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Oh look, a trainwreck.

Let’s just get this out of the way really quick: Suicide Squad is mostly dogshit but there are a few moments where it firmly enters genuine “so bad it’s good” territory and other moments where it’s trying so goddamn hard to manipulate you into feeling something that you just wanna say “good job, little guy” and give it a pat on the head. There’s even a few moments that feel earned, where the glimmer of a better movie is almost visible. But mostly it’s dogshit.

Why? God, where do I even start. It’s a music video of loosely connected moments, an insultingly hackneyed plot, and poorly constructed characterizations which are usually good for a laugh or an incredulous “what the fuck?” but rarely more. There’s also that it’s the most smugly, overtly misogynistic mainstream movie I’ve seen in a long time. May our inner fourteen year olds cheer. I mean, there’s definitely an audience for this. The anti-PC crowd will eat up every utterance of “bitch” or “ho”, every sexed up costume and variation on “women be crazy“. I already know from the audience I saw it with that women getting punched in the face at the drop of a dime is just delightful. Your faith in humanity will not be well served by Suicide Squad audiences, but that’s nothing unusual. More than the overall quality of the movie, I was surprised by the misogyny. I like David Ayer. FuryEnd of Watch, and Training Day are all fantastic films. But his aesthetic is “street” and here it is the kind of street evoked by youtube gangsta rappers who are trying too hard. Likely, this is where the unaddressed misogyny comes from: it’s part of the assumed iconography of “street” culture where there’s men and there’s bitches or hos or bitch-hos. I think the script of Suicide Squad says a lot about what he and the other creatives for the DC movieverse think about the fans of these stories and characters, though. I think instead of whining to critics (or threatening them) or trying to sue because Joker isn’t in the movie enough, these fanboys ought to vote with their dollars (and their attention) and give WB a reason to stop hiring people who think so little of them. Of all of us, really.

Anyway, yeah, Suicide Squad is really bad. Is it worse than Batman vs. Superman? I don’t know. Do you compare dogshit to catshit very often? They’re two of the worst superhero movies in recent memory, I can tell you that much. And yet. And yet, Suicide Squad is also a fascinating watch. I was never bored. Very much like the first viewing of a Michael Bay Transformers movie, I was kind of transfixed (and yes, entertained) by what I was seeing and hearing. Sometimes I could not believe the movie and other times I was almost on the hook for a heroic moment or a badass line. I think it’s fair to say I was never “with” this movie, and my enjoyment was almost always at its expense. This movie might have had something, but it’s like watching Jared Leto play hot potato with himself for almost two hours. Or like an episode of The Venture Brothers that wasn’t trying to be a parody. Read the rest of this entry »

the-lego-movie-2-1

I like to think they are beholding me, tapping away at my keyboard and writing about them but the truth is far more horrifying.

I haven’t written a movie review in almost 2 months. Picking The Lego Movie to be the comeback review is a bit daunting since it’s liable to be one of the best films of 2014. It’s also one of the best all-ages films I’ve seen, even among all the other great ones that have been coming out lately. Is there a more consistently good subgenre right now? I doubt it.

The Lego Movie comes to us from Christopher Miller and Phil Lord (with almost a third director credit deserved by Chris McKay who will be doing the sequel). These guys not only gave the world Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, they also took what should have been a terrible idea with inevitably terrible execution, and made it work, when the took the jump to live-action with 21 Jump Street. One of that film’s major strengths was its self-awareness. Lego is no different. This is as self-aware as movies get. With respect to their other films, Lego maintains the Miller-Lord package of bedrock sweetness with coatings of absurdity, social commentary, industry wit, and strong characterizations.

I shit you not. Every time you sit back in your seat and think about how fucking crazy it is that Lego is lighting up your life, it pulls out some new stop that piles on a new layer of nuance, excitement, and meaning. Many have wanted to dismiss this as little more than another glitzy Hollywood toy commercial. It goes way beyond that, though, finding time to even comment on The Lego Group as a company, the philosophical underpinnings of what Lego can and does represent as a “toy” (both good and bad), and so on.

This is a movie where it’s perfectly okay to ignore one level of commentary whilst walking away enriched by another. You know how I spend tons of time ranting about a thing called the “Hero’s Journey” on this blog? Well Lego might just present the best skewering of the model that I’ve ever seen. But it does have something for everyone. Honest.

It has that much going on. And full disclosure, I’m a huge fucking Lego fan. This could be why it’s taken me a while to write this, as the urge to just gush like a motherfucker was more difficult to control when I first walked out of this. After seeing it a second time last weekend, I think we’re safe and ready for some actual analysis. If you’ve been skeptical of this up to now, I invite you to read the entire review even with spoilers as I’ll make a pretty good case for why you should get over your skepticism and make this the next thing you watch.

It’s been out for like a month but meh, here’s a SPOILER WARNING. Read the rest of this entry »

Batman and Bane are BFFs. Spoiler!

NO SERIOUSLY. I AM GOING TO SPOIL THIS MOVIE. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET (WHICH, WTF?) THEN STOP READING THIS NOW. Read the rest of this entry »

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