David Ayer

Suicide Squad dies a slow, painfully disappointing death.

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More like an awkward dance than a ballroom blitz.

Watch the Suicide Squad trailer one more time. Do you feel that insane energy? Well, that same energy exuding from all the Suicide Squad trailers, posters, and marketing materials doesn’t exude from the feature film. All the hype, and true potential, of this anti-hero DC property has been damaged by over-bloated character introductions, weak villains, and a restrained take on some of the DC Universe’s most iconic psychopaths — looking at YOU, Joker! Suicide Squad could’ve been so much more, but unfortunately the DC film producers, again, trivialize a tremendous premise into an “extended trailer” for the Justice League movie, which is becoming less and less enticing with every preceding related release.

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Film Review: Fury

by Chad Liffmann on October 17, 2014

Aptly titled with a gutsy delivery.

The Furious Five

The Furious Five

It’s hard to imagine much originality stemming from any new or forthcoming World War II movies.  This was my thought back in 2009 before Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds was released, offering audiences a completely new vision of the second world war and delivering never-before-seen perspectives with style.  This isn’t to say that that film revitalized the genre, but it kinda did.  The newest World War II tale, Fury, starring Basterds alum Brad Pitt, offers a focus we haven’t seen much of (tank vs. tank battles), but otherwise a lot of the same gruesomeness and gritty warfare and dehumanized soldiers we’ve seen before.  If it weren’t for a lack of strong character development, Fury could have been a war classic.  Fury is a strong entry into the World War II genre, focusing on a much-passed over yet crucial deadly type of war machine (again, tanks), yet still overtly showcasing the horrors and disturbing nature of war.

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Film Review: Sabotage

by Chad Liffmann on March 28, 2014

Expectations sabotaged by a lack of fun.

A moment of fun amidst a whole lot of not.

A moment of fun amidst a whole lot of not.

Don’t let the above image fool you.  This is not a fun, explosive, Arnold film.  When a movie trailer brags that it features the director of End of Watch and the writer of Training Day, ears perk up!  So why doesn’t this film even come close to capturing the cinematic value of these two prior films?…It’s because Sabotage, the new film directed by David Ayer (Street Kings) and starring the former Governator (Collateral Damage), is a load of gruesome violence packaged into a cop drama wannabe that lacks purpose and explanation…as well as non-expletive dialogue.

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Michael Peña and Natalie Martinez in END OF WATCH

End of Watch is unlike any cop movie we’ve seen before. Its distinguishing traits range from its texture — the film is shot and edited to resemble a pulse-poundingly visceral “found footage” documentary — to its thoroughly realized characterizations of LAPD officers Brian (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike (Michael Peña), thrill-chasing partners and best friends who have a tendency to run toward the action while others run away from it. The film plays out like a feature-length episode of COPS as written by Aaron Sorkin or David Mamet; its substance comes from the palpable bond between Brian and Mike, which plays out in a series of remarkably authentic-feeling conversations we watch them have as they drive around on patrol, waiting for that next call, never knowing if they’ll be getting a cat out of a tree or walking into gunfire. This naturalistic and wholly believable quality comes both from the direction and script of David Ayer (Harsh Times) and the committed performances of Gyllenhaal and Peña, with whom Ayer rehearsed for several months before shooting the film to get their chemistry just right. Anna Kendrick and Natalie Martinez are heartfelt and dynamic as the officers’ better halves.

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