Saturday, August 6, 2016

Suicide Squad is fun but so much less than it could have been

I walked into the theater as I always do:  hoping to enjoy the movie I was about to see.  I want to give myself to the film, embrace it, and walk out happy to have seen it.

Over two and a half hours later--we had a fire alarm about two-thirds of the way into the movie--I left generally glad I'd seen the movie but, as is so common these days, nowhere near entirely happy.

A lot works in the film.  Will Smith and Margot Robbie deliver wonderful performances and continue to have great on-screen chemistry.  Viola Davis is appropriately scary.  Jay Hernandez made me want to check out more of his work.  The special effects were generally solid.  The soundtrack was awesome.  The pacing was appropriate.

The big weakness of the movie is its story.  As with so many films, you simply cannot think twice about any significant plot point.  For reasons that baffle me, Hollywood continues to be unwilling to deliver strong, coherent stories in most of its action films.  These movies could be so very much more memorable and engaging with better stories.

I've put off Jared Leto's Joker because he was decidedly meh for most of the movie.  I didn't hate him, I didn't love him, I just didn't care enough about him.  Following Heath Ledger is a very tall order indeed, but rather than embrace something completely different, Leto seemed to be trying to walk a line between adhering to Ledger's vision and making the character entirely his own.

If the trailers made you want to see Suicide Squad, go; you'll have a decent enough time.  If the trailers bored you, though, or put you off, skip it.  I'm glad I went, but not as glad as I'd hoped to be.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Henry Rollins is touring again!

He's out on a spoken-word tour, and, even better, he'll be in our area, at the Carolina Theatre, on October 16.

I already have tickets.

If the show hasn't sold out and you live near here, you should get them, too.  Henry on stage right before this upcoming election should be a rare treat indeed.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

When you walk through a place

in which you have any influence, you should feel humbled by your responsibility, and you should take that responsibility very seriously.

When I walk the halls at PT, a company of which I am one of the leaders and one of the two co-owners, I see people with rich lives, dreams, families, car payments, mortgages, other bills to pay, and all the other complexities of life.  I see people who are counting on me, as one of the leaders, to do my best to help the company continue to provide jobs for all of them, all of us.

What I never see is headcount, assets, or other dehumanizing euphemisms that seem to help many leaders treat groups of individuals as no more than numbers.

I worry that most corporate leaders do see their companies that way, as collections of assets.  I worry more that most government leaders see their constituencies that way.

I am absolutely positive that Donald Trump sees America as a place where the dreams of most people don't matter and one in which he primarily aims to create more wealth for himself and others in the wealthiest fraction of our citizens.

I never want to be that way, and I sure never want to vote such a man into the highest office in our country.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Anyone interested in a barbecue crawl at MidAmericon II?

The con was supposed to be organizing one, but it doesn't appear to be doing so, so I'm going to set up my own.  If you're interested in joining me, drop me a note (either via the site or, if you already have my email address, that way).  Kansas City offers too much great 'que for me not to visit several of its best sites.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Damn, but sometimes I just need some rock with horns

This evening on the drive home from work was one of those times.

The under-appreciated Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes hit me first and made me want to go out all night.

They're way better live.

From there it was a short jump to the left to Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, because, damn, I really need never get old.

That's how it works, you know, the way they never tell you.  You're talking with someone, excited, juices flowing, the future an endless vista of possibility, and then you catch a glimpse of yourself in a glass door, and your hair and beard are white and, fuck, you are old.

Well, fuck that.

Fuck that sideways.

I'm aiming to blaze all the rest of my way, never slow down, wring all I can from this life, love all I can, fight all I can, burn with passion until I can barely stand it, dream big and dangerously, and go down beating the hell out of that not so good night.

And I'll be playing rock and roll, some of it with horns, the whole way--and maybe for another hour past the end.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Jason Bourne

felt from start to finish like a film made entirely to cash in on a franchise that has been good to investors so far.  The story hinged on yet another undiscovered bit of Bourne's past, one that you end up having trouble caring about at all.  The subplot added a bit of interest, but not tons.  Matt Damon careened through the story with so few lines of dialog that you could probably have memorized them on the drive home from the theater.

What made the movie watchable and even fun at times--and, amazingly, overall I managed to enjoy it--were its action scenes.  The movie generally kept its stops brief and its action sequences long--in a few cases, too long--and so didn't give you time to ponder for long all of its many improbabilities.

If, like me, you're a sucker for spy movies and already have enjoyed the previous Bourne films, you'll feel okay at the end of this one.  If you don't know the franchise or want a genuinely good movie, look elsewhere.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The movie opening next weekend that I must see

is, of course, Suicide Squad.  I expect that the trailers will prove to be better than the movie, but so far, I absolutely adore what I've seen, including this new compilation that the DC folks debuted at Comic-Con.

I know a lot of folks are excited about Jared Leto's portrayal of the Joker, but to me, he's the least interesting facet of this film.

If the movie is half as much fun as the trailers, it should be a blast.


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