Review: Birds of Prey & the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

birds of prey, Film Ireland Review

 

DIR: Cathy Yan • WRI: Christina Hodson • DOP: Matthew Libatique • ED: Jay Cassidy, Evan Schiff • DES: Rick Carter, Kevin Jenkins • PRO: Sue Kroll, Margot Robbie, Bryan Unkeless • MUS: Daniel Pemberton • DES: K.K. Barrett • CAST: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ewan McGregor 

Before I start, I must say I love the full title of this film. 

DC’s Harley Quinn a sort of psychotic Betty Boop was, for many viewers, the most successful character in film Suicide Squad. So much so that the powers that be decided a stand-alone movie – well a stand-alone movie featuring some other heroines from the DC universe – was worth doing. 

A quick potted history using animation and narration brings us up to speed on Harley’s life and entanglement with the Joker. Now, Harley Quinn is a broken woman, who has been unceremoniously given the boot by said Joker. In a moment of great drunkenness, she blows up the chemical factory where the couple first truly bonded. This act of recklessness lets everyone know she is no longer under Joker’s protection and soon all those people she upset are on the warpath.  Amongst them is Roman/Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) a narcissist gang leader; who has a penchant for watching his henchman flay people’s faces. Also having a bad time of it are an honest police woman Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), suffering at the hands of her boorish male counterparts as she tries to get Roman put behind bars; Roman’s torch singer, Black Canary (Jurnee Smollet-Bell), guilty of being too decent; Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a revenging angel of sorts; and finally an irritating young orphan pickpocket, Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco). It is Cassandra that sets off the main thrust of mayhem when she steals a valuable diamond, which Black Mask wants very badly. Before you can say Birds of Prey, excessive violence is the order of the day.

Birds of Prey takes its storytelling cues from Deadpool and the structural jumbles that featured in so many Tarantino inspired movies from the ’90s.  Harley is our unreliable narrator and unfolds a fractured narrative as she tries to relay the events to us. Whereas Deadpool’s omnipotent presence in his own story was just short of jumping off the screen and sitting beside us, Harley fills in the blanks and information through narration with a modicum of fourth-wall-breaking with some added titles one might see in an anime.  The joke wears thin very quickly, flashbacks used to give weight to particular story moments in the present storyline just serve to show up how predictable and lazy the overall story arch is. We are usually way ahead of the plot.

The female cast give it their best shot but the material does not serve anyone well. Margot has proven herself in the past as a reliable actor but her shallow, psychopathic Betty Boop grates very early in the proceedings. The others manage to get to the end with some dignity despite weak dialogue and characterisation. Elsewhere, Ewan McGregor acts as if he is trying to mine the essence of Gary Oldman’s career in the 1990s, very badly. Most of the blame lies with the script and direction; all its attempts at humour and cheekiness consistently fall flat. The only joke that amused me was Winstead’s constant attempts to use her moniker Huntress when everyone else insists on calling her ‘The Crossbow Killer’. 

Birds of Prey is figuratively and literally an hour and fifty minutes of man-bashing.  Its need to frequently stop and remind us what bastards men are does it no real favours; in fact it tends to dampen its lame attempts at humour. The film comes off like the feminist equivalent of a Blaxploitation movie, Feminstploitation if you will but instead of honkies being the bad guys; oh yeah, the honkies are the bad guys, who also happen to be white men for the most part. 

There is not one redeemable male in the whole film; they are work bullies or psychotic abusers. We do get teased at one point when Harley introduces us to a sweet old man whom she trusts enough to have a hideout over his restaurant but even he is an untrustworthy male.  I suppose if you count Bruce, Harley’s pet hyena, there is one redeemable male. Oh yeah, maybe that’s the point?

Paul Farren

108′ 46″
16 (see IFCO for details)

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)  is released 7th February 2020

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) – Official Website

 

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Call For: Extras for Feature Film

The Last Duel is a period feature film soon to be shooting in various parts of Ireland over the coming months.  It will be directed by Ridley Scott and will star Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Adam Driver and Jodie Comer.  Filming will mostly take place around Dublin, Wicklow, Meath and Tipperary.  Affleck, Damon and Nicole Holofcener have written the screenplay which is based on the book ‘The Last Duel’ by Eric Jager.  Set in Medieval France, the story is an epic tale of betrayal and justice.

The Last Duel will be looking to directly employ film extras for crowd scenes in the coming months.  It is paid work and the open casting will be open to adults.

They are holding an Extras Open Casting day this week in Dublin City Centre at Liberty Hall (SIPTU BUILDING), Eden Quay on FRIDAY 21st  Feb 10AM – 6.00PM.

You DO NOT necessarily need to have had any previous experience to apply.

 

 

 

 

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Young Women in Film & TV 2020 – Story Workshop

call for, opportunities in film
Taking place on Friday 6th March + Saturday 7th March 2020, this two-day workshop will focus on visual storytelling and is designed to inspire young women to consider a career in the film and television industry.

YWiF&TV is looking for enthusiastic female TY, 5th and 6th year students who  attend school the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council catchment area with a genuine interest in a career in Film & TV.

Experience an action-packed, hands-on two day workshop delivered by an all female team of industry professionals. The workshop will take place in IADT’s industry standard film studios at the National Film School and include screenwriting, a camera workshop and an opportunity to direct professional actors under the tutelage of an award winning female director.

Young Women in Film + TV - Masterclass
Young Women in Film + TV – Masterclass

Also on offer, is an opportunity to have your portfolio assessed by NFS tutors as well as mentorship by current female students to show you portfolios and explain the process of making one.

The workshop will take place on Friday March 6th and Saturday March 7th – 10 am to 4 pm each day. Attendance on both days is required. Places are limited so please register your interest here.

Additional Exciting Opportunity!

An exciting development for the Young Women in Film & TV initiative is that RTÉ are also offering 2 places for a week-long experience in RTÉ studios.

If you are interested to learn about what RTÉ do, as well as developing skills to help create your own content, want to find out about media course options for the future, please enter our simple optional competition for the RTÉ experience at the bottom of the ‘register your interest in YWiF&TB page (link above). You must be available to attend RTÉ for a full week either, Monday 23rd to Friday 27th March OR Monday 30th March to Friday 4th April 2020.

Those selected for the RTÉ experience will be notified separately before the end of February.

www.iadt.ie

 

Get into Film: Training, Courses, Workshops & Masterclasses

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The Reel OSCAReS Horror Show 2020

Welcome to the Reel OSCAReS Horror Show Awards Ceremony.

On a dark Winter’s Eve under a misty stained Dublin sky, our gruesome gang of ghouls gathered to  present the awards for artistic merit in the horror film industry.  

Tune in to hear Conor McMahon, Sarah Cleary, Ali Doyle and Paul Farren bare their fangs and flex their chainsaws and announce the nominations and winners in the following categories:

Best Scene

Best Script

Best Actor

Best Actress

Best Score

Best Documentary

Best Disappointment

Best Director

Best Film

 


Crone Wood (Mark Sheridan)

Stream –  crone-wood


 

Film Ireland Podcasts

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Ciaran Cassidy, Director of ‘Jihad Jane’

Jihad Jane - Ciaran Cassidy

In this podcast Gemma Creagh talks to Ciaran Cassidy, whose film Jihad Jane is in cinemas Friday, 14th February.

In March 2010, the arrest on terror charges of a blonde haired, blue-eyed, American woman who called herself ‘Jihad Jane’ made headlines worldwide and was described as the ‘new front in the war on terrorism.’ The story of Coleen LaRose, a forty six-year-old woman, who had radicalised in rural Pennsylvania led the evening news bulletins. What made the case more surreal and confusing was the arrest of another American woman, Jamie Paulin Ramirez, a Colorado native — this time in Waterford, Ireland.

In this podcast, Ciaran talks about:

  • getting into film
  • his first films and learning the process of filmmaking
  • his approach to storytelling and its different genres
  • his first feature script The Racer
  • what draws him to particular stories
  • Jihad Jane
  • how the story unravelled
  • the characters involved
  • positioning the story and maintaining a balance
  • the editing process


Jihad Jane

Running Time: 80 mins

Director: Ciaran Cassidy

Producers: Morgan Bushe, Anna Byvald, Sander Verdonk, Aoife McGonigal

Financiers: Screen Ireland, BAI, Dutch Film Fund, Dutch Tax Rebate, SVT, Swedish Film Institute, RTÉ

Location(s): Waterford

Photography: Ross McDonnell

Editor: John Murphy


Ciaran Cassidy is an award-winning director. He has written for television and has short films. His 2013 short,The Last Days Of Peter Bergmann, won the Stranger Than Fiction audience award screened at the Sundance Film Festival. Jihad Jane is his debut feature documentary. Ciaran’s first screenplay, sports drama The Racer, directed by Kieron J. Walsh, has been selected to World Premiere in the 2020 SXSW Film Festival in March with a release scheduled later this year.


Film Ireland Podcasts

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Call For: Animation Development Consultant

Screen Skills Ireland are recruiting for the part-time, contract position of Animation Development Consultant.

The role will focus primarily on developing and growing the new CGI Technical Artist Apprenticeship programme delivered in partnership with TU Dublin.  This will be a part-time contract position and is envisaged as 3 days per week for a 6-9 month period between March-December 2020. The role will require additional work as outlined below.

The Animation Development Consultant should have knowledge of programme development and delivery, especially in the area of Apprenticeships, in Animation, VFX, Gaming and related sectors, which includes studio work practices, industry-standard software, technical skills such as the 3D pipeline and an in depth understanding of future trends and technologies in the space.

The Animation Development Consultant will be required to have a strong link to the VFX, Animation and Gaming studios in Ireland.

The role will consist of:

  • Developing, growing and promoting the CGI Technical Artist Apprenticeship Programme to companies, to industry stakeholders, to prospective students and to the wider public.
  • Organising and taking minutes at Consortium Steering Group meetings for the CGI Technical Artist Apprenticeship programme.
  • Liaising with TU Dublin, key industry stakeholders like Animation Ireland, Animation Skillnet, VFXAI, IMIRT and key education organisations like SOLAS, the HEA and regional skills forum managers on the development of animation programmes and the animation sector in Ireland generally.
  • Completing Funding Applications, spearheading Curriculum Development and Validation of new Animation Programmes.
  • Identification of Key Industry Tutors in the animation and related areas.
  • Identifying skills gaps across animation, games, VFX and VR/AR.
  • Liasing with the third level sector on interventions to assist graduates be industry ready and liaising with secondary level on the topic of careers in the animation and related sectors.
  • Working with SSI on the effective roll out of new Section 481 Skills Development requirements across the animation and related sectors.
  • This list is not exhaustive and might be complemented by reasonable and related additional tasks.

Essential Experience and Qualities

  • Experience of working nationally/internationally in the Visual Effects Industry and Animation Industry across creative and/or technical areas.
  • Experience of working in training and/or education provision, preferably across Animation, VFX and Games.
  • Experience in apprenticeship development and/or delivery.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Excellent administrative skills.
  • A forward thinker and ideas generator.
  • A track record of project delivery.

Application Process

Interested applicants are invited to forward a detailed CV that highlights relevant experience and a covering letter in strict confidence to recruitment@screenireland.ie by Monday 24th of February 2020.

This part-time contract will run over a 6-9 month period, remunerated at €250 per day (up to a maximum of 120 days). The successful candidate will not be exclusive to SSI but will be required to abide by the Screen Ireland Code of Conduct and Conflicts of Interest rules. The successful candidate must be available to start immediately.​

The role will be based in Dublin though some occasional travel may be required.

 

Learn More & Apply

 

Jobs in Film

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Call For: Skills Development Coordinator (Section 481 and Work-Based Learning)

Screen Skills Ireland is the skills development business unit within Fis Éireann/Screen Ireland (SI), the national development agency for the creative screen industry. Screen Skills Ireland has responsibility for investing in people and skills development across film, television and animation. Screen Skills Ireland designs, develops and delivers industry-focused skills development initiatives encompassing film, TV, animation, games and VFX, for all roles from new entrants to company leaders.

In April 2019, the Department for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht introduced new guidelines on Section 481, the Irish tax credit for the film, television and animation industry. This included a new requirement for producers to submit a Skills Development Plan for approval by Screen Skills Ireland for all projects with eligible expenditure in excess of €2 million, and all applications are reviewed by Screen Ireland and Screen Skills Ireland.

Screen Skills Ireland’s role involves assessing Skills Development Plans, monitoring skills development on productions through undertaking on-set visits and reviewing skills participants’ learning journals and productions’ Quality Assurance Compliance reports.

Section 481 Skills Development Coordinator Role

Reporting directly to the SSI Manager and the Skills Development Executive for Section 481 & Work-Based Learning, this role provides an opportunity to work across all Section 481 Skills Development activity.

The role will consist of the following:

  • Providing administrative support for the Section 481 Skills Development process to include checking and logging submissions for accuracy, minute taking, processing data, file management and maintenance of records.
  • Gathering regular information, data and statistics for releases and reports related to Section 481 skills development activity.
  • Working alongside the S481 Skills Development Executive to plan, organise and attend meetings with companies/producers/stakeholders and set/company visits.
  • Supporting SSI Skills Executives and Coordinators with planning and developing resources, initiatives and events related to S481 and the wider skills development needs of the sector.
  • Supporting the S481 Skills Development Executive with the development of competency frameworks and occupational profiles for job roles within the screen sector.
  • Working with the S481 Skills Development Executive to support the development of initiatives related to Responsible Production to include Diversity, Inclusivity, Gender and Sustainability/Green Film-making.
  • Other duties that Screen Skills Ireland may require from time to time.

Key Skills/Competencies

  • Excellent computer package proficiency including Word, Excel, Power-point, Survey Monkey and social media platforms;
  • Must have excellent attention to detail;
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills and be able to work as part of a fast-paced team who can contribute to a dynamic and innovative working environment;
  • Must have a strong client focus;
  • Must be able to work to challenging deadlines and work on own initiative;
  • Must be an ideas person – contributing and driving new initiatives;
  • A desire to work in the Screen sector is essential.

Particulars of the Position

This position will be offered on a 4-year fixed–term contract, full time and exclusive. This is a sanctioned post at Executive Officer level starting at €30,278 with annual increments subject to performance. Annual leave is 23 days per annum and this post is part of the Screen Ireland Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) for the duration of the contract.  There will also be a probationary period. This position is based in Dublin.

Application Process

Interested applicants are invited to forward a detailed CV that highlights relevant experience and a covering letter setting out how your skills and experience will meet the requirements for this position, to recruitment@screenireland.ie by 6.00 pm on Monday 24th February.

All applications will be treated in strict confidence and all personal data will be destroyed and deleted as soon as the recruitment process is fully completed.

Fis Éireann/Screen Ireland is an equal opportunities employer.

Fis Éireann/Screen Ireland is under the aegis of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Internal Ref: DS 007-2020

Learn More & Apply
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Call For: IMRO | RTÉ Scoring for Film Programme Seeks Composers & Filmmakers

IMRO | RTÉ Scoring for Film Programme Seeks Composers & Filmmakers

Following on from the success of previous collaborative film scoring programmes, IMRO and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, in association with Screen Skills Ireland and the Contemporary Music Centre (CMC) will bring together some of the very best emerging Irish filmmakers and composers to work on an exciting collaborative project during 2020.

This initiative will provide emerging filmmakers and composers with an invaluable opportunity to enhance their skills through hands-on experience in a vital aspect of film post-production. It is also a rare opportunity to have a score composed and recorded for full orchestra. Each year, films featured in this initiative have gone on to win awards at various national and international film festivals, clearly signalling the impressive creative output of Irish film composers and filmmakers.

The focus of the project is a one-day recording session in RTÉ studios in September 2020 with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra recording original scores for short film submissions selected for the initiative. Programme participants will be further supported through mentoring sessions and workshops with leading industry specialists.

Interested filmmakers who would like to participate in this programme are invited to apply.  Criteria:

Composers

  • The ability to score for full orchestra is essential.
  • Previous experience in scoring to picture (short film/advertisements etc.) is desirable.
  • The ability to work to a tight deadline is also essential.

If you meet the above criteria and would like to participate in this program please email an up-to-date CV and samples of your work, outlining your film and TV scoring experience to date to ei.ormi@stneve

A total of 4 composers will be selected for inclusion in the project.

Filmmakers

Submitted film projects for the initiative should require original scored music totalling between three and five minutes. Ideally the film should have a maximum duration of 10 – 15 minutes and should be close to or have completed picture lock. Once selected, the filmmakers will work with a composer, who has been selected through the process, who will create a full score for the film to be performed and recorded by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

All categories of film will be considered e.g. live-action drama, animation, documentary, experimental, etc. Ideally, the film projects submitted should be close to completion on editing. The use of temp tracks or “mood music” where score is required is allowed but not required.

Applications

The closing date for submissions for this initiative is 5pm Thursday 30th April 2020.

Preference is to receive your submission electronically. Please send a link to your music or film submission to ei.ormi@stneve or alternatively by post to:

IMRO / RTÉ Scoring For Film Program 2020
c/o Keith Johnson
Director of Marketing & Membership
Irish Music Rights Organisation
Copyright House
Pembroke Row
Lower Baggot Street
Dublin 2

www.imro.ie

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