Our Favorite Review of ‘Birds of Prey’

Way back in the mid 20-teens, Joshua Hudson did quite a few interesting and popular TV and film reviews for us. Imagine our joy when we discovered this particular one on his Facebook page. Hi, Josh!

by Joshua Hudson

Finally saw Birds of Prey yesterday. My initial reaction: it was a fun movie and the action sequences were fantabulous.

However, upon further dissection:

DC really struggles telling a cohesive story. The story jumps in this movie struggled to stick the landing.

They made a mistake combining Birds of Prey with Harley Quinn. They should’ve split them because BoP takes the focus away from Harley, the more well known IP.

I don’t understand why Renee Montoya was so much older than the other “heroes” (though I thought Rosie Perez did well in the role). The Huntress was a badass when she was fighting, but outside of that, was a boring character.

Canary was solid but they only gave us one real nod to her comic book counterpart.

Black Mask was an okay villain, but hardly menacing to a point where they needed a big team up to take him down.

There were plenty of fun moments with Harley and her zany persona making it feel to me like I was watching a Jimmy Palmioti/Amanda Conner comic in live action.

All in all, I’d recommend seeing it if you take it for what it is. But financially speaking, DC really dropped the ball on something that could’ve been a much greater financial success.

So glad you posted this, Josh. We completely agree. Which reminds us. When are you going to return to TVWriter™? When? When? And, yeppers, when?

Diana Vacc sees “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

by Diana Vaccarelli

MAJOR **SPOILER ALERT – SPOILER ALERT – SPOILER ALERT**

As an avid Star Wars fan I was pumped to see the new film, especially based upon the title, The Rise of Skywalker and that it is the end of the Skywalker family saga.

Walking into the theater I admit to the nerves and butterflies because I expected so much.

This final film in the Skywalker franchise brings back the biggest baddie in the galaxy Emperor Palpatine, which bothers me because the first six films of this space opera deal with the rise and fall of powerful Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker as he becomes arch-villian Darth Vader, and then his ultimate redemption through his son Luke, who defeats and ultimately kills the very same Emperor Palpatine.

To me, bringing the Big Bad back takes away from the whole story arc. So a definite face palm to writer-director JJ Abrams, and the corporate hacks at Disney and LucasFilm, for taking that oh-so disappointing route instead of following up on so many other opportunities.

For example:

One big moment the film explores is when all the Jedi guide Rey (Daisy Ridley) in the final battle against the Palpster.

Anakin Skywalker, voice performed by Hayden Christensen, should have appeared as a  force ghost with her.  I mean, the title is The Rise of Skywalker, right? So shouldn’t the film have gives us a good look at the very first Skywalker?

Who knows? Maybe there is a deleted scene doing just that (or something very much like it) and we can all be thrilled and surprised when it’s included in the inevitable DVD. I certainly hope so.

Another missed opportunity is the chance to explore the moral conflict Kylo Ren/Ben Sold/Grandson of Vader (Adam Driver) feels throughout his journey as Supreme Leader.

I understand that Carrie Fisher’s unfortunate death kept JJ and the Gang from basing the film on her deeply missed character’s arc, but making better use of Driver, who pretty much is the plot’s prime mover, could have elicited the kind of genuine emotional excitement every great film needs.

It certainly would have excited me more than having to watch all those minor characters stand up, sit down, and go rah, rah, just to tie together their old stories.

As far as I’m concerned, ST:ROS had a lot of entertaining scenes but never achieved the greatness worth of the Star Wars name. I hate to admit it, but if I’d never seen this film I’d never have missed it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In case you think Diana, who usually loves just about everything she watches, is picking on poor JJ and company, here’s a short review by TVWriter™ buddy Robert Glenn Plotner:

My review of “The Rise of Skywalker.”
Spoilers, I guess.
The Rise of Skywalker is a head spinning blender that keeps one amused/distracted with wizardry until one is inoculated against the flimsiness of the baseline truth or narrative.
There are people riding musk oxen dropped from star ships onto a capsized star destroyer in the middle of a swelling ocean who gallop around for awhile and are forgotten about when things go boom.
Also, it isn’t clear why Billy Dee Williams or whoever is in Rebel Command thought it was a helpful idea to transport musk oxen into this penultimate battle.
Also, those drop ships are going to have some serious musk oxen poo cleanup.
Also, “get yer ghost cameos here. Ghost cameos here!”
Also, you know when as a kid you scooted across carpeting in your socks and you touched something and got a static electric shock through your fingertips? There’s a LOT of that.

LB’S NOTE: If this film isn’t a true metaphor of life as lived in the year 2019 by myself and hundreds of millions of other human beings, then nothing is. And, yes, by this I mean, “Woah! This was a very bad year…and an awful movie as well.

 

What Makes ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ so Loved

We all love Into the Spider-Verse, yeah? This TVWriter™ minion even knows a rival major studio head who thinks it’s the best film of the year so far.  The following video looks into what makes Spider-Verse work so, you know, we all can do it and make everybody who ever turned us down as envious as my studio head friend.

More excellent film analyses at HoustonProductions1

Herbie J Pilato sees ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

Ladies and gentlemen, TVWriter™ is proud to present a classic TV critic in top form. Here’s how it’s done:

“Mary” Pops in “Returns”
by Herbie J Pilato

A remarkable plethora of talent is resplendent throughout, behind the camera and on screen for Mary Poppins Returns, the new Disney sequel to the studio’s 1964 motion picture classic.

The ghost of Walt Disney and Julie Andrew’s original interpretation of the mystical nanny is prevalent in all the right places and frames of this thoroughly modern magical mystical tour de force. Sharing the screenwriting credit with David Macgee and John DeLuca, Marshall is clearly a fan of the original Poppins, as he makes certain Returns adheres to the visual and storied mythology of the revered first take (helmed by Robert Stevenson).

Right smack in the middle of it all, new Poppins lead Emily Blunt had big knickers to fill in stepping into Andrews’ puss and boots, but the award-winning actress adds a fresh face to the character; Blunt (a name that works for the character!) brings her own special brand of demure to what could easily have turned into a theatrical mess in the hands of a less fêted performer.

Andrews rejected the idea of making even a cameo into the mix of this dear Poppins fresh dough, ray of sunshine and glee, because, allegedly, she did not want to steal the spotlight from Blunt. But it’s also been said that her agent demanded more “moola” for her to apply any new rouge for Returns.

Fortunately, other veteran performers like always-perfect Angela Lansbury (as the Balloon Lady, the character allegedly written for Andrews), Dick Van Dyke (who starred in the original Mary, and makes a remarkable screen return of his own at 93!), Colin Firth, David Warner, and Meryl Streep (to a lesser extent), each deliver the goods.

And while Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer as the adult Banks siblings are nothing less than Shakespearean supreme, Returns’ fresh batch of child actors, Joel Dawson, Nathanael Saleh, Pixie Davies, light up the screen with vibrancy and an enormous bag of Bojangles skill that boggles for their age. And while, too, shades of the superior quality of stupendous original Poppinssongs by the Sherman brothers Richard and Robert can be heard in Returns, the still-very-much-alive musical maestro Richard Sherman served as a consultant on the new film’s catchy tunes and score composed by Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman (who wrote the lyrics with Shaiman)….

Read it all at Medium

Diana Vacc sees “A Star is Born”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Speaking of A Star is Born, here is TVWriter™ Critic-At-Large Diana Vaccarelli with a bit of a  different view from that we published last week. Take it away, Diana!


by Diana Vaccarelli

—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—

October 7, 2018, Warner Bros. in association with Live Nation Productions and MGM released the fourth remake of A Star is Born.  This film follows the story of famous musician Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) and struggling artist Ally (Lady Gaga) as they fall in love, while dealing with Jackson’s alcoholism and inner demons.

THE GOOD:

  • The directorial debut of Bradley Cooper soared with perfection when it comes to the writing, acting, and the music.  You can feel his passion for this project watching the film.
  • Not only did Bradley Cooper direct and co-write the script, he also starred as the tortured Jackson Maine.  He excels in this role and reminds people that musicians and actors are human beings too and have their struggles in life.
  • I have never seen Lady Gaga act in a role before and let me tell you I was floored.  The role of Ally couldn’t have been portrayed by any other person.
  • The chemistry between Cooper and Gaga reminds me of the chemistry that Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio had in Titanic.  Watching Cooper and Gaga as Maine and Ally you feel the love these two have for one another.

THE BAD:

  • Few films that are released today that touch the soul.  This film is one of them.  It has been a long time since I have genuinely cried watching a film.  All in all nothing negative to say at all.

THE REST:

With the majority of films coming out these days being superhero or at least tentpole-based, it’s refreshing to see a film that deals with issues the people deal with on a real level.

In other words, go see the newest version of A Star is Born. Because, guess what? You’ll see yourself.


Diana Vaccarelli is TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large and a TVWriter™ University grad. Find out more about her HERE