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Knock at the Cabin

Warchable - but needed more character development
"A Knock at the Cabin" is not a bad 'film'; as I watched it, it had more of a feel of a theater play. That could throw some viewers off as 'film' these days is built on so much more to get folks in their seats. But I liked the presentation. Although there could have been more character development, it is a character study.

There is a situation presented to a same-sex couple and their daughter that will need to have a problematic sacrifice to make to 'save the world' from 4 folks that appear at their cabin out of nowhere. And there are the struggles of each character (inner and outer struggles), such as whether to believe or not. It was very on the surface, not diving more into the dilemmas each character had to arrive at to decide.

Dave Bautista was fantastic to watch in this; I just wished to know more about his character and all four. For example, the film allows one to get into the characters' background more visually; in theater, it may come in a spotlight monologue moment. But here, neither, and it lessens the intended impact.

I must mention another film that reminds me of "The Rapture," done 32 years ago. It had some of the same choices. In that one, there was more of a dive into each character and the situation they were in-going in-ending in.

"A Knock at the Cabin" needed more character development, similar to 'The Rapture' because as it went along, it built your interest in the character background, which made me care about what happened to the characters at their ends.

In contrast, I didn't care as much about 'the end' in "A Knock At the Cabin" cause you really can guess. I wanted to know why these folks were chosen, how they were chosen, who they are, etc. - and maybe that much was left on the cutting room floor. If so, wrong decision. If not, it was needed. The film wanted me to get into - which made "A Knock At the Cabin" more surface than the required depth.

However, I watched to see how it would pan out. It had its points and while could have been better; it was a solid 5 for me.


Stylish but way too long
Let me say that the production design, costumes, and music (I'm buying the soundtrack at least) were nice but not enough to hold this picture.

It seemed to want to tell the story of the beginnings of Hollywood from the silent film era to the talkies -- and those who came across it. It was crazy, crazy, CRAZY - times back then, and this film went with the crazy, decadent, drugs, deprived, sex-filled underground, euphoria and depression of it all. Good idea, but this film didn't pull it off.

I don't think it needed a better script, but it did need an hour and a half of editing as it seemed there was more to it in parts, but the continuity wasn't there. It didn't need all the over-the-top sex; we, the audience, got it the first time around kind of thing. That's what was way overdone. But it seemed like the film was getting into the lives of 'real' folks from that area but stopped short - which was also unfortunate. I didn't have enough, even after 3+ to want to care about any of them. Not even a bit, and that was unfortunate as well.

Although, I thought maybe (without big spoilers here ) -- if they took the part close to the end and placed it at the beginning of the film (while hokey and typical Hollywood tacked on) - and left the end montage at the end (yeah, I got it -- and that WAS the most interesting part to me) it would have helped.

That, and an hour and a half of editing.


Disney-fied not Horror-fied
Well, this had very neat special effects, and watching those kept me interested in the film throughout. I am a fan of the first Hellraiser and the second. This seemed to have element of both. But overall for me, it made me not wonder any more if Disney remade an adult franchise horror genre. While it had an "R" rating, eh, PG 13 may have worked without.

I was not all that impressed with the story line here because what I found more interesting in the original was the adult themes. Here we had "Reilly, a young female adult with a drug issue, no real where to live, and her gay brother Matt who tried to help her but couldn't. Then there was a story of some millionaire who wanted to experience what the Cenobites gave and...well, I just didn't care about the rest of it, really. Some Gen Z and Generation Alpha stuff with the old Gen Y'er looking for fulfillment, which was also a part of deadening the story for me. Not horrifically-creative at all.

About the Cenobites...for me, disappointing. And it wasn't because "The Priest" was female. That was interesting, for 5 minutes. What turned me off was two things: one, that the Cenobites reminded me mostly of moving through the film like they were in a production of "Swan Lake" wearing creative rubber suits.

At one point in the film (The Billionaire's house/puzzle), one of the Cenobites actually reminded me of "Vampira" walking in the movie "Plan Nine From Outer Space" and two; even if the rubber suits didn't concern me, they were powdery- too powdery, maybe even too pretty. The horror of it, the S&M of it - or anything adult that NONE of us would ever want to see , wasn't there so to speak. It was like that design/make up team was held back and was told to be more concerned with making them look like X-mas merchandise such as dolls and things to sell, more commercial than a "never would I buy this in my life!", but now an "Eh, not soooo bad".

Yes, I gave it a 5 because there were parts that were visually interesting, but I also have to say, "too many chains-a-flying". We get it, but I think we needed to get ...more. Especially when they used the line: "We have such sights to show you". Sorry, it didn't show me jack.

Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel: a marvel teen in her universe
As I watch this entry into the Marvel Universe, I find that I enjoy experiencing something different and learning about a culture I know little about. Each episode I find interesting. I also see elements of a "tween" Ms. Marvel and a clash of cultures.

Captain Marvel crosses many multidimensional paths, and watching this is a thought to keep in mind. We have a female teen comic geek who is an artist living in New Jersey and whose family is Muslim (The actress Iman Vellani is believable as teen Kamala Khan). As a typical teen, she has a close male friend she will also lose as he gets into an early college acceptance program.

Many teens have an issue with family, no matter what they are, because they have things their family expects of them. One of them isn't being a superhero comic book geek. However, Kamala Khan finds a bracelet her grand-mom from Pakistan sent with other stuff. The bracelet is more than it seems, so she sets on this adventure.

There is nothing exotic about New Jersey where she lives, so Kamala did dream, and now something is happening that may be exciting for her. She becomes amazed, scared, and confused by the things happening to her with this bracelet - as most teens would. She now has (the typical) bad guys coming after her as she discovers what that bracelet is and who she looks destined to be. And maybe who that is may not be good.

Ms. Marvel is an adventure series for tweens, but I find it interesting with that take. I like the New Jersey -Muslim - Pakistan dichotomy. The action in places can be a bit high (especially in Pakistan, the death count, etc.). And you're not sure whether Kamala will be up to whatever she finds out.

By episode 4 - the audience is thrown a bit of a curve - is Kamala a "superhero" as she thinks, or something in her culture that may be worse than even she doesn't like. There are a few more episodes to go, and I am interested to see how this ends up for her. I do like the effort and will see how this season ends.

Jurassic World Dominion

It's a rehashed end for Jurassic World and Park
The audience of the entire movie theater show on the opening weekend was favorable primarily to Jurassic Park: Dominion. Although for me, there were a few neat parts in the film, there were also too many rehashes from other Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films placed here.

In this particular theater, the audience was wide-ranged, from 5 to 80+. There was a melding of those fans of the Jurassic Park 3 films with actors Sam, Laura, and Jeff. Then, some were aware of the more recent 2 Jurassic World films with actors Chris and Bryce. And were interested in seeing them all together to deal with man and dinosaurs. This story didn't dive into that as it should, and I didn't like the locusts' tie-in. But the Biosyn connection could have been written much better in my observation but wasn't.

Also, I happened to be sitting in the row ahead of several parents who had brought their children. All these children, ages 6 to 8, were only there for the dinosaurs - not the story. Some parts of the 'story' were traumatic. (I do want to add as an aside, I did have to listen to one six-year-old boy behind me who at least 5 times kept sadly asking ask his dad if the "dinosaur ate the bunny ." (Come on, folks - don't bring your 6-8-year-old to films like this if you're not prepared to explain! This dad did not.)

The point is, depending on where in the series one lands, whether or not we will be entertained. Those who are fans and were there from Jurassic Park all the way through - get it. The general audience has seen this all before; that's true. Jurassic World: Dominion has more re-treads from the previous 5 films instead of offering something fresh and different, presenting a better send-off for the series. I recognized this, but it still had some entertainment value, just not enough. For example, I was entertained by Malta's 'underground' black market scene. As I watched, it seemed like it could have been developed more independently from all this.

On another note, another opportunity lost was the introduction of a Therizinosaurus which realistically arrived in the Cretaceous period and not the Jurassic. Maybe I was one of the only folks in the audience that could not easily bend that suspension of belief, and it made me wonder why they did it. It's not like there weren't other Jurassic period dinosaur they could have developed.

But if this was one of those sly introductions they introduced to bring the audience into the Cretaceous as a tie-in for the next trilogy, they missed the opportunity to explain. However, that's too much of a deep dive for most of the audience, and who'll care? I'm mentioning this as another opportunity among many lost through shoddy writing, plot holes, lousy editing, or COVID-19 production, eh, take your pick.

There was so much potential there, but it ended up choppy and rehashed. While I was happy to see every character from the Park and World get together for this last outing, they deserved well better send-off.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan Kenobi Series I
I usually watch the entire series before writing a review. Still, I felt the need to chime in now after reading how disappointed others seemed with it after three episodes. But not for the right reasons in many of the cases.

As a viewer, I am enjoying this, for it has attempted to answer a few questions I had of Obi-Wan since the first Star Wars: A New Hope. When it began, you have an adult Princess Leia giving her droid a message to find Obi-Wan and claiming he was their only hope.

Also, I wondered why, when found, Obi-Wan spent his years 'hiding out', especially from one folk in particular. It wasn't until decades later that I asked my brother, a big Star Wars fan, to summarize how powerful Darth Vader grew in that time and how afraid Obi-Wan was of him. I still wondered --why - you know - because of all the things around the Star Wars Saga I NOW have seen, etc. I never forgot what my brother told me: "You'd probably try to wash your hands of the evil Darth Vader you helped train and hide too." I thought, oh, I think I get it.

So with three episodes in, this series is making it more transparent for me. What MAY have occurred with Obi-Wan's years running away. Other challenges he might've run into while 'looking over Luke .'He was hiding from what he inevitably sensed and knew he had to face and knowing 100% Darth Vader would be his death.

A few 'Star Wars feature films filled in some of my pondering about Obi-Wan: he was "out there hiding." But after reading many of these UNNECESSARY hate-filled and negative posts, I'm curious to know if those reviewers are here to critique the series. And for other posts, I'm curious to know what folks think Obi-Wan did in all those YEARS? That his "hiding" was whimsical and stress-free as he watched 'Luke' grow up? That there would be no encounters, etc.? Well, this series helps answer some of that.

The Obi-Wan Series wishes for its audience to consider those years of 'hiding,' being there for 'Luke' - to help teach him the ways of the force to come to battle with these folks. Three episodes in, I am being entertained by this series for that purpose.

However, I am curious about reviews that have made this piece of entertainment so divisive and -- political. Many aren't even reviewing the show at all. It's Disney or about race! It's Star Wars, for goodness sake; I'm not even SURE if it's a concern among the humans. Deceit, lies, and power are more -- and all are willing to bowl each other over for it to be in service of the most EVIL, who doesn't give two hoots about them either, to do HIS bidding. Upon further thought, there's a lesson. Maybe it's hitting too close to home for many of those unrelated negative reviewers. And just to prove my point, in 5 minutes that my review was up, 12 people already voted it down. Are real people who have actually SEEN this series reviewing -- or bots?

But for this reviewer, it's entertainment, and so far, it's following the formula. It has the bad guys, the good guys, the primary evil, and the 'hero' Obi-Wan. He's constantly running, doubting, afraid of the student now as the epitome of evil and, as we know, out to destroy him.

I see no issue with ANY of the actors. I like watching Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan and love, love, LOVE James Earl Jones's voice as Darth Vader. The overachieving evil here is with Reva/Third Sister, played by Moses Ingram. The actress is playing it well because the character is ticking off folks left and right. As a character, Reva joins the list of evil Star Wars power grabbers but fits the 'formula .'On the same end, so does Fifth Brother, played well by Sung Kang, seeking the same power of evil and appointment and acknowledgment of Darth Vader. And the ten-year-old precocious little Princess Leia, played by actress Vivien Lyra Blair, is acceptable. Leia, this character, is a ten-year-old in a situation where she has to think beyond her little droid at times. We have to remember she's ten and doing things beyond what a typical ten-year-old would do, but hey, this is Star Wars. I like the character.

I must acknowledge the deep-diving Star Wars fans who know a lot more than I do. I appreciate their reviews breaking this apart scene by scene, timeline by timeline, and pointing out inconsistencies based on what they believe should happen. They are loyal and would dissect this series with what they know. I can't dive that far, just seeing it for what it is - entertainment.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, the series on Disney+, works for me so far. I am invested in watching this to the end for what it is - A "Star Wars" saga. Crazy characters, power-hungry, nice CGI, wardrobe, and decent production sets against a backdrop of Star War's most significant drop-out Obi-Wan Kenobi. It 'ain't' perfect for some of the die-hard fans "Star Wars, and it's perfectly fair for those reviewers to state that. I know the base characters, watched most of the Star Wars films and entries, and so far find this very entertaining.


Trying to Flush Out More Of A Horror Story That was Already OK
I saw the original Candyman in the 90s, and this story's version was headed not far from it. What happens here is that it is bogged down with additional elements that did not have to be. I saw nothing political in it (and folks who keep equating EVERYTHING to politics need to stop!!!!), This was just a bad direction for what may have been a good update.

The original tale, generally skimming, was about a grad student finding out about an artist (Candyman) in a love that should not have happened in those folks eyes back in the 1800s. As she researches the tale of how this tale terrorizes Cabrini-Green residents with her friend, they discover the tale that saying Candyman's name in a mirror will summon him. Well he eventually comes and terrorizes, but the grad student gets framed for the murders he does 'cause no one else is in the vicinity but her. When the grad student has to go on trial for murder, Candyman says he'll help her if she helps him continue to terrorize the folks at Cabini-Green. The grad student is also involved with saving a baby from Candyman, and in the end she saves the baby from the bonfire and throws herself into it, saving the baby (but the flames kills Candyman).

Now -- that that's out of the way, looking at this film - it looked as if it wanted to dive deeper into the tale with a promising artist who lives with a rising star artsy-house manager. The artist is down be down on his creative luck. He finally hears the story of "Candyman" from a man in the laundrymat and uses it for his art exhibition, and his vision fails.

I'ma stop right there --- because the film goes down from there where it could have been so much better. At times , confusing and rushing to an end whose theme seems to tell the tale to all one can. Why?!??!

I mean, there was a more coherent script, I may. I did like the shadow art in this so there's a few more seconds there. If Tony Todd was featured in this version more, more involved, eh, maybe I could see continuing the tale. I did feel cheated for the barely there on screen-time of Todd as even in those few seconds, he became the most interesting thing of the film for me.

The Kids in the Hall

The Kids in the Hall are still edgy
These were my 90s Kids. HBO late Friday nights...then to late night network TV. Edgy, funny, strange, and often crossing that red line, and once crossed, you're wondering - what the heck was that?!

This type of humor entertains me. Won't be for everyone. It did when I was younger and still does now. I missed the Kids In The Hall troupe; glad to see them - and some of my favorite characters made appearances (love you, Buddy Cole!), but some of the new sketches had me in stitches.

And the opening robber sketch - all I can say is for 59-61-year-old men--THANK YOU, Dave and Kevin! My telephone number is...(lol!!!) Brave, brave, brave, and stupid-funny. Another funny sketch was the male strippers. I didn't want to laugh because it was sad to think of overall, but these guys made it work. That's what I love about their skits.

The Shakespeare skit was disgustingly-amazing - a new line they crossed effectively well. And the 70s Apocalyptic DJ skits started funny but ended sadly. What a range for Dave Foley.

Not all sketches were over the top funny for me, but there was so much in the six episodes I binged on those didn't matter. And I like that they too made fun of each other.

I don't know how long this KITH will run, but I'll keep seeing my favorite characters squishing heads, the Brain Candy execs, and Paul Bellini (I still love seeing him!). As a big KITH fan, thanks for "selling your souls to Amazon." Good to see you all one more time, still edgy, still silly, still the Kids In The Hall.

Can I get a "bawk"?

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Oh, Wicked Wanda & Somewhat Doctor Strange
I went in expecting a continuation of Spider-man No Way Home. What I got instead was more or less a continuation of Wandavision. I liked Wandavision, but I had to think of a few things that happened in there to make some of the continuation connection.

However, I like Doctor Strange and wanted the story to flow better about him. With a continuation of Spider-Man No Way Home, it would have been like that.

Instead, we are introduced to a spunky new character 'America Chavez', who could work the multiverses, not knowing how she does it. Of Wanda being full-on "Scarlet Witch ."And Doctor Strange is seemingly still trying to figure himself out but not being true to that. It was Strange being thrown into the trajectories of both America and Wanda, where each offers him glimpses into what he is - depending on the multiverse. America lets the audience know Strange is not as nice as we may think - in any universe. I think I would have liked to see that as well.

Make no mistake - the title helps you figure it out. "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ."Multiverse is singular, not plural. That's important to know going in so the expectation won't be so grand on that scale. For me, it should have been tho'.

'Madness' is essential too in the title because who is "Mad" isn't quite all Doctor Strange. Yet. And for some fans, I can see where that levels some disappointment.

There is entertainment, and I believe that's at the hands of Sam Rami. The theater I was in loved his touches in this film. I'm not going to spoil it by telling, but Sam Raimi fans get it right off the bat when they happen in the movie. Also, the "Illuminati ."Again, the audience L-O-V-E-D that, as did I; but H-A-T-E-D how it played out as did I.

Yes, I wanted more of Doctor Strange and Wong than Wong spending most of the film hanging off a cliff and almost forgotten. More focus on those multiverses than on this with Wanda and America. But this was okay, too, as we met another person in the universe who -- could jump into multiverses. We can guess she'll play a more prominent role in one of the MCU films/TVs as we do need to know more about her as you won't find it all here.

And Wicked Wanda? More to her can be enjoyable, but I wanted more to dive into Doctor Strange's journey than Wanda's.

The Batman

A Dark, Sad City
This is a movie that can't score any more than a middle vote. It's not as bad as folks make it out to be, but it's not that great either.

It was a dark, somber tale of a city with a vigilante of vengeance: The Batman. With this vision of Gotham, it started somber, and grew more somber and depressing that by the end - I wanted to get out and never return.

I understand Gotham was never a bustling city of Vegas lights, but this one as dark, damp, dank - hopeless. The Batman was damp, dark hopeless and really really vampire pasty complexion. (ahem!) Even with The Batman, you just didn't get that feeling that things would get a bit better - nope. And that's the issue with the film to me. That The Batman being in Gotham won't make any difference at all. So why bother.

There were a few good actors here, but ya never would know it. There were a few blow 'em up scenes, but nothing new. There were two villains but - they reminded me more of Dick Tracy characters than The Batman. However, the winners for me in this film was the Director of Photography and Production Designer(s). They made a hopeless, dark, city come alive on the screen. That's what caught my attention. The characters, the acting - eh, they worked with the dark and dank script they had. The idea seemed to make this Gotham and acting somewhat noir, but if that's the case, it didn't work for me.

But here's the thing about The Batman...the opportunity for a follow up film seemed dead-on and the possibilities of this getting another chance is there.

Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls

Another Reality Show About Finding Back Up Dancers
Make no mistake, this is a reality show about a talented Grammy Winning Artist with sold-out shows finding new backup dancers for an upcoming performance and stage show at Bonaroo 2022, which pre-pandemic audiences reached 85,000 folks!

Sounds harmless, right? Yeah. But this Grammy-winning talented artist is Lizzo, and the backup dance troupe she envisions for this show are plus-sized women like her, which she dubs "Big Girls."

However, many reviews about this reality program right here on IMDb have NOT been about that, which is unfortunate. It has been about personal preferences for women to look like "dancers " in shows. The reviews are full of negative stereotypes, mean, nasty adjectives and are missing the point of this reality show.

While some reviewers call this "watching unhealthy" or "promoting unhealthy" lifestyles, this reality program is doing something interesting. It's not doing any of those things; it's the opposite.

This reality show shows you how they have to go through the same grueling processes as ANYONE who wants to be a dancer/choreographer. The sweat, the exhaustion, the payoff - the HARSH rejection and getting the job for a lucky few.

The job. Yes, these are women auditioning for a job, a hard one. Being on the road performing in front of audiences. This reality show gives one a peek as all of them do in performing. As a reviewer, I can't write anything wrong with giving them the same props as I offer other dance performers on reality shows - good luck!! Bring on your best. Many did - some didn't. Jayla was my overall out-of-the-gate favorite, as there were a few others, and the game's name in this reality show is who can sustain the best stamina. STAMINA. There is nothing more healthy in dance & grueling, pressuring touring than stamina.

Even with the "ones that were chosen," there is still no guarantee they will make it to the stage for "Bonaroo ."Yep, just like in most performance dance reality shows.

There is the education here, and it seems like many need to be educated. Why is this really upsetting for those reviewers? Why are they so apt to write "promoting an unhealthy lifestyle" when those women are not sitting WATCHING life happen? They are auditioning and dancing just like ANY OTHER dancer - have THE SAME STORIES, and most importantly, the same talent. I question, all those writing bad reviews, did they look at the show(s); or did they just want to rush to negative judgment?

I applaud Lizzo and these dancers for allowing us to see how the process is none and WHY she chose to choose these dancers for her show. However, this reality show is not that spectacularly different from many dance reality shows. It follows the same formula as the ones preceding it. There's entertainment out there for everyone, and that's a good thing. We all do not have to fall for an appearance ideal, which is a good thing. As long as one is qualified and can do the work and gets the chance to do so - that's all that's needed.


A TV Western One Could Get Into
I have not watched Yellowstone. My interest in Westerns was limited from Gunsmoke and the Riffleman as a toddler because my Dad was a western tv fanatic. For my interests in Westerns, movies like The Unforgiven, Tombstone, Good Bad, and the Ugly, Hang 'em High, etc., and my 'guilty pleasure' episode of the old Twilight Zone episodes called 'The Grave.' I wasn't a fan of the tv 'soap opera' Westerns. However, this has caught my interest.

I watched the first one thinking I wouldn't get further than the first 10 minutes, but as it went on, I got interested. This is an 'origin' story, but for me, without seeing the series, it was an origin of, I became curious as a stand alone.

It is slow going in the first episode (pilot) but picks up the saga of the trials of people moving west. It is brutal, violent, fraught with diseases - the whole ball of wax and some as the episodes progress. I want to know if they will make it with all they will face. The wild, untamed west is the beginning of settlements crossing America.

The actors and their situations in this have my attention so far. The family in focus with actors Tim McGraw and Faith Hill do well. With their on the brink of womanhood, daughter played by Isabel May, she is interesting enough and provides the narration. It doesn't bother me as much as it bothers others (I think it exists because she may be an 'origin' character in Yellowstone). Still, I will guess that narration will calm down or disappear entirely as the series progresses.

The law/leaders to take folks (homesteaders, German immigrants, etc.) from one part of America to the next. Actor Sam Elliott (whom I am a fan of) and LaMonica Garrett (who I'm not familiar with) are attractive for me so far enough to see where this will carry. Sam's character, for example, has the most heartbreaking opening scene, but how he rebounds is an exciting journey that interested me. (And I do like the cameos of other actors!)

With 5 episodes so far, I am interested in all these folks and their journey in 1883. Who knows, it may lead me to take a peek into the Yellowstone series - eventually.


It's Presented Some Really Great Stories!
Let me get this out of the way first: It astounds me of the negativity for this program as much as some of the placed glowing reviews that were TOO overly glowing. Not everyone will like everything, but character assassination of the viewers rather than telling why the show wasn't for the critic, it's just too much.

I like this program. It has presented some really great stories in the past three seasons. A few were - ehhhh/why? - but that happens when you're telling different pieces of fare. It's supposed to be like it is in the films - a comic bookish type nostalgia and for me it works on that level.

I like the Creep, I even liked the animation episodes (and I thought I wouldn't). My very, very favorite I think people should view and that I have watched and shared a lot is in season 1, double feature with "All Hallows Eve/The Man in the Suitcase". For both, I can tell the acting isn't all that top notch, but in a way, I don't think it's supposed to be, but the stories are good and kept me watching.

Others for Season One I felt the same way about were "Grey Matter", which had my favorite actors in horror in it and was kinda gross which made it all the better, "Lydia Lane's Better Half" which I snickered at as this was a good one showing how business women can really be with other women in business. Sorry ladies! And last but not least, "Skin crawlers", which made me laugh..a lot as there is so much pressure these days on looks and being fat and what extremes folks will go to - this is as extreme as it gets.

Season two I liked only "Dead and Breakfast" where this one tired to become more contemporary fixating on the "Influencers" trend, but it did have a good story with a nice "that's what you get!" ending. I didn't like this season as much as Season One as many of the shows seemed to be hurried.

Season three - I liked a lot more. "Time Out" was a bit different as it really is a neat story, and one I could identify with (even though a bit choppy) because I was asking "If I had that Armore, what would I do?" and of course the ending was expected but bittersweet. "Drug Traffic" was as weird as weird can get - and here, while interesting, the "monster" could have been better but it was still interesting; and in the same episode, "A Dead Girl Names Sue" was not what I thought it was going to be, and when you find out what it turns out to be - I felt really taken aback. This was a spin on what we all know, but - take a watch and make up your own minds. I also liked "Stranger Sings" but agree with anyone who think it could have been produced a bit better as it looked like it was going somewhere and by the end went South. The combo "The Last Tsuburaya/Okay, I'll Bite!" was really OK. The first one, I like Art and billionaires that burn money for their egos stories The last one was kinda weird in a freaky way but I'm a bit scared of spiders so I think it will affect horror fans in other ways tho.

So to close, this is a neat series. I'd predict horror fans will find a few they'll like, a few that could have been so much better, but it's all still done in the comic book from "back when" setting for much of it. And yeah, if there is a Season 4, I'ma take a look for sure as I find this overall...entertaining.

Dune: Part One

Visually Wonderful Part One
There is no doubt that this DUNE is visually wonderful. Grands sets, wonderful costumes, Oh my goodness - spectacular! Great music from Hans Zimmer! That's what kept me interested to start.

And that there are actors in this that are beyond prolific in their roles -- the adult main actors, Oscar Issac, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Stephen McKinley, Charolette Rampling(!), Stellen Sarguard and so many more, when they came on screen were interesting and forceful and convicted in their roles. They had my attention from time to time too.

But the main male character young actor, Timothée Chalamet, just couldn't bring me into this more than what Kyle MacLachlan's portrayal did - as Kyle had that twinge of a 'mean-boy thing' going on that comes across in the roles he plays; and Timothée just doesn't have that coming across the screen with this. Timothée was lost and a bit milquetoast in the role. (To be honest, I wondered if the film was done 8 years ago if Kit Harrington would have been the better Paul... eh..) But this is NOT to dump on Timothée as I saw other material he acted in and did well. He just doesn't work for me in this Part One.

It is about 'story'. And just like the 1984 one, this too is, is eh -- for me but again...a visionary triumph no one can deny! It's not enough tho' to wrap myself around "the story" and be interested in "it's hero". Maybe because this is is 2 and a half hours of Part One.

Will I see Part Two? Will Timothée have more to chew on and prove me wrong about him in this role? Eh. Like I wrote, I love the visuals, the costumes, the music, the other actors. Dropping into a Part Two though... to see who becomes King of the

Supermarket Sweep

Funny Shoppers & Groceries Do Cost more from the 90s.
I like what they did to this version of Supermarket Sweep as of late 2021. The top contestants FINALLY get to win money at the end of the game. That is definitely a plus.

I also like the shoppers. The Fall 2021 episode of this had me in stitches when one of the teams just though they'd...leisurely shop, while the other teams were running circles around them. Even I was screaming at them to speed it up. And the winners got $6K in groceries and bonuses, that sure is different than the 90s show, bonuses and prizes.

This is now a great game to win cash and prizes for a grocery shopping race, and it's entertaining.

Now about the host. I did not like the host in the 90s show so much. He was nice, but the show needed more energy from its host. In bringing the show back they choose Leslie Jones who dials it all the way up. That CAN be grading, but she can slide in a few comedic add ins to make it interesting, a tad above a regular game show host.

I'm not liking the supermarket 'actors', but I do like the featured person who wins $2k for being a good store employee. That's kinda a nice touch too.

The thing is, Leslie is capable of toning it down as in this season, she does. They added a male voice over while the shoppers are doing their relay. I can tell the show knows it needs balance and Leslie is entertaining with this new format. I like the show, it's much more fun.

Bingo Hell

It's Bingo, Hell
I found this one of the better made for Amazon Prime Blumhouse films for what it was - a VERY low budgeted B rated film about what a community is and what a neighborhood is. It did remind me a bit of the premise of the film "Needful Things" all wrapped around the only thing a small fledgling community had, it's weekly little B-I-N-G-O gathering.

Think about it, where else could Satan go after the small town 'Needful Things' trinket shop? What else would people in a tiny rundown neighborhood that's trying to keep themselves together want more than anything that he could prey on? To win, to have LOTSA money. To weaken a neighborhood. Sure, but can Satan do this to a community?

To me, that's the idea of this film. It was okay. I liked the two old neighborhood BINGO ladies that helped the neighborhood once before (Adriana Baraza and L. Scott Caldwell), and the demon/devil (Richard Brake). A little disjointed at spots as there was need for more character definition, some more emphasis as to WHY some of the characters went the way they did but nice little tale, a little off from the usual Blumhouse fare some may be accustomed to (except for some gore in the deaths for some).

The Way Down: God, Greed and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin

A Religious Cult Built on Weight Loss
I had stumbled onto this good documentary on HBOMax and had no idea this Church of God likes skinny people existed. Run by a questionable woman using Christianity as her prop to turn out clones of herself and her beliefs, Gwen Shamblin, she operated for decades under this horrific religious guise. Families suffered, relationship suffered in ways I hadn't seen before.

Physical abuse of children. Forced pregnancies. Forced Divorces. Forced weight loss. Etc. All under the name of God, but you'll find that SHE was taking the god moniker for herself, and these folks followed - to a point.

And that is what this documentary puts across effectively.

This documentary also gets across that Gwen Shamblin-Lara and her Church of Heavenly Weight Loss, is also a cautionary tale as it seems so successful as we watch her and those in her orbit run amok with her lavish lifestyle

This tale ends unexpectedly tragic for all the main members and it's a doozy. And their end may make you think whether you're a believer of Christianity or not, that their God doesn't appreciate being mocked.


A background noise film from a good producer/director
Let me explain what a "background noise" film is. It's one of those films that interest me, but doesn't call for 100% of my attention. So while I am doing something else, I have the film on in the background for "background noise".

With backgrounder films tho', if it gets interesting at points: I do watch it again with fuller attention. I've heard about enough of this, and once is good. I watched it for James Wan, he has made some of my very favorite contemporary horror films. This one, Malignant, had some very neat cinematic visual effects here and there that helped with tension and scope, but not enough to carry my interest throughout the film.

As an older horror buff, there were quite a few things I had seen done in other movies 100s of times before, and that kinda depressed me on a James wan film, He usually goes above such things and charts a different path. Not here.

This one was an almost "phone it in" kinda film for James from what I saw; but for me a "background noise" one. It's a story I've seen already told - and figured it out in the first 5 minutes. However, I found the "jail scene" reveal more funnier than frightening only because of that.

This is not to spoil it for the folks who have never seen this kinda thing before, they may find it horrific and engrossing. Go ahead, take a look, enjoy.

But for the other horror buffs out there, we've seen it before, will figure it out and there is where it becomes a let down or should have just been a good one hour installment on the "Creepshow" revival.


Tried A DIfferent Avenue and Failed
I was excited to look at a different take on an old story. This one wasn't as different as I thought it could be as it was jumbled. I enjoyed a few minutes here and there (with Billy Porter and the mice - James Acaster, James Corden, and Romesh Ranganathan) all be it -what - 5 minutes of the film? Yikes.

I was just looking at Cinderella the lead character as she was. She's treated like crap, got ashes on her face, we know the child is abused no matter how they tell the story. Having a dress store when the idea is to KEEP her away from people - okay, nice touch but it just didn't work as it should have. Placing that aside, this Cinderella did not move me to make me feel for her to 'rise above' it at all.

There's so much here gone South - this 'Ella' was quite annoying, the Prince was a yawn - I wanted to propel him from the kingdom my self - I hated Ella's ball dress, etc., etc. And there's no way in Hades I saw Idina Menzel as the wicked Stepmom. Cate Blanchett set that bar kinda high in a modern remake of Cinderella a few years ago and -- to me she woulda made a better Queen in this with a better script and musical numbers. And let me not get on the "musical numbers" - hack-hack-cough! The "nod" to the Hamilton-esque ball announcer COULD have been a great addition with the right script and..the musicians REALLY PLAYED THE INSTRUMENTS that were represented in the song. Sorry, that I noticed and it stuck out to me like a sore thumb.

It's not the WORST adaptation of Cinderella, but it just didn't grab you as it was hyped up to do and the differences were just not that engaging enough.


It's Very Artistic - Good Story
All the artistic elements are here, it's visually colorful, the current fascination with celebrity up and downs are here. I found bits and pieces of this in the beginning but as the film progressed, it got more interesting.

What attracted me to it was that it was a 'musical', and I remember the brothers Sparks (Mael) from my younger days. I found them very avant-garde, it was refreshing to hear that they did something like this. I am a huge fan of films like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" and "Ken Russell's Tommy" and on some level I found that I was equating some parts of "Annette" to those. This is not quite like those films except for the abstractness of the vision in telling the story of the main character.

The story is also predicated on the actors. The thing about Adam Driver as an actor is that it doesn't matter what he's in, he gets you attracted to the piece. You will be very attracted here by his performance of a (spoiler) real POS.

Marion Cotillard gives a brava performance here as well as the opera star, and her performance really comes into play later in the film - again another one of those 'bits' in this film that captures attention as well.

But as with the other musical films I mentioned above, what one may not connect with is the story as quickly as they should. Takes a bit to get to it like -- 35 minutes or so in the film to me as that's when it gets rolling.

Sometimes it did remind me of a avant-garde mix of a La Boheme or a Don Giovanni tragic opera with its famous but tragic Diva that contrasts against a life of a completely opposite crude nightclub comic.

And then there is the namesake of the film, Annette. That story unfolds - it's the bits of that bit that captured my interest - as the film goes on. My biggest critique of why I didn't score "Annette" higher was because of Annette.

Maybe they (the writers, directors, etc.) had a reason of realizing Annette the way they did (I think so), but for me what they ended up doing propelled me back to my childhood of "supermarionations" and that's a place I never wanted to go back to. Didn't like them. It became distracting (up to a point mind you!!)

Again, some nice bits that got better as the film progresses, interesting to watch, nice sets, nice colors, different, original - stick with it.


Gossip is just that - and The Who's Who Under the Murdoch Empire
For those who 'hate' Gossip, this documentary is undoubtedly a stomach-turner for the viewer. I stumbled onto this by accident, and at first, I didn't want to watch a Documentary on 'Gossip' of all things. Still, I thought I'd give this one a few minutes of my time since I like Documentaries.

Well, at first, I was right. In this documentary, all the Kings and Queens of the Gossip hornet's nest are exposed, and like most people, I am not fond of any of them, what they do, how they Gossip. But before I was about to this off, it started to get into some background territory of which I knew little.

"Gossip" is a four-part documentary series. It's best to watch the four episodes.

What you will find out is that the Gossip Queen Bee of THIS series is the 90-year-old Cindy Adams, who goes over her 'career,' how SHE got her "stories." I write "stories" -- because one needs to keep in mind what the documentary is trying to get across IMO. That is the line between a legitimate story and Gossip is at what is being examined. Cindy's Gossip stories, she claims, are as a New Yorker who writes about "New York," but in this, you will find that she took that and reached far beyond with her "friends" she had no real conscious in spreading their "gossip."

What is important too in this documentary is who takes and prints this work -- and why. Why does it need to be out there in the American media? That's where Rupert Murdoch, the Australian Gossip peddler, steps in. He buys media. Lots of media. American Media -- as he eventually faces a lot of lawsuits in the UK for his methods. So come to America and do it the documentary spells out.

Newspapers, TV, Cable...streaming. You begin to see who REALLY controls what and how all other pieces of so-called legitimate media TAKES from the Gossip and makes it a "story." Or connects with these folks as "sources" - these gossip mongrels are now giving stories to legitimate "sources." Murdoch gets to sell his media, influences traditional journalism, and gets richer to buy more!!! Americans get information that is muddled, rumored, conspiracy theorized, sob stories printed from ruthless dictators, etc.

What will get your attention is how FAMILIAR this begins to sound.

One will find just how HIGH the percentage of media Murdoch owns and has been feeding into the American audiences for 50...yes, FIVE evident decades.

Having not even been an American citizen, Murdoch gets those in the American government's highest echelons to do his bidding. He had Former President Reagan speed up HIS American citizenship so he could continue to BUY American media.

The documentary isn't about FOX Cable News...yet, nor an attempt to bash it or anything referenced within. 'Gossip' tells you how we got to where we are TODAY and how FOX Cable News continues to exist. It's been programmed into our minds for over five decades. And how these very same players - are STILL playing all of us with "gossip."

"Gossip" makes us put a mirror up to ourselves - do we like news, or do we want the sensationalism of it? Is there smoke in Gossip that leads to news fire? Or is Gossip used as a revenge weapon? The documentary shows up how all this can work.

The sensationalism of Gossip, whether it's a Cindy Adams to a Maury Povich and beyond to today's news HOSTS -- we have all seen it and been captured by it. In this documentary, we get to know how those loyal/favorites to Murdoch from The Post newspaper (ahem, until the competition starts to entrench on his moneymakers!) move to shows like "A Current Affair."

All the players went onto 20th Century FOX programming or THEIR SHOWS, of which Rupert has pieces. Come on, we see how this goes, and it's STILL going on the same. It gives us knowledge that FOX News's best hosts have successfully merged Gossip and government. Rupert's business model - continued cha-ching to him and the further destruction of people NOT knowing the difference between Gossip and news.

We may NOT have paid attention to how the stories got put out there, how the White Houses and their staff helped spread this and make Gossip now legitimate news. Is it terrible? Disgusting? How about smoke before a fire?

Or is it horrible people who make money off of other awful people? Should we let it exist as entertainment or accept it as 100% accurate? The Gossip documentary hops on that point several times. The documentary explains how many of these Gossip columnists tell you their key to spreading their information without not getting sued. They rely heavily on words like "maybe," "alleged," etc., to get away with putting out what can almost be - a lie - a conspiracy theory, etc. It's a sprinkle of possible information that's, in its core, possible opinion. It's an exciting thing to think about.

The documentary brings up a lot of questions and is meant to do so. Have we shrugged all this off because we all know better -- while they still work and convinced others that their Gossip is REAL, and now we cannot convince them of any difference? Are there any real journalists in the world anymore, or is the Murdoch model how we accept news?

You decide. This documentary gives an inside seat at what has been fed for over 50 years - that's half a century. Agree or don't agree, it's Gossip. It is curious, seeing the same names/players in Gossip that were five decades ago. Controlling what you get, performing the same shady tactics -- you now begin to rethink it all.

Gossip, the documentary IS worth a look. A hard one. And afterward, maybe a significant conversation of changes needed to identifying Gossip 100% from everything else that needs to happen.

The White Lotus

Behind the Vacations
I watched this series week by week. I think I would have liked it better as a complete binge on HBOMax. Either way, I find this to be a very good series about vacationers in the loveliest of spots, "The White Lotus".

It starts with a mystery: who is in the box/casket being taken off the plane. From the first two episodes, I didn't care as this was the most annoying group of people on vacation I ever saw.

However, each week as it progressed, it started revealing what this was - and I find that it's stories of people on vacation in a beautiful place, whose messed up lives followed them.

The idea of a vacation is to "relax", "unwind", leave all that mess behind. These people came with issues, and those the issues ran throughout the vacation. Is there anyone here to root for? Not really. Is there anyone "likeable"? Uh, not really. Dark comedy? Deep, dark comedy. But that is a Director and Writer Mike White's trait in many of his films. His characters are quirky, strange - but beneath it all there is realness in them.

The cast, all of them, are wonderful in pulling this uncomfortable look into the lives of vacationers. I am one of those folks who falls for the fairy tale version of vacations because up until this, I didn't think about the emotional 'baggage' people brought with them. I automatically assumed they left that where they came from. Not these folks. This is a kinda reminder.

As an example, one cast of characters vacation life I am really interested in watching, the newlyweds, is my nightmare come true. Momma comes to visit. Yes, visit them on their honeymoon. Just popped right on in. No call - just showed the heck up. That's as much of a spoiler as I am going to give and that isn't even all the drama around them.

With the family arc that is on vacation there, secrets are uncovered all around. You see mistakes with them such as being that they are "wealthy", why didn't they get their son a room of his own?!?! There are a few more holes with them too but it doesn't matter as they are just dysfunctional to the core.

With the heiress who is almost off her rocker thanks to her relationship with her late mom, its interesting to get into her neurosis while she's on this vacation. And she has tons and tons of neurosis.

The staff, oh goodness - the staff is pulled into the vacationers dramas and their own dramas. No spoilers here, ya got to see how messed up they are to believe.

For me, this show is that 'other side' glimpse of "vacations are nice, but you still take whatever was going on with you before with you there". Not everyone who goes on vacation, just these folks. And probably after.

FBoy Island

Honest Thanks to Streaming
This is a program where the veneer is stripped away: no beating around the bush dating show with 3 superficial young women and 24 f-boys on a 'beautiful' island' after them. Throw in $100,000 and watch. The deal is there are to be 12 f-boys and 12-nice boys; but I agree with one of the superficial women who claims at the start: all men are f-boys.

So why watch? Same reason why you might watch the National Geographic Channel specials when they show you how wild animals eat and survive. In the back of your mind, you know what going to happen, maybe you'd be surprised when the cheetah or the lion misses it's prey, but ya know in the end it was just a lucky escape for the prey and this thing will happens every hour on the hour. How? Maybe different, maybe the same, but the ending is predictable. So is this.

Disclosure - I never liked any of these types of programs on the network channels, but they're not meant for my demographic anyway. But I have taken a look so my viewer experience is of a true viewer experience.

So I would guess that maybe some will watch to get the shock value of another telling of the spider catches the fly type of thing when there is two vile spiders fighting for cash, celebrity, the women backstabbing each other and shredding of each other's looks for any of these despicable men; or hang in there to see if a 'good guy' if he exists wins, but there's nothing different here than there is any place else.

Space Jam: A New Legacy

Well...Basketball was in It
In watching this film, I got a "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" kinda vibe with Warner Brothers properties all over it. Now to be honest, I didn't watch the first one, but I didn't think that mattered. The idea was simple - a kid who didn't want to be like famous dad whose dad wanted him to be like famous dad. But it's 2020..or so and tech is big so he wants to be a tech designer. So that makes him ripe to convince that he should join that side because his famous dad doesn't care, etc.

Okay, so with this when they get through the 'toon-town' thing and to the big basketball game, there is TON of HBOmax and Warner Brothers & their acquired properties in the audience and to be honest, I spent my time identifying them. "Oooh, there's Frankenstein Jr!!!" while those very young ones 6 to 10 years old and a few adults watching the movie with me were asking, "What or who is Frankenstein Jr.?" ...of which was the same kinda thing when I watched "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and I asked some adults "Who is Betty Boop?" It's that kinda film.

Be prepared - all the 'cancel culture' broo-ha-ha is not there. It's just a Warner Brothers cartoon film for kids and those who like basketball, and a B-I-G promotion fest for the adults who catch onto it all. I ranked it higher than most reviews placed here because I liked the seeing the cartoons, and putting the live and cartoon properties in the audience of the big game.

The Empty Man

A Horror Film wIth a Lot of Potential
The Empty Man had great potential. The opening scene before the credits was great. Then there was about two hours of getting it all together that I believe they could have cut down to about an hour. And then the last 5 minutes. I had a hard time connecting the opening to the bulk of the film (as it seemed to want to go one way, then another and another...), but it really felt like something was supposed to be there and they just were not getting to it - in an engrossing, frightening kinda way.

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