Playing with Fire and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Andy Fickman
There are SO many movies that I needed to catch up on. I could have seen Midway, Harriet, Black and Blue, but nope! Given the opportunity to catch up on SOMETHING that might have had some sort of message or Oscar aspirations, I went with the John Cena family film. You may not agree with the choices I make, but I stand by them. ANYWAY! Mr. Cena hasn’t had quite the meteoric rise to stardom as his wrestling counterpart Dwayneson The Rockson Johnson, but his comparably sparse filmography is compensated with a lot of quality films. The Marine was a fantastic little B action film, he got a lot of praise for his appearances in Trainwreck and Sisters, and Blockers is an uproarious funny comedy with a lot of heart where he manages to hold his own against seasoned veterans such as Ike Barinholtz and Leslie Mann! Okay, he had a brief role in Daddy’s Home 2, but no one’s IMDb page is spotless. The point is that John Cena seems to be following the same trajectory as Daniel Radcliffe or even his wrestling contemporary Dave Bautista; people who have already made all their money and so they can be choosy and experimental with the roles they decide to take. The question then becomes, is there something in this Nickelodeon comedy about firemen watching a bunch of bratty children that rightfully drew Cena to the role, or is this a huge misstep for a guy who’s been savvy enough to avoid them for the most part? Let’s find out!!
Jake Carson (John Cena) is the head of a unit of Smokejumpers in the California wilderness; saving lives, looking cool, and never wavering from their sense of duty! Cena in particular has a bright future ahead of him as the current Commander of the state’s Smokejumpers (Denis Haysbert) is looking to retire soon and Cena is on his short list, so all he has to do is make sure his firehouse located deep in the forest is ship shape and ready to impress! With his faithful crew of Mark, Rodrigo, and Axe (Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, and Tyler Mane) working hard to keep things in order, there’s no WAY he’ll blow this opportunity… right? Well as it turns out they get a call about a burning cabin in the woods where they find three children, Brynn, Will, and Zoey (Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery, and Finley Rose Slater), unharmed and yet without their parents nearby. Since Jake and his crew were the first on the scene, it is incumbent upon them to keep these kids safe at the firehouse until their parents turn up which turns out to be no small task for the rigid and humorless Jake who soon learns just how easily he can lose control of the situation! Can these four smoke jumping superhero dudes survive a weekend with three bratty kids? Are they REALLY this obnoxious for seemingly no reason, or is one of them actually scheming behind their backs and looking for the right opportunity to strike? Seriously, if you were caught in a fire and needed rescuing, wouldn’t you want these guys to do it? John Cena, Obama’s anger translator, Luigi from the Mario Bros movie, and the guy who played Michael Myers?
Halloween and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by David Gordon Green
It’s finally judgement day for the movie that certainly has a lot of hype behind it, but has left me rather skeptical. I mean look, I love the franchise but the last three movies were two wild as heck romps through the mind of Rob Zombie and a karate match with Busta Rhymes, so even if this isn’t all that great it still has a PRETTY low bar to clear as far as making a faithful return to the original formual. That’s not what we want though, right? That’s not what’s been promised to us! John Carpenter is producing, Jamie Lee Curtis is back, and they even managed to get one of the original Michael Myers actors to return to the role! This isn’t just A Halloween sequel, this is going to be THE Halloween sequel; even more so than the one Carpenter and Debra Hill wrote! The expectations surrounding this movie is absurdly high which means we’re either gonna see something just as great as everyone promised it would be… or we’ll have another Texas Chainsaw 3D situation where it was all hype and zero payoff. Can Jamie Lee Curtis and company give this franchise the proper sendoff it deserves, or were we better off just letting H20 be the final entry in her story and just pretending that Resurrection didn’t exist? Let’s find out!!
Nearly forty years after that fateful Halloween night where Michael Myers (Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney) escaped and murdered five teenagers, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is still dealing with the scars that Michael left and has spent her whole life preparing for his return. She got a place out in the woods to turn into a survivalist fortress, learned how to use all sorts of weapons, and just sat there waiting which she proceeded to do for four decades. Admittedly a good idea if we want to see a badass battle to the death, but not so much when it comes to her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) who spent a good chunk of her childhood with Alternate Sarah Connor and just like John she got her ass hauled off by the state to be left with parents who will help her with her homework instead of teaching her thirty ways to sever a juggler. All that’s in the past though, right? Well Karen is certainly STILL in Haddonfield, but despite living within a short commute of her mother she still refuses to get involved with her, and now her own daughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) is in high school… just like Laurie was when Michael Myers came to town! Well that CAN’T just be a coincidence, now can it!? Sure enough, Michael escapes from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium just like he did in the first one and it just so happens to be Halloween night. You’d think that if they were gonna transport him to another sanitarium that they wouldn’t do it on the anniversary of his TWO murder sprees (remember, he killed his sister on Halloween night when he was just a little boy), but I guess that wouldn’t fit in with their schedule and there was no room in the budget for another trip! Now with Michael out in the streets of Haddonfield one more time, Laurie is determined to see him put in the ground once and for all and can finally rid herself of this nightmare that has plagued her for the last forty years! Will Laurie be able to survive one more night against the silent killer in a goofy mask? Was all this preparation worth the effort, or has she already lost more trying to protect everyone than she may lose tonight? How many bad ass one liners do you think she came up with while training for this night?
Ant-Man and the Wasp and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Peyton Reed
The first Ant-Man is easily one of my favorite Marvel films and has always felt like an outlier in the MCU because (incoming pun VERY much intended) it knew the value of going small. The fate of the world wasn’t at stake, it didn’t involve Gods, Kings, or vast armies of convenient cannon fodder; rather it was a heist film about a guy who basically just needed a job and got wrapped up in a while bunch of sci-fi nonsense! It was fun, it was light, and it didn’t have the weight of a dozen other films dragging it down which, given my lukewarm reception to the more recent BIG TEAM UP MOVIES, is just the kind of Marvel film I could really use right about now. Seriously, I couldn’t IMAGINE a better time to make a goofy palate cleanser than in the wake of Infinity Bore which I’m STILL feeling rather grumpy about and could certainly use something like this to take my mind off of it. Does this manage to be the perfect antidote to the overly serious and bombastic Avengers film that preceded it, or does the specter of that film loom large enough over the MCU that even THIS series cannot escape from its massive shadow? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins in that period between Civil War and Infinity War where The Avengers are basically split up but no one is all that freaked out about it. Spider-Man is doing his thing on the East Coast, Black Panther is dealing with his kingly duties in Wakanda, and it turns out that Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has been doing… nothing. Yeah, it turns out that after helping Captain America in Civil War and taking a plea deal with the US government, he’s under house arrest and hasn’t been doing his Ant-Man thing in a while; especially since the Sokovia Accords (ugh…) have an odd stipulation that the people who MADE the tech he used are JUST as responsible as he is and need to face similar punishments. Well jeez, I kinda wish we ACTUALLY had that with gun manufacturers, but what it means here is that Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne (Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly) are on the run and decidedly not talking to Scott for putting them in this situation in the first place… not that they could considering he’s under house arrest. Jeez, kind of a downer way to start the movie, BUT things get better once Scott starts having night terrors about the Quantum Realm and Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) who is the mother of Hope and the wife of Hank, and manages to get this message to those two who swiftly kidnap him MERE DAYS BEFORE HIS HOUSE ARREST IS UP! It turns out that the two of them have been continuing their research while running from the law (pretty easy to do when you have the ability to shrink) and they’re VERY close to making a tunnel to the Quantum Realm (that place you go to if you shrink TOO SMALL and where Janet ended up after doing so on a mission) but apparently Scott has some connection to it and potentially to Janet due to him somehow escaping it in the first film. Okay, so Scott helps them with the Tunnel and with any clues he may have about Janet from his dreams, and then they just drop him off at his house before the cops realize he’s gone! Easy enough, right!? Well… not exactly. Throw in some wannabe gangsters looking to snag their research for profit (led by professional scumbag Walton Goggins), a mysterious woman who has bad ass phasing powers (Hanna John-Kamen) trying to steal their research for reasons OTHER than profit, and all of a sudden it looks like Scott might end up going to jail for twenty years because he got caught up in some giant caper yet again and could get caught out of the house at any moment by FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) who is just itching to put him away for good! Can Scott, Hope, and Hank find out what happened to Janet and maybe save her from the Quantum Realm? What exactly is the mystery phasing lady after, and just how far will she go to get her hands on their research? When they get that glove away from Thanos, can we use the Time Stone to go back and make EVERY Marvel movie about Ant-Man and The Wasp?