A Blast from the Past: Avengers Fireside Holiday “Yule Log” Videos

A peek inside the Avengers’ apartments during the holidays as we hang out by their fireplaces.

I posted these Marvel Fireside Heroes videos back in 2016 (between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War in the MCU timeline) and just came across them as I was looking at old holiday posts. They’re so much fun, I decided to share them with y’all once again, since most of us are on lockdown this holiday season and have been staring at the same screens for months. They are like Yule log videos, but instead we’re sitting in Steve Rogers’ apartment, listening to swing jazz versions of Christmas carols for an hour as we watch his fire, or on the Guardians of the Galaxy’s spaceship watching Baby Groot dance next to the fire.

Each video is filled with tiny details, like the pictures of Bucky, Peggy and his mom that Steve has next to the fire, and his original USO tour shield hung over the mantel. One chair leg is held up by a stack of books, because Steve is still a thrifty Depression era guy at heart. The apartment furnishings look like they could be straight from the forties, just like Steve himself. It’s a lonely looking place, from a lonely time in his life, but we could totally join him and make it better, right?

Captain America’s Brooklyn Apartment Fireside video. The close up version is above:

Under the cut: Thor, Iron Man, Ms. Marvel, the Guardians & Deadpool

Continue reading “A Blast from the Past: Avengers Fireside Holiday “Yule Log” Videos”

Movie Review- Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror

e650978256281a67_boxart

Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror * 2019 * Not Rated (Suggested 16+) * 1 Hour 23 Minutes

😸😸😸😸😸 5/5 Happy Lap Cats

Horror Noire is a documentary feature film that traces traces the history of African-American people in horror settings, starting with the 1915 film Birth of a Nation, which used white actors in blackface to portray the African-American characters. Horror Noire continues to cover the history of African-American involvement in horror films in front of and behind the camera up to the time of the film’s completion, including the 2017 film Get Out, which was written and directed by Jordan Peele, who went on to work on a Twilight Zone reboot and HBO’s Lovecraft Country.

Though it had a theatrical premiere, Horror Noire is normally available exclusively on the Shudder network. It’s currently included free with Amazon Prime membership until 10/31/20. The film is based on the 2011 book Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present by Robin R. Means Coleman, PhD. The documentary was directed by Xavier Burgin, produced and written by Ashlee Blackwell and Danielle Burrows, with cinematography by Mario Rodriguez, for Stage 3 Productions.

Continue reading “Movie Review- Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror”

Movie Review and Analysis: I’m Thinking of Ending Things

im-thinking-of-ending-things-movie-hd-posters-1

I’m Thinking of Ending Things * 2020 * Rated R * 2 Hours 14 Minutes

😸😸😸🌑🌑 Rated 3/5 Happy Lap Cats

I’m Thinking of Ending Things focuses on a young woman whose name changes throughout the film, so she’s billed as “Young Woman”. We’re introduced to her as Lucy, so I’m going to refer to her as that, because I hate it when major characters are treated like objects. Lucy is played by Jessie Buckley, who was amazing in the critically acclaimed HBO miniseries Chernobyl last year (2019) as Lyudmilla Ignatenko, the pregnant wife of a firefighter with severe radiation exposure.

Lucy has a newish boyfriend, Jake, played with understated creepiness by Jesse Plemens of Black Mirror: USS Callistor and Breaking Bad. Plemens is good at what he does, making it hard to separate the actor from the character. Plus, for attentive viewers, the first glimpse of his character shows him watching Lucy in the street from a 2nd floor window, with some strange, mumbled dialogue playing in the background. The sinister stalker vibe is established immediately.

An elderly man (Guy Boyd) is seen from the window first, who then turns into Jake. Before long, brief scenes of the elderly man working as a janitor in a high school where the musical Oklahoma! is rehearsing are intermittently inserted into the main storyline.

Continue reading “Movie Review and Analysis: I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

Movie Review: The Farewell

mv5bmwe3mjvinwuty2vjys00zdbjltllmzytn2fky2qwymrimdhjxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyodqznte3odc40._v1_sy1000_cr006751000_al_

The Farewell * 2019 * Rated PG * 1 Hour 39 Minutes

😸😸😸😸½  4 1/2 out of 5 Happy Lap Cats

In The Farewell, writer-director Lulu Wang tells the true story of a giant fiction her family created together as a kindness toward her dying grandmother. It’s a complicated story, full of truths and lies and messy family relationships that aren’t easily pinned down into simple words, beyond the word “real”. Despite the fact that this is a story about lies, Wang’s film is painfully honest, showing the love that went into the decisions her family made when her grandmother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

Continue reading “Movie Review: The Farewell”

Movie Review: One Child Nation

mv5bndi3nwi0y2utzdriyy00ztg5lwizzdqtn2zmm2fmywviywq5xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyode1mjmynzi40._v1_sy1000_cr006971000_al_One Child Nation * 2019 * Rated R * 1 Hour 28 Minutes

😸😸😸😸½  Rated 4 1/2 out of 5 Happy Lap Cats

One Child Nation is a very personal documentary, made by director Nanfu Wang when she had her own first child and began to seriously consider, for the first time, the implications of China’s one child policy, which she had been born and raised under. Wang had relocated to the US years before her son was born, so her pregnancy was unaffected by the harsh government program, which was in force from 1979 to 2015. But the internalized trauma from growing up in that environment, from events she didn’t even realize she’d absorbed, began to affect her attitude toward her own pregnancy, so she set out to examine the wide-ranging effects of China’s long-term push to gain control of its population size.

Continue reading “Movie Review: One Child Nation”

Movie Review: The History of Time Travel

mv5bnjgyndu5mtq4ov5bml5banbnxkftztgwodi3mzy3mje40._v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_

The History of Time Travel * 2014 * Ages 13+ * 1 Hour 11 Minutes

😸😸😸😸🌑 4 Happy Lap Cats

“One small step for Russia, one giant leap for Communism.”

The History of Time Travel is a quiet, low budget fictional documentary that asks the question, “What would happen if time travel were developed secretly, for personal reasons, by a single family of scientists? Would anyone notice the changes?” It answers the question as the documentary is being made, in small increments, that require the viewer to keep up with the details of the storyline. Easter eggs abound, as the story plays out on both the intimate scale of a family drama and the large scale of 20th century history.

The story is told through fake interviews, staged photographs and stock footage. The science of time and time travel are explained early on. We’re introduced to physicist Dr Edward Page (Daniel W May), who’s assigned to work on the secret Indiana Project during World War 2 after President Roosevelt is informed that the Germans are disturbingly close to developing time travel. Dr Page works diligently on the project throughout the war, becoming obsessed with his subject and ignoring his family.

Continue reading “Movie Review: The History of Time Travel”

Daenerys Targaryen and Natasha Romanoff: Two Powerful Women Meet Demoralizing Ends

In the Age Old Choice for Female Characters Between Powerful or Good, Wh*re or Madonna, Modern Writers Frequently Land on a Third Choice: Insane or Suicidal, Then Dead

When Joss Whedon’s dream came true and Natalia Alianovna Romanoff willingly flung herself to her death, I felt nothing. I knew from the moment she and Clint went off for the Soul Stone that she would die, but, stupidly, I didn’t quite get to the realization that she would be the one to kill herself – one of the few decisions she’s made for herself in her time in the MCU.

There aren’t a lot of options for women and girls to look up to as role models in media – not female ones, anyway. Growing up, I was always looking for female role models in media, and I frequently ended up in love with the ones who had agency, above all else. The “powerful or good” dichotomy that I wrote about in a post in response to the Frozen musical details the struggle I’ve always found in female characters. You can be powerful or good, have agency or compassion, intelligence or charm, be sexy or moral – wh*re or madonna.

Continue reading “Daenerys Targaryen and Natasha Romanoff: Two Powerful Women Meet Demoralizing Ends”

Movie Review: The Breaker Upperers

The Breaker Upperers Poster

The Breaker Upperers * 2018 * Not Rated- Probably PG-13 for Language, Nudity and Adult Situations * 82 Minutes 

😸😸😸😸🌑  Rated 4/5 Happy Lap Cats

Spoiler-Free Review:

As the poster above says, 6 different times, The Breaker Upperers is hilarious. It is, first and foremost, a wacky comedy that’s not afraid to go for the laugh in whatever situation it finds itself in, whether that’s with a newly pregnant woman becoming nauseated while sharing the news with a friend, or engaging in drunken karaoke on a party bus.

Actually, those situations are likely to end the same way, so maybe that wasn’t the example of opposites I was looking for.

The great thing about this film is that, while it’s a wacky, screwball, sort of romantic, sort of musical, sort of dark, comedy, it’s also real. It’s the kind of female-oriented film I’ve been looking for on Netflix, as I’ve watched their romantic comedies pile up over the last year, almost all so laden with stereotypes and misogyny that I can barely manage to finish one viewing. The two female characters at the center of this film are just people, living their lives, not heroes, not villains, not stereotypes, and not trying to be any of those things. So are the rest of the characters.

The Breaker Upperers was written, directed by and stars Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek, two multi-talented women from New Zealand, who have been friends for many years in real life. In the film, they play Mel and Jen, who have also been friends for many years. Mel and Jen own and operate their own business, the titular Breaker Upperers, who clients hire to do the dirty work of ending a relationship when they can’t or don’t want to do it themselves.

Continue reading “Movie Review: The Breaker Upperers”

Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

mv5bmta2ndc3njg5ndveqtjeqwpwz15bbwu4mdc1ndcxntuz._v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_

Bohemian Rhapsody * 2018 * Rated PG-13 * 2 Hours 14 Minutes

😸😸😸😸🌑 Happy Lap Cats

Freddie Mercury and Queen are musical legends. As with Elvis Presley and the Beatles, whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying Queen’s talent, uniqueness and cultural impact. Bohemian Rhapsody, the film, chronicles their history, and especially Freddie Mercury’s history, with that legendary status in mind. Though he only lived to be 45, Mercury was such a larger than life, complex figure that no single film could do justice to his life and work.

This film, made under the guidance of the surviving members of the band, who still tour using the name Queen (as is their right), was created with the goal of preserving the public history and legacy of Queen and Freddie Mercury, and introducing them to new generations. In short, this film is meant to continue the legend. With that goal in mind, it succeeds.

Continue reading “Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody”

Movie Review: Roma

Roma Film Poster

Roma * 2018 * Rated R * 2 Hours 15 Minutes

😸😸😸😸🌑 Happy lap cats

Roma, written, directed and filmed by Alfonso Cuarón, is a project that is clearly close to the filmmaker’s heart. The film is a barely fictionalized version of a year in the life of Cuarón’s childhood, a tumultuous year which changed the family’s dynamics and drew them closer together. The ostensible focus of the film is Cleo Gutiérrez, an indigenous Mixtec woman who serves as the family’s maid and nanny, with a secondary focus on Sofia, the lady of the house and a stand-in for Cuarón’s mother. Cleo is based on Cuarón’s beloved real life nanny, Libo Rodriguez, now 74, to whom the film is dedicated.

The family Cleo works for, headed by Dr Antonio, lives in the comfortable Mexico City neighborhood of Colonia Roma, with their four young children (Pepe, Sofi, Paco and Toño), Sofia’s mother, Teresa, another maid, named Adela, a man who acts as their driver and their enthusiastic dog, Borras. In the beginning of the film, the children and the maids are laughing and happy. Cleo’s biggest problem in life appears to be keeping up with the messes Borras makes in the alley where he runs free and Antonio parks his massive Ford Galaxy, which barely fits into the space allotted.

Continue reading “Movie Review: Roma”