I am not a super fan of Captain America. In fact, as I have mentioned before I am very much a DC Comics type of girl. I much prefer the brooding darkness of Gotham City and it’s underlying representation of the erosion of current society then the flashy, bright straight superheros of the Avengers (except for Deadpool and X-Men of course). However, a fun superhero movie can be just that – fun. No worries, no pretenses just straight popcorn. I went into Civil War with this mindset, and I fully received what I expected. What I didn’t expect, however, was for the main plot to be a meta analysis of the destruction and violence colorfully glorified in all superhero flicks. The body count adds up, the destruction of buildings and infrastructure reigns – but all that matters in the end is if our superhero defeats the mega boss. Why worry about the destruction of a city when it means saving the human race? I was pleased that rather than just watching the civil war between The Avengers crew (minus Thor of course) erode and splinter the faction, viewers were treated to a very self aware examination of what it means to throw the baby out with the bath water, per say. I didn’t expect a side of philosophical ethics with my popcorn, but daresay I really enjoyed it. Consider me pleasantly surprised – and guaranteed to see any and all future Captain America/Avengers films moving forward. Oh yeah, and the fight scenes were pretty awesome. I suggest 3D. I heartily recommend.
In my continuing quest to find independent – or rather, any – films that pass the Bechdel Test , I excitedly sat down to view Life Partners. I do not like romantic comedy in general (unless it is edgy or unique), but films about best friends or siblings interest me. Especially when they involve strong female leads navigating the challenges of adult friendship. Although this film has some humorous moments, it fell flat. Because of this, the set up regarding two best friends – one a lesbian – felt a little gimmicky. The little bit about the lead’s sexual orientation seemed force, and thrown in there to try to freshen up a stale plot. I think the problem lies in that the characters don’t seem very unique – or rather, like real people. One is a very successful environmental lawyer – the other, a struggling musician. The dialogue flows well but stumbles on the fact that not much new is happening here. Little character growth was to be had, and I felt I was waiting for something to happen throughout the entirety of the film. It is unfortunate, but I would definitely call this film unforgettable. Not terrible, but jut meh. I reluctantly recommend – if you have nothing else to watch.
In a world where cats are enjoying more popularity then ever, I can’t imagine a better film premise: man finds cat, cat used to belong to drug cartel, opposing drug cartel steals cat, man is thrust into a violent seedy underbelly to retrieve cat. Really, with that type of set up, the jokes are limitless. Key and Peele – popular comedic duo headline this film and carry it well. Their chemistry and opposing characters set up a myriad of gags. Although the film could get pretty forgettable and run of the mill quickly, it kept me laughing. Especially when the gangsters show their “sweet side” and Key and Peele – two very normal dudes – try their hand at being violent, fear mongering warlords of the streets. I saw this one in the theatre – but just renting it would have fine as well. Of course, not the most original movie – but the tone, jokes and characters delivered the laughs. I recommend.
Browsing Netflix for a light Saturday night film, I came across this gem. Chris O’Dowd seems to be making it big lately, especially across the pond. But here was a film where he reminds me more of his character on the IT Crowd – and really seems to get down with his nerdy (sometimes typecast) roots. FAQ About Time Travel is an enjoyable ride from start to finish. The characters are awkward and endearing and I kept thinking that they were probably how real people would act if found in the ridiculous far fetched situations Hollywood likes to set up. The chemistry between the actors was also excellent, their friendship being tested as expected in such a film – but the comedic quality of such guaranteed the result didn’t come across as stale. And of course the science fiction and physics references are pretty darn fun too. The end of the film gets a little silly, but I was able to suspend belief (massively) and roll with it. I heartily recommend.
Humorously, I read The Stand to take a break from King’s The Dark Tower series. I was about to start Wolves of the Calla but decided I should expand my reading horizons a bit. I was hankering for a long novel detailing the destruction and rebirth of society (i.e., post apocalyptic fiction) and came across this title. I was impressed that a book that was released almost 40 years ago was still gaining new fans and glowing reviews. I was shocked when I picked up the phone book like novel – weighing in at almost 1500 pages. How on earth would I make time for such a behemoth, I wondered. Well, make time I did. I did have to renew the book once, but I finished it in about five weeks. It was excellent. Ever since I read Swan Song by Robert McCammon I have a little yearning hole in my heart – thinking that would be the best book of the genre I have read. I enjoyed the realistic sci fi, fantasy elements and well written characters, it is a book I often remember and reflect upon in my daily life. (The Road by Cormac McCarthy is up there too – but I would argue it is a completely different genre due to its unflinchingly and brutal realism and lack of the supernatural). The Stand now resides next to these two novels, enriching my worldview through fiction. It has been about a month since I read it and I often think back to the characters, the settings and smile – or grimace. The horror in the novel is very real, but is balanced just enough with hope and magic. This keeps the story from going into nihilistic territory, and instead encouraged me to root for the characters, and keep turning pages, hoping for the best – even when it all seemed so impossible. I heartily recommend.