Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Since Disney took over the Star Wars franchise several years ago, they have made it their mission to churn out a new Star Wars films like sausages at a sausage factory. 2015’s “The Force Awakens” was a nice return to the Star Wars universe, even if it did seem like it was very similar to the original film. Of course if i’d just spend $4 billion dollars on something, I’d play it safe too.

While we wait for Episode VIII of the trilogy in 2017, we have a stand alone story to enjoy and thankfully it looks both original and good. Hopefully Disney continue to play things a little less safe with the franchise moving forward.

Suicide Squad Is A Narrative Mess

Growing up, Batman was, and still is, my favorite superhero character. I grew up loving films like Tim Burton’s Batman and even more recently Christopher Nolan’s interpretation of The Dark Knight trilogy. Superhero films are now the big studios cash cow when it comes to big budget blockbusters.

Over the last several years I have enjoyed Marvel extended universe series of films which has been built up slowly over numerous films, albeit with slowly diminishing returns but on the whole the films have been enjoyable

Sadly the same can’t be said for Warner Bros. extended universe. Since the completion of the Nolanverse films, it appears that Warner Bros. DC universe films appear to be nothing more than an out of control ship without a captain.

2013’s Man Of Steel to me was a dour bastardization of the Superman character that felt more like style over substance. Earlier this year, the sequel Batman Vs.Superman: Dawn Of Justice, was a slight improvement over Man Of Steel, but still was a style over substance exercise with no real characterization. I like the fact that DC are using a darker tone in their universe, but what I don’t like are films with all spectacle and no real coherent story.

So with massively lowered expectations, I went out last night to see Warner Bros. latest entry in their DC Comics universe, Suicide Squad. At thirty-nine, I find that I’m getting to an age where a constant barrage of noise and effects combined with a minimal plot is really becoming a bore on my cinema going journeys, which is why I find myself enjoying more moderate budget character based films that would have been considered big budget films twenty years ago.

Suicide Squad is a new low in Warner Bros. franchise. Apart from an moderately entertaining opening twenty minutes of character introductions, the film descends quickly into a noisy mess that makes as much sense as Chinese algebra with a villain who is possibly the most laughably awful villain I’ve seen in any film in a long time.

Margot Robbie is the one highlight in her characterization of Harley Quinn, so it’s just a shame that David Ayer has lowered the character to nothing more than an overly sexualized object. The less said about the Joker, the better. Jared Leto’s version of the Joker is the worst version of the character I’ve seen put on film.

Deadshot, the Will Smith character makes a wry comment about a massive trash pile swirling around downtown. A pile of trash pretty much sums up my feelings about the film as well.

The New Kong Film Looks Impressive

With this years Comic-Con, studios have again brought out their big guns to show ravenous nerds their latest creations. Among all the Marvel and DC reveals, Warner Bros. revealed the latest trailer from one of their other franchises, Kong: Skull Island.

While I’ve always taken trailers for big budget films with a large pinch of salt, due them only delivering on the rare occasion. This trailer for Kong: Skull Island looks genuinely impressive with it’s 1970’s Apocalypse Now feel. The only downside I can see to this is Samuel L. Jackson playing the same role he’s played in every other filmhe’s been in. Roll on 2017.

A Much Better Star Trek Beyond Trailer

Several months ago Paramount released a very underwhelming teaser trailer for the new Star Trek film. Thankfully, the second trailer is the complete opposite which now has me excited to see this new film again. Hopefully the film lives up to it’s this second trailer.

We’re Being Saved From A Lot Of Commercials.

Over the last decade my viewing habits have changed. First it was my general avoidance of commercial television in favor of pay television due to the lack of original scripted television an overload of reality nonsense and multitude of commercials.

Of course times change, and while I still have my pay TV subscription for things like sport, films and premium drama, I find that streaming services like Netflix and Stan are getting more and more of my viewing time. Based on subscription numbers, a lot of other people are too.

An interesting article has been presented over at cord cutters which has done some basic math and worked out that Netflix viewers are missing out on 160 hours of commercials per year. That’s a lot of worthless viewing we can put towards watching something more worthwhile. No wonder commercial television is struggling.




Revisiting “A Good Year”

Recently, I was given a generous google play gift card for a gift, so I thought I would buy a few films from their store. Normally, I don’t buy films via digital distribution as I prefer to buy higher quality editions on bluray as I am a stickler for presentation over convenience. Of course, the scale of economics being what they are in this modern world, more and more films are -sadly – being released on digital format with nary a physical release in sight.

This is of course, the future and I’m aware that one day this will be the only way I shall be able to consume films, until then, physical media, at least for me will rule supreme. With those thoughts in mind I decided that I would limit any movies that I purchase via digital distribution to films that weren’t available on bluray disc. Surprisingly, there were a lot of titles I would love to add to my collection that aren’t available on physical media.

Among the titles I decided to spend the very much appreciated gift card on was Ridley Scott’s  charming, yet critically and financially derided 2006 film “A Good Year”. I remember seeing this at the cinema upon release and enjoying it immensely. Now ten years have passed since my last experience with this film and I can categorically say that the film, for me at least, has aged very well.

While there is no doubt that that the film is twee and it borrows heavily from other films of the genre, it never fails to outstay its welcome and there is certainly nothing wrong with an overly sentimental film whose message is one of happiness. In the intervening ten years since “A Good Year” was released, the financial world has changed immensely, so in this jaded post GFC world we live in this is a wonderful departure. All in all I’m happy with this digital release, it looks quite good, but I most certainly upgrade to a bluray release if one is forthcoming from 20th Century Fox.