This weekend offers a variety of trainwrecks – small, emotional, geriatric and existential.
Okay, okay, Marvel’s latest comic book movie isn’t really a trainwreck, but it’s definitely not a home run either. If there’s one thing that Marvel needs right now, it’s variety. The studio finally gave us some last summer with ‘Guardians of the Galaxy‘, but after a less-than-impressive ‘Avengers’ sequel, we’re back in a rut with ‘Ant-Man‘, a funny yet forgettable entry to the self-proclaimed Cinematic Universe. The troubled production lost its original writer/director just two weeks prior to principal photography, but by watching it you can still tell what originated with Edgar Wright (because that’s the stuff that actually works). Paul Rudd stars as a genius electrician with a Master’s degree who ended up serving a stint in prison for being a master burglar. Now, he gets a second chance at being a father because an old man (Michael Douglas) wants to heal the relationship with his daughter (Evangeline Lilly) by saving the company he once created from a mad scientist (Corey Stoll) by placing the rehabilitated Robin Hood in a suit that not only shrinks him to the size of an ant, but gives him the ability to control ants… After writing that, I think ‘Ant-Man’ might be worthy of calling a trainwreck after all.
Judd Apatow, who has directed several trainwrecks in a row, has ironically directed a screenplay titled ‘Trainwreck‘, as if to make every critic’s job easy. Trashy comic Amy Schumer, who also wrote the screenplay, plays a woman whose moral compass was broken by a father who hammered into her head the idea that monogamy is bad. Despite having lots of sexual partners, she’s void of commitment – that is, until she meets a good guy (Bill Hader). The cast includes Colin Quinn, Tilda Swinton, Brie Larson and a slew of celebrities (John Cena, Dave Attell, LeBron James, Daniel Radcliffe, Marissa Tomei, Method Man, Tim Meadows, Matthew Broderick and the entire cast of ‘Saturday Night Live’) just so Apatow can brag about how many famous friends he has. While reviews have been fairly positive, as someone who doesn’t find either Apatow nor Schumer very funny, I don’t buy it. Apatow is the Adam Sandler of supposedly-sophisticated adult comedies.
From the director of ‘Dreamgirls’ and the last two ‘Twilight’ movies comes a version of Sherlock Holmes that flips the story of the deductive detective on its head. Ian McKellen leads ‘Mr. Holmes‘, a PG mystery-thriller featuring old-man Holmes’ confrontation with an unsolved case from his youth.
Woody Allen once again has a new film quietly hitting a limited number of screens this weekend. The eccentric writer/director reteamed with Emma Stone for Irrational Man, which also stars Joaquin Phoenix and Parker Posey. Phoenix plays a self-loathing philosopher whose life is turned around by a single interaction with Stone, which completely throws off the balance in his work life and home life with Posey. Although Allen’s newest film seems to have potential, the buzz around it hasn’t been very positive.