Friday, March 27, 2015

March 2015 Pop Culture Roundup

Five items for March...

1. We watched Lucy this month, with Scarlett Johansson as the title character who has a package containing a powerful drug surgically placed in her intestine to be delivered to a buyer. The package ruptures, and the drug begins activating "unused" parts of her brain, which in turn allows her to do things like change her appearance, move things telekinetically, and control electronic devices. She enlists the help of a brain expert played by Morgan Freeman to find out what's happening to her, all while fending off the gangsters who forcibly placed the drug in her body to begin with. The science is suspect, but the action sequences and computer animation were fun, although I did find myself wondering why Lucy didn't just go full Dr. Manhattan on the bad guys to get them to stop chasing her. It was a...sigh...brainless movie that I knew going in I shouldn't take too seriously.

2. I recently read Faraway by R.K. Kline and Daniel D. Maurer, the review for which is here. I also read Desire Found Me by Andre Rabe, and the review for that is here.

3. As of this writing, there is one episode of The Walking Dead left in its 5th season. I also finally  finished the graphic novels this month. It was actually fun to have read so far to be able to anticipate what would happen next, albeit with some creative changes. At any rate, the group has now settled in the Alexandria community, although I suppose "settled" is a bit of a misnomer, as recent episodes have highlighted some conflict between Rick's battle-hardened friends and the softer, more naive Alexandrians. I've also been bracing myself for the next move in the story, which I think this season has been dropping hints about, but will take the show to whole new crazy level.

4. The family watched Big Hero 6 a few weeks ago, featuring a young teen genius named Hiro who befriends his older brother's robot companion Baymax. They, along with several of his brother's friends from the robotics lab at the university, have to team up to take down a villain who has stolen one of Hiro's powerful inventions. Baymax was used as the big hook in ads for the movie, but it also includes themes such as grief, revenge, and friendship. The film has the right touch of humor, action, & heart and is very well done, but also might be slightly above the purported target audience's ability to grasp.

5. There are several albums that I've been looking forward to this year. The Decemberists was the first back in January. Strangers to Ourselves by Modest Mouse was the next, and it dropped on March 17th. For me, this was certainly worth the wait. "Lampshades on Fire" and "The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box" are both great, upbeat tunes, and "Coyotes" is a slower, more pensive favorite as well. Here's the audio for "Lampshades on Fire:"