November Movie Releases

It’s Turkey Month ladies and gentlemen!

Happy Early Thanksgiving! It’s now at the point that we have a great film or films coming out every week and some that will for sure divide films fans. Now let’s jump right into the fray and see what’s coming out!

 

1st

A Bad Moms Christmas (Comedy – STX Entertainment, Huayi Brothers Pictures)

Amy (Mila Kunis), Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell) struggle to cope when their respective mothers visit for the holidays. I’m sure I’m with many who were surprised at how funny the first Bad Moms was and how successful it ended up being. So, and I can’t believe I’m saying this; I’m looking forward toward the sequel to Bad Moms. The film co-stars Jay Hernandez, Peter Gallagher, Cheryl Hines, Christine Baranski and Susan Sarandon.

 

3rd

Limited Release: LBJ

The story of U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson (Woody Harrelson) from his young days in West Texas to the White House. The film has a pretty impressive supporting cast in Bill Pullman, Jeffrey Donovan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, C. Thomas Howell, Michael Stahl-David and Richard Jenkins.

 

Limited Release: Last Flag Flying

Written and directed by Richard Linklater, and a spiritual sequel to the 1973 film The Last Detail. Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, a former Navy Corpsman Larry “Doc” Shepherd (Steve Carell) re-untied with his old buddies, former Marines Sal Nealon (Bryan Cranston) and Reverend Richard Mueller (Laurence Fishburne), to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War. The film looks pretty funny with three friends getting together on a road trip with some drama. The film also stars J. Quinton Johnson, Deanna Reed-Foster, and Yul Vazquez.

 

Limited Release: Lady Bird

Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, in only her second directorial film but her first solo film, Lady Bird follows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), who tries to get through life in Northern California while dealing with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) and her sick father (Tracy Letts). The film looks pretty great and a nice character piece with Ronan adding another potential great character to her resume. The film co-stars Odeya Rush, Timothee Chalamet, Kathryn Newton, Laura Marano, Daniel Zovatto and Lucas Hedges.

 

Limited Release: Blade of the Immortal

The 100th film by legendary director Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer, 13 Assassins), and based off the manga by Hiroaki Samura. The film follows Manji, a highly skilled samurai, who is cursed with immortality and whose path is crossed by young girl looking for the legendary immortal samurai to help her avenge her parents, who were filled by a ruthless warrior and his army. This looks like a crazy, bloody, fun ride that only Miike can create.

 

Thor: Ragnarok (Sci-Fi Action Adventure – Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures)

Directed by Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself imprisoned on another planet, and forced into a gladiatorial game against fellow Avenger, The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Thor has to survive and must race against time to stop the powerful Hela (Cate Blanchett) from destroying Asgard and everything in her way. I don’t know about you, but I’m stupid excited for this…that’s all, I can’t wait for this. The film co-stars Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Idris Elba, Jaimie Alexander, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Benedict Cumberbatch and Anthony Hopkins

 

10th

Limited Release: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Written and directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths), in what is described as a “darkly comic drama,” a mother (Frances McDormand) personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder, when they fail to catch the culprit. I’m a huge fan of what McDonagh has done so far, and I can’t wait to see what he does here, with yet, another great cast. The film-co-stars Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Peter Dinklage, Abbie Cornish, Caleb Landry Jones, Zeljko Ivanek, Lucas Hedges and John Hawkes.

 

Daddy’s Home 2 (Comedy – Paramount Pictures, Gary Sanchez Productions)

Brad (Will Ferrell) and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) must deal with their intrusive fathers, played by John Lithgow and Mel Gibson, during the holidays. I didn’t watch the first Daddy’s Home until this year, and I didn’t mind it, so now with the sequel coming out, I’m kind of looking forward to it. The film co-stars Linda Cardellini, John Cena and Alessandra Ambrosio.

 

Murder on the Orient Express (Crime Mystery – 20th Century Fox, Scott Free Productions, The Mark Gordon Company, Genre Films)

Based on the novel by Agatha Christie, renowned Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh, who also directs) investigates the murder of a wealthy American traveling on the Orient Express, the most famous train in the world. I loved the teaser trailer with that great tracking shot. Now that we’ve seen a little more of the trailer, I’m hoping this turns out to be great. The film also stars Daisy Ridley, Michael Pena, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Penelope Cruz, Lucy Boynton, Derek Jacobi, Tom Bateman, Marwan Kenzari, Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp and Judi Dench.

 

17th

Limited Release: Sweet Virginia

A former rodeo champ befriends a young man with a propensity for violence. The film stars Jon Bernthal, Imogen Poots, Christopher Abbott and Rosemarie DeWitt.

 

Limited Release: I Love You, Daddy

Directed, co-written and starring Louis C.K., when a successful television writer’s daughter becomes the interest of an aging filmmaker with an appalling past, he becomes worried on how to handle the situation. The film co-stars Rose Byrne, Charlie Day, Helen Hunt, Edie Falco, Chloe Grace Moretz and John Malkovich.

 

Limited Release: Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Directed by Dan Gilroy, the film stars Denzel Washington stars as Roman Israel, a driven, idealistic defense attorney who, through a tumultuous series of events, finds himself in a crisis that leads to extreme action. The film also stars Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo and Shelley Hennig.

 

The Star (Animation – Sony Pictures Animation, Columbia Pictures, The Jim Henson Company, Walden Media, Affirm Films, Franklin Entertainment)

A small but brave donkey and his animal friends become the unsung heroes of the first Christmas. This animated film came out of nowhere really, so I don’t know if I’ll be watching this. The voice cast is impressive though with Zachary Levi, Gina Rodriguez, Steven Yeun, Keegan-Michael Key, Kristin Chenoweth, Ving Rhames, Anthony Anderson, Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey, Kris Kristofferson and Christopher Plummer.

 

Wonder (Drama – Lionsgate, Walden Media, Participant Media, Mandeville Films)

Based on the New York Times bestseller by R.J. Palacio. The film follows August Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a boy with a facial deformation who enters fifth grade, in a mainstream elementary school, for the first time. I haven’t read the book, but just seeing the trailer, it looks like we’re in for a dramatic and touching story. The film co-stars Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Izabela Vidovic, Noah Jupe, Daveed Diggs and Mandy Patinkin.

 

Justice League (Action Adventure – Warner Bros./DC Entertainment/Dune Entertainment/Lensbern Productions)

It’s about time! The other big team-up of well-known superheroes is finally coming to the big screen, whether we like the approach or not. Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s (Henry Cavill) selfless act, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), to face an even greater enemy. The film also stars Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Jesse Eisenberg, J.K. Simmons, Willem Dafoe, and Diane Lane. Look, the DCEU has been shaky at best – expect you Wonder Woman – so here’s hoping that Justice League can at least put some stability to it.

 

22nd

Limited Release: The Man Who Invented Christmas

Based on the book by Les Standiford, the journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) and other classic characters from “A Christmas Carol.” The film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) conjured up a timeless tale. The film also co-stars Jonathan Pryce.

 

Limited Release: Darkest Hour (War Drama – Focus Features/Working Title Films)

Directed Joe Wright (Atonement, Anna Karenina, Hanna) Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) leads a charge against Hitler’s army in the early days of World War II. I have to admit this looks pretty damn good. It also helps that the movie has been getting a ton of Oscar buzz. The film also stars Lily James, Ben Mendelsohn, Kristen Scott Thomas and John Hurt.

 

Coco (Animation – Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios)

Aspiring musician Miguel (newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) teams up with charming trickster Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) on an extraordinary journey through the Land of the Dead. As much as we have come to learn not to doubt Pixar, but this is going to have a hard time surpassing The Book of Life in my mind. But, like I said, never doubt Pixar. The voice cast ranges all over the place from unknowns to be names like Benjamin Bratt, Cheech Marin, Renee Victor and Edward James Olmos.

 

24th

Limited Release: Call Me by Your Name

Based on the novel by Andre Aciman, in the 1983, the son of an American professor is enamored by the graduate student who comes to study and live with his family in their northern Italian home. Together, they share an unforgettable summer full of music, food, and romance that will forever change them. I didn’t know too much about this until I starting seeing the film festival buzz, and after watching the trailer, it could not be too bad. The film stars Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, Amira Casar and Michael Stuhlbarg.

What are you looking forward to?

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‘Wonder Woman’ Review

Director: Patty Jenkins

Writer: Allan Heinberg

Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Lucy Davis, Elena Anaya and David Thewlis

Synopsis: Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

*Reviewer Note 2: There are no post-credits scenes.*

 

It’s finally here. After years stuck in developmental-hell and so many scripts, a film about one of the most famous comic book and pop culture characters is here. Wonder Woman was always worthy of having her own film, but for some reason Hollywood thought – and still thinks to some degree – that female lead action films don’t draw. However, those that get the chance always shine and now that more causal movie fans saw what Wonder Woman can do thanks to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and with Warner Bros. building their shared universe, it was finally time to bring Wonder Woman to the big screen.

So, after all the years of waiting and getting a glimpse of what she was capable of, Wonder Woman is here. However, is all the hype surrounding the film real and worth the long wait? Well, for the most part, it is a resounding yes.

Wonder Woman goes back to basic giving us an origin story to Wonder Woman. The film begins on the hidden island of Themiscrya, where a young Diana dreams of being a warrior like her aunt, General Antiope (Robin Wright). However, her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) doesn’t want her to train, but eventually lets Diana train under her aunt seeing no end to Diana’s desire to train. We jump forward in time and see a grown up Diana (Gal Gadot) continuing to train and one day sees a plan crashing off the shore of Themiscrya. Diana goes to save the pilot who turns out to be Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).

When Steve wakes up, he informs the Amazons that there is a war to end all wars – World War I – and there is a new dangerous weapon being made by Dr. Maru (Elena Anaya) aka Dr. Poison and commissioned by a dangerous German general, Ludendorff (Danny Huston) that he found out. Seeing this as a possible work of Ares, the God of War, Diana takes Steve back to London so he can tell his superiors and for her to stop Ares once and for all.

Like I mentioned, Wonder Woman is essentially the origin story of the character. Diana is, for all intent and purposes – put in a fish-out-of-water situation as she’s taken away from the paradise of Themiscrya and is thrust into the world of man, pain and war. However, there is an innocence and naivety to her that never makes her sound or come off as dumb. She knows little of the world beyond her homeland, but not enough to fully understand it.

This strength is also thanks to Gal Gadot’s delivering of the character. Whatever doubts people had about Gadot’s ability to deliver Diana – and Wonder Woman for the matter – should go away. Gadot does a tremendous job playing a proud warrior bound by duty to defend the world, but after seeing what the world really is; filled with pain, sorrow, and fighting, she questions it. It’s something the drives the whole film and her character which Gadot handles well. She can play the vulnerable, conflicted Diana, but when it comes down to fight, may the gods help whoever is in her way.

The rest of the cast is surprisingly a mixed bag. Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor is a perfect opposite to Diana in terms of knowing what the world really is like. They, Pine and Gadot, play off each other very well and their characters grow together. It’s also nice that the love story doesn’t take control of the film, but rather it shows how the two change each other for the better.

Along on Diana and Steve’s journey is an actor turned solider Sameer (Said Taghmaoui), a Native American called The Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) and a sniper named Charlie (Ewen Bremner). All three have their chance to shine, but the only one we really get a chance to know a little more of is Sameer, which is a shame because Charlie has an interesting characteristic that could have played well with Diana’s confused nature of the war. Also helping them from afar is Steve’s secretary, Etta (Lucy Davis), who adds some levity to the film, but her character and her purpose disappear by the third act.

Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright as Diana’s mother and aunt do well for the short time they’re on screen. Nielsen’s Hippolyta wants to keep Diana safe, but does let her go to train and eventually leave knowing that Diana is destined for more. Wright’s Antiope is purely a badass. We don’t see a lot of her fighting but when she does, oh boy is it a sight.

The villains are a little bland in terms of being capable villains to really challenge Diana. Danny Huston can play a bad guy in his sleep by now, but his general character never really feels like a threat to Diana expect for one scene – spoiler territory, so I won’t go there, but that does bring up a question that never gets answered. The other villain is Dr. Maru aka Dr. Poison played by Elena Anaya, who could have been written a little better, and if her role was reversed with Huston’s Ludendorff, it probably would have been a better dynamic. Also, she comes off more menacing that Huston, thanks to her skill, but also the protective mask she wears to cover half of her face.

Of course, when it comes to Wonder Woman, we know there’s going to be some action, and thankfully the action is pretty damn good. I’m surprised how fluid the action looked too. There isn’t a lot of close ups or shaky cam when Diana is beating up German soldiers, so we really see how badass she can be. Also, the brief fight we see with the Amazons is damn awesome to watch too. It’s a shame that it is only one scene, and hopefully we see more Amazon action in the sequel. Of course, like all superhero movies, there is a big battle that gets a little bit into too much CGI-territory, and runs a little long, but we get to Diana do her thing so I was kind of okay with it. I’m sure many will also argue that the No Man’s Land sequence is the best sequence in the film.

All in all, Wonder Woman is undoubtedly the best DC Extended Universe movie so far. However, considering what we’ve gotten that, to me, isn’t saying much. However, that shouldn’t, and doesn’t, take away anything from Wonder Woman. It’s a great origin story that sees our main character grown from start to finish, and leaves us wanting more. This isn’t a story or film about Wonder Woman, it’s a story and film about Diana becoming Wonder Woman, and what it takes to be a hero. But, more importantly, the challenges a hero has to make and take to fully embrace their heroism.

I don’t know where Wonder Woman where fall into fans’ list of best comic book movies, but it should rank high among them. Gal Gadot is a terrific Diana/Wonder Woman, and while I was a doubter, my doubts are no more. I believe Gadot is Wonder Woman when she’s on screen, and I’d gladly follow her into battle. Hopefully, Warner Bros. does more Wonder Woman films and brings along director Patty Jenkins, because this my friends, is a winning combination we can, and should, get behind.

Wonder Woman

4 out of 5

New Podcast: Oscar Nominations, The Flash Rewrite, Star Wars’ New Title, & More

A new podcast is up!

Worst/Disappointing/Least-Liked Movies of the 2016

It’s the end of the year boys and girls, you know what that means? It’s list time!

I’ll put up my list of “Best/Favorite” movies of the year later, but with all those good/great/awesome movies I have, I had to sit through some stinkers unfortunately. Some of these I knew weren’t going to be any good walking in, but I ended up taking the hit anyway. The list ranges all over the place so don’t think I’m attacking certain movies because it’s easy. I walk into every movie with a clear mind and soaking up the movie for what it’s worth.

The list will have the movies in alphabetical order, just to be fair, and because I really don’t want to go through the trouble anymore of picking a number one because they weren’t good enough to make it on my other list. Like all lists, this is my opinion! So if you don’t agree that’s perfectly fine and probably justified. Film is subjective, and that’s why I love it.

Finally, there are other movies that could have gone on the list, but these are the ones that truly stuck out. Alright, let’s get this over with.

 

Dishonorable Mentions

Ben-Hur

Masterminds

Siren

 

 

Disappointments/Least-Liked/Worst Movies of the Year

Anitbirth (IFC Midnight/Traverse Media/Hideaway Pictures)

This is one of the many films I watched at the Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival in August, and having heard nothing about the film or even watching a trailer, I didn’t know what was coming. I probably should have watched the trailer, because I didn’t like this movie. At all! I didn’t feel anything for the characters, and the story felt like it was going nowhere. The ending, oh man the ending, it literally came out of nowhere, and while the ending would have been shocking if the story hadn’t been bad, it didn’t help matters whatsoever. I know I said I wouldn’t label too many of the films, but this is easily one of my worst films of the year. Maybe the worst.

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Warner Bros./RatPac-Dune Entertainment/Atlas Entertainment/DC Entertainment)

This one may take the cake for the biggest disappointment of the year. Despite finally bringing two of the biggest comic book characters on the big screen for the first time, the film was filled with poor editing decisions along with being too crowed for its own good. Zack Snyder said the film was cut severely, but that shouldn’t mean a movie should suffer. While seeing Batman and Superman duke it out was nice to finally see on the big screen, it wasn’t enough to pick this movie up. Also, it doesn’t matter – I mean it does – but why would I sit through a movie again that’s longer to see the difference(talking about that “Extended Cut” on Blu-Ray).

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Blair Witch (Lionsgate/Veritgo Entertainment/Snoot Entertainment/Room 101)

What we all thought was just another found footage movie called The Woods actually ended up being a surprise sequel to The Blair Witch Project. The film was directed by Adam Wingard (You’re Next, The Guest) and his usual writing partner Simon Barrett –the previously films mentioned – and that had me from the very beginning. I’m a huge fan of those two, and when it was announced that the film was really Blair Witch, I was both hesitant and excited. Taking into account the film was riding high in praise it was getting in early screening, the end result was a mixed bag – being mostly negative. While the film tried to connect to the spirit of the first film, including revving up the finale, it just didn’t have that same connection the first film made. Some parts were interesting, but at the end of the day, I don’t think it was executed well.

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Gods of Egypt (Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment/Mystery Clock Cinema/Thunder Road Pictures)

Gods of Egypt was one of those movies I was excited to watch when it was announced, and when the cast came together with director Alex Proyas, I thought this has to be good, right? Turns out, I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Filled with very questionable (to put it very lightly) CGI throughout, the film felt more like a glorified SyFy Channel movie than it did a big budget Hollywood movie. It didn’t help that despite the pretty good cast, they couldn’t save this either. Dumb fun popcorn film at its finest, but still COME ON!

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Independence Day: Resurgence (20th Century Fox)

Oh boy, this was…ugh. The sequel was something many fans have been wanting for a long time, and I’m sure Resurgence destroyed any hope of getting a worthy sequel. The film had its moments, but only a few to be honest. It just was bad. I mean, I could point out the things I didn’t like with this movie or what was wrong, but that’s too much to write. Also, the more I thought about the film afterward – even know as I’m writing this – I can feel myself getting angry.

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The 5th Wave (Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/GK Films/LStar Capital/Material Pictures)

Based on the book by Ricky Yancy, The 5th Wave had a good set-up and source material to set it just a tad apart from the other young adult novel adaptation out there. I read the first book way before the film came out and was looking forward to seeing what they were going to do with this. Unfortunately, the film was bland, and felt way too generic for its own good. It never felt like anything was really happening even when it was, and one of its supposed standout twist moments involving a character reveal was to dark to see what was going on. A big disappointment considering what the book had to offer.

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The Neon Demon (Amazon Studios/Broad Green Pictures/Bold Films/Vendian Entertainment/Space Rocket Nation)

Oh, Nicolas Winding Refn. For me, Refn is a hit-or-miss director for the films I’ve seen. I really liked Bronson and Drive, but Valhalla Rising I couldn’t even finish, and I’ve heard nothing but bad things from Only God Forgives. When it came to The Neon Demon, I didn’t know what to anticipate, and even while I was watching it, I thought, what the hell am I watching? So The Neon Demon wasn’t even a disappointment, least-liked or bad movie, it just was a movie I watched that had its very Refn-esque moments, and some what the hell did I just watch moments.

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Triple 9 (Open Road Films/Anonymous Content/Worldview Entertainment/MadRiver Pictures)

Triple 9 had a lot of good things going for it with an amazing cast and a great director in John Hillcoat (The Road). So it’s a shame that the film ended up being a bit of a disappointment. The film had some great potential, and while the film does live up to some of it, it didn’t capitalize on what the film promised or what it could have been.

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Suicide Squad (Warner Bros./DC Entertainment/RatPac-Dune Entertainment/Atlas Entertainment/Lin Pictures)

If Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a disappointment, Suicide Squad just added to it. I didn’t get on the hate train like a lot of other people did. I liked most of it, and I thought some parts worked, but I couldn’t get over all the missteps the film had to make it good or even great. To even say it was better than Dawn of Justice (the theater cut) isn’t even saying that much either. I didn’t hate Suicide Squad, and while I had more fun watching this than Dawn of Justice, I can’t honestly say I loved it either. Also, Jared Leto’s Joker: ugh.

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Warcraft (Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures/Blizzard Entertainment/Atlas Entertainment)

I never played the games myself, but I knew how big the game was to some people. I also knew this film was in the works for a long time – Sam Raimi was originally attached to direct for a while – so finally seeing this on the big screen was a big deal. Unfortunately, for me, the movie didn’t click for me. The film at times felt too much like it was catering to the fans then casual or non-game fans, which is something I always thought the film shouldn’t have done. I didn’t dislike Warcraft, some of it was pretty good, but overall, the film felt jumbled at times and I had a hard time connecting to some of the characters.

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All right, so there are my worst, disappointments, least-liked films of the year. What were some of yours?

Be on the lookout for my other lists coming out soon.

‘Suicide Squad’ Review

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Director: David Ayer

Writer: David Ayer

Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Cara Delevingne, Jared Leto, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Karen Fukuhara, Adam Beach, Scott Eastwood, Common, Jim Parrack, Ike Barinholtz, David Harbour, Viola Davis, and Ben Affleck

Synopsis: A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

*Reviewer Note 2: There is a mid-credit scene.*

 

Here we go again. Warner Bros. released their newest film set within their DC Extended Universe, but this time it follows villains instead of heroes, and it has been making fans and critics butt heads. I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say some of it is just crazy. However, Suicide Squad isn’t just free and clear since some of the negativity is warranted, but not all of it. The film itself isn’t all that great, but isn’t terrible either. So let’s get to reviewing the worst heroes ever.

Suicide Squad is set after the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and sees government agent Amanda Waller (Davis) who has an idea to bring together the, as she puts it, “worst of the worst.” The plan is to make a task force called Task Force X, filled with villains like The Man that Never Misses, Deadshot (Smith), Joker’s girlfriend Harley Quinn (Robbie), the monstrous Killer Croc (Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Australian diamond thief Captain Boomerang (Courtney), pyro-kinetic Diablo (Hernandez), master rope man Slipknot (Beach) and June Moone (Delevingne) who is possessed by the witch Enchantress. The idea is that Waller wants a task force to fight off any other meta-humans – a term many comic books fans will know – threat that come their way.

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The government, not so sure about Waller’s plan, is suddenly left to go through with it when a supernatural event occurs in Midway City. Considering the task force is filled with villains, Waller and the government have their easy out if things go wrong. To make sure things go smoothly, Waller makes solider Rick Flag (Kinnaman) her man on the ground, with his bodyguard and right-hand woman Katana (Fukuhara) to protect him in case the team gets any ideas – there’s also an explosive implant in the neck. However, when the team finally arrives to Midway City, they soon realize things are way worse than they thought.

Suicide Squad has been highly anticipated since the first teaser that came out last year after Comic Con. But again, with all the craziness that came out before the film’s release like competing cuts and all the early negative reviews, the film went even more under the microscope. I personally wasn’t sold on Suicide Squad for awhile, but as it got closer to the release, I was looking forward to it and hoping it was good. Then I saw the film, and I have to say, it isn’t what I thought it would be. Even with the early negative reception from critics, Suicide Squad was always going to be a risk for the DC Extended Universe. It’s following villains that maybe some casual fans don’t know, it’s expecting you to root for them from the get-go, and it’s following Batman v Superman. Also, no matter what you thought the film was about, we had no idea what to expect.

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I did want to like Suicide Squad, and for the most part I liked it more than I thought I would. However, there is no denying the film does have a good chunk of issues. One of them is, unfortunately, an issue that Dawn of Justice had in editing. Thankfully, the film’s editing is better, but not by a lot. Deadshot and Harley Quinn are introduced at the beginning of the film, and then are reintroduced when Waller is making the rundown of who she wants on Task Force X. The introductions to the characters are a bit wonky, as it quickly rundowns what makes them so bad and then either jumps to how they were captured, or gives each other them – expect Slipknot, but come on, that’s not a spoiler – a vignette. I don’t mind the way they did it, but there were probably better ways of introducing the characters.

The pacing for the film is fine as it drives forward with action, expect there’s a random flashback that Harley has that derails the pacing the film had going. The other thing that pretty much kills the thin story, is Waller’s plan for the Suicide Squad, makes no sense. I won’t obviously spoil what her plan is, but once you see the whole scheme of things, you are left wondering what the hell was the point? Combine that with some of the other issues the film has, you start to see that there was some behind-the-scenes juggling going on. It also doesn’t help that film moves from set-piece to set-piece.

Once the Suicide Squad makes it to Midway City, the action kicks in. The action is great to watch, and besides the cast, is one of the best parts of the film. Seeing all these villains comes together and essentially be the good guys, or at least anti-heroes, to take down literally faceless monsters is a sight to watch. I would have liked to see the group go at it themselves, but they just kind of agree to be grouped together. The only ones that really go at it is Deadshot and Flag. Also, it would have been nice to see some of the action scenes that were cut, well any of the scenes really, from the film.

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Speaking of the cast, the majority of the cast really works. I’ll admit, I had my doubts about Will Smith playing Deadshot. Not because I don’t like Smith, but because I don’t see Deadshot as a Will Smith character, but boy did he prove me wrong. Of course, Deadshot is played by Will Smith, so you just see Smith, but he’s still great in the role. Margot Robbie is one of the highlights of the film. Although it really is hard to judge considering this is Harley Quinn’s first time on the big screen, but Robbie is really great at Quinn. There were moments where I thought they took it just a notch over, but overall Robbie has set the bare high for any future Harley Quinn actresses.

Viola Davis as Amanda Waller is, arguably, one of the most frightening characters in the whole film. That’s saying something considering what the film is filled with, but you believe Davis as Waller as this cut-throat, no nonsense agent who wants things done her way. The other highlight of the film for me is Jay Hernandez as Diablo. The character doesn’t do too much, but when you find out why it makes sense and makes him probably one of the most well-rounded characters in the film. The problem is that it takes time see what makes him tick and why he is the way he is, and it’s really disappointing.

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The other characters really don’t do much. Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag is okay, but it’s hard to see him taking command of a bunch of supervillains. Killer Croc, although looks great in the practical make-up, all he does is grunt and snarl at his team. He does speak in the film and it’s pretty humorous when he does, but still. Captain Boomerang is essentially the comedic relief of the film, and while I’m not a fan of Jai Courtney he does a pretty decent job here. Kudos does go to Karen Fukuhara as Katana, because this is Fukuhara’s first film and her Katana has some cool scenes in the film, but her character doesn’t do much in the film either. Cara Delevingne as June Moone/Enchantress is meh We don’t spend any time with June Moone, so we don’t really have any sort of connection to her. When it comes to Enchantress, the best scene is her first scene when she is formally introduced in a room full of government officials. That is saying a lot since she plays a very vital role in the film.

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Finally, Jared Leto’s The Joker. I know a lot of people were looking forward to Leto’s Joker from the first photo that was revealed. It also goes without saying that Leto’s Joker was always – no matter what anyone says – going to be judged against other Joker’s that came before him. It’s also unfair that he’s the first Joker after Heath Ledger’s great performance as The Clown Prince. I had my doubts about Leto’s Joker, and I hoped that he’d pull it off, but sadly he didn’t for me. Leto tried to do his own thing, while looking to pay some little homage to the Joker’s before, but it didn’t click for me. His little ticks and nuances came off as a little over-the-top, and ultimately doesn’t really do anything worthwhile in the film. We know now that Leto filmed more scenes as The Joker for the film that were cut – some even appear in the trailers, but not the film – but that isn’t a justification for shoehorning him into the film.

All in all, Suicide Squad isn’t a bad film like some critics are saying, but it isn’t a great film either, and you can see that Warner Bros. did have a hard time deciding what this film was going to be. Smith, Robbie, Hernandez and Davis are the highlights of the huge cast that could have gone wrong. There are some nice surprises in the film as well, but overall, Suicide Squad is really going to be one of those movies you either like or dislike. Personally, I’m indifferent to the film. I liked most of the film, but the issues of the film make the film bit disappointing as a whole because there was potential.

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Suicide Squad

3 out of 5

August Movie Releases

Can you believe it’s already August? Seriously, where has the all the time gone, geez. Anyway, August is filled some films that could have tremendous potential. It’s also the last month of the Summer Movie Season, also known to some as studios’ “dump month,” although this year it could be very different.

Would also like to say I’m sorry for not posting this earlier. Slipped past me.

 

5th

Nine Lives (Comedy – EuropaCorp USA/Fundamental Films)

A stuffy businessman (Kevin Spacey) finds himself trapped inside the body of his family’s cat to learn what he’s been missing. The film also stars Jennifer Garner, Cheryl Hines, Talitha Bateman, Teddy Sears, Robbie Amell, and Christopher Walken. The film really isn’t targeted toward me, and overall it doesn’t look that funny to me either.

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Suicide Squad (Action – Warner Bros./DC Entertainment/Atlas Entertainment/Dune Entertainment)

David Ayer brings one of the most ambitious comic book adaptations to life with Suicide Squad. The film follows a group of imprisoned supervillains hired by a secret government agency named A.R.G.U.S, lead by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), to do a dangerous mission to get their freedom. This one is definitely a make-it-or-break-it film and while many people are excited for the film – I can see why – I wasn’t sold on it for a while, but the film has won me over, at least for the time being.  Suicide Squad stars Will Smith (Deadshot), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Jared Leto (The Joker), Cara Delevingne (Enchantress), Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flagg), Jay Hernandez (El Diablo), Karen Fukuhara (Katana), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Killer Croc), Adam Beach (Slipknot), Common (Tattooed Man), Jim Parrack (Jonny Frost), Scott Eastwood, Ike Barinholtz, David Harbour, and Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman.

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12th

Limited Release: Hell or High Water (Crime Drama)

A divorced dad and his ex-con brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family’s farm in West Texas. The film stars Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges, Katy Mixon, Melanie Papalia, and Kevin Ranklin.

 

Limited Release: Edge of Winter (Drama Thriller)

When two brothers are stranded by a brutal winter storm with an unpredictable father they barely know, the boys begin to suspect their supposed protector may be their biggest threat. The film stars Tom Holland, Joel Kinnaman, Shiloh Fernandez, Rachelle Lefevre, and Rossif Sutherland.

 

Florence Foster Jenkins (Biography Dramedy – Paramount Pictures/BBC Films/Pathe/Qwerty Films)

The story of Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep), a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice. The movie kind of came out of nowhere for me, and others probably too, but it’s got Streep in it so the film already has a built-in audience. The film also stars Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg, Rebecca Ferguson and John Kavanagh.

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Sausage Party (Animation – Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Annapurna Pictures/Point Grey Pictures)

The film follows a sausage (Seth Rogen) – yes, a sausage – and his quest to discover the truth about his existence, and discovers what really happens when food goes home with humans. The film is written by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, and that should give you a good indication on what to anticipate. The voice cast includes Salma Hayek, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Edward Norton, Bill Hader, David Krumholtz, Kristen Wiig, Paul Rudd, James Franco, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride.

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Pete’s Dragon (Family Fantasy Adventure – Walt Disney Productions)

Based on the original film, Pete’s Dragon follows the adventures of Pete (Oakes Fegley), an orphan boy who lives in the forest with his best friend Elliot, who happens to be a dragon. The film looks pretty good to be honest, and the team involved really leaves me hopeful. Pete’s Dragon also stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Karl Urban, Wes Bentley, Oona Laurence, Craig Hall, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Robert Redford.

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19th

Kubo and the Two Strings (Animation – Laika Entertainment/Focus Features)

Travis Knight, the lead animator for films like ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls finally directs a film with Kubo and the Two Strings that follows Kubo, who lives quiet normal life in a small shoreside village until a spirit from the past turns his life upside down by re-igniting an age-old vendetta. This causes all sorts of havoc as gods and monsters chase Kubo who, in order to survive, must locate a magical suit of armor once worn by his late father, a legendary Samurai warrior. The animation looks pretty interesting and the voice cast is really up there with Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, Matthew McConaughey, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, and George Takei. Laika has been hit-or-miss for me, but Kubo and the Two Strings looks like a hit to me.

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War Dogs (Comedy Drama – Warner Bros./The Mark Gordon Company/Green Hat Films)

Directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover movies),War Dogs, tells a true story of two young men, David Packouz (Miles Teller) and Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill), who won a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan. I wasn’t convinced about the film before I saw the trailers, and the film looks decently funny. The film also stars Ana de Armas, Shaun Toub, and Bradley Cooper.

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Ben-Hur (Historical Epic Adventure Drama – Paramount Pictures/MGM/Sean Daniel Company)

A remake of the classic film, Ben-Hur, directed by Timur Bekmambetov, follows a falsely accused nobleman, Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend, Messala (Toby Kebbell) who betrayed him. I actually haven’t seen the original, so I don’t know what to base it on too much. However, the film itself looks just okay. Ben-Hur also stars Nazanin Boniadi, Ayelet Zurer, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Moises Arias, Haluk Bilginer, Marwan Kenzari, Pilou Asbeek, Alessandro Giuggiolo, Rodrigo Santoro and Morgan Freeman.

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26th

Limited Release: Southside with You (Biography Romance Drama)

The film that tells the story of future President of the United States, Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers), and the date in the summer of 1989 with his future wife and First Lady Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter).

 

Limited Release: Blood Father (Action Thriller)

An ex-con (Mel Gibson) reunites with his estranged wayward 16-year old daughter (Erin Moriarty) to protect her from drug dealers who are trying to kill her. Basically, this is Mel Gibson’s Taken, and it looks okay based on the trailer. The film also stars William H. Macy, Elisabeth Rohm, Diego Luna, Thomas Mann, Raoul Trujillo and Michael Parks.

 

Limited Release: The Hollars (Comedy Drama)

Directed by John Krasinski – and he also stars – a man returns to his small hometown after learning that his mother has fallen ill and is about to undergo surgery. The film has an A-list cast of Anna Kendrick, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Sharlto Copley, Charlie Day, Randall Park, Josh Groban, Mary Kay Place, Richard Jenkins and Margo Martindale.

 

Mechanic: Resurrection (Action Thriller – Summit Entertainment/Millennium Films)

A surprising sequel to the 2011 films that sees Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) who thought he had put his murderous past behind him when an old foe kidnaps the love of his life. Now he’s forced to travel the globe to complete three impossible assassinations, and make them look like accidents, which is what he does best. I didn’t mind the first movie, but I’m kind of surprised that they are going to make a sequel, but I’m more surprised with the cast that they got with Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones, Sam Hazeldine, and Michelle Yeoh.

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Hands of Stone (Biography Drama – The Weinstein Company/Fuego Fims/Epicetral Studios)

Follows the legendary boxer Roberto Duran, played by Edgar Ramirez,  and his equally legendary trainer Ray Arcel, played by Robert De Niro, change each other’s lives. I’ve been strangely looking forward to this for a while now, and I hope it turns out great. Of course it helps that the film has a great cast in John Turturro, Ana de Armas, Ellen Barkin, Reg E. Cathey, Usher Raymond, Oscar Jaenada, and Ruben Blades

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Don’t Breathe (Thriller – Sony Pictures/TriStar Pictures/Ghost House Pictures/Good Universe)

A group of teens break into a blind man’s home thinking they’ll get away with the perfect crime. However, they soon find out they were very wrong. The film is directed by Fede Alvarez, who directed the Evil Dead remake, which I really liked – and he’s reuniting with Jane Levy – so I can’t wait to see what he brings to the table. Early reviews have been almost nothing but positive, and trailer shows why. Don’t Breathe also stars Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, and Stephen Lang also star.

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So, what are you looking forward to?