Friday, July 13, 2018

Phil sees ANT-MAN AND THE WASP at the Century at the Pacific Commons and XD - July 13, 2018

While the world is still reeling from the aftermath of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, Marvel Studios has released their newest film ANT-MAN AND THE WASP to theaters. Usually, I like to celebrate Friday the 13th with a horror movie marathon, but since my girlfriend and I were out and about doing errands, we decided to take in a movie. And since were in Fremont, the Century at the Pacific Commons and XD was close by. And were were going to see it in the luxurious XD theater with the Luxury Loungers and XD Dolby Atmos surround sound!! Yeah, we were going to have a good time today!

The film’s official synopsis: In the aftermath of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to re-balance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he's confronted by Hope van Dyne (Evangaline Lilly)  and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglass) with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.

The first ANT-MAN was such fun-filled action packed superhero romp, I had high expectations for the sequel. Needless to say, it lived up to the hype, and more. Paul Rudd does a great job as Scott Lang again, bringing his haplessly heroic loser to life once again. But he steps it up immensely, as he’s Hank’s and Hope’s only hope of defeating their newest adversary: Ghost (played spectacularly by Hannah John-Kamen). Both Michael Douglass and Evangaline Lilly return as they lay their emotions out for all to see, as they both discover something (or someone) that they thought was lost forever. And Lilly kicks some major ass in the film! Also returning are Scott’s loveable and goofy friends Luis, T.I., and Kurt. Making his MCU film debut is Lawerance Fishburne as Dr. Bill Foster, an old colleague/rival of Hank’s from his days at S.H.I.E.L.D. Of course, Fishburne is known for portraying Perry White in the DC Extended Universe films like MAN OF STEEL and BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE.

Peyton Reed returns to the directing chair for this sequel, continuing what he started in the first film. He finds the right balance of action, humor and character development that pushes the film's story to a satisfying conclusion. But here's the kick: the villain survives (as far as we know) and she may not be a villain in the upcoming MCU films, that is if she survived from Thanos' eradicating half of the universe. Reed is an awesome director, and I hope he stays with the franchise for a very long time!

And since this is a Marvel Studios film, there are two bonus scenes: the mid-credits scene (which ties in directly to AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR) and one at the end of the credits, which I found cute. But this last scene isn't required viewing. And if you have to use the restroom, then go after the mid-credits scene is over.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is another MCU action-packed, hilariously funny, superhero popcorn flick that will have audiences and kids rushing to their local theater on these hot summer days!! It's awesome to see what the future holds for this franchise, but let's not forget that we haven't seen the last of Ant-Man, as we now enter the MCU post Thanos, and I cannot wait to see what happens next!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is currently playing in both 2D, RealD 3D, and XD in theaters nationwide, including at the Century at the Pacific Commons and XD here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at http://cinemark.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Phil sees THE FIRST PURGE at the Cinelux Almaden Café & Lounge - June 6, 2018

I recall seeing THE PURGE (the first film) at a special advance screening at the Cinemark Century 20 Oakridge way back in 2013. While I sincerely enjoyed it, I thought it would be a one-off film. Never did I imagine that it would become a horror franchise, and now a television mini series on the USA Network this fall. So this past 4th of July, Blumhouse and Universal Pictures released the latest chapter of the series. Or should I saw prequel. Yes my friends, I went and saw THE FIRST PURGE over at the Cinelux Almaden Café & Lounge.

The film's official synopsis: After the rise of a third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, an experiment is conducted, no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island. No one must stay during the experiment yet there is $5,000 for anyone who does.

Ok, so let me say this about the film. It is, without a doubt, the most ghetto ass horror film of the series!! And I don't mean "ghetto" because the movie takes place in the ghettos of Staten Island, nor because it's cast is mostly African Americans, or that it contains a hip hop/rap soundtrack. None of this means it's "ghetto." I'm calling it "ghetto" because it is one of the most lazy, disenchanting, hollow, horror film I have seen in a long time!! Now, let me explain my disposition.

Given the political and social climate the country is currently in, I am completely shocked that the film doesn't address the issues that are plaguing America today. We are on the verge of a revolution, fighting against the tyranny of the Trump Regime. We are facing trade wars, alienating our closest allies, families being ripped apart, children being kept in cages, environmental polices being undone; this country is coming apart at the seams. Now, with the previous three installments, there was some form of political and social commentary, especially with PURGE: ANARCHY and PURGE: ELECTION YEAR. However, there wasn't any of that in this movie. None whatsoever!! How the hell do you make a PURGE movie and not have any commentary about the state of the country currently?!? To me, that is offensive! Whenever the country falls into despair or when it is under conservative control, horror films have been there to offer not only escapism, but comment on what is wrong with the world. From addressing racism in George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD to commenting on AIDS in David Robert Mitchell's  IT FOLLOWS, there has been a conscience voice within our films. Whether you agree with the filmmakers or not, you have to respect them for voicing their concerns and opinions! This movie doesn't have a voice!! And that pissed me off!! But wait, there's more!!

The other reason I called it "ghetto" was that it offers nothing to the series, nor to its fans. Screenwriter James DeMonaco's script totally sucked shit; containing no real attributes to help make this movie relatable. The story was awful, there was no real character development and all of them were just basic stereotypes, and the story lacked any real sense of threat or danger. It's hard to believe that this is the same guy that wrote all the other PURGE films, but it felt like he only did this to get a paycheck. It showed in every single frame of the film!

Even more grotesque is director Gerard McMurray's set-ups and compositions, which looked unimaginative, sloppy and amateurish at best. Granted this is only his second feature length movie and his fourth film he's directed (he made two shorts prior to making features), it looked so damn bad that I was completely taken out of the movie almost right at the start. Of course, DeMonaco's lackluster script helped speed up my checking out. How McMurray got the job to direct is beyond me, but his style is still very green.

Overall, THE FIRST PURGE is a total piece of shit, waste of my time type of movie!! I was so looking forward to watching this movie, only to regret my decision immediately after the opening credits!! That's how early I knew that this was going to suck, and how painful it was to sit through the whole damn thing!! So stick with the first three films, and just forget about seeing this in theaters!! But if you really want to see it, then just watch the trailer! 1 out of 5 stars!! It sucked shit!!


THE FIRST PURGE is playing in theaters nationwide, including at the Cinelux Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cineluxtheatres.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!