‘Petite Maman’ Proves Once Again: Twins Rule!

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Petite Maman (CREDIT: NEON)

Starring: Joséphine Sanz, Gabrielle Sanz, Stéphane Varupenne, Nina Meurisse, Margo Abascal

Director: Céline Sciamma

Running Time: 72 Minutes

Rating: Unrated

Release Date: April 22, 2022 (Theaters)

I would love to have twins in my family. I guess it’s too late for me to have my own twin, but there’s still time for me to potentially be a father to twins. Maybe I’ll take a cue from Roger Federer and his wife and aim for two sets of twins!

Petite Maman doesn’t feature any twins among its characters, but its cast does feature a central twin pair. And while little Joséphine and Gabrielle Sanz aren’t playing sisters, they sure couldn’t hide their sisterly energy. Nor should they have! What a lovely fairy tale.

Grade: 2 out of 2 Twins Playing Non-Twins

Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Selena Gomez/Post Malone

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SNL: Bowen Yang, Selena Gomez, Aidy Bryant, Post Malone (CREDIT: NBC/Screenshot)

Uh-oh, Selena Gomez is finally a Saturday Night Live host! I don’t know why I said “uh-oh,” it’s not like this is bad news. I guess it just felt like a fun way to introduce my review. Hopefully I can maintain that much fun throughout the entire review!

You may have heard that the musical guest of this episode is Post Malone, and hey, my last name is also “Malone”! So here’s what I’ve decided to do: list each sketch alphabetically according to the last name (or stage name) of the first person to speak (or sing, in the case of musical performances) on screen. (So no narrators, because it can get a little tricky in that zone.)

Here it goes again!

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Mini-Episode: Aunt Beth Tells Jeff to Watch ‘Pushing Daisies’

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Aunt Beth tells Jeff to stuff Pushing Daisies down his Pie Hole. Also, some thoughts on Top Gun: Maverick.

Does the Latest ‘Firestarter’ Light a Fire? Let’s Find Out!

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Firestarter 2022 (CREDIT: Ken Woroner/Universal Pictures)

Starring: Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Zac Efron, Sydney Lemmon, Kurtwood Smith, John Beasley, Michael Greyeyes, Gloria Reuben

Director: Keith Thomas

Running Time: 94 Minutes

Rating: R for Bloody Eyes and Third Degree Burns

Release Date: May 13, 2022 (Theaters and Peacock)

If you’re in the mood for a movie but every version of yourself has already seen Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, maybe you’re looking to try something new. Perhaps, maybe, quite possibly, you’re considering the latest version of Firestarter, based on the 1980 Stephen King novel, which was previously adapted in 1984 with a young Drew Barrymore as the titular pyrokinetic. Now newcomer Ryan Kiera Armstrong is the one summoning the flames, and you might be wondering just how combustible she is. It is Friday the 13th, after all. And as it is also 2022, you have options for where to get spooked. So join me as we journey to determine if you should check out Firestarter on the big screen, stream it on Peacock, or do something else entirely.

First of all, I’ll point out that I watched this movie at home on my couch via a pre-release screener link. That’s not my ideal scenario, as I always prefer to see movies in the theater no matter what movie it is, but it did help clarify what I was missing out on. In particular, there’s the sense of being enveloped, and that’s especially important in this case, because the best thing about this movie is its original score from John Carpenter along with his son Cody and frequent collaborator Daniel Davies. Carpenter may have stopped directing, but he can still deliver those classic synth vibes to transport us to another dimension like nobody’s business. Hearing his new compositions at home gave me a nice buzz for an hour or so, but if they had been pumped into my subconscious on the surround sound, they probably would have left me thrumming for at least a week.

In favor of the at-home option is of course the convenience and affordability angle, and if you weren’t a Peacock subscriber already, you might even discover that it’s home to some pretty great shows. Not to mention that the original Firestarter is also available there currently, so you can easily jump back in time 38 years ago for comparison’s sake. Of course, there are always the distractions inherent to watching at home, and I can’t say that I found this new Firestarter particularly compelling, Armstrong’s best efforts notwithstanding. In general, the cast is made up of devoted vets whom I’ve enjoyed in other things taking the material seriously, though they’re not done any favors by a workmanlike approach that doesn’t really attempt to reinvent the flame. But maybe the appeal of watching a movie like this at home is that it doesn’t have to be burdened by expectations. Instead, you can efficiently throw it on, pay as much attention as you want, and then cross it off of your to-do list of Taking the Pulse of Modern Horror.

Firestarter 2022 is Recommended to Watch in the Theater If You Like: To have the fullest possible experience of new John Carpenter music

Firestarter 2022 is Recommended to Watch on Peacock If You Like: Being an Efficient Completist

Grade: 2 out of 5 Incinerations

Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 5/13/22

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CREDIT: Prime Video/Screenshot

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Firestarter (Theaters and Peacock) – Related: Cheryl on Riverdale has always recently developed pyrokinesis.
On the Count of Three (Theaters and On Demand)
Pleasure (Theaters)

TV
The Kids in the Hall Season 6 (May 13 on Amazon Prime Video) – They’re back, and still Canadian.

Music
-The Black Keys, Dropout Boogie
-Florence + the Machine, Dance Fever
-Kendrick Lamar, Mr. Lamar & the Big Steppers
-Mandy Moore, In Real Life

Sports
-NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament (May 11-30 on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU)
-NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament (May 13-29 on ESPN, ESPU, and ESPN+)
-PGA Championship (May 19-22 on ESPN and CBS)

Doctor Movie Critic in the Review of Madness

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CREDIT: Marvel Entertaiment/Screenshot

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Xochitl Gomez, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Stuhlbarg

Director: Sam Raimi

Running Time: 126 Minutes

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: May 6, 2022 (Theaters)

So exactly how much multiverse and how much madness is there in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Honestly, there are other movies out there that are more multiversal, or madder, or both more multiversal and madder! But that’s okay, because this movie features a scene in which two Doctor Stranges fight each other with musical notes. And also Bruce Campbell punches himself a bunch of times. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Grade: Medium Rare Sami Raimi Energy

‘Pleasure’ Asks: What Happens When an Ambitious Swedish Girl Moves to L.A. to Take Her Clothes Off in Front of Cameras? Let’s Find Out!

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Pleasure (CREDIT: NEON)

Starring: Sofia Kappel, Revika Anne Reustle, Evelyn Claire, Chris Cock, Dana DeArmond, Kendra Spade, Jason Toler

Director: Ninja Thyberg

Running Time: 105 Minutes

Rating: Unrated (Because There’s No Way It Would’ve Gotten an R)

Release Date: May 13, 2022 (Theaters)

The most striking thing about the first half of Pleasure (besides all the full-frontal nudity) is the underlying message that work is work, no matter how much you love it. There are certain quotidian tasks on everyone’s to-do lists: keeping your books, texting your co-workers, getting the word out on social media, etc. Even if you have the most luxuriously hedonistic career in the world, you still have to take care of business. That’s what 20-year-old Linnéa (Sofia Kappel) discovers when she jets off from Sweden to Los Angeles and adopts the moniker “Bella Cherry” to become the biggest porn star in the world but then soon realizes that accomplishing that will involve hours spent scrolling through Instagram to increase her follower count. If that’s as bad as it goes for such a vulnerable pursuit, then that’s a pretty good deal. But then things get worse. But there’s also some hope that it might get better! It’s complicated.

If you’re wondering what drives Bella at a fundamental level … I wish I could tell you! It’s never clarified if she wants to be famous, or rich, or if she just likes having sex with as many as people as possible. Don’t get it twisted, though, as I’m not doubting her explanation. Her entire aura screams “Conviction!” But maybe she should take a closer look at herself, because when we first meet her as she’s shooting her first hardcore scene, she has a bit of a breakdown and almost doesn’t go through with it. Perhaps those were just Opening Day jitters, but it does ultimately prove to be a bit of a suffocating omen. Socrates is credited as saying, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” and Bella should’ve taken that advice to heart. It could’ve saved her a lot of strife.

When mainstream movies like this one come along to offer an unflinching portrayal of a taboo subject, they often get praised for their so-called “honesty.” To which I say: perhaps Pleasure is honest, to a certain extent. The cast is filled with plenty of veterans of the porn industry, after all. But even if it is truthful, I doubt that it’s also comprehensive. There are probably some folks who have had similar experiences as Bella’s, while others have surely had better ones, and still others had it much worse. Pleasure is the story of Bella Rose and nobody else. We’re all left to make of that what we will.

Pleasure is Recommended If You Like: Making private matters public

Grade: 3 out of 5 Climaxes

Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Benedict Cumberbatch/Arcade Fire

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SNL: Benedict Cumberbatch, Arcade Fire, Ego Nwodim (CREDIT: NBC/Screenshot)

It seems like whenever there’s a new Doctor Strange movie in the theaters, Benedict Cumberbatch is hosting Saturday Night Live. And it also seems like whenever Arcade Fire has new music, they’re performing it on SNL. Case in both of those points: this episode that I’m reviewing right now.

A few months ago, I listed the sketches in order of how many speaking/singing parts they had, most first. But I never did the reverse order! So that’s what I’m doing this time. A few points of clarification: narrators are counted, except for the introductions of Weekend Update and by Darrell Hammond during the monologue (since that’s more a part of the opening credits). The person introducing the musical guest IS counted for the musical performances, while backup singers generally aren’t counted if they only sing backup. Although in the case of Arcade Fire, it made sense to count Régine Chassagne’s vocals, since she gets enough of a spotlight. And for Weekend Update, the parts with guests are counted separately from the parts that are just Michael and Colin telling jokes. Got it? In that case … here we go!

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That’s Auntertainment! Karaoke Korner 29: Mother’s Day Edition

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Happy Mother’s Day! If you’re planning on singing with Mom, then listen to this episode!

Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 5/6/22

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The Pentaverate (CREDIT: Zoe Midford/Netflix)

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Theaters)

TV
The Pentaverate (Premiered May 5 on Netflix) – Mike Myers gets back to work.
Hacks Season 2 Premiere (May 12 on HBO Max)

Music
-Arcade Fire, We
-Soft Cell, Happiness Not Included

Sports
-Kentucky Derby (May 7 on NBC) – Would anyone like to make me a mint julep?

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