Sunday, Dec 08, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 43 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




 

 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 13, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 28
Movie Reviews
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Ant-Man and the Wasp a breezily adorable good time
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
Now playing


It's been almost two years since Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), otherwise known as Ant-Man, went to Germany and assisted Captain America and his team against Iron Man and his supporters. After cutting a deal with the U.S. government he's been under house arrest since he returned to America, ordered to not have any contact with inventor Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) or his headstrong daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), a.k.a. the Wasp, both of whom are currently wanted by the FBI. But with only three days until his ankle bracelet is removed and he can go back to being a free man, Scott has an all-too-real vision of Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), Hank's wife and former crime-fighting partner, lost decades ago when she shrank herself past the point of no return and ended up lost inside the Quantum Realm.

Scott contacts Hank and Hope, leaving them a message about what he believes was a rather messed-up dream. What he doesn't know is that the two of them have been working on a plan to head into the Quantum Realm on a mission to see if Janet is still alive. Now, with this information from Scott, they think they're finally ready to put their theories into action. But unbeknownst to all of them they've been under surveillance by the mysterious Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), and for reasons of her own she wants access to the Quantum Realm, too. Stopping her from gaining untold power will require both Scott and Hope - Ant-Man and the Wasp - to set aside their differences and work together as a team, and there is no guarantee the two of them will be able to do it.

Transpiring at roughly the same time as the events depicted in this past May's Avengers: Infinity War, it will come as little surprise that Ant-Man and the Wasp is a far more lightweight affair than its Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) forebear was. Director Peyton Reed, who also helmed 2015's Ant-Man after picking up the reins when filmmaker Edgar Wright decided to depart, stages things with a playful exuberance that's easy to get caught up in. He and his large screenwriting team (which includes Rudd) have composed a scenario that, at its core, is rather adorable. While there is a life-and-death struggle at the center of all of this, in all honesty the stakes as far as this sequel are concerned are really rather low. It's all kind of silly, and considering the ways in which the film plays with perspective and size with such jovial high spirits it's likely this ridiculousness is completely by design.

I wish the movie did more as it pertains to Janet Van Dyne being trapped inside the Quantum Realm. It's like this entire subplot is just some massive red herring designed to pique the audience's interest and little else. While there's plenty of mystery as to what happened to Janet and what spending thirty-plus years inside the Quantum Realm might do to a person, it's clear Reed and company aren't interested in exploring any of that, at least not right now. Instead, it's all just some sort of vague mystery that holds emotional sway over Hank and Hope for rather obvious reasons, and it's a pity that it never meant all that much to me whether or not their plan would be successful and that they might be able to find Janet in order to bring her back to the modern world alive.

What I did like was the film's central antagonist, Ghost. She's not quite a villain. She's also unquestionably not a hero. Instead, she's a tortured youngster who was struck down by science-gone-wrong at an age before she could completely understand what had happened to her and why. Ghost's relationship with her only mentor and guardian is surprisingly affecting, and by the time things came to their rather foregone conclusion I truly cared if she was going to succumb completely to her dark side and become too dangerous an adversary for either Scott or Hope to be able to stop. John-Kamen is excellent, the young British actress making an immediate impression as she brings a level of introspective pathos to her performance that's wonderful. It's a shame the movie doesn't make more use of her.

Much like the first Ant-Man, Reed also makes sensational use of his primary cast, and not just Rudd, Douglas, and Lilly, the latter of whom once again steals just about every scene she's a part of with electrifying ease. Abby Ryder Fortson returns as Scott's smart-as-a-button daughter Cassie, her chemistry with Rudd as the pair mischievously engage in their father-daughter banter sublime. Michael Peña is also back as the fast-talking, story-telling Luis, and his obvious affection for the character can be felt in every single syllable he utters. Then there is Laurence Fishburne as one of Hank's former science partners, Dr. Bill Foster. This is an unusually strong and complicated supporting character, at least as far as the MCU is concerned, Fishburne delivering a heartfelt, movingly authentic performance I was utterly captivated by.

I'm not sure what Walton Goggins is doing here other than to add a layer of pointless danger to the proceedings that this sequel frankly doesn't need, while the less said about the ineptly written FBI agent Jimmy Woo that Randall Park is forced to play the better, his cloying comic relief neither humorous nor endearing. But I do still love the way Reed utilizes all of the visual possibilities at his disposal, the frequent changes in size and scale adding a layer of creative whimsy I couldn't help but love. There's also a great opening flashback with Hank and Janet that blew me away, and I can only hope that if Pfeiffer is signed on to appear in more of these MCU adventures she'll get to do more than flash that mega-star smile for what can only be described as a glorified cameo.

But I enjoyed Ant-Man and the Wasp, and I do adore the fact that, other than its requisite post-credit stinger scene, the whole story is one single self-contained effort that doesn't really require the viewer to know a heck of lot more about the MCU other than the fact that each story has a few superheroes in it. This is a breezy, fast-paced sequel that goes out of its way to provoke buckets of laughter and massive sighs of wide-eyed awe in pretty equal measure. It's a fun film, and other than that I have little more to say.


Explosively absurd Skyscraper a tower of farcical nonsense
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

SKYSCRAPER
Now playing


After a horrific tragedy takes a part of one of his legs below the knee, former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) is now a freelance security specialist who does risk and safety assessments for skyscrapers. As great as he is at his job, Will is still surprised when his former FBI teammate Ben (Pablo Schreiber) gets him a job to analyze the Pearl, a 225-story technological marvel of futuristic engineering overlooking Hong Kong, dreamt up by visionary industrialist Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han). After months of work, Will's now come to China to deliver his final report, his wife Sarah (Neve Campbell) - a brilliant naval surgeon who saved his life ten years prior - and twin children Georgia (McKenna Roberts) and Henry (Noah Cottrell) joining him on the trip.

What Will doesn't know is that it's all a trick. International thug Kores Botha (Roland Møller), an enforcer for a number of secretive criminal syndicates, wants something that Zhao has hidden inside the Pearl, and he'll do anything to get it. This includes setting the building ablaze while Sarah, Georgia, and Henry are all still inside and Will is offsite checking security protocols. With all of the fire prevention features inexplicably turned off it's only a matter of time before the building reaches the point of no return. But with his family caught in the middle of this maelstrom, Will is suitably determined to do whatever it takes to get them all out alive, and if that means tapping into the lethal skills that made him one of the FBI's best - skills he was hoping to never utilize again - in order to take down Botha, then that is exactly what it is he's going to do.

If nothing else, this new Towering Inferno meets Die Hard meets Taken meets The Fugitive bit of big-budget loopy Hollywood craziness Skyscraper is a terrific commercial for duct tape. Goodness gracious but does Will go through tons of the stuff, using it for everything from bandaging wounds to helping his bionic leg stay secure. Heck, at one point he even fashions a low-rent version of the high-tech climbing gloves Tom Cruise had to climb the Burj Khalifa in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. There's so much duct tape in this movie it wouldn't surprise me at all to find out the manufacturer was one of the primary financiers for the project, and I'm almost shocked the company didn't get some sort of on-screen presenting credit like Hasbro does for the Transformers and G.I. Joe adventures.

As for the rest of the thriller, it's as absolutely absurd as that synopsis likely made things sound. Writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber's (We're the Millers, Central Intelligence) latest is a big piece of slickly produced high-concept hooey that gets more ludicrous and less coherent as it moves along. The film is a giant epic overflowing in melodramatic action pyrotechnics that's even stupider and far more silly than I ever could have imagined it was going to be, a large part of me kind of thinking this was the whole idea right from the start.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Heck, for the first half or so I was totally onboard with just how ridiculous all of the shenanigans involving Will's quest to save his family trapped inside the Pearl was turning out to be. Even though I knew immediately who the secret bad guys were, there's something kind of magical in watching Johnson scale a massive construction crane so he can make a physics-defying leap 100 stories above the ground to get back into the burning skyscraper. It's the kind of vertigo-inducing theatrics gigantic screen multiplexes were built for, and Thurber stages many of the film's massive fiery set pieces with suitably thrilling aplomb.

But at a certain point the escalating absurdity just weighs things down to the point where the fun begins to wane. Unlike even pale Die Hard rip-offs like Sudden Death with Powers Boothe or Under Siege with Tommy Lee Jones, let alone superior ones like Speed with Dennis Hopper, the villains populating this story are either shockingly underutilized or frustratingly subpar. Møller, so terrific in A Hijacking and Land of Mine, is spectacularly unmemorable as Botha, and for large swaths of the story I almost forgot he was even a part of the action. As for the various other members of his team, they're just cannon fodder standing around to be taken out by Will in a variety of creative ways, none of them having a singular signature moment worth talking about. Only young Taiwanese star Hannah Quinlivan makes an impression portraying Botha's deadliest assassin Xia, but as she's purposefully kept on the sidelines for most of the narrative even her badass killer fails to make a lasting impact.

Look, Johnson could do the type of things asked of him here in his sleep, and the fact he throws himself into it all with such determined conviction - even if the character of Will Sawyer isn't all that far removed from the likes of Luke Hobbs (the Fast and the Furious franchise), Davis Okoye (Rampage), Beck (The Rundown), or so many other action heroes the actor has portrayed over the years - is honestly kind of commendable. More importantly, he has lovely chemistry with Campbell, the two sharing a number of authentically intimate emotional beats that couldn't help but make me smile. As for the one-time Scream superstar, other than resurrecting Sidney Prescott in 2011's excellent Scream 4 she's purposefully been pretty picky as far as big screen appearances have been concerned, choosing instead to tackle meaty roles on television in programs like 'House of Cards' and 'Welcome to Sweden.' As such it's nice to see Campbell back at it in a movie like this, and I appreciate that Thurber's script gives her far more to do than just be a stereotypical damsel in distress.

None of which matters because by the time things reached their conclusion I just didn't care about anything that was going on anymore. Thurber either needed to go for broke and create the most insane, over-the-top spectacle he could dream up or instead play things with far more intelligence and not treat the audience as if they only had half a brain and the attention span of a newt. At a certain point the increasing inanity of the situations Will and his family face become too incredulous to do anything but unintentionally laugh at, all of which makes Skyscraper a towering farcical misfire built upon a foundation of misbegotten nonsense.








Remembering Tab Hunter
------------------------------
Village Theatre announces line-up for 18th Annual Festival of New Musicals August 10-12
------------------------------
GreenStage 30th anniversary season kicks off July 13
------------------------------
Call for submissions: Village Theatre now accepting new musical scripts through August 3
------------------------------
2015 Seattle International Film Festival SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: An interview with Tab Hunter
------------------------------
SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Tab Hunter talks about his recent documentary, now out on DVD, Tony Perkins, Divine and Grease 2
------------------------------
Seattle Shakespeare Company's Wooden O free outdoor productions of King Lear and The Merry Wives of Windsor launch July 12 - Volunteer Park hosts performances July 14 & 15
------------------------------
Seattle Humane - Pets of the Week
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Ant-Man and the Wasp a breezily adorable good time
------------------------------
Explosively absurd Skyscraper a tower of farcical nonsense
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1707 23rd Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News 2018 - DigitalTeamWorks 2018

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News