Tag: Animation

Review: Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn

Kaley Cuoco … Harley Quinn
Lake Bell … Poison Ivy
Ron Funches … King Shark
Tony Hale … Doctor Psycho, Felix Faust
Jason Alexander … Sy Borgman
J. B. Smoove … Frank the Plant
Alan Tudyk … the Joker, Clayface, Calendar Man, Doctor Trap, Condiment King
Charlie Adler … Nick Quinzel, Grandpa Quinzel
James Adomian … Bane, Chaz, Ian, Ratcatcher
Diedrich Bader … Batman
Tisha Campbell-Martin … Tawny Young, M.O.N.I.C.A.
Briana Cuoco … Barbara Gordon
Andy Daly … Two-Face
Chris Diamantopoulos … Aquaman
Rachel Dratch … Nora Fries
Giancarlo Esposito … Lex Luthor
Susie Essman … Sharon Quinzel, Grandma Quinzel
Sean Giambrone … Joshua Cobblepot
Meryl Hathaway … Marcus
Tom Hollander … Alfred Pennyworth
Michael Ironside … Darkseid
Tom Kenny … Clayface’s Hand
Wayne Knight … the Penguin
Rahul Kohli … the Scarecrow
Phil LaMarr … Jason Praxis, Black Manta, Lucius Fox, Brian
Sanaa Lathan … Catwoman
George Lopez … Himself
Howie Mandel … Himself
Vanessa Marshall … Wonder Woman, Giganta, Joey Day
Christopher Meloni … Commissioner James Gordon
Alfred Molina … Mr. Freeze
Natalie Morales … Lois Lane
Brad Morris … Victor Zsasz
Frankie Muniz … Himself
Matt Oberg … Kite Man, Killer Croc, KGBeast
Rhea Perlman … Golda
Jim Rash … the Riddler, Stan, Mr. Isley
Will Sasso … Maxie Zeus
Rory Scovel … Gus
Nicole Sullivan … Mrs. Cobblepot, Benjamin
Wanda Sykes … Queen of Fables
Talia Tabin … Debbie Day
Jacob Tremblay … Damian Wayne / Robin
Mark Whitten … Herman Cizko / The Cowled Critic
James Wolk … Superman

Directors: Juan Meza-Leon, Matt Garofalo, Ben Jones, Frank Marino, Cecilia Aranovich Hamilton, Colin Heck, Colin Heck, Vinton Heuck, Brandon McKinney, Ben Jones

I will attempt to keep this this review as spoiler free as possible, but there will be a few inevitable spoilers, you have been warned.

This series is a telling of Harley Quinn’s transition from sidekick to super-villain after her split with Joker.

You can (at least until June 1) stream it online at Syfy.com, at least if you have a cable account. (see the link)

I have enjoyed what I have seen this far, I am very impressed.

Kaley Cuoco, who plays Harley, gives what her is arguably her finest performance to date.

She puts the “fun” in dysfunction, and plays Quinn as a whip smart and thoroughly broken ingenue.

The best performance though, is Lake Bell as Poison Ivy, who completely steals the show as the self-described eco-terrorists.

She is deeply devoted to Harley (I ship them so much), and she has a remarkably clear view of reality, except for the whole insane toxic pheromone criminal plant lady thing.

Ron Funches as King Shark is an truly amusing combination of techno nerd and ravenous prehistoric deep sea predator.

Alan Tudyk as Clayface (and  the Joker, Calendar Man, Doctor Trap, Condiment King) is a revelation. (He is a leaf on the wind, watch as he soars)

His, and the writers’ vision of Clayface as the ultimate theater dweeb overeager actor is truly inspired.

All of this is wrapped in witty, completely irreverent, and thoroughly profane (S-Bomb, and F-Bomb, though the (spoiler) C-Bomb is bleeped) plotting and dialogue.

There are some problematic bits in the scripts though, particularly the fact that they occasionally traffic in Jewish stereotypes, particularly during the (spoiler) Cobblepot bar-mitzvah, and the character of Sy Borgman, and (spoiler) Harley’s parents.  (Who knew that Quinzel was a Jewish name?)

This is a joyous roasting of super-hero culture, while also being a profoundly feminist narrative.

I recommend this highly, and rate it 8⅔ out of 10.

According to the Customs of My People, Chinese and a Movie on Christmas

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Shameik Moore … Miles Morales (voice)
Jake Johnson … Peter B. Parker (voice)
Hailee Steinfeld … Gwen Stacy (voice)
Mahershala Ali … Uncle Aaron (voice)
Brian Tyree Henry … Jefferson Davis (voice)
Lily Tomlin … Aunt May (voice)
Luna Lauren Velez … Rio Morales (voice)
Zoë Kravitz … Mary Jane (voice)
John Mulaney … Spider-Ham (voice)
Kimiko Glenn … Peni Parker (voice)
Nicolas Cage … Spider-Man Noir (voice)
Kathryn Hahn … Doc Ock (voice)
Liev Schreiber … Wilson Fisk (voice)
Chris Pine … Peter Parker (voice)
Natalie Morales … Miss Calleros (voice)
Edwin H. Bravo … Brooklyn Visions Security Guard (voice)
Oscar Isaac … Interesting Person #1 (voice)
Greta Lee … Interesting Person #2 (voice)
Stan Lee … Stan (voice)
Jorma Taccone … Green Goblin / Last Dude (voice)
Joaquín Cosio … Scorpion (voice)
Marvin “Krondon” Jones III … Tombstone (voice) (as Marvin Jones III)

Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Writers: Phil Lord, Rodney Rothman

Yes, it’s better than the trailer

This is a spoiler free review, of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and I will not go into the minutae of the plot beyond what you can see in the (attached) trailer.

Charlie and I saw this, while Sharon* and Nat saw Mary Queen of Scotts, because Sharon* was not interested in seeing an animated superhero movie, and I have always had a visceral loathing of Mary I of Scotland, so I did not want to see the movie.

Natalie was up for both, but went, and enjoyed, Mary Queen of Scotts, which was probably best for her.

The basic plot is that Wilson Fisk (The Kingpin) is engaging in dimension spanning experiments to further his nefarious (but understandable) aims.

This threatens the very fabric of existence, and brings other Spider beings into Miles Morales’ universe.

Miles Morales must learn how to use his powers and work with other Spider folks in order to do this.

It’s a rather ordinary Spider-Man plot with a multiverse thrown in, but really, you don’t go to this movie for the plot, you go to the movie for the characters and the art direction.

The characterization, and dialogue, are very good.

“How good?”, you ask?

So good that I did not find Nicholas Cage, who voiced Spider-Man Noir, annoying.

The performances are all top flight, with Kathryn Hahn’s performance as Doc Ock, and Hailee Steinfeld’s performance as Gwen Stacy being the strongest.

As to the art direction, it was magnificent.

First, they had a clear vision, and a reason to use animation as a result.

Second, their vision recreated the medium of the printed comic book to a degree I have never seen.

In addition to using the classic boxes for internal dialogue, they treated the background in a way that evoked the occasionally problematic color registration issues present in comic books, along with the occasional captioned sound effects.

One health note here:  If you have an issue with flashing lights,  migraines or a seizure disorder, it might be triggering.

Nat was having a mild migraine yesterday, which is why it was good that she saw Mary Queen of Scotts instead. You probably want to make sure that you are ready for what is a very vibrant style on that day.

One final note, it has what will be one of  Stan Lee’s final cameos, with him telling Milo that about his Spider-Man costume, “It always fits — eventually,”  pulls at the heart strings.

There is also a blink-and-you-miss-it call out to Steve Ditko.

Finally, (do I need to say this for a Marvel Studios Film?) SIT THROUGH THE WHOLE CREDITS.  Seriously.

Overall rating: 9 of 10.

As to the Chinese food, we had dinner after seeing the movies, and I shared Peking Duck with Sharon* at David Chu’s, a local kosher Chinese eatery, which I highly recommend.

That duck is why I did not write the review last night. It’s delicious, but it is perhaps the best sleeping aid that I have ever encountered.

I was sleeping like a baby at 8:30 pm.

*Love of my life, light of the  cosmos, she  who must be obeyed, my wife.