By A.D. Beal
The Suicide Squad
Task Force X is sent on another mission, with members old and new. This time they are headed into the jungles of an island containing secrets that will change the life course for several of our beloved/hated characters. The Suicide Squad is the kind of comic book movie that is rarely seen. It wears its inspiration on its sleeve (classic war movie like The Dirty Dozen) while still carving its identity, thanks to its creator James Gunn’s mixture of humor and heart. The action is large and violent. Its mixture of practical and digital effects blending together so well while embracing the cartoonish nature of comics. The mixture of new and old characters brings to life what the film is really all about: lost souls finding their purpose. Polka-Dot Man and Ratcatcher 2 are clearly the standouts with their actors bringing to the screen the humanity and the pain of their pasts. Most of all, it’s a movie that’s confident in what it is and, in today’s big budget market, that’s a rarity.
The Green Knight
King Arthur’s nephew goes on a quest to fulfil a task from a mysterious plant-like figure. A film that requires a lot of patience, The Green Knight rewards those who commit to what it has going for it. Dev Patel’s performance walks the line between bravery and arrogance. He gives his character several layers of personality. The slow nature of the movie matches the tone, as each chapter is, in a way, its own little movie with a different tone and feeling. Sometimes it’s horror, sometimes dramatic, but it works. Each supporting character plays an equally important role in the overall story. Visually, it’s one of the most gorgeous movies you’ll see this year. The story seems to jump off the screen and come to life. A true work of art.
A group of tourists find themselves trapped on a beach that causes them to age rapidly. M. Night Shyamalan is one of our best thriller directors today and Old is a reminder of that. It’s an unusual movie, with performances that could be called stale and distracted. However, given the disorienting and frantic nature of the story, it’s appropriate. The fear of the situation is one where no one can act normal, whether by their own emotions or their own degradation. Shyamalan shows that through his script and Mike Gioulakis’ unique camerawork. The actors do an incredible job keeping their personalities consistent as they grow older, while still changing. You even buy into their sudden change in intelligence and speech. It’s not scary, but more a creepy film that effectively preys on your fears of aging.
Don’t Breathe 2
The Blind Man returns, taking care of an orphaned girl. When mysterious figures show up to take the girl, his true nature is revealed. Don’t Breathe 2 has an interesting idea, particularly when questioning the morals of each character you meet. The problem, as with many bad movies with cool ideas, is the execution. It is unable to commit to any of their characters being grey, whether in some forced “twist” or in a pathetic attempt to make you feel bad for them. This leads to one-dimensional characters and underwhelming performances. Even the usually great Stephen Lang seems bored. The movie seems more obsessed with being hardcore and gross rather than telling a good story. To be fair it is, but part of what made the first film a nice surprise was that it limited its gore. Rodo Sayagues is decent in his directorial debut, but not much of his work stands out from Fede Alvarez’s previous film. It’s a real disappointment.
• Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
• Mogul Mowgli (Limited)
• The Most Beautiful Boy in the World (Limited)
• We Need To Do Something (Limited)
• The Card Counter
• Dating & New York (Limited)
• Cry Macho
• The Eyes of Tammy Faye
• Blue Bayou
• The Nowhere Inn (Limited)
• Dear Evan Hansen