Review: The Gentlemen

Having recently seen Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin, my expectations were a bit up here. He did a wonderful job with that movie, and it is my favorite of the new live action Disneys. By far.

My Guy Ritchie Meter:

Lock Stock is the top, and one of those movies that informed my overall film taste. Snatch was brilliant at the time, but has aged a bit. Rock and Rolla etc is eh. Then his Sherlock phase: fine. It was fine. My level was way down by the time I saw King Arthur, but I loved that one. It’s so perfectly stupid and amazing and I love it. I’ve seen it multiple times, it’s a feel good for me. Charlie Hunnam as Arthur in the era of Camelot with everyone speaking as if they are in 90s London. It should not work, and maybe it does for me because of my love of the cheesy. When Charlie goes to try to pull out Excalibur and David Beckham is randomly there, I lost it. It’s so funny and perfect. If you enjoy a fun trash movie, give it a try.

*Spoilers*

Back to the review. This was a big nope. I do not know how this has so many good reviews, but maybe they were dazzled by the visuals? It’s not allllll bad but the bad parts are just hard to get over.

How many times can one film maker do the line “That’s so gay”? Guy seems to be going for the record instead of leaving that one in the past where it belongs. Tied is the number of times he has the actors say cunt. It’s a lot. Did he get writers block and these two are his fill in the blanks? It feels that way. There’s also a guy has sex with a pig part of the movie and a possible cannibal scene. There’s a lot of “the ending of Kingsman where the princess offers up anal sex” kind of scenes basically. The kind of scene that ruins any fun you were having. They are also lazy and out of place.

The other problem is that Guy went with an American as his lead. Matthew McConaughey does not do anything wrong, it’s just that Guy’s strength is fast dialog. His writing for Matthew is slow, and it bogs down the pace that the rest of the characters set. It makes for a bit of a disjointed piece.

Verdict: If you took out the party ruining scenes and had the story center on Charlie Hunnam and Michelle Dockery, it would be so much more interesting. As it is, it’s difficult to appreciate the good here.

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2019 Movie Review Rundown

This is an overview for the new movies watched in the theater for 2019.

Avengers Endgame

This was a movie of a too packed collection. There were good bits (Cap and Peggy, Nebula, Captain Marvel), bad bits (Hawkeye’s evil eyeliner, Thanos), and all the bits in between.  Too many bits, not enough room for the characters to breathe.

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Captain Marvel

Marvelous. Jude Law gives such good evil doer. As a nostalgia/sci-fi/comic book/air force mash up it should have felt over-crowded (like the above). It didn’t.

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Charlie’s Angels

Fun silly weirdness. Bad wigs and outfits, however, which is a crime for a Charlie’s Angels reboot. All the Angels are on point, although Kristen is the lead here. She is sparkly and funny and vulnerable and I’d want them to make a sequel just to see her play Sabina again. The flirt scenes between Ella Balinska (Jane) and Noah Centineo also deserve more screen time. Netflix needs to get the writer of Knight Before Christmas to make these two a feature, please.

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Frozen II

Elsa = Rainbow Brite. That makes me so happy, my nostalgia has overpowered my being. The music and songs are even better, which is witchery. Olaf and his whole becoming mature storyline kills me. You know who I want in their own movie solving murders? Olaf. Olaf with a pipe. Elsa and Anna’s parents are fleshed out and redeemed. Thank goodness, cause last time they were dicks. Also, Sterling K. Brown. We are officially firing on all cylinders.

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Knives Out

The mystery. The cast. The Daniel Craig of it all. It is all swirly whirly funtimes with a surprise happy ending. You do not usually get those in the mystery genre, so thank you Rian. For so many, many things.

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Last Christmas

Holiday sparkles. Watching this in the theater, filled with families and lady friend groups hanging out right before Chistmas, it felt like everyone had a good time. It is no more and no less than a holiday feel good. There is nothing wrong with that. The female lead does not end up with a man in the end, but there is a cute as hell romance involving Michelle Yeoh and some lucky dude. We need a big budget romance with Michelle Yeoh as the lead by the way.

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Little Women

I watched this with my sister, which I fully recommend if you have one. I had a champagne, she got popcorn, and we both loooooved Amy in this.

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Shazam!

Zachary Levi:) This man, I adore him. He is my younger Bruce Campbell. A couple of years ago I saw him speak at the Shazam panel at a Wizard World convention. I was with my dad and my little brother Matthew, and neither were familiar with Levi. I had seen him in Tangled, She Loves Me, and a few various bits of stuff. Enough to know how talented he is, and be excited for his casting here. By the end of the panel, both my dad and brother were huge new fans of his, because this man is a powerhouse live. If you ever get the chance to see him either perform in a musical or speak at a panel, you should go. Ideally to both. Shazam did not disappoint. It was almost freakishly perfect. In a good way.1_2

Spiderman: Far From Home

Tom is lovely, but Zendaya steals this movie. It’s nice to have a European set superhero movie, just to change the background for once. Everything feels nicely refreshed and bright. The surprise heroes here are J.B. Smoove and Martin Starr as the best teachers ever.

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Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

It was not the worst thing that I have ever seen. The Death Star in the sea was cool. Exclamation marks don’t belong in the opening crawl. Thinking about this movie saps my energy. It’s a force suck.

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Terminator: Dark Fate

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Robot Dad is the theme. Overall, this was a pretty excellent chapter in the Terminator franchise. I’d say after T2, this is my next favorite. Mackenzie Davis was the best part behind the return of Sarah Connor. Linda Hamilton is still the live wire that this whole robot house was built on.

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Yesterday

Cute concept, okay execution. If you’re a Beatles fan, you will be happy. Having a brunch at home? Watch this. Is it heartwarming? Not really. It’s heart lukewarm.

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Review: Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

*Spoilers*

*This is my opinion, fresh from the theater.*

The Force Awakens was the resurrection of the original trilogy, and this is its’ end. For better or worse.

J.J. Abrams toodled back into the Star Wars sandbox after Rian Johnson was done with it and put things where he wanted them. This was not a collaboration. This is a smooshing of how J.J. would have played out 2 on top of 3. Why? I do not know. It’s weird to come into the theater to. You have to glean the missing J.J. parts, since there is little building on Rian’s work. 

The feel:

Frankenstein. Literally, so much Frankenstein for a Star Wars film. No, it does not fit in, it’s weird. Poe has to go back to some old friends to help with a C-3PO issue, and the entire town is a Frankenstein village set. Plus the whole Palpatine thing, but I’ll get into that more later.

National Treasure. Clues. Obelisks. What universe are we in? Maps, books, and robots are Star Wars. This looking for clue nonsense takes us to a clue triangle that Rey loses but then it’s okay because she found it’s twin. Even though she blew it up, it still works. 

No Hope. Where did the hope go? It was charged up by the end of Last Jedi, and we should have seen it here. Even at the end, when the cavalry comes, the hope is flat. Star Wars is something that should pulse with hope. It’s dramatic. It’s alot. It is a space opera, after all. But there is also hope and light. They talk about the good they get from Leia, but you do not feel it. Even seeing Carrie Fisher, it is like she is not there. They worked around what they had, but it was not enough. Maybe trying so hard to make these parts fit is what turned everything so cobbled. 

The feels are a hammer. There is no subtlety to be had. Everything is layed out, but nothing is properly explained. 

It’s a snowglobe. Rise of Skywalker is a bunch of answers that do not make sense together floating around and landing wherever. Shake it up, turn it upside down. The snow all falls, and is never more than a muddled mess. 

The Good:

Leia is Rey’s Jedi Master. This is shown in brief flashes. It pans away too quickly from this.

Leia’s Lightsaber. Badass and needed.

The Ben Solo/Rey Kiss. There was a lot of build up here, so the kiss became the most fully realized part of this whole deal. Damn, that’s some good chemistry as well. No getting around Adam Driver and his bad sexy emo baby vibe. Would I ship that in real life? Nope. On screen, however, I am weak when it comes to these two. Sigh. Do I think that Rey is gonna live at Luke’s old house that I’m pretty sure burned down long ago and live a life with her ghost husband and his ghost family? That appears to be where this ship is going. I am not on board with that bullcrap. Ghost kiss Kylo/Ben all you want, fine. I’m here for that, but do not stop going on adventures. Ever. 

The Rest:

Rey is a Palpatine. This is not palpable. He is a dead grandpa that should really be a great grandpa puppeting around on force juice. This is all unnecessary nonsense. There was a moment when he revealed a huge fleet of Star Destroyers that can actually do as advertised, where I assumed something. I thought that dead pop pop had brought back a bunch of ghost ships crewed by dead people. The soldiers of the Empire that had died, coming back by way of Sith stuff. Somehow, I was wrong. The crew was all regular old live First Order folks, even though they had just talked about being low on members. So staff was an issue. And they were going to steal more kids that would take a while to grow up. But suddenly, they could man a ton more ships. Next to other plot holes, this is not a big deal, it’s just the one that messed with me the most.  

Verdict:

This installment does not call to me. It either will or it won’t for you.

There is little point to this movie, even with some good moments. 

The success of any fandom is what you take with you. You watch and find things that you love. Carry these things with you. What you love is what makes up Star Wars for each person. My fandom heart is still full. Nothing has been ruined, and there will always be another. 

My Star Wars Heart:

John Williams’ music, Finn being honest and true, Poe at all times, Rey and the way she sees the world, Luke being his perfect curmudgeon self, and Leia above all.  

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Review: Last Christmas

*Spoilers*

First off: The trailer for this movie is an absolute lie. This is not unusual for trailers, which is why I prefer to avoid them. Why did I not do this for Last Christmas? Because the damn thing was everywhere. Everywhere, shilling its’ lies. Rude.

Trailer Lies:

  • Emilia Clarke is a horrible singer yet gets standing ovations cause Christmas
  • Michelle Yeoh will barely be in this, we are going to waste her talent
  • Emma Thompson is going to be a reasonable funny mum
  • Henry Golding is an angel, coming back to earth after giving this mess of an Emilia his heart to save her a second time cause Christmas
  • The tone of this movie will be Girl Stops Drinking Because She is Mesmerized by Christmas Angel Dick

The Truth:

This is absolutely is sweet Christmas movie, that is for sure. A Christmas cinnamon bun but instead of cinnamon they used George Michael. If you are not on board for that, obviously, you will not like this movie.

The Rest:

Emilia and her huge emotive eyes are not the bad guy here. Yes, she has been a wandering mess until wearing out her welcome at all fronts. Before I could become too annoyed by this behavior, the movie lets loose that it has only been a year. Up to a year ago, she has been a model citizen and daughter. And a brunette. Then last Christmas she had a sudden need for a heart transplant. Yes, she got incredibly lucky that Henry’s heart became available (not everything in the trailer was a lie, it just happened in the movie to a different tone) but something like that will still affect a person. She drinks. She sleeps with people. She does not look out for herself properly. She is not upset that she is alive, there is just a part of herself that does not feel like her. Until she literally gets a chance to know it. She makes friends with her heart. Yes, it’s low stakes here. Again, this is a Christmas movie.

Along this journey, there are gifts. Michelle Yeoh as more than a passing character. She is boss. She is Santa. She is the true romantic lead in her own sweet story. Emma Thompson is a panicked and needy mother. She is not perfect, but she is loved. Henry plays his role a bit sly. There was a time in the film I doubted his sneaky self was dead. I thought maybe he was alive and her heart was from a relative of his. You almost got me, you sneaky ghost prince.

Verdict: Pure champagne bubbles. As sweet a crowd pleaser as you will find in these here parts.

Oh, and Emilia has a beautiful singing voice.

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Review: SNL Season 45 Premiere

What was that?

*Spoilers*

Sigh.

Overview: This was a pitiful start mired in a weirdly conservative bog. There were some nice moments (Thank you, Maya Rudolph), and the musical guest Billie Eilish was fucking excellent. She was professional, talented, and truly enjoyable.

This episode highlighted the cracks. They might as well have held up a flashlight to the areas that think Democrats trying is stupid, P.C. Culture is stupid, and that still thinks overcrowding a sketch with too many people is a good thing. Look, loook at allll of our cracks. You seemed to say. We know they are there, you are surprising no one. Cracks are part of the deal when watching this show, but we did not realize how in love with the cracks you are. That is not a good revelation. This needs to be worked on. I want to blame this veneer of lazy humor on head writers Colin Jost and Michael Che, but it is probably more down to the show DNA that got them hired to the job in the first place. At least Che has it in him to be a solid writer, but there is a talentless dearth to Jost that makes his presence baffle me. How did he get here? When will he go away?

The good was not good enough to overcome the lame. Please do more with Kate and Aidy in a field. The apple skit was my favorite overall skit, and had the best Woody Harrelson bits.

Verdict: Move past whining. Oh darn, you had to lose a very racist cast-member before he filmed anything with you. Consider that a blessing, because you got saved from yourselves there. There is so much actual talent that SNL has. Maybe foster the awesome that is Julio Torres, Bowen Yang, and all the new writers this season that Bowen tweeted about. I do not know who they are, but I trust his judgement. SNL has not lost anything but they might if they do not build on what they have. This show has what it takes. Act like it.

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Review: John Wick 3

*Spoilers*

So, it turns out that this was not the end. After selling the notion of a Wick trilogy, they will be making another. And presumably another. This is a shame. A trilogy is a time honored way to tell a story, and tell it well. Sketch the basics, build on them or smash, and then bring it so a satisfying end. Endings are not bad. In fact as far as a story goes, endings tend to be necessary. Opting to meander around some more feels money grubbing at best. And it messes up what could have been. Fine. I’ll get over it, one more betrayal on the Hollywood pile.

Moving. On.

What Worked:

1. Keanu Reeves. He always works. No matter the level of bad or weird happening around him, Keanu is as reliable an actor as you can get.

2. The surroundings. This series can location scout. Gorgeous backgrounds to the action are once again on point. Sometimes the quality marble draws the eye away from the fight, but in a good way.

3. The Continental. This building is a character and I want to know more. If they do a prequel and it’s just Ian McShane going about his day running the Hotel, I would watch the hack out of it. Make that a show. I mean it.

4. The Cast. McShane and Lance Reddick as the concierge work well off each other, but are not on screen long. The favorite this time around is Mark Dacascos as Zero. He took a fanboy assassin and made the movie sparkle. It needed it.

5. The Western add ins. There were three bits that I noticed, but I’d have to watch it again now that I know to expect them. First was John Wick taking apart revolvers and piecing together the best sum of the parts. This was straight out of The Good the Bad and the Ugly, when Eli Wallach does the exact same process. The only difference is one has a shopkeeper present and one does not. And Eli is more of a bad guy. Also one is a classic Spagetti Western and the other is Assassins in Hotels. Next is the horses bit. Put Keanu on more horses, please. Horses = Westerns, you get it. Last is Wick has traveled far to Casablanca and braved a desert. He passes out, gets slung over a camel, taken to the exact guy he went out to meet, and is then sent to a room with a bathtub and new clothes. All of that is classic Western genre. I wish that they had done more of it, but completely changing tone suddenly for 3 might have been weird. Or amazing, we’ll never know.

What Didn’t:

1. Too many loooong fight scenes. They were well staged, but a fight is only interesting for so long. For so many times. Music would have helped, but they want you to hear all the grunts instead. Book fight was cool. Also the whole Zero fight was solid. It adds to have John fight someone with a personality after duking it out all day with the drones.

2. Starting up a lot of side missions instead of building on one. John is a focused man. He goes after what he needs to do until it is done. This time he blinks around the globe to no real purpose. I wanted him to take a nap and think a sec.

3. The Adjudicator. One person can be an investigator. If that same person comes back as the judge as well, anyone would want a second opinion. Yes, we hear you, you are with The Table. If the organization in charge of order and keeping all the for hire community from chaos sends one person, they do not seem like much of a force. Even with the backup, it does not look well. Send a team of professionals for gosh sakes. Take this seriously. The actress is not at fault for this.

The Verdict:

John Wick 3 is haunted by the movie it could have been. What we ended up with is an assortment of pinned on ideas that look cool. We have a placecard. Part of me enjoyed it for what it was.

The P.S.:

My heart was looking forward to Keanu taking over for McShane as proprietor of The Continental. It felt like that is where we were going, and there were so many clues along the way. That would be his penance. And the end.

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Judging Trailers and Picking Winners: Fall 2019 Network Shows

The following judgments are for the upcoming Network shows that have released trailers, which I found here. The shows will be listed by network, with my favorites in the winners circle at the end.

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Emergence :

Is this girl child an alien or is she just super conductive? I do not care.

Mixed-ish :

You can not go wrong with the team and actors from Black-ish pairing with 1980s set nostalgia.

Stumptown :

This has possibilities:) Cobie Smulders is an ex-army PI and has serious yet fun shenanigans.

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All Rise :

And this is my favorite. Judge Misty Knight from the Marvel Netflix world is joined by lawyer Bullseye from same and they dispense the best kind of justice: Legal. I love it.

Bob Hearts Abishola :

So creepy. I know Network TV ( especially Chuck Lorre ) thinks that stalking and following a woman that you are interested in is romantic. It is not. I’d like a show based on Abishola and her family without the creep please.

Broke :

Pauley Perrette is finally free from NCIS and now she’s in a comedy. I really liked her in NCIS and got frustrated, just like her, when they did not let her character evolve. Natasha Leggero and Jaime Camil make this a must watch for me.

Carol’s Second Act :

Kyle MacLachlan! I’m watching this. The other parts are cute enough and well done. Kyle!

Evil :

Some killers being possessed by demons is an interesting take. Another Marvel Netflixer ( Luke Cage ) joins an actress that I am not familiar with but she looks exactly like Julia Ormond in Smilla’s Sense of Snow. That is one of my favorite thrillers, so it’s making me like the show a little extra.

FBI: Most Wanted :

Could tell very little from the trailer. Julian McMahon leads a task force, police stuff happens. Might be good, might be bad.

Tommy :

She’s the woman chief of police. She does not quip. She does not sparkle. She does better than that: the grump. Edie Falco does a capable grump here, something men have been doing forever.

The Unicorn :

Walton Goggins from Justified is a widower with two kids getting back into the dating pool. The trailer is much better than the description. Walton is genuine and lovely, and the cast are comedy pros.

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Batwoman :

Okay no, this is my favorite. Holy fuck. This show is a gift from the GODS. Perfection in every way.

Katy Keene :

This is a teaser and thus sparse on anything at all. I’m still going to watch it because I am here for that Riverdale style.

Nancy Drew :

I will watch anything Nancy Drew. Anything. ( Saying that, I don’t know if the added supernatural elements feel right with the Nancy universe. I want Adam Beach to be the male lead, I adore him. Not as in romantic lead for Nancy. Gross, she’s a baby. As in more screen time. )

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Bless the Harts :

This is horrible. It’s from SNL creators and I always want those to be good, but nope.

Deputy :

A newly minted Sheriff going rampage on his town and having no respect for the rule of law is a story that is horrifying at this time. Not heroic, as the trailer seems to think.

Filthy Rich :

This is a mess. It looks like a fun mess at first glace, but it is just a trash fire. Will probably kill in the ratings though.

Next :

Have I become someone that doesn’t like anything? A lot of these shows are not winning me over. This is uninspired tech paranoia that has been done many times over much better. The only gem is John Slattery, but it’s not enough to save it.

Not Just Me :

Creepy. Excellent cast that does not win over the tone that a doctor impregnating women with his own sperm was a good thing. I am not overly cool with that tone, so I’m going to skip this one.

Outmatched :

Why Fox? Why? This is a wanna be tiny child Big Bang Theory. The parents are “normal”. The kids are super smart and thus have no social skills or actual understanding of the world. Ha ha. So funny. Ugh.

Prodigal Son :

Michael Sheen. Serial Killers. Lou Diamond Phillips. Cop drama Profiler style with a good soundtrack. Will try this one out.

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Bluff City Law :

The father daughter lawyer drama with a twinkle featuring Jimmy Smits looks watchable.

Perfect Harmony :

This is charming as fuck. The cast, singing ( I am weak for musicals ), and sweetness have made we want to watch this. The genre is mostly white gospel show. Or old Glee.

Sunnyside :

This is the best it gets. The team behind Brooklyn 99 and The Good Place make a second chance comedy. Kal Penn falls from politician to teacher, helping immigrants become citizens while showing these people are really already Americans.

24 Trailers, 5 Winners:

1. Batwoman ( CW )

I have been waiting a long time for a show like this, and it looks like they got it RIGHT. First place by a mile.

2. All Rise ( CBS )

Legal drama can be interesting in the right hands, especially when the hands seem capable. This one appeals to me as a Marvel fan loving to see these actors work together again, and as someone who loves skillful arguments.

3. Broke ( CBS )

I need the balance to the more serious shows in my life. I need to cut that strong shit with a sitcom. This is the most promising sitcom of the bunch and I am a sucker for Natasha and her dog in anything.

4. Stumptown ( ABC )

The beginning sequence reminds me of Tulip kicking butt in Season One Preacher. It’s different enough to not feel like a ripoff, and the world needs more of that kind of scene anyway. I have not read the source material. It looks like a fun ride, and has the actor from Almost Human that I looove. Not Karl Urban. I love him too though.

5. Sunnyside ( NBC )

The trailer is beautiful and I really hope that they can pull this show off. Making an immigrant focused tale with comedy and humanity is a worthy and needed thing. With everything happening in this world, is the show going to feel tone death by ignoring the serious danger these people are in? Can you address that in a comedy? Here’s hoping.

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Review: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season One

There is something about Mrs. Maisel that draws in pretty much everyone who gives it a chance. Actually, there are several somethings:

  • The Gilmore Girls Pedigree
  • The bright and beautiful Period Costumes
  • The cast
  • The story inspired by Joan Rivers’ start in stand-up comedy
  • The core of lady awesome

All of this has been noticed and adored internet wide. Rotten Tomatoes has it holding steady at 96% Fresh. These components are all, I agree, part of the charm.

Something has been missed, however. The thing that has held me addicted. The reason that I feel compelled to rewatch and maybe rewatch some more, is the glorious peerless gift of arguments well-made.

No one knows how to argue anymore; it is a skill lost in an screaming world. I grew up with it, though. My family discussed everything at the dinner table, and if you had an opinion you better back it up. There was no mercy for meaningless words. Winning an argument against someone who is also putting careful work into their reasoning is one of the best feelings. Heck, just the back and forth is exhilarating. I miss it.

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This show brings it back. Midge and her parents live in a bubble of loving and understanding. And in this bubble they argue. Constantly. Not stupidly, or for no reason. It’s utilized for their main method of communication and I love it. The last show that made me so happy in the same way was The Newsroom.

Yes. Mrs. Maisel is my fluffier The Newsroom. It’s a sparkly, sweet, cotton candy version of the world. There is nothing too new about it. Familiar storyline (cheating husband, unsuspecting wife). Familiar kinds of characters. Nothing very revolutionary. But, so what?

There are nods and easter eggs aplenty for comedy nerds. Kevin Pollack gives so much to every scene and I adore him. Tony Shalhoub as Miriam Maisel’s father Abe kills me whenever he’s ranting. Which, thankfully, is a lot. Miriam is the star and it’s thrilling to see her come up with a set out of nothing, but you can tell she got this at least partially from her dad. Their sense of humor and intelligence connect them and basically every time they talk I get emotional.

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Does this lifetime of learning how to point by point delve into an issue and sell her side of things give Miriam an edge on the stage? I think so. I believe that her kind of stand-up is arguing. Here’s why my day was insane. I’m not crazy, it’s everything around me. Here’s what happened, and why I am right. She presents a point, she backs it up, she builds, and hammers it home. She basically discusses with the audience, and any laughter or lack of it is the level at which she wins it. Her simply being on stage as a woman in the late 1950s is the beginning of an argument, and her crowd howling by the end is the resolution of that. She’s that good.

Warning: In the pilot episode, the writing for Abe is much harsher and almost cruel. Not to worry, because they fix it in the second episode making him much more grumpy papa bear. So if you watched the first ep and this put you off, please give Tony another chance. You won’t regret it.

Other Warning: If you are not a comedy geek who grew up on classic stand up records, Johnny Carson, and finds the construction of writing comedy fascinating, there will be references that you may not get. Do not worry too much about this. Amy Sherman-Palladino has made it so that you are learning right along with Miriam and no one gets lost. That being said … do yourself a favor and find clips of the comedians that are referenced, you might just find a new vintage love.

Verdict: You have to try it. You have to give yourself a chance to get caught up in this because if you do, it is pure fantasy fulfillment. If you don’t or you can’t I will understand. You poor dear.

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Review: Tiffany Haddish on SNL

For the first time since the 43rd season premiere with Ryan Gosling, SNL flew true.

42 was a magically numbered season, when co-head writers Sarah Schneider and Chris Kelly led Saturday Night Live back into prominent greatness (and ratings). They not only had Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, but were not afraid to think outside the box with sketches. They got totes weird with SNL, and for that glorious year, it had never flown higher.

Which is why when word came out the these now beloved head writers were bouncing on to other things, I was worried. Worried that skits about expansive sinks, John George the book assistant, and a back pack fashion show would become things of only fond memory instead of freaky cogs in a brilliant whole.

Then came the season starter with Gosling, and it was so good. Ryan was confidant and nailed his second hosting, and the writing was delightful. My favorite was the Avatar font skit (Papyrus), a thing of pure and ridiculous beauty. The Gal Gadot, Kumail Nanjiani, and Larry David episodes that followed were not completely awful. The tone was off, certainly, but there were moments of SNL magic in each. This is not a criticism that the show has fallen off a log and into a chasm of badness. This is a note that I am worried that SNL has devolved. It is as good as it was a couple of years ago, which is fine. However, the ground gained over the past season seemed to be fully conceded. So imagine my happy giddy reaction to the Tiffany Haddish episode, a return to that brilliance. My expectations have been adjusted and I now know what you crazy kids are capable of, so you guys have to keep it going. That Haddish was the first female African American stand up comedian host is sad, but she killed. She better be the first of many to come, as there is much ground to cover and talent to tap into.

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Saturday Night Live is captured lightning in a bottle. Or even a bug in a jar. A bug that has a lot of weird phases and likes to sum up the world around it. It’s like it just had a huge promotion at its bug job last year but then got fired, went on a bender, sobered up and threw up everywhere, and suddenly put on a dirty hilarious rendition of Hamlet that made us all cry. I know what you can do now, you freaky awesome bug. You better give me a Taming of the Shrew that will rip apart my soul but in a way that makes me laugh, or you are not living up to your potential.

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Review: Thor Ragnarok

Taika Waititi turned a Marvel movie into a cheese-filled neon-blasted 80s action comedy from whence the Thor franchise will never return. This is the new route; Thor has found the road which best suits his inner Chris Hemsworth and he shall traverse it evermore.

*Spoilers

Cate Blanchet has never been more gorgeous and it is distracting. She vamps. Tom Hiddleston’s dark prince charms pale next to her goddessness. This is good, because it puts him in his place and in the mood to actually become helpful. This leads to some old fashioned bro-downs and Loki being a trickster, but in more of a scallywag way. Like a fun pirate or a lawyer, and much less murderous. Anthony Hopkins playing Loki in the beginning of the movie is obvi having more fun than playing Odin ever was. All Odin (Loki in disguise) wants to do is eat grapes and watch his favorite play featuring Matt Damon, Sam Neill, and Luke Hemsworth. And who wouldn’t want that? I shall call this troupe “Emote Asgard”, and we better see them in every one of the future Thor movies.

All of the parts with Chris and Tom are the tops. The connection that these actors have and the chemistry that they have developed makes their scenes the deepest felt and the most addicting.

Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie given her timeline is the eldest and most experienced of the “hero” squad. Thankfully she is treated with the respect that her badass self deserves, especially by Thor. She is a compatriot and warrior. Who, yeah, has become a drinker given her circumstances over the last however many years that she has been stuck on trash planet, but this only points to her being a sane Asgardian in a crazy world. The success of Ragnarok hopefully means that we will get more Tessa, which could never be a bad thing.

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Mark Ruffalo turns out to be a sweet baby owl that eventually hatches from his Hulk cocoon. Before then, it is all “Hulk smash you, play with Hulk, no lies, I like and trust Valkyrie, you guys can all stuff it.” Banner pops out after an undisclosed amount of time (given that trash planet time is a bit wobbly) and it becomes “Ahhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Wtf?!” as Thor has to herd his adorable baby birdedness through danger to get home. Well, home the roundabout way.

Jeff Goldblum is as advertised: Jeff Goldblum. He is the fun kind of evil mastermind, overthrown by too many darn goodie two shoes getting together.

Speaking of fun evilness, Karl Urban is a delight as the new gatekeeper back in Asgard, showing all the ladies his stuff. Where is previous gatekeeper Heimdall/Idris Elba? Well, he’s in hiding from Loki at first, then Hela, all while rocking a new Robin Hood look and some kind of psychic link with Thor. He helps the Asgardians, does a lot of covert good, and basically has the kingdom’s back.

Cate’s Hela is chillin’ being Queen and killing folks, when the heros pop in after escaping trash planet. The most redeeming part of Hela’s character apart from the fact that her brutalness was used by her Odin father and then thrown away, is that she has a puppy. It’s probably more gigantic undead wolf than dog, but it is still a puppy, and that makes her way too likable. It’s Shakespearean, how conflicted of a character that Hela is. She is the most dangerous being ever, but she wants to be loved and accepted. Asgard is a land built on blood and violence, which moved on to a narrative utopia where no such past existed. That releasing the Ragnarok curse vanquished Hela along with Asgard is super fitting. First of all, the fire monster was voiced by Clancy Brown, Hell yes. And the two creatures of destruction ripping each other into non existence along with the world underneath them has the heftiness of right and balance. The ragtag band saved the people, which is what really matters, and now they have a new chance to start over. Probably in Norway.

The vibe is all hope and renewal until they get to Earth to see a big spaceship blocking the way. This path to the end of trouble just led to a lot more trouble.

Verdict: This was everything I could have hoped. Taika Waititi + Dash of Shakespeare’s best + A really good Hard Rock Show + Some D&D + Shit ton of Easter Eggs + Style from an 80s noir arcade apocalypse + Lady power with stabbing + Chris Hemsworth being hilarious = Ragnarok

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