Ant-Man is the latest movie that takes place in the “Marvel Universe” of comics.

The film starts in the late ’80s. Scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has discovered the Pym Particle, something which allows him to shrink the size of anything down to tiny proportions. He’s having a discussion with the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. (and Howard Stark, Tony’s father) about the usefulness of his discovery, and is worried about who controls it. He makes the tough choice to quit the organization, destroy his research, and pretend it never existed.

Cut to now, in a prison. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is being released. He needs to get his life back together. He was serving time for hacking into his former company’s computers and revealing corporate secrets he had discovered. One Cybercrime later, he’s released, but after his wife (Judy Greer) divorced him and is involved with a police officer (Bobby Cannavale). He’s accepted that, but still wants to be in his daughter’s life. His ex won’t allow that until he comes up with the past due Child Support. His only option is to return to his technical skills and more crime.

Meanwhile, Hank’s been invited to an unveiling at the company he founded after he left S.H.I.E.L.D. He has retired. Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), his protégé, has been working towards creating the “unproven” Pym Particle and make millions. Fortunately his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) still works at the company. They have devised a plan to stop Cross from going any further and halt his plans. They have a scheme of their own, and it involves recruiting a certain ex-con.

So begins the film. Scott, who has reunited with his former cohort in crime, Luis (Michael Peña), who sets up a robbery that turns out to be Hank Pym’s home, where he’s stashed his Ant-Man costume. Eventually, Hank gets Scott to join in on his plan to ruin Cross’ plan, but only after an extended training montage. Scott also brings in Luis and the others who helped him with the post-release burglary. The plan is set, and the fun begins.

It was an odd choice to bring Ant-Man to the screen. I’m sure there are plenty of other Marvel Superheroes that deserve it more, but the film had been in development for several years. In the comics (and cartoons), there’s a connection between Ant-Man and the Avengers – Hank Pym was an Avenger, but left the organization. There are direct tie-ins to the Avengers franchise, which are made known throughout the film.

This film focuses more on comedy than the other Marvel movies. They acknowledge the premise is not as serious as the other Superhero films, but it has its place. I believe that is why they chose Paul Rudd as the star, rather than someone who would’ve been more serious in the role. He’s fine, as is everyone else in the film. I do have to say mention that someone must’ve had a strong Lee Grant fetish, because I kept looking at Evageline Lilly and thinking that was the look they were trying to achieve. The chemistry between her and Rudd is not what I’d call ideal, more a bit off. Let’s just say it was an odd pairing.

I left the theater with nothing more than a sense of “OK, yeah, I’ve seen it. Next!” I didn’t hate the movie, and the comedy worked. They make several references along the lines of “Yes, this is what we’re doing, and we acknowledge it seems a bit silly, but we’re doing it anyway”. Most of that humor works – for example, the song Luis whistles was an appropriate choice. I dunno, maybe it was better in 3D? Please let me know if you saw it that way, because I’d like to know. It’s an acceptable film, just not something you definitely have to rush out and see. I guess that means, more or less, that I recommend the movie.

There is a mid-credits scene, as well as one after the credits are over.


Trainwreck is the latest romantic comedy from Judd Apatow. Well, not exactly. Judd Apaatow produced and directed this film, but it’s really Amy Schumer’s film. She wrote it, presented it to Judd, and had implied that the latest ‘it’ girl could star. Judd told Amy that she should be the star, and thus it was so.

Amy and her sister Kim are the children of a divorce. Their father, played by Colin Quinn, was unfaithful to their mother, multiple times. He’s convinced himself that Monogamy is a joke, and at the start of the film, he gets his kids to repeat it, like a mantra.

Cut to some twenty years later, Amy has become exactly like her father. She’s all about one night stands, and never seems to be with a guy more than once, though she has her safety guy, Steven (John Cena). She writes articles for a men’s magazine, or more a magazine that caters to male chauvinists, which is made clear when her boss Dianna (Tilda Swinton) has a pitch meeting, and entertains ideas for new articles that are focused on male sexual behavior. One other writer suggests a story about a sports doctor, and Dianna gives the assignment to Amy, who is totally uninterested in sports. Amy sets off to meet Aaron (Bill Heder), the doctor in question. At their first meeting, LeBron James drops by because he’d left something behind, and a bit of silliness occurs. Amy is entranced by Aaron, and thus the romantic comedy begins.

This movie follows the traditional romantic comedy plot – Boy meets Girl, Boy loses Girl, etc, however, since it’s Amy, it’s the reverse – Girl meets Boy, etc. I won’t kid you in saying that it isn’t formulaic, because it is. This movie is almost entirely from Amy’s perspective, but it includes some from the Boy’s. Amy loves her father, even though he’s a pain in the ass. Her interactions with her sister Kim (Brie Larson) are really strong, but also very antagonistic towards each other’s choices. It’s all told with Amy Schumer’s perspective. Her humor guides this film and it’s definitely refreshing and enjoyable. The MPAA has rated the film an R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use, so be forewarned.

I have to admit that a year ago, I was not a fan of Amy Schumer. Her style of humor is not a hit with everyone, but I’ve had a chance to see her TV show, which is hilarious and poignant. It’s very up close and personal, and honestly, most people wouldn’t have an issue with what she says if it were spoken by a man. However, if you like it, you’ll love this movie. I know I did.

One other tidbit to point out is that there are a LOT of cameos in the movie. There are many people who’ve appeared on Amy’s TV show, as well as a few celebrities, both of stage/screen, as well as the sports world.

Ted 2

Ted 2 is the latest film from Seth MacFarlane, best known for his work on Family Guy.  Ted 2 is the sequel to the movie Ted, where, as a child, John (Mark Wahlberg) makes a wish that his teddy bear  was alive. As an adult, John struggled to put away his childish things, including Ted, in order to win the woman of his dreams. The movie ended with them getting together.

Ted 2 starts as Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) is marrying Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth).  There’s a huge self-indulgent dance number that mirrors the production style of Busby Berkeley, which, for some reason doesn’t include Tami-Lyn.  John is divorced, and has given up on love.  Cut to several months later, where Ted and Tami-Lynn are fighting over money, and can’t seem to reconcile their differences.

Ted is convinced by a fellow cashier that having a baby with Tami-Lynn will be a great way to reconnect. Ted, unfortunately, is unable to father a child (he’s a stuffed bear, after all), so he and Tami-Lynn (with John’s help) try several alternatives before deciding to adopt. Their application sets off all sorts of red flags in the Massachusetts government, who retroactively declare Ted is not a person, and is therefore without any rights as a human. His marriage is annulled, and he’s fired from his job.

John and Ted seek help from the top law firm in Boston. The chief partner turns them down, but directs them to a novice lawyer to the firm, Samantha Jackson (Amanda Seyfried).  This will be her first case, and she’s determined to win it.

I’ll point out that this is a Seth MacFarlane comedy.  He has a style of humor that not everyone likes.  Generally, he throws out a lot of jokes. He never lets up and will often shift gears to some new comedic build. There are some very memorable jokes, some spoiled by the trailer, but there are a plenty more. There are a ton of cameos in the movie, and almost all of those are funny and cut right to the core. There’s a fight in the movie that could have been brilliant, but it’s not the focus of the scene, and falls flat because the elements don’t receive enough focus, in my opinion. Some of them are so rapid fire that are ‘blink and you miss it’, so I will await a repeat viewing so I can catch them all.

I do recommend this film, but only if you’re a Seth MacFarlane fan and/or are nerd, because there’s plenty of nerd humor sprinkled throughout the film.  MacFarlane’s sense of humor isn’t for everyone, but you’ll know this is his movie. I couldn’t remember most of the jokes, but I do remember laughing to myself a few times throughout the movie. The cameos save this film from being just a moderately amusing also-ran.

There is a post-credits scene that just floored me (it probably won’t do the same for anyone else, though).



Spy is the latest collaboration from Melissa McCarthy and Paul Feig. They’ve worked together on such films as The Heat and, of course, Bridesmaids.

Melissa McCarthy works at the CIA.  She plays Susan Cooper, a support agent for Bradley Fine (Jude Law).  Bradley is the perfect spy, suave, smooth, and talented, essentially an American James Bond.  Sharon acts as his external eyes and ears, directing him to where the action is, and where he can make a quick escape.  He’s hot on the trail of a someone who’s about to sell a small nuclear weapon to the highest bidder.  Bradley confronts him, and accidentally kills him before he reveals the location of the bomb.  Chaos ensues, and escapes, but only with Susan’s help.

Undaunted by this tremendous setback, Fine chooses to follow his target’s daughter Rayna (Rose Byne), who will be resuming the negotiations ASAP, so time is short. He sneaks into Rayna’s home and is found out.  He is killed, but not before Rayna reveals she knows who he is, and also claims to know every current field agent who would stop her.

The head of the CIA’s operations, Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney), realizes what’s at stake, but also that they can’t send their top agents anywhere near Rayna.   Crocker is forced to choose Susan, who had passed all the requirements of field service, but was commandeered by Fine.  This angers agent Rick Ford, who wants to avenge Bradley’s death, as well as find the bomb. So, off goes Susan, and the typical spy sequences occur. She’s given a cover, but it’s of some frumpy, middle aged woman on vacation. Her best friend/co-worker Nancy (Miranda Hart) becomes her handler, and guides her onward, who behaves as one expects Miranda Hart to behave.

At this point, one would expect the bumbling-agent-stumbles-toward-victory kind of movie, but that’s not exactly what happens. Susan is more than competent, and manages to stay focused enough to go with the events that transpire.

Mind you, this is a comedy.  I find it funny in places, and there are funny elements in the film, including several good laughs (one or two spoiled by the trailer).  Jason Statham plays it straight, and is intentionally untentionally comedic. At its heart, though, Spy is an action movie, and it’s not bad.  There are some plot holes that you could probably drive a truck through, but we’ll forgive those, as they’re a part of any film in the spy movie genre.

There is a mid-credits scene that’s worth waiting for.

Recommended, but you can wait until it’s up for rental.

Terminator: Genisys

Terminator: Genisys Is the latest movie in the Terminator franchise. Aside from the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger, this film reboots the entire series, and is intended for the fans, but others will like it, too.

I must start with the basic concept. In The Future (future…future…future…), Some computer called Skynet has practically destroyed humanity. The humans were not entirely wiped out, and learned to fight back. The resistance leader, John Connor (Jai Courtney), is almost victorious, but Skynet sent a robot back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of John. John was aware of the plan, and manages to send a soldier named Kyle Reese (Jason Clarke) back to protect his mother from the Terminator robot. While Kyle is successful, he sacrificed his life for Sarah, but not before the two fall in love. Kyle is, you see, the father of John Connor. The entire franchise is based on the notion that there were backup plans in place. I’ll leave it to you to revisit the films, but, thankfully, you can skip the last two.

Terminator: Genisys starts with Kyle’s reminiscences of his childhood, and how John Connor saved Kyle’s life. The two were inseparable, and Kyle becomes John’s right hand man. The humans are about to start the attack that will end the war with Skynet, but its done on multiple fronts. Some will attack Skynet directly, but John’s forces are to go after a facility in what used to be San Francisco. The fighting is fierce, but Skynet realizes something is up, and activates a Terminator and sends it back to 1984, this fulfilling that history will remain as it should be. John sends Kyle back, to fulfill his story, but as that plays out, John is attacked in the future, but Kyle makes it back.

It was quite interesting to see the scene played out. The scenes that come after turn the whole story on its edge, and thus have ruined everything that happened in the previous movies. A time travel paradox is created, and everything’s different. Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke (no relation)) is not what she’s supposed to be, and she has a friend. It would seem that once you muck with a timeline, further mucking is bound to occur. The rest I leave for you to discover.

Those of you who want to talk about time travel and its impact, think of this film along the lines of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, though not as clever.  For those of you who get easily confused about time travel, I suggest you watch this clip.

The story is a good one, and it’s never clear what will actually happen next, and that’s a good thing. Things have changed, and while things appear to be certain to transpire, they most definitely do not. While Emilia Clarke does well, she does not have the hard edge that Linda Hamilton developed for Terminator 2. While I did like the resolution of the story, there were some liberties taken to ensure that the franchise is not entirely done, yet. There’s a mid-credits sequence, so be sure to stay for that.

I do recommend this film.