Suicide Squad (2016)

Figuring they’re all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret mission. Now armed with government weapons, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and other despicable inmates must learn to work together. Dubbed Task Force X, the criminals unite to battle a mysterious and powerful entity, while the diabolical Joker launches an evil agenda of his own.

Firstly, I’ll say outright that I was not impressed by this film in the slightest, so I’ll keep it short. So prior warning: this is a bad review, but I don’t enjoy writing them.

Firstly, for those who didn’t like Batman v Superman and then think this movie was decent, please explain. Because, in comparison, when I place this film on a pedestal and put it into perspective, Suicide Squad is a regressive “superhero” movie in terms of it’s inconsistent technical filmmaking, stunted storytelling, cliched dialogue, undeveloped characters and feminism.

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The objectification of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn made me feel incredibly uncomfortable and her bottom half gained more screen-time than some of the other Suicide Squad characters combined. This is not OK and the Male Gaze at it’s worst.

Suicide Squad is a poor case of too many underdeveloped characters confusing the plot e.g. Killer Croc, Boomerang, Diablo, and that those who are left aren’t evil enough to consider themselves supervillains (especially Will Smith’s Deadshot who one minute is looking for redemption and forgiveness from his daughter, the next is not?) Jared Leto’s Joker laugh was spot on to how I imagined it from comics such as The Killing Joke, however, I’m still a bit bewildered about the emotionally and physically abusive lovelorn villain he’s portraying at this point.

DC need to decide where they identify because this was just a complete mess. Apparently there were a number of rewrites to try and make Suicide Squad funnier, and clearly the constant pop music changes are overcompensating for how unfunny it actually turned out to be- it is not in the same league as Guardians of the Galaxy.

Forget about a Harley Quinn movie, give Katana a few more lines!

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The BFG (2016)

Anyone my age and older will say that Roald Dahl’s stories inspired us and maybe even helped shape our lives today. Each story is timeless and perhaps the most moving yet most frightening of them is The BFG or The Big Friendly Giant. Excitement overcame me when I saw the posters and trailer for this movie, as it did my friend whose idea it was to watch it yesterday.

One night Sophie, an orphaned girl in London, spots a giant from her window. Fearing she would tell the adult world, he takes her away with him back to Giant Country and his little house underground. At first, she’s afraid she’ll be eaten, but realises he’s actually a very friendly giant, who doesn’t eat children, but the nine other giants in the country do. They form a close friendship, and she calls him BFG (Big Friendly Giant). BFG is bossed around and bullied by the other horrible giants, who also steal children from their beds and eat them, Sophie and her Giant both hatch a plan to stop them, which enlists a certain monarch’s help.

Directed by Steven Spielberg I knew the story would be in safe hands and he created some magical moments, particularly the dream catching sequence. Dotted around London are Sophie’s Dream Jars also, so it seemed like the story was taken seriously before the film even premiered.

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Admittedly, the opening is a little slow starting and some points in the middle drag despite the quality cast and visuals. I also felt there were certain moments that were a little randomly placed and didn’t fit in with the aesthetic of the rest of the movie. As sweet and light as the musical score was by John Williams it isn’t as iconic or memorable as his previous work such as E.T., Jurassic Park etc.

But these flaws will be soon forgotten as you get swept into the world of the Giants. Even though tailored towards children, who laughed and engaged in it from what I witnessed in the cinema, it is humorous enough that even the parents were laughing out loud. The giant sequences are playful; the two lead evil giants Fleshlumpeater and Bloodbottler played by Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Bill Hader (Inside Out, Saturday Night Live) are unrecognisable and wonderfully evil. Scriptwriter Melissa Mathison did an excellent job by retaining the unique speech of the Giants, originally crafted by Roald Dahl himself.

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Ruby Barnhill makes a spirited Sophie, and kudos for such a young girl to practically act alone against CGI Giants. And the surprise appearances of Penelope Wilton, Rebecca Hall and Rafe Spall are welcome as they bring another smile to your face. But it’s really Mark Rylance who, once again, steals the show for me. The beauty of his acting is that he doesn’t just talk the talk or walk the walk, he also conveys so much emotion and tells a thousand stories through his expressive eyes. When he is on screen, it is never a dull moment, whether it be funny or sad, and he is the perfect BFG.

Overall, The BFG is a lovely film that had me smiling throughout and was a truly charming watch.

Introduction

Women have often been told that “Formula 1 is a man’s world” and Formula 1 Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone doesn’t believe women can compete, stating “women are not physically able to drive F1 cars” and that “if there was somebody that was capable, they wouldn’t be taken seriously anyway.”

I’m a huge motorsport enthusiast and follow Formula 1, Moto GP and Rally WRC where I can, and used to kart too. However, I’m sure I’m not the first in asking “where are the ladies here? They can drive too right?”

Since Formula 1 began in 1950, there have only ever been 6 female drivers who have started a race, and only 1 of those ever scored a point: Lella Lombardi back in 1975. So why has there been little progression since then?

The lower divisions are where the shifts and changes are unconsciously happening for women to have a successful future in this sport. And because of this, I decided our main documentary arc will follow a young up-and-coming karter and observe behind the scenes.

At the moment, the documentary’s prime questions to ask and address are: What is it like for women working in motorsport (F1, rally, karting, motogp, drivers, engineers etc)? Can and will women compete equally in the highest level, Formula 1, alongside it’s male drivers?

So far, there is only a small team of us involved, making initial contact with the relevant people.