IR Interview: Oliver Luck (Commissioner) For "XFL"

IR Interview: Michelle Hurd & Isa Briones For "Star Trek – Picard" [CBS All Access]

IR On Location: FORD V FERRARI (24 Hours Of Daytona – Daytona International Speedway) [Fox Home Entertainment] – Part I

IR On Location: FORD V FERRARI (24 Hours Of Daytona – Daytona International Speedway) [Fox Home Entertainment] – Part II

IR Film Review: BIRDS OF PREY (& The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) [Warner Brothers]

The trajectory of “Birds Of Prey (& The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn”) is visualizing the identity of Harley Quinn and her journey to become that whom she truly is. The movie tries in earnest to portray this road of discovery in Quinn’s own special way which is undeniably entertaining and edgy in its own bizarro progression. The iteration at least for the for the first 2/3rds of the film is day glow brilliance and breakneck. While creative flourishes and structure is dynamic and interesting, sometimes the style of the film intrinsically does not keep up with the pace. Robbie knows her character in and out and doesn’t shy away from the character’s faults. Quinn still loves Mr. J but he unceremoniously throws her away for undisclosed reasons. She starts acting out logically (and at times illogically) which is where most of the fun comes from. Quinn (and Robbie) knows she is a clinically trained psychiatrist who has gone bonkers and boy crazy for Mr. J so it is an interesting paradox. While her journey to find her crew is important, it is not the goal. There is peeks of tenderness and at times hurt underneath Quinn’s brilliant smile. Robbie shows peeks of it but there is not so much dramatic tendency as there could be.

When the plot takes over about 3/4s of the way through, the film veers into more standard territory where it might have been interesting to see it in a nihilistic way or a trip that only happens in Quin’s head. It is a fun ride, more dynamic and entertaining than “Suicide Squad” but still is not fully exceptional. The only issues is that at times it feels, in a weird way, like a TV movie and not a film, which is not an insult since alot of TV is cinematic but it is missing a certain kernel that would make it jump more. The other Birds Of Prey per se are very apt with Mary Elizabeth Winstead making the most impact as Huntress. Her O-Ren stylings are great but Winstead plays her less cool and more odd in a way which is a creative choice but one which could have been amped. The reality is that none of the other Birds per se can shine a candle to Harley. There is a Moulin Rouge/Madonna ode of sorts at one point which is cool considering Ewan in the scene is a direct reference to that seminal movie of 20 years ago. Ewan has a bit of fun playing the flamboyancy of his baddie character who ultimately is the Black Mask. But despite the flourishes the character is inherently one dimensional with the weight of the villain having as much structure as Sam Rockwell’s captain in “Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”…fun to watch without much motivation beyond simple carnage. Even Tyler Durden had an ethos.

Ultimately “Birds Of Prey” wraps around to the true nature of Harley Quinn which a loner with a soft spot who likes to get in trouble. At one point, she steals a gas filled truck drunk and runs it into Axis Chemicals. It is a multi tiered point both freeing, tragic, nihilistic and wonderfully lurid which is all the aspects that Harley Quinn should be. Even though it runs at throttle those at this and other points, the film reaches its zenith only rarely but not as a full fledged blow out.

B-

By Tim Wassber

IR TV Review: PICARD – EPISODE 3 ("The End Is The Beginning") [CBS All Access]

The progression of a mission is related in the basis of where a trail leads. At this point in the Picard build of its series, the idea becomes one of mythology and the idea of what is being unfurled in terms of a focus. After forming the texture of a would-be conspiracy and keying Picard out of a self-imposed exile, the pieces seem to start fitting. The texture though leaves a slight hole in how Picard’s pride intensifies his removal. It also speaks as to why we don’t see more of The Next Generation crew. It is based in the essence of hubris. The people he does recruit either are in age of him or see a certain texture of his fans. The McGuffin that is swirling in the background within “The End Is The Beginning” points to something deeper and sinister which remains to be seen. It all leaps back in a sense to what Data might be planning from beyond. The essence of this also gives rise to a possibility of Lore is some way though that is never mentioned. The leaving of Earth is inevitable but in staying outside the lines, it becomes a guerrilla mission which we have not seen Picard undertake before. For a character known for regulations and yet an awareness of breaking the line, the path of resistance seems clear. Yet there is mystery, The series hasn’t reached its tipping point of intrigue yet. It is still finding that identity but in Episode 3, it is not quite clear yet what the true path is.

B-

By Tim Wassberg