Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Mission: Atlantis

Began a gloomy morning with breakfast and more Fancy Nancy. She's looking forward to "Nancy's Divine Sleepover" when her parents go out for the night and leave her and JoJo with her older friend Mrs. Divine (Christine Baranski). JoJo's nervous about it at first, but Nancy ends up being the one who misses her parents and can't sleep. She's not happy when her cousin Johnny comes over for "Nancy's Sacre Blu Fondue." Turns out he's even fancier than she is...and she's not used to having to share the title of fanciest person around.

She wants to enter her big poodle Frenchy in her friends' mini-dog-show, but Frenchy won't do tricks. It turns into "Nancy's Dog Show Disaster" when she borrows Mrs. Divine's smaller and more talented pooch, but misses her own dog. Detectives Nancy and Bree find themselves on "The Case of the Missing Doll" when Nancy can't find her beloved Mirabelle before a tea party.

Headed out around 10 to pick up the bus to Somerdale at the Oaklyn City Hall; they were right on time. Unfortunately, the bus took longer to get there than they should have. One of the riders stopped the driver in Audubon. Turns out that not only had a guy overslept and missed his stop, but I think he may have been carrying a few things he shouldn't have been. They had to get a cop to come and take him off. (At least he looked more groggy than anything.) A ride that was supposed to take 10-15 minutes at the most took nearly a half-hour. I got into the Cinemark Theater to see Aquaman with barely a minute to spare before the previews began. Good thing I think there were maybe three other people in the theater with me who were catching the first showing of the day.

I'm not going to go heavily into the plot because of spoilers,, Aquaman was fun. When DC focuses on the backstory of one character, instead of trying to throw a bunch together, they can knock it out of the water park. I thought Jason Momoa's Arthur Curry/Aquaman was one of the best things about Justice League, and he's even better here as the reluctant King of Atlantis; also liked Amber Heard as his feisty and tough sweetheart Princess Mara. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was excellent as Aquaman's most famous villain from the comics, Black Manta.

The best thing about this movie are the special effects. Atlantis is just amazing. If it looks even a quarter as cool in the comics as it does in the movie, no wonder the character's been popular for 70 years. The shining spires and glassy green buildings glow with colors that would make the comics pale. The giant creatures of the deep are pretty nifty too, including the Brine (crustacean) people and the huge monster Karathen. (And no, I'm not going to reveal who does her voice here. That's too good of a tidbit to spoil.)

My biggest complaints are that the movie is way too long and takes forever to get going...and once it does, the story, as enjoyable as it is, is a mass of cliches that feels like Black Panther and the first two Thor movies crossed with Indiana Jones. I will say that, while I don't feel this is quite in the league of either Black Panther or the Indy films, it certainly surpasses the dull original Thor movies. I'll also add that Aquaman has long been one of my favorite DC characters, along with Superman, Wonder Woman, and Hawkman and Hawkgirl, so I'm probably a bit biased. (I grew up by the beach. Where I'm from, Aquaman's powers are not a joke.)

If you have any love for the characters or the DC Universe, or loved Black Panther or the Thor movies, you'll want to swim on over to the movie theater and check out the adventures of the King of Atlantis for yourself. (Incidentally, I'm really hoping that the success of this movie and Black Panther early last year will bring even more lesser-known or not as well-regarded superheroes out of the woodwork. I've loved learning more about characters I either never heard of at all, like the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, and Teen Titans, or ones I'd only vaguely heard about elsewhere, like Harley Quinn, Deadpool, or Dr. Strange.)

(Oh, and by far the most interesting trailer in the beginning was Men In Black International. Liam Neeson teaches half the cast of Thor: Ragnorok how to kick alien rear? Take my money now. I'm also really looking forward to The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. If nothing else, the title's funny.)

I opted not to bother with the concession stand and saved my appetite for lunch. There's an Applebee's right next door to the movie theater, and I had some money left on that gift card Mark gave me for Christmas. I must have just missed the lunch crowd. They were dead quiet when I arrived. I enjoyed a bowl of delicious tomato-basil soup with croutons and shaved Parmesan cheese and half of a Clubhouse Grille sandwich in peace.

It must have rained while I was in the movie. The sidewalks were a little wet when I emerged. By the time I was strolling over to the massive warehouse-sized Super Wal Mart, the rain was long gone, and it was just cloudy and cold. I didn't really need much at Wal Mart anyway. While I peeked at their toy aisles, I was mainly there for pads. Also bought sugar and more of the large containers of cooking spray. Ended up going back for sparkling water when I had to take out money for the bus...and I didn't realize they only gave it out in 20 dollar increments.

Once again, the bus was on time. Though it did take a minute for the driver to strap in a passenger in a wheelchair, it was nothing like the delay on the earlier ride. (I even tried to help her when she couldn't pull one of the straps out all the way.) Thankfully, the major traffic was going in the opposite direction. I got off across from the 7-11 in Oaklyn, picked up my bike at City Hall, and rode straight home.

Worked on writing for a while when I got in. Han admonishes Friar Ben not to fill Luke's mind with his nonsense about absorbing natural forces. He'd be better off teaching him how to shoot a bow and arrow than to mess around with swords.

Ben is the first to smell the smoke coming from Alden Manor. Turns out the Sheriff got there first and burned the place to the ground, along with Lord Bail and Lady Breha. Luke weeps at the sight, remembering how his aunt and uncle died under similar circumstances. Han worries that Sheriff Vader may still be nearby...

Broke for a quick Chocolate Banana Smoothie at quarter of 7. Made brownies and finished the night watching Mission: Impossible - Fallout. Ethan Hunt's (Tom Cruise) latest mission, should he choose to accept it, is to rescue three plutonium cores from the hands of rogue extremist John Lark and the terrorist group he hired to steal it, the Apostles. New CIA director Erika Sloane (Angela Bassett) is furious and assigns agent August Walker (Henry Cavill) to keep an eye on the team and make sure they don't fail again. Ethan and his regular team members Benji (Simon Flagg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) head to Paris, where they track down "The White Widow" (Vanessa Kirby), an arms dealer who may be the one who is selling the plutonium. When they get close to what they think is John Lark, he's killed by Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), a British agent. Ethan takes on the role of Lark and has to convince the terrorists he's what he claims he is, then capture Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), the head of the terrorists from the previous film Rogue Nation. But John Lark isn't who they think he is...and the real John Lark is not only all too close by, but is ready to blow everything sky high, including the team.

The Mission: Impossible series is the most consistently entertaining action series ever made. I've now seen all six films in the series, and there's not a dud in the lot. Cruise, Cavill, Harris, and Ferguson are all having a blast as the main figures involved in the twisty arms plot. Some of the chases and action set pieces, especially in the finale, are downright heart-stopping.

Like I said, you can't go wrong with any of the Mission: Impossible movies, especially if you love Cruise, the cast, or action films with better scripts than most. I will add that you should probably see the previous film in the series, Rogue Nation, to get a better idea of the characters and situations before coming here. If you're already a fan, jump on this helicopter and enjoy the ride.

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