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EMA'S PICKS: Enjoying the options at newly reopened theaters

Most movie theaters in Bakersfield are open again, and I'm so happy I get to go back to my second home.

Theaters briefly opened up last summer for a few weeks, and I jumped at the opportunity to see something on the big screen. Safety protocols were in place, and I felt comfortable being there. It was the same this time around.

If you haven't gone to the theaters yet, they are limiting the seating capacity at each showing, and guests are required to keep their masks on, except if they're eating or drinking. I was content with my mask on the entire time — at this point I'm totally used to it — and people were nicely spaced out around me. Even before COVID-19 I never liked when someone chose to sit so close to me, despite the theater being practically empty, so there was no way that was going to happen this time. Plenty of theaters also let you pick your seats beforehand on an app, so you can plan that way.

So many different movies are playing right now, everything from action and family-friendly films to Oscar nominees. I decided to watch "Nobody" starring Bob Odenkirk to change things up a little (and because I've pretty much seen all the other movies showing). The theater filled up quite nicely last Thursday, so it looks like plenty of other people were looking forward to this one, wanted to do something fun or both!

Odenkirk plays Hutch, a man who, on the surface, doesn't seem like he has a lot going for him. He constantly forgets to take out the trash, his job doesn't seem too exciting and things don't seem to be going so well at home. Putting it plainly, he seems like a nobody.

One night, two thieves break into his home, and though he's equipped with a golf club, he refuses to defend himself or his family, leaving him full of even more shame. But that incident seems to awaken something in him that has been dormant for years. This middle-aged man has a special set of skills that we weren't expecting, and they get him in a bit of trouble with the wrong crowd.

When I think of Odenkirk, I usually see him as a comedic or dramatic actor, but he totally surprised me in this action film. He doesn't hold back when paired with younger actors, and he knows how to kick some butt. It's scary how good he is. He also takes quite a beating in this, which, and this probably sounds weird, I appreciated. He's in his late 50s, and there's no way he would be able to bounce back so quickly from a bunch of punches and stab wounds. They made this film as realistic as possible in that regard, and you don't see that too often in action movies. 

"Nobody" can be seen in theaters now.

Not everyone feels comfortable going to a movie theater and seeing a movie quite yet, so I made sure I looked through some at-home options this past weekend as well. I decided to focus on some Oscar-nominated documentaries since I haven't paid much attention to them this year.

One that's available for streaming right now is "My Octopus Teacher," which focuses on an unlikely bond formed between a filmmaker and an octopus living in a South African kelp forest. About a decade ago, filmmaker Craig Foster was losing motivation in his work. To clear his mind, he began free-diving in a cold underwater kelp forest near Cape Town, South Africa.

Seeing so much marine life up close was an amazing experience, but one day he came across a curious little octopus that seemed to capture his attention. He wanted to win this animal's trust, so he decided to visit her den every day for nearly a year. During that time, he saw her hunt for food, sleep and play with other animals. He also experienced her in danger a few times, which impacted Foster more than he anticipated. 

From his yearlong journey, Foster learns a lot from this octopus. Not just about the species and its mannerisms, but about greater ideas such as human connection to nature and the fragility of life. Foster even forms a deeper bond with his son as they begin to explore the kelp forest together.

The visuals are beautiful in this documentary. The kelp forest has such a dreamy feel to it, along with the different types of fish and creatures swimming through it. We don't often get to see what's going on below us in the ocean, so I really enjoyed seeing fish being fish. Foster also made it a point to not interfere too much with nature, aside from holding or touching the octopus a few times, so we get a pretty good look at how this creature behaves.

There were a few times where I thought Foster got a little too close to this animal — he was so emotional whenever prey would find her, despite knowing that's what happens in the animal world, and he became quite obsessed with seeing her all the time. But I guess we all get attached to our pets at home, so why couldn't it happen for animals in the wild too? 

"My Octopus Teacher" is available to stream on Netflix.

Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.

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