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Archive for the ‘2016’ Category

sullyWhen I saw the trailer in this film I was surprised to see that there was some question as to how Captain Sullenberger cannot be viewed anything other than as a hero. So needless to say I was sure I wanted to see this film when it came out.  What I saw was a very good film by director Clint Eastwood and actor Tom Hanks who both somehow make a movie about an investigation into an airplane accident both compelling and interesting.

On January 15, 2009 US Airways Flight 1549 Captained by Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger, played by Tom Hanks (Inferno,) suffered a bird strike in both engines and suffered power failure.   Being unable to fly to any area airport, Sully and his co-pilot Jeff Skiles, played by Aaron Eckhart (Battle: Los Angeles,) both guide the passenger jet into a controlled water landing on the Hudson River in New York City.  Even though the though there were no deaths and the landing considered a success and miracle in the public eye, both pilots are having to fight for their professional careers as the initial investigation by the NTSB suggests that the pilots could have made it back to the airport and therefore were at fault for the landing the plane in the Hudson.

The story is really interesting on a couple of different levels.  Right away you discover that Sully is going through PTSD as the opening scene shows a different ending to the plane flight when you see Flight 1549 fly right into a few buildings in midtown Manhattan.  We then see Sully looking out a window and you can see the look of a realization that maybe that should have happened as opposed to him saving the plane.  Tom Hanks, as usual, does a magnificent job of showing the emotion in these scenes and there are more than a few.  To me it seemed to coincide with the NTSB investigation that was trying to tell him that he had enough time to fly the plane back to the airport and he needlessly put these people in harm’s way.  It was also surprising how combative the NTSB investigation turned out to be if the portrayal in the film is close to being spot on.  In the movie it showed that the NTSB was definitely trying to pin the accident on the pilot.  They constantly kept referring to how the computer simulation showed the plane could have made it back to the original airport, La Guardia.  At the beginning of the investigation all Sully had was his belief and his experience flying the plane.  As the investigation went on you can see how the constant questions being asked of Sully was starting to erode Sully’s belief that he did the right thing.  I thought there was a great and touching scene where Sully made a phone call to his wife, Lorraine, played by Laura Linney (Man of the Year,) where he seriously doubted himself and his wife tried to reassure him but was also scarred and worried about him.  All these things added up to a gripping story that was really good because when you know the outcome of an event it can be hard to pay attention when the bulk of the “actions” are hearings and interviews.

As I said earlier, Hanks was magnificent in his role as Sully.  He was great showing the pain he was going through as he was constantly replaying the flight in his head and watching his plane crash.  As a whole I thought the rest of the cast did a fine job.  I liked how Aaron Eckhart, who played the co-pilot, was the counter to Sully in that he was much more confident that Sully did the right thing landing in the Hudson. Laura Linney had a small part in the film but she was very good as the worried wife and did have a great scene when she was talking to Sully on the phone realizing that the accident could have been much worse and that he was on that plane.  Up to that point she had wanted to know when he was coming home and wanting the publicity to end as the camera crews were outside their house beind somewhat selfish acting as if she was going through more issues than he was now that he was safe.  The realization that she could have lost him was cathartic.  The other actor I would like to point out is Mike O’Malley (Concussion) who plays the lead NTSB investigator Charles Porter.  Porter was the most aggressive of all of the investigators in trying to pin the crash on Sully.  The final scene with the public hearing was great in that you could see the pride that Porter had in proving Sully was at fault when the human simulation showed that Sully had the time to land at the airport.  And his pride quickly went to shame when he allowed for a second human simulation but with a 35 second delay in the pilots reaction.  The 35 second delay was asked by Sully because he pointed out that after the bird strike the pilots didn’t immediately think to fly back to the airport but to try and fix the problem first.  When Porter conceded to that and added the seconds, and neither human simulation made it to either airport possible, O’Malley was great in showing the shame that Porter must have had by doubting Sully.  O’Malley seems to be good at playing jerks because he was a big one in the movie Concussion.  Overall the film was very well acted.

Although it’s brief, I would like to mention how great a job Clint Eastwood did directing the film even though that doesn’t come as a big surprise.  His pacing of the film made it surprisingly suspenseful even though the bulk of the story revolved around the interviews and hearings of the accident as well as Sully trying to deal with it.  He also did a great thing, maybe it was the screenwriter as well, but we never got to see the full incident take place until the final act of the movie.  We were given bits and pieces but he saved the entire accident for when it would be most effective.  What made it even better was that before that as we were watching the film we were given different scenarios that all ended up horribly bad.  I told a friend of mine that if you are afraid of flying this movie could mess with you a little bit because of all of the realistic crashes into the city.  It was a fine film and he deserves as much as the credit as the actors, and the screen writer as well.

This is a wonderful film and is easily in my top ten films of 2016.  I can’t really find any fault with the film and it exceeding many of my lofty expectations for a film starring Tom Hanks and directed by Clint Eastwood.  If the movie is still playing in a theater near you I highly suggest you go and watch it because it belongs in the conversation of best films of 2016.

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drstrangeIt’s amazing to me how the Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps making quality movies, ok not including The Incredible Hulk, with almost no effort.   Eventually the odds alone will tell you that they have to make a downright awful film at least according to the critics.  I wasn’t a fan of Iron Man 3 but I am a lone voice of dislike in a forest of love.  The next movie in the MCU is Doctor Strange which is a little bit different than the other Marvel films and while I do enjoy the film and in general have nothing negative to say about it, I still left the theater with an empty feeling.

Dr. Stephen Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch (Zoolander 2,) is a world renowned neurosurgeon with the ego and arrogance to go with it.  When Strange gets into a horrible car accident he loses the ability to use his hands and when Western science fails him he desperately goes to Katmandu, Nepal to find Kamar-taj and the ability to heal himself.  Once there he meets The Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia,) and Mordo, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave,) who is one of her many followers and they show Strange that there is much more than the scientific world that he knows.  As he begins to learn the spiritual world and magic, he also learns of The Ancient One’s former pupil Kaecilius, played by Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale,) who has stolen pages from a spell book that if performed properly will bring about the end of the world.  Doctor Strange will have to use all of his skill and to think about more than himself if he is to help defeat this new evil set upon the world.

I did like this movie and I will bet a paycheck that this movie will be nominated for an Academy Award for Special Effects.  As of now, and this is before the new Star Wars movie hits, either this film or Warcraft will win best special effects.  Or maybe I should say SHOULD win special effects.  I haven’t seen the movie Inception but from what I have seen from the trailers of it, Doctor Strange has many of the same special effects, only better.  I know that these actors filmed against a green screen but to see how much jumping and running around the actors did with the green screen and how it gets translated into the movie is just awesome.  The out of body fight scenes were pretty cool as well.  The visual effects in this film are a big plus.

The story is…a mix bag for me and the big reason why I left with the empty feeling.  The story starts a tad slow, at least in my eyes, but once Strange gets accepted to be trained by The Ancient One, the story really starts to move.  I very much enjoyed watching him going from a Doctor who just wants to heal his hands to a man who is learning more about the mystical world.  My problem is the third act of the film.  It seems very rushed to me.  To me it seems like there is a slow build of Strange learning about Magic and the mystical realm.  Then it shows where Strange is learning quickly, even faster than he should be, and learning things that seem above his level, but he is still a student.  Suddenly he is thrust into a position where he has to defend a sanctum by himself versus Kaecilius and two of his minions and ends up doing a fairly good job.  Which is odd because the sanctums are supposed to be guarded by bad asses trained by The Ancient One and Kaecilius and his minions basically walk threw them.  So if these protectors had years of training and get smoked I find it hard to believe that Strange, even though he is gifted, would be able to survive the attack.  Sure he did get beat, sort of, which caused him to have to use a portal to his old hospital to find his ex-girlfriend Christine, played by Rachel McAdams (Spotlight,) to heal his physical body while his spiritual one continues the fight.  Strange then becomes the de facto leader of them when something bad happens to the Ancient One.  Then he and the rest of the followers must protect the last sanctum in Hong Kong.  To me it just happens way to fast for this kind of character development.  Now the action is awesome and its fun to watch and I like it, but it kind of doesn’t make sense to me.

The casting is excellent to me.  I love Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and have been a big fan of Mads Mikkelson since I first saw him in the movie King Arthur.  I think we could have seen more of Mikkelson in the film to make his bad guy even better.  Marvel movies have had one big problem in that other than Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, there have been no really good villains in most of the Marvel movies.  Mikkelson’s character Kaecilius falls into that as well unfortunately because we don’t get to see him enough and have his character developed.  But I still like him in this roll.  I also liked Tilda Swinton but there seems to be some upset Millennials about her casting as The Ancient One because apparently this roll should have been given to an Asian.  I say F- Off and get over it.  She was a great choice and people need to stop whining.

I know I have bitched a lot about this movie but I did enjoy it over all.  It fits in well with the MCU and I am sure we will have a part 2.  If you are a fan of these movies or of Benedict Cumberbatch then by all means head out and watch the film on the big screen.  It is worth it.

 

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infernoThe reason why I am not a professional movie review person…are they considered journalists or writers?  Anyway, the reason why I am not one of those is because if movies do certain things then I will like them no matter what.  For action/adventure movies if you throw in an actor I like, say Tom Hanks for example, and have most or the action take place in Europe, and have a hot female lead, and have the leads have to use their brains in solving a mystery, then I will like the film.  Well, all of these elements exist in this third Dan Brown novel turned into movie called Inferno.  I find this latest installment of the Robert Langdon series to be better than Angels & Demons done a few years ago but not as good as The DaVinci Code.

Professor Robert Langdon, once again played by Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies,) wakes up in an Italian hospital with no memory of the past 48 hours.  A young British doctor named Sienna Brooks, played by Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything,) helps Langdon escape the hospital when an Italian police officer shows up to kill him.  As Langdon works to recover his memory with clues left to him by someone unknown that has him looking into the painting of Dante’s Inferno all the while being chased by two different groups from the World Health Organization and a third party trying to kill him.  As he pieces the puzzle together he discovers that an eccentric billionaire bio-engineer Bertrand Zobrist, played by Ben Foster (Warcraft,) who believes the world is doomed due to overpopulation, has developed a biological weapon that can wipe out the population of half of the planet.  Langdon has less than 24 hours to find the bomb and prevent those with Zobrist who wish to unleash the weapon on the planet.

I love Tom Hanks in almost any film but I really do like him as the Langdon character.  He is very believable as an intelligent caring genius with the ability to solve anything.  It always amazes me to see Hanks in these great rolls yet knowing that he started out in movies like Splash and Bachelor Party.  He and Harrison Ford and Denzel Washington are the great actors of my generation.  The rest of the cast are very enjoyable in their roles although I will say that I kept looking at Felicity Jones and Ben Foster and saying to myself, I have seen these two before.  Sure enough I look it up and Felicity, who has been nominated for an Academy Award for some movie I haven’t and probably will never see, is the lead in the new Star Wars: Rogue One movie that I have been dying to see since it was announced.  Ben Foster was just in the one of my favorite movies of the summer that no one saw unless they were Chinese, Warcraft.  Foster is great as the maniacal genius who thinks he can save the world by destroying it and Jones is good as the lead heroine helping Langdon solve the puzzle.

The story isn’t all that original since we have seen this twice before with Langdon using his knowledge of history and artifacts to solve riddles and save the world.  But I just love when writers use history in this way.  All of these movies as well as the last decent Nic Cage movie, National Treasure, just tickle me that they surround their stories with history and make it fun.  I wish there were more movies like this around.  I will say that there are is a twist in the film that deviates from the previous two films which is nice to see them liven things up plus I don’t know if its in the book this way but it was a nice change.  I won’t say what it is because I want you to see the film and not spoil it.  Not sure it is that much of a spoil but better to be safe than sorry.  I also am a fan of this story in that we get to see a little of Langdon’s personal history and meet the woman that he loved at one point in his life. The story actually is a little more complicated then I have talked about but I do not want to spoil anything in the movie.  None the less I’ll say that one of the two WHO teams may not be what it seems and the mystery company is stuck between helping and hurting the situation.  In this aspect, I believe the story to be a little more involved than in the previous two films and that is a good thing.  I think you will like these changes.  There is only one confusing element and that is the character of Ignacio who plays a seemingly important non-speaking role in the beginning but seems to all but disappear.  I think I remember why but when you watch the film see if it bothers you.

I am trying to think of what else to say that will convince you that you should add this to your theater going experience this year.  But I would think Tom Hanks doing Tom Hanks things as Professor Langdon in a wonderful county like Italy solving a mystery that involves digging into the history of Dante’s Inferno in order to save the world with a beautiful lady by his side should be enough to get you to the movie.  It was for me.

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hillarysamericaWhen it comes to political “documentaries” I treat each one with a grain of salt, especially when that movie is released during a Presidential election year.  Most of the time, or all of the time if the documentary is made by Michael Moore, these movies are more propaganda than documentary.  In Dinesh D’Souza’s Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party you find a movie that is more propaganda than documentary and not presented very well.  It is as much one sided to the right wing of the American political spectrum as Michael Moore preaches to the extreme left wing of the spectrum.  If D’Souza focused more on telling the story and less then theatrics then this could have been a better movie.

In this movie Dinesh D’Souza decides to focus on the history of the Democratic Party from when it was founded to its current state and tries, in his eyes, to set the history straight on what the Party used to stand for and why the narrative is different now.  D’Souza than tries to tie Hillary’s fascination, admiration, adoration of Saul Alinsky and how her love of his work will show if (I say if because when this movie was made I’m sure there was hope back then that she wouldn’t win although now it is obvious she will,) she becomes President of the United States.

This is the first D’Souza film I have seen so I do not know if this is normal style of documentary film making or if he this is new, but the way he shot this film was distracting and takes away from the story he is trying to show.  In this film he uses a combination of reenactment and real interview to tell the story of this film.  For me this is very distracting and also a poor choice in that any reenactment will almost never be completely accurate so even as I watching the film begin I was busy wondering how much of this was real and much was interpretation.  He starts the film showing the reenactment of him being sentenced to eight months in a halfway for being convicted of breaking Federal Campaign Finance Law while he maintains that it was prosecuted because of his documentary on President Obama.  This reenactment confused me in the beginning because it was made in such a way that you were watching it through a news organizations feed and it took me a while to realize that the judge was overacting as he was handing down the sentence.  D’Souza constantly uses this style of filming to show his conversations with the other criminals in the halfway house as well as all of the many reenactments of historical events that may or may not have happened the way it’s portrayed.  Obviously when you show reenactments you leave way to much to interpretation and that allows way too much for an opponent of these ideas to attack.  It’s a very poor way of trying to make an argument to convince people that what you may be saying is true if your presentation looks fake.  I will say that if the reenactments were produced better than that would be a plus but this had the look of a TV documentary.

If you were to look at the reviews of this movie by the professionals out there, shockingly (Sarcasm,) you will see that all of them were negative and from what I read they were commenting on the style of the film but its content.  Considering that most of Hollywood anything is religiously anti-Republican you should look at all of those reviews with a very suspect eye.  No one in Hollywood is going to give positive reviews that attacks the very things they believe. One of the reviews stated that this film was full of revisionist history.  Now I didn’t read the rest of the review but I am curious to know what this person thinks is revisionist because some of the things in the movie, especially the older historical events, are indeed fact.  Fact: Leading up to and after the American Civil War, the Southern Democrats were supporters of slavery.  Fact: Southern Democrats opposed the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments that were passed by Republicans after the Civil War.  Fact: The original movie Birth of a Nation, which is extremely racist and historical, was the first movie ever shown at the White House under President Wilson who was a Democrat.  Now some things D’Souza says are true like saying President Jackson was racist against the black slaves and native Indians I had not heard before so I am not sure that I believe it.  I have no idea if Hillary Clinton truly loves Saul Alinsky although many Progressives do so it is a believable hypotheses but he didn’t really provide any plausible proof.  That falls into the realm of Michael Moore which should never be allowed a film called a documentary.

Since I don’t recommend ever seeing a Michael Moore unless you want to watch some of the best propaganda this side of Leni Riefenstahl I won’t recommend you watch the movie for some of the same reasons.  This movie will not change the mind of anyone who is a Democrat let alone a Progressive.   If you want to know the history of the Democratic Party some of the things in the movie are worth watching.  If you are a fan of Michael Moore movies then you should watch this film so you can what a lot people think his films are like.

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elvisI had no idea what to expect when I started watching this film.  I had seen very little about it other than it popping up on my Amazon Prime membership account.  Since Benn and I decided to do political themed movies this month in honor of the disgrace that this Presidential election brings and the fact that I hate most modern political movies because they are so biased in the story that I can’t suspend disbelief long enough to judge a film, this movie seemed like a relatively harmless one to watch.  I was right in that it was relatively harmless and fairly entertaining in this concise film about the famous meeting between the two.

In December 1970 Elvis Presley, played by Michael Shannon (Man of Steel,) decided that his country needs him so he hand writes a letter to President Nixon, played by Kevin Spacey (Recount,) and flies out to Washington DC to hand deliver the note to the north gate.  Two of Nixon’s staff members, Egil Krogh, played by Colin Hanks (The House Bunny,) and Dwight Chapin, played by Evan Peters (X-Men: Apocalypse,) try to convince President Nixon to take advantage of the situation politically to garner votes.  At the end of their meeting the two take a picture that is the most sought after picture in the National Archives.

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A movie like this depends on the two men playing these iconic figures and I would say that both hit it out of the park.  The first thing I loved about this film is Kevin Spacey’s portrayal of Nixon.  He was hilariously funny as Nixon.  My impression of Nixon is one who is serious, no-nonsense, and somewhat of an asshole.  Spacey keeps the asshole and the no-nonsense, but his delivery is quick and it seems like he made the effort to give Nixon a humorous side.  It was fun to watch him do Nixon in body and voice which confirms to me that he is an amazing actor and, to a certain degree, under appreciated.

Michael Shannon’s performance surprised me because I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it turned out to be.  At first I had an issue that his voice wasn’t exactly as I expected it to be for Elvis but as the movie went on I warmed to the part.  What really amazed me was the depth that he gave Elvis considering the speed of the film.  He had two scenes that really gave us a small picture into Elvis’s personality.  The first one was when he was describing to his friend Jerry, played by Alex Pettyfer, (Magic Mike,) why Elvis needed him to stay with him. Elvis says, “See the difference between me and you Jerry is, see when you walk into a room, everybody sees Jerry, right?  When I walk into a room…everyone remembers their first kiss with one of my songs playing in the background, maybe they remember the time their girlfriend split up with them when she saw Blue Hawaii.  But they never see me.  They never see that boy from Memphis Tennessee.  He is buried Jerry, buried so deep, under gold jewelry and money, flash bulbs and makeup, screaming fans.  I don’t even know if I know who he is anymore.  But you do.  You know ‘em…the real Elvis.”  Shannon does an excellent job of delivering this wonderful line.  It was some emotion that I just wasn’t expecting in the film.  The second scene that I loved Shannon in was again when he showed emotion when he was practicing introducing himself to the President and he talked about how he had a twin that was still born and what his mother must have been going through during the delivery.  Amazing stuff.  It was also comforting to know that I am not the only one who tends to practice what he says before having a conversation.

I would also like to commend to other performers that I have already mentioned, Colin Hanks and Alex Pettyfer.  Hanks was fun in the scenes where he was trying to convince Nixon to see Elvis as well as his interaction between his character and Elvis when inside the White House.  There is a scene where Hanks as Krough is explaining the rules to Elvis and two of them are that on the table there is a Dr. Pepper and some M & M’s and he explains to Elvis not to touch them because they are the President’s drink and candy.  Within a few minutes after introduction Elvis has sat down next to the coffee table picked up the Dr. Pepper and asks for a bottle opener while eating a few M&M’s all while Krough is staring in disbelief.  The other character that was good to watch was Jerry played by Pettyfer.  He had a larger role and was probably the only real supporting role in the film.  His character had once worked for Elvis but left him, on good terms, to move to California to make it on his own away from Elvis with his girlfriend.  But Elvis, as the scene I pointed out above, still needed Jerry and it was hilarious but also touching how Jerry and Elvis interacted together.  Jerry was constantly getting Elvis out of trouble or getting him in to places he was denied.  The best example is when Jerry asks Krough and Chapin if Nixon has any daughters and Krough says he does.  The next scene is in the White House where Nixon gets a phone call from his daughter screaming to get a picture and an autograph from Elvis.  This was the funniest of many times they used this ploy to get Elvis into and out of different situations.  Besides this you can also see the turmoil that Jerry is going through because he wants to stay with Elvis but he knows he must move on and grow as a person.  It was a nice tiny subplot to the main story.

The screenwriters Joey and Hanala Sagal did a great job of writing a quick witted and funny movie.  The amazing thing is that they are able to make a 36-hour period in which the film takes place seem both quick but full in terms of story.  What was enjoyable to watch was the many different actions and reactions to various people that met Elvis in this day.  But possibly the best stuff was the interaction between Elvis and Nixon which is amazing considering that Elvis is introduced to Nixon with a full 45 minutes left in the movie.  But it was fast and entertaining and I had no clue it was that long when I was watching it for the first time.

This was a surprisingly entertaining film and if you want to watch good actors working a good script excellently then watch this film.  I will say that when I watch any political film I am always worried that the left wing biased Hollywood will show itself.  However, I can say that this was not the case.  Even though Nixon was written and was acted as if he was a buffoon it was not at all rude or obvious.  I didn’t see any left wing nonsense in this film.  So if you want to know a possible history of the famous picture then enjoy this film.

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suicidesquadI should really be complaining about the plan that DC/Warner Bros has had for the DC Universe movies so far. I am a fan of this movie but the producers and marketing people committed the same sins in this film that they did in Batman v Superman.  For some reason the folks over at DC/Warner Bros are in a big hurry to try and catch up on Marvel in the comic book super hero movie chase.  I don’t get that because DC has better heroes, better stories and all they need to do is just take their time and they will be rolling in the dough.  Hopefully they will realize this because they can’t keep building up expectations and then fail to deliver on those expectations.

After the death of Superman, government officials are scrambling to try and decide how to protect themselves from their next meta-human attack.  ARGUS official Amanda Waller, played by Viola Davis (Prisoners,) creates a team of super villains called Task Force X specifically designed to be sent in to fight other Meta- humans or super natural forces.   The team consists of world’s best assassin Deadshot, played by Will Smith (Concussion,) the Joker’s Psychotic girlfriend Harley Quinn, played by Margot Robbie (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,) a master thief Captain Boomerang, played by Jai Courtney (Terminator Genisys,) Killer Croc, a henchman with a physical deformity, played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Concussion,) a former gang banger with powerful ability to manipulate fire named El Diablo, played by Jay Hernandez (World Trade Center,) and archeologist June Moon who is possessed by a 3000 year old witch named Enchantress, played by Cara Delevingne (Pan.)  Waller has the entire group led by a Special Forces soldier named Col. Rick Flag, played by Joel Kinnaman (Safe House.)  Since he is a normal human he is guarded by a female Japanese swordsman named Katana, played by Karen Fukuhara in her debut role.  The group is sabotage before they get going because Enchantress temporarily escapes and releases her brother Incubus, played by Alain Chanoine (Immortals,) from his prison and begins to wreak havoc in Central City.  When Flag and Enchantress are sent to solve the problem, Enchantress escapes and uses her brothers’ power to build a machine to destroy the military’s of the world and put the people of it under their power.   Waller sends in the rest of Task Force X to save some important people in the city and destroy Enchantress.  If things weren’t bad enough, The Joker, played by Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club,) is running around screwing with Waller’s team trying to get his girlfriend back.

So here is the problem with not only this film, which I enjoyed, but Batman v Superman, which I loved, both movies have some amazing scenes that are spoiled by being shown in the multiple prerelease trailers that come out before the movies and the stories aren’t as strong as the action in the movies.  So I am left wanting more because the stories aren’t as good as the action.  Not so much for Batman v Superman, but definitely this film.  I think that the producers are in such a hurry to catch up to the Marvel Cinematic movies and its giant money making machine, that they are forgetting how Marvel got to where they are now.  Before there was The Avengers we had two Iron Man movies and one each for Captain America, Thor, and Incredible Hulk.  Now to be fair to DC, Iron Man 2 and Batman v Superman are the basically the same movie in that they both introduced many characters with a goal of opening up each universe.    But Marvel gave us four movies that introduced us to the films so when The Avengers happened we knew who they were so the movie didn’t have to waste time on delving into who they were and how they came to be.    Now if DC was smart, after Man of Steel, they did a solo Batman movie where he was dealing with Deadshot while focusing on The Joker and Harley Quinn.  That would have given us back ground on both.  Also we should have had a second Superman movie dealing with Lex Luthor and Doomsday.  Heck we could even have a Flash movie with Captain Boomerang as his bad guy.  So that way we could go into Suicide Squad and Justice League without the back story.  But that is not what happened.  Instead we get movies that are hurried with the story so we can get the DC universe started.  However I think that we are probably good now because we have been introduced to Batman and Superman, we will get a Wonder Woman movie before Justice League, and Suicide Squad should lead to a sequel as well as a Harley Quinn spin off.  It’s just a rough way to start a movie universe that I have been dying to have since I have always been a DC guy.

Suicide Squad’s focus was really on two of its characters, Deadshot, and Harley Quinn but for different reasons.  Deadshot was a focus because of Will Smith played him and he is a mega star.  Harley Quinn was the other because Harley Quinn has become a fan favorite and needed to be.   I thought Deadshot was developed nicely and Will Smith was Will Smith, which is usually a good thing and it was in this movie.  Margot Robbie, who played Harley, has been in several kick ass roles so far and she has been great in the two that I have seen, including this one.  I thought she did a great job of living up to the expectations of her character.  She was the required amount of smart, funny, sexual, and badass crazy.  If someone disagrees they are not aware of her character.

 

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One character that I am not totally sold on is Jared Leto’s version of The Joker.   This is by far the most disturbed of the Joker’s we have been given in the Batman movie world.    I feel that his character was thrown into this movie very much in the same way that Wonder Woman was thrown in to Batman v Superman.  However unlike Wonder Woman who stole the show, The Joker didn’t really sell it for me mostly because of the damn trailer issue again.  So I am willing to give him a pass for that reason.  Plus, lets face it, following one of the greatest acting performances we have been given i.e. Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight, is a hard thing to do.  Leto did a good enough job to have me wanting to see more and if he didn’t I would be protesting loudly.

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Speaking of the Dark Knight, and I mean this world’s Dark Knight, I love me some Ben Affleck as Batman.  Even though it was three cameos’, two in the movie and one during the credits, it was fun to see him, ever so briefly.  Sure I am in major fan boy action right now but I am just so surprised at how awesome he is at being Batman.  There was also a brief cameo of the Flash capturing Captain Boomerang and I have to admit between that and the Justice League trailer I am looking forward to his movie as well.  Another character I liked in this film, and possibly the biggest badass of them all, was Amanda Waller.  She is a scary kind of evil in a good person body.  I hope we get to see more of her in future films.

One thing I do like about all of the DC movies so far is that they have no problems killing people off in them.  We know that Superman kills General Zod in the first movie, then Superman dies in Batman v Superman (yeah I know he is coming back,) and Suicide Squad kept it up by killing Incubus and having a hero sacrifice himself while doing it (I won’t say which one in case you haven’t seen it.)  We even had a sacrificial death of one member of the Suicide Squad to show that there are consequences for trying to escape.  I like this aspect of the DC Universe compared to Marvel.  Other than the death of a few bad guys, mostly at the hands of Iron Man, we haven’t lost a single hero in 12 Marvel movies, including the one where we were expecting a death, Captain America: Civil War.  I like how in the DC universe we may lose a hero we like.

Lastly I will say two things.  One, if you liked the previous two DC movies then I believe you will like this one as well, It is a fairly good movie.  The second thing I will say is that many people, ie asshole critics, have mentioned that these movies are darker than Marvel.  I know there are high hopes for the Wonder Woman movie to lighten it up but I will remind you of a few things.  Wonder Woman takes place during World War I, the bloodiest war of all time until World War II.  The other and more important thing is that Wonder Woman is working with the good guys and she still ends up leaving all of mankind because she considers us hopeless, again while working for the good guys (ok huge assumptions here but this is my guess.)  That movie won’t have a happy ending so the darkness of the DC Universe won’t change anytime soon.

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ghostbustersI was one of those people who not only had no desire to see this movie but was actually pissed that they would even think about remaking one of the classic movies of my childhood. I freely admit that I wasn’t wild about an all-female cast because I believed that it was just another attempt by Hollywood to force some social justice bullsh*t down my throat and maybe that’s my bad.  I just didn’t see any other reason to remake a Ghostbusters film.  I will also say that even if it was four dudes in this movie I would have the same feelings about it but I would just be disgusted for different reasons.  Well I saw this movie just because I wanted to give it a shot because I have been wrong before about movies.  After watching it I will say that this movie did still very much suck but it was not as horrible as I thought it would be and it didn’t come across as the social justice piece I was worried about.

Dr. Erin Gilbert, played by Kristen Wiig (Zoolander 2,) is a college professor getting ready to apply for tenure when her old friend and fellow professor Dr. Abby Yates, played by Melissa McCarthy (The Boss,) publishes the book they wrote together about ghosts and the paranormal which is read by the owner of an old museum house that is haunted by a ghost.  Erin is forced to hunt down Abby to ask her to take it off Amazon and Abby agrees if Erin agrees to take Abby and her co-worker and engineer Jillian Holtzmann, played by Kate McKinnon (TV Saturday Night Live,) to the owner of the museum so they can hunt for the ghost.  Once inside the three women come across the ghost and record it.  Abby puts it out on the web which cause Erin to lose her job but none the less the three women get together to form a company to study and capture ghosts.  The girls add a fourth to their team when Patty Tolan, played by Leslie Jones (TV Saturday Night Live,) asks for help about her ghost sighting in the subway.  During their hunting they discover that someone is opening up portals between this world and the ghost plane in attempt to have the ghosts take over New York.

I can say that even though they were not helped by what can only be called an unfunny script, at least to me anyway, more on that later, both Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy did an admirable job at trying to bring laughs to the film.  This is the third film I have seen this year, that has McCarthy in it, fourth overall, and I have to say that I am starting to warm to her and her comedy.  My biggest issue has been that the comedy written for her seems to make fun of her size and that always bothered me.  One of my favorite comedic actors was John Candy and his classic movies never really used his weight as the constant running joke.  But this movie she was just a weird smart girl that almost ignored her size which pleased me.  In fact I love that she seems to play smart ladies in her film.  She was a plus for this film.  Another plus in the film was Wiig.  She played the straight man…er…woman in the film to McCarthy and I thought she was perfect for it.  One of the few, and I mean very few, things in the film that caused me to laugh was how Wiig played Gilbert in regards to their male secretary Kevin, played by Chris Hemsworth (Avengers: Age of Ultron.)  Gilbert is smitten with the rugged good looks of Kevin and does so many entertaining things around him that I thought that was very entertaining.  These two ladies were really the only reason why this movie wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be and kept me from walking out of the theater.

I am going to start off with the things I don’t like about this film by talking about the unfunniest character in the film and that was Jillian Holtzmann played by McKinnon. My issue was that McKinnon played this character so over the top that it was borderline ridiculous and definitely not funny. She was so over the top with this character it reminded me of Jim Carrey’s performance as The Riddler in Batman Forever.  The problem is that unlike The Riddler character, which is a comic book character in a movie that made him over the top, Holtzmann is supposed to be a brilliant engineer and I don’t see how a brilliant engineer would act anywhere close to what McKinnon was doing as this character.  I know quite a couple of brilliant female engineers and at no point does their personality resemble anything close to Holtzmann.    Every scene she was in was similar to the ones shown in the trailer that had her licking her guns (Who does that???) and wearing the wig and hat.  She was so annoying that I was actually pissed when I saw her on screen.  She just wasn’t funny and nothing she could do in this film could change my mind.

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She wasn’t the only character that I thought was unfunny although it was for a different reason.  I was not a fan of the character Patty played by Leslie Jones.  The reason why I didn’t like her character is that she was poorly written and I am not sure if she had any funny lines to deliver.  The character was the winner of the absolutely worst line in the film that is also seen on the trailer when she slaps Abby’s character and says the line, “The power of pain compels you.”  F*cking horrible.  It’s curious for me that the two characters I liked the least are both members of Saturday Night Live which is a TV show that I believe has been laugh free since the mid 1990’s.  I will also say that perhaps the worst written character was Kevin.  I get that he was male version of the dumb blonde but one scene is enough to show how dumb he was but instead we were given all the scenes he was in so as per the rest of the parts of the film that were supposed to be funny,  it wasn’t.

As you can guess above I thought this movie was humorless from beginning to end.  The one thing that bothers me is that I was in a movie theater that had about 50 people in it and 5 of us were dudes.  With the exception of the one dude who was two rows in front of me with his girlfriend, I didn’t hear any of the other guys laughing and we were all close enough to hear each other.  What I did hear was almost the entire female audience laugh their tiny to large asses off at most of the film.   In fact they seemed to laugh the hardest when Holtzmann was on screen and I was shocked by that because as I stated above that character just pissed me off.  So I guess my question is do I find humor in things that most women don’t or vice versa?  Since most of the guys in the audience was not laughing like me were the jokes written for women in mind and if that’s the case why would you alienate the crowd who would come to see this out of nostalgia for the original?  I am confused by these questions.

The final disgrace in this bad movie is that the final act was so very anti climatic that I sat through the last 20 plus minutes thinking to myself WTF.   In the final act we have the bad guy’s ghost open up the portal which unleashes the hordes of ghosts on NY.  (Side note: This film required a living being to be the bad guy in the film, a bullied guy named Rowan, played by Neil Casey (TV Saturday Night Live,) seeking revenge, and not just the mystical forces creating all of the issues.  I like the creativity of this story line but the delivery wasn’t so hot.) So we have the ladies running around using their guns as actually guns that destroy the ghosts as opposed to machines that help capture them.  The final act was filled with the girls taking on the ghosts in a one on one combat using guns or other things and I didn’t like it.  Of course the worst part of this final disgrace is when the ghost of Rowan becomes a huge Stay Puft Marshmallow man wannabe but instead of the Marshmallow Man it is a large supposed to be scary version of the Ghost on the Ghostbusters symbol.    Way to take an Iconic scene from the original Ghostbusters and possible one of the most iconic of all time and turn it to complete garbage.  But that is the story of this entire film.

I will lastly say that it was nice to see cameo appearances by thee of the four original Ghostbusters in the film.  Bill Murry, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson all had small parts of the film.  Harold Ramis passed away before filming began which in itself is sad that he is gone.  But at least he didn’t have to witness this film.  There were also brief cameos from Sigourney Weaver and Annie Pots which was nice as well.  However, when you mention that the second best thing in a film is the cameo appearances of famous actors, which should tell you how truly bad the film is.  Ghostbusters isn’t the worst film I have seen in 2016 but it is in the bottom 5.

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