Why We Need More Movies Like Suicide Squad

I know what you’re thinking, #SuicideSquad was a heaping piece of s#!t. Why on earth would we need more movies like it? Well, I try to view every failure as a lesson learned. I think we’re reaching a point where people might actually stop to think, “should I spend my hard earned money to watch another superhero movie? The last ones weren’t very good….this ones probably no different.” This happened in the 90’s after Joel Schumacher nearly killed off Batman for good. And then we finally got the hero we deserved. Thank you Christopher Nolan!

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It’s now the second weekend Suicide Squad has been out and it’s seeing a huge 67% drop in box office numbers. Hurray! People are learning. The only way studio execs will learn is if you hit em’ where it hurts…..their wallets of course! Now that’s not to say that with these box office numbers, we’re not going to see more from the DC Universe. Several projects are already in the works. Hopefully we’ll see the origins of Harley Quinn’s short shorts in the next installment. Every thirteen year old boy will be watching this over and over again.

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What else can we learn from Suicide Squad? Well, how about not trying to pander to the audience and actually stand behind your creative vision? Apparently there were several successful test screenings. How reliable are these people?

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Are you just saying these things because you want free tickets and to be invited to more test screenings? Do you have eyes and ears? There were times during the film where I felt uncomfortable. The lack of character development is offensive. All I got from Diablo was that he spanks his wifes @## at the dinner table in front of his kids and says esé alot. After meeting the squad for one day, all of a sudden their his “family”. And apparently all Killer Croc wants is BET in his prison cell. HA HA HA HA HA!

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And yes, I arranged a lot of knives in my living room in a circular pattern just so that I can look cool laughing while the camera pans out to some top 40 music.

Another lesson we can learn is that there are no quick fixes. According to Cinemablend.com, Warner Bros. spent millions on reshoots after audiences complained about Batman Vs. Superman’s darker tone. They wanted “fun character moments and interactions.” Yes, that should do the trick. Let’s add some funny one liners throughout the film. Genius!

I recently read Cillian Murphy’s comments about superhero movies in an article by Vulture. He made reference to how Nolan’s vision of Batman was grounded in relatable reality.

” It’s a slightly heightened level of storytelling, where New York is Gotham, and no one did anything magical. Batman in his movies just did a lot of pushups…” Cillian said.

He also made a great analogy between superhero movies now and the joke they’ve become.

“I reckon they’re going to make a movie of Rice Krispies starring Snap, Crackle, and Pop,” Murphy said with a laugh. “I’m hoping to play Crackle.”

“I’ll play Pop,” Dornan said.

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Snap Crackle and Pop is set to hit movie theaters near you in 2018.

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If you agree with my comments or you think I’m crazy, let me know! Tweet me @terryjamestyler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Double Poster

Film Review: The Double (2013)

This is the second doppelganger film I’ve reviewed this year; the first being Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy. I think I may have an obsession and secret adoration for this kind of subject matter. Maybe I’m unconsciously drawn to these stories because of my struggle to find myself. Maybe those idiosyncrasies I attribute to myself aren’t so special or unique. Whatever it may be, I’m convinced that Richard Ayoade’s The Double is unique despite its recycled premise. The film is based off Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel of the same name. Even Dostoyevsky himself was influenced by Nikolai Gogol. I doubt that there are any original ideas anymore. Everything is just an interpretation of pre-existing work.

Nevertheless, The Double is a refreshing and auspicious film. Jessie Eisenberg plays Simon James, a quiet introvert who is dismissed by practically everyone he meets. We first encounter Simon on his way to work. A man tells Simon that he is in his seat even though the entire train is utterly empty. Soon after vacating the man’s seat, he spots his co-worker Hannah (Mia Wasikowska). Simon tries to exit the train but, a man stacking boxes is inconveniently in the way. If that’s not enough, Simon’s briefcase gets caught in the train doors. And so, with the opening scene, the tone is set for the rest of the film.

Individuality

I recently read an essay on Dostoevsky’s use of projection. Richard J. Rosenthal made an excellent case for the use of projection in The Double. Projection is a mental mechanism whereby aspects of the self are projected onto others.  In Simon’s case, he uses projection as a self defense mechanism. He attempts to rid himself of unacceptable impulses and aspects of the self by externalizing them to the people and the environment around him. The excessive use of projective mechanisms leaves him internally depleted and more susceptible to his external environment. Quite literally, Simon James encounters a projection of himself; the mirror image of his self, James Simon.

James is everything Simon’s not. He’s extroverted, aggressive, and charismatic. The only thing they share in common is their appearance. James even wears the same dingy, oversized suit. At their workplace however, no one seems to see the resemblance. This aspect of the story demonstrates the second underlying message, existentialism.

“There’s no such thing as special people. Only people”

One of the central concepts of existentialism is the notion that existence precedes essence. People are individuals with a conscience. They create their own values and find a meaning for their own life. Simon James does not possess facticity nor transcendence. He does not exist within the system although he proclaims that he’s worked there for seven years. His existence is defined by the system.

“I’m like Pinocchio, I’m a wooden boy. Not a real boy.”

The Double is a film that can probably be interpreted in many different ways. Perhaps the notion of the Absurd may be attributed to this story. There is no meaning except for the one we give. Needless to say, it’s a film that stands on its own. There aren’t too many films like this. It’s pretty unique.

“There aren’t too many of you, are there Simon?”

Simon replies,

“I’d like to think I’m pretty unique.”

Film Review: Wuthering Heights (2009)

In recent years and in many of today’s most popular television series, the “anti-hero” has gained precedence. Before Walter White and Don Draper, there was a fellow who brought unrest to the English moors. Heathcliff and his brooding, dark demeanor is Emily Bronte’s contribution to the “anti-hero”. Written under her pseudonym Ellis Bell, Bronte’s Wurthering Heights rattled societal conventions and roused controversy and criticism. A “dark skinned gypsy” falls in love with Catherine Earnshaw, a woman of noble standing.

In the PBS Masterpiece Classic, Tom Hardy plays the role of Heathcliff. His portrayal is ominous, seductive, and brutish. One of the main reasons I enjoyed this version so much was because of Hardy’s performance. He was able to capture Heathcliff’s inner torment and demonstrates the destructive forces of his obsessive love for Catherine.

“You said I killed you. Haunt me, then. Be with me always. Take any form. Drive me mad, but don’t leave me in the abyss, where I cannot find you. I cannot live without my life. I cannot live without my soul.”

Mr. Earnshaw encounters a homeless boy on a trip to Liverpool. He adopts this boy and names him Heathcliff. Heathcliff joins Hindley and Catherine; Mr. Earnshaw’s other children. From the onset, Hindley senses his father’s affection for Heathcliff and becomes bitterly jealous.

“Your own father brought me home because he wanted a son that he could love.”

After acquiring Wuthering Heights from his father’s passing, Hindley demotes Heathcliff to a common labourer. Heathcliff vows to take his revenge against Hindley. Catherine even ponders whether or not his true passion is hate rather than love. She further questions Heathcliff’s thirst for vengeance by stating God’s role in punishing wicked people. To which Heathcliff replies, “No. He shall not the satisfaction that I shall.” Heathcliff disregards the lives of others. He is inconsiderate of the effects of his actions. In contrast, Catherine is very much the same. She even professes, “I am Heathcliff.”

Catherine marries Edgar Linton to acquire social recognition. In response, Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights to obtain a fortune of his own. He returns to the English moors as a gentleman and to settle his accounts with all who have wronged him. His new status attracts the attention of Edgar’s sister Isabelle. Heathcliff embrace’s this romance in order to spite Catherine. The young lover’s commit offences against one another. Their love is destructive. It consumes them and everyone around them. The effects of their love had left Catherine weak and weary. She passes away and leaves Heathcliff to “writhe in the torments of hell.”

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Heathcliff sought to right all wrongs, to hurt those who hurt him, and in doing so, he lost the one he loved. The heart of this romance is brought to life by Hardy and Riley. It’s worth mentioning that the on screen couple tied the knot after completing the film. Their chemistry is undeniable, and every moment they share on screen is enchanting.  As a viewer I felt privileged to see true love flourish before my eyes. Wuthering Heights is my favourite love story and the PBS film is my favourite interpretation thus far.