Birds of Prey | 2020, starring Margot Robbie
Summary: If only criminals were more trustworthy… ehh! Harley Quinn is finally done with the Joker, so she claims her independence in a big (boom) noisy way. Anyone after her for retribution or payback now knows she’s without protection. Except there are these accidental teammates that keep hanging around, even if intending to protect someone completely unrelated. With adult level humor, this glorious mishmash of womanhood is entertaining and sparkly.
Gush Sesh: Margot Robbie can play Harley Quinn better than all other incarnations – always a delight.
Fast Color | 2019, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Summary: Addiction, fear, self-preservation, and family are all explored here as Ruth escapes custody from an unnamed government/science agency. Dare she return to her mother and daughter where she might find further answers about her powers and why they are out of control? Would she bring the threat of incarceration or torture with her if she led anyone home? Does her unidentified father have anything to do with her abilities or would he protect her if he were aware of the situation? This is a drama with slow progression and the rarely-performed-but-totally-worth-the-wait special effect.
Gush Sesh: From a feminist mindset, this work asks more questions than it answers, but for a piece of fiction that’s OK. The creative artistic work is supposed to make us think, make us feel, make us ask the questions we don’t normally. It’s stark and desolate and beautiful.
Code 8 | 2019, starring Robbie Amell
Summary: This world knows about superpowers, but they aren’t exactly welcome. If you’ve got an amazing advantage, wouldn’t you use it in your everyday life? The militarized police force has taken steps to protect public safety with specialized machines used to hunt down and secure power users. Because you’re labelled a criminal, does that mean you’re in the wrong? What if all your work were for a good cause, like saving someone’s life?
Gush Sesh: The power-holding normal people are treated as a minority (literally less than 5% of the population) with reactions stemming from thoughtful consideration to immediate rejection and aggression. Place this into a scenario about race or religion and you’ll find familiar ground.
The Darkest Minds | 2018, starring Amandla Stenberg
Summary: Disease ravages the under-18 population, making the survivors ‘guilty’ of supernatural abilities. Each kid discovered is examined and labeled with their ‘color’ denoting a range of danger to be considered when facing them. As they are herded, separated, and culled, the kids have to form groups to fight back or escape – some with more success than others. Ruby finds one of these runaway groups and becomes indispensable to them before they meet up with salvation. But is EDO the haven they thought?
Gush Sesh: If you don’t already recognize Amandla Stenberg as incredibly accomplished, you shortly will.
Sleight | 2017, starring Jacob Latimore
Summary: Acting as parent to his little sister, Bo makes money by playing up the street magician gig that can’t possibly bring in enough. Thus, he also moves product at night for Angelo who insists that they are friends and not just work mates. This attitude changes as another seller shows up in his territory and Bo is the one forced to make an example of him. Drugs, kidnappings, beatings, theft – it finally takes the terror of Angelo’s wrath to make Bo use his special ‘magical’ abilities to attempt an extraction from this life of crime. Can he do it without sacrificing those closest to him?
Gush Sesh: This story is a brilliant example of desperate ingenuity versus poverty/difficulty. Bo changes himself in permanent ways to get the effect he wants, then builds off that effect as a superpower to defend others and himself. And yet, Iron Man would have stopped at a suit.