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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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July 10th, 2017 Movie – Scarface (1983)

scarface 1983

Every time I see one of those lists, “Movies Every Guy Should Watch”, some movies will be added while others removed but overall, there are a core group of about 25 movies that tend to always be on there. Today’s movie is one of those that always seems to be on those types of lists. Now I have seen today’s movie in it’s entirety, but never all in one sitting. Instead, it was always me channel flipping and catching part of the movie and sitting down to watch it from where I found it. To be honest, I never even thought of buying it until I was wandering around Blockbuster as they were closing up shop and saw it on sale. So let’s see if this movie is worthy of all the hype as I watch Scarface (1983).

The plot: In 1980, Fidel Castro opened the Mariel Harbor in order to allow some of the citizens of Cuba to rejoin their relatives in the US but also sent several thousand prisoners on the boats as well. Antonio “Tony” Montana, his friend Manny Ribera, and their associates Chi-Chi and Angel all come over on the boats and are sent to the refugee camp known as “Freedom Town”. After being there for a while, Manny tells Tony that he has a friend in Miami who has offered them green cards and a way out of there but the price is to kill a former Cuban official who is arriving on the next boat. Tony agrees and during a riot at the camp, Tony stabs the man. Tony and his friends are given their green cards and end up working in the kitchen as dishwashers and cooks but Tony grows resentful and wants to know when Manny’s friend is going to come through for them. After a few days, Tony and Manny meet with Omar Suarez, who works for local drug kingpin Frank Lopez, and Omar offers them a job but when Tony argues about the pay being too low and he deserves a higher paying job, Omar gives them a new assignment; meeting with some Columbians and purchasing some cocaine off of them. Tony, Manny, Angel, and Chi-Chi head to the deal and when they arrive there, Tony tells Manny and Chi-Chi to wait in the car with the money and if he isn’t back in 15 minutes, it means something went wrong. Tony and Angel head inside the apartment for the meeting but it ends up going bad and they are captured by the Columbians. Angel is handcuffed in the shower and the drug dealer begins to dismember him with a chain saw, then prepares to do the same to Tony. Manny and Chi-Chi, having waited 15 minutes, head to the apartment and manage to rescue Tony, though Manny is shot in the process. After killing the main drug dealer and grabbing the drugs, Tony calls Omar to tell him what happened, then he and Manny deliver the drugs to Frank themselves. As Frank thanks them for their service and offers them positions in his organization, then takes them to dinner at a fancy club. As they get ready to eat, Tony is introduced to Frank’s girlfriend Elvira Hancock and he becomes infatuated with her. As time passes, Tony continues to flirt with Elvira, even attempting to buy a new car to impress her. Tony then goes to see his mother and sister Gina, who had come to America years ago, but his mother doesn’t like his illegal activities and throws him out of her house. As Gina says goodbye to Tony, Manny becomes attracted to her but Tony gets angry and warns him to stay away from her. Frank sends Omar and Tony to Bolivia to Alejandro Sosa to work out a deal but when Tony starts brokering a deal without Frank’s approval, Omar gets mad at him and the two start arguing while Sosa is on the phone. When Sosa says that Omar should go speak with Frank and offers to fly him to Miami, but pulls Tony aside to talk to him. He tells Tony that Omar was a police informant who had already put some people away, then hands Tony some binoculars so he can watch a beaten Omar being hung from Sosa’s helicopter. Tony agrees to a deal with Sosa, with Sosa warning him, “Don’t ever fuck me”, but when Tony returns to Miami, Frank is pissed off about Omar’s death and Tony making the deal without approving it with him. Tony decides to go into business for himself and Frank warns him about which type of people survive in their line of work. Tony goes to see Elvira and makes a proposal to her but when she asks about Frank, he tells her that he won’t last long. Tony heads to the dance club and sees Gina dancing there with some guy but Manny tells him to let them dance. The two are approached by Mel Bernstein, a police narcotics officer, who tells Tony that he expects a monthly payoff in order to turn a blind eye to their activities. Tony then sees Elvira and asks if she considered his proposal but before she can say anything, Frank shows up and warns Tony to stay away from her, then they leave. As Manny and Tony talk, with Tony voicing his suspicions that Frank sent Mel after them, Tony notices Gina leaving with the guy and when he grabs her ass, Tony follows them. He finds them in the bathroom, with Gina having done some cocaine, and Tony throws the guy out of there and yells at Gina and ends up slapping her before telling Manny to take her home. As they are driving, Manny tries to explain Tony’s actions as just his looking after his kid sister and wanting someone better for her and Gina asks about him, as she knows Manny is attracted to her. Meanwhile, back at the club, two hitmen try to kill Tony but he manages to survive and kills them. Knowing Frank sent the hitmen, Tony calls Manny and Chi-Chi and they head to Frank’s office and, at gunpoint, force Frank to admit to ordering the hit before Tony has Manny shoot Frank, then he shoots Mel. Tony proceeds to take over Frank’s business, marries Elvira, and moves into a lavish mansion. As time passes, he starts becoming paranoid due to his using his own cocaine and starts pushing Manny and Elvira away. When Tony’s money launderer wants to charge him more money for the job, Tony decides to find another launderer but ends up being busted in a sting operation. His lawyer is able to get him off of the charges but says that the Feds will come back with tax evasion charges, resulting in 3-5 years in prison. Tony goes to see Sosa, who says he can help Tony get out of doing jail time but in exchange, he has to go to New York and kill a journalist who is trying to expose Sosa him. When he gets back to Miami, Tony tells Manny and Elvira that he is going to New York, but then blames Manny for his being arrested while also blaming Elvira’s drug use for her being infertile, causing a massive scene at the restaurant they were in. Tony and two of his men head to New York with Sosa’s man, who plants a bomb under the reporter’s car. The next day, they are preparing to blow up the car but when Tony sees that the reporter has his wife and kids in the car with him, Tony refuses to kill him with his family and ends up killing Sosa’s man when he tries to go ahead with the deal. Tony calls Manny to check on things but learns that Manny isn’t there and that his mother has called saying Gina is missing. When Tony gets back to Miami, he immediately dumps out a mound of cocaine on his desk and snorts it, then talks with his mother and tells her he will stop by later that night. Sosa calls and is upset that the reporter lived but his brother had died and tells Tony he warned him what would happen if he screwed him before hanging up. Tony goes to see his mom and finds out that some man had been hanging around Gina and giving her money and she blames him for leading Gina astray. Tony goes to Manny’s house and he answers the door in a robe but when Tony sees Gina at the top of the stairs putting on a robe, he shoots Manny twice. Gina screams and runs towards Manny and cradles him as he dies, then tells Tony that they were married the day before and wanted to surprise him. Tony’s men grab him and Gina and take them back to Tony’s house but as they enter the gate, a group of Sosa’s assassins head towards the side wall and cut the security feed, then climb the wall onto the grounds. The assassins begin taking out Tony’s guards while inside, Tony starts doing some more cocaine before he is confronted by Gina. Gina says Tony just wanted her for herself and starts shooting at him, hitting him in the knee. As he tries to take cover behind his chair, one of the assassins scales the balcony and starts shooting into the room, killing Gina. Tony kills the assassin and as one of his men sees more assassins on the grounds, he yell to Tony that they have to leave. The assassins kill the rest of Tony’s men, including Chi-Chi, but Tony sees them gathering at the door and, grabbing a modified AR-15 with a grenade launcher attached to it, fires a grenade at the door, killing several of the men and then shooting the survivors. Tony begins attacking the assassins, though he is shot several times in the process and as he taunts the killers, the assassins’ leader, who had climbed up the rope on the balcony, sneaks up behind Tony and fatally shoots him with a shotgun, causing Tony to fall off the stairwell and into a fountain below.

Scarface (1983) met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Director Brian De Palma and star Al Pacino take it to the limit in this stylized, ultra-violent and eminently quotable gangster epic that walks a thin white line between moral drama and celebratory excess.” When director Brian De Palma submitted the film for a rating, the MPAA gave it an X, as well as the two recuts that De Palma submitted. When De Palma refused to make anymore cuts, he arranged a meeting with the MPAA and brought a panel of experts, including real narcotics officers, who said that it was ultimately an anti-drug movie and should be widely seen. The MPAA finally gave the third version an R rating but De Palma released the original version instead and didn’t admit to what he had done until after it was released on video months later. The movie was a mild box office success, earning $65.9 million off of a $25 million budget.

So I will admit that while I do think this is Pacino’s best role, this is not the best movie that he was in. Still, this is a classic movie and one that is worth seeing, though you might not be comfortable with some of the violence. Al Pacino was fantastic as Tony Montana, while Michelle Pfeiffer (Elvira), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Gina), Steven Bauer (Manny), and Robert Loggia (Frank) all turned in good performances as well. The story honestly seemed a little over the top at times but according to the narcotics officer that De Palma had speak about the film, it is a fairly accurate portrayal of what occurs in the drug underworld. That just makes it seem even more ridiculous because, to quote Greg Graffin of Bad Religion, “Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.” The special effects in the movie were pretty graphic, and as over the top as the final scene was, they were fairly realistic. A violent, sometimes offensive, and dark movie but one that everyone should watch at least once.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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