‘Birds of Prey’ Celebrates the Fantabulous Insanity of Harley Quinn

Harley and the Joker are over, and so is the DCEU with any semblance of continuity! In 2018, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) was announced to be helmed by Cathy Yan, director of Dead Pigs (a Sundance darling without any distribution) as a mid-level budget experiment to forge a new direction for the franchise, as well as give producer/lead star Margot Robbie a vehicle to bring justice to her character. Trading in the doom and gloom hot-topic aesthetics of Suicide Squad for a candy-coated dreamland, Yan emancipates not just Harley Quinn, but also the dreary restrictions of what a DC adaptation has to be. By letting go of the fractured continuity of the universe and keeping set up for future films at a minimum, Birds of Prey succeeds at being an eye-popping, chaotic vehicle for Robbie’s Harley Quinn that is probably as good as these studio-mandated DC films are ever going to get.

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Review: “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” is a Muddled Joyride Through 1969

David Lynch chose the cryptic curves of Mulholland Drive. Billy Wilder chose the melancholic glamor of Sunset Boulevard. It’s only fitting that Quentin Tarantino opted for the murderous infamy of Cielo Drive.
The secluded road is located in the Hollywood Hills, a land rich with fable fodder. Isolated in their multi-million dollar mansions, movie stars and moguls look down upon the bright lights of the seedy city. In his recent book, Sleeping With Strangers: How the Movies Shaped Desire, film historian David Thompson writes of the Hills, “In those locations people can count their money, worship obscure gods, make love with whomever pleases them, or simple gaze into the mirror, studying loveliness. They call it a city of angels, with reverence.”

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‘I, Tonya’: A Statement on Truth and Abuse

This essay is by our guest writer Charlie Dykstal. 

CW: discussion of abuse

As should be no secret to anyone who has seen the news recently, a sort of re-contextualization of abuse is occurring. The issue is a complex one, where deeply institutional harm is being outed and discussed openly. This social movement evokes a feature of human nature: when our perceptions of each other change, so does our perception of art. The recent discussion of the films we love has been forever changed, as the recontextualization of abuse has set in.

This brings us to I, Tonya. Craig Gellipse’s story of the famous/infamous Tonya Harding shows no hero, protagonist, or savior. The bleak picture is a story about the very tragedy being discussed currently: abuse.

Sebastian Stan and Margot Robbie in I, Tonya (2017). © NEON

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