Mary Poppins Returns (PG)

Based upon Pamela Lyndon (P.L.) Travers’ The Mary Poppins Stories (Mary Poppins Comes Back (1935), Mary Poppins Opens the Door (1943), Mary Poppins in the Park (1952), Mary Poppins From A to Z (1962), Mary Poppins in the Kitchen (1975), Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane (1982) and Mary Poppins and the House Next Door (1988 )), directed by Rob Marshall, starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Poppins Returns is the instant classic I’ve been waiting for! This is not a remake of the original Mary Poppins (1964). It is a sequel of sorts; a continuation of the story as Mary Poppins returns to the Banks’ household now that those children from the original are grown and in need of her assistance once again.

I don’t have one bad thing to say about this film. Well, I do, but I won’t because it’s not worth mentioning and my issue is resolved within the film itself. Honestly, the original was not one my childhood favorites. I didn’t see the original until after my daughter was born, so my perspective on the comparisons between the two films is quite different than that of someone who grew up watching the classic. However, I have owned the Disney Album since the age of six (It’s somewhere around here. Please don’t ask me to put my hands on it and pull it out to prove it.), so I was familiar with the classic songs and heard the movie long before ever seeing it.

The set design, costumes, animation, art, sound, special effects, acting, music, original songs (some, of course, more than others), guest stars, all were all amazing. The fantasy sequences are satisfying. The children are cute and not annoying at all. This film captures the spirit of Disney perfectly. It has been 54 years since the original Mary Poppins was released, and if the quality of the Mary Poppins franchise remains this high, a sequel could be made every few years and I would have no problem with it. Mary can go visit a new family with a new set of problems and I would be there for all of it! I mean, don’t you want to know what Mary does when she’s not helping the Banks family? I know I do.

After watching her in A Quiet Place (my review in the link) I knew she was growing on me. Emily Blunt has officially become someone I would go to any movie to see. Until she is not. Yes. She snuck up on me and won me over. Blunt commits to her roles so wholeheartedly and she chooses them wisely and well. There is no competition or comparison between Blunt and Julie Andrews here. Blunt has fun with this role and makes it her own. Lin-Manuel Miranda is utilized in the best way and is right in his element. I’ll even allow for his poor British accent because he remains consistent with it. He is the perfect fit for this film and provides his unique musical style to jazz things up.

The music is sublime, as we move from song to song, sentiment to sentiment, reminiscent of the prequel, with each song getting better and better. By the end I was rocking out in my seat.

What a great screenplay (co-written by Marshall, David MaGee and John DeLuca) that pays homage to the original while making something that feels fresh and new. Still set in the past, and we know it was originally a 1930’s depression-era setting, you cannot say what year Mary Poppins returned and this is what helps to make it a timeless classic. It is odd that it feels like the exact same era as the first film after the children in the first installment have grown up; but Mary Poppins is not only age-less, she is time-less. So I forgive it! That is part of the charm of the sequel!

The elements of fantasy are fun, entertaining and suspenseful.  Those moments not only brought out my inner child, they reminded me what good, old fashioned, musicals were like when stars had to be a triple threat, able to dance, act and sing (or at least do one uniquely and/or exceptionally well), in order to even get into the game. Blunt and Miranda are a charming pair in this way, as he forces her to up her musical and performance game and she rises to meet him in the challenge in the best way.

The much anticipated Mary Poppins Returns earned 9.5 out of 10 bloops. Although I cannot declare it a “masterpiece” it is an excellent film I wholeheartedly enjoyed more and more as it went along. I came home and wanted to go back out and watch it again and would read the book series if I had the time. Adults, it is safe to take the kids, grands, great-grands, nieces, nephews or a class. You will not be bored.  Can’t guarantee you won’t fall asleep because when you’re tired and the lights go out it’s always a crapshoot, but you don’t want to miss this film. It literally took me longer to insert the hyperlinks here than to write this review. This is by far one of the quickest and easiest reviews I’ve ever written. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to find somebody’s child (I have 17 nieces and nephews who have about 20 kids among themselves, so surely there should be at least one little sprout available somewhere) to take, just so I can see it again this weekend and watch them enjoy it.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @bloopbymimi1

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m Seeing Next

If Beale Street Could Talk will be reviewed next. I saw it days ago and is one of the more difficult reviews (the opposite of Mary Poppins Returns) that I’ve ever had to write. But I’m almost there.

Other Reviews

Mary Queen of Scots
Widows
The Favourite
Green Book
Halloween
Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody
Beautiful Boy
The Hate U Give
First Man
Assassination Nation
The Oath
A Star is Born
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
A Simple Favor
The Predator
BlackkKlansman
Support the Girls
Peppermint
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
Lady Bird
I, Tonya
The Florida Project
Black Panther
Molly’s Game
The Post
Phantom Thread
Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World
Coco
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Marshall
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Thor: Ragnarok
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!
It
Good Time
Atomic Blonde
Dunkirk
Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Big Sick
Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me 
It Comes at Night 
The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman
Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw
Kong: Skull Island
Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness 
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Fences
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Loving
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Elle
Jackie
I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster

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Mary Queen of Scots (R)

Directed by Josie Rourke, based on British historian and biographer John Guy’s Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart (2005) and starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, Mary Queen of Scots is about, well… Mary, Queen of Scots – and how plotting to claim the throne from her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, led to her inevitable demise.

The thing that strikes me most about this movie is just how brutal these royals were to one another. Talk about your dysfunctional families! Why would anyone expect their reigns not to have been vicious considering how they lived to maintain all that they had in their personal lives. They killed their family members all in the name of power and position. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Watching the use of religion to control, rile, calm, appease, the masses was impressive. Also watching this movie and reading up on the history of the European rule in order to write this review made clear so many of the reasons why we are where we are today. It’s a shame humans have such a great capacity to learn and the ability to adapt to changes in societal norms but resist that change with all our might at times. All because those in power don’t want to give not even a morsel of it up. The rest of us are just playing in their clubhouse. I guess that’s another discussion for another time. Let’s get into this movie.

From what I’ve read, some people are up in arms at the idea of Mary having had a Scottish accent when she was in fact raised in France. Those same people should know by now, Hollywood is funny that way when they favor an actress as they favor Ronan. This is a matter of poetic license, which at times purposefully ignores and disposes of historical accuracy. And why? Oh yeah, so Saoirse Ronan can star in it so theaters will have butts in seats. As for me, if I don’t mind the diverse cast featuring an Asian woman, a brown man and Adrian Lester, which I’m pretty sure probably isn’t totally historically accurate either, I won’t split hairs about who spoke using which accent/dialect. It’s a movie, not a documentary.

Ronan does a good job here with a lot of dialogue. I really kind of wanted her to just please stop talking at some point (I suppose Queen Elizabeth felt the same way and finally shut her up.), but she carries the movie well. What an arrogant woman Mary was. I guess she lived and died in her truth, for whatever that was worth. Margot Robbie’s skills are overshadowed by hair, makeup and wardrobe. It was almost as though she were a mannequin used to show them all off and there could have been any number of actresses underneath it all. They overpaid to have Robbie in this movie. Since the focus is on Mary, anyone could have been given the part. (Maybe the studio wasn’t so confident in Saoirse’s ability to put butts in seats on her own after all.) Those departments, by the way, hair, makeup and wardrobe, did a superb job, along with the beautiful camera work and set design. The set design told the entire story of the contrasts between these two women. Their homes and furnishings, clothes and makeup create a wonderful visual contrast.

Mary Queen of Scots earned 7.5 out of 10 bloops. It’s a good movie but I would stop short of calling it great. I don’t think I’ll be stopping strangers in the streets to tell them they must see this movie. (I’ve done this before.)

****

Although the two are comparable, I usually don’t compare films (at least I try not to if it can be helped. It’s not my fault two period pieces featuring women leads came out within weeks of one another during awards season). I must say, I definitely preferred The Favourite (my review in the link) because the screenplay really provided a vehicle for some whimsical, energetic, enjoyable, serious, acting.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @bloopbymimi1

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m Seeing Next

If Beale Street Could Talk will probably be next.

Other Reviews

Widows
The Favourite
Green Book
Halloween
Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody
Beautiful Boy
The Hate U Give
First Man
Assassination Nation
The Oath
A Star is Born
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
A Simple Favor
The Predator
BlackkKlansman
Support the Girls
Peppermint
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
Lady Bird
I, Tonya
The Florida Project
Black Panther
Molly’s Game
The Post
Phantom Thread
Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World
Coco
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Marshall
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Thor: Ragnarok
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!
It
Good Time
Atomic Blonde
Dunkirk
Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Big Sick
Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me 
It Comes at Night 
The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman
Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw
Kong: Skull Island
Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness 
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Fences
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Loving
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Elle
Jackie
I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster

Widows (R)

Directed by Steve McQueen, based on a classic British television series written by Linda La Plante and starring Viola (or Vee-ola, as I love to call her – – Does she even need her last name anymore?) Davis, Liam Neeson and Colin Farrell, Widows tells the story of a botched robbery which results in the death of a crew whose widows have to figure out how to fend for themselves while hatching a plan to pay off their husbands’ outstanding underworld debt.

This review may contain spoilers, so be advised…

There is a lot to like about Widows. It has some great action and suspense, along with a couple of nice twists. The acting is fine from this rag-tag, multicultural group of strong women. The cast has enough chemistry to float it. The story is interesting enough I suppose. I wasn’t bored watching it. So what went wrong?

The first problem with the premise of Widows occurs quite early on.

Here’s how I live my life  – – –

If someone comes to YOUR house to threaten YOU over money they feel YOUR husband cheated them out of, uuummm, Boo-Boo… that there is what would be considered, your problem. Period. No, I’m not interested in robbing anything with you. Robbing places is not my area of expertise and I have no desire to die in a blaze of gunfire, kill anyone else or spend the rest of my life in jail. Good luck with all of that. When someone comes knocking on MY door, then we can talk. Until then, Deuces!

But maybe that’s just me. These women were not friends before their husbands died. They were complete strangers. For this reason, from that point on, the movie struck me as preposterous. Had the threat been made imminent to all of the women, so they all had some skin in the game, it  would have made much more sense and brought a heightened sense of danger and urgency into the situation = a better movie.

Also, the good moments were overtaken by the integration of nearly every social issue and human condition ever known to mankind being crammed into this one little movie, including but not limited to, interracial love, economic instability and the threat of homelessness, grief, struggling-working-single mothers, corruption in politics, corruption in business, criminality in general, sexism, absent fathers and otherwise generally sorry men, feminism, the older generation vs. the younger generation, gun control, the balance of power between men and women, liberalism vs. conservatism, white privilege, and so on and so on and so on. I am for equal rights for all, and if that makes me a liberal or whatever people want to call it, then so be it; but even for me, Widows became “preachy,” condescending and boring (because of the preachiness). The espousing of liberal ideology felt extremely forced, out of place and did nothing to elevate the quality of the film; in fact, it did the opposite. There is a time and a place for everything, and this was neither.

All I know is I was supposed to be involved in what could have been one of the best all female heist movies ever and all of this political speak thrown into the mix ruined my good time. It was an unnecessary distraction. . Specifically the office conversation between Colin Farrell’s character and Robert Duval, who plays his father. Make up your mind about the movie you want to make because the heist story line was alright (with the mutual threat included, of course), but the political plot line went left (pun intended) and I just wasn’t in the mood to go that way just then. That’s just not what I showed up for.

And the slapping was just downright ridiculous. Who goes around slapping grown women as if they are children without the expectation of getting slapped right back?! Nobody I know.

Oh well. At any rate, Widows earned 5.5 out of 10 bloops. I wouldn’t say it’s not worth the price of admission, but it could have been much more enjoyable had it kept its focus, not gotten preachy, and fixed that gaping plot hole. An honorable mention to Elizabeth Debicki for bringing all of her towering, 6 foot 3-ness into the mix, Daniel Kaluuya is downright frightening and quite possible the best part of this entire affair, and the beauty, athleticism and fitness of Cynthia Erivo is admirable. They were all a pleasure to watch.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @bloopbymimi1

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m Seeing Next

My review of Mary Queen of Scots should be up tonight. Later today I will be seeing Vox Lux.

Other Reviews

The Favourite
Green Book
Halloween
Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody
Beautiful Boy
The Hate U Give
First Man
Assassination Nation
The Oath
A Star is Born
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
A Simple Favor
The Predator
BlackkKlansman
Support the Girls
Peppermint
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
Lady Bird
I, Tonya
The Florida Project
Black Panther
Molly’s Game
The Post
Phantom Thread
Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World
Coco
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Marshall
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Thor: Ragnarok
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!
It
Good Time
Atomic Blonde
Dunkirk
Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Big Sick
Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me 
It Comes at Night 
The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman
Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw
Kong: Skull Island
Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness 
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Fences
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Loving
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Elle
Jackie
I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster

 

The Favourite (R)

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, written by Deborah Davis/Tony McNamara, and starring Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, The Favourite is a take on the real life of Queen Ann of England, Scotland and Ireland (1702-1707). It is a historical, period, comedy-drama-of-sorts where two women vie for the attention of the Queen and the position of “The Favourite” (as in her favorite person – her right hand/confidante) in her Court.

The more I think about this movie, the more I like it, but it took me a while to warm up to. I’ve been writing this damn review for a week now (usually it takes me 4-8 hours to get it out). When I started writing, The Favourite had earned 6 bloops. This is a very different review from the original draft, so let’s get into it, shall we?

First off, let’s face it, there have been so many similar period pieces about one king or queen or another, at this point they just all kind of blend together; at least they do for me. These stories are so well known and have been retold again and again. I always ask the question, how do you breathe new life into a somewhat stale genre? (I enjoy a good period piece myself, and as interesting a historical figure as she may be, how many Queen Elizabeth stories can one stand before it all becomes old?)  You find a royal whose story hasn’t been told to death, if ever, write an amazing screen play about said subject that includes darkness, humor, fun, great character development, and get the finest actresses and actors affordable.

The three lead actresses are absolutely stellar, but Stone stood out as she brought her A-Game, played in this role, fearlessly embodied it and made it her own. The expressions on her face at times were so genuine and well timed. I’m happy that she found a role that she apparently enjoyed so well because it showed all over the screen in every frame of every single scene. Rachel Weisz as her rival was amazing, as was Olivia Colman as the Queen. They were really nuts and seemed to have a great time together. Any one of them could be nominated for Best Supporting Actress (I say supporting actress because the roles were too dependent upon one another and they had pretty much equal screen time as they literally supported one another. There was no lead.). The supporting cast is excellent as well.

The costumes/wig and hair/wardrobe, sound, lighting, makeup, cinematography, set design, are all sublime.

Yorgos Lanthimos also directed one of my all-time favorite dark comedies, The Lobster (my review in the link). He directed this film beautifully as well.

As much as I enjoyed this movie and see the beauty of it, it isn’t perfect. How is it possible that such a superbly acted and shot movie with super gorgeous set design and fabulous wardrobe, outstanding acting, an intense rivalry as a plot line in an interesting story I knew little about, be boring at times? There I was checking my watch 40 minutes in, 60 minutes in, and then the film heated up and I was in. The pacing of it all is just a bit off, particularly early on, when the audience needs to be drawn in. When the movie ended I was glad I didn’t walk out (That’s what I’m always thinking about once I start checking my watch. One thing I cannot stand is to have my time wasted.).  We now know for certain that each of the three lead actresses can emulate vomiting, for crying out loud. Also, there was one silly scene that could have been edited out. Why it was shot in the first place puzzles me because it does not jibe with the rest of the film. It just came out of nowhere and annoyed me. And that ending! What was that?!!!

Here we go. Pay attention, because this rating has levels…

The Favourite earned 7 out of 10 bloops. It is a good movie worth seeing, but gets an additional bloop bump up to 8 on the strength of the outstanding acting, which makes it a great movie (if you’re into the whole period thing, you have the time and you care to). I’m going to push that 8 up to a 8.5 for the mastery of the overall storytelling. Watching this wicked, sophisticated, nutty, all out brawl between these two crazy broads (Stone/Weisz) is nothing short of hilarious and the parallels drawn between the conflicts inside and outside the palace were cleverly executed. I think I’ll stop there for now, but reserve the right to change my mind later. Remember, it is rated R for a reason. There’s plenty of sexual talk and action but every bit of it is germane to the story. (Hell, I might have to give it a 9 for that!) Let me go before I declare this movie a masterpiece or something crazy! Enjoy!

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @bloopbymimi1

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m Seeing Next

Well, you know I have to go see Mary Queen of Scots tonight! I’m going to do my best to get that review up by Friday eve, and I have to try not to compare movies. I hate when they do this during awards season, but the fear is that if one comes out earlier in the year, people will forget about it by the time the nominations are being discussed. Oh well, more corsets and wigs coming right up!

Vox Lux – again, a similar movie to A Star is Born (my review in the link) featuring an up and coming pop star who is consumed by fame. Not a Portman fan, per say (I would consider myself a fan of very few actors/actresses), but let’s see how she does.

For a break from the Oscar offerings, Swimming with Men looks like a good place to take a break.

I am going to try and squeeze in Shoplifters. I haven’t seen a good foreign language/foreign film in a while. If it is as good as I’ve heard I’ll be able to catch it later should it be nominated.

Other Reviews

Green Book
Halloween
Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody
Beautiful Boy
The Hate U Give
First Man
Assassination Nation
The Oath
A Star is Born
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
A Simple Favor
The Predator
BlackkKlansman
Support the Girls
Peppermint
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
Lady Bird
I, Tonya
The Florida Project
Black Panther
Molly’s Game
The Post
Phantom Thread
Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World
Coco
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Marshall
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Thor: Ragnarok
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!
It
Good Time
Atomic Blonde
Dunkirk
Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Big Sick
Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me 
It Comes at Night 
The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman
Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw
Kong: Skull Island
Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness 
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Fences
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Loving
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Elle
Jackie
I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster