Monthly Archives: June 2017

Baby Driver – A Movie Review


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Baby_Driver_poster

Is there a more hyped movie coming out this summer than Baby Driver? Have you seen the commercials for it? It has been hailed as the most original film in years. It has been called brilliant. It has been widely praised.

Could it possibly live up to the advance press?

As it turns out, almost. It comes very, very close to delivering, dare I write it, on all cylinders.

What struck me most about Baby Driver is that, in a time of franchises and shared universes and sequels dominating the box office, this movie is original. It is a singular vision, fully realized by one voice: writer/director Edgar Wright. It is clear from the first frame that each and every aspect of the movie is under Wright’s control and each spins out of his mind.

And that is a lot of fun.

I love superhero movies and sequels as much as (more than?) the next person, but, as I watched Baby Driver I marveled at how fresh it felt. There is fun to that. And there is a palpable danger to it.

In the typical summer movie or the latest chapter in a franchise, a definite set of rules dictate the proceedings. The conclusion of these sorts of films are all but known as the opening credits unspool.

Such is not the case with Baby Driver. It is wild. It is fun. It is unpredictable and, because of that, it is dangerous. Very few of the characters behaved in a predictable manner. Very few of the situations played out as I thought they would. I did not see the end of the movie coming.

What a pleasure!

Ansel Elgort makes a terrific protagonist for Wright. As the soft-spoken, music-listening, fast-driving, Mozart in a go-cart Baby, Elgort effortless exudes cool. He is the center of the wheel in Baby Driver and Wright chose his lead very well. This could be a breakout for the star and his upcoming roles suggest that we will be hearing more from him. But, as good as Elgort is, Wright was smart enough to surround him with a truly remarkable cast.

Kevin Spacey is perfect as Doc, the brains behind each heist in the film. Witty, cool, unpredictable, Doc is an immediately indelible Spacey creation. Jamie Foxx is equally good as Bats, also unpredictable (seeing the pattern?), fully energize, Foxx is having a lot of fun in this one, and he shares that fun with the audience. And Jon Hamm rounds out the leading quartet brilliantly. His smooth charm, his steely gave and his good looks that cannot be hidden under a silly haircut or behind a three-day growth serve to make Buddy a key part of this unexpected joy of a film.

It should be noted that the suddenly everywhere Lily James is wonderful as well. She plays Debora, Baby’s girl friend, and makes a role that could fade into the background in a cast like this stand out. She and Elgort have chemistry and are well matched. She more than holds her own.

The characters are fascinating and well drawn. They are three-dimensional and clever. They are dangerous, like the movie itself. The plot is twisting, turning fun. The action (done without the aid of any CGI) is stunning. The music buoyant. The only thing that holds the movie back the slightest bit is the weight of expectation. It is great? Yes. Is it the greatest thing I’ve ever seen? No.

But it is a hell of a lot of fun.

In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more fun time at the movies this summer.

BABY DRIVER receives FOUR AND A HALF iPODS out of a possible FIVE.

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Link’n’Blogs – 6.30.17 – Super Villains In Government


Related Content from And There Came A Day


I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

This one was too good to pass up. Think that the current government is doing things that are, well, out of the ordinary? They are not cribbing their notes from comic book super villains, right? Oh, wait. Maybe they are…  In a very well researched article, Beth Elderkin of gizmodo.com lays out some pretty dastardly things that comic book villains have done to the United States of America. Then she notes our current government is doing some of the very same things.

6 Things the US Government Is Doing that Super Villains Have Already Done

Luthor president

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: June 21 – 27, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK:

ThreeTwoOne

The best comic I read last week was 

Batman #25.

Writer: Tom King

Artist: Michael Janin

Batman has been such a terrific book since the Rebirth initiative at DC Comics and I think I’ve selected it over 10 times since Tom King took over the writing chores. It is high time I stopped referencing the author of the prior run. King has made the book and the character his own.

That is almost an impossible feat. Batman has been in continuous publication for over 75 years. Story-after-story has been written about him and his cast of characters. What new can be said?

As it turns out, plenty, and let us give DC editorial some credit for allowing King to run with his story. Risks have been taken. The status quo has been altered. Quirky narrative has been established. The plots have been decompressed.

And it has all worked.

Just when I believed an apex had been reached, King has succeeded in surpassing it with Batman #25. The first chapter of “The War of Jokes and Riddles” reads like something new and dangerous and something that will, again, change readers’ understanding of Batman. Set in Batman’s past, the first conflict between the Joker and the Riddler begins with such depth and promise that I am itching for the next issue. And is that not what a periodical should do?

Of Michael Janin I will only say what I have said before: can he draw ALL the comics? I simply love his style. His line work is so crisp and clean. His characterizations are consistent and distinct. He does more with expressions than almost any artist working today. He is, far-and-away, my favorite of the rotating Bat Team.

Read this Batman. Read it now.

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Filed under Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Weekly Comic Book Review

The Mummy – A Movie Review


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The Mummy

I am not a movie critic. And, by that I mean, I am not critical of movies in the manner in which those who have more refined tastes might be. I tend to know what I am going to like going into a film and tend to buy tickets to movies I know I am going to enjoy. Additionally, I typically set my expectations where I think they will be met.

So, while some films disappoint others because they fail to be more than they suggest they will be, I often find myself saying of those sorts of movies: that was just what I expected and wanted.

Case-in-point: The Mummy.

This Tom Cruise vehicle was exactly what it looked like it would be: an over-the-top romp with solid action, simple characterization and tongue-in-cheek dialogue.

Cruise stars as Nick Morton, an unscrupulous solider of fortune who finds himself in the wrong place at the right time when he and his sidekick Chris Vial (delightfully assayed by Jake Johnson) accidentally unearth the titular mummy’s tomb. Suspecting there is money to be made, Nick ensures that the sarcophagus of the mummy is raised and that he is along for the ride back to London with it.

What could possibly go wrong?

As it turns out, pretty much everything.

It is spoiling little to mention that transport of the mummy is interrupted by a plane crash that all of the characters do not survive. Following the crash, some resurrections and chase scenes, the mummy ends up in the heart of London, reanimated, angry and harboring an intense fixation on Tom Cruise’s Nick.

Let the games begin.

And let yourself go. Know what the movie is and you will enjoy it. Expect high art and you might be disappointed.

Sofia Boutella is the mummy and she is making something of a career out of playing characters buried under piles of makeup. While she was far more engaging (and playing a much more developed part) in last summer’s Star Trek Beyond, she is more than up to the challenge of playing the raving and revenge seeking mummy and, if the particulars of her plot are not entirely clear, who cares? Aren’t we all having fun?

Certainly Russell Crowe had the kind of fun only an actor of his caliber who can rise or lower himself to the level of his material can. Again, it is not much of a spoiler to reveal that he plays Dr. Henry Jekyll (yes, that one) and he seems to be the key to comprehending the goings on of the movie. Because he is Russell Crowe, he handles the massive exposition he is asked to relay with ease and, because he is Russell Crowe, he absolutely kills in a scene in which he is allowed to cut loose. I hope to see more of him if Universal’s Monster Movie Plans launch the way the studio would like them to.

Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise. He gives himself completely over to the movie and the jokes about him being mummy-like in the fact that he never seems to age are absolutely on point. We all know there is a dividing line between those who like Tom Cruise and those who hate Tom Cruise. I am in the I love Tom Cruise camp. What do I expect from Tom Cruise? Exactly what I got in The Mummy.

Perhaps I should want more from a movie. Granted, that is a defensible perspective and, yes, I do like to be surprised by a movie, surprised by twist and turns and defiance of expectations. But I did not need that from The Mummy. It was just what I desired on a summer evening. Is it particularly memorable? No. Was it perfectly fun? It absolutely was.

THE MUMMY receives THREE DOUBLE PUPILS out of a possible FIVE.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, Tom Cruise

Link’n’Blogs – 6.23.17 – Solo Change


Related Content from And There Came A Day


I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

Did you hear the one about the young movie directors who were given the assignment of directing a movie about one of the most beloved characters in science fiction film history only to be FIRED with 3/4 of principal photography completed and to be replaced by one of the biggest directors in the business? Click the photo!

Han-Solo-Film-Logo-Unofficial

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: June 14 – 20, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

COMICS I READ LAST WEEK:

TwoOne

 

The best comic I read last week was 

Dark Days: The Forge #1.

Writer: Scott Snyder, James Tynion II

Artist: Jim Lee, John Romita jr., Andy Kubert

Dark Days: The Forge is the prelude issue to what has been billed as a massive crossover event, the seeds for which have been laid in books written by Scott Snyder. Over a long time. Like almost 10 years. This event is called Metal and is reputed to span the entirety of the DC Universe in terms of time and space.

If you’re going to do something like that, you had better set things up very well.

Snyder and co-writer James Tynion II do just that. The story contains genuine shocks and surprises, character moments large and small, epic reveals and emotional arcs. While it centers on Batman and his family, it touches on areas of the DC Universe which have, lately, been sadly unexplored.

No more.

DC was smart enough to recruit top artists to illustrate the book and it looks awesome page-after-page. I love the fact that the company assigned Andy Kubert the Hawkman pages as more than an appropriate homage to the work of his father. Jim Lee’s work is evocative and strong and John Romita jr.’s Batman has really grown on me. These guys know what they are doing and they deliver epic images throughout the book.

If Dark Days: The Forge is any indication, Metal promises to be a wonderfully fun event.

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Only Three of Us Are Lucky Enough… Father’s Day 2017



The older I get and the more people I encounter in my life, the more I understand that I am one of the lucky ones. Not everyone enjoys a terrific relationship with their father for reasons of all kinds and I am sorry for those who do not.

But I am blessed enough to have had a great father and I will speak for my two sisters here: we were blessed to have Dad as our dad.

Whatever I try to be as a father, I learned from how my father fathered me. When I think of the memories I would like my children to have of me when they are adults parenting kids on their own, I want them to have memories similar to the ones I have of my dad.

  • Walking across the campus of my college alma mater, Catholic University, last week, I said to The Cinnamon Girl “That’s where the bank was where I opened my first adult account. Dad and I did that one afternoon my first week on campus.” He was taking care of me as he ever did.
  • Just yesterday, the hashtag #FirstComics was making the electronic rounds and I tweeted a picture of the first comic books in my collection (comics which are framed on the wall of my office). Dad bought them for me.
  • I think of dad each time I strap on my twelve string guitar. It has a hole in it that dad fixed.
  • We bought a new car in the spring and the impulse to check in with dad on what he thought was so very strong. He always had car advice even if it was not always good advice.
  • When my mother-in-law passed away last week, one of the first thoughts I had was how would Dad respond? What would Dad do?

I could share many more memories but I will conclude with this: I love my father. I always will.

I am one of the lucky three who can call him my dad.

Family 1989

Me, my sisters, our mother and father in London in 1989. Lucky family to have Dad as our dad…

 

 

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