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!
Mudbound is an American period drama directed by Dee Rees and written by Rees and Virgil Williams, based on the novel of the same name by Hillary Jordan. Mudbound is a Netflix Original production. The film depicts two World War II veterans – one white, one black – who return to rural Mississippi each to address racism and PTSD in his own way. I never really wanted to see this movie because it just stirs up painful issues of yesterday, which I’ve seen enough of. However, I found Mudbound different from what I’m use to seeing — all history albeit redundant is significant, so I watched it, especially because Mudbound is Oscar nominated.
Henry McAllan (Jason Clarke) and his brother Jamie (Garrett Hedlund) struggle to bury their recently deceased father, Pappy (Jonathan Banks) during a rainstorm. When the coffin proves too heavy for the two of them, Henry flags the passing Jackson family for help, despite the obvious tension shared by both families.
The film then flashes back to 1939, when Henry buys a farm outside the fictional town of Marietta, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta, and moves there with his wife Laura (Carey Mulligan), with whom he shares a passionless marriage, their daughters and his racist father, Pappy. The Jackson family, led by tenant farmer Hap (Rob Morgan) and his wife Florence (Mary J. Blige), work the farm’s cotton fields and dream of owning their own block of land one day. As World War II begins, Jamie commissions to become an Army bomber pilot while the eldest Jackson boy, Ronsel (Jason Mitchell), enlists in the Infantry and commands a tank. While serving in Europe, Ronsel strikes up a romance with a white woman and enjoys relative freedom from racism.
Both families suffer the threat of poverty when the Jacksons’ mule has to be put down and Hap breaks his leg. Florence, who worked for the McAllans as a housekeeper, has to give up the job to help cover Hap’s work, and an unsympathetic Henry forces Hap to rent the McAllan’s mule, cutting his wages in half. Laura takes pity on the family and pays for Hap’s doctor.
When the war is won, both Ronsel and Jamie return home. The handsome and charming Jamie rekindles his attraction to Laura, but suffers from alcoholism, PTSD and the scorn of his father, who disparages air force bombing as “easy and anonymous killing”. Ronsel, on the other hand, is defiant when Pappy demands that he use the back door of a general store instead of the front door, because he is black. Henry warns Hap and Florence that Ronsel’s fiery streak could provoke problems for all involved if he does not keep it to himself, and Ronsel is forced to apologize.
As usual, I will stop here to avoid spoiling the rest of the movie. I thought Mudbound was interesting and had significant history. As hard as racial movies are to watch, it’s important to know what happened. This story has much more to offer so I recommend you take the time to watch it. Mudbound is streaming on Netflix and is also available on DVD and Blu-ray. Check it out.
NOTE: Rachel Morrison is the first woman ever nominated in the category of cinematography and Mary J. Blige became the first person to ever be nominated for an acting and song award during the same year.
[Mudbound is Oscar nominated for BEST: Supporting Actress, Original Song, Adapted Screenplay and Cinematography.]
Not only is this a feel good movie, it sends a powerful message of forgiveness and redemption. IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD! Having lived in Harlem the first 13 years of my life, I can attest to a village that didn’t allow children on the streets during school hours or back talk to adults or any type of disrespect to elders. Most parents disciplined their children and didn’t try to be their friends. Church was a way of life and teenage pregnancies were not celebrated. Black Nativity stars Jennifer Hudson as Naima, Forrest Whitaker as Reverend Cornell Cobbs, Angela Bassett as Aretha Cobbs, Mary J. Blige as the Angel, Tyrese Gibson as Loot and Jacob Latimore as Langston. I had no idea what to expect but boy was I pleasantly pleased. If you’re human, emotions will arise and hallelujahs will be shouted. A mother and son facing eviction is challenged to deal with their past in order to move forward in a positive way. Naima, a single mom, sends her only child, during the Christmas holidays, from from Maryland to Harlem, NY to live with grandparents he doesn’t know. Having mixed emotions about leaving his mom, Langston makes decisions based on his current circumstances. The music is outstanding, the singing superb and the acting by such a stellar cast, fantastic. While this film is a shoe in for Christians, I think everyone will agree, Black navitivy is good for anyone’s soul. I for one, have made plans to purchase this one for my library of exceptional movies.