Netflix | Release Date: February 8, 2019
6.1
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 14 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
8
Mixed:
5
Negative:
1
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6
LamontRaymondFeb 10, 2019
I like the actors in this "film", and I love Soderbergh, but this is really just a cute piece of fluff. The problem with many of these "quick" movies is that it's often tough to hear exactly what they're saying. They step on each other'sI like the actors in this "film", and I love Soderbergh, but this is really just a cute piece of fluff. The problem with many of these "quick" movies is that it's often tough to hear exactly what they're saying. They step on each other's dialogue, and it's a really good thing it's on Netflix, because you can rewind to try and figure out what you've missed. Not a pleasant experience. It's an interesting exploration of the relationship between ownership and talent in a sports league, but is ultimately so inconsequential, it's tough to have an impact. The best contrast here is Margin Call - another movie with the excellent Zachary Quinto. That covered a small slice of a very large controversy/incident, but it was so much more urgent and compelling. Quick note before I go: if you want to see an Excellent Soderbergh movie about sports, check out Logan Lucky. One of my favorite movies in recent years, and it got criminally low attention. Props to Harry Edwards, btw. Expand
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7
ahmedaiman1999Feb 14, 2019
Not my cuppa tea, as I expected. But I just wanted the movie to be more engaging for me in a way or another. Maybe more delving into the characters, or more focus on the rivalry the movie gave me a glimpse of would have made me moreNot my cuppa tea, as I expected. But I just wanted the movie to be more engaging for me in a way or another. Maybe more delving into the characters, or more focus on the rivalry the movie gave me a glimpse of would have made me more intrigued. That said, High Flying Bird is a quite solid sports movie that further proves that Soderbergh's new filmmaking technology works pretty well, and that he has plenty of buttons to push using this tech. It also proves that André Holland has a massive talent that should not be underestimated.

(7/10)
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4
marcmifsudFeb 13, 2019
BREAKDOWN

Writing (Tarell Alvin McCraney) 2/10: I never knew you could make a basketball movie with only dialogue. The entire movie was just conversation to conversation to conversation. Basketball is barely played in this film. The most we
BREAKDOWN

Writing (Tarell Alvin McCraney) 2/10: I never knew you could make a basketball movie with only dialogue. The entire movie was just conversation to conversation to conversation. Basketball is barely played in this film. The most we see of it is a single shot in a YouTube video. You should be able to write a film, remove all the dialogue, and still have something comprehensible. If you remove all of the dialogue from 'High Flying Bird,' there are only blank pages. There is no action and, most importantly, no heart. It feels like there is no passion and no emotion thrown into this screenplay whatsoever. In every scene, the characters seem as bored as I was watching it. The only glimmer of hope I was holding onto was the mystery of Erick's 'Bible' which stayed in its package since the first scene of the movie. I was disappointed to find that it served no use to the plot and had no semblance of satisfaction when it was revealed. If the point they were going for was that, with all the religious themes thrown around in the movie, he didn't need his Bible to find who he was and live without an agent, then they really missed the mark.

Performances 5/10: The acting in this film is one of the better aspects of it. Andrè Holland does a good job as Ray and Zazie Beetz does a good job as always. It was also nice seeing Kyle MacLachlan and Zachary Quinto who carried their scenes. Melvin Gregg however barely finds the energy he needs. His acting is subpar compared to everyone else, and that says something when everyone in this film looks bored.

Cinematography (Steven Soderbergh) 4/10: Soderbergh needs to understand that this iPhone gimmick is fun and inspiring as a concept, but it isn't practical. There are reasons why uber expensive Red Epics or Arris are used, it's because they make the picture look nice and comfortable to look at. Overexposed backgrounds and terrible color profiles are distracting and ugly. Also, there is barely a stabilizer in iPhones so when an actor hits a table or walks, the camera shakes and it's noticeable. Also, Soderbergh breaks the 180-degree rule a lot for seemingly no reason. During the film, I was trying to figure out why he suddenly flipped sides and I couldn't figure out why. There was no reason for it. The only redeeming factor for the cinematography is that there were some shots that looked cool, especially considering the camera it was shot on, but Soderbergh needs to give up this gimmick.

Editing (Steven Soderbergh) 3/10: To go along with his not good cinematography, Soderbergh combines it with his bad editing. This goes hand-in-hand with his breaking of the 180-degree rule. In addition, during a two-person dialogue (which was 99% of this film) the film stays on a third person not saying anything as if they're having some big reaction to the conversation, but they aren't. Soderbergh just stays on a bored actor. The only reason his editing isn't getting a 1/10 is that the film is still comprehensible.

Enjoyment 2/10: Normally I don't like to think of a film as worse because it's boring. Take 'Roma' as an example. Most of the film is slow and boring, but it still tells a brilliant story through action and subtext. You can remove most dialogue and have it still be interesting. But because 'High Flying Bird' is almost all dialogue with almost no action at all, a lot of it is hard to follow. I would have fallen asleep to this film had I not finished a cup of coffee immediately before watching it. I will say, it could have been worse. It wasn't painful to watch by any means, but I wish there was some shred of excitement in the plot.

Musical Score (David Wilder Savage) 5/10: Score? This film had a SCORE? It did not feel like it. Most scenes needed some kind of music to be more interesting. It needed some ambiance to give it some atmosphere instead of just the sounds of New York City. Although, I did very much enjoy the opening song. It was fun and was a good opener that made me disappointed by the end.

Sound Mixing 4/10: The sound is rough in this film. The transitions from inside to outside are hard to listen to because of how harsh they are. They needed ambiance in the form of music or just something nondiegetic to give it life.

Production Design (Andy Eklund) 8/10: The design of this movie is pretty nice. Each setting is unique in its own way and tells a little bit about the characters they belong to. The gym set was especially nice and fitting.

Overall 4/10: Steven Soderbergh needs to give up the gimmicks and just stick to the stories. I can't say anything bad about him wearing so many hats because it's worked well in the past, but if he focuses less on the iPhone gimmick and goes back to traditional filmmaking, he'd have better films. Also, Tarell Alvin McCraney needs to write better screenplays.
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