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Suicide Squad #6 cover


The best movie & TV posters of 2016

The best posters of 2016 were for the movie Suicide Squad.


Suicide Squad

One of the ways I judge the best posters of the year is if I’d like to have them hanging on the walls of my office — and boy-oh-boy would I love to see the posters for the movie Suicide Squad hanging there. What I think works so well about them is they break a lot of design “rules” by using elements like hyper “acidic” colors — or colors that a painting professor I had used to say, “were so intense they hurt my teeth” — and diverging design components that you’re not supposed to use.

Which, in lesser hands, could make the posters look amateurish, but instead makes the ones for Suicide Squad stand out from the flood of superhero posters that have come before. Posters for similar movies have, not so much failed, as failed to live up to expectations, in that they all kind’a look the same. I don’t think anyone would mistake the Suicide Squad poster for, say, a Captain America poster. And in an industry that seems to generate lots of campaigns that look the same as every other poster campaign, the ones for Suicide Squad have a wholly unique aesthetic.



I am a sucker for sci-fi movies. I’ll give just about any movie or TV series labeled “science-fiction” a try as long as it looks interesting enough. And the posters for the movie Arrival makes that movie look reeeeeeeally interesting. They feature these colossal alien ships that look a bit like a cross between a squished hockey puck and a sunflower seed impossibly hovering in the sky. And the whole campaign puts these ships at different locals around the world which adds to the immense scale of the ships and the movie as well.


Better Call Saul

I’m a big fan of the TV series Better Call Saul and I only wanted to see the premiere of the second season even more after the release of these posters. Here, the character of Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) is walking across the street at a crazy angle, and it’s just him that’s being affected by the slant. I love all the taglines this poster could have but doesn’t. Like, “It’s not easy being bent” or even, “Becoming a criminal is an uphill battle.” And the poster for Better Call Saul on Netflix is just as good with Odenkirk sitting oddly on a bench with the tagline, “The truth is how you look at it” above.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The poster for last years’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens was all right. It seemed to be a modern version of those classic Drew Struzan Star Wars posters of old, except that instead of Struzan traditionally illustrating the posters someone created a photo illustration. And while the poster for Rogue One is a photo illustration too, I think where that poster is unexpected whereas The Force Awakens is in line with what’s come before is that Rogue One has its own unique look and color scheme. So much so that I don’t think anyone could mistake it for another Star Wars film.


Stranger Things

The poster for the breakout TV hit of the summer Stranger Things is just as cool as the other posters on this list but in its own way. This poster is illustrated in the Struzan style and has just enough nostalgia factor that even if the series weren’t a good as it is I’d still be a fan of this poster.

Captain America: Civil War & Star Trek: Beyond

I thought the posters for Captain America: Civil War and Star Trek: Beyond were top notch too. The poster for Captain America takes a closeup shot of Cap and Iron Man battling each other from the perspective of Cap — and there’s a companion poster out there too that shows this action from opposite angle. And the poster for Star Trek: Beyond is so different then the other modern Star Trek posters while at the same time utilizing design elements from classic Star Trek posters that it’s breathtaking. Interestingly enough, the poster doesn’t have Star Trek anywhere on it, we just get the Enterprise swooping on a field of color with the words “Beyond” below.


The X-Files

The X-Files revival TV series might have been a bit of a mixed bag, but that doesn’t mean that the poster campaign released to promote the show wasn’t creepy as all get-out! “I still want to believe” indeed!


I don’t think I could call myself a true poster aficionado if I didn’t include at least one poster for the movie Deadpool on this list, the most PG of which features the title character making the heart sign with his hands with “Feel the love this Valentine’s Day” below.

Suicide Squad movie review

Grade: B

Suicide Squad is a much better movie than I was led to believe. It’s not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination, but I’d say that it’s more good than bad in this third DC Entertainment movie.

suicide_squad_lgWhile most superhero movies are about good-guys trying to do good things, Suicide Squad is about the bad guys forced to do good things. Here, assassin Deadshot (Will Smith), girlfriend of Joker and just as crazy as Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and others are all being held in prison indefinitely for their crimes. But they’re made an offer “they can’t refuse” by government agent Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). Go on a suicidal mission into a city possessed by the evil, mystical forces of the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) and get big reductions on their sentences or refuse and they stay and rot in jail forever.

First, the good about Suicide Squad. The characters of the movie are actually quite well drawn, interesting and different then one and other. Deadshot is a guy who makes big mistakes but has a daughter who’s the light of his life. Harley Quinn seemingly is the stereotypical “crazy/beautiful” girl yet has such an attachment to the Joker that the one guy who can’t love anything actually loves her back. And even a squad member like Diablo (Jay Hernandez) who has the power to control fire but won’t since this ability has cost him his wife and children.

There are other characters who don’t get as much screen time as the likes of Deadshot or Quinn like Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) or Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) that all come off as complete people and not simple characters.

I also liked how the movie was structured. Essentially, Suicide Squad is Escape from New York the comic book movie, and I mean this in a good way. Here, the squad must make their way across an abandoned and partially destroyed Midway City in order to rescue one very important person trapped in a high-rise. All the squad members have microscopic explosives implanted in their necks that will go off if they start disobeying orders just like Escape from New York too. But Suicide Squad isn’t a copy of that movie, it’s more of an homage that uses Escape from New York as a starting point in creating its own story.

Suicide Squad posterI think it’s this structure that mostly separates Suicide Squad from other superhero movies of late. It does fall into the genera tropes that most superhero movies do these days — if they fail their mission the world as we know it will end and they have to fight the main baddie who’s the strongest of them all and seemingly undefeatable at the end of the movie too. But all of this is pretty standard stuff for a comic book movie and since the characters are so well drawn and when they’re interacting with each other is so good I don’t think this hurts Suicide Squad too much.

What hurts Suicide Squad the most are all the plot-holes.

Even for a superhero movie the holes in the story are gigantic. There are several parts of the movie that could have been skipped entirely if the characters didn’t walk everywhere but instead took helicopters, and it’s not like there’s a lack of helicopters since one always seems zooming in whenever they needed one. But this is just one hole of many that over the course of the movie added up to a story that by the end in many regards didn’t make much sense.

Still, even if the story wasn’t up to snuff the characters really were. And I think fact alone makes me interested in seeing what would happen in a Suicide Squad sequel — even if at the same time I’m hoping that movie will have less holes than this one.

Suicide Squad – We’re the bad guys

Eventually, all comic book creators start telling stories focused on the bad guys. They just can’t help it. There’s only so many stories they can tell about the superheroes before the writers start looking in other places for plots and invariably wind up on the villains. And this makes sense — to stand the test of time good super villains have to be at least as interesting as the heroes. Joker is as interesting as Batman and Magneto to Wolverine. So why not focus stories on the bad guys? And that’s essentially what the upcoming Suicide Squad movie is — a story about the bad guys.

suicide_squad_ver38Here, the Suicide Squad is composed of a group of villains like marksman Deadshot (Will Smith), Joker protege Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and living monster Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) to name a few. In the past all these characters were caught and thrown into prison for their crimes and now are made an offer “they can’t refuse.” Join up with this super-villain squad to try and stop a greater evil and have their sentences reduced or rot in prison forever.

But these missions are very dangerous — so dangerous that some of these villains aren’t expected to survive. Hence the name; Suicide Squad. If you’re thinking that Suicide Squad sounds a lot like the movie Dirty Dozen, well, you’re not far off the mark. Other than some of the characters possessing superpowers, Dirty Dozen is essentially what Suicide Squad is.

What’s ironic here is that while I’d assume that most of the movie going public already knows who characters like Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman are before they go and see a movie about them, I doubt many know who Suicide Squad members like Enchantress, Katana or El Diablo are. Which makes me wonder why DC would take such a huge gamble on releasing a Suicide Squad movie as their third film out in their superhero franchise? To put that into perspective, the third Marvel Studios film was the relatively safe-looking Iron Man 2.

But ironies on ironies — it looks like DC might actually have a hit on their hands with the once risky looking Suicide Squad that’s seems to be a movie audiences are excited to see.

The first movie in this new DC franchise was Man of Steel (2013) then Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice from earlier this year. While these movies did make money at the box office — so far they’ve earned a combined total of something like $1.6 billion — neither of them have really caught on with the fans.

suicide_squad_ver43Man of Steel was greeted with a lot of questions like, “what’s next?” and “why was that so dark?” While, at best, Batman v Superman was greeted with a collective “meh” and at worst downright derision.

I can’t imagine that when the creators of these two movies set out to make their versions of two of the most popular comic book characters of all time they figured this would be the reaction they’d get. Which must be disheartening. That is until you take into account the upcoming Suicide Squad.

This film, that stars a few known actors like Will Smith and Jared Leto, but is full of completely unknown characters like Captain Boomerang and Slipknot is actually a movie people want, and are excited to see gauging fan reaction to the marketing for the movie. So excited that reportedly DC’s already put a movie about Harley Quinn on the fast track.

Why are audiences excited about Suicide Squad before the release when they mostly yawned at Batman v Superman before that movie came out? I think it’s because Suicide Squad looks to be a lot of FUN whereas the trailers for Batman v Superman made that movie look like a long, dull, boring DRAG. I think audiences are excited about Suicide Squad because it looks like something they’d have a good time going to see whereas after seeing Batman v Superman it looked like something they’d need to visit their analyst afterwards.

I don’t think people care who the characters in the movie are — just as long as it looks like actually getting out and going to the movie’s going to be a good time.


Direct Beam Comms #19


Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

Doctor Strange poster

Doctor Strange poster

I’m not a big fan of the Resident Evil films. I think I saw the first one, or part of the first one at least, and that was enough for me. So I never went to seek out any of the four sequels released after the original. Yet the other morning when I turned on the TV the channel that I happened to be on from the night before was showing Resident Evil: Extinction and since it was still early and I didn’t have anything else to do I sat down and started watching it.

Resident Evil: Extinction isn’t a good movie. The story doesn’t make much sense and the visuals look like they were cribbed partly from a makeup TV commercial where all the actors have perfect skin and teeth along with model good looks mixed with C-grade horror flick special effects. Yet for some reason I couldn’t stop watching Resident Evil: Extinction after I’d started. I watched the whole movie start to finish and when it aired again later in the afternoon I started watching it again for the bits I’d missed in the morning when I was doing my laundry.

The only reason I can think that I watched the movie to the finish, like I said, Resident Evil: Extinction is a reeeeeal stinker, is that it’s so bad it’s good. To illustrate my point, here’s a list of things in the movie that alone aren’t much of an issue, but together doomed the film.

  • Most of the actors look like models who just exited the makeup trailer, not survivors of a zombie apocalypse and have spent the last two years running for their lives.
  • The women all either dress skimpy, showing as much flesh as they can which doesn’t make a lot of sense when one bite from a zed leads to transformation into a zed yourself, or like clones of Sarah Conner in T2.
  • For some inexplicable reason that I’m sure has to do with budget rather than story unless I missed it, most of the zombies are bald and all wear blue uniform jumpsuits.
  • The zombies can run too, which I don’t remember them being able to do in the first film.
  • The zombies and other monsters have a habit of attacking side characters first, and leaving the main cast for later. Which is odd since it’s mostly the main cast who are fighting back against the creatures while the side characters scatter and run away.
  • A major plot point of Resident Evil: Extinction is lifted directly from Day of the Dead. And I think this is more “lifting” than an “homage.”

I think it’s all this plus the mess of the story as a whole plus the crazy action scenes that don’t make a lick of sense plus the gore plus the dodgy special effects that made it so that I was unable to look away from this train wreck of a movie. Heck, after having sat through Resident Evil: Extinction I’m tempted to checkout the other films just to see how bad the they are. D

Suicide Squad trailer #2

“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?”

“I want to build a team of some very bad people who I think can do some good.”

Doctor Strange trailer

“Forget everything that you think you know.”

“What if I told you (your) reality was one of many?”


The last thing Sgt. Apone saw

The last thing Sgt. Apone saw

Out this Tuesday is Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Volume Two, the second book in what looks to be a trilogy that covers all of the various Topps trading cards released for the original trilogy.


These two Alien Warrior from Aliens and Dog Alien from Alien 3 life-sized busts are simply amazing. But they’re well out of my price range at about $1,500 each.

Cool Sites

  • Doctor Who Books: “A large collection of various Doctor Who-related books, texts, magazine articles and literature.”
  • SciFi80TV: ”Featuring short previews of classic Science Fiction TV shows.”
  • Vintage Toledo (and Detroit) TV: “This website will primarily be a place to view print ads from the 1960s and ’70s for Toledo and Detroit TV stations. ”

The Reading List

This week in pop-culture history

1996: The movie Mystery Science Theater 3000 opens.