I always intend to write reviews of movies or TV programs I find especially fun or engrossing.  Often someone reviews these properties long before I have a chance, so I don’t bother writing my own opinions for fear of simply echoing earlier publications.  I frequently talk with friends about shows and movies they recommend, and I realized that the opinions of people I know carry far more weight with me than reviews by strangers. So perhaps if you’ve started to trust my judgement by reading some of my earlier posts, the following mini-reviews will be useful to you.  Please feel free to comment and let me know if you agree or if I’ve steered you wrong.

Ant-Man was a movie I eagerly awaited.  I love a protagonist who is a scientist first and a hero second, perhaps moved to action by a strong sense of ethical responsibility and compassion.  What I got was not what I expected, but it was still enjoyable.  I liked Paul Rudd as the reluctant hero, even if he tends to play very similar characters in many of his roles.  The story was fun, and there was plenty of humor delivered by Rudd and miniaturization gags.  There was a tie-in with the Avengers that will no doubt pay off in the future of the Marvel universe, and if you’ve enjoyed earlier Marvel movies I bet you’ll like this one, too.  It’s nowhere nearly as satisfying as Guardians of the Galaxy, but I liked it better than either of the Iron Man sequels.
Sense8 shaped up to be a compelling and exciting series once the pace accelerated in the later episodes.  I mentioned in an earlier blog entry (Making Sense of Sense8) that I was undecided about finishing the series.  I’m glad I watched it to completion now.  As all of the characters received more development and tension built around the twisted goals of the villains, both major and minor, it became a real nail-biter.  I always know a show is remarkable when it occupies my thoughts days after finishing it.  Sense8 still finds its way into my imagination, and I hope it gets at least one more “season” on Netflix.
The Strain, now in its second season, was perhaps the show I missed most during its hiatus. Guillermo del Toro’s imagination is behind it, and it’s evident in the way the show makes my skin crawl even as I’m glued to the screen.  The Strain made me care about vampire fiction again after some disappointing experiences with the genre, and I’m very grateful FX decided to produce it.  The characters are complex as individuals and in their interactions, the creatures terrifying, and the action brutal and tense.  The waters are muddied a bit around the heroes, and that makes me like them even more. They have weaknesses, and the stress of events on most of them is explored, sometimes to the detriment of their relationships.
From time to time, I would like to dedicate an entire blog entry to reviewing a movie or show I truly love.  It’s more likely that I will stick to the above format to allow me to convey my impressions without risking spoilers.  When I find a longer review that I like, I’ll make sure to post a link.  For starters, if you haven’t already read it, there’s a great review of Ant-Man here.