Ant-Man And The Wasp – Review

I predicted that Ant-Man And The Wasp would earn somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million+ on it’s opening and while that didn’t pan out a domestic opening over $70,000,000 is just fine.

That being said, overall I enjoyed it though if I could suggest one change to the producers it would be to tone down the humor because unlike a lot of people like to say, Marvel Studios hasn’t yet produced a comedy.

Though they have produced action movies with comedic overtones (some more than others) though Ant-Man And The Wasp too often tries to hard to be funny when the story would be better served by a more organic, situational thrust to the humor.

Like James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy movies. They’re humorous, but the humor tends to be more based on the clashing of disparate personalities more so than anyone doing anything overtly jokey.

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Avengers: Infinity War – Review 

The less said aboutthe particulars of Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War the better but know it rewards fans over casual viewers.  That’s not to say that if you haven’t seen all 18 of the prior MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) movies you won’t enjoy it, though if you haven’t seen any Infinity War isn’t a great place to start.

This is because Infinity War assumes you’re familiar with the adventures of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and so on and if you’re not you’re likely going to be a mite confused going forward.  Avengers: Infinity War is an epic, sprawling story that somehow manages to not only make sense, but feel significantly shorter than it’s 2 hour and 29 minute running time would lead one to assume.

Some people accuse the Marvel movies or being formulaic–and there’s a point to that in the sense that they tend to follow a particular pattern–but Infinity War turns that formula on it’s head because the movie revolves entirely around the villain, Thanos, and his efforts to procure–by hook or by crook–the five Infinity Stones that will enable him to remake reality in any way he feels necessary.

The heroes are delegated to deal with Thanos’ mechanizations though they’re almost entirely on the offensive, mainly due to the Black Order (like Gamora and Nebula, ‘children’ of Thanos) who are dispatched to obtain the Infinity Stones.

The movie is at turns funny and tragic and has one of the most somber endings of any movie in recent memory, never mind a MCU one.

Avengers: Infinity War is likely unlike any major tentpole movie you’ve ever seen and you’ll likely have a great time doing so.

Though if you’ve seen it already, what do you think?  Let me know down below.

Day of the Dead: Bloodline – Review 

While you can get away with calling Day of the Dead: Bloodline a ‘reimagining’ of George Romero’s classic, there’s nothing ‘bold’ about it (in fact, it’s such a loose interpretation that ‘Generic Zombie Thriller’ would work just as well).

Part of what made Romero’s movies so horrific (in the best possible way) was his penchant for slow-moving zombies.

Their speed was irrelevant because they’re so numerous.  They were a creeping horde of inevitability focused entirely on devouring anything living in their path.

It was this inexorable march that made them so terrifying;  no matter how fast you run, no matter how far you go, they’ll eventually catch up to you.

The zombies in ‘Bloodline’ are of the more athletic variety, which may create more immediate gratification in terms of (jump) scares, though the sense of inevitability, of tension, is lessened (If not lost entirely).

Another trait of a Romero zombie movie is what I like to think of as layered storytelling (a tendency that’s effective the less you see if it.  In his later movies he tended to hit you over then head with ‘MEANING!’ and ‘MESSAGE!!’ which made the movie that encased it a lot less interesting)

For instance, you can enjoy Romero’s Dawn of the Dead at face value–as simply a story of humans in a shopping mall facing off against the undead–or as a commentary on consumerism and how our need for stuff is literally devouring us.

Day of the Dead: Bloodline though?  What you see is literally what you get.  There’s nothing in the way of subtext, which isn’t a deal breaker if the action were more engaging or the characterization strong.

Neither of which, for the most part, happens to be the case.  Though the most damning criticism of the movie is that too many characters have more to worry about from catching ‘the stupids’ than a zombie virus.

By which I mean there’re  too many scenes where people die in circumstances where someone with an iota of common sense wouldn’t. If it happens one time you chalk it up to bad luck.

If it happens three or four more times, it’s really bad writing.

Day of the Dead: Bloodline is not by any means a terrible movie, just not particularly noteworthy.

‘Game Over, Man!’ – Review

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Netflix has been making a lot of movies, but their output is extremely uneven, to put it kindly.  For every Gerald’s Game or Okja they seem to double-down on the terrible, with movies like The Babysitter or just about anything featuring Adam Sandler.

And Game Over, Man! fits firmly in the latter category.

As far as I am aware it’s the first feature starring all the members of the Workaholics (Adam Devine, Anders Holm and Blake Anderson, whom are really, really funny on that show) yet here are only intermittently so.

And then there’s the curious fascination with cocks–male genitalia, not the bird–that would be, at it’s best, infantile if it weren’t done in such a fashion that is so thoroughly off-putting.

It’s worth mentioning that there are a lot of celebrity “cameos” in Game Over, Man! where actors appear and then are dispatched so quickly you’d think that they were aware of how potentially a career killing move they were making, and did whatever they possibly could to minimize the fallout.

And while I wasn’t privy to any contract negotiations, it does explain a lot.

 

Gerald’s Game – Review

Screenshot 2017-11-27 00.46.08Gerald’s Game, currently on Netflix is a remarkable bit of television because it understands that horror is more than things that go ‘bump’ in the night, but is also a way of working through the most evil of demons, namely those that haunt us in our everyday, waking lives.

And imagine to my surprise to learn that it’s directed by Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil) who understands that the best horror is like a satisfying meal in that it sticks to your ribs.

So when you combine Mike Flanagan’s minimalistic direction (with not a jump scare in literally the entire movie) with a story written by Stephen King, the likelihood is that both auteurs will brew a potent, horrible (in the best possible way) stew.

Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood star as Jessie and Gerald Burlingame, who we meet when they’re preparing for a holiday (though when Gerald packs two pairs of handcuffs we know that whatever is going to go on will be at the very least, very, very interesting).  As the story progresses we learn that much of what we learned about the couple earlier is a facade, revealed by nothing less than a Shakesperean narrative device.

While having more in common with a psychological thriller than outright horror, Gerald’s Game isn’t afraid to scale that fence when it comes to it.

So if you haven’t see Gerald’s Game, consider giving it a spin but keep in mind that some games–once you start playing–are Hell to stop.

Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2

I caught James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2 last Saturday and what I found so impressive overall was the way Gunn managed so many stories and plot threats in a way that was not only cohesive, but made sense.

Because–and trust me on this–there are so many ways Guardians  could have easily collapsed under it’s own weight.

But it never does.

What’s almost equally impressive is the way everyone gets their own arc, without the movie feeling bloated or over-stuffed.

And Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2 is so gorgeous, as if it’s not only not afraid to admit that the worlds depicted first appeared in comic books, but is proud of it.

And there’s not a cynical bone in the movie’s body, which is why when you see Baby Groot and Rocket you just go with it.

Because you know–on a level conscious or not–that Gunn believes in these characters as much, if not more, than you do.