself he moves his family to the only place that would give him a chance McFarland a mostly Mexican neighbourhood. Here we see Jim believe he can turn 7 kids into a champion cross-country team using his ability to learn the new culture and give the kids hope they never thought they would get. Thomas is the star of the team, he has natural speed, but he has not been given too much hope with his future after school, he now gets a chance that could bring him a college dream he could never even consider. Danny is the slowest member of the team but he never gives up showing improvement on every single run.

PerformanceKevin Costner shows us here that he does still have it and most of all can handle being the mentor figure for the young actors. The young actors playing the runners all give great performances show us just how anyone could be given a chance to be the next big thing. Maria Bello is potentially the weakest of the main performers but we don’t get too much for her to do.

StoryThe story of one coach needing to get redemption for his actions is one idea we have seen before. It works here and mixing it with entering into a neighbourhood that has been given no hope of a future until they are shown a new way out of the town. This is based on a true story which shows how real people’s actions were important for this community. This shows how people working together can achieve any dreams.

Biopic/SportsThe real people are show in this movie should be used as inspiration for anyone who has dreams and it helps show people can make them happen. The running is chopped together to be fine but isn’t the most engaging part of the film.

SettingsThe small-town setting shows how difficult life would be for this families living here, it also shows just how together the neighbourhood is when supporting any success that could come their way.

Scene of the Movie – Bridge talk.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Due to not knowing Spanish I didn’t understand slight words other people would.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fantastic look at how one man changed the hopes for a small town, it shows how every kid should be given a chance to prove themselves for a future and gives us a true story that could inspire.

 

Overall: Enjoyable, Inspirational story.

Rating