Michael Douglas

Ant-Man

Year: 2015
Directed By: Peyton Reed
Written By: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, and Paul Rudd (though it’s all complicated)

 

RYAN’S REVIEW

Here’s a movie that couldn’t have been more unexpectedly awesome. In fact this is the film I point to when I tell people that it’s a good thing Disney owns so much of the industry. This is a movie that by all rights should be awful. For any practical thinking person the idea of a super hero that shrinks can’t come across as anything other than lame. Yet here they manage to not only make that movie good, but they made it really cool and exceptionally exciting. This is an incredibly delightful movie that is a lot of fun to watch.

I am not a Paul Rudd fan. I have enjoyed many of the movies he is in but have always refused to give him credit for doing anything more than serving as adequate back up to other actors. Nevertheless I find that I am so impressed with him in this movie. I specifically thought it was a horrible idea when he was cast. I was wrong and am not only willing but happy to admit that. Paul Rudd is great in this part being both funny and badass. The latter I never imagined he was capable of being. Rudd is as surprising and awesome as everything else in this movie turned out to be.

The success of this film is quite surprising given how long it lingered in production and how many rewrites it sustained along the way. I don’t remember the specifics and don’t care to look them up at the moment but I remember for a long time Edgar Wright was attached to direct the film until he had a falling out with the studio and the movie got a rewrite and new director. I remember this film being in production for what seemed like a really long time. As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continued to grow this suddenly became an intricate part of the greater scheme of things. Ant-Man immediately fit into the MCU, even sneaking an Avenger into the film to surprise us all and set him up for greater things to come.

I think the fact that this movie is so cool is a true testament to the capabilities of Marvel Studios. As a part of the larger organization of Disney there are opportunities that have never been possible before and we see them in this film. I have often described this movie as “full on Disney,” a movie where they shows us the full force of their power like they are unveiling their own personal Death Star. Do you notice anything familiar when the Yellowjacket fires his cannons? The sound is the same you will hear when an AT-AT fires it’s cannons in Star Wars. The simple sound effect has never been available for wider use but now that Lucasfilm, like Marvel, is part of Disney these things are available with little red tape. With all the properties now owned by Disney there are such interesting capabilities for the future. The MCU is the greatest example yet of the power of these capabilities but it’s merely scratching the surface of what is possible in the future.

Like any good comedy this movie has an exceptionally deep cast, and they were all on point in this movie. You have great big name players like Michael Douglas, Corey Stroll, and Evangeline Lilly but so often in this one the background characters steal the show. I think Michael Pena is hilarious in this movie and I have never been a big fan of the guy (back in the day he turned on Vic Mackey and the Strike Team, I’m still not over it). I am and always have been a big fan of Bobby Cannavale. Despite the type of role he plays in this movie I think he shines in several scenes and even manages to be badass in a smaller way. Anthony Mackie is great in his cameo, which was quite a surprise. I had no idea he was in this movie but I think that it was awesome how effortless it was to include the character of Falcon into the film.

I’ve never followed Ant-Man as a comic book fan but I’m familiar enough with the character to like that this movie has both Hank Pym and Scott Lang. Plus it is a perfect opportunity to have a guy like Michael Douglas get involved in the party at Marvel. Douglas looked like he found some life in his acting career with this role and I’m just happy to see him out there again. Evangeline Lilly will eventually become a hero in her own right as the Wasp when this particular franchise returns for a sequel. I thought she was good in this movie but there was too much unnecessary dramatics with her father.

Corey Stroll is the final gem to discuss in this movie. He has been an up and comer over the last few years and his performance here makes it easy to understand why. The guy can pull off sinister real well. I liked him both as the spiteful former apprentice Darren Cross and as the wicked and intimidating  YellowJacket. Don’t really know anything about that character from the comics but it’s a shame we have most likely seen the last of Stroll as a villain in the MCU. One of the biggest criticisms of the MCU is that they kill off the bad guys too much. They have The Raft now, as seen in Civil War. It’s time to see some of these villains start getting locked up in there.

As is plainly obvious already I did not expect this movie to be good and can’t help but marvel (pun intended) at how blown away I was by it. Rudd has managed to keep it up with a great part in Captain America Civil War and I look forward to seeing more of him in the future. The Ant-Man and The Wasp will be the next installment to this franchise coming in 2018. Until then this one offers enjoyment throughout multiple viewings and it is without a doubt worth you time to see.

 

 

The Game

Year: 1997
Directed By: David Fincher
Written By: John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris

RYAN’S REVIEW

A very good movie. This was early in the career of director David Fincher and I would have watched anything and everything he made back then in the later 90s. This movie is dark, it’s intense, and an absolute thrill ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat in suspense the whole time. I saw this for the first time after I became such a fan of Fight Club and David Fincher.  I thought this movie was very good but the weakest of the three films I had seen from him, Seven being the third.  Being the weakest next to those two films isn’t a bad thing though, they are great movies and that doesn’t make this one bad, it just suffers by comparison.

This movie really keeps you guessing the whole time.  When I saw it I was led to think that it was reasonable to expect so much more to come from Fincher films.  That isn’t how it turned out really and I said as much in our review of Fight ClubThese three Fincher films all wowed me and they are exceptional movies even now. The only thing that makes this the weakest of the three is simply that the other two were SO incredible.  This one is good but the wow moment in the end doesn’t really compare to the box or the realization that Tyler Durden wasn’t real.

I think Michael Douglas is a great actor and it really sucks that he is getting older now. He is very natural in the role he plays here because it is so similar to roles he has plays before.  He is like a more mellow version of Gordon Gecko in this movie. I have never been a big fan of Sean Penn but I have had to eat my words lately regarding him because he was so good in The Assassination of Richard NixonHe plays his part well enough in this movie too playing the younger brother of Michael Douglas. Spike Jonze also makes an uncredited cameo at the end of the movie as a paramedic. While the performances are good in this movie I think the film is driven mainly by the complexity of the story.  There is also a great musical score that goes along with the film and really sets the right tone for the intensity of the movie.

This is one of those movies that will keep you guessing for two hours then make you question everything all over again in the end.  I think we all occasionally find ourselves in the mood for that kind of film and next time that happens to you then you should give this one a try.  It’s not the greatest movie I have ever seen but it is good and it is worth your time to see it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Isn’t Michael Douglas just, awesome? I really enjoyed this movie. I don’t remember the first time that I watched it, but every now and then I catch it on television and get sucked in all over again. It’s all about this guy who gets the opportunity to play The “Game” and unbeknownst to him, he is actually playing a game with his life. The Game actually becomes his life and we (the viewer) get to watch it unfold. How he reacts to the situations that present themselves is important to his character change throughout the movie. His character in this movie might as well be called Gordon Gecko from Wall Street.

Have I mentioned to you guys that I am a graphic designer? Yup, that’s what helps pay the bills around here. After talking to Ryan about the blog, we thought I may have a good voice on here to review the typography, intros and poster for these movies. This is the movie poster for The Game. I am sure that in 1997 they thought it was really clever to make his head into a puzzle, which of course is a game. Today, we may look at this as a little campy. Especially since the puzzle pieces are falling away into the distance. The typography of The Game is nice, however. A serif font was a good choice for the title and the movie itself.


NEXT MOVIE: Gangs of New York (2002)

Basic Instinct

Year: 1992
Directed By: Paul Verhoven
Written By: Joe Eszterhas

RYAN’S REVIEW

Sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  Mix in murder, mystery, and psychology and you have made something people will definitely like.  It’s hard to narrow down movies you love the most when you love a lot of movies but this one falls within my top ten of all time. It is high up in my favorites, and has been for many years.  This movie is mysterious, it’s well made and acted, and it’s sexually charged in a way that gets everyone’s attention.  Some might call this a guilty pleasure but I don’t see the point in feeling guilty about something so good, it’s a great movie.

I like a few Paul Verhoven films but I think this was by far his best. He has a deliberately graphic style that I appreciate, especially today when so many sell out to make more money with a PG-13 rating.  Sharon Stone became a sex symbol with this film, and she deserved that status.  She was incredibly sexy and seductive as Catherine Tramell, she was bold and daring with the character. I am a big fan of Michael Douglas, I think he has made many great movies, but I think this one was his best as well.  He is ultra cool as Nick Curran, he keeps up with Sharon Stone which is a feat all by itself, and he was seeing his old flame on the side too.  Jeanne Tripplehorn, as the complete opposite of Sharon Stone brings her own sexual charge into the film and does it well.

This movie will keep you guessing and keep you interested with danger (and nudity) around every corner. I have heard there are controversies surrounding this film.  One being the way it portrays homosexual relationships, and the other being how it glorifies smoking.  As to the first criticism I don’t think it holds water.  Yeah Sharon Stone’s relationship with her girlfriend may not have been a peachy one but no relationship in the film was.  I don’t think that the fact that Tramell and her girlfriend were crazy says anything about homosexual relationships, those two characters are just wild and crazy in general. As to the other controversy I would ask you to excuse a vulgar gesture simulating masturbation. Smoking was something people did and do.  It shouldn’t be a problem that Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone happen to look especially cool doing it.  Smoking may be unhealthy, we should not do it, but it is still cool all the same.  I dare you to watch the characters in this film smoking and tell me they don’t look good doing it.  As I have said before, looking cool is important to any film no matter what the genre is.  I am a non smoker now, and feel much better living a smoke free life but I really hate the way society has turned on tobacco all the same, it’s unjust.  That product helped build this country, and has a long history in North America.

If you haven’t seen this movie then I think you should see it, and I hope you enjoy it.  It earned its R rating and was lucky that it wasn’t banned all together so understand that going in.  Don’t be surprised by sudden and overwhelming sexuality.  This movie is one of my favorites of all time, it’s dangerous, exciting, and unpredictable. It might not be for everyone, but I hope that you enjoy it if you take the time to see it.  Let me know what you think about this one, I would really appreciate your thoughts on this film specifically.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I remember the first time I watched this movie. It was with Ryan, and I remember feeling really uncomfortable. We were pretty young when we first started dating and now the memory makes me chuckle a little, considering the types of movies we have watched together since then. Having said all that, I really like this movie. I love it. If you haven’t seen it you are missing out on something really intriguing and thought provoking. It is such a thriller because you almost never know what is around the corner. Both Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas look so young and vivacious in this film. You get to see a lot of their bodies, so be prepared for that. There is a lot of sex in this movie, so if you are squeamish about that kind of thing, maybe this isn’t the movie for you, but it adds a lot to the movie, however and makes it that much better. It is suspenseful and thrilling and the ending is just perfect. A must see in my book.

NEXT MOVIE: Batman: The Movie (1966)