Review: Wonder Woman

I am not going to promise not to write spoilers. I’m going to try, but there may be things in this review that are not in the trailer and “spoil” the movie for you. Fair enough warning? I loved this movie. It wasn’t “perfect” but it was close.  I will gladly go see it again in theaters to get the big surround sound and see the action on the big screen. Hell, I might even see it on IMAX. (No, I don’t tend to like 3D movies, more often then not I get a headache from watching them). I could nitpick about some of the pacing, but honestly – as origin stories go – it wasn’t terrible pacing. I think it helps they didn’t have to set Diana up as a some “lost soul” who needs to turn her life around because she is an egotistical asshole.  They are a little heavy-handed on the “oh no, don’t tell her the secret

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Character Profile: The successful sidekick

I love and hate writing “side-kicks.”  These are the secondary characters who are useful and/or required for success in a novel.  I love them because they give me a place to explore depths my protagonist doesn’t have or a sounding board for my protagonist to discuss aspects of the novel. I hate them because I struggle to make them “real people” in their own right. I think Robin (of Batman & Robin) is sort of the perfect example of the “exposition bitch.” Robin is, from the Adam West to the 90’s cartoons, an idiot. Batman explains everything to him. I hate it. Robin’s biggest role is as the plucky kid who needs the hero to explain things -and really so the reader/viewer can get it.  Now, I haven’t read these, but I am told by more knowledgable people that some of the comics portray Robin better. Is it really any surprise he eventually leaves the Batcave to become his own hero when

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Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (movie)

I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them over the Christmas holiday and I had some very interesting thoughts.  Again, I don’t want to hash out “yet another review” of whether it was good or not. I’ll leave that to the professionals. I will also assume anyone reading this has already seen the movie, because although I will attempt to be spoiler-free, I will reference key moments in the plot which might not make sense until you see them. No, I was struck by something and it was niggling my brain the entire movie. It’s an old quote I read or heard where the definition of fantasy is that the fantastical element is what solves the problem. So just having magic isn’t enough – magic has to be the catalyst for the climax – the magic of the book/character. Otherwise it’s just a story that happens to exist in a fantasy realm.  Same rule applies to sci-fi.  “Science” (as it is classified in

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Life Memory: Star Trek 50th

Today is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek’s premier on TV. I think it is a perfect day for some self-reflection and future-focused thought. Who do I want to be in 50 years? Or 500 (I mean, obviously, who do I want to be remembered as in 500 years since there is no current method confirmed for living forever)? Star Trek showed a universe of people trying to live in a utopia of acceptance, understanding, & morality. The original show really tackled some very difficult issues through the lens of aliens – sometimes with the aliens being “wrong” and sometimes showing how humans might still need improvements ourselves. TNG continued this theme, talking about ethical issues as well as social – personal responsibility and loyalty. I grew up with these questions. I love Star Trek because it helped me create a safe place to always go and explore issues that might be too scary or painful to explore in my own

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Review: Ghostbuster

This movie would not have changed my life except for the controversy around it. It was an enjoyable summer flick – but because of all the rage (I mean really, it’s just another remake)… I have given it a different kind of attention. I was watching looking for feminism rants and sexist bullshit. It wasn’t there. It was an amazingly sexless movie. It is one of the most rare and special things I have seen in a very, very long time – a movie where gender didn’t feel important at all (especially with female protagonists). I read a commentary a few weeks ago about men not relating to female characters – but if they can’t relate to these Ghostbusters it’s because they have mental deficiencies. And I think I’m being nice in phrasing it that way. There was no time in the movie I thought “only a woman could understand that comment or experience.” There was no wall-breaking time of “no woman would ever do that.”

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Review: Deadpool (movie)

I’m sorry, I don’t think I can do a legitimate review on Deadpool. Not a good review at least. First off, there are about 800 spoilers I’d need to avoid… So to keep it vague enough not to spoil the fun comments, witty banter, and spoofs… I don’t know that I can do it justice. So I’ll hit on the one thing that I struggled with and the one thing I really liked. I will say, I struggle with Wade Wilson.  Now, it could be that I am showing my very-white-middle-class snobbery here… but I’ve never met anyone that rude, snarky and… at time downright cruel who wasn’t also miserable. And they were rude, snarky & cruel to make everyone match their misery.  It makes sense after he’s Deadpool.  Less sense before. Maybe I just need more back story to help accept his level of “still-human-crazy.” Taking out that bit of I-want-more-character-development… I loved the movie and all it’s insanity. I

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Review: Pride & Prejudice & Zombie (movie)

This review will contain spoilers. I mean really – it’s got “Pride & Prejudice” in the title. At this point, if you don’t know the premise… I don’t think I can help you that much. So I am, in this case, not going to worry about spoilers. Overall, (TL;DR) I was incredibly disappointed. The screenplay was not so much adapted as ‘I stole the name’ and the characters were not as strongly represented as possible. Someone in the movie’s leadership decided it should be a zombie movie with a romance tale in it. The book managed to maintain a romance which just happened to have zombies in it. It makes a difference. I try to give some grace to screenwriters who are adapting a book to film.  I really do try to forgive when they need to cut out beloved characters, combine some “bit parts” into a single role to make it less confusing, or adjust scenes/elements of plot to

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Review: [spoiler free] Star Wars the Force Awakened

This review will inevitably be short because I am avoiding spoilers.  However, I can make some general statements about my first viewing of Star Wars: the Force Awakened. Overall: Go watch it so we can talk about the spoilers already. Characters: I liked most of the characters in this one.  There was nothing like Jar-Jar which popped out at the screen with zany antics or over-the-top effects jarring (pun might be intended) the experience. I won’t say all the characters felt 100% “realistic” or that I felt their motivations were 100% fleshed out in the movie, but it they were cohesive and whole.  Yes, I walked out with a few “why’s” that I want more on, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. Only one character felt like they needed a little bit more exposition. Secondly, I think the writers did a very good job of addressing the “old cast” and the “new cast” characters.  They blended them without

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Writing: Turning off to enjoy the plot

One of the hardest parts of being a writer – at least in my opinion – is turning it off. I love movies which actually can surprise me. It’s a rare plot twist that I don’t catch – even on the first pass of a movie. It’s why Unbreakable has a special place in my heart. It was the first MKS film I ever saw and that twist! Oh that twist actually got me! (I was also still a teen and just getting into words like “plot” and “twist” in writing). I’ve had to learn to try to turn off the plot-planner when I’m reading books or watching movies. More than one book has disgusted me because I figured it out and there wasn’t anything left to keep me reading. Some books are just a fun-enough-romp-through-adventure that I don’t care if I know what’s coming. In some ways I want to know what’s coming! Seeing how this writer has this character handle this plot keeps me

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