Don’t Breathe

Horror films is not my go to when it comes to the big screen but the ratings were pretty high and the premise seemed a bit promising. Don’t Breathe is a tale of 3 young robbers who break into an old Iraq veteran who happens to be blind. Of course, there’s more and I’ll refrain from spoilers here.

 

One of the things I really appreciated was the simplicity of the story allowing the audience to be caught in the moment without all the boring exposition. And caught in the moment I was. I think I held my breath more than the leading cast held theirs. And there wasn’t any overt gore for the sake of shock value. Those things have their place but not in this movie. Just a pure white knuckled ride from beginning to end.
Stephen Lang (known for Colonel Miles in Avatar) is fantastic as the blind vet the poor hapless souls that decided to plunder his home. Having a Shakespearean background, Lang knew how to bring an incredible amount of intensity to a character that barely say any words.
Even though there isn’t much characterization for the leads opposite of Lang’s blind man, they, especially Jane Levy, are solid. Levy, who has her share of leading lady in the last pseudo remake Evil Dead, gets the most to work with and gives her character, Rocky, layers of nuance.
Director Fede Alveraz takes a subgenre of horror, the home invasion, and imbues it with possibilities. Coming off of a highly successful remake of Evil Dead, Fede is gaining steam in being recognized as a solid horror director among the likes of James Wan and Eli Roth. Now Don’t Breathe has taken over the box office from Suicide Squad and garnered a very positive review from professional critics and movie goers alike. All eyes are on him to see what he does next.
One of the main reasons why I shy from seeing horror flicks on the big screen was obnoxious young adults. They usually show up in these kind of movies. I’ve heard stories from friends who saw this movie express disdain over this very issue. But, I caved and decided to see it. Fortunately I was lucky this time and had a very good time. In my honest Noble opinion, Don’t Breathe is well worth it at the big screen.

 

Featured image with Stephen Lang and Dylan Minnete courtesy of Sony

Belated Short Summer Reviews

As the summer films roll out, I try to catch the movies on opening weekend. This way the reviews are fresh in case anyone were to see my perspective before seeing the movie. So here are some short reviews of the films I caught over the past couple months.

The Purge: Election Year
I waited to watch this movie because I wanted to see the first two beforehand. I enjoyed the first movie as it brought an interesting premise: The idea that once a year all crime is legal for a 12 hour period. There’s definitely a political undertone in the first films; Election Year is about politics. The story primarily follows a senator running for president who opposes the annual purge event. Apparently a lot of people don’t like that about her and use the annual purge as an oppurtunity to try and have her brutally murdered, legally of course. There’s two major problems that didn’t sell well for me as I watched through the movie. One, the heavy right-wing political angle is overbearing and that lost me. Even the addition of the evangelicals extremist was a bit much. Two, the girl who was going to kill to get her candy is one of the most annoying characters I have ever seen. Sorry for the spoilers here, but her death was extremely satisfying. Maybe that was the point. In my honest Noble opinion, I think The Purge needs to take a permanent hiatus.

The Angry Birds Movie
The ridiculous flinging birds app game gets its own movie adaptation. I must admit upon first hearing the release of this movie, I thought it was ridiculous. It still is, but that is the premise of the movie. The movie brings to memory, and a bit of nostalgia, of saturday morning cartoons like the Looney Tunes. Just a bunch of slapstick humor, and the kid in me couldn’t help but laugh. Sure it’s a kids movie, but sometimes it’s nice to feel like a kid again.

The Legend of Tarzan
Under the direction of David Yates (known for the last 4 Harry Potter films), Tarzan gets a gritty adaptation. The cast boasts incredible talents, with the likes of Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, and playing the title character, Alexander Skarsgard. The visuals are incredible and the action sets are quite entertaining, even with the heavy-handed CGI. However, Legend of Tarzan, it being Tarzan’s 49th adaptation, the story is utterly predictable. The film works as a blockbuster flick for those seeking some adventure but without leaving any impression. My honest Noble opinion, Legend of Tarzan is a decent film, but don’t expect much else.
The Shallows
Ever since Jaws, the first summer blockbuster, no summer season is complete without a shark movie. Ok, that may be untrue as there have been several summers without its shark antagonist. This summer, we find Blake Lively, whose character finds herself surfing at a secluded beach which is a feeding ground for a great white shark.
The Shallows find its strength in the simplicity of girl vs shark, nothing else. A very minimalistic B-movie with its focus on tension and simplicity. The cinematography is beautiful enough to make you want to visit the ocean, but the story may keep you from stepping into the waters. The Shallows is great fun, even at its short run-time of 87 minutes. That’s my honest Noble opinion.

Suicide Squad

The DCU snowball has been pushed down hill after Batman V Superman last March. Under harsh criticism and mixed fan reviews (you can read mine here @ https://nobleopinionblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/batman-v-superman-dawn-justice/) BvS managed to keep the franchise afloat with decent but underwhelming box office numbers. It’s interesting to note that after BvS, Suicide Squad went into some last-minute reshoots. Some speculated that was to correct some issues that may have come to light after they heard the fans and seeing the numbers fall. However, David Ayer stated that this theatrical cut at the theater was his directorial cut, so we’ll have to take every rumors and speculations with a grain of salt.

Already as the weekend ends, Suicide Squad is breaking box office records, but I say that would be due to incredible marketing. Like BvS, this supervillain team-up garnered harsh criticism from professional critics, but from the fans, it’s coming out as a better film. Who trusts critics anyways right?

After reading most people initial response after the movie, the general consensus seems to be pretty positive, but still say that Suicide Squad could be better. And after seeing it myself, I would agree. Before dissecting SS, I’ll say that. I did like it, and had a pretty good time. This is definitely an improvement upon BvS, and I think that has to do with Geoff Johns heading over the DCU franchise. In case you don’t know the name, he is credited with writing some of the best stories for DC in their comics. I’ve read a few of them myself and love his style so I’m excited to see what DC will bring in the near future.

First off, what stands out the most from this movie is the characters. The cast is perfect. Each hero…err… villains were given with incredible depth from the actors that they made me want more. Margot Robbie killed it as Harley Quinn. You can feel the divide between her humanity and her chaotic carelessness which hinges on her devoted love to her even more psychotic boyfriend the Joker. I can already hear the scrutiny the next actress will come under as she carries the mantle. When I went to comic con yesterday, I kid you not, just the walk from my car at the parking garage to the convention center alone I counted at least 10 Suicide Squad version of Harley Quinn.

Will Smith is outstanding as Deadshot. He brought back to memories as to why he once owned the summer blockbuster from the mid 90s to early 2000s.

Probably the character that most people are concerned about other than the big screen debut of Harley Quinn, is the Joker. Jared Leto has already established himself as a phenomenal actor, garnering a big oscar win for best supporting in Dallas Buyers Club. (A fantastic movie, btw). But to carry on what Heath Ledger did, and bring something different would be a feat in itself. In my opinion, Leto sold it. But comparing the two is like comparing bad apples and oranges. Both rotten fruits, but different. Ledger’s Joker is more on par with an anarchist, and Leto’s version is the lunatic birthed out of pure madness. Certainly looking forward to seeing more of Leto in future installments, most likely the upcoming solo Batman movie.

To be fair, every character/actor is worth mentioning but to list them and talk about them individually would keep me up for a few more hours. It’s worth noting that we are seeing b-level villains and characters given on-screen depth that makes me extremely interested to learn more and dive deeper into the DC mythology.

Now, where Suicide Squad struggles in is the narrative and the development of its key villain. At the beginning, the scenes feel very disjointed as we are introduced to each character and the purpose of the having a team of super-villains to perform some duty of good. And *warning spoilers*, the development of the key villain stems from a common former team member turned bad. “And here is this member, she’s part of the squad….oh never mind, she’s now the key villain”. But once the ball gets rolling and the action picks up, it’s very entertaining.

One of my big issue actually has nothing to do with the movie but with the marketing. They made it seem like the Joker is one of the key characters of the movie, and it turned out, he wasn’t. He was barely along for the ride except for a couple of key scenes and some Harley Quinn backstory scenes.

Small criticism aside, Suicide Squad is a very entertaining movie. Some may not like it with it having the moral ground being a bit grey. But, they are bad guys and they make it very clear their intentions to being baddies, some more than others. That’s my honest Noble opinion.

 

Featured image courtesy of Warner Brothers.