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Director: James Gunn Starring: Idris Elba, John Cena, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Daniela Melchior, Peter Capaldi Running Time: 132 minutes

The original Suicide Squad movie could at the most generous be described as a watchable mess. The hap-hazard editing, neon-splattered dour framing and tonal whiplash made for aggravating viewing and no doubt plenty of frustrating meetings at Warner Bros, but there was no denying that there was something there underneath, well, the Jared Leto of it all. That is partly because Margot Robbie’s performance as Harley Quinn undoubtedly struck a lasting chord with viewers, and in large part also because the ‘Suicide Squad’ is such a can’t-miss premise. Stick a bunch of mismatched misfit supervillains together in a team, and send them off on deadly, dirty op missions without worrying if any of them make it back alive. It’s a recipe for a blast of an action movie in the right hands, and that’s exactly what is delivered in James Gunn’s sequel.Read more…

Director: Travis Knight Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr. Running Time: 114 minutes

For over a decade, the Michael Bay-inflicted Transformers movies have been a force for evil in the film world, a miserable exercise in corporate-asset churnery, a film series propelled by millions of dollars but decimal points of inspiration, a world-view that seemingly looked up to the US military and down on absolutely everyone else. First Shia Labeouf, and later Mark Wahlburg, the eejit ids of everything these films stand for (which is to say, nothing), ran and yelled and gawped through a swampy succession of increasingly convoluted and visually overwhelming CGI, and most any of the many watched it got nothing from it at all except for their hearts to be hardened, left for hours to stew in their own cynicism when faced with stupidity and sneers writ large in IMAX 3D; lazy mean-spiritedness blown up to overwhelming size. Merely not being that makes Bumblebee more than a breath of fresh air. It’s more a vital grasp of any air, wonderful oxygen gulped into screaming, scratched lungs that have been poisoned something noxious. On its own merits though, Bumblebee with its spirit, its optimism, and its creative enthusiasm, storms far, far ahead of everything else in the series so far, less a spin-off than a strike-out, a knock-out blow to its inferior predecessors, floating and stinging like, well you know.

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