Michael Douglas

REVIEW: Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest after the events of Captain America: Civil War but soon he’s roped into helping Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lily) and her father Hank (Michael Douglas) who are attempting to travel to the Quantum realm in the hope to find her mother still alive.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is a visually dynamic film. It has fun with the whole concept of people shrinking and growing, and to make things different compared to the first film, it also has cars and even buildings shrinking to tiny sizes. The fights are innovative, and having Hope become the Wasp is great as she has wings and blasters, making her fights just that bit different to Ant-Man’s.

After the intensity of Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp is just a good action-comedy. Like the first Ant-Man film, Ant-Man and the Wasp has small-scale and personal stakes. Hope and Hank are desperate to find their lost mother and wife, Scott just wants to be a good dad to his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), and even the main villain Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) doesn’t have world-domination intentions, and instead has a personal stake in the Quantum realm technology Hank Pym has created.

It’s the brilliant chemistry from its cast that makes Ant-Man and the Wasp so much fun and enjoyable. The banter between Scott, Hope and Hank is great and the way they all work together, however reluctantly to begin with, is fun to watch. Scott’s ex-criminal friends Luis (Michael Peña), Kurt (David Dastmalchian) and Dave (T.I.) bring the jokes, with Peña stealing just about every scene he’s in. There is almost an abundance of characters. FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) is almost constantly watching Scott, and businessman Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) want the technology Hope and Hank have been building. There’s a lot of people after our main trio and one has to think that the film could’ve probably lost one antagonist and not lost much in the way of the actual plot.

Ant-Man and the Wasp isn’t ground-breaking but it’s fun. The many different types of familial relationships are what is at the films core and the action sequences are always entertaining. It’s just the sort of easy-watch summer superhero film you need after Infinity War. 4/5.

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REVIEW: Ant-Man (2015)

I didn’t write a review for Ant-Man when it was first released but it did make my Top Ten Films of 2015.

Recently released from prison, former-thief Scot Lang (Paul Rudd) wants to go straight so he can see his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) but those plans go awry when he meets Dr. Hany Pym (Michael Douglas) who needs Scott to pull off a heist to stop scientist Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from endangering the world.

Ant-Man is a great heist film. It follows a lot of the usual tropes seen in heist stories, training montage, a crew, plans going wrong, but it also has a super-suit that can shrink the wearer and give them a disproportionate amount of strength compared to their size. The special effects and sequences when Scott is the size of an insect are innovative and a lot of fun. The scenes where Scott’s going from big to small in a blink of an eye while fighting bad guys are well-shot and exciting.

While Ant-Man’s villain isn’t particularly menacing nor memorable, it’s nice to have a superhero film where the story is on the smaller scale and the climax of the film isn’t a potential world-ending catastrophe. At this films core are a group of characters who are trying to do the right thing, even if a lot of them are former criminals.

Speaking of former-criminals Luis played by Michael Peña is a great character. His stories are hilarious and every time he’s on screen he steals the spotlight because you can’t help but smile at his antics and mannerisms. Scott’s other friends are computer-hacker Kurt (David Dastmalchian) and wheelman Dave (T.I.) while these two have less to do than Luis, they still get their odd moments and are both fun characters.

A core theme of Ant-Man is the relationship between fathers and daughters. There’s Scott wanting to be the hero his young daughter Cassie already sees in him, and there’s Hank and his strained relationship with his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly). How Hank and Hope’s relationship evolves over the course of the film is great because they are forced to begin to understand one another.

Ant-Man is a funny, clever heist film with superhero elements. Scott’s a great down to earth lead and the way the story uses a miniaturised hero and a lot of ants makes for a very enjoyable film. 4/5.

REVIEW: Don’t Say a Word (2001)

dont say a wordPsychiatrist Nathan Conrad (Michael Douglas) is horrified to discover when his young daughter Jessie (Skye McCole Bartusiak) is kidnapped the abductors demands is that he break through a post-traumatic stress disorder suffering young woman, Elisabeth Burrows (Brittany Murphy), who knows a secret the abductor will do anything to get.

Don’t Say a Word is a tense psychological thriller that may be a bit simple at times but it makes it no less enjoyable. It is a slick looking film, with a great score and any chase sequence is well shot and easy to follow. While Don’t Say a Word can be a bit paint-by-numbers when it comes to a psychological thriller, it really does have a great cast who gives it their all – bar the bad guys, they really are cut-and-paste villains.

Jessie is a smart kid and her mother Aggie (Famke Janssen) is resourceful. Detective Sandra Cassidy (Jennifer Esposito) the police officer who stumbles into the kidnapping through a seemingly separate case, is smart and capable and doesn’t let the men in the force fob her off with excuses. I liked her even though she really wasn’t sure who to believe to begin with. The team of abductors is led by Patrick Koster (Sean Bean) who really is your typical bad guy that could walk from the pages of any thriller. He’s not particularly interesting, or that threatening, he just wants what Elisabeth can tell him. It’s the female characters in Don’t Say a Word who are more interesting and proactive in the plot.

Really the highlight of the film is Nathan Conrad and his relationship with Elisabeth Burrows. Elisabeth is suffering from PTSD but she is very smart and manages to fool a lot of other psychiatrists to think that she’s got many more problems than that. Elisabeth is a fascinating character and Brittany Murphy’s performance is brilliant. The way she can switch from one emotion to another so quickly is great but at the same time you can see how she is slowly starting to and wanting to trust Nathan and as much as trusting him will help her, she’s also scared to do exactly that. Nathan is great as obviously he will do anything to get his daughter back but at the same time you can tell he is a good psychiatrist who does care about his patient. How he gets through to Elisabeth is sometimes tough to watch but their chemistry really is great and elevates the film.

Don’t Say a Word is a thriller that may be a bit predictable sometimes but it really thrives on the relationship and chemistry between the two leads. 3/5.