Suicide Squad (2016)

Suicide Squad
Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Based on: various comic characters
Cast: Will SmithMargot RobbieJay Hernandez, Jai CourtneyAdewale Akinnuoye-AgbajeCara Delevingne, Joel KinnamanKaren Fukuhara, Viola Davis, Jared Leto, Adam Beach, Ike Barinholtz, David Harbour, Jim Parrack, CommonScott Eastwood, Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck
Part of: DC movies
Seen on: 23.8.2016

Plot:
With the rise of superheroes and metahumans, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is convinced that the USAmerican government needs to fight back with metahumans that they control or they will be lost. She has come up with a plan to force a team of arrested metahumans in her employ in exchange for taking years of their sentence. When she stumbles on a way to control the archaeologist June Moon (Cara Delevingne) who was possessed by the millennia old Enchantress, Waller knows that with her, soldier Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) and metahuman Katana (Karen Fukuhara), she has a weapon strong enough to keep the involuntary team together. So she gets started with Floyd Lawton aka Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Chato Santana aka El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Slipknot (Adam Beach).

I really did not expect Suicide Squad to be any good, but it did manage to surprise me in the many ways it wasn’t good. Yet, I admit that there was a kind of hypnotic “can’t look away from this train wreck” vibe about it, and every once in a while it really did strike gold. So, I guess, I’m giving this film a more positive review than I thought I would? [Which is not to be confused with me saying that it’s any good.]

suicidesquad Continue reading

Re-Watch: Independence Day (1996)

Independence Day aka ID4
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writer: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich
Cast: Will SmithBill PullmanJeff GoldblumMary McDonnellJudd HirschRobert LoggiaRandy QuaidMargaret ColinVivica A. FoxJames RebhornHarvey FiersteinAdam BaldwinBrent SpinerJames Duval
Seen on: 4.8.2016

Plot:
Satellites pick up a strange signal from outer space and soon huge spaceships arrive and position themselves around the earth in strategic points. Communications expert David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) is convinced that the aliens will attack and tries to get in touch with the President of the USA (Bill Pullman). Since the two of them don’t have the best history, this is easier said than done. When counterforces are finally mobilized – led by people like Airforce Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) – the aliens turn out to be near invincible. What is needed now is creative problem solving and everybody working together.

I was 11 when Independence Day came out and I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the film since, though it had been years that I’d seen it. After the catastrophe of the new film, I decided that a re-watch was in order to wash away the bitter aftertaste. An excellent decision, as ID4 is still an entertaining bit of popcorn cinema, even after all these years.

independenceday

Continue reading

Concussion (2015)

Concussion
Director: Peter Landesman
Writer: Peter Landesman
Based on: Jeanne Marie Laskas‘ article Game Brain
Cast: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Morse, Arliss Howard, Mike O’Malley, Eddie Marsan, Hill Harper, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Stephen Moyer, Richard T. Jones, Paul Reiser, Luke Wilson
Seen on: 22.2.2016

Plot:
Dr. Bennett Omalu (Will Smith) is a pathologist, specialized in neuropathology. He works in Pittsburgh where he is known for being thorough but maybe also a little strange. One day, a former football player’s body – Mike Webster (David Morse) – comes to Omalu. As he conducts his autopsy, Omalu is more and more intrigued by the case: Webster went from fame and glory to absolute destitution, apparent psychosis and suicide in only a short amount of time. And Omalu suspects that brain damage is the reason for his behavior – damage that he got from playing football. But the NFL is not only not interested in hearing his concerns, they are trying to prevent him from finding out more about it.

Concussion tells an interesting story and it does tell it rather effectively. It is hampered by the fact though that it is a very recent story and that obviously they were trying very hard not to scratch too much at recent wounds.

Concussion Continue reading

Focus (2015)

Focus
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Writer: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Adrian Martinez, Gerald McRaney, Rodrigo Santoro, BD Wong
Seen on: 13.3.2015

Plot:
Nicky (Will Smith) is a con man in the second generation and in the game for a while, when he meets Jess (Margot Robbie). Jess is young, aspiring to be a con artist herself and trying to rip off Nicky. Nicky plays along for a while, but ultimately reveals himself. Jess asks for a lesson, they hit it off and team up, only for Nicky leaving Jess behind after their job is done. Years later they run into each other again – on opposite ends of another con job.

Focus was not a great film, but it was a thoroughly entertainign one. I like con/heist stories, even if the cons here weren’t awesome, and it was nice to have it paired up with a RomCom.

focus Continue reading

Winter’s Tale (2014)

Winter’s Tale
Director: Akiva Goldsman
Writer: Akiva Goldsman
Based on: Mark Helprin‘s novel
Cast: Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, William HurtJennifer Connelly, Kevin Corrigan, Matt Bomer, Lucy Griffiths, Scott GrimesKevin Durand, Graham Greene, Will Smith

Plot:
Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) didn’t have it easy in his life so far. He’s an orphan who didn’t go through the best part of the system and ended up living with and working for Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe) as a thief. When the two of them have a falling out, Peter runs, aided by a mysterious and magical horse, and ends up robbing Beverly Penn’s (Jessica Brown Findlay) place. But only until he sees her: Peter immediately falls for her. But Beverly is dying and only a miracle could save her. A miracle Peter might just have in himself.

I don’t think I read one good word about Winter’s Tale and I do understand why. The film has issues. But nevertheless I really enjoyed it, sometimes in the way the movie intended and sometimes laughing about the film.

winterstale

Continue reading

After Earth (2013)

After Earth
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: Gary Whitta, M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: Jaden Smith, Will Smith, Sophie Okonedo, Zoë Kravitz

Plot:
A long time ago, humanity has left Earth and had to look for a different planet to live on. Unfortunately on their way to a safe space, they encountered the Ursas, vicious killing machines that can only see fear. And so a new special unit of soldiers was developed who were trained not to feel fear at all. Kitai (Jaden Smith) has been working hard to become one of them, just like his father Cypher (Will Smith), who is very renowned. But Kitai hasn’t managed yet to reign in his fear. But then circumstances have Kitai and Cypher stranded on the original Earth with an Ursa on the loose and since Cypher is injured, it rests with Kitai to seek help.

I was prepared for this movie to suck. A lot. I’ve only read bad reviews and I’m not a fan of Shyamalan anyways. But I do like Will Smith, so I decided to see it anyway. I packed alcohol and braced myself. And I was actually quite surprised by how not sucky the film turned out to be. Was it awesome? Well, no. But if you expect the worse, it does kinda suprise you in a positive way. I only took a sip of my vodka bottle.

afterearth

Continue reading

Men in Black III (2012)

Men in Black III
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writer: Etan Cohen
Based on: Lowell Cunningham‘s comic
Sequel to: Men in Black, Men in Black II
Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bill Hader, Emma Thompson, Will Arnett, Michael Chernus, Alice Eve, David Rasche

Plot:
Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), one of the most dangerous criminals in the universe, manages to escape from Lunar prison, where he was sent by Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) many years ago. With his mind set on revenge, he finds a way to travel back in time to 1969, where he kills Agent K before he can arrest Boris. That is not only tragic on a personal level, but puts the entire earth in jeopardy. Fortunately, Agent J (Will Smith) somehow still remembers K and travels back in time, too, to save his then young partner (Josh Brolin).

I did not have very high hopes for this film, but it turns out that it is actually quite nice. While it is not quite as good as the first film, it has its heart in the right place, it’s entertaining and it manages to steer clear of the sexism that ruined the second one. I’d say that’s a win.

Continue reading

Re-Watch: Men in Black II (2002)

Men in Black II
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writer: Robert Gordon, Barry Fanaro
Based on: Lowell Cunningham‘s comic
Sequel to: Men in Black
Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Rip Torn, Tony Shalhoub

Plot:
Many years ago, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) hid the light of Zartha from the Kylothians. But now K is retired, his memory is wiped and the Kylothians, headed by Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), threaten to destroy the earth if they don’t get the light. So Agent J (Will Smith) gets K back from retirement and together they try to find K’s memory and save the world.

I remembered that the second film wasn’t as good as the first one, but I still liked it. That is, until this re-watch. They sucked the fun out of the premise, replaced it with sexism and hoped that nobody would notice. Unfortunately, I did.

Continue reading

Re-Watch: Men in Black (1997)

Men in Black
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writer: Ed Solomon
Based on: Lowell Cunningham‘s comic
Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rip Torn, Tony Shalhoub

Plot:
James (Will Smith) is a young and very talented police officer who catches the eye of the Men in Black – a secret government organization charged with dealing with alien life on earth – when he almost arrests an alien. One of the Men in Black, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) recruits James, now Agent J. And in just in time, too, so that the two of them can prevent the end of the world.

I don’t even know how many times I have seen this film. I watched it pretty regularly as a kid and then a little more irregularly as an adult. So of course there’s a whole lot of nostalgia and fond memories that I connect with this film. But even without that, it’s just an entertaining, creative and above all fun movie.

Continue reading

Seven Pounds (2008)

Seven Pounds, unfortunately, is pretty bad. I expected something along the lines of The Pursuit of Happiness, which was a sweet, well-acted tear-jerker. Unfortunately, what I got was a movie that was so illogical and predictable that all the emotion was drained right out of it. A good cast absolutely wasted.

Plot:
Ben Thomas wants to atone. Therefore, he looks for seven complete strangers and changes their lives for the better. But why does he do it and how does he do it? Guess.

seven-pounds-poster

[SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS]

Continue reading