Suicide Squad

tumblr_o14a20KvDG1u5ntugo1_1280The resounding popularity of the comic book genre movie is unquestioned. Most (if not all) are automatic cash cows for the studios that produce them. Despite the amount the money they make, most (especially in the DC franchise) are stuck in a sort of critical purgatory. Fanboys and film critics alike get into shouting matches via online message boards defending their stances, often comparing it to the last franchise/actor who portrayed that character. I have been guilty and will be guilty of that a little bit throughout this review. In the case of “Suicide Squad,” there was a very unique opportunity to be had. For the first time (in live-action anyway,) the villains were the main characters. It was their time to shine.

I will admit that I did break my own rule a little bit with this one. Generally I stay away from reading critiques and asking my friends what their thoughts were on a movie before I see it. I like to go in with a clear head and zero expectations. But this time around, there was one major controversy that just kept building up. I’ll get back to that later.

In regards to the movie as a whole, “Suicide Squad” is the story of all the super villains sent on a mission under the control of a sociopathic government agent to stop a supernatural being from taking over the world. It does sound a bit cliché, but again, so much potential because the main characters are all the bad guys with unredeemable qualities. Right? Much like my review of “Stranger Things,” I’m going to break this down with a little more detail than I usually do. In particular with the characters because there are so many and so crucial to the flow and progression of the story.

Some minor spoilers ahead.

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Jason Bourne

jason-bourne-conclusionFirst introduced to us on the silver screen in 2002, Jason Bourne (the character) has always been a fascinating and exciting enigma. Originally based on a book series published in 1980 and written by Robert Ludlam, the character and a majority of the films have been fleshed out beautifully by Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass as actor and director respectively. “Jason Bourne” (the film) appears to be the final chapter-with Matt Damon playing the lead-in the Bourne film franchise. It pains me to say this… but I think Matt Damon is too old to keep doing it. He started the role fifteen years ago.

Nevertheless, after a 9-year hiatus and one okay spin-off film starring Jeremy Renner in the middle of that time, Damon and Greengrass reunite to lay the Jason Bourne saga to rest. Or does it? (more…)

Stranger Things

ouos14xohz62qr1dydb4“Stranger Things” is the story set in a small town in middle-of-nowhere, Indiana, that just happens to be the perfect setting for all the supernatural and terrifying things that occur there. Set in 1983, this show does a shameless but brilliant nod to the masterpieces of film, literature, and science fiction of its day. Nods to classic films and stories from John Carpenter, Stephen King, and Steven Spielberg are layered on so thick-and yet so brilliantly-it almost suggests that those stories are better suited in the world of “Stranger Things” than from the original source.

This will be a comprehensive review. I’m going to take you deep into the Upside Down and back (without revealing any spoilers) of this eight episode series because every nook and cranny of this show deserves to be discussed.    (more…)

Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters_2016_film_posterNormally I’m against reboots. I often consider them cheap knockoffs of their superior originals. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right? Once in a blue moon, however, a reboot comes along that pleasantly surprises you. This is certainly one of those times.

“Ghostbusters” (the 2016 reboot) is a wonderful surprise considering how much backlash it got when the trailer was first released a few months ago. I think it actually set some sort of record on YouTube for most dislikes. I don’t know if it was just bad editing on the part of whomever edited those trailers or if it was intelligent reshoots after the fact; maybe a little bit of both. But regardless, this all-female cast of SNL veterans and a Hemsworth gave these characters a unique depth, personality, and humor that I thoroughly appreciated.

Without any spoilers, my generation will appreciate all the cameos (and respect given to the one we lost) sprinkled from start to finish. Never scene-stealers, they helped move the story along quickly and humorously. I strongly encourage the younger generation to find the 1984 original “Ghostbusters” and witness the comedic genius of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson.

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Great characters, a great story, well-directed, and wonderful visual effects puts this as a great start to the must-see 2016 summer blockbusters.

On the advice of a friend, I’m going to end my reviews with related recommends. If you saw and enjoyed this movie, I also recommend “The ‘Burbs” and “The Heat.”

 

 

The Secret Life of Pets

pts_adv1sht5_rgb_0125_7sm2I’ll make this short and sweet: over twenty years after “Toy Story,” the same concept is presented to us with animals. An awesome little dog named Max is having the time of his life with her owner Katie. When Katie is not home, Max converses with his neighboring pet friends with distinct and humorous personality quirks. But when Katie brings home a new dog, Duke, there is a power struggle for territory and Katie’s affection.

When Max and Duke go missing because of a careless dog walker, the other pets must unite and form questionable alliances to bring Max and Duke home. Max and Duke obviously are trying to find their way back themselves, but run into an assortment of problems including a gang of alley cats and a power-hungry bunny.

The voice-acting included an all-star cast including Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Albert Brooks, and Eric Stonestreet. But what was really impressive throughout the movie for me was the animation and how it showed nearly every facet of New York City.

“The Secret Life of Pets” is a cute and funny movie, but had a very predictable story.

Finding Dory(‘s Parents)

Finding_DoryI can’t believe it was 13 years ago that Pixar graced us with “Finding Nemo” and we were introduced to Marlon, Nemo, and several unforgettable characters. Few characters were more unforgettable though, than Dory, the most forgetful character probably in all of Disney. The sweet and caring little fish always offering to help even though it’s her that needs the help. Through the events of “Finding Nemo” (in Pixar fashion) we get introduced to these adorable characters in an amazing world targeted at children, but have powerful adult messages about family, love, loyalty, and perseverance.

“Finding Dory” gives us a deep look into Dory’s early years in a flash of an old memory that she fights to not lose. (more…)

Achieving The Perfect In-Home Library

45ae47879849694321ac2d328a0c02e6It’s no secret that movies are one of my biggest passions in life and they forever will be. In the past year, however, I have re-kindled my passion for another form of storytelling; books. Books-I mean we all know what books are, right? Of course we do. It’s a webpage without ads made of trees. A real book. No wifi signal required. Ever. None of this e-reader crap either.

How old did I just sound as you read that last sentence?

Anyway…

For years I’ve relished in spending hours walking aimlessly in libraries and bookstores of all kinds. I sometimes fantasized that I was the guy from The Twilight Zone (but without my glasses breaking.)

Books are often times the catalyst for a movie. A story told in a different medium. An original medium. A timeless medium.

This thinking and over-thinking about books got me fantasizing about wanting to build a home library. Let’s be honest, it would be a lot cheaper and reliant than a game room or a home theater for sure.

But of all the billions of books in existence… which books belong in MY library?

This is not going to be another Top 10 list. For one thing, this list will certainly recommend more than 10 books. But aside from the classics or cliché titles, (which will obviously be included), I want to give you my reasons as to why these particular books would go in my library and why they’re so important to me. That being said, I absolutely suggest and recommend all of these books to you if you have a home library already and want to add to it or are about to build one.

It should also be noted that the list will be in a chaotic order. But that’s on purpose. Because you need to introduce a little chaos when you want to recommend so many stories and characters in your head at the same time.

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