Friday, May 20, 2016

Captain America CIVIL WAR

Well after days of being a dilly dallier, I finally made it to see Captain America Civil War today. Whew what a ride it is...

I expected it to be dark, but it is even darker than I expected in its tone. You see, the Avengers have been called to account for all the damage they caused in the past when "helping" the world populace.  Of course the accusers don't take into consideration that it's usually the bad guys doing most of the damage. Well, the hulk did sort of mess up NYC along with the rampaging aliens in the first Avengers movie. Hydra AND Shield were both responsible for wrecking parts of DC in "Captain America and The Winter Soldier." Then Tony Stark's accidental creation was responsible for destroying a whole Balkan country when the Avengers fought Ultron.

There is the devastation in this new one when they are the targets of well-equipped assassins in Captain America Civil War. Civilians were killed and city blocks were turned to rubble. The king of the African country in which the original devastation occurred was killed in the fray.  His son and heir, played by the versatile Chadwick Boseman, demands justice. He also has a super alter ego known as the Panther.

That does it for the world community. Many countries band together to require the Avengers to register their true identities, places of residence, and to agree not to act independently. They face imprisonment if they step out of line.  The world wants to tell them when to act and when not to. As you can imagine such an idea doesn't sit well with some of the Avengers.

A small number of the Avengers agree to the terms and sign. However, Captain America (arguably the best-known and most popular) does not. Some of the Avengers line up behind him and refuse to sign. So we have two groups of former Avengers fighting against each other with the CIA demanding to know the whereabouts of Thor and the Hulk...good luck finding either of them with Thor off world and David Banner hiding in relative obscurity as long as he keeps his temper.

To add spark to the growing fire, the CIA captures The Winter Soldier, aka Bucky Barnes, Captain America's lifelong friend.

Naturally the Cap wants his friend out of custody, but the government refuses. Unfortunately for them the psychiatrist assigned to question Barnes is a fake. He feeds poor Barnes the code words programmed into him and the Winter Soldier is off and running once more.

Half of the former Avengers side with Stark and sign the accords.  The other half side with the Cap and refuse.

For the big cataclysmic battle each group brings in a new person or two.  On the side of Stark (Iron Man), he brings in the teen-aged Spiderman. On the side of the Cap, he brings in Ant Man.  Both Tom Holland as Spiderman and Paul Rudd as Ant Man provide some necessary comic relief.  Spiderman hasn't discovered all his capabilities and flounders occasionally. Ant Man has dry wit and a humorous take on his situation. One of his bits is hysterical. Believe me with all the darkness of the film, watching old friends battle each other, the humor is needed.

There is a final battle in the film which only succeeds in alienating the participants more.

You can bet there will be a sequel, but it may still be very dark. And for those of you are avid fans of the films, don't forget Thanos is out there in space vowing to get rid of the Avengers and subdue the Earth once and for all...

Like all Marvel films this one has another scene after the credits have begun to roll. But this one has a second scene added after all the credits are done. I have to say these are the longest credits I've ever seen on any movie. They ran for about fifteen minutes...but there is another scene at the end which I'm sure leads to yet another film for a single character...

Can't help it, I love the Marvel movies.

Oh and look for Stan Lee, the elder statesman of Marvel comics in another quirky cameo in this one.

Lastly are you Team Iron Man? Or are you Team Captain America? I for one am forever with the Cap.

Take care. For those of us in the southeast it's been a stormy few days. Thankfully I wore a hoodie when I went to the movie today because I walked out into a severe storm and needed the protection!

Enjoy your favorite actors in their latest films. Nothing is like it in our culture.

Until later...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Night Shift, Book 3 in the Midnight Texas trilogy by Charlaine Harris

Sorry, I've been offline for a few days. My computer crashed recently and it took some time to get it scrubbed/cleaned, and new better protection downloaded.

One of my favorite authors, Charlaine Harris, released the latest book in her Midnight Texas series.  This third book is entitled Night Shift and brings back all the strange residents of the tiny Texas town.

I don't want to reveal too much about this book.  It was originally meant to be the third and final book in a trilogy. However, while some of the mysteries & plot lines are resolved in this book, there are others left hanging...I hope for more books about the unresolved characters in the future.

Also, NBC is already in production for a series, entitled "Midnight Texas" due to be a midseason replacement for the fall lineup. If you Google it, you can see pictures of the cast, some of whom appear to be in character costume.

Charlaine Harris known as the writer of the Sookie Stackhouse books (which became the popular HBO series "True Blood"), is also known for several mystery series which the Hallmark Channel has turned into movies. Now, of course Midnight Texas will hit the airwaves.

She is an excellent writer.  Her vivid characters come alive, be they supernatural beings or just plain folks. Ms. Harris possesses knowledge of human (and inhuman) behavior, colored with regional habits, slang, and landscape.

Midnight, Texas is a far cry from Bon Temps, LA. In the Sookie Stackhouse books, the characters negotiated their way through the swamps and backwoods. Midnight, Texas is dry, open plains, if you've ever been to dusty west Texas, you'll recognize it from her books.

Check out the Midnight Texas trilogy. I read them in order but you can do what you like.

P.S. since it's the same universe as the one of which Sookie is a resident, there is a bit of crossover...

Until next time!

Take care.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Fifth Wave

I wanted to see The Fifth Wave in a movie theater, but time (and other commitments) got away from me, so I put it on my pay-per-view list.

The story is taken by the novel written by Rick Yancey.

The film is somewhat familiar. It reminded me in places of Red Dawn, Battle Los Angeles (the Aaron Eckhart version), and the TNT series Falling Skies. It reminded me of those earlier works in a good way.

It is the story centered on a family in a small northern town. One day, Cassie (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a typical teenager in high school with a huge crush on Ben (Nick Robinson).  Then this strange metal object appears in the sky above them.  It hovers there for days.  It's the only one in the country apparently. The kids keep going to school although there are fewer and fewer students there as families flee the area.

It's only the first wave of the thing is an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) used to knock out all power on the planet...yep, no cell phones, TV, cars with electronic components, no running water, no electricity as the power stations are dead and the planes all fall out of the know the 21st century citizen's worst nightmare.

Okay also in the second wave, something (you don't know what) makes all the water on Earth go ballistic and flood the land masses. There are some good special effects in these scenes. Huge ocean waves first engulf a ritzy resort area which reminds me of South Beach in Miami, and then the action moves on elsewhere.

The third wave comes in the form of a pandemic which wipes out much of the remaining population.

The fourth wave is the actual invasion but it is not what you'd think.

At any rate, Cassie has gone from being your average high school girl to a gun-toting survivalist. She hunts for her younger brother. They were  forcibly separated when the Army (US) marched into the refugee camp and took the children away. Her parents are both dead by this time.

Cassie is determined to find her younger brother, Sam. Along the way, she meets Evan (Alex Roe) (Hunk Alert!) who makes her forget about Ben.

This is an entertaining sci-fi film. Yes, there is some violence.  They are at war, after all. But it is an engaging story.

The cast members make you root for their characters, mostly. Liev Schreiber in the role of an Army Colonel does a great job as a cold officer sending children off to fight.

I won't spoil the story for you. I will say the survivors band together at the end forming a resistance group (like in Red Dawn and Falling Skies). There are a few unresolved issues which may result in a sequel.

It's a tense movie in places, but it is also short, just shy of two hours. I intended to do some other things while the film was on, but it kept my attention, always a good indicator.

If you like the aforementioned films and television series, check out The Fifth Wave.

Okay, warning, warning!!!! Captain America: Civil War opens in four days...I'll post my review when I've seen it.  You know me and the Cap...

Until next time, take care and enjoy our wide and varied pop culture.