BY JOHN CAMPBELL
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP There was only one seat left in the session of Mama Mia! Here We Go Again that I had driven to see at Tweed City. The trouble was it was in the very front row and This Paper does not pay me anywhere near enough to sit ten feet from the platinum-blonde humanoid creature still being referred to as Cher and the rest of those perfect-toothed cheery souls poncing around ersatz Greece – much as I love the songs of Abba. So, hoping for the best, I turned off my brain, followed the trail of popcorn and entered the world of Marvel, only to find that I had jumped from the frying pan into the fire. Honestly, these super-hero
movies are getting stupider and stupider. The Ant-Man, Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd, whose acting career peaked when he was a regular on TV’s Friends), embarks on a mission that will take him into an insanely coloured other dimension, where he might connect with the long-dead wife of the still pining Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Joining Ant-Man is the Wasp, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly). I liked the bit at the start where he was driving down a street in New York in his little Dinky car – it was mildly amusing and cleverly done, as were all of the scenes in which everything got shrunk with what amounted
to a click of the fingers – but I simply could not engage with what was going on. Joining Douglas in the cast are some quality actors, including Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Bobby Cannavale and MichaelPeña, the fellow who always gets the part of the good-guy Latino who is
sidekick to the Main Man. But a wasp? FFS! If it were meant to be funny, as was Deadpool 2, it might have been bearable, but the ‘drama’ is underpinned by philosophical poppycock. Therefore, the moral of the story is if you want to get a decent seat at cinema’s latest cash cow – get there early.
fastidious slayer of evildoers. At 63, Denzel seems a bit old for the part, especially when up against armed maniacs who are half his age, which is a nagging problem that I was never able to fully dismiss.
Nevertheless, Fuqua’s eye for detail and mastery of his material ensure that the end product is polished, pulsating and flawless in its execution. I can’t recall the last time I felt such heart-stopping tension as when a school kid (Ashton Sanders) who McCall has taken under his wing is alone and hiding from thugs in his mentor’s apartment, and as somebody whose eyes glaze over during any car-screeching sequence, I was riveted by the scene in which McCall is attacked by a passenger in the back seat. The climax, when he has it out with four killers, including the arch villain, is excessive but fabulously shot in a raging coastal storm. It is morally dubious to praise films such as this, but it’s done well enough to knock any critic off his high horse.
THE EQUALIZER 2 The idea of rough justice has had no more committed advocate over the years than Hollywood. In this nasty but enthralling homage to the vigilante, Rober t McCall (Denzel Washington) beats about a dozen blokes to a pulp, with his bare hands, merely as a preamble to the commencement of the main story. But that’s the thing with this type of movie – it sets up the viewer to really want those kidnappers and rapists to get what Denzel dishes out to them. Director Antoine
Fuqua, with an impressive CV of ultra-violent flicks to his credit, presses every one of our dark psychological buttons to have us willingly embrace the law of the jungle as the sainted Denzel takes on a crew of irredeemably hateful bad guys. McCall, an ex-Marine with a day job as driver for an Uber-like company in Boston, has maintained his connection with an international security organisation. When its head and old friend (Melissa Leo) is brutally murdered in Brussels, matters get personal for the
36 July 25, 2018 The Byron Shire Echo
WITH SUN AND MERCURY IN THE SIGN OF THE MAJESTIC LION, WE WISH OUR LEO LOVED ONES HAPPY BIRTHDAY. MAY THEIR MANES BE EVER RADIANT…
ARIES: Should this week activate your bristle reflex – and it may – the smart money suggests not offering a snappy comeback. Much better to focus on staying warm and selfnurturing: pampering your mind/body/spirit with nourishing food, stimulating entertainment and deep relaxation, because health habits you put in place now are likely to last. TAURUS: The feeling for roots, family and traditional comforts lingers this week along with chatty, flirty Venus vibes full of artistic fun, seductive surprises and ephemeral pleasures to enjoy while they last. Because the only constant in life is change, set to be triggered yet again by late-week Mercury turning into reverse mode. GEMINI: Same old stuff happening this week, with the same old familiar complaints? You’ve made mega-progress recently on cleaning up past residue, but if history keeps repeating, then be grateful you’re getting another go at finally clearing a longstanding issue – because Geminis are the zodiac’s artisans of the second chance. CANCER: While you could never be accused of careless spending, this week asks you to focus on money, honey. It’s an inauspicious period to initiate business, but excellent for renegotiating existing financial terms and contracts. Ditto health and self-care: this cycle recommends tried, true and reliable over experimenting with new remedies or procedures. LEO: I am Lion, hear me roar! After a month of moods and attitude, El Sol joining Mercury in Leo reignites the creative flame in your entertainer’s heart. This week you’ll find more enjoyment being part of a team than the one in charge, so sit back majesties and let others do it for you. VIRGO: Venus in Virgo loves nothing more than a full-on revamp of bad habits (yes, even you perfectionmeisters have them) but really, it’s time to go easy on yourself. Ditch the harsh self-criticism – declare this Be Kind to Virgos Week. Cherish your pleasure centres, indulge impulses, have a good time, enjoy everything.
LIBRA: With flashy, dashing Leo influences adding bling to this week, showing off and vamping can be fun and entertaining. The balance? Your power planet Venus refining desires, prompting you to show your love in practical ways: doing ordinary chores and organising everyday stuff for those you love, or someone in need. SCORPIO: Even with Jupiter in Scorpio corner it mightn’t be easy finding common ground or silver linings as this week amplifies its backing track of clashing agendas. Bringing up past history won’t win arguments, so resist hitting replay unless it’s for a positive charge. Do your best to negotiate differences delicately. SAGITTARIUS: You’re one of the zodiac’s flexible signs, so you’ll dance with this week’s shifting circumstances more readily than others who aren’t as constitutionally agile. One of your life services is to treat those less adept than you kindly, understand their stress levels and assist by modelling adaptability in the face of unexpected developments. CAPRICORN: If midweek Capricorn moon invites you to something new, unusual and out of your comfort zone, it’s worth considering and may actually end up being an enjoyable fit. Have a go at ditching control this week and exercising other co- words like cooperation, collaboration, contribution, compatible company and considerate conversation. AQUARIUS: With this week making mountains out of molehills, expect either enthusiastic support or alternatively, equally keen resistance. Either way, while others get retrograde-rampant and eclipse-edgy, you do whatever it takes to keep cool, stay centred and tuned into the fabulous downloads from end-of-week annual full-moon eclipse in your sign. PISCES: Are there preventive measures for lessening eclipse/retrograde stress? Yes. Firstly, focus this week on bringing sweet reason to frayed situations. Channel Venusian peacemaking traits, along with creative energy from the zodiac’s entertainment sector to lighten and brighten life around you. And as always, never underrate the benefits of rest and regen.
Byron Shire Echo archives: www.echo.net.au/byron-echo
Free, independent weekly newspaper from the Byron Shire in northern NSW, Australia.