Summary: Life isn’t going well for Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). After famously being arrested for a modern day Robin Hood crime his release from prison finds himself unable to keep down a job – a big issue since his ex-wife, Maggie (Judy Greer), and her new partner Police Detective Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) won’t give him any form of custody to his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Forsten).
He finally gives in to his best friend’s urges and decides to help out with a heist that suddenly finds him being recruited by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to become ‘Ant-Man.’ While Pym’s daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), thinks it is a bad idea soon Scott is being trained to help prevent the money hungry Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from selling technology that is destined to be used for evil.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 16th July 2015
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States
Director: Peyton Reed
Screenwriter: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd, Stan Lee (comic), Jack Kirby (comic), Larry Lieber (comic)
Cast: Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Carlos Aviles (Carlos), Nicholas Barrera (Ernesto), Bobby Cannavale (Paxton), Joe Chrest (Frank), Robert Crayton (Peachy), David Dastmalchian (Kurt), Martin Donovan (Mitchell Carson), Michael Douglas (Dr. Hank Pym), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Abby Ryder Fortson (Cassie Lang), Judy Greer (Maggie Lang), Dax Griffin (Young Pym), Wood Harris (Gale), Tom Kenny (Hideous Rabbit), Lyndsi LaRose (Emily), Evangeline Lilly (Hope van Dyne), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Cesar Mendoza (Gabriel), Jordi Molla (Castillo), Michael Pena (Luis), Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man), John Slattery (Howard Stark), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes), Corey Stoll (Darren Cross/Yellowjacket), T.I. (Dave), Gregg Turkington (Dale), Danny Vasquez (Ignacio)
Runtime: 117 mins
OUR ANT-MAN REVIEWS & RATINGS:
The Marvel universe has been chugging along quick nicely for a while now. The franchise has peaked with amazing films like Guardians Of The Galaxy and Captain America: Winter Soldier and even it’s weaker films, Thor 2 etc, are films that are worth more than one watch. But now comes the film that many would consider the problem child for Marvel, Ant-Man.
So why is Ant-Man the film that seems to have been causing Marvel the most amount of trouble. Well first of all the fanboys have been all over the film, criticizing the casting of Paul Rudd (like they did with Robert Downey Jnr. before Iron Man) and seemingly being outraged that they would even entertain inserting comedy into the film (yep because nobody had a chuckle during Guardians Of The Galaxy). But like is the case with so many problem children the real root of the issue was happening behind closed doors. See Ant-Man was supposed to be a Edgar Wright film. Yes the man who is largely responsible for the Cornetto Trilogy was supposed to be at the helm, but because he didn’t fall into Marvel’s line found himself turfed out and replaced with Peyton Reed (the man who brought us Bring It On), but the good news is that despite all this upheaval Ant-Man turns out to be a pretty decent film.
Now before you go into the cinema to feat on Ant-Man be aware that the problems behind the scenes have resulted in Ant-Man being very different to any of the other films in the Marvel universe, but that actually ends up being a good thing. Gone are the epic scenes of large flying ships crashing to Earth or the destruction of a major city and instead we are left with an action packed scene that occurs in a little girl’s bedroom but will have you laughing out loud as a giant Thomas The Tank Engine goes crashing out of the side of the house. Yes it is scenes like that has Edgar Wright’s finger prints all over it.
There are things that let Ant-Man down a little, the most annoying being that Michael Pena and Bobby Cannavale are simply playing walking clichés, but the plusses certainly outweigh the negatives. The screenwriting team have inserted the much needed heart that was missing from Avengers: Age Of Ultron as both Hank and Scott try to repair the relationships with their daughters while the well-written script has allows some of the cast to bring their A-Game to the acting stakes as well.
Yes that is right everybody it seems that throughout this film that Michael Douglas forgets that he is in a comic book movie and actually turns up his acting output to that of what we recently saw in Arbitrage. Douglas is on fire here and it seems to have a carry on affect on some of the actors around him as well. Evangeline Lilly brilliantly plays a character with divided loyalty and it is Hope that much of the suspense centres around. Is she really on Pym and Scott’s side or is her loyalty to Darren Cross more than what they bargained for? She plays the double agent well and you can only hope that both her and Douglas are used more in the Avengers franchise now.
Then there is Paul Rudd, who as I previously mentioned had the fanboys baying for his blood before the film was even released. Now I will admit that I was skeptical about Paul Rudd’s ability to play an action hero, but he well and truly made me eat my words with his performance. Rudd not got buff for the role but seems to become Ant-Man with complete ease. He manages to pull off the action sequences awesomely well, while it is also some of his quick wit and one liners that make the film a please to watch. Apparently we should also be thanking him for helping the script run smoothly after Wright’s departure… so Mr. Rudd from the bottom of our heart we thank you.
So the best way to approach Ant-Man is to go into the cinema not expecting anything like you have seen in the Marvel universe to date. Yes Ant-Man has two Avengers appear (one in the main frame of the film, the other in the credits) and there are a few references to the Avengers and Spider-Man, but this is very much a film that is out there on its own. Yes this is a child that is very different to its siblings, but sometimes they make the best friends, right? Ant-Man is enjoyable enough to make you hope that the character appears again somewhere… very soon.
Jurassic World sees John Hammond’s dream from Jurassic Park finally come true. Owned by the world’s eighth richest man, Masraini (Irrfan Khan) Jurassic World is a fully functional theme park (that looks alarmingly like Sea World from the air) where people of all ages can come and see all kinds of dinosaurs up close and in more importantly… alive.
The park is kept operational by the hard work of marketing manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Navy man turned dinosaur whisperer Owen (Chris Pratt) who have been able to find a medium that allows the park to be financially stable and also a lot safer for those visiting the Park.
However as is the case with all movies in the Jurassic franchise something has to go wrong. And here in Jurassic World we learn that the park has genetically invented their own new specie of dinosaur by mixing and matching DNA from various other kinds of dinosaur. While Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong) sees this creation as a massive step-forward for science and Claire sees it as a great way to attract more sponsorship and people to the Park, only Owen seems to realise the dangerous situation that this has put them in – there is now a genetically modified dinosaur around that nobody has any idea what is capable of. That of course is something that impresses the gruff Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) who plans on turning dinosaurs into weapons for the military, but sadly soon places the lives of all at the park, including Claire’s nephews Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson), in real danger.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 11th June, 2015
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Screenwriter: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow, Michael Crichton (characters)
Cast: Andy Buckley (Scott), Tom Bui (Austin), Matthew Burke (Jim Drucker), Heather Ashley Chase (Emily), Vincent D’Onofrio (Hoskins), James DuMont (Hal Osterly), Jimmy Fallon (himself), Judy Greer (Karen), Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire), Bomber Hurley-Smith (O’Hara), Jake Johnson (Lowery), Brent Kappel (Dr. Ryan Crest), Irrfan Khan (Masrani), Christian LaBella (Joey), Lauren Lapkas (Vivian), Rebecca Maltby (Charlotte), Katie McGrath (Zara), Moses Munoz (Charlie), Chris Pratt (Owen), Emilio Reynoso (Doctor Sanchez), Brandon Richardson (Christopher), Nick Robinson (Zach), Ty Simpkins (Gray), Omar Sy (Barry), Anna Talakkattour (Erica Brand), Brian Tee (Hamada), Colin Trevorrow (Mr. DNA), Yvonne Welch (Gabriella), BD Wong (Dr. Henry Wu)
Runtime: 124 mins
OUR JURASSIC WORLD REVIEWS & RATINGS:
22 years ago this week we were all walking into cinemas expecting to be wowed by the fact that visionary director Steven Spielberg had brought dinosaurs to life on the screen in a way that nobody would have predicted. Here we are two decades later and once again the expectation of getting to see dinosaurs on the big screen has our cinematic pulses beating in a mammoth way.
The big question you ask yourself when heading into Jurassic World is what can we expect this time around? To be honest this is the fourth installment in a franchise, that let’s be honest peaked with the first film, so we shouldn’t be expecting much, right? Wrong!!! Maybe it is the fact that I’m one of the those people that can spend hours staring at dinosaur bones in a museum and feel like a little kid again but Jurassic World has breathed some life back into this franchise in such a way that I’m now eager to see where they will go next time around.
There are positives and negatives with Jurassic World but first let’s kick off the big plus – the director. Handing Colin Trevorrow the keys to one of the biggest franchises in the world was a massive risk for Steven Spielberg to make. We knew Trevorrow was a great director, that was very, very clear with his feature debut Safety Not Guaranteed, but at the end of the day that was a small indie sci-fi so it was a real unknown how Trevorrow would react working on a film that cost $100s of millions more to make.
The answer to be brutally honest is that Trevorrow is exactly what this franchise needed. Okay so maybe he doesn’t make this film ‘family friendly’ like the ‘political trendys’ would want him to do, but what he does deliver is some truly memorable scenes. The pterodactyl attack on the park visitors is one of the best feathered creature aerial attacks that we have seen since Hitchcock’s iconic The Birds, while Trevorrow will please serious movie fans with some pretty gruesome dinosaur attacks on humans and dinosaurs alike. And while I don’t want to spoil the great finale let’s just say that is a battle scene that will please dinosaur fans and monster movie geeks to the core… suck it up Godzilla you just got owned. Trevorrow takes some massive risks and to his credit they really pay off.
Sadly though there is also a downside to Jurassic World and it lies right at the feet at the screenwriters. Sure this screenplay got the tick of approval from Steven Spielberg but like so many of his recent films Jurassic World falls into the trap of having clichéd characters. Movie lovers see the too-busy-for-children-or-a-partner business woman like Claire in every second film these days, while on the other hand it seems like Owen may have been based on one of Spielberg’s other great creations, Indiana Jones. From his wardrobe down Owen is a screaming Indy clone… not that that is a bad thing because he is still one of the most likable characters in the film.
The other big weakness is the fact that even though Trevorrow sets up pretty early on that he is not afraid to allow his dinosaurs to be a little full-on with their attacks there is a real feel that aside from the clichéd bad guys nobody that the audience really likes amongst the characters are going to meet their deaths today and that sadly takes away from some of the suspense that Trevorrow worked so hard to build up.
Having pointed out those two things though the pluesses of Jurassic World do outweigh the negatives. There are small things all throughout this film that are going to impress fans of this franchise to no end. First of all the filmmakers have chosen to celebrate and pay tribute to the film that kicked this all off rather than ignore it. There is nothing more annoying about a reboot then when you are told as an audience you are supposed to ignore that films have been set in this world before. In Jurassic World you are quickly shown that this isn’th the case here. From a well placed Hammond statue at the park to a employee showing Claire his Jurassic Park T-Shirt he found online and the old park itself playing an important part later on it is easy to see that Jurassic World embraces its predecessor rather than ignoring it.
This might be really film geeky but the other thing that I really enjoyed about Jurassic World was the fact that the film didn’t mind making fun of itself. Lines such as ‘I can’t wait to tell Mum about this’ being responded to with ‘Don’t you DARE tell your Mum about this’ actually make characters like Claire likable, while a character turning to their co-worker for a kiss during a stressed situation only to be told ‘umm…I have a boyfriend’ show that the filmmakers were more than aware that they were making a popcorn action movie and this wink to the audience shows that they were perfectly happy to do that.
While the clichéd characters do make it hard for the actors to really stand out Jurassic World does once again show us what Guardians Of The Galaxy already screamed from the rooftops – Chris Pratt is the your perfect leading man. He can be funny, the ladies seem to like him, he’s blokey enough for guys to love as well and he is a more than capable action hero. At the moment if you want to put bums on seats than Pratt is your go to guy. The people responsible for casting also need to be congratulated for putting ‘serious’ actors into even some of the smaller roles because it is a lot more refreshing to watch talented actors like Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan and Vincent D’Onofrio in roles that many may feel is beneath them than it is to watch blow-ins deliver bad performances. Also Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson also reveal themselves as young stars to watch in the future.
The key to enjoying Jurassic Park is to go into the cinema just expecting your normal popcorn action movie. There is nothing in Jurassic Park that is going to make it one of the best action movies of all time but it is still enjoyable and does more than enough to keep its audience interested one hundred per cent of the time. The nods to Jurassic Park will keep fans of the franchise happy while Trevorrow’s eagerness to bring in some more dinosaur brutality does more than enough to please the monster movie fans out there. Not high art but still the best Jurassic movie since the original.