‘The Suicide Squad’ Review – Over-the-Top Comic Book Mayhem

We all know of James Gunn’s ignominious fall from grace. He went from shock-jock provocateur in his Troma days, which curiously led to him scripting the live-action Scooby Doo, followed by the Dawn of the Dead remake; he directed his own horror genre mash-up in Slither, proceeded to indict vigilantes and superheroes with his twisted indie Super, and then was handed the reins of an obscure Marvel franchise to call his own. Gunn’s career read like the unlikeliest of success stories.

Studio gigs are a dream come true for upcoming filmmakers because there’s an assurance to the work that doesn’t exist in independent filmmaking. If a director can meet all of the studio’s requirements for bringing in bankable stars, appealing to a PG-13 audience, merchandising and marketing, etc., then the studio will bankroll your “vision” and stand by you in both success and failure, supposedly. It’s the very assurance that Steven Spielberg had when Universal Studios secured him as a young talent through a multi-picture contract.

It seemed like Disney had Gunn’s back when Guardians 3 was announced months before Vol. 2 came out. And then they dumped him. I mention this because it’s the first time since entering the studio system that Gunn might have felt expendable—and perhaps why he was drawn to this expendable group of heroes.

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Okay, I’m Hyped for ‘The Batman’

After Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and certainly after Zack Snyder’s brief trial run, I felt like the Caped Crusader could benefit from an overdue sabbatical, and frankly so could we. There’s been a Batman film (or films featuring the Batman) roughly every 3 years since 2005. Even for a lifelong Batman fan that’s excessive.

When Matt Reeves was tapped to write and direct another reboot with Robert Pattinson queued as the next Bruce Wayne, I did my best to feign exasperation despite some excellent sneak peeks. “Darker” and “grittier” they said it would be, or “raw & unsanitized.” Up until DC’s FanDome event, I was all for Warner Bros. hanging up the cape and cowl. But after this weekend’s trailer, I am formally withdrawing my objections. Gimme raw and unsanitized Batman movies for as long as I live. Continue reading

JOKER: A Black Hole Comedy to Ruffle the Masses

The most disturbing moment in Joker for me by far, is the scene that follows the subway murders. Arthur locks himself in a public bathroom, looks at both himself and what he’s done in the mirror then starts to… dance. Violence brings Arthur such unspeakable power (perhaps even joy) and the only way he can express that release of emotion is by waltzing with himself like one would in, say, a vaudeville musical. It’s a disturbing portrait of nihilism, narcissism, and psychopathy that I couldn’t stomach. Continue reading

Infinity War – Destiny Has Arrived

Infinity War is a film that should have cups of water waiting for you by the exit. Throw in some orange slices too. Marvel’s superhero marathon is the die-hard fan’s wet dream – a mammoth show-stopper featuring the MCU’s all-stars in a crossover for the ages. But a marathon is still a marathon. Infinity War isn’t the best Marvel movie, but it’s certainly the MOST Marvel movie where characters crowd the frame to the point that the frame can hardly contain them. It makes previous crossovers look tame, and there is no going back. This is what these films have been nudging toward, a fusion into the very medium that inspired them.  Continue reading

Dawn of DC

batman-vs-superman-trailer-image-56Comic book fans are still reeling from the whirlwind of footage shown at Comic-Con. Trailers for Suicide Squad and Batman V Superman undoubtedly stole the show, and the anticipation for DC’s long-awaited summer pairing is at a fever pitch. We now have a better glimpse at what Warner Bros. is trying to create. It’s grand. It’s demented. And my, is it perfect. Continue reading