Little Buddy Review: ‘The Peanuts Movie’


                When I first heard that this film was in production I was hesitant to the point of having zero desire to see it.  My apprehension was that Hollywood would get its filthy hands mingled into another childhood favorite and pervert it.  Peppermint Patty would be a lesbian, a new gay character would join the group, bathroom humor, sexual innuendo and so on.  Those worries seemed false as I started to read reviews of the movie.  The ones that had liberals smashing it was the icing on the cake and I decided we would go as a family.  Was it worth it?

                Charlie Brown (voiced by Noah Schnapp) isn’t the most popular kid in school.  Despite all of his best efforts, he never seems to get anything right but fails miserably.  Yet he never gives up his desire to get things done, whether it is keeping his kite away from the kite eating tree or impressing other kids with the skills he does have.  When a little red-haired girl comes to the neighborhood, Charlie focuses on ways he can impress her with the help of his trusty dog Snoopy.  Yet it seems, the harder he tries, the harder it is he will ever get the chance to talk with her, let alone impress her.

                What an extremely impressive movie.  It impresses on every aspect, from voice acting to direction.  If Charles M. Schulz were alive today I believe he would be extremely happy with the end product his family was able to transfer to the big screen.  The animation is nostalgic and brings back many memories for those of us who grew up on the movies and holiday specials.  It is flawless and a welcome addition to what we have now, as it keeps the simplicity of what came before and it still affects the audience.  Each voice actor is downright perfect and brings a little something special to each character.  The addition to little nods here and there from past movies, specials and comic strips were fun to catch and I expect to find even more when I rewatch it on its initial home release.

peanuts movie still

                The biggest and strongest aspect of the movie is its simple theme and general desire to be wholesome and very family oriented.  You will not regret bringing your kid to this film.  My wife and I both agreed that we had not seen a movie this inoffensive and wholesome for years.  Charlie Browns actions throughout the movie are admirable and ones that should be applauded.  He is a perseverant character that never seems to give up.  When he is knocked down he gets right back up and still has the optimism to think that next time will be better.  From helping family over doing what you practiced and practiced doing to telling the truth when it will hurt you the most, this movie is wall to wall morally upright.  I can’t think of a better movie out there that would satisfy the entire family like The Peanuts Movie will.

               This is the movie to see this holiday weekend.

4 stars out of 4

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Mockingjay Part…Nope

mockingjay part 2 poster

                For those of you who still come back to this site from time to time, despite the lack of reviews over the last few months, and like reading my thoughts on film, you may wonder what I will think about The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.  Much like Noah last year, though not for the same types of reasons, I will not be seeing the conclusion to what has been a great franchise until it is free.  Maybe not even then, I don’t know.  The reasons for such a decision have been because of the star of the franchise, Jennifer Lawrence and not only her feminitiwit worldview, but now because of her anti-Christian bigotry and intolerance.

                Lawrence seemed like a different kind of star.  Raised by a loving and supportive family, Lawrence came onto the Hollywood scene with great fanfare and awards considerations.  Add to that, she seemed down to earth, very funny in interviews and gracious to fans.  Then something happened that started her route to becoming the typical Hollywood dingbat with a woe is me, feel sorry for my rich and glamorous lifestyle coward.  The first sign of this came when a year or so ago, some perverts hacked many a stars Icloud accounts and got numerous compromising photos of said stars.  Unfortunately for Lawrence, she was on that list of stars who liked to send naked pictures to people.  This was a horrible and despicable thing that happened to her and so many other women.  The problem was that Lawrence responded by saying what happened to her was like being sexually assaulted.  Granted what happened to her was awful, for a lot of people seemingly equating a nude photo to real sexual assault victims of molestation, intimidation or rape crossed a line.  I thought it was a ridiculous thing to compare, but I understood why she might have said it that way.

                The following year, the once relatable star decided to join admitted pedophile and beast who framed an innocent man of rape, Lena Dunham.  Lawrence went on to bitch and moanabout supposed discrimination and that men are big meanies in an open letter.  Then it was easily proven that, not only is she ridiculous, she can’t do simple math and that she actuallyearned more than her male counterparts.  Soon after this, she showed her cards again as not only ignorant of basic negotiation and mathematical skills but to be a political moron as well.  Saying she cannot support a party who doesn’t support women’s health showed that she is now fully in the bubble of stupid that is the limousine liberal.  Not wanting to slaughter a baby in the womb and then sell that babies body parts at a profit is not against women’s health.  But the rich feminitwits aren’t always the top of the logic or IQ chart.

                Finally, just last week, noticing she didn’t piss on everyone she disagrees with who helped make her the biggest paid star in Hollywood behind Robert Downey Jr., she corrected that oversight.  She decided to let her anti-Christian bigotry out and her desire to squelch free speech and the right to follow ones conscious by calling Christian’s pitchfork wielding devils.  Referring to us as “those people” my wife rightly put it when she texted me, “screw hunger games.”  For years I have unwittingly paid hard earned money on films that mock my faith and make sure to do so often.  Some people I can look passed their idiotic worldviews and enjoy a movie of theirs (Ben Affleck, Judd Apatow, among several others), but this one was too much for me.

                I love the Hunger Games franchise, as many do and thought that it just kept getting better with each entry, but this hard earned money won’t be going to the finale.  Yes, I know the loss of my wife and I’s twenty to thirty bucks won’t even register in what will surely be a hundreds of millions of dollars success, I’ll wait till I get to see it for free.  Possibly no more money at all spent to see a spoiled rich whinny white girl who is a bigot and hangs with admitted pedophiles who whisper in her ear that she is somehow being treated unfairly.  Ah well, it was bound to happen to her sooner or later.

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Review: ‘San Andreas’


                My dad would always say how much he enjoyed disaster movies.  He didn’t care what the disaster was; he just liked the spectacle of it, the special effects and the story of how to survive it all.  From the original Poseidon Adventure to Armageddon and everything in between he liked.  I was with him with it for a while, but then kind of got bored with it, especially after the science challenged Day After Tomorrow.  So, while the trailer for San Andreas intrigued me I just thought I’d catch it on Netflix someday.  Then a buddy wrote a Facebook post on how fun it was and so I thought I’d give it shot.  Was it worth it?

                Chief Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) is a helicopter rescue pilot who is about to take a short vacation to drive his daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) to college.  An earthquake in Nevada that demolishes the Hoover Dam changes his plans.  As he preps to go to Nevada he contacts his soon to be ex-wife Emma (Carla Gugino) when she tells him a big earthquake has just hit in Burbank.  Ray quickly changes his course to rescue her and happens to learn soon afterward that another quake has hit San Francisco and he and his wife try getting to her in time.  Blake has met up with two brothers and they all try to make it to higher ground so her father can rescue them and stay safe.  The San Andreas Fault makes each group more and more difficult, but they try harder to survive the escalating destruction around them.

                Yep, my dad would have a lot of fun with this film, just as I did.  The acting, at least by the three veteran actors is beyond what you would expect with this type of film.  Johnson gives a good performance as the loving father that has been through tragedy and wants it to never happen again.  Gugino gets the protective loving mother spot on and has a few great lines throughout the film, especially toward her dirtbag boyfriend.  Paul Giamatti, while seemingly out of place here, does a good job of being the character that explains what is happening to the audience as the story unfolds.  The rest of the cast is decent and Daddario is able to play a character that could easily have been annoying, well enough that you connect with her and what she is going through.  The special effects seem hit and miss with one too many scenes being overly noticeable how fake it looks.

                While those are pretty damning things for a film these days, it does not take you out of what is a good and a fun story.  Johnson plays a character that may not have a job that is relatable to most, but is playing a character that a lot can connect with and that is a loving father.  As chaos grows around him, his one thought is making sure his daughter and his estranged wife are protected.  He goes to great lengths (many of which do not seem scientifically possible) to reach his daughter after he saves his wife from one close call after another.  As we see the fear and courage of his daughter and the two characters with her, we also instantly connect to the fear and courage that the father and mother go through.  Selfishness is not even a thought (for the main characters at least) and instead its one act of courage after another.

                While not best picture of the year quality, it is one of the most fun films of the year.  The story is thin, which isn’t always a bad thing, especially in these types of movies, so you are able to just sit back and enjoy.  There is destructive violence, which at times even affected me, especially when it came to children.  Also, Daddario walks around with her stuff hanging out at every possible chance, so be aware of that.  Outside of that, enjoy the fun.

3 stars out of 4

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Quick Reviews

                Here’s a list of a few recent viewings I have gone through lately that I didn’t or didn’t want to review for whatever reason.  Hopefully I can give a short review that may peak your interests to either watch or pass on a film you might have been considering.  There can be a mix of newer/older movies with a few insights.

Terminator: Genisys

terminator genisys poster

                                I never understood the hatred for Terminator Salvation.  I thought it was a fun movie with some great action and inventive ideas.  I though Christian Bale was a great casting choice for John Conner and any film starring Bryce Dallas Howard is immediately made better by her presence.  The plot, while interesting enough and a fun idea, the execution seems not to fully have been thought through.  Emily Clarke is woefully miscast as the young Sarah Connor to the point of cringe worthiness every time she says something.  This could be the script or just bad acting, but when you are in a movie with Jai Courtney and he isn’t the worst thing about it, that’s saying something.  It’s the second half of the film that makes up for the choppy first half and makes it worth a watch if you were interested.  2 and ½ stars out of 4

Poltergeist (2015)


                Sam Rockwell, bonus.  Jared Harris, bonus.  Story and all around filmmaking, not so much.  Having not seen the original film yet (it’s in the ole Netflix queue), I assume it is far better than this one.  There is a very thin plot that is pretty much there to set up the next scare.  And those scares are predictable, boring and definitely not scary.  I’m hoping Rockwell had a contractual obligation to do this because he is better than this.  Stay far, far away from this film.1 star out of 4

Justice League:  Gods and Monsters


                Initially, after seeing the trailer for this, I had zero interest in watching the movie.  I watched it again and recognized Michael C. Hall’s voice for Batman and decided I had to give it a shot then.  For the most part I’m glad I did as I always liked the Elseworld stories for DC and this is very much one of those.  Batman’s a vampire, Superman was raised by illegal aliens; other minor DC characters never got their powers and yet have parts in the story and so on.  If you are a fan of dc comics and these characters, give this a viewing and you could be pleasantly surprised.  2 stars out of 4

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Review: ‘Black Mass’


                Earlier this year I had posted a list of my favorite gangster films and noted that I had no idea where my fascination for the subject matter came from.  I’ve read many books on the subject, from biographies on key figures in the mafia to actual books on the police reports of the Valentine Day Massacre.  It was only in the last decade that I had heard the name James “Whitey” Bulger and that was all thanks to the behind the scenes documentaries of Scorsese’s The Departed.  I watched and read a few things about Whitey and found he was one evil guy that got away with a lot for a long time.  It’s actually surprising that this film hadn’t come out a lot earlier.  So how was it?

                James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) is an up and coming gangster kingpin in south Boston.  As he struggles to overcome the influence in his area of the Italian mafia, Whitey meets with an old neighborhood friend, John Connelly (Joel Edgerton), who is now an FBI agent.  John wants to form an alliance with Whitey to trade information and help each other out.  Over the next several years, Whitey was able to get the FBI to get rid of his enemies and keep him safe from getting arrested.  During this time his empire grew, as did his cold and ruthless nature when he was free to do whatever he wanted.

                While this may not be the return to form for Depp, he is still very good in his role playing an out and out evil man.  His tone, mannerisms and way he presents his character is at many times creepy and uncomfortable which is what we should feel when we watch him.  Edgerton takes a little while to really hit his stride as the fill progresses, but when he does he does a wonderful job of showing how his character deteriorates as the story unfolds.  Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Whitey’s Senator brother, is okay but I still couldn’t shake the feeling that the character was miscast here.  He is monotone and doesn’t really bring much to the table, but that could have also just been the way the character was written.  The rest of the cast, making up mostly of character actors, are all great and react off the main characters well.

                The look of Black Mass is one of its biggest pluses here.  The way the camera lingers over a scene to create more tension or to let the audience’s mind take it all in.  At times it feels like this is one of the few gangster films that want to make the audience really uncomfortable with what they are seeing and then remembering what they are seeing really happened.  The director, Scott Cooper, really has a gift for creating tension and getting a lot out of the actors he uses.  Another gift is that he is able to take some truly awful characters and make you actually feel for them when they are hurt.  When Depp’s character loses a child, I actually felt for the character in his sadness even though he is one of the most evil men to walk the earth.


                The movie is not just about Whitey Bugler’s rise to power and subsequent downfall, but about what an unfettered heart can truly be capable of.  It shows the complete and utter sinfulness of man at his very core.  Depp and Edgerton’s characters think they are untouchable and can do whatever they want, and they do.  But as their lies get more complicated and everything starts to unravel you see that that unfettered heart leads only to humiliation and nothing to show for it but misery.  There’s a great scene where Edgerton’s character is talking to the new DA and he can’t keep his story straight and the DA is able to trip him up.  It’s the beginning of the end for him and he knows it and no last minute scrambles to get him out of trouble will work.  Black Mass is a perfect example of the life of an unrepentant heart that leads to death.

                Black Mass, like most gangster movies, is not for everyone.  There are many uncomfortable scenes and a lot of language.  But if you are a fan of the genre, this one is highly recommended.

3 stars out of 4

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Little Buddy Review: ‘Cinderella (2015)’


               From the first moment I heard of this film I was hesitant in the desire to see it let alone give it a second thought.  Pretty much since the garbage fest that was Enchanted I have been very wary of the wave of reinterpretations for classic or beloved characters and stories to some god awful feminist drivel.  I thought that this would be another retelling of something that was once awesome to make it some overly hyped tough girl who doesn’t need a man story.  A story where the prince is an idiot and Cinderella will slap her sisters around and at the end she would end up being her own woman and tell the prince off.  But, I did need another movie to review and I thought this one, if I was right, would be fun to rip into.  So how did it turn out?

                A young girl named Ella in her early childhood grew up with wealthy parents who gave her unconditional love and inspiration.  After her mother’s death, when she is a young adult (played by Lily James) her father eventually marries a woman, Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchet) who lost her husband.  She brings her two daughter to the marriage and after Ella’s fathers subsequent death, the new family begin to treat Ella as a servant changing her name to Cinderella as she was prone to sleep in the ashes of the kitchen’s fireplace.  The prince (Richard Madden) of the kingdom has requested that all ladies of his kingdom of all walks of life join him for a ball where is supposed to pick a princess before his father’s death.  He does this in hopes that the girl he met in the forest and was smitten by right away will show up.  That girl was Ella and with the help of her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) she will be able to go to the ball and see the prince again.

                Kenneth Branagh is a phenomenal director when he does period films and he uses that skill to great effect here.  The film has the fanciful nature of the early Disney animated movies.  From the beginning you are caught up in the brightness and fun look of the film.  The entire cast is spot on in their roles.  It’s interesting to see characters from Downtown Abby and Game of Thrones together.  Lily James is pitch perfect as the naïve yet loveable Cinderella and brings her own beauty and charm to enhance the role.  This film is definitely a star making performance from her.  Madden is also great as the prince charming role and has some great chemistry with James.  Cate Blanchet, as usual, is perfect as the evil stepmother.  The rest of the cast is rounded out with some great character actors that bring humor and charm to the story, but the one out of place is Helena Bonham Carter.  She is the only actor who seems miscast here.  She does well but the way she plays her character just doesn’t seem to fit, but it’s a decent enough try.

cinderella 2015 still

                What Branagh did here respects the original classic Disney film and he should be commended for that.  Our overly PC and psycho feminist culture in America ruins what could be great movies and this one could have been yet another disaster.  Instead we are treated to a pleasant movie that brings up and encourages themes of chivalry, honesty and the desire to get out of your comfort zone to fulfill a dream while everyone else around you is working against it.

                Cinderella is a whimsical, refreshing in its presentation, charming and a call back to what made Disney great in the first place.  Innocence, love, honor, standing up for yourself, etc.  See this when you get the chance.

3 stars out of 4

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Review: ‘Trainwreck’

trainwreck poster

                For a man who is quoted on Starbucks bags and cups as asking people to be respectful to one another, Judd Apatow is disrespectful to the point of outright hatred for anyone he disagrees with.  Of course you can guess that that lack of respect is aimed at conservatives, pro-lifers, Christians, you know, the usual targets for dirtbag liberals who ignore and or make excuses for radical Islam.  The 40 Year-Old Virgin was a great film.  This is 40 was a great film.  Knocked Up was a horrible film, but these all have common themes throughout them that go against what Apatow believes.  Those themes are very conservative and somewhat Christian tin nature.  It’s hard to even desire to see a movie he is involved with because he hates people like me do specifically.  All that to say, I still gave Trainwreck a shot and it’s mainly because I think Bill Hader is very good in everything he does.  Does Apatow’s latest film show a positive look on the themes he so vocally hates personally or is this one that falls flat from first time screenwriter Amy Schumer?

                Amy (Amy Schumer) is a woman that doesn’t want to get tied down by relationships but wants to have meaningless sex with anyone she deems worthy, all while drinking and smoking weed to over excess.   While working at her magazine company, she is given the assignment to interview an up and coming sports doctor Aaron (Bill Hader).  What she didn’t expect was to actually start to fall for the doctor and she needs to come to terms that maybe she has been leading her life all wrong.

                Before we delve into the story we’ll quickly go over the acting and feel of the film.  As acting goes, Trainwreck has filled itself with some noteworthy performances and those mostly come from the supporting cast.  Schumer is fine and shows how confident she is in comedy but her character is very hard to like for most of the film.  Hader, not surprisingly, is one of the best parts of the film, giving a wonderful comedic performance that plays well off of everyone else who may share a scene with him.  The three great surprises came from LeBron James, John Cena and Tilda Swinton.  All three are surprisingly funny and keep up well with the rest of the cast which consists of mostly seasoned comedians.  Collin Quinn rounds out the main cast and is a welcome addition to the film as its resident veteran comic.  The film is bright, as most rom-coms are and flows nicely with hardly any boring down times that can sometimes hurt the genre.

trainwreck still

                For what it’s worth, Trainwreck is a paint by numbers rom-com that utilizes what has become the norm in today’s comedies of fairly uncomfortable scenes and everyone smoking pot.  Does this story fit the conservative and Christian values Apatow has shown in his films before?  To some extent yes.  During the course of the film, it is shown that having a promiscuous lifestyle is harmful to the people doing it.  Drinking and doing drugs is looked down upon.  Family and marriage is seen as something that is not only positive but something the main character comes to respect and might even want for herself.  In other words, once again, the guy who hates such ethical stances knows that to do the opposite, i.e. keep sleeping around, doing drugs and no big deal, isn’t going to make as much money.

                It pains me to say that Apatows latest directorial effort is a success even though it is a by the book, been there done that rom-com.  Its success has nothing to do with Apatow; it has to do with its writer and the cast, both of which carry the movie along on one funny and enjoyable experience.  Lots of swearing here and not appropriate for lots of people.

3 stars out of 4

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Review: “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’

rogue nation poster

                I apologize for the lack of reviews/articles here over the last few weeks.  My family and I have been moving into our new house and it has taken up a considerable amount of time as well as working more than full time during the week.  It also didn’t help that I was seeing movies that didn’t inspire any desire for me to write about.  I was finally able to sneak off to the movies in between unpacking boxes and building things to see the newest addition to one of my favorite franchises, Mission Impossible.  When the second film in a series of five is the weakest link and it’s still pretty darn entertaining, you have a franchise that is just one big cash cow.  After Ghost Protocol’s popularity around the world, it was inevitable that there would be another film and thankfully there was.  Was it worth it?

                Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and team have been working tirelessly to continue to protect the world form the evils that want to destroy parts of it.  Because of a disgruntled CIA chief (Adam Baldwin), the IMF agency has now been halted and its agents added to the CIA employee list.  Hunt, believing that he has finally found the leader of the “syndicate” has once again gone rogue to try and track him down.  He uses the help of Benji (Simon Pegg), Will (Jeremy Renner) and a possible double agent named Ilsa (Rebecca Fergusun) as both the syndicate and the CIA try to track him down.  Hunt and team must work together to take down a group that works as the opposite of their team, one that seeks to cause destruction and chaos across the globe.

                The Mission Impossible franchise shows completely no signs of slowing down.  This is a fantastic summer movie.  Like those that came before, the ensemble cast is all great.  Cruise is still great in his role and shows that even though he is 53, he can still draw in a crowd.  New cast member Fergusen did not look well in the trailers, but in the movie as a whole, she does very well in keeping up with Cruise and the rest of the cast.  Pegg and Renner, who fit well in their roles as pretty much the tension easers with their spot on humor as well as their ability to create well, rounded characters in this series.  Alec Baldwin is a great addition to the series which most always is the case when he is brought onto a film.  The films bad guy, as played by Sean Harris, is second best villain in the whole series just behind Phillip Seymour Hoffman of course.  But it’s not just the acting the draws the audience in.  It’s the action.

rogue nation still

                Ghost Protocol raised the bar extremely high for action scenes and even though Rogue doesn’t surpass it, it still all comes together for more than one “wow” scenes.  If you’ve seen the trailers then you already know there is the usual Tom Cruise being crazy doing his own stunts action.  There is also a great car chase sequence in the film that at times had my palms feeling sweaty.  The fisticuffs scenes as well as the gun battles are all top notch and seemed to be placed perfectly where they are for the pacing.  The set pieces and locations, as usual, look great with the water filled break-in being one of the best.  The action and pacing all fit well with the usual theme here, good versus evil and good doing everything it can to stop evil.  Simple and great when done right like it is here.

                Not a lot to be offended with here and this is another great summer movie this year.  Can’t wait for the next one.

3 and ½ stars out of 4

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Little Buddy Review: ‘Minions’


                Despicable Me was an out of nowhere franchise that has spawned one sequel and lots and lots of merchandise cash.  While I was not initially interested in seeing the film lots of friends and family members said it was great so I finally got around to watching it and loved it.  A few years later Despicable Me 2 came out and it was another winner.  So when news of a minion’s only movie would be made, there was no real surprise due to their popularity.  Is Minions a worthy addition to the franchise?

                The little yellow men known as “minions” have been around since the dawn of time.  Since their very beginning they were always in search of serving the most evil life form on the planet.  Throughout the ages they would always mess up in some way that would see their new evil masters depart until they found themselves alone and living in the arctic.  As boredom sets in, three minions named Kevin, Stuart and Bob are tasked with going out into the world and finding a new evil master to serve.  Through their adventure they come to Villain Con, a convention of all things villainous.  After mistakenly winning a test given to the crowd by Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock), they find themselves in her employ.  They find that their first job as Overkill’s minions is to steal the royal crown in England.

                The answer to the question, is Minions a good addition to this franchise is kind of iffy.  While it works well as a standalone film, I’m not convinced it needed to be done outside of the eventual cash cow it will be.  It looks great and has many laugh out loud moments.  The voice acting is all good.  Jon Hamm is one of the best parts of the film with his goofy husband to Bullocks character.  The three main minions are given enough difference to make it work as a small family trying to help the larger family.  The story though doesn’t seem to deliver in the end.  The beginning montage of who they served in the past seemed more interesting than what we end up with here.  There’s nothing overly offensive about the story it just needed heart which it doesn’t have and cuteness doesn’t make for a good substitution.

minions still

                I was very surprised there were several scenes that really shouldn’t have been in a children’s film.  Story wise I get why they are there, but I was really uncomfortable with my 4 year old son watching them next to me in a theater full of kids.  To give a few examples in case that gives you pause to take your own kids are the following two.  Early in the film, three of the minions are picked up by what seems like a normal happy family.  Within a few minutes, that same family, kids and all, put on ski masks, grab guns and rob a bank.  Another scene has one of the villains in a medieval torture chamber trying his hardest to hurt the minions.  I realize that both these scenes and any of the others are played for laughs, which is fine if it was targeted for an older group.  Thankfully my son didn’t really grasp what those scenes really meant, but it could spark some interesting conversations you may not really be ready for with younger kids.

                All that to say this is a decent film that could have been much better and has an unfortunate amount of inappropriate material for younger audiences.

2 stars out of 4

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Review: ‘Ant Man’

ant man poster                Last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy was a surprise runaway hit.  Marvel was able to take a more obscure title into a huge box office hit.  At the time of Guardians release, marvel had in development another obscure title called Ant-Man.  A project gestating for almost eight years under the brilliant eye of Edgar Wright.  At the time of production, Wrights project of love was no longer his but Peyton Reeds.  This usually means bad things for a movie but many still had faith that the film would be good mostly because of the star power behind it.  Would Ant-Man be a disaster without the direction of dedicated fan Wright or would it still be able to pack the surprise punch that Guardians was able to deliver to audiences around the world?

                Recently released from jail, burglar Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) wants to get his life together so he can be with his daughter.  After months of finding it hard to get or even keep a menial job, Scott finds out that his roommate, Luis (Michael Pena) has heard that there may be a job that will help keep him stable financially.  Scott breaks into the house of Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and opens a safe, not to find loads of money, but a weird suit that Scott takes.  After trying on the suit Scott finds that he can shrink down to the size of an insect and that Pym has planned this to recruit him to become the “Ant-Man”.  Pym and his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) want him to break into Pym’s old company and still a weapon Pym’s former assistant Darren (Corey Stoll) has created to profit of war.

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                While I was super hyped for and will always wonder what Edgar Wrights version would have been, this one went above and beyond what I was expecting out of a movie about this character.  The cast, down to the most smallest…heh… character is all spot on.  Paul Rudd backs off a bit from his improve genius to give a subtler humorous character than what he might usually play.  He is perfect casting for this character.  Michael Douglas is fantastic as the gravitas this film needed.  Get excited for that opening scene with him and the practically perfect CGI de-aging he has.  I was able to look past the fact that Evangeline Lilly plays one of the worst television characters of all time; she is more than up to the task here to play a somewhat bitter yet loving daughter to Douglas’ character.  Stoll brings menace to his character which I did not expect.  Maybe it’s because his character in The Strain isn’t an evil bad guy.  I think for Stoll, the shaved head was the way to sell it, beyond the crazy eyes he starts to give as his character becomes progressively crazier.  Last but not least is the always great Michael Pena.  He steals practically every scene he is in.  As for action scenes for Ant Man are worth the price of admission themselves.  They are both creative and exciting and bring something new to the table.  Its Scott Lang’s fight with a surprise character that is one of the best parts of the movie.

                As for the story, it is typical and if it was not for the actors playing the usually generic characters this movie could have fallen flat on its face.  Yet, like almost every Marvel movie before it there is the right amount of heroism, good versus evil and a character seeking redemption for the greater good.  Some have thought the father daughter scenario wasn’t needed or wasn’t done well but I disagree.  Over the last year or so, having a four year old has given me a little bit of a softer heart for those characters in films that play dads or want to protect kids.  So yeah, kind of got choked up at some scenes.

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                This was better than Avengers: Age of Ultron because of its humor, action scenes and story.  Ant Man is another great summer film that you can take your family to.  There are a few cuss words and maybe one scene that might freak out some kids having to do with incineration, but for the most part it’s pretty clean.  Marvel just keeps the hits coming.

4 stars out of 4

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