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Posts Tagged ‘Spiderman’

Today’s post will be a long one, so if you’re not interested in my reviews, please come back another day…
The three series being reviewed are “Pride And Prejudice“, “Stranger Things” and “The Punisher“.  P&P is on DVD and the other two were both viewed on NetFlix.
Pride And Prejudice  (1940) —  movie review;  (1995)  —  series / movie review
Starring Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy and Greer Garson as Elizabeth “Lizzy” Bennet, this is the black and white version which appears on cable channels periodically – which is where I caught it one afternoon while casually channel surfing.  Because I enjoyed the 2005 version, so much and the 1995 version, too, I thought I’d give it a view.  The story is essentially: small village with landowner family of five female daughters is thrown in a tizzy over the arrival of a very “suitable” bachelor.  Even better, the bachelor comes with a friend, who is also a very suitable bachelor (Darcy).  Lizzy takes an immediate dislike to Mr. Darcy while the oldest sister (Jane) falls madly in love with the first bachelor (Mr. Bingly).  Blah, blah, blah, happy ending.
In this version, I was left with a “satisfied” grin.  It was enjoyable to watch, and, because I’m so familiar with the story, I’m looking for my favorite parts.  Unfortunately, while Olivier and Garson “seemed” good in their roles individually, to me, they lacked the chemistry to make the story believable.  There are also a couple of changes in the film which I found curious.  For one, the costumes seemed more modern and more American than British.  This impression may be just in comparison to the 1995 version.  Another difference was that Darcy’s aunt refuses the marriage to Lizzy as a test of her love, whereas in the other versions, the aunt is doing it for reasons of societal class difference and because the aunt believes Darcy to be “given / promised” to her own daughter since childhood.  Basically, it makes the aunt a redeemable character, which I don’t believe she was meant to be.  I guess, I’ll have to read the book to find out ultimately.
Final recommendation:  moderate.  It’s okay.  I guess anything with Olivier is considered a “classic”.  I say it has historical interest, just as I enjoyed “Bride And Prejudice” (2004) because of the Indian / Bollywood interpretation.  (Review here.)
Having watched the 1940’s version, I decided to re-watch the 1995 BBC version.  Starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet, this is widely considered one of the great BBC television productions of all time.  Running time is not quite 5-1/2 hours long and therefore this version has the time to flesh out the characters more than the more recent 2005 film version which I have seen multiple times.  My daughter (Rebecca) says she considers this the “definitive” adaptation of the novel to film.  I beg to differ with my favorite being the 2005 version.  I would put this a very close second though.
With this second viewing and having seen some of his other works, I am thoroughly a Colin Firth fan.  He kills this role.  Even though I’ve seen this version before, I must admit, I didn’t really remember it.  It has time to add a lot more to the story and IMHO, this makes the whole version better.  There is a “famous” scene of Darcy approaching a lake on his property.  If you know much about England, you know that even on the warmest of days, open water is rarely warm.  This is actually one of the reasons accidental drowning is so common there (several hundred each year).  Anyway, Darcy is despondently approaching a lake and my first instinct was “plot twist, this isn’t going to end well”.  But then, of course, we get the now famous and career making wet T-shirt (ok, it’s a cotton long-sleeved pullover) scene of Darcy stumbling upon Lizzy on his way to the house to dry off.  Ladies still swoon…  LOL
Final recommendation:  Highly!!  I struggle to find things to criticize about this version.  Okay, it’s longer than the 2005 movie and Mrs. Bennet and Kitty are much more annoying in this version, but this slight comment is simply evidence of how good the whole is.  Well, worth re-visiting!
Stranger Things  (2016 / 2017)  —  series review
Stranger Things is a two-season (so far) science-fiction, horror, coming of age made for NetFlix series.  There are 17 episodes.  Eight in the first year and nine in the second.  The series occurs in the 1980’s, in a rural / sub-urban town in the mid-west (Indiana).  The series has lots of references and homages to earlier works of music and film from that period.  The series was recommended to me by my son (James), who advised me it was “MUST” see.  Even more than THOR, the (at that time) up-coming Justice League, Punisher or Longmire…  So, okay.  I watched it.  The series is very much an ensemble cast so I’m not going to bother listing all fifteen to twenty of the “main” actors.
Absolutely, terrific!!  The series has adults, older teens, younger teens, nerds, jocks and just regular folks.  It also has hell-hound aliens, extra-dimensions, mind-control, telekinesis and X-mas lights!  My son said, he hopes I don’t scare easily at night or I’ll have to watch all 17 hours straight through.  It wasn’t anywhere near THAT intense, but it is very good.  Basically, I’m (again) late to the party and this was the smash hit for NetFlix last year.  I’m jumping in here, one month after the release of the second season.  As per normal for NetFlix, the whole series for the year is released on the same day to encourage binge watching.  So, I did.  Season 1 on day 1 and Season 2 on the following day.
But, what is the show about?  Well, there’s a government experiment gone wrong.  They are developing children into “X-men”, with various abilities.  Season one is mostly about a girl with telekinesis abilities.  Season two brings in her “sister”.  Not really her sister, but they grew up together.  So, girl escapes and meets young boy from town.  Fall in love, blah, blah, blah.  In the meantime, the government agency has accidentally opened a gate into another dimension, which is a lot like ours, but it has been conquered by an alien (large spider-like shadow) which controls a bunch of little flesh eating aliens.  At the end of Season one, the girl saves her friends and the world by closing the portal.  Season two opens a year later and girl is still missing and the original abducted kid knows the aliens are coming back.  Blah, blah, blah, teen angst, blah, blah, blah, child angst, blah, blah, blah, adult angst.  Big finale, the kids kick alien butt and the girl saves the world.  Afterwards, smoochy, smoochy at the Winter Ball.
Final recommendation: Strong to highly.  This is a well made combination of practically every kids science-fiction movie you’ve ever seen.  Some of the references are almost (but not quite) tongue in cheek, but they work and this is a series well worth the time to watch it.  I’m not sure if I’ll watch it again soon, but I’m almost certainly up for another binge before the release of season 3, next year.  I would caution that although kids play predominant roles in this series, this is NOT for below age-12 viewing.  Some scenes can be intense and there is a moderate amount of alien violence.
The Punisher (2017)  —  series review
This series is a spinoff from the DareDevil series also on NetFlix.  The Punisher appeared in season two – and pretty much took it over – so, now he has his own show.  Basically, the family of a military expert is killed and he takes revenge against the killers.  In DareDevil, he does most of the work.  In this series, he almost finishes the job.  He leaves one guy, who he promises to come back for.  Blah, blah, blah.  Segue to season two…
Does it work and is it any good?  If you like this kind of thing (explosions, excessive violence, gratuitous sexual scenes, explosions, hand-to-hand combat, lots and lots of guns and gun fire, and did I mention explosions), and I do, then you’ll enjoy this series.  And, I did.  So, I enjoyed it…  The question was is it any good?  As a comic book adaptation, it is very good.  As an action / adventure / who-dun-it, it’s pretty good.  As a realistic portrayal of armed and unarmed combat, uh, it’s a comic book…
The series stars Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle / Punisher, Ebon Moss-Bachrach as his partner David Lieberman / Micro, Ben Barnes as Billy Russo (Frank’s wartime friend who ends up being a bad guy), Amber Rose Revah as Dinah Madani (Homeland Security Officer), Daniel Webber as Lewis Wilson (a confused Vet who becomes a domestic terrorist), Paul Schulze as William Rawlins (the main gov / CIA bad guy from “the war”), Jason R. Moore as Curtis Hoyle (the Vet “do-gooder” medic), Jaime Ray Newman as Sarah Lieberman / Micro’s wife, and Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page (a carry over from Daredevil).
The series is mostly dark, in the same vein as the DareDevil series, the Chris Nolan / Batman movie trilogy, and the recent John Wick movies.  It deals with a host of issues, from right and wrong, free press, privacy, vigilantism, friendship, personal loss, and a rather bizarre attitude that “justice” almost always ends with violence – particularly gun violence.  While the depiction of violence is pretty accurate, the depiction of physical recovery is essentially: “and then a miracle happens.”  There are scars, but recovery is almost instantaneous.  Like I said: comic book…
Final recommendation: moderate.  This series would be rated higher if they had let the actors simply act more and kill / maim less.  It is definitely for mature audiences ONLY.  It feels strange to say (admit) it, but I enjoyed the acting and the story more than I did the violence.  Go figure…
Final comment: I was not a follower of “The Punisher” character in the comic reading days of my youth.  I was reading them when he was introduced in DareDevil and Spiderman, but the character never “really” captured my pre-teen and teen imagination.  During my Army days though, I was an avid follower of “The Executioner” book series written by Don Pendleton, which was the basis for the comic character.  The monthly book series currently runs to over 400 episodes and is being ghost written since Pendleton’s sale of the series and subsequent death.
Thanks to any who managed to make it through the entire post.  Let me know if you agree / disagree with my reviews…
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On This Day In:
2016 Feeling Warm Yet?
Four Documentaries
2015 Just Like All The Others
2014 In My Own Vanity
2013 Filled With Words
2012 Lectio Auget Existentiae Meae
2011 Lied Lately?
2010 Born To Work At Faux News
Lost Again (Uh, Make That Still)
Qui Genus Humanum Ingenio Superavit
They’re Back… (Part 1)

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Captain America: Civil War (2016) – movie review
Okay!  Last night I finally got around to seeing the latest Marvel Comics movie: Captain America (3): Civil War.  Actually, this is more accurately titled Avengers 3 (Lite).  “Lite” in the sense there are no sightings of Thor or the Hulk.
So, the premise is: what happens in the real world when aliens attack the Earth and we’re protected by “super-heroes” and “meta-humans”.  The argument is that the “normal” humans (via their politicians) will try to control (regulate) the actions of the super-heroes to “sanction” their efforts to protect humanity.  Team Iron Man believes there should be some regulations.  Team Captain America believes you can’t trust politicians or governments and super-heroes have to be able to act on their own personal beliefs on what constitutes the best interest of humanity.
This is an old argument which does not need a great deal of exposition here.  My personal bias is Team CA, but that’s just me.  So much for plot, is the movie any good.  Yes!  This is probably the best “team” movie I’ve seen.  The only one which comes close is The Guardians Of The Galaxy.  All of the “new” Avengers are present, plus a couple of “new” heroes: Spider-Man, Ant Man / Giant Man, and the Black Panther.  A whole bunch of heroes!  But they all get their individual moments and nobody gets out-and-out lost.  This is mostly because it’s such a LONG movie – almost 3 hours.  But the thing is, if the movie had had an intermission, I would not have minded it being longer.  There was a ton of action and a whole lot of story.  And it all worked together beautifully.
If there is one problem with the movie, the bar is now set very high.  My prediction: get ready for some troughs.  Which will be too bad, because I’m looking forward to new singles (Spider-Man, Ant Man (2), the Black Panther, and, probably most of all, Doctor Strange.  If they are even close to this movie, they’ll be pretty good.  Only time will tell…
Final recommendation: a must see movie if you are a comic book, sci-fi, action / adventure, super-hero movie genre movie-goer (obviously I AM)!   This is a must see on the big screen movie!!
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On This Day In:
2015 I Resemble That Remark… (5!)
2014 The Writer’s Dilemma
2013 Just Paying The Rent
2012 Remembering…
2011 A Little Farther

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Last weekend I finished reading “Perfect Figures“, by Bunny Crumpacker (2007©).   This is a history story of how civilization developed numbers and thereby learned to count.  Obviously, there is a lot of supposition in here, because no one was really around writing the history of the “discovery” of “1” and “2” (and so on).  In any case, the book is a fairly good read and seems to make a lot of sense.
Essentially, our current numbers seem to have mostly evolved from other cultures and words used to express numerical concepts (values) and then over time were mispronounced until we arrived at today’s word (pronunciations) for the values.  What I found most interesting was the concept of “many”, as in, “1”, “2”, “3”, many…   Many seems to be the universal expression for more than we care to count at the present time.
Another interesting point was the documenting of a perception I’ve had for a number of years, but never really knew how to explain, that is, my inability to count past four to six items.  One number is more or less easy to count and remember.  So are two or three numbers.  But, when I get upwards of four numbers, I start to want to write them down or find some other way of assisting my memory.  According to the author, this is universal in our species and hence the cross line in to five by lines and the switch to “IV” for “4” in Roman numbers.  Four line (“IIII”) somehow starts to fool the human eye and five lines is “forget about it” (“IIIII”).  The interesting thing (for me) was that I had personalized this and thought it was only me.  I’d never heard anyone else complain about not being able to count by ones, so I assumed I was the only one with this problem.
Perfect Figures” is full of historical anecdotes and cultural references which made the book even more enjoyable for me as I enjoy glimpses into understanding other times, nations, cultures and languages.  I would like to give this book an unqualified “highly recommended” review, but for some reason I’m hesitant.  Although the book is fairly short (about 260 pages), it took a long time to read (almost a month).  I enjoyed reading most of it, but I never felt compelled to get back to it like I do most books I end up being totally “into”.  Normally, I’d have expected to pour through this book in a day or two.  But I didn’t.  The closest I can describe it to is like an old friend who you only want to visit with a half hour at a time.  You “feel” like you should spend the whole day with them, but in the end, you spend a half-hour and say, “No, I’m good.  See you in a couple of days…”
Be that as it may, I did enjoy the book and do highly recommend it to anyone interested in a lateral view of numbers and counting and an understanding how mankind “may” have learned to count.
Other Notes:
Just finishing my third day of vacation.  I’m planning to catch the new “Spiderman” movie and just relax.  I’ve spent the last four days working on my “Honey-Do” list.  I’ve finished the floor trim in the bedroom we just installed laminated bamboo in.  I’ve also helped a workman I hired for a couple of days take care of some other jobs: we removed a falling down metal shed from the backyard and hung a swinging gate on the side of the house (which used to be a solid fence.  He also did some ground levelling and removed an old wall heater from our hallway.  All in all, a VERY productive few days off!
Last but not least, my Giants have now won four straight series since the All-Star break and have the “hated” Los Angeles Dodgers coming up this weekend.  Go Orange and Black!!
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