I’m Writing for Medium.com

I just want to remind you guys I’ve been writing about movies for Medium.com.

Now some of it is behind a paywall, but you can up to three articles on the site for free each day, and a subscription to Medium is only 5.00 a month.

Fortunately, there aren’t a whole lot of articles up yet, and some of them you may have seen here. Some of them have been edited with more content, and cleaned up for Medium. There are also a couple of personal articles, and at least a couple of rants.

There’s also a not insignificant number of comments that I’ve left on other people’s articles which some of you might find of interest.

So look for, and follow me, under the name:

Lakitha Tolbert

https://lakithatolbert.medium.com/halloween-1978-the-horror-of-framing-and-identification-32b42e2270c6

https://lakithatolbert.medium.com/starring-the-landscape-the-horror-of-po-white-trash-classism-in-horror-pt-1-b0e83c4ad5c8

https://lakithatolbert.medium.com/the-slave-rebellion-genre-9dbeccb5fbc0

You can also find me on Tumblr at:

https://lkeke35.tumblr.com/

The things I write about on Tumblr don’t really relate much to what I write here, though, but it is an opportunity to look at pretty pictures, books, cat and dog videos, humorous posts, and the occasional political rant.

Star Trek Day (9/8/21)

You guys know I’m a big Star Trek fan (I prefer Trek to Wars, actually), so you also know I I couldn’t let this go by without mention.

Star Trek Day was earlier this week, and in acknowledgement of that, Paramount released new trailers for its forthcoming TV Series, Prodigy, and Strange New Worlds, and returning series, Picard, now in its second season, and Discovery, now in its fourth!

Picard Season 2: (2/2022)

I have not paid a lot of attention to this series. It’s not that I don’t like it, just that it was not as compelling for me to watch than Discovery, for example. The first season was okay, but peaked my interest a little more with the addition of Seven of Nine to the cast, and ended on an interesting note between her and Raffaella. I like Rafaella, and I want to see how their relationship develops, so I’m going to watch this new season. I’m a little less enthused at the addition of Q to the series, and hope there wont be a lot of him, and yet more time travel. I’ve also had just about enough of the “dark timelines” tropes in TV shows. Initially, the characters were kind of difficult for me to get into, and that’s part of the reason I wasn’t stanning for this series very much, but I’m willing to give it a try, again.

I don’t always watch a new Star Trek series. I skipped out on Enterprise entirely. It felt it was boring and I didn’t like any of the characters, which was a first for me. There’s always at least one character I find interesting, but not there. I feel like Seven of Nine and The Borg are what saved Voyager from being ignored by me, and there was no one character in particular that saved DS9, but that was a much better written show.

Strange New Worlds (No Release Date Yet)

This is the series I’m most excited about. Anson Mount is an incredibly handsome man, who I never get tired of looking at, so I’m not going to mind watching him for an hour or so each week, but he was a known commodity, since he was introduced in the last season of Star Trek Discovery. What I’m really, really, excited about is the rest of the cast, especially the new Uhura, who is a gorgeous, dark skinned beauty. I am so jazzed to see this, and I don’t know why it never occurred to me that she would be in the show! Uhura has always been one of my icons, and a role model for Black womanhood (as she was for a whole lot of Black women my age), so I’m eager to see how she will be portrayed. Spock was a feature character in the last season of Star Trek Discovery as well, and I was really happy to see that actor’s portrayal of him, which is very satisfactory. He’s no Zachary Quinto, (who is absolutely perfect as Spock), but he’s not bad.

It is my understanding that the reason there is no Sulu and Checkov is because those two characters never served under Captain Pike. They didn’t show up until the Kirk era, but Uhura, Number One, and Spock were there from the beginning. I’m also glad to see Dr. M’Benga. I do remember him from the original series, where he starred in about two episodes, but this new version of him seems to be a series regular, is very handsome, and it’s just nice to see Black men (with facial hair, no less) in Star Trek. The character of Number One has finally gotten a first and last name, and is being played by Rebecca Romjin, (aka Mystique from the X-Men films). I like her a lot here, which is surprising to me because I’ve felt somewhat lukewarm, (and unimpressed), towards that actress for most of her career. But she looks really good, and has captured something of the no-nonsense, all business attitude of the original Number One, as played by Majel Barrett, (who then went on to play Nurse Chapel, who is now portrayed by an unknown actress in this series.)

So yeah, I was already very familiar with these characters from the original series. the only thing is that I’m somewhat unfamiliar with are the new actors playing them. I’m still a little disappointed that no trailer has been released yet, so that’s what I’m now waiting for..

Star Trek Discovery: (11/18/2021)

I’m definitely coming back for this show. I’m liking the changes its made so far. It can take as long as three seasons for a show to really hit its stride, and I feel like Discovery was firing on all thrusters last season, and kept my attention with the addition of some great new characters, and some interesting story-lines outside of the primary one.

Now, what I’d like to see this season, is more development of the bridge crew, and I hate to say this, but slightly less of Michael Burnham. She’s a great character and all, but its time for her to step aside a little bit, and let some of the other characters share the spotlight. We can deal with a couple more episodes that aren’t about her for a minute, while we get to know characters like Jett, Detmer and Owosekun, and Grey. As the season progresses I will probably write some longer reviews and opinions.

So hey, I took the plunge and signed up for two new streaming services, even though I said I wasn’t going to sign up for any more, because I got tired of wondering if I could watch the bootleg versions of certain shows. My criteria was: If a streaming channel has more than ten movies, and more than five series I want to watch, then I’ll probably sign up for it. I subscribed to Paramount, which hosts all the new Treks and most of the old ones, and the Disney Channel because of the new shows they’ve got coming up, and I would like to watch Shang Chi when its released for streaming.

The number of streaming channels I subscribe to is still less than ten, and still under sixty dollars for those, and I actually watch them, which is more than I can say for even half the channels when I had cable. My staple channels were Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, and earlier this year I added HBOMax becasue of the same day release thing they had going. (Yeah, I’m not going to the movies any time soon, and I want to see Dune.)

Next week, I’ll have some mini-reviews of things I watched, in the past three weeks. Next month is Halloween, so look forward to reviews of Halloween Kills, Venom 2, and the new Dune.

Let’s Watch Some New Trailers

So we got some new trailers this week for TV series and movies I’m especially interested in. Here, in no particular order beyond me just liking them, are the trailers for some junk!

And remember:

Rooting Issa Rae GIF

The Wheel of Time

I am not a high fantasy fan, especially. I sort of like Fantasy but I mostly avoid these types of fantasies because Eurocentric fantasies kind of bore me. Its complicated, and I’m really picky. I greatly enjoyed the LOTR movies, and I will very likely watch Amazon’s new show about it, but I have not watched things like The Witcher, and have no intention of doing so. I’m intrigued here because the trailer makes it look very woman-centered, and its a Fantasy series that remembers that women of color actually exist, and sometime we want to see ourselves doing magic and stuff, in a fantasy series.

So yeah, I do know about this particular series, although I have never read it, and have no particular desire to read it. If I like the TV show, I may check out the books, and the trailer looks interesting. Please do not write to me trying to convince me how great it is. It probably is, and I know its really popular among fantasy fans, but I kinda have an aversion to a lot of the stuff.

The Matrix 4: Resurrections Teaser Trailers/Official Trailer

So yeah, I was a bit confused because every time I saw one of these trailers, it had different images and dialogue mentioned, so I was inclined to believe the trailers were not real trailers. Apparently this was done on purpose. Earlier this week, I posted only one of the trailers here, and I took it down, because I wanted to post all of the trailers here now.

Its hard to believe that this franchise is like twenty plus years old! I remember when I saw the first trailer. I had heard of the Wachowskis, because I had seen their movie, Bound, but I didn’t think much of it. It was just something I watched. I had no idea what to expect from The Matrix (well, I knew it was SciFi and computer related) because that first trailer was awesome, but baffling. Think about any one of Christopher Nolan’s trailers, for example. I remember walking out of the theater and having to seriously readjust to reality, because watching it was sort of like having an out of body experience. I hope to repeat that experience with this movie. I am terribly excited for this movie which comes out just in time for my birthday!

No Time to Die

Yes, I’m excited for the Black female character in this movie. No she is not the new James Bond. No she’s not the only reason I’m going to watch this, but she is a big part of the reason. She simply has the designation of 007, since James left the organization, or something. 007 is a title that can be passed to any agent, but expect white fanboys to act a whole-ass fool when this movie is finally released anyway. becasue that’s the shit they do! Acting like shits on social media, every time a PoC gets a job in a movie, is pretty much all they got at this point, and this is our life now. Can you tell, I am very, very, very, very tired of idiotic angry, obtuse white men on social media (Yeah, you guys aren’t stupid.You’re okay.) Okay, lets move on…

I’m not a huge Bond fan, btw. I like some of the movies okay, but for me they’re apart of the Fantasy/Action film genre like the Mission Impossible and John Wick films. I do not sit around arguing with people about who the best Bond girl, or villain, or James Bond is the best. I’m not that emotionally invested, although I understand that some people really love the franchise. I do like Daniel Craig, and I liked him before the Bond films and just followed him over here, so I’m watching the movies mostly because he’s in them, even though he has all of the acting chops of a two by four when he’s portraying this character. I cant make heads or tails of the plot, but it all looks really serious.

MoonFall

This is one of those major disaster movies that get released from time to time. The last movie I watched that was remotely like this, was the Korean produced Ashfall, but I was not especially impressed by it, even though it starred one of my future dream husbands, Don Lee. I don’t think Don Lee is in this movie, but it still looks pretty interesting.

Midnight Mass

I’m not sure what to make of this series, but it all looks quite mysterious, and I am intrigued. Imma check it out.

Mass

This movie looks really intense, and now I’m curious because I’ve always wondered about how people have conversations like this, when someone’s family has hurt your family. Also, I like Jason Isaacs.

Copshop

I like Gerard Butler because 300 was cool, but I do not like Frank Grillo. I don’t know why. I just don’t. Nevertheless, I will probably watch this rather generic looking Crime/ Action/Thriller becasue I like Crime Action Thrillers, and check them out whenever I can. (Bonus points if the movie is made in anywhere in Asia.) I love a good Gun-Fu movie.

Old Henry

its been a while since I’ve seen a good Western and this looks like the typical, Unforgiven/Logan/ Shane – “retired gunman gets back into the fray” type plot, which I never seem to get tired of. I also now a big fan of Tim Blake nelson from the Watchmen series. I am not a huge fan of Stephen Dorfff, but he looks really good here.

Star Wars: Visions

I don’t usually talk about anime on here. Its not that I dislike anime. I love the imagination behind so much of it, and many of the drawing styles are a lot of fun and very beautiful. I’m just really, really, picky about the anime I watch, and my tastes to others would appear to be all over the place. I pretty much stick to the mature stuff but I have and did watch stuff like Astroboy, Star Blazers, Akira, and Ghost in the Shell, but if it has any very young looking, big breasted, and squeaky voiced girls in it, then I’m probably out! I’m also not a fan of any of the other Star Wars animated series. I haven’t watched a single one of them, and have no intention of doing so, but I will watch this. Why? Because this is an anthology of anime artists reinterpreting the Star Wars universe to fit a Japanese aesthetic, and I really enjoyed it when they did this for Batman: Gotham Knight, and because Batman Ninja was the shit! So yeah, I love this trailer and it looks like fun.

Disney plus is making so many good shows, that I finally took the plunge and subscribed, even though I told myself I wasn’t subscribing to any more streaming services. So far, I’ve racked up about 50.00 in streaming services, and I’m okay with that amount, because it’s still a helluva lot less than cable ever was.

Cowboy Bebop

I have watched a limited number of episodes of the anime series, which were just enough to determine that the series (and the movie) was a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to this live action version. I don’t know all the references here, as I usually do not memorize episode names and stuff, but I do know the characters, and generally like them. I’m not so much interested in the faithful rendition of the look of the anime, as I am in the correct feel of the movie. And hey, its John Cho in an Action movie, so I’m here for it!

‘Candyman’ is Horror with Something on its Mind — The Nerds of Color

Candyman (2021) is Nia DaCosta’s conversation with the original 1992 classic. You know the story: in 1870, freed slave Daniel Robitaille (the amazing Tony Todd) was an artist who fell in love with a white woman. Her father had him …

‘Candyman’ is Horror with Something on its Mind — The Nerds of Color

RIP Ed Asner…A Legend Is Gone…An Homage And My Signed Reaction To His Iconic “You Got Spunk…I HATE Spunk” Quip…

RIP To The Legendary Ed Asner… Incredibly sad news: the iconic Ed Asner, one of the entertainment’s great talents of all time, has died…I am going to…

RIP Ed Asner…A Legend Is Gone…An Homage And My Signed Reaction To His Iconic “You Got Spunk…I HATE Spunk” Quip…

Spiderman: No Way Home Reaction

I wasn’t going to post anything today, but then this shit happened, and I found a reason to attempt to live through the Holiday season…which is anytime after Halloween.

I love everything…about this trailer.

I do love these little character “crossover” moments too, which were one of my favorite things in the comic books, so I’m looking forward to seeing just which members of the gang are all going to show up! I like the comedy dynamic between Dr. Strange and Peter Parker. I think the two set each other off very well, and hopefully Peter will show up in Strange’s movie next year.

You guys know I am a huge Spiderman fan. I’ve been reading the comics since the 80s, (and even backtracked to read the older ones, too), and I’m reasonably familiar with a lot of his classic storylines, but my favorite stories almost always involved The Sinister Six, of which there have been at least a half dozen iterations over the past few decades, with sometimes as many as twelve villains teaming up to beat Spiderman’s ass.

Now, I knew there was going to be some multiverse/alternate universe shenanigans going on, and I knew that Doctor Strange, and possibly the other two live action iterations of Spiderman would be putting in an appearance. What I was not expecting was the appearance of some of Spiderman’s greatest villains, and I really should have expected that. Just like Batman has a coterie of villains, who insist on working his last nerves, Spiderman does too, and they sometimes like to get together to be a thorn in his side.

We were introduced to two of its members in the first Spiderman film, The Vulture, and The Scorpion. We get introduced to possibly three more in the newest film, Doctor Octopus, Electro, and The Green Goblin. I don’t know who the sixth member would be, but The Sinister Six has occasionally included Mysterio (whom Spiderman just fought in his last film), Kraven the Hunter, (who has not yet been introduced into the MCU), The Sandman, (who also has not been introduced yet, but might be in this film, since he is one of the villains of one of the previous iterations of Spiderman), and sometimes, The Lizard. (We have already been introduced to The Shocker, in the first MCU Spiderman movie.)

I do like the way that Kevin Feige, the mastermind behind the MCU has set up graduating levels of batshittery in the MCU, until we reach the point where we can be introduced to wilder plots, and more fringe characters. Starting off the MCU with the most familiar, more grounded, and easy to understand, members of The Avengers, was a great idea, and then over time, gradually easing the audience into the ideas of outer space aliens via The Guardians of the Galaxy, alternate universes and magic via Thor, Wanda, and Doctor Strange, and now multiple universes, the sacred timeline, and some of the more extreme, less grounded, characters like Loki, and talking Raccoons and trees.

Several people have stated that this version of Doctor Strange doesn’t seem like his usual self, and there is speculation that not only may that not be him, but that the plot may not actually be as we think it is from the trailer. For me, the speculation that the trailer might be misleading, makes me all the more eager to see this film. I also like the way they combined the two different cinematic styles of Spiderman of Doctor Strange.

Black Women in Action: Television

Hi!

This is a Black Women in Action Appreciation Post!

I really do lament the almost complete lack of women of color in action movies and TV shows. This happens so infrequently, that I’m often very protective of their roles in the medium, and generally give a side eye to anyone (especially any white male critic) who is deeply critical of them. I know I shouldn’t be like that, but I’ve come across enough truly awful white critics, that sometimes I treat all of them with suspicion. Sometimes a piece of media simply wasn’t aimed at them as the audience, and nearly every piece of media, (no matter how bad YOU might think it is), has at least some small value, and resonates somehwere, with someone.

Here, in no particular order, are some of my personal, favorite, Black action heroines, on TV! These are the ones who just captured my heart, inspired me to be more bad ass in my daily life, or just made me smile. They got that coolness factor, that swag, that walk, that attitude of “Do Not Fuck With Me!” (and yeah, I got a list of white women doing the thang too, but that’s for later!)

If there is a Black female heroine that you don’t see listed, I either didn’t catch the performance, or I was simply unimpressed by the actress. But if you were, list her in the comments below, and I may do a follow-up post of audience favorites. They have to be Black, have to be women (and yes, Trans Women count, too), and had to have been involved in a franchise that had some ass kicking in it, even if they didn’t actually get to do any of that themselves.

Regina King – Sister Night – Watchmen

DC Ladies — Angela Abar as Sister Night in Watchmen (2019)

Regina King is a goddess, a queen, my inspiration… there is no other actress with that level of confident swag! Check out her role in the Watchmen series as Angela Abar aka Sister Night, a cop/vigilante/superhero on the trail of the person who killed her mentor. The costume is kickin’. The attitude is cocky, and the body language is on point. But the best episode is where we get to see Regina do some of her best work in the series, in “A God Walks Into Abar”, where she gets wooed by a literal god, who transforms his entire existence (and appearance) just to win her love.

Kiki Layne – Nile Freeman – The Old Guard

ツ)_/¯ — The Old Guard (2020) Nile promo gifs/stickers on...

It’s tough to pull off vulnerability, sensitivity, and toughness, at the same time, but Kiki Layne does an excellent job, as a baby immortal, after she gets killed by an attacker in Afghanistan, and kidnapped by the long-lived and jaded: Andromachia of Samothrace aka Andy. Nile goes on to be the savior of the film, in more ways than one. Saving Andy’s soul by giving her a reason to keep living, and saving Andy’s team’s lives, as well. Nile rises to the challenge of being the co-leader of the group of immortals that found her, and we’re set to see more of her development in season 2.

Javicia Leslie – Ryan Wilder (Batwoman)

superhero girlfriend — New look? New Batwoman.

I haven’t been watching the episodes as much as I have should have, but I did see Javicia Leslie’s first turn in the batsuit. She managed to make that first time funny, fun, and exhilarating. She’s been doing an excellent job of portraying vulnerability and courage, and I envy the young women of color who get to grow up with her as an inspiration. I didn’t have any Black women action heroes as a little girl, but my niece, The Potato, gets the pleasure and privilege of having characters like this in her memories.

Ana Diop – Starfire – Titans

beebo-wants-cuddle Tumblr blog with posts - Tumbral.com

I haven’t seen the latest season of this series, but I did watch the first two, and Ana Diop is doing an incredible job as Starfire. I did a short post, in which I mentioned how incredibly impressed I was with her strength, grace, and power, after turning an entire roomful of men into a pile of charcoal briquettes. She shows humor, and despite her pantshittingly terrifying ability to torch a human body to coal, she also exudes a warmth and motherliness towards the younger characters, that, I wasn’t expecting. Starfire also happens to be one of The Potato’s favorite characters.

And yeah, she is every bit as sexy as her comic book namesake, because Nightwing…yeah, she hit that in the first season!



Danae Gurira – Michonne – The Walking Dead

Danai Gurira's Audition for 'The Walking Dead' Almost Didn't Happen! -  FanFest

Before the show aired, I had read several issues of the comic book series, and had gotten as far as the introduction of Michonne, so I was really looking forward to her entrance into the television series, after I saw the first trailer. Now, I’ve talked before about my love of samurai movies, so for me, this character, a Black woman who can tear it up with a samurai sword, was just pure badassery!

Danae Gurira has been a godsend to this show, becoming the heart of the core group of characters, and in a groundbreaking rarity, she also gets the love of the male lead. I’ve talked before about how rare it is that Black women in genre shows and movies get to both kick ass, and love and be loved, and while The Walking Dead wore me down, and disappointed me in other ways, its depiction of Michonne as a strong Black woman, who is capable of being loving and vulnerable, was never one of them.

I don’t watch the show anymore, but I have not, and will not, forget Danae’s portrayal of one of the most iconic characters in zombie fiction!



Gina Torres – Zoe Washburn – Firefly/Serenity

firefly dump - Album on Imgur

I have been in love with Gina since I saw her in Cleopatra 2525, a show that was simply not worthy of her strength or beauty. I no longer care for Joss Whedon, but one thing I cannot fault him for, is his ability to cast the correct actor, in the perfect role, and his casting of Zoe was, indeed, perfect. I’ve told you guys that my weakness is badassery, with a side of femininity, love, and sensitivity, and Zoe embodies all of these, along with wonderful comedic timing. Gina and Alan Tyduk, who plays her husband Wash, have great chemistry. You can tell that Wash is thoroughly in awe of his wife’s ass, and her skills with a shotgun.

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about Zoe’s most badass moment in the entire series. In the episode, War Stories, both her captain and her husband have been kidnapped by a ruthless space criminal, who cuts off Wash’s ear, to punish her, because he’s upset about Zoe’s imperturbable demeanor during her negotiations for her husband’s release. Presented with her husband’s ear, Zoe coolly stuffs it in her bra for safekeeping, and shows herself out. Later, she comes back to get her man, (and Captain Mal) with her shotgun!





Nafessa Williams – Anissa Pierce (Thunder) – Black Lightning

Nafessa Williams - Latex Catsuit | CelebShiny - Celebrities in shiny  clothing like latex, leather and PVC!

Black Lightning is the only superhero series with an all-Black cast. The Pierce Family is basically a Black version of The Incredibles. Okay, Mom is the only one who doesn’t have superpowers, but her two daughters have powers, courtesy of their father, who has electrical abilities. Anissa Pierce has the ability to change her body’s density, such that a clap of her hands, or a quick stomp, creates a concussive force that can shatter stone, burst eardrums, and cause localized earthquakes. One of the great joys of the first season was watching her learn how her powers worked via the cliched “What can I do?” montage. Unfortunately, the first costume she chose, to hide her identity, in a neighborhood where everyone knows everyone else, made her look like a disco club reject She did eventually settle on something that was tastefully Black with a proper mask.

I love this character. She really is one of my favorites, especially in the first and second seasons. She’s confident and outspoken, without being overbearing. What’s groundbreaking about her is she is also the only Black super lesbian on television, in a committed marriage to another woman of color played by Chantal Thuy, whose character also happens to have superpowers.

Candice Patton – Iris West – The Flash

DC Ladies

Iris West doesn’t often get the chance to be superpowered, but what she lacks in power, she more than makes up for with her beauty, strength, poise, and grace. So, when she does get the chance to take her husband, Barry Allen aka The Flash’s, place in the Speedforce, she is, of course, awesome at it.

It has been no secret that Black women, in genre film and TV, have been experiencing an all out racist backlash on social media, every time one of them gets a job, so I want to give a loud shout out to the actress, Candace Patton who, for six long f*cking years has endured the most vile and malicious harassment, of both her and her character, but has handled it with all the courage, intelligence, and poise, that she brings to her role as Iris West.

“If I had to deal with harassment online so a girl that looks like me 10 years from now can successfully be on these shows without any of that, then well worth it. I can take it.” — @candicepatton

That’s my girl!

China Ann McClain – Jennifer Pierce (Lightning) – Black Lightning

You have the ability to do things your father coul... - Tumbex

Jeenifer Pierce is the little sister of Anissa Pierce in Black Lightning. Where Anissa found out she had superpowers in the first season, the show did more of a slow burn with Jennifer, and we didn’t get to see her display her powers until well into the second season, and we didn’t find out what exactly she could do. Unlike her sister, Jennifer had more trouble, not just finding out that she had superpowers, but had some trouble with controlling her abilities. She needed more care than her sister, and in a TV first, we saw a potential super-powered person receiving therapy.

It turns out that Jennifer was having so much trouble because she is somewhat overpowered. Basically, she can turn her entire body into an electrical fire which, if you’ve ever seen one of those, is pantshittingly frightening. I remember talking to my Mom about this character, (and showing her pictures of what she looked like in her superpowered form), and she couldn’t wait to see Jennifer’s powers fully manifest. She was very excited about it, and the show did not disappoint. The special effects were pretty awesome, though I wasn’t too fond of the black and gold stripes in her outfit.

Here’s the thing…my Mom has never read a superhero comic in her life, but this show, (along with Luke Cage and Black Panther) is turning her into a huge comic book nerd, and any TV series that can do that, can have all of my love. Having grown up without any girls to talk to about my love for comic books, it’s been a delight to share this particular interest with her. Anytime a show or movie can have the two of us having a typically nerd conversation about who would win in a fight, (the Hulk or Thanos), gets mad respekt from me.

Teyonah Parris – Monica Rambeau (Photon) – Wandavision

20 Magical Facts about Marvel's WandaVision - The Gist

I have not yet told my Mom about Photon, or Falcon, or Valkyrie. Since there are white people in the shows and movies with them, she might not be especially interested. I mean she likes the Hulk, and she knows who Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are. But I think I’ll wait and surprise her with Storm, and this character, though.

I am not a Wanda Maximoff fan, although I did enjoy the series, Wandavision. The only reason why I tuned in was I was hoping to see Monica Rambeau get her powers as Photon. I grew up reading the comic books she starred in as Spectrum, and then she disappeared off my radar for a looong time, so I’m glad that the MCU remembered that she exists, and I was waiting for her to show up, especially after Captain Marvel was released. I got nothing against the white Captain Marvel, and Larson is cool and all, but I didn’t really grow up reading about her, so there’s less of a nostalgia connection.

But look at that 3 pt. superhero landing! That was all kinds of cool beans! Teyonah totally nailed it, and I give it a sphincter factor of 9.5, because I winced at her possible knee injury, and because this could have been a show about her, and her grief at losing her family, but the series focus was on Wada, and I was disappointed tha Monica only got to be a side character, who was only there to support Wanda.

Simone Missick – Misty Knight – Luke Cage

shhuri: Misty Knight in the new Luke Cage Season...

Misty was always a favorite of mine in the comic books, as she was one of the few Black women superheroes. I remember briefly reading the Heroes for Hire series, in which she prominently starred, and it was a lot of fun. I was very excited to hear that she would be one of the major characters in Luke Cage. At first I was disappointed that she didn’t have the metal arm from the comic books, but we get to see her origin story in The Defenders. I’m not a fan of cops, but she gives one the coolest speeches in the MCU about why she chose her profession.

“I apply foot to ass. And match lead for lead. I put murderers in handcuffs. I don’t just seek justice, I stalk it.”―Misty Knight to Gabe Krasner[src]

*Sigh* like a lot of the characters though, she was not well used, and sometimes badly written, but her badassery was still worth admiring.

Ruth Negga -Tulip O’Hare- Preacher

Heroes Get Made | Jesse custer, Call and response, Tulip o hare

Ruth Negga was great as Tulip in the Preacher series. The first time we meet Tulip she is teaching some kids how to fashion a bazooka out of some random materials around their house. She does not become less badass for the rest of the series, although her character is deepened considerably, and I appreciated that. Too foten Black female characters, especially those written by white men, have a tendency to be one dimensional, but Tulip got her full due, becoming one of the driving forces of the plot and direction of the series.

Tulip was also a very gray character, which was kind of rare, since many such characters tend to skew bad or good, only. As portrayed by Negga, she was strong, outspoken, and always ready to throw down, or beat that ass, to protect her needs, and sometimes even her man, the titular Preacher himself.

Thandiwe Newton – Maeve Millay – Westworld

TV Review: Westworld 2×04 “The Riddle of the Sphinx” – Media Geek Alert

I think you guys have noticed that I definitely have a type: Black women with swords! Specifically Katanas. It turns out that these swords are not as easy to use as television and movies make them seem. My brother, who is a very fit person, owns several of these, and once, nearly cut off his fingers trying to wield one. So, when I say I have all the admiration in the world for these women, who make wielding a Samurai sword look so easy, I mean it.

Maeve Millay is one of my favorite characters from Westworld. Her resilience, empathy, resolve, and intelligence, were unparalleled in any of the other characters on the show. She is the very definition of “self=made”! When I was reviewing the show, I often talked about how fascinating it was to witness this character’s journey towards self actualization, towards the making of her ” true self”, and that a lot of viewers were missing out on her story because they were distracted by the other, more primary, story. Unlike her white counterpart in the series, who had no allies and tried to change the world by herself, Maeve began her journey alone, but eventually, through sheer strength of character, charm, and charisma, she collected a coterie of allies to support her cause, and in the end, saved the digital consciousnesses of her entire “species”.

Jurnee Smollet – Leticia Lewis – Lovecraft Country

WELCOME TO LOVECRAFT COUNTRY — LOVECRAFT COUNTRY | 1x09 - Rewind 1921

Lovecraft Country held a lot of favorite moments for me, with some of the best ones being Letiticia’s ability to run like Hell! On a road trip with her best friend/love interest, and his uncle, she is the first to detect danger, and get the hell out, she drives their getaway car, and saves their lives by outrunning the Lovecraftian monsters that were in pursuit of them, through the woods of Alabama. Her running skills are next level.

Which is why it was all the more enjoyable to see her walk out of danger in this scene. Here, she has just been sent back in time, and handed a primary book of magic by her ancestors, after having received a spell against physical harm. This scene takes place during the series depiction of the burning and massacre of the Black township of Tulsa Oklahoma. All around her, her ancestors are dying, and she can do nothing to save them, because this event already happened, but what she can do, is use her body to save this book, and prevent such events in the future. Leticia walked through fire unmolested, and unbothered, and it was almost as satisfying to watch this scene, as it was watching Luke Cage shrugging off gunfire.

Rosario Dawson – Asoka Tano from The Mandolorian Season One

LADIES OF CINEMA — ROSARIO DAWSON as Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian

I have a confession to make. I’ve never watched a single episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. But even I have heard about this character. I’ve read of her a couple of times in books, and all of the people I follow, subscribe to, or just banter with online, totally love this character, and are always willing, ready, and able to sing her praises, so I was very much looking forward to the live action version, and hoping she lived up to the hype.

She did!

I do have to admit that part of my love for this character is because she is portrayed by one of my favorite actresses, Rosario Dawson who, since the early oughts, has always made some interesting film and character choices. She is utterly fearless in the types of roles she will chose, moving very easily between action star, love interest, and comedy relief. She also manages to imbue all of her characters with beauty, grace, intelligence, and empathy, and she is always fun to watch.

I actually am a Star Wars fan, but beyond the trio of characters from the initial stories, I didn’t get into the characters very much, until The Mandolorian. I was mostly into Star Wars for the action, and plots. Here though, I found myself getting quite caught up in the story of an intergalactic Bounty Hunter, who tries to make good, by delivering a Jedi fledgling to his rightful place in the world, and ends up becoming a father figure, instead.

Asokha is one of the many characters who helps the Mandolorian along his journey, so she is not a primary character in the series, only showing up for a couple of episodes. But what fantastic episodes they were! It was a lot of fun seeing Asokha in action, and I get why the fans love her so much. 10/10 would watch her in her own live action series.

You know what? I think I’m going to re-watch these episodes this weekend!

Chipo Chung – The Master – Into the Badlands

Into the Badlands - Blogs - AMC

Chung was born as a refugee in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She is of half-Zimbabwean of Mberengwa origin and half-Chinese descent. Her given name Chipo means “gift” in the Shona language. She spent her first two years in refugee camps in Mozambique with thousands of young people who were escaping the war in then-Rhodesia.[3] She is currently working in London, but worked for two years on the series Into the Badlands.

I had heard of this actress before I saw her in this role, which is why I was so excited to see her in this series, which was itself groundbreaking for its subject matter, and racial diversity. For the life of me, I cannot remember where I saw or heard of her. I do remember that I kind of fell in love with her, and until she showed up here, hadn’t seen her in a long time.

I just think she’s incredibly beautiful with striking features, and yeah, striking hands as well, and I greatly enjoyed her depiction of The Master who was mysterious, wise, all knowing, and apparently all seeing, and I was delighted to see her in the role. (See, this is who they could have chosen to play The Ancient One, in Doctor Strange.)

And that’s it! My favorite Black women Action stars from TV.

Next up: Favorite Black women Action Stars from the movies!

What I Watched, (And Sometimes Enjoyed),Mostly in July

I watched a lot of things in July, but most of those things were something I’d already watched multiple times. Here are, in order of most enjoyed, to least enjoyed, are the new movies and series I watched in the month of July. Okay, technically, Suicide Squad came out this month, but I couldn’t resist including it on this list, because of all the things I watched, it was the most fun, and I had the most to say about it.

MY ABSOLUTE FAVES!

These were my absolute favorites. Movies that definitely lived up to the hype, at least for me!. They’re the kinds of movies I would watch multiple times, and enjoy them every single time. Lets get to it, because I got a lot to say about two of these.

Suicide Squad

I was most ecstatic to see one major character in this movie:

STARRO the CONQUEROR!!!

First some background, though. The first time I encountered this character was in The Justice League comic books, and I’ve been horribly fascinated by this character ever since. The character has always been both deeply funny and horribly grotesque and James Gunn managed to totally capture that aesthetic, and even manage to make the character sympathetic, as well. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d see a big screen, live action, version of Starro!

That said, I have no f*cking clue who any of the other characters are in this movie, because I only read a handful of the comic books as a kid, so in a sense, I was kind of walking into this one blind. I trusted that James Gunn would bring bring the absurdity, and I was not wrong. This is one of the most enjoyable movies, I’ve seen all year, with the zany plot that I was hoping for, even crazier characters, and the movie is just fun. Its horrifying, and funny, and tragic, and mortifying, and disgusting, and I loved it! This was everything that the first movie should have been, although I was one of the few people who didn’t hate that one.

All of the characters are great, but the standouts for me were:

Ratcatcher 2: Who is the heart and soul of the movie. She really does have a heart of gold.

King Shark: There was an amazing amount of pathos for this character, and I loved that he had a full character arc, from a friendless predator, to a real sweetheart, who uses terms like nom-nom.

Sebastian: Sebastian is RatCatcher’s constant companion. I love this little guy. He just wants to be friends with people! I can’t stand rats, though. I got an issue with them to the point where I refuse to even watch Ratatouille but Sebastian is an exception.

I even managed to like Peacemaker, and the Polka Dotted Man. That I liked Bloodsport goes without saying.

Rating this movie is really hard, because I’m still so jazzed up about it, that I can’t yet point to anything I disliked. I normally don’t rate films, but I’m gonna have to give this one an A for now. I’ve always been a fan of James Gunn, since his Dawn of the Dead/Slither period, and I’m glad he got a chance to just let loose and show out like this, in a way he can’t with the Disney films.

Anyway, I have a lot more to say about this film, so look for a later post, devoted entirely to the characters of this movie!

Rurouni Kenshin:The Beginning/The Final

The last two movies in this five part series was just released in July and are available on Netflix. I have a lot more to say about this franchise, although I have gushed about it on this blog before. It is one of a handful of great Samurai movies that make my favorites list, and I’ll go into it with some depth, a little later this year. Its based on the manga, and anime, of the same name, which I’ve never read, and I don’t really want to. This most excellent live action version is enough for me.

MOVIES THAT WERE ALRIGHT!!!

These movies I really enjoyed. They’re very well made, the plots and dialogue were intricate enough to hold my attention, and the fight scenes were well done. Now, all of these were horror vehicles, so your enjoyment of them may vary. Its hard to say something was “enjoyable” when I was scared shitless, and sitting on the edge of my seat, the whole time, but there it is.

Sweet Home

Oh wow! This series was a harrowing exercise in tension, fear, terror, and suspense…all those good things. I haven’t been this scared in a good long while, so that’s why this TV series is so high on this list. I love monster movies, and this show is like one long monster movie that never ends. I had to watch this over several days. I simply couldn’t binge my way through this. I had to take breaks, because its a bit much. The plot seems simple enough, but this goes on for several episodes. It all has a very Attack on Titan/Train to Busan/The Thing mashup feel to it.

People are coming down with some sort of infection, and no one knows who is or isn’t infected. When people become infected, they transform into something that mimics their deepest desires. For example, a person who loved running, gets turned into an incredibly fast predator, and a man who was a peeping tom, transforms into a giant eyeball monster. There’s an apartment building where a bunch of people get trapped, because one of the monsters waiting outside to kill them is a massive behemoth type creature, that eats anything that moves. Plus they have to try to fend off anyone who turns into a monster in their group, and save each other from any monsters that already manifested in the building.

This combination of the concepts of infection, hunting, and being hunted by monsters, throughout the many dark nooks and crannies of the building, makes for some very suspenseful viewing. There could literally be anything around any corner, or inside a wall vent, or hanging outside the window. From super-fast, hooved predators chasing people through a darkened basement, to human sized arachnids wrapping people up in the walls, to giant tentacle tongued creatures skewering people through the chest to drink their blood, you never know what kind of monster will be encountered next, and it could be anyone, transforming at any time. Later, the entire situation is complicated by infected people who can transform at will, and a group of desperate raiders who invade the building and take hostages.

Kingdom: Ashin of the North

If you liked Kingdom, then this movie is well worth the watch, as its a prequel to the first season of that series, and, explains how the purple flowers that caused the zombies, managed to make their way to the rest of Korea. Its all part of a revenge plot by a girl named Ashin. The political intrigue which caused all this is somewhat complicated. I had to have some of it explained to me by a Korean lady on Tumblr, who has studied that particular era of history, to get a full understanding.

At any rate, the destruction of her entire village prompts Ashin to commit revenge of all those who conspired to have her village destroyed. Watching her cold-blooded actions was actually immensely satisfying, because you see all of this from her point of view, and identify with her character completely. I don’t agree with the killing all of Korea part, but I definitely felt some type of way about what was done to her, such that I felt no remorse for any of her victims.

Like I said, its difficult to refer to a horror movie as enjoyable. This episode is every bit as harrowing as the first two seasons of the show. Once again, there is a zombie tiger. (For some reason, zombie shows seem fascinated by zombie predators.) And for once the show does not involve someone going somewhere and fighting zombies in order to steal money, so that’s different.

So yeah, I’m calling this Zombie Summer. We got multiple zombie films, and shows, the last season of The Walking Dead, and another show I have yet to watch, now in its second season, called Black Summer.

Train to Busan: Peninsula

This movie is an unrelated sequel to the first movie called Train to Busan. It’s less of a Horror movie and more of a zombie action film. Its every bit as suspenseful and tension filled as the original, but for different reasons. The first movie contained themes of class warfare, and parental neglect. This movie wants to discuss community vs. individual responsibilities.

This is basically the same plot as Army of the Dead, only the specialist team sent in to steal some money also have to contend with the leftover survivors, on the abandoned island they’ve been sent to. Rather than focusing on random civilians, this movie focuses on how the military handled the zombie outbreak, and it also focuses on the lead character’s regret at not saving a family that got left behind on the island, and not being able to save his sister in law and his nephew from being zombified. Many of the plot points echo some of the themes in Army of the Dead, right down to the lead character being a former member of the military, although the films are done in such different styles, that they don’t feel like retreads or remakes of each other.

As with most zombie films, I didn’t allow myself to get too attached to the characters. Like a lot of these movies, part of the suspense is never knowing who will, or won’t be killed, sometimes horribly. I know, I keep saying how weird it is to say that the horror was enjoyable, but it is, because when it’s done well, it makes for some deeply compelling and engaging viewing, and I guess that’s part of the appeal. The other part is just that it’s fun to be scared under controlled circumstances.

THESE WERE OKAY!

While I was initially enthusiastic about these films, I was ultimately disappointed in their presentation. Its not that they are bad films, but I kept noticing how much better they would have been if the directors had decided tomake other choices. What I got from these films were scenes that were either retreads of other, better movies, or scenery and plot points that were predictable and a bit lackluster, or characters I couldn’t really bring myself to care too deeply about. Y’all know me, I always like to look for a movie’s high points, see the brighter side, or give the benefit of the doubt. I rarely hate-watch a movie or show, but it was hard not to intensely dislike at least one aspect of these movies. Or maybe I just wasn’t feeling them at the time I watched ’em!

Paper Tigers

I only sort of liked this movie. Its not a bad film, and is actually pretty funny in some parts, so I’m going to give it a pass. It’s an Action-Comedy, so if you’re a fan of the original The Karate Kid, (or the Cobra Kai series), you might actually like this movie. When their teacher dies, three estranged students, who were once Kung Fu prodigies, but are now old and out of fighting trim, get together at his funeral, to figure out the mystery of his death. My biggest dislike was some of the humor is meant to laugh AT the characters, and their messed up lives, which I didn’t find particularly funny, and on occasion, the characters simply were not very likable people. There’s one character who spends entirely too much time lying to his son and ex-wife, who is of course portrayed as a nag, which is a trope I’m very tired of. (She has perfectly legitimate reasons for disliking her ex-husband.)

It’s like an older version of the cast of The Hangover, but with Kung Fu. On the other hand, the fight scenes were fun and funny. Like I said, this isnt a bad film. The dialogue is alright, and the fight scenes are cool. I’m just being persnickety, because it wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be, but who knows, I may watch this again, and like it a lot more. And yeah, I’m gonna watch it again.

Gun Powder Milkshake

I really, really, really, wanted to like this movie, because it has some of my favorite actresses in it. I sat down to watch, and pay close attention, and about halfway through, I found myself being distracted by stuff I wanted to do that was laying nearby. Once again, this isnt a bad film. It’s a very competent film, with some really fun action scenes, and I didn’t feel like my time was wasted. It didn’t WOW me though, and that’s what an Action film has to do these days to get my love. As it stands, the movie gets a strong LIKE. There’s a lot of really great competition out there, and this movie was just “center of the road” good, not great. This could have been a better film if the creators had simply leaned harder into the chaotic nature of these character’s lifestyles, and just gone really big. Every scene felt like the creators were restraining themselves, like they were holding back. This movie was meant to be R rated, and instead I felt like I got PG-13.

The movie is not helped by a generic plot, of a kid in danger, who must be protected by an assassin who is on their last job, or whatever. We’ve seen this particular plot a bajillion times. Its almost its own subgenre of Action film, at this point. In this case, its an assassin whose mother disappeared on a job when she was child, being pursued by a former employer. She was then raised by a clandestine trio of assassins, who refer to themselves as The Librarians, and I did enjoy some of the literary themes they attached to different types of weaponry. Some of the movie was cute, and the dialogue was pretty slick, but none of it really stood out to me as exceptional.

Like a lot of middle-weight Action movies, it kept reminding me of much better ones, like Baby Driver, which had a much better car chase scene than this this one, although I have to admit, they really did do their very best here. They really did. Just, Baby Driver got there first, so I couldn’t help comparing the two. Like I said there wasn’t anything compelling me to keep watching it, although some people, (younger and less jaded or easily bored than me), will love this movie, because it is a really pretty looking film, its got an almost entirely female cast, and the fight scenes are alright.

What I liked most about it was Karen Gillen (from Guardians of the Galazy), Angela Bassett, and their fight scenes. What I disliked was that it could have been dialed up a bit more to maintain my attention.

MEH!

This category of movie wasn’t awful, but wasn’t especially good either. These are what I would call C- films.

Tomorrow War

What I liked about this movie was its premise. I was struck by the idea of humanity reaching back in time to ask for their ancestor’s help in solving a little problem with some murderous aliens. This plot point is not unlike some of the African religions that involve ancestral worship, and I kind of wish this movie had been made by some Black creators, because they would have caught that, and leaned into that idea a bit more. But this was not helped by the bland and predictable, secondary plot, and the bland, generic, white hero, who is on a redemptive arc to bond with the daughter he left behind, and his estranged father.

There’s also the funny but cowardly Black man trope, who also happens to be the white hero’s best friend, and I could have done without that, even though he was the only character in the movie, that I actually liked, and who stood out as having actual character. I feel like the movie would have been better served, (it certainly would have been a more novel plot), if he had been the lead character, and his arc was one of moving from cowardice to hero. He sort of has that arc in the movie, but it would have been a far more interesting film, if he’d been the lead, rather than typical comedy relief. Actually, this movie could probably have been made better by adding any of the other Chris’es to this film! After all, Chris Pratt is the least likable of all the Chris’es.

In other words, nothing about this movie really stood out to me. Not the action scenes, not the monsters, who were not scary, and kept reminding me of better monsters in other movies, (and who also seemed a bit overpowered to me), and certainly not the “I want to get in touch with my estranged family, again” plot. What kept going through my head as I watched it was, “This is okay, but it would have been so much better if…”, and that’s not good.

UGH!

Okay, this is a movie that was deeply disappointing to me, even though I was really eager to see it when I saw the trailer. It’s not bad in the typical sense. There were themes here that I found personally distasteful. Your mileage on this may vary. If you liked, or loved it, that’s cool, but there were a few things about this movie that just irked the hell outta me, and I couldn’t get past them.

Nobody

I was really eager to see this movie when I first heard about it, thinking it would be something like John Wick, only starring Bob Odenkirk, who I happen to like, and guess what? It was something like that, except without John Wick’s imaginative worldbuilding, and generally likable, and sometimes even admirable, bad asses. In fact its a little too much like John Wick, right down to its Russian villains, except all the joy has been removed. There’s something about this movie that just felt ugly to me. This movie is basically an old suburban white guy’s fantasy of being a bad ass, and beating up PoC, and we have quite enough of those, thank you very much!

I wanted the movie to lean into the unlikableness of the characters a little more, or lean into the fact that the primary character is trying, in his hamfisted way, to seem heroic to his family, and impress the son who spurns him as a coward, but the film doesn’t do any of that. Its not a bad movie, it just didn’t have the kind of romantic and over the top messaging, that appealed to me, although those of a more nihilistic mindset will probably really like it.

The fight scenes are okay, and the acting is fine, although some of the things the characters say are a bit overdone, in an effort to make the lead character seem like a wuss. And I really wanted to like him, because, while he is something of a sad sack, he’s not actually a coward. He makes the decisions he makes out of a sense of compassion for the people who would be on the receiving end of his violence, and I wanted the film to lean into that too, but the film appears to be arguing against having compassion for people.

For instance, the initial event that sets everything in motion is a home invasion by some inexperienced thieves. When the father finds that the weapon they threatened his family with is unloaded, he lets them leave without harming them, after which, every man he encounters who hears about it, castigates him for doing so, and talks about what they would have done if it had been their family. I need hardly mention that all the men who insult him for making this choice are suburban white guys! This is what I meant by this movie being “manly suburban violence porn”…

I love Action movies though, but I don’t think this was the film for me, and I regret having watched the parts of it I did see.

Why Do We Knit? — Tin Can Knits

There are so many things I love about knitting, I can’t choose just one!

Why Do We Knit? — Tin Can Knits

One of the things I like to do while watching shows and movies is knit. That’s my geeking out activity right now!

I am currently knitting a sweater I started a year ago, and made severla modifications to. Its in Malabrigo Washted Whales Road, and I’m actually alomst done iwht it. I just need to add a hem and some sleeves! When I’m finished, perhaps I’ll show it off!

I’m also working on my first stranded knitting pullover in brown, white, and purple, using Bloomsbury DK. Oddly enough, this one has worked up a lot faster than the first. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a faster knitter, or if it’s because I’ve worked on it more often.

I also need to finish my mom’s red mittens in Malabrigo Worsted, and the deep blue Malabrigo Worsted hat and cowl combo I started this spring.

I hope to finish all of these just in time for October Fall weather, and will post pictures, if I remember to do that.

What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Apolitical/Drama Free Fandom Spaces — Stitch’s Media Mix

Another (relatively) short-and-spicy one in the style of the Fandom Wank installment, I’m here to point out that racism in fandom looks like apolitical or “drama free” fandom spaces. In discord servers, twitter group chats and other forms of fannish socializing, denoting a space as apolitical or “drama free” primarily winds up punishing marginalized people […]

What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Apolitical/Drama Free Fandom Spaces — Stitch’s Media Mix

How Bad Should We Feel When the Willfully Unvaccinated Die? — Whatever

I feel sad for all the people this fellow misled before serving as an object lesson. Apparently he was a deathbed conversion to vaccination. Had he converted sooner, he probably wouldn’t have been on his deathbed. But I guess he lived free, didn’t he. https://t.co/zKdcKjJqGq— John Scalzi (@scalzi) August 8, 2021 This comes up because…

How Bad Should We Feel When the Willfully Unvaccinated Die? — Whatever

Most Interesting Fall Trailers

And by interesting, I mean interesting to me, mostly. I’m sure you guys, if you’ve been paying any attention to new trailers at all, have your favorites, but ever since I cut the cord (and no longer have cable or satellite TV) my television viewing has gone waaay down, and that did have some effect not just on what I can see, but want to to see. Starting with those series and movies that have the greatest interest for me, and finishing up with shows I’m not the most enthusiastic about, but look good enough to check out before I eventually lose interest, and wander off to re-watch an old Classic for the 400th time.

Y: The Last Man

This particular show is based on a graphic novel that I did not read. This series looks interesting though, I have high hopes for it, although I’m always a bit dubious when I see Black women prominently featured in genre shows, becasue they are often abused or disregarded by the white female characters, or just badly written by white writers. But I’m going to give it a look-see out of curiosity.

Venom Let There Be Carnage

I really enjoyed the first movie, and I’m looking forward to this sequel, even though I don’t know that much about Carnage (or the screaming woman) outside of these characters being rivals of Venom, who actually started out in the comic books as a hardcore villain to Spiderman. I didn’t read the books featuring spinoff versions of Venom because they showed up after I’d stopped reading superhero comics, so I’m sort of walking into this one blind. Carnage does look suitably terrifying however, and I wish these characters were part of the Spiderverse, or the MCU.

Dune (New Trailer)

This is the newest trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, to be released in October. I’ve told you guys about my enthusiasm for this series, and I’m really looking forward to this. The one drawback I have is that most of the characters being played by PoC die in the books. On the other hand, its hard to be mad about that if everyone in the story gets killed, so… and in some of the later books, some of these characters get revived.

This movie is the first full blockbuster/epic that was made during/after the pandemic, so I hope it makes a lot of money, so that we can get to see the second half. I have absolutely no intention, whatsoever, of seeing this in a theater ,and its one of the primary reasons I got the HBOMax app.

Day of the Dead

This looks like a really fun series. I don’t think its related to the Dawn of the Dead movie franchise. I didnt get too far into Z Nation, although what I did see of it was a lot of fun and the lead character was a Black woman named Roberta who was something of a badass. I’m hoping this show is something similar, or takes place in the same universe. At any rate, it certainly looks more lighthearted and fun than The Walking Dead, which finally wore me out after ten seasons. I just could not take the relentless pessimism any longer.

What We Do In The Shadows Season 3

I loved the movie this was based on, and if you haven’t seen it don’t worry, you don’t need to have watched that, to understand what’s happening in this show. I would, however, strongly recommend that you check out the original as it stars Taika Waititi, of Thor Ragnarok fame. None of the characters from the movie are here, but the relationships in this series are just as hilarious and delightful. My favorite is Colin the Psychic Vampire, who is not even a type of vampire featured in the film version, but should have been. I would say that Colin needs a good sharp slap, except that he would thoroughly enjoy it!

Brooklyn 99

The television landscape is divided into two spheres, pre-2020, and what happens after that. Yes, I’m well aware that all cop shows are copaganda, but I still watched them. I’ve never mistaken them for real life, but as the fantasies they are, and have always preferred the most ridiculous ones. I was a huge fan of Reno 911, which was the polar opposite kind of humor to Brooklyn 99, seeing as how the N* word was regularly deployed, along with gay, rape, racist and misogynist jokes! That said, I got into these shows for the characters, and The 99, have some of the nicest, silliest character relationships.

This is the show’s final season, however, and I kind of knew that would happen after what happened last year. I knew the writers would either have to change the format of the show, or cancel it entirely. Most likely only the hardcore fans, like me, will tune in to watch it anyway. And that’s okay. Sometimes a genre outlives its usefulness.

Reservation Dogs

This just looked like fun. I don’t normally watch teen shows, but these are Native teenagers, and we don’t ever get to hear too much about or from them. The writer’s room is the same, and it will be interesting to watch this. Native humor tends to be snarky, and somewhat absurdist, and that is definitely my type of funny.

Only Murders In The Building

I love it when Steve martin and Martin Short get together. They’re a great comedy duo, and this looks like a lot of great ridiculous fun, as they try to show off their sleuthing talents.

Yakuza Princess

This looks entirely generic, as it is filled with typical dialogue and archetypal characters, but I’m going to watch this anyway, because I’m a sucker for Samurai swords, and Ninjas, and simply cannot help myself!

Don’t Breathe 2

The plot of the first movie was kind of icky, and I have questions about who is that little girl, but this does look badass. So, I may watch it, and just deal with the “ick” factor, later.

See Season 2

I ignored the first season of this, so I need to check that out before I watch the second season of this show, which looks pretty good. I like Momoa and will watch him do anything, and I like the premise that the entire world is blind, except for one person. Also I have questions, and I need a backstory on this world. And well, snowy, wintry landscapes just do it for me.

Kate

This is the plot of pretty much every action movie ever made, and the dialogue sounds like it came from anywhere, but it does star Mary Elizabeth, who appears to be reprising her role of Huntress, from Birds of Prey. In fact, I thought this movie was a solo film for the character, but it turns out not to be that at all. I’m less enthusiastic for it, after finding that out, too.

La Brea

Well, it has at least one of my favorite subjects, prehistoric creatures! I’m a little dubious about the cast though, as they seem like your typical generic, middle class, pretty, urban, white people, with at least one token poc, who is essentially unlikable, which is the kind of thing you get when the writer’s room lacks diversity. I’m not particularly impressed with the special effects either. I just like the basic premise, and I hope the portal works both ways, so that the dinosaurs, or whatever, get loose, and run wild in the city, at some point.

Plan A

This is another movie (or series) where I like the premise, but it looks much too “dramatic” for my tastes, right now. I like the idea of watching Jewish people fighting back against the Nazis, since we so rarely get to see that. We usually get white savior stories of other people saving Jewish people. I don’t know that I’m in the right mood to watch something so dark, and kind of depressing, right now, although it looks gorgeous.

Honorable Mentions

American Horror Story Season Ten: Double Feature

Hmmm, not sure how I feel about this one yet, but I felt it deserved mention, because I liked some of the previous seasons.

Chucky (Series)

This is probably a soft nope. I’m only a fan of the first Chucky film. anything that came after that, I skipped. So I wont have any trouble skipping this.

Ghosts

I think this is a remake of a British show about a couple inhabiting a house full of ghosts. it looks mildly funny, but not really my type of humor. This one would entirely depend on whether, or not, I liked the characters, and their relationships.

My Top Ten Favorite Musicals

Music is a huge part of my life, but I don’t ever talk much about musical film. We have the kind of household where me, or my Mom, and siblings would just start singing around the house. So really, I kind of lived in a musical already, where singing would just spontaneously occur! We grew up listening to the music our Mom liked, which was Blues, Country, and R&B. We all grew up listening to the Opera, and Classical music, that was in the Looney Toons cartoons. Later, I started getting more adventurous and branching out into different kinds of music, to Punk, Rock, and Club jams, and then even later, Metal, and Indie.

I have always been fearless, when it comes to expanding my musical tastes, and I have never allowed other people’s tastes to dictate what I would and would not like, or listen to. (Trust me, when I say that used to be a fucking thing!) It always baffled me, how people could go through their entire lives, and only ever listen to the one genre of music, that made them feel comfortable. Music is like food. It would be like eating macaroni and cheese your whole life. (I mean, I love mac and cheese, but even I would get tired of eating that, even in its many different versions, after about a week.)

Some songs speak to me on a foundational level, and I am always in search of those types of songs, and i thought everybody did this. You memorize all the words, and walk around singing it in your head, and sometimes, they make you feel so strongly, (sad or happy, makes no difference) that you just burst into tears, or chills, whenever you hear it! Now couple that with a moving image, and Wow!!

Here are ten of my absolutely favorite Musical films, and the one song in that movie that just works for me every single time. These are movies that just happened to show up in a particular stage of my mental and emotional development (yes, even as a adult) that had an out sized influence on me, whose songs resonated with me in some way, or changed my thinking on some issue I was going through, at the time. Or… just made me really, really happy!

Yentl

I think this movie hit me at just the right time in my formative years, for every single one of the songs to resonate with me, and now for whatever reason, it’s largely forgotten, except by Streisand fans. I suppose, there will come a day when Streisand herself will be largely forgotten, and that will be a sad day, indeed.

This particular song spoke so directly to my teenage self because I lived in an environment not unlike Yentl’s, where I had a loving parent, who indulged my interests, only to be constantly told by the people outside our house, that I couldn’t do certain things (drawing), listen to certain types of music (Rock), watch certain kinds of movies (Horror), and yes, even read certain types of books (Science Fiction). Why? Because I was a Black girl, and Black girls didn’t do any of those things…

…and “where is it written” is, of course, the question I always asked myself! The first time I heard this song, I think I bawled my way through the rest of the movie. I watched the movie multiple times, went out and bought the album, memorized all the songs, and then I backtracked to watch all of Barbra’s movies from the past. Later, I heard a story about how someone in Hollywood told her she’d never be a star, because she was lacking in the looks department. So Barbra, considering that a challenge, started creating her own musical vehicles, and producing and starring in her own movies, to prove them wrong.

That’s my girl!

The Wiz

I have to admit, this is not my favorite musical, but it does have great appeal, and three of my favorite songs, Michael Jackson’s You Can’t Win, Diana Ross’ Ease On Down the Road, and Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News. I first saw this movie when I was a kid, and a couple of years before I saw Wizard of Oz. I remember this movie was a huge event in the Black community. It’s really funny how I didn’t realize that Black people lived in an entirely different entertainment eco-sphere than white people, until I got to college. None of the white people I met were remotely aware of any of the movies and music I grew up with, and it took me a minute to figure out why… didn’t they have radios and TVs? Yeah, they did, but white people only paid attention to things that involved white people. I met white people who were as limited in their idea of entertainment, as some of the Black people I met growing up, and I never understood that.

A few years ago there was a televised reboot of this movie, and white people were deeply puzzled, saying the reboot was a ripoff of The Wizard of Oz, and Black people had to take time out of our busy schedules, to explain to them on Twitter, that this reboot is based on the Black version of the Wizard of Oz, and that making Black versions of white movies was a perfectly normal occurrence, because mostly we were not allowed in white theaters to see those films. So a Black version got made, with all the stars we knew and loved, like Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, and Diana Ross (some of the hottest Black entertainers of the 70’s), with the type of music we enjoyed.

I’m kind of glad that people are becoming a little more adventurous though, and looking at different entertainments that are not geared towards them as the audience, and I’m especially glad that a lot of people get that some entertainments are not made with them in mind, but are still entertaining regardless. If you have not watched this movie, you should check it out, because it’s a lot of fun.

The Nightmare Before Xmas

Of all the Tim Burton movies he ever made, this one is my all-time favorite, and I was charmed right from the opening scene. Honestly, these are some of the cutest vampires I’ve ever seen. Y’all know I’m a huge fan of Halloween, which is the first time I saw this, of course. I watched this movie multiple times, and memorized this song, and several others in the film, (Sally’s Song, and Oogie Boogie Man) just for the sheer fun of it.

What’s really funny is that this movie features a classic case pf cultural appropriation. It’s a perfect definition. In fact, if anyone argues with you about exactly what cultural appropriation actually is, I would point them in the direction of this movie (and the cheerleading movie, Bring It On). Jack Skellington, who is the King of Halloweenland, accidentally ends up in Christmasland, and loves it so much, that he decides to do his own version of it. Unfortunately, these two holidays do not mix well, as one is a time for fear and gloom, and the other is supposed to be a time for hope and joy, so Jack has a fundamental misunderstanding of what Christmas is. He kidnaps Santa Claws, tries to take his place, and puts the future of Christmas in jeopardy, when Santa’s life is threatened by his rival, the Oogie Boogie Man. Yeah, Jack is kind of stupid, but I did like Oogie Boogie.

The Little Shop Of Horrors

I’m going to admit, I was sort of low key rooting for the plant in this movie, because he got the best songs. This movie held such resonance for me, because of the voice of Audrey II, Levi Stubbs, who was a baritone in the singing group, The Four Tops, which was a very popular group in our house. All that, and Audrey II’s (Twoey) final song is just bad ass, Audrey is scary as Hell, and the song is also deeply funny because the imagery is hilarious, and the lyrics contain phrases my mother used to regularly say around the house (ie. tough titty, walking on thin ice).

I have no idea how or when I encountered this movie. It was probably on late at night, when I wasn’t supposed to be up, since so many of the movies that had influence over me, were shown at that time.

My Fair Lady

This is not my favorite musical of all time, but this song, along with Eliza Doolittle’s, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly, And Ascot Gavotte, are three of my favorite songs. There’s nothing wrong with the movie, it just doesn’t reach Yentl levels, as far as the characters and plot. But I have watched this movie multiple times, the singing is divine, the costumes are extraordinary, and I know all the songs, so it makes this list!

The first time I heard this song though, was when it was sung by Harry Conniff Jr. ,and I liked it right away. Yeah, the song sounds just a little stalkery today, but the idea that some guy is so smitten with your charm, that he just likes hanging around your street is deeply funny to me. C’mon, how many teenage boys you know did that kinda thing? On the other hand, this is really creepy from a grown ass man, so…stop that!

Beauty and the Beast

I grew up watching all these Disney movies, especially during the 2-D era, and Beauty and the Beast sits at the top of my list of faves. I am not a particularly romantic person, but I do indulge, from time to time, and I love this movie just for the fun of it. It didn’t especially resonate with me, or have some deep meaning, although as a bookworm myself, I did heavily identify with Belle. I imagine that if I was younger when I saw it, it would have had a major effect on my emotional development, but I was an adult, and while it did have an effect, it was largely an emotional one.

I just love this song because its fun!

Its Always Fair Weather

There are some movies that I’m just ho-hum about ,except for that one very awesome scene, that makes the entire movie worth watching. I first saw this particular scene in another movie, The Professional, which starred Natalie Portman and Jean Reno. The lead character is in a theater, watching this scene with a gleeful, child like expression, and I was curious about the movie this scene came from. It turns out it was one of the few Gene Kelly movies that I missed, It’s Always Fair Weather, about a group of guys who promise to meet back at a favorite bar, in a few years, after they all come back from military enlistment, only to find that their characters have changed so much, they don’t even like each other anymore.

This has since become one of my favorite Gene Kelly scenes, and this is one of my favorite songs. I can’t do anything on skates, so the sheer talent this took, makes this an incredible scene for me. And the song is about the joy of finding out how much you love yourself, just because someone else finds you worthy of being loved.

Toy Story 2

My criteria for this list was any movie that had some prominent songs or music in them. I think Toy Story qualifies, because not only is this a Pixar film, but these films are known for having the primary “I want…” song. That is a song where the lead character (usually female, but not always) sings about her most fervent desire, the one thing in the world she really wants. Here, Jessie the Cowgirl laments her old life, when she was loved by the little girl she was given to as a toy. She just wants that kind of love again, and is cynical enough to believe it will never happen.

I don’t know how anyone in the theater could have listened to this song, and not been brought to tears. Jessie’s’ song speaks to anyone who has ever had love, and then lost it in some manner. In Jessie’s case it was simply love outgrown.

The Blues Brothers

For me, this is one of the best scenes in the entire movie, not just becasue it stars The Queen of Soul, but because of all the tiny, funny details, once you look for them. From watching The Queen get down, to the girlfriend’s chorus, to the food stains on her clothes, to Jake and Elmo’s embarrassed expressions, at witnessing their friend’s public “domestics”, this scene is a pure delight, and Think is one of my favorite songs!

The rest of the movie isn’t too bad either, and well worth watching!

Sister Act

To be honest, this was never I movie I had any plans to watch. I remember the trailers for it, and have the distinct memory of saying to myself, naw, I’ll pass, only to watch it on TV a couple of years, later because my little sisters insisted. It was a very enjoyable experience. I really liked the music, although I simply could not get pass the idea of dancing nuns, which seemed sacrilegious, which is ironic, considering I’m not at all religious. I think Whoopi Goldberg turned in a great performance, (even if she has no voice to speak of), but my favorite character would be Sister Mary Patrick, played by Kathy Najimy, whose acting I’ve loved ever since.

I chose this scene because of Dame Maggie Smith’s long suffering, dagger shooting, facial expressions, because that’s what had me laughing the hardest. If looks could kill.

Honorable Mentions:

Ray

Purple Rain