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Volume 66 Number 6

Mack at the Movies: A few films to help keep stress out

by Robert Mack - 2016-04-27


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As students head into the school year’s last couple of months, stress levels will balloon like frightened catfish. They can expect an army of tests, essays and projects to hail the challenges upon them. Perhaps the one light emanating from the far reaches of the tunnel is, of course, the summer movie releases—The BFG, Finding Dory, etc. But fear not, for there still lies an abundance of entertainment options for de-stressing and refueling to keep your kettle whistling.

Set for North American release on May 6 is Captain America: Civil War. One can tell from its action-packed trailer that it promises thrills. Apparently, picking up after the Captain America: Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron, the whole Avengers kit-and-caboodle split into warring factions either opposing or supporting government regulations designed to hold superheroes accountable. In doing so, Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) fight it out and lots of buildings get wrecked.

While I can’t say I’m particularly drawn to the superhero genre, it does have its virtues. Like Winter Soldier, the Civil War entry promises operatic battle sequences and poses ethical questions. As Winter Soldier dealt deftly with sub-themes of national security and personal liberty issues, hopefully Civil War will deliver in its subthemes of dealing with collateral damage. It’s part of what makes superhero films, replacing the Westerns as America’s genre of fun quests for virtue and justice.

On the slightly more unusual side, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a non-profit organization, is releasing a documentary, Climate Hustle, for a one-night national theater event on Monday night. The film is advertised as being “entertaining and informative” and premiered in Paris last December.

In Climate Hustle, journalist and Climate Depot Executive Editor Marc Morano interviews prominent scientists who challenge the “consensus” that man-made warming will cause climate change. The scientists interviewed don’t deny climate change, but do question the extent to which climate change has been human-driven, the extent computer models have actually succeeded, and the extent to which warming would be catastrophic.

This is, of course, a topic not without controversy, for protesters tried to crash the film’s premiere, and it seems that Attorney General Loretta Lynch wants to prosecute companies, organizations and individuals who speak out to deny climate change.

I don’t know what the science really is, but kudos to CFACT for standing up for free speech and the prickly bunch that would go to any lengths to silence it. That fact alone makes this film at least worth watching. You can go to for local theater information and showtimes.

Lastly, I’d like to point out two charming de-stressors that have been out for a while, and are worth revisiting even for those who’ve seen them before. Those who, like me until recently, haven’t yet seen them would benefit from watching Despicable Me (2010) and Despicable Me 2 (2013)--they are sweet, inventive and hilarious. Steve Carrell voices Gru, who, in the first film, plots to reclaim his status as the world’s best villain by stealing the moon and picking up three plucky orphans in the process (one of them voiced by Miranda Cosgrove). In the second film, the reformed Gru finds love and saves the world once again, this time working for the good guys.

Despicable Me’s outlandish animation and comedy form a world all of its own. Despicable Me 2 gets a tad formulaic, but it’s even cuter, and at times funnier, than the first. For those stressed out by the pressures of school, check out this franchise—including Minions, which I haven’t seen yet--and know that Despicable Me 3 is set for a 2017 release.


Article Keywords:

america, climate, film, change, despicable

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