|BIRDS OF PREYSUPERHEROINTERVIEWCATHY YANNFL|
Birds of Prey may not have set the box office on fire, but it received good reviews from audiences and critics. One of the aspects that drew particular praise was the action scenes, which were like a cross between a gritty John Wick action montage mixed with Deadpool-style violent humor. In an interview, director Cathy Yan revealed the action was initially going to be even more out there.'When you set an action sequence in an evidence room, it's really fun and you can come up with so much stuff. We had so many different ideas. At one point [screenwriter] Christina Hodson wanted a giant double-ended [adult toy] that [Harley] had to fend off. I wanted her to have a big fluffy bear stuffed with drugs that she used as a pillow to fight with. We had to show some sort of restraint. It's a cheeky movie - unapologetically so.'
The evidence room scene is one of the highlights of the film. Harley enters the Gotham police department building in search of Cassandra Kane, the young pickpocket who had swallowed the diamond coveted by crime lord Roman Sionis. Harley wants to get Cassandra back to Sionis to square her debt to him, but first must deal with a plethora of policemen and escaped convicts who corner her and Cassandra in the evidence room.
What follows is a gloriously choreographed battle between Harley and her pursuers, as she uses bags of cocaine, outsized bats and anything else she can get her hands on to maim and destroy her enemies. The scene is already a frenetically over-the-top collection of moments of Harley inflicting severe bodily injury to her male opponent's most sensitive body parts. The sight of the anti-heroine fending off the attack of giant dildos would have only exacerbated the claims of critics that the film is filled with anti-male symbolism.
The Cathy Yan led cast and crew of Birds of Prey, as well as its supporters, have hotly contested the claim that the movie is anti-male, but the fact remains that the lack of positive male characters in the story, even Batman or Commissioner Gordon, who are closely associated with the Birds of Prey crew in the comics, led certain parts of the movie audience to react negatively.
Debates will rage on for some time whether the movie was a box office dud because it went too far, or did not go too far in depicting the twisted worldview of Harley, and its treatment of male characters. With the recent digital release of Birds of Prey, perhaps the film will see a surge in popularity and gain the honorable status of 'cult hit'.
After all, despite the film's performance, Harley remains one of DC's most popular characters. Her animated series is getting a second season, with a third season likely in the works. Also, Margot Robbie will return to the big screen as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad 2, being directed by James Gunn. Digital Spy
Welcome to The Clock Tower, where we’ll break down the goings on of the The CW network’s Arrowverse. We’ll touch on things like themes, cultural impact, lead-ins to major events, ships, and more every week! Warning: this Clock Tower is filled with spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.
So the world’s falling apart and you’ve turned to your superhero stories for comfort! Welcome! This week tackled a bunch of “fun” topics like murder, transphobia, and prematurely saying goodbye to longtime friends because contracts were about to expire and networks felt the need to write them off. Fun stuff! By and large, everyone did a solid job. The Flash is the only series that’s currently struggling a bit in the narrative department, but I think they ultimately have a point. Let’s dive in!The Farewell
One of my first pieces here at /Film was an article lamenting what Legends of Tomorrow would lose by saying goodbye to Ray Palmer and Nora Darhk. One is a constant beacon of hope and optimism, even in the darkest of times, the other a symbol insisting that your trauma doesn’t get to define you. The idea of losing them has been heart-wrenching since it was announced.
While the writers did their best to give a good reason for the departure and a solid farewell episode, it did little to make the farewell any easier. Obviously, the most difficult part of this story was always going to be seeing Ray say goodbye to Nate.
The SteelAtom friendship is, to this day, one of the best on-screen depictions of male friendship I’ve ever seen. There’s not an ounce of toxicity to it. It’s just bros being bros doing bro stuff all the while loving each other as fiercely as all men should be allowed to.
We all watched the same show, I’m not going to recap their goodbye. We all saw it, most of us ugly cried. It sucked. I will miss Ray and Nora forever.Dream on Dreamer
No I’m not sorry for getting Cascada stuck in your head. This week’s episode of Supergirl finally buckled down and gave us some Dreamer content. While it was worth the wait, let’s not go another half season without giving the gal something to do, yeah?
Nia decides to take things into her own hands after a transphobic creep starts targeting trans women to get to Dreamer. He doesn’t think that she’s the right kind of symbol for his “good” and “right” community. When you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes, and Mr. “Good” – no, his character name wasn’t even worth remembering – played a real, real stupid game.
We fittingly see Dreamer angrier than we’ve ever seen her in the past. There is a plague trying to wipe out her community, and she’s going to eradicate that plague no matter how hard Kara pleads with her to let a system that’s consistently failed her and her trans brothers and...
Apple has resurrected Steven Spielberg’s anthology series Amazing Stories as part of its Apple TV+ streaming service, the first of their shows to be a revival of a pre-existing show. The original series ran from 1985 through 1987 on NBC. Apple’s first season consists of five hour-long stories.
The first episode of the new series stars Dylan O’Brien as a modern man who travels back in time through the basement of a house he’s restoring. Episode two tells the afterlife tale of a runner Hailey Kilgore who gets hit by a car, but stays around to help her friend E’myri Crutchfield. The newest episode stars Robert Forster as a grandfather who gains super powers from an old toy ring.
Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz serve as showrunners on the new Amazing Stories. Their previous credits include creating and running Once Upon a Time and writing and producing for Lost. Kitsis and Horowitz spoke with /Film by phone this week about Amazing Stories and a little bit about their Beauty and the Beast prequel series for Disney+. New episodes of Amazing Stories premiere Fridays on Apple TV+.
Was there ever a question of using the original Amazing Stories theme song?
Horowitz: No. John Williams’ theme was so iconic. From day one, it was a must have for us and everybody involved knew that there really was no way we could do this without it.
How did you come up with new animation for it?
Kitsis: We hired a title company and basically we, really almost right away, I think we spent a year going over development with them. You just look at different images and animation and just kind of gradually came about over the last year.
Horowitz: It was a collaborative effort. They did incredible work. They worked with us and with Amblin and Steven had input in it all. It was a long process to try to get it to the place where it is now and got more specific as we started to shoot the episodes and get images to put into it.
Kitsis: The company’s name is Elastic. They’re phenomenal. They’ve done so many titles that you’ve seen.
Horowitz: If you look in the title sequence as you watch the episodes, you see images from the various episodes are incorporated in the title sequence.
What was the decision to go full hour versus the ½ hour of most of the original Amazing Stories?
Horowitz: I think it was less about a conscious decision about the episodes should be an hour or a half hour than as we discussed the kind of stories we wanted to tell, a length sort of revealed itself to us which is this 45 to 50 minute length which felt about right for the size of the stories we were telling. It really was about letting the stories dictate the length rather than try to dictate an arbitrary timeframe for it.
Can the stories be any edgier on streaming than they were on...
Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is a movie bursting with personality. It’s poppy and gritty, slapstick-y and visceral, and most striking of all, it doesn’t confine itself to as many boxes or rules as most comic book movies do. It’s a rare comic book movie with an actual sense of freedom and spontaneity. Behind the boisterous vision is filmmaker Cathy Yan.
Before Yan was writing and directing films, she was already sharpening her skills as a storyteller. A graduate from Princetown University and the New York University Tisch School of the Arts, Yan was a journalist for the Wall Street Journal, based in Beijing, Hong Kong, and New York. She was one of the youngest writers in Wall Street Journal history. After her time as a journalist, she went on to direct more shorts and her feature directorial debut, Dead Pigs, which impressed Birds of Prey‘s star and producer, Margot Robbie.
Recently, we spoke to Yan about the set pieces in the movie, paying homage to Jackie Chan and Orson Welles, and more.
It’s always nice not seeing characters fight CG or having to suspend your disbelief too much. It’s all very poppy but still has this tangibility.
Totally, and I love the word you use, tangible. I really want to see the classical and tangible and pastoral and analog. And maybe it was a bit in a reaction to everything else that was out there, but also it just felt right for the movie. I think there’s something that’s very grounded in it and it’s quite intimate. It’s not about saving the world. It’s about saving a kid and maybe Harley’s soul, in a way. And I always love that about this connection. I thought about how do we translate that into the world, and I think that element of just keeping it very real and tactful was part of that.
The action has a real old school vibe. For a movie of this scope, for example, it’s great to see a foot chase. Were you thinking of classic action movies as references?
Yeah, for sure. And a lot of our references were old school action movies. Jonathan Eusebio, our stunt coordinator, and I talked a lot about Jackie Chan movies and just the way they were all practical and he just kind of did it. What was so good about it was the inventiveness, the creativity of the way that he uses space or props or even the character moments built into those action sequences
And Margot Robbie’s facial expressions and physical comedy are very Chaplin at times.
[Laughs] That’s so funny. For sure, I think there’s an homage to old school comedy, and even in our homage to Marilyn Monroe in the dance sequence, or the classic movies that she watches. I immediately, when I was working with Margot and she was playing Harley, I saw her as Lucille Ball and...