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Rating History

Suicide Squad
Suicide Squad (2016)
2 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

We get our third entry into the DC Cinematic Universe with the arrival of "Suicide Squad," the villain ensemble film that has been heavily watched and promoted for a little over a year now. Perhaps that is why it isn't getting the love most thought it would get, over hyped? Or is it that the DCCU is cursed, or is it that Warner Brothers can't make a jaw dropping superhero flick? Who knows, all I know, is that this movie was semi-satisfying, not mind blowing nerdgasm worthy.

I will start with the casting/acting, which was actually the strong suit of this entire film with all things considered. Will Smith (Deadshot), and Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) were the absolute highlights of this film. Smith took the role well, and did his best work in a while, really grasping that hatred and killer instinct that Deadshot truly is, while holding his emotions on reserve until needed. Robbie on the other hand 100% dove into the role of the infamous Harley, the psychotic girlfriend of the Clown Prince (Jared Leto) himself. She demonstrates her psychotic behavior from the opening sequence, and until the screen goes black. Her jokes, demeanor, and even screechy voice give you the Harley Quinn you've grown to love from the comics and animated series, and expected in this film. I want to quickly talk about Amanda Waller, portrayed by the very talented Viola Davis, who nails this role by the way. She's the ringleader, the no feelings bitch that sends the villains to their death to save the world, and if they fail, she will kill them all anyways. She shows no remorse, no love, nothing but cold blooded hatred for the "Suicide Squad" and evil throughout the world. Well done by her, was a great casting choice. Let's move on to the most infamous Batman villain and perhaps DC villain of all time, The Joker. This is the 3rd portrayal by an actor on the big screen, and even though you get about 15 minutes total of the Clown Prince chopped up in the entire film, I give Jared Leto a well done. It's really hard to completely judge Leto's performance, solely on the fact that he was rarely in it. People are judging him because it's a whacked out, modern twist on the iconic character. SO WHAT? Leto is known as one of the best method actors of our time. The guy totally embraces and becomes the character he is portraying. The whole time they shot this film, he never broke character once, even when the cameras stopped rolling. Here's how I put it; Nicholson was the original Clown Prince, Ledger was the Anarchist, Leto is the Gangster. That's it, hate it or love it, that is the way it is. You can't compare the three actors, they all have different takes on The Joker, and different scripts to accompany them. So bravo Leto, looking forward to seeing more of what you can do with The Joker in future DCCU films.

Now let's get into the part of the film that I think ruined it for me, well, not ruined it, but definitely made me dislike it more than I wanted to. But just for the record, it's not near as terrible as "BvS," that s**t was atrocious. David Ayer, a well known Director, who's done great work (Fury, End of Watch, Street Kings, Sabotage, and Harsh Times) all are on his resume. All are great films. I'm not sure what happened here, I don't know if Warner Brothers had their hands in the filming too deep or if he just wasn't completely comfortable with the superhero genre. It's not that it's full on horrible, it just made you lost. You're constantly trying to find yourself in the film considering it is very jumpy. One thing that works terribly with jumpy, is fast paced. This is that 100%, it's fast paced and jumpy. I get it, you have to explain a lot for the characters backgrounds while trying to establish a founded plot. That is hard, especially with so many characters. All things considered, if Ayer would've slowed it down a tad, took an extra 10 minutes even to explain some situations better, this would've turned out to be a better film. It's only 2 hours long, he could've afforded to slow it down a bit and explain some things. With what he did, he did give a good background of a couple of the main characters like Deadshot and Harley, which is fine, they are the two mains in the film anyways. Even Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnamon) deserved more, the dude is the non villain leader of the squad. Cmon man. The flashbacks mid battle and fight scenes were uncalled for, but definitely not as uncalled for as the music over playing the gunplay, that just seemed stupid to me. I'd rather hear the guns firing, people yelling and the dialogue then friggin' Skrillex and Rick Ross rapping. For shame.

It has its flaws, a decent amount. Overall it's a decent movie, not great, not "BvS" level of failure either though. I just wish DC would get one film right, they have so much potential to do amazing things. This film for me was one of the DC films that could make or break the universe, aside of "Justice League" next November. It's not completely Ayers fault, I am sure WB screwed some things up with all the reshoots they had a while back. Take it with a grain of salt I suppose, and hell, maybe it's one of those films where the more you watch it, the better it gets?? Just fast forward to "Wonder Woman" next year and let's get WB to stop interfering so much and MAYBE they'll put out a film that EVERYONE loves, whether you're a Marvel fanboy or DC fanboy. P.S. Don't blink during the opening sequence, or you'll miss a cameo that some comic fans will get hard over. 3/5 JD

Pitch Black
Pitch Black (2000)
3 months ago via Movies on iPad

I figured since "Riddick" comes out tonight, I'd weigh in my thoughts on the 2 previous films that made this one possible. "Pitch Black" was one of and still is a favorite of mine. It's a low budget horror/Sci-Fi film that is great, and launched Vin Diesel into stardom. He plays the infamous Richard B. Riddick, a serial killer that you cheer for. It's low budget like I said, but it's adrenaline packed, has great one-liners, and is still one of my favorites!! 4.5/5 JD

The Witch
The Witch (2016)
4 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Straight out of the gate I'm going to tell you all one thing, when it comes to horror films, I have a hard time watching them and reviewing them, mainly because it is hard to find a decent one these days. "The Witch" has had me interested since I saw the first trailer 8 months ago, it made me feel like something fresh was coming, something actually terrifying. So, just keep that in mind when you read this, they aren't my favorite cup of tea.

"The Witch," takes us to New England, in the 1630's. A family is getting banned from their village, no one knows why really, and is forced to move out into the wilderness, build a farm, and survive. That already gives you a dark feel for the film. It's the 1630's, you're new to the continent, and you just got booted out of your village. Probably because one of your 5 kids kicked the blacksmith's chicken or something. Time goes on and you see this family work together, to live and grow on their own, when all of a sudden, literally from underneath her nose, the oldest sister loses the baby brother. The Twin's blame their oldest sister for this, the parents think it's a wolf, and the boy also thinks it's a wolf. The truth is much more terrifying, and by the title you can guess what it is. I am not going to say much else, it's a horror film, bad things happen, weird things happen, gross things happen. I'm spoiler free, so you'll have to see for yourself. Just know that it isn't like today's horror, it's a massive slow burn that leads to 10 minutes of fruition that is as enjoyable as jump scares throughout a late 2000's horror film.

The film definitely makes you feel like you are living in this pilgrimage time, the scene are shot beautifully, and the costume designs are spot on. You get a sense of feeling what this family feels and goes through the entire time you watch this film. It's not a typical horror film, where left and right you get a jump scare, or gross out situations. There is definitely a few gross out situations, but nothing too crazy. This relies on cerebral horror, thought provoking, feelings horror. It makes you think what is the actual conclusion that is going to happen. You understand that after about 30 minutes in that this is going to lead up to a conclusion that you probably didn't expect or want to. But, it's that way, it's not predictable like most, it has its own way of terrifying you. Black magic, witchcraft, paganism, and then it tears you apart from the inside out. So bravo on that aspect of film.

Most aren't going to like this film because it's too much to handle in the sense they're trying to figure out what's going on, and that's ok, you just stick to your jump scare horror films. The star here I think lies on the shoulders of the oldest sister, played by 20 year old Anya Taylor-Joy. You feel her emotions with her and she expresses it well. In a film that's dark and dreary, she is equally so. She's a complex character that knows no bounds, and the final product is not what you'd think once the screen goes black. Great work Ms. Joy, I'm sure we will see you more in the future. That's not to take away from the other actors and actresses, they all do well without a doubt. So the acting isn't the issue here.

The issue may lie in the plot, it's slow. I understand why it is, and I get it. There could've been some things I would've done different, but it's not my film, so get over it JD. I just know most will say it was boring or lazy, or unfulfilling. It was, and it wasn't. But, overall, I truly did like it more than most horror films. It is something fresh, something new, and it worked all around for the most part. I do wish they would've explained the ending better, there is some unanswered questions I have. But, overall, it was decent, and is worth a watch. 3/5 JD

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
4 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Oh the turtles, a beloved franchise that has been around for decades. Not only on film, but where it all began, in the pages of comics. We return to the sewers of NYC, again with the TMNT trying to stop Shredder, this time from escaping prison. But, essentially a stronger and more dangerous foe will arrive, Krang. Not to make the franchise that has been rebooted better by any means, but to bring some more nostalgia to the feels.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows" is close to the original reboot as it comes to how good it is, but maybe slightly better? If so it would be solely of the facts that Shredder doesn't look like a Transformer anymore, or that Rocksteady & Bebop are in it, or Baxter Stockman, or Krang. I don't know, take your pick. It does feel better in a sense, and it took me nearly a week to write this review, and it benefits the film because now that I've had time to think about it, I feel better about the movie.

It's funny (childish funny), it has some decent action, the CGI has gotten better, but it still just lacks that love you felt for the old films. I get it, you'll never be able to duplicate those, and that's fine, but these two films have both felt "meh." I love them bringing in classic villains, henchman, that type of thing. But, your main villain the story is notorious for was basically exempt from the film. I think Shredder may have had 10 minutes of screen time? Divided up throughout the film, then, *spoiler alert* freezing him when it was just about to get action packed. Questionable writing there. The story was more or less the turtles fighting amongst themselves and learning about teamwork than them battling the bad guys and preparing for Krang's arrival. I don't know, kind of hit me a bit, in the wrong places.

Casting, here I have some issues as well. Don't get me wrong, I love Stephen Amell in "Arrow," especially when he uses he deep voice to cover his identity. But, he was an awful choice for Casey Jones, especially since he didn't use the deep voice. He in a sense "pussified" the character. When I think of Jones, I think dark, rugged, grimy, badass, rough around the edges kind of guy. Not clean cut, soft voice, whiny little bitch guy. Maybe it is writing, maybe it was just bad casting. Whatever the case, it failed. What didn't fail was the casting of Stephen Farrelly (Sheamus), and Gary Anthony Williams in he roles of Rocksteady & Bebop. These two knuckleheads embraced that persona of idiots with muscle. Shredder's dumbass henchman was probably the best part of the film, well done boys. Lastly, Tyler Perry as Baxter Stockman. Ugh, no one really likes Tyler Perry, and if you do, your taste in film sucks. He was about as annoying as I could take it in this film, and he didn't remind me at all of Baxter. I'm just going to say that when they turn him into a fly next film, he better figure some stuff out or it'll fail miserably.

I won't get into the plot much, there wasn't really one to begin with other than the fact Krang hires Shredder to get objects to complete a device to open the portal to Dimension X so Krang and his army can take over Earth. While that goes on, the boys argue amongst themselves and skirmish with the two idiots to prepare for the reckoning. It's predictable, yes, but you knew going into it that it would be. But, like I said, the action was decent, the CGI was better, and the nostalgia level was off the charts. That being said, it wasn't enough to save the film and send you home with butterflies in your belly. I'll give you one more shot Michael Bay, so the third film better be awesome. 3/5 JD

Captain America: Civil War
5 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

We have all felt the buildup of the events that are "Captain America: Civil War" over the past year. Between the trailers, photos, rumors, to the reveal of Spider-Man coming back to the MCU, to the addition to an "unknown" in Black Panther. The hype for this film couldn't have been greater, and it worried many, including myself, praying it would come out as good as I wanted it to. I can honestly say now after seeing it at the Thursday night showings, that Marvel couldn't have done a better job of bringing in The Russo Brothers to do this film, and set the tone for the forever changed Avengers and Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Let's start with the plot and writing, because with a film of this magnitude better have a plot that doesn't fail, unless the movie tile is "BvS." Sorry, I had to do it. You get the gist of what's going to happen, it's titled "Civil War" for Christ sakes. Iron Man and Captain America are at their differences, which could be seen building in the previous Avengers film. Stark thinks that the Avengers need to be put in check, to reduce collateral damage in their missions. Cap thinks differently, that they shouldn't have to be called to help people, that it is in their hands only. Ultimately, this leads to a battle between friends. There's so much more that goes on, a couple big plot twists towards the end to really raise the bar of the fight, but I won't reveal that since I'm always spoiler free. But, with so much going on in this film, it looked like there was no way it would come out ok and not a jumbled mess of super heroes. There was just enough introduction to the "teams" if you will, to make it ok enough to get by. Because let's be honest, we just wanted to see some action and turmoil between friends. The Russo Brothers who directed this and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" did a fantastic job. They bring a tone to Marvel films that isn't really the trademark for them, and it works. It's more political, not as cartoony, it's a tad darker and touches on deeper elements of emotion that most of the MCU films do. But, it works, and yes there is jokes of course, it wouldn't be right it they were absent, but just at a slower pace. It will be exciting to see where they take the "Infinity Wars" films with the more complex direction they're headed here.

No more messing around, let's talk Spidey. It's the moment all Marvel fans have been waiting for, the glorious return of Marvel's golden child, in the proper form, back to the MCU. I'll touch base on a few characters, but that's it, otherwise it would be the longest review ever. Tom Holland, teenage actor, brought in to fill Peter Parker's High School tennis shoes and web slinging "onesie." Over the years, I would've put money down on Tobey McGuire being the best Parker/Spider-Man we will see, until the MCU brought this kid in. He's everything you want from the role. Smart, funny, quick with his words, completely oblivious to the danger he's in when he is on a roll, and loveable. The future is bright for Spidey in the MCU, and it is because of the scene stealing web shooting Tom Holland, bravo kid, and welcome home. My personal favorite: Black Panther. A King driven by angst and revenge, and a complete badass all together. This is the stand alone films I'm probably looking forward to the most, and Chadwick Boseman, you definitely suit this role. Obviously Downey Jr., Evans, Johansson, Stan, Rudd, and everyone else are great, they wouldn't have the job still if they couldn't be great, so I won't get into detail about the whole cast.

Overall, I can't give it a perfect 5/5. I wish I could, but I can't, and it's not because I don't want to, it's because it wasn't perfect. It has its flaws. Some have said not enough action, too much dialogue. I say bogus. The only thing I think I don't like about the film was I was kind of expecting a major death of sorts. Which is fair I'd say, considering the novel, and the fact that if you die in the MCU you're not really dead (Coulson, Bucky, Loki). But, overall, it may be the best ensemble Marvel film to date, not overall, but ensemble film. It's neck and neck with "The Avengers." But, it's definitely in the top 3 overall I would say. Just seeing it all kind of come together makes a guy all giddy and warm inside. But, maybe I'm just a nerd. Looking forward to the upcoming Marvel films in the forthcoming years. Go see it, go see it twice, you know you want to. Just be ready for a whole lot of fun, and you wishing Spidey was in it more. 4.5/5 JD