Saturday, August 6, 2016

Suicide Squad (2016)

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“Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you people?”
“We're bad guys, it's what we do.”

            I am currently interning at a museum that has a security guard on duty. The guy is awesome. He comes into work every day with his lunch box which happens to have all the Marvel superheroes on it. I started talking to him immediately when I first started over his lunch box. I quickly learned the guy is just totally obsessed with comic book superheroes. He has Batman and Ironman and all kinds of superheroes tattooed all over him. It is cool to have a conversation with this guy because he knows the comic books inside and out. He knows the characters are supposed to be dark and twisted not all light and fluffy like Disney has made The Avengers. We had a good discussion about Daredevil and Jessica Jones and Deadpool being dark and awesome like the comic books.
            I like the fact that Daredevil, Deadpool, Jessica Jones, and even Batman vs. Superman was dark because to me it seems more like real life. These superheroes are really just antiheroes. They are human beings with shitty dark lives and secrets. DC, to me, as far as movies, has always been a bit darker with their movies even down to their cartoons (I used to watch the cartoon Batman with my brother when we were little because the stories were so good. Have you ever seen Batman: Mask of the Phantasm? That movie is incredible). Ever since I saw the trailer for DC’s Suicide
Squad
where the bad guys were the main focus I beyond excited to see it especially after seeing Jared Leto looking freaky as fuck as the Joker and Margot Robbie batshit crazy as Harley Quinn. This finally looked like the dark and twisted comic book movie and DC movie I have been waiting forever to see. Good thing I kept my expectations for this low.
            The main premise of this story is this top secret government group run by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) wants to use bad guys they have put in a prison out in the swamps of Louisiana to defend a city against this entity called the Enchantress. Waller puts this soldier Rick Flag in charge of this bad guy group to not only keep them in line but also because Enchantress is his girlfriend. Well, not necessarily Enchantress herself but the woman June Moone (Cara Delevingne) whom she possesses. The group of criminals consists of Deadshot (Will Smith) who is a gun expert and crazy talented assassin, Killer Croc who is a hybrid of a croc and a human, Boomerang an Australian bank robber, Diablo who can manipulate and control fire from his body, and last but certainly not least the notorious Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) aka girlfriend of The Joker (Jared Leto).  
            There is a lot that goes on in this movie. There are so many side stories with the characters that is just more than I care to write out here and honestly a lot of the side stories are not that interesting. Also I do not want to spoil too much for you guys.
            I do, however, have to spoil a little bit and tell you guys that The Joker and Harley Quinn were barely together in this. I think everyone thought the pair would have a bigger role and more of a story in this than they did. I was disappointed with how little screen time they had together considering Jared Leto is the best Joker I have seen in a Batman/DC movie. He was fucking amazing. Margot Robbie was the perfect Harley Quinn. Leto and Robbie’s Joker and Harley were very close to the cartoon/comic versions that everyone who has grown up watching or reading Batman knows them. Robbie had all the crazy mannerisms and way of speaking like Harley from the cartoon she was so spot on. Robbie and Leto were the best parts of this movie hands down. I think Leto and Robbie are so fearless with their acting. Leto definitely is fearless when it comes to his acting because he just delves right into his roles. You never feel like you are watching Leto as an actor play his roles you are truly watching his characters. The same can be said for Robbie from what I have seen her in. I am praying to the movie gods so hard that one day Jared Leto as The Joker and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn get their own movie. I would be there at the first showing on midnight if there ever was one. And one other kind of small tiny spoiler, they had the best ending and it left off as if they could get their own movie eventually.
            The rest of the cast and their characters were alright. Rick Flag played Joel Kinnaman was annoying as fuck. I was so hoping one of the bad guys he was surrounded by would just shoot his ass. His whole storyline with Enchantress/June Moone was crap. Deadshot I felt could have been a really awesome character and he was just made to look like his was a criminal with a conscience which essentially he was. As for the other characters I am not really going to go into them too much because they really did not have too much else going for them. Diablo has a story but to me it was boring.
            One thing the movie had going for it besides Harley Quinn and The Joker was the soundtrack. From the first song to the last it was perfect. When Harley Quinn is introduced in her cage they played “You Don’t Own Me” and dear god was that complete perfection. It was a mix of Margot Robbie’s insane acting talent and the way the scene was filmed along with the song that just made the song and scene so fucking brilliant. Another scene that had a good song was one of the many fight scenes that had Eminem’s “Without Me” playing. The song is so old now but it was like crazy good in that scene.
            Suicide Squad was alright. My biggest pet peeve with the story is that everything felt so rushed because there was too much going on. There was the story with Flag and Enchantress, there was the story with Deadshot and his daughter, there was the story with The Joker and Harley Quinn, there was the story of Diablo and his family. It was all just too much, to me there was barely any focus. The only reasons I would say to go see Suicide Squad in theaters is because it is a dark comic book movie, Jared Leto is fucking awesome, Margot Robbie is fucking brilliant, and the soundtrack and cinematography are great. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Bad Night (2015)


“Why don't you van go fuck yourself."

            Stories dealing with stolen art are some of my favorites. I have a degree in Art History and museum studies. Besides movies and music, art and museums are my life passions. I always get a kick out of hearing art references in movies or if a story is dealing with art heists and mysteries. Usually stories dealing with art heists are serious dramas or thrillers they are not a lot of comedies (well, to my knowledge at least). There are not a lot of comedies are stolen art especially when it comes to movies geared towards young adults. But there is one movie that deals with stolen and forged art that is geared towards young adults called Bad Night starring two YouTube vlogging stars Jenn McAllister and Lauren Elizabeth.
            Best friends Abby (McAllister) and Kate (Elizabeth) go on a Saturday morning trip with their AP Art History class for extra credit. On their way home the small group stops for lunch. Back on the bus everyone, including the teacher and the driver, get major food poisoning and get majorly sick everywhere. The bus driver refuses to rid back to school in the condition he and everyone else is in. Kate does not want to stay in the hotel room despite the teacher telling the students they cannot go out anywhere they all have to stay in their rooms. Kate is in a mood because her parents told her they cannot afford to send her to college so all she wants to do is go out and have some fun with the credit card her parents gave her for emergencies.
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            On the other side of this story is a crooked foreigner and criminal named Ari (Matt Walsh). He has gotten in touch with two famous art thieves who are supposed to be delivering a lost Van Gogh painting. He has a guy who goes by Wheels to pick up the female art thieves to drive them wherever they need to go.
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            Kate calls a car to come pick them up and gives the driver the name Monarch and Viceroy instead of their actual names. When they go out to the car they kind of get into the wrong car. They wind up getting into the car that Wheels is driving. Turns out the thieves are known by their code names that are also Monarch and Viceroy and they get into the car that Kate and Abby were supposed to be taking.
            Abby and Kate started off having a good time going to the goodwill store to get different clothes then going out to dinner to a fancy restaurant. The real Monarch and Viceroy, despite not having a real getaway driver, they manage to get a copy of the Van Gogh painting. Eventually, both parties realize they have the wrong drivers and their night gets a little crazy.
            I did not know what was going to happen in the story of Bad Night. I recently read Jenn McAllister’s book Really Professional Internet Person and she talked filming it and what input she and her friend Lauren Elizabeth had with it. After reading the book I was very interested to watch Bad Night and I have to say I was surprised by how good it was. I enjoyed it as a not so serious movie. As I said at the beginning I love when there is a story about stolen art and this was pretty funny. The Van Gogh they were looking for was not an actual Van Gogh painting but it was hilarious. I had no idea Matt Walsh was in the movie so I was pleasantly surprised and very happy to see him. McAllister and Elizabeth were not bad actresses at all. McAllister wrote in her book that she always wanted to act and that this was her first time doing so. I was not expecting her acting and Elizabeth’s acting to be that great so see them actually acting and not sucking was awesome.
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            Bad Night is an enjoyable movie. I feel the story did not get out of hand with being silly or ridiculous. The humor was perfect. The direction by Reidel brothers was great too. I have seen one of their other movies which was also a comedy and I like their direction a lot because they do manage to keep the comedy from getting out of hand. Bad Night is a fun movie that I suggest seeing especially if you are into watching YouTuber movies.
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Friday, July 29, 2016

Hiding (2012)


So many movies have been made about people in witness protection and then being found out by the bad guys they are supposed to be protected from. The stories usually turn into some kind of action/thriller where a ton of people are getting killed so some bad ass FBI agent comes in and saves the day or the person who is supposed to be protected does the ass kicking. The 2012 movie Hiding took the story of a person in witness protection but did not make it as predictable as a story like this could be.
            Alicia Torres (Ana Villafañe) is being relocated to a small town in Montana through the Witness Protection Program by an Agent Noah Carter (seriously, he is Agent Carter… well, not my favorite Agent Carter, if you know what I mean). She is to go by the name Josephine Russo and she is not allowed to make contact with anyone from her former life including her grandmother and friends or even be able to paint and draw like she used to or even speak Spanish. Alicia, or Jo as she will now be referred to, is placed into the home of a social worker named Debbie. Debbie has a daughter named Lucy who is the same age as Jo. Jo is not used to people being so nice she is used to the hustle and bustle of New York and people having attitudes. Throughout the movie she has flashbacks to her old life in New York with her parents who were killed and who’s murders she witnessed.

            Jo begins school the following day. She is almost immediately hit on by the football team captain Brett (Jeremy Sumpter). His hitting on Jo causes his ex-girlfriend Zoe to become extremely jealous. Zoe approaches Jo to try to intimidate her but that does not work so well because Jo gives her a big old New York attitude right back and stands up for Lucy who was with her. Jo standing up to her makes Zoe super pissed so she starts looking into Jo to try to get some dirt on her.

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            While walking down the hallway, Jo passes by the art room. She goes into the room lured in by her passion. In the art room is a kid named Jesse (Tyler Blackburn) who is working on a painting of the Chicago skyline. They are both drawn towards each other (haha art pun). Jesse is the smart, thoughtful, talented guy compared to Brett who knows he can get whomever and whatever he wants with his stupid charm.

            One-day Jo realizes it is her grandmother’s birthday and asks Debbie to send her grandmother some flowers. That backfires when a man simply known as Mr. Ostrog is sent to find Alicia for the man who killed her parents. Mr. Ostrog tracks down Alicia’s grandmother through the high school she attended when he poses as someone who wants to set up a scholarship in Alicia’s name. At the nursing home where the grandmother is Mr. Ostrog finds the flowers from Jo that were sent through a flower shop in New Jersey. By contacting the flower shop Mr. Ostrog finds out the order was placed by Debbie in Montana.


            Meanwhile, back in Montana, Zoe has a student obtain Jo’s school transcripts and records. She cannot find a trace of Jo online. To try to get Brett back, Zoe tells him she looked into the school Jo was supposed to have transferred from in Seattle and that she is nowhere in their records. This does not bother Brett at all, in fact he tells Zoe to back off.
            Mr. Ostrog comes to Montana. He tracks Alicia down to the high school and even manages to bump into her outside the school. After that encounter he starts stalking her from his car. Of course Jo notices she is being followed, Ostrog is not that good at being inconspicuous. Since she cannot have a cell phone where she can possibly be traced, Jo uses the school phone to get in touch with Agent Carter (hahahaha) to tell her she thinks she is being followed. As she is waiting for Carter to call back she sketches out the guy she bumped into outside the school and faxes it to Carter. In her panic Jo asks Brett for the keys to his truck and his cell phone. Before Jo can even get in the truck Mr. Ostrog comes from behind and chloroforms her.
            Mr. Ostrog takes Jo to a cabin in the middle of the woods (soooooooooooooo clichéd). He has her tied to a chair and of course Jo manages to be a bad ass and run away and then of course she is caught by the bad guy and of course the hero Agent Carter comes in and shoots Mr. Ostrog before he can kill Jo.

            In the end everything is great. Carter tells Alicia that just as long as she can keep quiet and not cause another scene she can stay where she is which makes her very happy.
            The only reason I even heard of Hiding is because of Ana Villafañe. Last week I got to see Villafañe in the Broadway show On Your Feet where she plays Gloria Estefan. The girl is ridiculously talented! I enjoyed her performance so much. She is a stunning singer and excellent actress. In the Playbill under her bio some of her TV and Film work was listed and Hiding was one of them. Naturally, I was curious to see Villafañe in something else since she was so amazing live in front of me on stage. Her acting in Hiding was so good. Jo was supposed to be a tough New Yorker girl and that is exactly what Villafañe played. You believed she was from NYC and had a fabulous tough girl NYC attitude.  I would love to see her in more movies and shows down the road… maybe if On Your Feet gets turned into a movie? I mean, come on the girl is a clone of Gloria Estefan AND she can act on camera so well.  


            The rest of the cast was alright. Jeremy Sumpter was so damn creepy! He looked like a psycho killer and stalker. I do not think I have ever seen him in something else before this and I am perfectly fine with this being the only Sumpter movie I ever see. Tyler Blackburn was good. I liked his character so much better than Sumpter’s and his acting was way better.

            The story was not too bad. The only thing to me that really brought the movie and story down was the storyline with the popular girls and Zoe. That was a good macguffin to think that Zoe had something to do with getting Mr. Ostrog on the path to finding Alicia/Jo. The actresses who played the popular girls were terrible. Some of the story was totally clichéd but since I like Villafañe so much and the fact that the story was not the worst I was able to look past the clichés and enjoy it.

            Hiding was a decent movie. I was just so happy to see Ana Villafañe in a movie and to see that she truly a very talented actress. As much as the story was clichéd in some areas there were differences that makes it a bit of a stand out in Witness Protection-themed movies. The ending was left open ended. It did not just end, not all the bad guys were caught. Well, to me it could have been both open ended and just finished because the focus was on this one guy looking for her and not a whole bunch of other people. I liked open ended/ambiguous endings like that because it lets you kind of create a story of what happened next.  If you can find Hiding I recommend giving it a watch.