Suicide Squad Review

After the mixed received film Man of Steel and the critically panned Batman v. Superman: Dawn of JusticeSuicide Squad seems to have the same negative outcome. However, though the film may have a big plot hole in its third act and an unnecessary side story, it is still an entertaining film, with an equal set of interesting characters.

From the moment the movie starts you are enraptured by the beautiful visuals and wonderful soundtrack, which is one of the best parts of the movie. The sound mixing and the audiovisuals of the film capture the tone of each scene perfectly, as well as conveying the emotions some of the characters were experiencing. To make things even better, the visuals of the film are probably the best of any superhero film out there. With it being big, bold, and colorful, the way they introduce each squad member is unlike any other film, that is just ripped out of the comics.

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With each introduction of the squad members, you get a sense of what each members stand for. Or for at least the core three, which are Deadshot (Floyd Lawton), Harley Quinn, and Col. Rick Flagg. Deadshot, played brilliantly by Will Smith, plays an assassin with a heart of gold toward his daughter. Taken into custody by Batman, his character had the development to prove that he’s more than just a killer. He’s a person, who can be so much more for his daughter and himself. He’s funny, deadly, and is a simple joy to watch.

Fan favorite Harley Quinn was a simple delight to watch. Her character is what fans expected. She was funny, unhinged, and is still infatuated with her ‘puddin’ (more on that later.) Col. Rick Flagg was a character that surprised me the most. They gave him a story and his mission was more personal than any other, as he tries to save his love June Moon, from the Enchantress control. Other characters such as Captain Boomerang and Killer Croc were also good. They had great one liners, but they had no story and were just part of the squad. There were some questions I had, like what was the significance of the pink unicorn Boomerang had? It was a bit odd and i guess it could be his fetish, but I would’ve liked an explanation of it or something.

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The character of El Diablo was a a good, but sad one. Living a life of tragedy, he tries his best to refrain himself, knowing he can cause more harm than good. He is a very interesting character with an amazing set of powers. His whole story was that of redemption and he was able to accomplish that with a satisfying sacrifice to save the rest of the squad. Now the last member, who I don’t even know was in the movie if she was just there and offered nothing, is Katana. She was just there. She had maybe four lines of dialogue and is unclear as to why she’s even there in the first place. A shame for such an interesting comic character.

One things fans were excited to see was how actor Jared Leto would portray the Joker. I enjoyed what I saw, but what I saw wasn’t enough. I give props to Leto for giving us a new take on the character, but the Joker did not need to be in the film. He was in the film for about seven minutes and it was to further Harley Quinn’s story, but by the very end, his whole journey for Harley was useless. Every time they cut to the Joker, it felt choppy, very sudden, and unnecessary for the film.

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Aside from some mild choppy cut scenes, the main issue with the film is the third act. For me, everything was working fine until they face the antagonist, The Enchantress, who isn’t much of a compelling villain. She is a very overpowered character who can teleport anywhere in seconds to get whatever she needs and no one would see disappear. She has several powers and towards the end when the bomb is underneath her, one where she knows is placed there, and she doesn’t take it. Another thing is when the squad is together at the end, the Enchantress decides to fight them in hand to hand combat, for some reason, when she could easily kill them. I hate to say it, but the “big swirly thing in the sky” and an overpowering villain fighting our heroes hand to hand, seems very reminiscent to the previous Fantastic Four film. Now the film is NO WHERE near as bad as that film, it’s just that those scenes reminded me of it.

Suicide Squad is fun, entertaining film. I enjoyed it even through its flaws, which I’m sure people can get passed. Suicide Squad is a good time in the theaters and I think it does a fare job at adding to the DC mythos in their cinematic universe. I recommend going in and just have a good time as you can.

Rating: 6.5

Café Society Review

Established and talented screenwriter/director Woody Allen graces our movie screens every year with his whimsical, but honest stories. In what some may call a small period of flops for Woody Allen in the last two years with  Magic in the Moonlight Irrational Man, Allen transports us back to his classic, but not much memorable, style of stories in Café Society. 

Set during the Golden Age of Hollywood, amidst glam glitter. An entire city that runs solely on “ego” one character does not fall into temptation, Bobby Dorfman. A young Jewish boy, moves to Hollywood in hopes to find a new and exciting career. He works for his uncle Phil(Steve Carrel) and meets Vonnie (Kristen Stewart) where he is immediately enamored by her. Sadly she is in a relationship, with Phil. Eventually a love triangle is formed and Vonnie must choose either Phil or Bobby and chooses the latter. Making Bobby move back to NY because he’s bored of the Hollywood lifestyle and  runs a nightclub with his brother and falls for another girl, but is still hung up on Vonnie; it just becomes a bit of a mess towards the 2nd act.

The script is rather meandering, as the story begins to move all over the place in the middle of the 2nd act; and the pacing did feel off at times. There were also side stories that didn’t bring anything to the overall story. They put such a large emphasis on Bobby’s older brother Ben (Corey Stoll) being a gangster and is convicted and put to be executed. That small thread of a story ultimately does nothing to further the plot and Bobby, although saddened, is left unchanged by this.

However, one bright positive is its visuals. Allen is able to capture the beauty of the Hollywood era, but just as well shows us how fake and artificial the city and the people are. Allen is known for his distaste in Hollywood and although so many things in the film are gorgeous and appear to amount to something great, it’s all hollow and really amounts to nothing. As a period piece, Allen does an excellent job in setting the mood and style of both New York and LA.

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The performances across the board were great. Steve Carrel continues to do drama very well, while having a sprinkle of comedy to work with. Jesse Eisenberg plays the Woody Allen trope, that is very reminiscent in Annie Hall. The real star is Kristen Stewart who gives one of the best performances I’ve seen from her. Her character of Vonnie has the largest arc; when we first meet her, she’s someone who doesn’t like the fame and expensive things in life, but when it is given to her, she can’t get enough of it. It is in the very end when she realizes that everything she has ultimately means nothing and contemplates whether she made the right decision to be with Phil.

The rest of the supporting cast were fine, although some may not even be memorable like Veronica (Blake Lively) or Rad (Parker Posey.) However, there were still a few that were able stand out, in large part due to the comedy. Despite, some of the negatives, this film might be Allen’s funniest film since Midnight in Paris, with many one liners and situational comedy that can make you burst out laughing.

Certainly not his greatest, it would probably be like many of his other films such as Sweet and Lowdown or Stardust Memories. Good films, but just not as memorable as his other films. That’s where Café Society falls short, something that could’ve been great, but just becomes a decent film, unable to join the ranks some of his best modern works such as Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine.

Rating: 6.5/10

Batman: The Killing Joke (Spoiler) Review

One of Batman’s most loved and well recognized graphic novel, The Killing Joke, is put to the ultimate test with a feature length animated movie. As a massive Batman fan, I have read The Killing Joke numerous times; it is one of my favorite Batman/Joker stories. So imagine my surprise when I realized the film ultimately falls short.

To start with the positives, by far one of the best parts of the film are Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as Batman and Joker. The scenes they are in are great as always and a lot of the dialogue between the two are straight from the comic. The story group and the animation do a fantastic job at recreating certain panels and transitioning them to a scene, that builds the same tension and suspense as the original graphic novel. Whenever a film is adapting something from another form of media, there will always be changes, but those changes should improve on the overall story. There were some minor scenes that were new to the story that fit well, but again, those were the minor scenes.

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Where the film falls short were the major scenes that added the story of Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl. They give her a backstory, which is fine, it was something I was open to the idea of, but they executed her story very poorly. In fact, I found myself bored and uninterested in her story. She’s practically a sex object, with a mob boss who is infatuated with her, Batman who is overly protective of her, so much so that he tells her to back off a case, which leads them to have sex on a rooftop… And Batman never even bothers to call back… So many things were wrong with that scene, Batman is basically treating her like a child and the two of them having sex was just so bizarre.  It feels out of character and was unnecessarily melodramatic. I can understand that the filmmaker wanted to add more scenes of Barbara to give us a bigger emotional impact, when she did get shot by the Joker, but it was executed poorly.

The narrative is another issue, because the 1st act is about building this character, by creating her own separate story, that has NOTHING to do with the overall story. The Killing Joke is a story about Joker trying to prove to Batman that the average person is just like him. It just takes one bad day, one moment to make you snap, to make you fall into an abyss that is madness. While Batman is trying to prove that his way, the right way, works and that no one can fall into insanity so easily.  The relationship between the two characters is iconic and as previously mentioned, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill do a great job and bring these characters to life. When the film is actually adapting the graphic novel, that’s where things really took off.

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The film accomplishes bringing the original story to life; the scenes that were exactly from the graphic novel were great! The story probably would’ve been much more suited if it were a short 40-45 minute film, focusing mainly on Batman and Joker. Even with a meandering narrative and an unnecessary 1st act, once you get to the main story, you get a good adaptation.

Rating: 6/10

Ghostbusters Review

There is no doubt that this film was facing an uphill battle, with the majority of people hating the film without seeing it, but those people don’t know what they’re missing. Ghostbusters is a fun, entertaining film, with memorable characters, hilarious moments, and amazing effects that might actually make you afraid of ghosts.

I never understood why there was such a big hate towards this film. In an era where reboots, remakes, and sequels are the norm, it didn’t bother me that they would remake this film. Paul Feig is a well established comedic director, creating hits like Bridesmaids (a romantic comedy), The Heat (a buddy cop comedy), and Spy (a action-comedy). It would make sense for Feig to dabble in the realm of Sci-Fi/comedy with Ghostbusters and the result is a fun film.

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The cast were good; each character were different from each other and you can imagine them roaming the streets of NY and have these weird, wacky adventures. My new favorite Ghostbusters is hands down, Jillian Holtzmann, played by the hilarious Kate McKinnon. The character’s personality is so bizarre, but charming and her facial expressions make the entire film for me. Whenever something happens in the film, just look at her face and you won’t help but smile. Leslie Jones character of Patty was one I was very hesitant about, because she’s a hit or miss for me on SNL, but she ended up surprising me the most.  Kristin Wiig and Melissa McCarthy were fine, there relationship seemed genuine, but they honestly made me laugh the least. Now Chris Hemsworth came out of nowhere and played the incredible, dim-witted, but hilarious, Kevin.

When looking at a film like Ghostbusters, you have to see what it has to do to the audience. The genre is comedy/sci-fi and the number one rule for every comedy is that has to make you laugh and Ghostbusters did that. Granted some of the jokes were a hit or miss and when it was a miss, the actors would stare at each other in silence, making the audience feel awkward. Thankfully there were more hits and even through the awkwardness, I still found myself having a good time.

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One of the many things that I enjoyed, in fact probably my favorite thing about this film were the ghosts themselves. The effects were probably the best part of the film; they were visually stunning to look at and they’re ghosts. Many of the action scenes I thought were very well done, but the problem was that they were far too short. Probably the biggest problem of the film is the 3rd act itself and  its climax. The pacing felt off and too quick and it ended very anticlimactic. There’s a giant ghost and in a minute they found a way to stop it. The action I thought was fine, (there’s one scene with Holtzmann that is actually bad-ass) but when they started fighting ghost, I just couldn’t get behind it. Also, as awesome as it was to see the cameos from the original movie, so many of them felt forced and misplaced, which took you out of the film.

The best way to describe Ghostbusters is fun. You’ll have a good time watching it. It’s smart, funny, and pays a good homage to the original. It’s not the best film this summer and certainly not the funniest, but in a summer of movies that end up being disappointments, Ghostbusters stands as one of the few successes this summer.

Rating: 7/10