Been busy with the publication of book number two and the continuation of book number three! So here are some quick takes on what I’ve been seeing.
Pixar’s latest success in a long string of successes. Great vocal performances combined with creative animation and a solid and touching storyline. It was released in June among a number of gigantic moneymaking summer films and has been a bit ignored in the process. As with most Pixar films, this is one that appeals to adults as well as children; there are layers of understanding throughout the film’s many twists and turns. There is also a quick throwaway line about facts vs. opinions that had me laughing so loud and hard that I had to get myself under control.
Smart to release this in the summer when our brains are turned off. It’s a lot of fun, yet all over the place in tone and pace. But just making us sit in our seats to see an ant-sized “superhero” is a triumph of some kind in itself. Paul Rudd is not the perfect choice, but probably the best one around as the lead character. He’s not anywhere near as strong or macho as the other great leading man of the summer-Chris Pratt—but his off-the-charts likability is the thread that holds this together. Hats off to Oscar-winner Michael Douglas for taking his role seriously and holding his crucial part of the film together in terms of acting. A happy surprise is the solid work of Lost’s Evangeline Lilly, who’s been absent from any screen—big or small—recently. With these three at work, any danger of the film going off its rails has been contained.
Best friend Clint Morgan noticed that the special effects were uneven in quality (he has the eye for such things). But while Ant-Man is not in the class of the Avengers films or the first Iron Man film, it’s a fun diversion. It will probably fall out of your head in a day or two, but we’ll likely see sequels.
Out of the Past (1947)
To some, this Robert Mitchum/Jane Greer classic is the ultimate film noir. The new Blu-Ray version is knock-your-eyeballs-out gorgeous in its blacks and whites. The story occasionally veers into Big Sleep confusion at times, but Greer (who should have had a much bigger career) is perhaps the fatale-est of noir’s femme fatales. The film finds Mitchum relatively early in his career, when he was working harder and seemed fresher than he did later, when things got a little too stolid.
But beyond the acting and the look and the plot, this film has perhaps the best collection of hard-boiled noir lines of any film. I won’t quote any of them, so you can enjoy them all for yourself.