Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

Avengers: Age of Ultron begins by dropping us right in the middle of the action–the action of the Avengers actually working as a team. After their last outing (2012’s The Avengers) of clashing egos and getting-to-know-you activities along with the cinematic age we’re currently in of rebooted origin story after rebooted origin story after origin story, it’s a welcome start.

Of course Age of Ultron doesn’t completely escape having a genesis feature but with more than 9 superheroes and multiple villains in the mix, someone had to start somewhere. Originally I was pumped for this go-round with a seemingly unstoppable villain, but I got hit with Avengers fatigue before the movie had a chance to come out. The marketing campaign felt like it showed, out of order and out of context, most of the movie. While I understand they were trying to reach a wide audience, a MCU fan like me just wanted to watch the story the way Joss Whedon intended it to be shown. And although I reached a point where I was actively avoiding any more trailers (or exclusive scenes or commercials or featurettes), some of what should have been exciting or a discovery within my viewing experience was tempered by the feeling that I’d seen it before. To top it off, the marketing sold Ultron as a more formidable adversary than he ended up being.

That being said, Avengers: Age of Ultron is not a bad movie. There’s a little something in it for everyone: philosophical . . . → Read More: Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

Fangirls Around the Web: April 25, 2015

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Fangirls Around the Web. . . . → Read More: Fangirls Around the Web: April 25, 2015

WYNDE Around the Web: Coach K at the Final Four

Daemyn Wynde Magali Art

Today’s edition of Wynde Around the Web is inspired by the connection between my novel and the real-world championship taking place this weekend.

In late January, Duke University’s Mike Krzyzewski became the first Division I men’s basketball head coach to reach the astounding milestone of 1,000 career wins. With last Sunday’s Duke victory over Gonzaga, he tied the legendary John Wooden with a record 12 appearances in the NCAA tournament’s Final Four national championship semifinals. Only Wooden has more national titles, and Duke is two wins away from giving Coach K his fifth national championship and sole possession of second place on the all-time list. Combine these achievements with the gold medals won by the Olympic teams he led, and the number of players his program has developed into NBA talent, and few would argue that Coach K is the greatest living men’s basketball coach – and perhaps the greatest of all time.

In my novel Wynde, the lead protagonist, Vespa, is the daughter of a similarly dominating coaching figure. Daemyn Wynde is the head coach of the Airspar team at Kedu Academy, one of the very best on the planet Prime. He is a demanding and authoritative leader of his team and those around him, and his former pilots still revere his leadership and influence. I very much had Coach K in mind when writing this side of Daemyn. But as I discussed in my post Shaping a Heroine – A Father’s Daughter, Daemyn has another significant inspiration, as . . . → Read More: WYNDE Around the Web: Coach K at the Final Four

Causes Fangirls Can Get Behind

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Causes this fangirl can get behind. . . . → Read More: Causes Fangirls Can Get Behind

Kay Returns to Nerd Lunch to Revisit The Rocketeer

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I’m back, baby! …on Nerd Lunch, that is. And this time the guys invited me on the podcast to talk about the 1991 Walt Disney Pictures movie, The Rocketeer. CT, Pax, and I cover the plot, cast, special effects, music, character relationships, as well as the movie’s Dave Stevens comic-book origins. And if you listen real closely, you may even hear me whispering about how ridiculously good-looking Billy Campbell is as the title character.

The movie was not the commercial success Disney had hoped it would be and I’m still not entirely sure how that happened. It’s not a perfect movie, but I still highly recommend The Rocketeer – especially if you like the aesthetics of the 1930s and the vibes of Indiana Jones like I do. Fun fact: This movie was directed by Joe Johnston who went on to direct Captain America: The First Avenger.

You can watch The Rocketeer on DVD, Blu-Ray, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, and – as of this post – Netflix streaming. Thanks again to the gentlemen of Nerd Lunch, as always it was way more fun than playing scenery on a Neville Sinclair picture.

The Rocketeer on Disney Video

Kay grew up wanting to be an astronaut. After seeing Star Wars, she wanted to be Princess Leia, Han Solo, and an astronaut. Currently a voice actor, photographer, and artist who also consults in communications and marketing, Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, reviewing, and, of course, . . . → Read More: Kay Returns to Nerd Lunch to Revisit The Rocketeer

Representation in Media: Why It Matters

HU Firebird Sabine girls shirts

The topic of representation is appearing everywhere this past month, between the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominees to the toys on shelves, from the identity of the upcoming Spider-Man to the portrayal of women in videogames and in the pages of books and comics. Here is some food for thought.

Fangirl extraordinaire Johnamarie Macias guest posted at Coffee With Kenobi. Her piece “Planting the Seed of Possibility: Representation and Diversity in Media” takes the tactic of changing one fan’s opinion at a time, which is a style of advocating for change in fandom I discussed in Critiquing Our Favorite Franchise last month. From Johna:

Visual representation may not seem crucial to the majority who are continually represented on-screen, but it means something to the remaining population. It meant something to Lupita and her talent landed her a role in the upcoming sequel film. And hopefully, when a young Black girl sees Lupita on the screen come December, she’ll go, “Oh?—I? could be an actress!” Because that’s what representation does. It plants a seed, it inspires, and it makes things possible.

The Hollywood Reporter has been leading a charge to discuss diversity in Hollywood. THR executive editor Matthew Belloni moderated a “Thinking L.A.” panel to discuss the newly released Hollywood Diversity Report, which concludes that “diversity clearly sells.” Two things came up at the panel in regards to the resistance to change in the film industry that transfer over to the problematic mindsets in toys, comics, and books.

The . . . → Read More: Representation in Media: Why It Matters

Oscars: Free Us Or Die

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The end is near.

Lady Gaga proved herself to be a stellar contender for the lead in what is now an inevitable contemporary remake of The Sound of Music. In a formidable triad with Lupita Nyong’o’s fabulous dress (adorned with six-thousand-handsewn-pearls) and Patricia Arquette’s rousing acceptance speech, three women were prominent in salvaging the 2015 Oscar telecast from utter disaster. The male standout, in my opinion, was The Imitation Game’s Graham Moore speaking so honestly about suicide and feeling out of place in society.

This year’s self-congratulatory motion picture awards/fashion show will otherwise be remembered for extended lulls, failed comedy, and Neil Patrick Harris embarrassing himself and the celebrity-filled auditorium by appearing in his underwear. That was almost as unfunny as it was lacking in class for a show that likes to think of itself as the stylish global celebrity affair of the year.

Dozens of media sources are reporting today that this Oscar show’s ratings were significantly down, with drops ranging from 10% to more than 15%, definitely the smallest television audience in the last four years. With some variances, the downward trend seems persistent.

This year, it occurred to me that the Fireplace Channel might be more interesting and yet there is vicarious pleasure in watching Hollywood’s old guard get it wrong—again.

The Academy Openly Dismissed Popular Movies

Liam Neeson’s presentation speech was a surprise, whether the words were his own or provided by Academy writers:

“Hollywood is often criticized for making too many movies based on toys, . . . → Read More: Oscars: Free Us Or Die

Geek Out Your Workout

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The other day I was on Pinterest looking for a good plank challenge plan when I saw a pin for a Black Widow workout. Black Widow as in Black Widow who can be seen in many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies but not on much of the merchandising Black Widow? Yes, that one. It was indeed an illustrated workout combo inspired by the woman who, among other things, saved a super soldier multiple times. There was punching, kicking, and oh yes, climbers. So I decided to give it a try the next day. Let’s just say it looks easier than it is. But it’s a fun element to add to your fitness regime. I’ve heard of a couple gyms being based around geek/nerdy themes or incorporating them into their WODs, but it’s something I had never tried.

Then I realized there were several other similarly illustrated geeky-interest-inspired workout sets floating around from the same site. So I ended up on neilaray.com and there is literarlly a treasure-trove of these with instructions, info about what muscles you’re working, and tips. They even have timer buttons for your rests in between sets. It’s all part of the NR Project, which is a volunteer-run passion project to make fitness fun and accessible. As such all the workouts are available for free; you can even download them as pdfs.

What’s more most of them don’t require equipment so you can do them anywhere you have the space. A whole range of female, male, . . . → Read More: Geek Out Your Workout

WYNDE: Romance Is In The Air

Wynde Final Cover

An audio excerpt from Chapter 43 of WYNDE. . . . → Read More: WYNDE: Romance Is In The Air

Fangirls Around the Web: February 10, 2015

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Fangirls Around the Web for February 4, 2015. . . . → Read More: Fangirls Around the Web: February 10, 2015