Supernatural adventures for girls and women.

[watching] Marvel Movies: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It’s Marvel movies time! Watched Captain America: Civil War and with it an X-Men: Apocalypse trailer, and I have non-spoilery thoughts. (Well, at least no more spoilery than what appears in trailers.) Before I get into that, though, I wanted to share a quick thought I had while hashing things out with JBJ last night via text (I love technology — half a country away and we can still watch movies more or less together): IP licensing can be such a pain in the ass, because but for the licensing agreement about certain Marvel characters, we could have had two sets of Maximoff twins. ALL OF THE WANDA AND PIETRO STORIES COULD HAVE BEEN OURS. WHY DO YOU HATE US, IP LAWYERS? WHY?

The Good

First up, saw Captain America: Civil War last night. I loved 90% of it, maybe 95%, and it’s been a long while since I could say that about a movie that wasn’t a Fast and the Furious movie. It was so good and so much fun and filled with wonderful (and wonderful-in-terrible-ways) character moments. I’m already looking forward to watching it again. It’s also made me look forward to the next Avengers movies, which neither Avengers nor Age of Ultron managed (Joss Whedon stepping away from Marvel was an A+ idea).

I was already looking forward to Black Panther, but I NEED IT NOW IMMEDIATELY GIVE IT TO ME. BLACK PANTHER IS THE GREATEST. T’CHALLA IS MY KING. And so on.

The Bad

I haven’t had the chance to watch many trailers lately, so I hadn’t seen the X-Men: Apocalypse trailer we got with Civil War. (I expected it, though.) On the one hand, I am so, so excited about it, which is unusual. I haven’t been this excited about an X-Men movie since X3 came out and was just terrible.

On the other hand, WHAT THE HELL, FOX, REALLY?! Once again, it appears as if the good guys are all white characters and the bad guys are majority minority characters. And here I hoped they’d learned from First Class and it’s stupid. (I started to rant here about the whole Darwin death in First Class, but no, I’ve raged about that enough, including last night to more than one person.) What the hell is wrong with you, Fox? Marvel?

(Rhetorical question. It’s racism.)

The Ugly

Not actually a Marvel movie, but we also got the trailer for Warcraft: (a) could they have made it look more like a ripoff of Lord of the Rings and other movies, and (b) much more importantly, why is there a weird flatness to all the CGI?

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[media] 31 Days of Halloween: #2 Joyride 3: Roadkill

Joyride 3 cover, big truck with a skull, various images from the movie.

Well, that’s 2/2 for crappy movies. Fail, Netflix recommendations. Fail.

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[media] 31 Days of Halloween: #1 Exeter (2015)

Exeter movie poster, creepy bed in an empty aslyum

Oh, this was a terrible movie to start with this 31 Days of Halloween. Not cheesy enough to be fun, badly paced, terribly written, and full of nonsense. If this is an example of how the month will go, I should buy more liquor.

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[media] Media Monday: I don’t believe in printers. I don’t.

Books

I’m a Book Depository affiliate, so if you buy books using these links, I receive credit from Book Depository.

Just started AFTERWORLDS by Scott Westerfeld. I reread his Uglies trilogy + sequel earlier this year, and I hope I enjoy AFTERWORLDS just as much. Finished and reviewed UNDER THE LIGHTS by Dahlia Adler: 4.5 stars.

Movies

Sarah’s been telling me to watch Unfriended for awhile now, because, in her words, it’s just like a Point Horror, only better. Sarah and I LOVE (and LOVE to HATE) Point Horror, so this was enough for me, but her hubby also watched it and really liked it, which is unusual for horror movies. That convinced J to watch it with me.

Verdict: Sarah was right, it was very much a Point Horror on screen with social networking and technology. I found it ridiculous and cheesy and predictable, and a lot of fun. J hated it. A lot. Cheesy teen horror + technology is far more my style than his.

That being said, I do not believe so many of those teens had working printers set up. DO NOT BELIEVE. No one prints things anymore.

Television

I’m in the middle of yet another Criminal Minds rewatch, because I can have it on while I do other things, and I’ve had a hard time focusing on new television lately. Still need to get back to Pretty Little Liars.

Music

Nothing stands out, musically, this week, except listening to the high school drumline practice. Marching band season is coming.

Gaming

Update from the Media Monday: FAIR WOLVES FOR EVERYONE post: a werewolf mother and a fairy father will have one werewolf kid and one fairy kid, at least in the Sims 3 game I’m currently playing. So not quite a hybrid, but not a plain human baby, either. Werewolf toddler just started scratching at the furniture one day. Fairy baby was born with sparkly black wings.

Also, fairy baby is EVIL, so clearly she will be the heir in this legacy. EVIL FAIRY. (Redundant.)

Otherwise, nothing new.

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[media] Media Monday: FAIR WOLVES FOR EVERYONE

Books

I’m a Book Depository affiliate, so if you buy books using these links, I receive credit from Book Depository.

Still reading WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND by Robin Talley and TOUCHED by Michelle Sagara, but didn’t have access to them for a bit, so read FEARSCAPE by Simon Holt (The Devouring #3) and TOP SECRET TWENTY-ONE by Janet Evanovich. I also finished FRENEMY OF THE PEOPLE by Nora Olsen, and reviewed it: 2.5/5 stars, mostly due to unbelievable dialog and plot.

An awesome Tumblr post convinced me to order AFTERWORLDS by Scott Westerfeld, and I can’t wait for my copy to arrive.

Finally, devoured UNDER THE LIGHTS by Dahlia Adler in just a few hours (in the middle of the night). Review to come later this week, but, spoiler, I LOVED IT SO MUCH. Vanessa is a new character of my heart. So much love for her and her story.

Movies

J hates superhero movies, but loves James Spader, and finally admitted he wanted to watch Avengers: Age of Ultron. It was my second time watching it, because I love superhero movies. I disliked it even more than the first time, but have some thoughts about what makes a monster and why Natasha calling herself a monster pissed me off so much. (It has to do with the act of creation making you a monster versus the inability to create, basically. I’m working through these thoughts.)

Television

J’s been watching a lot of House, so that’s been on in the background while I read, but otherwise, I’ve not see too much lately. Lost my momentum on Pretty Little Liars over the Fourth and haven’t picked it back up again.

Music

Not really listening to music over the past week. Did spend some time on podcasts, though, particularly Stuff You Missed In History Class and Ask Me Another.

Mostly, though, listening to drumline music. Minion (my oldest nephew) started marching band camp this week, and so there’s been drumming, drumming everywhere. I love it.

Gaming

Started a new Sims 3 game in which my werewolf character fell in love with a fairy NPC, and this exchange happened.

Carla: So if a fairy and a werewolf have a baby, what does the baby come out as?
Sarah: A Fair Wolf!!!!! :D:D:D:D:D
Sarah: (Or if sims: a regular human?)
Carla: … I WANT A FAIR WOLF.

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[media] Media Monday: BUT WHAT IF ZOMBIE BEARS

Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you click the link, I receive a small benefit without any additional cost to you.

Books

Still reading WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND by Robin Talley and TOUCHED by Michelle Sagara, but someone on Twitter was talking about FRENEMY OF THE PEOPLE by Nora Olsen, and something about the conversation struck me hard, so I grabbed it and bumped it to the top of my reading list. Review later this week.

Movies

Finally watched Hotel Transylvania, and though I was not a fan of the use of the dead mother trope, and I found the romantic lead incredibly annoying, it was a super cute movie that left me laughing and smiling and, for a tiny bit, tearing up. Absolutely adorable, loved the father-daughter relationship, and I hope the sequel is just as sweet.

Television

Pretty Little Liars: Finally caught up to the current season, season six, and man. It is something. The end of season five and the beginning of season six had some torture porn esque elements I hated, in part because it really felt, for the first time, that the girls’ agency was completely removed, and that sucked hard, because one of the things I’ve enjoyed most is that no matter what happens, no matter the bad choices they make, the PLLs get to make choices and see them through. Still love the characters SO HARD.

Z Nation: J and I started this awhile back, and about halfway through got distracted and quit watching. When we realized it, we marathoned the last few episodes, and good lord, this show is ridiculous and cheesy and delightful. Zombienado. Zombie tsunami. Zombie bear. Zombies on drugs. It’s basically one big BUT WHAT IF ZOMBIE {THIS}, and it is a lot of fun.

Music

My mental health has not been great, and I’ve been listening to this song on repeat: “Lost in Darkness” by Escape the Fate.

Games

Nothing new on my gaming, but I just learned about the UpUpDownDown YouTube channel hosted by Austin Creed (aka WWE superstar Xavier Woods), and I am utterly charmed. My geeky little heart grew three sizes watching Creed and WWE superstar Seth Rollins play Turtles in Time (one of my fave classic games) and talk. As I said to Sarah, NERRRRRRRRDS. ADORABLE NERRRRRDS.

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[media] Media Monday: Dinosaurs, Dudes, Dinosaurs

Books

I’ve not finished much of anything lately, but I’m in the middle of SILENCE by Michelle Sagara (and am enjoying it a lot), and I just received an arc of WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND by Robin Talley from HarlequinTeen.

Movies

Jurassic World: I’ve loved Jurassic Park, movie and book, for most of my life. I even love the second and third movies. Of course I’ve been stupid excited for Jurassic World since the first glimmer of it appeared. The second concrete information dropped, I was as worried as I was excited, because it looked like it was White Dude Saves the World, No Need for Anyone Else.

I watched it opening weekend, despite my concern. I loved the dinosaurs. I loved the raptors, as I always do. (Ever since Clever Girl, raptors have been the dinosaurs of my heart.) I loved pieces of the rest of the story, but it was terrible, too, and with just a few casting tweaks, it could have been awesome. I think Seanan McGuire said it really well: The park is open; your ticket is not valid.

Brave: J and I saw this in theaters when it first came out back in 2012; we’d been watching my mother slowly dying for years. A couple months later, she was dead. I hadn’t seen it since. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to watch it again, but it was lovely and wonderful and full of joy and feelings. It hurt. But it hurt in a good way.

Television

House: J has started watching House. I mostly do other things while it’s on, because I have little interest in spending time with white asshole male characters like House, but I am entertained by how often I catch the beginning of an episode and am able to ask J if he’s sure he isn’t watching a horror movie.

iZombie: I’ve been delighted by this season to no end, right up until the episode in which Liv eats the brains of a murder victim who had a “psychotic break” according to the show, and then shitting all over mental illness and people who have mental illnesses abounded. It made me want to burn everything. I’m still furious, and not sure I’ll be able to keep watching. (Though I did finish the season with J.)

Music

Titus Jones: It has been all Titus Jones mashups all the time around here, especially during writing and cardio. My favorites include “Bad Things Will Roll With the Devil” and “Dance Alarm”.

Games

Sims 3: Haven’t played in awhile, so I created a new Sim and sent her out into the wide, wide world. She, her daughter, and her granddaughter have each promptly fallen in love with the cleaning person and wanted to become a vampire. This, even though the daughter passes out every time something startles her, from a fire alarm to meeting a werewolf for the first time. She then never learned to come in out of the sun and promptly burned. Oh, Sims.

Civilization V: I don’t care about fighting wars or killing barbarians, I just like building cities and creating a world of culture and science and wonder. So I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. It’s fun. I’m sure I’ll get back to world domination at a later date.

Nations: Oh, man, this game. It’s so simple, just building a nation, finding flora and fauna, researching technologies, building an army — but it is wonderful, too. Plus there’s a card collecting aspect to it that fulfills my desire to collect things without me spending actual money or filling the house with things.

Marvel Puzzle Quest: My writing group and I have an alliance, and it is so much fun. I play this every night before bed, because matching colors relaxes me, and the Marvel characters add a pleasant wonder to it. I’ve been a comic book fan most of my life. This, at least, doesn’t tend to break my heart.

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[watching] Werewolf Wednesday: She-Wolf of the Woods (2013) (NSFW)

she-wolf-poster

Movie: She-Wolf of the Woods
Source: online streaming
Content: NSFW, nudity, violence
Summary: Our short film, SHE-WOLF OF THE WOODS is an extraction from one of the story strands in our feature film of the same name. In it, we take a glimpse into the world of Amy Shields, a beautiful and unlikely forest ranger. Amy is a She-Wolf’s apprentice and has a taste for flesh. She likes her women for fun and her men for food. Bound to her master through an ancient curse, Amy spends her days scouting the Scottish Highlands for loners and fulfilling her ritualistic duties in the ways of the hunt.

Trailer

Initial Thoughts

She-Wolf of the Woods was the talk of the werewolf sites I regularly haunt (e.g.g, Werewolf News, Howl Out Cast), and I’ve been excited to watch it since the first time I heard about it. A Scottish indie horror comedy about queer women werewolves? SOLD. A woman filmmaker spent her own money to create an “homage to horror films and popular culture from the 70s, 80s, and 90s”? SOLD OMG JUST GIVE IT TO ME ALREADY.

No, really, look at that tagline: She’ll huff and she’ll puff – then she’ll eat you.

HOW COULD I NOT LOVE THAT?

Review

Since this is a short film easily available streaming online, I’m going to do a review instead of a direct recap.

I love this movie. It’s ridiculous and cheesy and delightful, with the feel of an old school sexploitation horror movie with a werewolf story at the heart of it that makes me want more. (I have hope that we’ll get more, too; I want the full length film to exist. No, I need. More queer women werewolves being monsters in Scotland, PLEASE.) I can’t believe how awesome this film looks considering its low, low, low budget.

The main character, Amy Shields, is played to perfection by Toni Benedetti. In just over thirty minutes, she manages to convince me of the line she’s walking between human and monster, and her hunger for violence and transformation is a wonderful, nuanced thing. Even when she’s licking and stabbing trees as a substitute for men, I believe there’s a dark hunger driving her on, and rules she’s desperate to follow but wishing she can break.

One of the moments I love best is when Amy is in a pub and tries to order a sour mash bourbon on the rocks. When the bartender won’t give it to her, there’s a dramatic back and forth where it looks like she tries to control him, force him to do her bidding — and completely fails. She’s a temptress and a danger, but she’s not the true supernatural power here.

Tyne Roberts plays Lucille, the titular werewolf, and she is a delight. From a simple special effects budget consideration, her transformation is amazing, far better than many I’ve seen with bigger budgets. The transformation itself is weird, though. I love the sex transformation as a concept, but some of the visual choices (the patchy fur and the appearance of the spin cracking and changing) didn’t work for me. (Particularly the patchy fur on the face and the play-doh looking prosthetics in a couple scenes.) That spine arch seemed like a fantastic nod to The Howling, though.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I freaking loved She-Wolf of the Woods, and I want the full length movie immediately.

One thing I do want to touch on is the way the movie plays into the treatment of a female werewolf as a monster with uncontrollable sexual urges. So often in stories of lone werewolves (or, as here, a werewolf with an apprentice), male werewolves are treated as sad creatures turned against their will who should be pitied, even if they need to be put down because they are monsters (e.g., American Werewolf in London, Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), while female werewolves embrace their hungers, sexual and supernatural, and therefore are dangerous predators as humans and as beasts (e.g., She-Wolf of the Woods, Veruca from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Women who embrace their sexuality and sexual desires, who admit they want sex and they want it now and they want it this way not that, are treated as dangerous, not to be trusted, destruction wearing sexy flesh. The monster in the woman isn’t the werewolf so much as it is her love of sex, and that metaphor sucks.

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[watching] Werewolf Wednesday: Jack & Diane (2012)

cover - jack and diane

Movie: Jack & Diane (2012)
Source: Netflix streaming
Summary: Jack and Diane, two teenage girls, meet on a summer day in New York City and spend the night kissing ferociously. Bubbly and naïve, Diane’s charming innocence quickly begins to open tomboy Jack’s tough-skinned heart. However, when Jack discovers that Diane is moving at the end of the summer, she pushes Diane away. Diane is overwhelmed by her powerful new feelings, and they begin to manifest themselves in terrifying ways, causing unexplainable violent changes to her body. Young love is a monster – can Jack and Diane survive?

Trailer

Initial Thoughts

That trailer really tells me very litte beyond young love and maybe something bloody-ish? But queer girls + werewolves is a weakness, and I’m looking forward to giving this one a try. (Netflix thinks I will give this two stars. Note From the Future: Netflix was correct.)

Spoilers: My takeaway is that I feel so cheated this is not a lesbian werewolf movie, nor is it a well-paced lesbian romance.

Recap

Roll Call!

Diane, played by Juno Temple, is the femme, manic pixie dream girl character. Juno Temple also plays Karen, Diane’s twin sister, for the small amount she appears.

Jack, played by Riley Keough, is the butch, too tough for you character.

Aunt Linda, played by Cara Seymour, is there to fight with Diane and Jack (though not about their sexuality, more their attitudes) and that’s about it.

There are other people running around, but they really don’t matter.

Oh dear. The thing about this recap is that the movie has a very slow pace — at times far too slow — and often boring for a werewolf movie, but also boring for a teen lesbian romance. Very little happens beyond the flirting-fighting-sex-fighting-flirtation cycle that repeats ad naseum. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, as long as I care about the characters, but while I like Jack and Diane well enough, they’re never developed as fully as they could be, and I grew tired of their back and forth.

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[watching] Werewolf Wednesday: The Feeding (2006)

The-Feeding-2006-Front-Cover-59135

Movie: The Feeding (2006)
Source: Netflix streaming
Summary: An obsessive special agent desperately joins forces with some unlikely campers to hunt down a legendary beast in the Appalachian Mountains.

Trailer

Even though the trailer says it takes place deep in the Pacific Northwest, the Appalachian Mountains are … not there.

Initial Thoughts

I’ve never seen this one before, but I love stories about werewolves, camping, and hunting in the mountains, so it’s possible I will love this. (Netflix doesn’t think so. Its best guess is that I’ll give it one star. You’re on, Netflix. You’re on.) (Note from the future: One star is hated it, two stars is didn’t like it. I’d say two and a half is the accurate rating, but I have it three, because I actually did like parts of it.)

Recap

First, a roll call, even though there isn’t a lot of character development.

Team Sanctioned Killers:

Jack (Robert Pralgo), the killing specialist brought in by the park ranges to take care of business. He’s cocky, obnoxious, a confirmed bachelor, and annoying as hell. In these movies, that makes him the hero.

Aimee (Dione Updike), the animal behavior specialist brought in by Jack. We’re told she’s incredibly smart and skilled, and has spent years in the field, but this doesn’t always play out all that well. Usually, this means she’ll spend most of the movie needing Jack to rescue her.

There are a bunch of park rangers, too, but they don’t really matter in the movie.

Team Doomed Campers:

A group of friends of indeterminate age. Probably mid-to-late twenties? They take vacations together every year, and alternate whose turn it is to choose. A couple weeks camping is this year’s vacation. BAD CHOICE, GUYS. Mostly, they are all coupled up.

Phil (Ben Green) is the leader of this particular vacation. He’s an outdoorsy boy scout type.
Reagan (Courtney Hogan) is Phil’s girlfriend, and set up pretty early on as our Final Girl, in that she’s the more clean-cut, smart, friendly one. Ish.

Cynthia (Kara Maria Amedon) is the sexually dominant woman of the group, and she’s dated at least two of the guys, possibly all of them.
Allen (Andrew Porter) is her current boyfriend. He starts off as a cocky, rich frat boy type, but shows a bit of down-to-earth humor and loyalty as it goes on.

Ty (Rod Shephard) is the only Black guy. He’s mouthy and snarky, and once the killing starts, incredibly loyal and bent on revenge.
Elle (Lynnili James) is Ty’s current girlfriend. She’s jealous, both of his prior relationship with Cynthia, and of his friendship with Elizabeth. Though the movie never uses the word bisexual, Elle is established as being interested in and hooking up with both guys and girls. (The movie doesn’t use a lot of words, as you’ll see.)

Elizabeth (Jennifer Leigh) is the token single. There’s some hints that she is also bisexual and interested in both Elle and Ty (though she denies it). I’m rooting for the three of them to hook up and survive. Elizabeth is the only one who doesn’t have sex on this camping trip; by the old rules of horror, she should be our Final Girl (unless she really is bisexual), but like I said, Reagan is already set up in that spot.

Spoilers below.

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