Director: George Clooney
After a fatal home invasion leaves a man mourning a wife and a little boy mourning the loss of his mother, the lives of the residents of the all too perfect Surburbicon community are left reeling as their idyllic lifestyles are left in tatters. There’s more to this home invasion than meets the eye and the little boy, Nicholas (Noah Jupe) learns some horrifying facts about his family and finds his own life under threat.
I thought Matt Damon pulled off his role as Gardner really well. On the outside he seemed the all round decent family man but underneath that there was a quite devious individual with unsavoury intentions and motives.
Julianne Moore played both Rose and her sister Margaret, although one of those characters did not make it very far into the film before being bumped off. Moore puts in a decent performance without any real frills. Oscar Isaac pops up briefly as the insurance investigator who fancies a piece of the pay out action but it’s a short appearance and doesn’t offer much to get your teeth into.
It’s Noah Jupe who really deserves the most credit as the young boy at the centre of the deception and foul play. Nicky is the tortured soul of the movie and Jupe moves between terror and anger will some ease.
This was an interesting avenue for George Clooney to take in his directorial career. Clearly Surburbicon is heavily influenced by the time he has spent working with the Coen Brothers. So much so that there are a lot of glaring similarities to be made with the original Fargo. In fact it’s almost the exact same story. It’s no bad thing to want to emulate the Coen Brothers or such a heavyweight classic as Fargo but you have to do it well. Unfortunately, whilst Suburbicon is a good watch it doesn’t achieve the lofty heights of the aforementioned Fargo. It’s well put together and well-played by both a decent leading and supporting cast. There’s only a few laughs for what is presented in a black comedy format and at times there was some moments of boredom but not so much as to make it disappointing. The film is very dark in tone as you would expect from the content of the plot but isn’t beyond employing some farce humour intermittently.
The Verdict: Something a little different from the norm without reinventing the wheel.
Director: Armando Iannucci
When the Russian leader, Stalin, dies unexpectedly chaos descends upon his closest subordinates as they try to maintain a dignity to the outside world whilst going to treacherous lengths to further their own ends and designs on becoming his successor at the expense of their rivals.
This is an expertly chosen cast which offers an array of talent to die for and perfect for the sort of satirical farce you would expect from Armando Iannucci. It’s very hard to separate the characters and analyse them fairly as the film moves along at quite a hectic pace. Once one exchange of unpleasantries has finished it’s straight onto the next. This plays partcularly well to the skills of the main competitors to become the new premiere such as Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale and Jeffrey Tambor backed up well by Michael Palin,Paul Whitehouse and Dermot Crowley.
The film is a very funny political farce, well written and played out by the cast. it’s no less than you would expect from the team behind The Thick Of It. It would be lazy to make comparisons to The Thick Of It but it wouldn’t make it any less accurate to point this out. It’s just a different setting, country and environment but Armando Iannucci proves that that kind of humour can be transferred to a variety of situations. I wouldn’t so far as to say it’s one of the funniest films ever made but it’s certainly a comedy that you should give your time to, particularly if you’re a fan of Iannuci’s previous offerings.
3.5/5 Stars – A competent ensemble comedy piece.
Director: Zack Snyder
When a new foe of incredible strength, Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds), is awoken he sets about an evil plan to reconnect three all-powerful boxes. With these boxes he would be able to wipe out mankind and build his own world from the ashes. Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), with a new-found faith in humanity attempts to recruit for a team to tackle the oncoming attack. Wayne looks to Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to form an alliance with which to fight Steppenwolf. Within his plan Bruce Wayne, still weighed down with guilt after the death of Superman, has a sub plan to bring Superman back from the dead but it’s a very risky plan as it was unclear as to what kind of Superman would return, if at all.
I’ve already made my feelings abundantly clear on Ben Affleck playing the Dark Knight. He isn’t the bat and he never will be. It would go some way to buffering this if he made a decent Bruce Wayne but he doesn’t. That said, he’s not altogether awful in Justice League but that is about as good as you can hope for.
Gal Gadot reprises her Diana Prince role again and whilst she’s well choreographed for the action sequences, where she acquits herself well, interaction with other characters is wooden at best but I think that’s just down to a more general, underlying issue with the movie.
Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher make up the numbers as Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg respectively. Aquaman is the rough and tumble egotistical warrior type you would expect Momoa to be playing but The Flash and Cyborg really are the weak links here. Their characters lack depth and in particular Cyborg just looks so low-budget visually it’s comical. There’s not much you can say about Henry Cavill that hasn’t been said already. He looks the part but can’t play the part.
Justice league has been taking a lot of criticism in the mainstream media much the same as Dawn Of Justice did. Dawn of Justice warranted the criticism but can the same be said of Justice League? The simple answer is yes and no. It’s nowhere near as bad as some viewers are suggesting but at the same time it’s very much a below average film. In a nutshell, it was OK. Whereas with The Avengers movies there is an excellent chemistry between the allied super heroes this is non-existent within Justice League. They’re just like a fantasy football team of heroes put together by the manager Bruce Wayne with an unlimited budget. Speaking of budgets, the film must have had a huge budget but it does not come through in the final product. At times it looks cheap and nasty and the film is incredibly cheesy throughout. It’s hard to say exactly what Zack Snyder is trying to do with the DC franchise. My personal feeling is the Batman should be a kept as a dark lone character as with Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and rebooting Batman so soon after that was just an exercise in milking the cash cow. Batman is a character which demands deep analysis. He isn’t a superhero and should be treated for what he is. A rich man, who dresses up as a bat and plays vigilante. The other characters your couldn’t really care less about except maybe where it goes next for Superman and Wonder Woman.
2.5/5 Stars – Not that bad, not that good.