"Tina" Documentary 2021

ENTERTAINMENT – “Tina” Documentary on HBO Max, More Good, Bad, and Dark

A terrific documentary about a one-of-a-kind entertainer, “Tina” is like reading Tina Turner’s diary.

Told over the decades in five parts: her early relationship with Ike, her early career that grew with Ike’s band, and her tumultuous life with Ike, her turn to buddhism, her found independence to leave Ike, and her road to success as an independent artist. The movie runs the gamut of her life in all of its pain and glory.

 

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Turner, now 80, tells much of her story herself. Born Anna Mae Bullock in Tennessee, she was a young background singer for Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm out of St. Louis.

Scott Laven/Getty Images

Later she toured as part of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue.

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As anyone familiar with her story knows, backstage wasn’t always a happy place for her. Once again – as she has been asked to do over and over again after she revealed details of her abusive marriage – she tells about the horrors involved in her violent marriage, which she finally left in the early 1980s. These scenes are filled with new footage and pictures never seen before. They are particularly graphic and violently detailed to witness.

 

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Onstage, it appears was something else, as we see up close in beautifully restored footage from live performances. No one ever did, or could, move like Tina Turner, and the appreciative audiences embraced her with applause in every concert hall.

 

That didn’t change when the dynamo who became a one-word icon transitioned into a world-renowned solo performer who earned an award-winning biopic starting Angela Bassett (she is among those interviewed here, while Oprah Winfrey is another.)

Tina Turner is now 80 years of age and still going strong.

Some of my favorite moments include the documentary’s origin story about her hit tune “What’s Love Got to Do With It?

The song, which Tina Turner didn’t like at first, wasn’t originally meant for her – you can hear the pop group Bucks Fizz that originally recorded. After this hit, Turner took her career on a new direction, of much success indeed.

Tina Turner’s search for love is a theme throughout. The final parts of the film – including an incredible performances of a Beatles number – is uplifting and joyous.

If you don’t know Tina Turner, you need to meet her through this film. If you’re already familiar with her, you’ll become a fan when you see this film.

Source: HBO and Our Quad Series

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Ginny & Georgia on Netflix

ENTERTAINMENT – Netflix Premieres Mom-Daughter Series, “Ginny & Georgia” with Sex, Drugs, and Violence

Manic, mature mom-daughter series has sex, drugs, violence.

Enter NetflixGinny & Georgia” series about a mother and daughter. Ginny Miller (Antonia Gentry), an angsty fifteen-year-old, often feels more mature than her thirty-year-old mother, the irresistible and dynamic Georgia Miller (Brianne Howey). Common Sense Media reviewed the entire series. “It may seem similar to the beloved Gilmore Girls, complete with the initials, a bookish teen girl (Ginny), an outgoing young mom (Georgia), an adorable Northeastern town, pop culture chatter, and lots of junk food. But the resemblance ends there: This series is significantly more mature and faster paced. Within a short time after arriving in the fictional Wellsbury, Mass., 15-year-old Ginny (Antonia Gentry) loses her virginity, smokes pot for the first time, and shoplifts with new friends. She also intentionally burns herself and has scars from cutting.”

 

All the teens in the show seem to smoke pot (it’s legal in Massachusetts, they point out) and talk about sex frequently.

Words like “p—y,” “bitches,” “twats,” “a–hole,” “d–k,” and “s–t” are used often. We also see mom Georgia (Brianne Howey) drink wine, smoke pot, use a vibrator, steal when her credit card is declined, and charm her way into a job in the single mayor’s office. And in flashback, viewers see abuse that Georgia (then called Mary) escaped as a teen.

 

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“Ginny & Georgia” begins after the sudden death of 30-year-old Georgia’s (Brianne Howey) wealthy short-term husband; she leaves Houston with her 15-year-old daughter, Ginny (Antonia Gentry), and 9-year-old son, Austin (Diesel La Torraca), for a charming, upscale, fictional Massachusetts town.

The family arrives like a storm: Georgia scams her way into a job with the attractive town mayor (Scott Porter from Friday Night Lights), Ginny finds a group of friends who lead her into a rapid series of sex- and drug-related firsts, and young Austin punches a kid who’s bullying him, with his mother’s help. How exactly did Georgia’s husband die, what other secrets is Georgia hiding, and how will biracial Ginny thrive in their very White town?

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This manic, mystery-fueled mother-daughter drama reels in viewers with more sex, drugs, and violence in the first episode than we saw in seven seasons of the Gilmore Girls; we’re not in Stars Hollow anymore.

“Over the top” is an understated way to describe Ginny & Georgia, which goes out of its way to tell us “We’re like the Gilmore Girls, but with bigger boobs.” Before viewers are an hour into the series, the family meets Georgia’s new neighbor/instant BFF Ellen (Jennifer Robertson, Schitt’s Creek), her hunky stoner son Marcus and his twin (and Ginny’s new BFF) Maxine, an instant crew of partying high school friends, the handsome mayor and his staff, Joe who runs the local restaurant/hangout, the gossipy PTA moms, son Austin’s bully … and we haven’t even touched on the flashbacks to Georgia’s violent past or Ginny’s self-harm.

 

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When the show allows for a little breathing room, viewers are likeliest to focus on Ginny, the most compelling character.

Newcomer Antonia Gentry is reminiscent of Linda Cardellini’s Lindsay in Freaks and Geeks: She’s smart, she knows it, and she’s yearning to be less of a “good girl.” Ginny is also half-Black in a very White high school and town, and the writers lay the groundwork for her wrestling with her biracial identity.

The comedy series premiered on Netflix on February 24, 2021.

Source Netflix and Common Sense Media TV details

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ENTERTAINMENT – “Friends: The Reunion” Premieres on HBO Max, May 27, 2021

It’s finally happening: HBO Max has revealed the premiere date for the Friends cast reunion in a new trailer touting the returns of the beloved group.

 

Both HBO and Screenrant have reported that HBO Max’s long-awaited Friends cast reunion finally has a release date, which was confirmed by the first teaser trailer for the special. The NBC sitcom was a crucial part of 90s-early 2000s television, yet it remains one of the most popular shows on the planet thanks to streaming and a devoted fanbase. For 10 seasons, Friends followed the lives of a group of friends living in New York City as they struggled with absurd relationships, classic workplace conflicts, and the general tribulations of adulthood.

 

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Over the years, the Friends cast has gathered for various occasions, but none has been quite as anticipated as HBO Max’s forthcoming reunion.

The special was supposed to premiere on the streaming service last year when it launched, but the coronavirus pandemic prevented it from being shot on time. For months, “Friends: The Reunion” was up in the air, but the cast finally assembled last month and completed the special. It will see all six original stars return: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry.

 

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Now, the Friends reunion has a premiere date.

HBO Max released a trailer for the event on Thursday, which confirms the special will premiere on Thursday, May 27, in just one weeks. The trailer doesn’t reveal much, but HBO Max confirmed separately the Friends special will feature a rather varied guest list: David Beckham, Justin Bieber, BTS, James Corden, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Lady Gaga, Elliott Gould, Kit Harington, Larry Hankin, Mindy Kaling, Thomas Lennon, Christina Pickles, Tom Selleck, James Michael Tyler, Maggie Wheeler, Reese Witherspoon and Malala Yousafzai.

 

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“Friends: The Reunion” won’t be a scripted event; that is to say, the cast members won’t be portraying their characters.

However, they did gather on the original set on the Warner Bros. studio lot. HBO Max has described the event as a “celebration of the beloved show,” and it already feels like such. Though the trailer for “Friends: The Reunion” doesn’t share any real footage from the special itself, it strikes the perfect balance of nostalgia and excitement for what’s to come. The slowed down, instrumental theme song and the tagline “The One Where They Get Back Together” can’t help but elicit excitement.

Last week, Cox promised the Friends reunion has some surprises ahead, though that special guest list already feels pretty surprising. Some of the guests, like Tom Selleck and Reese Witherspoon, actually appeared on the show, while others like Kit Harington and BTS feel entirely out of left field. Whether HBO Max will release a longer, more detailed trailer for Friends: The Reunion remains to be seen. Luckily, even if it doesn’t, the special itself is only two weeks away. After all this time, the wait is finally almost over.

Friends: The Reunion is premiering on Thursday, May 27 on HBO Max.

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ENTERTAINMENT – HBO Max Premiere of “In The Heights,” Outlying the Upper West Side Story

The promotion surrounding the invitation to view this movie is described by HBO Max as the event of the summer, where the streets are made of music and little dreams become big…

HBO presents “In The Heights” written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton” and the directed by Jon M. Chu of “Crazy Rich Asians.”

To date, there is not a lot of information on the production. It hasn’t been seen or reviewed in any big way. For this event, it’s all about what HBO is telling us as to the production of the project. “In the Heights.” Lights up on Washington Heights… The scent of a cafecito caliente hangs in the air just outside of the 181st Street subway stop, where a kaleidoscope of dreams rallies this vibrant and tight-knit community.

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Anthony Ramos and Corey Grace star in, “In The Heights.”

 

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At the intersection of it all is the likable, magnetic bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who saves every penny from his daily grind as he hopes, imagines and sings about a better life. At present the premiere date is scheduled for June 11, 2021 in theaters and on HBO Max.

 

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One early synopsis from The Critics Notebook is just that, very brief. “Somewhere buried deep within the “In the Heights” movie adaptation is the story of a people who feel neither at home in America nor privy to the American dream. But you must look hard past the glossy, neon-lit music video treatment of the Broadway musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes.”

Corey Hawkins and Stephanie Beatriz star in, “In The Heights.”

Though seemingly intended as an ensemble piece, the film centers on Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), a Washington Heights bodega owner who dreams of a sunnier and more unfettered life in the Dominican Republic, and often gets sidetracked onto tangents by Nina (Leslie Grace), a first-generation college attendee struggling to fit in at Stanford, and Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), an aspiring fashion designer who works in a salon to make ends meet.

“In the Heights” fuses Lin-Manuel Miranda’s kinetic music and lyrics with director Jon M. Chu’s lively and authentic eye for storytelling to capture a world very much of its place, but universal in its experience. Native New Yorker, Donna Black, this one is by your request.

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Jean Smart in Hacks on HBO Max.

ENTERTAINMENT – HBO Breakout Comedy, “Hacks,” Stars Jean Smart Who Slays as a Las Vegas Comedian

Hacks explores a dark mentorship that forms between Deborah Vance, a legendary Las Vegas comedian, and an entitled, outcast 25-year-old.

HBO introduces a new comedy, “Hacks,” starring Jean Smart as Deborah Vance. A prickling debut that pulls few punches, Hacks deftly balances its sharp critiques of the comedy world with more intimate moments, all the while giving the incomparable Jean Smart a role worthy of her talents — and an excellent partner in Hannah Einbinder.

The Chicago Sun Times clearly sees similarities between Joan Rivers and Smart’s Deborah Vance. “Just as one can’t help but think of early-career Joan Rivers while watching “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” it’s impossible not to think of late-career Joan Rivers while watching the fantastically funny, sharp, knowing and insightful new comedy series “Hacks” on HBO, with the great Jean Smart once again delivering Emmy-quality work.

Smart absolutely owns the role of the 70-something Deborah Vance, a brassy, trailblazing, old-school stand-up comic who has a longstanding residency at a Las Vegas hotel/casino, wears expensive but loud outfits, hawks bargain jewelry on a TV shopping network, is forever dealing with a grown daughter who can’t escape her shadow and you get the idea, right? Joan. Rivers.”

Not that Smart is executing anything close to an impersonation of Rivers. This is a big, brilliant, wholly original performance, with Smart constantly shifting emotional gears and deftly stealing every scene she’s in while somehow also managing to make room for the other actors in the room to have their moments. She’s a wonder to behold — and she has a terrific comedic partner in relative newcomer Hannah Einbinder, who plays a millennial writer-comedian named Ava hired to punch up Deborah’s solid but increasingly tired act, which still contains references to Anna Nicole Smith and men who leave the toilet seat up. (If some of Einbinder’s mannersims and cadences seem vaguely familiar to longtime comedy fans, it might be because the stand-up comic is the daughter of original “Saturday Night Live” cast member Laraine Newman.)

Jean Smart stars as Deborah Vance in “Hacks.”

She plays a Vegas superstar in need of some fresh jokes in fantastically funny HBO Max series and premieres two episodes on May 13, 2021.

Showrunners Paul W. Downs, Lucia Aniella and Jen Statsky have created an instantly addictive, bitingly hilarious situation comedy — not a “sitcom,” with all the baggage that entails, but a genuinely laugh-producing show borne of admittedly exaggerated situations that still seem semi-plausible.

Einbinder’s Ava Daniels is an entitled, self-centered, sarcastic, Los Angeles-based 25-year-old who achieved a modicum of fame as an internet comic when she was just 20 but has hit a career roadblock after being “canceled” when she tweeted a snarky joke about a closeted politician. Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Smart’s Deborah Vance has set a record with 2,500 shows, is about to have a street named in her honor and has a giant billboard outside the Palmetto Casino, where she has headlined for years — but the casino’s owner, Marty (Christopher McDonald, doing that tanned and slimy villain thing he does so well), wants to bump Deborah’s Friday and Saturday shows in favor of an EDM act that recently won a televised talent show. Deborah’s punchline-oriented, well-worn routine still has the Florida tourists laughing, but she’s not cutting it with the next generation(s).

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Hmmmm, if only Deborah could be paired with a hipster comic a half-century her junior who’s desperately in need of work! As plot would have it, Deborah and Anv share an agent: Paul W. Downs’ Jimmy, who is what I like to call a Phone Character, in that at least half of the role consists of Jimmy working the phones, and Downs kills it with every line reading. Jimmy figures he can solve two clients’ problems with one move: Ava will drive to Vegas and work with Deborah and spice up her act with current-day humor, thus giving Ava work and making Deborah more relevant. What could possibly go … right?

Rotten Tomatoes has given “Hacks” a perfect 100% by critic reviews.

Smart and Einbinder are stunningly good together as Deborah and Ava clash in their initial meetings, most of which take place in Deborah’s obscenely huge mansion outside the Vegas Strip. Ava is so arrogant she didn’t bother to research Deborah’s career, which spans all the way back to the 1970s and includes a hit sitcom and a shot at making late-night talk show history that evaporated after a scandal, while Deborah rolls her eyes at Ava’s “woke” scolding and says Ava’s writing is just a bunch of random thoughts and observations with no structure. The two of them don’t realize, at least at first, how scathingly funny they both are when they go after one another.

Hannah Einbinder and Jean Smart spar in “Hacks” on HBO Max.

Ava Daniels (Hannah Einbinder), an edgy young comic whose career has stalled, is recruited to help make Deborah more relevant. HBO Max

This is the kind of show that’s brimming with interesting, funny and real supporting characters as well, from the aforementioned Marty the casino owner and Jimmy the agent to Deborah’s housekeeper, Josefina (Rose Abdoo); her COO, Marcus (Carl Clemons-Hopkins), and her troublesome grown daughter, DJ (the comedic force Kaitlin Olson from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”). Even when we take a subplot detour into the lives of the backup players, “Hacks” never loses its edge — but it’s when Smart and Einbinder have the floor to themselves that this show sparkles brighter than Deborah’s outfits under the Vegas spotlight. Sure, that line is a little hacky, but it’s the truth.

Hannah Einbinder and Jean Smart star in “Hacks” on HBO.

A 10-episode series presenting two new episodes each Thursday starting May 13 on HBO Max.

Smart and Einbinder are stunningly good together as Deborah and Ava clash in their initial meetings, most of which take place in Deborah’s obscenely huge mansion outside the Vegas Strip. Ava is so arrogant she didn’t bother to research Deborah’s career, which spans all the way back to the 1970s and includes a hit sitcom and a shot at making late-night talk show history that evaporated after a scandal, while Deborah rolls her eyes at Ava’s “woke” scolding and says Ava’s writing is just a bunch of random thoughts and observations with no structure. The two of them don’t realize, at least at first, how scathingly funny they both are when they go after one another.

                                                                                   

This is the kind of show that’s brimming with interesting, funny and real supporting characters as well, from the aforementioned Marty the casino owner and Jimmy the agent to Deborah’s housekeeper, Josefina (Rose Abdoo); her COO, Marcus (Carl Clemons-Hopkins), and her troublesome grown daughter, DJ (the comedic force Kaitlin Olson from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”). Even when we take a subplot detour into the lives of the backup players, “Hacks” never loses its edge — but it’s when Smart and Einbinder have the floor to themselves that this show sparkles brighter than Deborah’s outfits under the Vegas spotlight. Sure, that line is a little hacky, but it’s the truth.

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Smart and Einbinder are stunningly good together as Deborah and Ava clash in their initial meetings, most of which take place in Deborah’s obscenely huge mansion outside the Vegas Strip. Ava is so arrogant she didn’t bother to research Deborah’s career, which spans all the way back to the 1970s and includes a hit sitcom and a shot at making late-night talk show history that evaporated after a scandal, while Deborah rolls her eyes at Ava’s “woke” scolding and says Ava’s writing is just a bunch of random thoughts and observations with no structure. The two of them don’t realize, at least at first, how scathingly funny they both are when they go after one another.

                                                                                           

This is the kind of show that’s brimming with interesting, funny and real supporting characters as well, from the aforementioned Marty the casino owner and Jimmy the agent to Deborah’s housekeeper, Josefina (Rose Abdoo); her COO, Marcus (Carl Clemons-Hopkins), and her troublesome grown daughter, DJ (the comedic force Kaitlin Olson from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”). Even when we take a subplot detour into the lives of the backup players, “Hacks” never loses its edge — but it’s when Smart and Einbinder have the floor to themselves that this show sparkles brighter than Deborah’s outfits under the Vegas spotlight. Sure, that line is a little hacky, but it’s the truth.

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Cruella from Disney.

ENTERTAINMENT – Disney Releases “Cruella” Starring Emma Stone and Emma Thompson in May 28, 2021

“…Cruella is a live-action origin story about Cruella de Vil, the dog-napping villain from Disney’s 1961 classic 101 Dalmatians.”

Disney has released an overview on “Cruella,” their upcoming release (May 28, 2021) starring, ‘Academy Award (R) winner Emma Stone (“La La Land“) in an all-new live-action feature film about the rebellious early days of one of cinemas most notorious – and notoriously fashionable – villains, the legendary Cruella de Vil. This new and upcoming film release was brought to my attention by my notable friend, Donna Black. “Cruella,” which is set in 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, follows a young grifter named Estella, a clever and creative girl determined to make a name for herself with her designs.

She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets. One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute, played by two-time Oscar (R) winner Emma Thompson (“Howards End,” “Sense & Sensibility“). But their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.’

Parents need to know that Cruella is a live-action origin story about Cruella de Vil, the dog-napping villain from Disney’s 1961 classic 101 Dalmatians. Before she became known as the criminal with a savage affinity for dog-skin clothing, Estella de Vil (Emma Stone) was a young London-based fashion designer. As her obsession over dog furs — especially Dalmatians — continues to grow and consume her, she transforms into the ferocious villain known as Cruella de Vil. This dark retelling looks to have some scary parts, as well as mature themes, so parents of very young or sensitive kids who love 101 Dalmatians may want to preview this one first.

“The release of Disney’s Cruella trailer has broken the Internet, and fans on Twitter have a lot of different opinions and reactions to share!”

Screenrant reports on why “Cruella: Why Fans On Twitter Are So Divided Over The Trailer.” At present, there are no published reviews of the upcoming release. However, there seems to be a fair amount of controversy in social media on how Disney is approaching the telling of this story.

 

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The release of Disney’s Cruella trailer has broken the Internet, and fans on Twitter have a lot of different opinions and reactions to share! The release of Disney’s Cruella trailer has officially broken the Internet. Fans and non-fans alike have come together on social media to express their support and concerns about the movie’s May 2021 theatrical release. The 101 Dalmatians prequel is intended to give Cruella De Vil, one of Disney’s most infamous villains, her own origin story.

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This movie marks the third appearance of the character, who was first featured in the 1961 animated film One Hundred and One Dalmations, followed by the 1996 live-action remake. Although Emma Stone’s (Superbad) Cruella is giving a fresh, bold reimagining of the character, many Twitter users are divided about Disney’s casting choice and the film’s first trailer.

Just as Todd Phillips’ “Joker (2019)” follows failed comedian and recluse of Gotham City Arthur Fleck, Cruella digs deeper into the story of aspiring fashion designer Estella in 1970s London. However, fans are not understanding the hypocrisy of the the two films and their humanizing of their villain. Arthur Fleck commits murders of innocent humans in society while Estella does the same in turn towards animals. Even with this information, many users are showing acceptance for Arthur’s actions and rejection of Estella’s.

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Even in the most uncertain of times, fans are still hopeful that if Halloween 2021 happens, we will be seeing many Cruella impersonators out and about. Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) reinvention of Harley Quinn has been a staple Halloween costume since the release of Suicide Squad (2016). However, many feel that the new Cruella will take over as the most popular costume.

Many fans have spotted the similarities between DC Comic’s Harley Quinn and Disney’s Cruella. Although some are skeptical of the casting choice for the reimagined villain, others believe that Emma Stone will take the role and make it original enough to put the comparisons to rest. On the other hand, some Twitter users are loving the similarities to the eccentric Harley Quinn and have applauded Disney for creating their version of the anti-hero.

From their unbalanced energy to unapologetically leading a lavish, criminal lifestyle, both characters bring a new perspective of two beloved roles. Emma Stone has been a star power in Hollywood for years, but many fans feel that her take on Cruella makes her even more desirable. From her fashion-savvy looks in the trailer to her British accent narration, she has the full package. There were many actresses in the running to play Cruella, but Twitter users are content with Disney’s choice to cast the striking redhead as their lead.

Fans of the Joker film have felt strongly about the representation of Arthur Fleck versus Disney’s portrayal of Estella, to the point where they have analyzed his character traits to its core. DC Comic fanatics can attest to the Joker’s more relatable persona, emphasizing how he is still a real, relatable person with a psychotic mind. Cruella, however, is painted to be someone hard to feel any sympathy for.

In the mass tweets of Joker and Harley Quinn comparisons, there are the select few who want a completely different storyline for the villain. The ideas mentioned online are endless, with many wondering why the film industry is continuing to recycle the same stories instead of creating original pieces. A showdown with John Wick, for example, is a more appealing film plot instead of the origin story of a notorious villain.

Many past films have given audiences the backstory of iconic villain characters with prequels. Even knowing this, Twitter users are still fighting that Cruella De Vil is pure evil and never needed an explanation as to why she became who she is. Movies like Maleficent (2014) were praised by critics for their storytelling about the Mistress of Evil. Cruella has three months until its release, yet it seems questionable for some users as to why Disney even provided her backstory.

Ignorance of a new story is a common theme in Twittersphere, and some fans are speaking out about the constant comparisons to Joker. Supporters of Cruella have tried to spread positivity about the film without mentioning any past films in this subject area. However, it seems many non-fans can’t shake the Disney remake from their mind without associating it with Joker.

The concept of a “Lady Joker” has been trending on Twitter. This moniker has left many fans questioning where this came from and what it means. Comparisons to a male troubled character have left a bad taste in some users’ mouths, feeling that many viewers will not take Emma Stone’s Cruella interpretation seriously because she is a troubled female.

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ENTERTAINMENT – Luke Evans and Keith Allen Star in “The Pembrokeshire Murders,” an Arresting True Story, Splendidly Told

The opening scene introduced us to DCS Steve Wilkins (Luke Evans, above) meticulously ironing his shirts. This was, I think, to show us how methodical he is.

The Pembrokeshire Murders” airs on ITV network (viewed through Amazon Prime Video – BritBox) and stars Luke Evans and Keith Allen. The story focuses on unsolved double murders from the 1980s that cast a shadow over the work of the Dyfed Powys police force. ITV describes the three-episode series: “In 2006, newly promoted Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins decided to reopen both cases. Employing pioneering forensic methods, Wilkins and his handpicked team found microscopic DNA and fibres that potentially linked the murders to a string of burglaries committed in the 80s and 90s. The perpetrator of those robberies was nearing the end of his prison sentence, but if Steve Wilkins (Luke Evans) was right, he was also a serial killer…. Could Steve and his team find enough forensic evidence to charge their suspect before he was released to potentially kill again?”

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Britain’s Mail Online publication provides the specifics of how the case is laid out. This true-life crime drama The Pembrokeshire Murders is not a “who-dunn-it,” as audiences familiar with the case (specifically in Wales), knew who committed the crime, John Cooper (Keith Allen). The story was not even a “why-dunn-it,” as the UK audience knew why Cooper did it. He’s a psychopath, who enjoyed killing. The interesting question that arose was more of a “what-dunn-it,” and the concluding question for the police was: how do they prove “what-dunn-it” in fact?

 

John Cooper (Keith Allen) is the “who” in “The Pembrokeshire Murders: Miniseries (2021).”

Spoiler alert! The sawn-off shotgun. That’s “what-dunn-it.” But where’s the ‘golden nugget’ of forensic evidence that’s so desperately needed?

 

This was slowly, slowly, catchy, catchy as the detectives built their case – ‘Every contact leaves a trace… you just have to be clever enough to find it’ – but it was kept wonderfully taut over the three nights and also threw up an episode of the 1980s TV game show Bullseye.

DCS Steve Wilkins (Luke Evans) in “The Pembrokeshire Murders: Miniseries (2021).”

It just got more and more fascinating.

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The opening scene introduced us to DCS Steve Wilkins (Luke Evans) meticulously ironing his shirts. This was, I think, to show us how methodical he is, how he pays close attention to detail – and it meant we saw him in his underwear, which was fine.

Luke Evans in “The Pembrokeshire Murders: Miniseries (2021).”

It is Luke Evans, after all.

Anyway, it is 2006 and Wilkins has moved back to Wales from London and is about to reinvestigate the killing of Peter and Gwenda Dixon, shot and robbed on the coastal path in 1989.

Wilkins quickly connects that case to two others: a pair of siblings murdered at their farmhouse in 1985 and a violent attack on five teenagers in 1996, one of whom was raped. He’s on the hunt for a serial killer.

Enter John Cooper, again played by Keith Allen, an actor who practically has ‘sinister’ marker-penned across his forehead, whatever. Cooper is in prison for a number of burglaries but his modus operandi for those crimes was the same as that used for the killings: balaclava, gloves, sawn-off shotgun.

He was questioned about the murders but his wife, Pat (Caroline Berry), always provided alibis. We see Pat visiting Cooper in prison. He’s a right old charmer. As he ogles a pretty girl at another visiting table, he says to her: ‘You need to make more effort. You look like an old woman.’

She is obviously terrified of him. And interweaved carefully throughout is the unbelievably shocking and painful story of their son. Oh, boy.

Meanwhile, back at police HQ, the tension keeps mounting. Cooper is due for parole and Wilkins is convinced he’ll kill again if this is allowed. The powers that be are always threatening to close down the investigation.

So there’s all that hanging over Wilkins as he and his detectives sift though boxes and boxes of evidence, and because DNA testing is expensive, they must work out what to send to the lab via Cooper’s twitches when they interview him.

Cooper has an interesting way of dealing with questions he doesn’t like.

I can’t go into every detail here, if only because it would be “much-a-do-spoilery” if I did, but there’s a single thread from a sock, and a pair of khaki shorts, and Cooper’s appearance as a contestant on Bullseye a few weeks before the Dixons’ murder, which said something about his hair – this is weirdly important – and that sawn-off shotgun.

Every contact does leave a trace. And, ultimately, they were clever enough to find it. (You’ll have to watch to find out exactly where.)

This was elegantly well told, without sensationalism. There were no blood-splattering flashbacks, for instance. The only gratuitous scene was Evans in his “undercrackers” but, as already established, no one is going to object to that.

Instead, it was sombre and careful without ever being boring. Evans held it all together with not only his granite-like physicality but also a sense that, underneath, compassion ran deep.

The Wales coastline in “The Pembrokeshire Murders: Miniseries (2021)” is stunning. cinematography.

I should also add that, aside from Bullseye, the series also includes the line: “He always watches Wales Tonight.” Daily life is excellently portrayed and relatable to the community the series is focused on.

Source: ITV Network, BritBox, and Mail Online.

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Star Trek TNG Loud As A Whisper Episode.

ENTERTAINMENT – Vela Kurv Hears “Loud as a Whisper” on Star Trek TNG

Vela Kurv Academy School Log

This is truly a feat of significance for a leader of great resolve, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart).

In Star Trek The Next Generation‘s, “Loud As A Whisper” (Season 2, Episode 5), Captain Picard is tasked with ferrying a deaf mediator Riva (Howie Seago) to Solais V to negotiate an end to a civil war. Death finds its way to the mediator’s team but Picard’s practical tact of negotiation falls on Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis), who is able to persuade a grieving mediator to put aside his guilty arrogance and create a new means for negotiation, thus the prospect of settling a civil war. This is truly a feat of significance for a leader of great resolve, Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

The Enterprise brings a deaf negotiator to mediate the end of a planetary civil war.

From Memory Alpha: “The war-torn planet Solais V, desperate for peace, calls for the famous mediator Riva to hear their dispute. This man, being deaf, depends on his telepathic powers, and those of his three aides, to communicate with others. The USS Enterprise-D is dispatched to Ramatis III to bring Riva to the planet. Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Worf (Michael Dorm), and Deanna Troi are transported down to Ramatis III to pick up Riva.”

From Lorabella’s journals at the West Pipe Space Academy, before she becomes Vela Kurv

Prior to beaming down, Troi senses some discomfort from Worf. At first Worf denies it, but Troi insists and continues to press the issue. When Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Picard turn to inquire, Worf admits to some discomfort because of Riva. Picard understands and explains to the others that Riva had played a key role in negotiating several peace treaties between the Klingon Empire and the Federation.

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Worf tells the away team that before Riva, there was no Klingon word for “peacemaker.” When Picard, Worf, and Troi eventually materialize on Ramatis III, however, there is no one to be found.

Memory Alpha summarizes, “Worf, Riker, Riva and his chorus beam down to the site. Riva calls for a specific kind of table and torches from the Enterprise to set the stage, though the two factions arrive before they are beamed down. During this initial meeting, Riva tells the two factions that they have shown true courage by coming to this summit.

As Riva continues to speak, a rogue member of one of the factions suddenly opens fire at the negotiation team, missing Riva due to Riker’s interference but instead killing his whole chorus. The enraged leader of the faction instantly executes the rogue subordinate and quickly throws up his hands, pleading for them to stay. In the confusion, Riker orders immediate beam-out of Riva, along with himself and Worf.”

Riva decides that the best way to resolve the confrontation is for him to teach sign language to both factions, believing that as the factions learn to talk to him, they will also learn to talk to one another. The Enterprise leaves Riva on the planet to resolve the issue and carries on. Picard thanks Troi for her help with Riva and says that while she can read his thoughts, he wanted to tell her himself.

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Vanish on Amazon Prime Video.

ENTERTAINMENT – “Vanquish” Stars Morgan Freeman and Ruby Rose on Amazon Prime Video

Morgan Freeman stars in Vanquish on Amazon Prime Video, just don’t expect a quality high drama in this film…

Amazon presents Morgan Freeman and Ruby Rose in Vanquish on Prime Video. Kicking the Seat explains his harsh perspective on the film. Though, his POV is much kinder that most of the critics that reviewed this film. From the director of Double Take, Middle Men, and The Poison Rose comes this stylish, glossy action-thriller starring Morgan Freeman (Se7en) and Ruby Rose (“Orange Is the New Black“) that shows what desperation can drive a person to do. A mother, Victoria (Rose), is trying to put her dark past as a Russian drug courier behind her, but retired cop Damon (Freeman) forces Victoria to do his bidding by holding her daughter hostage. Now, Victoria must use guns, guts, and a motorcycle to take out a series of violent gangsters — or she may never see her child again.

 

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As you may have gathered from its 6% Tomatometer score, George Gallo’s Vanquish is not a good movie. Repetitive, weirdly edited, and way too stagnant in the action department to warrant the pedigrees of its leads, the latest Lionsgate release is yet another reminder that the studio who once stood high on the shoulders of American Psycho and Saw is now mostly an ATM for the likes of Bruce Willis.

Ruby Rose stars in “Vanquish” on Amazon Prime Video.

Oftentimes nuance is just as key as context.

Even though I’m going to give the film a negative review (Spoiler!), it’s times like these when I wish there were a third category—maybe “overripe”. This might prompt readers scrolling through the myriad write-ups to stop and actually look past the negativity (or stop hate-reading the negativity).

The film stars Morgan Freeman as Damon, a retired corrupt police officer who had once been something of a hero cop (according to the headlines, at least). After having been paralyzed on a case, he now spends time idling about his incredible oceanside compound, tended to by his assistant, Victoria (Ruby Rose).

One night, Damon offers Victoria a job, using skills she’d buried in a traumatic past: he needs her to pick up several duffel bags full of cash from various unsavory characters around the city—a task for which she will be handsomely paid. She refuses. But before she can outright quit, Damon arranges for Victoria’s young daughter to be kidnapped.

The adventure begins.

Much as you might expect from Rose’s former role as TV’s Batwoman, Victoria’s night is full of encounters with colorful characters. At each stop in her mission, she battles crews ranging from gangbangers to crooked cops to flamboyant, coked-up trust-funders. There’s gunplay, fisticuffs, and a lot of riding around on the supercool motorcycle Damon has provided her (perhaps a cosmic nod to Freeman’s Lucius Fox character from elsewhere in the Bat-iverse).

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We’ve seen this all before, executed in a much slicker fashion, which makes the discount-John Wick exercise that much harder to connect with. From the embarrassing six-minute opening credits montage that (kinda) tells Damon’s story via the cheapest Word Press-looking newspaper headlines (all from “The Daily News”); to Victoria’s constant recollections of events that happened literally five minutes earlier; to night shots that look like they were color-timed with an “antifreeze” filter; to the script’s tired video game level structure in which the cut scenes are cut-and-paste returns to Damon’s house to drop off bags, Vanquish plays like a proof-of-concept animatic that was accidentally released to the public.

Told you Rotten Tomatoes gave it a lousy rating.

But the lousiness is only half the story. Nestled among the junk are a few bright spots that tease a movie very much worth watching—or at least taking more seriously than most reviews suggest.

Let’s start with Ruby Rose. Yes, she’s much more charismatic in the much better movie The Doorman, and I understand that one of the big criticisms of her in this film is her total lack of affect. But her flatness didn’t bother me. Victoria is a character whose entire world is turned upside down within a matter of minutes, and she’s forced to resurrect deadly skills from a life she’d deliberately locked away.

She’s almost going through an hours-long out-of-body experience; you can see her wishing she was anywhere else, holding her daughter tight. It’s possible that expression could be attributed to Rose herself, wanting to get the shoot over with. In this case, though, it’s perfectly safe to err on the side of “right for the character”.

Here’s why Vanquish is, for me, actually a soft recommend.

This detached demeanor also serves the film well in a scene where Victoria gets jacked up on a large amount of cocaine. It’s a positively bonkers sequence that made me pine for a Crank sequel/spinoff/reboot with Rose stepping in for Jason Statham.

(For the record, Morgan Freeman looks like he’s legitimately half-awake. If I didn’t know better, I’d think Gallo and his crew broke into the elderly actor’s house at 3am to shoot some scenes, and convinced him he’d believe the whole thing was a dream the next morning.)

The next gem in Vanquish’s warped crown is Patrick Muldoon. If you only know him as the guy who broke up Zack and Kelly on Saved By the Bell, this performance will be a revelation. As the crooked fed conspiring with a gaggle of lowlife cops against Damon, he imbues the part with reptilian cool. He’s like the smarter, darker little brother of Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction, complete with that floppy wisp of a ponytail.

I will say that the resolution is odd but lovely…

Finally, I’ve got to give Gallo credit for imbuing his pseudo-shoot-’em-up with a remarkable twist—which, in good conscience, I can’t give away. Others may have spoiled the outcome of Victoria’s night from hell, and I invite you to look for spoilers elsewhere (if the thought of sitting through Vanquish is just too much to bear). I will say that the resolution is odd but lovely, and I would welcome another filmmaker stealing this twist and incorporating it into much stronger material.

I’m dancing around a turn of events so surprising (to me) that it redeems Vanquish as a concept, and almost as a movie; just not enough to rate it as “fresh”, which makes me feel kind of rotten.

Source: Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon Prime Video, and Kicking the Seat

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