Cayle’s Movie Review: “Ant-Man and the Wasp”

Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is just a few days away from being released from house arrest. However, he is once again recruited by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to help rescue his wife Janet from the Quantum Realm.

In my opinion, I felt that the first Ant-Man was an underrated movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I felt that the movie was better than I expected due to its troubled production. I was naturally excited when this movie was announced. How does this movie compare to its predecessor? Let’s find out…

Once again, the visuals for this movie are great. The audience gets to see the perspective of the two main characters in a creative way as they fight the antagonists of the movie. It is my personal belief that CGI works better if it is used only when it’s needed as demonstrated in the movie.

Peyton Reed returns as the director of this movie. While he is mainly a comedic director, he also knows how to choreograph action scenes. The action scenes for this movie manages to mesh very well with the visual effects.

Another great thing about the movie is its cast. While Paul Rudd is charming once again as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, it is Michael Douglas as Hank Pym who steals the movie. Evangeline Lilly is also solid as Hank’s daughter, Hope. She makes a perfect foil to Rudd’s character. Although Michael Pena was just a minor character in the previous movie, I felt that his character served a purpose in the movie this time around.

My main problem with the movie is the flanderization of some of the main characters. In the first movie, Lang was an electrical engineer-turned-thief who only stole to provide for his daughter. In this movie, however, Lang is a bumbling idiot who couldn’t find his way out of a wet paper bag.  Although Michael Douglas did a great job as Hank Pym, I felt that that most of his dialogue were retorts that would feel right at home in a sitcom. Speaking of the movie’s humor, I felt that most of the jokes in this movie were rather hit-and-miss.

Following a giant Marvel movie with a great villain, I felt that the antagonists of the movie were underwhelming. I felt that the development of the character of Ava Starr/Ghost (played by Hannah John-Kamen) was a wasted opportunity. There was another villain in the movie that was supposed to be a twist. However, it was rather anti-climactic since it was heavily hinted at in the movie.

While Ant-Man and the Wasp is an entertaining movie, it doesn’t hold a candle to its predecessor.

SCORE: 6/10

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Cayle’s Movie Review: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom follows Owen Grady and Claire Dearing (played by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard respectively) as they go on a rescue mission to the now-abandoned Isla Nublar to save the remaining dinosaurs before the volcano on said island erupts. The movie begs the question: is the movie worth watching or has the franchise run its course just like the dinosaurs?

The best thing about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is its direction. The movie’s director, J.A. Bayona, has a knack for creating tense scenes as exemplified by his work on 2007’s The Orphanage. This movie is no exception as it pays homage to the first movie in certain scenes.

Another great thing about this movie are its visuals. A common criticism of its predecessor is its over-reliance on CGI. However, Fallen Kingdom has its fair share of practical effects as well. After all, the dinosaurs are the real stars of the franchise.

As for the leads, both Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard were pretty good in their respective roles. Although their back-and-forth rapport isn’t as strong this time around, they still managed to have a good chemistry with each other.

As I have mentioned in the review for Ocean’s 8, this movie does not make a strong case for its existence.  To paraphrase a certain Jeff Goldblum line from the first movie: “[They were] so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Goldblum cameoed as Dr. Ian Malcolm in the opening scene of this movie ironically enough.

Fallen Kingdom essentially repeats the plot of its predecessors with little to no deviation. The movie’s plot is driven by the ignorance of the characters of the movie. Aside from Dr. Malcolm, it seems that nobody in this universe managed to learn their lesson from the previous movies. Otherwise, the executives at Universal Studios would not be able to milk this franchise for all it’s worth. I won’t spoil the movie’s ending, but it left the possibility of multiple sequels open. This could either be a good or a bad thing based on one’s franchise fatigue.

Although Fallen Kingdom isn’t a bad movie per se, it wasn’t a necessary one either. Say what you will about its predecessor, at least it has a case for its existence. If you’re really into the Jurassic Park franchise, this movie is a must-watch. Otherwise, it works better as a rental.

SCORE: 6/10

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review: Ant-Man & The Wasp

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review

Ant-Man & The Wasp

Rating: 8/10 (Good)
Recommendation: Pay The 8

Pros

The CGI and action are top notch. The best part of Ant-Man is it’s creativity. Making objects bigger and smaller at will creates a fresh take on the action genre and it’s just a blast to watch.

This film is funny. Just like the first one, they are able to get in a ton of jokes and a lot of them seem hit without fail. Yes comedy is subjective but this movie knows how to deliver it’s jokes properly. Unlike some films I know….

Paul Rudd owns his character. Ever since we’ve seen him in the first movie, he’s fully embraced Ant-Man and brought an unknown character to life. You can’t see anyone else playing this role other than Paul.

The rest of the cast is wonderful too. The chemistry between these actors just makes for an easy going experience and you can’t help but get sucked into the film as you’re watching it.

The story is quirky and unique to itself. A lot of the Marvel movies feel like an extension to the universe throughout it’s runtime, which is the point, but this one feels like it could be watched without knowing one thing about the MCU and that gives this film a breath of fresh air.

Cons

There’s too much going on. The plot is fun but there are way too many subplots happening at once. The movie starts to feel congested and it makes for an overwhelming experience in moments.

The villain isn’t a villain? The film tries to play up a character as a villain but they never come across as one. Then the movie throws in another possible “Villain” but they could’ve been left out of the film altogether. Honestly, the movie would’ve been better off if it just just skipped the idea of having a villain altogether.

Overall

The sequel is good but it feels like something is missing and you’re not sure what that is?

This film follows up the first movie well. It presents a lot of the same great qualities the first had and it has it’s special charm to it that’s just so intoxicating…. But, for whatever reason, this sequel just feels out of place.

Maybe it’s because of Infinity War but Ant-Man & The Wasp is more or less a stand alone film and nothing more. This doesn’t diminish the overall quality by any means but it does hinder the experience from time to time and leaves you feeling a bit empty on the inside. (Unless that was just me.)

Cayle’s Movie Reviews: “Incredibles 2”

 

SUMMARY

Following the events of the first movie, Bob and Helen Parr (i.e. Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl) are recruited by Winston Deaver, who runs a billion-dollar telecommunications company with his sister Evelyn, to bring superheroes into the limelight again. However, Deaver decides to use Elastigirl as the face of his campaign as she isn’t that big of a liability. As a result, Helen/Elastigirl is out fighting crime every night while Bob/Mr. Incredible is at home taking care of the children.

THE PROS

Brad Bird has done it again!

While it’s a given that Pixar (and Disney in general) is the gold standard for modern-day animation, The Incredibles is in a league of its own. That movie has a distinctive style thanks to its look that combines a futuristic look with a retro aesthetic just like the Batman animated series. The Incredibles 2 manages to expand on that aspect of the movie by taking full advantage of its setting.  The film’s action scenes are so well animated, they would not feel out of place in a live-action superhero movie. The film shows that anything is possible with animation.

The retro futuristic look of the movie is complemented by a jazz-heavy score that was composed by Michael Giacchino as well as the character of the Screenslaver, a villain that manages to hypnotize people through television frequencies.

Another great thing about this movie is its writing. Out of all the movies in the Pixar filmography, The Incredibles had the best dialogue in my opinion. It would not be out-of-place in an episode of The Simpsons (a show that Brad Bird coincidentally worked on during its earlier seasons). Once again, the second Incredibles manages to expand on that by applying much of the film’s humor to the Parr family, especially around the character of Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible. Not only does he have to take care of the children, he also must hone little Jack-Jack’s superpowers since the latter has no control over them. However, this film is not without its heart as it contains many heartwarming scenes.

THE CONS

One of my favorite aspects of the first Incredibles was its villain, Syndrome. I thought he was a well-developed for an antagonist. This time around, I felt that there was a missed opportunity with the Screenslaver. I felt that the character had a great set-up, but the execution was sloppy due to its predictability. As a result, the reveal of that said character was a bit anti-climactic.

THE FINAL VERDICT

While the second Incredibles isn’t as fresh as the first movie, it manages to work as a stand-alone movie. I felt that it could have worked better if it was released a decade ago. However, it does captures everything great about the first movie and manages to make another great movie out of the source material.

SCORE: 9/10

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review: Sicario: Day Of The Soldado

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review

Sicario: Day Of The Soldado

Rating: 7/10 (Satisfying)
Recommendation: Redbox It

Pros

The film is shot really well. The scenes look really good and the cinematography is great.

The story is better this time around. It feels like there’s a certain direction the movie is actually going in and not just meandering around like the first. (Which was kind of the point but I have my own issues with that type of narrative.)

The acting is really solid from Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro. They were both in the first film as well (Only one missing was the amazing Emily Blunt this time around) and they did a great job there too but Josh really stepped it up here in this sequel.

Cons

The pacing drags at times. There are moments where you want the movie to keep moving forward but it just halts to let the environment settle in and it really kills the momentum created throughout.

The plot is sort of backwards. This isn’t a huge negative but the film loves to go through with a plan and then tell you why they did, what they did, afterwards. If I recall correctly, the first movie did this too, and this is off putting at times because all you do is sit there and wonder why they’re doing what they’re doing. Yes, it’s eventually explained but it just feels so backwards as a viewer.

Overall

Denis Villeneuve directed the first film and Stefano Sollima did his best Denis impression. (On the down low, I liked the sequel more.)

This is a little more personal than usual but simply put, I’m not a huge fan of Denis. He makes gorgeous looking movies but the pacing and story are always really slow and it’s hard to watch his films because of it in one sitting. Stefano essentially tried copying Denis’ formula but he was able to keep the movie flowing a lot better than Denis would have. So, that means….

This film series is going to come down to personal taste. Both have their strong points but if you loved the first, you may not love the second and vice versa. For me, I liked the second one more but it’s something I’d probably wouldn’t watch again. So take that as you will.

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review: Uncle Drew

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review

Uncle Drew

Rating: 6/10 (Fine)
Recommendation: Redbox It

Pros

The basketball scenes are fun. The players are likable. And the film is short.

Cons

The comedy is very hit and miss. The plot is pretty irrelevant. The pacing can drag from time to time. And, strangely enough, there aren’t enough basketball scenes.

Overall

This is a fun project and it’s great to see some of the players (Except Kyrie. Guy is still in the league after all) hit the court again to show off that they still have some skill left. Sure, there are problems all over but it’s just a silly movie and it’s okay to have one these every so often.

Is it really worth watching though? Probably not but if you think it’ll fit your taste in films, then it won’t hurt to watch it.

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review: Superfly

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review

Superfly

Rating: 8/10 (Good)
Recommendation: Redbox It

Pros

The story is well fleshed out. Most of the time, a plot will be cut to shorten the runtime but Superfly took it a step forward and let the whole story play out. Which leads to my next point….

The pacing is pretty solid. Usually, if a plot is extended and well detailed, the film will feel extremely long but the movie keeps the pace moving, for the most part, and you never really bored.

The plan. Without going into too much, there is a point where Priest wants out of the drug business. The heat is coming down on him and he wants to protect those who he loves. What’s great about this is Priest finds himself getting deeper and deeper into trouble and every time something goes wrong, you wonder “Was this apart of the plan from the start?” Because Priest is a well calculated individual, you wonder what is apart of the plan and what isn’t?

The character of Priest is pretty cool. Though you don’t learn everything about his background, you do get enough details about him to know what he’s all about. He’s smart, plans well, composed, demands respect by appearance, and is just smooth with his operations. Priest is one awesome dude.

Trevor Jackson gets a shout out here because he is just good in this film. He plays Priest and he brings all of the best aspects of the character. It’s not an Oscar performance but it’s pretty good.

Cons

The pace can drag. While I did just praise the movie for keeping a solid pace, there are a few moments where the story drags. There are a few unnecessary scenes put in and there are just some plot elements that could’ve been shorten up a tad.

The first act is sort of “Make or break.” The first 20 minutes, or so, are going to determine whether or not you’ll like this film. This is where the movie tells you right off the bat what it’s going to be. Yes, there are future plot elements that show up down the line, but if you’re not into the whole “Gang/Drug dealing” scene, then you’re not going to really enjoy this flick.

Also, the first act is probably has some of the slowest scenes in the film. It does take awhile before the movie fully takes off and it could be a turn off for some viewers.

The rest of the characters are so so. Priest leads the film but everyone else is sort of hit and miss. You get the premise of what their personality is but you don’t get to dive into their story arcs any and it basically becomes “What you see, is what you get.”

Overall

While this movie isn’t ground breaking in anyway, it’s still a solid, well told story. But the film is getting mixed reviews from all over and both sides, I think, have valid arguments to them.

On one hand, the movie may not grab your attention right away and the rest of the film doesn’t really offer much to bring you back into it. On the other, if you become invested right away, you’re more than likely going to stick with Priest through all of his trials and errors because he is an interesting person and the story is well told.

A lot of this movie hinges on the first act and if you can’t get past that, then this film will most likely not make the cut for you.