Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
Despite their hue, not all TMNT films deserved to be greenlit.
Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird created The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back in 1984. Now almost 40 years later, what started as a comic book has inspired seven movies, five television series, and countless amounts of merchandise. This week the four ninja tortoises return in a new animated incarnation, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. Considering I’ve been a fan of the Turtles since six years old, this seems like the perfect time to put an official rating on four decades of movies. Some are gnarly, some tubular, and there’s always a whole lot of cowabunga.
Writers Note: This list doesn’t include the recent Netflix installment Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, a TV-movie crossover Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or the live recording of the 1990 Coming Out of Their Shells stage show. That one you can catch on YouTube, although I don’t know why you would. Continue Reading →
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
The DCEU embraces its inner Bugs Bunny, and is all the better for it.
If you'd have told me two years ago that not only would I be looking forward to a sequel (such as it is) to 2015's murky, execrable Suicide Squad, but I'd end up really enjoying it, I'd have banished you to the darkest cell in Arkham Asylum. To be fair, David Ayer's overstuffed, underlit supervillain team-up came right at the wrong time: the product of post-Avengers superhero mania, but amidst the polarizing reactions to DCEU's so-called 'dark, gritty' approach to superheroes, it was the victim of a compromised vision of what was undoubtedly a bad idea in the first place -- reshoots, changes in tone, a final cut engineered by the house that did the trailers, etc.
The one bright spot though? Margot Robbie's semi-Gothic-Lolita reinterpretation of the Joker's moll Harleen Quinzel (aka Harley Quinn), a brash, madcap figure imbued with scene-stealing energy by one of the greatest actors of her generation. Now, with Birds of Prey, Robbie's Quinn is given a vehicle worthy of her talents, a manically gleeful girl-power anthem that's just as energetic and irreverent as she is.
As Birds of Prey (sorry, Birds of Prey: or the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) begins, the Joker's broken up with Harley. Good, great, we hated Leto's version of the Clown Prince of Crime anyway, get rid of him. Luckily, Harley gets over him just about as quickly as we do, blowing up the Ace Chemicals plant, dusting herself off, and trying to start a new life as a bounty hunter/mercenary/thug for hire. But before she can get that business off the ground, she finds herself wrapped up in a scheme involving a secret diamond laser-encoded with the numbers needed to access a secret bank account with all the crime money in the world. (Not quite an uncut gem, but you get my gist.) Continue Reading →