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Average User Score: 3.0Feb 9, 2017“What is your favourite thing about Earth?”
It may be such a simple yet overwhelming question, considering all the wonderful things that make“What is your favourite thing about Earth?”
It may be such a simple yet overwhelming question, considering all the wonderful things that make up our world and each and every little thing that makes up all the good in all our individual lives. Yet one of my favourite slogans so far of 2017 is one that asks very deep and a heavy emotional response.
Sadly, the slogan seems to be one of the very few deep parts that comprise director Peter Chelsom’s newest inspirational film The Space Between Us. The UK director seems to be on some sort of positive cinema boost, given his last film Hector and the Search for Happiness is a parabolic film about one doctor’s real life pursuit of life’s greatest gift.
Sadly, with The Space Between Us, Chelsom’s handle on science fiction is very scarce, even though space accounts for a very small portion of his newest film. The Space Between Us is a love story through and through. Dabbling with elements of the who-dun-it narrative, as well as the coming of age story arc, Space is a modestly budgeted film with some great ambition that really doesn’t live up to the hype and one film that has its gaze far beyond the horizon. Think of it as a film that promises finding the gold at the end of the rainbow, only to really deliver Skittles, I mean, if Skittles are your thing.
The cosmic love story begins well before either of our love birds began their courting, nearly two decades before, when a young and ambitious astronaut, Sarah Elliot (Janet Montgomery) and her crew, become the first group of individuals to colonize and inhabit Mars for four years. Placed in the care of their precarious and idealist leader and founder, Nathaniel Shepard (Gary Oldman), Nathaniel’s Genesis program partners with NASA to deliver Sarah and her sacrificial crew to the unknown planet of Mars. Given that all the numbers, scenarios and outcomes were already pre-planned, the one situation no one anticipated, was Sarah pregnancy. Giving birth and losing her life before she makes it to Mars, the Genesis program agrees to make the child’s birth a complete classified secret. Luckily, Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) makes it safely to Mars, as we flash forward to Gardner’s adolescents. It is in Mars that Gardner grows up, interacting with the brightest scientists from NASA, who continue to occupy Mars, practically and implicitly contributing to Gardner upbringing, Gardner lacks many average teenage characteristics, despite his closest maternal relationship on the spaceship to botanist Kendra Wyndham (Carla Gugino). Gardner’s intellect is established quite early on, showing off how book smart and scientifically minded the youngster really is.
Bored with nothing but causing chaos aboard the station, Gardner uses his smarts to trick everything and everyone on Mars. Learning of his secrecy to Earth early on, Gardner begins using the Wi-Fi (yup, they have internet in Mars) to make new friends on Earth. Concealing his true identity and current situation to an online friend and potential love interest Tulsa (Britt Robertson), the two spark a friendship that originated on an Orphan based online chat room. As the two orphans begin developing a closer relationship thanks to futuristic FaceTiming and instant messaging to one another, it becomes quite clear that Gardner is ready to finally venture to Earth, despite his physical boundaries and various health issues, including his oversized space heart, brittle bones, his foreignness to gravity and his very poor human social skills.
While Gardner’s time spent on Mars is very limited, his caregiver and closest friend Kendra, begins campaigning for Gardner’s request to visit Earth, not only to finally see Tulsa, but to find out the identity of his father. Half way across the Universe, once on Earth, Gardner surprises Tulsa at school, where the two team up and break many laws in search of Gardner’s father. While discovering America, Gardner falls in love with Tulsa, and the two love birds steal their way to Arizona where they embark on an adventure that involves the Grand Canyon, hot air balloons and some pretty romantic locales.
Sadly, Space is a project that has been in development for quite some time, having Asa attached since before he was casted as Ender Wiggin in the sci-fi Ender’s Game. While many cast and crew moved on, Asa remained attached with the project until it was green lit, with Robertson as his Tulsa. Unfortunately, while Robertson and Butterfield continue to prove their strong acting skills on screen, the two never really convince audiences of their love story and romance, sharing an almost big sister/little brother type relationship instead.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.9Feb 9, 2017Philosopher Thomas Hobbes foretold a future “War of All Against All” in his book Leviathan, published in 1651. In his political/philosophicalPhilosopher Thomas Hobbes foretold a future “War of All Against All” in his book Leviathan, published in 1651. In his political/philosophical novel, he wrote his masterpiece during the English Civil War, which occurred from 1642-1651, arguing that a state of sovereignty is the only which way a body of politics can operate, without interference for third party or outside sources and individuals. His “War of All Against All” is an idea that was derived from the ‘state of nature argument’, where government can only be successful if it is strong, undivided and unified.
Now, I’m not sure if writer/director John Michael McDonagh intentionally wrote a script and titled a picture that could [not only be] so relevant in the United States with regards to government and policing today, but also, be such a comical and cynical interpretation of the very brutalities happening within America involving its citizens and civilians with such bravado, and most of all…balls. One has to wonder, is McDonagh warning everyone, or just laughing at them, especially since it’s titled is source from such a serious and foreboding doctrine.
McDonagh, who was born in London, England, but is most notably known for being a very predominant Irish citizen, and the older brother of Martin McDonagh (considered one of the greatest living Irish playwrights today) delved deep, back into crime comedy genre with War On Everyone after The Guard became the most successful Irish Independent film of all time. Similar to The Guard, which starred his frequent collaborator and muse Brendan Gleeson, McDonagh decided to shoot his third film in the United States for the first time, keeping away from his native Irish land, and uses the landscapes of Albuquerque, New Mexico as a hellish field of nightmares. Surrounding his narrative on two very intractable corrupt cops who makes it their mission in life, and in their careers, to make every scumbag and criminal who crosses their path, as miserable and unfortunate as possible, War on Everyone is easily one of the most unsettling yet hard-hitting black comedies of 2016 that leaves all regard out the door.
While the premise and story of War is nothing to marvel at, the film itself, is easily one of the hardest films to look away from and not finish, thanks to the outlandish and quite unexpected direction McDonagh decided to take his story and characters on. Luckily for us, McDonagh decided to venture off with new actors to play the role of intimidating **** cops on crack, to a new level.
With Peña, an actor who isn’t unfamiliar with playing policemen or governing officials in the past, thanks to roles in Babel, Observe and Report, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, Gangster Squad, Vacation, the upcoming CHIPS and of course, one of my favourite of Peña’s roles, Mike Zavala in David Ayer’s masterpiece End of Watch, Peña could practically get a job as a cop with all his experience in the role. As Peña’s partner, McDonagh choose someone who has never played a cop before. Luckily for us, actor Alexander Skarsgård literally stumbled upon the role from a video that went viral, showcasing the actor at a soccer match, drunkenly rooting for his team, leading a chant, and being completely and utterly intoxicated, making not only a huge fool of himself, but showing director McDonagh everything he needed to see for his beloved Terry character. Thanks for Skarsgård behaviour during his intense period of inebriation, the video secured the role for the towering actor, whose character Terry is an un-wreckable force of chaos and brutality with no brake or lever for control, a role Skarsgård completely punches and bruises into us without apology. Skarsgård is absolutely, unapolgetically, relentlessly perfect as Terry.
While every citizen in The United States are well aware of their rights, including the right to remain silent, War is a film that really doesn’t say too much, other than offer an unlimited sources of one-liners and crass, crude jokes, heavy racial slander and bizarre perspective of criminals, but also allows the action seen on screen to speak for itself. Certain scenes in the film play off as set pieces in a play, where the intention and purpose of meaning is never really understood or comprehended, showing off personalities of certain characters and their interaction with one another, as well as bizarre interpretation of the coming to reality of a scorn and doomed society. One of these very characters is the introduction of Jackie Harris (Tessa Thompson), who plays Terry’s love interest, and inevitable life-partner. The two share very awkward tonal scenes that resemble instances of a musical, a horror and a romantic comedy, yet, Jackie’s relationship with Terry reveals absolutely nothing about him, other than his inconsistent ability to enforce ethics and morals to people, without ever compromising his own corrupt personality and desire and obsession with greed.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.3Feb 9, 2017If you haven’t figured it out already, The Newsroom, the cancelled and highly underwetched, underrated, and heavily missed HBO Dramatic seriesIf you haven’t figured it out already, The Newsroom, the cancelled and highly underwetched, underrated, and heavily missed HBO Dramatic series from the ingenious Aaron Sorkin is absolutely one of my all-time favourite television shows ever created. Given the quip dialogue, snappy political, social and cultural references, not to miss, its absolutely miraculous comedic timing and concurrent content, it is not only one of the best shows to ever premiere on television, but also a necessary viewing. Now if you’re thinking, why in the heck am I mentioning a television show that has nothing to do with the current movie in review, the answer is…everything!
Miss Sloane may have been made by any of the talent who brought to life The Newsroom, but add the inclusion of two of the major actors in the show, plus a very apparent and suspicious comparison in delivery of dialogue, and mix all that with one of the best satirical and comedic lobbyist films in Thank You for Smoking, Miss Sloane is a lobbyist film that falls short in over two hours of misconstrued, flashy, politically polished and governmentally red-taped dialogue that not only keeps audience members at bay for the majority of the conversations between characters, but really only keeps the hopes for viewers that the final scenes and pivotal and totally expecting twists by the films end, are so worth this long-gestated and over-winded drama.
The story is simple; Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is the most sought after and ambitious lobbyist in D.C. Set against a world of high-stakes power-brokers, government officials and corrupt businessmen, Miss Sloane is up against her toughest opponent when she’s pitted against the heavily armed and lucratively funded arms industry of the United States of America. Leaving her own firm to join forces with a once formidable opponent Rodolfo Schmidt (Mark Strong), Miss Sloane must learn to trust people and others if she wishes to win one of the biggest cases of her life, which is something she is completely unfamiliar with. Upon learning of Miss Sloane’s departure from her current firm, Sloane is surprised in finding that not all alliances are what they seem to be, including her right-hand ally Jane Molloy (Alison Pill), who abandons Sloane and partners up with her opposition. Left with a handful of strangers and new faces, Sloane must learn to work with others or suffer the consequences of taking on too much and inevitably finding her demise to the all-too-powerful United States government and its ties to the very powerful corrupt arms organization.
While many films this year have the gracious feeling of being heavily scripted and quite theatrical, Fences and Una for example, the overtly scripted Miss Sloane has its characters reciting lines throughout the film rather than delivering them, especially since the film relies heavily on courtroom jargon that mostly takes the audience away from the story. With the exception of Jessica Chastain, who seems to relish in the highly convoluted word-play of screenwriter Jonathan Perera’s debut script, Chastain elevates to a singular level of performance and acting in Miss Sloane. It is safe and easy to say that Chastain is the singular character who carries her dialogue, the narrative and flow of the film effortlessly, while each and every actor in the film seems to be playing catch-up.
While Miss Sloane can easily be judged as a political thriller, the thrilling aspects in the film rely heavily on action/reaction shots of the highly unexpected revelations of its supporting characters. Foresight and overshadowing certain, very touchy, issues dealing with sexual abuse, violence and emotional tragedy, seems to keep Miss Sloane afloat for the majority of its runtime, although, the high anticipation of the verbal sword fighting between characters acts more like cinematic action pieces than narrative adrenaline, something The Newsroom does without trying.
As the stress along with the cat-and-mouse games between Sloane and her adversaries unfolds, many questions arise, that are rarely answered, which is frustrating for a viewer. More than anything, one of the most aggravating aspects of Miss Sloane is a lack of empathy or history behind the protagonist’s main ambitions. Sloane, a woman who shares nothing with her peers and amongst her employees, shares a very routine life that sees her eating at the same restaurant each and every night, while her main emotional connection/release is burdened to a very inquisitive and highly curious male escort named Forde (Jake Lacy). The interactions between Forde and Sloane are amongst the best in the film, easily giving audiences a mild understanding of Sloane’s psyche, even when audiences question whether or not a high-stakes lobbyist would actually share such delicate and classified information with, essentially, a high end male prostitute.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.0Feb 9, 2017Funny enough, but ever since my success with my review of the highly stylized and powerful street-drama Kicks, it seems that I have become theFunny enough, but ever since my success with my review of the highly stylized and powerful street-drama Kicks, it seems that I have become the unofficial urban/hip-hop critic of the city of Toronto. Which isn’t a bad thing, especially when you are reviewing some kick ass, cutting edge coming-of-age stories.
Coming-of-age stories are a dime-a-dozen in independent American cinema, let alone for films that have been accepted in the official line-up of the Sundance Film Festival. I mean, Sundance, almost being the unofficial “coming-of-age” film festival, is not only known for its dedication and glorification of youthful coming-of-age stories, but also discovering new, almost obscure talent, both behind the scenes, and in front of the camera. If you don’t believe me, think of Quvenzhané Wallis from Beasts of the Southern Wild, RJ Cyler in last year’s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Gabourey Sidibe in Precious and director Damien Chazelle to name a few. Luckily for us, Chad Hartigan’s newest film, Morris From America is a very authentic tale of of an outsider of a very urban-contemporary America, growing up in the very proper and white-washed setting of Germany.
Morris From America begins with three of its most powerful characters; Markees Christmas playing the young Morris Gentry, Craig Robinson as his father, Curtis Gentry, and the powerful and overwhelming music of hip-hop. As Morris rocks his head to The Sun Rises in the East’s (considered one of the quintessential hip-hop albums of all-time) track Come Clean by Jeru The Damaja, Morris complains to his father that the beat is a little slow, it lacks a hook and the song, overall, is very boring. Outraged with his son’s taste in music, Curtis ground Morris for having poor taste in music. Our next shot of Mo in his room, is a tour poster of up and coming rapper from Los Angeles, Schoolboy Q, that hangs at the very centre of his room, showing Mo’s love and appreciate for new age hip-hop. At this exact moment, it becomes quite clear and evident that Mo’s analysis of his father’s song is very much an analogy of Hartigan’s newest film as well as a very clear clash of how the differences of opinions, experiences and tragedy affect two very formidable men following the tragedy of their lead female matriarch.
We never really find out what happens to Mo’s mom throughout the film. Essentially, the tragedy of her absence, although quite pivotal to our main protagonists, isn’t the driving point behind their actions. Sure, there’s a scene where Curtis calls a European phone sex line, one of the many scenes where he finds himself stuck in an empty and cold home, lusting for attention and meaning. Robinson’s longing for love is one of the many factors that make his role as Curtis one of the mot memorable of his career, especially set against that of Mo, whose friendship and crush for his only friend Katrin (Line Keller) is the driving force of Mo’s motivations. Katrin, who sets course a path for Mo that not only allows him to grow up quicker than most thirteen year-olds, but also allows him to experience the stark cultural differences of growing up in a predominantly white Germany, against a childhood and adolescence in urban America.
As the very simple narrative of Morris flows through each and every scene, it seems that writer/director Hartigan is interested in one thing, and one thing only, and that’s the authenticity of his star and his characters and most of all, their raw and highly relatable experiences. During the early drafts, Hartigan had a script in mind that included a white father and son, but it wasn’t until Robinson and Christmas involvement that the characters were changed to a African-American father/son duo, navigating life away from the United States with a very interesting and dynamic one/two punch. Never glorifying or emotionally manipulating the trauma of Curtis’ and Mo’s loss; never romanticizing Katrin and Mo, and never polishing Mo and Curtis’ bonds, Morris From America is your average joe character film tightened by simple and real people narrative choices.
Making his transition in Germany as painless and smooth as possible for his son and himself, Curtis enlists the help of a German student/tutor Inka (Carla Juri). Inka and Mo share some tender scenes of truth and heartache, sometimes simplifying one another’s life through the simple stories surrounded by their love lives. Mo, who has taken a liking to Katrin, discovers aspects of himself he never knew he was capable of; while Inka makes some serious life choices, thanks to the stark truth and frankness of Mo’s young adolescent, real world perspectives, sometimes blending in aspects of an episode of “Kids Say the Darnest Things” for good measure.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.9Feb 9, 2017Living in a world such as today’s, its no wonder how some people might want to just decide to up and leave their lives; their loved ones andLiving in a world such as today’s, its no wonder how some people might want to just decide to up and leave their lives; their loved ones and the world’s that they know all so well. With the expansion of social media, the rapid decline of privacy and our world’s natural ability to connect people almost effortlessly, picking up and taking off may seem like a suitable alternative. Yet, the newest film from Maria Full of Grace director Joshua Marston offers many promises about the idea of false identities, femme fatales and of course, the illusion and perception of strangers. Complete Unknown is a very dry, empty and almost didactic film about the essence of strangers, friends, family and oneself and the true meaning of self and the people we think we know and surround ourselves with everyday. Even if we tried, giving away too much of the film is almost impossible, especially if you’ve already seen the trailer to this highly deceptive and promising feature. Unfortunately, the big reveal and climax of the film comes way too early in the film (which is also spoiled in the trailer) and the majority of the film is basically a reunion between two lost lovers who spend a birthday evening catching up. The birthday boy, Tom (Michael Shannon) is surprised when his good friend and business partner brings an unexpected guest date to his quaint birthday gathering in his lovely New York brownstone. When Tom’s business partner Clyde (Michael Churns), brings Alice (Rachel Weisz) as his date to Tom’s birthday party, Clyde is under the impression that Alice is just a coincidental beauty who enjoys the food of their local business cafeteria and who he has made an uncanny connection with. Unknown to him at the time, Alice, whose name is really Jennifer, is a long-lost flame of Tom’s. Jennifer, who, fifteen years ago, walked away on her loved ones and family, and pursued a life as a drifter and civilian of the world, decides, after he life abroad, that her story with Tom isn’t quite finished. Assisting in hospitals as a nurse, becoming a test subject and entertaining for magicians, and studying a very rare type of frog in a nearby New York laboratory, Alice’s passions, hobbies and professions add the to complete enigma that is Alice.
Early on, it is revealed to the audience as well as the guests of Tom’s birthday party that Alice is a compulsive liar who is addicted to the idea of mis-identity and role playing. Her obsession of “living a thousand lives” becomes a very disturbing account of the many passions, desires and thoughts of countless people, who never really are able to live such fantasies out. Yet, as the film progresses and the dialogue builds, Alice’s motives and decision for walking out on Tom becomes as clear a foggy day in London. Even when the reveal of Alice’s true identity of Jenny is made clear, director and writer Marston spends very little effort explaining her pathologically disturbing behaviour to Tom, or the audience. In essence, Jenny’s rationale is a complete unknown, even given her very short family background.
Marston, who covered a very pressing social issue in Maria Full of Grace takes on a complete original work with fellow screenwriter Jualian Sheppard, that is anything but original, and takes too many cues from Mike Nichols’ Closer; Natalie Portman’s alias’ name in the film; the theme of mis-identity and of course, a very powerful and iconic final scene in which our main protagonists are walking amongst many people on a street, being the only individual visible in a crowd of blurred faces.
Complete Unknown is a film that really asks many questions, yet only deals with the questions Tom has for Jenny, and the many answers she keeps flipping around as the film progresses. One of the most interesting aspects of the film is quite actually, the casting. Shannon, who is a veteran actor, has a very powerful range of mournful facial expressions that speak volumes. While Weisz, who is nothing short of alluring, has a natural beauty that is quite forgiving, disarming yet also very engaging once opened up. Weisz and Shannon’s chemistry is one of the few things that are hard to ignore in the film, yet, these two amazingly versatile and talented actors really can’t save a film that could have played better as a short film.
As Jenny’s character reveals to Tom in the fourth act of the film, life allows you to be anyone you really want to be. All it takes is a complete unemotional detachment from the people you love most and some distance from the people who “think” that know you, and you can put yourself anywhere in the world and be anyone you want to be. Yet, with each and every very anti-climatic reveal, we become in engaged in the very distorted reality of Jenny’s world, an almost intoxicating look at the ability to shape, mould and form yourself into anyone at all, yet no one really.… Expand
Average User Score: tbdFeb 9, 2017Special Notes:*(We are going to do this review a little bit different this time around. Inspired by the motion picture being reviewed, In aSpecial Notes:*(We are going to do this review a little bit different this time around. Inspired by the motion picture being reviewed, In a heading format, whatever heading is bolded, make sure you listen to suggested song, during each segment of this review. Read, listen, and enjoy!)*
INTRO-J. Cole (Album: 2014 Forest Hills Dr.) “Sometimes I wish I had a spaceship. Just hangout in space where its quiet; and no one could **** with me.”
As the pulsating first frames of Justin Tipping’s feature film debut Kicks begins, we see our main protagonist Brandon (Jahking Guillory) running from some kids in a basketball court in slow motion, during the dead of night. As the veins pop from Brandon’s forehead, the sweat beads drip, and his pearly white teeth are clinch together desperately (in fear of being caught), one can’t help but wonder, what exactly did Brandon do? A young, naive and innocent high schooler who just wants a pair of Jordan One’s Bred (Black and Red), a kid who just wants to be accepted and treated equally as everyone else, and not be picked for his height, size, economic status and old, worn out sneakers, Brandon is tired of running. As the film unfolds, we never really know why Brandon is being chased, as one may quickly observe, there may very well be no good reason as to why he is being chased at all. In Big Bay, Richmond, California, Brandon runs away from everyone and everything. That is until, Brandon makes a fateful choice, which, in the course of two days, shifts his world in heart-achening and consequential ways. Brandon is an obvious target for bullies; his stature is frail, his body is small, his mannerisms are delicate and his look is quite feminine. Yet, Brandon knows that there is still a shred of hope for him amongst his schoolmates, peers and on the street; and thats getting the pair of shoes he wants. As a young boy growing up in Toronto, Canada, the subculture of sneakers could never be as understood as the subculture of sneakers then, evenmoreso, the subculture of sneaker culture now, especially within the modern ghetto’s of the United States. Once you have some worthy ‘kicks’ (slang for shoes or fancy sneakers), it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what your parents do or how you got them. All that matters is that, they’re yours.
As we become submerged into Brandon’s world, we are introduced to some of the important people in Brandon’s life; his best friends Rico (Christopher Meyer), a ladies man who has his way with women; and wannabe ladies man Albert (Christopher Jodan-Wallace, son of Notorious B.I.G and Faith Evans) who talks endlessly about his questionable conquests with women. It soon becomes clear that, in the world of high school and gangsters in Big Bay, California, parents and adults are absent in the roles in their children’s lives, and thats usually because of their dedication to their entry-level and minimum wage paying jobs to keep their low-income homes and families afloat. No parents are shown or introduced throughout the course of the film, even within the homes of each of our protagonists. It can only be suggested that Tipping sees the presence of parents as unimportant in the world of adolescents, especially since the streets of Brandon’s hood are run and dominated by the high school bullies and low-level gangsters of the street blocks, which rings even more true during the hours of school. The adolescents in the film, as well as the rawness of these very real situations happening in every slum in America, are the true stars of Kicks. Nikes- Frank Ocean (Album: Blonde) Tipping, who almost simultaneously introduces each and every new character by zooming his camera onto their feet and shoes, does a masterful job of associating shoes with personas. Which makes for an interesting allegory of character, especially in the case of Brandon.
Brandon is an only-child, fifteen year old kid navigating through the rough terrain of ghetto America. So after countless rainy days spent on the corner of a busy intersection, combined with all the saved up “emergency” birthday money he has accumulated over the years, as well as the advice of his mother, the day that some hustling street salesmen by the name of Daryl (Mistah F.A.B), with a van full of Nike boxes entices Brandon over to his direction, Brandon is more than hooked. “Your foot game is everything in this world. Let me show you deez. I got something thats gonna be nice for you. Stores don’t even got deez, deez exclusive. You see deez, but deez right here, deez cost more than your life.” As if Daryl was some kind of future reading physic, the subtlety of this statement, couldn’t refer more to Brandon and the journey he is so quickly going to face.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.3Feb 9, 2017In a world where audiences cannot get enough of superheroes, comics and geeking over the impossibly feverish fade of comic book hero’s adaptedIn a world where audiences cannot get enough of superheroes, comics and geeking over the impossibly feverish fade of comic book hero’s adapted onto the big screen, DC Comics is trying to cash in on this highly lucrative cinematic craze by developing a feature length feature, and their competition to The Avengers with Suicide Squad. Yet, if we really look at the bigger picture of Suicide Squad, one can easily see some stark differences, for example; none of the characters are really superheroes but villains; none of the characters presented are really recognizable names, with the exception of The Joker (who isn’t even a member of the squad in the film) and Harley Quinn (who is destined to become a household character by the end of this film, with the help of Margot Robbie of course), and, if not most importantly, assembling a team together, including cast and crew, that couldn’t be more, disassembled.
Quite frankly, Suicide Squad is a complete disaster and mess of a film. The writing of the film is so incoherent, it makes the objective of the team and the audience really question as to why they are doing it altogether. The direction of the film feels forced and almost lacking any artistic creativeness by David Ayer and more-so of a forced studio film shoved down the artistic team’s throat, and, the story is just convoluted, discombobulated and weak. Ayer, who was on my radar of becoming one of my fav directors, blending, almost effortlessly, the use of action with real-world comedy, thanks to the near-perfect End of Watch, **** the bed on this one.
With such star power, including the uncompromising Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, and the once attached Tom Hardy, you would think Suicide Squad was a film with some massive potential to wreck box-office havoc at the end of a very disappointing 2016. Yet, the film itself is a very sad excuse for a summer blockbuster, insulting its audience with any sort of artistic and cinematic credit.
While the narrative of the story has been told before, like seriously, almost exactly like the narrative in the first Avengers. Just to refresh, here is it; A loved one of one of the team members (Thor’s brother’s Loki in the Avengers and Nick Flag’s (Joe Kinnaman) girlfriend June Moone, also know by her villain name Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) in this one, wreck havoc on a city, a team gathers to save the city (New York City in the Avengers, Gotham in this film). Coming out of the gates, the film does not have much street credit.
Suicide Squad was easily one of the most anticipated and exciting movies of summer sixteen. The trailer, which features one of the best bands ever assembled singing one of the best musical arrangements ever created, was easily one hell of a ride to watch. Unfortunately, some of the best parts of the film were featured in the trailer, which took away and ruined the film overall, or, the music just brought the best in the footage. After all, its pretty hard not enjoying watching anything while listening to the angelic voice of Freddie Mercury.
While the movie did feature the likes of Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, the sadistic mastermind behind the formation of the Suicide Squad, in a compelling and completely engaging role as a devilish, heartless and soulless women, who takes her job WAY too seriously, the only real redemption the movie has is Will Smith and Margot Robbie, and I mention those named quite carefully. Notice how I didn’t say Deadshot and Harley Quinn, the characters these actors are playing. Smith, who is an excellent actor whom audiences love whole-heartedly, did not play an interpretation of the almost obscure comic book character. Smith, in turn, essentially just plays himself, in a film adaptation where he must kick ass, save the world and give the occasional motivational speech. Its hard not to like Will Smith in anything really (we will completely ignore After Earth), hence why much of the good criticism will come from him, but people will quickly forget that Will Smith is a likeable guy, but did he give a spot on, target approve depiction of a DC comic book baddie, heck no.
With Margot Robbie, one of the hottest and most attractive Hollywood actresses working today, its hard not to like her in anything, especially when for the duration of the film, she is featured in very sexy short-shorts and ripped nylons, as well as while the camera takes the liberty of shooting her from behind most of the time. Geeks and fanboys, compose yourself!… Expand
Average User Score: 6.7Aug 23, 2016At eighty years young, Woody Allen delivers his forty-sixth (yup, you read that right) feature film with Café Society; a bourbon baskedAt eighty years young, Woody Allen delivers his forty-sixth (yup, you read that right) feature film with Café Society; a bourbon basked narrative feature showcasing the wonderfully vibrant jazz era of the 1930’s, where the magic of the movies is very much alive; nightclubs are bustling with life, traces of the gangster underworld are closer than ever and love is a feeling as whimsical as ever in a parallel tale spanning from Hollywood to New York City.
After forty-six films, you would think, with a director and writer as aged as most of our grandparents, the dialogue and writer of such an iconic filmmaker would lose his touch, but Allen proves his newest feature is as fresh, fun and fantastic as could be. Self-aware and self-absorbed as ever, the auteur extraordinaire showcases some of his most subtle and subdued screenplay to date, focusing mostly on performance from his very young cast and indulging in the beauty of a lively era within the very social elite of Hollywood and New York City.
Like any good Allen film, the story follows a very unsure and adventurous young man by the name of Bobby Dorfman, played perfectly by the nerdy and always loveable Jesse Eisenberg. Bobby, who has chosen for a change of scenery from his native New York City life, decides to chance life on a whim, and join his highly successful and famed uncle Phil Stern (Steve Carell), a Hollywood agent and grande opportunist for a lavish life in Hollywood. Reluctant to really give his nephew a chance, Uncle Phil caves and leaves Bobby in the hands of his angelic and innocently beautiful secretary and assistant Vonnie, played elegantly by Kristen Stewart. Taken by her beauty at first site, Bobby and Vonnie begin experiencing the city of angels through the eyes of glamour and glitz, essentially discrediting the city and its inhabitants as a whole, and wishing for a life that is half Hollywood, and half urban paradise.
As the relationship between Vonnie and Bobby intensifies, despite Vonnie having a secretive relationship with another married man, the two share some of the most memorable meet-cute dates seen this year on screen.
The heart of Café Society relies heavily on the relationship and chemistry between Eisenberg and Stewart, who, luckily for audiences, have played love interests twice before in Adventureland and American Ultra. By now, while watching Café Society, one of the most frustrating elements of the film is why the two stars haven’t began dating outside of the narrative of the films they star in. Eisenberg’s quirk matched with the mysteriousness and nonchalant attitude of Stewart, make the two and quintessential non-Hollywood/Hollywood couple.
As life complicates itself, as all matters of the heart do, Bobby soon finds himself back in the big Apple, eventually succumbing to his big brother Ben (Corey Stoll) and managing a somewhat legitimate business in Le Tropical, a nightclub owned by Ben, among other very illegal and gangster business endeavours. Stoll, who dons a full head of hair as the fiery and ruthless gangster brother to Bobby, brings forth the charm and wit he did as Ernest Hemingway in Allen Midnight In Paris. An Allen alum, Stoll provides the film with some of its most expected comedy, yet is pitch-perfect as the tough guy older brother who knows no life other than the life of the streets.
Allen, who uses many of the same actors over in his films, Stoll twice, Eisenberg twice, Posey, Sirico and company, relies on his actors to deliver some of his most entertaining, fun and light-hearted material to date. Café Society is a fun, summerlicious filled romantic comedy with perfect instances of light-hearted dialogue and narrative that uses the beautiful jazz music as a mosaic of forbidden love and second chances.
While Café Society may not be the huge commercial success of other summer blockbuster films, the film is easily one of my favourite films of the year, delivering a true cinematically entrancing experience, much like Allen’s Midnight In Paris.
If there is one thing I would recommend this summer season, its to make sure to watch this film by any means necessary. Café Society proves again that, like many good comedies, most are written by sadistic comedy writers, and while Allen’s newest is far from sadistic, the film is an examined portrayal of an era of the golden days of cinema that brings back the golden, and leaves the rust behind. Sure, Allen can be completely self-absorbed with his films, making sure his unique cinematic voice is heard and quirkiness felt wholeheartedly, but, regardless of all that, I absolutely fell in love with this film. And while love is not rational, you fall, and lose control, which is the exact same feeling I had when leaving the cinema for this film.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3Aug 23, 2016Going into Swiss Army Man, you cannot help but be prepared for the preposterous narrative at hand. I mean, the narrative is simple, well, kindGoing into Swiss Army Man, you cannot help but be prepared for the preposterous narrative at hand. I mean, the narrative is simple, well, kind of simple…well, not really.
The newest film to feature the actor who once played one of the most magical and profitable wizards in the film world, seems to have taken another role which would add to his very large attempt of leaping him away, and disassociating himself afar from that world altogether. What better way to do it than play a kinda/sorta dead corpse who farts his way to safety, guides his best friend Hank (Paul Dano) with the use of his erection, and vulgars his dialogue at every instance with the female reproductive system.
Okay so, lets try to get this right, as best as possible.
Swiss Army Man tells the story of Hank, played by Paul Dano, a man who seems to be deserted on an island, with barely any willingness to live. Moments before he is about to kill himself, he sees a body washed upon the shore. Unbuckling the belt tied around his neck, he makes his way to the deceased body. Upon the discovery that the body is in fact dead, he hears the body pop up random farts and sounds, giving the illusion of life at times. Disillusioned by the body altogether, he salvages it and begins using it as a purpose to live.
Dressing the corpse up, talking to it and interacting with it, Hank seems to have found a new purpose, that is until, the body, Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) begins to talk back. In a panic, Hank punches the corpse and runs away. Shortly after, Manny begins inhabiting certain skills and tools needed for Hank’s survival, these skills include; farting fire, slingshotting stuff, axing things, etc. But don’t get it twisted, the body is still dead. As the relationship between Manny and Hank begins to intensify, Hank shares with Manny the truths about women, sex and the world, revolving each and every story around the love of Hank’s life, Sarah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). As the days pass and the hope for survival begins to become more real, Hank soon realizes that, Manny may just be the soul-mate he has always hoped for and desired.
Going into the film, I could already tell that the movie was going to play quite loosely with one of my most examined and tropes of cinema; augmented reality with reality itself. Just by looking at the trailers, the film blends quite effortlessly the seriousness of a stranded man, with the imagination of a man who creates an entity needed for his survival; Manny essentially becomes the Wilson to Tom Hank’s character in Cast Away. In only difference is, Wilson never spoke back, interacted or physically helped Chuck Nolan to survive. Now, the film is obviously saying a lot and making a huge statement about mental health. Is Hank sick? Is there even a body? What is his relationship with the people outside this island? Who is Sarah to Hank? All these question, although never really fully answered, are given weight towards the understanding of a very, either sick, or extremely passionate man.
One my biggest pet peeves about the use of imagination in cinema is when it tries to justify itself as reality. It really isn’t that hard; any Marvel movie made from this point on, tries to provide some sort of justification how any of the stuff can happen, within the mythos of the cinematic world to the real world. In other films, say, Warcraft for example, the film establishes itself as work of fictions right away. With Swiss Army Man, the film seems to take itself more seriously than it should, mostly at all times. Directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, who refer to themselves as DanielS, find this very disturbing and at times, tantalizing mix of making the film extremely believable and at time totally and completely and utterly unbelievable, the embodiment of reality can be found no where yet tries to justify itself as such.
The film itself is ridiculous, outrageous and yes, like many have been calling it, unlike anything you have or will ever see on the silver screen, but for once in my life, I don’t necessarily think that that statement is really a good one. I mean, Hank, who goes from one island to a forestry area by riding his dead corpse friend as a jet-ski; Manny fights off bears, he has a erect penis compass, Manny is a swiss army tool of crazy possibilities and it never really digs deep.
While speaking to others about the reception of the film, it does seem to have a very different response out of everyone who sees it. I mean, after all, the DanielS are the men responsible for the outlandish Turn Down for What music video featuring DJ Snake and Lil Jon, and we all know how funny and ludicrous that video is.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.2Aug 23, 2016Ok, first and foremost, I will begin this review by saying that I am not, and never have been a Warcraft player of any sort; meaning, I haveOk, first and foremost, I will begin this review by saying that I am not, and never have been a Warcraft player of any sort; meaning, I have not touched the online game, board game, card game or any Warcraft product since its inception. So, going into Duncan Jones’ third directorial feature film Warcraft, I was a complete outsider amongst an army of loyal and very aware Warcraft users. Unlike most built-in audiences, each and every person who was in attendance of the early screening, possessed none of the typical geeky, fan-boy characteristics I have come to expect from franchises such as Star Wars, Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings film franchises. So, how did I feel finally being an outsider and what exactly did the audience I attended the screening looked like?
The thing with the Warcraft universe is that everyone at some point tried it and you would never know who is a Warcraft fiend. Young, old, men, women, Warcraft is the type of obsession that could be just about for anyone. So, while I am somewhat aware of the massive universe Duncan Jones was responsible for brining to life on the big screen, I had no idea how expansive and detailed this world really is.
Upon the opening frames, seeing humans battle off against Orcs, and beginning much of the story in a fantastical world of Azeroth, I was one of few audiences members who was just along for the ride, and not for the love of the universe, but for the love of cinema. Having been late to the party with Lord of the Rings (truth of the matter is, I have never seen any of them nor have any interest to), one of the biggest complaints with many of my friends now with Middle Earth is, thanks to the massive success of HBO’s Game of Thrones, violence, sex and exponential gore is what audiences want with fantasy films. The action solely isn’t enough anymore. And while Daenerys Targaryen actress Emilia Clarke’s newest film Me Before You, a romantic drama was playing in the cinema beside mine, I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that, fantasy doesn’t always sell anymore; but sex surely does. As I can assure you, I may have never seen an episode of Game of Thrones, but you can sure as heck bet I have seen pictures on the interest of Clarke’s bodacious naked bod.
With Warcraft, the premise is simple. Orcs, lead by a sadistic leader who possesses the fel, Gul’Dan (Daniel Wu), sucks the life out of other world’s inhabitants and uses their energy to open up a portal to a new world, inhabited by human, called Azeroth. To the dismay of Durotan (Toby Kimmell) an his pregnant wife Draka (Anna Galvin), they follow along with Gul’Dan’s plans only in hope of finding a peaceful life in the new world. Once through the portal, Gul’Dan wages war against the humans who inhabit that kingdom, putting him in a direct collision course with King of Stromwind Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper), and as well as his trusty and noble military commander Sir Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel). A fierce warrior and destructive orc killer, Anduin finds himself partnered with the fumbling Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer), a young and inexperienced warlock whose powers have yet to be contained. Advised by the council due to the recent threat of the orcs, Anduin and Khadgar head to Karazhan to summon the Guradian Medivh (Ben Foster) and use his wisdom and powers to help defeat the army of orcs and Gul’Dan once and for all.
Fantasy isn’t my preferred genre of cinema to watch. Being able to capture these films on the big screen is something wonderful though, especially amongst all its loyal and faithful fans. While the world of the Warcraft universe is highly new and almost unheard of to me, I can honestly say that I was very intimidated by its great reach and length, along with its history. After all, the first ever sighting of the Warcraft real-time strategy game came in 1994, when I was only a child. Imagine how much the world has grown since then? Like anything fanatical and with such a rich history, the more you know, the better. Was I a fan of the film as a whole by the time I left the theatre? Maybe not the biggest, but, does that suggest it was a bad film overall?
I believe that audience members, especially ones for this fantastical, built-in audience, is important to consider, especially given the universe’s endless possibilities. But, what is the difference between a built in universe such as Warcraft, or, say, the cinematic universe of Marvel or DC? Comic book characters that have been around decades and whose worlds mix, blend and cross-over to other universes regularly? Nothing really. So with that said, as a whole, was Warcraft an amazing fantasy experience? Absolutely not. At times, the film suffers from straining and overwhelming special effects, especially during its action sequences, its action is brute and forceful, giving audiences a bit of a spectacle overload. Where does the film succeed most? In its glory and beauty of showing off the orcs by the firefight.… Expand