Tag Archives: Viola Davis

Cinema Dispatch: Widows

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Widows and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Steve McQueen

Is it time for another cinematic confession?  Alright, so I’ve never actually seen a Steve McQueen movie all the way through.  I’ve seen bits and pieces of Shame and I haven’t seen 12 Years a Slave, but based on those films and what we’ve been shown of this one I get the feeling that I’m not gonna be the biggest fan of his work.  What can I say?  I’m not the biggest fan of overly oppressive mood pieces even if the subject matter justifies that tone, but unlike other kinds of movies of filmmakers that I’m not too fond of I’m rather open to what this guy has to say here because even if I don’t like what I see on screen at least I’m fairly confident that the director is trying to ENGAGE with their audience instead of completely alienating them (*cough* Eli Roth *cough*).  Will this film be the perfect introduction to the director’s body of work, or did he already reach his peak and nothing else will quite measure up to it?  Let’s find out!!

Veronica Rawlings (Viola Davis) is just having a TERRIBLE week!  Not only did her husband (Liam Neeson) die in a horrible fiery explosion, two million dollars went completely up in smoke which she is now being held responsible for since said two million was STOLEN by Liam Neeson and his crew of crooks (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Jon Bernthal, and Coburn Goss) from a local gangster who’s the slightest bit miffed about all this.  It’s made especially bad because said gangster Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry) is also running for local office against the golden boy Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell) and could have used all that ill-gotten gain to fund his campaign; presumably through shady 501(c) groups considering where the money came from.  Thanks, Citizens United!  Anyway, him and his brother Jatemme (Daniel Kaluuya) have given Veronica a week to pay him back which is PROBABLY not all that feasible, but as luck would have it her husband left her a notebook that had detailed plans for their next heist; one that could not only pay back Jamal but will give her a nice payday to keep her afloat while she figures out what to do next with her life.  She enlists the help of two of the widows, Linda and Alice (Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki) as well as Bell who is another person in need of some fast cash (Cynthia Erivo) to hopefully pull off this heist, though without any actual experience committing crimes, pulling guns, and breaking into places, their success seems dubious at best.  Will Veronica and her slapdash crew of desperate widows manage to pull off such a dangerous heist?  What exactly happened the night their husbands died, and could it have had anything to do with this plan that was left behind?  Is it just me, or could this easily be an Amanda Waller prequel?

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“If I can get these women to pull off this heist, imagine what I can do with super villains!”     “I don’t know, that STILL seems like a bad idea.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Fences

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Fences and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Denzel Washington

So what we have is one of the most respected black actors making a film based off of a multiple award winning stage play in a year where the Academy is looking for ANY film to try and make up for OSCAR SO WHITE.  Well, since Birth of a Nation turned out to be underwhelming and Moonlight being under the radar for most, chances are that Denzel’s big film of the year is gonna be a HUGE winner come the end of February.  Still, being ripe Oscar bait doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a GOOD movie (*cough* The King’s Speech *cough*), and there are plenty of films that won awards that no one cared about even a year later (*cough* Chariots of Fire *cough*).  Is this one of those that exists solely to maximize Oscar wins, or is there more beneath the surface what with the immense talent in front of and behind the camera?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about the Maxson family; primarily the patriarch breadwinner Troy (Denzel Washington), his loving yet firms wife Rose (Viola Davis), and their son Cory (Jovan Adepo). The family lives a comfortable if somewhat tiring life in the Pittsburg suburbs where Troy spends five days a week hauling garbage and the other two days complaining that he never got his shot to play baseball professionally.  Naturally, he’s the kind of guy who makes sure that EVERYONE knows what he could have been if he wasn’t such a gosh darn loving and responsible father, and this attitude starts to get him into more and more trouble as the play goes along; including when his son is given a shot to go to college on a football scholarship that he isn’t too keen on letting him accept.  Will this man’s bitterness and resentment towards the world lead to his family (including his son from another family Lyons played by Russell Horsnby and his brother Gabriel who suffered brain damage during the war played by Mykelti Willamson) to finally turn their back on him no matter how many meals his paycheck gives them?  What else is he getting up to that neither he nor his best friend Jim Bono (Stehen McKinley Henderson) aren’t too keen on talking about?  Just how much screen time is too much for Denzel!?

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Trick question.  You can NEVER have too much screen time with him!

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Cinema Dispatch: Suicide Squad

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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!?

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“Deadshot!  Secure the perimeter!  Harley!  Keep an eye on the door!  Boomerang!”     “WHAT IS IT BOSS!?  I’M READY FOR ANYTHING!!”     “Go get me a coffee.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad)

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!!

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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.

“A LOT of bad shit went down when you dragged that alien through Metroplis, right?”     “…”     “I mean, I’m SURE you did the best you could, but there was quite a bit of damage in the process, right?”     “…meh.”     “Okay, fuck this.  GUILTY!!”

“A LOT of bad shit went down when you dragged that alien through Metroplis, right?”     “…”     “I mean, I’m SURE you did the best you could, but there was quite a bit of damage in the process, right?”     “…meh.”     “Okay, fuck this.  GUILTY!!”

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