Tag Archives: Margot Robbie

The Suicide Squad (2021) Review

MV5BYWNjNGE4YTEtZTc5OC00ZTYzLTg5ZTAtN2U4MTg5MTFhYTIzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTE0MzQwMjgz._V1_

The Suicide Squad

Time: 132 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence, offensive language & cruelty
Cast:
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn
Idris Elba as Robert DuBois/Bloodsport
John Cena as Christopher Smith/Peacemaker
Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag
Sylvester Stallone as the voice of Nanaue/King Shark
Viola Davis as Amanda Waller
Jai Courtney as George “Digger” Harkness/Captain Boomerang
Peter Capaldi as Gaius Grieves/The Thinker
David Dastmalchian as Abner Krill/Polka-Dot Man
Daniela Melchior as Cleo Cazo/Ratcatcher 2
Director: James Gunn

The government sends the most dangerous supervillains in the world – Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and others — to the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Armed with high-tech weapons, they trek through the dangerous jungle on a search-and-destroy mission, with only Col. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) on the ground to make them behave.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I enjoyed the first Suicide Squad when it came out, however looking back on it, it was a bit of a disappointment to say the least. The follow up Suicide Squad film has been in development, eventually it was James Gunn, director of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, who ended up helming the project. Honestly I wasn’t that excited for the movie, first of all while I enjoy the GOTG movies, I’m not a massive fan of Gunn and his style. Second of all, the trailers weren’t that good, and didn’t do a great job at getting me interested in watching it. Nonetheless, I still decided to check it out. The trailers really didn’t do The Suicide Squad justice, it was better than expected. I still have some issues with it, but on the whole, I enjoyed it.

Suicide Squad 2

First and foremost, you don’t necessarily have to have seen the first Suicide Squad to get into this new Suicide Squad. While it works as a sequel, it is more of a reboot. I will say that as a movie about the Suicide Squad, Gunn’s version does succeed more than the Suicide Squad movie from 2016 (speaking as someone who doesn’t generally read comic books). In these Suicide Squad comic books, there’s usually a large cast of characters, and by the end most of them are dead. Whereas the first Suicide Squad really only had two members of the Squad being killed off throughout the entirety of the movie, The Suicide Squad has a larger amount of people dying. The tagline “Don’t get too attached” is certainly apt. Gunn certainly delivered a lot of deaths, almost to the point of going overboard, but more on that later. The plot like the 2016 movie is pretty straightforward. I do think that it gets a little weirdly complicated at points, with the time jumps, perspective changes, and the like. I was able to follow it fine enough, it was just a bit jarring how it jumps from place to place at points. The movie even surprisingly has too much going on at times. The plot is familiar to a lot of other comic book movies and doesn’t break new ground, but I don’t think it really needed to. The first act starts off pretty well, as it introduces the main characters. The second act is where plotwise I have most of my criticisms, it slows down quite a bit. The movie is long at nearly 2 hours and 20 minutes, while I don’t have a problem with longer comic book movies, The Suicide Squad is one where occasionally you feel the length, and you especially feel it in the middle section. There’s also a section involving Harley which I really didn’t like for the most part, even though it does pay off by the end of it. The third act actually does a lot at making this movie work as well as it does. It is very reminiscent of other comic book movie climaxes with large scale threats that the main characters have to deal with, but of those examples, The Suicide Squad is among the best executions of them. There’s also some surprisingly emotional and impactful moments involving the characters. I would say that it’s worth watching the movie for the climax alone. It is worth noting that there are two credits scenes worth staying around for, the second of which is especially worth watching.

1162462

One of my main two predictions going into the movie was that the humour would be my least favourite aspect, and that turned out to be true. It is strange because although I don’t find the Guardians of the Galaxy movies to be hilarious, they are funny, and are certainly funnier than The Suicide Squad. For every witty line and joke that’s actually funny, there’s a back and forth lines about “an island of dicks”, or a 69 joke. Somehow the R rating actually made the jokes less funny, and most of the time they attempted humour, at best it doesn’t leave much of an impact, at worst it’s annoying. However, if you watched that first red band trailer and found the jokes in that to be funny, you’ll probably have a good time with The Suicide Squad. Effectiveness of the humour aside, another issue with it is that sometimes it undercuts dramatic or emotional moments, something that also appears in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. The movie gets surprisingly dark at times, whether it be with characters, or the deaths that occur. With that said, there is a general feeling of Gunn trying hard to be edgy. This was a feeling I had ever since the trailers proudly announced that The Suicide Squad was “from the horribly beautiful mind of James Gunn”, and that feeling was in the movie itself. I don’t have a problem with the violence, gore, etc. However when it feels like it’s being done to get a reaction out of the audience, it does get annoying, and unfortunately The Suicide Squad slips into that at points. Some of it is the violence, which might be surprising and shocking in the first act, but by the halfway point it loses its impact. Some of it was the deaths, specifically who is chosen to die. I mentioned earlier that I thought the movie had killed off too many of its named characters. There were two deaths that I downright hated in this movie. The first was in the first half of the film, it was partly because of how quickly it was executed, and it seemed rather unnecessary outside of it being done for shock value. The second was in the second half of the movie, and it was mostly the nature of the death, how it was done without having any weight to it, and feeling like a joke despite the death being for a major character that we are meant to care about (and do care about).

SUICIDE SQUAD 2

Some of the highlights of the movie were the cast and characters for me, and they shared great chemistry between each other. There were two standouts for me. One is Bloodsport, played by Idris Elba, who is essentially the main character. Immediately there have been a lot of comparisons between him and Will Smith’s Deadshot from the first Suicide Squad. However, Bloodsport is his own character and he’s a great character, from his action scenes, to Elba’s performance. The other standout is Ratcatcher 2, played by Daniela Melachior, who is essentially the heart of the movie. One of the new main characters is John Cena as Peacemaker, a character I was very curious about given that even before the movie was released, it was announced that he would be getting his own spin off tv series. I haven’t seen Cena in a lot of movies but this is definitely the best performance I’ve seen from him, he handled the humour, the action scenes, and even the emotional and dramatic moments really well. I’m not sure that he’s interesting enough to lead his own spin off but I am curious to see how it plays out. Another new main character is David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man, and it really is a credit to the movie that they can make us like a character as ridiculous in concept as him. Another of the main characters of the Squad is King Shark (who’s basically just like a giant humanoid shark), and the second of my main two predictions was that I would really dislike him, mostly because he looked like he would be treated as a mix between Groot in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and any other ‘funny animal character’. However I was wrong, he’s not one of the best characters in the movie by any means, but I didn’t mind him and I surprisingly liked him. Joel Kinnaman returns as Rick Flag and although he basically has the same role as in the first movie, I do like him more in this movie.

the-suicide-squad-1607428006

Another major returning Suicide Squad character is that of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, one of the biggest standouts in the first Suicide Squad, who had her own spin off with Birds of Prey last year. I do like Harley in this movie, although there were some decisions involving her I wasn’t such a fan of. There is a segment with Harley in the second act which I particularly take issue with. With that said, it does lead to one of the standout action sequences in the movie. In fact I really liked the action that she was involved with. She is more of a supporting player compared to her past appearances, but I didn’t necessarily mind that, as Suicide Squad in concept is more of an ensemble piece, and she does play off other characters quite well. Another returning Suicide Squad character is Amanda Waller, played by Viola Davis. Waller serves as the same purpose in the first movie as the person making the Squad take on this mission, and Davis as usually delivers her part at the top of her game as always. The character is made way more over the top in this movie, but my main issues with her lie in the third act. In that section, the way she acts, the decisions she makes, and her motivations just made no sense. Her character is really the one part of The Suicide Squad where I preferred the 2016 version more. Other cast members like Peter Capaldi also delivered, as well as the other Suicide Squad members who don’t get that much screentime.

suicide20squad20harley20quinn

The movie is directed by James Gunn, and it certainly feels like it, while still feeling different from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. It does have a distinct visual style and it is well shot, from the camera movements, to the colours, the costumes, and the production design. Even the CGI is pretty strong throughout. The action scenes are one of the highlights of the movie, all very entertaining, bloody, well shot, and great to watch. The third act is particularly done well, and the final enemies managing to be effectively threatening despite the initially absurd concept. The Suicide Squad also handles its music a lot better than the first movie. In 2016’s Suicide Squad, there was a good score from Steven Price but most of the music that we hear is a ton of random song choices slapped together in so many scenes, and it was just a mess. In The Suicide Squad, we get both a great score composed by John Murphy, as well as a good lineup of pre-existing songs that are utilised well throughout the movie. There are some effective needle drop moments, even if they aren’t as memorable as in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.

suicide-squad-2-full-cast-roster-dceu

The Suicide Squad has its issues. The humour which mostly doesn’t work, some of the characterisation, and some of the plot decisions (especially in the second act) do linger in my mind as parts I really didn’t like. However, I did find myself enjoying it, and what it gets right, it really gets right. The cast and characters for the most part are great and they have great chemistry between each other, the visual style is strong and distinct, and the action is enthralling to watch. The Suicide Squad is also a reminder that the DCEU movies really are at their best when Warner Bros lets their directors deliver their visions, and it would be great to see them learn this from how well their latest movie turned out (not that I’m counting on that happening). Even if you dislike the first Suicide Squad movie, this second version might be worth a look.

Birds of Prey (2020) Review

DSC_6785.dng

Birds of Prey

Time: 109 minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, cruelty, offensive language and sexual references
Cast:
Margot Robbie as Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Helena Bertinelli/Huntress
Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Dinah Laurel Lance/Black Canary
Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya
Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz
Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain
Ali Wong as Ellen Yee
Ewan McGregor as Roman Sionis/Black Mask
Director: Cathy Yan

It’s open season on Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) when her explosive breakup with the Joker puts a big fat target on her back. Unprotected and on the run, Quinn faces the wrath of narcissistic crime boss Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), his right-hand man, Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina), and every other thug in the city. But things soon even out for Harley when she becomes unexpected allies with three deadly women – Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez).

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Birds of Prey was one of my most anticipated movies of 2020. As a fan of the DCEU (barring Justice League and Suicide Squad), I’m generally interested in seeing whatever they put out next, and indeed their latest movie looked quite promising. While Suicide Squad left quite the divided response, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn in that movie was already a fan favourite the moment she appeared, so it was a given that she’d be involved in more DC projects. This movie would have Robbie’s Harley involved with creating the Birds of Prey, and with a cast that included the likes of Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ewan McGregor involved, it had a lot of potential, and I was looking forward to it. I had a lot of fun with Birds of Prey, and it was generally entertaining from start to finish.

Jurnee-Smollett-Bell-and-Margot-Robbie-in-Birds-of-Prey[1]

The script by Christina Hodson is really solid, and the handling of most of the characters is great. The story is told from Harley’s perspective, and that was one of the highlights of the movie. It’s a really chaotically told story, and with Harley being an unreliable narrator, it made it a lot more fun to watch. For example, it might introduce a character in the story, and then the movie would rewind back in time to explain who that character is. While that sometimes worked, some of the later occurrences started to disrupt the pacing quite a bit. The R rating is quite freeing for Birds of Prey and works for its benefit. With Suicide Squad there was feelings of it being cramped in and restricted, and it couldn’t really go as crazy or as far as it might’ve wanted to go. While Birds of Prey is generally less graphic than the Deadpool movies (outside of one particular scene), you can really tell that they had a lot more to play with here, and so didn’t have any things that had to avoid. The third act was the highlight of the movie for me. The movie could be quite messy with some of its storytelling (and I’m not sure how well it’ll hold up on a second viewing), but given the storytelling, that actually works quite well. Something I have to address is that the full title of the movie is Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn). Most people won’t use the full title when talking about it, but there’s a reason why it’s given that very long title. Make no mistake, this isn’t a Birds of Prey movie, it’s first and foremost a Harley movie. WB was looking to make a Harley Quinn spinoff, but Margot Robbie also wanted her to be part of a group, in this case the Birds of Prey, so this movie is how they’re being introduced onto the big screen. For most of the movie it’s Harley’s story with appearances of the members throughout it as supporting characters, before they all come together and team up in the third act. While I understand that approach and I like the movie as it is, I certainly hope there is a follow up that’s a full on Birds of Prey movie.

rev_1_BOP_01230r_High_Res_JPEG.0[1]

Margot Robbie reprises her role as Harley Quinn, and she’s once again great, she really was born to play this character. While she was good in Suicide Squad, she’s got a lot more to work with here, and certainly benefits with no restrictions whatsoever. Again, this is her movie through and through, and Robbie excels throughout. Then there’s also the Birds of Prey themselves, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, and Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya. They don’t get quite the screentime and attention that I’d hope for, nonetheless they do a lot to make an impression on you and are great, and are excellent together. I’m really looking forward to seeing them again in future DCEU instalments, especially Black Canary. There’s also the character of Cassandra Cain who plays a big part in the plot, and I think she’s really the only character in this movie I took issue with. Now I’m not very familiar with her in the comics, but I know there she is one of the characters who assumed the role of Batgirl and is an excellent fighter. In this movie however she is a pickpocketer… and that’s it, she probably could’ve been named anything other than Cassandra Cain and she probably would’ve worked much better. It’s not a major issue, she functioned well enough in the story, and actress Ella Jay Basco played her quite well, but the changes to the character were unnecessary. The villains were also effective in Ewan McGregor as Black Mask and Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz, two formidable and threatening antagonists for this story. McGregor’s Roman Sionis is one of the most memorable comic book movie villains in recent years, flamboyant, over the top, and deliciously evil, he was a blast to watch, and was the standout performance of the film after Margot Robbie.

birds-prey-movie-harley-quinn-vs-black-mask-torture-scene-1201582-1280x0[1]

Cathy Yan’s direction of Birds of Prey is fantastic. This movie tells its story from Harley’s perspective, and Yan does a great job at putting you inside her head, from the narration from Robbie’s Quinn and occasional breaking of the fourth wall, to some animations on screen which work very well. It’s also a great looking movie on the whole, the use of colour particularly is great, and the grimy setting of Gotham is captured incredibly well. Stylistic wise it has some similarities to Suicide Squad, but they take it to the next level here. The action is also well directed and fun, particularly the fight scenes. Apparently the stunt people involved with the John Wick movies were brought in to beef up some of the action in Birds of Prey, and you definitely feel it. The music is also quite good, from the score by Daniel Pemberton, to the selected soundtrack.

maxresdefault[4]

Birds of Prey is a bit messy and has the occasional pacing issues, but on the whole was a chaotic, stylistic, and very entertaining flick, probably the closest that we’ll get to a Quentin Tarantino inspired comic book movie. It’s visually stunning, well directed, has some good action, and features a great cast that perform excellently together. I certainly look forward to seeing Harley Quinn and the other characters again in future DCEU movies.

Bombshell (2019) Review

1_l-6ACloOi8Q_yEFemNwm6g[1]

Bombshell

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language & sexual references
Cast:
Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly
Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson
Margot Robbie as Kayla Pospisil
John Lithgow as Roger Ailes
Connie Britton as Beth Ailes
Rob Delaney as Gil Norman
Mark Duplass as Douglas Brunt
Liv Hewson as Lily Balin
Allison Janney as Susan Estrich
Director: Jay Roach

When Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) slaps Fox News founder Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) with a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment, not a soul could predict what would happen next. Her decision leads to Fox News correspondent Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) coming forward with her own story, as well as multiple other women, inciting a movement that reverberates around the world.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I remember hearing about Bombshell for a while, it was about the sexual harassment in Fox News (specifically about Roger Ailes) and starred Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie in the lead roles. As trailers started being released however, I was starting to be a little concerned about it, especially how the movie looked like a comedy (the use of Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’ certainly didn’t give off the right vibe. Now a movie about this subject could work, taking on sexual harassment in a work environment such as Fox News. It’s hard to pull off, but if executed well, could result in a truly great and insightful movie. Bombshell is not that movie.

Bombshell (2019) Margot Robbie CR: Hilary B. Gayle

One of my worries was that Bombshell was going to be a comedy on the whole. Now there wasn’t as much comedy as I thought there would be, but I do wonder if that’s because what they intended as comedy didn’t exactly produce much laughs and I just didn’t pick up that they were jokes in the first place. The thing that immediately comes to mind to this movie is the fact that this is Fox News, and of course people aren’t so into the idea of a movie following people who work at Fox, which is understandable. The movie isn’t necessarily pro Fox News, but it doesn’t full on take on them either. All the shots that they take at Fox are used in jokes, so they felt rather toothless and weak. There’s plenty of deserved criticisms about some of the prominent people at the centre of this story, but they were still victims, and their story still needed to be told. When it comes to the sexual harassment scenes, it’s fittingly uncomfortable, but that’s not exactly an achievement considering that it should feel uncomfortable. To address the elephant in the room, Bombshell is written by the writer of The Big Short (Charles Randolph), and you really feel that. Now I liked The Big Short, but with this movie it really does feel like someone did a half baked attempt at that form of storytelling. There is a lot of explaining to the audience, and that didn’t turn out so well for this movie. This style could potentially work for a movie taking on Fox News on the whole, however for one with sexual harassment as the focus, it doesn’t fit at all. People have talked about how this movie should’ve been written and directed by a woman, given the results here, women behind both roles definitely would’ve resulted in a much better movie. On the whole, Bombshell a real drag to watch, and unfortunately it’s not just because of the difficult subject matter. Lack of entertainment aside, it moves a such a slow pace and not a lot happens in the movie, with the movie not even grabbing your attention all that much. After thinking about Bombshell for a while, I just came to a realisation. This movie is just a whole lot of talking about what happened, sprinkled occasionally with deliberate shocking and disturbing moments about sexual harassment. Most annoying of all, there’s no deeper dive or complexity to it all (not with the people or at Fox), it’s all very surface level and basically a recap of what we mostly already knew happened. Even as someone who didn’t a ton about the story, I didn’t come out of Bombshell knowing much more than before I watched it.

NQBQOJX3OII6TCIGVNVWBXUREQ[1]

If there’s one reason to watch this movie, it is the performances. Charlize Theron is great here, managing to embody Megyn Kelly so believably, really great performance. A lot of the other acting is overplayed to some degree, but Theron feels grounded throughout. Nicole Kidman is not getting the awards attention that her co-leads are receiving, but she was quite good as Gretchen Carlson, who made the lawsuit on Roger Ailes. It actually made me wonder why Carlson wasn’t the lead character of the movie instead of Kelly. Margot Robbie plays a composite character, and I didn’t know what to think of that. Part of me got the impression that Robbie’s character might’ve been created because they wanted to have a main character who they could show directly harassed in a scene by Roger Ailes, but maybe I’m just reading too deep into it. Robbie generally acts well in her role, and she gets a couple great moments in the last act or so. John Lithgow plays Roger Ailes, and he played him uncomfortably well, really unpleasant and unsettling to watch when he’s on screen. At the same time, he scarily enough seems like a real human being, Lithgow did a great job on his part. There’s not much to say about the rest of the cast, they can be quite over the top and deliberately performed like a parody at times, but they’re fine enough.

ob_0ff30e_8ihayhqkgjuwo1ttncfbys3z8wr[1]

I’m not too familiar with Jay Roach, I know he made the Austin Powers movies and I’ve seen his last movie Trumbo. Many people have been saying that Bombshell has been heavily inspired by the directing of Adam McKay’s movies, and I can sadly confirm this. From voiceovers, breaking the fourth wall, cameos of people you may know of, you get the drill. Bombshell solidified that no one should be making Adam McKay-like movies other than Adam McKay himself. Now I personally liked The Big Short and Vice quite a bit, if you didn’t like them though, I think that you’d really dislike Bombshell. The camerawork was also documentary-like, and with the office taking up most of the prominent locations in the movie, it made you feel like you’re in an episode of The Office. It really didn’t serve to make the movie better, it just made it distracting and obnoxious to watch. Every time it zoomed in on someone, it gets just a little more annoying, and there are a lot of zoom ins. The visual style is so bland and uninteresting, and the movie relies so much on its visual style, unfortunately there’s not many appealing aspects here. What’s worse is that the style is not even that consistent, for example you only get the fourth wall breaks a few times, making you wonder why they did it at all. With so much of the directing and storytelling choices, it makes you wonder why they didn’t just make a documentary. The only aspect on a technical level that I can really give praise to is the great makeup, from making Theron look like Megyn Kelly and Lithgow like Ailes.

bombshell2.0[1]

Bombshell is a very mixed bag to say that least, and it’s a very hard movie to recommend. This topic is not pleasant to sit through (and it shouldn’t be), but it’s also more of a drag, and on top of that you don’t really learn that much from the movie (unless you’ve never heard of the story before) and doesn’t go deeper as it could’ve, also with some questionable writing and direction choices throughout. At the same time, the performances from Theron, Kidman, Robbie, and Lithgow are great, so maybe watch the movie if you really want to see their work here.

 

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) Review

Time: 161 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence, drug use, offensive language & sexual material
Cast:
Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton
Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth
Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate
Emile Hirsch as Jay Sebring
Margaret Qualley as “Pussycat”
Timothy Olyphant as James Stacy
Julia Butters as Trudi Fraser
Austin Butler as Charles “Tex” Watson
Dakota Fanning as Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme
Bruce Dern as George Spahn
Mike Moh as Bruce Lee
Luke Perry as Wayne Maunder
Damian Lewis as Steve McQueen
Al Pacino as Marvin Schwarz
Director: David Leitch

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1]

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is one of the most anticipated movies of 2019. First of all, it is the next movie from writer and director Quentin Tarantino, and also features one of the best casts of the year, with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino and more involved. I was curious about much of this movie, from the cast, to it being Tarantino’s first movie about Hollywood, considering his absolute love for film. Then there was the whole aspect of it apparently surrounding Sharon Tate’s murder (with this movie initially being branded as a Manson murder movie, which it very much isn’t). Tarantino delivers on yet another fantastic movie, and one of the best of the year.

If you plan to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, you should probably know first that is a long movie at around 2 hours and 40 minutes, and there is an even longer cut coming later. This is definitely Tarantino’s most laid back movie, and this kind of approach to the story won’t work for a lot of people. Some movies that meander don’t really work for me, it would have to have me on board or invested in order for it to even like. However, for whatever reason, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood does work for me. Admittedly, it took me some time to get used to the pacing in the first act, it was rather slow to begin with. The movie is really is just jumping around to the perspectives of the 3 main characters and what they’re doing, with each of the 3 acts focussing on a day in their lives. The movie isn’t plot driven on the whole, not with revenge or anything like that. This is also among the most genuinely heartfelt of Tarantino’s movies, the only other movie of his you could really compare it to is Jackie Brown. It’s ironic that after his bleakest and darkest movie with The Hateful Eight, he then makes his most lighthearted. It’s also very much a comedy for the most part, and that comedy is generally effective throughout. At the same time, it’s darkly effective when it needs to be, such as a tense scene taking place at a ranch with Brad Pitt. I won’t mention much about the third act (it’s really the only part of the movie that you could really spoil), but that’s the point when it really escalates, and if you find yourself a little bored from the rest of the time, you’re going to probably like that act more (provided you don’t take issue with the direction it takes), as it seems to be a lot more focussed in terms of plot. However, I know that some people won’t accept this particular direction, I was more than fine with what they did. I do think that it’s worth mentioning that I think some of the significance of certain scenes won’t hit people who aren’t familiar with the Manson family murders, or Sharon Tate and what happened to her. Now I’m not an expert, but I do generally know the main idea of what happened in real life for a while before going into the movie, and so I got the intended effect. But I just know that people who don’t really know about it at all will be confused at the very least. For those who already know about it and are wondering if her murder was exploited (like many have speculated), the simplest answer I can give is no.

The cast was pretty large and talented, and among the most exciting aspects of the movie. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt give some of their best performances here, and their respective characters of Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth are among Tarantino’s best characters. They share some great chemistry together and genuinely feel like best friends. Despite being mainly known as a ‘serious’ actor, DiCaprio with this and The Wolf of Wall Street has really shown that he has a knack for comedy. There’s a certain scene where he just has a complete breakdown after not getting some of his lines right, and it’s among the funniest scenes in the movie. His storyline is really about him being struggling as an actor, as his transition from tv actor to film actor has failed. Brad Pitt also shines as Cliff Booth, which rivalling his best performances (and that’s saying a lot). He has so many hilarious lines and moments, and is really one of the highlights of the movie. Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate, and there was much speculation surrounding her role in the movie. The main story really follows Dalton and Booth as they have their own storylines, but once in a while it’ll cut to Tate doing things during her day. One could wonder why the movie focusses on her, as none of her scenes seems to be in a storyline like the other two main characters, or does it seem to be amounting to anything. What I can tell is that her inclusion is meant to show audiences who Sharon Tate is through brief scenes, from her picking up a hitchhiker to her entering a screening of a movie that she starred in to hear audiences’ reactions to her performance. Robbie and Tarantino did a good job at making audiences of today remember Tate as someone much more than a tragic murder victim. I would’ve liked to have seen more of her, hopefully that inevitable extended cut will have more scenes with her. I will say though, despite the cast being one of the most anticipated parts of the movie, outside of those 3 previously mentioned actors, most of the others don’t get a ton of screentime. The likes of Margaret Qualley, Al Pacino, Timothy Oliphant, Dakota Fanning and others play their parts well, but don’t expect to see them more than a few scenes. Some appearances of actors like Michael Madsen and Scoot McNairy, as well as portrayals of iconic real life people like Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) and Steve McQueen (Damien Lewis) are basically just cameos. I guess they’re good in their necessary scenes, and maybe didn’t need to have more, but it’s worth knowing going in that they don’t get a massive amount to do like you might think they do.

Quentin Tarantino definitely has a great handle of this movie, as he usually does with his films. He really takes you back to the 60s Hollywood time period, with the costumes, to the production design and sets, and yes, the very well picked music. Longtime Tarantino cinematographer Robert Richardson also contributes heavily to the movie, giving it a stunning look and even successfully conveying a fantasy and relaxed feel to some of the scenes. Sometimes the movie would just follow Booth or Tate just driving, for a minute or so, it may stop the plot for a bit but for some reason it just worked for the overall vibe of the movie. I feel like if you are really into film, there’s going to be a lot of things in the movie that you’re going to enjoy, especially the scenes of filming with Dalton’s segment in the second act.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s heartfelt love letter to Hollywood, and one of the best movies of the year. The cast is great (DiCaprio, Pitt and Robbie particularly), and Tarantino’s writing and direction are on point. It’s not quite in my top 3 favourites from him, but it’s close, and I’d still say that it’s among his best movies. I know that apparently he wants to make one more movie before he wants to retire as a director, but if he just finished with this movie, it would be very fitting for him.

Terminal (2018) Review

Time: 90 Minutes
Cast:
Margot Robbie as Annie/Bonnie
Simon Pegg as Bill
Dexter Fletcher as Vince
Mike Myers as Clinton/Mr. Franklyn
Max Irons as Alfred
Director: Vaughn Stein

In the dark heart of a sprawling and anonymous city, two assassins carry out a sinister mission, a teacher battles a fatal illness, an enigmatic janitor and a curious waitress lead a dangerous double life. Murderous consequences unravel in the dead of night as their lives all intertwine at the hands of a mysterious criminal mastermind who is hell-bent on revenge.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Terminal looked like it could be something good, with people like Margot Robbie and Simon Pegg involved, and from the trailer it looked like it was interesting with a very stylish look. However, from what I heard from many people, the movie really doesn’t live up to any of its potential and was just plain bad. Nonetheless I was curious about it and still wanted to check it out, and having seeing it now, I can confirm that it doesn’t live up to the hype. It feels like the filmmakers tried to utilize a combinations of directors/writers to create a stylish thriller with twists and turns just for the sake of twists and turns. However, none of it comes together to work at all. Not all of it is bad, some of the actors are good, and is has a nice aesthetic and cinematography but unfortunately it’s not enough to save this movie.

As I said earlier, you can really see this movie trying to imitate so many other filmmakers’ styles’ but it doesn’t work. I’m not quite sure how this script got greenlit, it feels unfinished and even experimental, like the writer was trying out some ideas in a script and this was the first draft. First of all, this movie is needlessly convoluted. This movie is supposed to be very mysterious and have twists and turns with a noire feel to it but it doesn’t execute it correctly. It jumps between so many places and locations. It’s like they are trying to pull off a Pulp Fiction/Tarantino-esque script, without it being particularly smart and not jarring. Very early on it’s extremely confusing what’s going on and at a point you just stop caring about what’s going on and just accept that you’re not going to understand a lot of what’s going on. Granted once you see all the twists happen and the payoff, it makes the movie slightly better but at that point you’ve stopped caring about what was happening. None of the twists are satisfying outside of the fact that you can finally know what is going on. Not even the end is satisfying, you just want the movie to feel over because you feel underwhelmed by it all. Second of all, this movie tries so hard to be witty and smart with the dialogue and comedy and like 90% of it doesn’t work. It’s like they are trying to do a Guy Ritchie script but without it being good (which unfortunately happens way too often with some movies than it should). You can see this particularly with two assassins played by Dexter Fletcher and Max Irons with so much forced banter between them and it just becomes annoying. The movie however seems to think that its funny and entertaining because they just won’t stop with it. However the dialogue has more issues than just that, there is so much exposition dumps in most of the dialogue scenes, it’s really quite astounding, to the point where you just get bored. Also, some of the dialogue is really quite bad.

Third of all, the characters aren’t likable or interesting at all, so there’s no reason to really care about what happens to any of them. They are also very one note and don’t display a range of personalities. I’m fine with movies having just reprehensible characters but they need to have something to them that’s interesting, likeable or entertaining, otherwise the audience won’t be willing to care about what happens to them. Last of all, it’s just not interesting. With characters that are 2 dimensional at best, dialogue that’s exposition heavy and fails at its heavy handed attempts to be witty and a story that is just jarring and partially incomprehensible for no reason, it’s hard to get into. Most of all though, it doesn’t feel like they are trying to tell a story, it feels like they’re just having twists for the sake of twists. It doesn’t help that the plot meanders a whole lot and doesn’t seem to be leading to anything (with the exception of one twist). This movie is 90 minutes long and honestly, I’m glad that it’s that length. Because I can’t imagine having to watch any more of Terminal than the average movie runtime, even with that short runtime it felt pretty long.

One thing that the trailer did get right was Margot Robbie would be one of the best parts of the movie, and that’s definitely apparent here. In Terminal she uses a lot of her Harley Quinn craziness and charm here to great effect, the movie gives her lots of opportunities to chew the scenery. With that said, it’s not like one of her best performances, but she is having fun in the role and is giving it her all. Simon Pegg was also pretty good in his role here, he and Robbie have the closest thing to an interesting dynamic pairing of characters when it came to dialogue heavy moments (much more than the previously mentioned assassins played by Dexter Fletcher and Max Irons anyway). The rest of the cast don’t fare as well. I’m not exactly sure why Mike Myers is in this movie but for most of the movie he felt quite out of place, and really doesn’t get to show off or do much until like the last moments of the film. All the actors here are trying but only some of them come out giving okay performances. However like I said, none of the characters are particularly interesting and are very one note, so there’s only so much that these actors can do in their roles.

Terminal is absolutely stunning looking, with the colours, the lighting, use of neon, production design, it is a beautiful movie to look at. With that said, I can’t really say that the direction overall is great. The movie is incredibly stylish but at times the movie is trying way too hard to be stylish, especially with the scene transitions, that by the hour mark you just feel completely over it. It’s like its trying to be a Nicolas Winding Refn but only with the stunning cinematography. Some of the editing also is quite jarring and is made all the more worse by the constant time and location jumps in the story itself.

Aside from Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg and some nice cinematography, Terminal was a very underwhelming movie, with a messy and unfocussed script that feels like a lot of ideas and “cool things” thrown together. It’s not interesting, the characters are one note and you don’t care about them, the story is obnoxiously overconvoluted and throughout the whole thing, you really get the feeling that Terminal thinks it’s way better, smarter and funnier than it really is. The neon aesthetic and style is not enough to carry the movie, nor is the dozen twists and dialogue heavy and exposition dump scenes. I don’t think it’s terrible, I have seen way worse but this still isn’t a good movie at all. It is only 90 minutes long, so I guess you aren’t wasting too much time if you choose to check Terminal out, but I don’t think it’s really worth it.

I, Tonya (2017) Review

Time: 120 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Domestic violence, sexual violence, sex scenes & offensive language
Cast
Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding
Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly
Allison Janney as LaVona Fay Golden
Julianne Nicholson as Diane Rawlinson
Caitlin Carver as Nancy Kerrigan
Bojana Novakovic as Dody Teachman
Paul Walter Hauser as Shawn Eckhardt
Bobby Cannavale as Martin Maddox
Dan Triandiflou as Bob Rawlinson
Director: Craig Gillespie

Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) rises through the ranks of competitive figure skating only to find disgrace when her husband (Sebastian Stan) tries to eliminate her rival.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I, Tonya had my interest because of the cast (with Margot Robbie and Sebastian Stan), premise and the trailers. I wasn’t very familiar about Tonya Harding and going into it had a very vague knowledge about the incident with her and Nancy Kerrigan. I was expecting from I, Tonya great performances and I definitely got that. But I didn’t expect this to be one of my favourite films of the year. The style, the story, everything somehow worked together to make a great biopic that surprised me on many levels.

I, Tonya covers more than just the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan incident, it also covers Tonya’s life in chronological order, so we actually get to know her before “the incident” occurs. From start to finish it cuts to many of the characters/people in interview tapes who tell their side of the story, sometimes there are conflicting stories, especially between Tonya and her ex husband Jeff. One of the best strengths that the film has is that it is a dark comedy, it makes the film a lot more entertaining than if it just showed the events play out. The comedy somehow works and works seamlessly, it doesn’t feel forced at all. Some of the comedy comes from just how ridiculous some events were and how stupid many of the people were (particularly Tonya’s bodyguard played by Paul Walter Hauser). However, despite the comedy and entertaining style, it doesn’t hold back on a lot of the darker things that happened. A lot of it is quite hard to watch with Tonya having to deal with things such as abuse from both her mother and her husband, and of course the end of Tonya’s career because of the incident with Nancy Kerrigan. As someone who didn’t know a lot about Tonya Harding, let’s just say that events played out like how I didn’t think they would, so I was invested from start to finish, and barely anything took me out of the movie.

Margot Robbie has already proved herself to be a great actress in the past 5 years but with I, Tonya she has delivered her best work yet, she was absolutely phenomenal as Tonya Harding. Margot really transformed into Tonya and brought her to the big screen, a lot of the time you will probably forget that it’s Margot who’s playing her. While we don’t always agree with what Tonya does, we can understand why she does the things she does. There are particularly some scenes that Margot has in the last act which are some of the best pieces of acting that she’s ever done, particularly two certain moments. This is one of the best performances of the year for sure. Sebastian Stan really surprised me as Tonya’s ex husband Jeff Gillooly. Throughout the majority of the film I actually forgot that it was Sebastian Stan who was playing him. His performance shouldn’t be overlooked. Allison Janney is also incredible as Tonya’s abusive mother, she is a force to be reckoned with and steals every scene that she’s in. Although she has some moments which are funny, on the whole she is at times frightening in the way she acts towards Tonya, she really leaves a strong impact. Other actors like Julianne Nicholson and Paul Walter Hauser were also great and played their part well.

The direction by Craig Gillespie was solid, very stylistic. Some people have accused the film of stealing the style from Martin Scorsese’s many crime movies, often calling it Goodfellas on ice and I can see a lot of similarities and why they would say that. It breaks the fourth wall multiple times, many of the characters at times talk to the camera (especially when it cuts to present day in the interview room scenes) and there is a lot of narration. However, something about it just worked here that I didn’t mind that it was essentially trying to imitate a Scorsese style. The one aspect that didn’t work so well however was the use of music, at times the song choices felt a little on the nose and convenient and it was distracting occasionally. The ice skating scenes themselves were great, some of the ice skating was probably not done by Margot but at least for me, I thought they did a good job hiding that.

I, Tonya manages to bring to the big screen not only the story behind Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan incident, but also Tonya’s life story and it was done so well, better than I thought it would be. The way it was directed and portrayed was great and the performances from everyone, especially from Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney were outstanding and some of the best of the year. One of the biggest things I can say about it is that I’m also pretty sure that Gillespie and the cast and crew have redefined who Tonya Harding is, she is no longer known as just the infamous ice-skater who “supposedly” had another skater’s knee bashed in. I, Tonya is one of the best films of the year and shouldn’t be missed.

Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017) Review

Time: 107 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Adult themes
Cast
Domhnall Gleeson as A. A. Milne
Margot Robbie as Daphne de Sélincourt
Kelly Macdonald as Olive
Will Tilston as Young Christopher Robin
Alex Lawther as Christopher Robin Milne
Director: Simon Curtis

After leaving London for the English countryside, writer A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) starts to spin fanciful yarns about his son’s growing collection of stuffed animals. These stories form the basis for “Winnie-the-Pooh” and “The House at Pooh Corner,” published respectively in 1926 and 1928. Milne and his family soon become swept up in the instant success of the books, while the enchanting tales bring hope and comfort to the rest of postwar England.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I was partially curious about Goodbye Christopher Robin, mostly because of Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie’s involvement. Otherwise I didn’t really know what to expect, it was film about the making of Winnie the Pooh and I guess that could have some potential, but I wasn’t really sure. It was better than I thought it would be, with the story and performances being quite solid, it’s not great but it is good.

The story was generally good, its not one of the greatest biopics out there but its a very solid one. I do like how it doesn’t shy away from some of the things that happened, with how the success of the Winnie the Pooh stories had a negative impact on the real Christopher Robin. This movie surprisingly had some effective emotional moments that I honestly didn’t expect. I don’t know how accurate the overall film is to real life, though I did look up some things and there were a couple inaccuracies I found at the end. I thought it might’ve been done to lighten up the end a little because it would be hard for them to end the story in the movie like how it did in real life (I won’t say what happened, just watch the movie and then do some looking into the story on your own and you might know what I’m referring to). But that’s all I can really say from my position. I was consistently invested in the movie, there weren’t any particularly glaring flaws, it’s just overall a decent biopic. Aside from that, not too much to mention.

Acting is pretty great from everyone. Domhnall Gleeson gives a solid performance as A.A. Milne, the author of the Winnie the Pooh books. Margot Robbie plays Milne’s wife, who in the story isn’t very likable to say the least, but Robbie does her best to humanise her character as much as possible and she did a good job as well. The real life Christopher Robin Milne is played by 2 actors, Will Tilston for the younger version and Alex Lawther for the grown up version. Both are great but it’s Tilston who gets the more focus and screentime and he is so great here, this movie is kind of riding on him, so if Tilston failed, this movie would probably fail. Fortunately he was really good. There is great chemistry between Tilston and Gleeson and that is so important for the movie. Kelly Macdonald is also good as Christopher’s nanny, and you can definitely seem the bond between the two as most of the time it’s her who’s taking care of him. Again, they have great chemistry.

This is the first film I’ve seen by director Simon Curtis and he did a pretty solid job overall. There’s isn’t that much to say about it honestly, it’s adequately directed like most decent biopics and nothing particularly bad or amazing about it.

I liked Goodbye Christopher Robin more than I thought I would. I was reasonably interested in the story and it was surprisingly quite effective on an emotional level. I wouldn’t say that its like one of the year’s best films but it is definitely worth giving taking a look for the performances at the very least.

Suicide Squad Extended Cut and Retrospective Review (2016)

suicide-squad-extended-harley-joker1

suicide-squad-blu-ray-box-art1

Time: 134 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence, horror & cruelty
Cast:
Will Smith as Floyd Lawton/Deadshot
Jared Leto as Joker
Margot Robbie as Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn
Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag
Viola Davis as Amanda Waller
Jai Courtney as Digger Harkness/Captain Boomerang
Jay Hernandez as Chato Santana/El Diablo
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Waylon Jones/Killer Croc
Cara Delevingne as Dr. June Moone/Enchantress
Karen Fukuhara as Tatsu Yamashiro/Katana
Adam Beach as Christopher Weiss/Slipknot
Director: David Ayer

Figuring they’re all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret mission. Now armed with government weapons, Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and other despicable inmates must learn to work together. Dubbed Task Force X, the criminals unite to battle a mysterious and powerful entity, while the diabolical Joker (Jared Leto) launches an evil agenda of his own.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

My initial review of Suicide Squad.

I loved Suicide Squad when it came out. It was something different and unique and despite all its flaws, I still really liked it. It’s been many months since I saw this movie for the first time and after many months of thinking about it and especially after watching it again (the extended cut) … let’s just say that my thoughts on Suicide Squad have changed quite a bit. I still like the movie but it’s clearly got a lot of issues.

ss21

Now I think I should get a brief review of the Extended Cut out of the way. How much new Joker footage is in the extended cut? Well there is a extended flashback scene with Harley and Joker in Arkham, as well as a new Joker and Harley flashback. That’s it. That’s literally it. So don’t expect the extended cut to be ‘Suicide Squad: Joker Edition’ as you might think it is. This is a real shame, as we will probably never see even half of the Joker footage which was filmed. The extended cut’s new footage mostly consisted of more interactions with the Squad, which is what the movie needed more of. That’s really it. The new footage doesn’t change the movie in a huge way. The extended/director’s cuts of Batman v Superman and Watchmen really added a lot and improve the movies greatly. With Suicide Squad, the extended cut is better than the theatrical cut, but not by a huge amount. If you watched the Theatrical Cut and didn’t really like it, the Extended Cut isn’t going to make you change your mind.

dc-comics-suicide-squad-harley-quinn-margot1

Now, to the retrospective review. There are many problems that I have with the film now after thinking about it for many months. There were particularly two major problems that really bug me. The first was with the editing and the cutting of the scenes. It’s practically become infamous with how much footage from the trailers didn’t actually make it into the movie. Even the Extended Cut, which had 12 minutes of new footage even came close to showing all the footage shown in the trailers. Joker, despite being promoted heavily in the film, is only in the film for about 9 minutes in the theatrical cut, and maybe a minute more with the extended cut. It can be shown in both behind the scenes footage and trailer footage that there was a lot of his footage that didn’t make it into the film. This ultimately made Joker feel out of place, it felt like he didn’t exactly belong, especially in the present day sequences where he’s trying to rescue Harley. Granted, he wasn’t implemented that well in the movie overall, but if he was in the movie more he would’ve been less distracting, and plus we would’ve been able to get a better idea of what his Joker actually is. But it’s not only Joker that the cutting of the scenes affected. Certain scenes seem out of place and feel like there were supposed to be more scenes there. The film tries to hide this sometimes, such as the Harley and Joker Flashbacks, where certain parts have these weird coloured filters which were really out of place, and quick sudden cuts (especially shown during the Arkham sequence), and so it felt really awkward. Now I have no idea if the entire direction of the film was changed by Warner Bros or what happened, but it’s pretty clear that Warner Bros did cut a lot out and interfered with the editing of the film. At least with Batman v Superman, the Ultimate Edition restored the footage to Zack Snyder’s cut. Suicide Squad however, not the same case.

suicide-squad-extended-cut-joker-harley1

The other major problem I have was the direction that the film was going in. What really bugged me was that Enchantress was the main villain of the film. And my problem with that wasn’t so much the execution of Enchantress (though I definitely had problems there), it was the fact that the Suicide Squad were put up against a godlike character. This is disappointing in many ways. First of all, Suicide Squad (the film) was looking very unique amongst all the other comic book movies, with it having villains as the main characters. It was getting everything right but then the film ultimately turned out to be just another ‘save the world’ movie. Also Enchantress’s powers weren’t handled well. She’s a godlike character who caused a lot of damage but because she was so powerful, the film needed to depower her otherwise the Squad wouldn’t stand a chance against her. Really, none of the Squad stood a chance against her, only perhaps El Diablo was capable, that’s it, and of course he died during the fight against Incubus, Enchantress’s brother. That’s another thing, Incubus was utterly pointless in the movie (not to mention that the CGI started going into Gods of Egypt territory). As a result, the film culminated in an underwhelming fight. The film would’ve benefited a lot more if it was crime based. That’s where David Ayer excels. Perhaps if the Squad was put up against the Joker it would’ve worked more. If the Joker would’ve overshadowed things, than maybe put them up against some other crime based character, just not Enchantress. It’s not like the only issue of the film was the editing, the writing by David Ayer could’ve been better, whether it comes to the story, character motivation and the dialogue (yes, a lot of the dialogue did not work). But we can’t really blame him a lot for that, he only had 6 weeks to write the screenplay (another failing on Warner Bros’s part). Other gripes with the film was that aside from their introductions, all the members of the Squad were more anti heroes than actual villains, and it is possible for them to be villainous protagonists. Only Amanda Waller and Enchantress actually felt like villains.

cf17a208-b716-44fd-8de8-a93cfdca00761

Now, to some more positive stuff. The characters are great and are what carries the movie. However, there are still some issues there, I do have at least one problem with each of the characters, Deadshot felt a little too heroic, Harley Quinn was inconsistent, Rick Flagg was just fine, El Diablo could’ve had a little more depth, Katana and Killer Croc don’t have a lot of development and are just sort of there, Boomerang is entertaining but doesn’t have a lot to work with. And Slipknot… well he served his purpose, a random person to be killed at the beginning of the movie. As for The Joker, the major issue was really with the editing, and plus the writing for him could’ve been better. I loved what Leto did with the character but The Joker didn’t really fit well in the movie. As for Enchantress… she could’ve been a lot better, however I will say that I liked her more on the second viewing. I found that it was mostly the dialogue that worked against her. She was a ‘take over the world’ villain, which could work (I love Apocalypse), but her dialogue just made it hard to take her seriously. However, when she was in both forms when she was just using magic and carrying out her plan, she was great. To put it simply, I like Enchantress when she doesn’t speak. The best character of the film for me was Amanda Waller, Viola Davis played her excellently, I can’t wait to see more of her in the DCEU. I do like all the characters despite their problems. They are fun to watch, and the actors do play them quite well. The action is good, if forgettable at times, the first action sequence was the best (especially when Deadshot was on the car). The soundtrack is good but inconsistent (like every scene would have a new song, way too many songs were used). The score by Steven Price is criminally underrated. I liked Ayer’s overall direction of the film (except when it came to dealing with the cut scenes), it was entertaining and worked mostly well.

20160818195241_191

Overall, I still like Suicide Squad quite a bit but like with Captain America: Civil War, I noticed more flaws in it as time went on. There’s definitely some problems as stated up above. Even though Suicide Squad is disappointing in retrospect, I wouldn’t consider it bad. We can only hope that Warner Bros learns from this and Batman v Superman, letting the director’s handle their own cuts is a much better idea. It’s honestly a miracle that this film got made with all the random decisions that were made. I’m sadly not really hyped for a Suicide Squad sequel. I will give Suicide Squad credit for introducing many characters into the DCEU but I feel that they could’ve done it a lot better. Now, it was announced recently that director David Ayer would be directing Gotham City Sirens (which will have Harley Quinn, Catwoman and Poison Ivy). He’s not writing it, instead it’s written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet (who’s not really written anything, so we’ll have to see how she does), so there might so there’s potential for the movie to be quite good. The direction (aside from the editing) of the movie was quite good so we’ll just have to see what happens. Overall to me, Suicide Squad is still enjoyable, just disappointing looking back at it.

Suicide Squad (2016) Review

suicide-squad[1]

Suicide Squad

Time: 123 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Will Smith as Floyd Lawton/Deadshot
Jared Leto as Joker
Margot Robbie as Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn
Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag
Viola Davis as Amanda Waller
Jai Courtney as Digger Harkness/Captain Boomerang
Jay Hernandez as Chato Santana/El Diablo
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Waylon Jones/Killer Croc
Cara Delevingne as Dr. June Moone/Enchantress
Karen Fukuhara as Tatsu Yamashiro/Katana
Adam Beach as Christopher Weiss/Slipknot
Director: David Ayer

Figuring they’re all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret mission. Now armed with government weapons, Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and other despicable inmates must learn to work together. Dubbed Task Force X, the criminals unite to battle a mysterious and powerful entity, while the diabolical Joker (Jared Leto) launches an evil agenda of his own

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

My updated thoughts on Suicide Squad.

Suicide Squad was one of my most anticipated movies of 2016. It has a unique premise and its part of the DCEU, which I’m loving so far. Having finally seen the movie, I have to say that I am quite satisfied with Suicide Squad. I will admit that it does have its noticeable flaws but I still do think it’s really good. It’s a lot of fun, the characters are handled well, it was a very enjoyable movie.

f-marvel-why-david-ayer-s-remarks-shouldn-t-be-taken-too-seriously-move-along-not-1081037[1]

The story is very straightforward and simple, aside from the bit about criminals working for the government, it’s a pretty standard save the world type story. There’s not a whole lot of surprises in the movie. For me though it was the characters and their interactions that drove the movie. The humour was incorporated well into the movie, it’s funny when it needs to be but doesn’t feel out of place, it still maintains a reasonably dark tone. And yes, before many people ask, this movie is ‘fun’. Some have criticised the first act, it’s basically all the backstories of the main characters. I personally really liked it, even though there are a couple of flashbacks during the rest of the film, by establishing most of the characters’ stories at the beginning of the film it got all of it done earlier, no need for constant flashbacks throughout the rest of the rest of the film. I liked the other 2 acts in general as well plotwise. There is a mid credit scene which ties into other movies in the DCEU so be sure to stick around to the end. I pretty much enjoyed this movie from start to finish, I was interested in what was going on but once again it was the characters that were the highlight of the film.

suicide-squad-orizzontale-1864x1048[1]

Most of the main characters got at least one moment to shine, and there was something memorable about all of them. Margot Robbie IS Harley Quinn, she was absolutely fantastic in the role, she’s one of the most entertaining characters to watch in the film. Will Smith as Deadshot surprised me, I didn’t really know what to expect from him but he was one of the showstealers, he had charisma, he was nice to watch, he was believable in the role, he was great. Another surprising performance was Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag. That was a role that could’ve just been a generic soldier character but Kinnamon did a great job and elevated the role, he and Smith really played off each other and was one of the most entertaining dynamics of the film. Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang was great, he was really the comic relief of the movie and was absolutely hilarious. He finally found a role that worked out for him. Another stand out was Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, who was also a surprise for me, he is given quite a bit of depth and probably one of the most likable characters in the film. There is a scene involving his backstory which was done especially and incredibly well. The other squad members, Katana (Karen Fukuhara), and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Abaje) are also great in their roles. And the final member Slipknot…. well there’s not much to say about him, not spoiling anything.

ss2[1]

In regards to Jared Leto’s Joker, he’s not in the movie a lot, he’s on screen for like 7 minutes max. I liked what Jared Leto did with the character though, you can’t compare him to Ledger’s Joker because for one, it’s a completely different kind of Joker and two, there’s not enough screen time given to Leto to judge. I do think that we should’ve gotten more of him, and a lot of his footage shouldn’t have been cut (but I’ll address all that later). It was a decent taster of what’s to come for his character in future movies. His relationship with Harley does differ from the comics, here he actually somewhat cares for her, and that will divide some people, I’ll bring it up later on. But I’ll say that I have mixed feelings about how they decided to portray their relationship. The main villain, which I won’t reveal for those who don’t want to spoiled (not really a spoiler though) was kind of weak. The person who played the villain did put a lot of effort into it, and I think the effects for the character were great, and there’s something intriguing about the concepts of the character (especially at the beginning) but the writing wasn’t good for the character, especially the dialogue, which is pretty much clichéd taking over the world villain dialogue. It was a shame because if they gave more depth to the villain and have more development for the character in general, the villain would’ve worked better. However, I will say that despite this, Suicide Squad still has a great villain with Viola Davis’s Amanda Waller (yes she counts as a villain), she was absolutely fantastic. Intimidating and cold, she was also a showstealer (and perhaps gave the best performance in the whole movie). I can’t wait to see her interact with other characters in the DCEU. I think that’s the biggest takeaway I had with these characters, they played so well off each other and made huge impressions that I’m excited to see them in other films. While I’m at it I should mention that the cameos were handled quite well, it makes the DCEU feel even bigger.

suicide-squad-spinoff-films-could-also-include-the-joker-and-captain-boomerang-social[1]

Direction wise I think the film is very good, David Ayer is a very talented director. The film definitely feels more real in its locations, costumes, etc, which makes it quite fresh and new for a comic book movie. The film does have quite a lot of Easter eggs that I won’t spoil in case they haven’t been spoiled for you yet. The action scenes are good and very enjoyable to watch, though the action isn’t really very memorable. Also while I liked the third act and the action during it, the fight with the main villain at the end was honestly underwhelming, wasted potential, like the treatment of the villain in the film. The only effects that were iffy for me was for one of the villains (not the main villain), it looked really out of place and fake, borderline Gods of Egypt CGI (I’ll review that movie soon by the way). The rest of the CGI was fine. While I was questioning the modern day soundtrack before seeing the movie, I thought it worked well. Composer Steven Price’s score also was good.

screen-shot-2015-07-13-at-1-10-49-pm[1]

Now onto the editing. The editing has been getting a lot of criticism. Personally like with Batman v Superman I was generally fine with it, I was able to watch and follow the movie. But for me the one problem I had with the editing was the fact that they cut a lot of footage, there’s a lot of footage that’s in the trailers but not in the movie. This happened quite a lot with The Joker. I felt like Warner Bros cut some things out because they were too scared to show them, for example they cut out a scene which showcased Joker and Harley’s abusive relationship, but I have a strong feeling that this worked against them. Even though Batman v Superman’s original cut had editing issues, I felt like Suicide Squad suffered from this problem more, at least in terms of the scenes they decided to cut. I don’t know who’s to blame for the cut footage but I do think it was a mistake for them to make this decision. Despite this being a problem for me, the film still works quite well with the scenes that are still included.

CmtYNrLWIAALuT2[1]

With this film branching off into different DC characters never seen before on the big screen, I can say I’m loving the direction the DCEU is going in. Suicide Squad had a lot of great characters, it’s very fun and entertaining and its something we’ve never seen before. Even though I have listed a lot of problems with the movie (mostly due to the villain and editing and especially the cut scenes), it’s pros really do outweigh the cons. Amongst audiences this film is quite divisive, about as divisive as Batman v Superman. Don’t use that film as an indicator of whether you’ll like Suicide Squad or not, they are very different types of films. I’m not sure if you’ll actually like this movie. But I do think it’s worth seeing for yourself.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) Review

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

The Wolf of Wall Street
Time: 180 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Drug use, sex scenes and offensive language
Cast:
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort
Jonah Hill as Donnie Azoff
Margot Robbie as Naomi Lapaglia
Matthew McConaughey as Mark Hanna
Kyle Chandler as Patrick Denham
Rob Reiner as Max Belfort
Jon Bernthal as Brad Bodnick
Jon Favreau as Manny Riskin
Jean Dujardin as Jean-Jacques Saurel
Director: Martin Scorsese

Based on a true story, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) teamed with his partner Donny Azoff (Jonah Hill) in the early 1990s and started the brokerage firm Stratford-Oakmont. Their company’s status quickly grows in the trading community and Wall Street. As their status grows, so do the amount of substances they abuse, and so do their lies which would overall result in their downfall.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1]

Martin Scorsese is one of my favourite directors of all time, and when I heard of his new movie The Wolf of Wall Street I was eagerly anticipating it. Now that I’ve finally seen it, I can say that it didn’t disappoint, I absolutely loved it. Under Martin Scorsese’s direction, the film excels in everything, from the excellent acting from everyone to Terrence Winter’s brilliant dark comedic script which overall results in an overall unforgettable ride.

Leonardo-DiCaprio-in-The-Wolf-of-Wall-Street[1]

At 3 hours this is Scorsese’s longest movie but it never lets up in being entertaining. The film has a very similar feel to Scorsese’s Goodfellas and Casino, such as the narration by Jordan Belfort which makes you feel like you are on a ride with him through his many adventures. This movie is also very funny, whether it be people tripping out on drugs or having parties in the office. Martin Scorsese hasn’t done comedies before but he really did a great job with portraying Terrence Winter’s dark comedy. This movie isn’t for everyone though. There is a lot of sex in this movie. If you are going see this movie with someone, make sure you really know if you’ll be comfortable seeing it with them because so far this is the most amount of sex I’ve seen in a movie. There is also a thought that these people are being glorified and their actions condoned. That isn’t the case, it shows them living glorious lifestyles but the final act shows their downfall. Also, these characters are never really portrayed as being likable, in fact they are quite reprehensible. I like that about this movie, it never sanitises anything, and Scorsese knows how to creates movies around reprehensible characters.

img7[1]

Leonardo DiCaprio is outstanding in this movie, in fact I think that this might is his best performance of his career. Jordan Belfort in this movie goes from many emotions which enables DiCaprio to portray his (literal and figurative) highs and lows. A shining example of his great performance is a scene where dated Quaaludes Lemmons have an effect on him. Also brilliant is Jonah Hill, in probably his best performance to date. Matthew McConaughey is only in a couple scenes in the movie but he absolutely steals those scenes. There is also a breakthrough performance by Margot Robbie, as Belfort’s second wife who’s really great in the time that she’s on screen. Everyone else like Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, etc. nail their parts as well, there is no actor who’s out of place in this movie.

TWOWS.D005-16.CR2

This is a Martin Scorsese movie so as you can expect, the cinematography is top notch. The editing was also great, being fast based and quite a lot like Goodfellas and Casino, along with narration throughout the entire movie which really gives an insight in Belfort’s inner thoughts. The soundtrack is also very well picked, with music from artists like Billy Joel to Devo.

quot-Wolf-of-Wall-Street-quot-Continues-to-Rule-Most-Pirated-Movies-List-418574-2[1]

The Wolf of Wall Street is a brilliant movie and I personally think that it is one of Martin Scorsese’s finest films to date. I will say that the movie is not for everyone, with the sex, drugs and the less than likable characters. However for those who are able to go in with an open mind, it is a brilliant film that is enthralling from start to finish. It’s in my opinion the best movie released in 2013 and one of my new favourite movies.