The Tomorrow War

If I’m honest, this is what I want to see in an action movie released during a pandemic: hideous man-eating extraterrestrials, gunfire, explosions, a plot with holes so big you can drive trucks through … and Chris Pratt.

The premise is somewhat familiar, though it does take it in a slightly unexpected direction: present-day humans are recruited and transported (in bigly numbers) to fight a war some thirty years into the future. Service is compulsory, but all they have to do is fight and survive for seven days, then they’re done and beamed back home.
For the folk who’d never seen combat before, seven days didn’t sound like the end of the world … until they saw what they were up against.
If you’re a fan of Independence Day then this’ll be right up your street: great adult-ish entertainment that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The Black Widow

It took it’s own sweet time getting here, but as it turns out, it was well worth the wait. Scarlett Johansson takes Marvel’s eponymous near-superhuman spy around the world for one last outing (after the whole … well, you know … Thanos business).

And it’s one hell of a swan song. The movie takes the Black Widow across the world with the help of a fella who seems to be able to conjure experimental fighter jets out of thin air, but seems to have trouble getting hold of a decent caravan, and the family of Russian agents who’re her family … after a fashion.

The plot is … unsurprisingly unlikely, the characters have just the right amount of depth: enough to keep you rooting for them, but not enough to get in the way slow down the on-screen carnage. The stunts are fantastic, and like all Marvel movies, it doesn’t take itself too seriously (DC, take note). The only cringeworthy bit about it was Ray Winston’s accent, which meandered between Russian Bond villain and Phil Mitchell from Eastenders.

The Black Widow didn’t have that Marvel blockbuster feel to it; felt more like something that could’ve played out on the Disney+ channel over a six-part series. Still, well worth seeing IMO.

The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris

This is another one of the those outstanding books that takes a global injustice and condenses it down to lives of a handful of people.

The American Civil War has ended, the Confederacy is in ruins, and the slaves are free. They have no homes, no livelihoods and no land. Worse, they’re now facing the wrath of Southerners who are looking to vent their shame and frustration on the people with less power than themselves … Negroes.

The story is about two brothers: Landry and Prentiss – born into slavery and now emancipated, they leave the plantation they’ve known their whole lives to search for a place of their own and their mother, sold and taken away from them when they were still children.

They don’t get very far; striking an agreement with an elderly landowner – who seems incredibly estranged from his wife, his son, and life in general – to help him to cultivate what little land he has left in return for a fair wage to help carry them further on their journey. As one would expect, the spectre of racism and injustice is never far behind …

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