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Ragnarok And Roll

Posted on November 10th, 2017

Dave!It is tempting... so very tempting... to say that Thor: Ragnarok is my favorite film to come out of Marvel Studios. Except... how can it be? Surely my favorite film is the first Avengers movie. Isn't it? I mean, that was the prize. That's what everything had been leading to. Finally, at long last, we had a super-hero team movie that actually worked. That was actually good.

And yet... holy crap was Ragnarok amazing. Hilariously funny, but not so farcical that the action beats and serious bits fell flat. Game-changing, but still completely faithful to the source material. Different in feeling and tone from the Marvel we're accustomed to, but still familiar and wholly entertaining.

Thor: Ragnarok is the complete package.

XXX

There are precious few things about this movie I don't love. A short list, just to name a few things off the top of my head, that I love most...

  • Chris Hemsworth's considerable comedic talents on full blast.
  • Cate Blanchett as Marvel's best (and most deliciously evil) movie villain yet.
  • Jeff Goldblum being the most Jeff Goldblum we've ever seen... or will likely ever see again.
  • Loki. Just Loki being Loki.
  • Every second Valkyrie is on the screen.
  • A smart... so very smart... evolution of The Hulk.
  • Idris Elba. Finally being given something worthwhile to do as Heimdall.
  • Kirby-inspired amazing visuals.
  • Mind-bogglingly awesome special effects.
  • Just a really good, funny, highly entertaining story.

I have no idea what the coming Avengers: Infinity War means for Marvel's original character base. Iron Man? Captain America? Thor? will any of them even survive it? If Thor does, they could do a lot worse than to invite back Ragnarok director Taika Waititi (who says he'd love to do another one).

   
Time to update my "Y2K Super-Hero Comic Book Renaissance" scorecard...

Ant-Man... A
The Avengers... A+
The Avengers: Age of Ultron... A
Batman Begins... A
Batman Dark Knight... A+
Batman Dark Knight Rises... A
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice... D
Big Hero Six... A+
Blade... B
Blade 2... B
Blade Trinity... B-
Captain America... A+
Captain America: The Winter Soldier... A+
Captain America: Civil War... A++
Catwoman... F
Daredevil... B-
Daredevil (Director's Cut)... B+
Doctor Strange... A
Electra Woman and Dyna Girl... B-
Elektra... D
Fantastic Four (2005)... C
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer... D
Fantastic Four (2015)... D+
Guardians of the Galaxy... A+
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2... A
Ghost Rider... C
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance... D
Green Hornet... D
Green Lantern... C+
Hellboy... A
Hellboy 2: Golden Army... A
Hulk... C-
Incredible Hulk... B
The Incredibles... A+
Iron Man... A+
Iron Man 2... A-
Iron Man 3... A+
Jonah Hex... F
Kick-Ass... B+
Kick-Ass 2... B-
Man of Steel... F-
Punisher... C+
Punisher War Zone... C
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World... C
Spider-Man... B+
Spider-Man 2... A
Spider-Man 3... D-
Amazing Spider-Man... B
Amazing Spider-Man 2... B-
Spider-Man: Homecoming... A+
Suicide Squad... D
Superman Returns... C+
Thor... B+
Thor: The Dark World... B
Thor: Ragnarok... A++
Watchmen... B
The Wolverine... B
Wonder Woman... A
X-Men... C
X-Men 2: United... D
X-Men 3: Last Stand... F-
X-Men Origins: Wolverine... D
X-Men: First Class... B
X-Men: Days of Future Past... B-
X-Men: Apocalypse... D+

   

Bullet Sunday 529

Posted on October 22nd, 2017

Dave!I am Sundaying so hard right now, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Feral! This past Monday was "National Feral Cat Day." My cats, Jake and Jenny, were feral kittens when they were found. I don't think they quite adapted to foster care, and were still very much feral little scrubbers when I adopted them. Weeks of patience turned into months of building trust which has turned into 1-3/4 years of the best furry friends I could hope for. They are still, in their hearts, feral cats who are very slow to trust. And they hide the minute anything out of the ordinary happens. Sometimes, on rare occasions, they are even wary of me. But most of the time they love crawling all over me for pets and attention and I've never been lonely since they took over my home. Feral cats are more work than those kitten raised around people... but I wouldn't trade mine for the world. If anything, I think I appreciate them more than I would other cats because I had to put effort into getting them to accept me. And once they did? There's no better feeling...

Jake Naps

Jenny is a Cuddle Bug

Kitty Pals

If you have the opportunity to help out a feral cat, the work is definitely worth the reward!

   
• Dimensions? And so... it would seem that LEGO Dimensions is no more. Typical. Oh well. The gameplay was getting tired... but it was kept fresh by the licensed properties they kept bringing to the table.

LEGO Dimensions Game

Wish they would have got LEGO Star Wars in the mix before signing off... after Disney Infinity dried up, it seemed a natural.

   
• Get Help! The reviews for Thor: Ragnarok have been stellar. And with each new clip released, I just want to see it more...

Cannot. Wait.

   
• Lucifer! Right now there's a lot of good television going on. In addition to The Good Place, which is the best show on television right now, we've also got Star Trek: Discovery, The Flash, The Orville, and Supergirl... not to mention some of the indy oddball stuff (like Dirk Gently), which makes it tough for me to keep up with my shows. But that one show I will always make time for? Lucifer!

Lucifer's Maze on a not-so-good day

Last season was fantastic because "Mom" came to visit, which led to some interesting directions for the show. Now they seem to be focusing on fleshing out secondary characters instead of bringing in new ones, and I couldn't be happier. Maze is probably the best character on the show after Lucifer, but has been largely marginalized. But this last episode (S03:E03 Mr. and Mrs. Mazikeen Smith) puts her in the spotlight and the results are so amazing I find myself wishing they would spin her off into her own show. If you're not watching, you really should be.

   
• Jack! Another show I've been very much enjoying has been the revival of Will & Grace. Though I strongly dislike the two main characters, secondary characters Jack and Karen always seem to salvage the show. The latest episode (S09:E04 Grandpa Jack) is no exception. Jack, who discovered he had a son (thanks to a sperm bank "donation") gets an even bigger surprise when he discovers his son had a son, so he's now a grandpa!

Jack meets his grandson

I will not spoil the story except to say... it's both hysterically funny and emotionally devastating at the same time. And it has two guest appearances that are absolute gold. When they restarted the show, I was hoping that we'd see Jack's son again. I never expected that his story would be this good. Well worth a look.

   
• Decor! When I moved into my home, I noticed that the previous owner had left a lot of decor scattered about. None of it was too my taste, so I made it my mission to toss it all out. The only thing left is a lion head above my doorbell and a weird dried flowers plaque with hooks I use for my keys and hats. The plaque was useful, but I vowed to replace it when I found something better... I never did. The lion I was going to ditch when it was removed for painting... but I ended up putting it back. Don't know why. I kinda like him, I guess...

My feisty lion head!

My key hooks!

I suppose one of these days I really should go shopping to find a replacement for my key hooks.

   
And... Sunday is over. So too are the bullets.

   

Bullet Sunday 502

Posted on April 16th, 2017

Dave!Sure it's Easter, but there are other reasons to celebrate the day, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Kitty! Everything I love about cats can be found in this one clip of a kitty trying to escape the field at a Marlins game...

What a trooper! Apparently a Marlins' employee adopted the cat, who was named "Don Cattingly" in a Twitter poll.

   
• Kedi! And, speaking of cats...

Can't believe I have to wait until November for this to come out on video!

   
• Atomic! Okay... putting aside the fact that the trailer for Atomic Blonde features music by both Depeche Mode and New Order... how badly does watching this make me want to see the movie?

Charlize Theron should be in a lot more movies.

   
• Ragnarok! Speaking of movie trailers... how amazing is the latest Thor movie looking?

I'm part of the minority who actually likes the Thor films. The first one was really great at establishing the characters. The second stumbled quite a bit, but was still entertaining. But this? Probably the best Thor yet. Possibly one of the best Marvel films yet.

   
• Spicey! Melissa McCarthy is hosting SNL on May 15th. I'm hoping it's just an hour-and-a-half of her impersonating Sean Spicer, playing out the best of his ongoing fuck-ups. Verbatim. In the meanwhile, we have yet another flawless sketch from last night's episode...

What a big, beautiful slice of chocolate cake.

   
• Politics! The more you know about how politics work in this country, the more you think that we should burn the entire system to the ground and start over...

Politicians don't act in the best interest of those they represent because they don't have to. That's the underlying reason we're as fucked as we are.

   
Now go eat some eggs, you animal.

   

Thor’s-Day

Posted on May 22nd, 2014

Dave!All things considered, I'd rather be back in Chicago.

Even with all their thunder and lightning...


DAVETOON: Lil' Dave Thor

   

At least there I could get a decent veggie dog.

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Greenwich

Posted on May 2nd, 2014

Dave!Why does that lady in the subway give Thor the wrong directions to Greenwich in his The Dark World movie?

The bullshit "three stops from Charing Cross Station" line bothered me when I first saw the film... and it really bothers me whenever I re-watch it on video. Like tonight. I can only imagine how badly it pisses off a Londoner. I mean, sure, it would have sucked to say "YOU CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE, GOD OF THUNDER! YOU NEED TO TAKE THE DOCKLANDS LIGHT RAIL BY SWITCHING TO THE JUBILEE LINE!" or whatever (I think that's how I got there when I went). But wouldn't that be better than forever having the distinction of being known as a writer who didn't bother to take two minutes to look at a frickin' London tube map?

Field of Dreams Poster

Don't make Thor angry. You won't like him when he's angry.

And angry is what he would be if he were to find out that he was lied to about how to get to Greenwich.

Next up? Where was Captain Britain when London was being torn to shit by the Dark Elves?

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Avengers!

Posted on May 4th, 2012

Dave!HOLY CRAP WHAT A FRICKIN' AWESOME MOVIE!!

I don't want to spoil it for anybody, so I'm not going to give away anything. Except to say that The Avengers is a comic book lover's dream that even people who don't care for comic books will enjoy.

Which is not to say it's perfect. There are definitely some moments where it dragged a bit. But, unlike the crappy trio of original X-Men films which wimped out in every way possible, The Avengers attempted to show the brutal reality of what it would be like when a super-hero team come to life. And it totally worked...

The Avengers Movie Poster

Writer/Director Joss Whedon just eclipsed every other comic book super-hero film ever made. And I loved, loved, loved it.

With one small exception.

Which I can't talk about without RUINING THE FILM FOR ANYBODY WHO HASN'T SEEN IT.

So absolutely DO NOT read the extended entry until you've seen the movie. Seriously, you just can't go any further if you haven't seen the film. Even if that's going to be on DVD two years from now. Which it shouldn't be, because this movie is screaming to be seen on the big screen.

But before we get to that, time to update my whole "Y2K Super-Hero Comic Book Renaissance" scorecard as follows...

The Avengers... A+
Batman Begins... A
Batman Dark Knight... A+
Blade... B
Blade 2... B
Blade Trinity... B-
Captain America... A+
Catwoman... F
Daredevil... B-
Daredevil (Director's Cut)... B+
Elektra... D
Fantastic Four... C
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer... D
Ghost Rider... C
Green Hornet... D
Green Lantern... C+
Hellboy... A
Hellboy 2: Golden Army... A
Hulk... C-
Incredible Hulk... B
The Incredibles... A+
Iron Man... A+
Iron Man 2... A
Jonah Hex... F
Kick-Ass... B+
Punisher... C+
Punisher War Zone... C
Spider-Man... B+
Spider-Man 2... A
Spider-Man 3... D-
Superman Returns... C+
Thor... B+
Watchmen... B
X-Men... C
X-Men 2: United... D
X-Men 3: Last Stand... F-
X-Men Origins: Wolverine... D
X-Men: First Class... B
→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Bullet Sunday 234

Posted on May 29th, 2011

Dave!It's Bullet Sunday from The Windy City!

   
• Forecasting. And when I say "windy" I actually mean "stormy with torrential rains." This afternoon there was thunder, lightning, black clouds, and a literal flood pouring from the sky. What's so odd is that the forecast for tomorrow is "mostly sunny" which is almost impossible to believe. But, then again, looking at the extended forecast, impossible weather seems to be a continuing event here over the next week...

Chicago Weather Forecast

Make up your mind, Chicago!

   
• Thor. Back in the 1980's I was mostly reading DC Comics, with only occasional dalliances with Marvel Comics' stable of characters. All that changed when I got hooked on Walter Simon's absolutely brilliant work on Mighty Thor. His critically acclaimed run on the book was the stuff of legends, and I instantly became a massive fan of the epic stories he was telling there. Eventually Simonson left the book and my interest in the series waned, but I never lost my love of Thor as a character...

DAVETOON: Lil' Dave Thor

Fast-forward to earlier this month, and Marvel has released a massive tome which collects Walter Simon's work and called it the Thor Omnibus. It runs 1200 pages and is almost too big to hold comfortably (it should have been a 2-volume set!). The interior is absolutely stellar, having been completely recolored. They also added 50 pages of bonus material including drawings from Simonson's sketchbook...

Thor Omnibus

If you are a Thor fan, this is essential. If you are not a Thor fan, this book will make you one. Highest possible recommendation.

   
• Thorified. Which brings us to the brand new Kenneth Branagh-helmed film Thor, a faithful and wholly amazing adaptation of the comic book series. It is a massive, brilliant, totally EPIC film that I simply didn't want to end. Everything from the acting to the special effects to the design to the story was near-flawless...

Thor Movie Poster

If I have one complaint, it's that the story seems oddly rushed. What should have taken months to unfold seems to happen in mere days, providing an unrealistic edge to the character development. I don't care who you are, you don't completely change your entire outlook on life in two days, and yet that's exactly what we're given.

Anyway... the movie tells the story of an ancient race of Norse gods who live in Asgard, one of the "Nine Realms" of our universe. One of these gods is Thor, a vain and arrogant warrior who is due to succeed his father Odin as king. But all this changes when Thor makes a big mistake and ends up being banished from Asgard to "Midgard" which we know as earth. Love, loss, and adventure ensue.

I gotta hand it to Marvel Comics here. First Iron Man came along and blew me away. Now Thor. Next up is Captain America, which looks even more amazing. And then there's X-Men: First Class which looks like it's going to kick all kinds of ass and finally make up for the totally shitty X-Men films that came before. All this will culminate with The Avengers in 2012 which has the potential to redefine the word "epic"... especially with Joss Whedon behind it. All in all, this is a great time to be a comic book fan.

   
• Bridesmaids. Even with all the critical acclaim and internet love, I was still wary of going to see Bridesmaids. Too many times the things other people think of as being "funny" I just think of as being "stupid" and a big waste of time. And then along comes Kristen Wiig's answer to The Hangover. And it's actually funny. And more than a little touching. But mostly entertaining...

Bridesmaids Movie Poster

Wiig plays Annie whose best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is getting married and wants her to be her maid of honor. Hilarity ensues. And while there are moments where it felt like an SNL skit that goes on way too long had been shoehorned into the plot, overall I really enjoyed the story. Probably because it went for "funny-smart" instead of "funny-stupid." Add to that a really good cast, and you've got a movie actually worth your valuable time.

Assuming you're an adult who can appreciate an R-rated movie with occasional lapses into gross-out humor.

   
• Pasta. I seem to be going through a ravioli renaissance. I stopped eating the stuff (despite it being one of the things on an Italian menu I could eat) because it always ended up being gummy and squidgy. The last Wednesday I had some of the best cheese ravioli in my life at Piccolo Sogno... followed by an amazing dish of butternut squash ravioli tonight at Prasino. Apparently the greater Chicagoland area knows how to make the stuff. Which is little help as I head back home where nobody seem to know how to make it very well at all.

   
And speaking of home... I suppose it's time to finish up my work, pack my bags, check in for my flight, and post this blog entry so I can fly out tomorrow. Hopefully in better weather than today.

   

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