Dr. Dr. – Strangley lovely

Doctor Strange – B+

Obscure super here to most of the world? Check.  A story that one has to accept and not over-think because it is a comic book movie? Check.  Best superhero movie of the year? Almost.

First off, I have to say, that this is my second favorite movie of the year for comic books and it was almost #1.  Civil War still takes the top spot but I thoroughly enjoyed this over Deadpool.  When i first saw Deadpool, another obscure character most non comic book heavy readers do not know about, I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it like a lot of others.  That being said I watched it again last week and enjoyed it upon the second viewing so much more that I can now say I love the movie.

With Doctor Strange though, we get a movie that is unlike any comic book movie we have had yet.  Yes Guardians was very obscure as we well and became a massive hit.  That movie though didn’t involve much thinking or having to make the audience believe in mystical things as much as this movie.

Dr. Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a brilliant, self-loving, arrogant…and many other things type of doctor.  What his not, is gracious and a team player.  Even his soft spot for a colleague/ex-girlfriend, he is lacking in charm.  After being involved in a self-inflicted car crash, which to be honest, no way in hell anyone would have survived, and yes I know it is a movie, but if you are trying to get me to believe in an alternate universes, the car crash was a bit overdone…. Strange has now lost the use of his hands.  As brilliant in mind as he is, he can now no longer perform surgeries.  Strange, refuses to accept defeat and attempts to heal himself with several more surgeries that do not prove successful.

Upon hearing about a miracle case from his PT trainer, Strange searches out this man to find out how he was healed from an injury that should not have been corrected.  He’s told of a place where his miracle happened.

Strange heads to Nepal and upon arriving, finds what he has been searching for.  Still a disbeliever because he is a man of science and fact, the Ancient one played by Tilda Swinton and her assistant Mordo, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, decide to still take Strange on to help him find his way.  They know a battle is coming and after seeing that Strange does posses a gift to the mystic arts, will try to convince him to join and not just think of himself and his cure for his hands.

The battle that is coming is with the Ancient One’s ex-pupil, Kaecilius, played by Mads Mikkelsen.  Kae, has stolen an ancient text regarding immortality, but does not fully understand what comes from using the power.  As a man who has lost everything in his life before going to the Ancient One, he is hell-bent on trying to get it back.

As Strange becomes more powerful and knowledgeable about the mystics, he learns that he is being trained for war and refuses to be a part of it.  He is called out on his selfishness and is forced into making a decision as Kae has now broken realms that should not have been entered and is about to start destruction of unspeakable levels.

The multi-verse or other universal dimensions are what allow these mystics to do their magic.  The special effects are amazing at bringing it to life.  Yes the vocab may trip you up a bit, but if you just take it in at the simplest level…. in this movie there is more than one universe, one dimension.  The mystics can enter these, change them without notice from the regular universe.  Though there are rules.  One is not supposed to change time and surroundings.  Dark magic is seen as unstable.  The one thing is though, the rules are there for a reason and as in the movie, especially at the end, the rules come back to work in a great way.  It is not a heart stopping, ending.  It is actually a quite fun ending.  The movie uses the rules set up from the multi-verse and we are given a very non-superhero type ending, which I ended up loving.

I know some reviewers thought the humor was hit or miss.  I only thought there was one flat joke, the others worked.  The audience I saw this with “got” the humor and laughed as I laughed.  That is how you know the humor is working.  It doesn’t have to be Big Bang Theory-type humor were it obvious nerd humor.  This is mostly clever humor and some physical humor.

I hope you will go see this movie.

Remember; do not over-think the other dimension stuff.  Just go with it!


The Accountant – Math = Dead Bodies!

A bit late with this post as I saw this on release date but hey, I’ve been busy.

First, let’s get this out of the way.  This is not a Jason Bourne action type flick.  This is a thriller with action sequences.

Ben Affleck plays Christian Wolff, a person with a certain type of autism/aspergers and through a series of flashbacks we see how he is raised as the son of a military man who ends up taking care of his sons the only way he knows how after his wife leaves them.  She has left because Christian’s condition is something she cannot handle and has tried to convince her husband to get Christian admitted to a special facility that could help him.  His father refuses this idea saying that in the real world he will have to get by as he is and learn to adjust.

In the present day, Christian is working as an accountant with a small office in a strip mall outside of Chicago.  After an encounter with a local farming couple, whom are given tax advice to help them with their situation, we quickly get into the secret that Christian is leading.  He communicates with a British sounding woman over the phone to get some new assignments.  Instead of taking someone out, he is given an actual job that involves accounting at a nearby corporation.  Here is he meets Dana played by Anna Kendrick.  She is in the corporation’s accounting department and is as anal when it comes to details as Wolff.  They quickly discover where the money was taken from and hidden.  Once events start moving it is made clear that the corporation is doing shady deals before their move in taking the company public.

While all this takes place, we now have another hitman being employed by the corporation.  They have no idea that Wolff is more than an accountant and want “The Assassin” played by Jon Bernthal, taken out so that they can take the missing money information and hide it before they go public.  Also, at the same time, the head of the U.S. Treasury, played by J.K. Simmons is after Wolff. Hi is about to retire and has one last case to clean up.  He is blackmailing one of his analysts who had been hiding a criminal background from her childhood, into helping him solve the case.  Simmons motives are not clear at first.  We think he is just trying to pad his stats for the media and his record.  As the story progresses, a startling truth will come about his affiliation with Wolff.

After an attack at the farming couples house, where The Assassin’s men have tracked Wolff, he quickly races to protect Dana, knowing any info on him would lead back to her.  After in intense close quarters fight at her apartment, they escape and he leaves her at a hideout, protected while he heads off to confront his new enemy, all while against the advice of his British boss.

Naturally there are a few twists, one which was predictable, in a good way, that you will likely see coming, and a second one that I did not see coming and brought a smile to my face at the end of the movie.

This is another fantastic acted movie by all involved.  I have heard and read that some that it was a slow-paced film,  I did not think that at all.  I think they felt that way because this is not a pure action movie.  This movie takes a straight look at who could be a secret hitman.  There is no Bondish extravagance to the hitmen.  There is heart in this movie, from the flashbacks to the present day pieces with Kendrick and Bernthal.

I strongly encourage you to check out this movie.  In a year of mostly disappointing blockbusters, we are getting really strong films this autumn and it looks like even better ones come this December.  Oscar season will be upon us and strong films are what we need to finish off the year right.