-Posted by Alyssa
Director: David Ayer
Cast: Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Will Smith, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Cara Delevingne, Joel Kinnaman
Suicide Squad had a monumental anticipation amongst fans. Unfortunately, its punk rock, neon bashing to the head is short-lived. “DC” should stand for “dud cinema.”
The villains become the vigilantes when they are called upon by rigid leader Amanda Waller (Davis) to complete a dangerous mission. Called the Suicide Squad, the crew is the worst of the worse and proves that the loose screws have the fun. There is Harley Quinn (Robbie), the lovesick psychiatrist and the Joker’s (Leto) main squeeze; Deadshot (Smith), a crazily accurate sniper with an 11-year-old daughter; Boomerang (Courtney), the Aussie with a fetish for pink unicorns; Diablo (Hernandez), a pyro with a flaring temper; Killer Croc, the reptilian muscle man who lurks in the sewers; and Katana who has lethal skills and a sword that stores its victims’ souls. At first, the chaos of being sprung from prison is enticing and the wild cards embrace their devilish ways. However after getting to know the plight of their loyal leader, the aptly named Rick Flag (Kinnaman), the bad guys ignore the seduction of freedom. Flag is in love with archeologist June Moore (Delevigne) who moonlights as an evil witch known as the Enchantress. Instead of nails, the baddies in this film eat foods that are rich in moral fiber and help Flag take down the Enchantress and reclaim his girlfriend.
The film is as messy as Harley Quinn’s mascara. Try as it may, Suicide Squad isn’t as edgy, irreverent, and daring as it needs to be. The dialogue lacks bite and the stakes feel ridiculously low. DC is timidly following in Marvel’s shadow with their tail in between their legs. Everything is too safe. The bad guys value friendship and acquire an ethic code worthy of the man of steel? No, thank you.
Director: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Cast: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christina Applegate
With the added pressure to be perfect all of the time, moms have a difficult time. They are condemned for not working or for working too much and for being too negligent or to present with their children. There is no way to always make the right choices, as evidenced in this easily likeable comedy.
Amy (Kunis) works really hard to make ends meet and ensure that her children have a healthy, productive life. She drives them to every practice and music lesson, makes them a nutritious lunch, and still manages to work extra hours as a manager of a hip coffee retailer. Things would be so much easier if her lazy, immature husband were to be a bit more involved. Unfortunately, that is not the case. In fact, Amy catches him having an affair with a much younger woman online. The extra bit of sugar that makes the cookie crumble is the overbearing PTA mom at her kids’ school, Gwendolyn (Applegate), who runs the school as a judgmental, eye-rolling dictator. You better make sure there isn’t any gluten, nuts, or wheat in the cookies for the bake sale! Fed up with all of the stress of being a good parent, Amy recruits fellow exhausted moms Kiki (Bell) and Carla (Hahn) in a vow to be “bad moms” – void of responsibility and indifferent to the consequences. At first, this breather is wonderful. Amy is able to have breakfast by herself and read the newspaper for the first time in 20 years. She even has the ambition to run against Gwendolyn as the PTA president. However, the novelty wears off when she realizes that she doesn’t do it all because she has to, it’s because she genuinely cares for her children.
Perfection is an unobtainable goal. Every character is relatable and human, making for an honest and authentic comedy that doesn’t go for cheap laughs. Furthermore, it doesn’t judge any of these hardworking mothers. It is a film that appeals to women and takes their roles as professionals and mothers seriously. In this contemporary world, it gives credit where it is unquestionably due.
-Posted by Alyssa
Cast: Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Devine
Release Date: July 8, 2016
A half-baked comedy, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates indulges in its characters’ selfishness and self-glorification. The film safely stays afloat on the surface without fully exploring the complexity of its characters. But it does have a solid cast, Zac Efron shirtless, and tropical beaches. Who needs substance when you have beauty, am I right?
They’re the life of the party, social gathering legends in their own minds. But Mike (Devine) and Dave (Efron) have their antics put to an end by the foot of their father who tells them to buck down and find sensible dates for their sister’s upcoming wedding. Cue the shocked emoticon face. In this digital age of Grinder, Tinder, and the less classy, Craigslist, Mike and Dave post a profile asking women to consider being their dates for an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii. Who could refuse? Certainly not white trash bad girls like Alice (Kendrick) and Tatiana (Plaza) who make themselves over into nice girls—the kind who play damsel in distress and wear Peter Pan collars. At first they are able to keep up the persona. They pretend they have respectable jobs and win over the family. However their true nature claws to escape and soon, they are tearing up the land in ATVs, getting frisky with Cousin Terry in the sauna, and popping Ecstasy with the bride-to-be.
The film strives to be more than just a #millennial’s raunchy comedy. It nobly attempts to give its characters depth and a coming-of-age arc. This does not succeed, nor do the characters become as interesting as they think they are. That being said, it’s a movie that can thank its entertaining factor to the very actors behind these characters. They have realistic and compatible chemistry and are clearly having the time of their lives. Many of the jokes fall flat, but there are some moments where you’ll unabashedly laugh out loud. The hip youngsters who see this film won’t regret it, but they also probably won’t make any memes. Overall, it’s not a complete success nor a total failure. Just like Flappy Bird.
-Posted by Alyssa
The franchise that keeps on jabbing delivers a sucker punch to the audience’s heart in the Italian Stallion’s final bow.
Rocky Balboa (Stallone) is officially retired from the ring after his brain-damaging stint against the Soviet’s lethal machine Ivan Drago. However, that doesn’t stop money-hungry managers from trying to get him back into the sport. Meanwhile, a young hopeful named Tommy Gunn (Morrison) begs Balboa to work as his mentor. This opportunity with Gunn is an opportunity to be involved in the profession that he so loves without risking any serious consequences. Not to mention it feels good to be relevant again considering that his brother-in-law Paulie (Young) caused the family to lose all of their money. Balboa is excited about his new protégée. They win match after match and prove to be a really strong team. The problem is Balboa’s mentorship with Gunn causes him to neglect his wife Adrian (Shire) and son Rocky Jr. (Stallone) who is going through a tough transition from riches to rags. This tense dynamic changes when a greedy manager with a fur coat (Gant) sinks his claws into Gunn. Having dollar signs in his bright eyes, Tommy develops the moniker “Machine,” has a beautiful woman on his arm, and buys a new car. With Gunn’s newfound fame and fortune, Balboa is left in the dust.
The steam is clearly running out in this franchise so the victory isn’t as meaningful. This is especially true considering that the opponent isn’t some war machine or smack-talking contender, but rather a person that Balboa genuinely cared about. I think this addition seemed to lose its eye on the prize. It also lost sight of the heart that makes this franchise so noteworthy in the history of cinema.
-Posted by Alyssa
Released when budding tensions between the U.S. and Russia were starting to unwind, Rocky IV is a fine successor to the original film, aiming for political resonance.
Rocky Balboa (Stallone) is officially retired from boxing and living a comfortable life with his wife Adrian (Shire), son Rocky Jr., and brother-in-law Paulie (Young). Rocky’s blissful life, however, quickly turns upside down. His former opponent turned confidant Apollo Creed (Weathers) declares that he is going to take on the seemingly unbeatable Ivan Drago who is just as robotic as the robot Paulie received as a gift for his birthday. Creed is feeling inadequate and unmemorable due to his losses. Rocky is going out on top, but Creed is still aiming for some pride. He is hoping that a match with Drago will make him feel deserving of a legacy. The tension building to this match is so thick that you couldn’t cut it with a knife. Everyone is trying to convince Creed to back off from the fight, but he refuses. He is looking for the honor that he lost when Rocky took the title of the top heavyweight fighter. After the fight ends in tragedy, Rocky finds himself in a position where he must weigh the family he loves against the sport that has become part of his being. Always the fighter, Rocky travels to Russia for a vengeance match against Drago.
I wish we could get all of our adversaries on our side with a mediocre speech, and the ability to punch someone in the face. Nevermind that a majority of the film is montage, Rocky IV quickly jabs at your heart with the loss of another iconic character from the franchise. The underdog aiming to succeed continues to be entertaining, even if the films don’t push themselves any further than pairing Rocky against some other opponent. This film is memorable for its timely relevance, adrenaline-pumping soundtrack, and intense final bout in the ring.
-Posted by Alyssa
Rocky can’t retire even if he wanted to. The same holds true for this franchise, which is still going strong.
Rocky Balboa (Stallone) is living in the glory of being the top heavyweight fighter in the world. He’s got a nice place, his face is plastered on the cover of magazines, and he has the luxury of doing charity bouts in the ring, just for fun. However, his cloud 9 vacancy gets a heavy dose of rain when the brutal savage Clubber Lang (Mr. T) challenges him to a fight that will determine who is the true heavyweight champion of the world. Lang’s savagery knows no bounds and for the first time, Rocky finds himself unable to get back on his feet. Feeling remorseful and defeated, Rocky has given up until his former adversary Apollo Creed (Weathers) shows an interest in the Italian Stallion. With Creed, Paulie (Young), and his wife Adrian (Shire) at his side, Rocky trains harder and builds endurance for his rematch against the vicious contender.
This film doesn’t stretch further in storyline than the first two films, aside from the loss of an iconic character. Even the workout montage seems like it’s lacking some muscle tone. While the film isn’t completely soft, you could see it losing some definition. The most exciting moment in the film is when Adrian finally grows a backbone. I wish Apollo Creed would have served some higher purpose than just pushing Rocky along. However, this is one part of an iconic franchise. This film won’t knock you out, but as part of cinematic history it is worthy of a viewing.
-Posted by Alyssa
The Italian Stallion is back for another bout in the ring. The pride of the fight is hard to stifle and it’s inevitable that Rocky’s passion will bring him to fulfill his destiny.
Rocky Balboa (Stallone) is feeling a bit lost after the split decision match with Apollo Creed. At first everything seems exciting. So much so that he buys a house, dog, and car all in the same day. However, the giddiness that came with the money from the match ends when reality comes knocking at his door. Rocky needs to get a regular Joe-shmo job if he wants to provide for his new wife Adrian (Shire) and the baby that she’s carrying. He tries his hand at working in the meat packing plant where his good friend Paulie (Young) works, but each slab of meat is a taunting reminder of what used to be. It’s a good thing he gets let go from that job or meat would have eventually ended up in pieces all over the floor. The urge to get back into the ring is driven further by Creed’s constant gloating and prodding. He wants to take on the Southpaw again and prove that their initial match was just a fluke. Soon Rocky discovers that he can’t run from who he is meant to be. With the help of his wily, grizzly trainer Mickey (Meredith), Rocky gets back into fighting shape for his revenge match with Apollo Creed. Cue the workout montage.
I may be an anomaly here, but I find this film to be more enjoyable than the first. This is in large part due to the fact that Stallone seems to have found his footing. His acting is more believable, the stakes are higher, and I can actually understand every word that Rocky says. This isn’t to take away from the first for its originality and machismo. Still Rocky II offers a fully-realized character who feels pain, needs to find self-redemption, and has obvious flaws and insecurities. It’s for this reason that Rocky finds a place in his audience’s hearts.