A Love Letter to DCEU Fans: We Did It!


By: Amanda Guarragi 

To my fellow DC fans, I salute you, because we did it. The #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement is a massive success and in 2021, on HBO Max, we will finally see our beloved Justice League come together as it was intended. Zack Snyder hosted a Man of Steel watch party today on the platform Vero, which he uses quite often. In his commentary, he discussed the choices he made in each scene in a very detailed manner and it showed how dedicated he was to bringing fans the best version of Superman. It was so much fun to watch because he gave his audience important information and pointed out a couple of easter eggs.

Zack Snyder has always created beautiful films that are deeply rooted in the source material. Most importantly, he has fun on set because he loves the material so much. Zack Snyder is a great director because he is also a fan of the content. When he was describing Superman’s first flight and showing his storyboards, you could feel how much love went into those scenes. Today was a very special day because towards the end of the film, Henry Cavill made an appearance and talked about how he felt putting on the suit. It was a great moment, considering we haven’t really seen Henry Cavill, let alone him speaking about the Snyder Cut, but I always knew there was a plan in place.

After 4 long years of being extremely vocal about Warner Brothers releasing the Snyder Cut of Justice League, it was finally confirmed from the man himself. At the end of the livestream, Zack and Deborah Snyder had a couple of fans join their Zoom call with Henry. This also proved that Zack has a very close relationship with his fanbase and loves having discussions with them. He answered all their questions, including the one in regards to the Snyder Cut. At first Henry, Zack and Deborah laughed. Zack awkwardly said, “It’s out of my control. It’s not up to me.” then he started talking about a tiny flash drive, that he left in a bathroom stall somewhere, to try and divert the question.

At that point, I thought we were duped. I thought there would be no announcement because he was diverting the question, but Henry came to the rescue. It fell silent for a moment and then Henry said, “You know what, I think I’d like to see it.” and Zack answered, “Oh, really? Well I can’t just show it but I can do this.” Zack then turns the camera to his big screen, where he was watching Man of Steel on, and this showed up.

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courtesy of HBO Max

Beautiful right? The moment we’ve been waiting for and he announced it in the most Zack Snyder way. Everything started with Man of Steel and Zack’s version of Superman. It all started with Henry Cavill. Superman hasn’t risen yet because Zack Snyder’s Justice League hasn’t been released. It was only fitting that Henry, Zack and Deborah would all join together to make this announcement. The internet pretty much exploded today and all DC fans are beyond happy. My Twitter timeline took me back to a time where we were gearing up for Justice League and it gave me that same feeling today. All the friends I have made in the DC community and the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement has truly been amazing. We went up to bat for our director and now his vision will finally be complete.

It is a very emotional day for so many people. This community has been through so many bad moments but our love for these characters and these films helped us push through. We have constantly been under fire and we have had to defend these films for the past 4 years. It has been a very long journey but it was definitely worth it because today, today we made history. To everyone that used the hashtag, to everyone who defended these films and these actors, this couldn’t have been possible without you guys. We have been a team since SDCC in 2015, ever since we saw the footage for Batman v Superman. We went through all the criticism and the hatred together, but we stuck to our guns and made the impossible happen. Today is for all of you.

To Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller, on behalf of the whole fanbase, thank you a million times over for your love and dedication to these characters. The DCEU would not be the same without you guys. You have all made comic book films that deeply resonate with so many people around the world and with characters that have been iconic throughout history. You have all built the foundation for the future of the DCEU and we truly can’t wait to see what comes next.

Whether Zack Snyder’s Justice League, is a six episode television series, or a three hour epic released on HBO Max, we will all be there on the very first day it is released, watching it because it’s going to be a big moment. Hope is what got all of us here and that’s why today is overwhelming, especially by watching Man of Steel. It’s not an “S”, on Kal’s planet, it means hope. The definition of hope, the feeling of it and having it payoff, is what today is.

Birds Of Prey Review

No one is doing it like DC.

Their lineup is so incredibly diverse and unique to each character’s world.

Birds of Prey has easily become one of my favourite team up films. EVER. Margot Robbie is undeniably Harley Quinn. No matter what other character she plays, (and we know how talented she is) this is her best. You can tell that she loves playing in Harley’s world and this film proves that she has understands her completely. From the very beginning it felt like we were inside Harley’s mind and the way Cathy Yan executed the story made it seem like we were apart of her thought process. It pretty much felt like Harley’s mind exploded on screen and we just happened to be in the room.

Are there Tarantino-esque elements? Yes and the one movie it reminded me of was Reservoir Dogs. Yan was able to structure the film that intertwined each character and their backstories, while moving through time at Harley’s pace. Everything just suited Gotham City and each character brought something different to the table. Renee Montoya, Dinah Lance, Helena Bertinelli and Cassandra Cain all had their own motives and working together made the most sense.

I loved everything about this, especially the fact that it focused on the many ways women can be mistreated by men. It definitely has a different girl power energy and maybe it’s because I’m older but this badass, anarchist, violent, r rated energy just gives off a higher level of empowerment. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced something like that. Seeing all those women on screen, harnessing their powers and setting aside their differences in order to take a villain out. It’s just refreshing to see women beating the bad guys up for a change, I know that sounds incredibly basic but it’s true.

I loved seeing these women kick ass so much that I almost started crying, actually I did cry. I’m not afraid to say it. I cried because I saw my favourite character on screen for the first time and she embodied her in every way possible, I could only dream of this Dinah Lance and Jurnee Smollett-Bell nailed it. THAT WAS MY BLACK CANARY. Everything about her was perfect; her fighting style, her attitude and most importantly her heart made me love her so much more. I’ve been waiting so long for a live action Canary and I truly hope we get a stand-alone and some sequels!

Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ella Jay Basco were all perfectly cast as well. Winstead’s ‘Huntress’ wasn’t as developed as I would have liked her to be BUT the good thing is, is that they left me wanting more of her. The mafia side of her story is really interesting and I would love to see my Italian Princess of Crime at the forefront eventually. Perez brought so much sass to Renee Montoya and she looked so done with everyone’s shit for majority of the film, so that was great! Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain was so adorable and really brought everyone together.

Last but not least, our villains for Birds of Prey... Roman Sionis and Victor Zsasz were fantastic in this. Ewan McGregor has truly never been better. He brought such high level energy to Sionis and it was different from his other roles, so I was pleasantly surprised. Sionis was sadistic, eccentric and managed to throw the best hissy fits. McGregor was so good, I would laugh while he was yelling, only to be silenced shortly after because of how dark he became. Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz was creepy and very twisted. Messina’s chemistry with McGregor was interesting, there’s so much more to unpack with their characters because of all the tension they had. They fed off of each other so well!

Birds of Prey is a lot of fun. I can see myself watching this time and time again. Cathy Yan and Christina Hodson did a great job bringing these character’s to life. The fighting styles for each of them were choreographed perfectly and the final fight scene was so well done! It’s also very brutal because Margot Robbie did not want to hold back one bit and she definitely kept her promise.

Joker Review

I’d like to begin by saying, that this is NOWHERE NEAR a comic book film. Todd Phillips takes what we know and throws it out the window.

Joker has a very simple storyline and Joaquin Phoenix’s character study takes it to another level. It’s a vengeful take on how the government and society treat the mentally ill or those who suffer financially.

The first half of this film, analyzes the mental illness of Arthur Fleck. He is verbally, physically and mentally abused by people around him because he has a condition. It showed how society paints victims of mental illness and how they label them as less than humans. Joaquin’s performance in the first half made me sympathize with his illness, his vulnerability and timidness made me feel for Arthur. He lived with his mother, watched the Murray Franklin Show and went to work, that was his reality. Anyone can sympathize with Arthur Fleck in the first half of this film AND can understand his frustration when things keep getting worse for him as the film goes on.

Naturally, we know that Arthur Fleck becomes a villain BUT the human qualities and the education of mental illness makes audiences relate to that aspect of him.

The second half of this film highlighted Arthur’s descent into madness. His transformation into the Joker was slow but the build up was worth it. The reason why this performance was so incredibly stunning, was because his movements and facial expressions became more crisp and rigid. He went from timid poverty stricken every day working man, to confident, stand up comedian, who has A LOT to say about how society has treated him. His growth in this film is beautiful to watch but also incredibly unnerving to know that it leads him down this violent path.

The score by Hildur Guðnadóttir, is sinister and accompanies Arthur’s descent so well. There were soft moments and then booming ones, that made this ride so enjoyable from beginning to end. Phillips’ direction was his best to date and I valued the extreme close ups of Joaquin so much. Joaquin’s eyes were enough to sell audience’s on the fact that this man was crazed.

The character of the Joker has never been an easy one to play but Joaquin brought a human element that people could relate to. Arthur Fleck’s story is heartbreaking and it is a tragedy, until HE decides to change his story and turn it into a comedy. Comedy is subjective and what the JOKER finds humorous… well, we don’t relate to that.

This is not a comic book film, so do not compare it to any of them. This is a singular entity putting the government and society on blast. This is the most different and challenging film of the year.

Shazam! Advanced Screening Review

Yes.

5 stars.

David Sandberg has created the perfect superhero movie.

We see 14 year old Billy Batson, played by the wonderful Asher Angel, trying to locate his mother. Billy has been to many foster care homes and has left every single one of them in order to find his mother. When Billy gets to Philadelphia, everything changes as he meets his new foster family. He is apart of a wonderfully diverse group of kids who are all genuine, feisty and innocent.

David Sandberg gave us a film that was based on love and magic. There was such a uniqueness to his direction and I can’t even explain how he executed this to perfection. The humour was witty and refreshing, it was integrated properly and didn’t take away from serious, heartfelt moments. This film was so well paced that I did not want it to end. From beginning to end, the story was so simple that it flowed effortlessly from scene to scene. The Shazam! score felt like the character… similar to wonder woman’s, aquaman’s and superman’s, it added so much more to the fight scenes. The combat choreography was imaginative and the special effects were incredible! Literal perfection.

The casting was genius. Asher Angel as young Billy Batson was comic book accurate and then having the ball of energy that is Zachary Levi as his older counterpart was perfect. Asher and Zachary both created their own version of Billy Batson and for the amount of times they came in and out of character, it was seamless. Both of them should get endless praise for this characterization because it is the best I’ve seen. I want to mention Jack Dylan Grazer who did a wonderful job creating Freddie, his chemistry with Asher and Zachary was so pure and natural! All of the kids were wonderful together and they have a bright future! Mark Strong was also a fantastic first villain for Shazam!

I won’t spoil anything but the ending made me so very excited for the future of Shazam! I haven’t left a movie this happy in a while and I know I’ll be watching this 50 times over. This is possibly my favourite cbm of all time and I know that’s saying a lot.

2018 Year in Review

As the year comes to an end, it is tradition that I assess the films that have come out this past year.

So I have made my very own TOP 10 list of films that stood out to me this year. There are some honourable mentions AND some that stood out in their genre.

Here are my TOP 10 Films of 2018:

A Quiet Place
dir. John Krasinski
screenplay. John Krasinski, Bryan Woods, Scott Beck
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08QUIET-PLACE1-articleLargeThe reason why this film is so unique is the fact that there was pure silence on screen. I’ve never experienced something like that. Normally, people think that having silence on screen is bad because it’s dead air but Krasinski utilized that and played off the tension and anticipation of sound. I also appreciated the fact that the score did not overpower those moments of silence and that it was used subtly throughout.

Annihilation
dir. Alex Garland
screenplay. Alex Garland

Annihilation
Natalie-Portman-in-Annihilation-Movie-Stills-natalie-portman-41052828-1200-518Annihilation is one of the best science fiction films to be released in the past 10 years. It’s an original piece from the mind of Alex Garland and he truly blew me away with this film. It had such a strong cast of actors and the story kept getting better, it had so many twists that I did not see coming and it really does make you reach maximum anxiety levels. The film is beautifully shot and has a powerful story. This made it into my top 3 sci-fi films of all time and I am definitely looking forward to his next film.

Aquaman  
dir. James Wan
story by. James Wan, Geoff Johns, Will Beall

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James Wan has been in the spotlight for his horror universe of The Conjuring and those films are all so incredibly unique to the horror genre. Wan has his own style and he definitely brought it in Aquaman. This film was simple and the visuals enhanced the story, making it one of the best DC films to be released. DC has such strong characters and they’ve been successful with their standalone films. The future is bright for DC because they are trusting their directors and they will be able to create unique worlds.

Ben is Back
dir. Peter Hedges
screenplay. Peter Hedges

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Ben is Back is such a heart-wrenching film and it depicts the harrowing truth of addiction. Lucas Hedges gives the performance of his career thus far and Julia Roberts is a knockout. Peter Hedges penned a brutally honest screenplay and made very powerful choices, especially the ending. This is an underrated film and it needs to be seen!

Blackkklansman
dir. Spike Lee
screenplay. Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee

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maxresdefaultA Spike Lee Joint has never been so exhilarating and relevant, I have never felt so many emotions at once during a film AND I left this film absolutely enraged. This film is one of the best movies of the year and it deserves more recognition. Everything about this film was perfect and the way Spike Lee integrated every single piece of media that has been consumed by mainstream audiences was genius. This was a masterwork and it’s incredible that he was able to use this medium to speak about the corruption in the United States right now.

Black Panther
dir. Ryan Coogler
screenplay. Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole

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Black-Panther-PhotosMarvel’s 18th film in it’s universe had the first black superhero in the spotlight. Black Panther had such a massive cultural significance earlier this year and it became an instant phenomenon. This film, directed by Ryan Coogler meant so much more to the black community than any other Marvel movie and the reception proved that. Every single actor in this film did a a great job in telling T’Challa’s story and I know that Stan Lee was proud of this major accomplishment.

Roma
dir. Alfonso Cuarón
screenplay. Alfonso Cuarón

lead_720_405
44320-Roma_-_Alfonso_Cuaron__Film_Still_Alfonso Cuarón really delivered on all front with Roma. It’s a beautiful film because of how effortless he made everything seem. The story is simple and tragic but the love that is shown on screen mends those heartbreaking feelings at the same time. It’s beautifully shot and the visuals were so incredibly powerful that I didn’t need subtitles to understand what was happening. Yalitza Aparicio gave a beautiful performance and I felt everything with her.

Ocean’s Eight
dir. Gary Ross
screenplay. Gary Ross, Olivia Milch

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This cast of women truly saved 2018 and it was the best version of any Ocean’s movie. This film was so much fun and Sandra Bullock was excellent in this alongside Cate Blanchett. It was interesting from beginning to end and it was filled with many nods to the first Ocean’s film. I would like a trilogy with these lovely ladies! Also, Anne Hathaway stole show and I’m happy she’s back! The heist was extravagant and fun because it was taking place at the MET Gala and many audiences don’t know what goes on inside the Gala, so it was very refreshing!

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
dir. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
screenplay. Phil Lord, Rodney Rothman

spider-man-into-the-spider-verse-movie-slice-600x200
spider-man-spider-verse-animated-film-1Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the BEST Spider-Man movie that has ever been released. Not only was the animation superb but to have every single version of Spider-Man on screen showing the multiverse made it so unique! The best part about this film is that kids are introduced to the youngest Spider-Man, Miles Morales. Miles is half black and half Latino and it was lovely to see that representation on screen! Sony definitely has a universe of their own to expand on, especially with this character and this animation!

 
 Widows
dir. Steve McQueen
screenplay. Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen

widows
WIDOWSSteve McQueen and Gillian Flynn working together was truly a dream team and I loved every single second of this thriller. It was such an intense film and it kept me at the edge of my seat the entire time. This cast was phenomenal and I was amazed that everyone got enough screen time and each of their backstories flowed effortless through each scene. The standouts were Daniel Kaluuya and Elizabeth Debicki, pay very close attention to their performances!!

The two films that I have yet to see but I know would have been in my TOP 10 for 2018 are…

The Favourite
dir. Yorgos Lanthimos
screenplay. Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
Hop in for a free ride with

If Beale Street Could Talk
dir. Barry Jenkins
screenplay. Barry Jenkins 
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Both Yorgos Lanthimos and Barry Jenkins have created such beautiful films in the past and I’m always excited for their new projects!

 

The Honourable Mentions:

Best Action Movie: 
Mission Impossible – Fallout
dir. Christopher McQuarrie
screenplay. Christopher McQuarrie

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Best Comedy: 
The Spy Who Dumped Me 
dir. Susanna Fogel
screenplay. Susanna Fogel, David Iserson

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Best Kids Movie: 
The Incredibles 2 
dir. Brad Bird
screenplay. Brad Bird

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incredibles-teaser

Best Coming of Age Film:
Eighth Grade 
dir. Bo Burnham
screenplay. Bo Burnham

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