Tag Archives: Margot Robbie

Suicide Squad

Suicide squad

After Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released to terrible reviews but an impressive opening weekend, all eyes are on DC’s latest release Suicide Squad. But is this DC offering worthy to stand against the Marvel franchise?

At Belle Reve Penitentiary, intelligence operative Amander Waller (Viola Davis) leads a secret government operation to use the most dangerous supervillians and force them to help save the world for leaner sentences (and under threat of the bombs in the necks exploding). However with a team as deadly as Deadshot (Will Smith) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) not everything goes exactly to plan.

Ok so Suicide Squad is an improvement on the dull Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, and is not as bad as some reviews would suggest. However it is a long way from being a completely successful film.

The film starts off well, as we are introduced to the team and Waller’s plans. These are the strongest parts of the film as we are thrown into the world of the Suicide Squad. I liked seeing Deadshot and Harley Quinn’s backstories although maybe could of done without so much of the cute kid in Deadshot’s story. Providing humour and lightness with her maddness, Harley Quinn was the best character in the movie with an interesting backstory . However I wanted the film to go deeper into her character (such as why would a supposedly intelligent character fall for someone like the Joker? I know she went crazy but was there more to it?) instead of focusing on so many shots of Margot Robbie’s ass-as great as she looks. Viola Davis is also good as Waller,who might be more evil than those she has locked up, and Jared Leto brings his own unique (and brief) take on the Joker which makes you hope he appears in the solo Batman movie.

Out of the rest of the Suicide Squad only Jay Hernadez’s Diablo is vaguely interesting. The others are just there to fill up the numbers. Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) just doesn’t work as the main anagonist. As for one of the film’s few “good guys”, soldier Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) has an uncompelling backstory and no chemistry with his on-screen romantic partner.

The film’s main problem is the tone, which is all over the place. Then there’s the script which is a bit too cheesy in the dialogue at times. The characters’ motivations aren’t always convincing either and they come together as a team a bit too easily for me. One character refers to the other in the squad as family which seems a bit far fetched (even in a film with witchcraft and the like). Acquaintances maybe, even friends at a push, but family? The film hasn’t done enough for the audience to feel that connection between the characters. Also for bad guys we also don’t see them do that many bad things, maybe they have been toned down a bit too much?

Rating 3/5 – lower your expectations and you may kind of enjoy this messy but interesting DC addition

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Focus

Audiences like a good film about con artists and grifters. Add to the mix charismatic Will Smith and rising star Margot Robbie and surely you have box office gold. But will it be the audience that suffers the ultimate con?

Nicky (Will Smith) is a seasoned con artist. After meeting Jess, a young inexperienced but talented grifter he is persuaded to show her the ropes. Eventually she joins his team and romance blossoms between them. But can love between con artists really work out?

There’s a lot going for this movie. With likeable leads and the directors of Crazy Stupid Love the scene should be set for a fun comedy-drama-crime film. Unfortunately the film falls just short of its aims. It’s not as clever as it thinks it is and while some of the cons are good there’s not a spectacular one that leaves you gasping at the ingenious twist.

It starts off well with the two leads meeting and falling for each other. Smith and Robbie have good chemistry and Robbie is particularly beguiling as Jess. Nicky showing Jess the game of the con is good and you can believe that they would be good as grifters. The action in New Orleans is fun and there are some tense moments when it appears the game could be up at any moment.

However as the movie fast-forward three years later in Buenos Aires and the movie starts to lose its charm. It is too bogged down with trying to come up with clever twists and turns that it just becomes and a bit implausible and uninteresting. Nicky and Jess relationship also starts to grate as the couple goes through the predictable will/ they won’t they scenario, as well as adding who’s conning who dilemmas.

Despite these issues, the movie is agreeable enough to pass the time. As long as you don’t expect too much from the movie you may just find yourself falling into the film’s trap and be enticed.

Rating 3/5 – likeable leads and gorgeous locations but the plot lets the side down

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The Wolf of Wall Street

Comedy is not normally something I would associate with Martin Scorsese or with Leonardo DiCaprio. Yet thats exactly what they set to bring us in this black comedy based on the memoir of Jordan Belfort.

Taking a job as a stockbroker in 1987 Jordan Belfort (Leonardo Dicaprio) takes his first step in the immoral world of Wall Street and begins conning many people out of their money as he gets filth rich off their money and indulging in a world of cocaine, prostitutes and excess. However the party can’t last forever and soon Belfort’s dodgy dealings start catching up with him.

The Wolf of Wall Street does not open quietly, with Belfort indulging in dwarf tossing, receiving oral sex in a car and taking drugs out of a prostitute’s bum. Subtle it is not, and thank god for that. Scorsese pulls you into Belfort’s world of excess and you can’t help but be swept away by it all, no matter how obscene it all gets. For most of its running time the film is a brillant, almost slapstick comedy with DiCaprio’s Belfort at the dispicable centre of the action.

I was surprised at how hilarious DiCaprio was. I know he’s a great actor but I didn’t know he how funny he was or what a great phsyical performer he is.  My favourite scene was when Belfort-incapacitated by drugs and lying on the ground of his country club tries to make his way to his car outside. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen on film in ages.

Although DiCaprio is the performance everyone will be talking about he is also surrounded by a great supporting cast. Standouts include Jonah Hill as a partner in Belfort’s firm Donnie Azoff (complete with comedy false teeth), and newcomer Margot Robbie also makes a memerable apperance as Belfort’s second wife Naomi and not just because of her now infamous full frontal scene. There is also a great cameo from Matthew McConaughey as Mark Hanna, Belfort’s former boss and mentor who is suitable bonkers with his chest pounding and advise to start taking drugs during the day, among other ‘interesting’ advise to relax.

Although the movie is at heart a black comedy the tone changes gear towards the last third of the film as the consquences of Belfort’s actions catch up with him, and his already messed up relationship with his wife falls spectacularly apart.

If theres any negatives to this film its that there is no one to root for in this film and there’s no moral to take from it (unless ‘if you’re rich you can get away with anything’ counts as a moral ) but Scorsese has dealt with many anti-heros before and by casting the naturally charismatic DiCaprio in the lead role you can’t help but get swept away by it all. His casting is vital to the movie as you need to believe that he could con so many people and be so blindly admired and followed by his collegaues.

Some viewers may feel that the film is glorfiying Belfort’s actions, especially as his victims do not get much of a voice in this film, although I find it hard to believe anyone would see this movie and want to emulate him. But maybe thats just me. Others may find that Belfort’s success after his conviction being a motivational speaker and writing his memoirs a bitter pill to swallow considering the lives he’s ruined. However in Scorese and Dicaprio’s hands you can’t help but be engaged in the story of Belfort, even if you are rooting for him to get his comeuppance too.

Rating 4.5/5 -Obscene, excessive and brilliant, Scorese and DiCaprio once again show why they are a team to be reckoned with.

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