Review: Suicide Squad (2016)

2021-06-24 - Reading time: 3 minutes

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Finally got around to it!

I was initially interested in it back when it came out, but all the stories and horrible things I'd heard... and THAT JOKER... I noped out pretty fast.

Fast forward to 2021 -- figured I'd give it a go, since I seriously enjoyed Margot Robbie's version of Harley in Birds of Prey. That, and it's pretty much the last DCEU film I'd yet to see. 

And I... liked it? 

Now, hold up, I mean, it's by NO MEANS perfect. But I actually had a better time here than, say, with the sequel to Wonder Woman '84. Which, honestly, I never thought I'd ever say considering how near godly the original WW was.

This was fun. It was pretty much what I expected after years of exposure, but there were actually several twists in this I didn't know about despite everything I'd heard.

Smith's Deadshot is fun, but only because it's Will Smith playing Will Smith with shooting skills delivering dialogue like a tired Will Smith. And if that still works for you, here you go. (It did for me, despite this.)

Harley is fun, but a lot more unhinged. In the bad way. I thought for sure Joker was going to betray her at some point, and we'd get the start of her disconnect from him and her liberation.

But no, we're in full Stockholm Syndrome mode for the entire film. 

That said, this was a great stepping stone to her further refinement in Birds of Prey, where she stole the film for me.

The rest had their moments -- especially Diablo. (And hey, it's the positively delightful Karen Fukuhara (The Boys) as Katana! Woo!)

Hell, I didn't even hate Joker...?! No, I'm serious -- and I can't believe I'm saying it. 

I still absolutely LOATHE his version of the character. But.... I can't really deny that this gangsta thug incarnation... he slots in quite well into this particular, gritty universe.

I mean, I can dislike him and still accept that he's a good match, right?

Enchantress was interesting, but as the ultimate goal of the film it was kind of lacking. The ending reminded me a whole lot of Ghostbusters, actually. With more sword fighting. Less marshmallows.

Far better than expected, but it was a almost the lowest possible bar going in, so... the deed is done. Glad I gave it a go. It's not the complete dumpster fire folks said, but still on the lower end of the DCEU's already low-skewed rankings.

3/5

[via https://letterboxd.com/drfortyseven/film/suicide-squad-2016/]


Concerning Goonies

2021-06-05 - Reading time: ~1 minute

Finally caught "The Goonies". Another in a long line of films I knew 80% about but never actually sat down to watch, start to finish. As good as expected, but I never knew about this downer ending. 😞

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Quick Review: The Mitchells vs. The Machines (2021)

2021-05-07 - Reading time: 2 minutes

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The Mitchells vs. The Machines just might be my new favorite animated film.

Or at least it slots into my Top 3 with ease. This is possibly the funniest and most creative film I've seen in a long time.

The characters take almost no time to get to know and love. There's an insane energy to the film. 

It's almost like... ugh, this is a VERY strained analogy that I'm not entirely comfortable with, but I can't get it out of my head: the happily "outsider" vibe of The Addams Family crossed with the family unity of the Belchers from Bob's Burgers. (Hell, the mom is even named 'Lin'.) Then mix in a dash of Gravity Falls, and lots of energy drinks.

And then send them all on a road trip to save the world.

The comedy is often quite hyperkinetic but there isn't a dud in the batch. For a lesser film a fast pace of "random" and pop culture might be a negative, but The Mitchells own it and thread that needle with ease. It never becomes obnoxious.

Honestly, I can't praise it enough. I LOVED this flick and I'm kind of clawing the desk to throw it on again.

I sincerely hope they consider follow-ups in the style of a "The Mitchells vs...." series, keeping the same writers. Because they've REALLY got something special here.

5/5

https://letterboxd.com/drfortyseven/film/the-mitchells-vs-the-machines/


Quick Review: Snyder's Justice League (Spoiler-free)

2021-03-19 - Reading time: 3 minutes

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Reposted from Letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/drfortyseven/film/zack-snyders-justice-league/

I've been very much critical of the whole "Release the Snyder Cut" movement. It's supporters were, more often than not, entitled, angry, vocal assholes.

Imagine my dread when the studio decided to capitalize on that movement and make it happen to bolster HBO Max.

Much to my surprise, this actually takes a mediocre movie and makes numerous improvements. Dare I say this is a much better film than Whedon's attempt with Justice League in 2017. It's by no means free of flaws, but the narrative flows better. The new content does a lot of fleshing out, too. 

And even though I'm, by far, not a fan of Snyder's visual style -- I heard someone refer to it as a "motorcycle grease" aesthetic. Visually this film fits better with the previous entries. (I do miss Whedon's saturation, at least.)

Was it worth the $70 million fucking dollars to fix the film? Absolutely not. Good lord! 

temp.jpg But the deed is done. No use complaining about THAT at this point.

The only real black mark on this take: it's FOUR hours long, with no real justification for that length other than to let you soak in the film's grease for long stretches as music fills the void. 

The length is going to make future viewings prohibitive. It'll keep this from making it the de facto version of Justice League, I think. And that's a shame, because it really is a "patch" that fixes a lot.

Finally, against all odds, I can actually say: I'd like to see Snyder do a sequel film. I dislike his style, but I'm finding myself unexpectedly invested now. He's turned me around on how I feel about this film in general.

That's nothing short of a personal miracle.

4/5


Quick Review: Vivarium (2019)

2020-12-21 - Reading time: 2 minutes

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This should have been a home run. Decent cast. And an interesting foundation of an idea.

A young couple looking to buy a new home become trapped, alone in community of identical homes. After repeated attempts to escape, always, inexplicably circling back to building #9, a box appears with a newborn baby inside: raise the child, and be released, print on the box promises.

For a while there it felt like a compelling, bizarre supernatural mystery in the best tradition of Twilight Zone's creepiest.

And then... just as it gives you a taste of where this might finally be going... nothing.

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It yanks the rug out, and practically waves a scolding finger in your face for wanting more from the film. It punishes you for it with a an eye-roll of an ending that's nowhere near as clever as it probably thinks it is.

There's some creepy atmosphere, decent acting, but it literally goes nowhere at all. Just enjoy the trailer and imagine your own, more interesting film.

2/5

(Vivariam is currently included with Prime Now.)