Lisa’s Week In Review: 11/18/19 — 11/24/19

Everyone be sure to wish a happy birthday to my sister and the TSL’s Arts Editor, our own Dazzling Erin …. ERIN NICOLE!  Happy birthday, Erin!

Can you believe that 2019 is almost over?  Only a week a month to go!

Here’s what I did this week!

Films That I Watched:

  1. American Relapse (2019)
  2. Crawl (2019)
  3. Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops (2019)
  4. Frozen II (2019)
  5. Grambling’s White Tiger (1982)
  6. Judgment (2001)
  7. Left Behind: The Movie (2000)
  8. Left Behind II: Tribulation Force (2002)
  9. Left Behind III; World At War (2005)
  10. Roman Holiday (1953)
  11. She Gods of Shark Reef (1958)
  12. Tribulation (2000)
  13. Women of Valor (1986)

Television Shows That I Watched:

  1. 9-1-1
  2. Beverly Hills 90210
  3. The Brady Bunch
  4. Cheers
  5. Dancing With The Stars
  6. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
  7. M*A*S*H
  8. Mrs. Fletcher
  9. Saved By The Bell: The College Years
  10. Seinfeld
  11. Silicon Valley
  12. Survivor 39
  13. The Voice
  14. WKRP in Cincinnati

Books I Read:

  1. Final Analysis: The Untold Story of the Susan Polk Murder Case (2007) by Catherine Crier

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Avril Lavigne
  2. Big Data
  3. Britney Spears
  4. The Chemical Brothers
  5. DJ Shadow
  6. Flume
  7. Kedr Livanskiy
  8. Muse
  9. Patti Smith
  10. P!nk
  11. Regina Spektor
  12. Saint Motel
  13. Sia
  14. Terror Jr.

Links from Last Week:

  1. Kickin’ The Willy Bobo With…JOHN LINWOOD GRANT

News From Last Week:

  1. Chopping Mall streaming for 24 hours on Black Friday November 29th 2019
  2. Courtney B. Vance Named President of SAG-AFTRA Foundation
  3. Julia Roberts was suggested to play Harriet Tubman by studio exec, says Harriet screenwriter

Links From The Site:

  1. Erin shared The Crimson Clue, Special Detective, Uncle Dynamite, New Detective Magazine, Snappy Romances, The Woman is Death, and Love-Hungry Doctor.
  2. Jeff shared music videos from The Pretenders and David Bowie!
  3. I shared music videos from Terror Jr, Flume, Kedr Livanskiy, DJ Shadow, and Muse! I shared the trailer for Spies in Disguise and I also shared the Independent Spirit Award Nominations!  I reviewed American Relapse, Ernie & John, Crawl, The Kitchen, and She Gods of Shark Reef!
  4. Ryan reviewed 2016-1960, Forlorn Toreador, and Key West Diary, along with sharing his weekly reading round-up!

More From Us:

  1. On her photography site, Erin Shared: Third Floor, Bank, Basketball, Communication, Down To The Track, Eat, and A Flower For Me!
  2. For the Reality TV Chat Blog, I reviewed the latest episode of Survivor!
  3. On my music site, I shared songs from DJ Shadow, Regina Spektor, Patti Smith, Britney Spears, Britney Spears again, French 79, and Avril Lavigne!
  4. On Pop Politics, Jeff shared Boomer Biden Won’t Legalize Marijuana, That Didn’t Take Long, I’m Not Watching, and What if A Candidate Drops Out And Nobody Notices!
  5. Ryan has a patreon!  You should consider subscribing to it!

Want to see what I did last week?  Click here!

Film Review: The Kitchen (dir by Andrea Berloff)

Eh.  Who cares?

I mean, seriously, do you understand what I mean?  Sometimes, you just see a film that leaves you feeling so indifferent that it’s a struggle to even think of anything to say about it.  That’s the way I feel about The Kitchen, which is neither bad enough to hatewatch nor good enough to recommend.  It’s a mediocre film, one that would be totally forgettable if not for a few remarkably inept choices made by the director and the cast.

Melissa McCarthy is Kathy Brennan.  Tiffany Haddish is Ruby O’Connell.  Elisabeth Moss is Claire Walsh.  The year is 1978 and all three of them live in the Hell’s Kitchen section of New York.  All three of them are also married to men who are involved with the Irish Mob.  When their husbands all get busted by the FBI and the new mob boss refuses to help the three women pay the bills, they team up and take over the neighborhood themselves.  With the help of their number one enforcer, Gabriel O’Malley (Domhnall Gleeson), the women prove that they can be even more ruthless than their husbands and their competitors.

And really, this should have been fun.  I’m all about girl power and I’m half-Irish.  If I was going to join the mob, I would definitely join the Irish Mob.  But, seriously, The Kitchen is not just a mess but it’s a dreadfully heavy-handed mess as well.  I knew that this film was going to suck as soon as James Brown started singing, “This is a man’s world,” over the opening credits because it was just such an obvious choice to go with.  To me, picking the song showed that the filmmakers weren’t really interested in giving too much thought to what the film was about.  Instead, they just said, “Hey, that’s a really on-the-nose choice!  Let’s go with it!”  About an hour later, Clare and Gabriel were making love while Carry On My Wayward Son blasted on the soundtrack and I found myself wondering if this film’s soundtrack was put together by listening to a random classic rock station and just jotting down the names of the first ten songs that were played.

Adding to the disappointing atmosphere of the film is a talented cast, everyone of whom appears to be acting in a different movie from everyone else.  Melissa McCarthy, for instance, gets all of the dramatic scenes but gives a comedic performance, one that feels like it’s been assembled from outtakes of the “awkward humor” bits of Ghostbusters.  Tiffany Haddish is ruthless but it’s a very one-note type of ruthlessness.  It gets boring after a while.  Elisabeth Moss gives the best performance out of the three but her character often seems to be pushed to the side.  Once Claire starts threatening to shoot people, you can tell that the film doesn’t know what to do with her.

You also have to feel bad for the supporting cast, all of whom deserve better than this film.  Annabella Sciorra plays a Mafia wife who walks up to the women in the middle of the street and tells them that they’re just like Gloria Steinem and, when she shows up, you can’t help but think that Sciorra would have been a better pick for the role of Kathy than Melissa McCarthy.  Then Common shows up as an FBI agent because, for some reason, Common always plays a member of law enforcement in films like this.  Margo Matindale gets a few good scenes as an Irish mafia matriarch but her character disappears from the film far too quickly.

It’s a mess of a film.  Kathy, Ruby, and Claire’s rise to power happens too abruptly to be credible and none of the subsequent betrayals make much sense.  Appropriately, for a gangster film, it’s violent but the violence is so repetitive that it gets a little bit dull after a while.  None of the characters are really memorable enough for their subsequent deaths to generate much of a reaction.  An hour into the film, you just find yourself thinking, “Oh, hey, that dude’s dead now.  Yay, I guess.”  Much like Captain Marvel, The Kitchen often seems to only be interested in girl power as a way to disguise the fact that the script kind of sucks.  I kept waiting for one of the male gangsters to shout, “The ancient prophecy said that I will be defeated by no man!,” just so Melissa McCarthy could respond, “Yes …. by no man!” It didn’t happen but maybe they’ll get around to it in the sequel.

Weekly Reading Round-Up : 11/17/2019 – 11/23/2019

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Another interesting assortment of new “number ones” this week, beginning with a Ditko redux, followed by a Kirby pastiche. Shall we step through to the other side and have a look? Let’s do that —

After kind of a staggered roll-out to the line, DC is hitting us over the head with one Black Label comic after another these days, sometimes with two or three books bearing the imprint’s logo coming out in a single week. The latest is  The Question : The Deaths Of Vic Sage #1, featuring a return of the “classic” iteration of the character, set in his home turf of Hub City. It’s just plain great too see Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz teaming up again on pencils and inks, respectively, their stylish noir as gritty as ever, and Chris Sotomayor’s colors are good enough to fool you into thinking they’re not fucking computerized, but damn…

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Kicking It Old-School With Elise Dietrich’s “Key West Diary”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

There’s nothing revolutionary, or even especially innovative, going on with Elise Dietrich’s recent (as of this November 2019 writing)  self-published mini Key West Diary — and, frankly, that’s one of the best things about it.

Over the years, autobio comics have undergone something of an evolution into memoir on the one hand, fist-person journalism/reportage on the other, but along the way something important’s been lost : something more personal, more isolated, more immediate. Which isn’t me bad-mouthing memoir or comics journalism in the least — quite the contrary, both are exciting “substrata” of the overall comic arts “foundation” — but the slice-of-life sans additional imperative, whether it comes in the form of a vignette or a longer-form story, sometimes feels as if it would be getting lost in the shuffle if it weren’t for the likes of Gabrielle Bell, John Porcellino, Jenny Zervakis, Keiler Roberts, et. al. keeping the torch…

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