Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)

Director: Cathy Yan

Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, Ewan McGregor

Screenplay: Christina Hodson

109 mins. Rated R for strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material.

 

It feels like the DCEU has found its footing under the new leadership. After Justice League, the DCEU was handed off to others, and both Aquaman and Shazam! achieved generally positive reviews, so where does Birds of Prey land in all this? Did it continue that hot streak? Well, yes and no, but mostly no.

The Joker has dumped Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie, The Wolf of Wall Street, Peter Rabbit), and now the queen of mayhem is alone on the streets of Gotham and everyone wants her dead. It seems like all of Gotham has a vendetta against Quinn, including mob boss Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor, Moulin Rouge!, Doctor Sleep), who tasks her with stealing a diamond, but this is all an attempt to take her out. Harley is in over her head, and in order to stop Sionis, she needs help from others who have been wronged by him.

Cinematic universes have changed the way these stories are told. Relationships and characters evolve across multiple films, but this is a problem for Birds of Prey. It seemingly assumes that we, as audience members, understand the relationship between the Joker and Harley Quinn. Hell, the inciting incident of the film is the destruction of that relationship. The issue with that assumption is that we didn’t get a good look at the central relationship in Suicide Squad; there simply wasn’t enough time dedicated to the relationship or the Joker in general to make the breakup have any impact. Since Jared Leto doesn’t appear in Birds of Prey, we again get nothing to go on that made me really connect with what Harley is going through in the film.

Thankfully, Margot Robbie is excellent in the role of Quinn, and yet again, she is such a dynamic presence onscreen that makes up for the lack of empathy and stakes to her central character journey. This is great because, for a film that sold itself as being a Birds of Prey film with a tiny hint of Harley Quinn, this is really a Harley Quinn film with a dash of Birds of Prey. Given that so much screen time is dedicated to Quinn, it’s great to know that Robbie continues to captivate as the Maid of Mischief.

Even Margot Robbie’s tremendous work as Quinn cannot save a very muddled and convoluted plot. I think the idea was to make Birds of Prey into DC’s version of Deadpool, so the film is edited to give it a loose narrative structure that hops around, but it lost me several times. I was never confused, but it lost my interest every time it left the main narrative.

Birds of Prey was very fun, but it struggled to consistently maintain my interest throughout its run time. I enjoyed several chunks of the film, and overall I really enjoyed the film, but altogether, this film is an absolute mess. It’s saved by an engaging Robbie performance and the awesome turn from Ewan McGregor, and I still believe that the film is worth watching for fans of the Harley Quinn character and the DCEU, but it’s a bug jumbled mess of a movie.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman, click here.

For my review of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, click here.

For my review of Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, click here.

For my review of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, click here.

For my review of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, click here.

For my review of David F. Sandberg’s Shazam!, click here.

The Big Push: Sony Bumps Its Summer Releases Into 2021

Well, COVID-19 has caused another studio to push a lot of properties into 2021. To my knowledge, F9: The Fast Saga, the latest in the Fast & Furious franchise, is the only film that was pushed into 2021. Now, Sony has added several more films to that list.

Sony Pictures has adjusted the release dates for Morbius, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Uncharted, and Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway into early 2021. The Kevin Hart film Fatherhood was moved from 2021 into October of this year in all the shuffle, and Greyhound, the Tom Hanks-scripted and starring film, was removed from its June date.

The only significant Sony film that didn’t adjust is Venom 2, the upcoming sequel to the very-successful Venom film from 2018. Let’s break this down…

Morbius, starring Jared Leto, was set to be the second film in Sony’s Spider-Man Character Universe. It was set to follow the first Venom film and it had a lot of questions surrounding it. The trailer featured posters of Spider-Man as well as a moment with Michael Keaton potentially playing Vulture again, which would be mind-blowing because many believed that Disney would not allow Sony to do that with the current deal in place. Many wondered if Morbius was firmly plant itself as MCU-adjacent, and the question therefore came to, “Will it connect to Venom as well?” Now that Morbius will come out after Venom 2, that seems to tell us that the films won’t crossover. If they did, Morbius would likely have taken Venom 2‘s spot and Venom 2 would have likely moved to 2021.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is something I’ve been very excited for, but this film has a lot to accomplish. I was really excited to see how this film would pick up the franchise and get it going again, but the biggest hurdle of this sequel isn’t Ghostbusters II. It’s 2016’s Ghostbusters: Answer the Call. I know, they aren’t related, but not everyone will connect that. What people will connect is how they didn’t like that film. Ghostbusters: Answer the Call was very mixed in its reactions. I really enjoyed the 2016 film myself, but I know there were a lot of people that didn’t love the film, and now we have this upcoming sequel to Ghostbusters II that has a new, potentially concerning release date. Release dates are an economic science, and choosing a date can make or break your release.

Uncharted, like The New Mutants, seems cursed. This movie just cannot catch a break. This most recent push just signals that the film may never happen.

As far as Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway goes, I couldn’t care less. The first wasn’t great but not horrible, but I don’t need to see another one.

So there you have it. A lot of changes, and a lot more waiting. You may be asking “Why? Why bump these movies so early?” It’s all for marketing. If you cannot guarantee the release date, you can’t spend millions marketing a movie.

So what do you think? Which of these adjustments hits you the hardest or do you not care about any of them? Let me know/Drop a comment down below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Black Lodge Day] Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)

Director: David Lynch

Cast: Sheryl Lee, Moira Kelly, David Bowie, Chris Isaak, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Wise, Kyle MacLachlan, Madchen Amick

Screenplay: David Lynch, Robert Engels

134 mins. Rated R.

 

Today is a big day for Twin Peaks fans. Today is the official day that Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan, Inside Out, TV’s Carol’s Second Act) entered the Black Lodge on the television show. To celebrate that, I decided to revisit Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, the only official feature film for Twin Peaks, which followed the series as a sequel/prequel which covers a lot of the events leading up to the first episode while also setting the stage for what was to come in 2017’s revival series.

Fire Walk With Me dives deeper into several pivotal events in the larger Twin Peaks mythos, including the investigation into the death of Teresa Banks, the missing of several FBI agents, and the days leading to the death of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee, Vampires, Cafe Society) at the hands of the killer BOB.

Without a doubt, this is not a film for the uninitiated. This is a Twin Peaks film but this is not a good way to jump into the world of Twin Peaks. It’s constructed as the first in a potential series of films or possibly a trilogy, each one exploring the world and creating a conclusion. That in itself is a mistake that I made going into it. I had expected to find answers, and that’s not what David Lynch is all about. His films create more questions that provide answers, and the expectations that you will understand everything that happens in Twin Peaks the television series or Fire Walk With Me will lead you nowhere. It’s only if you sit back and drink in the experience of being in this world, it goes a lot better.

Sheryl Lee is pretty damn solid as Laura in this, her first real chance to play the character. Up to this point, she’s been a presence in Twin Peaks, but from the moment the first episode begins, Laura’s dead, so it’s nice to deep dive into the Laura’s mind, and the way she permeates the rest of the series. I really liked diving into her mind and the way she interacts with her father, Leland (Ray Wise, Batman: The Killing Joke, TV’s Fresh Off the Boat). Leland takes the death of Laura so painfully in the show that it is nice to dive further into that contentious relationship.

Outside of the Laura and BOB story, which I found quite interesting, I felt the absence of my personal favorite characters, like learning more about the fate of Dale Cooper or Pete Martell. I would’ve liked a few more minutes with the Horne family or perhaps Lucy Moran, but this narrative, for however unfocused it is, is intent on Laura, and in that arena, it shines.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is a frustrating experience upon first viewing, but allowing oneself to sink into its mystery and mysticism only furthers the emotional ride of Laura Palmer’s last days in a way that adds to the world of Twin Peaks, not in a story-furthering sense, but an emotional and spiritual-furthering sense. This one is for Lynch fans and specifically Twin Peaks fans only, all others need not apply. You probably wouldn’t know what the hell you were watching in the first place.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

GOAT Film Reviews is on YouTube!

 

Hey everyone! I have an announcement. GOAT Film Reviews now has a video element available with YouTube!

As of right now, I’m planning on a small push and expansion so I don’t get into too much too quickly. For now, I’m using the opportunity to discuss news pieces and such with two series currently in development. I’m leaving my most recent News Bite below that you can check out where I breakdown the director change for Indiana Jones 5. Let me know what you think, and I want to hear what you want to see! Let me know!

-Kyle A. Goethe

New Episode of Kyle & Nick on Film Discusses The Departed

Hey everyone! There’s another new episode of my video series, Kyle & Nick on Film, where Nick Palodichuk and I discuss the Martin Scorsese film The Departed! We talk the merits of the film and break down the historic Oscar win for the film and Scorsese himself.

Give the episode a watch, and if you enjoy the episode and want to support the show, check out the Show’s Patreon here. If you cannot support the Show in that way, give us a like, comment with your thoughts on The Departed, and don’t forget to subscribe to the channel! That way, you don’t miss the next episode!

-Kyle A. Goethe

Josh Boone Doesn’t Care About Negative Reviews for New Mutants

I think, at this point, Josh Boone just wants the movie to come out.

Boone, who directed New Mutants, which has just been postponed for the 100th time, and is currently working on his adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand, was recently interviewed by Empire, and he said that Dark Phoenix actually helped make things less stressful for him. He said:

“Look, you can only go up after Dark Phoenix.”

He also said that New Mutants has has tested for several audiences who actually enjoyed it.

To me, I just want to see the movie. It’s been two years since the initial release date for New Mutants, and I have a lot of faith in Boone as a filmmaker. I’m not sure why the film has had so many release pushes, but I feel pretty confident about the film, but in order to really know, I have to actually FUCKING see it!

I also agree with Boone’s statement that the fan community sees Dark Phoenix as one of the worst X-Men films. I personally didn’t think the film was that damn bad but it wasn’t competently made, but I think its reviews were bad enough to consider the film a failure. That, and the incredibly dismal box office take.

So what do you think about these comments? Are you still excited to see New Mutants whenever it actually comes out? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

Onward To Be Released Early Online

This whole situation keeps surprising me. It would seem that Disney has set to release Onward online for purchase as of 3/20 for $19.99. The film will also be available for viewing on Disney+ on April 3.

The film unfortunately did not perform very well being released as the virus scare really kicked into high gear. While I’ve not seen the film, it did receive solid reviews and deserved to make its money back. The film’s directors, Dan Scanlon and Kori Rae, were really wanting to see the film back in theaters when they reopen, but putting it up for sale today online, that pretty much kills that option.

I’m not really convinced that this is a good call comparatively because I think this movie could have legs upon theaters reopening and releasing it online today may get the home video purchase from parents and families, but I think that would be there later on just as much.

I also think the drop on Disney+ is really interesting, and the only way this would actually help their service is if they are still struggling to keep their subscribers with the lack of content. I know that has been an issue with the service since the end of The Mandalorian. I know I paused my subscription after that show and The World According to Jeff Goldblum ended their seasons. Onward would make more people interested in returning to it (but I’m a physical media fan so not I!). In that case, it would make sense to save Disney+ with the early inclusion of Onward.

So what do you think? Is putting Onward on home video and Disney+ the right more or is Disney setting up a significant loss of revenue? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Black Widow Delayed Indefinitely

COVID-19 has finally claimed a Marvel movie. It looks like Marvel has removed Black Widow from their release date of May 1st. The Scarlett Johansson-starring superhero film is just the latest tentpole film removed from release. Disney also removed The Personal History of David Copperfield from their Searchlight Pictures banner and The Woman in the Window from 20th Century Studios from their scheduled dates.

These films join other Disney-owned films like Mulan, The New Mutants, and Antlers.

To be fair, this isn’t an easy choice and one that doesn’t appear to be up to the company after forced closings in several states as well as Regal and AMC’s decision to shut down for the time being. This isn’t entirely up to the studios nor is it up to the movie theaters.

Now, I’ve been saying since all this coronavirus stuff has been building that we need to take it seriously. I’m not out there panic buying food and supplies (I’m looking at you TP-buyers) but I firmly believe that we need to be making smart decisions moving forward until this situation is over. That means social distancing and not going to places that we don’t need to go. Let me be completely clear on this: we do not NEED to be going to the cinema right now. Trust me, I feel like I NEED to be going to the movies, and my own birthday was a few days ago, and I didn’t go to the theater. In any given week, I’m at the theater 2-4 times, so if I’m saying our theaters should be closed and we shouldn’t be going, then that really means something.

So yes, good on Disney for playing it smart and removing these films from their schedule. Disney is losing billions right now from their parks and film releases, so I’m happy that they are moving films off the schedule in the interest of public health (and their pocketbooks).

Now, what do you think? I’m hearing people clamoring for Black Widow to be released directly on Disney+, but that will never happen as Disney would lose tens of millions of dollars, so do you think the early delay of this film seems like a good idea, and when do you feel like we’ll actually see Black Widow? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

Netflix Nabs New Adam McKay-Penned Don’t Look Up

Deadline is reporting that Netflix has nabbed the rights for the upcoming Adam McKay-penned Don’t Look Up, a comedy that is set to star Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role. News of the film has circulated since late last year, and it seems that Netflix is on board now to get this film made.

The film will tell the story of two astronomers who use a media tour to warn the Earth of an meteor set to destroy all life.

The movie is set to release later this year with McKay on board as producer. There is nothing in the report about McKay directing.

The idea seems intriguing, and the Netflix nab could work well for it. I’m just really curious about the tone of the film. Adam McKay’s writing lately has been truly satirical and less campy, but this film being pitched as a comedy also makes me wonder if it will be closer in tone to Anchorman or Talladega Nights. Now, of course, the big difference between Anchorman and The Big Short is the element of improvisation. Lawrence is not known for her improv, so I would assume the satirical quality of films like The Big Short and Vice will be what we’re going to see here.

So what do you think? Is Don’t Look Up the kind of movie you would watch on Netflix or is this a hard pass? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

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