Blog Archives

Atomic Blonde is the Most Important Feminist Movie of 2017. And Possibly Ever.

(I am absurdly pleased to host this post (with the most) on my blog. These are not my words, but I am 100% behind them. I am also proud to have something worth reading on my blog for a change.)

Hi, I’m Jules. I’m Alan’s wife and I’m writing a guest blog here instead of on my own blog because I just got a job that requires me to interact with folks in DC and now I’m paranoid about the people I work with finding it. It’s not that I think they’d take issue personally with the content, it’s just that the things I have to say about this aren’t the most professional things I’ve ever said. So with that disclaimer, here we go!

So the year is 2017 and apparently, Charlize Theron only makes badass lady movies now. Let me be (probably not) the first to say that I am 100% here for that. Mad Max: Fury Road was hailed as a feminist masterpiece, which it unequivocally was. It was also just a really fabulous action movie and, considering it was a reprisal of an 80’s franchise, that’s pretty impressive. But I’m here to talk about Theron’s most recent empowering bombshell, Atomic Blonde, which is in a whole different class. It’s not set in a post-apocalyptic desert world, it’s set in late eighties Berlin. It’s fiction, sure, but it’s not exactly fantasy. That very fact is groundbreaking in terms of the portrayal of strong women.

Read the rest of this entry

Shovelcast #3: Mass Effect: Andromeda

That’s right! It’s podcast time. Since almost 5 years have passed since the last one, it seemed like a new one was due. This time, a former Shovelcast guest is back to review Mass Effect: Andromeda with me, the inimitable Allie Gebhart. Join two of the biggest Mass Effect fans in the Milky Way as we spend almost TWO AND A HALF HOURS half-drunkenly talking all things Mass Effect, occasionally breaking away from our lovefest over the original trilogy to discuss the new game. Honestly, we could have probably kept on going for 6 or 7 hours. Our takeaway: it’s a flawed game, but definitely worth playing, and we’re more than happy to tell you why.

Read the rest of this entry

The Problem with Spider-Man

I saw Spider-Man: Homecoming this weekend. This post will contain the mildest of mild spoilers for that film. Like, there are less spoilers for the movie in this post than there are in any given trailer for any movie. If you’re the kind of person who would be freaked out to learn that Spider-Man: Homecoming is a movie about the Marvel superhero Spider-Man, and pitch a fit about not being warned about it, this is the point where you turn away, as I am about to spoil the fact that both Peter Parker and Spider-Man are in the new Spider-Man movie. As I have now fulfilled my societal duty to tell people that a post about Spider-Man will reference a movie about Spider-Man wherein I mention that Spider-Man is in the film in question and a detail or two that have already been present since Captain America: Civil War, I can now move on to the part where I briefly discuss the movie, which isn’t even what this post is about.

Ooops, I forgot to warn people that Captain America: Civil War has Spider-Man in it before I just dropped it into regular conversation. It’s only been out a year, and I believe the current level of spoiler-warning necessity on social media is 75 years after the movie/TV show/book’s death. I apologize for my brazen lack of awareness and total lack of empathy.

Anyway.

Read the rest of this entry

The 2016 Sometimes-Annual Aravan Awards!

It’s been a couple years since I did this, but I thought that if there was ever a year that deserved to be celebrated by a two-bit writer on a pointless blog, it’s 2016.

OK, wait a second. First aside (and it might be a record coming in on the second sentence – although the chances that I’ve done it before in the first sentence is becoming likelier the more I think about it): it’s been a long-time habit of mine to be self-deprecating and insulting to my abilities and this blog. It’s a tradition, of sorts, mostly because I try to be humble and also that I recognize that, in the world of writing, I’m barely the speck of dirt that will one day invade a pore and give rise to a pimple on the ass of the world’s literary giants. I might not even be that important. Anyway, I recognize that my talents are limited and this blog is rarely updated and barely worth the cost of reading it (opportunity costs, folks. You could be learning about dimorphism or the Egglet-Burke Theory or how to properly season a cast-iron skillet instead of wasting your time here). So I know these things. But I’m going to take a conceit from my favorite gaming-related blog (The Angry GM) and, instead of being self-deprecating (read: honest) about my abilities and this site, I’m going to go the opposite route. For the remainder of this post, I will assert that I am an amazing writer, the GREATEST WRITER, and this site is the most prestigious and exclusive gathering of the greatest distilled thought that millennia of evolution have worked towards in building to that apex of human development, me.

So I’ll basically pretend like I’m almost every other blogger ever.

Read the rest of this entry

Untimely Movie Reviews: Miss Peregrine and The Raven

One of the specialties of this blog has always been reviews of things that are well past the point of needing reviewing, since by the time I see them or write about them you’ve already made the decision to see or not the movie a long time ago, so my review had zero chance of swaying your opinion one way or another.

Actually, that’s total bullshit.

Yeah, OK, maybe some people read reviews to help determine if they’re going to see something. I myself have a few places I trust to see if a movie is worth it, but I usually don’t read them because they’re spoilery and I just glance at it quickly to see if it’s a yes or a no. But you and I both know that reading movie reviews is only fun if you’ve already seen it, and you either want to have your own views confirmed so you can nod along and be all “yeah, that movie sucked/kicked ass” and feel smug, or you want to read a review of a movie you loved/hated that hated/loved it so you get a chance to engage in our national pastime: outrage. That’s why I write these things, anyway.

So today I have a couple of movies to talk about, one of them pretty recent! Miss Peregrine’s, uh, House ofPeculiar Creatures? I think? Something like that? That sounds mostly right and I’m not looking it up. Also, 2012’s The Raven, starring John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe. Yeah. That is a thing that exists, and I watched it.

Oh, yeah, also, SPOILERS. I mean, you’ve had a chance to see this shit, so if you get mad that I let slip that Negan killed Luke Skywalker’s father then it’s on you.

Read the rest of this entry

Spoiler: My (Spoiler) Thoughts on (Spoiler) Star Wars: The Force (Spoiler) Awakens

Here is the non-spoiler portion of this post: There is a movie called Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I have seen it.

This is the end of the non-spoiler portion of the post. Seriously, everything that comes after this will spoil everything, including movies that haven’t even been written yet. That’s how spoilery this shit is. After this, if you see something that ruins a crucial Jabba the Hutt related moment in the movie for you, that’s entirely your fault and not mine.

Last chance.

Read the rest of this entry

5 Things That Made Daredevil So Awesome

When I heard that Marvel was planning on making a Daredevil series on Netflix, I was skeptical. I didn’t know if they could do a Daredevil live-action story right, I wasn’t sure Netflix was a good place for it, I was afraid they were overextending themselves and by seeking too hard to spread the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe, in case you’ve just gotten out of a bunker Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt-style, which by the way if you haven’t watched that show yet you really, really should, because it is seriously excellent) beyond the big screen and the not-the-greatest ABC shows (they are very solid shows that manage to not completely capture my interest enough to watch them week-to-week – more on that later) Marvel would risk their run of success by producing a bunch of mediocre stuff that would jeopardize the entire endeavor.

Now, that might happen someday, but Daredevil made me look like the idiot I am for doubting them.

Read the rest of this entry

Way-Too-Late Movie Reviews: Interstellar

I watch a lot of movies, but usually well after they’ve been released. That doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions about them, because I am an asshole (that’s what that old saying means, right?). Based on those two facts, I am introducing a semi-regular feature called Way-Too-Late Movie Reviews, since the review comes well after everyone else in the world has already seen it. The first movie is one I just saw over Easter weekend: Interstellar. Maybe soon I’ll do Avatar or Titanic next!

Oh, and by the way, there are spoilers here, because no shit there are spoilers in a movie review that’s been out for months.

Read the rest of this entry

I Watched the World War Z Trailer. I Would Like to Take a Moment to Rage Incoherently.

Nice haircut.

Side note: yes, I know I’m a week late on The Walking Dead Episode 3. I just finished watching it this morning since I was busy last week. Plus the events of Episode 4 were surprisingly spoiled by close to a dozen people on Facebook within hours of it being shown, leaving me ambivalent for the moment. I’ll get to them. Promise. Here’s a heapin’ helpin’ of rage to tide you over.

World War Z is a book. It’s a zombie book. It was written by Max Brooks, son of Mel, who also wrote The Zombie Survival Guide. Both of them are considered essential reading by zombie aficionados for very good reasons. They are smart, well-written, and funny while treating their subject matter seriously. They are near and dear to my heart, as they are to many. Upon finishing my first zombie novel, The Curse of Troius, my dear friend and sadly passed Carl Spicer declared simply, “I’ve only read one good zombie novel, and that was World War Z.” (Sorry Carl, you know I can’t resist telling people that even though you tried to explain what you meant. It’s too good a line. Miss you, bud.) Max Brooks’ books are the literary equivalent to Romero’s cinematic influences on the entire zombie genre.

What makes World War Z special for me and many others is its story structure. Instead of focusing on a particular protagonist, the story is presented as one-on-one interviews with a wide range of people who were involved in the zombie war that ended ten years prior to the story. This allows the tale of the war to spin out in little vignettes, from its ostensible beginnings in China to its spread throughout the world and eventual conclusion, as told by the eyewitnesses to the events. The different stories highlight bravery and cowardice, self-sacrifice and self-promotion, agony and joy and despair and hope and everything in between. The eyewitnesses are neither good nor bad; they’re people, some more sympathetic than others. Reading through the novel provides the best of both worlds: the epic saga of man’s battle against the shambling hordes of the infected dead as a whole, and the harrowing and humanizing tales of the individuals swept up in it all. It is a remarkable book. If you’ve never read it, buy it here. It will not disappoint.

Read the rest of this entry

Rick Grimes is a Sociopath: Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 2 Recap and Review

These guys are soooo fucked.

When last we left those intrepid nomads incapable of traveling more than 2 miles in 3 months, they had cleared part of a prison to serve as Babymaking Base Alpha, sung around a campfire, hurled dog food, lurched into puberty (well, that was just Carl), learned that the infection apparently makes it impossible for their hair to grow (with the exception of facial hair and Carl), and hacked off the leg of the only person with medical experience despite having exactly no medical supplies like peroxide or alcohol or baby aspirin or, apparently, rags of any sort.

Which leads me to another question. These people who’ve been sweating and zombie-killing and digging ditches in the same exact clothes for over a year now haven’t changed their clothes at all? Seriously, fuck how bad the living dead must smell. I can only imagine the Walking Stench this group is carrying around. That shit’s nasty, guys. Find an undershirt. If they can’t be bothered to change their clothes, imagine how disgusting their breath must be. Gahh, dog food and months of plaque build-up and I’m gonna hurl if I keep going with this.

Read the rest of this entry