TV, DVD and Movie Mewsings with his reviews of
The French Dispatch and The Beatles: Get Back!
(wearing his mewsual webmeowster attire): The French Dispatch
The Players: Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park, Owen Wilson, and Bill Murray.
The Director: Wes Anderson
Based upon The New Yorker, The French Dispatch mimics the magazine’s style in film format with the tale of a fictionalized newspaper printed out of Liberty, Kansas. It begins with the death of French Dispatch editor, Arthur Howitzer Jr (Anderson staple, Bill Murray). For a farewell issue, three stories are reissued along with a travelog and an obituary for the final edition. These stories make up the film’s plot.
Owen Wilson writes a travelog of Ennui, France.
The Concrete Masterpiece: Benicio del Toro plays a convicted murderer who paints a masterpiece.
Revisions to a Manifesto: Frances McDormand reports on student protests in France lead by Timothée Chalamet.
The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner: Jeffrey Wright is a food critic who becomes involved with a kidnapping and murder plot.
Finally, there is an obituary to the later editor, Bill Murray.
According to Wes Anderson, “[t]he story is not easy to explain …” He is correct. It is Anderson at his most meticulous, utilizing every trick in his arsenal, be it his regulars like Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson, miniatures, animation, music, playing with time, and the quintessential Wes Andersson ‘style’.
The French Dispatch is very much like reading through a New Yorker style magazine article, with its anthology style. If it lacks anything, it’s in the performances, which are impeccable per usual, but placed on the back burner for a bit of style over substance.
The Beatles: Get Back
(warning: there are spoilers!)
According to rock and roll myth, the Get Back sessions were a painful slog, filled with tension and argument that nearly led to physical confrontation. Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in 1969, the project was supposed to show the Beatles “get back” to recording together and end with a spectacular live performance. Instead, the project was shelved and ultimately the album, titled Let it Be, was produced by Phil Spector and released in 1970, about the time the Beatles themselves broke up.
For over 50 years, the Let it Be sessions supposedly told the painful story of the band’s break-up. This story was so ingrained into Beatle mythology, Peter Jackson, when approached by Apple to reconstruct Let it Be, needed to see the footage first before he could agree to anything. Jackson was approached for the project due to his astounding success with They Shall Not Grow Old, a 2018 WWI documentary that used sound and footage from the era.
What Jackson found surprised him. There were tensions, among the members of the band, yes, but more than anything there was fun and a rare glimpse inside the creative process of the greatest rock band in the world at the time. The Beatles: Get Back is narratively simple. The Beatles had three weeks to write, record and perform a collection of new songs for a television special and a later live performance.
At nearly eight hours, the documentary is split into three parts on Disney+. It stars John Lennon, Paul McCarntey, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr and Billy Preston. The restoration: The visuals from Get Back look like they were shot yesterday, not over 50 years ago. These crisp, colorful images of the band were accomplished through AI learning, which in itself was a feat. The music, however, was another matter.
In ‘69, the Beatles still recorded their rehearsals in mono and anyone who’s ever heard rare bootlegs of the session could attest that the sound quality was a mess. Jackson’s team created new AI learning tech that separated each instrument and vocal from the original mono recordings. The instruments and vocals separated, they could be cleaned up and enhanced to sound like a 21st century recording.
The Beatles: Get Back dispelled quite a few myths, but the docuseries conjured up a few key moments that only added to the Beatles mystique. Here are the top five takeaways from Get Back. (The rooftop concert has its own category).
#5. Lennon & McCartney: Whether they were joking around, playing music together, or arguing, it’s clear John and Paul had a brotherly connection. John was a rocker and Paul was a crooner, but seemingly different as oil and water, their friendship and love was on full display during Get Back. When Yoko came into the scene, that caused some friction between John and Paul, but there’s no evidence of it in Get Back. Yoko was just there.
#4. Ringo Starr: Ringo played the drums. Otherwise, he was pretty chill or bored. Mostly, he was just chill about everything and stayed out of what little bickering there was. He did play a little bit of Octopus’s Garden for Paul.
#3. George Harrison Quits: The biggest tension rose from George. Frustrated with being treated like a session musician by both John and Paul, he quit the band at the end early on and didn’t return until four days later. Paul did come across as a bit arrogant, but he’s also the only one who has any kind of professional work ethic. He wanted the band to succeed, but could tell where things were headed. George wanted to write his music. He earned that right, but still got pushed aside.
#2. Billy Breston: While on a visit to the band, (he was in the studio to record a television show) singer/songwriter Billy Preston was roped into playing piano for the group. He ended up staying for the remainder of the project. One could say, Preston saved the session by adding his unique sound, but it was his presence, his optimism, and his ever present smile that warmed up the group. The Beatles truly came alive once he joined.
#1. Paul McCartney conjured Get Back out of thin air: There was a moment in which McCartney strummed his bass like a guitar, searching for a hook or a rhythm. At first it’s meaningless wandering through cords, but then he hit something, changed it just a little and within a minute was singing the first line of Get Back. The song was still rough and had a long way to go, but there was enough there to mold into something memorable.
The Music: The Beatles were never the best musicians in the world. They didn’t have the best voices either. In fact, none of them could write music. What the Beatles had was the gift to make great rock and roll. In fact the foursome were happiest when they played old standards like Carl Perkins’ Blue Suede Shoes, Hank Williams’ You Win Again, Chuck Berry’s Rock ‘n Roll Music, Forty Days, and so on.
Their music began sloppily, almost punk rockish. The songs, even those fleshed out with lyrics, were just sketches. There is collaboration, mostly between John and Paul, but all the Beatles contribute. George worked on a line, “Attracts me like a …” but couldn‘t think how to end the line. John suggested ad libbing it.
He used “Attracts me like a cauliflower” until he landed on the right word.
That song was “Something”, which would appear on Abbey Road. The band tried each song out and culled the best out of dozens, then got to work. Mostly, it’s hard work with rehearsal after rehearsal after rehearsal. John later lamented that he should have nixed more of Paul’s songs had he been more involved.
The Rooftop Concert: Throughout the Get Back project, the Beatles planned to stage a TV show and an elaborate concert. The original idea was to go to Libya and perform in the ruins of the amphitheater in Sabratha. That idea was vetoed by George Harrison. Eventually, all the concert venue ideas fell apart until only one was left – the roof of Apple studios.
It was the first time the Beatles had performed live as a group in three years. It was the end of January in London and freezing, but the band played. Dozens stopped by to look and listen to the free concert. Most onlookers loved it. Others did not. The Beatles woke one disgruntled old lady up from her nap. Another gentleman commented that it was nice to get something free for once.
Here’s the line up: “Get Back” (short take), “Get Back” (take one), “Get Back” (take two), “Don’t Let Me Down” (take one), “I’ve Got a Feeling” (take one), “One After 909”, “Dig a Pony”, “I’ve Got a Feeling” (take two), “Don’t Let Me Down” (take two), and “Get Back” (take three). The concert lasted 45 minutes, and was the last time the band played together live.
And in the End… t’s hard to overstate the Beatles popularity in their heyday, (though an eight hour docuseries made 51 years after their break up does a pretty good job). The big business of nostalgia certainly played a role in their staying power. However, the Beatles have not been out of the public consciousness since they came on the scene in 1964.
What Peter Jackson did with director Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s material was nothing short of astonishing. He brought back the Beatles as they were in their own time. For the fans, that was the holy grail. Now I’ll turn The Mew over to Lizzy, who want’s to say a few words about
West Side Story.
Gosh, those reviews are going to be the tough acts to follow, as I really do only have the few words about Steven Speilberg’s remake of Robert Wise’s West Side Story movie, which of course was the cinematic adaptation of the broadway mewsical, which is basically a retelling of William Shakespear’s Romeo and Juliet, but set around 1960! However, the words I have in mind are all quite lofty the purraise, because I loved that movie!
The story, acting, singing, dancing, mewsic, cinematography, editing, directing, sets and locations are quite supurrb, and I think I purrfur Rachel Zegler more thna Natalie Wood as María! Compurred to Speilberg’s other movies, my top 10 favorites are still Raiders, Jaws, Close Encounters, Jurassic Park, ET, Purrivate Ryan, Duel, Lincoln, Schindler, and Tin Tin, but I would put West Side Story in the top 15! Nyow here is Vonny to discuss-
I think that recent holiday season was the good time for the mewicals, because I quite enjoyed the beautiful animated Disney movie Encanto, which purrtains to the mostly magickal family who live in the beautiful magickal house in the small town in Columbia, nya! However, there is the tense drama, when the non-magickal youngest daughter Mirable discovers certain poignant secrets about the family and the house, nya!
The movie was written and directed by Jared Bush (who co-directed Zootopia and wrote Moana), Byron Howard (who directed Bolt, Tangled and wrote Zootopia) and Charise Castro Smith, with the songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, Moana), nya! I loved the story, the characters, the house, the art, animation, voices, songs and mewsic, so I will give Encanto the “A” grade, nya! Nyow here is Nya-sensei to review
Spider-Man: No Way Home, nya!
Hai! I am purrticularly fond of the Marvel Cinematic Universe of movies and TV series starring The Avengers, The Defenders, The Guardians of the Galaxy, The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the many other meowrvelous heroes! last year was the good year for the MCU, with Black Widow, Shang-Chi, Eternals, WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Marvel Visions, Hawkeye, and I especially loved Spider-Man: No Way Home!
Immediately after the ending of Spider-Man: Far from Home, the lives of Peter Parker, his family and friends have gotten much more difficult since Spider-Man’s secret identity was revealed to the world. Peter hopes that Dr. Strange can magickally remedy this situation, but the plan goes awry and opens up a multiverse full of troubles, with surpurrise appurrances by several other heroes and villains, but that is all I will reveal of the plot!
This is purrobably my favoritest of all of the Spider-Man movies, with the great story, purrformances, locations, costumes, FX, sound and mewsic. It has the excellent balance of humor, drama, action, myth-making and character developments! I will give it the grade of the “A” as in Avengers, and if you go to see this movie, make sure to linger for the mid and post-credits scenes! That is all for our mvoie mewsings, and nyow here is sis to start
our collectibles and toy talk, with her review of the
Funko Pop! Bewitched Samantha Stephens vinyl figure!
Arigato! I love the comedic live-action TV shows starring the supurrnatural ladies such as I Dream of Jeannie, The Addams Family, Nanny and the Purrofessor, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Worst Witch, Twitches, and Wizards of Waverly Place but my all-time favoritest is Bewitched, the sitcom that aired on ABC TV from 1964 to 1972 and starred the meowgnifcient Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha Stephens!
Samantha was the beautiful,400 year old wise, fun, compassionate, powerful suburban housewife witch and mom who was married to her mortal human husband Darren who was the executive at an advertising agency. They had two children Tabitha (who later starred in her own spin off series) and Adam and resided in the lovely home at 1164 Morning Glory Circle in Westport, Connecticut, which Samantha’s witchy relatves often visited, much to Darren’s killjoyish dismay.
Although, to be fair, Samantha did not reveal that she was a witch until after they were married! He especially butted heads with her mom Endora, although in the later seasons they seemed the bit more tolerant towards each other. Darren was purrrtrayed by Dick York and late Dick Sargent, whereas Endora was purrtrayed by Agnes Morehead. By the way, there is a Funko Pop! Television, vinyl figure ( #791) of her too, but I have stray-catted off of the Samantha topic!
This figure of Samantha is #790 in Funko Pop’s line of TV show figures, with the typical cute super-deformed design of the oversized cartoonish head on the, tinier body cleverly capturing her smiling likeness as depicted in Bewitched’s animated opening titles sequence, in which she wears her Midnight Blue “flying suit” of the gown with sweatheart neckline, long sleeves and bias cut skirt, Black pumps and the pointy hat with the Red band to match the cape lining and broom stick!
She is purrched side-saddle upon the broom, and mounted upon the clear transpurrent base to depict her in flight! The sculpt and paint are darling, and convey her cheerfully peppy ambience! From the bottom of the base to the tip of her hat, the figure is 5.75” tall, packaged in clear plastic clamshell within the 3.5” x 4.5” x 6.25” cardboard box, and I have displayed it in the nook with the other dolls, statues and ornaments of Samantha! I am done, and nyow here is Myayr to discuss
Fortnite Victory Royale series Lynx action figure!
Hai!. Developed by Cary NC’s Epic Games (on the mainland about 150 miles Northeast of here) Fortnite is the extremely popular successful MMORPG of the battle royale genre for the various computer, console and mobile platforms. In the game, players can acquire costumes or “skins”, which are their character’s physical appurrrance, and some of the outfits are rarer ’n purricier than others.
Considered “legendary”, the Lynx skin is the young adult nekomimi (cat-eared) female appurrance, of which there have been several variants, including this sexy sleek kuroneko (black cat) look, which is embodied by this 6” action figure, which is part of Hasbro’s line of sepurrately-sold 1/6 scale Fortnite figures, which are intended for folks that are at least 8 years old, perhaps due to the small parts.
The Lynx design reminds me the bit of Purrincess Shuri’s fully-encapsulating Black Panther costume from the Marvel Comics, but with the bit more armoring, the tail, and Gray sleeves. I am very pleased with the meticulous qualiity of the figure’s faithful intricate design, sculpt and paint from her narrow White eyes, and the braided topknot coiffure to the variance of gloss and matte-finish parts.
She is very poseable, with the articulation in her neck, shoulders, uppur arms, elbows, wrists, abs, waist, hips, thighs, knees, ankles, and 3.75” tail. She is accessorized with the Burst Assault Rifle (a bullpup style SMG), the Scratchmark Harvesting Tool (a Sideways Scythe with the 3.75” scanth and 2” blade), and the cute the Stitches Back Bling backpack. The backpack can be plugged into her back.
She is balanced well-enough to stand up without requiring a display base (which is not included), but I recommend getting a base or a doll stand, if you want to pose her in dynamic stances or to dramatically wield the weapons. I am very pleased with Lynx, and I have displayed her upon the shelf next to my figures of other fighter catgirls such as Felicla, Cham Cham and Cheetara, Nyow here is Myayr to discuss the
My Little Pony Applejack Bishoujo Statue.
Hai! We love the My Little Pony animated series, the books, comics and toys, so we were thrilled to get this beautiful statue of Applejack, who was voiced by Ashleigh Ball, who also voiced Rainbow Dash in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and in the Equestria Girls spin-offs! Actually this 1/7 scale statue by Kotobukiya includes both the pony version and the human version of Applejack, the latter based upon her Equestria Girls purrsona!
Made of the PVC and ABS, this genki purretty statue was designed by Shunya Yamashita; the pony was meticulously sculpted by Yuzo and the bishy human girl was sculpted by Takahi! The sitting pony measures 1 1/2” high at the withers or 3 1/2” high from bottom of hooves to top of the mane; whilst the bishy human girl would measure 7” If she was standing flat – footed. Including her stetson and half-inch boot heels, she is 8” tall
Including the affixed 1/4” thick 4” diameter circular base, the statue is about 8 1/4” tall overall. With the SRP of $109.99 US or 12,000 JPY, it is
packaged in clear plastic clamshell within the colorful 6” x 6 1/8” x 10 3/4” box, which has windows and purretty art on the sides.
Posed smiling with her left hand upon her left hip and her right hand raised to tlp her tan stetson, she is so gorgeously designed, meticulously sculpted & painted!
The details are exquisite from her bright Green eyes, open-mouth smile, the lush strands of her hip-length Blond hair, and her
to the intricate creases, wrinkles, folds, stitches, snaps and seams of herWhite tee shirt, knotted Pink flannel blouse, ruffled short denim skirt, and knee-high cowboy boots! The three-apple Cutie Mark adorns her left rear pocket, and that motif is continued into the stitching of the boots!
The pony is also quite splendidly meticulous, from the lushly-sculpted eyelashes, the painted gleam of her large winking expurression, and he white freckles on her cheeks, to the tilted widdle stetson, and the red ribbon on her mane and tail that match the Cutie Marks upon her rear flanks, so I will give the statue the high purraise grade of the “A” as in Applebuck! Nyow I will turn The Mew over to Tara-chan, who will start our
purrinted – media mewsings, with her review
of Goosebumps: Secrets of the Swamp, nya!
Arrigato, nya! I love the spooky fun Goosebumps series of purrose novels and – and graphic novels, so I was eager to get this full color 120 page 9” x 6.75” trade paerback which was published by IDW, which reprints the 5 issue miniseries, which was written by Marieke Jijkamp, illustrated by Yasmin Flores Montanez, colored by Rebecca Nalty, and – and lettered by Danny Djeljosevic, with the front cover art by Clara Meath colored by DJ Chavis. This was also the front cover art for issue #2, nya.
The series editors were Elizabeth Brei and – and Chase W. Marotz, whereas this collection’s editors were Alonzo Simon and – and Zac Boone, with the collection’s design by Jessica Gonzales, nya The book has the cover art gallery which includes all five covers by Clara & DJ and – and the variant covers by Bill Underwood, so it is the excellently beautifully affordable way to acquire the complete tale and – and art, purriced $12.99 in the USA and- and $16.99 in Canada, nya! Nyow for the non-spoiler taste of the plot, nya!
Twelve year old Blake is the video gamer girl with the prosthetic left hand who is spending the summertime with her aunt who lives near the swamp, nya, She meets Lily who plays the same fantasy MMORPG, and – and they decide to embark on an adventurous LARP through the woods in which Blake befriends a girl named Cara, whose family is feuding with Lily’s, nya. Blake expected the most dangerous critters she’ would encounter would be bugs, but soon she is chased by werewolves, nya!
She finds herself in the real-life adventure, but it is not clear who the real monster are- the werewolves or the humans who hunt them, nya. I should not reveal more of the plot, so nyow I will render my verdict, nya! I thought thtat this was such the captivating all-ages tale with the fascinating, well-developed characters in the fun, spooky, poignant, bittersweet situation, with the beautiful characters and scenic art and – and wonderful graphic narrative techniques, so I will give it the A grade, nya! Nyow here is Mie-sensei to tell u about the
Charles Vess Landscapes of the Faerie 2002 Calendar, nya!
Arigato, Tara-chan! Arranged by Didi Peterson, published by Blue Door Garden and printed on matte-finish thick recycled paper in Abindgdon VA, this spiral – bound 11×17” wall calendar is limited to just 1,000 copies that were signed by Charles Vess https://greenmanpress.com, who is one of the world’s greatest and friendliest artists, fur shur!
So like, Each of the calendar’s 14 leaves is one-sided and includes a magnificent color illustration above the date grid, which includes an additional tiny widdle B&W illustration, the moon phases, the sabots, and the birthdays of some other famous artists! I see that Charles Vess and Maurice Sendak were both born on June 10th!
The (signed) front cover and February’s image is “The Faery Reel” (2003), January’s image is “A Peaceable Kingdom” (2009), and March’s image to herald the Vernal Equinox is “Sunrise & Moonset Bookend the Morning Sky” (2015)! April’s is “The Spring Prince” (2015), May’s is “The Cats of Tanglewood Forest” (2011)!
With the Summer Solstice in June, that month’s image is “The Summer King and His Bride pf Flowers ( 2015), July’s is “Water Child” (2009), and Augusts’s is “Gathering the World” (2013)! Ushering in the Autumnal Equinox, September’s image is “The Corn King” (2000), and October’s is “A Bounty of Apples” (2009)!
The image for November 2022 is “The Reconciliation of The Sun and The Moon” (2011), for the Winter Solstice, December’s image is “Let There be Peace” (2018), and to conclude the calendar is the back cover page which has information about Mr. Vess, the calendar and its 12 totally awesome color images!
The leaves do not have drill holes, but included cleverly in the sturdy cardboard shipping box is the 31” strand of home-spun yarn, which can be threaded through the spiral binding coil, in order to hang the calendar. You might wish to use a crochet hook for that! I will give this calendar the “A” as in Abingdon, fur shur! Now here is Mike to discuss
The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge!
Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed someone building a science fiction theme park, and having been so impressed the lavish quality of Walt Disney World, it seemed only natural thay would be the ones to do such a thing. As much as I adored the park’s Tomorrow Land and EPCOT, I hoped for something even more… oh, immersive… and when I heard that Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, I immediately hoped they’d build a Star Wars park.
Gosh, that was 10 years ago… and sure enough in the fall of 2019, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened at Disney land in Annaheim, California and at Disney World in Orlando, Florida! Some friends of mine have been there (and even bought me a lovely Lolth Cat plushy), but I haven’t been able to attend Galaxy’s Edge yet. However, I was at ;east able to purchase this dustjacketed 11 5/8 x 10 3/4 x 1” coffee table book about the place!
Published by Abrams and written by Ratcliffe with an introduction by Scott Trowbridge (the Imagineering executive in charge of Galaxy’s Edge), this full – color 256 page hardcover book by nearly 100 contributors is an extremely in-depth look at the design of the park, brimming with hundreds of images, including quite a few full page illustrations, 1.5 page illustrations and two-page spreads of the park that puts visitors on the galactic rim (while still on Earth, of course)!
he park has a scenario that visitors have wound up at the Black Spire Outpost on the frontier planet Batuu, sometime between the events of Star Wars Episode VIII The Last Jedi and Star Wars Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker, so the park’s guests will interact with characters from The First Order, The Resistance, various traders, smugglers, and so forth. Oh, and there’s a full-size replica of The Millennium Falcon, among the various vehicle parked there!
Many of the park’s landcaping, architecture, mecha, creaturesm charcters, costumes, props, and graphics are examined, including the forthcoming Disney hotel in the guise of the Corellian Star Cruiser Hacyon! Like other art books about the Star Wars movies and TV series, this’un’s a very informative, entertaining, impressive, beautiful read, which i will give an “A” as in Ahsoka! Ah, that’ll conclude our reviews, and now it’s time to hear about the latest
additions to the Catgirl Island Mewseum of Art!