My first trip to a reptile show–and where I learn my daughter speaks parseltongue

 

 

It was my first trip a reptile show.

First things first, we didn’t plan on going to a reptile show, I planned on going to a comic-con at the Richmond Internation Raceway, but when we got there we a saw a sign for a repetile exhibition.  And my daughter loves animals, so we decided to check it out.

I was not expecting to snakes tables and tables of snakes.

Snakes.

And my daughter loved it.

 

 

There was even a table of geckos.

And ungodly huge tarantula.

“Daddy can we get a snake?”

“No.”

 

 

Parseltongue.

My daughter speaks parselftongue.  

 

Reading Kevin and the Seven Lions at the RVA Booklovers Festival

This past Saturday, I was part of the first RVA Booklovers Festival put on by Brandylane Publishers here in Richmond.

One of the aspects of the festival was reading by different authors.  I read my first book, Kevin and the Seven Lions, then I spoke with the kids about coming up with ideas for writing.

As you can tell by my outfit, it was very cold.

 

 

Talking about how to come up with ideas for writing.

Note hat. It was cold.

 

Ant-Man and The Wasp–A light and very fun comic book movie–better than Avengers

I’m gonna get right to it.  Ant-Man and Wasp is better than Avengers Infinity War.

Yeah, I said it.

Fight me.

Here is a comic book movie where the characters know they’re in a comic book movie and they are enjoy the crap out of themselves for it.  Please go away sad, dark, comic book characters. We’ve done that.  It’s played out.  And frankly, No one has done it well since Christopher Nolan six years ago—see Superman.

Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, let comic book movies be fun again.

So thank you Antman and Wasp for being fun and silly, and freakin’ enjoying yourself.

The plot is pretty simple.  Sometime in 80s Janet Van Dyne with her husband Hank Pym shrink to stop a Soviet missile, but during the mission they realize that they  need to go to the sub-atomic quantum realm, which is comic book talk for really really small.  Anyway, apparently it is impossible to come back from being too small.  So Janet Van Dyne saves the day by going really really small and shutting down the missile.

Years later, Scott Lang when he steals the Antman suits goes subamotic and comes back.   Which gives both Hank Pym and his daughter Hope Pym, hope that Janet is still alive.  So they build technology to bring her back, but that technology is very valuable.

Fast forward to today where Scott Lang is for whatever reason, under house arrest for two years.  Apparently, helping Captain America in an Avengers movies is worthy of house arrest, for whatever reason.

The house arrest is really just a plot set-up.  It gives Scott a reason to panic later when he is not in the house.

Evangeline Lilly plays The Wasp and she leads the movie.  She does a wonderful job in the action sequences, and holds her own against the comic timing of Paul Rudd who plays Antman.

But the best scenes belong to Michael Pena, as Luis, a former cellmate of Scott, who now runs X-Con security company.

We need a Luis movie.

The movie is light and fun.  Which is a nice change of pace from the super serious comic book movies we’ve been getting.

Wait for the first ends credits scene to see how this movie connects with Avengers: Infinity War.

Final Thoughts

I recommend catching this in the theater.  It is very fun.

Teen Titans Go Movie–Far better than it should be or that we deserve.

 

Teen Titans is far better than it should be, and it is the silliness is what the world needs now.

Strange that I am writing that about a cartoon.  But the fun and silliness fills each frame, and at times it spills out onto the audience.  Several times I found myself laughing harder than my own seven year old daughter.  There are numerous jokes and references for adults.  Many references for adult comic book or movie geeks.  It is just pure silliness.  And it is wonderful.

 

The movie opens with Balloon Man attacking the city.  The Teen Titans intervene and try to stop him.  They are annoyed that Balloon Man has Never heard of them.  So they break out their rap theme song, get distracted and Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern have to come in and finish up the rescue.  And the Teen Titans wonder why no one takes them seriously.

Robin is the leader of the Teen Titans, but everyone else knows him as Batman’s sidekick and that designation is keeping him from getting his own movie.  And that is all Robin wants, his own movie.  (Not saving the world, or getting his parents back, but getting his own movie is the motivation that this Robin has.)  Every other superhero in this universe gets their own superhero movie—even the Batmobile and Bat Utility Belt get their own movie.  Robin and the Teen Titians go to see the premiere of the next Batman movie, Batman Again.  And during pre-show the director Jade Wilson, voiced by Kristen Bell, comes out to introduce all the new superhero movies, and Robin is eager for his moment in the spotlight.  But after trailers for Alfred, the Batmobile, and the Bat Utility Belt, Robin runs out ashamed.

 

Robin next day heads to the set to ask Jade Wilson for his own movie, and Robin learns that he needs his own nemesis.  Batman has the Joker, Superman Lex Luthor, but Robin does not have one.

Then one day he meets Slade.  Slaaaddddeeee….(The name must sound cool.)

Slade looks like Deadpool, but Deadpool is in the Marvel Universe and this is the D.C. Universe.

The one day Robin actually stops Slade, but it isn’t enough.

Robin realizes that he needs to stop all the other superheros from ever happening.  So The Teen Titans get on time traveling tricycles.  Yes, time-traveling tricycles, complete with Back to the Future sound track.

The movie continues with ever increasing comic timing and silliness as they battle Slade.  (Slaaaaaadddddde….)

Nicolas Cage voices Superman, which is subtle reference to the Tim Burton, Superman movie Superman Lives that Cage was suppose to play Superman, but it never was finished.

Nevermind that this is a DC property Stan Lee makes a couple of wonderful appearances.

Final Thoughts

If your child watches the show, they will enjoy this movie.  If you enjoy comic book movies, you will enjoy this one as it deftly skewers comic book troupes.

I would recommend catching this in the theater with your kid.  If not then, definitely use a Netflix disc rental on this one.

 

Thank goodness they don’t build them like they used to.

My wife and daughter were in a serious car accident last week.

They’re fine now. My daughter left the hospital the same day, and my wife came home a few days later.

I was telling an older person about the accident and how the car was totaled.  She replied with the standard old person response with “They don’t make them like they used too.”

Well, thank goodness for that. 

Cars are now designed to crumple and send airbags and curtain air-bags to keep you from hitting your head against the glass.

This car was flipped and upside down at the accident scene, but my family was able to walk away relatively unharmed.

In the good old days with just a lap belt there would have been large internal injuries around the spleen and back.  And with no airbags heads would have hit the hard steering wheel and my daughter would have cracked her head against the glass.  Instead she has a few bruises and an interesting story to tell.

Yes, thank goodness they don’t make ’em like they used too.

Incredibles 2 Movie Review–It’s Jack-Jack’s Movie

It’s been 14 years since the first Incredibles movie. And it was worth the wait.

The Incredibles is a joy to watch. The energy of the movie is a mix of a Sean Connery Era James Bond movie and a comic book.

The world in which the Incredibles is set is a retro future setting of a late 1950s to 60s-cars have tail-fins, studio cameras have three rotating lenses, telephones have cords and a number pad, televisions have curved glass fronts. The style of the setting is part of the joy of the movie.

The movie begins with Agent Dicker questioning Violet’s date Tony Rydinger, the boy she had a crush on in the first movie and is scheduled to go on a date with. As per usual custom Dicker does a memory wipe, unfortunately also wiping out the memory that he has a date with Violet later that week, which will come into play later.

We move back to where the first movie left off with the Underminer attacking the city. It is loud and visually stunning action sequence. Mr. Incredible follows the Underminer down through the ground under the city where he discovers an entire laberyenth of tunnels which leads to the most elaborate bank heist ever. Blowing up explosives underneath the bank, which then falls underground, allowing the Underminer to walk into the vault and vacuum out the money from the safe. The Underminer escapes with the money, (are we looking at an Incredibles 3?) and Frozone and the Parrs stop the Underminers Runaway drill from crashing into more buildings and in the aftermath Dicker informs the Parrs that he can no longer help them, his department is being shut down. The Parrs need to move back underground and hid their identifies as superheros.

A familiar theme from the first movie, hiding ones abilities in hopes of staying safe and secure.

With the Incredibles and Frozone saving the city from even more distruction wealthy telecom businessman Winston Deavor and his sister Evelyn decide that now is a good time to changing the public perception of supers. Winston wants to change the world’s perception of supers because his father was a big believer in supers having a close relationship with previous Supers. Unfortunately their father was killed in a robbery when instead of hiding in the safe room in the house he called Gazerbeam but the phones were cut. (I love this world of superheros but landlines still in use.)

The villain in this movie is not the UnderMiner, but the Screenslaver. A hypnotist who gets people to do his bidding through screens he has hacked.

The Screenslaver and the UnderMiner provide the opportunity for Winston Deavor to show the world that Supers are useful and not a problem. Winston decided that it would be best to leave Mr. Incredible out of the first rescue, as according to the huge amount of data collected he causes a lot of damage. While on the other hand Mrs. Parr is able to do the job without as much damage or people being hurt. You don’t want people hurt when bringing Supers back into the public eye.

So Mr. Parr becomes a stay at home dad to Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack.

And this is Jack-Jack’s movie.

In the world of the Incredibles apparently Supers can have different types of powers, and Jack seems to have seventeen of them. One of them is the ability to jump to different dimensions. That’s sort of like a super-super ability. But it is played as a joke when Mr. Parr can’t find Jack-Jack when he is jumping between dimensions. He of course also shoots lasers out of his eyes, turns into a demon baby, and when he visits the ever popular Edna Mode he can’t replicate himself to other people, like a human chameleon. As in the first movie, the best scene in the movie is when Bob visits Edna Mode, and this time he brings Jack-Jack along with him.

Because he just can’t handle it anymore. Edna at first wants nothing to do with Jack-Jack, but soon Edna falls in love with Jack-Jack and the coolest relationship in the movie is born. Edna makes a suit and matching tablet to help Bob know which ability Jack-Jack is about to manifest. A very useful trick.

.

A video short with Edna and Jack-Jack would be the perfect addition to the Blu-ray.

And as fun as Jack-Jack and Edna are together, the best scene in the movie is when Jack-Jack gets into a fight with a raccoon.  A scene that felt out of place, but my  six-year-old says is the best scene in the movie.  She maybe right.

 

Final Thoughts

The Incredibles 2 is a lot of fun. The style and setting is something to take in. Jack-Jack brings joy whenever he is on screen. The villain maybe too complex for younger viewers, but exists well in the universe.
If you can check out Incredibles 2 at the theater this summer.

Solo-A Star Wars Story–Movie Review–A Fun Saturday Matinee Movie

A new Star Wars movie is here.

It used to be a new Star Wars movie came out every three years.  They were major events.  Once every three years a new freakin’ Star Wars movie.

But those days are gone.  Star Wars makes way too much money to let it go away.  I am 45.  People my age grew up thinking Return of the Jedi was going to be the last film.  It took 16 years to get another film, then we got two more three years after that.  Then it took another ten years to get The Force Awakens.

Now this weekend we Solo.  It is the second Star Wars movie in six months.  I never thought I would ever see that.

I mention this because Star Wars becoming a commodity takes away some of the excitement that we use to have in going to that galaxy far far away.

But after saying that, I need to say this.

I still want Star Wars.

It is still fun.

And Solo is fun.

It isn’t a perfect movie.  It’s not the best Star Wars film.  It doesn’t break new ground.  But so what?  

It is a Star Wars movie.

Solo is played by Alden Ehenriech, Ki’ra is played by Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones Fame.  Lando Calrissian is played to perfection by Donald Glover, who sounds exactly like Billy Dee Williams who played Lando in the original trilogy.

Chewbacca is played by Joonas Suomato.  And Woody Harrleson plays Tobias Beckett a criminal who is the head of his own crew.  Thadie Newton plays his wife Val Beckett, and Jon Favereu voices Rio Durant, a new type of alien in the Star Wars universe and a member of Beckett’s crew.

The movie begins with Han as a young man on his home world of Corellia, which is ruled by gangsters.

I liked this part.  It is always cool to see new parts of the Star Wars universe.  He and his girlfriend Ki’ra are desperate to escape.  Han manages to steal some hyperfuel during a deal gone wrong, and it’s their hope to sell the fuel on the blackmarket for enough money to own their own ship and get away.  But in order to get off of the planet they must go through an Imperial check-point where they are discovered with the fuel.  Ki’ra is captured by the Empire.  In hopes of making it back to Corelia to find Ki’ra Han enlists in the Empire, in hopes of being a pilot.  As with most plans, he doesn’t become a pilot, but an infantryman.  Flash forward three years and Han is still not a pilot and is stuck as a “mudhead” and in the middle of a battle he meets Beckett.

The movie moves through it’s checklist of who he needs to meet.

When Solo meets Chewie, for my money this is one of the best scenes in the entire Star Wars series.  It is fun and a blast.  I wasn’t sure how he would meet Han, but the scene works very well.

We move through a cool train robbery with Solo and Beckett’s crew.

And then onto meeting Crime Lord Dryden Vos, played by Paul Bethany.  After owing Vos more money, Beckett, Han, Chewie, and Ki’ra head to meet Lando because he has a fast ship.

And from here the movie really takes off.  

I am not going to spoil anymore of the movie.  There isn’t a lot to spoil, but there is some.

The second half of the movie really takes off.  There is a surprise character at the end that connects the movie with the television shows.  There is a nod to the idea that Han does shoot first.  And we see Han prepare to go meet Jabba.

Final Thoughts

The movie doesn’t break new ground like The Last Jedi, but it is fun.  If you enjoyed the original Star Wars trilogy I recommend seeing this in the theater as Star Wars movies are meant to be seen.  It is a fun Saturday matinee flick as the original Star Wars movies were meant to be.