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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.

   

Wildfires and Ant-Man

Posted on August 13th, 2018

Dave!Whenever a fire siren goes off in town, my heart stops for a second. When you live in a city as small as mine, there's a good chance that somebody you know has their home on fire. Not that it's any less sad when it's a stranger losing their home, but it does hit you harder.

Right now it's especially terrible when the siren sounds because a fire happening when there's wildfires all around us just seems cruel.

Today the smoke was so thick in the air that I could barely make out the nearby hills. If you look at this map...

Washington State Fire Map

...that huge red dot in the middle is just North of where I live. It's a wildfire that's currently 29,186 acres in size and only 5% contained. When the winds blow South, the smoke comes with it. For me that means a day of burning eyes and difficulty breathing.

But that's not the worst part.

The smoke is a constant reminder that hundreds... thousands... of animals are losing their homes and living in terror. And many of those may not survive it. Unlike people, they don't understand what's happening, and that has been weighing heavy on me.

Our local animal shelter has had to stop taking in owner surrenders because they just don't have room. They have to shelter animals from people under evacuation with what little space they have available. And this also weighs heavy on me. I try and think of how terrified Jake and Jenny would be in a shelter... trapped in a small cage with nowhere to hide from the noise and people. I can't imagine how traumatized they would be. I can't imagine that they would ever be the same. I just can't imagine. It's just too awful.

A part of me wants to run down and adopt another cat... do my part to free up some space. But I don't think that's for me. Jake and Jenny are perfect. Life with Jake and Jenny is perfect. We've adapted to each other very well and I think they are happy here. If introducing another element in any way disrupts that, it wouldn't be fair to Jake and Jenny. Or me.

And yet...

I cannot say that I won't give in and take a chance.

I really need to unsubscribe from the Human Society newsletter and Facebook feed. Too many animals need homes.


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

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 12: Ant-Man
Original Grade: A • Today's Grade: A
I knew I would love this movie the minute that Paul Rudd was attached to star. Then they went and made it into a caper flick so it would stand out from the pack, which was about a brilliant a move as they could have made. I ended up really loving it. Still holds up today. I'm having to really restrain myself from bumping it up to an A+ here, because I have a tough time seeing how the first Ant-Man movie could have been much better than this.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: That opening scene where SHIELD's headquarters (as seen in Captain America: Winter Soldier (three movies ago) are just being built... and we get a de-aged Michael Douglas interacting with Peggy Carter and Howard Stark... thus immediately cementing Ant-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe before he even appears on screen! Genius! But... yeah... the fight in Cassie's bedroom was pretty great. They played with the size altering abilities in interesting ways, which was a lot of fun.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Once again... the villain has the same powers as the hero but is a little stronger. It gets so old. And yet... from a story perspective I get it. Yellow Jacket kinda fell out of Scott Lang's origin story, so it was a logical choice. Fortunately, we got Ghost in the sequel, which was something entirely different.
   
SIDENOTE: With every viewing I remember how upset I was before the movie came out when I heard that Scott Lang would be in the suit instead of the original Ant-Man from the comics. Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne were founding members of The Avengers, and it was a real slap in the face they were being side-stepped. And then I saw the movie and the way they so brilliantly integrated Hank Pym into the history of everything the MCU was building. It was a brilliant move and made perfect sense. It was at this point that I finally just stopped questioning what Marvel Studios was doing until I saw the full film. In most every case they end up nailing it, so why waste the energy?

   

Bullet Sunday 474 and Avengers: Age of Ultron

Posted on August 12th, 2018

Dave!Time to be cruel to be kind... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Birdfeeding! I used to feed birds only in the winter, but started feeding them in the Summertime as entertainment for my cats. Problem is, when I hang the feeder in front of their window, the birds stay away... unlike in winter where food is scarce and they don't care. Apparently having predators staring at you while dining is unappetizing if you have other options. So I moved the feeder to the corner of the house where there are no windows so I could get rid of the feed I had bought. Problem is... I felt bad when there was no more food, so I kept on buying it because they kept hanging around. The little scroungers run through loads of the stuff, and I'm refilling it three times a week now...

Insatiable

Probably wouldn't be so bad if they were content to eat the cheap seed... but their favorite is thistle seed, AKA nyjer seed. The stuff is crazy expensive. I've tried mixing it with the cheap seed, but they pick it out and drop it on the ground... along with loads of thistle seed shells. I can't seem to win when it comes to birds.

   
• Bears! So there I was... flipping through channels... when I ran across We Bare Bears, which is one of the best things I've ever seen...

It's in its fourth season. No idea how I've missed it for this long, but I'm kinda obsessed with it now.

   
• Bears Again! What makes me love We Bare Bears even more? A storyboard artist from the show created an animatic of Ice Bear punching a Neo Nazi...

Bear Punches Neo Nazi

The tiki torch is a nice touch. You can see it over at Cartoon Brew.

   
• Unsatiable! When internet controversy was unleashed against the new Netflix series Insatiable, calling for it to be canceled before it even aired, I was intrigued. Rather than jump on the bandwagon I decided to take a look. It was funny as hell and, though it was pretty crude, I didn't understand what the fuss was about...

Insatiable

UNTIL THINGS TURNED TO SHIT IN THE TENTH EPISODE. Holy crap. I have never seen a show completely turn a corner like this. It's as if they had no idea what to do for an ending and just slapped some stupid crap together. EXCEPT THERE WASN'T AN ENDING! Blargh. The only way I was offended by this show was that Netflix greenlit it when IT HAD NO ENDING!

   
• Potato! Netflix kinda redeemed themselves after the disaster of Insatiable by recommending The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I don't go much for period films... and especially not period romance films... but this one has really beautiful atmosphere to it...

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Taking place in the days after World War II, author Juliet Ashton receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a reading club. Curious to know more about the society, Juliet writes back... and a story unfolds. It's a nice escape, if you're looking for that wort of thing.

   
• Agatha! I've read most of the Agatha Christie novels. My mom loved them, and they made for good reading. My favorite has always been Death on the Nile, followed by Five Little Pigs and probably And Then There Were None. Amazon Prime is now showing an adaption of Ordeal by Innocence, which is one I remember...

Ordeal by Innocence

After having watched all three parts while I was working this morning, I was a bit taken aback that they had changed the story. Which is to say that they changed the murderer. I'm sure other details were altered as well, but I don't remember things well enough to list them. It seems strange to me that they would adapt a book and change it so significantly. If they didn't want to tell the story Agatha Christie had written, why wouldn't they have just written their own story? Setting all that aside, the series is pretty good and has a great cast lead by Bill Nighy. If you've got three hours to kill, there are worse things to watch. Like Insatiable, for example.

   
Time to regroup and reload. See you next Sunday.


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

MARVEL STUDIOS MOVIE OF THE DAY, No. 11: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Original Grade: A • Today's Grade: A-
I'm just going to get this out of the way... Ultron was not nearly as horrifying a villain as he should have been. The absurdity of it has me dropping Age of Ultron a half grade, just because it's even more jarring on repeat viewings. While casting James Spader as Ultron's voice was genius, he should have been an unstoppable, unhinged murder-bot instead of the philosophically-bent loon they made him into. That being said, it was great to see The Avengers back in action... even if this was a disjointed mess of a movie which wasted too much time on nonsensical diversions. Oh well. The fight scenes are amazing. The Vision has some serious design issues (WHY PUT DRIBBLE ON HIS CHIN?!?), but is as cool as you'd hope. Wanda's powers are all over the place, but it was great to get the Scarlet Witch onboard. Ultimately it's a heck of an entertaining film that still makes an A grade. It's just that this should have been an A+ movie and it wasn't.
   
SCENE TO BEAT: That opening attack on Baron von Strucker's fortress in Sokovia was pretty great. It was a fight that was very well balanced between our heroes so that nobody was left out. Oh... and I loved the scene when everybody was trying to lift Thor's hammer and Captain America nudged it a bit. The look on Thor's face? Priceless.
   
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: Ultron. Holy shit what a boring waste of what should have been a ruthlessly scary super-villain. And his design sucked too. Thor's sidequest was silly.
   
SIDENOTE: It's fairly obvious that Joss Whedon did not get to make exactly the movie he was wanting to make... and he has confirmed as much. If the studio knew that they were going to be dictating a bunch of crap to be worked into the movie, they should have known better than to force it on Joss Whedon who is at his best when he works alone and can fulfill his vision for the project. What's interesting is that Whedon said "never again" after the movie wrapped... but then ended up taking over for Zack Snyder on the abhorrent Justice League where he was even more at the mercy of the studio. I can only guess that Warner Bros. paid him a shit-ton of money.

   

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