Suicide Squad

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RosieMeter: 17 % Wilted wilted-white

Runtime: 1 hour, 40 minutes

There is one extra scene about halfway through the credits

Review

The trailers for this film looked so darn good, I have to admit I was pretty excited to see it. I was expecting lots of bad boys and cut-throat girls commit heinous – yet humorous – acts of violence and sabotage. Perhaps I’ve seen too many Quentin Tarantino and Stanley Kubrick films because I was pretty disappointed in the lack of debauchery and dark humor.

I’m also a huge fan of writer/director David Ayer. Both End of Watch and Fury are extremely intense action films that left me breathless as they explored humanity’s gray area between good and evil. Suicide Squad had me scratching my head as I wondered what the litmus test was for evil in this version of Gotham.

Then there’s the Joker (Jared Leto). Of course, no one will ever match Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the same character in the Dark Knight films, but Leto’s Joker doesn’t make any jokes. I was pretty shocked.

Margot Robbie was delightful as the love-struck Harley Quinn, a highly intelligent woman who lost her moral compass when her bae shocked her brain with a few too many electric volts. I just wish she was allowed to do more.

Bottom line, I felt the movie was made for kids while it was marketed toward adults. However, I have no doubt fans of the comic book will thoroughly enjoy seeing their favorite bad guys and gal on the big screen.

Score Breakdown:

This group of anti-heroes are mostly men but there’s the scene-stealing Harley Quinn, the stern Amanda Waller and Deadshot’s daughter, Zoe (Shailyn Pierre-Dixon): 3 pts.

There is one female executive producer, Deborah Snyder.  2 pts.

The film isn’t really focused on telling women’s stories beyond the three characters mentioned above: 4 pts.

Quality of filmmaking / Entertainment value: 8 pts.

Does not pass the Bechdel/Wallace test: 0 pts.

RosieMeter: 17 % Wilted

 

Bad Moms

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RosieMeter: 83% Full Bloom rose-clipart-45x45

Runtime: 1 hour, 41 minutes

There are fun scenes with the lead actresses and their real-life mothers that play through the end credits.

Review:

Surprisingly, Bad Moms was written by two men – Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the writers responsible for the delightful debauchery of The Hangover. Apparently, they’re now both married with kids and consulted their wives (and their wives’ mommy-friends), throughout the development of the screenplay. It paid off big time, considering the film is both hilarious and authentic – two things that rarely go hand-in-hand. The mom sitting next to me at the screening leaned over and whispered to me numerous times throughout the film whenever something rang true to her.

Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn make a bad mom squad that you’d beg to join your mommy-and-me group. The actresses are all mothers in real life and  mix the right amount of frustration, love and perseverance into their tired, worn-down characters.

Bad Moms is my favorite movie of the summer.

Score breakdown:

The protagonists and the antagonists are all women: 20 pts.

Written/directed by men, producer Suzanne Todd no doubt had a big influence on the film:  3 pts.

Tells several women’s stories: 20 pts.

Quality of filmmaking/entertainment value: 20 pts.

Passes the Bechdel/Wallace test: 20 pts.

Score on the RosieMeter: 83% Full Bloom

 

Star Trek Beyond

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RosieMeter: 27% Wilted wilted-white

Runtime: 2 hrs. 2 mins.

There is nothing after the credits

Review:

The USS Enterprise crew, including Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Scotty (Simon Pegg, who also wrote the screenplay)  continue to trek through the wilderness of the universe on their five-year mission. When several members of the crew get stranded on the planet Altamid, they must fight against the evil Krall (Idris Elba), who’s on his own mission to destroy the Federation.

The film is directed by Justin Lin of the Fast and Furious franchise and it’s easy to tell. But if you find pleasure in fast cars and furious crashes, watching the same action scenarios with spaceships as they roar between stars is really fun stuff.

The breakout star of the film is Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service), who plays Jaylah – a tough, independent lady-alien who loves two things: rap music from the 1990s and kicking ass.

The third installment in the latest Star Trek reboot satisfies visually, but lacks any real emotional connections or personal stakes, despite Kirk having a birthday that makes him one year old than his father was when Kirk, Sr., died.

If there’s a fourth film – and I’m sure there will be – I certainly hope Boutella returns.

Score Breakdown:

The main protagonists and antagonist are men, but they did add an exciting new female character,  Jaylah (Sofia Boutella): 7 pts.

Two female producers and one female editor earns 5 pts.

The film includes two women’s stories, Jaylah and Ohura (Zoe Saldana), but they are not the main storyline: 5 pts.

Quality of filmmaking/entertainment value: 10 pts.

Does not pass the Bechdel/Wallace test: 0 pts.

Score on the RosieMeter: 27% WILTED

Into the Forest

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A24 Films

RosieMeter: 96% Full Bloom rose-clipart-45x45

Runtime: 1 hr. 41 mins.

Nothing after the credits.

Review:

Into the Forest, written for the screen and directed by Patricia Rozema, is adapted from the book of the same name by Jean Hegland. It explores the relationship between two sisters who are just coming of age when the world starts to break down.

Set in the near future, the practical, science-minded Nell (Ellen Page), and her emotive, dancer sister, Eva (Evan Rachel Wood), must rely on each other when technology completely fails them. With one canister of gasoline left, the young women are forced to navigate the mountains, bad weather, threatening strangers and, of course, each other.

Both young women would have much to look forward to if the apocalypse wasn’t happening right outside their door. With no internet, electricity, or dare I say Pokemon Go, every moment is infused with the animal instinct to survive.

Both lead actresses are astonishing and beautiful. They represent the feminine ability to stay mentally tough while enduring extreme physical hardships. Both young women live with pain and fear, only to imagine a brighter, more hopeful future.

The three men in the film are simply back-story or are catalysts for change. There are no knights in shining armor in the apocalypse. Only women who choose to survive despite the odds they won’t.

Score breakdown:

Two female leads, both giving tremendous performances: 20 pts.

A female writer/director, adapted from a book written by a woman easily earns: 20 pts.

Telling a woman’s story: 20 pts.

Quality of filmmaking/Entertainment value: 16 pts.

Passes the Bechdel-Wallace test: 20 pts.

 

 

Ghostbusters

RosieMeter: 93% Full Bloom rose-clipart-45x45

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Sony Pictures

Runtime: 1 hr. 45 mins.

Stay through the credits? Yes! There is one extra scene

Review:

Ghostbusters reinvents the franchise with an all-female ghost-busting team that includes Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones.

These actresses are among the funniest on the planet and are a true joy to watch. The story — a rag-tag team of paranormal investigators trying to rid New York City of evil spirits —sticks pretty faithfully to the 1984 original.

Kate McKinnon stands out as the real break-out star of the film. She’s strange and quirky while also gorgeous. She seems to be having a blast every moment and this is just the beginning of her film career.

Chris Hemsworth as Kevin, the “Himbo” of secretaries, brings as many laughs as the women. This was a fun wink to the audience that almost makes up for the original’s sexist tropes.

Many movie-lovers feel very loyal to the original film and that’s understandable. Those of us who saw Ghostbusters as a teenager hold the movie near and dear to our hearts. No monster has ever delighted me more than the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

But comedies from the 1980s lack the sophistication of the R-rated comedies to which we’ve grown accustomed over the last decade. Side-by-side, the new Ghostbusters can’t compete with films like The Hangover, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, or Bridesmaids. That said, the reboot is a fun romp with cool Easter eggs and great music.

Score breakdown:

Incorporating four female protagonists: 20 pts.

Female co-writer and multiple female producers: 20 pts.

Telling a woman’s story: 20 pts.

Quality of filmmaking/entertainment value: 10 pts.

Passes the Bechdel-Wallace test: 20 pts.

Wild card: 3 points for taking the risk of turning a male-dominated franchise into a female one.