Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hannah John-Kamen, Laurence Fishburn, Walton Goggins, Michael Peña.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp” picks up two years post “Captain America: Civil War”, and the titular hero Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), is under house arrest following his reckless actions during his time in Germany. With his 10-year old daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Forston) and friend/former cellmate Luis (Michael Peña) his only entertainment, Lang is itching to get out of the house and back to his duties as Ant-Man.
An opportunity presents itself in the form of Hope Van Dyne, aka Wasp (Evangeline Lily) and her father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to escape the confides of his home and embark upon a mission with them to address some secrets from the past.
Hollywood’s current favourite ‘bad guy’ Walton Goggins is introduced as the film’s central crim, Sonny Burch, and he and his crew form one third of the obstacles in Lang, Van Dyne and Pym’s way. On the other end we’ve got Ava Foster, aka Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), who is chasing the lab owned by Van Dyne and Pym, and generally becoming a pain-in-the-bum for the team – who are inches away from completing their ultimate goal.
If any of this sounds confusing – blame me for that. The premise is super easy to follow, I’m just being oh-so-vague because spoilers. In a nutshell – you’ve got three groups, all after the same thing, for different reasons. Capiche?
As with most Marvel movies these days, where you’ll be most impressed is with what Hollywood can do. CGI looks real, and if director Peyton Reed turned around and said “oh we actually bred gigantic ants and trained them for this movie”, I’d believe him. Ant-Man and The Wasp continually shrinking and growing is the new normal, as with the inanimate objects they take with them. Matchbox cars become part of the traffic, while the central lab within the key plotline is shrunk to the size of a lego building when necessary – and it all looks totally normal.
Strangely enough, “Ant-Man” impresses with a car chase sequence that would easily rival any of the “Fast and the Furious” films – particularly the latter ones in which car chases take a back seat, so to speak. Speeding through the streets of San Francisco and tackling Lombard Street and Fisherman’s Wharf, the scene is a great plug for the seaside city – destruction aside of course. From ants to seagulls, a giant Ant-Man to an ever-changing lab, every object and character in “Ant-Man and the Wasp” feels necessary. Additionally, the humour isn’t overdone or forced, and Rudd is always a testament for natural comedy.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp” lacks a lot of depth that other current films within the Marvel universe do, but it doesn’t seem to matter as it’s a fun and fairly light-hearted film that will appeal to every family member. Enjoy it for what it is, and in the meantime give a ponder to what you’d do if you could shrink to the size of an ant.
Blu-ray : There’s some good stuff on here – a heap of featurettes, deleted scenes and bloopers, an intro from Peyton Reed, and some other bits and pieces. We needed a good couple of hours to get through it all.
Luz review : slow moving but with some very stylistic pleasures to be found
Check out Drew’s review of this supernatural horror!
A young woman walks into a police station in a very slow wide shot, the camera pointed straight on in a very clinical, detached way. She approaches the reception bench where a cop is busily shuffling paperwork, turns and moves down the room to a vending machine to stare at it. Barely minutes have passed and you’re immediately sure this isn’t a horror film either from Hollywood or influenced by Hollywood styles.
The woman, Luz (Luana Velis) is a taxi driver to whom something terrible has happened earlier in the night, but before we get even an inkling of her story we move to a couple, the sultry Nora (Julia Riedler), seducing a man in a bar named Dr Rossini (Jan Bluthart) by telling him a story about the rebellious girl (Luz) she went to school with.
What you might not realise without any foreknowledge of the plot is that Nora is possessed by an evil spirit, and that her seduction of Dr Rossini is a way to transfer it to him. When she does so, Nora’s body slumps, apparently dead, and Dr Rossini goes to the police station where Luz has surrendered herself.
It turns out the spirit is in love with Luz, and will do anything to be near her. Dr Rossini is called to the police station to help them with the catatonic woman, and the demon gets its chance.
With two detectives in attendance, Rossini puts Luz under hypnosis to find out what happened to her, but none of them have any idea they’re under the instruction of something from another realm, and the session turns into a nightmare when Luz’s memories seem to be playing out in front of them, and Dr Rossini’s colleagues get increasingly fearful for their lives.
A bit like the oft-discussed hotel room scene at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the denouement seems fairly disinterested in the traditional dictates of story or narrative, writer/director Tilman Singer more interested in a visual fever dream than a plot.
The above description might be all you need to know to gauge whether you’ll respond to “Luz” or not. It’s slow moving and makes no concessions for the viewer, so some will be turned off within minutes. But if you stick with it there are some very stylistic pleasures to be found. The marketing material that accompanied the film mentions David Cronenberg, Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci and whether they were Singer’s influences or not, it’s as fair a summing up as you could probably get.
Shot all in a couple of locations on scratchy 16mm film and running only a shade over an hour it has dreamlike cinematography, swinging from still and stark to smoky and back again. The action is moody and low key, and while it’s a demon possession horror movie with no laying on of crosses, spewing of pea soup or even a single jump scare, you’ll love it if you’re a fan of the kind of alt-horror that used to be popular in the pre-video nasty era.
Disc Reviews : Mohicans, Lock Up, Prince of Thieves
Drew takes a look at some of the latest releases on the shelf
Drew pours himself a glass of bubbly, pushes the pizza from its card box box and gives the DVD player something to chew on.
Disc Reviews : Arrow, Flash, Banana Splits, Sheldon
The Blu-ray player gets all superhero-y this week
A round-up of what’s been circling the laser on the player-box this week.
Arrow : The Complete Seventh Season
Like any series, there’s usually a point where Henry Winkler is forced to peel himself into a wet suit and jump over a foam white pointer – thankfully for The CW’s “Arrow” that time hasn’t come yet (and with the show about to wrap, it might not come).
Seven 7, believe it or not, actually plants a welcome firecracker under the show’s touché by shaking things up and adding some compel back into proceedings, with the now-outed Green Arrow behind bars, facing some of the rogues he put in there over the past seasons. Stephen Amell is as good as ever but it’s Emily Bett Richard’s Felicity Smoak who gets the dynamite arc this season.
Nice fan-pleasing assortment of bibs and bobs including Comic-Con panel, featurettes, gag reel, deleted scenes.
The Banana Splits Movie
A film that’s concept is arguably more awesome than the offering itself, “The Banana Splits” will largely appeal to those with a woody for nostalgia and those with a love of torture porn.
A weird combo, sure, but for the most part this forgettable but fun works. There’s also some good laughs to be had.
The Flash : The Complete Fifth Season
Still the most enjoyable, and ostensibly most delicately-handled of the current crop of superhero shows, “The Flash” continues to knock it out of the park with its ridiculous-though-ridiculously entertaining storytelling, gifted and extremely likeable cast, and in the case of season 5, a solid and surprisingly emotional arc concerning Barry and Iris’s daughter, Nora, who has traveled back in time.
If even just to see what the super-adaptable Tom Cavanagh is doing that week, “The Flash” remains mandatory viewing.
Typical of Warner Bros, they rock it in the extras department here too.
Young Sheldon : The Complete Second Season
Where “The Big Bang Theory” started to suffer in its later seasons, it’s surprisingly-dissimilar spin-off “Young Sheldon” succeeded.
More “The Wonder Years” than an extension of its multi-camera parent, the clever, relatable and very funny coming-of-age story trades pop culture gags for life lessons and two seasons in, it’s a barter that works.
There’s some absolute corker episodes on the set, in particular one where the very unique Sheldon hears that kids with stunted childhoods end up social outcasts, so decides he better start acting more like his peers.
It’s funny, because so much of it rings true.
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