Category Archives: Movies

Doctor Strange Teaser Trailer, Finally!

Did you catch the Doctor Strange teaser trailer yet?  Well then, please allow me to share it with you.

Not only is it a new release from Marvel, and they’ve been on a roll with their movies.  (Okay, I haven’t seen Ant Man, but that’s more of a time constraint issue than a lack of desire.)

The cast looks great.  Of course, I love Benedict Cumberbatch (shocking, I know) and he’s reunited with Chiwetel Ejiofor from 12 Years A Slave.   Mads Mikkelson creeped me out in Hannibal.  The happy list grows with Rachel McAdams from Sherlock Holmes and Midnight in Paris, Tilda Swinton from Constantine, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and the list of impressive actors just keeps going.

I’ve actually read a few of the comic books. (Wow, I realized the only other comic book movie I’d read any of the books before the movie was Deadpool.  Times, they are a-changing.)  I like the story line for Doctor Strange, and the only thing holding me back from reading more has been a lack of free time to drive to Mammoth Comics. They introduced me to Doctor Strange in the first place.  (It is only 15 minutes from my house, but work & homework overflow!)

I want to love this movie.  I really do.  The story, the cast, even Marvel’s track record all make me want to be jumping with joy over this film.  Something about this teaser makes me nervous for the movie though.  I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but it is there.

What do you think?  Did you get the same vibe?  Am I imagining things?  Lack of sleep could totally be messing with my mind.  Let me know if my mental acuity has been compromised by too many nights with too little sleep.

‘Til next time,


P.S. The sleep thing may actually be a factor since I just second guessed myself about the definition of acuity.  I actually looked it up…in a dictionary…when I’m on a laptop with the whole internet at my disposal.  Maybe I should be afraid.  Anyway, off to work I go!

Suicide Squad Reshoots?

Suicide SquadI just read an article…okay, I read several articles about Suicide Squad heading in for reshoots to add levity to the movie.  According to the articles, the trailer featuring Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody contains every joke in the movie.

I’ve read everything from these reshoots being a knee-jerk reaction to the dismay of audiences at the darkness of Batman vs. Superman (although what did they expect when the good guys battle it out?) to a response to the overwhelming positive reaction to the Bohemian Rhapsody trailer.

Either way, this raises a couple of concerns, because while they are undeniable evil-doers, Harley Quinn and Joker, in particular, offer the opportunity for some great banter and black humor.  You know, the kind you’re almost embarrassed you laughed at. Also, did you not have faith in the movie you produced when you produced it?

I’ve been looking forward to this film since the first announcement, and now…now, there’s a bit of trepidation.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m seeing this movie opening weekend (barring crazy school/work/life situations). I’m just a little worried about the product I’m buying into now.

What do you think?  Smart move?  Lack of faith?  This is what the comments section is for.

‘Til next time,


The Dark Knight vs. The Man of Steel

Batman vs SupermanI went to see Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice this week.  Although I’d heard lots of condemnation for the movie, I couldn’t resist the pull of the world’s two most famous superheroes on the big screen together.  Even if you have never read a comic book or seen a superhero movie, there’s a slightly better than average chance  you’ve at least heard of these two heavy-weights (one day I will have my sarcasm font!).  Is The Bat vs. Supes an Oscar award kind of venture?  No!  Who expects it to be?  That doesn’t mean it isn’t an entertaining trip to the theater.  Let’s set some reasonable expectations here.

This is not a happy go lucky film.  The title should give something of that away.  You have two good guys, superheroes no less, battling it out.  Did you think they were fighting over a broken GI Joe? (Wow, did I just date myself there.)  This movie throws what you conventionally think about the black and white world of the heroes in to nothing but shades of grey.  What happens if you look at the actions of each of these guys from the outside without the special privilege of inside information given to readers, movie-goers and television watchers through the decades?  Innocent die and mass destruction follows them like the stray animal your parents warned you about feeding because it wouldn’t go away.  As insiders into their stories and their worlds we know that while they are the front-man, the memorable face (or silhouette) of these tragedies, they don’t start them.  They’re there trying to prevent a bigger tragedy from befalling their city or the world.  The average citizen isn’t always privy to that information, and therefore neither is the opposition in this film.

At least that’s what I have to assume, because one of the big failings of this film, in my eyes, is the lack of effective set up for the conflict.  Half the movie is spent on backstory and build up with very little substance for the conflict or its resolution actually being conveyed to the audience.  They threw some tarnish on the uniforms of the two most recognizable superheroes in the world, tossed in a little backstory and asked us to believe that is enough to justify the conflict.  Did anyone out there NOT know that Bruce Wayne watched his parents get murdered when he was a kid? Could we not have replaced that little piece of the pie, nicely done though it was, with something that was a little more relevant to this story? (Unless you’re asking me to believe that the whole resolution of this conflict hinges on that two second scene.  When you watch it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.)

They tried to cram in an entire movie’s worth of setup for this conflict into the first half of Batman vs. Superman, and frankly, it came across as a little weak.  It isn’t like there isn’t enough story material to have added something else for each of these characters in between their last franchise film and this one to start feeding audiences hints of what’s to come.  It felt like they’d ditched all their previous efforts to build a successful franchise and started from scratch here, and there are some pretty big holes.

The second half of the film I really liked a lot.  The introduction of Wonder Woman into this cinematic universe was pretty much perfect, and although I’ve heard a lot of complaint about shoving too many characters down our throats too quickly as a set up for the announced Justice League movies.  It is as well done as I could have asked for, and it was believable in the context in which it was presented.

Could it have been better if they’d spread it out over several movies and formats the way Marvel has done?  Maybe, but DC isn’t Marvel.  This has actually come up in discussion quite a bit since I’ve seen the movie (which is impressive because that was on FRIDAY).  Is DC trying to create for itself a universe that spans television, movies, comic books, etc. the way Marvel has?  Well, who wouldn’t want their organization to be a wildly successful money-making machine of epic proportions?

They’re taking their own path to get there. Are choices such as not retaining a continuity of actors from the small screen to the large going to help them? (I’m looking at Barry Allen here)  Who knows?  It is hard not to compare the two houses who’ve given the world our favorite fictional heroes.  I’m trying to take each project on its own merits and see where the rest falls out.

‘Til next time,

P.S. Everybody has an opinion about this one.  Tell me what you think?

Don’t Be Afraid of Mistakes

NewYearsWish_Page_1‘Til next time,


Ah, December 1st

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar

Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar

Today, my friends, promises to be a good day.  I awoke to a world covered in frost, hopefully killing all those allergy inducing plants, a work schedule telling me I have until 10:30am before work calls, and my Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar.  In the weeks since I received it for my birthday, it’s sat on my table calling my name, but I’ve managed to resist its siren call until the appointed day.  Today is that day.  December 1st.

IMG_2514No, I am not between the ages of six and fourteen.  However, my enthusiasm is undimmed. This morning, I eagerly cleared a place on my book case, released the top of the box to create a backdrop for my new Lego creations, opened that door and built…something.

IMG_2515I don’t know what it is, actually.  A speeder?  Maybe?  I have no idea.  If you have a thought, let me know, because on this one, I’m clueless. (Try and restrain your hilarity there folks.)  It doesn’t matter that I don’t know what it is, it was still fun.

What?  Will you be treated to daily pictures of the Lego creations?  Well, who would I be to deprive you of such joy.  Of course I will!

‘Til next time,


P.S. The more I look at this thing,  the less I know what it is, except it flies…right?

They’re Real!

They're Real!

One of my favorite movies is The Princess Bride. R.O.U.S.’s (Rodents Of Unusual Size) are real. Meet Patrick, 2-year-old wombat…that is one large rodent. Keep on the lookout for the six-fingered man, and I’m going to go watch Wesley and Buttercup.
As you wish,

Guardians of The Galaxy

I’ve now seen this movie twice.  As you may have read, the lead up to this movie got me pretty excited.  Opening weekend saw my friends and I, kicked back in our reclining red chairs at the theater with our smuggled candy and buckets of sodas (or icees) eagerly waiting for Rocket, the raccoon with anger issues, Peter Quill the self-acclaimed “Star Lord”, Gamora the green-skinned assassin, Groot a talking(ish) tree, and Drax the most literal character aside from Sheldon Cooper I can recall.

Guardians of the Galaxy did not disappoint.  After stewing over my first viewing, trying to remember all the little ties that Marvel works into their creations, I convinced my parents they needed to see it.  The nephew bowed out to play more Call of Duty with his friends…bad move kid.  You really missed out!  Of course, since I did the convincing, I had to go see it with them.  It would just be wrong otherwise, right? (Just go with it.)  This gave me the chance to really look and make sure I hadn’t been imagining things. (I may have still been imagining things, but at least I got confirmation for some stuff.)

Guardians is a funny movie.  Not that the other installments of the Marvel franchise haven’t been humorous, but this one puts the funny center stage.  We are talking about a bunch of misfit criminals saving the galaxy.  As expected, I really liked the angry raccoon and the tree.

Surprisingly, I liked Gamora more than expected.  Before the movie, I came across a single issue of Guardians of the Galaxy comic books and from that brief glimpse of Gamora, I expected more ice that Zoe Saldana gave her.  This Gamora, who thaws a bit toward her compatriots, relates better for me than the green ice queen I saw in the comic book (Maybe Gamora is a bit more friendly than that single issue revealed, and I just haven’t seen it yet.)  However, I also believe that Saldana had this one brief chance to endear Gamora to the audience, and she did a great job with it.  She is a talented actor who has really shone in both the Star Trek franchise and Guardians.  I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more of her.

Peter Quill…you just can’t help but like the jackass, and he is.  A small time criminal, who wants to be both a bigger outlaw and a better person.  His running away looks so much more like running towards something, he just doesn’t know what he’s doing.  This guy spends so much energy holding on to this shining relic of his past that clashes with his present, and leaves him looking for a different future he can’t picture.  (although as “shining relics” go, he could do a lot worse than the soundtrack.  Just saying, great music!)  Peter Quill, is just one adorable, messed up guy… but, he does a lot of development in the film.  The thing I loved is that all this growth doesn’t feel forced.  Chris Pratt does an excellent job of creating a development arc that feels natural, and displaying a depth of character I really didn’t expect to find.

Drax the Destroyer…the most literal character I may have ever seen.  Seriously, I know one of the many reasons I am not an actor.  I do not have the mental fortitude to deliver lines like this with a straight face as many times as needed to make a movie.  Kudos to Bautista for that alone.  Before, I deleted it as too spoiler-y, I couldn’t even type one of this guy’s lines with a straight face.  However, dear reader, I will preserve this for your first viewing if you haven’t seen it yet.  I thought I was going to spit icee all over the place, even though I could see the joke coming a mile away. Of all the characters, Drax is also the most outwardly stubborn.  Quill is joyfully immovable but Drax is just stubborn.  His course set for vengeance, he really doesn’t want to stray from the path he’s decided upon,  and it takes a mountain to move him.

Rocket, oh you angry little fur ball.  I just…you…so funny…so angry, and I feel a little bad that all that anger is so funny, because there’s a lot to be angry about.  This funny, mercenary, enraged, broken, loyal character would be someone you ached for if a) he wasn’t a raccoon and b) you actually met him. You do feel kind of bad for the little guy, and watching just a bit of that anger leach away in the face of growing friendships is kind of heart-warming.  Bradley Cooper imbues this little guy with so much energy, personality, and ruthlessness through the sheer power of his voice, because let’s face it, he’s just so soft and furry.  You just want to pet him.

Vin Diesel, conveyed more through repetition of one three word sentence that most people can get across with 300 words.  Groot ended up being a much more complicated character than I imagined at the outset of this adventure.  My mom was listening to an interview with Diesel on NPR, and he was talking about the hundreds of hours he put in to getting the inflections just right.  He went over the actual words and sentiment the director wanted him to get across, and spent so much time making sure it was exactly correct.  The result is just awesome, and something about Groot just seems to embody nature and all the amazing beauty and wrath inherent in the natural world.

The Collector who made his initial appearance in the Bonus Scene after Thor: The Dark World plays a bigger role in Guardians.  The audience gets a better look at his collection too. Keep your eyes peeled for some familiar species and things.

All of these characters make for interesting character studies, that I plan on going into more later.  I also have much more that I’d like to discuss about Thanos, what and who The Collector has collected, the Tesseract, the Aether and so much more, but I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone.  In other words, go see it, and send me an email at, post a comment or something.  Discussion, speculation, and tidbits that hint at what’s to come and give insight into what has happened are all flying around this brain of mine.

Also, who still gets up and leaves before the credits are finished in a Marvel movie?  Both times I went to see it, nearly half the people left before the Bonus Scene.  Have they been living under a rock?

‘Til next time,


It’s Heavy, But Good

I just finished watching Gravity starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. This is one that I really wanted to see in theaters in 3D, but I missed it. Now, I’m kind of glad I did. I think this one would have made me nauseous. Lots of spinning and flying through space.

The imagery and visuals in this film are stunning. The sunrises over earth, the Aurora Borealis and the vision of the lights in the U. S. at night are gorgeous. What really got me is a particular image at a pivotal point in the story, a turning point for Bullock’s character, Dr. Ryan Stone.

GravityBeneath the terrifying whirlwind adventure in space, they did some great character development. Sandra Bullock’s character is transformed and ends up confronting events from her past in the lonely vacuum of space, and emerges at the end of the film a much different person than the one who joined the mission.

As a kid, I watched the movie Space Camp and decided that I definitely wanted to be an astronaut.  I was reminded of that childhood dream as I watched this movie, and determined that I rank up there with Doctor Leonard (Bones) McCoy with the opinion that space is scary.  Beautiful.  Awe inspiring.  Humbling.  Powerful.  Terrifying.

I think one of the things that made this resonate was something that I read or heard in an interview with an astronaut that, although the film didn’t get everything right, they did a really good job of giving viewers a realistic glimpse of space.  This little snippet that took up less than 30 seconds of the interview is what rolled through my mind through 80% of the film.  Oh.  Holy.  Crap.

For this movie, Sandra Bullock filmed alone, with not much more than a voice for company.  As I understand it, typically movie sets are pretty crowded places, and being by yourself when you’re typically surrounded  by people had to be weird and maybe a little stressful.  I can see the filming circumstances playing a role in the portrayal of this character as well.  All alone out in space…space.

Alone.  In space.   This creeps me out a little all on its own.  As a person who gets a little antsy if I don’t interact with living breathing people on a regular basis, the idea of being in space all by myself, is…tension-worthy.

I understand why Gravity is so highly acclaimed, and I’m really glad I watched it.

Have you seen it?  What did you think?

‘Til next time,


Finding Inspiration Through the Tears

So, I am a little in love with the book, The Fault in Our Stars. Are you shocked? Probably not. The movie adaptation was released last week, and I finally got to see it. Before going to see the movie I discussed it with…just about everybody, and, so far, the general consensus is that TFiOS broke their hearts.

As my friend and I left the theater, she mentioned how depressing she found the film, but I disagree.  Maybe the second consumption of the story lends itself to a little more introspection and a little less reaction.  Don’t get me wrong, I cried buckets.  I’m grateful she thought to grab tissues (although I’m not sure an entire box would have been enough to mop up all the emotion).  However, even as I dried my tears and tried to pull myself together enough to at least remember where I parked the car (not an easy feat on a day in which I haven’t been emotionally compromised by a John Green tale), I realized that I don’t find this story depressing.

Hazel, Augustus and Isaac broke my heart again, and once again, they’ve mended it a little.  The story of the “cancer kids” who meet in “the literal heart of Jesus” inspires me. I had to work my way through the emotion to find the inspiration, and, as I said, the second consumption helped to find the positivity inherent in every novel of Green’s I’ve read.

There’s hope and life in this story. I’m inspired to take advantage of every day, to cherish the people in my life, to take chances despite (or even because of) the risk, and to never dismiss love.  My stubbornly independent self is even inspired to admit (occasionally) that it is okay if you can’t carry everything by your self all of the time, and leaning on the people who love you every once in the while isn’t a bad thing.  Sometimes you need a boost to achieve your dreams.

Don’t be intimidated by the tears! Go see this movie.



Candlewyck Cove ResortLast weekend, I joined my family at Grand Lake for our annual long weekend at the lake.  Every year we rent a house at Candlywyck Cove Resort (and a hotel room or two) and spend the weekend laughing, eating, swimming, fishing and playing dominos (and any other games we can come up with).  My dad and his brothers and sisters and their families (when they can) come in to just hang out and reconnect.  Most of the weekend we had about 15 people there, but on Saturday that jumped to around 25ish (I really didn’t count).  Let’s just say there were a lot of people.

Grand Lake has been a central meeting place for our family since I was a kid.  My grandparents retired there, and we would all gather at their house for every holiday (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Easter, Labor Day…you get the idea) and as many weekends as possible every summer.  Some of my best memories were built on that lake.  I learned how to fish, helped “teach” my cousin to swim, drove a boat for the first time, told stories, enjoyed the fruits of my grandparents’ gardens, learned checkers, became a baseball fan, watched my first soap opera, got my first black eye, and so much more.  When we were looking for a gathering place in later years, it seemed only natural to choose Grand Lake.

Yes, we put everybody in one house, voluntarily, for four days.  This is apparently unusual for families.  I had no idea.  Until I became an “adult” (however, my nephew’s friend questioned my “adult” status this weekend), I thought everyone’s family was like this.  There’s lots of laughing and good-natured ribbing, but rarely a “real” argument.  Our discussions this last weekend ranged from health care and financial planning to theories on how my dad and his brothers managed to cheat at Apples to Apples (We’re not competitive at all: Insert sarcasm font here).  These weekends have been influential in a lot of my major decisions.  When I was trying to decide whether or not to take a job in Chicago, I brought it to the family on one of these weekends.  This year, I even brought the short story I’m going to be submitting for publication for them to read.  (The general consensus is basically that I’m weird, and it must be the weird books, television and movies I like.  This is an acceptable and expected response.)

Some of my favorite moments this year included taking my nephew and his friend out on a paddle boat (apparently kids under 14 can’t go alone.  My nephew was horrified.)  The wind blew so hard the little boat moved backwards, no matter how hard they paddled, and they had to work hard for their trip around the cove.  However, there were no (major) crashes with docks, a couple of turtle sightings, a threat was made to eject someone from the boat (and an unsuccessful attempt), and a lot of laughter (also a request to turn in the boat 15 minutes early).  Paddle boating is tiring.

My cousin’s boyfriend and my uncle attempted to teach us how to play the card game, Pitch.  We learned how to play a game, but I’m not sure it was Pitch.  They kept remembering rules they’d forgotten as we were playing (they were threatened with their lives discouraged from implementing new rules halfway through the game).  However, I think I have it now…maybe…there are a lot of rules.  The most important thing to come out of the game was a nickname for our new “teacher”.  He now goes by Pickles. (It is funnier if you were there).

Everyone got involved in Apples to Apples, which was a treat since one of my aunts usually refuses to play because she says we’re “awful”…not awful, just competitive.  (Really!)  Only a few of us had played the game before, so we got to teach it to everyone else.  The Three Amigos (otherwise known as my dad and his brothers) blew everyone else out of the water…especially my dad.  This is what led to the cheating accusations, well the unexpected domination in the game and a vast and varied history of cheating at board games.  (Seriously, they even cheat at checkers!)

Also there was singing!  My dad only knows one song, and only part of that.  Have you ever seen the movie Paint Your Wagon?  It is an old western starring Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin.  Until I saw this 1969 film, I had no idea that Eastwood could sing, and although it is Harvey Purcell who sings my dad’s song, They Call the Wind Mariah, it was this unsuspected side of Dirty Harry that stuck with me.


If I remember correctly, this was one of the first movies my parents went to when they started dating.  The first time I sat through this film, I made my parents promise me that I wouldn’t have to watch it again for 10 years. (I think I was 10.)  I did watch the movie again, and really enjoyed it. (What can I say, it’s no Star Wars but it is pretty good.).  Now, I’m willing to watch it whenever they want to.  I suppose, it is pretty sweet that my dad still sings a song from one of my parents first dates.


All of this to say, there really is nothing quite like family.  Next year’s lake trip can’t come soon enough.

‘Til next time,