A short review of “Captain Marvel” (2019)

“Captain Marvel” (2019) has a couple of weaknesses, but mostly rises above them in its second half to become an entertaining big-budget popcorn movie.  It generally succeeds, and I had a lot of fun with it.  I’d rate it an 8 out of 10.

At first, the movie comes off as a mild disappointment — a boilerplate, made-to-order space opera with a thin script, simplistic dialogue and sometimes average acting.  (I personally don’t think that Brie Larson has the most depth or range of any actress in Hollywood.)

But the movie has a few surprises for us, both in terms of its story and its ability to win us over with humor and its sense of escapist, comic book fun.  Larson does have a lot of onscreen presence and charisma, and she does fine conveying anger and urgency.  She also has great deadpan comic line delivery.  After seeing the film, it’s difficult for me to picture anyone else in the role.

The special effects were nothing short of fabulous.  I didn’t expect to see a Marvel film with a space battle that could compete with those of the “Star Wars” franchise.  The fan service and the continuity with other Marvel films is also terrific.  Speaking of fan service — the Stan Lee tributes were genuinely touching.  One of them was a threefold reference to Lee, Kevin Smith and the 1990’s, when the story is set.  Talk about understanding how to please your target audience.

I’d recommend this.

 

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Today’s thoughts.

  1. If Mueller’s report is particularly damning, then releasing it on the Ides of March would be one hell of a Shakespearean reference.
  2. Donald Trump autographing Bibles is like me autographing a Gold’s Gym membership. Or a calculus textbook.
  3. I’ll bet yesterday’s Facebook outage did more to prevent Russian meddling in America’s affairs than our President has.

 

 

Throwback Thursday: 80’s-era Scouting handbooks.

If you were a Scout in the 1980’s, then I’m sure you remember these.  Yes, I was a Scout for a while too, and I fully realize that will amuse a lot of people who know me.

I’m pretty sure I aced that whole Cub Scout gig, as its only real requirement was being polite to adults, along with maybe doing good deeds every now and then.  I did just fine at the “Webelos” stage too.  Being a Boy Scout, however, had many more requirements — they included, among other things, not dying of exposure.  And here was where the expectations of scouting at last exceeded my natural aptitudes.

So I wasn’t exactly John Rambo out there.  If the Boy Scouts had voted on superlative awards, then I’m pretty sure I would have won “Most Likely to Die in the Wilderness,” or maybe “Most Likely to Perish in a Fire He Inadvertently Started,” or maybe even “Most Likely to Arrive at a Girl Scout Meeting by Mistake.”

Oh, well. I had fun with it.

The painting on the Bot Scout Handbook below, by the way, is “Come and Get It” by Norman Rockwell.  Here’s some trivia for you — if you’re ever surprised by the sheer volume of the man’s paintings, that’s because he completed more than 4,000 in his lifetime.

[Update: I see that I misspelled “Boy Scout” as “Bot Scout” above, but I’m leaving it there because it’s funny.]

 

 

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“Blue Wolves Move in an Indigo Wood,” by Eric Robert Nolan

“Blue Wolves Move In An Indigo Wood”

               “Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.”
— Carl Gustav Jung

All the colors are off —
Blue wolves move in an indigo wood
Their cobalt backs arrive, arising
Like coarse dorsal fins over
low-lying orange flora,
their beryl heads hung low — every
aquiline cerulean nose is angled down —
tracing the escape of a flaming hare —
their racing red rabbit has evaded them again.

Dreams leave all our long nights’ inner canvases
in singular tints and incongruous
strange iridescence.
Reason, here, is pariah.
Senses are its surrogates.
Vision its impostor
in the illogic’s ether:

Slow stars arc in scarlet.
Racing sable comets
make black wakes against
blinding white night.
A full moon rises in violet —
the fat and full and low-lying fruit of a
dark and overripe plum.

Yellow bucks bounce
high and away in the wolves’ wake —
sun-colored stags beat bright retreat
a running herd of burning gold —
all sunlit sinewed limbs and flashing hooves.

Flurries of green quail flutter,
flushed from fushia grasses —
alate bladed emeralds, blazing away.
The verdant birds burnish silhouettes —
angles on lunar lavender.

But ever all the blue wolves ignore the moon.
Each arrows forth in formation
ardently advancing —
oblivious to bucks and disregarding birds.
It’s the hare that they’re after —
its crimson prints
lure azure noses
and bait the ordered forward pace
of the great broad and blue padded paws.

In a surprising eloquence,
one predator’s head
rises and sonorously
sounds its disinterest.

“See, then, dreamer, see,
“what evades the lucid wit at dawn.
“The obvious moon is the obvious girl;
“your love is a glaring suggestion —
“as bare-faced and as common
“as a hundred thousand loves that came before — her face
“turning and facing away is as plain
“as a routine moonrise, but we,
“we are the Jungian Shadow.
“And our red hare is your red hare
“And hare for one and all.”

The predator’s head is an arrow —
its broad blue ears angle back
as its blue nose rises and scents.
And its voice is song.

“See then, dreamer, see
“what confounds the heart at noon.
“The stags to which we’re indifferent
“Are the heroes of your childhood.
“The flight of every bird is your every
“moment of loss, but we,
“we are the Jungian Shadow.
“And our red hare is your red hare
“and hare for one and all.”

Then the blue nose dips
to sniff the ground again
in the predator’s diligence. If
this wolf’s tones were physical,
they would be blue tears.

“See then, dreamer, see
“what escapes the brain at day, see,
“Arriving at your reservoir,
“that its pedestrian waters
“though shallow, still may drown
“in existential death, so rather
“hunt at its circumference
“the red of a Collective hope.
“We are the Jungian Shadow.
“And our red hare is your red hare
“and hare for one and all.”

Finally its eyes soften,
running from burning blue cobalt
to the warm sky-blue of hopeful new boyhood summers, and yet,
its sad irises reflect
a distant dancing red:
a spinning flame –a prancing hare.

“See, then, dreamer, see
“what renders your pain as prosaic —
“the racing red flame of the hare.
“It might have tempted Ovid once
“or pained the painters of caves,
“baiting them as their discovered fire
“first turned stone to a nocturnal
“canvas — the clay
“reddened their hands but they
“could only glimpse an inner quarry,
“as you glimpse it, now,
“turning away
“from your minutiae.”

“See, then, dreamer, see.
“See a universal grief
“and a shared catharsis
“rendered in red in your sleep:
“blood red, the color of prey,
“sunset red at end of day,
“flame, the color of pain
“and, yet, created light.

“See, then, dreamer, see.
“Hunt with us and hear our call.
“Our red hare is your red hare
“and hare for one and all.”

— (c) Eric Robert Nolan 2016

 

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Photo credit: Mathieu.S.Addison [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, with changes (colorization) by Eric Robert Nolan

My poem for a late March night.

I wrote this four years ago, during another insomniac March.

“March Midnight Window,” by Eric Robert Nolan

Cold glass.
One white palm against
A March midnight window.
The hour is struck.
In blackness an indistinct
Day is made another.

Clouds seclude the moon.
To those outside,
The lithe, pale “L” of my hand may be
An alabaster letter,
A sign to other sleepless.
Each, in eisegesis,
Divines its meaning in
Their own midnight hearts —
Whether love or loss I do not know.

(c) 2015 Eric Robert Nolan

 

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Photo credit: Nyttend [Public domain]