The Man from U.N.C.L.E. & Inside Out (and Lava)

Went to the movies for both of the last two weeks; it’s been a while since I’ve done that.  I went to see The Man from U.N.C.L.E. first, because that one had been a big deal on my Twitter feed since about the time the Comic Con trailer dropped, then Inside Out, because I’d heard it raved about so much, and hey, you don’t want to miss too many Pixar films.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a fun movie to watch.  It was very slickly done, and with a lot of good jokes(the listening device exchange was priceless).  But despite all the squeeing I’ve been reading over the bromance of the two main characters, I didn’t buy it, the going from adversity to suddenly dashing like mad to rescue each other without any clear feeling as to why.  I didn’t really sympathize enough with either of them either(I especially didn’t care for this Napoleon Solo).  I would have sympathized more with the main female character, except I saw her first plot twist coming from about the time she was first introduced and suspected her second one was going to happen as well.  Hugh Grant stealing the show from everyone late in the movie didn’t help.  If a sequel came out, I might or might not go see it, but I wouldn’t feel any great loss if there wasn’t one.

Inside Out actually had two things prefacing it besides trailers, and the first I was not happy to sit through.  First we had the creators preaching to us about how we have to come see their movies, which is not the way to induce us to do so.  Thankfully that was short, and accompanying short film, Lava, was a sweet love story involving volcanoes that educated us about how volcanic islands form in the ocean while making us go “Awwww” during a volcanic eruption(never thought I’d be doing that one).  Although to be fair, I think I may have only gotten the lesson because I knew its contents already, but hey, it was still a very sweet little film.  Considering the point Inside Out makes in both the promo materials and then the film itself(with a pair of psychologists even listed as consultants in the credits) in educating us a little bit in how the mind works, it made the two films a very good match for each other.

Inside Out too was a great film to watch, but it was more than that.  It was very imaginative, for one thing, creating a whole and fascinating original world even while anchoring it in the behavior of the human brain, a very fully realized one where by the end of it you understood the rules and didn’t need to be told the stakes to get them.  It also brought us a set of characters, both human and otherwise, that we came to care about, until when one of them makes a heartbreaking decision late in the film you feel sad right along with the main character.  It also deals with depression, and in a way that hits home for anyone who is familiar with it.  As a bonus, the three most important characters in the movie are all female(although I suppose you can argue the two non-human ones might or might not have a full gender identity).  When it ends with a sequel hook, as The Man from U.N.C.L.E. did, you want to see that sequel.  Also, it was screamingly funny at times, especially during the credits.

Not sure when I’ll next go to the movies, given I’ll be watching tennis and then going out of the country for a week and a half.  Although apparently the next Pixar movie comes out before the end of the year…

JGP Riga Cup

Saw a good deal of the Junior Grand Prix event in Latvia this week, particularly the men’s free and free dance this morning, where we got introduced to a *lot* of new faces, not all of whom then followed through.  Yet the winners were all familiar faces, though it’s good enough to Renata Oganesian and Mark Bardei get their first gold.  Pity the rest of the pairs event was such a mess…

Also glad to see Deniss Vasiljevs get a medal on home ice after two fourth place finishes last year, and I still love that Tron program of his.  Would’ve liked it better had he won, also if Kevin Aymoz had won bronze, though Dmitri Aliev landing the quad and Alexei Krasnozhon also having more technical content than the man he beat seems fair enough.  Still kind of amazed about the latter going for a friggen quad loop!

On the other hand, I don’t think the ice dance bronze went to the right team; I really think the Mengs should’ve won it; they were definitely underscored, especially in the short dance.  Also, I have to ask: do we really want a team that might well win the junior world title(it’s too early for a clear favorite there yet) to be dancing to a track from 50 Shades of Grey, however good music said track is?  Granted, it wouldn’t we the worst free dance choice made by recent Russian junior world champions, but still…although that Popova & Vlasenko failed to break either 60 in the short or 90 in the free makes one wonder anyway.

Really sad for Amber Glenn, but even more so for Rebecca Peng, who is a beautiful skater, but just did not have her jumps.

Start of the JGP season

And the figure skating season is now more or less underway, with the first JGP in Bratislava finishing up yesterday.  So far, we have a new Russian Polina on the block, Rachel & Michael Parsons have won a long-awaited gold, and Argentina has won what I’m pretty sure is its first medal ever on the circuit.

It’ll be interesting to see if Polina Tsurskaya can come to a better fate than the three Russian Polinas who preceded her.  On one hand, she had that 3-3-2 combo.  On the other, she’s still only barely 14, and we don’t know if they’ll still have those jumps in a few year’s time.  Excited about Vivian Le’s success so far(pity about the fall costing her silver), but sorry Emily Chan missed the top five by so little and now may lose her second event because of it.

Not that the Russian success in the ladies seemed to sooth certain people who took over the chat room on the livestream to scream about how the Russian skaters were all robbed during the ice dance and the early phase of the men’s competition (although they stopped after Samarin blew it fair and square, at least).  Much sneering about a Canadian technical controller.  Never mind that a tech panel that wanted the Parsonses to win probably wouldn’t have given them an extended lift deduction when they skated before the team ahead of them, and a corrupt Canadian controller would have likely given the two Canadian teams better level spreads than they got.  Truth is, Alla Lobodza & Pavel Drozd weren’t as sharp as the Parsonses were; also, in a final group where three of the five teams did some tangoing, Rachel & Michael were the team that generated a genuine feeling of it.

Although Vincent Zhou was kind of robbed, especially considering Roman Sadovsky won both segments on PCS, and when that advantage had to have least come partly from his having had success on the circuit in the past, while Zhou was out with injury.  Hope that problem eventually rights itself…

We’re getting a Mockingbird series after all!

This seems a pretty recent development, since there wasn’t a peep of it the entire summer, with Nick and Adrianne even being announced as continuing as regulars in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. next year and now they’ve even started filming, and there’s been a shot of Nick preparing for an “emotional scene” making the rounds.  Although that doesn’t mean the setup for this new Marvel’s Most Wanted hasn’t already been written and filmed, of course; they’re good at keeping secrets over at Marvel.  Mostly; there has been no official announcement of this one, which means maybe it is an accidental leak, but then again these things often are not so accidental.

The big question is: when is all this happening?  Right now, we have no idea.  It seems unlikely it could be pulled off during the fall.  During the midwinter break, airing alongside Agent Carter?  In the spring, airing alongside the second half of the third season of Agents of S.H.I.EL.D., a la Buffy and Angel once upon a time?  Ages from now, maybe even after Civil War‘s come out? (Is the premise even going to stem from that movie?)

It’s got potential to be good, though.  Bobbi Morse has had a season of being an awesome woman with a few emotional dilemmas, and one gets the feeling that’s what she’s going to be here too, possibly leaving S.H.I.E.L.D., which would be a huge emotional journey into the unknown for her, maybe even developing into her superhero self from the comics(will she even take her Mockingbird moniker?), which would probably mean the Civil War will have some sort of impact on her; hopefully they’ll pull that off well.  Plus it’s confirmed Lance will be along for the ride, and given how many Marvel ships have sunk lately(will any hope of Philinda survive this upcoming season?  It’s starting to look like the waters there are only going to get rougher), it’ll be nice to have these two as a lasting story, even if they’re probably going to break up a few more times.  And he’s certainly fun enough a character to be a boon to any series he’s on.

To Your Left, Bucky!

So this picture broke the internet yesterday

So this picture broke the internet yesterday

So far, we’ve been treated to a lot of the Steve-Bucky-Sam trio, between the Ant-Man stinger, and now this image, the first picture of Sebastian Stan on set as Bucky.  Which is a nice thing to tide us over, since apparently we aren’t getting a proper release of the teaser for months! (Where are Hydra when you need them?)  A movie featuring these two and Steve running around and getting up to things is one I’d certainly enjoy.  Poor Sam, though, having two guys around who can outrun him without trying…

Has anyone zeroed in on which airport this is?  Although they might just be filming in one airport and calling it another, especially if it turns out to be a Sokovian airport or something like that.

Trying for some coherent reactions to the Civil War news spill

So far we’ve had a poor quality trailer someone who was in the room as the Disney Expo filmed, but it feels like we’re getting much more information out of the descriptions coming from multiple sources.  What we get from that:

The Stucky bromance might have been usurped by Matt/Foggy for the title of “Most Intense MCU Bromance” lately, but Steve and Bucky seem pretty determined to reclaim their title.  If, of course, you don’t say screw that and outright ship it.  It’s not like there are very many people discouraging us from doing so…

Speaking of friendships that probably should’ve just gone romantic, moving as it is to hear that Clint and Natasha are not liking being opponents of each other, I do hope they reconcile at some point.  It would feel like a final parting gift from Whedon, almost, if we lose even their friendship now.

Not sure if there’s any significance to us seeing Black Panther and not Spider-Man.  Maybe Marvel occasionally realizes which character fans are getting more excited about.  Or it could be that the Black Panther has a larger role than Spider-Man, and in the latter’s case they need to save all they got for the movie.  Less bothered by the lack of Daredevil, since his role has already been described as a cameo(holding out hope it’ll involve a piece of silver; I really want to see Charlie & RDJ take on that scene).

And in other Disney franchise news, Orlando Bloom is returning to Pirates of the Caribbean, with no sign Keira Knightley’s coming with him?  Of course, if they decide to set the new movie less than a decade after At World’s End, that makes sense enough.  But if Will Turner’s off the boat, how can they have the husband of the Pirate King and not have the King herself?