THE BAD: Some of these characters are completely throwaway. I'm looking at you Killer Croc with your horrible one liners. And one liners in general grated on me where you get the sense they were told to try to copy the Marvel formula. No DC! Do your own thing I beg of you!! That style competed with the movie the whole time where you just can sense that a darker movie was hiding under the surface that was probably the filmmakers' true vision. Unfortunately what we got was somewhere in between with emphasis from studio execs to try to be crowd pleasing. One final thing to add to this category would be that I wasn't really into Cara Delevigne's villain and as mentioned before didn't get to see nearly enough of Jared Leto's joker to decide how I felt about him. Obviously, you don't walk out of this movie feeling about him the way you did when you first saw Heath Ledger's take on the character.
FINAL VERDICT: Suicide Squad is flawed, but still enjoyable. My expectations were just a little too high. EMILY RATING: 6/10
About a year and a half ago a reboot was announced to a beloved series. Business as usual right? Not quite when the property being redone was Ghostbusters, one of the most popular boys club movies ever made and the cast that was announced for the new film gave the story a gender makeover. Ever since that announcement people have been analyzing, criticizing and arguing over the decision. Some just didn't want a reboot period when they had long been hoping for a sequel with the original cast, some took a misogynistic side and didn't think that women had a place in the ghostbusting world, and others just saw it as a gimmick. It seemed that few people were actually excited for it, and when the trailers were released it only got worse and more hateful hype ensued. For me personally, Ghostbusters was a big part of my childhood as my three brothers were obsessed with it, and I definitely have a fondness for it. I was in the camp of feeling that the original Ghostbusters was lightning in a bottle that even its own sequel couldn't quite duplicate and it was best not to touch it.
Bottom line: Ghostbusters the female edition is lackluster, but not really anything worth getting worked up over. It's clear it's standing on the shoulders of a classic and doesn't really have anything new or worthwhile to offer of its own to have it be remembered by anyone. EMILY RATING: 5/10
The Legend of Tarzan isn't an origin story, but more of a sequel to a story you've already heard of, or likely seen another iteration of. The story takes place after Tarzan of the jungle has been civilized and has chosen to settle down in England under his birth name John Clayton the III, with his beloved wife Jane. Tarzan is enticed back to Africa for....reasons. Mostly because a convoluted plot wants him back there to help free slaves while other characters have nefarious intentions toward him, so back to the jungle he will go. Instead of a story of how he came to be, we're treated to his history in glimpses and stories told by Jane. However, soon after their arrival, Jane is kidnapped to bait Tarzan into...more plot contrivances. Does anyone really care? The plot here is all over the place, yet somehow, unlike other brainless blockbusters, I easily forgave this one.
The beautiful and likable cast are one thing, but there was just something really refreshing about this silly movie to me in the midst of a pretty crappy summer. I appreciated the style of the film; we don't have nearly enough old-timey adventure flicks anymore. There was something endearing about the flashbacks, and I almost wished we could have had an origin film since they were done so well....though I also felt that the "Hook approach" to coming back after the real story happened worked fine enough (much better than say Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.) There's some blandness to the proceedings and some uneven humor, but still somehow I just really managed to have a fun time with this film. Tarzan is almost godly with his powers and what he's able to do, and it's fun, if not ridiculous to watch. He is the Aquaman of the jungle if you will. Tarzan is kind of a hot mess (both the character and the movie hehe,) but honestly, I couldn't hate it. If I was blinded by Alexander's abs, please forgive me. EMILY RATING: 6.5/10
In Resurgence, 20 years have passed since the events of Independence Day. The world has lived in peace all this time and advanced far in technology after learning from all the junk the aliens left behind (and yet, a 90s computer was able to beat those aliens with a virus...makes sense.) Now, a new president is faced with a tough decision when an unknown spacecraft appears to be a threat to earth and from there an incomprehensible and stupid story begins to unfold. Plot specifics aren't necessary here because there's really not much to this film besides aliens attack earth...again. But surely it can't be that bad right? Wrong. The characters here are all essentially cardboard cut-outs and everything is lifeless. I was bored out of my mind during this movie. Watching every battle scene I felt I might as well be watching a video game as there was absolutely no suspense for any peril that any character faced. I could go more in depth on the ranting if I wanted to, but frankly it's not worth the energy. EMILY RATING: 1.5/10
It's kind of fitting that the character who Finding Dory centers around suffers from short-term memory loss since her movie is so darn forgettable. Wait now, Emily. Surely you can't be talking about the long-awaited sequel to the beloved Pixar classic Finding Nemo. That movie has 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. You must have seen a different movie. Perhaps I did because I must say upfront that I'm finding the overwhelming love to this film to be both surprising and confusing. As I'm the minority on this issue, I'm sure those expecting to love this movie still will....but let me address some of the good and the bad.
"Let's have Dory speak whale again. Everyone loved that the first time." - An example of the ideas coming out of the pitch room for Dory.
The first Conjuring was based on the case files of real-life ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren. These fictionalized subjects of real life people make a natural fit for a horror franchise to be built around because since they've been involved with a lot of crazy happenings, there's so much material to draw from. And that is exactly what James Wan did when coming up with a sequel; he combed through the creepiest stories to tell the best one he thought he could. The Conjuring 2 is all about a haunting in an apartment in Enfield, England by a crotchety old man. Early on, you wonder how dangerous he really is, since all he's using his powers for is to change the channel on the telly to the program he wants to watch. Seems like a regular old codger to me! Soon we find him to be more sinister with every incident that goes on, and outside help will be needed to put this family who has been haunted, back together.
James Wan is such a talented horror director. So many scenes play out so artfully and with purpose. It's like you can just see a master at work. Several times throughout the film moments just seem orchestrated to result in the perfect scare. That said, not all scares are created equal, and some definitely felt pretty throwaway, just to give the audience a jolt. There's nothing really wrong with that, but it's just the type of conditioning that makes general audiences feel like all horror movies need to be jumpy ones, instead of slow burners they can't appreciate like The Witch. Also regarding some of the scares, some of the CGI really felt out of place to me and took me out of the film. I appreciated the concept of what they were going for in two particular places, but I'm not sure they pulled it off completely effortlessly. The other thing about some of these ghosts is that they seem much more Insidious and much less Conjuring. Maybe Wan is trying to create a shared cinematic universe here, but I just would prefer some of the stylistic choices of ghosts and demons to stay with Insidious and not spread to everything else James Wan does.
But The Conjuring 2's strengths don't just lie with its director. Once again in its sequel, Ed and Lorraine Warren played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are terrific in their roles, and play off of each other incredibly well. Whenever they're not on screen in The Conjuring 2, you desperately want them to find their way to where the action is so they can be a part of it. The supporting cast is all solid as well, without a false note among the bunch. Frances O'Connor as the fear-stricken mother, and Madison Wolfe as the daughter Janet, who ends up being the most tormented of the lot, in particular give fine performances.
All in all, The Conjuring 2 is a good sequel. But there were just enough moments that had me thinking "this just isn't as flawless as the first." I wish I had had the chance to see it twice before I posted the review, because maybe my rating could move up a little bit...but on first impression I have to rate it with my gut. EMILY RATING: 7.5/10
Now for a film whose plot I can describe! Me Before You tells the story of Louisa Clark and how her life changes when she becomes the caretaker for the physically paralyzed Will Trainer. Though they get off on the wrong foot (I mean who doesn't these days?) they eventually cannot deny the sparks between them, and Louisa (Lu for short,) is determined to show bitter Will that life is worth living.
Mild vague spoilers in this paragraph: Also, as everyone deduced from watching this trailer, the film is intended to be a tearjerker, so a tragic ending shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone....but still the film's ending is a huge bummer. I won't say anything further about that or go into specifics but.... it was really certainly divisive. Now back to the trailer which I mentioned a moment ago. Another thing this film struggles to overcome is its trailer which showed way too much of the movie. If you've seen the trailer, unfortunately you know a cliff notes version of the film. That's not saying they showed all the best parts... there are plenty of great moments to discover in the film, there just isn't many surprises as to where the story will go next.
Go ahead buddy. Finish her off. It'll be fine.
Yes, critics are mixed, but I couldn't be more in love with this movie. This is exactly what I want from my comic book movies, as well as blockbusters: humor (not in the form of constant wisecracks,) character depth, and some risk. Oh, and it's pretty entertaining too. Long live the X-men franchise. Keep doing what you're doing. EMILY RATING: 9/10
Charlize Theron: "I can make $10 mil for 10 minutes of screentime? Okay cool, I'm in. And it *was* fun wearing all those costumes last time."
Chris Hemsworth: "I need another franchise to prove I'm the most profitable of the Avengers and everyone will take me more seriously. I'm not just a pretty face!"
Emily Blunt: "So I get to play a live action, evil version of Elsa? Cool! Everyone loves Frozen!"
Jessica Chastain: "You know....I really have always wanted to make out with Chris Hemworth..."