Posts Tagged ‘evangeline lilly’

I like Marvel movies, I do, but they tend to stick to a certain formula when making its origin movies, or really making any movies for that matter. That being said there’s this undeniable force behind the movies that keep bringing me back time and time again: The movies have the ability to seamlessly blend humor, wit, charm, action, and amazing special effects. And they are always impeccable with the casting.

Marvel’s
ANT MAN

Directed By: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Bobby Cannavale,
Judy Greer, Patrick Wilson, David Dastmalchian, Anthony Mackie

ant-man-poster-1

So okay, the plot is a little iffy, the whole “rag-tag, Ocean’s 11, steal an important relic but not before a big training montage” has been done to death. And there are many looming plot problems that put the entire story line into question (but I won’t spoil it, lest it be like that time on Big Bang Theory when Amy ruined the entire plot of Indiana Jones for Sheldon). Plus there’s a complete lack of a big female presence thing, except for Evangeline Lily who is awesome, but could really use another woman to talk to.

However, despite all these things there is one big thing in Ant Man that makes the movie worth watching even if none of the rest interests you. No, it’s not Paul Rudd’s undeniable self-deprecating charm, it’s not the incredible attention to detail in the “shrinking” special effects (that bathtub scene is so awesome), nor is it the awesome action sequences such as Hawkeye and Ant-Man battling it out. The thing, or rather person that makes Ant-Man worth watching is Michael Peña.

Michael Peña plays Luis, Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) partner-in-crime friend. But Peña manages to take the terms “goofy sidekick” to a whole other level. Luis is full of joy, even if things are going absolutely terrible in his life. Perpetually stoned, everything that comes out of his mouth is hilarious. But the thing that works is that you don’t write Luis off as just a goof-ball, you genuinely like the dude. And that is the genius of Michael Peña. Luis is not just comic relief, he’s much more.

AAAGGHHH! The Latino actor reacts pretty much how everyone reacts when they see a bug on their shoulder

We have to remember Ant-Man is the origin movie. It’s the TV equivalent to a pilot meaning there is room to grow. Now that we know the characters, now that we know his backstory, we can be launched into some exciting adventures. I can’t wait to see Paul Rudd and Ant-Man integrated into the MCU, Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers. Because we all know that the Marvel movies work best when all their characters are together.

Rating: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

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Many of the same issues I found with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I still find with this new installation. While Desolation of Smaug is clearly the better movie, I felt it was still missing the magical and enchanting charm of the Lord of the Ring Franchise.

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Orlando Bloom, James Nesbitt, Ken Stot, Stephen Fry


The-Hobbit-Desolation-of-Smaug-Poster

Premise: Desolation of Smaug picks up where the first movie left off. The gang is still on their quest to reclaim Erebdor, but now being persued by Azog and his Orc gang from An Unexpected Journey. After escaping the Orcs with the help of the elves, they enlist the help of a man named Bard to sneak them into the town where descendants of Thorin Oakensheild’s people reside. With the town’s help they finally make it to the mountain in search to steal back the Arkenstone from a dragon named Smaug who took over the mountain long ago.

I loved The Lord of the Rings Franchise. After Return of the King was released, my friends and I built of fort out of couch cushions and blankets and watched all three back to back to back –the complete 4+ hours extended version. (I was in college FYI, so yeah, we were super cool.) But that’s how into the series I was. Unfortunately, I don’t feel the same about The Hobbit series. It’s a letdown. Okay, so the special effects are amazing, the visuals and the production design and just the vastness of this massive world is really quite an extraordinary feat, but yeah, as a movie: It’s a letdown.hobbit-desolation-smaug-trailer

 

Ending this movie on such a major and important cliffhanger did the movie a great disservice. It made the audience…ok well me…feel as if the rest of the movie were pointless. I understand that the movie is one book split into three parts, but I feel like it still needs to have a beginning, middle, and an end. Even if that ending is a cliffhanger. Harry Potter split Deathly Hallows into two parts, and I felt as if it ended at a good spot, where I was satisfied with the movie on its own, and yet salivating for the rest of it. (Then again, my bias can’t be trusted since I’m also a bigger fan of Harry Potter than I am this LOTR/Hobbit series.) Bilbo, Gandalf, and their dwarf friends travel to a mountain in to steal back the Arkenstone, but instead find a dragon. Everything in the movie leads up to the dragon then…end scene. Seriously? I’m as big of a fan as any at screaming WTF the second the screen cuts to black (re: LOST became the master of that. Scandal has no too.), but it just wasn’t satisfying. That’s like a movie ending mid fall after the main character falls off a cliff.

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That being said, Desolation of Smaug was far better than the first movie. I love the incorporation of the elves. I enjoyed the love triangle between Kili, Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and a female elf named Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly). I adored the dwarves great escape in wine barrels down a river, and the dragon vs. Bilbo scene was pretty excellent. Just give me more to hold on to. I couldn’t describe this movie to you without looking up the premise once again. And that’s bad. Also, Bilbo still isn’t as charming as Frodo.

 

Rating: 3 Stars

 

 

PS: I will show up for the final piece to the trilogy, because seriously, who doesn’t want to watch a dragon terrorize people?

 

 

 

 

This movie proves it IS possible to make an engaging, engrossing movie with a good story and lot of heart, involving robots that kick each other ass. Reel Steel is the movie Transformers could and should have been.

 

Reel Steel

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lily, Dakota Goyo, Anthony Mackie

Reel Steel is one of those movies that will leave you with warm fuzzies about it. There’s nothing too complicated about it and it doesn’t try and be something it’s not. Sure aspects of it are about the pretty pretty toys and fancy technology, but there’s no overall evil force, there’s no real villain. It’s about the underdog. It’s about a father reconnecting with his son. It’s about a man trying to find what makes him happy and…It’s about robots that kick each other’s ass. How would any of that NOT appeal to you?

I wasn’t sure at first how I felt about Hugh Jackman as Charlie. He didn’t quite fit into the role, but once his son, Max (Dakota Goyo), came into the picture it was like all was right with the world and I think both the Hugh (the actor) and Charlie (the character) felt the same way. Something just clicked.

The movie takes place in a time where people thirst for violence and money making opportunities only with no loss of life. Thus, humans built robots to fight to the death. Charlie, who makes his living fighting robots for money, learns the mother of his child has died. He agree to give-up his parental rights to the kids aunt, but the uncle has a problem…He wants to take his wife to Spain for two months. Without the kid. So Charlie agrees to “watch” his “son” for a price of course.

It was always inevitable that the pair would fall for each other, and as much as Charlie fought it, he did have natural father instincts. Hugh Jackman played Charlie just right, a little cocky, a little selfish, and very reckless, but once Max came into the picture the layers began to peel away.

The robot action was no disappointment either. It somehow managed to blend “old school” with “new school.” I appreciated that they used a boxing ring for their matches (like the rock ‘em sock ‘em robots) rather than some uber-sleek, shiny futuristic arena. It was completely believable to me. I really think a couple decades from now we will be watching unmanned robots kill each other. I mean have you seen the X-Box Kinect? We are super close.

Overall, this movie had a lot of heart and there’s a David and Goliath ending that is truly fantastic. Hugh Jackman also has a wonderfully inspired moment at the end that brought tears to my eyes. Michael Bay take note! You can have a successful movie involving ass-kicking robots!

Rating: 4 Stars.