After a revolving door of directors and a revamping of scripts, Paul Rudd finally gets to bring Marvel’s smallest hero to life on the big screen. There’s no method acting to it. Rudd is Rudd, and his personality works in spades for this role that calls for parts doofus, parts nice guy and a slathering of smartass. The movie also takes on smaller stakes than its Avengers counterparts, which makes for intricate webbing in this universe. These minor stories work as an extended storyline to build into larger, team-up films. That’s what makes the character arcs so important here. These are pretty rich with Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas becoming equal parts in the hero lineup, while Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer and Michael Peña aid in giving Ant Man a flawed past to redeem himself. For a small faction of the Marvel Universe, it lifts a lot of weight and lightens the load with laughs – worth a watch.
Filmmaker Eli Roth is constantly cracking open new tombs in horror’s graveyard like treasure troves. He dug into the torture porn on the ’70s with his “Hostel” franchise and returned to the isolation of a cabin in the woods and a deadly epidemic in “Cabin Fever.” He took on classic monster tropes as an executive producer on Netflix’s “Hemlock Grove.” Now, he remakes the 1977 erotic thriller “Death Game.” The plot mostly revolves around Keanu Reeves, playing an architect and family man who answers a knock on the door on a raining night. At the door are two young ladies who initiate a weekend of seduction and torture. Lorenza Izzo (Roth’s wife) and Ana de Armas play the seductresses with vim and vigor. On the other hand, Reeves spends most of the film in various states of duh. Fans of Roth will find something to like, everyone else should let this one keep on knocking – pass.
“The Transporter Refueled”
Instead of paying Jason Statham some outrageous amount of money to return to the Audi for another sequel filled with unbelievable car chases and fight sequences, the studios opted to reboot “The Transporter” franchise and act like the original trilogy didn’t exist – fair enough. They cast Ed Skrein (“Game of Thrones”) as the new driver, and because every action hero needs his dad around, they hired Ray Stevenson as his father. They surrounded the actors with international hotties – Loan Chabanol, Gabriella Wright, Tatiana Pajkovic and Wenxia Yu. Sometimes, these ladies were trying to kill our heroes. Other times, they were trying to save them. They set the film in the South of France to give it a beautiful James Bond backdrop. The script called for Russian villains to say very cliché lines. Maybe, they should’ve left this one packed in the trunk, or better yet, you should act like this one doesn’t exist – pass.