Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay – Review

First DC Animated Movie Universe movie of the year and considering how often these movies include C-list DC villains having brutal deaths I’m surprised it’s taken them this long to make a Suicide Squad movie. The weird part is that despite being the first Suicide Squad movie of this universe it starts off with Task Force X already being an established thing with Deadshot, Harley and Captain Boomerang all being familiar with how things work from past experience.

It’s honestly what I expect from the DCAMU at this point, in fact the way they tend to kill off characters actually makes a Suicide Squad film less unique. You already know going in everyone outside of the main three are expendable and you’re only really given a reason to care about one expendable member.

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Like most recent DC animated projects the character designs are done by Phil Bourassa, some look cool and others look like he only put effort into the costume and just used a template for the face. The characters themselves are fine but when some get killed off it really doesn’t mean anything. There is a neat tie-in with The Flashpoint Paradox but other than that the film is mediocre.

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Out of the three Suicide Squad movies this is probably the weakest. Yes the live action film is a poorly edited mess but it’s got more fun and has better versions of Deadshot and Harley. If you’re a fan of the DCAMU movies you’ll probably enjoy this but otherwise you can probably skip this. Now I think it’s time to have a look at what movies Netflix has released this year.

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Ready Player One – Review

While I do own the book I haven’t read it yet. It was bought for me as a present so I do plan to read it at some point, probably after I finally get around to reading Turtles All The Ways Down. During the build up to this film’s release I’ve heard both good and bad things about the book and figured rather than try and rush read it I’d watch the film first and avoid any book bias.

It’s a fun movie. It’s not great and the plot isn’t without its problems but as a movie about an adventure through a pop culture themed puzzle quest it’s enjoyable. From what I’ve heard several improvements have been made to the contents of the book while other details have had to be downgraded due to copyright limitations and the difference of mediums.

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As far as the references themselves go most are just neat visual references, they look cool but don’t really make much good use of the abilities of the characters. It really is just like VRChat only with less chibi versions of Knuckles the Echidna showing up quoting lines from Who Killed Captain Alex. There are some abilities that get shown off like a Tracer using her blink ability and a Sonic using a homing attack but mostly abilities are used by the characters with unique avatars. I do think the Iron Giant is a poor substitute for Ultra Man but the Gundam still makes the giant robot fight near the end pretty cool.

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The animation is pretty cool but I really wish all the locations weren’t so dark (with the most well lit in-game set being a recreation of The Shining). I’ve seen reviews praising and criticizing the movie and in a typical me fashion my opinion falls somewhere in the middle, I enjoyed it but still agree with a lot of the criticisms I’ve read. Will you enjoy this? Maybe, just don’t go in expecting the next Spielberg classic or something along the lines of Who Framed Roger Rabbit or Wreck-It Ralph. It’s just a fun adventure and I’m fine with that.

A Wrinkle in Time – Review

So I’ll admit I wasn’t really sold on this film from the trailers. I didn’t think it looked bad but apparently people really liked those trailers and were excited for this film and I just didn’t have a reaction. But as far as movies that came out this month go it was a higher priority to see than Peter Rabbit (which is apparently really popular at my local Odeon).

It’s ok. It’s based on a pretty old book so a lot of these story details have been retold better in other media. In fact that’s probably the main issue with the film, it feels more like a template compared to things that were probably inspired by it. You can see attempts to modernize it but the dialogue is still weirdly old fashioned clashing with the modern day look of the main characters. The thing that stuck out in this respect for me was that Charles Wallace is always referred to as Charles Wallace making every time a character spoke to or about him sound really formal.

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The main strength of this movie and why seeing it on the big screen was a nice experience was the scenery. The locations they visit in this movie look great and being a Disney film once again seeing beautiful scenery just makes me miss Disney Infinity more because I would love to see a sky dome of this movie in the toy box.

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It’s an average film with a cast of talented actors (though there were some lines that could have been said better) but nothing special. Had a better time than I did with Pacific Rim: Uprising though, that film annoys me the more I think about it. I’ve managed to see enough films this month to make up for not seeing three films at the Odeon in February but I’ve still got one more film I’m planning to see before the month ends, and no it’s not Peter Rabbit.

Pacific Rim: Uprising – Review

The original Pacific Rim was great. It made it into my top 10 movies of 2013 list (and looking back at that list it should have been higher) and is the closest thing we have to a decent American anime movie. So back then I was hopeful for a sequel… then I found out del Toro wasn’t directing it… and that Rinko Kikuchi was barely going to be in it…

I have… mixed opinions on this movie. For the most part it’s alright, a huge downgrade from the original but the new characters are likeable and played by talented actors. But I have issues, and in order to talk about them I’m going to have to go into spoilers. So if you don’t want this movie spoiled for you stop reading this review now.

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They killed off Maki Mori. And it’s not a fitting character death near the end of the film, she dies in a helicopter crash early in the movie with the main effect of her death being that John Boyega’s character (her step brother Jake Pentecost) is sad for a couple of scenes. I’d like to remind you Mako was one of the things people (myself included) praised about the first film to the point the Mako Mori Test was created to make up for flaws in the Bechdel Test. If a Pacific Rim sequel needed to do anything it was give her more screentime. To make it worse the last act of the movie is a fight scene in Japan and none of the new main characters are Japanese.

_thumb_05400efe-a14a-471e-9e28-771060d95ad1The action scenes are cool but nothing memorable and the Kaiju really don’t look as cool in the daytime when their glowing parts don’t really stick out. It just doesn’t have that love for the mecha/kaiju genres the original had. So even ignoring Mako’s death the overall experience is just an average action movie, not worth going to see in the cinema unless you have the ability to see if for free through a cinema membership like Limitless.

Tomb Raider (2018) – Review

I never really played the original Tomb Raider games, though I did get the first game of the new reboot series in a Steam sale and enjoyed it. And it’s that game this movie is mostly based on so I had a good enough familiarity with the source material going into this.

I’d heard mixed opinions on this film before seeing it and after watching it I can understand why. It’s a decent and enjoyable film but it has its fair share of problems, most of which coming from the way it adapts the source material. In the game Lara is already an archaeologist, just not the adventuring Indiana Jones type, while in the movie she does food delivery and is supposed to inherit her father’s fortune which appear to be plots drawn from either the old games or the sequels but it makes her motivations to seek out the lost kingdom of Yamatai a cliche “got to save my dad” plot instead of a genuine interest in the history.

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Then there’s the characters. None of her archaeology team from the game are in this, not even Sam Nishimura who was a pretty important part of the game’s plot and had an actual connection to Himiko. Instead we have some random guy who isn’t in the games (and I checked the Tomb Raider wiki to see if he was from any that I hadn’t played) that doesn’t really do much outside of take Lara to the island. It’s also a bit of a shame there’s no Oni in this, or anything supernatural for that matter. What is it with live action movies and avoiding the more interesting elements of the source material to make it more “realistic” (looking at you Nolan Batman movies)?

Alicia Vikander does a good job playing Lara herself and the action scenes are pretty accurate to the game. She doesn’t get the climbing axe until the end of the movie though which is weird. Overall my opinion is that it’s alright but if you haven’t played the 2013 Tomb Raider game I’d recommend getting that instead.

Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold – Review

Both Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Scooby-Doo came up in conversation recently so I decided to look at the crossover movie of the two that came out earlier this year. At the very least it was bound to be better than Gotham by Gaslight.

It’s a fun adventure that is about what you’d expect from a crossover between these two. A lot of self referential humour (including a nice nod to the original Scooby-Doo and Batman crossovers near the end), a mystery and a hallway chase scene.

Of course being Brave and the Bold Batman it’s not just Batman that Mystery INC get to interact with. There’s a whole team of DC’s detective super heroes (and Aquaman) and some fun gags made out of their interactions with the gang. The mystery itself is obvious but at least they’re not completely changing an iconic Batman character to make a twist that Batman just stumbles upon all the evidence for in one scene.

It’s not one of the better movies of either franchise, it’s more like a slightly longer episode of Brave and the Bold with Scooby and the gang as the characters Batman is teaming up with. And as an episode it’s a fun one, if you’ve missed Brave and the Bold since it ended this is worth watching. As for Scooby-Doo, it’s not going anywhere and still have more crossovers on the way.

My Own Awards Ceremony 2018

It’s that time again. For those who are new here every year when the Oscars come around I decide to give out my own awards (with blackjack and hookers). I use a lot of the same categories as the Academy but a few of my own. Also I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to make a That’s Lobstertainment reference in the header image of these since it’s all centered around a Futurama joke. Anyway on to the awards

Best Game Tie-In

Best Game Tie-in

LEGO Dimensions – The LEGO Batman Movie Story Pack

I’m going to miss LEGO Dimensions. While not as fun as the Ghostbusters and Fantastic Beasts Story Packs this one still allowed for a lot of franchises that never made it into the game normally to appear. It also gave me a reason to play as Batman again by giving me the option to replace the regular LEGO Batman with the LEGO Movie Batman complete with new dialogue from Will Arnet. I probably won’t have to retire this award as movies will continue to have game tie-ins but it won’t be the same without the Toys-To-Life genre.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Mike Hill and Shane Megan (The Shape of Water)

I said in my Darkest Hour review I was certain it would win and deserve this award and I was right. That said if this had been one of the many awards The Shape of Water was nominated for I’d feel it deserved it more. In fact with all the awards it won not enough attention was given to the creature it’s all about.

Best Costume Design

Best Costume Design

Mayes C. Rubeo (Thor Ragnarok)

Even before the great “He’s a friend from work” line I was already sold on Thor Ragnarok from how it looked in the trailers and a big part of that was the costumes. This film also has the best version of Thor’s helmet that I really hope they give him in the comics at some point.

Best Cinematography

Best Cinematography

Bill Pope (Baby Driver)

A big part of what makes Baby Driver work is the way it’s shot. Everything is so perfectly timed and while a lot of that credit belongs to Edgar Wright a big part of it is cinematography. This isn’t the first time Edgar Wright and Bill Pope have worked together and it’s clear they make a great team.

Best Visual Effects

Best Visual Effects

Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist (War for the Planet of the Apes)

Finally seeing all the Planet of the Apes movies meant getting to finally see these amazing effects in action. All the nominees in this category had amazing effects and deserved to win but this was the one that impressed me the most.

Best Cover Song

Best Cover Song

Sky Ferreira – Easy (Baby Driver)

I made this award last year because of the amazing While My Guitar Gently Weeps cover in Kubo but it was tricky to pick one this year. In the end the one that stood out the most was this one because of its role in the film.

Best Original Song

Best Original Song

Daniel Ingram/Shannon Chan-Kent and Kristin Chenoweth – One Small Thing (My Little Pony: The Movie)

There were a lot of great songs in movies this year but the one I liked the most was this one. I was sold the moment I heard it was a duet between Pinkie Pie and a character voiced by Kristin Chenoweth. Also while it’s a shame none of the songs from this movie were nominated I’m really glad Remember Me won after the disappointing result last year.

Best Compilation Soundtrack

Best Compilation Soundtrack

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I wanted to make an award like this when the first Guardians of the Galaxy came out but figured it would just be an award made just for that movie. This year however there were several films that made great use of their existing soundtrack including Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 and Atomic Blonde. The one that did it best and had the best song selection however was Baby Driver. This film was robbed of that Sound Mixing award because each scene with a song in it was like a music video with how perfect the timing was.

Best Nostalgic Score

Best Nostalgic Score

Shinji Miyazaki (Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!)

This guy has been composing music for the Pokémon anime ever since the beginning including every movie. One of the worst parts about the dub of this movie was the fact they replaced this amazing soundtrack with a really generic one. A big part of this movie is recreations of iconic scenes like Ash releasing Butterfree and hearing recreations of the same music that played in those original scenes is extremely important for that.

Best Original Score

Best Original Score

Alexandre Desplat (The Shape of Water)

Yeah the Academy made the right call on this one. I’ll admit last year didn’t have that many memorable scores outside of those that relied on melodies already familiar to the audience but listening back to this one it’s one of the strengths of the film I overlooked in my original review.

Best Production Design

Best Production Design

Rick Heinrichs (The Last Jedi)

While The Last Jedi was my favourite film from last year this is its only award it’s getting here. The look of the film is amazing as much like The Force Awakens we’re dealing with multiple brand new locations that feel like they’ve always been a part of this universe while still being unique.

Best Director

Best Director

Edgar Wright (Baby Driver)

I’m really glad Guillermo del Toro won, since Edgar Wright wasn’t even nominated del Toro was who I wanted to win. But the fact Wright has never been nominated for Best Director at the Oscars is insulting. Seriously watch this video from Every Frame A Painting as it sums up his strengths as a director better than I could. Also this video specific to one scene in Baby Driver I found through the suggested videos while getting the previous one. His work is stuff you enjoy more the closer you pay attention to the small details and I hope one day the Academy realize how great his work is.

Best Reprising Voice Actress

Best Reprising Voice Actress

Rica Matsumoto as Satoshi/Ash Ketchum (Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!)

Another thing watching the current dub for the first time in years has done has helped me appreciate just how great Rica Matsumoto’s performance is. Because the film has recreations of some of the more emotional moments from the original series it’s a treat, especially when you go back and watch the original moments to hear how much her performance has improved over the years, you can’t get that with Sarah Natochenny. It would have been nice to hear how Veronica Taylor would have done it though.

Best Reprising Voice Actor

Best Reprising Voice Actor

Andy Serkis as Caesar

The best part about the Planet of the Apes marathon was watching Caesar’s story over this trilogy and a big part of that has been Andy Serkis’ performance. In each film his ability to speak has improved and this is the one where he talks the entire movie, even to the other apes who only sign. Now can the Academy please make an award for performances of animated characters so voice and mocap actors can get the credit they deserve, because Andy Serkis should have three Oscars for playing Caesar.

Best Reprising Actress

Best Reprising Actress

Gal Gadot as Diana of Themyscira/Wonder Woman (Wonder Woman)

There were several great choices for this award but I feel Gal Gadot deserves it the most because like with Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool this is taking a character she did a decent job playing in a bad movie and redeeming them in a much better movie.

Best Reprising Actor

Best Reprising Actor

Hugh Jackman as James Howlett/Wolverine (Logan)

This was a very close choice between this performance and Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. Ultimately what made me settle on Jackman was that this isn’t just his best performance as Logan but the best performance I’ve seen from him in general. If I didn’t separate reprising actors from people playing a role for the first time this would have been a Best Actor performance.

Best Supporting Actress

Best Supporting Actress

Dafne Keen as Laura Kinney/X-23 (Logan)

Another performance from Logan and if Disney choose to keep the X-Men in Fox’s hands for a while before moving them to the MCU I want an X-23 solo movie instead of getting a new Wolverine (unless she’s the new Wolverine like in the comics). This is her first film role and it’s an amazing start. She doesn’t speak for most of the movie performing mostly through her expressions and fighting.

Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actor

Jon Hamm as Buddy (Baby Driver)

A lot of awards for Baby Driver this year. I can’t say much about this performance without spoiling the movie. If you’ve seen it you understand why.

Best Voice Actor

Best Voice Actor

Willem Dafoe as Ryuk (Death Note)

Death Note wasn’t a good movie. There’s plenty of videos that can explain why but one thing everyone seems to agree on is that Willem Dafoe was perfect casting as Ryuk. It’s just a shame this performance wasn’t in a better movie.

Best Voice Actress

Best Voice Actress

Emily Blunt as Tempest Shadow (My Little Pony: The Movie)

This is such a great performance I’m a bit disappointed we’re probably never going to see Tempest pop up in the show. Her villain song Open Up Your Eyes was a close second for Best Original Song and the main reason I’m looking forward to seeing the new Mary Poppins later this year.

Best Leading Actor

Best Leading Actor

Ryan Gosling as K (Blade Runner 2049)

Most of the best performances this year were actors returning to roles they’d played before and the thing that made me go with Ryan Gosling for Best Leading Actor is how he played off one of said performances. This is a Blade Runner movie and while many people went in caring more about Deckard this movie made sure that by the time we saw him again we cared just as much about K too.

Best Leading Actress

Best Leading Actress

Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding (I, Tonya)

Like I said in my review while the jumps and tricks were a combination of stunt doubles, camera trickery and CGI the fact she’s still doing a large amount of the skating herself is still really impressive. But the skating is only a small part of her performance, her delivery of a lot of lines is extremely entertaining and one of the best examples of how great an actress she is in this is the scene of her reflection as she puts on her makeup.

Best Biopic

Best Biopic

I, Tonya

I could just refer you to my points about Margot Robbie’s performance for why I went with this film but there’s also all the other performances and just the presentation of the events of the film. This is the most unique based on a true story movie I’ve seen. Out of the three new awards I added this year this is the one that’s least likely to come back as it’s unlikely I’ll see a biopic this good again.

Best Animated Short Film

Best Animated Short Film

Rise and Shine

I saw several great animated shorts this year but the best ones were from Overwatch. Out of those of course the one about one about one of the two characters I play as the most was going to be my favourite. If Overwatch release a D.Va short this year don’t be surprised if it’s here next year. Also if you’re wondering why there’s only the animated shorts award this year it’s because I didn’t see any live action ones.

Best Documentary

Best Documentary

Spielberg

With all the movies I’ve been watching these last few years of course a documentary about one of the most famous, influential and popular directors was going to interest me. But the thing that put it above the other documentaries I saw last year was how personal the presentation was. The narration was taken from interviews with Steven Spielberg, his friends, family and the people he’s worked with making it sound better than if it had been told by a regular narrator.

Best Pictures

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My Top 10 Movies of 2017

Like last year rather than regular Best Animated/Live Action Picture I’m just going to show my top 10 again. Unlike last year it hasn’t changed since I posted it, though that’s mostly because I delayed it until I saw The Shape of Water. On that note I’m glad it won Best Picture at the Oscars, I’d say they’re getting better but for every choice I agree with them on there’s another award they messed up.

A lot of tricky awards to pick this year. Anyway now that I don’t need to worry about 2017 films anymore it’s time to get back to catching up on 2018 films, thanks for reading.