Tag Archives: Suicide Squad

Soundtrack Review: Archive (2020)

Milan Records released the original motion picture soundtrack for Archive back on July 10th, but I only recently got the chance to check it out. The music was composed by Academy Award-winning composer Steven Price (Gravity, Baby Driver, Suicide Squad). In Archive, set in 2038, George Almore is working on a true human-equivalent AI. His latest prototype is almost ready. This sensitive phase is also the riskiest. Especially as he has a goal that must be hidden at all costs: being reunited with his dead wife.

Of the soundtrack, composer STEVEN PRICE had the following to say:

“My favourite projects are the ones where the story leads me into new musical areas, and exploring the world of Archive, a movie where technology and humanity meet in a near future Kyoto, proved to be a brilliant challenge. I’d been looking for the opportunity to create a largely electronic score for the first time in a long while and the story of George Almore, his secretive AI project and the mysterious Archive let me do just that… The music follows the developments in George’s work as it progresses, and as he gets closer to achieving his hopes and dreams it was a lot of fun to blur the lines between the electronic and organic, trying to find the sound of his creations. From the moment I read writer / director Gavin Rothery’s ambitious script I wanted to be involved, and throughout the process he proved to be a great collaborator and true supporter of music. I’m looking forward to people experiencing the movie Gavin has created, and it was a real pleasure to be a part of it.”

“Archive was always going to need a killer score, but when I was writing the script, I had no idea how that was all going to happen,” says the film’s director and writer GAVIN ROTHERY, adding, “I wanted the film to be big and cinematic. But I also needed it to feel tight and personal. I wanted some parts to be epic and bold, but others intimate and close. Some parts needed energy and power but others needed space and quiet. Technology needed to fuse with humanity. And it all needed to feel unified and whole. Basically, as is probably true with most directors, I wanted everything.  Steven gave me everything. He delivered the perfect score to Archive. I’m not quite sure how he does what he does. Maybe he’s a secret telepath. Maybe he’s from the future. Maybe he’s a robot. There is one thing that I am absolutely certain of is that he most definitely is. The best.”

The soundtrack for Archive intrigues me. It’s what I like to call a “quiet” soundtrack. It’s not big and “loud” like, oh, for example, the music for Blade Runner 2049 comes to mind. I find “quiet” soundtracks to be very refreshing, because it allows me to actually relax while I’m listening to them.

As Steven Price mentions in the extended quote above, there is a distinct blurring of lines between the electronic and organic music. That is to say, a piece might start with the synthesizer but suddenly switch over to the cello. What I find fascinating is how the tone of a piece will completely shift when either side, electronic or organic, takes over. It’s a subtle change, mind you, but it is there. What I mean is, when the cello takes over from the synthesizer, some subconscious tension releases, because it’s almost more relaxing to hear the organic music.

If I had to pick one piece as my favorite, it would have to be “First Steps.” I really like in particular how this piece ends. It’s clearly building toward a climactic moment (based on the title I would have to guess that the robotic AI is taking its literal first steps) when the music suddenly cuts off. The sudden end to the music catches you off guard, and makes you wonder what happened in the story to make things end so abruptly, especially as things were getting interesting with the music.

Some people might deride the music of Archive, calling it it “too slow.” But I maintain that soundtracks like this can be some of the best music you’ll ever hear. I think too often the science fiction genre is conflated with action films, but this music serves as a reminder that they are not (always) the same thing.

TRACKLISTING –
1. So Sorry for Your Loss
2. The Archive
3. You Need to Trust Me
4. This Involves Her
5. Target Out of Reach
6. What Do You Need to Know?
7. First Steps
8. J2
9. Priority One
10. Answering the Call
11. I Didn’t Build You Well Enough
12. I Had That Dream Again Last Night

Let me know what you think about Archive (and its soundtrack) in the comments below and have a good day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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My Thoughts on Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)

Oh where do I even START with Birds of Prey?? It’s been almost a full 24 hours since I sat down to see this movie and I’m still wondering how to piece together what I think of this film. At one point, I didn’t think I’d ever be sitting down to watch any kind of follow-up to Suicide Squad (2016), but here I am having done it, and I loved it!

Well, first let’s start with the obvious: Birds of Prey is a fantastic film. I walked out of the theater feeling highly satisfied with the experience. This is the kind of comic book movie that I love, the kind that features the misfits and crazier characters that can be found in these types of films. And Birds of Prey certainly isn’t lacking there: for those who haven’t heard, the story follows a certain Harley Quinn as she embarks on a new life of independence after unceremoniously breaking up with the Joker. There’s just one tiny little hiccup in this plan: now that she’s single, most of Gotham wants Harley dead. And that’s just the beginning of the story, it gets crazier from there.

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You can practically feel the tug between male and female in this movie, with Roman Sionis (and his downright creepy henchman) serving as the epitome of everything that is wrong with the male patriarchy, while Harley and the other Birds of Prey show all the ways things can be awesome when you turn awesome and badass women loose on the world.

The casting for this film is spot-on:

Margot Robbie is the perfect cinematic Harley Quinn (though I will always have a special place in my heart for Arleen Sorkin, the animated Harley from Batman: TAS), and watching her interact with the other “Birds of Prey” is a lot of fun.

Jurnee Smollett- Bell is AMAZING as Dinah Lance (aka Black Canary). Aside from Harley herself, Dinah is absolutely my favorite character in the film, please give her her own movie because I would sit down to watch it. (minor spoiler: the moment where we get to see Black Canary’s power is as awesome as you think it will be).

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a good Huntress, though I almost wasn’t a fan of how she played the character (I have a special place in my heart for Huntress). Though, having had time to think about it, I get why the film does what it did with the character. I will say it might not be what you expect, so keep an open mind when she’s introduced.

Rosie Perez and Ella Jay Basco are a lot of fun to watch as Renee Montoya and Cassandra Cain respectively. With Perez, you really feel Montoya’s frustration as all of these road blocks are placed in front of her. And Basco is just phenomenal. Give her more roles as Cassandra Cain and I will come see the films that include her.

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I would dearly love to watch a movie starring all of these ladies again. I don’t even care what the story is about, I just want to see all of them together again.

And then there’s Ewan McGregor as Roman Sionis. Outside of the awesome Birds of Prey, his performance is one of the biggest highlights of the film. He’s terrifying, he’s funny, and my God he’s PERFECT for this movie.

With all of that said, I should add that Birds of Prey is not a perfect movie. It does take a while to get going, and the film’s storyline is a little problematic at times. However, once things really get going, oh man do they ever get going. From the third act onward I was riveted to the screen. The climax of this film was everything I wanted and more. Please, please, please, PLEASE give me more of this in future DC films and I will be a very happy movie-blogger indeed.

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I also can’t review this film without giving Daniel Pemberton’s soundtrack a mention. He’s quickly become one of my favorite film composers and this film features all the reasons why I love his work. The music is quirky and perfectly suited to this madcap story, and it includes a number of song selections that perfectly speak to the themes of man vs woman. Hopefully I’ll be able to get my hands on the soundtrack at some point for a more proper review.

What I’m trying to say is that you really should go see Birds of Prey. It’s a little messy in a few places but the latter half of the film is immensely satisfying and more than makes up for any faults in my opinion.

Let me know what you think about Birds of Prey in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Soundtrack Review: Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)

Thoughts on Suicide Squad (2016)

Film Reviews

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Thoughts on Suicide Squad (2016)

It finally happened: I actually caved and watched Suicide Squad, and boy oh boy do I have some thoughts on the subject.

It happened towards the end of my little vacation trip; there was a screening of Suicide Squad that evening and I thought to myself “Well I don’t have anything better to do, why not?” The next thing I know, I’m over an hour in to the story and I’m HOOKED!

Yes, despite the flaws (and they were many), I found myself enjoying the story I was being fed, so I’ll start off by listing the positives:

  • Margot Robbie absolutely KILLED it as Harley Quinn. I could watch her all day long, and I’m eagerly looking forward to the full-length Harley Quinn film.
  • Will Smith was fantastic as Deadshot, I loved the prologue part where he’s demanding his money over the phone before he’ll do the hit. And based entirely on the scene with Deadshot and his daughter (when Batman arrests him), I want/need to see a full-length Deadshot film, and it must have Will Smith in it.
  • The visuals are out of this world! This is important for me, as I’m a visual-based person.
  • I like the look of Enchantress, both her initial look and her secondary look when her brother gives her some of his power so she’s not dependent on her heart.
  • And then there’s the Joker…I admit, I DID enjoy Jared Leto’s performance, what little of it we got to see anyway. I can’t pass a complete judgement on whether it was good or bad because he’s barely there as a character, but it definitely has the potential to be amazing (and definitely a unique spin on the legendary villain).

 

Those are the big good points for me, now for the not so good.

  • Here’s the thing with Suicide Squad: if you don’t THINK about what you’re seeing, it’s a great story. The problem comes when you think about the sequence of events, where these people come from, etc. and then issues start coming out of the woodwork. Everyone who says they should’ve done some standalone films before launching Suicide Squad are absolutely right. In fact, those “prologue” segments for most of the main characters look like they came from 5-6 separate films, and I desperately want to see more, because aside from the bigger characters like Deadshot, Harley Quinn and Killer Croc, I don’t really know who Captain Boomerang or Diablo are.

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  • And then there’s the fact that not all of the characters get a backstory. Slipknot is literally introduced out of nowhere, and we don’t even get to know him before he (spoiler alert) dies in a rather gruesome fashion. And THEN there’s Katana, who is also brought in with ZERO explanation, which stinks because she looks really awesome!!
  • And speaking of explanations, I feel like they could’ve made a full-length Enchantress movie explaining how she and her brother came to our dimension, ruled the humans, were betrayed, etc. and such a film would’ve been really helpful in establishing her motives in this film. I mean we do get plenty of hints that the pair were worshipped as gods, that they’re very ancient, but in the end they were betrayed and trapped away, and now they want vengeance.

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  • It really was a mistake to put the Joker in this film and NOT have him as the main villain. I know that was the biggest reason (among many others) that this film failed to impress. Because, let’s face it, the previews essentially promised a film where the main villain was the Joker!! And who doesn’t want to see that? Then we actually GET to the film and, even in the extended cut, the Joker has maybe ten minutes of screen time. Talk about a bait and switch!! It should’ve either been Joker as the main villain, or Enchantress as the main villain, but using both was a mistake (though I would’ve been okay if they had done the following: have Harley receive messages from the Joker periodically, but don’t actually show him. THEN, at the very end of the film, have the “Joker breaks Harley out of prison” scene play as normal and show the Joker as a teaser/hook for the inevitable sequel. You know, something to whet the appetite of the audience.

Suicide Squad is definitely not the worst film I’ve ever seen, but it does not meet its full potential either. That being said, it does solidly rank as a good popcorn film with me (that’s why I ran out and bought a DVD copy as soon as I got home from my trip). Hopefully Jared Leto gets to reprise his Joker role in the future so I can form a better opinion of his performance.

See also:

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