BIRDS OF PREY – AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN (2020): The Things I Liked

Birds Of Prey (2020), Margot Robbie, Warner Bros. Pictures
Birds Of Prey (2020), Margot Robbie, Warner Bros. Pictures

What I enjoyed most about Birds Of Prey – And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn is all the moments that Margot Robbie was on screen as Harley Quinn. I liked Robbie’s performance and the film’s very colourful and visually pleasing aesthetic. 

Directed by Cathy Yan and set just after Harley Quinn breaks up with the Joker – then ends up joining three other female superheroes, I have to admit that I was unconvinced by all the female solidarity. I’m not saying that all that happened isn’t very possible. It’s just that the way the stories of each of the characters played out and led to all four coming together for one cause didn’t feel as smooth / seamless and satisfying as I’d imagined. 

After the disappointment of Suicide Squad back in 2016, I had feared that Birds of Prey would leave me wanting, and it seems my fears came true. It certainly doesn’t help that I didn’t quite like Ewan McGregor as the villain either. I’ve just seen more engaging and interesting superhero movie villains in other stories.

Overall, even though I appreciate the message behind the story, I didn’t fully enjoy the delivery. I only really made it to the end of Birds of Prey because of Robbie and all the hype about Harley Quinn. 

As some of you may have gathered, I’m more of a Marvel fan when it comes to superhero films. I mean, I’ll take Batman (the Christian Bale era) and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, but everything else DC can keep.

Happy Film Loving

G

SNOWPIERCER (2020): New Trailer Starring Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, Mickey Sumner…

Snowpiercer (2020), Jennifer Connelly, Netflix
Snowpiercer (2020), Jennifer Connelly, Netflix

New action / drama / sci-fi Snowpiercer is a new Netflix series set over seven years after the world has become a frozen wasteland. And the remnants of humanity, occupy a gigantic, perpetually-moving train that circles the globe.

Created by Graeme Manson; Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs and Mickey Sumner are among the key cast.

The premise is interesting, and now also a tad closer to reality than it may have been about six months ago. I’ll be watching for all the madness, and for the Diggs / Connelly dynamic.

Having not yet watched the 2013 movie of the same name starring Chris Evans, it’s probably best I do that before seeing this. Especially since it was directed by Bong Joon Ho of Parasite (2019).

Sheila Vand, Lena Hall, Alison Wright, Iddo Goldberg, Aaron Glenane, Karin Konoval, Annalise Basso, Sam Otto and Emma Oliver also star.

Snowpiercer Release Dates: May 17th, 2020 (US); / Netflix…

Happy Film Loving

G

THE WRONG MISSY (2020): The Thing I Liked…

The Wrong Missy (2020), David Spade, Lauren Lapkus, Netflix
The Wrong Missy (2020), David Spade, Lauren Lapkus, Netflix

The Wrong Missy, a comedy about a man who invites the wrong girl to his company’s corporate retreat, all while trying to invite the woman of his dreams is a movie that fell short of my hopes and expectations. 

Starring David Spade, Lauren Lapkus, and directed by Tyler Spindel; on account of the dialogue, performances and editing, within the first ten minutes, I realised that The Wrong Missy wasn’t going to be great. Some of the early writing and directing choices just didn’t result in scenes that filled me with confidence about the quality of what was yet to come.

What’s most disappointing is that I liked the film’s premise, and had been hoping for a better executed movie. Maybe a comedy as undeniably funny, pleasantly surprising, hard to forget and featuring well-drawn characters like in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008). What I got instead is a film with roughly two funny moments I enjoyed, while the rest of it seemed as though it needed at least a second draft.

Lapkus’s Missy was supposed to be the source of the bulk of the humour. Unfortunately, I personally found her performance and character’s choices to be too over-the-top and often too obnoxious to be amusing. As for Spade’s performance, he could have done with a little of Lapkus’s energy.

Where the aforementioned funny moments are concerned, there are two I won’t be forgetting any time soon, The first involves a series of unexpected slaps. The other was already shared in the trailer. Specifically, the perfectly delivered line: ‘She’s alive…’ Damn it!’

I say watch The Wrong Missy if you’re especially curious. Otherwise, maybe re-visit Forgetting Sarah Marshall instead.

Happy Film Loving

G

THE GENTLEMEN (2020): The Things I Loved

The Gentlemen (2020), Matthew McConaughey, STX Entertainment
The Gentlemen (2020), Matthew McConaughey, STX Entertainment

I don’t remember the last time I saw a movie that was so incredibly sexy, without hardly any sex taking place’.

The above is my immediate response to the question:So, how was The Gentlemen?

There’s no denying that near enough all the men in The Gentlemen are handsome and well dressed, which helps. But it’s ultimately the great performances and clever dialogue/wordplay combined with Guy Ritchie’s filmmaking style, that for me, made The Gentlemen so special.

Ritchie’s film is a smart crime/comedy/action movie. One that stars Mathew McConaughey as Michael Pearson, an American ex-pat who’s trying to sell off his highly profitable marijuana business. Except things don’t quite go according to plan.

At the start of the movie, you may sense a little bit of a slow burn, but worry not, because it only gets better and better. The Gentleman is the kind of film most, if not all film fans will enjoy; especially big fans of Ritchies first two movies, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000). And for anyone who may have been worried about how convincing Hugh Grant’s cockney accent was going to be, you can rest assured that he does a good job.

Watch The Gentlemen for all the reasons mentioned above. I had so much fun taking it all in that I can only imagine how much more fun the actors must have had bringing Ritchie’s characters to life.

Happy Film Loving

G

LUCKY GRANDMA (2019): New Trailer Starring Tsai Chin, Hsiao-Yuan Ha, Michael Tow…

Lucky Grandma (2019), Tsai Chin
Lucky Grandma (2019), Tsai Chin

In new comedy / drama Lucky Grandma, after going all in at a casino, an ornery, grandmother finds herself on the wrong side of luck in New York City’s Chinatown.

Directed by Sasie Sealy; key cast includes Tsai Chin, Hsiao-Yuan Ha and Michael Tow.

Looks like a promising comedy about a bunch of people who underestimated the wrong grandmother. Also, I was supposed to be in New York this spring. Right now I’m open to seeing any NYC-set movies that look good so I can picture myself there.

Lastly, I must say, you’ve got to be close to deaf not to hear the creaking locker door at the end. I’d have jumped immediately. Especially if I were in a towel and thought myself alone.

Woody Fu, Yan Xi, Wai Ching Ho, Clem Cheung, Eddie Yu, Mason Yam, Lyman Chen, Arden Wolfe, Zilong Zee, Kristen Hung, Emma Hong and Wayne Chang also star.

Lucky Grandma Release Dates: May 22nd, 2020 (US) / Internet

Happy Film Loving

G

SHIRLEY (2020): New Trailer From Elisabeth Moss, Logan Lerman, Michael Stuhlbarg, Odessa Young…

Shirley (2020), Elisabeth Moss, Neon
Shirley (2020), Elisabeth Moss, Neon

Shirley is a new biography / thriller about renowned horror writer Shirley Jackson.

Starring Elisabeth Moss, Michael Stuhlbarg and Logan Lerman, the story centres around the source of inspiration for Jackson’s next book; a young couple that Jackson and her husband invite into their home.

Directed by Josephine Decker; additional key cast includes Odessa Young and Steve Vinovich.

I’m watching because it’s Moss, Lerman, plus it’s a biography so I’m definitely expecting the truth to be stranger than fiction.

Ryan Spahn, Molly Fahey, Adelind Horan, Emily Decker, Ava Langford, Edward O’Blenis and Thomas Racek also star.

Shirley Release Dates: June 5th, 2020 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G

BEYOND THE VISIBLE: HILMA AF KLINT (2019): The Things I Liked

Beyond The Visible – Hilma af Klint (2019), ZeitgeistFilms
Beyond The Visible – Hilma af Klint (2019), ZeitgeistFilms

Until I saw the trailer for new documentary Beyond The Visible – Hilma af Klint, I had zero prior knowledge of one of Sweden’s most important abstract artists. 

With a now famous oeuvre that has attracted millions of fans worldwide, including myself, the biggest revelation wasn’t simply that Klint was great but that she is actually the world’s first abstract artist. One who, for many years wasn’t mentioned anywhere in art history books; an unfortunate result of the usual sexism within the field.

Directed by Halina Dyrschka, I simply had to watch Beyond The Visible – Hilma af Klint to learn about an extraordinary woman. A woman who’s not only now firmly on my list of favourite artists, but one who also happens to be abstraction’s biggest discovery.

Through the use of images of Klint’s art, interviews with surviving family members, art experts and recreations of her most famous pieces, Dyrschka teaches us about the life of Klint, what made her tick and the inspiration behind her great works.

Beyond The Visible – Hilma af Klint (2019), ZeitgeistFilms
Beyond The Visible – Hilma af Klint (2019), ZeitgeistFilms

A key highlight of  watching Dyrschka’s documentary is getting to look at a fair amount of Klint’s body of work. I definitely savoured every moment the camera was focused on her creations. Perhaps even more so once science, spirituality and ‘that which is invisible to the eye‘ were mentioned as additional sources of inspiration.

In terms of anything I didn’t love about this documentary, that would be the periods mainly at the beginning where it felt like the pace was slower than preferred. There may also be a chance that I was simply impatient to know as much as I could about Klint. Especially since beyond my appreciation of her use of colour, shapes and proportion, I had zero idea about what any of it really meant. By the end, what I knew for sure is that I had an expanded appreciation for science. 

Watch Dyrschka’s film if you’re a fan of abstraction, curious about Klint – a woman who knew herself well enough to say, among other things:

Within me wells forth such power carrying me forward, that marriage and family happiness are not my destiny.’ 

There’s of course the art. Definitely watch for more of Klint’s beautiful art.

Happy Film Loving 

G

AVENGERS – ENDGAME (2019): The Things I Liked…

Avengers - Endgame (2019), Chris Evans, Marvel Studios
Avengers – Endgame (2019), Chris Evans, Marvel Studios

I know that around the time Avengers – Endgame was released in 2019, there were next to zero complaints about whether the final instalment in the four-movie avengers’ franchise was good or not. Even still, I was very happy to see for myself that soon after Avengers – Endgame started, everything Marvel is known for doing exceptionally well when they’re at their best was very present in Avengers – Endgame. From visually arresting action choreography, good dialogue, memorable special effects to engaging humour, characters and story.

Directed once again by Joe and Anthony Russo, everything picks up in the aftermath of all the devastation that took place at the hand of Thanos in AvengersInfinity War. With even higher stakes than before, Captain America, Tony Stark, The Hulk and their allies have one final chance to reverse everything Thanos did and restore balance throughout the universe.

At the risk of repeating myself, as was the case with Avengers – Infinity War, I don’t personally have any complaints about Avengers – Endgame because I had fun through it all. An additional highlight for me is all the extra movie references. Plus, just as Thanos was the absolute star and my favourite character of Avengers – Infinity War, the number one avenger in this movie is Thor; specifically ‘out of shape Thor.’ I found the surprise dive into Chris Hemsworth’s character so much fun that I’m quite sure I’ve never liked Thor more than I do in Avengers – Endgame.

Of all the Avengers films, Avengers – Endgame is perhaps the most moving / emotional. Specifically as someone who’s probably best described in this case as a casual Marvel fan, I can only imagine how much more significant an experience Avengers – Endgame must have been for the most serious Marvel fans.

Now that it’s all over, for now, I’m left wondering how long it will be before a brand new generation of avengers is announced. I’m in no specific hurry but when do you think the announcements will happen – assuming it hasn’t already happened. And how soon is too soon? I feel like a year or two from now is madness, but then I again I’m not a Marvel super fan.

Happy Film Loving

G

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