Movie Review – Suicide Squad

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A shadowy arm of the government want to be proactive against threats against the land. Realizing the futility of conventional means against these threats, the agency uses an unconventional weapon. The baddest of the bad, worst of the worst criminals ever would fight (begrudgingly) against those that threaten our existence. Set to a trippy set list of memorable songs that act almost as a commentator throughout the film, surely this will be the experience that shapes your summer. Unfortunately for Warner Brothers and DC Comics, 2014 happened and Guardians of the Galaxy was released to positive reviews. With two lackluster entrants for the DC Extended Universe preceding Suicide Squad, the WB and DC needs this film to do well. At this moment Suicide Squad has a 27% positive rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes.com; which was down from 31% 12 hours ago.  Despite the vitriol for Suicide Squad, the battle at the box office is ultimately decided by the value of your movie ticket. It’s not that Suicide Squad isn’t worth seeing but, with ticket prices steadily increasing and the added costs of 3D and IMAX (also in 3D); how much is it worth seeing to you? Continue reading “Movie Review – Suicide Squad”

Review – Concussion

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Meriweather hit, leads to Lacy concussion.

In the gif above, Green Bay Packers (in Green) Running Back Eddie Lacy (#27) runs for a first down, but not before being brought down by Washington Safety Brandon Meriweather (#31 in white). The helmet to helmet contact gave Lacy a concussion, taking him out of the game. No penalty flag was thrown on the play, but Meriweather was fined later $42,000. Only a slap on the wrist when you consider Meriweather had a salary of around $1.2 million that year. Ironically, Meriweather left the game later on after a similar hit that left him motionless on the field. That was from a regular season game in 2013; last weekend in New Jersey, New York Giants star Odell Beckham Jr. committed 3 “unnecessary roughness” penalties for unsafe hits on opposing players, but wasn’t ejected from the game. One particularly vicious blow to the helmet of Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman cost Beckham Jr. a game, as he was suspended; but the damage to both players will certainly play a role in their post career quality of life.

Meriweather goes down after dirty hit.
Meriweather goes down after dirty hit.

Before the talk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the technical term for the trauma to the brain players sustain during the violent collisions; football players faded into obscurity, rarely to be heard from again. What’s usually lost on casual fans, is how long it takes to make it to the NFL. Players usually start around 8 years old on the Pop Warner fields through High School, College and hopefully to the pros. Depending on the position, some players will take a hit every down of every game and others can avoid contact. As the NFL evolves from the ‘What have you done for me lately?’ mentality toward its players; there’s still a long way to go before players receive the post career treatment they deserve. As the CTE debate and diagnosis continues, Concussion takes a look at the origins of the discovery of the disease and Dr. Bennett Omalu’s (Will Smith in the film) fight to bring his revelation to the NFL’s attention. Much like big tobacco in the 90’s defence against warnings about smoking, the NFL was less than receptive to Dr. Omalu’s discovery.  Continue reading “Review – Concussion”

MOVIE REVIEW: Bullet to the Head

98494_galSylvester Stallone plays disgruntled hitman Jimmy ‘Bobo’ Bonomo in Bullet to the Head, a pseudo-noir action flick that is really hard to take seriously. Director Walter Hill’s attempt at gritty realism is hindered by the central relationship of the story, which begins with Stallone’s cold-blooded contract killer crossing paths with a Washington, DC detective (played by Fast Five’s Sung Kang) during a homicide investigation in New Orleans. The result is an unbalanced, poorly edited mess which finds the two men working together to take down a common enemy (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, BBC’s Hunted) and a ruthless mercenary named Keegan (Jason Momoa, 2011‘s Conan the Barbarian) who’s been contracted to do all the dirty work. Of course it comes across as an extremely simple premise; the stabbing death of Bonomo’s partner that triggers the whole thing is one barely significant variable in an ultra-contrived real estate development scheme (with the requisite smattering of police corruption, of course) that doesn’t even seem feasible in a world of acceptable plot holes. Seriously, when will bad guys learn to stop carrying around their secret plans on a flash drive? Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: Bullet to the Head”

MOVIE REVIEW: Bullet to the Head

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My initial reaction to Bullet to the Head was something along the lines of “it’s not meant to be Lawrence of Arabia, but it’s entertaining. It was fun.” However, after ruminating on it a few days, the film’s racist humor (and the audience reaction to it) started to get to me, and it left me rather cold; I thought I needed to examine why I’m about to give this movie the grade that follows. Bullet to the Head seems to be another in a long line of big-budget, should’ve-been-released-on-cable movies with large name actors at the helm. Sure, it’s a fun, retro, 80s-style action movie with updated gore effects (it certainly earns its title well), and it’s only 91 minutes long.
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MOVIE REVIEW – The Thing (2011)

The Thing

I can picture the meeting with the Universal Studios executives in which one of them threw out the idea that “every successful film deserves a prequel and a reboot.” Let’s be honest about one thing.. Hollywood is about making money. Some criticize the lack of originality that comes out of Hollywood these days. In a way I’ll agree. There are too many sequels and reboots of franchises in which we see the same story retold and envisioned. But, in this case, the idea of creating a prequel that will directly lead into the original that was filmed 19 years earlier is an intriguing one.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Thing (2011)

The audience at a recent screening of Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s The Thing (hereafter referred to as The Thing 2011) sounded a little like this:
(film starts)
(raucous chatter) (cackling and heckling) (several voices saying stuff like “Oh, why’d you do that?”) (more cackling and heckling) (screams)
(audience gets quieter)
(screams)
(silence)
(screams)
(repeat cycle of silence and screams for a little while)
(film ends)
You see, there seems to be no difference to some people these days between going to see a movie in a theater or watching it on your couch.  People talk, text, offer their own critiques on the movie as it’s happening, tell you what’s going to happen next, and all other manner of rudeness.  In horror movies, where the audience is populated by people looking for a thrill ride with gory parts to make them squirm, the audience noise can be louder than the film itself sometimes.  When a movie shuts down a rowdy audience, there’s something good about what’s being thrown onto the screen.  However, The Thing 2011 may only be good for its fright scenes and not much more.

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MOVIE REVIEW – Killer Elite

Killer Elite

They say that everything in the past will eventually catch up with you.  I suppose this statement can be true of all of the good and bad things you’ve done in the past.  The success you’ve had in your job will lead to a promotion.  Giving good will towards others generally means that you’ll receive it back.  But, we are all plagued by some of the bad decisions we’ve made, or the bad things we’ve done to others or ourselves.  And those are the things we most fear about catching up with us in the present.

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