Ant-Man, It’s Fun!

I am a fan of all things Marvel. People around me though, have various reaction to my choice of movies. Like one day, inside an office lift, my colleague and I were chatting about the one topic worth chatting in less than a minute, on a Friday – what’s your plan for weekend? I told him Guardians of the Galaxy. He went huh? I skipped Star-Lord (and avoided who?) and replied Rocket Raccoon? He went … a raccoon?! He clearly doesn’t know his stuff and I had an invisible eye rolling moment.

Anyhow, this time round, inside the lift, I replied Ant-Man. My female colleague went, “Huh? It must be a guy thing.” I said solemnly, “Yes, it is a guy thing.”

Ant-Man, a movie.

The fun doesn’t stop here. When I asked my wife out for an Ant-Man movie, her first reaction was, “Will we be able to see the character?” It was her polite way to decline my date invitation. Too bad. Once you are married, any right to say no to a date has been revoked. As before, I have booked the tickets weeks in advance. Due to some technical glitches, only one theater was available for online booking. And the screen was very tiny and I would prefer a large one. When I told that to Dave and Zep – our two Marvel movie buddies – they had a good laugh on that (ants and small screen, yes?). They still do.

Now, onto the movie, I honestly have no idea what or who Ant-Man was had I not played Marvel Heroes the online game. On that note alone, I would think that it could be a pretty tall order for Marvel Studios to pull this off. Let’s first talk about character development, because it is important for a less well known hero.

We have the comedian Paul Rudd as the main character, the soon-to-be Ant-Man. A likeable actor that suits the overall mood of this movie – fun. Then Michael Douglas, whom I presume is the star power behind this movie, as Hank Pym. It is a bit odd to see him on the good side, although in the realm of Marvel Universe, the line between good and evil is often blurred out. Lastly, the charming Evangeline Lilly from Lost who plays Hope, the daughter of Hank Pym. They have done a good job in unfolding the story, just about.

This trio is definitely not your everyday heroes running around on the street of Manhattan saving civilians. Ant-Man is not one of those superhero movies. If the scriptwriters were to stick to the original comic book plot, this movie would have looked something like this as taken from Marvel Heroes the online game website (this also explained one of the ending scenes in the movie).

Though a brilliant electronics expert, Scott Lang had made his share of bad decisions. Having served time in prison for burglary, Scott would return to his life of crime in order to save his terminally ill daughter, Cassie. Stealing the Ant-Man suit from Hank Pym, Scott would use the suit to save Dr. Erica Sondheim, the only doctor capable of saving Cassie from her heart condition. Once he realized that Scott was only trying to do the right thing, Hank Pym not only let Scott keep the suit, but gave him his blessing as the brand new Ant-Man!

So here lies the real challenge with Ant-Man the movie. Stealing a suit to save one’s daughter doesn’t seem as big as a deal comparing to saving the world. How faithful should the script sticks to the original story? Some fans may be even rooting for Hank Pym as the Ant-Man. Fear not. I reckon there will be a Ant-Man Original one day. Another era, another reboot.

Meanwhile, did we enjoy watching Ant-Man? We do. It is fun and entertaining. Just when the scene becomes serious, one actor would crack some jokes and we laughed, in between tears and what not. The visual effect of Ant-Man shrinking and collaborating with his troop of ants is well made. The fight scene that takes place around children toys is hilarious. Just don’t expect Ant-Man as your usual save-the-world kind of superhero movie.

Dinner for Schmucks – Laughed Till My Face Went Numb

Again, thanks to Omy.sg, we were invited for an exclusive preview of “Dinner for Schmucks” at Iluma.  I think Omy.sg loves me, and I love Omy.sg the same.  I picked “Schmucks” because it is mid week and I reckon I need some comedy.  The movie is not perfect.  But it delivers.  Cynthia and I had a hearty fun time.

We love Steve Carell, the 40 years old virgin and the Tripplehorns.  And in “Schmucks”, he plays the role of an idiot.  Or so it seems by and large as there is a deeper debate on who are the schmucks, which I would not want to spoil your fun watching this movie.  Steve is a talented comedian.  He can play any role and be convincing.  We also love the other lead actor Paul Rudd who has acted in “I Love You, Man”.  If you enjoy watching Western comedy, putting the two together can be quite a treat.  The surprise to us is the talented New Zealander Jemaine Clement from “Flight of the Concords“.  His airtime in this movie is way too little.  I really wish that he had a more significant role to play.  The spooky yet hilarious Kristen Schaal too from “Concords” is also involved in this movie, together with a quality team of comedians too long to be listed here.

From the story writing point of view, “Schmucks” is not going to be memorable.  Rarely comedy films do.  The middle part of this 114 minutes film could be quite awkward to watch, though hilarious.  Because it can be quite … stupid (the young girl next to me were laughing and screaming “It is so stupid” at the same time, all the time – which is quite funny on its own).  The good news is that it has a quality ending and some of the jokes are original.  And if you are not in a hurry to leave the theater at the end of the show (interestingly many people here do), there is a tiny bit of extra clip after the end credits.

If I could single out one thing I wish to complement, that would be those miniaturized mouse models.  So beautifully made, so heartwarming / heart wrenching to look at.  I seriously think that the filmmakers should sell the replicas of these models as merchandise.  I would want to get some.  The choice of soundtrack is good too.  Need a good brainless laugh?  I doubt “Schmucks” would disappoint.  I laughed till my face went numb.

I Love You, Man – I Cringed As I Laughed Out Loud

I Love You, Man

OK.  If you do intend to watch this movie, try to stay just a little bit longer when the credits start to roll.  There is a kind of funny clip that you would have missed.  The thing is, I am intrigued that Singaporeans, or Asians in general, are so eager to rush out of the theatre the moment the film is over.  In Europe, at least back in my schooling days, most viewers stayed till the very end of the show, after the rolling of credits.  Personally I enjoy the unwinding process, the music, to get a bit of insight on what’s behind the scene, and to pay a small tribute to those who have worked hard for the project.

My buddy TK and I often keep our text messages short.  That’s what SMS is meant to be.  This morning, knowing that he was waiting for me to confirm the movie title for tonight, I wanted to text “I love you man”.  But it sounded wrong.  So I appended, “I love you man, ok?”  It still sounded wrong so I reminded him that it’s a movie title.  Just in case.

When men hang out, we may do weird stuffs, say weird stuffs, and it is a very strange feeling to see how men bond on a big screen.  That’s why I cringed when I watched “I Love You, Man”.

I love chick flicks, as I find it intriguing to watch how women bond.  And I am not sure if it is the same level of enjoyment to Cynthia when she watched this movie.  Gosh, she likes it so much.  Honestly speaking, I am kind of a bit embarrassed.  I mean, these are meant to be behind-the-scene silly things that men say, or do.

There is a certain level of honesty, a lively script performed by Jason Segel (of Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Paul Rudd whom I later on remembered him as the lover of Phoebe in the TV series Friends – thanks to Cynthia.  The storyline is mostly predictable though it’s a quality piece of comedy.

This film caused me to self-reflect.  What would I do if I have to make some new guy friends (as my best man) right now?  I don’t golf and I don’t drink anymore; I don’t party and I don’t watch football.  How stressful it would be!  And how about those silly things men do?  Part of me tells me that we are all grown-ups and we behave as proper adults.  Then I remember those days not too long ago when our band jammed at my home, my guitarist and I were going all crazy – screaming and making rock gestures – rehearsing our song “Unleash The Beast” in front of his then girlfriend – thank God they still end up married – that was worse than what you see in the movie.

Though I personally find the film a bit embarrassing to watch, I do like the repeated ‘community message’ targeted at the female audience.  Yes, in bed, we men love to …