Category Archives: Reviews

More Thoughts On Suicide Squad

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Well, more of an elaboration of previous thoughts….

I have been to see Suicide Squad 3 times now, I love every aspect of this movie. But two things I cannot get over, Jared Leto’s voice as the Joker changes so often in the few scenes he’s involved in. I compare it to originally someone who has a mouth guard on, they just can’t talk with a fluidity that makes it any less bothersome. He chatters his teeth, what’s left of them anyway. You can hear him breathing through his mouth, he does this growling thing. And then he stares off into space, as if he’s Jack Sparrow or something. I can live with the tattoo’s, as a matter of fact after seeing it enough that doesn’t get to me like it did before.

Are you supposed to like the Joker? No, I am completely aware of this. I have read many books where I hated him, but there’s always something I come away with fascinated by. Or drawn into a choice he makes in the books, or something he says that’s memorable. I haven’t gotten that with this version, the more I see him the more he makes me cringe. I think one of the best choices he made, was the clothing designs. A really beautiful tribute to Mr J in that regard, but that’s all I can personally appreciate. I’m willing to see where they take him, I think it’ll be interesting. I talked with a friend today after seeing it again, and he agreed Joker served no purpose in this movie at all.

In fact he could have had no scenes, and I doubt he would have been missed out on much. Jared Leto is an exceptional talent, this is not a shot against him personally. I want to make that perfectly clear for anyone who may get the wrong idea. I just don’t get this Joker, he’s so far beyond anything I can wrap my head around. I can appreciate his compulsion to collect, I think that is sort of a piece of humanity that he does possess. I think how I would have done it, was Joker shows up. Takes Harley out of the picture entirely, and some of the Squad members have to separate and save her life. If you aren’t going to make Joker a plot point, don’t put him in the film at all.

That’s just what I would have done if I were writing it, it annoyed me to no end watching him chase Harley, its all he was apart of the film for. NOTHING ELSE!!!! It was kind of insulting to my intelligence to be honest.
Another thing I couldn’t let pass, the more I watched was this constant need for things to be given an explanation. Like for instance, how Katana’s Soultaker worked. God that really got to me!!! Do you really have to give that long drawn out of a case of why the audience should care? Other than that, I was pretty impressed with the structure of the film itself.

Those were just the two main points I had to go into, my rating didn’t really change based on that but it was certainly something I needed to say. I really thought doing this was gutsy, I think you were going to hit some bumps in the road with this one no matter what you did with it. Ayer was impressive, and I can’t see how anyone could hate this film overall. Will I grow to appreciate this Joker? Only time will tell…. 7/10

My next bit of stuff on this matter, will pertain to what I think they should do with these characters in the future. =)

Contributor- Chris Ballenger

Movie Review “Victor Frankenstein”

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I decided to watch Victor Frankenstein last night, I feel like it was pretty good for what it was. I didn’t get the sense that it really knew what it wanted to be, I almost felt like at times it was very ashamed of its own material. Sort of how Pan was earlier in the year from this one, in which they both strangely enough came out the same year. One of the things I did really enjoy, was the dichotomy between Ratcliffs Igor. Which in itself, to name him that was also very odd, because he didn’t come across as the character I was familiar with. But it was a new vision, so I can’t beat it over the head too much for that decision.

As I was previously getting at, I was truly fond of the chemistry between Radcliffe and Mcavoy. In which I sensed was one of the sole reasons I came out on the other end appreciating this project. They seemed to really jump off of one another well, as balanced each other with madness as well as indulgence. When you had Igor, who was extremely timid and all very complacent. Of where his place was in the world, and how he felt about himself as a new found man. Where this started to really fall off for me, was how shitty the CG worked, they really didn’t seem to care about that. I think it could have behoved them very much so, to potentially do some practical effects for these monsters.

I thought the creations were not as lively, as they could or even should have been. I almost felt as if they were trying to paint Victor as the monster, and maybe that was the point of it all? He’s was very much antagonistic in that way, and just overall pretty insufferable to be around truthfully. Mcavoy is just a likable guy, so it was a good choice to have that in their back pocket. I did think they wanted this to be different, and there were many times where I did enjoy that aspect. One of my favorite additions to this, was Andrew Scott as the Inspector. I wanted to find out more about his character every time I saw him, far more fleshed out than anyone else in the writers room that’s for sure. I really wanted him to win, I felt like he was the hero of the story.

And I get a sneaking suspicion that’s not what they were going for, and that was another disappointing thing. I didn’t quite get the friendship, because well it felt forced from the start. It almost felt too convenient for these two to meet in the beginning, especially where they ended up with one another ultimately. And some of the backstory of Victor, wasn’t very well explained either which bothered me to an extent. Great moments, but not enough for me to really recommend this for a hardcore cinephile. But if you really enjoy a good popcorn flick, which is all this really was at the end of the day. Then you might find yourself on a rainy night getting this for a rental. 5/10 Very poor in a lot ways, but it certainly had its hits.

Contributor- Chris Ballenger

King Arthur (Film Review)

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My very first official viewing of this was back in 2006, I’m not really certain at what point in the year it was. It really didn’t intrigue me enough to give it a go when I first saw the trailer. But my bleeding heart just had to give it an opportunity at some point, in which the cut I saw was pretty awful. I suppose there was redeeming qualities, at the very least a few? I thought the concept of it all was pretty well thought out, and there was definitely more to be said. I always enjoy getting to see something different, but when it doesn’t pan out like I anticipate. It makes me less inclined to give ambitious projects a shot. Which brings me to the full cut, the entire cake if you will. =)

These characters were fully realized, you got the sense that this was about more than just a struggle to survive an imperial rein. This had all the best features of a movie like Brave Heart, the polarizing leader who’s intent is to bring his followers and their family’s out of obscurity. A true presence, Clive Owen probably shines more in this role. Than anything I have seen from him previously to now. Nothing seemed unique, in comparison to say his part in Sin City. Everything else he tried to do, seemed almost half ass if you will? He exuded a Mel Gibson type portrayal which is impossible to do mind you. Given that Brave Heart was such a God send, and so beautifully shot frame to frame. Was this movie perfect? No, it didn’t really bring much else other than that to it. Even the directors cut seemed a tad bit lacky in certain terms.

My favorite role out of this entire movie, was Triston played by the incomparable Mads Mickleson!! If it weren’t for him, I may have turned this off at the climax. I guess I am trying to say I hung in for him? HAHA!! One of the things that got to me the most about this, was the insatiable need for them to pin these men against each other. I completely agree for the fact that these times were troubling, but there was little to no need for the bickering in the ranks. Some of them seemed almost like they were trying to find reasons not to follow Arthur. And I kept wondering why it was necessary at all to do such a thing. Sometimes the interactions seemed fake, and that what was so disappointing for me as a fan of these stories. Where was the loyalty for Arthur, it almost seemed to me that they were trying to tell a completely off base story. Just for the sake of being “Original” whatever that means in this case.

Arthur’s faith in God never wavered, he continued to do whatever he was asked simply because he believed it was the valiant thing to do. No matter how bogus a mission, no matter how unfair it might seem to an audience member. I suppose in that sense it was shown to be fitting. If fitting was pressuring a pair of tightly knit jeans to your buttocks. This movie had its shining moments in the sun, and then it completely faltered in so many other ways. I merely struggled to stay in the world, and that’s a problem when you are attempting to enjoy something in this manner. Would I recommend it, not if you are easily bored by often slow builds. Which often that’s what this has to offer, good qualities and bad all wrapped into one flick. The whole thing just wasn’t worth much, I wanted to like it for what it was but couldn’t. Maybe in a few decades, I can appreciate it as a guilty pleasure but not much more than that.

Contributor- Chris Ballenger

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (Review)

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Its an interesting thing you know, getting to view an era of war through a journalists eyes. And it turns out, its not typically what you’d think it would be. I really found myself understanding things better, it really wasn’t just for laughs it had its dramatizations as well. This had Tiny Fey’s dry sense of humor all over it, and her character went through a roller coaster ride. Being a reporter, she seemed very negligent at times. Of course in an environment like this, who do you really trust? Living in a world so chaotic, it almost becomes on the inner core a suspenseful peace of literature. I guess Fey wrote the script, that I am certainly not certain of but it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Her character develops throughout, into the true definition of what a journalist is supposed to be. She makes the War in Iraq very personal, and as she goes along finds out that things aren’t what they seem. Fighting to get the news where she believes that it ought to be, while the powers that be push back against her efforts. This is charming as hell, it has so many things to offer a movie fan. Where it kind of delves off of its course, is she all of a sudden is frightened and gets pushed off of her mission statement. Which I felt in the end was alright, but it would have made more sense for her to continue down that path I think.

Movies like this sometimes lose what they set out to accomplish, is this a documentation film? About the anguish of War torn countries, and what it does to the people involved, is this a love story buried deep within trying to be romantic? It just kind of makes me wonder what they were trying to do here, I am all for mix and matching. Don’t get me wrong, I get wish they’d picked a main objective. And kinda stuck with that, and maybe I would have rated it higher? Fey and her supporting cast are sensational to this however, without them it more than likely would have fallen flat completely. I enjoyed certain things, but others a lot of it was left to be desired.

6/10

Contributor- Chris Ballenger

10 Cloverfield Lane (Review)

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I remember the first time I watched Cloverfield, it was at an older movie theater in a Town I wasn’t familiar with. We stayed in a very seedy motel as a family, we really didn’t go on Road trips all that often to be perfectly honest. But this one was special, because I got to solidify my adoration for JJ Abrams for the rest of time. You might say, whats so special about this movie? Well, I am glad you asked and I will be happy to let you in on it. At that time, I hadn’t really been thrilled with movies in general. It was at a time period, where I was completely stagnant creatively. I guess you could say, Cloverfield was what got me back into writing again.

It sounds simple, but it really was a very crucial period. Sort of one of those things you never look back on. Because it kept you in a place where you felt strongly about something. JJ Abrams has done that for me on many levels as a creator. So, going into this sequel or whatever the hell it was supposed to be. I was madly in love with the notion, of a completely separate story outside of that particular universe. Which is what it was I guess? I loved this movie, from start to finish no doubt about it!! The words I am speaking to you, probably doesn’t even’t do it justice. I think where it had its biggest strength, was those little snippets of doubt. Wondering deep down inside yourself, is this all just a dream? Is she going to wake up, back in her bed with her significant other?

To me if that’s how it would have went, I would have probably thrown whatever I had near me at the screen. I was so beyond thrilled they just went with it!! They could have said, “Oh, you just don’t understand this its all leading to something bigger”. But bigger wasn’t really BIGGER!!! It was so self contained, that the ending was completely out of left field!!! Tons of great chemistry from all of the cast, even though sometimes it was like “Can we just move this along, I don’t really need this filler”. But other than that, it was a classic tale of survival and suspense. And when I say that, I mean the KING HITCHCOCK level!!!! The grand daddy of them all type of suspense, it was just that great ladies and gents. I don’t even wanna go into it too deeply. For fear of spoiling anything for you, I just won’t do that to you. 😉 First film of the year that gets a legit 10/10, GO SEE IT NOW!!!!

Contributor- Chris Ballenger

London Has Fallen (Review)

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I found this to be exactly what it was supposed to be, and I was never really bored from start to finish. Definitely steps on the gas as hard as it possibly can, and never really lets you go. Gerard Butler reprises his role as charming, and jack of all trades when it comes to killing people Mike Banning. Who has a very memorable stent with the President in the previous incarnation. He takes a flying leap, and chokes this movie into submission cobra clutch style. Extremely intimidating presence in the film, he holds nothing back about his ability to make you look like a fool. If you choose to step up to him in a battle, which almost makes him seem impenetrable

It is very much reminiscent of Dirty Harry, in the way that you love him the most. The performance has all the bravado and self preservation, to make it past its predecessors 10 and 20 fold. I feel like this could go on for years, and I would keep coming back for consumption. You might say, where did this falter? Did it have any sort of points where you found it less appealing? I mean it really depends on what you’re looking for. It certainly isn’t going to be for everyone, it has its times of complete lunacy. But I always thought its what made this franchise great!! I guess if I had to pick a downside to it, it would be all the other pieces. They just didn’t stack up to Banning, I suppose I would have preferred a challenge for him maybe?

You know, like an Antagonist to keep things fresh. You know these movies typically in the 80’s did stuff like that all the time, and they were not shy about making rivalry’s that intense work well. Sort of how Predator was to Dutch. If you did that, films like this would have staying power more often. I think that was the beauty of those movies, you had the clash of the titans but in the real world so to speak. Its why I soak up this stuff like I do, its why its so appealing to me as a fan of film!! That’s really the only downside though, other than that Olympus Has Fallen and this. Stands the test of time for sure, and I will without a doubt be here to watch another one in 3 or 4 years. =)

Contributor- Chris Ballenger

Independence Day Resurgence (Review)

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The only two characters I felt had authenticity chemistry wise, was Jeff Goldblums character David and his female counterpart. Which if I am correct never was introduced in the previous film. At least I didn’t remember her, maybe there was some filler in the story in between the two time periods. Other than that, there really wasn’t enough time to flesh out new blood. They focused in on trying to salvage what the original cast had to offer. And it became slightly repetitive and kind of draggy.

Where did this movie succeed with flying colors? The brand new species of intelligent life, and the twist between the intergalactic massacre that was waged prior to the original battle for Earth. We didn’t really know where they came from, and now they gave us some much needed backstory. Which was refreshing, and something I thought the previous film was kind of missing. The problem was, that they failed to break much new ground of what they were trying to accomplish. What I did enjoy the most, was the subplots of President Whitmore’s struggle to find answers.

This was probably the strongest point of the film, where they seemed to use Bill Pullman quite well. Where this movie failed so miserably was the human dichotomy. And that is where the first film was at its core the most compelling. It did have a solid mixture of fun and dramatic moments, The aliens looked about as good as they did in the first, the use of heavy CG didn’t bother me much. I am usually pretty overwhelmed with it in some movies these days, but this seemed to know where to use it at the right times. They most likely will do a sequel, the ending blatantly said “Oh hey, we’re basically planning a sequel”.

It had its hits, and its drastic misses!! But it felt like they understood what they were trying to accomplish. I will give this a 6/10 overall, might of been higher if the relationships didn’t fall flat in some key areas.

Contributor- Chris Ballenger