Bookended by Cats was named after Milo and Otis. They are the short, orange, and furry brothers who, upon entering our lives in 2003, often bookended us on our couch. And who are we? We're a geek couple living in PA. We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

 Dangrdafne review 

Hmmm I liked it but it wasn’t amazing or anything. In fact I really want to watch it again already to see what it was about it that was just ok or if it can be elevated.

All the actors were great and overall the story was interesting. The cinematography of course was incredible. I was worried about the horror aspects but I think watching it on our TV and not a huge movie screen help temper the scenes for me. It is definitely violent and there is definitely horror aspects throughout, it is Sam Raimi after all. But I had no issue overall.

I did feel like I was thrown into the middle of the story when the movie started and I don’t mean because this is the middle movie. I mean it felt like I was missing information to start the movie. But apparently it didn’t matter overall as I managed to figure it all out and watch the movie.

I am sad that Scarlet Witch was a villain but it is important to distinguish the difference between Scarlet Witch and Wanda in this case. I’m curious where we go from here and I will definitely stick around to find out.

3 paws

Friday, July 1, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for July 1, 2022

[The Punk Heart of Americana] -- Hailing from the West Coast hard-core-punk scene, X drew upon multiple musical elements and swirled them into a unique sound. That sound included the vocal harmonies of John Doe and Exene Cervenka, which were hauntingly aggressive, clashing in a marvel of minor keys. And forty years ago this week, X released their third studio album, Under The Big Black Sun. This was the band's first outing on a major-label (Elektra), so there was some chatter that X had sold out with this record. However, I would argue that, just as X was leveling up musically, the new contract likewise leveled up their potential audience. 

This quartet's playing on Under The Big Black Sun is just as strong, if not stronger, than what they laid down on either Los Angeles (1980) or Wild Gift (1981). And lyrically, well, these tracks are peppered with existential humor and mortal peril. Cervenka, in particular, is using her songs to grapple with the devastating death of her sister by a drunk driver ("Riding With Mary" and "Come Back to Me"). This is an extremely personal and poetic album, wrapped in blistering guitar licks and a furious rhythm section. And I don't think it's too much to claim that Under The Big Black Sun may well be one of the best records of 1982, perhaps even the entire decade. 

I look forward to hearing what your favorite tracks are from this album.

FlashbackUnder The Big Black Sun (July 1982)

And ... that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Moon Knight

 Dangrdafne review:

I may just keep this short and simple and say go watch this... right now!

It will feel a but off kilter in the beginning but trust me it allll works out.

Episode 5 may be one of the best things I have ever watched of anything at any time.

Oscar Isaac deserves all the awards for his acting in this series but specifically in episode 5. He is phenomenal in his performances and his dedication to this role is everything!

I knew NOTHING about Moon Knight before going in to this and you don't need to. In fact, don’t even read anything about it before watching and just indulge in it all unfolding in front of you. It is such an incredible show!!

May Calamawy is now on my list as one of my favorite actresses for her role as Layla. She is superb and her character arc is pure, strong and simply incredible.

4 paws and a tail

plus two more cats with 4 paws and tails for Oscar Issac himself!

Friday, June 24, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for June 24, 2022

[Forty Boingo] -- These days, Oingo Boingo's frontman, Danny Elfman, is best known as a composer of film soundtracks. But forty years ago this week -- on June 22, 2022 -- Oingo Boingo released their second studio album, Nothing to Fear. This album featured two singles. The first, the frenetic and still prescient "Private Life," was accompanied with a music video. The second single was a double release of "Grey Matter" with "Nothing to Fear." 

The songs on this record are lyrically weird and fun. Musically, they are gems of offbeat 80s pop rock: searing guitar, crisp drums, and plenty of synths. The album did well commercially, despite poor reviews. And while none of the singles charted, "Private Life" is certainly a standout. Other standout tracks, at least in my opinion, include "Running on a Treadmill," "Whole Day Off," and "Reptiles and Samurai." 

FlashbackNothing to Fear (June, 1982)

That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

What If...

 Dangrdafne review:

What If... they didn't create this series? Would we have missed anything? Are we more invested because of this series? What do we gain?

My answers to these questions don't actually influence if I liked the series or not because my responses would make you think I didn't like it but in fact I did. I think I liked it because it put more emphasis on the female characters and let them be in the forefront more than usual.

I loved seeing Peggy Carter as Captain Carter and would love if that became real somehow. Also Black Widow had a HUGE role and I had to laugh that they kept her changing looks from the movies in each episode of this series. I guess some things never change ;)

I definitely could have done without the zombie episode and honestly I couldn't even watch it when the zombies were one, just too gross for me. But I guess that is a tip of the hat to the animators. They were able to draw zombie so gross that I couldn't even look at them. The story though was very interesting and it did end up being a part of the bigger picture which from the beginning I didn't know about or expect.

I thought each episode was stand alone but I was wrong. Each one lead to a final episode where it all came together and resolved. I did love that each episode was 30 minutes or less, so we were able to binge the whole series in one evening. It also made it more like a comic book and you had to get in all your information in a short amount of time. 

I do wish Scarlett Johannson had been able to do the Black Widow voice. Not that Lake Bell wasn't good but it was hard not to hear Poison Ivy from Harley Quinn in many scenes whenever Black Widow spoke. 

Overall I recommend watching this series especially if you love Marvel and don't mind thinking outside the box for your characters. Will you miss out on anything if you don't watch it? I don't think so but I am glad I watched.

3 paws

Friday, June 17, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for June 17, 2022

[Feel Your Heartbeat, Heartbeat] -- I've previously written about discovering music through the time-honored tradition of fishing deals out of cut-out bins. If you don't recall, these bins were so-named because they featured records and cassette tapes (and, later, compact discs) that had been deleted, or "cut-out," from the catalog. The cut-outs were non-returnable, and non-refundable, so they were significantly discounted to quickly move them out of stock. I could purchase a handful of cut-out records for the same amount of money as one popular record or tape. 

And that's how a cassette copy of King Crimson's ninth studio album, Beat, entered my collection: The cut-out bin at my local G.C. Murphy's

I knew nothing about Beat at the time of purchase, but I had heard of King Crimson. (I was, at least, somehow familiar with "21st Century Schizoid Man" from their 1969 debut album). When I got home with my purchase, slapped it into my cassette player, and heard the opening strains of "Neal and Jack and Me," I was transported. In fact, revisiting that track for this Flashback brought back a strange flood of road trip tensions, but in a good way. Thinking back to my very first listening session of Beat from beginning to end, that sense of being transported remained with me for the duration of the album. I was especially enamored with the two ballads – "Heartbeat" and "Two Hands" – as well as the instrumental, "Sartori in Tangier," the very precise "Waiting Man," and the raucous "Neurotica." 

Now, I might not find many others who appreciate this album as I do, particularly not among King Crimson fans. I have read, and heard, people complain that Beat is perhaps a little too new wave, perhaps not prog enough, for their tastes. Maybe such fans prefer Discipline, King Crimson's 1981 outing. They definitely prefer some of the earlier records in the Crimson catalog. 

Anyway, 40 years ago this week, on June 18, 1982, King Crimson released Beat. Interestingly, it was King Crimson’s first release to feature the same lineup as the previous studio album (they apparently shifted their lineup frequently). This record was inspired by the Beat literature of the 1950s, especially the twenty-fifth anniversary of Jack Kerouac's On the Road. And, although this record's critical reception might have been rather mixed, Beat still reached #39 on the UK albums chart and #52 on the US Billboard 200. The lone single, "Heartbeat," peaked at #57 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. 

Whatever Beat might lack commercially, it more than makes up for in the band's technical prowess and songwriting. Also, having both Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew play guitar (among other instrumentations) on one record is pretty much a masterclass in fretboard alchemy. Of course, the rest of the quartet was filled out by Tony Levin (on bass guitar and Chapman stick) and Bill Bruford (on drums and percussion), and they weren't exactly slouches either. Whatever one might think of the songs, there is just no denying the virtuosity that was captured on this record.

This week's embedded YouTube playlist follows the track order of the eight songs that appear on the 1982 release of Beat. I have, however, taken the liberty of including a live version of "Neal and Jack and Me," an actual music video of "Heartbeat," and an extended live performance of "Waiting Man." All other items in this playlist come from King Crimson's own YouTube playlist for Beat, which includes two bonus tracks, "Neurotica / The Howler (Live In Philadelphia)" and "Absent Lovers."

FlashbackBeat (King Crimson, 1982)

Well, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Fantastic Beasts: The Screts of Dumbledore

 Dangrdafne review:

I almost didn't finish this movie. Ironically right after the part where I almost turned it off, the movie got better and found its way. So I am glad I hung in there but it was really tough.

From the very first scene, I was unhappy. I knew they were changing Grindelwald BUT they didn't help viewers know that it was the person who was on screen in the first scene. Brainwise thought I should have just known but honestly if I did know at some point, I had forgotten before the movie started. So I started out annoyed and it went downhill from there until I bottomed out at the "jail" scene and the swivel walk in and out of the scene. WHY? Why was that needed? The movie opened all depressed and serious and then they put in that scene! It was horrid. They only way it could have worked is if it were in the first movie or if the opening of this movie had been lighter in any way. 

We paused the movie after this scene and took a small break. I really didn't want to not see the rest but I was verrrry apprehensive about continuing. Thankfully, the silliness departed as did the deep depression and the movie seemed to find a happy medium and get back to its story telling ways.

The story still hit too close to home but I hung in there and have closure for the most part. I do find it interesting that there are three troubled people in this franchise: Johnny Depp, Ezra Miller and J.K. Rowling. And if this ends up being the end of the story, I am good with that. As interesting as it would be to meet up with the Harry Potter series, I can be ok without filling in that time. I am finding that it is hard to rally behind things anymore, as each time I seem to do that, it all goes sideways.

If you are a completist, as I am, you will need to watch this film to close out the current series but if you are on the fence with watching it, I say go back to the side of the fence without the movie.

I will say that it was visually stunning. They have even increased their abilities with showing magic and scenes from just the last movie. Although if I think about it, it might be to distract from the story and it's confusion. Anyway, I'm glad I made it through and I am grateful for Pick, Teddy the Niffler, and Jacob. Without them, I would not have made it. And I also loved Lally, a new character for this movie.

I think the best thing I can say to describe my opinion of this movie is that I might not watch this movie again but I have watched the first one over and over and still would. 

1 paw for first 1/3 of movie, 2 paws for the rest