FIRST LOOK: The Hunt

Remember the movie in September 2019 that horrifically timed real events and President Trump seemingly squashed with a tweet?

It’s back on Friday the 13th in March, I guess because it was all just satire, the production money was spent, and it’s from Blumhouse that seems to have earned a lot of wide release movies by its box office track record.

The film — a satiric thriller that follows a group of liberal elites who try to track down and kill “red state” conservatives for sport — sparked controversy and was shelved in August following the Dayton and El Paso mass shootings. It also drew the ire of President Donald Trump, who (though he did not name the film) insinuated via Twitter that “the movie coming out is made in order to inflame and cause chaos.”

‘The Hunt’ Producer on the Film’s Release: – Variety

This is a recent drop-in title from Universal that was lingering in TBA status after being pulled last year. It was put back on the screening schedule Thursday, February 13 for a month later. A new trailer was added as well, embedded below.

The Hunt official trailer

Haven’t seen the original trailer?

The original extended trailer

Political controversy aside, we’ll soon find out if this movie is worth all the fuss it received last year. Clearly in the promotion blurbs the marketing team is pushing the controversy as even more reason to go see it.

The story of a bunch of people waking up to find out they’re being hunted could be interesting, but I’m hopeful it doesn’t try to be too political in its message and just focuses on telling an entertaining story. I’ve liked some of what Blumhouse has produced. I think they’re at their best when they are doing something original vs. remaking/rebooting films and this is an original.

The Hunt opens wide in theaters on March 13, 2020 — Friday the 13th!

Let's Not Use Parasite as Motivation to Add a Washington State Tax

The pictures above are of Los Angeles, but Seattle has tent city issues with the homeless, too

For the most part I stay out of commenting on politics but when it comes to adding taxes we don’t have in Washington State? Um, no.

The tent cities listed above are not from Washington State, they are from Los Angeles, California another very liberal state. We also have a huge homeless problem inside the city of Seattle and Tacoma. Two cities that are close to where I live. Here are pictures from Seattle:

Seattle homeless pictures

You probably don’t see this mentioned as much around the world when Seattle is mentioned. You see the Seattle Center and iconic Space Needle. You likely don’t see the pictures of the homeless living in tents in Seattle pictured above.

The news stories are out there, you can follow them on Google News if you use the right keywords.

What we don’t have in Washington is a state tax.

What’s powerful about his report is that he isn’t advocating for new government programs or subsidies for anyone; he just wants to change who pays. His report advocates scrapping all of our sales, property and business taxes — all would go to zero — and replacing them with a simple, flat 10.4% state and local income tax with a $15,000 deduction. So a family of four working the gig economy and making, say, $25,000 a year — kind of like the one featured in “Parasite” — would pay about $3,000 less per year than it does now.

Seattle is so far gone on inequality we’re beyond the movie ‘Parasite’ | The Seattle Times

The bolding above in the quote is mine. Movies like Parasite can raise issues in real life, but Parasite isn’t non-fiction, it’s not an answer to how economic disparity should be resolved in a real world city. The article using this fantasy movie as suggested motivation of “how bad it could be” is preposterous.

The author of The Seattle Times article references Parasite a second time in the article toward the end:

We’ve fractured into such disparate camps that the one probably couldn’t get close enough to the other to feed on its resources even if it tried — as happens so wrenchingly in “Parasite.”

The Seattle Times

Scare tactics.

I’ve outlined my issues with Parasite, see: 20+ Parasite Reviews – A Curious Class Exercise In Social Irony and Cruelty

You can’t solve real world problems with movies. Can you be inspired to change something based on a movie? I’m not even sure that’s possible. There are very different realities between movies and real life. In movies most everything is bent, twisted and amplified for dramatic license within a couple hours of run time. In real life, it isn’t always so dramatic and cannot be resolved so quickly and neatly.

It’s extremely unlikely Parasite could happen exactly as depicted in the movie in real life. Bong Joon Ho wouldn’t even suggest that, I’m guessing. Impossible? No.

My biggest problem with Parasite is that it expertly showed a problem and yet offered no real solution. In real life you have to find solutions to problem someday, somehow.

Seattle has many problems, but solving them with adding a new statewide tax that we’ve never had isn’t the solution.

When it comes to state governments and politics, they only know one thing: more taxes for everybody! Only, it’s not for everybody because the biggest money earners (the giant corporations) get corporate tax loopholes that reduce and in some cases eliminate their tax burden. Go research how much Amazon pays in corporate income tax in Washington State.

The issue with poverty isn’t going to be solved by adding a state tax. It just means we’re going to add another tax that impacts every Washington state citizen outside the big cities. Citizens state-wide be subsidizing taxes for the city of Seattle, where the homeless problem is the worst. While Seattle has the biggest population in the state, the rest of the state combined has way more people than the city of Seattle.

The politicians have been trying to add a state tax for years and by and large majority the citizens of this state keep voting “no.” This has zero to do with helping to balance the social inequity in the city.

We don’t believe there will be fiscal responsibility with the additional tax revenue.

I would welcome a state tax if I honestly thought the money would be managed by state government correctly.

We used to have a huge tax surplus in this state, we used to have $25 car tab renewals and due to poor mismanagement by the state government, we no longer have these perks. One of my car tabs costs almost $300/year when I voted to have $25 tabs.

Politicians don’t add taxes and then take them away. We’ve been down the road where adding taxes to everybody in the state to solve the problems of a couple major cities doesn’t seem either equitable or fair.

Meanwhile, there are various corporate business incentive taxes. Why do large tech companies in this state pay so little taxes? Because of the jobs they bring into the state, that’s supposed to be the answer.

Amazon doesn’t need tax incentives. They can take all their low paying warehouse jobs to some other state. Sure, they pay executives handsomely.

This is a complicated business problem. How to take the tax revenue from the state and divide it up equally when too many people live in too small a geographic footprint. Grifters, drugs, all the bad crime a city doesn’t want moves in with poverty. It’s a very real problem, but my solution to fixing the problem is simple: tax corporate business more.

It’s laughable that when more taxes are requested, it’s always mainstream America that is asked to pay more while businesses get tax breaks and incentives over the fear that they will “leave the state.” You know what? Leave then. Pack up your bags and move to another state. Take the low paying jobs with you.

And, please, let’s not use movies as motivation to add more taxes.

FIRST LOOK: The Lovebirds (2020)

Rated R. Romantic comedy.

This film has been showing in previews at the theater for the last month. The title alone makes it worthwhile profiling on Valentine’s Day.

A couple (Issa Rae & Kumail Nanjiani) experiences a defining moment in their relationship when they are unintentionally embroiled in a murder mystery. As their journey to clear their names takes them from one extreme — and hilarious — circumstance to the next, they must figure out how they, and their relationship, can survive the night.

The Lovebirds movie info via Rotten Tomatoes
The Lovebirds official trailer

Random Trailer Thoughts

  • Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is” to running over a person in a car is quite the contrast
  • “We have im-post-ers! Everybody unmask yourselves!”
  • Not sure what’s up with the Phantom of the Opera masks, but that looks funny
  • “Take … the grease!”
  • From the trailer I’m not sensing much romantic chemistry between the characters, but tough to show that in two minutes
  • They do seem like a decent comedy duo
  • Issa Rae starred in another romance, The Photograph⭐️⭐️½ released on Valentine’s Day, so she’s getting prominent acting roles in new wide release films. She strikes me more as a dramatic actress than fit for comedies, but we’ll see what chops she has here. Trailer doesn’t really tell me enough. Looks like she might be playing the straight comic role

The Lovebirds opens wide in theaters April 3, 2020.

TV SERIES Review: The Twilight Zone (1959) S1E1 – Where is Everybody?⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (#1 of 156)

Season 1
Episode 1 – “Where is Everybody?”
Written by Rod Serling
Starring: Earl Holliman (living, age 91 as of 2/14/2020)
Original airdate: October 2, 1959

Directed by Robert Stevens

Stevens would direct 2 of the 156 Twilight Zone episodes. He died in 1989.

Story

A man walks along a path into a strange town.

The place is here. The time is now, and the journey into the shadows that we are about to watch, could be our journey.

Opening Narration by Rod Serling for “Where is Everybody?”

It opens with a man (Holliman) checking out a diner. Coffee is brewing, pies are cooking.

Fresh pies and coffee brewing … Where Is Everybody?

He calls out for people and looks around and while it looks like there should at least be workers in the kitchen, nobody is around.

Next he goes outside and sees a woman in a car. He calls out to her, starts talking about wondering where all the people in town went?

“Hey Miss! Miss! Over here!” As he closes in on the woman in the car, he explains that he can’t find anybody else in town and that he doesn’t remember who he is or how he arrived here.

When he opens the door he realizes that the woman is a mannequin. Then he enters the mannequin shop and still can’t find anybody. After another minute, he walks outside and hears a telephone ringing!

Trying to get out of a phone booth with the weird collapsing door is something nobody with a cell phone ever worries about in 2020, but in 1959 … even into the early 80s, phone booths were a real deal. Bill & Ted used one as a time machine.

When he answers the phone, nobody is there. He hangs up and calls the operator and hears a voice, but it’s only a recording of the operator. Then he struggles to exit from the phone booth. Anxiety and stress are beginning to affect him. He’s starting to sweat.

After exiting the phone booth through a normal, albeit difficult, door he decides to check out the police station next. Surely there will be someone in there, yes?

Check out the old school fire extinguisher on the wall? Is that water in there?

No. He enters the jail area with running water and shaving kit prepared but, again, nobody is around to use it. The cell door creaks and threatens to close on him, locking him inside the cell. Escaping, his panic level is rising as he goes into the office area and finds a smoking cigar.

It would be quite freaky to encounter a lit cigar … but nobody around smoking it

He runs out of the police station and cries, “Hey! Where is everybody?!”

Fade to black. This would be a commercial break if there was one. When we return to the action, the man is back in the diner eating a sundae. He’s a little calmer, but there is still an underlying tension and confusion in his voice.

He tells himself in a mirror that he wants to wake up. Wants to find somebody to talk to. There’s a book rack in the diner with a bunch of books titled, “The Last Man on Earth.”

He leaves the diner and plays Tic Tac Toe in the dirt outside. Nightfall is coming and the streetlights illuminate. He heads inside a movie theater.

Looking at movie posters, he suddenly realizes that he is in the Air Force. He runs around the lobby of the movie theater yelling that he’s in the Air Force.

He wonders if there was a bomb? But if there was, why isn’t anything destroyed? He then goes inside the theater and a movie starts playing on the projector.

Excited, he heads upstairs to the projector room.

The projector is running, movie playing, but where is the projectionist? In 2020, a very different position, one that is shared at least in part with computers

But nobody is up there. Just the haunting projector running … tick, tick, tick, tick.

Running downstairs is the best camera shot in the episode.

In a panic running away form the projector and into …

He runs toward the viewer and we don’t realize it’s a mirror until he crashes into it.

A mirror image!

Now he’s in full panic mode and losing his mind. When he emerges outside and runs down the dark street we see a camera at an angle with a bicycle in the distance. We see him running toward it and …

One of my most favorite camera shots of the first episode of running toward and falling over the bicycle at an odd angle. Batman would use a similar angle for henchmen battles with Batman & Robin, as if to show how crooked the bad guys were. Here the angle is to illustrate his growing confusion and fear over the circumstance. A genius camera angle that is never repeated anywhere else in the episode.

Then he trips over it. When he looks up and sees a giant cyclops eye, his stress has turned to terror. He can’t process that it’s simply an Optometrist office.

Optometrist watchful eye is the final straw … he cracks!

He runs over to the empty street, sweating profusely, frantically pushing the button to walk across the street safely.

Yes, they still exist in 2020: push them to walk across the street when it’s safe. Some technology isn’t as easily replaced. These days many of these devices speak or make loud noises to aid the sight-impaired.

He cries out for help. Anybody, somewhere, anywhere, “Help!”

At this point the flashing lights, “WAIT! WAIT! WAIT!”

And now viewers can’t wait to find out where the people are?

… SPOILERS ahead, you’ve been warned that the twist ending is revealed after this (hurry, go and just watch the episode before having the fun ruined …

Spoiler sectionTHE TWIST ENDING

The part that always fascinated me with Twilight Zone episodes was the twist ending. Some I figured out, most were surprises including this first episode.

The man we’ve been watching isn’t really in a town that has no people. He is in the Air Force and his name is Ferris.

He’s been part of an experiment inside an isolation booth.

Trapped in an isolation booth, being studied by the military

They are trying to measure how loneliness impacts the astronauts traveling in the long trip in space.

Inside the isolation chamber, pressing the panic button

We cut inside to Ferris in the box, pushing the panic button.

Ferris has snapped. The officials order him taken out of the box.

Help has arrived to pull him out of the isolation chamber … 2 1/2 weeks later.

We learn in the final moments as they pull him out that he’s been in the isolation chamber for 2 1/2 weeks.

The barrier of loneliness: The palpable, desperate need of the human animal to be with his fellow man. Up there, up there in the vastness of space, in the void that is sky, up there is an enemy known as isolation. It sits there in the stars waiting, waiting with the patience of eons, forever waiting… in The Twilight Zone.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration for “Where Is Everybody?”

My Review

This is an excellent episode to start the series. Serling chose a central theme which seems amazingly fitting: loneliness. As if he wanted to explain that these little, self-compacted stories in the anthology series each episode would do more than basic sci-fi/fantasy entertainment: they would have a message that transcends the black and white TV images.

By the time I review all 156 episodes, I’ll rank them and I’d guess on this Valentine’s Day in 2020 that this episode is probably in the top 25 (just a guess at this point, need to rewatch and review them all again). It has an unusual, unsettling storyline and a great twist ending. Earl Holliman’s acting isn’t overdone, there is a progressive crescendo as we build to the end.

The episode is understandably a little dated now in its presentation of a small town, particularly the phone booth. In 2020 everybody has cell phones and the use of phone booths has been obsoleted. If younger, first time viewers can suspend their belief at this historically accurate oddity, this episode still packs punch.

There are various fire extinguishers which look like diving tanks instead of the modern day version. Of course the cars look every bit like something from Back To The Future when Marty McFly goes back in time to 1955. Cars just looked cooler in the 50s than they do today, so no problems there. The advertisements for products and pricing is pure 50s as well. 40 cents for a banana split? Wouldn’t that be nice?

The camerawork, the angles, the extreme close-ups, the use of black and white with shadows are all excellent. Cinematography for this episode is by Joseph LaShelle who died in 1989 at the age of 89. LaShelle was a master craftsman of black and white film — and it shows.

Editing was by Roland Gross who also died in 1989 at the age of 80. He was an Academy Award nominee for the Best Film Editing category for the movie, None But The Lonely Heart.

The legendary Twilight Zone score is by Bernard Herrmann who died in 1975. Herrmann worked with Alfred Hitchcock and on many other TV shows and classic films like The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951). A legend gone too soon who died of a heart attack at 64. Too young for such a great talent.

If one could define a nearly perfect Twilight Zone or really any other sort of pilot, this would be an example. I’m going to take a very tiny half star away for one minor thing that somewhat plagued some TZ episodes worse than others: flowery dialogue. Serling liked to have characters who spoke things that probably sounded great on paper, but didn’t always translate well to screen. This will likely be a recurring complaint of mine during the series.

Here some of the character Ferris’ dialogue speaking to himself was a little too convenient. Like he was being pure exposition and not really speaking aloud like someone in his position would. For example, how does he realize he’s in the Air Force just being inside the movie theater? Is it seeing the movie posters of airplanes? It isn’t entirely clear how this “aha!” moment is struck and a minor flaw in the episode. I know he looks at the flight suit he’s wearing and it is an Air Force outfit, so that could explain it better.

I realize it’s a dream state essentially, but some of the dialogue didn’t ring as true. Ferris didn’t need to speak as much as he did. His facial expressions were fantastic and showed the horror. I don’t think he’d be trying to have quite as many conversations with himself.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Easter Eggs & Meta Toast

This section is for behind the scenes and meta information on publishing this review. Over the course of posting all these reviews, I may update with links to related posts. This post was published on Valentine’s Day 2020 at precisely 1:43pm PST.

TV SERIES Review: Harley Quinn S1E12 – Devil's Snare⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
DC Universe exclusive
February 14, 2020

Episode 12 – “Devil’s Snare”

Harley and her crew, Clayface, Dr. Psycho, King Shark, Sy and Poison Ivy try to stop the maniacal tree army from killing all of Gotham at the Jazz festival. That’s right, Ivy can’t control these twisted trees.

The Justice League shows up and assumes that it is Harley and her crew’s diabolical doing. Wonder Woman and Superman threaten to entrap them in The Phantom Zone.

Just as they are about to be sucked into the zone, Ivy grabs Wonder Woman’s golden lasso and wraps it around her, forcing her to tell the truth. Ivy admits that they had nothing to do with the tree army. It is Scarecrow and the Legion of Doom. Superman and Wonder Woman let them go just as another villain appears to claim responsibility:

Queen of Fables. She traps the Justice League in the book.

Then she “beanstalks” Harley & crew leaving them prey for the giant in the clouds. Ivy calls the one man who can save them in the skies: Kite Man. Harley finally learns that Kite Man and Ivy are dating.

You’ll have to watch the rest of this action-packed adventure to learn if Harley & company escape the one-eyed Giant and cloud city. Learn the shocking answer behind Kite Man’s on one knee request. Find out what happens when something else emerges from the Legion of Doom and see just what the Joker has to say as the ultimate criminal mastermind behind it all.

Queen of Fables wanted to join joker because he was the most evil of the evil

Summary

This episode has it all: cameos of the famous superheroes: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, a powerful menacing threat, nonstop action for the entire 22 minute episode, drama, reveals, shocks and surprises. It’s the perfect episode of the season so far.

Why wasn’t this the live action movie made instead of Birds of Prey? This is fantastic TV. I can’t compliment it enough. Awesome writing, animation, voice acting, it’s the perfect package. Best episode of the series so far!

Next week is the season finale.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1 Episode Ranking (through 12 episodes)

  1. S1:E12 – Devil’s Snare ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (current episode)
  2. S1:E1 – Til Death Do Us Part ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. S1:E7 – The Line ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  4. S1:E11 – Harley Quinn Highway ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. S1:E2 – A High Bar ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  6. S1:E4 – Being Harley Quinn ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  7. S1:E8 – L.O.D.R.S.V.P ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  8. S1:E5 – Finding Mr. Right ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  9. S1:E3 – So You Need a Crew ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. S1:E9 – A Seat At The Table ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  11. S1:E6 – You’re a Damn Good Cop, Jim Gordon ⭐️⭐️½
  12. S1:E10 – Bensonhurst ⭐️⭐️

Future season one episode anticipated release dates (subject to change):

  • S1E13 – 2/21/2020 — the season one finale

FIRST LOOK: My Boyfriend's Meds (Las Pildoras de mi Novio)

Gotta love the kitty on the poster art alert!

Happy Valentine’s Day 2020 all romantic types everywhere!

On FIRST LOOK Friday let’s give some love to an odd, interesting foreign film — and romantic comedy — which opens next weekend showing what happens when a man goes without his meds.

The film follows Jess (Sandra Echeverria), a talented, high-powered marketing executive at an upscale tequila company who falls for Hank (Jaime Camil), a charismatic mattress store owner. However, Hank hasn’t been completely open with Jess – Hank suffers from a variety of issues for which he takes an endless assortment of medications. What is supposed to be a tropical “business and pleasure” trip begins to spiral out of control when Hank discovers that he left his meds behind and is no longer able hide his various symptoms, going from handsome charmer to an erratic loudmouth

My Boyfriend’s Meds Movie Info via Movie Insider
Las Pildoras De Mi Novio (My Boyfriend’s Meds) opens LIMITED in theaters 2/21/2020

Trailer thoughts:

  • Does Hank seem just a little bit creepy in the mattress store?
  • Is that Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander? (Yes!)
  • Kitty, kitty! Nice close-up on the pill bottle rolling under the bed … uh oh.
  • LOL on the hotel with “Shhh!” in the name

This movie looks funny. No idea when or even if we’ll get to see it in the theater. I checked local theaters for coming soon movies and it’s nowhere to be found. This close to the release date suggests a possibility of moving the date, but I can’t find anything that says the date is being moved. Even the independent theaters are coming up blank in the search.

There are very few foreign films that I look forward to seeing, but this is definitely one of them. It looks wild and wacky and the kind of rom-com that is perfect for the red heart month.

My Boyfriend’s Meds (Las Pildoras De Mi Novio) opens LIMITED in theaters 2/21/2020

30+ Birds of Prey Reviews – Doctor Robotnik vs. Harley Quinn, "Physical Disadvantages" and Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

Birds of Prey⭐️⭐️½

Cracks me up some people getting all hot and bothered over Jim Carrey (Doctor Robotnik from Sonic The Hedgehog) obviously joking with Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) about her physical appearance. If she commented on Brad Pitt’s looks nobody would say a word.

“I wanted to talk to you because you’re amazing and I’m so excited for you,” Carrey told Robbie, who was on the show with him. “It’s incredible that you’ve gotten as far as you have with your obvious physical disadvantages.”

Jim Carrey Slammed by Fans for Implying Margot Robbie’s Looks Got Her a Career

If you want see the tone of Carrey’s voice you can follow the link to the video clip. It’s harmless fun. He’s clearly joking. He wasn’t insulting her as a woman by mentioning her looks and it doesn’t appear that she ever took it that way.

Hypersensitivity.

The dynamic of the two together is interesting being that next weekend their movies will go head to head at the box office. Sonic probably outsells Birds of Prey, which will make even more sensationalist headlines about how Prey has “flopped.”

Let’s dig deeper into what happened with Birds of Prey. To do that, I need to give a SPOILER warning. So, if you haven’t seen the film yet, please understand some of what follows may ruin the movie for you, so bookmark and return or proceed with this understanding and acceptance.

… SPOILERS ahead, you’ve been warned …

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

This sort of sums up my feelings on this movie. It could have been better than it was if they didn’t try to do so much. It should have been better if they followed existing storylines they already have rather than try to create something untested. It would have been better if they just made it a standalone Harley Quinn movie.

Let’s deep dive specifics.

Those Outfits Were BAD

Ugh, outfits. I rarely question costume design in movies, but in a movie based on comic books, the costumes do matter. I’m used to Harley Quinn in the red and black with cowl and mask. Or even like the animated Harley. About the only thing Margot Robbie got right was the hair, face and her Harley voice was pretty good. Not as high-pitched but definitely the Brooklyn accent and the “Mistah J” speak.

The other outfits were wrecked. Black Mask was just, really, a cheap looking black mask. That’s it. Seriously, I’ve seen better masks at Halloween in the under $20 section.

Huntress? I guess she sort of had an outfit? Cassandra was nothing more than a young pickpocket who could have been anybody. Renee Montoya as the hard-edged police detective didn’t appear dressed any differently than 1,000 other women police detectives.

The overall creativity for the costumes gets a D grade.

Title Change Was Necessary, but Too Little, Too Late

I’m not the only one who has shortened the title to Birds of Prey. But the new title Warner Bros. decided to use: Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey should have been the original title vs. the ridiculously long and mostly unused: Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

New title is Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey

Who ever thought this title would be a great idea? It probably is too long to fit in most database fields and look at what would get truncated. The most important part (Harley Quinn).

Add to that the word “fantabulous” which I kept hearing and seeing corrected wrongly by others as “fabulous.” This playful, fanciful Dahl-esq word doesn’t belong in the title or make it as cool as hoped for. Perhaps like the Birds of Prey, it didn’t belong in this movie promotion either.

What’s in a title, you ask? Name recognition is critical and though Harley Quinn was named in the original title, she wasn’t placed as prominently as Birds of Prey. People seeing that in the title probably thought it was a horror movie (“Birds of Prey”) or something on soaring animals .. probably not anything to do with Harley Quinn.

Yeah, Birds of Prey … why?

As a currently active subscriber to DC Universe, I’ve tried multiple times to watch the Birds of Prey TV show starring Dina Meyer in a wheelchair as Barbara Gordon. Just isn’t connecting with me. The Birds of Prey dynamic isn’t clicking for me.

A terrible portrayal of Harley Quinn in the Birds of Prey TV (1992) Show

It’s easily my least favorite version of Harley Quinn, too that I’ve seen so far. I don’t know if it was the script or just the acting or both, but it’s not good. I’m not even going to mention the actress because maybe it’s even less her fault than I’m thinking.

As for the rest of the Birds of Prey in the TV show? They seem kinda cool, but I’ve struggled to get into them. Can’t put my finger on what it is about this TV show that keeps drawing me back again and again, trying to watch it and get into it — but can’t. Maybe some others reading can explain it better.

Is this negative experience with a live action version of Birds of Prey giving me a bias toward these characters? It’s possible that it is. Not fair, I realize, because they should be able to reboot and recreate a more positive impression in a new movie but they didn’t in Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.

The Birds of Prey felt tacked on. Like they were added to support Harley so she didn’t have to carry the movie. Will say it again: the only support Harley Quinn needs is Poison Ivy. That should have been her emotional center, her rock, her BFF … not these Birds of Prey with their own complex backgrounds that the movie doesn’t have time to get into.

I’m not saying the Birds of Prey shouldn’t be a movie, they just shouldn’t be in this movie. Whenever they were the focal point in the film my interest level dropped off. Maybe we can get some build-up of the individual characters and story and then have an MCU-style moment where the Birds of Prey come back?

Too Many Underdeveloped Characters

We didn’t need the Birds of Prey. The movie should have been about Harley Quinn and maybe her best friend Poison Ivy. From there we could get into her life after the breakup with Joker.

Hey, wait, this is exactly what Harley Quinn the animated series is about! Imagine that? A better plot from the animated series than the feature length movie. It’s true, if you thought Birds of Prey was lackluster, give Harley Quinn the animated TV series a try. Think you’ll be surprised just how good that is.

Barely an R rated movie

Why was this rated R? Because of a few violent scenes? The language wasn’t as profanity-laced as the animated TV series. The police scene was — and I’m being totally serious — beanbags and glitter from the gun? What was the point of all the glitter? Maybe this was an homage to Batman TV from 1966? Harley Quinn is a one woman wrecking machine with blunt instruments like her signature mallet, bats, etc. She doesn’t use guns with bean bags and glitter … or maybe I’ve missed where she has? She might do that as some kind of demented joke (remember, she was Joker’s girlfriend!), so maybe, just maybe it fits.

The Egg Sandwich scene was pure dumb fun

There was no point to the egg sandwich scene except that the director and writers thought it was funny. It is the kind of quirky weirdness that is Harley’s character but was it necessary? No.

The fight scenes were good

I liked all the fight scenes. Well choreographed and executed with some awesome back flips by Harley’s stunt woman. Margot Robbie made a point to credit her stunt people. Well deserved props here.

Margot Robbie IS Harley Quinn

Margot Robbie shined in this movie for me. She nailed the goofy, spastic personality of Harley. I enjoyed her as the unreliable narrator, just wish she’d narrated a better story.

Summary

Disappointed. I wanted to love this movie. The people who made it missed a huge, huge opportunity riding on the success of Joker. They could have been inspired by the strength, power and awesomeness of the animated TV show, surely somebody that was doing that clued them into the production? (yes, just watch the end credits) Or maybe that’s sacrilege to consider being inspired by an animated film for a feature-length film. Maybe it was too late past production close to realize that better source material existed.

I am grateful to Margot Robbie for seizing on opportunity and putting this movie together and, for me anyway, she was the best part about this movie. I still haven’t seen Suicide Squad, but it’s my understanding she was the best part of that movie, too.

Whatever the case, just a bunch of botched opportunities … and if this movie doesn’t sell well enough at the box office we may never get another Harley Quinn standalone movie. Or at least not again in my lifetime. That would be a shame because the character deserves a feature length film.

Did you like this film? Dislike? Tell me about your experience watching.

Reviews by Others

Time to read what other movie reviewers are saying about Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey.

Recommended

  1. B&S About Movies: “There’s nothing like being pleasantly surprised by a movie. And I’m pleased to report that even after sleeping on this review overnight, I still find myself remembering plenty to love in this one.”
  2. Cinema Cocoa (3/4): “…overall, it is an entertaining movie for what it is. The writing can be clever and the comedy can be on point. The use of colours in scenes and set design can be beautiful at times (there’s a great moment involving coloured smoke).”
  3. ComicBook Debate (3.5/5): “…feels like a true sequel to Suicide Squad while giving Harley Quinn her first solo film disguised under the female-led team-up. There are a lot more positives than negatives as incredible action sequences, hilarious moments and character development combine to create a thrilling ride.”
  4. Derrick/The Ferguson Theater: “It’s a goofy, free-wheeling action movie that manages to seem as if it’s all being made up as it goes along thanks to the sheer energy and willingness of the cast to throw themselves into the ridiculousness of it all.”
  5. Drew’s Movie Reviews: “Margot Robbie has come to embody Harley Quinn and carries the movie on her back. The pace can be a bit jarring and chaotic but when it’s told from Quinn’s point-of-view what would you expect? The action, when it happens, is colorful and outrageous, and there is plenty of humor to go with Quinn’s clown motif.”
  6. Eternality Tan (Grade: B+): “While the film doesn’t really say anything that has not already been said by other similar genre movies, it is still a bag of fun seeing nefarious men screaming in pain at the behest of a ragtag of anti-heroines.”
  7. Funk’s House of Geekery (7/10): “…isn’t going to be a hit with comic purists, as it reworks all the characters except Harley, and it isn’t going to make the MCU sweat. What it does is deliver laughs, action and madness in equal measure and we wouldn’t say no to a sequel.”
  8. Hunter Goddard / Moviebabble: “Even though Birds of Prey isn’t going to rake in Academy Awards nominations like Joker (or, for that matter, Tarantino), it isn’t trying to. It knows what it is, and it’s good at what it does.”
  9. Isabelle Reviews Movies: “…is a fun time. It’s colorful and violent, but some of the stylistic choices and story beats just didn’t work for me. However, if you are a fan of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, then I think you’ll have a good time with this movie.”
  10. Jack Blackwell Film Reviews (4/5): “Funny and vicious, Birds of Prey sets an impressively high bar for the rest of 2020’s comic book movie pack that I doubt they’ll be able to reach.”
  11. Jason Bleau / Cinema Spotlight: “It’s no “Wonder Woman” which remains the best DCEU film in my opinion, but it’s a close second. While it’s heavy handedness might be a little much for some to bear, it’s easy to overlook how up front its themes are when you’re laughing your ass off and having a genuinely good time in the process.”
  12. Movie Metropolis / Adam Brannon: “…is a spirited if messy solo-outing for Margot Robbie’s eclectic anti-hero. Filmed beautifully and cast well, it brings together the majority of what we have enjoyed from DCs collection of better films, and most importantly, it doesn’t take itself too seriously.”
  13. No More Workhorse: “…don’t underestimate these Birds, they aren’t taking any prisoners and I think this is a refreshing female driven roller-coaster ride that comic book movies have needed.”
  14. Often Off Topic (4/5): “If I skipped the trailers at the cinema I doubt I would have even known of this movie’s existence. And now it’s being hailed as a flop. Which is a damn shame, because it’s a great movie, and a huge step up from the disaster that was Suicide Squad (2016).”
  15. Richard Southwell / Richard’s Blog (4.5/5): “If you’ve got the stomach for it, and you’re happy with this kind of dark, crazy humour, Birds of Prey is a highly entertaining film that will put a smile on your face without any need for Joker toxin.”
  16. Robert Daniels / 812filmreviews: “…is the first fun for fun’s sake comic book movie in some time, and a decisively exhilarating girls trip, no matter the destination.”
  17. RockAtTheMovies (6.5/10): “This film is very on the nose about its women characters and how they are badass working together. While Birds of Prey isn’t anything amazing or remarkable its easily one of the better entries in this universe.”
  18. ruth / FlixChatter Film Blog (3/5): “There is so much color in this film that I often felt like I was inside a glitter bomb explosion. However, I did enjoy Harley’s humor, and fashion sense and abilities to beat up the bad guys while holding her own.”
  19. Screen Zealots / Louisa (3.5/5): “It’s colorful and chaotic, reckless and energetic, and I am surprised that I enjoyed this movie as much as I did. This is a really, really fun spectacle that could bring new fans to the genre.”
  20. Seun Odukoya: “…the movie, while it started slow, picked up around the 25/30 minute mark. It has enough laughs and action to keep you sitting and standing and sitting again. It’s a roller-coaster ride of a movie”
  21. skuldren / Rooqoo Depot (2/5): “Yet as bad as some parts were, there were still lots of moments a fan can enjoy. I didn’t hate the movie, nor was I bored. But the movie made sure to remind me it was bad throughout. That’s why I would still recommend it for huge fans of Harley Quinn.”
  22. tensecondsfromnow / The Film Authority: “Women can and should be able to match men when it comes to super-heroes; Harley Quinn’s success bodes well for Black Widow, Wonder Woman and the production line of heroines heading our way in 2020. Fanboys may not approve, but Harley Quinn’s emancipation is fantabulous stuff.”
  23. The Happiness Box Project: “I LOVED Birds of Prey. Harley Quinn without Mr. J was badass; I thought she was a much stronger character and I love a strong female character. I really loved the story line and would recommend it.”
  24. The Perceptions Square (3/5): “Margot Robbie is fabulous with her giggles, psychotic smile and her hyperactive, swaggy narration. The visual effects, action scenes with a lot of violence are OK. Overall, a movie for the fans.”
  25. Victor de la Cruz: “It’s an entertaining movie that tells an energetic tale filled with some fantastic action scenes. I say give it a watch.”

Not Recommended

  1. Chicken of Tomorrow: “…short-term visual delights are not enough to impart long-term emotional or cultural resonance, and for now Birds of Prey is merely a stepping stone towards broader women’s representation in film.”
  2. Chris B. Page / Too Many Posts (2/10): “The DCEU had been going up in my opinion, but this goes right near the bottom of the deck with Suicide Squad in a movie that seems to think it’s a lot cooler than it is. The end credits were a blessed relief and I was out of my seat like a flash.”
  3. Eddie and Jordan The Movie Guys (2/5): “…despite the best efforts of its leading lady, this newest addition to the DC universe is both forgettable and disappointing, failing to establish its posse of death bringers in a way that makes us want more.”
  4. Keith & The Movies (2/5): “As a general defender of the DCEU I really wish “Birds of Prey” wasn’t such a mess. In many ways it should be commended as progress. It’s a female-led action-comedy directed by a woman, written by a woman, and essentially about getting on in life without a man. Together those things are an overdue breath of fresh air, but they don’t automatically make for a good movie”
  5. Logan Burd / Cinema or Cinemeh? (5.5/10): “…has some of the best fight choreography I have seen since last year’s “John Wick: Chapter 3.” If you get a kick out of bad guys getting their teeth kicked in, you’ll find plenty to love in this very standalone DC outing. Is the movie fun? Hell yeah. It’s just not that good.”
  6. moviejoltz (2.5/5): “There are only so many fight scenes one can sit through in a day. Margot handled the majority of anything that appeared to interject humor into the scattered script. The story and script both needed to pare the scattered craziness down and increase the excitement and drama.”
  7. R / Cinema Notes: “This is a Frankenstein of a flick, a mishmash of horrible ideas and terrible execution all together forming one of the most absolutely unfunny, cringe and pathetic movies I have ever, ever seen.”
  8. Scott William Foley: “Unfortunately, I can only describe it as “fine.” It wasn’t bad–not at all. However, it also wasn’t especially good.”
  9. Wannabe Movie Critic (60/100): “This for me isn’t the Harley I want to see in live-action. There’s no reason for her to be foul-mouthed the way she’s portrayed here. Again, I think WB thought the R-Rating would benefit this character, wherein all reality, I think it just dumbed her down.”

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Happy movie watching!