A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Monday, April 18, 2016

Ant-Man (Peyton Reed, 2015)

Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd in Ant-Man
Scott Lang/Ant-Man: Paul Rudd
Dr. Hank Pym: Michael Douglas
Hope van Dyne: Evangeline Lilly
Darren Cross/Yellowjacket: Corey Stoll
Paxton: Bobby Canavale
Sam Wilson/Falcon: Anthony Mackie

Director: Peyton Reed
Screenplay: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd
Based on the comics by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby
Cinematography: Russell Carpenter
Production design: Shepherd Frankel
Film editing: Dan Lebenthal, Colby Parker Jr.
Music: Christophe Beck

The main reason to see Ant-Man is Paul Rudd, once again proving that casting is the chief thing Marvel has going for it in its efforts to capture the comic-book movie world. Like Robert Downey Jr. in the various Iron Man and Avengers movies, or Chris Pratt in his leap to superstardom in Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gunn, 2014), Rudd has precisely the right tongue-in-cheekiness to bring off a preposterous role, one that the end credits assure us he will be playing again. Rudd, whose quick wit is known from his talk show appearances, also had a hand in the screenplay, which was begun by Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish and revised and finished by Rudd and Adam McKay. For once, a comic book film is better before the CGI flash-and-dazzle take over -- the concluding portion of the film is a bit of a muddle, considering that most of the performers in the action sequences are ants. Indeed, the most impressive special effects in the movie are not the action sequences but the "youthening" of Michael Douglas, who is first seen as the much younger Hank Pym in 1989, looking much as he did in The War of the Roses (Danny DeVito, 1989), one of the films used by the special effects artists as reference. On the other hand, it has to be said here that Rudd doesn't look much older than he did 21 years ago in Clueless (Amy Heckerling, 1995).

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