Summer Movies 2017

Summer Movies

Last weekend Wonder Woman was released in theatres and it’s amazing.  Seriously, you have to go see it if you haven’t.  My wife, who isn’t a comic or superhero fan at all (except Batman.  She has a thing for Batman, oddly enough) loved Wonder Woman.  I plan on taking my son in the next week or so as well.  Go see it.  You’ll be rather impressed.

As we are into the second week of June, I started looking at what was coming out for the rest of this summer and planning on what I was seeing next.  But first, here’s what I have seen thus far these last couple of weeks:

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol.2 – Its fun! I liked it a lot, likely wont live up to the hype of the first one and I’m ok with that.  Its an impossible task to surpass the unexpected surprise of the first movie.

Alien: Covenant – Stay the fuck away.  Wait until it drops on Netflix. Seriously.

Wonder Woman – See above.  And then go see it.

And here are the movies that I want to see in theatres this summer:

June 9: The Mummy – I’m not overly hyped to see this movie but if a friend called and asked (and maybe bought the ticket), I would go.

June 23: Transformers: The Last Knight – Honestly, the only reason I would go is because you almost have to see it in theatres, it’ll be so big and loud.  I highly doubt it’ll be amazing, but it seems to follow the same logic (or illogical) as the Fast and Furious movies.

June 28: Baby Driver – Edgar Wright looks like he’s hit it out of the park.  I get a very early Quentin Tarantino-vibe off these trailers.

June 30: Despicable Me 3 – I have kids.  I’m going to be stuck going.

July 7: Spider-Man: Homecoming – I can’t wait to see this movie.  Seriously…after 5 movies, it looks like Sony finally got Peter Parker right.  Well, with the help of Marvel, of course.

July 14: The War for the Planet of the Apes – Yes!  YES!  Take my money!!!  This looks amazing.

July 21: Dunkirk – Thus far, the trailers haven’t really hit a home run for me, but so far Christopher Nolan hasn’t done wrong by me so I’m in.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – I just re-watched The Fifth Element and it didn’t really hold up for me, but it was still enjoyable. The visuals look amazing but, if I don’t get to see it, I wouldn’t be heart broken.

August 18: The Hitman’s Bodyguard – This just looks…fun!  At the end of a summer with huge blockbusters, I like having a plain old fun movie. And this will be it.

Summer Movies 2017

I know there are a lot of other movies within these months, like Atomic Blonde, The Dark Tower that are coming out.  But honestly, I don’t know if I would go to see those in the theatre. Shit, as I type this, I think I do want to see The Dark Tower.  So maybe I will.  Who knows.

So what movies are you going to be watching this summer?  Any sleeper movies I should be aware of?  Whatever you end up watching, I hope it was worth the money you spent.  Otherwise, that a kick in the junk.  Much like Alien: Covenant. Fuck….

 

 

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Comics: Issues or Trades?

MyTrades

In which format do you read your comics?  And, to be clear, I am not referring to physical vs. electronic.  But rather, the single issues or the Trade Paperback formats (which are the collected versions of those issues and story lines)?  It may not seem like a very interesting topic to you and you would be totally right, but I find it interesting to see what peoples preferences are and why.

The above picture is my collection of trades.  There are some titles that I had bought many years ago when I stopped collecting, to scratch that comics-itch I had.  But for the most part, 80% of those titles were picked up because I wanted to read that story line.

In a previous post, I discussed why I was drawn to comics but I took a big break in actual collecting of comic issues.  And I mean, a big break.  As in close to 20-years long.  In that time, I would buy the occasional trade just for shits and giggles; mostly it was if I had heard something was good or maybe the cover looked neat.

I got back into comics about 6 years ago, starting with the electronic versions and then back into the physical copies of issues about a year or so after that.  But it was a slow progression back into weekly collecting.  And in that – transitional time – I picked up some trades and really found that comics had changed drastically.  The stories were much deeper than I remember.  The art was gorgeous.  I had a different appreciation for the medium now than I did back all those years ago.  I know that with age, a change of perspective happens but with that in mind, I was still shocked at how rich comics had become.

Batman Trade 1The first trade I picked up was DC’s The New 52 Batman, written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Greg Capullo.  Within the first few pages of that trade, I was overwhelmed with Capullo’s art and Snyder’s scripts were fucking amazing. This was a Batman that I wanted to know more about and I hadn’t recalled reading any other Batman comic that was so rewarding as this one was.  I consumed Volume 1: The Court of Owls in a few hours.  And then I read it again to be sure that I wasn’t being ridiculous and sure enough, I enjoyed it more the second time.  After that, I went and picked up the next two volumes and that really is what kick-started my habit again.

As I write this entry, I have come to realize that maybe the trade formats are the gateway into collecting. I think its possible, dont you?

So, I collect issues of my books now.  But I am also grabbing trades because I have either missed the issues and their story lines or I wanted to wait to get that particular story line in a trade.  For the most part, its the former.

As stated above, I still grab my issues on a weekly basis but I do also like to get a good trade from time to time, allowing me to catch up on some really great stories that I missed while I took my comics break.

Some people prefer to just wait and get the trades; collecting comics for them is not a fun hobby.  And I can see that point of view and admittedly admire it to an extent.  When you get a really good story line that spans 5-12 issues, having them all in one book makes things much easier and kinda fun.  You can pull a trade off the shelf and not have to worry about opening the bag of each issue.

So what do you prefer?  Single issues or trades?  Or both?  Because while writing this post, I came to realize that, for me, I have a healthy attraction to both.  And that’s ok.

Comics on Sale! Comics on Sale!

Comic SaleIf you are a reader of this site (and judging by the bleak numbers, not many are), then you likely know that this past weekend thousands of Marvel trade comics went on sale on Amazon for dirt cheap.  I mean, 90%-95% dirt cheap.  That’s ridiculous and way too good to pass up.  Even if you are a DC fanboy, such as myself, you cannot snub your nose at this sale.

Of course, these are only good for the e-versions of the trades, not the physical copies. I have some feelings with respect to physical copies of my comics compared to the electronic versions and I will get into that at some point, because I flip-flopped on the medium in which I read my comics and have had some really interesting discussions with people on which they prefer.

But, for now, I digress…

Personally, I took this sale and opportunity to grab a few trades that I had interest in but wasn’t committed to dropping $20-$30+ CAD (that’s Canadian Dollars, for those not from the Great White North) on said titles.  But in this format, it gives me an opportunity to read some of the titles I am interested in and, if I end up really enjoying them, I may buy the physical copy.

But for now, its all about the sale and I suggest you get on that pronto!  If you have a ComiXology app on your tablet or phone, you will need to ensure you have migrated your Amazon account so that you can purchase the books.  Just an FYI…this was some of the issues I had run into because its been a number of years since I bought an electronic copy of my comics.

Hit the below link and enjoy perusing.  I would suggest making a list of your interests because after a few pages of scrolling, you may forget which title tickled your fancy when you begin.  The link is for the Amazon.com site and Canadian’s, you will be redirected to the .ca site when you make your purchases. For the rest of the world, I think that most of the Amazon sites have the deal on as well.

Have fun and enjoy!!

Comics Sale! Go! Now!!!

A Problematic Scheduling Conundrum

To Do ListUh Oh.  Huston, we have a problem.  Ok, I may be over exaggerating on this and I do admit that in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t really a problem, but lets put aside the real issues in our current world and escape into a parallel world for a few minutes, shall we?

I am at a cross-roads, of sorts, when it comes to my “free time” and how best to spend it.  To clarify, its not whether I should do, say, yard work vs. gaming.  No no, my issue is much deeper than that:

I have too many options and not enough time.

This may seem like a nerd’s dream but alas, its a nightmare of epic proportions!  My free time consists of about 2-2.5 hours on weeknights, after my kids are asleep.  Starting this week, two of those nights are down to about 1-1.5 hours as the kids have soccer.  So my time is limited.  My problem is, I have a bunch of TV shows, Movies, Comics and Games that I want to delve into and how do I do that with my aforementioned limited time? Lets face it, its not really feasible to break up a 2-hour chunk of time to do two of those things.  Now, I could watch two different shows (if they’re an hour each), but what if I want to watch the following episode of the first show?

Currently, I have immersed my self with my PS4 and playing Doom and GTA5.  Both of these are new games to me and I have only gotten about 25% of the way through Doom and played 0.98% of GTA5.  On top of that, I want to watch the 2nd half of The Getdown (just read the show was cancelled by Netlfix today), the 2nd season of Master of None, the new seasons of House of Cards and Bloodline, the last 8 episodes of this seasons Arrow, the…you know what?  Forget it.  Lets just agree that there are too many shows.

Oh wait, one more…I want to re-watch all the Game of Thrones seasons before season 7 drops in July.  I may have to end up settling for season 6, I don’t know.  Speaking of GoT, did you catch that amazing new trailer for season 7?  Fuck, I cannot wait for this season.

WWOk, so we’ve established that I have more television shows/episodes to watch than there are days this year.  Lets not forget the movies that I want to watch, including those that are in theatres or coming soon (I’m looking at you, Wonder Woman and Spider-Man).

And finally…my comics.  I have been reading a lot of comic books lately and I cannot get enough of these amazing, wonderful stories. If you haven’t, pick up the mini-series The Vision and Identity Crisis. Both of these are phenomenal.  On top of that are the weekly issues I read….Vision Tab

Ugh.  Its all too much, isn’t it? And its such a stupid fucking thing to complain about but I figure I cant be the only one who is having this….this scheduling problem. I want to do it all but I cant!  I just don’t have the time and I don’t want to sacrifice anything.

What I imagine will happen is, time will get the best of me.  The summer months are coming and with it are the later evenings spent chatting with the neighbours, drinking by the pool and some of these activities will be relegated to being “fall and winter activities”.  It’ll likely end up being the TV shows, to be honest.  Sure, I wont be able to game as much.  I will try to make time to watch a movie here and there at home and I will always make the time to go to the theatre to see the big movies.

Regardless, that’s where I currently stand.  Tonight I will have 2-2.5 hours of “free time” and I have to make a decision on how best to spend that time.  And I really have no idea what to choose.  This is truly a problematic scheduling conundrum.

 

Steven Seagal: What The Hell, Bro? 

Above The LawDuring the opening credits of Above the Law, Steven Segal’s first movie, he’s in a dojo, taking down charging opponent/classmates with ease.  There were also black and white pics of Seagal when he was younger, learning Akido.  This gave serious gravitas to the fact that Seagal wasn’t some movie-only fighter…this guy was a legitimate badass. So quick and fluid.

I’m not reviewing his movies here. Instead, I’m just wondering what the fuck happened?? While his first few movies were pretty much copies of Above the Law, you can’t deny just how much they satisfied that action craving you had.

Above the Law (1998)

Hard to Kill (1990)

Marked for Death (1990)

Out for Justice (1991)

Under Siege (1992)

These first five movies had a re-watch factor of 100%.  This was, in my opinion, the period where Steve Seagal was at his peak.  Under Siege is the movie that, when people think of Seagal, its the first to come to mind.  Personally, I think Above the Law is his best movie but I get why a lot of people prefer Under Siege.   But then Seagal hit a bump in the road on his next few movies.

On Deadly Ground (1994)

Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)

The Glimmer Man (1996)

Fire Down Below (1997)

The Patriot (1998)

In 1996, he had a brief cameo in Executive Decision, which is an ok movie, but best remembered for Seagal dying by getting sucked out of an airplane.  I remember people just loving that scene…and it was then that I realized the tide had changed for ‘ol Steve.

The last movie of Seagal’s that I watched was the ridiculous Exit Wounds in 2001.  But for me, I was pretty much done after seeing The Glimmer Man, which co-starred Keenan Ivory Wayans. It was in this movie that he started to pack the pounds on and his quickness and intimidation of the bad guys was more funny than it was meant to be.  His action scenes were a shadow of what they were in previous movies.

Fire Down Below was an environmental movie that Seagal wanted to make because he wanted to bring attention to how we were destroying mother nature.  And I don’t fault the guy for such a passion project but is it too much to ask to make it, I don’t know, watchable?

I have a friend who likes to ask “Has anyone seen Richie? Anybody know why Richie did Bobby Lupo?”.  This is a quote from Out for Justice which may contain one of the best fight scenes using pool balls as a weapon.  Seriously, check it out.

The other day I had a craving for a good Steven Seagal movie so I did a check on Netflix (Canada) to see what they had.  This is what selection was available to me:

Steven Seagal

What…what are these?  I have never heard of these movies.  A quick Google search later and I see that Seagal is just turning out straight-to-video movies like coffee’s through a Tim Horton’s drive through.  And from what I read, they’re all shit.  All of them.  But some people must like them because someone keeps giving the dude money to make more.

I guess I could have watched one for “research”, to ensure that I was being thorough for you, dear reader. But fuck that.  My time is limited and I don’t have time for Gutshot Straight.   

Steven_SeagalPeople used to make fun of Seagal and his ponytail, but I’ll take skinny pony’d tail Segal over chubby, black spray-painted hair and goatee any day of the week.  Seriously, what is up with his look?  What happened to the man who could stare down a group of thugs with those oddly weird-looking eyes and kick the shit out of all of them without breaking a sweat?

I love those first few movies of his.  And I will continue to watch them (as an aside, I just checked Best Buy Canada’s website and they don’t carry any of his movies.  Not even in the bargain bins??) and relive how great action movies were in the late ’80’s/early ’90’s.

I have resigned myself to the fact that I/we will ever know what really happened to Seagal.  The fact is, the dude has way more money than I and I am sure he’s enjoying life, making movies.  I just wish he was doing it like he used to 20 years ago.

outforjustice

Second Opinions

Recently I wrote about how I had watched a shit-ton of Netflix while I was sick.  I ended up re-watching two movies that I hadn’t seen in some time – Captain America: The First Avenger and Interstellar.

CAFAI watched both of these at the theatre and enjoyed them. One, was hailed as a great movie.  The other…not so much.   You know what?  Lets just get to it…I have a confession to make.  I did not like Captain America as much as everyone else.  In fact, I was quite convinced that it was the weakest of the MCU movies and felt that way up until a couple weeks ago.  And I had gone to war with people on this, arguing my point.  Don’t I look like a fool now.

I remember leaving the theatre after watching Captain America and my friends were saying how cool it was; how much fun they had; how it was the best movie of the MCU and maybe EVER.  Gimme a break, I thought.   To me, the 90-second Avengers movie tease at the end was far more exciting than the whole of Captain America.  I just didn’t like it.  I thought it was boring and I really didn’t care.  When I got home afterwards and in the days following, I went online to see if anyone shared my opinion. And for the most part, no one did.  And those that may have thought the same as I?  I didn’t feel using some of those internet trolls as a good point of reference to bolster my side.

When the movie came out on home video (I realize that’s an out-dated term, but its my blog, right?) I picked the movie up for two reasons: 1) I am a completionist and wanted it in my MCU catalogue and 2) maybe I was wrong?

I fired the movie up, sat back on my comfy couch, prepared to enjoy this movie like everyone else and…I fell asleep.  This wasn’t a good sign.  I ended up trying again and when I finally made it through the whole movie, I had the same feeling as I did when I saw it months earlier in the theatre.  For whatever reason, I just didn’t enjoy the movie.  I did watch it again a year or so later but more as background noise than anything.  I didn’t care to revisit The First Avenger.

When the sequel The Winter Soldier came out, I went bananas for that movie. I hold that movie in high regard not just as a good comic book movie, but as a good movie overall.  And while I really liked Civil War, I prefer The Winter Soldier, but just by a bit.  I was convinced that The First Avenger was the bastard child of not only the trilogy, but of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Until a couple weeks ago.

CAFA2

I had mentioned in that previous post that one of the reasons I watched so much Netflix is that I couldn’t sleep. So…again, this wont be a popular statement but…I chose to put on Captain America: The First Avenger with the hopes that it would make me sleepy and tired and pass out.  But instead, not only did I stay awake, I was wide awake.  Holy shit, this is an awesome movie!  What the hell was I thinking about before??  I finally started to understand why people showed so much love to this movie.

I decided to watch it again after I was feeling better, just to ensure that I wasn’t having some delusional trip through the sickness void.  And I’m glad I did because it just reaffirmed that I really, really liked The First Avenger.  And yes, its not perfect and its not the best movie ever, but damn if it isn’t in the top…seven (?) of the MCU movies. Its good. I wish I could pinpoint what changed for me, but I cant.  It was just a feeling I had when I first saw it, an opinion, that I no longer shared.

I’m not sure I can draft a decent segue to discuss Interstellar so…interstellar

I saw Interstellar with a co-worker when it came out and we both enjoyed it but at just-shy of 3-hours, in an uncomfortable movie theatre chair…you can only like a movie so much.  I remember walking out and talking about it and enjoying it more than my co-worker but when he asked why…I had no answer.  I just knew I enjoyed it but as for why…I couldn’t articulate it.

I had wanted to re-watch it but life got in the way and it wasn’t until close to nine days ago that I watched it again for the second time.  And wow. I was blown away with how much I enjoyed it on that second viewing.  I still am likely unable to properly articulate why I like it so much but I think its just a smart movie.  I don’t care about the science of it and whether its ‘good’ science or ‘bad’ science.  I don’t care about how realistic it is or how plausible.

I like what each actor brought to the role.  I like the AI robots and how smart, yet simplistic, their designs are.  I really, really like the music and score done by Hans Zimmer.  The special effects won an Oscar…and I can totally get behind that!   And the story is good:  Earth is becoming uninhabitable and Matthew McConaughey, a former NASA pilot, leads a group of astronauts to find a new planet for humans to live on.  Ok, that’s a really oversimplification of the plot.  You know what?  Just watch it.   Trust me.

interstellar2

As with all movies, there are those who like it and those who don’t.  For me, a quasi-cinephile, its rare that I would like a movie substantially more on its second viewing, but with Interstellar, I did.  I recently told a friend about how much I enjoyed it and he looked at me like I was losing my brain.  And shit, maybe I am.

But I’ll keep watching Captain America: The First Avenger and Interstellar over and over again and telling everyone who’ll listen why both of these movies were, to me, way better upon second viewing than the first time.  And maybe, if either of those movies didn’t do it for you when you first saw them, you should watch them again.  You may be really, and pleasantly, surprised.

 

Netflix and….Cough?

I’m alive! Or is this some weird Matrix like trickery?  No, i’m alive.  From April 14th to this past Monday, May 8th I’ve been fighting this weird cold-virus-disease thing.  This was worse than a man-cold, trust me. In fact, I couldn’t go see a doctor due to my poor, weakened state (women all roll eyes at this) so I had a doctor come visit me.  He told me that I may have the start of pneumonia.

So the good doc put me on meds with the hopes of fighting it off.  And since you’re here reading these very words, its safe to say that I survived.  That said, don’t you hate it when you tell people what the doctor has diagnosed you with and they just rip you to shreds?  This actually happened to me while I was dropping my kids off at school one morning, before heading home to bed:

Person:  Hey, how are you?

Me:  Ugh, Sick.  The doc thinks I may have the start of pneumonia if these meds don’t work..

Person:  Trust me, you don’t have pneumonia.  have you ever had it before? No? I have. You don’t have pneumonia.  There are two kinds of pneumonia, viral and bacterial.  If you have viral you would be in the hospital.  I was.  Its horrible. You don’t have that…

Me:  Oh, yeah I don’t think…

Person:  …or there’s bacterial pneumonia and if you had that, you wouldn’t be walking around so I don’t think you have that.  I’ve had that.  You don’t that.  Maybe you just have a bad cough.

Me: Yeah, maybe.  Ok, well, thanks.  See you tomorrow.

Person: Yup, see ya.

Its those times that I wish I had a massive cough and just did away with conventional etiquette and coughed in their face and gave them whatever ailment I had.  But alas, I refrained and went home to bed.  While sick, I watched a fair amount of TV.  It was funny, usually when you’re sick, you sleep all day.  I couldn’t.  I just could not get any sleep.  So I spent my time watching Netflix. Lots and lots of Netflix.  I took some screenshots and X’d out the ones that were either a) watched when I wasn’t sick or b) watched by my kids.  I think you’ll be able to discern which follows under which category.

sick-netflix-1.jpg

sick-netflix-2.jpg

Ok so listen, apologies for the ridiculous pics.  Maybe in my head the execution was better.  But regardless, this is what I watched, in order:

Five Came Back (all episodes); Lone Survivor; Silicon Cowboys; Dave Chappelle (first special); De Plama; Star Trek Beyond; Mechanic: Resurrection: Love (all of season 2); West Coast Customs (all of season 2…ugh); Entourage Movie; Suits (all of season 5); The Fear of 13; Better Call Saul (all of season 2); Captain America: The First Avenger; The Fifth Element;  Bill Nye Saves The World (only first 5 episodes); Interstellar; Ascension (episode 2).

Phew.  That’s a lot of Netflix.  Here’s where I realized I needed to be concerned. I’m not a car guy.  So why the hell was I watching West Coast Customs?  And why did I watch all 16 episodes?!?  I don’t deny that the guys are talented and the cars looked kinda cool, but how did I spend 7-hours and 20-minutes on this show???  I have no answers.  Frankly, I’m afraid of what the answer could be.  So I will accept what happened and move on.

The rest of the lot that I watched…some good.  I like Suits. I liked Star Trek. I quite enjoy Better Call Saul.  But then you get The Mechanic: Resurrection and that’s a pant load of a movie. The documentary Silicon Cowboys is not about fake boobs – as an FYI – and its an ok doc.  But The Fear of 13 is far more superior and I would recommend watching that.  Or De Palma, especially if you’re a fan of cinema.

The reality is this: despite watching some questionable content, thank the stars that we have Netflix. Because in the days before Netflix, you would be stuck with ridiculous talk shows, courtroom shows (Peoples Court, Judge Judy) and infomercials.

So, if anything, Netflix has saved us from the ridiculous and mundane. Now, if it can only save us from conversations with know-it-all asshats…