Fences (2016) Movie Review

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‘Fences’ | Paramount Pictures
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Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play, Fences tells the story of Troy and Rose Maxson (Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, respectively) as they experience life in Pittsburgh during the 1950s and the difficulties faced when raising their teenaged son, Cory (Jovan Adepo). It also stars Stephen Henderson, Russell Hornsby and is directed by lead actor, Denzel Washington (Antwone Fisher, The Great Debaters).


My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

First things first: Viola Davis and Denzel Washington give two of the best performances of the year in Fences. The only way the Maxsons would work in this film would be to have two actors that can work so well off each other and have the emotional range to effectively portray their characters. Since the film is so dialogue-heavy, it is imperative to have actors that can pull off scenes that contain those long-takes and occasional monologuing sequences. It was a legitimate privilege seeing Davis and Washington put their absolute all in these roles that earned them acting Tonys for its play adaptation.

See Denzel and Viola winning their respective Tonys below:

The film is ultimately a character-driven work with rapid dialogue and Washington’s directing style gears toward those long takes and wide shots with multiple characters on screen; I personally adore this genre and I loved watching the actors in Fences. The secondary characters do a fine job with their roles, Jovan Adepo who portrays Cory was probably the weakest link but he was still serviceable, however the reason to watch Fences is to witness the brilliantly talented Davis and Washington in their element. Davis specifically had one sequence where I had to take a deep breath following it because it hit so hard. She is a revelation in Fences and it would be a legitimate travesty if she is not nominated for her performance. I have no idea how these guys memorized HALF of the stuff in this movie. Denzel Washington is incredible as the patriarch who increasingly frustrates the living hell out of you, yet he works as well as he does because he has Viola Davis with him. The film follows a certain period of their lives for a majority of it with an emphasis placed on Washington’s character and the relationship with his son. The hardships that endure their relationship is brilliantly uncomfortable to watch at times… I mean like, you’ll physically wince at some of the things that Troy says to other characters.

Although certain sequences linger, the progression of events is wonderfully executed and there were occasional moments where I was genuinely enthralled with what was on screen and I needed to know what would happen next.

How Were The Other Aspects To ‘Fences’?

Fences is fantastically directed by Washington for his third addition to his directing filmography behind Antwone Fisher and the movie every high school English class shows at least once a semester, The Great Debaters. He utilizes wide shots and there are the instances where he frames the characters so that you literally feel like you are looking in uncomfortably on these characters as they’re arguing, one incredibly effective use of this included the fence that is constantly referenced throughout the film. That is another aspect I admired, where you learn certain things about a character and later on when you expect them to execute the same trait, they surprise you and I loved that. The conclusion had a smidgen of cheese with it that I was not a huge fan of but I understood why they executed it that way.

The film is also incredibly atmospheric, you genuinely feel like you are in the time period it is set in. Everything from the costumes to the set design to the occasional hints of music it utilizes is all true to the time period and I adored it, as I am a huge fan of period pieces.

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If you’re looking for a dialogue-heavy, character drama with some ridiculously talented performances, check out Fences.

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Fences receives 4/5 Matt Damon heads.

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Suicide Squad (2016) Movie Review

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This was probably the greatest music video I’ve ever seen (besides Thriller of course, duh)

One of my favourite quotes from Suicide Squad comes toward the beginning of the movie when the age old question is asked: “What if Superman had decided to fly down, rip off the roof of the White House, and grab the president right out of the Oval Office. Who would’ve stopped him?” Well… The first hero I would think of to get us out of that hypothetical jam would definitely be Captain Boomerang!

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nah, he was funny

Suicide Squad tells the story of Amanda Waller, played by the always brilliant Viola Davis, as she attempts to assemble a team of the biggest and baddest to protect the United States against hypothetical Superman-esque forces. They are the bad guys, everyone. Get that through your heads, they will for sure remind you whenever they can that they are the bad guys. I will start off by saying Margot Robbie‘s portrayal of Harley Quinn has easily been one of my favourite performances in any comic book/superhero movie in recent memory. She is phenomenal, guys and I honestly would not have minded if the whole movie revolved around whatever the hell Harley felt like doing that day. I thought I would grow tired of that accent and ditziness and granted there was a moment, particularly toward the end when the worst line ever was uttered, Robbie somehow managed to keep the character fresh as the movie progressed. Gold Star!

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Yeah it is!

Jared Leto as the Joker… I don’t wish to cast too harsh a judgement on him since he didn’t play that big of a role in the movie, even though he did appear in quite a number of scenes, but for what I witnessed I wasn’t a fan. Not even counting the Romero, Ledger or Nicholson portrayals, the grills he was rocking added nothing to the character save it made it more difficult to understand him but he just didn’t have that kind of domineering presence to him. I was more scared of his bodyguards than him, and when it comes to arguably the greatest comic book villain of all-time, I need to feel sheer terror when he’s on screen. Cara Delevingne is a wonderfully attractive human being but for the love of all that is Matt Damon her acting abilities are virtually non-existent. I cannot wish enough that they got someone with the acting capability of a Margot Robbie to portray Enchantress. Will Smith gives a great performance of a quippy murderous Will Smith. Every other member of the Squad gave passable performances, Jai Courtney absolutely owned his Captain Boomerang character. The standout for me besides Robbie as Harley Quinn was Karen Fukuhara as Katana… She nailed it, dude. I think I felt more for Katana’s character than I did anybody else, and she had maybe 10 lines in the whole movie!

There are some great and not-so-great uses of special effects in Suicide Squad. MILD SPOILERS I loved a particular scene involving Diablo going Full Super Saiyan and some of the scenes with the beginning stages of the Enchantress. END SPOILERS. The effects that had to do with Enchantress toward the end though… oh man, it looked like a bit of a shitstorm. Especially with those overdone-in-film damn blue beams! The soundtrack is also quite enjoyable actually, I foresee myself viewing some of the scenes on YouTube occasionally when I get a hankering for Eminem. The score was way too much though. It was overpowering at times and all I could hear was just LOUUUUUUUUUUUD NOISES!!!

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You’ve probably heard about the editing issues in Suicide Squad… and ho-ly-dickens, my friends the editing is here, there, over there, under where, EVERYWHERE. Off the top of my head I can think of three four instances that immediately took me out of the movie because I thought “what the fuck did they not catch this post? During writing it??”As I mentioned, Cara Dev… is easily the weakest of the bunch and that is truly disappointing because of how important her role is. I actually enjoyed the exposition they gave for the characters since I knew nothing about them and felt like I had an understanding of each member by the end of the film, however you can see just how sloppy the writing really is and I do attribute that to the 6-week period director David Ayer allegedly had to pen the script.

To conclude, good god, DC, please crank up the brightness levels for your next features. Couldn’t see shit!

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If you’re looking for a relatively fun comic-book movie and don’t mind the occasional “wait… what the hell was that?” check out Suicide Squad.

Suicide Squad receives 2.5/5 Matt Damon heads.

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