Suicide Squad


Viewed – 09 August 2016  Cinema

In the lead up to this movie’s release and the surrounding hype, I began to see this as potentially DC’s answer to Marvel’s Guardian’s of the Galaxy – that being a refreshing, new spin on an increasingly tired comic-book movie genre, and various images, trailers and the casting was looking very promising.  But I’m getting a little head of myself.

suicide-squad

A government initiative headed my Viola Davis decides to bring together a group of imprisoned super-villains in hope of having someone to throw into the shit in case said shit goes down and they don’t want innocent lives put at risk.  These folks are expendable you see, killers, crazies and well, nobody’s going to miss them, right?  So step up former psychiatric therapist Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), assassin for hire Deadshot (Will Smith), deadly walking arsonist Diablo and talking man-shaped reptile Killer Croc, amongst others.  However after a powerful sorceress escapes and starts to wreck havoc on the city, Viola Davis has no choice but to put her plan into action.

JokerIt’s a cool idea and certainly fun seeing these recognisable (and not so recognisable) faces team up and fight for the good guys, and I thoroughly enjoyed their interactions and banter, with several funny lines.  And well, when these guys kick ass it’s a sight to behold.  It also helps there’s a killer soundtrack here too (Eminem, The White Stripes, The Rolling Stones to name but a few). Margot Robbie as I expected steals the show as the spunky, sexy and homicidal Harley and is clearly loving her character.  Also it was great to see Will Smith back in action and he doesn’t disappoint, even if for him he seems a little restrained by a bloated cast.  Also on hand is Jared Leto as Joker, who has presence and looks disturbing and is a joy to watch – despite not have much to do than continually try to kidnap Harley, a disappointment considering how pivotal the character has usually been.

However, the surrounding plot is flimsy at best and despite some interesting backstories and decent if somewhat repetitive action, the whole point and where the movie goes is weak.  I also came away thinking Viola Davis and her military cronies were a bunch of idiots with a scheme that seemed to fall to pieces from the off.  Also I was puzzled at some of the line delivery especially as most lines seemed pretty sharp whilst others were barely audible.  With a more involving plot and dropping of a couple of the less interesting characters (that Australian guy was pointless), more focus on Joker and less on a sorceress whose motives aren’t explained … this could have been amazing.  As it stands it was simply good fun.

Verdict:  3 /5

The Help


Viewed – 18 January 2014  Netflix

Set in Mississippi during the 1960s, this drama follows the story of Skeeter (Emma Stone) a young woman in a high society family who’s observations of the mistreatment of hired, African-American ‘help’ leads her to write a book detailing interviews by the various maids and giving a voice to their people.  Such an idea during a racially tense time in American history was controversial but as the movie progresses, Skeeter manages to persuade two maids to get involved.

THE HELP

Based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett and with a strong central performance by Stone, one of my favourites – this was a lengthy but absorbing tale.  The thought-provoking subject really drew me in, and Viola Davis as the narrating Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minnie are both excellent, as is a sneering, spiteful Bryce Dallas Howard. This is a movie about performances and getting one up on stuck up, narrow minded snobs – which made for quite a few feel good moments.

At times little details like one maid’s abuse by her husband is only hinted at and sometimes the dialogue and events were a touch vague, not helped by the thick southern dialects.  Yet the cinematography is very attractive with the setting filmed beautifully … wow those houses!  Acclaimed at time of release and having won several awards (most notably Octavia Spencer’s deserved Oscar) this was an enjoyable and educational experience that’s an easy recommendation.

Verdict:  4 /5