Paul Rudd

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.

 

 

Roles Models

Year: 2008
Directed By: David Wain
Written By: Several people

RYAN’S REVIEW

Sometimes you need nothing more than something that can make you laugh and that’s when a movie like this comes in handy. This movie has a funny concept and more than enough funny people to make it really fun. Not even going to lie, after seeing this movie I really felt an urge to go Larping, Laire, whatever the role playing thing they do in this movie is. The mature adult in me knows it’s pretty lame but I have a hard time denying that there is a medieval warrior inside of me screaming to be let out. That guy is still screaming as I have never participated in the activity but I’d consider it if the opportunity came up.

This is one of those movies that perplexes me because I have never been a fan of Paul Rudd; yet here is another movie he is in that I really like. Paul Rudd is funny enough but he seems to always play this same part to me. The pessimistic guy with a stick up his butt that has funny complaints and a really cool friend. In this movie that friend is Seann William Scott giving yet another rendition of his classic and hilarious character of Stifler. As a guy who came of age at the turn of the century I love Stifler and enjoy every opportunity to laugh at his antics.

You have a ton of fantastic people in smaller roles like Jane Lynch and Ken Jeong. In even smaller parts you got guys like Joe Lo Truglio and Matt Walsh. In the beginning of the movie you can see Louis C.K. as the police officer that nearly gets run over by the Minotaur truck. He most likely was part of some specific scenes that got deleted. That says it all about the cast really; there were so many funny people here that they were cutting the likes of Louis C.K.

I really like McLovin in this role of the LAIRE warrior from Zanthia. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is a really funny guy who I hope isn’t limited by his awkward physique going forward. He is great in this movie but hardly anybody in this entire film can even hold a candle to Bobb’e J. Thompson. As the aggressively profane Sturdy Wings kid he is hilarious. “You white, you Ben Affleck!” I don’t know where this kid went or what he has been doing for the last eight years but he was great in this movie.

When this movie went from being funny and immature to being sentimental and thoughtful it became “shelf worthy” for my collection. The LAIRE battle in the end of the film is so much fun. It’s touching as well how these guys come together to support Augie in a selfless manner. When they realize they want to spend their time with these kids not because they are being punished but because they can make a difference. It makes for a nice story peppered with profanity and popular comedians.

When you need a movie that can inspire laughter and lift your spirits you cannot go wrong with this one. I think this movie is more than funny because it is fun. If I ever do get weird and go all out in some live action fantasy role play it will be because I thought it looked so cool in this movie. I think this one is easily worth your time and I would recommend it to anyone.

NEXT MOVIE: Ronin (1998)

 

 

 

Dinner For Schmucks

Year: 2010
Directed By: Jay Roach
Written By: David Guion, Michael Handelman, & Francis Veber

RYAN’S REVIEW

Sometimes a movie is only as good as the mood you are in when you see it.  I remember watching this movie and laughing the whole time. I thought it was funny enough to buy at some point over the past year and having watched it last night I can’t figure out what I was thinking.  This movie has its moments but overall I am finding it stupid this time around.

This movie is out of the norm for me because I am not fond of either Steve Carell or Paul Rudd.  While Rudd does have a presence in many good comedies I don’t think these comedies are good because of him.  He tends to play the exact same part in all of them but maintains a good level of success despite that. He always has a girlfriend that he has some sort of issue with and he is paired with a funnier actor that carries the movie for him.  The main examples that come to mind besides this movie are I Love You Man and Roles Models. I think those two films are both much funnier than this one though.  I was a big fan of The Office but came to loathe Steve Carell’s Michael Scott character long before his departure from the show.  I think he was only funny because he was regurgitating a Ricky Gervais character and I haven’t really enjoyed many of his ventures into films. While the 40-Year Old Virgin may have been awesome, I think its biggest downfall was that it launched a career for Steve Carell. Zach Galifianakis is a funny guy but I don’t think his star is going to shine for very long.  He is simply letting that beard get him as far as it can and that can only go so long.  He was great in The Hangover but I am already getting bored with seeing that character continually popping up in movies like this one.  Being from North Carolina I want to mention that he is a local, born and raised in North Wilkesboro which is not too far from where we live.  There is literally nothing there; I am shocked this current megastar came from the place.

Half way through this movie I found myself bored and began questioning whether it belonged in our collection or not.  By the end of it I had decided to take it out of our collection.  I love comedies, but really good comedies get better each time you watch them no matter what kind of mood you are in.  This has proved to be a premature purchase for us and it doesn’t belong among the rest of our films. I’m sure many of you out there might enjoy this film; I did the first time at least.  I can’t recommend this movie though, and I intend to take it out of the collection.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie is alright, it’s not completely horrible. It isn’t the funniest movie that I have ever watched or anything. I really enjoy Steve Carell in this film. I like him in almost everything I have seen him in aside from Evan Almighty. I love that he almost resembles the mice that he sets up in notable scenes from history.

I don’t really have anything else to say about this film, except that I don’t mind that Ryan is removing it from the collection. (Although, he has only had it since December because he added it to his DVD Christmas list for whatever reason.) I still love him; hey we all make movie mistakes. I would just catch this on FX sometime. Don’t make an extra effort to buy it or anything.

NEXT MOVIE: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Year: 2005
Directed By: Judd Apatow
Written By: Judd Apatow and Steve Carell

RYAN’S REVIEW:

Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, and even Jonah Hill with his small role.  These guys started a journey together with this movie that has produced many great comedies over the years.  I have faith they will continue to be successful for some time.  However this is very much Steve Carell’s film, and he owns it.  I think he is hilarious as the 40 year old virgin, I also think he was successful in continuing to play that exact same character for 7 seasons of The Office.  I do like Steve Carell but I am not a fan.  I think he has his moments but by and large he overacts and takes things too far.  His leaving The Office has been categorized as a tragedy by some but I disagree.  I don’t know if the show will survive without him or not, but I know that far too often the character Michael Scott makes me feel uncomfortable. His character becomes not funny but ridiculous and awkward at those moments.  I do not like to feel uncomfortable and awkward while watching a comedy, it should be funny not stupid.  Neverthless, Steve Carell does have his moments of greatness and I can understand why people love him so much.

This film was a sure thing going in wasn’t it? When you decide to go there, when you decide to make a film about a 40 year old virgin the possibilities are just unlimited.  Those jokes go in a hundred different directions and they write themselves.  The Judd Apatow crew doesn’t disappoint with this either. The cast is fantastic, Seth Rogen and Jane Lynch both make the most of their opportunities with their roles. Everyone is funny and the laughs don’t stop.  The only problem is that there may have actually been too many jokes and funny scenarios crammed into the film.  It’s long, but the movie maintains it’s humor and in the end it was all worth it.  This is a great movie, but six years later I happen to think that it was the lesser film of some of the funnier people in the film.  Specifically the aforementioned Apatow crew of Apatow, Rogen, and Hill. This is the best it gets for Steve Carell and he deserves special recognition.

AMBER’S REVIEW:

I would like to start by saying, I love this movie.

I distinctly remember watching the trailer for this movie and literally asking myself, “what the hell, is this for real?” Well, yes they were for real and they succeeded. This is one of my favorite comedies. If I am remembering correctly, this is one of the first films I watched that starred Steve Carell. This movie keeps you entertained throughout with amazingly funny people including Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd and Apatow’s own wife, Leslie Mann. An interesting fact about this movie is that a lot of it was ad libbed. The scene where Steve Carell’s character had his chest waxed is a great example. I’m not sure what it was about the pain that made him scream out “Ahhh Kelly Clarkson” but I loved it and laughed my ass off. This movie also started a game that is still played by college guys everywhere…”You know how I know you’re gay?”

I also want to take a second to mention Leslie Mann. Her role was short in this film, but her scene is one of my favorites. To this day, I randomly say “I’m starvin’. Let’s get some fuckin’ french toast.” Timeless.