Monday, February 10, 2020

Birds of Prey Review, What’s Wrong with Discovery, Aladdin Review, Movie Trivia, and More!

Movie Reviews

Birds of Prey

Joker has dumped Harley and she’s trying to find her place in life. In other words, without Joker, Harley is a big target and everyone wants her dead.
This film capitalizes on the best part of Suicide Squad – Harley Quinn. She’s fearless, resourceful, and quite reckless. But it’s still the simple things in life she loves - her pet hyena, Bruce Wayne; an egg breakfast sandwich made to perfection; and smashing people with a bat.
The story is told with some flashbacks (Harley style) and the names of villains blasting across the screen (along with their grievances against Harley) and it lets you know you are in for a fun ride.
Yes, it is rated R. Not as foul as Deadpool. But it is violent and contains language.
Ewan McGregor as the bad guy chews up scenery. He obviously had fun just going for it, over the top and all, with the role.
The film is all about Harley, but it’s fun watching the Birds of Prey come together. Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell are great in their roles.
And the big rumble in the end is awesome.
I didn’t love it, but I really enjoyed it.


Another Disney cash-grab based on the 1992 cartoon.
This one is a step above The Lion King. A lot of it is word-for-word identical to the first, but they did change it up a little. (Probably to make it longer more than anything else.) It’s very colorful and with great special effects. And Guy Ritchie directs! Now that’s surprising.
Will Smith does his best to do his own spin on Genie, which I appreciated. Ultimately, Robin Williams still did it best.
The musical numbers don’t work as well in this live action version as they did in the animated film. Back in the 50’s and 60’s it worked, but today it just doesn’t.
Another drawback is the monkey Abu. Just like The Lion King, the realistic CGI monkey has no expression. Abu was so expressive and funny in the first movie. Here, he’s just a monkey. Jafar’s parrot was also just a parrot.
And of course, you sit through it knowing all the words to the songs and half of the dialogue and enduring the overwhelming sensation that you’ve seen it all before.
Fun film if you’ve never seen the original, but if you have, just go watch it instead.

Why Discovery is a Dumpster Fire

When CBS announced that Star Trek: Discovery would only be available on a pay streaming service called All Access, my initial thought was no. Or more accurately “Hell no!” Then they announced a new show called Star Trek: Picard and I knew I would have to eat my words.
While being extorted by CBS, I decided to give Discovery a whirl. Here are my ten reasons why this show is a dumpster fire. (Please note that I have only seen season one. I’m told it gets better, but that’s not setting the bar very high.)

1. No likable characters. The characters run the gamut from unlikable to downright annoying. It’s hard to root for these guys.

2. The radical Klingon redesign. This show supposedly takes place in the same universe as Enterprise, the original, and TNG. What idiot thought that completely changing one of the most recognizable races on the show was a good idea?

3. The Klingons mostly speak in their native tongue with subtitles. Look, I’m fine with subtitles, but the mouth prosthetics are horrible and so the actors sound like they are struggling with pronunciation. If you ever wore the full mouth plastic vampire teeth as a kid for Halloween, you know what I mean.

4. Plot holes that the Federation could fly an entire fleet through.

5. Ridiculous advanced tech for the time period. This show exists between Enterprise and ten years before the original. The tech is more advanced than Voyager. Holograms, cloaked fleets, spore Drive, and I could go on. It doesn’t fit!

6. The captain, who follows the orders of Starfleet, has the autonomy to bring a mutineer (who has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison) onto his ship and keep her as a crew member. No one in Starfleet has a problem with this.

7. Cussing. I don’t need it in Star Trek. Just because you can add in the F bomb does not make the show more adult.

8. Where is the humor? It would be great to be a crewman on TNG, DS9, Voyager, or Enterprise. But it is a joyless, soul-sucking experience to be aboard Discovery.

9. Other than Michael, I don’t know any of these characters. It’s like they were so busy trying to tell a mediocre to poor story that they forgot that the heart of Star Trek is rooted in growing familiar and ultimately feeling a sense of family with the characters.

10. I will never re-watch any of these episodes. That’s sad! I’ve re-watched the original series, TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise so many times, but Discovery is a misfire in almost every way.

Conclusion – total dumpster fire!

Ninja News

Available February 13 on audio-
Dragonfly Summer by J.H. Moncrieff
Jo Carter never thought she'd return to Clear Springs, Minnesota. But when the former journalist receives a cryptic note about the disappearance of her friend Sam twenty years before, she's compelled to find out what really happened.
Find it on Audible

MC Book Tours
Mason Canyon, who runs Thoughts in Progress, a book review/feature site, also does book tours - MC Book Tours.
She’s putting together tours for two of our friends and their upcoming releases:
Murder, Just Because by Yolanda Renée
Dancing With Dementia by Jemi Fraser
If you can host either author, contact Mason!

Movie Trivia

Going for the comic book/graphic novel movies!
Name the movie from the tagline, star, and year.

1: They destroyed everything he had, everything he was. Now, crime has a new enemy and justice has a new face. Liam Neison 1990
2: Justice is coming to all of us. No matter what we do. Jackie Earl Haley 2009
3: Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Alec Baldwin 1994
4: In the absence of light darkness prevails. Ron Perlman 2004
5: Believe in angels. Brandon Lee 1994
6: Last time he fought against his sworn enemies....This time he will fight with them. Wesley Snipes 2002
7: First contact. Last stand. Daniel Craig 2011
8: A step beyond science fiction. John Candy (voice) 1981
9: Judgement is coming. Karl Urban 2012
10: Still Armed. Still Dangerous. Still Got It. Bruce Willis 2010
11: She alone has the power to save paradise. Tanya Roberts 1984
12: His time has come. Hugh Jackman 2017
13: In the future, the odds of survival are 1000 to 1. That’s just the way she likes it. Lori Petty 1995
14: Freedom forever! Natalie Portman 2005

Since February 17 is a holiday, I won’t be around – I'll post again on February 24.
Seen Birds of Prey or Aladdin? Think Discovery is a hot mess? Helping with either blog tour? And do you know any of the trivia answers?


nashvillecats2 said...

I do so love reading all your reviews and news, today no exception.


Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

I have returned from my hiatus, good buddy. I read that Birds underwhelmed at the box office, yet it gets a high Rotten Tomatoes score. Go figure. I want to see it because I have liked Margot Robbie ever since Pan Am, Chris Messina ever since The Mindy Project and Mary Elizabeth Winstead ever since Final Destination 3 and 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Have a great week, good buddy Alex!

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Guess it's a good thing we didn't subscribe to All Access for Discovery. My husband and I watched the first episode of Picard on YouTube. Fascinating.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Robin Williams was one of a kind!

Yolanda and Jemi are both coming by my site. :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sorry that the new Star Trek was so bad. It must have been really bad if you disliked it so much.

I'll be off next week too.

Murees Dupè said...

This is why I love your reviews. They are so honest, and it prevents me from watching movies, or shows that would otherwise make me feel cheated of precious hours. Birds of Prey is definitely on my to watch list.

Congrats to Yolanda and Jemi with their upcoming releases 👍

Yolanda Renée said...

All signed up for Jemi's tour, and thank you for the shoutout! Lovely!

I want to see Birds of Prey. Sorry, Disney let you down. Maybe season two will pick up?

Christine Rains said...

I'll be going to see Birds of Prey tomorrow night. Glad to know it will be a good time. Yes, Discovery is a mess. I've seen the first episode of Picard and absolutely loved it. Hope you have a fantastic week, Alex! :)

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I agree Harley is a great character. I'll be watching as soon as it's on Cinema. Best of success to Yolanda on her new release. Love the title and the cover. I'm feeling bad because I only know 8 of the 14! Yikes.

kaykuala said...

A pity Discovery is a disappointment! With 10 good reasons it faced a downhill trend all the way!


Juneta key said...

I agree Discovery was disappointing, BUT it does get better in Season 2. I enjoyed S2 somewhat, however, it never felt like real Star Trek. It is still out there for all the reasons you name, but I might watch it again just depends--I am not totally against that now. If they add another season 3 I will probably watch. They improved with season 2, so I would like to know if they improve more. Also in season 2 the introduction of Spock and family background was what made me watch. It was interesting.

Carrie-Anne said...

That Klingon thing sounds as pretentious and annoying as the Star Wars Christmas special I've heard about, where the first twenty minutes are in unsubtitled Wookie. One wonders how much the writers were showing off their knowledge and worldbuilding instead of focusing on telling a good story everyone can understand.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Shady, no idea why the great reviews didn't get more people to the theater. Winstead was great in 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Sandra, don't bother!

Natalie, I really wanted to like it...

Murees, one more reason for me to keep watching!

Yolanda, you're welcome.

Christine, the two shows are night and day, aren't they?

Joylene, that's better than most people.

Juneta, everyone says it gets better, but even Next Gen didn't start out this bad.

Carrie-Anne, in the case of the Star Wars Special, the writers dropped acid first.

John Wiswell said...

Birds of Prey was so much fun! I was concerned that Huntress wasn't in it much for the first half, but then she was perfect in the second half. I'd love to see another movie with this whole crew.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I don't know what those are but they are not Klingons.

Birds of Prey was a hoot.

SpacerGuy said...

Your observations are accurate Alex I have to admit, Discovery's characters had me until I took off my rose tinted specs. Couldn't figure why the Klingons spoke so slowly? The decisive Captain Philippa georgiou bit on the quiet side... but hey... I think the babe factor will keep the show alive for 5 seasons...

Elephant's Child said...

I am really looking forward to both Yolanda's and Jemi's books.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Geesh, your movie trivia is hard. I think 3. is The Shadow, but I'm not even sure about that.

J E Oneil said...

Only one hyena? There should be two!

This is the first time I've heard someone not like Discovery, even with it's problems.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

John, hopefully we'll get one.

Spacer Guy, we'll see!

Patricia, correct!

Susan Kane said...

Dumpster Fire should actually be its own movie.
I disliked Birds of Prey. Suicide Squad had a charm(well, not quite that) and humor. Will Smith drove the squad.

Harley Quinn was inconsistent in her accent, facial expressions, body build.

Sorry, Alex. I am picky today.

Pat Hatt said...

I heard it was a dumpster fire. No one wants a soul sucking experience lol Quinn is one I'll catch on netflix. And yeah, ugg, Aladdin is just another cash grab.

The Shadow
The Crow
Blade 2
Cowboys and aliens
V for Vendetta

Truedessa said...

I saw Aladdin, it was visually appealing and entertaining. Will Smith tried to make it his own but, I am with you I still like Robin Williams version of the genie best.

Enjoy your long weekend and have a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Liz A. said...

Re: Aladdin, I do believe Iago became a good guy in the cartoon series. The sidekicks were the best. (Haven't seen the live action. Don't plan to.)

So long as you have CBS All Access, check out The Good Fight. If you saw The Good Wife, it's the spin off you need. (That's the only reason I'm thinking of subscribing, but not just yet.)

13. Tank Girl (Is it Tank Girl? I got dragged to that by my brother and his best friend. Best friend loved this thing. My brother and I were meh.)

Botanist said...

Looking forward to seeing Birds of Prey some time. And I agree, Harley Quinn was the best part of Suicide Squad. And so glad to not have to put up with Jared Leto as Joker this time around.

Fundy Blue said...

Whew, I'm so glad that I didn't spring for "Discovery!" I was tempted. Enjoy your holiday, Alex!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Susan, that's all right.

Well done on the trivia, Pat!

Liz, never watched The Good Wife. And yes, that is correct.

Louise, just say no! said...

You're so creative, Alex. That's to say I don't know any of the trivia answers.

I enjoyed your review of Discovery. On the basis of cursing alone, I'd put it in the dumpster file. There should not be cursing in Star Trek. And no humor at all? That's shameful.

Be well.
Happy Valentine's week to you and the Mrs.

Jo said...

I actually wasn't overly impressed with the first Aladdin. Didn't think much of the music and thought Robin William's genie was terrible. But I was never a great fan of his I'm afraid.

I will be interested to see what you think of Ad Astra.

Andrew Leon said...

Wow, now I almost want to check out Discovery.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I am a huge Star Trek fan and would have given Picard a try IF it I didn't have to pay for it. I'm cheap that way. I would rather watch the old Picard ST episodes. After reading your review, I'm disappointed that they didn't do a better job.


Annalisa Crawford said...

Hey Alex!

I'm still not blogging, but I had to comment to say I'm so glad I'm not the only one who didn't like Discovery. It was far too dark to be Star Trek, and like you mention, there was no humour. Even the lighting seemed dark and oppressive. My husband enjoyed it, and says Season 2 is more like the old Star Trek but I think I'll give it a miss. I'm enjoying Picard - but I have a tendency to be anti one story line in shows like this. I prefer the episodic format of previous incarnations.

Sandra Cox said...

I wouldn't mind seeing Aladdin.
Enjoy your time away. We'll leave the light on for ya.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your excellent review of Discovery. I completely agree and I couldn't seem to stand the show enough to figure out how to put it into words. So, thank you for giving the terribleness a full review with justifiable reasons why it was so terrible.
Sorry. I really didn't like Discovery. Especially the Klingons. Grr.
Congrats on all the new works out!!!
And, I as always I feel like I should know all of the trivia, but all I have is:
3 The Shadow
9 Judge Dredd
12 The last Wolverine movie (name?)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Robyn, that's right! There's no cursing in Star Trek.

Jo, blasphemy!

Andrew, do you like watching things burn?

Annalisa, you are not the only one!

Tyrean, you're welcome!!! And you got three.

Jemi Fraser said...

Thanks for the shoutout for my blog tour!! :)

Discovery definitely struggled in season 1 but it does get better - mostly because of 1 character in my opinion. I won't spoil it for you :)

Tonja Drecker said...

I saw Aladdin, despite not wanting to. It was fine...much like the original. Nothing exciting, though. Have fun on the day off!

Morgan said...

Hi Alex! It's good to pop in for a moment! You are so wonderful. Love your energy, your kindness, and everything you do for the blogging community!!

Sherry Ellis said...

I have not seen Aladdin. Don't think I will, either. Sometimes the animated versions are the best ones. Too bad about Discovery. That's another I won't put on my list to see. Enjoy the holiday!

Lidy said...

I'm with you. It's best to just watch the original Aladdin. When I first heard the news or the live adaptation remake, I wasn't interested in seeing the movie at all.

Birgit said...

I will wait for Harley Quinnto be on tv. I can’t stand this Star Trek which is why my ex came up with the brilliant name STD. It misses the whole point of what Star Trek is supposed to be and you are so right about all the characters. I must be tired because I can’t think of any of the answers to the questions. I do feel quite exhausted.

Loni Townsend said...

I'm looking forward to Birds of Prey. I haven't heard high praise of it, but it does look fun. :)

Mary Kirkland said...

I haven't seen Birds of Prey yet but I plan to. It sounds really good.

Damyanti Biswas said...

I am looking forward to watching Birds of Prey!

Sandra Cox said...

Dragonfly Summer sounds intriguing.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Yikes! So sorry you don't like Discovery. I love it, but I do respect your opinion in it not being your "cup of tea." If I may explain the Klingons a little bit, apparently there are a bunch of tribes of Klingons that we never knew about. This is one of the several tribes that are out there. There are lots of the Klingons that you know and remember from the prior t.v. shows, they just haven't showed up in this iteration of Star Trek yet. And I guess that they cut there hair bald when their empire is not at peace. When things finally do resolve in season two, they grow their hair back out and look more like the Klingons you and I remember.

You are right that there are few likeable characters. For some reason, that really worked for me. I thought season two was incredible, and I can't wait for season three. I've watched both existing seasons multiple times.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jemi, You're welcome!

Morgan, always good to hear from you!

Birgit, that's hilarious!

Michael, everyone says it gets better...

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Thanks so much for the shout out, Alex! Much appreciated. x

Anonymous said...

I might actually have to watch Birds of Prey. I mean, I'm all about a good egg sandwich too so, she sounds like my kinda gal.

You've never steered me wrong when it comes to reviews so to hear Discovery wasn't good is disappointing. It's one of the shows we watched as a family when my boys were tiny so it has a special place in my heart. If it's going to ruin it, I'd rather skip it.

(new domain)

Donna K. Weaver said...

I haven't considered paying to watch Discovery, though Picard is tempting.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Oh Discovery . . . tsk, tsk, tsk. Blah....

Best of luck to both Yolanda & Jemi!

Nilanjana Bose said...

Aladdin is a favourite fun story.

Best wishes for Yolanda and Jemi, lots of success!

Sandra Cox said...

I fail miserably at Name The Movie. Sigh.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Great reviews, as always. I haven't watched a single one of the Disney live action remakes. It's my personal protest against all that money going to remakes -- cash grabs, indeed -- instead of investing in new stories. I'm guessing that Disney isn't crying any tears over the loss of my patronage, though. LOL.

Joanne said...

I am late to this party due to home renovations. All good and our house is still in chaos but it's pulling together. So no time for movies. A guy at work saw Birds of Prey and was okay with it. I like Margot Robbie - so I might get to it in the theater.
Hey - Parasite won Best Pic - now I"m curious. I had gotten over it after your review. Hmmm.
Take care and thanks for some laughs on the Discovery rant.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

JH, you're welcome!

Elsie, that series you can skip.

Donna, Picard is excellent!

Dianne, sadly they have all made around a billion dollars...

Joanne, just prepare for depressing and unlikable characters and watch it.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

"Birds of Prey" sounds like it might be okay. We never made it to the movies to see "Ford vs. Ferrari," so I bought it as soon as it hit our local stores yesterday. Hopefully, we'll watch it this weekend. Might even make some popcorn to go with it... :)

Blue Grumpster said...

Let's see.... Aladdin... Well, I did fall in love with the princess (much as I um didn't like her in C's Angels - yes, that wannabe movie).


Beverly Stowe McClure said...

No likable characters ruins it right there.
I did a McBook Tour once. She's good.

Lynda Dietz said...

I'm not a huge fan of the live-action Disney stuff lately, so I had no desire to see Aladdin. Beauty and the Beast is the exception, and I enjoyed that quite a bit . . . but the others, not even an urge to look.

Now Discovery is a real bummer. I haven't seen it (and won't, because I'm not doing a streaming service) but am really disappointed that the creators basically disregarded everything that made us all love everything Star Trek. Your assessment makes me sad: cussing, redesigning the Klingons, no humor. Sheesh, did they keep anything other than the name?

Andrew Leon said...

I don't know if you saw my response to your question, but that beach is near Fort Bragg.

Me and My Arrow? I don't know what that means.

mshatch said...

Sadly I only know a few of the trivia and some I can't remember the name even though I know I've seen it! I'll definitely stay away from Discovery, but what about Picard? I hope it comes on Amazon or Netflix at some point.

mail4rosey said...

I saw Birds of Prey and I agree with you, I didn't love it but I liked it. I probably won't ever see again and I won't buy it, but it was worth a trip to the movies.

I liked Aladdin but when they started singing right away my son was like, 'ohh nooo!' He did end up enjoying it though, as did I. :) Robin Williams did it best. He's a hard act to top.

Tony Laplume said...

Oh, c'mon! Don't be a grump! Mudd was great!

Michael Di Gesu said...

HI Alex,

Thanks for the reviews. I agree with you about Aladdin. It was somewhat enjoyable, but the animated was so much better.

I haven't seen the other movies.

All the best to Yolanda and Jemi!!!

Toi Thomas said...

Birds of Prey sounds like fun.
I've heard the Lion King has been the worst of the live-action remakes.
Discover seems like a mess just from the commercials.
Love your comic book movie trivia. There's one or two I'm not sure about but number 13 is my cult fave.

DMS said...

I have been wondering about Birds of Prey. Sounds like it is worth a watch for sure. Sorry to hear about Discovery. Bummer. Thanks for sharing. :)

Patsy said...

I haven't seen those films, but I recently went to see 1917 which you mentioned fairly recently (I think maybe we get some of them later than you do?). War films aren't usually my thing, but I thought it was pretty good - neither glorifying nor trivialising war, but showing so many aspects of people's behaviour – bravery and cowardice, love and hatred, blind stupidity, determination, hope, fear – and a lot of gratitude from me that I've never had to experience war first hand.

Sandra Cox said...

Glad you enjoyed Birds of Prey. I'm not sure it would be my cup of tea.

Cathrina Constantine said...

None of those movies interest me. Oh well. I did sign up for the book tours, supporting authors is a must nowadays!

Susan Kane said...

I know many of the movies, but just can't drag the titles out of my brain.

My husband enjoyed Birds of Prey. For me, it was a 2 trip to the ladies' room.

Raimey Gallant said...

I'm hearing so much on Twitter about Birds of Prey in terms of why men maybe are not going to see it in the same numbers as they do for this genre of film with male leads. P.S. I know the words to all the Aladdin songs. Do you think that means I watched it too many times as a kid? :P I'm looking forward to seeing this new iteration, but I'm not in a rush. :)

Sandra Cox said...

Stay safe. Are you in the incoming snow belt?

Shannon Lawrence said...

Thanks for posting the upcoming book tours! I signed up for both. I can't wait to see Birds of Prey.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I am sorry you got lost with Discovery. I loved it and season two is pretty great with Christopher Pike played by my fav Anson Mount. Hell on Wheels is still one of the great series I ever saw in my life and it was filmed about 200 km from where I live. I chose from the beginning to let go of all the things that annoyed you about it but I know why people hate it the way they do. I thought it was better than Enterprise but I tend to go more nialist with my Federation like in Picard.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Susan, I still need to see that one.

Beverly, yes she is.

Lynda, not really!

Andrew, the song? By Nilsson? Then it was a commercial jingle for the car the Arrow.

Marcy, Picard is awesome!

Toi, very cool!

Patsy, glad you went to see it.

Raimey, I wasn't a kid, but I did remember most of the lyrics.

Sandra, we did get some snow today!

Cal, I just couldn't get behind Discovery. Picard is excellent, though.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

I watched the first episode of Discovery and decided not to waste my time.
What I liked about the new Aladdin movie is that they fleshed out princess Jasmine and fixed the plot holes from the original -- but yeah, I miss Danny DeVito as the parrot Iago!
I still have to watch Birds of Prey -- can't go wrong with a bit of death and destruction on a Friday night :-) said...

I hope you enjoyed your day off. Birds of Prey sounds interesting. I may check it out.

Magic Love Crow said...

Hey Alex! Hope everything is going well and I hope you've had a good holiday!
Thanks for all the reviews! Wow, you have been busy! I haven't seen any of those movies, yet!

Powdered Toast Man said...

Aladdin should have never been remade. No one is a better genie than Robin Williams.

Andrew Leon said...

I've never heard that song.
And didn't know there was a car called Arrow nor seen any commercials for it.
My life is mostly commercial free.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I"m so glad I read your reviews. I was really considering CBS all access just to watch Picard, but I hated that another network was finding a way to milk away a few more viewer dollars.

Pat Garcia said...


Thanks for hosting Tara Tyler on your blog. I've been thinking about my book becoming film material. First, it has to be published but the idea has occurred to me and her article was a great encouragement

Shalom aleichem,
Pat G