This summer, the blockbusters are rolling out at a fast clip – but not fast enough for avid film fans. This weekend (17 July 2015), at least two films are destined for success: Marvel's hotly anticipated "Ant-Man" starring funny man Paul Rudd, and the raunchy-with-a-heart "Trainwreck."
Even for the comic-book challenged or the uninitiated, "Ant-Man" is entertaining and action-filled, with most of the credit to the gotta-like-him Rudd and clever action-scene editing.
Some comic-book based movies are fixated on the gimmick of the film's chosen masked lead, combined with flashy special effects, so much so, that the average movie-goer is likely to confuse one with another. In other words, enjoyable in the theater, forgettable soon after.
"Ant-Man" – while definitely celebrating-through-special-effects the possibilities of a literal ant-size hero – greatly benefits from Rudd's magnetic charm. His Scott Lang is an accidental superhero, an electrical engineer turned thief, just released from prison, who seemingly stumbles upon a remarkable "magic" suit.
With the exception of Corey Stoll's Darrin Cross/Yellow Jacket (he's a bit mustache-twirly), "Ant-Man" avoids the broad-strokes clichés. Lang's ex-wife (Judy Greer) and her finance (a perfectly played Bobby Cannavale) are portrayed not shrew-like or too arrogant, but concerned and caring, and above all, fair. Cannavale's step-dad-to-be's sweet and genuine affection for Lang's daughter Cassie is inspired story writing. Also starring Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Pena (as the goofy sidekick with a penchant for art and gossip) "Ant-Man" delivers, with much of the film's success owed to sharply comic writing, credible motivation, and, of course, Rudd.
There's little doubt that Amy Schumer's star is on a serious trajectory. The no-holds-barred comedian, whose hilariously inappropriate skits highlight her Comedy Central TV series, wrote the screenplay for "Trainwreck," directed by Judd Apatow. Schumer plays Amy, a writer at an edgy exploitative magazine, helmed by an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton. Overly tan and heavily made-up, Swinton plays a demanding sociopath with just the right hubris.
The movie's Amy, clearly intelligent, lives "rough" outside of work: she's extremely promiscuous, drinks way too much and smokes a lot of pot. Things start to turn around when she meets a sweet sports surgeon, played by "SNL's" Bill Hader. Hader, who audiences will also recognize from his blink-and-you'll-miss him role as Mindy's ex on "The Mindy Project," really is allowed to shine.
One of the film's many delights is the welcome surprise: these comedians are seriously good actors. Even basketball star LeBron James (as the doctor's BFF) brings charm to his role.
"Trainwreck" surpasses the conventional summer rom-com by the truly thought-through script. Amy's arc is, at turns, cringe-worthy and touching. It is, as expected, extremely raunchy, but she brings so much more to the character and story, the movie is a genuine delight.
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