Thursday, July 28, 2011

On the Way in to Work This Morning...

The storms had ended (for the moment), but raindrops still clung to the petals.

Every Picture Tells a Story: 7/28/11

Monday, July 25, 2011

Where I Was Sunday Afternoon

I pried myself away from my air conditioner long enough to catch Captain America: The First Avenger at the New 400 Sunday afternoon.

What did I think, you ask? Here it is, even if you didn't ask:

Captain America is one of those comic book characters who, even though he's been around for over 70 years, hasn't fared all that well in live-action interpretations. The 1944 serial is exciting and all, just as long as you haven't ever read a single Captain America comic book in your life. If you have, though, you quickly realize that the screenwriters took the name of the character and that's about it. The pair of '70s TV movies are pretty awful--it's probably for the best that Cap was never picked up for a TV series--though the second film at least had the great Christopher Lee as a terrorist. And the less said about the 1990 version intended for the big screen but dumped on home video and cable, the better. (Two words: Rubber ears.)

In short, Captain America: The First Avenger could have been truly craptastic and still been better than every version that preceded it.

But it's not craptastic. It's not bad at all. In fact, it's the most enjoyable super-hero movie in a year drowning in them.

This Captain America takes place almost entirely in the 1940s (except from the modern-day sequences that bookend the film) and gets that period detail right (as you'd expect in a film directed by Joe Johnston, whose previous foray into super-hero territory was the underrated 1991 film The Rocketeer). While the screenwriters and production designers take liberties with Cap's story and costume (as you'd fully expect them to, especially with that costume, which was made eminently more practical and battle-ready for this movie), they remain true to the the main character: A skinny, sickly kid from Brooklyn who only wants to serve his country, but is turned down for enlistment again and again until a kindly German scientist (Stanley Tucci, in a sweet performance) physically transforms the kid into a super-soldier. Even in the body of a physically perfect specimen, though, he's still that earnest kid from Brooklyn, wanting to do the right thing and take the fight to the bullies who started it.

Chris Evans does a nice job underplaying his role as Cap/Steve Rogers, though that consequently means he's a bit dull. Fortunately, he's surrounded by colorful performances by crusty Tommy Lee Jones, smart and beautiful Hayley Atwell, tough-as-nails Neal McDonough and batcrap-crazy Hugo Weaving as Cap's nemesis, the Red Skull. Weaving's performance is the closest to over-the-top-and-back-again, but he's playing a superpowered lunatic with aspirations to godhood, so he can't really underplay and still convey the madness behind the Skull's wild eyes.

Most importantly, Captain America: The First Avenger is, for the most part, a fun summer movie (though there is some personal tragedy in there for Steve Rogers, and a whole new world awaiting him in the Avengers movie coming next summer). Sit down, chew your popcorn with your mouth closed and enjoy the air conditioning.

Where I was Friday Night

Every Picture Tells a Story: 7/25/11

Friday, July 22, 2011

Last Night on the Way Home

Thuderheads form as they move east over Lake Michigan.

Coming Today to a Theater Near You

Every Picture Tells a Story: 7/22/11

This is where I will be tonight, and for several more nights over the next few weeks. Any excuse to go to the gloriously restored Portage Theater is a good one, but the opportunity to see a Louise Brooks movie on the big screen--especially one I've never seen before in any format--is not to be passed up.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Today at Lunch

Daley Center has a plaza, and the plaza has a farmers' market every Thursday. That's where I bought this yummy, yummy baked cheese.

Every Picture Tells a Story: 7/14/11

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Lake Theatre, Take Two

Last month, Mr. E and I attempted to go to the Lake Theatre to catch part of their 75th anniversary series of movies that premiered the same year they did (1936). While we missed out then (tickets were sold out by the time we got to the box office), we did not this time--Mr. E bought tickets ahead of time, and I made sure I gott out of work with more than enough minutes to spare. Therefore, we were able to enjoy Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times with a remarkably large crowd for a hot Monday night in July.

Every Picture Tells a Story: 7/12/11

Monday, July 11, 2011

Swelter

Don't need the pierce
of the cheap beat-up
Target alarm clock to
let me know morning's
unavoidably here.
The sweat canalling
down my back 'cause
heat is still squeezing
from concrete and steel
from the day before
is more than enough
to pry open one
or two brown eyes
that were never quite
shut to begin with.

Every Picture Tells a Story: 7/11/11

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sight Seen Sunday

Every Picture Tells a Story 7/5/11

Last Night at Home

Olivia tries to ignore the explosions outside and comfort herself in the dark of La Casa del Terror with a stuffed sardine given to her for Christmas by Superbadfriend.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saturday Morning's Breakfast

OK, this photo was actually taken on a Saturday afternoon, and not this Saturday afternoon (though I'm sure my brunch looked pretty much like this), but still...NOMNOMNOMNOMNOM!

Every Picture Tells a Story: 7/2/11

Friday, July 1, 2011

Last Night's Storm

The eastern shore of Lake Michigan has been getting pounded by violent thunderstorms since yesterday afternoon, but last night some of that action wandered over to this side of the lake, dropping quarter-sized hail and whipping windfs up to a reported 94 mph. This morning, the sidewalks were covered with leaves and branches torn away from the trees above by the hail and winds of the night before.