Archive for December, 2020

Media Update 12/31/20

December 31, 2020

Letters to Satan Claus

This movie is a parody of Hallmark Christmas movies in the best way. A reporter, Holly Frost, must return to her hometown of Ornaments to cover the annual Christmas hullabaloo. Holly is bitter about Christmas after her parents were murdered on Christmas morning when she was a kid. However, the town of Ornaments has plenty of sexy guys and booze to pass the time. However, her past is rising up to haunt her and a simple transposition of letters may spell doom for Holly and Ornaments. The movie touches on all of the annoying cliches by either playing them straight or turning them on their ear. Karen Knox is great as the embittered yet ambitious reporter. Joseph Cannata plays a somewhat oblivious ruggedly handsome attorney. His cute yet dumb daughter is played brilliantly by Jessica Clement. Jana Peck is delightfully dark as the title character, cracking one liners as she stalks her victims. The rest of the cast does great as too dumb to live small town denizens. I wholeheartedly recommend this movie.

Black Christmas

I remember liking the original Black Christmas but the 2006 version was not very exciting. I wanted to see this version because Blumhouse is really knocking it out the park with their remakes and reimaginings. This movie took the basic premise but fleshes the characters out more and adds more to the story. The sorority getting stalked is now a feminist sorority with a bone to pick with the biggest frat on campus. The movie has a great air of mystery as we watch the young ladies get stalked by unseen predators. Imogeen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue, Brittany O’Grady, and more are all great as very likable college students. Director and writer Sophia Takal does a really good job of staging the movie to make me feel anxious during every scene. The movie is beautifully shot and a lot is left up to the imagination to make you worry more for these girls. I defintiely recommend this movie.

Better Watch Out

I had heard a lot of good things about this movie so it was time to finally watch it. This movie is a babysitter home invasion story set during the holidays. However, there are some touches that really made this different from standard faire like When A Stranger Calls or The Strangers. The Christmas season does not have much impact on the story but it does make for some fun props and a pretty background. Olivia DeJonge plays the babysitter who is taking one last job before she goes off to college and is definitely a confident and cool young lady. Levi Miller plays her charge, a young boy almost too old to need a babysitter but his parents worry about him. Ed Oxenbould plays the stoner friend of Miller’s character who decides to visit and add more on DeJonge’s shoulders. The movie is very playful and had a lot of twists and turns that I did not expect. The acting was spot on and the action sequences really delighted me. There is also an undercurrent of dark humor and an actually interesting message. I definitely recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Psychostick – Zombie Claus

New Years Day – Kill or Be Killed

Pop Smoke ft. Dread Woo – Woo Year

Scrawl – 11:59 It’s January

Run The Jewels – Out Of Sight

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Christmas Horror 2020”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
I watched more Doctor Who Season 12
I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 11
I finished Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults
I finished EVIL Season 1

Cozy Questions Pt. 3

December 28, 2020
  1. You Can Spend 24 Hours Anywhere, Any Time, Where Do You Choose?

I would take this deal solely as an intangible observer in order to lessen any impact on the timestream because there is no reason to go anywhere but the past. Anywhere else I can just choose to go to in the future. It is a hard question to ponder because obviously the possibilities are endless. One of the first ideas I had was to pick a movie or television studio to just sit and watch the filming taking place. I would love to walk the town of Tombstone on the day of the fight at the OK Corral. It would be horrible and violent but fascinating. There are a lot of moments in history that I would love to be present for. Speeches and appearances that rocked the world. Maybe pick a random day in Time’s Square to just watch all of the people. Oh! I know! I would just like to be a fly on the wall at the Algonquin Round Table.

  1. If You Were a Ghost, Who or Where Would You Haunt?

I am guessing that a ghost cannot really interract with the world around them physically beyond maybe flickering lights and making a door creak. So, I would want to haunt somewhere where people actually believe in ghosts might frequent so I would ocassionally have somebody to talk to. I think I would either like to be the ghost sidekick in a Hanna-Barbera kid detective show (Scooby-Doo, Jabberjaw, etc.) or like one of the ghosts in Harry Potter. I would just like to chill and chat when I felt like it and float around and observe when i didn’t feel like talking to anyone. If interraction at that level was not possible, I would like to mess with mediums who claim to speak to the dead but cannot. I would haunt the crap out of them and then do nothing when they tried to show it to other people.

  1. What Is Your Family Ancestry?

I only have bits of pieces of my ancestry since it has never been very important prior to our country’s arrival in the United States. I do know that my ancestry goes back to Scotland, England, and France to name a few. France is a huge part of my ancestry through my mother and one of our forbearers came directly from France. He was actually a member of Blackbeard’s crew for a time before receiving a pardon along with much of the rest of the crew for assisting in naval battles. He eventually became a fence for Blackbeard’s stolen goods when he couldn’t quite go straight. I have been informed that due to my family name being Portuguese that there were probably some ancestors from there. However, my slightly racist family member informed me that it must be from somewhere north where vikings invaded because we’re not that dark. Ugh. I refuse to take one of those genetic tests because A) I like my family stories and don’t want them to be disproved and B) I don’t want to give my genetic code to a private corporation.

  1. What Scares You?

This is cozy? I fear death but who doesn’t? I also fear public speaking although the edge of that has been filed off by anxiety meds. I used to shake and get nauseous as I was headed toward any public speaking situation. I was in a few children’s theater performances as a kid and I literally blacked out until it was over. Apparently, I said all my lines and did my blocking correctly but I had no memory of it.

Thistlewhite Manor

December 26, 2020

“These are our iceboxes,” Marian Thistlewhite said with a grand gesture. “We’re one of the first to get them. They keep our food cold so it decays much slower. It is yet another reason that this would be the ideal place to hold the orphan’s fundraiser.” The young Thistlewhite was fairly proud of the acquisition. She had pushed her conservative parents to make the purchase, reasoning that it would be useful and it would help the mage who had invented the thing fund production. If the icebox was widespread, it would help Calla’s economy and general well-being.

“Very impressive,” Lucia Vostova said in her slight Ganarastav accent. “I am very sure that this will be an adequate location for the fundraiser. Your family has such a beautiful house.”

“Thank you,” Marian said with a smile. “We’ve done the best we could.” She was starting to be unnerved by the representatives of the New Light Foundation. There were six of them but only the one called Lucia spoke and the others never reacted to anything that Marian or Lucia said. Still, manor security had cleared the visitors so they were just strange.

“Will your parents be present today to talk?” Lucia asked, snapping Marian back into the moment. “I am such a fan of your mother and your dear father, I wanted to thank him in person.”

“No,” Marian said with a sigh. “My parents were unfortunately detained and could not make it today. They sent me in their stead. My brother was also supposed to be here but he has not arrived. I apologize that I am such a poor substitute.” She made it into a joke but Lucia and her compatriots did not crack a smile.

“Quite the contrary,” Lucia said with a smile. “You have been delightful. It’s just a pity.” Lucia’s smile disappeared.

“A pity?” Marian asked, confusion spreading across her face. “What do you mean?”

“We had intended to send a message to your government by murdering your whole family,” Lucia said, pulling out what looked like a large knife or a small sword. “We will have to settle with using your death as the message. The Light Beyond the Door Will Be Revealed.”

Marian’s eyes went wide. The Light Beyond the Door was a growing cult worshipping an unnamed god. She had never thought she would come in contact with them. “You’ll never get away with it,” she said. “The guards will take you down.”

“Your guards will have been compromised by now,” Lucia said. “Do not make this difficult, young one.” Lucia stepped forward and she raised her blade. Marian frantically tried to calculate her odds of survival and it did not look good.

Suddenly, there was a sharp and distant cracking sound, the shattering of the kitchen window, and then one of the men behind Lucia’s head exploded into a fine red mist. In the confusion, Marian grabbed the glass vial hanging from her neck and threw it at the ground. Her side of the room instantly filled up with harmless smoke and she quickly ducked into the pantry. Somebody had fired a gun at these intruders so she was not as alone as Lucia had thought.

“Find who that was and remove their head from their body!” Lucia shouted, keeping her head down. “Find the girl. She dies slow and painful!”

Marian tried to stay as quiet as possible but she could hear the remaining five moving around the kitchen. The pantry door was yanked open and Marian lashed out with her fist. Luckily, her target was male and she connected hard with his softest bits. He fell backward and as he did, bullets started flying through the kitchen and Marian flopped onto the floor ungracefully but safe enough from the gunfire in the pantry. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see a man entering the kitchen and executing the intruders with expert gunfire. The gunfire stopped and Lucia stood up from wherever she had been hiding.

“Well, mystery man,” Lucia said with a smile and leveling her own gun at the man. Marian now recognised Guard Peter Overbrook. “You are now out of bullets and I have you at a disadvantage with no time to reload. You have killed my men but the message will still be sent regardless.”

Marian crawled into the kitchen and the sound distracted Lucia enough that she missed shooting Peter. Peter started to reload his gun. Marian lunged for the closest icebox and tore the heart of an ice elemental that powered it. She lunged at Lucia desperately. Lucia did not have enough time to turn before Marian was shoving the heart into Lucia’s cheek. Marian felt her hand stiffen and sting before she pulled it away, the elemental’s heart stuck to Lucia and her head slowly froze over with ice. A bullet slammed into Lucia’s frozen head and it shattered and fell to the floor.

“Sorry I was so late, Miss Thistlewhite,” Peter said. “I was detained outside.”

“That’s quite alright, Peter,” Marian said, shaking feeling back into her hand. “You were here when it counted. Are the rest of the guards…?” She couldn’t bring herself to finish the question but she could tell Peter got the point.

“Some are dead,” Peter said solemnly. “but not all of us. Your brother arrived just in time to tip the scales in our favor.”

“Thank the gods that he’s always late,” Marian said with a sigh of relief. “As much as I would like to rest, there is far too much to do. We must alert my parents, contact the authorities, clean up this mess, and bury our dead with honors.”

“Right away, Miss,” Peter said. “I’ll rally the troops and we’ll get right on it.”

“Thank you, Peter,” Marian said. “Thank you so much.”

Media Update 12/24/20

December 24, 2020

The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again

Two years ago I was enchanted by a simple Christmas version of The Prince and Pauper starring Vanessa Hudgens. Hudgens was so good at playing two distinct characters, one who felt like they had emerged from The Crown and the other who felt at home in Riverdale. This movie revisits the characters from the first movie while upping the ante as all great sequels do. This time there are three identical people played by Vanessa Hudgens and the swapping leads to a very fun and interesting Christmas story. Hudgens uses about four or five accents in this movie and it is delightful. She is so good at it that I felt like I immediately knew who was in each scene without getting confused about which of the three was present. Sam Palladio and Mark Fleischmann return as the love interests and are given more to do to flesh out their characters. It also shows how happily ever after is not so simple as kissing just before the credits and that you really have to put in the work to make relationships that matter and last. I definitely recommend this movie.

The Shop Around the Corner

This is a Christmas classic that I had heard about before but it took my cousins for me to actually check it out. This movie was later remade as You’ve Got Mail but honestly the movies are fairly different. The movie is about two strong-willed workers at a department store who start a correspondence relationship. There is also an intrigue plot but it focuses mainly on the two. The guy is played by James Stewart and his earnest delivery really serves him well as the ultimate good guy with a playful streak. The gal is played by Margaret Sullavan, she plays the epitome of the fast-talking go-getter who is able to turn any situation in her favor. Frank Morgan plays their boss, a kindly old department store owner. The movie is very sweet and much of it falls on the shoulders of Stewart and Sullavan whose chemistry is electric. The main draw of the movie is watching a cat and mouse game with kind of an old sitcom comedy style. The movie does not go as heavy on the holiday stuff and instead focuses on the interactions between the characters with Christmas as more of a backdrop. I recommend this movie.

The Bishop’s Wife

This is an odd sort of movie that goes hard in the paint for the holidays. The basic premise is that a bishop asks for holy guidance for how to raise money to build a new cathedral. His prayers are answered with the appearance of an unassuming angel who does not directly answer the bishop’s question. Instead, he moves into the bishop’s house and cozies up to the bishop’s wife and daughter. As the bishop is busy with work, he is frustrated that this stranger is suddenly very chummy with his family. David Niven plays the bishop, a frustrated and somewhat uptight individual. The wife is played by Loretta Young who is good at being the dutiful yet neglected wife. Cary Grant plays the goofy yet debonair angel. This movie actually rubbed me the wrong way. Cary Grant’s character came off as kind of sadistic and I felt that the plot was made needlessly cruel for that reason. Your mileage may vary. At least Elsa Lanchester was in it. I do not recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Kurt Russell and Darlene Love – The Spirit of Christmas

Sarah Jeffery, Jadah Marie – Audrey’s Christmas Rewind

Sabrina Carpenter – It’s Finally Christmas

Panic! At The Disco – Feels Like Christmas

China Anne McClain – This Christmas

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Misrepresentation on the Holidays”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
I watched more Doctor Who Season 12
I watched more Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults
I watched more EVIL Season 1
I started watching Bob’s Burgers Season 11
I watched My Little Pony: The Best Gift Ever
I watched The Last Shark (Rifftrax Version)

Top 5 Christmas Movies

December 21, 2020

I tuned in last week to watch the above video from one of my favorite YouTube channels to hear the thoughts of two of my favorite perfomers (Shane Madej and Ryan Bergara) and their guest. As with most lists of this kind, I disagreed with some of their choices. Instead of tearing their lists down, I decided to make my own. I decided to exclude a lot of what I consider joke answers to this question such as Die Hard, Batman Begins, and Gremlins. I also put Christmas Horror in a completely different boat. Also, even though I love the movie dearly, I do not think of A Nightmare Before Christmas as a Christmas movie even though it uses a lot of the assets.

  1. White Christmas

To be fair, this is the Bing Crosby Christmas movie without the blackface. I watched this with my mother a couple of years ago and we both really enjoyed it. Bing and Danny Kaye are army men who finish their tour of duty and head back to the States. They become successful performers as a singing and dancing duo. They meet up with two performing sisters played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. The four end up heading to the middle of nowhere Vermont to spend the holidays at an inn where the girls are booked to perform. However, the inn and the town are in trouble without any snow so the four of them decide to put on a show to save the day. It is an endearing story of four witty and artistic people who have such great chemistry with each other. The movie is full of great songs like “Sisters”, “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)”, and starts and ends with “White Christmas”. Bing Crosby became synonymous with Christmas and that is probably a big reason why this movie made this list.

  1. A Christmas Prince

This was the second movie that helped launch my getting back into watching Christmas movies. I chose this movie originally because it stars Rose McIver, an actress I loved so much in iZombie. In this, she stars as a reporter tasked with getting the scoop on a prince’s coronation in a foreign country obsessed with Christmas. She stumbles into a lie which gets her close to her subject but when feelings develop, she starts regretting everything. McIver really makes the movie as she is at times sarcastic, wide-eyed, clever, and just plain funny. She is paired with Ben Lamb who plays the titular role with such playful wholesomeness. His sister really steals a lot of scenes (played by Honor Kneafsey) walks the edge of what could have been an annoying character and makes it into a very smart and funny one instead. Theo Devaney is so great as the smarmy “villain”. However, the movie very well could have failed if they had not been given a really great supporting cast. The two sequels are even better though this is the one I kept coming back to.

  1. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol means a lot to me. When I worked professionally in live theater, we did the same production five years in a row and the story never got old. This is a story that I have experienced starting at a very young age and this version may have been the very first. It came out when I was nine years old at a time when I had already experienced The Muppet Show and Sesame Street. Seeing these familiar characters acting out this story was truly magical. Michael Caine as Scrooge is almost the only human character and that made it feel like an extended episode of The Muppet Show. Caine acts so earnestly in the movie and always reacts to the Muppets as if they were fellow performers which, in a sense, they were. The movie adheres to the original story very well but also adds in much needed laughs along with what is essentially a Christmas ghost story. The movie is also a musical which helps to keep the story bouncing along in what can be a very long-winded story. This was absolutely a marriage of three things I have loved since I was a kid: The Muppets, Horror, and Christmas.

  1. Klaus

I am a sucker for Santa Claus lore because I have been fascinated with (ahem) research about the man, the myth, the legend. This movie is a throwback to the more traditional two-dimensional animation comparable to the Disney Rennaisance period. It utilizes 2D drawings with a new 3D lighting software design which really produces a breathtakingly beautiful movie. The story follows a young mailman-in-training who is sent to an island town to reopen their post office. In order to do that, he befriends a hermit in the woods and basically invents the man we know and love. The movie is such a touching portrayal of a world similar to ours but with some invented politics and geography. It is also wildly funny at the same time. Jason Scwartzman plays the excitable Jesper, a young screw up who now has to make good. JK Simmons plays the titular character, an emotionally wounded man who just wants to make good. Rashida Jones plays the clever school teacher who gets sucked up into the madness. Joan Cusack and Will Sasso play the heads of two feuding families that has absolutely destroyed the town. Norm Macdonald basically plays his usual sarcastic self. The production also involved actual Sámi people with authentic Sámi language in a very touching manner.

  1. The Christmas Chronicles

This movie absolutely caught me off guard. It felt like an entirely different kind of Santa Claus tale which managed to shine a spotlight on Santa while making him a supporting character in his own movie. The movie follows two kids played by Darby Camp and Judah Lewis. They are a brother and sister who have grown apart due to the death of their father. Lewis plays a teenager who has grown cynical too early and is annoyed by Camp’s optimistic and sunny character. A chance run-in with Santa Claus sets the two on a whirlwind adventure that will teach them about themselves and realign both of them on the right path in life. Santa is played by Kurt Russell and it is the coolest portrayal that has ever appeared in a movie previously. This is a Rock and Roll Santa who absolutely loves his job. The lore building that they created in this was absolutely a draw for me. They explained a lot of the Santa stories without explaining too much or getting too detailed. The spotlight remains on the two kids as they learn together and separately the true meaning of Christmas. The movie is an exciting rollercoaster from start to finish while still allowing for a lot of heartwarming moments that directly confront the dysfunctionality and bonds of family.

Honorable Mentions:
The Year Without a Santa Claus
The Knight Before Christmas
Shop Around the Corner
Let It Snow

Hearth Day

December 19, 2020

The snow fell in huge flakes outside of Garrion Castle and it should have been warm inside but the castle had been abandoned recently. When Milla Coalberry and Guy Nightscar pushed their way through the front door, they were wearing thick furs. They had needed to board the horses at the stable first and that meant trudging across the snowy grounds in almost waist-deep snow. Guy hurried across the entry hall and hurriedly worked to start a fire. Milla threw off her fur cloak and grabbed her bow, nocked an arrow, and readied herself for any threats. She checked each entrance one by one and then repeated the cycle. Her attention was only momentarily drawn by the sparks and embers from Guy’s attempts.

“You didn’t even look around before you crossed the threshold, Guy,” Milla said. “There could have been any number of threats for each step you took.”

“If I had to choose between freezing outside for one more moment or getting maimed in here, I know what I’d choose and I chose it,” Guy said, shedding his own furs. “You could be a bit nicer seeing as how it is Hearth Day Eve.”

“If you didn’t want to go on this holiday mission, I could have gone on my own,” Milla said. “I just thought since neither of us has family we could do this together.” The two were the only orphans of their little group but could not be more different most of the time.

“Which is why I came,” Guy said. “besides, you would be lost without the greatest swordsman in the western continent.” He took a pull from his flask but only to warm himself or so he told himself.

“The self-proclaimed greatest swordsman,” Milla said, relaxing her bow when nothing immediately sprang from the darkness to maul them to death. “I’m constantly pulling your behind out of danger.”

“I’ve saved you just as much,” Guy said. “Maybe one or two fewer times.” One should not lie so close to Hearth Day.

“You’re reckless and undisciplined in any activity that does not include a bladed weapon,” Milla said. “but I’m happy you’re here. I’m happy not to be alone.”

“It wouldn’t make much tactical sense to tackle this one on your own, huh?” Guy asked with a smirk. “You’re far smarter than that.”

“Yes but I’m allowed to want company on a holiday,” Milla said. “I also didn’t want to be alone.”

“You’re always going off alone,” Guy said, raising an eyebrow. “The hermit monk only comes out of her hole when justice must be served.”

“Maybe I’m tired of being a hermit,” Milla said. “Maybe I want to be in the world now.” She walked over to the closest door and started hammering a metal spike under it to force it shut.

“Says the woman who decided to travel out to this manor in the middle of nowhere,” Guy said with a laugh. “Mixed messages there.”

“I’m serious,” Milla said with a frown. “When my parents and siblings died, I threw myself into my training at the monastery. I didn’t think I wanted to live anymore. I wanted to be a weapon for justice. When it turned out the monastery had duplicitous motives, I was lost again. Now I’m just trying to figure it all out.”

For once, Guy was shocked into silence for a bit. Milla had never said any of this in his presence before and was somewhat of a mystery to their little adventurer collective even though she was the de facto leader. “Well, you know we’re all here for you,” he finally said. “I’m free to talk whenever you want. I’ll buy you a drink sometime when we’re not in imminent danger.”

“I don’t drink,” Milla said. “but you know that. I can certainly just watch you drink as long as you promise not to be so disgusting.”

“No promises,” Guy said with a grin. “but we should probably start hunting ghouls. They really should have warded the family graveyard properly.”

“Not so fast, Guy,” Milla said. “We’ll have to start in the morning. Without a cleric along, we’ll have to start the hunt while they’re dormant.”

“Rina would have never gotten through the snow,” Guy said. “I barely did. Frankly, this won’t be my strangest Hearth Day morning.” He had never really had the traditional experience, adventuring, and carousing during most holidays.

“Nor will it be mine,” Milla said with a shrug and a smile. “It won’t even be my most violent.” Guy could imagine how she must have spent previous Hearth Days and knew that they were probably soaked in the blood of evildoers.

“That’s strange and possibly a bit said, Milla,” Guy said. “We’ll have to raid the larder after we finish to celebrate. I’ll brave the wine cellar on my own, don’t worry.”

“My hero,” Milla said, voice dripping with sarcasm but then she legitimately laughed.

“Happy Hearth Day, Milla,” Guy said.

“And to you, Guy,” Milla said with a smile. “Help me secure the doors.”

Media Update 12/17/20

December 17, 2020

Christmas Chronicles 2

I enjoyed last year’s Christmas Chronicles very much as a genuinely sweet Christmas movie that just happens to have good worldbuilding. In this movie, we get even more and it did not feel like they were just returning to the same well. Kurt Russell returns as one of the coolest Santa Clauses in film history. He is action hero with a lot of heart and ten tons of charisma. This movie adds in Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus, a whip smart and determined healer and magician. She is such a delight and really helps to drive the movie along. Darby Camp returns as Kate but is now an adolescent reeling from all of the changes in her life and wanting to go back. Jahzir Bruno is great as the new kid, a bit of an outsider who is anxious but with a lot of enthusiasm. Julian Dennison is new as the boyish yet bitter villain Belsnickel. The movie involves and reveals the inner workings of the North Pole. It allows Santa and Mrs. Claus and the elves to be more of a character instead of a supporting player. Still, there are very human stories about love, loss, and the courage to move on. I recommend this movie and you do not need to see the first one (but it helps).

Alien Xmas

When I learned that the Chiodo Brothers who are legendary animators were creating a Christmas special, I was excited. Among other things, the brothers were directly responsible for Killer Klowns From Outer Space. The special was also executive produced by Jon Favreau. The short film really felt like classic stop motion specials from my childhood like Rudolph, The Year Without Santa Claus, and many others. The animation looks so cute and smooth and I love that the Chiodos can do heartwarming and scary in different projects. The music by veteran composer Adam Schiff fit the piece perfectly. At only 42 minutes, the piece does not overstay its welcome and provides plenty of heartwarming moments while still having a bit of a modern tweak. I definitely recommend this short movie.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Sometimes you just want to watch a movie with a heartwarming yet exciting story with batshit insane visuals. I knew that this movie would have a lot of worldbuilding and interesting set and character design and I was not led astray. The movie is an interesting take on the traditional Nutcracker story as we are shown a young girl being flung into a fantasy world in order to process the death of her mother. Mackenzie Foy plays the young woman in question who is a brilliant inventor like her mother and her uncle. She was very good at playing somebody on the edge between child and adult who is struggling with her emotions. Her uncle is played by the always charismatic Morgan Freeman. The title character is played by Jayden Fowora-Knight, a military man who is impressed by this new face. Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren play denizens of this strange new world. Both were practically unrecognizable in the best way. Special shout out to Jack Whitehall who was creepy as hell. The movie has a lot of really cool effects and interesting design and everything is baked by the music of the ballet. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Big Freedia – Make It Jingle

DJ Cummerbund – All I Want For Christmas Is To Bury A Friend

No Doubt – Oi To The World

Ariana Grande – Santa Tell Me

Hava Nagila – Techno Remix

Weekly Update:

This Week’s Them is “The Young Finding Their Way at Christmas”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
I watched more Doctor Who Season 12
I watched No Retreat, No Surrender (Rifftrax Version)
I watched The Girl from Rio (Rifftrax Version)
I watched Firehead (Rifftrax Version)
I watched Laser Mission (Rifftrax Version)
I watched Arachnia (Rifftrax Version)
I watched Planet of Dinosaurs (Rifftrax Version)
I watched Future Force (Rifftrax Version)
I started watching Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults

The Christmas Lottery (2020) – Low Spoiler Review

December 14, 2020

My friend Kay filmed this movie this year so I thought I would drop everything and write a full review. I am going to start writing full spoiler reviews when the spirit moves me so get ready for that.

The Davenport family has drifted apart but when their father wins the lottery, they all come running home to get a cut. The true intention of the parents is to reunite the three sisters before their mother is completely gone.

Our Cast of Characters:

Deirdre Davenport (Asia’h Epperson) stayed behind in Texas to help with her parents’ restaurant and to help out with her mother’s advancing dimentia. She rarely takes time for herself and it is often left to her wife, Belinda (Phylicia Morgan), to take care of Deirdre while she is taking care of others. Deirdre is dedicated to her life of service but resents her sisters for leaving town and not being able to chase her own dreams.

Tammy Davenport (Candiace Dillard) is an aspiring musician who is trying like hell to break into the music business. Her boyfriend, Spyder (Terayle Hill), is a yoga teacher who does not earn much and is kind of a mooch but sweet. The combination means that the two are almost always getting evicted and barely have money for food.

Nicole Davenport (Brave Williams) is a high-powered professional in New York. She has no time for things like Christmas, love, or family. Her life is perfect but she does not realize how empty her life really is. She also just lost her high profile job and needs seed money for a new venture. She also runs into an old high school fling, Tyson (Lorenzo Cromwell), who gives her pause.

Daddy Davenport (Reginald VelJohnson) is a restaurant owner who is proud of his wife and his three daughters. He is a very playful guy who was always the Good Cop when his daughters acted up. He criticizes through comedy and tries (and succeeds) to be everybody’s friend.

Mama Davenport (Kay Megan Washington) is a former music teacher who always dreamed of starting her own school. She had to quit her job when her dimentia started to impact her life. Her dimentia is worse than most of her family suspected. She is still a very cheerful yet firm mother who still remembers being the disciplinarian. She does not want her family to know how bad things are.

So How Was It?

The movie set up really feels like a traditional cable/Netflix Christmas movie. Three sisters return to be a family again just in time for Christmas. A lot of the movie is devoted to the sniping between the three sisters as they work out their deep-seated issues that they have developed over the years. Bit by bit, you get the pleasure of watching cold hearts melt and walls come tumbling down. There are also three different couples and we get to watch their dynamic as they work through their personal issues. The chemistry between all of the actors is really good and each scene is very charming and easy to watch. Even the arguing is fun.

The movie approaches dimentia in a pretty good way. This is something that I am always worried about when a movie chooses to portray it. There is dimentia in my family and I have several friends in the same situation. Sometimes it is played for laughs or played too maudlin. Here, it is played as I have experienced it. It is the person fading away slowly and it is sad but you cherish the moments you have as they slip away. People tend to write off people who have dimentia before they are gone and the movie makes a point not to do that.

Overall, I really liked the movie as it really did feel like a family Christmas. You fall back into a familiar rythym but also discovering the differences that have developed over the years. You can’t help but keep that family drama and trauma in your head and heart but you have to push past it or you will be sick with it forever.

Undead Reckoning Pt. 5

December 12, 2020

He was five years old and Talbot was running from the neighborhood bullies. Once again they chased him down the familiar alley blocks from where his family lived. He had no idea what he had done to piss them off this time but they had probably deserved it. At least he was drawing their attention away from Clara and Felix. If he took a beating for their sake, that was perfectly alright with him. He would have preferred no beating but would take any of the abuse that he earned with a smile. His legs were getting tired and his breath burned in his chest like a bonfire. He would not be able to last much longer.

Letitia grabbed him and pushed him against the wall. He felt his nose crack. She turned him around and slapped him so hard that he actually fell forward and barely missed hitting his nose again. He felt a boot slam into his ribs and he involuntarily rolled over. He had forgotten to ball up again and he would pay for it. He was way more vulnerable on his back. He looked up into the sneering faces of Letitia, Jass, and Crendor. The two half-orcs were wrapped around the beautiful Letitia’s finger. Talbot never knew why she chose to bully Talbot and his friends but he always thought it was because her family was one of those rare Humans First group of folks.

“You keep making mistakes, Talbot,” Letitia said. “You’re going to pay once again. You’re going to hurt.”

Why did she always sound like a villain from storybooks?

Jass put his boot on Talbot’s neck and held it there. He was not pushing down but it was a reminder that Talbot’s life was in their hands at the moment. He tried not to panic or squirm. That would just make it worse. Letitia kneeled down in the dirt next to him and glared. She dragged one of her nails down his cheek and he could feel blood well up. He would have to explain that mark to his father. Why don’t you just fight back, Talbot? She actually licked the blood off of her finger with a wicked smile. Maybe she had a crush on me? That was when Crendor kicked him in the nuts and everything went black.

Talbot was in bed and he and his brother were being told the tale of Caleb, the clever thief adventurer who hid himself in a treasure chest so that a dragon would scoop it up to add to its hoard. He picked the lock of the chest from the inside and then was able to lead the town militia to the dragon’s lair. Of course, this was after secreting away as many expensive bauble as he could carry. He wondered how Caleb had managed to pick a lock from the other side. It must have taken all of his skill and wit and luck.

Talbot’s father had always made those adventurers sound so grand. It was probably why he had joined the military. It was probably why his brother had joined too.

When he came to he was inside of a box. They must have shoved him in an old trunk after he passed out from the low blow. The trunk felt so small and it was so dark but the smallest cracks in the lid let in a little light. It was suddenly hard to breathe. He tried not to panic and then realized he was not panicking. He could be like Caleb in the old story. He could be brave. He reached for the lock and only then realized that it was inaccessible from the inside. How had Caleb done it? He moved onto his back and started to kick at the lid of the box. He braced himself and pushed hard upward with his feet and the lid popped open. Smoke started to fill the box and Caleb crawled out as fast as possible, coughing as he went.

He was in the trenches during the early days of the war. Smoke and fire was everywhere as people ran around using blankets or spellcraft to put out the fires. The occasional magic missile hit somebody as they poked their head up. It was the usual controlled chaos. Talbot held his rifle tightly and threw himself against one of the dirt walls to keep out of the line of fire. He looked over and saw an unarmed woman standing in the middle of the chaos. Was she a cleric? A spellcaster? She looked lost. He ran to her and tried to pull her to safety but she shook from his grasp. As he watched, her porcelain white skin turned jet black. Was she a spy?

“You couldn’t have saved me,” the woman said directly to Talbot.

“What?” Talbot asked, looking around to see if anybody else saw her. He aimed his rifle. He didn’t want to use it.

“You could still save them,” she said, gesturing all around her. “Save them.”

Suddenly, her chest erupted as if she was stabbed from behind by multiple swords and she cried out. Talbot reached for her but everything went white.

Media Update 12/10/20

December 10, 2020

Enola Holmes

When I heard about a Sherlock Holmes-related movie starring Millie Bobby Brown, I got excited and when I saw the trailer I was even more excited. I had no idea that it was based on a series of books. The story is that Enola Holmes, the younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft, is stunned to discover her mother has disappeared from their family home. She summons her estranged brothers to help but feels forced to solve the mystery herself which pits her against both of her brothers and a shadowy conspiracy. Millie Bobby Brown is so fun in this. She is manic and excitable and so much fun as the clever yet untried Enola. Henry Cavill is devilish and fun as Sherlock. Sam Claflin was frustrating and easy to dislike as Mycroft. Louis Partridge was goofy and likable as the untested noble Enola meets. The movie felt like a fun ride from start to finish and there was not a moment that I did not like. I definitely recommend this movie.

Queen’s Gambit

I had had this show recommended to me several times so I decided it was finally time to dive in. The show is really well put together as kind of a period piece set back in the 1960s and everything looks so great. Anya Taylor-Joy plays the stoic Beth Harmon, an orphan who shows a penchant for chess and starts entering competitions. Chloe Pirrie plays her boozy mother, a bit of a mess who is trying to pull herself together. Moses Ingram plays the sassy Jolene, a fellow orphan. Isla Johnston plays young Beth and is absolutely great at being a quiet mouse whose gears you can see moving in her eyes. The show is pretty good but it moves too fast, in my opinion. A lot of moments are not given time to land and the stoicism of the main character means that we barely see a reaction to her. Obstacles appear in the main character’s path and she easily demolishes them and then everybody shrugs and moves on. I am about a quarter through it and I am open to it getting better but I may quit. I do not recommend this show.

Aeon Flux

I love a good cheesy mid-2000s action movie and many of them are inspired by The Matrix. Aeon Flux was a cartoon that was aired on MTV during their Liquid Television that my friends and I watched. The cartoon started as a series of short films, many of which were rather avant garde. There was not much of a story and the viewer was left to interpret a lot of it. The animation and design was also really interesting. They adapted it into a big budget film in the style of Lara Croft and Resident Evil. The movie stars Charlize Theron as Aeon Flux, an impossibly talented assassin. She is great as the action hero who is confused when the world around her is not what it seemed. Marton Csokas plays the member of the elite who may not be the villain he is painted as and is good at being slightly smarmy but also interesting. The real star of the movie are the interesting architecture, wild traps, and crazy action scenes. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

the tenth – Hymns and Hieroglyphs

Eleven – Monster

BiSH / NON TiE-UP

Katy Perry – Small Talk

Joywave – Like a Kennedy

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Women Not to Be Messed With”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
I watched more Elementary Season 3
I watched more Castle Rock Season 1
I watched more The Haunting of Bly Manor
I watched more Agents of Shield Season 7
I watched Sword and the Sorcerer (Rifftrax Version)
I watched Spiker (Rifftrax Version)
I watched Honor and Glory (Rifftrax Version)
I watched Prisoners of the Lost Universe (Rifftrax)
I finished Young Justice Season 3


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