Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Cathy Yan
I was probably on the kinder end of things than most people when it came to Suicide Squad; the DCCU’s attempt to be fun and wacky that ended up having all the edge of a limited edition holo-foil issue of Spawn from 1994. In its own tacky cobbled together way it did manage to eek out a bit of charm, but what people mostly remember from the movie was the performances; namely one Harley Quinn played with gusto by the phenomenal Margot Robbie. Now that we’re more or less in DCCU 2.0, it makes sense for this character to be given another shot away from the baggage of the movie that came before; even from the studio itself as Robbie basically put this thing together with Warner Bros maintaining a mostly hands off approach. Is this the breakout hit that Warner Bros has been hoping for yet could never make themselves, or is this a desperate Hail Mary that misses by a mile? Let’s find out!!
Harleen Quinzel (Margot Robbie) has had a rough go of it lately. She grew up with scary nuns, she had a string of bad relationships, she did at least get her college degree and became a psychiatrist but even THAT didn’t work out when she met some dude in clown makeup, and on top of that she had to fight a an ancient demon witch person or else have a bomb explode in her neck! Fortunately she’s out of prison and she even dumped the clown dude so she’s ready to start her life anew! A new pet, roller derby, and COPIOUS amounts of alcohol to deal with the unresolved feelings that she’s left with now that she’s single and away from the clown that made her life miserable. BUT ENOUGH ABOUT DAVID AYER (Ba-dum-tiss!), with the Joker in her rearview mirror it has given her a lot more freedom but also the ire of ALL the people they screwed over in the past, and as the one on the short end of this breakup some of them are ready to take their vengeance! One such vengeance taker is Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) who’s a mid-range mob boss with a hot temper, enough toxic masculinity to smother ALL the adorable baby ducklings of the world, and an alter ego just one step below Taser Face; BLACK MASK! Complete with second rate Die Hardman cosplay! Him and his associate Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina) are not only after Harley but ALSO after a diamond that somehow ended up in the hands of a young street hustler named Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) and so perhaps there’s a way to kill two birds with one stone there, and on top of ALL that we also have a singer at Victor’s club named Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) who’s looking for a way out of the life, a mysterious crossbow killer (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who’s hunting down gangsters, Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) who’s stuck trying to untangle all these messy knots. Will Harley Quinn escape the payback that’s owed to her after working with the Joker for so long? Why is Roman so intent on getting this diamond, and who else may be gunning for it? Why DO they end up calling themselves the Birds of Prey anyway?
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
I really didn’t want to see this movie. In fact, if ANYTHING else had bothered to come out this weekend I would have seen that instead, but nope! Everyone had to make way for this film so I guess I have to try and be professional! I don’t know, with everything we’ve heard about Tarantino recently it’s just hard for me to get excited to see his movie’s again; let alone support a new one. Cancelled or not, I just personally feel very much deflated thinking about him and going to see his latest movie just felt like even more of a somber experience. Still, while acknowledging the very real and very important context of the artist behind the art, is there a good movie to be found here? I guess we might as well find out…
Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an actor struggling to find steady work in the hectic world of late sixties Hollywood after a rather unsuccessful string of movies following a decent television career playing the lead role on a western. His stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) has stuck with Rick all this time since he’s had trouble finding work elsewhere and seems to have accepted his lot in life even if he’s basically Rick’s assistant at this point. Fortunately for Rick, he’s got a decent gig lined up playing the bad guy in some TV pilot which will hopefully get him some attention (otherwise he’ll end up doing Spaghetti Westerns which I guess weren’t good things to be in at the time) and this also means that Cliff has the day to himself which he uses to pick up a hitchhiker (Margaret Qualley) who wants to introduce him to her buddy Charlie who’s got a bunch of followers out in the desert. Oh, and on top of that Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is Rick’s next door neighbor, and she’s doing stuff as well like… seeing movies and dancing around the house. Can Rick nail this latest role that may be his last chance to stay relevant? What will Cliff find at the compound the hitchhiker is taking him too, and will he be able to leave if things get out of hand? Is it just me, or is Tarantino trying a bit too hard here? Or perhaps not hard enough?
Peter Rabbit and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Will Gluck
Wait, didn’t we already get this movie like three years ago? Yeah, Russel Brand was the Easter Bunny or something, right? I didn’t imagine that? Ugh… anyway, it looks like after the SMASHING success of other CGI animal movies like Alvin and the Chipmunks and Woody Woodpecker, it’s time to drag this Beatrix Potter classic out of the closet and imbue it with all the stuff that out of touch executives think the KIDS OF TODAY will find totally dope! Okay, that’s a bit unfair considering I’ve never even read the original source material, and it’s not like updates to classic properties are ALWAYS a recipe for disaster as we saw with The Peanuts Movie. Maybe there’s a chance that this will turn out better than the trailers indicate? Yeah… I doubt it too, but let’s find out anyway!!
The movie follows the wacky adventures of our roguish hero Peter Rabbit (James Corden) who finds an endless deal of fulfillment in stealing other people’s stuff! In particular he just LOVES stealing vegetables from the garden Old Man McGregor (Sam Neill) and does it with such frequency that the man becomes obsessed with hunting down these rascally rabbits; by which I mean chopping their heads off, stripping the meat from their bones and baking them into a pie so that he can consume his most hated of enemies. CLEARLY this is a healthy relationship that Peter and his family of similarly roguish rabbits (Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Colin Moody) had developed with the guy, but it all becomes moot when the dude keels over and dies right as he’s about to snap Peter’s neck. In case you were wondering, yes; this is indeed a kid’s movie. So now that the old man is dead, the rabbits as well as the other woodland critters can finally take his garden for themselves, sleep in his bed, and poop on his dining room table, right? Well… kind of. At least for a little bit. See, what the animals don’t know is that there is another McGregor who’s the one that ACTUALLY gets the house and he’s coming by to fix the place up and sell it for tidy little profit. This new McGregor named Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) may not be as blood thirsty (at least at first), but is much faster and much cleverer than his great uncle was, and this means that Peter is gonna have to work TWICE as hard to get those vegetables and may have to go so far as to risk everything he holds dear in this battle of wills; one of which is McGregor’s neighbor Bea who is nice to the rabbits but also gets caught right in the middle of this feud between man and rabbit! Will Peter be able to claim what he CLEARLY feels is rightfully his? Will Thomas completely lose his mind trying to stop a few measly rabbits from somehow destroying his life? How did they manage to fit THIS much violence in a movie about talking rabbits that doesn’t have Bugs Bunny in it!?
I, Tonya and all the images you see in this review are owned by Neon
Directed by Craig Gillespie
We can’t have an Oscar Season without at least ONE off the wall biopic, right!? Sure, you’ve got the more straightforward historical dramas like The Post and Darkest Hour, but despite Scorsese striking out with The Wolf of Wall Street at The Oscars, it still made a huge impact and many have tried to recreate its success since then. Not only that, but the fact we’re starting to look back at the nineties in a historical context with at least two recent OJ Simpson projects getting a huge amount of critical praise, it’s no wonder that right after him we get to the other big crime story of that decade; the assault on Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding’s possible involvement with it. Does this reexamination of one of the biggest names in nineties pop culture end up being a phenomenal look at her life and the decade around it, or is this a cynical cash grab trying to get a jump start on Gen X and Millennial nostalgia? Let’s find out!!
Back in the early nineties, Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) was one of the most prominent names in Women’s Figure Skating; having come from a very poor background and taking a lot of her social upbringing into her performances. Despite Figure Skating being a sport that prizes tradition and perfection in its (none of that uncouth “rock and roll” music!), they could not ignore Harding who was a natural on the ice and the first American female figure skater to land a triple axel (a feat accomplished by Midori Ito and Mao Asada from Japan a few years earlier). Still, it wasn’t an easy road as she had to deal with her abusive mother LaVona Fay Golden (Allison Janney) and her just as abusive husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan); both of whom seemed hell bent on making her life miserable despite swearing they were only looking out for her best interests. Things get complicated though when Tonya’s anxiety and even paranoia start to get to her as the weight of her modest celebrity as well as the skills of other skaters made her quite distressed. From here, we start to get speculative about what happened, but the general idea is that one of Jeff’s friends Shawn Eckhardt (Paul Walter Hauser) has a friend of his attack one of Tonya’s rivals Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver) and the big mystery surrounding it is just how much did Tonya know about what was happening. Did she orchestrate the attack herself? Was she aware that it was going to happen but said nothing to stop it? The movie addresses these questions and more as this dramatized retelling of her story gives us not only a look at the facts as we know them of the case, but the media circus that built up around it and the… interesting characters that were involved. Oh, and there are a few skate numbers as well!
Suicide Squad and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by David Ayer
After Batman v Superman, I can’t imagine how everyone behind this movie wasn’t shaking in their boots now that the ENTIRE franchise is resting on their should to right the course and bring audiences back around before the Justice League and Wonder Woman movies have a chance to kick this cinematic universe into high gear. In fact, the heavily publicized reshoots of this movie were probably due almost entirely those expectations being thrust upon this after Batman v Superman fell flat on its face. Still, even when that movie was running its course, there was always the hope that this one would be the fun alternative to the somber and serious Snyder film and the marketing at least was leaning heavily on that idea to sell it to the masses. Does this succeed in distinguishing itself from the rest of the DCCU which includes a maybe a third of a good movie and a really awful one, or were DC and WB playing us all for fools by convincing us this one would be different? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the first undertaking of The Suicide Squad which is a group of SUPER criminals that the US government plans to use in order to fight meta-human or otherwise extremely dangerous threats. The project is being pushed forward by the tough as nails Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and is comprised of Deadshot (Will Smith) who is a perfect shot, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) who… I guess is good with a baseball bat, El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) who’s actually doing this under duress as he’s given up his fire spewing ways, Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnouye-Agabaje) who’s… half man half crocodile I think, Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) who is pretty good at throwing boomerangs, and of course Slipknot (Adam Beach) who doesn’t do shit. Along with the squad is Col Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) who’s basically serving as their babysitter and also has the power to blow their heads off if they step out of line (NOTHING at all like Battle Royale) and Katana (Karen Fukuhara) who I think is supposed to be a good guy at least compared to the other members (as far as I can tell, she’s NOT actually in jail and volunteered for the mission) and she’s got a magic sword. Not what I’d call the best team to send out when a city gets very nearly leveled by an evil witch called The Enchantress that is inhabiting the body of Dr June Moone (Cara Delvingne) who JUST SO HAPPENS to be Flagg’s girlfriend, but at least the government won’t have to pay for their funeral expenses when they surely get obliterated by dark and unimaginable forces. Can the Suicide Squad manage to infiltrate the city that’s crawling with monsters summoned by the witch and save a highly valuable target inside? What about the Joker? Isn’t he supposed to be in this too? Does the fate of the world REALLY need to rest on the shoulders of Captain Boomerang!?
The Legend of Tarzan and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by David Yates
I had no idea this movie was even coming out until maybe a month or two ago, and it seems like the studio wants it that way. They’ve been trying to get a live action Tarzan movie out since AT LEAST 2003 (probably to capitalize on the Disney film) and you can really tell that this shit was cobbled together from a production that’s been willed into existence by sheer stubbornness at the refusal to let a bad idea (or at least a good idea with no good way to bring it to life) just go away and to work on something else. Still, the Disney movie WAS pretty good and he’s a character that’s endured for over a hundred years now as he was a creation of Edgar Rice Burroughs; the king of badass genre stories. Do they manage to eke out an enjoyable action flick from this timeless source material, or will this suffer the same fate as the Conan remake and John Carter which were the last two Burroughs adaptations? Let’s find out!!
A quick refresher on the story of Tarzan that we all know (as told by Phil Collins). AHEM! A paradise untouched by man; a simple life, the apes lived in peace. But dangers are in fact no stranger here! The son of man known as Tarzan is taken in by the apes after his parents are killed, but in this version it’s actually the apes that killed his dad… so I guess that makes things a bit awkward here. Despite that; the power to be strong, the wisdom to be wise, all these things came to him in time during his journey from boy to man! But in time he ALSO wanted to know about these strangers like him. One stranger in particular was Jane Porter whose every gesture and every move she made in turn made Tarzan feel like never before, and soon he had this growing need to be beside her. Now if you only know the story from the Disney Movie (pretty much anyone born after 1990 and are HOPEFULLY getting all these clever jokes I’m making), you all know that his story ends with Jane staying with him in the jungle. Not true here (and in pretty much every other version of the story from my understanding) as he goes to some other world far beyond that place; namely England. Thankfully this brings me to the ACTUAL movie I’m talking about (also meaning I can stop quoting Phil Collins lyrics) which involves a domesticated Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) who’s being asked by the British government to go to back to his home (The Congo) for… some reason. Actually, I’m not sure why Jim Broadbent (playing A British PersonTM) wants him there so badly, but I do get why Samuel L Jackson wants him there who’s playing George Washington Williams; an ambassador for the US who wants to see if the rumors about the Belgians enslaving people in their colony is actually true so he can report it back to his government. Tarzan (also known as John Clayton) begrudgingly accepts the assignment and also begrudgingly accepts that Jane (Margot Robbie) is gonna go along with him. Waiting for him in The Congo though is Christoph Waltz playing Captain Léon Rom who is assigned by the King of Belgium to get some damn diamonds out of that colony by any means necessary, and Tarzan is the key to getting them. How? Well there’s a tribe there whose leader is SUPER pissed at Tarzan and has agreed to help Waltz get the diamonds if he will deliver Tarzan. Needless to say that Rom goes about this in the most dickish way possible which includes kidnapping Jane, and so Tarzan must go after them to save his wife and stop them from doing any more evil shit in his home country; all of this with the help of Samuel L Jackson of course. Can the two find out what Léon Rom is up to and save Jane before it’s too late? Just what is Christoph Waltz up to other than to pillage the country of all its natural resources? Wait, this movie is somehow less than two hours!? Well it certainly FEELS a lot longer, that’s for sure.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Well Our Brand is Crisis didn’t do much for everyone involved, but I’m SURE it will work better when you do it with Tina Fey! What, that’s not enough? Okay… let’s make it war film too!! Movies about the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan (especially comedies) are not easy endeavors for anyone to undertake, but we have gotten some good films along the way such as The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Messenger, and Brothers just to name a few. With this being somewhat of biopic of a journalist who spent several years in the country, it definitely has an interesting premise and a good excuse to get a strong message across as it’s from the point of view of someone whose job it is to find answers and tell the world about what’s really going on. Will this be a successful mix between a talented comedian and a topical subject, or is this a mash up that was not meant to be? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the story of Kim Baker (Tina Fey) who works for a news organization and volunteers to go to Afghanistan as a war correspondent as she’s found herself in a rut in her life. When she gets to Afghanistan (Kabul specifically) she meets a colorful cast of journos, photographers, and other personal that she will be sharing a home with for the next couple of years as she slowly grows to appreciate the country for what it has to offer and starts to grow accustom to the risks and dangers of being a reporter in this environment. Her newfound friends include a guide Fahim Ahmadza (Christopher Abbott), the only other female journalist (at least the only one we see) at the place that Kim is staying named Tanya Vanderpoel (Margot Robbie) and a Scottish photographer named Iain MacKelpie (Martin Freeman) who quickly grows attached to the new member of their little club. Along the way, she’ll have to deal with the US military, primarily through General Hollanek (Billy Bob Thornton), and with the a high ranking official in the Afghani government Ali Massoud Sadiq (Alfred Molina) in order to get the stories she needs to keep the war relevant to the news organization she works for and to keep her from being reassigned to another desk job. Will she be able to hack it as a journalist in this country that doesn’t look too kindly on Western intervention? Will she find what she’s looking for in the Middle East, or will she get sucked into this world and lose touch with what’s waiting for her back home? This isn’t going to be TOO offensive, right?
Not long ago, we got trailers for the upcoming DC Comics films, namely Superman v Batman and Suicide Squad. Needless to say that both of them have been HUGE presences in entertainment media since they’ve come out with everyone giving their two cents about the trailers and what their movies will ultimately be about, and not one to avoid jumping on the bandwagon, I’ve decided to use my little platform to give you my thoughts on them as well. Do they inspire confidence in DC’s unique direction to take their superhero films, or are they the further indication that they have no idea what the hell they’re doing over there other than desperately try to scramble together a cinematic universe after Marvel did it so effortlessly? Let’s find out!!
Batman v Superman
The trailer begins with what appears to be some sort of senate hear4ing where Superman is being brought before them to explain his actions in the previous film. We also get to see that Bruce Wayne was in Metropolis at the time of Zod’s attack and saw the destruction that these super humans can dish out. From there we get to see as things escalate between the two with Batman coming out of retirement (I think) to get ready to fight Superman, while Clark Kent is still trying to figure out what his purpose on this planet is (I think). If you’re wondering why I’m so uncertain about those things, it’s because the trailer does a pretty poor job conveying where in Batman’s history we are and giving us ANY reason to even give even the TINIEST of shits about Superman or understand him in any way.