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

 

 

The Game (1997)

Director: David Fincher

Writer: John Brancato, Michael Ferris (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger, James Rebhorn, Peter Donat, Carroll Baker, Anna Katarina

Plot: After a wealthy banker is given an opportunity to participate in a mysterious game, his life is turned upside down when he becomes unable to distinguish between the game and reality.


Tagline – Players Wanted.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Twist Filled Thriller

Story: The Game starts as wealthy banker Nicholas Van Orton (Douglas) has spent his life working forgetting to have fun, his rebellious brother Conrad (Penn) turns up to celebrate his birthday which sees him giving him a gift, one that would let him take part in a game that will change his life. Nicholas reluctantly decides to go through the process, finding himself involved in the game, which starts to fade his reality.

As the events continue, Nicholas does start to see his very controlled life start to get out of control with only a random waitress Christine (Unger) around for him to trust, can Nicholas unravel the mystery to save his career or will he lose the game.

Thoughts on The Game

Characters – Nicholas Van Orton is a banker that is in complete control of his life, he isn’t friendly to everybody he meets in life and is distant from most of his family, he is excellent at business, he gets a different present from his rebellious brother, which sees him break out of his controlling method of life to play along with an uncontrollable game where he doesn’t know what is or isn’t real, learning to navigate and try to stay one step ahead of the game. Conrad is the rebellious brother that has had personal problems in the past, he gives Nicholas a present, claiming it helped turn his own life around, only for this gift only make his brother’s life more difficult. Christine is a waitress that Nicholas gets fired, he must work with her even if she might in fact be involved in the game herself. Jim Feingold is the man behind the invitation, he has Nicholas give him plenty of information before unleashing everything to get into Nicholas life.

PerformancesMichael Douglas is wonderful in this leading role, he plays the controlling businessman with ease and watching him lose control of his life is a performance you feel was made for Douglas. Sean Penn is wonderful in the supporting role, where we see how his character’s life has been affected by the game. Deborah Kara Unger in her supporting role does shine, with the rest of the supporting cast all working very well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a controlling businessman that decides to step away from his routine to play a game bought to him as a present by his brother, once the game has started he sees his life start to fall apart as he tries to figure out what is real and what is part of the game. This is a story that does keep you on your toes through the film as it does just keep trying to spin on everything going on. We do have an overall message going on which does show the Nicholas needs to become more open in his life, which is the point of the game, trying to teach them how important life is too. The fact that this film just keeps us guessing is what is the most important part of the film, nothing seems like reality, but it could be real, which is why this is such an impressive story.

MysteryThe mystery in this film keeps us wondering whether this is a game or whether there is something more intense going on, the fact we can balance this so effortless makes this one of the best mystery films you will see.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which does show how a successful businessman will operate in a city know or think he knows all the shortcuts to make it through the difficult times.


Scene of the Movie – Rooftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Who took his kids at the zoo?

Final Thoughts This is one of the most intense mystery thrillers ever made, we are truly kept wondering just what will happen next balancing on whether this is real or not.

Overall: Brilliant thriller.

Rating

Antono Banderas Weekend – Haywire (2011)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Lem Dobbs (Screenplay)

Starring: Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas

 

Plot: A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission.


Tagline – They left her no choice.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Action

 

Story: Haywire starts as Mallory Kane (Carano) a black ops soldier for the CIA is currently on the run after her partners Aaron (Tatum), Kenneth (McGregor), Rodrigo (Banderas) an Alex (Douglas) have set up to eliminate her. Mallory looks back on her career with the mission which things went wrong, one where she must get to know a MI6 agent Paul (Fassbender).

Mallory needs to bring down the men who have been setting her up, while finding the only person she can trust John (Paxton) her father, here she knows she can trust him to help her expose the corruption that is framing her.

 

Thoughts on Haywire

 

Characters – Mallory is the black ops soldier, now on the run after being set up by her own people, she uses her skills to remain ahead of them, using her combat skills to disarm the situations and tries to figure out who she can trust. This is basically a female version of Jason Bourne. Kenneth is the one the liaised on the last mission and the one that is currently after Mallory, he answers to people above his head, while control the ones below. Paul is the agent that Mallory is meant to meet, the one that she ended up coming to blows with leading to her to being chased. We have the people above Mallory that just want to see a mess cleaned up, while others are just facing orders.

PerformancesGina Carano is the star of the showing in the leading role, she handles all the action with ease and makes us believe she could be a threat for anybody who messes with her. The supporting male cast handle the heavy dialogue scenes, which takes away the one weakness Gina could have.

StoryThe story follows a black ops soldier that must clear her name, while being hunted down by the employees after a mission goes wrong. This is a style of story we have seen before, it is one that is a tried and tested formula, this way of telling the story, however, is weak, mainly because we are doing a large part of it in flashback style, which takes away any peril in the film for Mallory. We also try to get over-complicated with the motivation behind trying to frame her and by the end we don’t feel like we have experienced a tense enough action film. the music doesn’t help this movie either because it makes it feel like we are just watching slick heist movie.

ActionGina Carano does her best to save this film with her action star abilities with combat, they are the only enjoyed scenes in the film.

SettingsThe film does take us around the world for the action scenes, showing this to be a worldwide operation.


Scene of the Movie –
The hotel escape sequences.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end fight feels like just a training montage.

Final ThoughtsThis is an action film that had potential, only for it to become to average with the story, with the one highlight being Gina Carano.

 

Overall: Basic action flick.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – A – Animal World (2018)

Director: Yan Han

Writer: Yan Han (Screenplay) Nobuyuki Fukumoto (Comic)

Starring: Yi Feng Li, Dongyu Zhou, Michael Douglas, Bingkun Cao, Eric Heise, Alberto Lancellotti, Yijuan Li

 

Plot: A man finds himself deep in debt and is coerced to board a ship that hosts a risky gambling party.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Adventure Thriller

 

Story: Animal World starts with Zheng Kaisi (Li) who has been struggling for money working in a casino as a clown, his mother is sick and he can’t afford the medical bills anymore, he is close with the nurse Liu Qing (Zhou) who does what she can to support his sick mother.

Desperate for money Kaisi re-mortgages his family home, only to learn that the man he did the deal with Anderson (Douglas) wants a bigger price than he could ever afford. Luckily Kaisi is given a chance to go on the cruise ship which will give him a chance to make more money than he could ever imagine or face hardship just to survive. This is going to be one of the most extreme games of Rock, Paper, Scissors.

 

Thoughts on Animal World

 

Characters – Zheng Kaisi is a young man that works in the amusement arcade, while trying to support his mother in hospital, he is trying his best to support her, but money is tight and turning to his friend they take out a loan. The loan is more than he was prepared for, forcing him to pay it back to the loan with a high rick game of rock, paper, scissor. He must use his knowledge of maths to stay ahead of the game, while learning how to deal with the different players. Liu Qing is the nurse girlfriend of Zheng Kaisi who is being pressured into leaving him for the security of her future, she is one of the reason why he plays the game. Anderson is the man who arranges the game and the loans, he will put the players into the same game, which is largely for his own profit for the high stakes in play. Li Jun is the close friend of Zheng who ends up getting them into this situation.

PerformancesYi Feng Li in the leading role is great to watch, he shows the good-nature to his character as well as showing us that he can get into the poker face performance needed for the game. Dongyu Zhou does feel wasted in her role in this fil, she really doesn’t get to do anything. Michael Douglas fills the villainous leader of the game role wonderfully, without needing to do that much outside his comfort zone. The rest of the cast is mostly the players of the game who all show their characters true colours through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a poor young man who takes out a loan with a friend, only for the loan shark to force them into a deadly game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with strict rules, our hero must get out of this game which stars and must learn quickly how to become feared within the players. This is an interesting idea for a film, it places us into a underground card game with high stakes, it shows us how the game is played which might be a long scene, but does make everything clear. The concept does feel original and adding the nightmare figures our lead sees, only makes this even more interesting, the tactical side of the game is everything we want to be witnessing because it keeps us guessing to just what will happen next.

Adventurethe adventure side of the film mixes with the thriller side by taking our characters into a world unseen to them, the new world is the adventure for these characters.

SettingsThe settings are largely aboard the cruise liner where the game takes place, it fits the rich society look required, while having a dirty look which was required for the film.

Special EffectsThe effects are used for the visions that Kaisi experiences, they take him into a world of monsters which he wants to fight back against.


Scene of the Movie –
The card game rules.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The monster visions seem like they didn’t need to be here.

Final ThoughtsThe is a fun adventure thriller, it takes rock, paper, scissors and makes it one of the most intense games you can see played.

 

Overall: Fun and entertaining.

Rating

 

 

The Jewel of the Nile (1985)

Director: Lewis Teague

Writer: Mark Rosenthal, Lawrence Konner (Screenplay) Diane Thomas (Characters)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Spiros Focas, Avner Eisenberg

 

Plot: When Joan Wilder is abducted while on a trip along the Nile, her boyfriend, Jack Colton, and pal Ralph rush to rescue her and retrieve a fabled jewel.


Tagline – When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun 80s Adventure

 

Story: The Jewel of the Nile starts when struggling author Joan (Turner) can’t think of her latest romance novel, offered a chance to go down the Nile by Omar (Focas), she must leave her boyfriend adventurer Jack (Douglas) to explore the mystery about a mysterious jewel.

When it turns out Omar isn’t the man he presented himself to Joan, Jack must team up with an old friend Ralph (DeVito) to steal the jewel back for the rightful owners and save Joan from the danger she unwittingly finds herself in.

 

Thoughts on The Jewel of the Nile

 

Characters – Jack is the adventure seeker, who travels around the world in search for his own adventure, he has his girl Joan and would give up the time with her for an adventure, only this time he must go after her to rescue her from a villainous man, he gets lucky in fights not being the first to step up and get his hands dirty. Joan is an author that is struggling to start her latest work, she goes to Omar believing it will be a new story only to find herself needing to write a story she isn’t willing to write and learn about her own feelings for Jack. Ralph is the old friend that has always clashed with Jack, he finds himself in the middle of this not prepared for where things will go. Omar is the man that has the jewel, he wants it to control the people of the land which only caused the nation to be torn about who to follow.

PerformancesMichael Douglas in the leading role is a fun choice, you wouldn’t put him down as a leading adventure star, but his performance only adds to the humour in the film, making everything more enjoyable. Kathleen Turner is good to in her role, she shows us a strong female character that does still need the man’s help. Danny DeVito gets to give us the comic relief through the film which does work at times while at other times it misses. Spiros Focas does make for a good villain role.

StoryThe story follows the events of Jack and Joan as they get caught up in another adventure in search of treasure, even though the treasure this time is a person. This is what the 80s stories were all about, we had people outside of their comfort zone battle to survive against an evil ruler trying to take over the control. It plays out like you would imagine as our characters must learn a new culture, make new friends and stumble across defeat the villain. It is an easy watch one that can be enjoyed without being overly complicated and gives us the idea of peril throughout.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action shows us just where the characters must fight to survive mostly from bullets flying their way on their adventure across the country hoping to survive and find the treasure. The comedy shows us not taking things too seriously when it comes to the style they survive the adventure.

SettingsThe film takes us across a Middle Eastern country in search for the treasure, it shows a culture people can easily ignore, show the good and bad in people.


Scene of the Movie –
Jet craft.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The racial jokes which wouldn’t work now.

Final ThoughtsThis is a typical 80s adventure film that will give you everything you want from the genre and help you enjoy things along the way.

 

Overall: Enjoyable adventure.

Rating