TL;DR – A film that finally made me care about these characters but one that also suffered from some narrative bloat
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and post-credit scene
Disclosure – I was sent a screener of this film.
The Suicide Squad Review –
In life, you rarely get the chance to make a second first impression. For every Parks and Rec that gets to find its feet in its second season, many more fall by the wayside after their first attempt. Well, today, DC gives us a film that is a second chance to bring a set of characters and scenarios into the DCEU to see if they work, and the answer to that question is yes … mostly.
So to set the scene, we open in with Savant (Michael Rooker) in prison attacking birds with his bouncing ball. But before he has time to finish his time off, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) tells him that he has been conscripted into a mission. Within moments he is rushed to the island of Corto Maltese, with Weasel (Sean Gunn), Javelin (Flula Borg), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), TDK (Nathan Fillion), Mongal (Mayling Ng), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie). Their mission is to infiltrate the island and get past the military patrols, as the island recently suffered a military coup. It is all going well right up until Weasel dies because he can’t swim, and Blackguard immediately sells them out.
TL;DR – A film that soars when it is in the banter/action grove but falters when it needs to move the story forward.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There are multiple mid-credit scenes as well as an end credit scene
To be honest, if I have a blind spot in
modern cinema it is the Fast and Furious
franchise. When the films started to come out, I didn’t really jell with the
super-serious machismo in what was an inherently silly premise. This looked to
be the way for all the films but when The
Fate of the Furious came out two years ago, I thought I would
give it another watch. Well about the time they used a car to take out a submarine
I realised that they had finally realised just how silly it all was and had
leaned into it, and that is something I can get behind. That being said, a spin-off
the film is still a bit of a gamble, but given how well the director and
cinematographer are at actions filmmaking, I walked in being quietly optimistic
and with the action, I was not let down.
So to set the scene, two years since the last adventure and Luke Hobbs (Dwayne
Johnson) is enjoying his life as a DSS agent and a father to his daughter Sam (Eliana
Su’a). However, at that moment in London, an MI6 team is taking out a band of
mercenaries that have a manufactured virus and who are about to sell it on the
black market. After a clinical takedown of the gang, all is right but then a mysterious
figure (Idris Elba) arrives and single handily kills all of the MI6 bar Hattie
(Vanessa Kirby) the lead agent. Fearing the virus would get into the hands of
evil people Hattie injects herself with the virus to hold on to it while she
escapes. The MI6 think she has turned rogue and the CIA, MI6, and the criminal
organisation are now hunting her. The only chance she has is if Luke teams up
with Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) and well that has disaster written all over
TL;DR – Infinity War brings everyone together and then tares them apart leaving you with a foreboding as to what will happen next, but also an excitement as they try to work it all out.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars (this is a tentative score, it might change after Part 2)
Post-Credit Scene – There is an end credit scene
It should be no surprise that I have been eagerly awaiting the new Avengers film. In preparation not only did I map out the Marvel Cinematic Universe (see here) but I also ranked every film released in the build-up (see here). However, if I am to be perfectly honest, part of this stemmed from a nervousness, could they stick the landing, could they create a story that would give justice to all the desperate characters they were involved, could they actually bring on Thanos? Well as you can probably tell I have seen the film now, so I can now answer those questions … sort of. Now a quick note today, there will be [SPOILERS] for several of the recently released Marvel films including Thor: Ragnarok (see review) and Black Panther (see review). As well as this, I will try to avoid most of the major spoilers until a paragraph at the end when we discuss the ending, but because of how quick the film moves this is just a general [SPOILER] warning if you have not seen the film yet.
TL;DR – “At one point a giant mech picks up a cargo ship to use as a cricket bat to take down a giant monster stomping its way through Hong Kong” you will probably know if this film is for you from that snippet alone.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Back in the relatively calm year of 2013, how five years can change the world, there was this little gem of a film. It was a homage to the mecha and giant monster films of Japan and at the heart was the simple message that we should all work together. Well, it has been years since I have watched Guillermo del Toro’s monster epic, well at least his giant monster epic, and with the sequel coming out later this week, now is as good as time as ever to dive back into the world of Jaegers* and Kaijus*.
TL;DR – Exploring the interplay of power and greed, and how lives can change in an instant, also you got Aaron Sorkin walk and talks, so what’s not to like?
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – No
Today is an interesting week because we are looking at a film that is both from a first-time director but also one of the industries long-time greats, Aaron Sorkin. So today we will see if his walk and talk dialogue works when he is the one behind the camera? Now before we start, because of the way the film is structured it is hard to talk about it at all without getting into [SPOILER] territory almost immediately, so if you have not seen the film probably be careful when proceeding.
TL;DR – A visual extravaganza, Taika Waititi with the cast and crew gave their all to this film, and it amazing to watch.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
P.S. – There is a Mid and End Credit Scene
Wow, what an amazing end to a film trilogy, and one of the strongest so far for Marvel. I’ve always had a kind of indecisive feeling towards the Thor films so far. They have been a case of fantastic casting matched with just ok storylines. Now when you have Anthony Hopkins going gangbusters, then even a bad script will look good, but overall I just thought the Thor films were ok and nothing more. To be fair, I think it was a testament to the quality of Marvel’s films that while Thor might have been my least favourite Marvel films it was because they were only ok, not fantastic. However, I was honestly wondering with everyone doing their big Cinematic Universes now if superhero fatigue would set in given my relationship with the films so far, but nope this film was a riot from start to end and I highly recommend it. So today we will set the scene, and then have a look at all the factors that went into making the film work. However because of the nature of Thor Ragnarok and its story, we are going to hit spoilers much earlier than we would normally do, so to be on the safe side I am implementing a [SPOILER] warning from this point onwards.
TL;DR – This is a bare bones movie which really feels that too much was lost in the adaptation
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
Oh boy, where to begin here, wow, ok this is going to be a tough one to review. I think part of the problem was that July was such a strong month for movies we had Okja (review), Spider-Man (review), Baby Driver (review), Dunkirk (review) and Planet of the Apes (review). It was such a strong outing that maybe it overhyped me for the rest of the year because since the start of August we’ve had Wolf Warriors 2 (review), Valerian (review), and Logan Lucky (review), all films with immense potential that all failed in their execution, and well this week we have another one to add to that list. Now before we start, I do want to mention I have not read the source material myself so I can’t give a complete comparison to what Stephen King wrote. However, even without reading the book you can infer a few things, which is what we will be doing today. So let’s dive in and look at the world of The Dark Tower.
TL;DR – They finally found the right formula for the reboot series and it is glorious, the cast is amazing, the action is good, and every joke hits its mark.
Score – 5 out of 5 stars
I think I need to start with some context before jumping into this review, on the whole, I do really like the Star Trek franchise, however, I have not been a fan of this rebooted Star Trek movie series. The first movie had great casting, but the story was full of logical problems and lazy short-cuts, that it removed any real emotional weight to killing off Vulcan, and I just really did not like it (2/5 stars). The second film Into Darkness did a little better with me, as it had some reasonably good character moments, and some interesting set pieces, but the need to recreate one of the most iconic conflicts in Star Trek, and then the ability to not quite pull it off left the movie feeling quite flat (2.5/5 stars). I want to say this upfront so you understand this 5 out of 5 I am giving the film (only the second one of 2016) is not because I am enamoured completely with everything Star Trek, I am giving this film a 5 out of 5 because it has bloomin’ well earned it.
TL;DR – Not even Idris Elba can save this slog of a film, predictable, nonsensical, and almost a complete waste of time for all involved
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
Review – So Bastille Day is here and is it a film, yes, well it is an action film, and it does have some action in it, and if it has been a couple of years since you have seen an action film you may get some enjoyment out of it, but if not, well … what a waste, I mean seriously you have Idris Elba, one of the most charismatic and strong action stars in cinema at the moment and you can’t put together a decent film.
TL;DR – While not a flawless movie, it is beautifully crafted and a great follow-up to the Disney classic.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
The Jungle Book continues Disney’s campaign to recreate its classic animated films in live action remakes or hybrid live action. So far we have had the quite bold Maleficent, the serviceable Cinderella, and now it is time to take on Rudyard Kipling’s masterpiece ‘The Jungle Book’. The choice to do The Jungle Book is an interesting one because it is not without its problems, the original cartoon while still a classic in every right, does have some very problematic depictions. As well as this, the author of the original work is Rudyard Kipling and whether Mr Kipling intended to or not his poem “The White Man’s Burden” became a literary justification for a new wave (or at least an intensification) of colonialism and imperialism throughout the world. So while none of this would have been problematic in the 1960s, it is today, and it is clear Disney or at least the director and writer had these issues on the radar when filming. So within this potentially problematic environment, it is really quite interesting to see Disney take quite a risk here, and it is a risk I do believe that has paid off for them.