I Made a ‘Decision to Leave’ My Apartment and Go See ‘The Woman King’ and ‘Amsterdam’

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2 Women, 1 King (CREDIT: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

The Woman King:

Starring: Thuso Mbedu, Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Jordan Bolger, Johyn Boyega, Hero Fiennes Tiffin

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Running Time: 135 Minutes

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: September 16, 2022 (Theaters)

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Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 10/21/22

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Shermy Sherm (CREDIT: IFC/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
The Banshees of Inisherin (Theaters)
Black Adam (Theaters)
Ticket to Paradise (Theaters)

TV
Doctor Who: “The Power of the Doctor” (October 23 on BBC America) – The end for Dr. Jodie Whittaker.
Sherman’s Showcase Season 2 Premiere (October 26 on IFC)
Tales of the Jedi Season 1 (October 26 on Disney+) – Star Wars Anthology

Music
-Arctic Monkeys, The Car
-Carly Rae Jepsen, The Loneliest Time
-Taylor Swift, Midnights
-Tegan and Sara, Crybaby

Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Jonathan Majors/Taylor Swift

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SNL: Bowen Yang, Taylor Swift, Jonathan Majors, Aidy Bryant (CREDIT: NBC/Screenshot)

In case this is the first of my SNL reviews you’re reading this season (or if you just need a refresher), I’ve been mixing up the order in which I list each sketch. This time, I’ve listed them in order of how long my notes were for each sketch, starting with the most notes. (You’ll have to trust me on this one.)

Anyway, Jonathan Majors was booked as the host, while Taylor Swift managed to be the musical guest. This is his first time entertaining us from Studio 8H, while she’s been here multiple times already. Maybe she gave him some advice.

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That’s Auntertainment! Karaoke Korner 15

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Jeff asked his cousin Brady and the rest of the Maryland Malones to provide him with a Karaoke Korner lineup, and boy, did they deliver…

Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 12/18/20

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

Movies
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (December 18 on Netflix) – Viola Davis plays the title role alongside Chadwick in his final role.

TV
American Dad! Holiday Episode (December 21 on TBS)
Jeopardy!: “Around the World with Alex” (December 21-January 1, check local listings) – 2 weeks of classic episodes of Alex presenting clues from across the globe.

Music
-Paul McCartney, McCartney III – Macca making more music.
-Taylor Swift, Evermore – This came out last week. Taylor keeps sneaking up on us with surprise releases.

Music Documentary
Excuse Me, I Love You (December 21 on Netflix) – Ariana Grande in concert, hurray!

Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 8/7/20

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MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: “The End is at Hand/What We’re Fighting For” (CREDIT: Mitch Haaseth/ABC)

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

TV
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Series Finale (August 12 on ABC)

Music
A couple of albums from the last few weeks whose releases snuck up on me:
-The Sloppy Boys, Paradiso
-Taylor Swift, Folklore

Best Musical Artists of the 2010s

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CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

One more list! One more list!

My Best of the 2010s list-making journey has finally come to a close! (Or has it? … For now, it has at least. The future will come as it may, and it may just surprise you, and me.) All this week, I’ve been posting my rankings of a few categories that I was inspired to put together after submitting them to a Best of the 2010s polls that I’m participating in with some of my fellow cultural aficionados. To wrap it all up, I guide you along to the realm of music and lyrics, as I present the Best Musical Artists of the 2010s.

My criteria was similar to that of my choices for Best Film Directors. I considered a combination of how much I enjoyed their musical output as well as how much – and how well – they influenced the industry at large.

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Best Songs of the 2010s

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CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

Of all the pieces of art and entertainment that I’m ranking for the decade, songs are probably the most personal. Yet somehow I feel compelled to consider how they affected the world at large moreso than all the other categories. The tunes that I value the most aren’t just the ones that make my own heart sing but also the ones that draw all of us closer together. So as I assembled this list, I asked myself both, “What has made me dance these past 10 years?” and “How would I like to dance with everyone else?” Here’s what that playlist looks like.
(I aimed to stick only to songs that were released as singles, as opening this to deep album cuts would’ve made things so overheated.)

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‘Cats’ is a Jellicle-Only Affair

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CREDIT: Universal Pictures

Starring: Francesca Hayward, James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Ray Winstone

Director: Tom Hooper

Running Time: 110 Minutes

Rating: PG for CGI’d Cat-People Lifting Their Legs Up Suggestively

Release Date: December 20, 2019

I admire the people who have made Cats, including all versions of the musical and this here film adaptation. The whole premise is thoroughly ridiculous, and all the little details only make it more so. So anyone who has given it their all at the Jellicle Ball has no time for the shame that such an enterprise might convey. That sort of pluck and resilience will get you far in life. It doesn’t necessarily make for good filmmaking, though. In this case, at least, it just transfers something truly baffling in one iteration into something just as baffling, in the same ways and more, in another medium.

The plot, such as it is, is immensely inconsequential, but it has something to do with new cat in town Victoria (Francesca Hayward) trying to find her place in cat society while devious cat Macavity (Idris Elba) plucks away his competition for the Jellicle Ball, which I’m pretty sure is some sort of talent show. Meanwhile, all the other cats prance about and sing their signature songs to let us know who they are. So far, so phantasmagorical. This could be appreciated as a bizarre theatrical extravaganza if the staging and choreography were decent. But director Tom Hooper has a way of shooting every scene that makes it feel like everything is so far away, even the close-ups. It confers an elusive nature that is the opposite of the extreme intimacy of high-frame rate, and thus it is difficult to connect with whatever emotional resonance the actors are able to summon. If something is going to be as unbelievable as this, it ought to also be unforgettable. Alas, Cats is just a piffle that my subconscious doesn’t even want to bother with.

Cats is Recommended If You Like: Thorough nonsense

Grade: 2 out of 5 Jellicles

Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Phoebe Waller-Bridge/Taylor Swift

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CREDIT: Rosalind O’Connor/NBC

For episode number dos of Season 45, we’ve got host Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who’s here to promote the fact that she’s a funny person, and musical guest Taylor Swift, who’s here to promote the news that she would like to have a long, decades-spanning career, thank you very much. I watched a couple of episodes of Fleabag this week, because it just felt right. Let’s get into the sketches!

For the cold opening, I made myself a plate of pancakes. I was finished with them before the end of the monologue! Anyway, as is so often the case, the opening sketch took place in Washington D.C., that kooky town. It’s in the Office of the Vice President (Grade: 2.5/5 Cabinet Members), and I guess the headline is that Matthew Broderick stopped by to play Mike Pompeo, but I’m most intrigued to know that Ben Carson is still employed by the White House. Then as promised, Phoebe Waller-Bridge strutted on stage to recite her Monologue (Grade: 3/5 Psychopaths), and it’s one of those “a lot of of you probably don’t know me, so here’s who I am” monologues, but based on the level of applause she received, I think a lot of people do know her. And on we go to the first of several recurring bits this episode that very, very closely repeat their original formula. Goofy game show What’s Wrong With This Picture (Grade: Infinity IGetTheJokes!) starts ridiculous, and remains ridiculous, then keeps being ridiculous! Sidenote: Kenan’s host character name, Elliott Pants, sounds like something that would have been right at home on All That.

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