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October 29th, 2018 Movie – Ant-Man And The Wasp

ant man and the wasp

Ok, I feel kind of bad for this but for the first time since 2008, I did not see one of the MCU movies in the theaters. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Ant-Man quite a bit but when the sequel came out, there was just too much going on in my life for me to take the time to go see it. So I had to wait patiently for this movie to come out on video before I could watch it. As soon as I got it, I had to put it in because there was one burning question that needed to be answered; how does this movie tie in to Avengers: Infinity War. Well, let’s find out as I watch today’s movie, Ant-Man And The Wasp.

The plot: Sometime after Scott Lang stopped Darren Cross (Yellowjacket), Hank Pym is talking with his daughter Hope about when her mother had gone sub-atomic to stop a missile and never came back. When Scott did the same thing to stop Cross but came back, Hank wonders if maybe his wife Janet is still alive, and shows Hope some old plans he had developed for a Quantum Tunnel, which he plans on building to try and find her. In the present, Scott Lang is finishing up his last days on being under house arrest for his role in helping Captain America. As he entertains his daughter Cassie, he is also helping his partner Luis go over the plans for their security system proposal when he accidentally triggers the perimeter alarm for his house arrest. FBI Agent Jimmy Woo and his team search the house, as part of the terms of the deal Scott signed. As his team searches the house, Woo asks if Scott has had any contact with Hank or Hope, as it was his tech that Scott used, but Scott tells him that Hank hates him for getting involved with the Avengers and neither of them have spoken to him in the past two years. That night, Scott has a dream where he is back in the quantum realm and sees Janet, then finds himself in one of Janet’s memories. Waking up, Scott uses a secret phone to contact Hank and leaves a message about the dream but realizes how stupid it sounds and hangs up, then breaks the phone. The next day, Scott is eating when something buzzes by him and stings him, causing him to pass out. When he comes too, he finds himself in a car with Hope driving. Hope explains that they have left a decoy with his ankle monitor to fool the FBI, then explains that they are still mad at him but the only reason they are talking is because they need what is in his head. Hope takes Scott to their secret lab, and Hank explains that they had been building the tunnel for the past two years and had tested it the night before when a part overloaded. % minutes after the tested it, Scott called them which makes Hank believe that Janet had placed a message inside his head that they need to get. Scott still thinks it was just a dream he had but when Hope says the dream he described was how she and her mom always played hide and seek, Hank and Hope get excited. Saying Hank owes them for going to Germany and destroying the Ant-Man suit, Hank and Hope shrink down the lab and go to see a man named Sonny Burch, with Scott reluctantly going along but as they drive off, an almost invisible figure is watching them. When they reach the meeting spot, Hope heads inside, with Hank and Scott watching via ants that Hank is controlling, but as Hope speaks with Burch, he reveals that he knows who she really is and wants to change the deal they have. Burch figured out that they are involved in quantum technology and, knowing that it is the future in energy, has arranged for some buyers for their lab but when Hope refuses, he refuses to give her the part. Hope leaves but as Burch goes to leave, Hope returns wearing he Wasp armor and begins attacking Burch’s men, reclaiming the part they needed. As Hope goes to leave, the mysterious figure appears, constantly fading in and out of sight and tangibility. Realizing Hope is in trouble, Hank gives Scott a prototype Ant-Man suit and Scott goes in to help Hope but the figure disappears, then reappears in Hank’s van and steals his lab. Needing a place to hide, Scott takes them to his business office and they discuss what they can do. With all of the equipment they could possibly use to find the lab inside the lab, Hank says there is only one man that might be able to help; his former partner Bill Foster. Meanwhile, Ghost, as Scott and the others called her, takes the lab to an abandoned house, then gets inside a special chamber to help stabilize her condition. Scott, Hope, and Hank head to the college that Bill teaches at and meet with Bill, who continually makes snide remarks to Hank while they talk. When Scott notices that Woo is there, he realizes someone must have spotted them and they leave but Bill tells them a way to find the lab as they leave. In the car, Hank says that the problem with Bill’s idea of using their suit’s regulators is that he got rid of the regulators in the new suits but Scott reveals that he did not destroy his suit like he originally told them. Scott had mailed it to Luis before he was imprisoned, then placed it in a trophy that Cassie had gotten him but when Luis can’t find the trophy, Scott realizes that Cassie had taken it for show-and-tell. Scott and Hope head to Cassie’s school but while they are there, Scott’s suit malfunctions, causing him to change sizes randomly. Scott and Hope are able to retrieve the suit and after trying Bill’s idea, they get a signal from the lab and track it down. As Scott and Hope prepare to head inside, they discuss their former relationship and Hope tells Scott that had she been there, he would not have been captured. The two head inside the house and discover the lab, as well as Ghost in her chamber, but when they go to grab the lab, Ghost awakens and knocks them out. Scott comes too and finds himself strapped to a chair, with Hope and Hank still unconscious and tied up next to him. The ghost appears and says her name is Ava and she won’t hurt him but needs what is in his head. As she goes intangible again, she gets upset and wakes Hope and Hank up, just as Bill appears and reveals that he was working with Ava. Ava explains that her father was a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist that was working with Hank but when they had a disagreement, Hank had him fired and discredited. Her father continued his work to restore his name but due to thae lack of proper safeguards, there was an explosion and her parents were killed while Ava was left in her noncorporeal state. Bill was still working with S.H.I.E.L.D. and worked to help Ava, but S.H.E.L.D. wanted to use her as a spy and assassin, then kill her. When S.H.I.E.L.D. collapsed, Bill helped Ava escape, and they had been watching Hank to see if he could help them when they learned of Scott’s message from Janet. Bill says that he wants to harvest the quantum energy that Janet has been soaking up to restore Ava’s body but Hank says that it will kill her if they do that. Bill goes to leave but Hank fakes a heart attack and Hope says his medicine is in the altoids container her carries. Bill goes to get the altoids container but when he opens it, a bunch of ants pop out and grow to human size. Then ants free Scott, Hope, and Hank, who are able to escape with the lab. As Hank, Hope, and Scott prepare to activate the tunnel and learn where Janet is, Ava wants to use Cassie to get Scott to get the lab back but Bill refuses to help her if she hurts Cassie so she says there are other options and leaves. Meanwhile, Burch shows up at Luis’ business and gives him some truth serum to learn where Scott is, only for Ghost to show up and disable his vehicle. Burch calls his contact at the FBI to tell him where Hank, Hope, and Scott are but tells him to give him the lab. At the lab, Hank and Hope activate the machine and Janet’s consciousness takes over Scott’s body, allowing her to help them locate where she is but she warns them that they only have 2 hours or else it will be another century before they will be able to try again. Luis calls and warns Scott about what happened and Scott tells Hank and Hope, who are upset and quickly work on powering down the lab so they can shrink it and leave while Scott grabs the Ant-Man suit and heads home so Woo doesn’t catch him. At Scott’s house, Cassie, along with her mother and stepfather, show up at Scott’s house and Cassie discovers the giant ant pretending to be Scott but keeps it a secret. When Woo shows up, Cassie stalls him and Scott is able to get back in time but Hank and Hope are captured. As they are being placed in a car, Burch’s man grabs the lab and puts it in the trunk of his car but Ghost appears and knocks him out and steals the lab. At Scott’s house, Cassie talks with Scott and asks if he is going to help Hope and Hank and Scott says he wants to but doesn’t want to hurt her and she tells him that he should help them. At the FBI office, Hope picks the lock to her and Hank’s restraints and they try to figure out a way out of there when Scott uses some ants to bring Hope’s Wasp suit, as well as an FBI uniform for Hank, and then cover the camera so they can escape, unaware that Burch’s men are following them. Scott, Hope, and Hank head to the lab, thanks to Hank placing a new tracker on it. When they get there, Hank tells them that he will be the one to head into the tunnel, as he needs them to protect the tunnel and deal with Ghost. Scott uses the ants to disrupt the machine, drawing Ghost out and Hank heads inside, using some large ants to keep Bill at bay. As Bill explains his reasoning, Hank tells him that he will help Bill find a cure as soon as he gets back from rescuing Janet and Bill wishes him luck. Ghost attacks Scott and as she does, Hank heads through the Quantum Tunnel while Hope shrinks the lab, allowing her and Luis to grab it. They go to leave but Burch and his men show up and they are forced to drive from them, with Hope shrinking and growing the van to deal with the pursuers. Scott catches up to them while Hope deals with the last of Burch’s men but Ghost shows up and steals the lab, while causing Scott to crash the van. Hope and Scott work on getting the lab back but as they deal with Ghost, Burch manages to grab the lab. Hope chases after her and Scott, still having issues with his suit, follows after them. Meanwhile, Hank makes it to the quantum realm and goes searching for Janet but as he collapses from the strain of the realm on his mind, Janet shows up and helps him but as they go to return to the surface, the learn that the lab is still shrunk down and they can’t ascend. Back on the surface, Luis finds the remote for the lab in the van and grabs another car to drive and meet with Hope and Scott. When he comes under fire form Burch’s men, Hope rescues him while Scott continues chasing after Burch. When Burch gets onto a ferry to escape, Scott grows to giant size in order to get the lab back from him but as he places it back on the dock, he passes out from the strain on his body. Hope and Luis arrive and Hope dives into the water to save Scott while Luis goes to get the lab but Ghost shows up and knocks him out, then enlarges the lab. Seeing the lab has returned to normal, Hank and Janet begin the journey back, unaware as to what is going on. Luis is confronted by Burch and his men but Kurt and Dave show up and uses tasers to incapacitate Burch’s men while Luis knocks out Burch. Inside the lab, Bill tries to talk Ghost out of harvesting Janet’s energy but Ghost shoves him aside and starts the process, which starts tearing Janet apart. Scott and Hope enter the lab and stop Ghost, then begin fighting with her until Hank and Janet return, with Scott rescuing Hope while Ghost is struck by the vehicle. Hank, Janet, and Hope all embrace each other and when Janet sees Ghost, she approaches her and gives her some of her energy to temporarily stabilize her. When Luis warns them that the cops and FBI are approaching, Scott uses his suit to create a decoy so that they can get away, while he rushes home, where a suspicious Woo can’t prove he had left and takes off the ankle monitor, warning him that he will be keeping an eye out for him. Burch and his men are arrested, and since Luis, Kurt, and Dave were credited with the arrest, their company gets a huge contract that they had been working on. Ava tells Bill to leave her, as she had hurt so many people trying to save her life, but Bill says he won’t leave her and she embraces him. Hank and Janet are shown to be on a tropical beach, where Hank reveals he had shrunk their house and brought it with them for them to live in. Scott, Hope, and Cassie are enjoying a makeshift drive-in movie night, where Cassie reveals to Hope that Scott wants her to be his partner. Some time later, Hank, Hope, and Janet have made a smaller Quantum Tunnel and Scott travels into it in order to get some quantum healing particles for Ava but as they prepare to bring him back, Hope, Hank, and Janet are disintegrated, courtesy of Thanos and the Infinity Stones, leaving Scott stranded in the quantum realm.

Ant-Man And The Wasp met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A lighter, brighter superhero movie powered by the effortless charisma of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, Ant-Man and The Wasp offers a much-needed MCU palate cleanser.” During the scene where Hank, Hope, and Scott first meet with Bill Foster, Bill says that he worked on the “Goliath Project” with Hank and had grown to 21 feet. In the comics, Bill Foster was Hank Pym’s assistant and would indeed become a super hero known as Goliath, who took part in Civil War as one of Cap’s allies but would be killed by a robotic version of Thor. The movie was a box office success, earning $622.4 million off of a $195 million budget.

I really feel bad for not seeing this in theaters because this movie was just as funny as the original. The acting was good, with Paul Rudd (Scott), Evangeline Lilly (Hope) and Michael Douglas (Hank) doing great jobs in their roles. Michelle Pfeiffer (Janet) and Laurence Fishburne (Bill) were also good, while Hannah John-Kamen and Walton Goggins (Burch) made for some interesting villains in Ghost and Burch respectively. The story was pretty good as, aside from the aspect of Scott bing under house arrest, it was essentially a stand alone movie that did not need to rely on anything from the other movies. There was simply the part at the end where the Hank, Hope, and Janet disintegrated that showed the events were occurring roughly at the same time as Thanos’ attack on the universe. One thing about the movie I did like was the various moral decisions that constantly came into play during the movie. I mean, you had Scott wanting to stay on the straight and narrow so he wouldn’t get his chance at probation revoked and losing the chance to spend time with his daughter, but also wanting to help Hope and Hank rescue Janet. Then you have Bill Foster, who wants to save Ava but in the end, doesn’t want her to risk harming Janet, though Ava is willing to do whatever it takes to save herself, including threatening Cassie until Bill warns her against it. The special effects were great, with the constant size changing during the fight scenes, as well as the car chase scenes, were incredible to watch and really well timed. The visual imagery during Hank’s journey into the quantum realm was also incredibly beautiful, even the tardigrades (water bears). A fun movie to watch and a good way to ease back from the emotions of Infinity War.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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crime, movie, movie review, thriller

July 22nd, 2017 Movie – The Sentinel (2006)

the sentinel 2006

I am going to be completely honest with you in regards to this movie. The only reason I watched this movie the first time was because I wanted to see if Kiefer Sutherland would be able to play this role and not slip into “Jack Bauer” mode. After all, this was right at the height of the 24 phenomenon, and Kiefer decides to do a movie playing a Secret Service Agent. It really isn’t that far of a stretch to imagine it happening. Anyways, I enjoyed the movie when I first watched it so while strolling through Blockbuster during their dying days (yes, I did that a lot and my wallet cried every time) I decided to pick up one of their copies as a change of pace from my usual fare. So now I am going to sit back and enjoy today’s movie, The Sentinel (2006).

The plot: After waking from a dream of his helping save President Ronald Reagan, Secret Service Agent Pete Garrison heads to the White House for his shift. Inside the White House, he runs into his friend and fellow agent Charlie Merriweather, who asks to speak with him later. After getting briefed on upcoming assignments, Garrison takes up his position as First Lady Sarah Ballentine and escorts her to the car, where she is going with the President to speak at a local school. As they head to the school, it is revealed that the President and First Lady are having marriage problems, and she tells him she plans on going to the beach house later that day. Meanwhile, Jill Marin arrives at the P.I.D. (Protective Intelligence Division) and reports to David Breckinridge, who chastises her for being late and then asks why she requested being assigned to him. When she tells him that Garrison said he was the best, he shows some displeasure at the mention of Garrison’s name but chooses not to say anything. Elsewhere, Charlie Merriweather is returning home when he is shot and killed by an unknown assailant. When he gets word of what happened, Breckenridge and Marin head to Charlie’s house to check the scene, which the DC police believe is a simple mugging gone bad, but Breckinridge disagrees and believes he was assassinated. At the beach house, Garrison and the rest of the security detail finish checking the house and when Garrison ends up alone with the First Lady, it is revealed that they are having an affair. Garrison is interrupted by someone calling him on the radio and when he heads downstairs, he finds another agent there who tells him about Charlie’s death. Breckinridge is speaking with Charlie’s wife on if he might have told her anything that could have gotten him killed and she tells him he was upset about some gossip about Garrison possibly having an affair with someone from work, which upsets Breckinridge. As Breckinridge leaves, he runs into Garrison and the two start arguing with each other but when Marin asks what the issue is between them, neither tells her. Later, Garrison is told that a former snitch of his, Walter Xavier, wants to talk to him and when he meets with him, Walter tells him that he believes Charlie’s death was linked to a plot to assassinate the president that he overhead. Garrison doesn’t believe it but Walter tells him that there is a mole in the Secret Service, then hands him a folder to prove his point before disappearing. The folder contains code words, call signs, and other info that indicate Walter was correct and steps are taken to increase the protection for the President, including flipping a coin to determine how the President travels to and from the White House. Meanwhile, Garrison receives pictures of him with Sarah just as Breckinridge shows up to ask him about Walter, and Garrison quickly hides the pictures and blackmail note. When he gets a chance, he goes to see Sarah to tell her about the pictures and blackmail, apologizing for putting her in this position. All Secret Service Agents are ordered to take a polygraph test and Garrison takes his before heading out to meet with the blackmailer at a hotel. While waiting outside, Garrison receives a call to head to a coffee shop and he waits there but when nobody shows up, he leaves. Garrison notices he is being followed and quickly evades his tail, only to begin following him but ends up being stopped by the FBI, who thought he was working with the cartel. Garrison accompanies President Ballentine and Sarah to Camp David and on the helicopter flight there, Ballentine asks Garrison if they can talk about the assassination threat and possible mole while at the camp. Walter contacts Garrison and tells him where to meet to deliver his money and tells him to come alone but Garrison’s superior assigns another agent to accompany him, while Breckinridge and Marin leave there office to serve as back up. When he gets to the mall, Garrison heads to his meeting with Walter but Walter sees the other agent and bolts. Meanwhile, the agent warns Garrison of a possible attacker but is shot and killed, ten the attacker tries to shoot Garrison, while taking a hostage to keep Garrison from shooting back. When Breckinridge and Marin arrive, they try to locate the assassin but he changes clothes in a shop and manages to get away. Meanwhile, Marine 1 is shot down by a surface-to-air missile but, due to the coin toss, the President and First Lady were not on board. The assassin meets with the other members of his group as the news about Marine 1 breaks and the group’s leader calls the mole and yells at him for failing to ensure the President would be on the helicopter. Garrison returns home only to have Breckinridge, Marin, and several other agents show up and Breckinridge tells Garrison he is being investigated for treason. Breckinridge tells him the evidence against him but Garrison thinks that his judgement is clouded because he believed that Garrison had an affair with his wife, causing the break-up of his marriage. When Breckinridge steps outside to meet with the director, Garrison manages to escape custody, taking an agent’s radio and gun as he does so. Using the radio, Garrison manages to locate where Sarah is and sneaks by the Secret Service guarding her in order to secretly meet with her and tell her he is being framed. Garrison then works on trying to track down Walter, eventually finding where he is hiding but when he gets there, Walter is already dead. Breckinridge and Marin arrive with some other Secret Service Agents and Garrison is forced to make a run for it, with Breckinridge chasing after him. Breckinridge manages to get the drop on Garrison and shoots him in the vest, but when Garrison tells him to shoot him in the head, he can’t bring himself to do it and allows Garrison to escape. Garrison goes to Charlie’s house to see if he can find anything in Charlie’s files and his widow mentions the car that is watching the house. When the car leaves, Garrison follows it and locates the assassins’ headquarters, killing the assassin that is inside but the other two members overhear it on the phone and head back. Garrison searches the place and finds several passports, weapons, and credentials for the G8 summit and calls Jill to let her know about it but when Breckinridge and the others get there, the body, passports, and credentials are gone. After Garrison calls Sarah and leaves her a goodbye message, she contacts Breckinridge and tells him about the affair and blackmail. Garrison makes his way to Toronto and runs the fingerprints he collected from the dead assassin and sends them to Marin to find out who he is but as he is waiting, Breckinridge appears. Garrison is ready to defend himself but Breckinridge says the First Lady explained everything and he knows he is being framed. As they identify the assassin, they try to figure out who the mole is and realize that Senior Agent William Montrose didn’t take the polygraph. As they head to the G8 Summit, they contact Marin and have her tell the First Lady that Montrose is the mole. When they get there, the Secret Service wont let them in and threaten to shoot Garrison, though Breckinridge tries to convince them he is on their side, when the radios suddenly go out. Breckinridge and Garrison head inside and during the commotion of their entering, Montrose escorts the President off the podium. Sarah gives to code word for the all clear and Garrison leads everyone after Montrose and the President. Meanwhile, the assassins, disguised as members of the RCMP, begin shooting at him and Montrose is conflicted on what to do and eventually decides to get the President to safety, coming clean about his being the mole. Montrose ends up being killed and Garrison is shot but they manage to kill the assassins and begin escorting the President to the waiting cars. As he is being loaded into a car, the leader of the assassins, disguised as a cop, approaches to try and kill him but when the First Lady exits her car, he grabs her as a shield but Garrison manages to shoot and kill him. The President is driven to safety as Sarah goes to check on Garrison, with Marin guarding her while Breckinridge calls for another car to get her out of there. Some time later, Garrison is forced to retire early due to the affair and says goodbye to his friends. As he leaves the White House, Breckinridge and Marin say goodbye and Garrison invites Breckinridge to dinner to repair their friendship but he declines as he is having dinner with his ex-wife to try and renew their marriage. Garrison walks takes one last look at the White House before walking away, unaware that Sarah was watching him leave from her office window.

The Sentinel (2006) met with mostly negative reviews with the critics, holding a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Sentinel starts off well enough but quickly wears thin with too many plot holes and conventional action sequences.” Gerald A. Cavis, a retired Secret Service Agent who served as a consultant on the film, said that Eva Longoria was the best shot among the principal actors when they did there “shooting school” with live ammunition, hitting every target from 30 yards away. The movie was a mild success at the box office, earning $78.1 million off of a $60 million budget.

This won’t win any Academy Awards, but this is a pretty decent political thriller that gives you almost everything you could ask for in a drama. The acting was good, with Michael Douglas (Garrison), Kiefer Sutherland (Breckinridge), Eva Longoria (Marin) and Kim Basinger (Sarah) all doing good jobs in their roles, though I will admit that Kiefer did go a little Jack Bauer on Garrison at his home.  The story was pretty good and felt a lot more realistic than some other movies at the time, though I will say that the ending did feel a little crowded, with a lot going on all within the last 15 minutes. The tension and drama in the movie was great, especially the tension between Garrison and Breckinridge, and how Marin, who respected both of them, found herself caught in the middle of the two men. A good mix of drama and excitement that can make for some fun movie watching.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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