Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for a holiday romp that once again provides a few solid laughs. Alas, it's also just as unambitious, never pushing its characters very far or coming up with anything terribly original. But filmmakers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore know that sometimes audiences just want dumb entertainment.
In the week before Christmas, Amy (Mila Kunis) has reached breaking point with all of her motherly responsibilities. So she's delighted that her boyfriend (Jay Hernandez) and kids just want to have a mellow holiday. Then her hyper-demanding mother (Christine Baranski) arrives with enormous plans that Amy's meek dad (Peter Gallagher) quietly goes along with. So Amy turns to her best friends Kiki and Carla (Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn) for help. And they've also been invaded: Kiki's far-too-involved mother (Cheryl Hines) arrives for three weeks, while Carla's biker-chick mom (Susan Sarandon) is a gambling addict in need of cash. So Amy, Kiki and Carla team up to take back control of Christmas.
Continue reading: A Bad Moms Christmas Review
DC Comics' villains team up for an overcrowded action movie that never quite finds its tone. Writer-director David Ayer takes a serious approach to an absurd premise, while the actors inject sparks of bitter humour. But with a thin plot and characters that are only superficially developed, the film struggles to grab hold of the audience. At least there's plenty of whizzy action mayhem.
With everyone worried that the next Superman might turn out to be a terrorist, government agent Amanda (Viola Davis) has a crazy idea to turn the most violent criminals in prison into an elite black ops team. These include gruff marksman Deadshot (Will Smith), mentally unstable sexpot Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), archaeologist-turned-enchantress June (Cara Delevingne), Aussie killer Boomerang (Courtney), fire-maker Diablo (Jay Hernandez), swordswoman Katana (Karen Fukuhara) and man-monster Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Each of these psychos has a personal weakness Amanda and team leader Rick (Joel Kinnaman) plan to leverage to keep them under control. Meanwhile, Harley's main squeeze Joker (Jared Leto) is trying to help her escape. Oh, and a meta-human wants to decimate humanity.
Ayer introduces each character with his or her own mini-montage, including snippets of back-story and cameos from the likes of Batman (Ben Affleck). These flashbacks continue throughout the movie, stirring emotion into various characters' decision-making processes. But that's about it as far as depth goes, and the script never imagines anything more original than pining after a lost love, missing a child or feeling guilty about past mistakes. While this adds a bit of interest, it never generates any proper connections, either between the characters or with the audience.
Continue reading: Suicide Squad Review
The Suicide Squad was formed by Amanda Waller, the head of Belle Reve Penitentiary and a high ranking government official. Wishing to protect the world from deadly threats, Waller formulates a plan to reform (by force) a number of her most special inmates who all possess unique abilities.
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When there's nowhere left to turn, the bad guys might just turn out to be your only option. Amanda Waller is the leader of a task force who keeps on losing members of her team, she comes up with an idea to form a specialised task force formed with some of the most dangerous criminals that are currently in jail.
Continue: Suicide Squad Trailer
Is it really wise to trust your most dangerous sworn enemies? Sometimes you have little choice when there are threats in the world too brutal to put your best men on. Amanda Weller is in charge of a top secret government organisation known as A.R.G.U.S. They have in their detainment some of the world's craziest psychopaths, supervillains and powerful mutants, and while they are being of no use to society stuck in prison cells, Weller introduces a brand new team known as the Suicide Squad in which these criminals can carry out seemingly impossible missions with the promise of freedom or, at least, reduced sentences. Among them are such fiends as Harley Quinn, The Joker, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, Enchantress, Rick Flagg and Killer Croc - who are all willing to band together and save the world, even if they die trying.
Max played an important role as a working dog in the US military, but he is sent back from his service in Afghanistan following the traumatic loss of his beloved friend and handler, Kyle Wincott. He is brought into the care of the soldier's grieving family, but, frightened by the unfamiliar surroundings and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after his master's terrifying death in an explosion, Max proves to be difficult to integrate into regular society. However, it soon becomes clear that he wants to be loved again, and forms a heart-warming bond with his former owner's younger brother Justin as they each do their best to heal each other's broken hearts - and that means embarking on some rollicking adventures.
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Cops Jack and Eddie (Dillon and Hernandez) are on the trail of a fiendishly efficient band of bank robbers made up of brainy, brawny Gordon (Elba) and his well-dressed goons (Brown, Walker, Christensen and Ealy). When former gang member Ghost (Harris) is released from prison, he presents them with a "once-in-a-lifetime job". But they only have five days to prepare, which is less than they're used to. Something seems fishy, but they go ahead with the heist. And sure enough, not only are the cops closing in, but Ghost may betray them.
Continue reading: Takers Review
Joy Ride has clearly learned from similar, high-octane road thrillers like Breakdown. It calculates every move, but seldom do we see the surprises coming. The film explores the misadventures of a college student named Lewis (Paul Walker). Lewis is a nice guy, having just bought a used car to travel all the way across the country to help a friend in need (Leelee Sobieski). Along the way, he also stops to post bail for his troublemaking brother, Fuller (Steve Zahn), and give him a ride as well.
Continue reading: Joy Ride Review
At the same time, Ladder and its creators make no bones about the fact that the film is pushing our emotional buttons. It manipulates our heart strings and tugs at our tear ducts in its quest for inspirational cinema. Admittedly, it's a bit slick and overdone, but it's difficult to fault a picture that wears its intentions on its soot-stained sleeve and holds the serviceman position of firefighter on such a lofty pedestal.
Continue reading: Ladder 49 Review
Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...
DC Comics' villains team up for an overcrowded action movie that never quite finds its...
The Suicide Squad was formed by Amanda Waller, the head of Belle Reve Penitentiary and...
Is it really wise to trust your most dangerous sworn enemies? Sometimes you have little...
Loud and very violent (within the limits of a PG-13 rating), this supposedly gritty thriller...
Internationally renowned filmmaker Quentin Tarantino presents Eli Roth's "Hostel," the follow-up to the writer-director's hit...