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Bullet Sunday 480

Posted on September 23rd, 2018

Dave!Pull up on that pumpkin spice latte... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Boston! My beloved Red Sox are American League East champions for the third year in a row...

Dave Loves the Red Sox!

LET'S GO, BOSTON!

   
• The Last O.G.! I was watching... something... on TBS and saw a commercial for Tracy Morgan in The Last O.G.. As a huge, huge, mega-huge fan of Tracy, I was excited to see it. Only to find out that it had already aired this past Spring...

It is phenomenal. Funny as hell. But touching too. I loved every episode and am relieved to find out that it has already been renewed for a second season. Highest possible recommendation. If you haven't seen it, please do yourself a favor and take a look.

   
• Believer! The last thing I would ever want to do is convict an innocent person for a crime they did not commit. That being said, Brett Kavanaugh is up for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. There is no walking this back. And since it makes no sense whatsoever that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford would invite a felony by lying to the FBI (or invite death threats towards her and her family), I think it's critical that an investigation be done. Especially now that more women have come forward. Anybody who thinks otherwise is either an asshole or wanting to serve a personal agenda over the good of this country...

I believe women. I believe in due process. I believe in innocence until proven guilty. I believe in justice. And I seriously question those who would sidestep any of that. Like the fucking piece of shit publisher of our local newspaper who equates rape to cheating at golf and smoking (you only think I'm joking). I don't expect people appointed to the Supreme Court to be perfect. They're human, after all. But I do expect them to not be rapists. Because no, not all boys do it, and rewarding this heinous behavior only propagates the rape culture that keeps creating new generations of rapists. It's got to finally end sometime. That time is now. Because time's up.

   
• Family! To all the single parents... to all the double dads... to all the double moms... to everyone who is trying to raise the best kid they can while listening to people scream "EVERY CHILD NEEDS A MOM AND A DAD!" over and over and over... know that you are exactly enough. Love alone makes a family. It always has...

Mom is Dad for Dad Day

I saw this meme floating through my Facebook feed and was reminded for the hundredth time that the people who think it's their business to stick their nose into other people's business are the ones most likely guilty of whatever it is they are professing to hate. So you do you. Everybody else is just doing the best they can with the cards they were dealt and don't deserve your stupid-ass judgement.

   
• Cold! This has got to be the most insane political commercial I've seen yet...

What kind of piece of shit do you have to be to have all your siblings not only not vote for you... but take out a devastating opposition ad to boot? Cold!

   
• Chewie! It's the little things that add up to make a good thing great. Nobody is more aware of this than Marvel Studios. In their new movie poster for Captain Marvel, people have been noticing a cat walking off-frame in the shadows. I took a look in there with Photoshop and, sure enough, there's a cat there...

Chewie the Cat?!?

This is undoubtedly meant to be Carol Danvers' cat, Chewie! Who is not actually a cat, but an alien species called "Flerken" which resemble and earth cat. He's a rather large part of the Captain Marvel comic books, having made several appearances...

Chewie the Cat?!?

Chewie the Cat?!?

Holy crap does Marvel know how to handle their characters. And now it's been confirmed that Kevin Feige will be overseeing The X-Men and The Fantastic Four in addition to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As it should have been all along! So long, FOX, your shitty, shitty, unbelievably shitty super-hero movies will not be missed.

And that's not all in Marvel news... rumor has it that Loki and The Scarlet Witch may be getting their own TV series on Disney's new streaming service. That will be fantastic, if it happens. But if I'm being honest? The character I most want to get a TV show is Hawkeye. If they were to base it on the Matt Fraction and David Aja comic book run, it would be absolutely amazing.

   
And... I'm done with bullets for the day. I got things to do.

   

O Captain! My Captain!

Posted on September 18th, 2018

Dave!I woke up at 5:00am this morning... crossing my fingers that the emails I was waiting for had been answered so I could get to work. I really, really wanted to start in early so I could get off work early and continue cleaning my garage. But, alas, no work emails.

What I did get was a notification that Marvel Studios' Captain Marvel trailer and poster had been released. Something that I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for.

Worth the wait (as if there were any doubt)...

Captain Marvel Poster

Totally worth the wait...

And so I spent the next 20 minutes obsessing over the trailer and what we were going to get out of the finished movie. As one does. Let's unpack this, shall we?

We start with Carol Danvers crashing into a Blockbuster. Just in case you needed a big ol' slap in the face that this movie takes place in the past...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

LOL. Yep! That's aughtta do it...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

At this point, Carol is still in her Kree warrior costume. I'm not entirely sure how the movie will interpret her long, complicated comic book history, but it would seem that she originated on earth, ended up a part of the Kree Empire due to her hybrid genetic makeup, and eventually ends up back on earth. Assumably to thwart a Skrull invasion (the Skrulls being longtime enemies of the Kree)...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Interesting to note that people are totally ignoring her costume. I mean, yeah, this is New York... but super-heroes are not a "thing" at this point in time so you'd think it would be a strange sight?

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

And... here's Samuel L. Jackson as Agent Nick Fury hanging around a Skrull autopsy. And that other guy in there... could it be?

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

I am guessing that this is where Carol Danvers life is changed forever. She's a fighter pilot for the US military heading into space to investigate a spaceship. I'm guessing it's at this point that her DNA is merged with that of Mar-Vell, a Kree warrior, paving the way for her to become Captain Marvel...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Annnnnd... here's the money shot. To me at least. Carol in full Captain Marvel gear blasting the shit out of something with her energy beams. I had a real concern that Marvel would downgrade her power set because she's Just. That. Powerful. and they didn't know what to do with her. Eliminating her energy manipulation powers was the obvious way to do that. But... here we are... praise be to Kree-Pama...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

We knew that Samuel L. Jackson would be appearing as his younger self in this movie. And while nobody does de-aging special effects better than Marvel, it does seem a little uncanny valley when you take a frame out of the context of motion...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

"Soooo... you're not from around here..." — "It's hard to explain." — Indeed it is...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Back into space. I don't think this is earth, so I'm guessing this is the spaceship carrying Carol Danvers to the Kree Homeworld (which is probably Hala, at this point?)...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

And we're jumping around time and space again. Back to earth. Here's Carol Danvers with Maria Rambeau. Not Monica Rambeau from the modern-day Marvel Cinematic Universe... but Maria "Photon" Rambeau from the past. Which makes her Monica Rambeau's mom... I'm guessing? Monica Rambeau is best known as the super-hero Photon, but was also Captain Marvel at one time. She was also "Pulsar" and "Spectrum"...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Here's where things get interesting. Carol Danvers falls back to earth after her run-in with the Skrulls/Kree. I'm guessing this is after her DNA has been infused with Kree goodness, because otherwise she'd be dead... wouldn't she?

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

And now we're jumping ahead again because Carol is in her blue, red, and gold uniform instead of her green Kree uniform. Apparently she's been captured. And they're experimenting on her? Or maybe just confining her...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Jumping back in time again... because here's Carol in her Kree warrior uniform again. In the comics there are Blue Kree (apparently the default) and Pink Kree and a long, complicated history between them. No idea how that will be streamlined for the movies...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

And... Mr. Jude Law, everyone! My guess (along with every other fanboy on the internet) is that he is playing Mar-Vell. Which is the original Captain Marvel in the comic books...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

The Skrulls... arriving on earth, I'm guessing...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Oh look! Carol is punching a kindly old woman in the face! Except... we all know that she's not a kindly old woman. She's a shape-shifting Skrull pretending to be a kindly old woman! Mark my words... the Skrulls are going to be a major story in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe. If events follow the comics, there are Skrulls who have replaced several Marvel super-heroes and are just waiting for their Skrull brothers and sisters to return to earth for another shot at domination...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

And... heeeeere's Ronan, everybody! This is long before Ronan the Accuser manages to get his hands on an Infinity Stone and make trouble for the Guardians of the Galaxy. At this point he's just a regular Kree. And possibly Carol Danvers' boss...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

There we go! It's young Phil Coulson! Whose first name I'm pretty sure is "Agent." Needless to say, I am positively thrilled to see him return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I don't watch the Marvel's Agents of SHIELD television show (loathe it so hard), so it's nice to see such a great character again...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

It's Nick Fury with his pocket pager! A different model than the pocket pager he uses to summon Captain Marvel at the end of Avengers: Infinity War...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Underwater Kree! I am really hoping that this is Carol Danvers in this shot. At one point in the comics she had a mohawk, so this would be a fun nod to the source material...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Uh oh... somebody just got zapped...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Yep, looks like Carol to me!

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Annnnnnd... could that head be MONICA RAMBEAU?!? I sure hope so! Boy oh boy am I excited to see her join the Marvel Cinematic Universe...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

And here's Captain Marvel's final costume in all its glory...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

"I'm not what you think I am." Nice! And we end with the movie logo, which is oh so pretty...

Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown!

Needless to say, I am 1000% stoked to see this movie. Having to wait until March 8th, 2019 is a bit harsh, but I just know it will be worth the wait. Marvel ain't about to start screwing up now. Not that they've been absolutely killing it movie after movie for ten years!

If only I could go into a coma until then so I wouldn't have to be here all anticipating it and stuff. I am not a patient man.

   

That’s Marvelous

Posted on September 5th, 2018

Dave!Entertainment Weekly has a feature on the new Captain Marvel movie coming up from Marvel Studios.

I was never a fan of the original Captain Marvel and didn't care much about his cosmic exploits unless they crossed over with other Marvel characters I liked. But things got a lot more interesting when Carol Danvers (formerly Ms. Marvel, formerly Binary, formerly Warbird) took over the role. Her comic book run by Kelly Sue DeConnick was fantastic stuff and I've been a fan of Captain Marvel ever since

And now this...

Captain Marvel EW Cover

I think I peed myself a little bit when I saw it.

I cannot fathom what they are going to put her up against. She's the most powerful character in the MCU, so they will undoubtedly come up with an antagonist to match. The brutality of the battles had better be epic and put The Hulk to shame. I mean, we know the primary antagonist will be the Skrulls... but in what way? The Skrull/Kree War is a huge staple of the comic books, but how is that going to translate? No idea. I'll bet it's awesome though...

Captain Marvel Images

Another photo shows Ronan the Accuser, but this movie takes place in the 90's long before he got an Infinity Stone and was killed in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. So he's just a regular, albeit talented, Kree warrior...

Captain Marvel Images

Thanks to Marvel's love of de-aging characters, a young Nick Fury is in the mix. Apparently he has a major role to play, because Samuel L. Jackson's part is being touted as the first time a character has been de-aged for an entire movie!

Captain Marvel Images

Amazing, amazing stuff.

It's a long wait until Captain Marvel debuts on March 8, 2019!

   

Future MCU and Avengers: Infinity War

Posted on August 20th, 2018

Dave!Since this is the last day of my re-reviewing all the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies until Ant-Man and The Wasp is released on home video, I thought I'd do something related to that.

Here's a list of Marvel Studios movies I'd like to see that are not sequels...

  • Black Widow. Come on already. This is a literal no-brainer. Natasha has been an anchor for the entire MCU for years, and it's insane that she hasn't been given a story of her own. And, let me tell you, she had better get some major guest stars to cameo.
  • Alpha Flight. Canada's version of The Avengers has long been one of my favorite Marvel teams. And it's a movie which could easily be taken into a supernatural direction, expanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe into a new area. Or just create a straightforward super-team and tie it heavily to Canada in order to keep it unique. Either way, it's a book with characters who would work great as a movie.
  • Fantastic Four. All three previous Non-Marvel-Studios Fantastic Four movies were total shit. First of all, not one of them got The Thing right, which is key. Second of all, the take has always been all wrong. The way to approach this franchise is to go with the idea of them being "Imaginauts" and the first family of adventure.
  • Namor. This is kinda a tricky property given that he is basically a cooler version of Aquaman. But given the right "launch" in a Fantastic Four film, he could easily fall out into a solo movie which would be incredible in the right hands.
  • Moon Knight. This is essentially Marvel's "Batman," and if he were handled right he could make for a very cool movie. Or a Netflix series.
  • Captain Britain & Excalibur. This is kinda a no-brainer, in that he's a popular character tied to a location that's not New York. And while Excalibur is essentially a team of X-Men-type characters, they wouldn't have to be.
  • Vision & Scarlet Witch. Seeing these two characters work so perfectly in Infinity War really had me thinking how amazing a film would be. Their powers are visually interesting which makes for very cool fight scene potential. Their romantic angle makes for an interesting story element. And their comic book history has a lot to draw from.
  • Wonder Man. Simon Williams as a character could make for a fun movie for a dozen different reasons... but if they were to capitalize on the time he was a Hollywood stuntman it would be an excellent setup for comedy gold.
  • Hawkeye. To be honest, I think this would be much better as a Netflix series. And yet, it could also work as a movie that's entirely different than anything that's come before. The direction that Matt Fraction and David Aja took Clint in the comics was sublime, and I think it's a story that needs to be told.
  • Nova. We've already gotten a look at The Nova Corps in Guardians of the Galaxy, so a Nova movie would already have a base to build from (assuming Xandar could be restored after getting destroyed by Thanos).
  • Longshot. This series had it all... a really fun character thrown into bizarre situations with a fantastic villain to keep things interesting. Could be total cinematic eye candy and highly entertaining if they stuck to the comic book roots.
  • Power Pack. Even though this was a comic book geared towards children, I found it to be highly entertaining. This could be one of those films that's made for children but can be appreciated by adults... like so many films that Disney has already made. This is the perfect franchise to turn into a movie.

Not included in my list, but obvious contenders, are The X-Men... which has been hopelessly fucked up in past films and deserves an official Marvel Studios treatment at last. From there it's just a short hop to Avengers vs. X-Men. Also? Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) needs to shake out of all this somehow... though I'm not exactly sure how. Despite being an amazing character, her powers are kinda goofy, and I'm not sure how they're going to A) depict them in a realistic way on the big screen and B) make sure there's no confusion between her and Captain Marvel.

Needless to say, I am hugely interested in where Marvel Studios will be going after Captain Marvel, Avengers 4, Spider-Man: Far from Home, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 are in the can. My guess it we'll start hearing about some of it early next year.


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 19: Avengers: Infinity War
Original Grade: A • Today's Grade: A+
The more times I watch this film, the more I love it... hence it jumping to a perfect A+ score. It seems impossible that a movie so epic in scope holds together this well. Still, it's a dense story, which is why I think it needs repeat viewings to be appreciated. I first reviewed this film just four months ago... all the things I love about it have grown stronger while the things I didn't seem to fall away. That's the mark of a great movie.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: Any moment where Doctor Strange's Cloak of Levitation is treated as a character. Making it sentient was total genius, and I absolutely love the way it interacted with Iron Man and Spider-Man on Ebony Maw's ship.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: I still think that Peter Quill getting all emotional and being responsible for Thanos winning on Titan was stupid. I don't care how much he thinks he loves Gamora, it was just ridiculously out of character to have him check out and be an idiot. They could have fixed this by just having Thanos overpower the heroes and leave. End scene.
   
SIDENOTE: As of this film, the only one of The Nine Relms we haven't seen is Alfheim, home of the Light Elves. Maybe eventually?

   

Bullet Sunday 475 and Black Panther

Posted on August 19th, 2018

Dave!Attempting to battle my way through the smoke... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Fires! The weather over the mountains was a bit hazy, but the skies were clear much of the time which was a nice change. Looking towards home this morning revealed what was awaiting me. At the top of the pass it was socked in and it never let up all the way home...

Smoke and Fire Summer 2018

Supply trucks are on the road, headed towards the fire front...

Smoke and Fire Summer 2018

And... I'm home. Such as it is...

Smoke and Fire Summer 2018

The largest of the fires, Cougar Creek (currently 36719 acres), is just 16 miles north of me. It's spread a bit since I last checked, but is now 35% contained, which is pretty impressive work by our firefighters considering it was just 5% contained on Monday...

Central Washington Fire Map Summer 2018

Central Washington Fire Map Summer 2018

I guess now is the time we pray for rain. But no lightning, which is what started this fire in the first place.

   
• Entertainment! Turns out the best toy for a cat is still a cardboard box...

Jake and Jenny in a Box

Anything I can do to keep the cats entertained inside the house instead of out in a smokey catio is a good thing.

   
• Soul. Aretha Franklin passed away which means the Queen of Soul has left us. There are many songs she's given us which put her on the throne... but my favorite is her duet with George Michael for I knew You Were Waiting...

Too many classic artists are leaving us too soon. Rest in peace, Miss Franklin.

   
• Bears! This video came across my newsfeed and I had to watch it multiple times...

I always feel bad for animals who have their territory encroached on by humans. The least we can do is let them take a dip in our pools from time to time.

   
• Outrage! Oh... I am outraged alright, Pat. Don't you worry your foolish old head about that.

Lock children in cages and separate them from their parents perhaps never to return because of a line on a map = God's work.

Reading to children = Work of the devil and the end of all humanity.

Just die already you vile, worthless, repugnant piece of shit.

   
• EnChroma! Instead of spending billions on a stupid wall that won't work... and a military parade to compensate for a tiny, tiny penis on a fucking lunatic... why not buy these EnChroma glasses for everybody who needs them? There are literally thousands of things that are a better use for money this country doesn't have...


And yet... here we are. Getting exactly what we deserve.

   
And that's a wrap on bullets for this week. Tune in again in a mere seven days...


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 18: Black Panther
Original Grade: A+ • Today's Grade: A+
"Hey Auntie." =sigh= As I had mentioned, My favorite Marvel heroes have always been Doctor Strange and Black Panther. To get movies this amazing for both characters was a dream come true. Though calling Black Panther "good" is an epic understatement. This film was sublime. Steeped in African culture, we got something truly different than the Western super-hero fare which had come before. The fact that they were so painfully faithful to the source material is just a bonus. It was all here. The vast hidden wealth and mind-boggling technical superiority of Wakanda. The Dora Milaje. Character references old and new. And then they went and made T'Challa into a super-hero James Bond!
   
SCENE TO BEAT: That casino fight and subsequent car chase in South Korea was pretty spectacular.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Not a dang thing.
   
SIDENOTE: I want sequels to all the Marvel movies. All of them. There is not a single film that's left me thinking "Well, that's enough of that." But when it comes to the sequel I want to see right this minute... it's Black Panther. Things could head in a hundred different directions and almost all of them are going to be fascinating. And then there's the Wakanda outreach program, which has fascinating implications for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Surely another movie is coming soon, right? The first one made like... a billion dollars!

   

Caturday 73 and Thor: Ragnarok

Posted on August 18th, 2018

Dave!The bird feeder outside the window continues to be the gift that keeps on giving.

The cats are happy to spend hours watching the birds come and go. Jake spends the most time watching Bird TV... pawing at the window and chattering at them, but Jenny is a bit stealthier about it, preferring to hide like the hunter she is...

Jenny the Bird Watcher

No doubt in my mind that both my cats would be massacring birds by the dozens if they could get at them. Just one more reason to keep them indoors, I suppose. Poor birds.

And poor bugs.

Any time a bug finds its way into my house, Jake and Jenny are all too happy to hunt them down. Like the poor cricket which Jenny was kind enough to bring in this past week. I saw she had something in her mouth... feared the worst... then watched as she spit him on the floor so she could chase him. Jake also decided to run up and get in on the action...

Jenny the Bug Hunter

Jenny the Bug Hunter

Jenny the Bug Hunter

As much as Jake likes chasing an occasional bug, he seems to prefer his toys. In addition to Mufasa, his stuffed lion, he loves his Peeps Bunny...

Jake and Peeps Bunny

And he really loves Catnip Lobster...

Jake and Catnip Lobster

Every once in a while he plays "Watch the Dummy" and will throw it on the bed and wait for me to pick it up and hand it back...

Jake and Catnip Lobster

Jake and Catnip Lobster

Jake and Catnip Lobster

Toys are far preferable to bird corpses, I'd think.

They're definitely preferable to bug vomit.


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 17: Thor: Ragnarok
Original Grade: A+ • Today's Grade: A+
Easily one of my favorite Marvel Studios films... perhaps my very favorite... I love this film now as much as I ever did. Deciding to take Thor in a more comedic direction and deconstruct everything he was to this point was absolutely brilliant, and made the character more cinematically interesting than he had ever been.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: All of them. I mean, yeah, the Hulk reveal and subsequent fight is awesome... as is Valkyrie's... and any scene with the incomparable Cate Blanchett's Hela was gold... and Jeff Goldblum was too perfect as The Grandmaster... and that gorgeous battle between Hela and the Valkyrie... and the battle on the Rainbow Bridge with Thor at full power... and Thor meeting Doctor Strange is the stuff that comic book dreams are made of... and... and... and... it goes on and on and on.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Though I still think it was shortsighted and selfish to kill off The Warriors Three.
   
SIDENOTE: Could there have been a bigger love letter to the art of Jack Kirby than this movie? With every new viewing, I'm even more amazed at just how beautiful and faithful Sakaar is to Kirby's work.

   

Smoking and Spider-Man: Homecoming

Posted on August 17th, 2018

Dave!It's Friday! And I'm heading over the mountains again! Where, hopefully, there will be a lot less smoke than there is here. I'm having a hard time understanding how there's anything left around us to burn. We've had fires every summer for years now. Is it too much to hope for just one summer where I'm not having to struggle to breathe?

I need a vacation from smoke. But that's just over six weeks away. Hope I survive that long.


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 16: Spider-Man: Homecoming
Original Grade: A+ • Today's Grade: A+
I thought that the first two Tobey Maguire /slash/ Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies were good. Then it all turned to shit in Spider-Man 3, and I was kinda done with the character. Then came The Amazing Spider-Man and its awful sequel and I was really done. At least I was until Captain America: Civil War came along and showed that Spider-Man could not only work in a movie... he could be exceptional in a movie. Then it was just a matter of waiting for the solo film to drop. Say hello to Spider-Man: Homecoming. So many things were perfect about it, but the biggest thing they did to get me onboard was make Spider-Man a kid. That's how he started, it's what made him unique, and the comics went off the rails when they had him getting married and all that. Here we are at the beginning, which is the best part, and it made for a fantastic entertainment. It's also good to see Spider-Man look, move, and act like you'd imagine Spider-Man would look, move, and act. Giving the film an A+ almost seems inadequate.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: Every scene between Tony and Peter is gold... especially the first one. But when Peter opens the door to Liz's house and you get that reveal? Then the follow-up drive to the prom? Sinister.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: I question turning the Spider-Man suit into Iron Man suit light. They address this in the film when Stark takes it away, but it still seems to go against the character. Not nearly as much as the suit he gets in Infinity War, but still.
   
SIDENOTE: Having Tony Stark be Peter Parker's mentor was yet another stroke of genius from Marvel Studios. What I was unsure about was turning Aunt May from a decrepit old woman to Marisa Tomei in Civil War. But once you see how it works, it's actually really smart. And now that she's found out that Peter is Spider-Man? Well... no old woman having a heart attack. Instead we've got Aunt May saying "What the f#@%?" more genius. Aunt May is fun instead of a wet blanket on the movie. That's a good thing. An observation... I noticed that the principal in Peter's school is the same actor who played one of Cap's Howling Commandos, so I Googled it. Sure enough, it's the same guy: Kenneth Choi. Relative? Descendant? Another observation... When Happy Hogan is loading up the transport plane he talks about a new shield prototype for Captain America. Why would he be making a new shield for somebody he took the original shield from? Weird. One last thought... Michael Keaton's The Vulture was far better, scarier, and capable villain than we got from Ultron, which makes me appreciate this film even more. The great soundtrack was just icing on the cake.

   

Loneliness and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Posted on August 16th, 2018

Dave! I've recently run across the Campaign to End Loneliness.

At first I thought it was kind of a crazy idea... I like being alone most of the time. What's so bad about being alone? But then I watched a couple of their videos and realized that being alone is not the same as loneliness...


Thanks to my cats, the internet, and being able to travel, I don't have to be lonely if I don't want to be. The campaign is primarily concerned about elderly people who have difficulty leaving the house may not even be able to use the internet to stay in contact with other people.

Now that would suck.

And any one of us could be there one day.

Something to think about. If somebody you know might be lonely, might want to take a minute and check in.


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 15: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Original Grade: A • Today's Grade: A
This was a wildly entertaining movie with some genuinely touching moments, and I wouldn't dream of saying otherwise. But it was also somewhat problematic, which becomes more and more noticeable upon repeat viewings. Ego's whole end-game... his "Expansion Plan" to convert the universe into him... is really silly. I'm not saying that Peter's father shouldn't have been a Celestial, but I wish the cornerstone of Marvel's sci-fi side was more... science fictiony... instead of fantasy (a side of the MCU we haven't seen yet). Even so, I loved the movie and am happy at how well it folded into the larger picture of where the Marvel Universe was headed.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: The opening credits. I mean, seriously.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: In addition to Ego feeling like the wrong approach, the film seemed like it needed to be a bit more streamlined. Between The Ravagers and The Sovereign and Nebula and Starhawk/Original Guardians being tossed in the mix, it felt like there could have been a stronger narrative if things were simpler.
   
SIDENOTE: Baby Groot has to be one of the more genius creations to come out of the MCU. Adorable, but more than just an ornamental. He was both effective as a character and useful as a story element. The skill to make that work makes me glad that Disney is keeping with James Gunn's script even as they fire James Gunn as a director. Time will tell if his replacement can do justice to his ideas. I certainly hope so.

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Bird TV and Doctor Strange

Posted on August 15th, 2018

Dave! I decided that I didn't want to spend money on bird seed if the birds didn't want to entertain my cats, because the seed they want to eat is expensive stuff. And so... I moved the feeder back to the window with the cat tree, figuring that this would be the end of it because the birds are afraid of the cats looking at them... except... not so much any more. If the feeder has the nyjer seed they love, the birds are more than happy to put fear aside. Darnit. Now I guess I have to keep buying the stuff because Jake and Jenny go nuts over their new television station...

Bird Feeder Shenanigans

Bird Feeder Shenanigans

Bird Feeder Shenanigans

Bird Feeder Shenanigans

I suppose it beats a catnip addiction.


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 14: Doctor Strange
Original Grade: A • Today's Grade: A+
The two Marvel heroes I love above all others are Doctor Strange and Black Panther. To see The Master of the Mystic Arts hit the screen in such a spectacular way... and know that Black Panther was coming a little over a year later? Comic book Nirvana. That Doctor Strange ended up being so amazing was just icing on the cake. I don't know why I didn't give it a top A+ score when I first saw it, but upon repeat viewings there's no question it deserves it. The visuals were stunning. The story was an origin story, but it was a good origin story. Some changes they made to get here were terrific... Wong becoming an important character in his own right instead of a manservant stereotype, for example. Some changes were both good and bad... The Ancient One becoming a Celtic woman was good in that it broke another stereotype, but erasing a major Asian character was not good. Other decisions were bad (see below) but not enough to ruin the movie. When taken as a whole, Doctor Strange not only gave us a look at the mystic side of the MCU, it was just a really great movie. I think I love it more every time I see it.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: The battle in Mirror Dimension New York was flawless. To distinguish itself from other super-hero battles, Doctor Strange needed to do something entirely different. The trippy nature of this fight fit the bill perfectly.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: It still irks me that Marvel Studios eliminated Tibet from Doctor Strange's origin. Yes, yes, I understand that China is a big market and they were being politically "sensitive" to make sure that the film would be shown there... but still. It sucks.
   
SIDENOTE: I didn't think it could get much better than seeing Doctor Strange's Cloak of Levitation act as a supporting character in the film. Little did I know that it would go on to even greater importance in Avengers: Infinity War. Imbuing it with a certain level of sentience was genius.

   

Erasure and Captain America: Civil War

Posted on August 14th, 2018

Dave!Today I headed over to Seattle to see Erasure with my long-time internet friends Matt and Scott. It was my third time seeing the band, and Andy and Vince were amazing as ever.

If I had a complaint, it was The Moore Theater Seattle has no air conditioning. I was in the front row and had (relatively) few people next to me and I was dying. Poor Andy Bell was dancing and singing his guts out and I thought he was literally going to die. But he was a total trooper...

Erasure Seattle 2018

Erasure Seattle 2018

Erasure Seattle 2018

Erasure Seattle 2018

Erasure Seattle 2018

The set list was as follows...

  1. Oh L'Amour (One of two tracks from Wonderland, their first album)
  2. Ship of Fools (One of four tracks from The Innocents, their third and most popular album)
  3. Breathe (One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums, Nightbird... their eleventh)
  4. Just a Little Love (First of four tracks from their seventeenth and current album, World Be Gone)
  5. Chains of Love (Second of four tracks from The Innocents, their third and most popular album)
  6. Sweet Summer Loving (Second of four tracks from their seventeenth and current album, World Be Gone)
  7. Victim of Love (One of two tracks from The Circus, their second album)
  8. Phantom Bride (Third of four tracks from The Innocents, their third and most popular album)
  9. World Be Gone (Third of four tracks from their seventeenth and current album, World Be Gone)
  10. Who Needs Love Like That (Second of two tracks from Wonderland, their first album)
  11. Atomic (a Blondie cover)
  12. Love to Hate You (lone track from Chorus, their fifth album)
  13. Blue Savannah Song (first of two tracks from Wild!, their fourth album)
  14. Drama! (second of two tracks from Wild!, their fourth album)
  15. Love You to the Sky (Fourth of four tracks from their seventeenth and current album, World Be Gone)
  16. Sometimes (Second of two tracks from The Circus, their second album)
  17. Always (lone track from I Say, I Say, I say, their sixth album)
  18. Stop! (from the Crackers International EP... or album 3.5, I guess)
  19. A Little Respect (Fourth of four tracks from The Innocents, their third and most popular album)

They skipped tracks from Erasure (their seventh album), Cowboy (their eighth, and probably my favorite, album), Loveboat (their ninth album), Other People's Songs (their tenth album), Union Street (their twelfth album), Light at the End of the World (their thirteenth album), Tomorrow's World (their fourteenth album), Snow Globe (their fifteenth... a Christmas album), and The Violet Flame (their sixteenth album).

Songs I would have liked to have heard? Heavenly Action, Weight of the World, just about anything from Cowboy plus Don't Say You Love Me, and I Broke It All in Two.

Not that I can really complain though... nineteen awesome songs was above and beyond!

If you ever have a chance to see them live, Erasure is worth the ticket of admission.


Continuing on with my revisiting of every Marvel Studios movie...

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 13: Captain America: Civil War Original Grade: A+ • Today's Grade: A+ Holy crap... what if Robert Downey Jr. had said no? What would this movie have been then? Chris Evans has made no secret of the fact that he never really wanted to sign on for Captain America because he had his fill of super-hero movies with the two awful Fantastic Four flicks. But he was talked into it, and signed a contract for a set number of appearances as Cap. And that was smart. Get the big money while he could, then move on to the directing career he wanted which would pay a lot less. He later extended his contract to include Avengers 4 when Avengers: Infinity War was split, but it's assumed that's the end of it. What's so cool is that Evans is such a stand-up guy that he agreed to cameo appearances in Thor: The Dark World and Spider-Man: Homecoming outside of his contract. Marvel Studios, in its infinite wisdom, decided to make the most of the original Captain America while they had him, and essentially created another Avengers movie instead of a Cap solo film. Taking the general idea from the comic book event of the same name, Civil War was a way to tear everything apart before bringing it back together again. And they pulled out all the stops doing it. In addition to getting the first appearances of Spider-Man and Black Panther, we also get Iron Man, Winter Soldier, Black Widow, The Falcon, Agent 13, Ant-Man, War Machine, Hawkeye, The Vision, and Scarlet Witch. When you consider that this could have easily been a movie with Cap as its only hero battling some random villain, that's beyond incredible. It was, of course, just a warm-up. I don't know that this was a better film than Winter Soldier, but it was a comic book fan's ultimate dream movie at the time. It was certainly mine. Kinda still is.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: Wow does Marvel Studios have the whole de-aging thing down! Seeing young Robert Downey Jr. at the front-end of the film was so cool. And it wasn't just for kicks... it actually had real relevance to the story being told. But, of course, the scene to beat would have to be the airport battle. Finally. Finally! After spending most my life waiting for a live-action super-hero battle that wasn't a pile of shit (I'm looking at you, X-Men 3) we got it. It didn't hurt that Spider-Man and Black Panther were in the mix, and absolutely everybody was used to their full potential. Including... Giant Man!
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Wanda accidentally blew up part of a building when she levitated an exploding Crossbones who was in the middle of exploding. Sure some people got killed because of her inexperience. But the alternative was a lot more people on the ground getting wiped out? Including Captain America? I don't get how that pertinent fact was never raised in the entirety of the film. It bothers me because it's the whole turning point for The Accords being enacted, and it doesn't really make much sense.
   
SIDENOTE: Still hilarious to see Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei in a movie together again (I'm a big fan of Only You). Red Wing, which was a real-live falcon pal to The Falcon in the comics was made a drone in the movies. Once again we have Marvel being faithful to the source material... just updating it in a way that makes perfect sense! The Incredible Hulk is a movie largely ignored from the Marvel Studios canon, even though it was firmly established to be a part of it. And every once in a while, they drag out General Thunderbolt Ross to remind people of that. This actually makes me happy, because though Mark Ruffalo is better-suited to the role, the hulk movie was not a bad film at all. I expected that there would be a good reason for Thor and The Hulk being left out of Civil War, I just didn't expect it to be as good a reason as we were handed in Thor: Ragnarok. Once again, Marvel Studios knows exactly what they are doing.

   

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