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George At 

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Featured Movie Reviews

Birds of Prey

When I saw the really stupid trailers for BIRDS OF PREY, I decided I had no desire to see it. Then it hit theatres and most of the reviews bordered on ecstatic, gushing about how much fun it was.

Yeah, the trailers had it right. It's a boring, overstuffed mess.

It's official title, like the film itself, screams overkill. BIRDS OF PREY: AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN. Okay, whatever.

Margot Robbie, who I'm a huge fan of, narrates, produces and stars in the film as the newly single Harley, blowing up a chemical plant to signal the official end to her relationship with the Joker.

Unfortunately, this also lets all the people she's wronged while under the Joker's wing know that she is now fair game for retribution.

It could be a fun set up, but it's so heavy handed in its flashbacks, repeated scenes and structure that it never creates any story telling flow. For all its exploding color, fast action and violence, its shockingly boring.

Robbie's Harley was definitely the standout in her 'Justice League" film debut, but her quirky, mad portrayal starts to grow wearisome pretty quickly into her own film.

Some of the supporting players fair better.

Ewan McGregor (Doctor Sleep, Moulin Rouge) is pretty good and menacing as crime boss Roman Sionis, but his villain alter ego is barely introduced or explained.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell is excellent as Dinah, a singer in Roman's club who develops into the Black Canary, but even that is a prime example of how bad the movie is.

Near the conclusion, she suddenly demonstrates a super power that is never explained, anticipated or touched on other than with a bad one liner from Harley. Huh?

If the writing and structure is so bad that the filmmakers dont care, why should we?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead (TV series Fargo, 19 Cloverfield Lane) steals the movie as The Huntress. Her back story is good, her one liners are great and her angst over her alter ego moniker is a lot of fun. She is the only one in the movie that gets the tone exactly right.

Rosie Perez is good as a police detective on the trail of almost everyone. She's having fun playing an 80's TV cop in Gotham City and it shows.

The sets and production design are strong, mixing elements from Tim Burton/Anton Furst's Batman look at the Ajax chemical factory with Harley's crazy, tattooed girl power wardrobe and crap apartment.

There are some fun moments, especially a roller-derby style car/motorcycle chase in final act that's a visual blast.

But even that's followed by a final battle that tries to recreate Kill Bill's Crazy 88's scene with a cotton candy/glitter version of Scaramanga's funhouse that just bores you with its lack of originality.

Whenever the writer and director feel like its lagging, they pour buckets of quick cuts, blood, animation or goofy characters onto the scene.

It's a great looking mess that manages to be exceedingly dull while beating you over the head with how fun it is.

Poor Robbie. She deserves a better movie.

DC bombs again.

The only thing I want emancipated from is ever having to see this thing again.

Birds of Prey never soars, noisily flapping its loud,ill-built wings to a D.

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