Tag Archives: Viola Davis

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

4 Comments

Filed under Reviews

Ender’s Game

Considering the book Ender’s Game was written in 1985, author Orson Scott Card’s work predicted the internet, blogging, trolls and and other such ‘futuristic’ terms. The book is also considered essential reading for the military. Having never gotten round to reading the book I thought now would be a good time to catch the film whose book has inspired so many.

Set in the future, Earth just managed to survive an attack against aliens fifty years ago but fear of another attack loams. As children have the most adaptable minds they are trained from a young age to control the drones that will be used in battle against the aliens. One such kid Ender, whose trying to overcome the stigma of being a third child (now Earth has a two child policy) and is given a chance to enroll in Battle school. We watch Ender’s progress as he rises through the school and looks likely to become Earth’s gretaest chance to win the war.

Those who know nothing about the source material and expecting a typical summer blockbuster will hopefully be pleasently surprised by a film that gives thoughtful contemplation on the ethics on war. Is it ok to do whatever it takes to win despite the consequences or the effect on those having to take part?

As the hero Ender, Asa Butterfield is brilliant. He manages to handle a complicated character and make him engaging and likeable. He is constantly struggling with the two sides of himself represented by his brother Peter (the agressive, violent side) and sister Valentine (the compassionate, empathetic side). Butterfield manages to conveys the different sides to his personality while also displaying Ender’s strategic intellegance and the mental strain that the training for war puts on him.

Harrison Ford and Viola Davis provide strong support as the Commanders of the cadets, it’s interesting watching their characters discuss the morality of what they are doing, especially pushing such young kids so hard. They discuss whether the ends justifes the means school  when it comes to teaching the cadets, especially Ender. These adults are more mouthpieces to talk about the morality of war rather than as properer three dimensional characters buts in the hands of Ford and Davis they make us feel that there are a human, scared side to these people. In their eyes they are just doing what they can to ensure Earth survival after near devestation fifty years ago.

Unfortunatly the rest of the cadets don’t get much depth. Fellow students Ali (Suraj Parthasarathy) and Bean (Armais Knight) shine in their small roles but Haliee Stansfield is wasted as Petra and seems mostly there to be the token girl.

At times it was hard to distance what I knew about the author from the film, but it’s just shame that Orson Scott Card doesn’t extend his themes of peace and tolerance to his views on gay marriage. However the filmakers have tried to distance themselves from the author’s views so if you’re able to do the same then I recomend watching this film.

Rating 3.5/5-worth seeing this blockbuster with a brain

2 Comments

Filed under Reviews

Prisoners

Prisoners is an American thriller that tackles every parents worse nightmare and what horrors they are prepared to commit for the sake of their children.

After their daughters go missing during Thanksgiving, two families the Dovers (Hugh Jackman and Maria Bello) and the Birch (Terrance Howard and Viola Davis) are looking for answers. When Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) releases a suspect Alex (Paul Dano) due to lack of evidence, Keller Dover (Jackman) decides to take  the law into his own hands to find his missing daughter.

From the moment the girls goes missing the tension in Prisoners never lets up as we follow Detective Loki in his investigation and Keller as he conducts his own source of interrogation. The audience watches as Keller’s techniques to extract information from his prisoner escalates to the point that you’re not sure whose side you’re suppose to be on. The film doesn’t give you any easy answers instead posing a series of questions to its audience. If your child went missing what would you do to go them back? Would you resort to torture? Is Keller justified in what he’s doing? If Alex is guilty does that make Keller’s actions acceptable? Theres also the matter that Alex has the IQ of a ten-year old, so can he be held responsible for anything he may have done? It’s a tough watch, and although not particularly gory, there is some serious violence  and threat involved which makes for uncomfortable viewing.

The cast that has been assembled is incredible. However at times it feels like the female cast members are a bit wasted. Viola Davis at least gets a few meaty scenes to get her teeth into (and anyone who saw her stirling work in Doubt knows that she only needs one scene to grab everyone’s attention). Maria Bello fares less well, with her character mostly drugged out by grief for the majority of the movie.

The male cast fare better. Howard is great as the reluctant father pulled into Jackman’s schemes although his character does get sidelined as the film gets closer to the end. Dano is brilliant as main suspect Alex, able to turn from creepy, to vulnerable and childlike within the same scene. The standouts however are Gyllenhaal and Jackman. Both are men are desperate to find the girls using very different means. Jackman’s performance in particular is mesmerizing, both men deserve to be showered in awards come the Oscar season, whether Prisoners is too grim for the voting committee is another matter.

What makes Prisoners such a good  thriller is that is can raise these serious issues about morality and tell an engaging story at the same time. You are kept on edge the whole way through, hoping some kind of happy ending can be salvaged somehow among the darkness.

Rating- 4/5 -an uncompramising thriller about the horrors people do featuring fantastic performances from Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal.

6 Comments

Filed under Reviews