The Umbrella Academy(“TUA”)is an American superhero web television series based on the comic book series of the same name written by Gerard Way. Created for Netflix by Steve Blackman and developed by Jeremy Slater. The series is produced by Borderline Entertainment, Dark Horse Entertainment, and Universal Cable Productions. I’m glad I stuck with this series long enough to find out that this Academy is well worth seeing.
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The Umbrella Academy revolves around a dysfunctional family of adopted sibling superheroes who reunite to solve the mystery of their father’s death and the threat of an impending apocalypse. On October 1, 1989, 43 women around the world gave birth simultaneously, despite none of them showing any signs of pregnancy until the day when labor began, then birth. Seven of the children are then adopted by eccentric billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves / The Monocle (Colm Feore), and turned into a superhero team that he calls “The Umbrella Academy.” Hargreeves names the children numbers rather than names however, they all carry the last name of Hargreeves. The children are eventually named by Grace (Jordan-Claire Robbins), their robot-mother as follows: Luther (Tom Hopper) / young Luther (Cameron Brodeur), Diego (David Castañeda) / young Diego (Blake Talabis), Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) / teenage Allison (Eden Cupid) / 4-year-old Allison (Jordana Blake), Klaus (Robert Sheehan) / young Klaus (Dante Albidone), Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) / Adult Number Five (Jim Watson) / Elderly Number Five (Sean Sullivan), who is never assigned a real name, Ben (Justin H. Min) / young Ben (Ethan Hwang), and Vanya (Ellen Page), Young teenage Vanya (T. J. McGibbon), 4-Year-old Vanya (Alyssa Gervasi). While putting six of his children to work fighting crime, Sir Reginald keeps Vanya apart from her siblings because she supposedly demonstrates no powers of her own.
In the present day,Luther (aka “Spaceboy” was formally Number One) — he is an astronaut with super strength who has lived on the moon for four years and is also part ape.Diego (aka “The Kraken” was formally Number Two) — he has become a vigilante with a knack for getting into trouble and can curve the trajectory of anything he throws.Allison (aka “The Rumor” was formally Number Three) — she is a famous actress with the ability to control minds and bend reality by saying “I heard a rumor…”.Klaus (aka “The Séance” was formally Number Four) — he has a drug and alcohol addiction and is able to communicate with the dead.Number Five (aka “The Boy” continues to be called Number Five) — he has the ability to time travel.Ben (aka “The Horror” was formally Number Six) — he is deceased and a ghost who can only converse with Klaus. Vanya (aka “The White Violin” was formally Number Seven) — she is a classic violinist with an ability TBA.
The estranged siblings learned that their father, Sir Reginald has died, so they gathered for his funeral. Number Five returns from the future, chased by time-traveling operatives and reveals that a global apocalypse is imminent. Meanwhile, the reunited siblings try to uncover the secret of their dysfunctional family as they experience disconnect and chaos due to their divergent personalities and abilities.
I really loved this unusual Marvel series. It showed diversity, excitement, humor, action, and mystery. Kudos to the writer and director for this entertaining story of mayhem and pandemonium. The Umbrella Academy has turned out to be one of the best series I’ve seen in months. The reason I really enjoy Marvel, DC, and other superhero movies is acceptance, as they allow me and people like me to enjoy the fruits of our imaginations without any judgment. These types of movies/series are “oh so entertaining” and add to the number of good endorphins in one’s body. TUA is different because the focus is on the characters who all have powers, but they’re not overdone. There are so many surprising twists and turns and BTW, I dare you to predict where this plot is going. TUA is funny, I mean hilariously funny and suspenseful. Each character has his or her own story and each story shares its personal version of funny and mystery. It may take you a couple of episodes to really delve into the characters, but once you do, TOTAL ADDICTION! Intriguing is 43 babies born to 43 women on the same day, all over the world. What makes this different is the women were NEVER PREGNANT until the time of birth. No nine months, no prenatal care, no sex, just a sudden baby-filled-womb on the day of birth — ready, set, baby. This should be enough to lure you in, it certainly got me. The series was filmed in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario. The first season was released on Netflix on February 15, 2019. In April 2019, Netflix reported that 45 million households had watched season one during its first month of release. That same month, the series was renewed for a second season, which was released on July 31, 2020. Watch both seasons of TUA, which received positive reviews from critics on Netflix — Check It Out!
The Finest Hours is the first movie released in 2016 that I’ve reviewed. It is also one of many new movies based on a true story, which I found to be pretty good. If you enjoyed “The Perfect Storm”, then chances are, you’ll also like “The Finest Hours”. Handsome Chris Pine plays Bernard “Bernie” Webber, who falls in love with Miriam Pentinen Webber (Holliday Grainger). Bernie is a crewman at the Coast Guard station in Chatham, MA on Cape Cod. The new Chief Warrant Officer, Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana) is new to the station and is making questionable decisions. After learning that an oil tanker was split in half somewhere off the Chatham coast, as a result of the current nor’ easter, Daniel sends Bernie and his crew out on a suicide mission to rescue the damaged oil tanker (SS Pendleton). After picking his crew, Engineman Third Class: Andrew Fitzgerald (Kyle Gallner), Seaman: Ervin Maske (John Magaro) and Seaman: Richard P. Livesey (Ben Foster), they head off into one of the worse storms they’ve encountered as a rescue team. Adding to an already bad situation, Bernie’s lifeboat (CG 36500) was not adequate to make it over the bar in the current storm or large enough to rescue the oil tanker.
The Finest Hours is an emotional thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat with tears rolling with the waves and a new respect for the coast guard. The year was 1952 and technology was not what it is today. On the way to the rescue, the CG 36500 lost it’s compass, making it almost impossible to find anything. I loved the way the movie was filmed, showing the problems on each side of the rescue, simultaneously. Many of the scenes focused on Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) who was so devoted to the SS Pendleton, he was able to keep it afloat despite one half of the ship was missing. There are many lessons to be learned, both on land and at sea. Of course there were a lot more problems than mentioned in this review but as usual, I don’t want to spoil the movie by telling all. I recommend The Finest Hours and think you’ll enjoy it whether you elect to see it in 3D or 2D/standard format. BTW: The real Bernie Webber and his crew received the Gold Lifesaving Medal for their rescue efforts, which was a great honor.
The Big Short is a brilliant piece of film work. To keep excitement, interest and focus on financials from so many different perspectives for 128 minutes in not easy. The Big Short played like a well oiled machine. Each player was like a detective unraveling a case and there were many players. In 2005, Michael Burry (Christian Bale) noticed the US housing market was very unstable because of subprime loans based on high risk, providing very few returns. He predicted that the market would collapse around the second quarter of 2007 but he also realized he could profit from the situation by creating a credit default swap market that would allow him to bet against the housing market. He went to several banks and successfully sold his idea. However, his clients felt he was wasting their money and demanded that he cease all activities plus return their money but Burry refused. As tempers heated, Burry placed a moratorium on withdrawals, which made his investors even more angry. The market did indeed collapse as Burry predicted and he produced 489% profits from his plan.
Trader, Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) hears of Burry’s actions so he decides to put his own plan into something call the credit default swap market. In turn Hedge Fund Manager, Mark Baum (Steve Carell) joins Vennett. Together they discover the collapse is being further perpetuated by the sale of CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) that are pretty much worth nothing but dishonestly AAA rated. After attending the American Securitization Forum in Las Vegas, Mark finds synthetic CDOs have now entered into the market, which will render the market completely helpless at the banks’ expense, so he decides to go through with the credit default swaps to make a bundle for himself while the economy goes belly up.
Two young investors, Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) discover a paper by Vennett that leads them to become involved with the credit default swaps. Because they fall short of an ISDA, they had to turn to a friend and retired banker, Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) to help them pull off all they would need to be successful in this endeavor. Together they attended the mortgage securities forum in Las Vegas and made lots of deals. The two were never happier to make deals that would result in making them super rich but bring the economy to its knees at the same time. Rickert wasn’t happy but didn’t pull out either. Brad Pitt’s performance was phenomenal.
The Big Short is a fast moving film that really says it all when it came to the endless financial corruption that ran rampart during the end of the Bush Administration. I don’t feel anyone paid enough for all the crime that happened. So many innocent people lost everything and some even lost their lives. The Big Short really told it like it was. The acting was fantastic. I enjoyed the movie and recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind getting upset at how easily these guys manipulated the US economy.
[THE BIG SHORT is nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Film Editing and Adapted Screenplay]