Trying to build a portrait of patriarchal power and subjugation that shapes the lives of five women, Birds of Prey takes a solid enough foundation and executes it abysmally, lacking visual style, coherent storytelling, and really any imagination. It’s the worst time José’s endured at the cinema in a year; Mike heroically offers a couple of examples of moments he enjoyed – the flying sandwich – but there’s no rescuing these damsels in distress.
Gemini Man lacks charm, wit, originality, intelligence, any real sense of understanding how to shoot action… but it’s a technological showcase, and with 3D glasses on, sat in a cinema with a 60fps projector (120fps screenings, the film’s native frame rate, are nigh-on impossible to come by), it provides a certain pleasure. We agree that the high frame rate, so widely criticised in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy – and along with the rest of the world, neither of us liked it at all – works surprisingly well here in Ang Lee’s hands, and Mike argues that it’s not only visually enjoyable but genuinely aesthetically valuable, picking up on shots that it noticeably contributes to and considering the way Lee uses stillness early on to help the audience adjust to its look and feel.
We can’t see eye to eye on the film’s other technological showpiece, a fully CGI Will Smith, motion captured but rendered as his 20-something-year-old self. Mike thinks it’s remarkably convincing, truly evocative of the Fresh Prince-era Will Smith with which we’re all familiar and, again, a visual treat, but José finds it a lifeless failure. That’s a criticism, though, that can be made of the film as a whole, and we can’t compliment the screenplay, direction or performances very much at all.
Without HFR 3D, Gemini Man really isn’t worth your time to see. With it, it’s surprisingly attractive, but that can’t rescue the script.
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