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Fan Film Friday: ‘The Laughing Man’ (The Joker)

Let’s face it: Suicide Squad did not live up to the hype.

While DC fans were initially pumped to see see many of their favorite comic book characters on the big screen for the first time (Hey Harley!), reactions to the film mostly ranged from meh to ohmygoshsomepleasegaugeoutmyeyesJoel Kinnaman, who played Suicide Squad leader Rick Flag, reportedly stopped reading reviews because “they were not kind.” Even Jared Leto, who played the iconic supervillain Joker, was so unhappy with the film that he didn’t even watch it and had exactly two words to say to Warner Bros. (We’ll let you guess which two!). Following the film’s release, there was definitely a want/need for seeing our beloved DC characters do… something else.

Something better.

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The Laughing Man

Enter The Halvis Brothers‘ short fan film The Laughing Man, which debuted on YouTube August 2, 2016 (the same week Suicide Squad hit theaters).

Inspired by Scott Snyder’s Batman: Death of the Family, the film follows the Laughing Man (aka The Joker, portrayed by Zach Avery) and his counterpart Quinn (aka Haley Quinn, played by Whitney Able) as they torture a doctor at a psychiatric ward. The NSFW/Hard R short film clocked in at just over 20 minutes, and it masterfully made every minute second and scene count.

They say the devil is in the details, and that is certainly the case here.

From an artistic and technical stand point, the film was solid. I must have done 2529 screenshots of the film, because every image was beautiful, albeit haunting. Even though there were only 2 main sets, so much care and attention went into the background details: a blood smile on a television screen in the torture room, for instance. The film makers also experimented with different mediums, including animated “flashback” scenes, that really made the viewer feel like they were actually in this topsy-turvy world controlled by the Laughing Man.

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The Laughing Man, NOT a re-run of Gray’s

This project was strong on every level.

The plot was clear and concise. It knew it was a short film, and didn’t cram anything in that didn’t need to be there. In doing so, the performances and characters were really able to shine. Avery was so disturbing as the Laughing Man. Reminiscent of Andrew Scott‘s Moriarty on Sherlock, he managed to insight fear and tension without even raising his voice. I could not get his face(s) out of my head, even long after I finished watching the film! Able as Quinn was everything I loved about Harley Quinn from Batman: the Animated Series. Her voice was perfect and her gestures were subtle but spot on. There’s a scene where Avery and Able are dancing, and mid-move, he just lets her Thump! on the floor, completely capturing the essence of the Joker and Harley Quinn’s complicated relationship: she trusts and obsessively dotes on him, while he merely uses her for his theatrical antics. Such a simple but powerful shot that conveyed so much about the characters’ psyche! Bravo!

Any hard feelings you may have had about Harley or the Joker after watching Suicide Squad will immediately disappear upon watching this short film.

I definitely recommend The Laughing Man to you, GeekGirl World! Watch it below:

What did YOU think GeekGirl World? Let us know in the comments section!

Want more Fan Film Friday fun, darling cinephiles? Be sure to check out our other FFF reviews here!

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The 5 Best (& Worst) Things about ‘Suicide Squad’

[Warning: Suicide Squad spoilers ahead]

Suicide Squad is finally here, and naturally everyone on the internet has a strong opinion about it.

Critics have been largely united in their disdain for DC’s latest “superhero” flick, but audience ratings have told a whole different story.

The film received an utterly pathetic critic score of 27% on Rotten Tomatoes (the same score as Batman v Superman), while audiences were more generous, giving the film a score of 75%. So who is right: the critics, the audience, or your old High School classmate who ranted about the film in not one, not two, not three, but four separate Facebook posts?

In truth, it’s hard to say.

Suicide Squad is by no means a perfect film, but from beginning to end, it manages to hold its own as a devilishly run thrill ride.

One could speak for hours on end about the film, but for now, let’s focus on a mere handful of the best (and worst) things from the film:

Best: The Concept

Superhero flicks are permanent crowd pleasers, but the basic concept of these films has remained frustratingly stagnant: A brave hero arises to save the city/world from certain destruction, but will he (or she!) be able to save himself from his own mind?

Throw away the fork and grab the fire extinguisher – this concept is beyond done.

Suicide Squad forgoes the heroes and focuses instead on the perfectly imperfect DC rogues gallery, providing audiences a refreshing escape from the cliches of the cinematic superhero world.

After sitting through generic (yet spectacular) superhero films for the better part of a decade, I think we all desperately need that escape.

Worst: The Pacing

Clocking in at a modest 2 hours and 10 minutes, Suicide Squad somehow feels more like a summarized LEGO video game of itself than a major DC blockbuster.

A good portion of the first half of the film is dedicated to character introduction (via flashbacks), leaving little time for these characters to develop and interact with one another before the inevitable boss battle. As a result, all “developments” by our ragtime band of villains felt forced and insincere.

Had the film been allowed more run time, these problems would have likely worked themselves out, but alas, the cinematic fluidity was never meant to be.

Best: The Cameos

Nearly everyone knew that Batman would have a small role in Suicide Squad, but the addition of his Justice League comrade, The Flash, was a welcomed surprise.

These cameos brought an air of superhero familiarity to the film, while simultaneously keeping the story fresh and new to senior audiences and new audiences alike.

Can we please see Jason Momoa as Aqua Man again, though? Thanks.

Worst: Enchantress

Cara Delevigne was an absolute vision as the powerful ancient witch (or is she a demi-god? An alien? IDFK), but her character’s story was completely butchered by choppy and lazy writing.

So Enchantress is possessing the body of archeologist June Moon, who unleashed the witch by purposely tearing the head off an ancient figurine for some unknown fucking reason (please switch careers). Now the only way to destroy the witch is to destroy her ancient heart. This is definitely the plot of The Last Witch Hunter, but okay, we’ll roll with it.

Suicide Squad curator Amanda Waller conveniently happens to possess the witch’s heart, but she loses it instantly (also convenient), unleashing the witch upon the world. Because plotkai.

Enchantress then lays waste to Midway City with the help of her newly released brother, the only motive for her actions being that she wants humans to bow down to her as a God. No daddy issues, no sibling rivalry, no ancient heartbreak story… nothing.

Simply put, Suicide Squad‘s Enchantress is a villain with absolutely no depth, existing in the film solely as a convenient villain.

The writers did Enchantress super dirty… and I don’t even think they called her the next day.

Best: The Action

The gorgeous visuals and breathtaking action in Suicide Squad almost make up for the film’s crudely stitched together plot. Almost.

Worst: The Joker

Who exactly is The Joker in Suicide Squad? Is he…

A. A suave gang leader with an affinity for the theatrical
B. A dangerous psychopath
C. A loving boyfriend
D. All of the above

If you guessed D, then therein lies the problem with Jared Leto’s Joker.

Different mediums (comics, film, animation) have portrayed The Joker in different lights, but in general, Batman’s greatest nemesis is a heartless psychopath who uses people (including Harley Quinn) as disposable tools.

So awful as it sounds, Leto’s Joker would have been more believable had he been the occasional dickbag to Quinn (as he was in Batman: The Animated Series), rather than a lovesick puppy dog.

It’s as if the writers weren’t sure what creative direction they wanted to take with The Joker, so they just threw everything in there and hoped for the best.

Despite it all, Leto’s confused Joker still managed to be entertaining, so as far as this writer is concerned, all is forgiven. For now.

Best: Harley Quinn

Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn, on the other hand, was funny, sexy, and absolutely spot on.

Suicide Squad‘s version of The Joker’s insane girlfriend was a dead ringer for the Quinn portrayed in Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995), the series where the character first debuted. The writers celebrated Harley Quinn’s history by retaining her origin story, stuffing the film with little nods to the original source material (including Quinn’s jester costume, her New York accent, and her tendency to call the Joker “Mr. J”), and keeping her psycho-sexy persona in tact.

And speaking of sexy… Robbie’s costumes were sexy to the max, but her enviable physique never outshone her bright personality and prowess as a violent and dangerous criminal.

If there’s a character we’re desperate to see more of after Suicide Squad, it’s Harley Quinn.

Annnnnd Deadshot. And Diablo. And Katana. And “bitch I’m fabulous” Killer Croc with his BET.

Just start filming the sequel already, David Ayer. We’re ready.

What did you think about Suicide Squad? Let us know in the comments!

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Comic Review: ‘DC Superhero Girls’ Vol 1: Finals Crisis

DC-SHG_FC_56fc25070cbd98.43152928Title: DC Superhero Girls Vol 1: Finals Crisis
Written by: Shea Fonta
Art by: Yancey Labat
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: June 29, 2016
Price: $9.99

Summary:

 “Preparing for high school exams is hard enough, but at Super Hero High, even the tests are super-tough! Principal Waller keeps an eagle eye on her students, drilling them in math, science, literature—and other subjects like flying and powers! And no one wants to fail, because Principal Waller hands out detention faster than a speeding bullet. In the first-ever all ages DC Super Hero Girls original graphic novel, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Bumblebee, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Katana, and Poison Ivy are studying hard—well, maybe not Harley Quinn— when they are each abducted by a mysterious villain! Will the students outsmart their captor, save Gotham City, and still pass their finals?”

Review:

I’ve always really liked the art style, the toys, and all around cuteness that comes with this brand. I never picked up any of the copies of this series until Free Comic Book Day, and I found that specific issue to be very cute but very weirdly focused on just Supergirl. I wanted more, hoping that I would get to see the others female heroes, and this graphic novel definitely provided that.

The story line for DC Superhero Girls is very simple, but not insultingly simple. The girls – which include Bumblebee, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Katana, and Batgirl – are all kidnapped by a mysterious someone right before finals! Readers get to see how each girl is kidnapped and how each of the girls help to defeat that mysterious someone, who, spoiler alert, turns out to be Lex Luthor.

There are a few things that I did and that I’m going to just pick on real quick before finishing up this review. One of the things I did like was the nod to other superheros such as my girl, Starfire, and having some items being made by Wayne Enterprises. There was also a few nods to Lois Lane who was a reporter for the school. I thought that was super cute. I thought it was kind of funny that none of them knew who Lex Luthor was, but were ready to fight.

This is the perfect book for all ages.

I know that if this was out when I was a little girl, I would have been begging my mom to buy it for me. I can’t wait for more characters to be revealed (Starfire is already one of them!) and I can’t wait to see more stories in this format.

 

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‘Suicide Squad’ Character Posters are Here!

It appears that Warner Bros. has been throwing all their pennies into a wishing well for Suicide Squad. 

The company’s advertising strategy for their latest flick has been simple: keep Suicide Squad as tonally different from the widely panned Batman V Superman as humanly possible.

Now, in what appears to be an overachievement of this goal, the company has released not one, but two sets of character posters for the film.

And boy, these posters could not be any more different. Check them out below!

Edition #1: Standard and “Sweet”

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Edition #2: Comic Book Mayhem

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Someone clearly went a little too crazy with the Photoshop brushes in the second set, but whatever – we like them all the same.

Suicide Squad hits theaters August 5.

Which poster set was your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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Reactions: ‘Suicide Squad’ (Blitz) Trailer

The latest trailer for Suicide Squad just dropped and we get to see more of the team! Set to the music “You Don’t Own Me” by Grace feat. G-Easy and “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet (hence the trailer being dubbed “Blitz”). We see the entire team interacting with each other, getting their bearings, getting more comfortable with their new statuses, plus bonus glimpses of Jared Leto as Joker and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. There is a new scene that shows a group of grown men oggling Harley Quinn as she gets dressed in some familiar attire.

Starring Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood and Cara Delevingne, Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer is scheduled to blitz theater screens on August 5, 2016.

To find out what I personally thought of the trailer, you just have to watch the video to get my reaction! Let me know what you think, and don’t for get to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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Official First look at ‘Suicide Squad’

I’m sure that many of you have already sneaked a peak at the Suicide Squad trailer that was released exclusively at Comic-Con and then (naturally) leaked online, but for those of you who haven’t yet seen it (or for those of you who’d rather view it in HD), don’t worry, we got you!

Check out the trailer below:

For a movie that stars Will Smith as Deadshot, this trailer centers mostly around Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, and we’re totally okay with that!

This will be our first time seeing Harley Quinn translated in a true live-action form, and we’ll most likely be seeing a lot of her origin story.

We see her and what we presume is Mr. J (the Joker, of course) on the run from Batman, whose literally right on top of them.

But as Harley Quinn centric as the film is bound to be (after all, who doesn’t want to squee at Harley?), we’ll be seeing plenty of Smith, too.

Deadshot doesn’t come off as such a bad guy in the trailer, though. He had a special moment with a young girl (who is most likely his daughter) and even proclaimed “let’s go save the world”.

Perhaps he, more than anymore, will actually be repenting for his past wrongs as part of the Suicide Squad…or maybe he’s just as nutty as the rest of them, who knows.

Either way, we absolutely can’t wait for to get more footage from the film as it’s released!

Suicide Squad will be hitting theaters next summer.

 

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‘Arkham Knight’ DLC “Batgirl: A Matter of Family” Trailer Premieres Today

Yesterday we brought you the first look at Arkham Knight DLC, “Batgirl: A Matter of Family” where DC treated us to a powerful and exciting sneak peek at the cinematic cut scenes featuring Barbara Gordon in full, gorgeous costume, kicking crime’s butt and facing the Joker alongside Tim Drake’s Robin.

Today we got a whole trailer, all 90 seconds of it. We start out with Batgirl and Robin arriving at the Joker’s “main event” at the big top circus in the heart of Seagate Amusement Park. Harley Quinn, in her traditional red and black outfit, slinks by as we take a look around. Not only are there GCPD and SWAT officers dead or held hostage throughout the park, but Jim Gordon’s been captured and caged, suspended in true Joker style up high (and probably over a tank of something hungry!).

Though Robin tells her they ought to call Batman, Batgirl is adamant that the Joker will kill her father if they dare involve him. And seeing as how the Joker, sitting astride a huge canon, announces “the magnificent deaths of the caped do-gooders,” it looks like Barbara is going to have to play along with the psychopath’s demands.

Both Batgirl and Robin swoop in from above with all the knock-out force of the dive attacks we’ve come to love from the Arkham series of games, taking out the masked Joker thugs. Batgirl deftly disarms a brute with her batclaw, then makes quick work of the thug who dared aim a shotgun at her. With a Diana Rigg-esque high kick, Batgirl stands tall and triumphant.

The pack of Joker thugs the next scene unleashes is standard fare for Batman game fans; the RPG the Joker wields moments after is a little bit more intimidating. We get a great shot of Robin wiping off a thug’s grin as he uses his bow staff to assist Batgirl in an aerial attack. The Joker begins to muse about how things used to be so simple before these “knuckleheads” came in and “spoiled his game.”

What follows is frenetic montage of both cinematic cutscenes and gameplay which includes the always useful detective vision. We get to see Batgirl using her invisible predator skills as she stalks some thugs, but unfortunately there are no scenes utilizing her much-anticipated hacking talents. Though considering how dynamic and exciting this trailer is supposed to be, I suppose there wasn’t room for the more cerebral of her skill set.

As Batgirl promises that she’s “gonna put them all away,” Joker replies, “Not. Funny,” and fires his RPG at the base of one of the gondola lift pylons. Batgirl shouts out a warning to Robin, and, as the pylon explodes into a fireball, we watch Batgirl take flight on the edge of the shock wave.

The trailer ends with Harley’s signature giggle as the Joker points his handgun towards the viewer and eerily remarks, “It’s been a blast…” I don’t think it was a mere coincidence that they included this as the final scene to the trailer. Have a look for yourself:

Despite the initial grumblings earlier this year over the value and viability of the Arkham Knight Season Pass deal (Season Pass and Premium Edition, priced at $39.99 and $99.99, respectively), today’s release proves that WB and Rocksteady sure didn’t skimp on style. Here’s hoping they didn’t skimp on story, either, and that we get as much bang for our buck as we’ve hoped.

“Batgirl: A Matter of Family” releases to Season Pass holders Tuesday, July 14, in North America, and July 21 to non-Season Pass holders for $6.99.

What are your initial impressions about the trailer? Have you signed up for Season Pass for Arkham Knight yet? Do you think you’re getting your money’s worth with this newest DLC?

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First Look at ‘Arkham Knight’ DLC, ‘Batgirl: A Matter of Family’

Barbara Gordon will finally be getting her own side missions in the most recent installment of the Arkham game franchise in the DLC Batgirl: A Matter of Family, according to Entertainment Weekly. Best known as Oracle in the franchise, Barbara has played a pivotal role is assisting Batman with intel on the baddies terrorizing Gotham City. Now she’ll enjoy her own playable arc and Warner Bros. Games Montreal design producer Justin Vazquez promises a unique perspective. The first image from the DLC was released, showing Batgirl taking down some of Joker’s henchmen with gusto.

Those with the season pass to Batman: Arkham Knight will unlock her story on July 14 and the DLC will be available for purchase separately on July 21. In the DLC, Batgirl will team up with Robin to take on the Joker and Harley Quinn in the nautical theme park setting of Seagate Amusement Park to save her father, Commissioner Gordon. One of the great features of Arkham Knight, the Dual Play system, will be present and allow you to seamlessly switch between playing as Batgirl and Robin during timed takedowns of the various enemies. Batgirl will also have unique hacking capabilities unlike any seen before while still maintaining some of the brute strength players are used to with Batman. If her gameplay is similar to the strength we saw in Harley Quinn’s (too short) Arkham Knight side story DLC then I am super excited. Vazquez notes that “hacking is really what separates her from the other characters. It’s a gameplay mechanic with which the player can create situations for Batgirl to really shine.”

Along with the tag-team fight between Batgirl and Robin against Joker and Harley comes side quests, collectibles, and of course Easter eggs for fans. Because the story is a prequel, taking place before 2009’s Arkham Asylum, I expect that it will have a lot of the same feelings that Asylum had with the modern flare of Arkham Knight.

For those either with the season pass or who plan on buying the add-on, what are you most looking forward to? What are your thoughts on the other DLCs for Arkham Knight so far? How are you liking the main story line? Let us know in the comments!

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Geek Girls Ink’d: Harold & HP, Superman, and Harley Quinn & Jack

harold & harryFirst up this time is Laura Ann Mach from LA. Laura has a great mash-up tattoo of Harold and the Purple Crayon and Harry Potter. Harold and the Purple Crayon was her favorite book when growing up and the Harry Potter series is her favorite as an adult so putting them together was a no-brainer. Laura did a wonderful job combining the innocence and imagination of both worlds into one tattoo and the idea of Harold using his purple crayon to draw a patronus was simple yet powerful. Armando, owner of True Identity Ink, had the pleasure of turning this concept into art about six months ago. Not a lot of people have heard of Harold and the Purple Crayon so it is fun for Laura to get people interested in the story through her tattoo and those who do know it and understand the mash-up think it’s brilliant, or cute. Cute is good, too.

We next come to Kristen Richards, who calls Las Vegas her hometownIMG_20150419_172456_rewind. Her tattoo was a long time coming as she was 30-years-old before she finally got it done. She thought long and hard about what she wanted her first tattoo to be and chose the DC comics Superman symbol. She has been a fan of Superman since she was a little kid and still loves him. Kristen believes in everything Superman stands for: being the best you can be, helping others, and using your own power for the betterment of mankind. Kristen believes in the decency of humanity that Superman represents and the ideal that everyone should aspire to be. She originally went into Pricz tattoo studio with the idea of getting a small symbol on her ankle but after a lengthy discussion with the artist they both agreed that a bigger, bolder, full color tattoo would be more fitting for what she wanted to represent. After all, there isn’t really anything dainty about Superman. It’s been about ten years since Kristen went into that tattoo shop for her first tattoo and she still loves it as much as she did the first day. The colors remain fresh and bright and she has gotten nothing but positive attention from her super tattoo. It helps that she works as a teacher and her students always love it when they see it. She always tells them she has it because her students are all super. This tattoo is an integral part of who Kristen is now, is a great conversation starter, and she wouldn’t change it for anything.

tabLastly, we have Tabatha Walker, born and raised in Las Vegas. Tabatha couldn’t choose just one of her tattoos as they both are equally meaningful to her. She first got a tattoo of Jack Skellington’s head on her wrist from Steadfast Tattoo as a Friday the 13th special. It was done on a whim, but she made sure it was still something very meaningful to her. Tabatha loves not only the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas but the concept and life that surround the movie, the creator, and everything that blossomed from it as well. Her other tattoo was done by Chad at True Identity Ink and is inspired by Harley Quinn. Tabatha has always been drawn to the character of Harley Quinn and admires her for how amazing and strong she is. She loves that she is not really a villain or a hero, but rather does what is necessary in her life for herself and what makes her happy. Tabatha spent years contemplating what she wanted to do for her diamonds tattoo and finally decided on this design. She has had some negative pushback from people who have said she would be prettier if she hadn’t messed up her skin, but those are very few and very far between. Tabatha finds her ink beautiful and has absolutely no regrets.

If you are interested in having your ink featured, contact us here.

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