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#OnTheBigScreen: Ant-Man, American Animals, and Show Dogs

Ant-Man And The Wasp, American Animals and Show Dogs open at local cinemas this week.

Ant-Man And The Wasp

Ant-Man And The Wasp delivers a fresh, one-two punch that smacks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in an accessible and relatable way.

With the 2015 release of Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man, the MCU acquainted its faithful and ever-expanding audience with Ant-Man, who is resurrected by Dr Hank Pym when he handpicks Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a good-hearted thief, to don the suit and become a hero. The film also featured Pym’s daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), who is poised to become The Wasp.

The action-packed heist film, directed by Peyton Reed, was both a box-office success and fan favourite, opening at number one at the box office and going on to garner over $500m worldwide.

Now, in the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, we find Lang grappling with the consequences of his choices as both a superhero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from the past.

Reed returns to the franchise with Ant-Man And The Wasp with Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Rudd, Andrew Barrer, and Gabriel Ferrari wrote the screenplay.

American Animals

American Animals is the true story of four young men who get lost in a fantasy of their own creation, only to discover that by the time they are thrust into reality, it’s too late and they have crossed a line into violence and criminality from which they can never return.

The extraordinary and thrilling true story of four friends living an ordinary existence who brazenly attempt to execute one of the most audacious art heists in US history. But not everything is as it seems, and as the daring theft unfolds through each of their perspectives, each of them starts to question whether their attempts to inject excitement and purpose into their lives is simply a misguided attempt at achieving the American Dream.

Centring on the unpredictable wild child Warren (Evan Peters) and aspiring artist Spencer (Barry Keoghan), two friends from the middle-class suburbs of Lexington, Kentucky, the film follows the duo through college life at separate universities, as adult pressures begin to weigh heavily on their futures. Realising their lives may never be important, they organise the brazen theft of some valuable books from the special collections library of Spencer’s college, including Audubon’s Birds of America, valued at $10m. Enlisting two more friends, budding accountant Eric (Jared Abrahamson) and fitness fanatic Chas (Blake Jenner), the gang meticulously plots the theft and subsequent fence of the stolen volumes, taking cues from popular heist movies.

But the thieves’ plans go awry, placing their bright futures in limbo. Unfolding from multiple perspectives, and shifting between the fictionalised central narrative and documentary-style interviews with the real-life figures on which the story is based, writer-directed Bart Layton elevates the heist movie to bold and thrilling new heights.

Show Dogs

Show Dogs stars a charming and lovable cast of talking canine characters, including our hero Max (voiced by Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges), a rugged lone wolf Rottweiler NYPD police dog. Max and his human FBI partner (Will Arnett) are investigating the kidnapping of a baby panda by an underground network of illegal animal traders when they get a tip that the crime ring is planning to sell the panda at the prestigious Canini Invitational Dog Show.

The uber-macho Max must undergo a makeover with the help of a seasoned trainer (Natasha Lyonne) – mud baths, ballet lessons, a Brazilian waxing – to go undercover and thwart the plot. In the hands of his new human handler Frank, Max gets in touch with his inner show dog and learns that trusting the help of others can sometimes be more rewarding than working alone.

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About Daniel Dercksen

As a freelance film and theatre journalist for more than 30 years, published playwright and creator of the independent training initiative The Writing Studio, Daniel Dercksen received the number one spot for most popular lifestyle contributor for 2012, 2014 and 2015, and 2nd spot in 2016 on