Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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I have taken a week to collect my thoughts about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and I'm still not completely sure where I sit when it comes to this film. However, I can say that I do not dislike it. There are plenty of elements that I didn't like, but there are just as many, if not more, that I actually really liked. I ended up falling squarely in the middle. I neither found this to be a terrible superhero flick akin to Fantastic Four, nor did I think it was a masterpiece in the realm of The Dark Knight. It falls somewhere in the middle. Much like the film itself, the characters portrayed are very divisive in my mind. Batman, as played by Ben Affleck, might just be my favourite take on the character, as he is almost exactly as I had pictured him when reading The Dark Knight Returns. He is grizzled, worn, desperate and vicious. However, he also kills people without hesitation, something that even early in the comics, when he used guns, he was torn on. I'm not against this interpretation, it is just something that will need to be explored more thoroughly in the future. Superman is also hit and miss, as he is the most true to the comics visually, and his god-like status creates a fascinating arc for the film, even if it isn't dealt with all that well. With Superman though, what is interesting about him, isn't his emotional depth as a character, for he is supposed to be the unwavering beacon of hope for humanity, and he is never supposed to lose his faith, but it is supposed to be the problems he is faced with that shape his stories. Here, he is a man who loses faith not in just himself, but in humankind, something that just doesn't fit with who he is in the comics. The story is actually very interesting. At least to begin with. Superman should be held accountable for his actions, even when there is no one that can pass that judgement on him. Batman believes that he is the only man who may be able to eliminate the alien threat, and chaos ensues. The only problem is that Zack Snyder has no idea how to pace a film. We saw that with Watchmen, and we definitely saw that with Man of Steel. The first act is fascinating, but is basically all dialogue, and I could feel the attention of the audience wavering. The second act attempts to alleviate this problem by throwing in dream sequences, and this only further alienated the audience. The final third is one big action sequence, a welcome change of pace, except that it completely abandons the storyline of the first two acts. The climax of the film isn't what you expect it to be and it suffers for the change of direction. I seriously do think that Zack Snyder might just be the best visual director of our time. His images can directly be seen as direct translation of the comics from the page to the screen. However, the fight scenes in this film, barring one Batman rescue sequence and the final fight that brings the heroes together, felt tired compared to other Snyder films such as Watchmen and Sucker Punch. With all of this said though, there are some great elements to the film. Visually, as mentioned, it is beautiful. The characters are interesting to watch and interact. Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman, was fascinating, as portrayed by Gal Gadot. Jesse Eisenberg played a bizarre version of Lex Luthor, but he was interesting nonetheless. I honestly didn't see some of the story elements coming, and I was thoroughly entertained throughout. In the end, I want to watch the movie again, and that is the key factor. I enjoyed my time with the film despite all of its flaws. I wouldn't put this up there with some of the best Marvel films such as Guardians of the Galaxy or Winter Soldier, but as an alternative to The Avengers, I welcome this dark direction they have taken. My solution to the problem: pair Zack Snyder up with Ben Affleck as co-directors. Allow Snyder to do the art direction and action sequences, while Affleck takes responsibility for the editing, performances and script. All in all though, I'm giving Batman v Superman 3 out of 5 stars. Worth a look, if only because Batman and Superman are on the screen together for the first time. Sorry for the long winded review, but leave your thoughts down below!
Eye in the Sky (2015 film) is an average film, not doing any one thing particularly well, but is elevated by a subject that needs to be talked about. Drone strikes are a terrifying reality, and their use is something that divides groups down the middle. This film doesn't try and take sides here, presenting strengths to either side of the argument, but feels weightless because of it. There is no style or substance to the film, with director Gavin Hood using the same angles and shots repeatedly throughout the film. He doesn't have to create drama, for the idea of a drone strike on a terrorist compound with civilians within distance to become casualties presents enough dramatic weight for all other elements to fall by the wayside. The acting is strong, with great performances from Aaron Paul, Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman, but none of them have to stretch, as the script gives them very little to work with. You can predict where the story is going mere minutes into the film, but there is undeniable tension throughout. This is an effective thriller because of the gravity of the situation, but there is nothing worth noting here. I wouldn't recommend paying to see this one, but it might be a good rent down the line. 3 out of 5 stars.
Song of the Sea is quite easily one of the most underrated films on Netflix, and one which you should watch at the first opportunity possible. You have never seen animation quite like this. Every frame looks like a painting, and the wonder doesn't wear off, even by the end of the 90 minute runtime. Song of the Sea is an Irish folk tale, simple in its story, but powerful in its execution. Going in knowing as little as possible will make this movie all that more wondrous, for the imagination in the film is striking. The music, the voice acting and once again, the incredible art, all add up to an incredible movie going experience. This is a must see film. Seek it out, curl up, shut off all the lights and electronics and bask in its beauty. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Submarine is the first feature film from writer, actor, director Richard Ayoade, and it is clear to see why he has continued to have success both behind and in front of the camera. This is a coming of age story unlike any other you've seen before. Some may call it too quirky, but I found the lead character relatable, with plenty of moments where I saw myself in the scenarios that Oliver found himself in. I rarely audibly laughed out loud, but that isn't to say that the movie isn't funny, it was just so absurd that I found myself with my jaw dropped, instead of rolling on the floor. Oliver is in love with a girl in his class, but winning her over, while trying to get his parents to fall back in love proves quite a challenge. Ayoade has a lot to say with this film, and with a strong soundtrack, visual style and script, I can highly recommend Submarine. If you enjoy this, I also recommend checking out his second film, The Double, starring Jesse Eisenberg. Submarine: 4 out of 5 stars.