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.
**** SOME SPOILERS BELOW ****
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 Irishman is an epic crime film directed and produced by Martin Scorsese. It is written by Steven Zaillian and based on the 2004 nonfiction book, I Heard You Paint Houses, by Charles Brandt. The film follows Frank Sheeran, a truck driver who becomes a hitman. The film includes Frank’s involvement with mobster Russell Bufalino and his crime family, plus his time working for the powerful Teamster, Jimmy Hoffa.
From a nursing home while sitting in his wheelchair, Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), an elderly World War II veteran, recounts his time as a hitman for a crime syndicate; during the 1950s in Philadelphia, Frank worked as a delivery truck driver. Seeing an opportunity to make extra money, he starts to sell some of the contents of his shipments to local gangster Felix “Skinny Razor” DiTullio (Bobby Cannavale).After his company accuses him of theft, union lawyer Bill Bufalino (Ray Romano) gets him off after Sheeran refuses to name his customers to the judge. Bill introduces Frank to his cousin Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci), who is head of the Northeastern Pennsylvania crime family. Frank begins to do small jobs for Russell and members of the local South Philadelphia underworld, including “painting houses,” a euphemism for murder. Soon, Russell introduces Frank to Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), head of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, who has financial ties with the Bufalino crime family and is struggling to deal with fellow rising Teamster Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano (Stephen Graham), as well as mounting pressure from the federal government. Hoffa becomes close with Frank and his family, especially his daughter Peggy (Anna Paquin), and Frank becomes Hoffa’s chief bodyguard, while on the road.
I’m not sure why The Irishman received so many Oscar nominations, I am sure of one thing, the movie was one of the longest movies I’ve seen in some time. I felt the last half hour of the movie could have been eliminated. It didn’t really contribute anything to the story. While De Niro (who was snubbed by the Academy), Pesci and Pacino are truly among the very best actors in Hollywood, they came off as pretty advanced, age-wise, for their familiar role of mob characters. In their defense, Scenes were filmed with a custom three-camera rig to help facilitate the extensive de-aging digital effects that made De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci appear younger. Having said that, The Irishman was well-acted, despite their ages and well told. However, the film was too long and at times, tad bit slow-paced. I almost feel as though we’ve seen it all when it comes to the topic of the mafia. With a production budget of $159 million and a runtime of 209 minutes, it is among the most expensive and longest films of Scorsese’s career. The film received critical acclaim, with particular praise for Scorsese’s direction and the performances of De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci. At the 77th Golden Globe Awards, The Irishman was nominated for five awards, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, while it earned 10 nominations at the 73rd British Academy Film Awards, including Best Film. The Irishman is now streaming on Netflix — Check It Out!
[THE IRISHMAN is Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, twice for Best Supporting Actor, followed by BEST: Cinematography, Film Editing, Production Design, Visual Effects, Adapted Screenplay, and Costume Design — TOTALLING 10 OSCAR NOMINATIONS]