Film Review: “Black Widow” SPOILER FREE!

  • Starring:  Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz
  • Directed by:  Cate Shortland
  • Rated:  PG 13
  • Running time:  2 hrs 13 mins
  • Disney

The expression is “timing is everything.”  I say this because, while I found “Black Widow” enjoyable, it doesn’t feel as timely to me as other films in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe for those of you who don’t understand fan-speak).

Ohio.  1995.  It’s another sunny day in the local park and Melina (Weisz) is enjoying the time watching her young daughters play.  When they get home mom prepares dinner and they all wait for dad (David Harbour) to get home.  However, the mood changes when dad announces “it’s time.”  On the move again!

Full of non-stop action and some self-depreciating humor, “Black Widow” is an origin story that attempts to inform viewers where Natasha (Johansson) came from and why she defected to the Avengers. 

The majority of the film takes place in 2016, after Theodore Ross (William Hurt) helped the United Nations enforce the Sokovia Accords, which basically made the Avengers outlaws, unable to do their stuff unless requested.  It also requires all “enhanced” people in the United States to not only identify themselves but disclose what their enhancement is.   Currently Ross is on the look for Black Widow and Captain America.  And the hunt is on.

I’m doing my best to make this a SPOILER FREE review, so I won’t be going into too many details.  Suffice it to say that the characters travel literally all over the world, a lot of stuff gets damaged and a lot of people got hurt.  The action scenes are well designed and the script fun.  But still…..

While it’s not the best film in the MCU, it certainly isn’t the worse.  And that’s a good thing.   

Book Review “The Avengers Storybook Collection”

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Grade Level: 1 – 3
Series: Storybook Collection
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Marvel Press
Release Date: March 31, 2015

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

I wish I had a book like this when I was a kid. “The Avengers Storybook Collection” is a must have for any parent with young boys or even young fan girls for that matter! There is nothing like getting ready a story filled with heroism, adventure and action just before going to slip. These stories are fun, exciting and feature some of our favorite Marvel superheroes. Even though, my daughter is a little young for this one, she still loves it and already came name every character on the cover!

Official Premise: Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Falcon are Earth’s Mightiest Marvels-the Avengers! Join them as they work together to battle against sinister Super Villains such as Ultron, Thanos, the Masters of Evil,and more, to keep the Earth safe. Featuring 20 explosive stories of good vs. evil. Avengers assemble!

Let’s hope that this Storybook Collection is the first of many. There are literally an infinite collection of characters that they can include in future collections. This one has 20 stories included with all of the favorites like Iron Man and Captain America but I would love to be able to introduce my daughter to some of the lesser known characters as well. They could even do a female superhero only book OOHHHH OOHHHH or even better a villains only book. Who wouldn’t want to read a new story featuring everyone’s favorite Avenger villain, Loki! Fingers crossed!

Kelly Kilgore talks about her new film “Blood Widow”

A throwback to ‘80s slasher films like Friday the 13th, Blood Widow tells of a couple, Hugh and Laurie, who after buying a nice house in the country throw a party for their friends. During the wild night a few friends decide to explore the abandoned and decaying boarding school next door, only to wake an emotionally broken killer: The Blood Widow. We speak to one of the film’s stars, Kelly Kilgore.

We asked for you, of the cast, because you have such an interesting, albeit brief, arc in the film. How fun was it playing this role?
I had a blast with Harmony! Playing a supporting character actually allows you a lot of freedom to have fun and make interesting choices, and Jeremy was extremely receptive to his actors’ ideas. Having an innocent character like Harmony in a slasher film is rare, and I loved the way it worked out. After shooting was over, the Arcani guys presented me with Mister Buddha (Harmony’s teddy bear) as a keepsake; he may or may not be sitting on a bookshelf in my living room right now.

I see you do a lot of theatre, and other more – for lack of a better word – ‘thespy’ work. Was doing Blood Widow a chance to let your hair done and do something totally unexpected?
It was. Although Blood Widow is a very scary film, Harmony herself is light and funny. That sort of subtle comedy was a new challenge for me, and I enjoyed it immensely. It was also my first feature, and I learned a lot about how a film set works. It’s quite different than theatre. I made a lot of friends within the cast and crew; Emily and I hang out all the time, I see Jose a lot, and I randomly ran into Derek and Phil the other night at a bar.

What do you find more rewarding – stage work or film work? I imagine they’re both totally different types of experiences.
Theatre and film are hugely different, and I love them both. In my life, at least, they compliment one another, each strengthening skills that improve my work in the other medium. Theatre, especially classical theatre, gives you a solid grounding in technique. Doing the same show night after night really strengthens core acting skills and the ability to perform under all conditions. Film, on the other hand, keeps you honest–you can’t cheat in a closeup! I’m extremely lucky to be doing both.

Are there moments, when working on a horror film like this, that you’ve got to try and prevent yourself from bursting into laughter or accidentally smiling. The ridiculousness of the genre would take great discipline I imagine?
Working on any project, there are moments of hilarity that you have to breathe through and try not to laugh. But that’s what makes it fun! If everyone was actually terrified the whole time, no one would want to make horror films. Harmony was especially funny because she’s extremely spacey. I recall shooting one scene with Jose where I examined his camera … I did my level best to make him laugh, and we both cracked up after “cut” was called every time.

As terrifying as she is, the Blood Widow character is also somewhat of a sad character. What do you think?
I totally agree, and I think that is one thing that Ian and Chad did brilliantly with the script, making Blood Widow stand out in the genre. Even though you don’t want to be anywhere near the Blood Widow, you can understand how she came to be the way she is. You even feel a little sorry for her. I like to think that she and Harmony could have been friends.

For those that enjoy your work in the film, where else can they see you?
If you fancy a trip to Massachusetts, I’ll be playing Lady Percy and Doll Tearsheet in Henry IV, Parts I & II at Shakespeare & Company in August. I’ve also got a couple of other film projects airing this summer: The Aegeans comes out June 16 (of Ulysses fame), and the pilot for Spaceship Florida should be online sometime in mid-July. Links to everything at

Blood Widow hits DVD June 3rd

Blu-ray Review “Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher”

Voices: Jennifer Carpenter, Brian Bloom
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: March 25, 2014
Run Time: 83 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

When I saw that Sony and Marvel were teaming up for another animated feature film, I was psyched. I loved what they did with the past short series with Blade, Wolverine and X-Men. The animation style is reminiscence of a Japanese anime and the characters are given a slick make-over. As the title suggests, this film focus on two Marvel’ popular characters, Black Widow (voiced by Jennifer Carpenter, TV’’s ““Dexter””) and The Punisher (voiced by Brian Bloom, ““Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3””). Don’t let the cover art fool you either with the image of Iron Man, Thor and Hulk, since they along with a few other Avengers appear for a few minutes in the last few minutes of the film. This is a Black Widow and (some of) Punisher story solely. Parents need to note this is a very HARD PG-13 rating, very violent for sure. Overall, I thought it was worth a watch, but nothing amazing.

Official Premise: After interfering with a top secret mission, THE PUNISHER is taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D. AGENT and AVENGER, BLACK WIDOW. At the orders of Director Nick Fury, Punisher and Black Widow are sent on a mission to stop LEVIATHAN, a global terrorist organization that plans to sell stolen S.H.I.E.L.D. technology to the highest bidder. Now, the vigilante and spy must work together to prevent this technology from falling into the wrong hands. The fate of the world, and of the AVENGERS, hangs in the balance.

“Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher” is packaged as a Blu-ray/DVD combo with an HD Digital Ultraviolet copy included. Sony has always delivered consistently great animated titles. This film is no different it is a solid Blu-ray presentation. The animation style looks very sharp and the colors are very clear. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track works well with the action scenes especially the final act, which is pretty epic. In terms of special features are two making-of Featurettes & Blu-ray™ Exclusive Conceptual Art Gallery. The two featurettes are ““Espionage and Punishment””, which dives into how these characters were adapted into this anime style. “The Vigilante Vs. The Spy” takes a look at these two characters from an origin perspective.

Blu-ray Review “Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe”

Actors: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Paul Kasey, Arthur Darvill, Nicholas Briggs
Directors: Farren Blackburn
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Run Time: 60 minutes

Special: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of “Doctor Who”, then like myself you look forward to the holiday season each year for the “famous” Christmas specials. While some of the past Christmas specials were completely independent from the series, “The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe” fits itself into the timeline very well. This seems to be a trend now also with the recent special “The Snowmen”. The story is a nice homage to “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and is easily one of my favorite specials. Currently this special is only available to purchase on a solo Blu-ray but I assume it will be included on the “The Complete Seventh Season” when it is released later this Fall. So if you can’t wait, this is a sure steal!

Official Premise It’s Christmas Eve, 1938, when Madge Arwell comes to the aid of an injured Spaceman Angel as she cycles home. He promises to repay her kindness – all she has to do is make a wish. Three years later, a devastated Madge escapes war-torn London with her two children for a dilapidated house in Dorset. She is crippled with grief at the news her husband has been lost over the channel, but determined to give Lily and Cyril the best Christmas ever. The Arwells are surprised to be greeted by a madcap caretaker whose mysterious Christmas gift leads them into a magical wintry world. Here, Madge will learn how to be braver than she ever thought possible. And that wishes can come true…

The Blu-ray presentation for the episode is impressive as it always has been with BBC Home Entertainment. The 1080i transfer is quite clear and sharp. The DTS-HD High Resolution 5.1 surround audio track kicks some major ass and deliver for the special. It also packs a nice festive punch for the holidays. The special features are damn impressive, especially just for the one special. There is the short but sweet prequel to this special. There are also three featurettes with for “The Best of the Doctor”, “The Best of the Companions” and “The Best of the Monsters”. On top of the great extras, inside the Blu-ray there is a free in-game reward code for the online game “Doctor Who: Worlds in Time”.