Archive for April, 2014

14
Apr
14

One Week Late Movie Reviews: Captain America—Winter Soldier

Welcome to another edition of One Week Late Movie Reviews at DMR.

As always we’re here for those of you who don’t get out to see movies during the opening few weeks. Because once you’re a dad (or mom), how the heck do you have time?

Captain America: Winter Soldier is the type of movie you might see with your kids, depending on age and how they handle violence.

And there is plenty of violence, as is the case with most superhero movies. There’s some blood and some gunshots and whereas it is fine for my 12 and 8 year olds, it might not be for yours. As I always say—don’t assume because there are superheroes that the movie is appropriate for every kid.

Before we get into this—you’ve almost all seen Marvel movies at this point. Why are you leaving the theater before the credits end?

Don’t do that.

Stuff always happens during and after the credits. The same is true for this offering.

And of course, the requisite warning.

seriously kids don't open that door if you don't want them

seriously kids don’t open that door if you don’t want them

First of all, if you’ve read the comic version of the Winter Soldier story, you should be very happy. The team behind this movie captured the feel of Ed Brubaker’s tale perfectly, even if the content had to be shifted here and there.

Cap aka Steve Rogers aka Popsicle Man has always been a tough character. For much of my comic-reading life (and it’s vast) he hasn’t really grabbed my attention. Most of it has been the way he’s written—people tend to not know what to do with him. There have been very good storylines in the past, but he seemed most interesting pummeling Nazis.

Enter writer Ed Brubaker in 2005. Perhaps somewhat influenced by The Ultimates in 2002, Brubaker took Cap in a slightly more serious direction. While supervillians were still in evidence, everything was muted, more serious from a tone standpoint.

image via Forbes

Working with SHIELD, Cap was one part spy, one part living legend and superhero. While he would still do big superhero things, he also worked “behind the scenes” fighting threats who were bent on controlling the world through more subtle means as much as through the normal tropes of comics—you know, big, bad killer robots and evil satellites.

But here was a Cap who made sense to me—not just some guy who was wearing a flag but a guy desperate to keep his country safe while wearing it.

And always, always wondering where the line was. Cap also had a sort of weight to him often frequent in other characterizations. What does it mean to be Captain America in today’s world? What does it mean to be a guy who essentially took a six decade nap? How does that weigh on you? Where do you fit.

Like the Cap in comics, Chris Evans Cap in the movies is a guy trying to figure out all of the above.

Thrust into a world of spies and ulterior motives, grays instead of black and white (where WWII he lived in the first movie), Cap finds himself increasingly uncomfortable with the world we—and now he—lives in.

After having it out with SHIELD boss Nick Fury over a side mission and pondering whether he should call it quits (including a very sad scene with one of the few remaining links from his past), all Hell breaks lose. Fury shows up at his apartment, battered and bruised, tells him not to trust anyone and then is shot—seemingly to die, though let’s be honest, we all know that old SHIELD directors don’t die, they burn their eye-patch and fade away.

image via WednesdaysHeroes.com

What follows is an interesting thriller-style take on superhero shenanigans. HYDRA has subverted SHIELD (acronyms are fun!) for their own nefarious purposes, Cap and Black Widow are on the run (with Cap’s new BFF The Falcon who is AWESOME) and just when you think it can’t get more tangled, we find out that the Winter Soldier—a deadly assassin working for HYDRA—is actually Bucky Barnes, Cap’s lifelong friend who appeared to have died in WWII.

He survived, HYDRA brainwashed him and replaced his wounded left arm with a cybernetic attachment and have used him to cause chaos since.

In the end the good guys win—kind of. Because this is a Marvel movie and a “spy” movie, nobody totally wins.

Least of all Cap, who must confront his brainwashed friend in order to save the day. And even in this, the movie (like the comic) makes the situation anything but straightforward. Cap owes Bucky a ton and loves him like a brother—in the end when his friend might die, Cap saves him even though he knows the guy isn’t really the same person he knew. Even when Buck-Bot is pounding on him, Cap will not fight his friend.

image via ComicVine.com

There has been some interesting compare and contrast between this moment and the one at the end of last summer’s Man of Steel which I won’t rehash, though I agree with much of it, including this piece at ScreenCrush.com. While Cap works with people who will kill (and has done so himself), he is, at heart, someone who feels that there has to be an alternative.

The movie also has some fantastic subtext. The idea of a Government/Big Brother/SHIELD profiling people. The grey landscape of politics. Even the difficulty of our soldiers returning from combat and the problems they face fitting in.

There’s a lot going on here for the price of your ticket.

Whether you like watching guys in tights punch each other or are a fan of thrillers, this is a movie which delivers, but doesn’t settle for the basics. It’s a flick which is worth watching, and probably more than once.

image via DailyNews.com

Marvel is churning out movies I never expected to see in my life. If they can get a few strong female characters in solo flicks, they’ll have absolutely buried the vast majority of DC/Warner Bros superhero offerings.

Also, this film was given super-high marks by both Alpha Tween and The Professor who both loved it.

04
Apr
14

Why have one dog when you can have two?

So I had another piece ready to run today, but then we acquired a new family member.

Meet Theoden Hoover, Lord of the Westside.

AKA “Teddy Westside” to his close friends.

And there is so much nerd in that name it’s stunning.

Teddy Westside is currently settling down after somewhat long night where he woke up at 3am and decided things were really freaking strange now and he decided to rectify that by playing. So we ended up crating him and finally got back to sleep.

Why, you ask was Lord Westside not crated to begin with?

Well, because he was, but then he started crying and I am an enormous sucker for whining dogs. So I laid down on our futon in the office with him next to me and then, well, 3am came pretty quickly.

Dog: 007, licensed to poop

Dog: 007, licensed to poop

Until now I’ve referred to our first dog as Dog on this site. But now we have two dogs and it seems like a pain to refer to Dog and Other Dog. So I’m calling them by their proper names—you’ve met Teddy now, and you will remember our original Dog aka Lady Minerva Higgenbothen aka Minnie to everyone but my wife.

What about these names, right? Well, we were watching too much Downton Abbey when we got Minnie and while the boys and I had great ideas for name, we were overruled.  But we’ve come to love her very unusual name in part because she is 100% not a lady in any way.

Hence the mask and super-hero look in the picture above.

Teddy was named Teddy already. He is a rescue dog who had been surrendered a few months ago. From what we are told, Teddy was kept in a small apartment and (probably) never let outside. He has spent the last couple of months with Aime, his very awesome foster owner learning what outside was and catching up on doggie things like leashes and Kong toys.

Meeting Teddy was love at first sight, and he was great with both Minnie and the kids. So by the time we left the foster apartment, Teddy was already part of the family.

But one we felt needed a last name—and indeed a fancier name because Teddy had to be short for something, right?

We tried on a few things, somewhat inspired by Jenny Lawson, the one and only Bloggess (who you should be reading if you already don’t) who has named her cats things like Hunter S. Thomcat and Ferris Mewler. However we couldn’t come up with a good dog-related play on words involving Teddy or Theodore or Edward, se we just went a whole different direction—full speed, nerd ahead as it were.

It’s Theoden for this fellow:

image via wikipedia

Hoover because he vacuums anything up at any time and eats it.

And Lord of the Westside because Theoden was Lord of the Westfold and also because of this guy here:

image via – wait for it – glamour.com

If Teddy had been a cat, Ted Mewsby would have totally worked. And we’re not getting into the final episode of How I Met Your Mother because 1) we haven’t watched most of the season and 2) it seems to have sucked by a magnitude of eleventy-billion.

Anyway kids, that’s the story of How I Met Your Dog Teddy.

Currently Minnie and Teddy Westside are sleeping but have been battling it out to see who is in charge. Turns out Minnis is a real bitch.

I mean, she was anyway in the literal sense but she’s being a real asshole to Teddy now so it works both ways.

That’ll change though and we are super-excited to have Teddy with us in the Dad Moon Rising household.

01
Apr
14

The Professor Thinks He’s Funny

art by Alpha Tween who, I am shocked, knows who Mr T is.

art by Alpha Tween who, I am shocked, knows who Mr T is.

So by and large, I ignore April Fools Day and it ignores me. My family isn’t big on practical jokes because we’re goofy 24/7/365.

We don’t need a special day to celebrate it, you know?

This morning I went downstairs to wake the kids up, as I normally do. Lately, I have been finding The Professor under his comforter on the floor, because he’s apparently too good for beds. Seriously, this kid might as well use his bed for kindling, for all the use he’s getting out of it right now. So I was by no means surprised to find him under a lump of covers and a comforter on the floor again this morning.

Keep in mind, my eyes started at the bed, saw just two pillows laying against the wall (he props himself up to sleep) and then saw the comforter. It’s not like I didn’t look at the bed.

So I reached down and started to pull back the covers when—BLAMMO—the pillows on the bed burst apart, and a small child flew out of nowhere yelling APRIL FOOLS.

It turns out he woke up early (without an alarm clock, which is amazing all by itself), decided on multiple places he could hide, finally settled on one and got set up. He then waited for me to come downstairs and sprung his trap. My wife is probably pretty lucky she wasn’t the one who woke him up—she’d have had a heart attack.

I’ll give the kid credit—it was a good prank. Jokes on him though, because I know he can get his ass up and out of bed with no help from me.

 




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Reading: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher Listening to: The Heist, Macklemore Watching: Damages