Posts Tagged ‘viola davis’

SUICIDE SQUAD

Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) wants to put together a group of criminals for a secret mission.  Deadshot (Will Smith) is a hitman, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) was a psychiatrist, who went crazy treating the Joker. (Jared Leto) Killer Croc,(Adewale Akinnuoye  Agbage) some kind of hybrid between a human and a crocodile.  Diablo, (Jay Hernandez) a man who can conjure fire instantly.  June Moone, (Cara Delveigne) an anthropologist, whose soul is occupied by a witch named Enchantress. Rick Flag, (Joel Kinnaman) June’s military boyfriend. George Harkness, an Australian criminal, serving a triple life sentence, and Katana, a female ninja avenging the death of her husband.  All these shady characters agree to this mission for time off their sentences, and Rick assumes he can control June, but Enchantress has her own ideas. What is the mission that the Suicide Squad agrees to?  Do they succeed?

The difference between a great superhero film, and a run of the mill superhero film are numerous.  In a great superhero film, the protagonist well-drawn, and sympathetic, the viewer wants this character to succeed.  In a great superhero film, the storyline becomes about much more than who wins or who loses, it becomes about larger themes like the nature of man.  In a great superhero film, the climax fit the rest of the story, and the viewer feels thrilled, and awaits the ending.  Suicide Squad is not a great superhero film, the characters are paper thin, the plot inches along looking for excitement, and finds none, the climax is as exciting as a shrug of the shoulders, and the ending is routine.  The movie needed a lot more backstory for character development, and a deeper more exciting plot, but the viewer doesn’t get that. Combine a dull plot with bad acting and you’ve got this film.

Viola Davis is the best actor in this film.  She at least held my attention.  Will Smith is still trying desperately to regain the mojo that made him bankable box office in the mid 1990’s, but this film won’t do it.  His character at least has two dimensions most of the characters aren’t that well-developed. But Smith has lost that swagger from his early movies, and he hasn’t really replaced it with anything.  I liked Margot Robbie in the Wolf of Wall Street,  but she plays Harley Quinn like a total airhead. And her Aussie accent sneaks in once in a while. Jared Leto plays the Joker like a low rent Heath Ledger, it’s a pale imitation of Heath Ledger’s masterful performance, but Leto never makes it his own. Leto is a better actor than he shows in this role and that is a disappointment.  The other actors are not worth mentioning because the characters are so poorly drawn that these actors could not bring anything to them.

David Ayer is the director and writer of this film.  He wrote Training Day, so he is capable of writing a good film, but his writing is bad in this film,  and his direction is also poor.  The pacing of this film is very slow, it’s a long film that takes forever to get where its going and when it gets there, the viewer can’t help but wonder if that is all there was to the movie. He gets terrible performances and the special effects are underwhelming.

Suicide Squad: Killing the careers of its actors.

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Pictured: Denzel Washington (Troy Maxson)

Sanitation worker Troy Maxon (Denzel Washington) had dreams of becoming a baseball player, but that dream wasn’t available to an African American in the 1920‘s and 30’s, so he took the path most available to him, and married his wife Rose (Viola Davis) and set about raising his son, Cory. (Jovan Adepo) Life is far from easy for Troy, he feels pressure from his bosses because he wanted to be a driver and not someone who handled the refuse.  Cory wants to play football and Troy flatly denies giving him permission.  Troy’s older son, from another marriage, Lyons, (Russel Hornsby) is a musician, who Troy sees as a ne’er do well. Troy’s brother Gabriel (Mychelti Williamson) has suffered a brain injury in World War Two, and wanders the streets of Pittsburgh, talking to himself.  Troy feels guilty because he took Gabriel’s settlement from the military to buy his house.  There is a tenuous peace between all the disparate elements of Troy’s life, but then something happens to shake Troy’s family to the core.  What is it?  Does Troy’s family life ever return to the way it used to be?

Fences is the most honest and genuine working-class story I’ve seen in a long time, maybe ever.  It’s the story of a man, whose dreams have already been dashed, who is trying to eke out a living as a garbage man. That is a story of an average working man.  Troy wants better for his sons, but he doesn’t want them to take shortcuts.  Troy’s sons want to be like Troy, but different from him.  Troy struggles with his upbringing, his battle with his father, and his marriage.  If these aren’t universal issues that every family faces, I don’t know what is.  There are moments of happiness, but disaster is always on the razor’s edge. Even the characters have symbolic significance to them, Troy is the site of the Trojan War in the Iliad and there is certainly a war going on within Troy’s life. Gabriel, Troy’s brother, carries a trumpet, and thinks he is able to open the gates of Heaven, a reference to the Biblical angel Gabriel and his horn, made famous in African American spiritual songs. Rose is a sweet smelling flower, but watch her thorns. If anything, August Wilson’s screenplay peaks too soon, the last 25 minutes are anti-climactic, but until then the tension is palpable.

Denzel Washngton’s performance in Fences is nothing short of masterful.  Troy strides into everyone’s life like a colossus, and tries to control the actions of every character in the film.  Not every actor can handle the force of nature that Troy Maxon is.  Denzel did, and he did it superbly, he wasn’t screaming throughout, Washington modulates his character’s voice perfectly. There is no doubt that Denzel Washington deserved the Academy Award for best actor.  Viola Davis matches Washington, note for note, in an emotionally wrenching performance. Stephen Henderson is very good as Bono, Troy’s best friend. Jovan Adepo holds his own in scenes with Washington and Davis, not an easy thing to do.

The direction also by Washington has a few visual flourishes with good pacing and excellent performances throughout.

Fences:  Keeps on building.