You may have noticed that for a few months not I’ve not been able to do any reviews for films currently in cinema. In fact, the last film I even got to see in a cinema was In The Heights way back in June. Why? Because I live in Australia and I live in a state that’s had such a bad covid infestation that we’ve been in lockdown for over 2 months.
Obviously “Hobbyist reviewer can’t see films in a cinema” is a problem worthy of the tiniest violin in the grand scheme of things but it’s still the reason why I’m about a month late seeing The Suicide Squad and why films like Candyman, Shang Chi, Respect and Free Guy haven’t been reviewed here. If I can somehow rent them, or the lockdown ends soon, I hope to get to them but that’s why this blog is even more out of date than it normally is… but now I’ve seen The Suicide Squad, time to ramble on about how awesome it is.
The 2016 Suicide Squad movie is the definition of a mixed bag. It’s currently the 4th highest-earning film in the DCEU (or whatever the hell we’re calling the batch of DC films since Man of Steel) making almost $750million worldwide which is pretty impressive… it also has a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes right now and is getting a ‘sequel’ next year that will only be bringing back 4 of the actors and has the title THE Suicide Squad which, to me, sounds like they’re masking a reboot under the cover of a sequel. One of the few things that everyone could agree on about the original Suicide Squad movie was that Margot Robbie is an absolutely amazing Harley Quinn and should probably have her own movie. The catch is, Harley Quinn is just a little too insane to be trusted to finish a story on her own and maybe she should have a little bit of backup.
If I had to put a label on it, I’m what you might call a leftist, I believe in a lot of left-wing causes, particularly in regards to things like LGBTQIA+ rights and the rights of other minority groups and like all good left-wingers I hate Fox News. I hate them, I hate everything about them. I really hate Rupert Murdoch and have since before he scarpered off to become a US citizen and help to change the news landscape forever by taking what he had already done with the Australian and British news media and turned it up to 11. Why am I opening with this? Simple, I need you to know my biases before we go on. I need you to be aware of where my head was when I walked into this movie. I always do my best to walk in with an open mind on just about everything I review but there are times when I know there’s a bias that will in some way alter my judgement. Being impartial in regards to a film is a pipe dream anyway, there is no such thing as an impartial review. If you want a review that doesn’t in some way reflect the politics and beliefs of the author… well, you don’t actually want a review, what you want is a plot synopsis written by the studio itself. This film is a political film that deals with a political company and a political issue, therefore the viewers politics will shape on some level how you view the film and it would be a fools errand to pretend otherwise. Please note that this does not mean I want to be involved in a political debate, not only because I’m exhausted with those (It’s 2020, aren’t we all exhausted?) but because even if you somehow changed my mind right now that would not impact my mindset walking into this film which is why I’m bringing it up at all. I’d rather just get all that out in the open now so you can consider it when you read what follows and how much of it you feel would be relevant to you. Oh, one more tiny bit of bias… I’m sincerely happy that Roger Ailes is dead and by the time you finish watching this movie, you’ll probably feel the same way I do.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the 9th film by Quentin Tarantino, so possibly his second last if he keeps to the idea of retiring after 10. For this film, Quentin decided to ask one very simple question that would end up creating possibly the most controlled film of his incredible career… what if the Manson Family had gone to the house right next door to Sharon Tate instead. It’s another in Quentin’s series of “Historical Revisionism” movies, along with Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained but I think this might be the best version of that kind of story that Quentin’s ever done.
This year has only just begun and we have two historical epics revolving around queens. One of them was a slightly slow but none-the-less entertaining jaunt through the final years of a monarch, torn between her lesbian lovers that decided to portray their sexuality as a natural element of their lives without demonization of any kind. Then there’s one, where it would be fair to say that a veneer of progressivism that is undone by the use of one of the most horrible tropes that has been a part of the landscape for a while and because I can’t help myself. I’m going to rant about it a considerable amount once we’re through the basic positives and plotline stuff. Strap yourselves in kids; this one’s going to be a ride.
Directed by Simon Curtis Written by Frank Cottrell Boyce & Simon Vaughan Produced by DJ Films & Fox Searchlight Pictures Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Will Tilston & Kelly Macdonald
A few days ago I reviewed The Man Who Invented Christmas which took the story of how Charles Dickens wrote one of the most beloved stories of all time and intercut it with the very story he wrote to create a comedic exploration of how a writer creates his story. Goodbye Christopher Robin has a slightly different idea in mind… namely, it want’s to rip your still beating heart from your chest and make you suffer from a serious case of the feels.