Thursday, May 19, 2016

Catching Up!

As many of you know, my secret identity is that of a mild-mannered community college instructor. A full semester load for me is 5 classes in each of the fall and spring semesters, plus two in the abbreviated summer session. That's a lot of teaching, reading, and grading and things get odd around midterm week and finals week. All of that is to explain my recent state of radio silence. I should be more active now that spring is over and summer is ready to launch, but be kind - the Babylon 5 book project has a summer deadline for the complete manuscript to get to our intrepid editor, so the summer is not exactly a time of restful ease.

Not complaining, mind you - just trying to explain How Things Are at the moment.

So let me first catch you up on the Babylon 5 progress. We got a slight extension of Season 4 due to my extreme exam insanity, and that should be in within the next ten days. And wow - do I LOVE Season 4! So much comes full circle. And Susan Ivanova is my spirit animal for this - I think she's been waiting a very long time to say this . . .

On a much quieter note, I recently watched two Academy Award-nominated films that I had missed. (Living in a small town, many don't quite make it here.) Both Carol and Brooklyn are set in the 1950s, but in very different worlds. Carol is taken from The Price of Salt, which is a Patricia Highsmith novel (she of the "Mr. Ripley" series). It deals with a relationship that is wildly out of balance, yet we cheer for things to somehow work out. Amazing performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, with strong support from Sarah Paulson, taking a break from wowing audiences on Tim Minear's American Horror Story. It's a slow-building movie so you must permit it to take its time, but it's certainly worth the ride.

Brooklyn is, quite simply, lovely. Saoirse Ronan is a young Irish girl who leaves home behind to come to America in the 1950s. At that time, Brooklyn was predominantly Irish but it's still an intimidating city for a young country lass. Eilis is all alone, although she has a decent rooming house (all girls, dinner on the table at six, and certainly no shenanigans!) and a job in a fancy department store. As she becomes more comfortable in this world, her wardrobe changes to brighter, more confident colors. She falls in love with a Nice Boy (with a hysterical little brother!), but is torn between her old life and her new one. Truly a wonderful movie and one I'll watch again.

And, of course, there's Captain America: Civil War. So much has been written about this already, and I'm so late to the party that I'll just say this - great popcorn fun. There are some mighty big plot holes in this and I'm still convinced that Tony Stark's genius is not excuse for him behaving like a jackass so much of the time, but the Russo Bros. did a fine job here. It's basically the Avengers movie I wish Age of Ultron had been. So yes, it's more Avengers than Cap, but hey - Hawkeye gets some good lines. Go. Enjoy.