Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Ant-Man and the Wasp
Director: Peyton Reed
Writer: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari
Based on: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby‘s comics
Sequel to: Ant-Man
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, T.I., David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 27.7.2018

Plot:
Scott (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest for going to Germany and helping out the Avengers. At least that gives him a lot of time to spend time with his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson). Meanwhile Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank (Michael Douglas) are trying hard to find a way into the quantum realm where they suspect Hank’s wife and Hope’s mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) to be. The only other person who ever made it there is Scott. When Hope and Hank manage to briefly create a tunnel there, Scott receives a message from Janet. That quickly, he finds himself back in the Ant-Man suit, skirting the last days of his house arrest and trying to help.

Ant-Man and the Wasp was a whole lot of fun and definitely worked better for me than the first Ant-Man film. It still feels like a sideplot in the entire MCU, but a very entertaining one.

The film poster shwoing the main characters of the film.
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The Martian (2015)

The Martian
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Drew Goddard
Based on: Andy Weir’s novel
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica ChastainMichael PeñaKate MaraSebastian StanAksel HennieChiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Benedict Wong, Mackenzie Davis, Donald Glover
Seen on: 12.10.2015

Plot:
Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is one of five astronauts who come to Mars on a rather routine mission. But then things start going wrong and they have to leave – only that Mark gets injured and to his colleagues he looks like he’s dead. With a heavy heart, they decide to leave without him. But Mark survives miraculously. Now he’s alone. On Mars. With very limited supplies. And a broken communication system. And he only has himself to make his supplies last long enough so that he may be rescued.

Since I really loved the novel the film is based on and the previews I saw for the movie looked great, my expectations for the Martian were pretty high. So when I say that the movie totally fulfilled my expectations, you know that this is high praise indeed.

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Vacation (2015)

Vacation
Director:John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein
Writer: John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein
Sequel to: VacationEuropean VacationChristmas Vacation, Vegas Vacation, Hotel Hell Vacation
Cast: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins, Chris Hemsworth, Leslie Mann, Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Charlie Day, Catherine Missal, Ron Livingston, Norman Reedus, Keegan-Michael Key, Regina Hall, Nick Kroll, Tim Heidecker, Kaitlin Olson, Michael Peña, Colin Hanks
Seen on: 24.8.2015

Plot:
Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) is trying his best to lead a good and successful life, but success won’t come and his family is slowly drifting apart. He decides that the perfect antidote to that would be to take them all on a trip. To Wally World, where he spent a vacation when he was a child. His wife Debbie (Christina Applegate) and his two sons James and Kevin (Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins) are less convinced that a road trip would be such a great idea, but they decide to go along with it anyway. As soon as they set off, though, Murphy’s Law comes into effect and everything that can wrong, does.

I had actually no intention of seeing this film as I thought that it wouldn’t be my cup of tea at all. (I think I saw the original when I was a kid, but I don’t know whether I ever saw any of the sequels.) But then my sister and nephew went and asked if I wanted to come along and I agreed. The film may still not be my cup of tea, but I didn’t find it as horrible as I thought I’d find it. And my nephew and sister had a blast.

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Ant-Man (2015)

Ant-Man
Director: Peyton Reed
Writer: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd
Based on: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby‘s comics
Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Anthony Mackie, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, T.I., Hayley Atwell, Wood Harris, John Slattery, Martin Donovan
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 5.8.2015

Plot:
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is released from prison and determined to go straight, at least for the sake of his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder-Fortson) who lives with her mother Maggie (Judy Greer) and her new boyfriend (Bobby Canavale). But getting a foot on the ground as an ex-con is difficult and when Scott’s former cell mate Luis (Michae Peña) promises a riskfree way of getting some starter money, Scott gives in. What he doesn’t know is that Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) set him up to do just that because he wants to make Scott the new Ant-Man, a miniaturized superhero, despite the protestation of his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) who wants to take on the role herself. In any case time is ticking because Hank’s protégé Darren (Corey Stoll) is working on his own shrinking technology and is becoming more and more unhinged.

With all I had heard about Ant-Man before seeing it, I didn’t expect much. It turned out that it was more entertaining than I anticipated, but also completely infuriating in its choice of main character.

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Fury (2014)

Fury
Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Cast: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal, Jim Parrack, Jason Isaacs
Seen on: 10.01.2015

Plot:
World War II. Don Collier, called Wardaddy (Brad Pitt), is the commanding officer of the tank Fury. With him are Bible (Shia LaBeouf), Gordo (Michael Peña) and Coon-Ass (Jon Bernthal), and the newest addition, the young, inexperienced Norman (Logan Lerman), who isn’t even interested in being a soldier. Together they are sent on a mission that sends them further and further into enemy territory.

Fury starts off in such a way that it raised my hopes that we might get a thoughtful portrayal of what it means to be in a warzone, only to squash these hopes completely under a barrage of heroism blah blah.

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American Hustle (2013)

American Hustle
Director: David O. Russell
Writer: David O. Russell, Eric Warren Singer
Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K., Jack Huston, Michael Peña, Shea WhighamAlessandro Nivola, Saïd Taghmaoui

Plot:
Irving (Christian Bale) is a con man who finds a new partner in all things in Sydney (Amy Adams), despite being married to Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence). But then police man Richie (Bradley Cooper) catches them in the act and decides to use them to convict the mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) of corruption. But things keep on spiraling out of control.

I can imagine that American Hustle would have been a good film if somebody other than David O. Russell had made it. Or if Russell had found a consistent tone in which to tell his story. But as is the movie was just a mess.

american-hustle

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Gangster Squad (2013)

Gangster Squad
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writer: Will Beall
Based on: Paul Lieberman’s book Tales from the Gangster Squad
Cast: Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Emma Stone, Michael Peña, Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Mackie, Robert Patrick, Nick Nolte

Plot:
1949 in Los Angeles: former boxer Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) is taking over the city with his criminal empire. The police is mostly bought by him and those who aren’t are too few to do anything about it. That is when Chief Parker (Nick Nolte) asks Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) to form an unofficial squad of police men to destroy Cohen’s operation – with any means necessary. So O’Mara gathers some men around him and gets to work.

Gangster Squad is astonishingly bad. You’ve got this excellent cast and a potentially stylish setting, and it’s all ruined by a script that is so stupid it’s practically negligent and a particularly inept direction.

Gangster-Squad

[SPOILERS]

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End of Watch (2012)

End of Watch
Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Natalie Martinez, Anna Kendrick, David Harbour, America Ferrara, Cody Horn

Plot:
Brian (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike (Michael Peña) are LA cops and have been partners and best friends for quite a while. Brian started to take a film class for which he films his daily routine. It consists mostly of gang shootings and drugs. But when they stumble upon a case of human trafficking, they really start to get in the way of the wrong people, namely the Mexican cartel. When Brian and Mike won’t back down, instead keep on making names for themselves, things get even hotter for the two of them.

I really thought that End of Watch would be better than it was. But the plot is all over the place, the format is an ill fit and I just was bored most of the time.

end_of_watch

[SPOILERS]

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The United States of Leland (2003)

The United States of Leland
Director: Matthew Ryan Hoge
Writer: Matthew Ryan Hoge
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Don Cheadle, Jena Malone, Lena Olin, Chris Klein, Michelle Williams, Kevin Spacey (and about 2 minutes of Michael Peña)

Plot:
The distant Leland (Ryan Gosling) just stabbed a mentally disabled boy and is sent to prison. Nobody really understands why he did it and his prison teacher (and aspiring writer) Pearl (Don Cheadle) is so intrigued that he wants to write a book about him. So he starts interviewing Leland about his life and tries to figure out what moved him to such a desperate act.

The United States of Leland has a wonderful cast but despite Ryan Gosling giving his best, Leland as a character just doesn’t work at all. Nevertheless the film is interesting, if completely predictable.

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The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

The Lincoln Lawyer is Brad Furman‘s adaptation of Michael Connelly‘s novel, written by John Romano, starring Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña and Bryan Cranston.

Plot:
Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is pretty much the definition of a sleazy lawyer. But then he takes on the defense of Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a rich kid accused of murder. Together with his best friend, private detective Frank Levin (William H. Macy) he digs into the particulars of the case. Pretty soon he discovers that the story Louis is telling can’t be quite true – and there might be a connection to one of Mick’s old cases.

The Lincoln Lawyer is basically the cinematical equivalent of fast food. There’s some nurtitional value to it, it will satisfy your hunger – but only for a little while. Is it a culinary delight? Well, no. But it does its job without leaving much behind, good or bad.

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