Friday, August 5, 2016

Movie Review … Suicide Squad

After seeing Marvel comics find great success with their superhero films, rivals DC Comics have tried catching up.   Attempting to begin their own ‘cinematic universe’ with the Henry Cavill-starring ‘Superman’ movies, ‘Suicide Squad’ is the latest in their master-plan.  After the mixed reviews for ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’, a lot was riding on ‘Suicide Squad’. Unfortunately it shows DC still has a lot to learn in terms of presenting a satisfying production in spite of the mega-bucks thrown at it.

Deadshot (Will Smith) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) are two of the most dangerous super-villains around.  They are also imprisoned with other like-minded baddies by a secret government agency.  Regularly called upon to participate in black ops missions in exchange for clemency, their newest assignment seems the most deadly yet.  Fighting against the magical mayhem of The Enchantress (Cara Delevinge) the self-styled ‘Suicide Squad’ face a foe whose nefarious ways are more wicked than anything they could dream.

‘Suicide Squad’ is a very uneven film gradually falling under the weight of its excess.  Whilst its first half is reasonably interesting with some engaging characters, its second is pure formula.  There’s a definite sense of having seen it all before with predictable fight sequences and plotting making for somewhat dull viewing.  The biggest problem is the over-abundance of characters, as there are too many to do them full justice.  Each only receives sketchy introductions before thrown into the action.  This results in not really caring what happens to them, in spite of the solid performances.

Although Jared Leto’s role as The Joker has received much coverage, he only really has a cameo role. It feels as if he’s there to serve as a teaser to another movie in which he’ll no doubt appear.  ‘Suicide Squad’ generally feels like an extended ad for a better film, only occasionally embracing the colourful fun it promises.  David Ayer’s direction is fine without being remarkable. He shows little flair in action scenes with some characters getting badly short changed. 

‘Suicide Squad’ is much better than ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ in terms of being more fun.  In other areas it falls far short of its potential.  Hopefully the next DC film will overcome the stuttering start they’ve had with their cinematic output thus far and show how high their heroes can fly.



Movie Review Rating out of 10:  5

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.



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Monday, August 1, 2016

Movie Review … Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

The British have a long tradition of transferring TV shows onto the big screen.  ‘Dad’s Army’, ‘Are You Being Served’, ‘The Sweeney’ and others have graced the broader canvas of movie houses to varying success.  Whilst some were simply quick cash-grabs, a few still enjoy devoted cult followings.  ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ should effortlessly find itself on the latter list.  As outrageously silly as its TV counter-part, it leaps onto celluloid with a debauched flourish sure to make its mischievous characters smile.

Fashion editor Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) and best friend Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) still party like teenagers.  Although now women of a ‘certain age’, their antics keep making headlines.  After attending a party where they accidentally knock a supermodel into the river, all hell breaks loose.  Chased by an eager media pack, the ladies flee to the French Riviera for privacy.  They quickly discover new charms in the rich paradise where their style of salacious mayhem makes the locals wonder what’s hit them.

Fans of the ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ series can breathe easy.  Its film version does justice to what’s gone before whilst pushing the franchise forward to new horizons.  Unlike other TV to film adaptations, it doesn’t stray too far from its low-key roots and sticks to a tried and trusted formula.  Whilst its first half is slower than its second, ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ has an abundance of quirky characters sure to delight.  Even those not versed with the show can enjoy it with the physical and verbal humour charging at you a mile a minute.

Mandie Fletcher’s direction gamely keeps the momentum going despite some slow moments.  She certainly didn’t need to tell the cast what to do as they seamlessly slide into their usual roles with ease.  Saunders and Lumley have the most fun as their eternally wicked characters with some new one-liners sure to be quoted by their admirers.  The overall ‘look’ is glossier than the TV series with the French scenery adding more colourful flavour to an already sparkling canvas.

Although not consistently funny, ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ is worth handing over cash to see.  You receive more than what you may get from its TV counter-part with the film aiming for high fun.  That it generally succeeds is a testament to the strength of its premise with a sequel sure to make followers of the fashionably gruesome central twosome happy.
 


Movie Review Rating out of 10:  7

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.


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Movie Review … Lights Out

Why are we afraid of the dark? Is it the sense of the unseen that scares us or the unknown potentially lurking within its grasp?  No one has a definitive answer although it has made horror movie makers happy.  Many have used darkness to great effect to conjure scares which ‘Lights Out’ effectively does.  Keeping things basic without endless pyrotechnics, it is a fine little chiller sure to tingle spines long after the closing credits.

After leaving home, Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) hopes she has left her troubles behind. Her brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) experiences the same terror and mental trauma which caused her to leave.  Rebecca gradually learns her former home houses a sinister entity linked to their mother Sophie (Maria Bello).  Events quickly spiral out of control as Rebecca fights to save her family from doom’s eternal blackness.

‘Lights Out’ is an acceptable horror movie mostly devoid of blood or gore. It strives for genuine tension with resourceful characters using their wits to battle the odds.  This is rare for a recent horror film as most personalities are there just to increase the body count.  With ‘Lights Out’ you become more engaged in their struggle due to the strongly written characters and solid acting.  Making you care about what happens to them, the script explores their back-story in interesting detail.

Everyone reading this will want to know if ‘Lights Out’ is actually scary.  The answer is yes with some reservations.  More due to some genre clich├ęs creeping in, with the realisation of the entity akin to something from ‘The Ring’ series, it nonetheless makes good use of its brisk run-time.  David F. Sandberg’s direction wrings what it can from the thin premise with good use of shadows and light.  It would have been better to know more about why things were happening, although these will undoubtedly be explained in the inevitable sequel.

Even though it won’t do much to cure some people’s fear of the dark, ‘Lights Out’ delivers a sufficiently spooky tale.  You couldn’t ask for much more with one grateful that it made an effort to shackle fears and to make viewers more wary next time the lights go out.

 
Movie Review Rating out of 10:  6

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

Agree with Patrick's Movie Review? Then please use the comment box.

Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.



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