Marvel.com has released 12 new images of their upcoming film Ant-Man. The images include the suit design for Yellow Jacket and a couple behind the scenes images of star Paul Rudd and director Peyton Reed. Ant-Man hit theaters July 17 and stars: Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, Evangeline Lily as Hope Van Dyne, Corey Stoll as Darren Cross/Yellow Jacket, Haley Atwell as Peggy Carter, and John Slattery as Howard Stark. The film also features: Judy Greer, Bobby Canavale, Michael Pena, Wood Harris, Jordi Molla, T.I., and Martin Donovan.
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, Jena Malone, Maya Rudolph, and Martin Short.
As the Grateful Dead would have said: “What a long, strange trip it’s been”. That might well sum up ‘Inherent Vice’, the new movie directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, based on a novel by Thomas Pynchon. It is a story based in early 1970 in coastal California during the middle of the seedy drug culture and after the Summer of Love.
“Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) is a stoner, a shrink and a Private Detective. His last job gets him involved with some flaky and bizarre happenings. His prior girlfriend, Shasta (Katherine Waterston) fears that her new boyfriend has come into foul play. He is a rich land developer with a wife ready to mourn if he is kidnapped and killed. She has a blank veil and a black bikini at the ready.
Doc investigates his ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend’s “missing” status, but he is soon found at the scene of a murder. He has a run-in with L.A. police Detective “Bigfoot” Bjornsen. Bigfoot decides that Sportello was too whacked out to do the murder, so he leans on Doc to help him with cracking a drug ring. Doc finds out something about a mysterious “Golden Fang”. Doc gets some more information from his current girlfriend, Penny Kimball (Reese Witherspoon) who is in the District Attorney’s office
Doc gets a new request from and old friend Hope Harlingen (Jena Malone). Her husband, Coy Harlingen (Owen Wilson) cannot be found. He and Doc go way back, toking up and surfing for many years. Coy might be dead, or he might be on the run. Doc sees him on the news when Coy shows up at a radical political rally. He might might have gone underground and went to extremes.
Doc also meets with his lawyer, Sauncho (Benicio del Toro) who tells him what he knows about the Golden Fang. It is supposed to be a China drug cartel that sends a secret ship into the docks at night to unload drugs. But later, Doc meets Dr. Rudy (Martin Short), who is an orthodontist. He explains that the Golden Fang is merely a top-level group that works with dental professionals.
Doc has many run-ins with some oddball characters. Many people disappear for a while, and then they reappear. He gets plenty wasted every day, getting into tight spots and then getting out of them. He has some wild 60’s outfits, and wild hair and bushy mutton-chop sideburns to match. He feels right at home being high and in a confounded state.
The whole thing is long and confusing, but Joaquin Phoenix is perfect as the befuddled stoner private detective. Josh Brolin does a very good job as Bigfoot, but there is not much for him to do. Many of the actors are OK, and there are none that stand out that much. Katherine Waterston does a very long scene naked (why?) and Martin Short looks older than he should be.
Paul Thomas Anderson has done many movies that have received critical (and fan) acclaim. Such as ‘Boogie Nights’, ‘Magnolia’, ‘Punch-Love Drunk’, ‘There Will Be Blood’, and ‘The Master’. But here he seems to be slumming it. There are a lot of places where this could have been tighter or more consistent. Maybe 10 or 15 minutes could be eliminated without notice.
The plot could be considered a mash up of ‘The Big Lebowski’ meets ‘Chinatown’ meets ‘LA Confidential’ meets ‘The Big Fix’. The stoner detective aspect along with the period piece set in L.A. along with the huge shady land deal behind the conspiracy and a big group of oddball side characters, it all adds up to something that has been done before…
Length: 148 minutes
Directed by: Paul King
Staring: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman, Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton
‘Paddington’ is based on a series of English books about Paddington Bear. There are times when a translation of a cute kid’s book to a cute kid’s movie makes a belly flop. After all, what can you do with a little brown bear that comes to England and gets taken into a family by the name of Brown? This could be a disaster, bear-ly tolerable.
But it all does turn out well in the end. Despite a few over-the-top scenes (a flood of water down the stairs?) and some too obvious endings (will Paddington really fit in with the Brown family?), this is an enjoyable and a clever little movie for the whole family. Children will like the antics of the little bear, and the parents will be amused by some clever sight gags and a few funny Rube Goldberg type situations. Paddington Bear is a CGI creation that looks good and fits in well with the flesh and blood actors.
Somewhere in the jungles of Deepest Peru, there came an English explorer. He meets up with two native bears, Uncle Pastuzo (Michael Gambon) and Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton). The bears learn to love all things English and they pass this to the bear cub Paddington. After a bad earthquake, Paddington (Ben Whishaw) leaves to find a new home in England. He packs up Aunt Lucy’s marmalade and sets off on a new adventure.
He meets the Brown family at Paddington Station (from whence he gets his name). Henry Brown (Hugh Bonneville) is a grump who wants nothing to do the three foot ball of cuteness. Mary Brown (Sally Hawkins) and the two kids want to take him for a while. They have a house cleaner, Mrs. Bird (Julie Walters) who thinks that Paddington will fit in just right.
There is a creepy neighbor who dislikes Paddington. Mr. Curry (Peter Capaldi) wants the bear gone before Paddington ruins the housing values! Mary Brown takes Paddington to see Mr. Gruber (Jim Broadbent) who is an antiques dealer. He finds Paddington has a very unique hat. It originally belonged to the English explorer. Paddington goes to find the explorer and gets into many “situations”.
The explorer has passed away, but his daughter Millicent Clyde (Nicole Kidman) wants to find Paddington and stuff him for the museum. She is cruel and deceitful, but also over-the-top and partially crazy – just the kind of villain a kid’s movie needs. She is about to get her way, when… well, not to spoil the story, but there is a happy ending.
For a kid’s movie, this is pretty entertaining. The CGI bear is done well, the visuals are nice mix of reality by the way of whimsy. There a few really good visual jokes, for example the cabbie has a license plate of “CAB 81E” (looks at lot like ‘CABBIE’). Plus you get to see on the other side of the wall where a bunch of animal heads are mounted (hint – it is not more animal heads!).
Sure, it is not ‘The Lego Movie’ or ‘How to Train Your Dragon’. It is almost like an English version of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’. The best thing about this movie is that your kids could watch it and have fun, and you could also watch it (and not want to tear out your eyeballs).
Length: 96 minutes
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Staring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller
‘American Sniper’ is the story of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL team sniper who served four tours in Iraq. This was during the worst fighting in that war, and the things Kyle saw and did had a deeply disturbing effect on him and his family. This is shown in lucid detail in this movie.
Based on Kyle’s own book of his experiences, it is very supportive of the U.S. troops and the war effort. But at the same time, it shows in graphic detail the blood and death and destruction of the fighting. It has a tone of being pro-military and supportive of the soldiers at the same time that it puts on display all the atrocities of war, showing the darkest side of all.
Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) is a down-home Texas boy, drifting through his life. His younger brother Jeff looks up to his older sibling. But after 9/11, Kyle sees a new purpose in his life. He needs to protect his family and country. The only way to do that is to be in the military.
He becomes a Navy SEAL and is assigned to be a sniper, because of his ability to shoot straight and on long targets. He soon meets Taya (Sienna Miller) and they marry. Kyle is off to Iraq, where he and his rifle become legends. He serves his time protecting the Marines as they fight door-to-door. His accuracy saves countless lives, and Kyle feels good.
But the tours of duty go on and on. He and Taya have a child, and then another. He is never there at home when he serving overseas. Taya is frustrated that Chris will not talk about what is bothering him. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) has become a part of Chris Kyle’s life.
On his final tour he has a chance to make a deadly acquaintance with a Syrian sniper (once in the Olympics) who has been taunting Kyle all these years. Kyle aims his deadly shot, and the Syrian sniper is no more. However, Chris Kyle has just given away his unit position to all of the armed rebels and terrorists in all of Baghdad. The resulting firefight is long and protracted, and his unit is under siege for a long time.
When Chris Kyle does make it home, he is despondent and unfulfilled. His life was serving and protecting his family from afar, over there. He finds it hard to make an adjustment. He finally sees that he can continue to serve and protect other soldiers, but not by being a sniper. He becomes a mentor and friend to all returning warriors who have been injured. He takes them to a shooting range to challenge them to overcome any obstacle.
With a tragic outcome, Chris Kyle was shot and killed by a troubled fellow veteran that he was attempting to help. Chris did not live to see his story played out in the screen.
Bradley Cooper has done an incredibly accurate job of portraying Chris Kyle. Cooper bulked up over 40 pounds of muscle, with strength and agility to show the dedication of Kyle. Cooper studied his speech pattern and the way he moved and behaved. His work in this movie is amazing.
Cooper turns Chris Kyle into a dedicated and devoted soldier. Playing a man who could kill from a great distance, yet knew the times to remain calm and not jump into revenge. Cooper does a convincing job to show the “1000-yard stare” that many people have when shell shocked. He is strong in his opinions, and he loves his family, yet he wants to be in the middle of the action, not at home.
Clint Eastwood has done very sturdy job at creating the world of Chris Kyle. He makes it a believable world that goes between state-side and the dark alleys of Sadr City in Iraq. Eastwood takes a no-nonsense approach to give the story a wide range of emotions. First it rings a bell of patriotism, but later the bell fades slightly into an echo of weariness and retreat.
Was the man a true legend, or was he a tool of the imperialist American government? Perhaps you only need ask one of the soldiers who was saved because an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) was NOTplanted in the roadway, thanks to Chris Kyle.
Length: 133 minutes
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (review)
Director: Peter Jackson
Staring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Billy Connolly, Stephen Fry, and Ryan Gage
SPOILERS BELOW! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
This the final movie of a trilogy based on book (by J.R.R. Tolkien) that was a few hundred pages long. Yes, there is some padding of the story, but mostly it is the final chapters of the Hobbit saga. Anyone who has not seen the first and second movies should prepare to be confused…
What has happened in the first two movies:
A Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is approached by the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to be part of a group of Dwarfs, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) to reclaim the fortress in the Lonely Mountain. On the journey there, they fight Goblins and Orcs, and meet up with the Woodland Elves, led by Thranduil (Lee Pace). They also meet other Elves, Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly).
After a couple Disneyland-ride-like escapes, they arrive in Lake-Town and meet Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans). The Dwarfs enter the fortress, which is guarded by a dragon named Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). The dragon is hoarding all the gold and jewels and attempts to kill the intruders. The dragon gets loose and is about to destroy Laketown, which is led by the Master (Stephen Fry) and his lackey Alfrid (Ryan Gage).
Cue the Final Chapter of this Trilogy…
Smaug comes to destroy most of Lake-Town. The residents flee as Bard tries to hold off the dragon. He is able to slay Smaug, but the damage has been done. The people of Laketown go up to the entrance of the Dwarf fortress and ask for help. Bard had made a pact with Thorin to help the Dwarfs on their quest, and now the people need his help. Thorin, once enthroned on the seat of power ruled by his forefathers, refuses to give any assistance. He has been taken over by the ‘dragon fever’, the insatiable need for riches.
Meanwhile, Gandalf is being help captive by the head Orc named Azog, and his son Bolg. He needs help, and it comes in the form of the leader of the Elves, Elrond (Hugo Weaving), Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), and the Wizard leader Saruman (Christopher Lee), They are attacked by the evil Sauron (Benedict Cumberbatch – again), but Sauron is defeated and sent to Mordor (and to another Trilogy).
At the Lonely Mountain, the Dwarfs are holed up and isolated, and Thorin keeps searching for a powerful jewel called the Arkenstone. They block the entrance and tell the Laketown people to leave. But soon the Elves, led by Thranduil, come also looking for treasure that was stolen by Smaug and is now in the fortress. They attempt to reason with Thorin, who will have no part in sharing (or caring).
Bilbo is troubled by this, since he had found the Arkenstone and he is hiding it. He gets out and meets with Bard and Thranduil, so that can bargain with Thorin for what they need. Thorin has sent word to his kinfolk, and his cousin Dáin Ironfoot (Billy Connolly) arrives with a Dwarf army. There is a big battle brewing between the Dwarfs, the Elves and the Free Folk (humans).
But Galdalf appears on the scene with bad news. Orcs and Goblins have joined forces to attack the Lonely Mountain and take everything. The Dwarfs must work with the Elves and the Free Folk to defeat a much bigger enemy. Looks like the making of ‘Five Armies’.
And what a battle it is! For good chunk of the movie, there are fights on all fronts, with Dwarfs taking on Orcs, with assistance from Elves. Free Folk take on Goblins and Orcs, where Dwarfs are fighting with them, and Elves are also helping. The main Orc Azog is high atop a peak, over a frozen waterfall, leading the mayhem and destruction. Thorin and his sons, along with Bilbo, sneak up there to stop him. There are some major fights between Orcs and Dwarfs on the peak, and a big one-on-one fight on the frozen waterfall between Thorin and Azog. In major battle, not everyone survives…
The movie is beautiful to behold, seeing all the lovely scenery of New Zealand, I mean, Middle-Earth. The CGI creatures are rendered with artistry and precision. The battle scenes are spectacular. And the fight on the frozen waterfall is superb. The use of 3D did not diminish any of the action, which is unusual.
Of course, with so many characters and plot lines, there are quite a few of them that get the short end. Legolas is turned into a freakin’ video game character at the end, with a scene of him leaping up falling bricks in a tower that is collapsing. There are only the briefest uses of Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman, without much context as to why they are important.
The excessive padding of the original story leads to some of the cheesiest dialog. The lady Elf Tauriel has fallen in love with Thorin’s son Kili (Aidan Turner), and this story line leads to tragedy. It seemed a bit unnecessary, and bloats the run time (141 minutes).
But for the most part, this is a truly fitting end for the Trilogy. Even if Tolkien is rolling over in his grave, this is a fantastic piece of movie-making. All the acting is terrific, especially Richard Armitage as Thorin. He plays the character as a Macbeth-style flawed hero, suffering from his own demons of guilt and greed.
Now, what else did Tolkien write? Did he leave a grocery list that Peter Jackson will turn into a two-movie epic? We shall see..
Length 144 minutes
America was in need for a new style of car, and Ford Product Manager N. Frey and Ford Division general manger Lee Iacocca were the ones to bring it to them. 0-60 in 5.1 seconds, The Ford Mustang is one of the most popular cars to hit America, having the most successful launch in automotive history. During the first few years of the Mustang it was at a very affordable price, sporty looking, and had a nice performance. In 1994, theFord Mustang won Motor Trends Car of the Year award and from 1983 to The Mustang has come a long way in the past forty-four years, it is a very successful car, made by a dependable company, and can be customized to be the car for you.
Much of the Mustang was put together using parts that they already used on other cars, such as the Falcon. Sitting at 180 inches long and 68.2 inches wide, and equipped with a V6 Engine the mustang weighed about 2570 pounds. When ordering a Mustang you were able to choose from a list of equipment so you could customize your car to the way you wanted it. The Mustangs introduction to the United States was perfect, because it was released during the first years of the baby boomers generation. Iacocca repeatedly tried to get the go ahead to build the Mustang, and in 1962 he finally did.
The Design team of the Mustang only had 18 months to make the car and they finished well before that and under budget as well. Ford designers pretty much threw out the handbook on design limitation pushing some of the technology of the time to its limit. Even though a lot of parts on the Mustang came from the Falcon car, its body was completely different and had very good handling for its time. There were some big changes to the Mustang, only five months after it had been introduced. Ford completely changed the engine on the Mustang, making it faster and stronger, and eventually the designers came up with the now famous Mustang GT.
Some major Competition in the 1960’s was the Corvette, but Ford added a new man to the design team to help make a better Mustang and his name was Carroll Shelby. Carroll Shelby was determined to turn the Mustang GT into a racing machine to not only over power the Corvette but to put its looks to shame as well. The first car produced by this new team was the GT-350, a high performance car, with a 4-speed manual transmission, less hood, less car seats, and the road-racing look. With a new side exhaust and Shelby magnesium wheels, this new racing car would go from 0-60 in 3.4 seconds. After a few great years Shelby and Ford pulled apart from each other, but even today the teams 1967-1970 Mustang Models were the most sought after vehicle today.
The Mustang was a great success for Ford Motor Company, having annually sold 150,000 Mustangs the last few years. Ford never stopped producing Mustangs after 1962; in fact today they are still coming up with newer models and more upgrades. In 1966 the Mustang did not under go much change except for under the hood where the engine was replaced with an even more powerful one. In 1969, Ford Motor Company a new style of Mustang that was meant to be in Nascar. In that same year and 1970 the Boss 429 came out with the most powerful engine at the time, and was only available with a manual transmission.
The 1971 through 1973 models were produced under a new product manager for Ford by the name of Semon Knudsen, having incredible new engines and a great deal of horsepower. The public however did not like the new models of the Mustang and they demanded that it be turned back to the way it was. The 1974 Mustang was a very short live car, though it did make Motor Trends Car of the Year, but was heavier and slower. One of the major downfalls of the Mustang II that was built during these years was the fact that it could not support a V8 engine like the old Mustang used to be able to. However the Mustang II had some of the best sales in all of Ford Motor Company history.
Even through the unemployment rates going up and gas prices getting as high as $1.30 in the 1980’s; the Mustang pulled through and was still being produced by Ford Motor Company. The Mustang went under a complete body change in the late 1970’s and stayed that way until around 1993. The new body was called the Fox-Body and with it the there were new models of the Mustang. The SVO and SN-95 were two cars that came out with the new style of body for the car, and later the Special Service Package came out which was used by police in California.
Customizing of the car would cause the price to rise greatly, which made it profitable for the manufacturer and the dealer. Some of the different options you would have while customizing the Mustang were between 4-speed manual transmission and 3-speed auto transmission. These two different options are very different and would determine the power and strength of the car. There was a choice between a V6 or V8 engine, and in 1964 the K-code high performance engine was made available to the buyers. The k-code engine was an incredible but expensive item to add to your car, so expensive that only 7,273 out of the 680,992 Mustangs sold in 1965 had this particular engine installed. The list of additions to the Mustang that were available became very large throughout the history of the car.
The customizing of the car really depended on how much the buyer was willing to spend on the Mustang, and how they wanted it to look. A simple change in the engine from a stock V6 to a V8 could turn the street car into a racing dream. The Shelby GT-500 had an incredible racing engine pushing out 306 horsepower, making it much faster then the 1962 through 1964 models. The earlier models of Shelby cars were more race car like then the later ones built by Ford and Shelby.
There are two types of tops that can be installed on Mustangs, the convertible, and the hard top, which was better for the racing Mustang. The Mustang convertibles had different vinyl tops to choose from, and all Mustangs had different types of wheels and rims to go with the car. Turning the original Mustang into a Mustang GT was a $150 dollar option that included quick ratio steering, front disc brakes, dial gauges and fog lights. At the time power steering was new so it was an option that had just recently become available for the Mustang.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson says he will play a role in an upcoming DC Comics movie adaption but has yet to decide between superhero Shazam and his arch-nemesis Black Adam.
He may not have a hard time making a decision. He told The Associated Press on Monday that he has always been a fan of anti-heroes and said one of his favorite DC Comics characters isBlack Adam.
Appearing in Mexico City to promote “Hercules,” Johnson said he will make sure comic fans are not disappointed.
“I am putting my heart and soul and my bones into this role,” he said.
Johnson didn’t say whether his character will appear in the film “Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice,” which is scheduled to be released in 2016. Johnson has previously been linked to other DC roles such as: Lobo, Martian Manhunter, Shazam, Bizzaro, and Doomsday.