Take a Note from Their Book…

Being that I love fantasy and sci-fi films, I figured it was high time I paid homage to some of the leading ladies of the genre.
Here’s a list of some of those hard-hitting women of sci-fi and fantasy (in no particular order.) and what makes them awesome.

1. Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in TERMINATOR 2: Sarah Connor is the mother of John Connor, leader of the resistance group of humans fighting for freedom from the machines. The character develops greatly over the course of these productions, from a timid victim of the first film to a hardened warrior on the verge of losing touch with her own humanity. Because of her will to stay alive and do what needed to be done, she made it so that her son could live and fulfill his destiny in the future.

2. Uma Thurman as Beatrix Kiddo (The Bride) KILL BILL VOL. I-II: Beatrix Kiddo was a for member of a formidable group of assassins. After leaving that lifestyle behind, she decided to settle down and get married. Unfortunately for her, the head of her former group decided to show up at her wedding and pay her a little visit. This of course lead to all the members of her former group of assassins showing up for an impromptu butt-stomping. Beating her to what they believed was her death, they left her there. She of course didn’t die, she lived. She found the will to live through what would kill any normal person. Not only did she live, but she tracked down those responsible for her condition and she killed them in a way earning her a spot on this list.

3. Carrie Fischer as Princess Leia, THE STAR WARS TRILOGY: Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, was a pivotal figure in the rebellion against the first Galactic Empire in the universe of Star Wars. Her ship was captured by Darth Vader, her home planet of Alderaan was destroyed by the Death Star, and the Love of her life was frozen in carbonite. In stead of giving up and giving in, she posed as a bounty hunter as part of an elaborate plan to free him from the clutches of Jabba the Hut. Even after her capture at the end of this plan, she found it in her to kill Jabba when the right time presented itself, by choking the Hut with the very chain he used to “enslave” her after her failed rescue plan.

4. Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, ALIEN, ALIENS, ALIEN 3, ALIEN RESURRECTION: Due to a fire aboard the Sulaco, an escape pod is released. It crash-lands on the refinery/prison planet Fiorina “Fury” 161. Ripley is the only survivor. Unknown to her, an egg was aboard the ship. The creature is born in the prison and begins a killing spree. Ripley later discovers there is also an alien queen growing inside her. Despite all her hardships and being continuously attacked by the aliens of the movie, she keeps her cool and does what she needs to do to survive.

5. Kate Beckinsale as Selene, UNDERWORLD, UNDERWORLD: EVOLUTION: Selene is a death-dealer; a warrior vampire charged with dealing with the issue of lycans (werewolves) All that she believes to be true comes into question and long-time truths become nothing more than lies. In order to discover the truth, she goes against orders and helps a human and in doing so discovers just how horrible the truth can be. Instead of buckling under pressure, Selene goes on to kick major butt with a style only she can bring, saving her life and the life of the human turned half lycan/half vampire Michael Corvin by killing the man who was once a father figure to her.

6. Milla Jovovich as Alice, RESIDENT EVIL:  Alice is a security officer working for the Umbrella Corporation. She and Spence Parks, posing as a married couple for cover, were placed at a mansion outside Raccoon City that is an entrance to The Hive, a functional large top secret underground laboratory owned and operated by the Umbrella Corporation, built a half mile underground. Almost randomly, she wakes up with amnesia and no memory of who she is or why she’s there. She’s taken into the Hive, by a team of commandos and all hell breaks loose as a virus that was being worked on in the Hive gets loose. Zombies to the left of them, zombies to the right of them.. zombies everywhere basically. Despite being faced with hordes of the undead, she rises to the occasion and not only recovers her memory bit by bit, but goes on  to save her life and the life of a few of the commandos.

7. Milla Jovovich as Leeloo, THE FIFTH ELEMENT: Leeloo is the humanoid female embodiment of the Fifth Element. Overcoming a lack of knowledge about the world she finds herself in, she inadvertently befriends one Corbin Dallas, ex military soldier. Though she seems somewhat helpless in the beginning of the film, her character develops into a kick butt first and ask questions later kind of character. Not only does she manage to save all life in the universe, but she also manages to discover love, what it means to love, and what it means to be loved.

8. Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway, STAR TREK VOYAGER: Captain Janeway took command of the Intrepid-class starship USS Voyager in 2371. Their first mission was to locate and capture a Maquis vessel last seen in the area of space known as the Badlands. While there, the Maquis ship and Voyager were transported against their will into the Delta Quadrant, 70,000 light-years away, by a massive displacement wave. Even while lost in an unfamiliar part of space with possible dangers at every turn, Captain Janeway has led her people to meeting new allies, and combating unfamiliar foes in their journey back to the Alpha Quadrant. She’s managed to do what was right, even at the cost of reaching home faster than otherwise possible. Never has she compromised her morals or beliefs in her search for home and her attempts to keep her crew a family. I’d even go so far as to call her the First Lady of Space.

9. Amanda Tapping as Sam Carter, STARGATE SG-1: Sam Carter has a Ph.D. in theoretical astrophysics and “logged over 100 hours in enemy airspace” during the Gulf War. Carter is the character of warmth and integrity in the series. Countless times throughout the series her character has been in battle where the odds were not soo evenly stacked against her, and still she persevered. She’s even responsible for the destruction of a star. Through her efforts, the Earth and countless other planets have been saved from enslavement or utter destruction. Even with the death of her father, Sam Carter has remained a strong and determined all that she does.

10. Sarah Michelle Geller as Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: After moving to the California town of Sunnydale, Buffy begins to accept her role as the Slayer. She gains and loses friends throughout the course of her High School and College career. Often her friends and loved ones are put into harms way because of who she is and their relationships with her, but through adversity, through werewolves, demons, the end of the world, the first evil, demi-gods, demon lords, vampires and other hosts of the supernatural, she maintains her persona as the Slayer and does what any true Slayer would… She slays.

These are just some of the many women roles I’ve come to respect as a sci-fi/fantasy fan over the years. All of these women have something in common. They’ve faced tremendous adversities in their lives, be it from aliens, demons, monsters, the end of the world, the end of the universe or the end of their lives, all while managing their every day lives. They didn’t sit back and wait for their boyfriends or significant others to swoop in and save the day. They hitched up their pants, grabbed their preferred weapon(s) and tore into their enemies like the butt-kicking individuals they are. These are women who may not be real, but who are real role-models none the less. Take a lesson from their books…. Bella. The next time you play the helpless card.. remember.. your “problems” are nothing compared to those faced by a slew of other female characters.

                                                                                       “Bella is a Shell of a Human Being.”

“She has no identity of her own, and literally loses her mind without the constant influence of vampire boy. At the end of Twilight, when Edward attempts to leave her in the hospital, she almost gives herself a stroke.”

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First Class or No Class??

X-Men: First Class is a superhero film by Matthew Vaughn and produced by Bryan Singer released in the US on June 3, 2011, based on the X-Men from the Marvel Comics. The fifth installment in the X-Men series, the film acts as a prequel for the X-Men trilogy, set in the 1960’s during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It focuses on the relationship between Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lensherr (Magneto) and the origin of their perspective groups, the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants.

Plot: The film begins in the German concentration camps in Poland in 1944 where a scientist, Dr. Schmidt looks upon a young Erik Lensherr appearing to bend back a metal gate with his thoughts, while being separated from his parents by Nazi officers. Schmidt brings Erik back to his office, where he orders him to move a coin on his desk in a way similar to how he moved the gate at the camp. When Erik is unable to comply, Schmidt shoots and kills his mother in front of him. In an angered rage, Erik’s powers go out of control and he kills two guard and destroys the lab, much to Schmidt’s delight.

At this time in Westchester, New York mansion, we see a young Charles Xavier meeting a young, shape-shifting girl named Raven in his house looking for food. Overjoyed to meet someone else “different” like he is, he welcomes Raven into his family. The film then jumps to the present day in 1962 in Switzerland, where Erik Lensherr intimidates a banker into tracing a bar of Nazi gold to Argentina where Schmidt is located. While there, Eric comes across former German soldiers who patronize him. He kills the two soldiers and a man who points a gun at him and learns that Schmidt has a boat in Florida.

Mean while in Oxford, England, Charles Xavier becomes a graduate at University and is showing a presentation on mutation along with Raven, who now lives with him. In Las Vagas, Moira MacTaggert, a undercover CIA agent, follows the U.S Army Colonel Hendry into the Hellfire Club quarters where she sees Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost and Azazel threatening Hendry. Azazel then teleports Hendry away and a few moments later, he is in the War Room instructing the U.S to install nuclear missiles is Turkey. When Hendry threatens Shaw with a grenade, he demonstrates his ability to absorb energy. He also reveals himself to be Dr. Schmidt, but de- aged…

That’s all the “plot” I’m giving away…

Just as the original comic book focused on a common human theme of good versus evil and later, themes about prejudice and racism, (all of which have persisted throughout the series in one form or another) so too has the film focused on these same themes (Predominantly in the form of  the First Class versus Sebastian Shaw & Eric Lensherr’s belief that mankind would hate and shun mutant-kind out of fear and ignorance.).  If you’ve never picked up a comic book or watched the X-Men cartoon growing up in the 90’s however, this film is just another good watch, but if in fact you have read the comic books or seen the cartoon, then you’ve noticed a few…incongruities to say the least.

One thing you may have noticed was the lineup of Professor Xavier’s X-Men in the film. Where was Iceman? Where was Angel (Warren Worthington III)? Where were Marvel Girl (Jean Grey) & Cyclops (Scott Summers)? In lieu of them, we see Angel Salvadore, Banshee (Sean Cassidy), Havok ( Alex Summers), Darwin (Armando Muñoz)..etc. Another noticeable difference is the fact that in the film, Charles Xavier still has a full head of hair, unlike in the comic books and cartoon where he’s completely bald. Among the more important differences art these four:

Havok’s Backstory and Family History: In the comics: Havok is Cyclops’ younger brother. He is able to generate powerful plasma blasts, an ability he has had difficulty controlling. He was raised in an orphanage and met the other X-Men in college while studying geophysics.

In ‘X-Men: First Class’: Havok is a young prisoner sprung by the X-Men as an ally after being found using Xavier’s Cerebro (though in the film, Cerebro was created by Hank McCoy). It’s hinted that he is Cyclops’ father.

Banshee’s Age and Relationship With Moira: In the comics: Banshee is an Irish ex-Interpol agent who is significantly older than the other X-Men. His power is the ability to scream supersonically, allowing him to fly and break things. He meets X-Men ally Dr. Moira McTaggert and falls in love with her.

In ‘X-Men: First Class’: Banshee is a redhead, but he’s American-made. He’s also a teenager, making any sort of romance with grown-woman Moira pretty grody. He’s portrayed as the youngest of the baby X-Men. At least the actor playing him, Caleb Jones, tried to incorporate some of his comics knowledge into the role.

Xavier Becoming Paralyzed: In the comics: An alien named Lucifer, disguised as the devil, was acting as the advance scout for an invasion by his race, and Charles Xavier foiled his plans. In retaliation, Lucifer dropped a huge stone block on Xavier, crippling his legs.

In ‘X-Men: First Class’: Moira shoots at Magneto despite knowing of his mastery of magnetism and he blocks her every shot. One of the shots that he blocks bounces in the direction of Charles, hitting him in his spine and taking away any usage of his legs.

Lastly, but far from least of the key differences between film and comic book is that of Moira MacTaggert: In ‘X-Men: First Class’: Moira MacTaggert is portrayed as a dark-haired CIA agent.

Moira MacTaggert: In the comics: Moira is from Scotland and is one of the world’s leading authorities on genetic mutation and a Nobel Prize winner. She was also the silent partner in the founding of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and co-creator of Cerebro, Moira assisted Xavier in helping the young Jean Grey recover after the traumatic triggering of her mutant abilities.

All together.. Not just this movie, but all of the X-Men movies that have been made before this film are a bit… wrong. From costume changes and period shifts to lineup changes and diverging completely from any form of Marvel cannon. Despite this, I can’t help but enjoy watching the films.

And by the way… the Dark Phoenix was not some dormant part of Jean Grey’s psyche . The Phoenix Force was a conscious, living, cosmic entity known throughout the galaxy that for a time became part of Jean Grey.

Outing the Skeleton in the Closet

Racism is defined as the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term “racism” is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature (i.e. which harms particular groups of people), and which is often justified by recourse to racial stereotyping or pseudo-science.

That’s how Wikipedia has gone to define the word. Now I realize I’ve spoken s little on the subject of racism in the topic of zombie films as allegories. This however is a horse of a different colour, to use the colloquialism.

Even as the year 2011 draws to a close and we as people prepare to journey into the year 2012, racism seems to be alive and kicking. If you were to go into a small southern backwater sort of town, then I’m sure you might expect to see a bit of racism here or there; especially if you drive into town and you’re a black man or a black woman, Asian or Middle-Eastern. Then not only would you see the racism, but you’d feel it as well. You don’t really expect to deal with racism when you leave your home to go to the grocery store, the bank, your local library, or other places you know and frequent, but it’s not at all impossible. On place in particular one would think that racism wouldn’t exist is in the gay community.

An excerpt taken from the post of a blogger known as Mama’s Boy posted on  August 10th, 2009: “In Phoenix where the black population is less than 6% you can definitely see the racism in the community.

Most white guys out here dont have anything to do with communities of color, but want a black/latin/asian guy to satisfy their “curiosity” or their desire to have sex with the forbidden fruit. Nothing more than a sexual prize. They dont have any people of color as friends, dont go to cultural celebrations, and look at you crazy if your in a mostly all white gay club, like why are you here, but want to “taste some chocolate”.

I myself have come across some in the gay community who say things like ” I’ve never been with a black guy before, but I’ve always wanted to try it.” As innocent as that may sound, I agree with Mama’s Boy. All it makes me feel like is a sexual prize or a thing of curiosity to be figured out and discarded.

Upon reading up on the subject of racism in the gay community, I came across a gentleman by the name of  Jamez Smith. One night Jamez took a trip to a bar by the name of the 19 Bar in a place called Loring Park in Minneapolis, MN. Apparently while there, he had met up with a young man who seemed to be quite interested in him, and the interest was reciprocated. As their conversation progressed and the liquor flowed Jamez was invited to the other mans car to listen to music, then to his apartment for a nightcap. James agreed. That sounds all good and well, and probably no different from the night of any number of club goers or bar goers, but things changed once smith was told Don’t steal from me.”

Now why would you think something like that would be randomly said to Jamez? If you hadn’t guessed, Jamez is a black male. Of course he greeted what had been said to him with disbelief; and what was the reaction of the man who’d said it? “What? Oh my god, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It’s just what you’re wearing.” To me.. that stinks of cop-out. What reason would this man have to believe that Jamez Smith, a complete stranger who he’d just met that very night would steal from him? Would he have said those same words to him had Jamez been white? That’s something that can only be guessed, but my guess is no.

On another occasion Jamez was said to have encountered the ugly face of racism not too long after. While in a chat room on  Gay.com for the Twin Cities, he came across this conversation which has been edited by the City Pages News:

“too many blacks have the i hate the white man thing going on, and I’m not into that

and a 15yo black dude should not have that kinda hate

its taught to him

shoot him

lol

pop a cap in his ass”

What kind of people say things like this? Racists. Regardless of whether or not they believe themselves to be racists or whether or not they believe their words to be racist and hateful.. they are.

Racism in the gay community isn’t just face to face. Like the rest of civilization, it’s online as well. When it comes to online racism, nowhere is it more noticeable than on dating and “hookup” sites and apps, and it’s not just against blacks. Whatever ethnicity you are, you have the possibility of facing some sort of racism. I’ve seen it against white, black, Asian…you name it.  On the gay app known as Grindr, the profile of one JJ. Sk8ter Boy reads: “I’m a big kid at heart”  … sounds innocent enough I’d suppose, but it goes on to say this in his description: “I’m blocking more Asians on here than the Great Wall Of China!” If confronted, he would likely play it off by saying it was all a joke. “It isn’t. It’s an insidious sort of racism couched in humor, one that winks at the notion that it’s okay to denigrate Asians or Indians or blacks simply because they’re Asians or Indians or blacks and getting messages from them on Grindr — or having them come up to you in a bar — is just too icky.” – Terry Levine writes in a blog/article entitled “THE QUEER CASE OF RACISM IN THE GAY COMMUNITY.” If you have to start your profile description with “I’m not racist, but” then I’m fairly sure you’re racist. Whether you’re a black male who will only date other black males, forsaking every single ethnicity out there despite the fact that everyone; regardless of their ethnicity or skin tone is different in looks, the way they think, and the way they go about expressing themselves, a white male who “isn’t racist, but”, or you simply can’t get around the issue of ethnicity… you sir are racist. It’s more than an opinion, it’s a fact.

If all of that wasn’t enough, there’s the issue of  some sort of invisible chasm between the gays and lesbians of the LGBT community. It can be summed up by this excerpt from a video posted on youtube.com  by one entitled ” Racism and Division in the Gay Community ” and states “Too often in the past I’ve run into racism in the gay community and tense relations between gay men and lesbians. This irritates me, especially when we should be unified against the opposition we face.”

I completely agree with him on this. We should be unified as a community; gay, bi, lesbian, transgendered, black, white, Asian, Hispanic and all else. There’s too much hatred out there against those who are in the community for us all to be going at one another as we do.

This is a message to the gay community..  If we as a community wish to be treated with love, understanding, tolerance, respect, and acceptance, we must first learn to practice what we preach.

In the Name of Sanity…

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale is a fantasy action film directed by Uwe Boll in 2006, apparently inspired by the Dungeon Siege video games.

Set in the fictional kingdom of Ehb, the story follows a man called Farmer (Jason Statham), an orphan who was adopted by a village…seemingly the only village in this fantasy land.  When Farmer’s wife, Solana (Claire Forlani), and his son leave to sell vegetables at the town of Stonebridge, his farm is attacked by creatures called Krug (If you don’t know what a Krug is.. think Uruk-hai from Lord of the rings, but far lamer looking and noticeably shorter/unimposing.).  With the help of his friend Norrick (Ron Perlman), he fights off the Krug and travels to Stonebridge. However, the Krug manage to kill his son and capture his wife. Accompanied by Norrick and Bastian (Will Sanderson), his brother-in-law, Farmer intends to find and rescue his wife.

The Krug are being controlled by the wizard Gallian (Ray Liotta) who is amassing an army to overthrow King Konreid (Burt Reynolds), with the assistance of the King’s nephew, Fallow (Matthew Lillard).

That’s basically the gist of the movie. This is what a budget of $60 million seems to get you in Hollywood.

This movie obviously boasts some well known actors, such as Ron Perlman (Hellboy), John Rhys-Davies (TV’s Sliders, Lord of the Rings), Burt Reynolds ( The Longest Yard, The Dukes of Hazard) and so on, so you would expect that this movie would be epic or at least nearly epic, right? Well you’d be mistaken; sadly mistaken.

From the beginning, this movie seems to have been pieced together out of weak plot and sad effects. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think this movie solely relied on the big names of its actors, not its script, effects, plot, and overall feel. I guess I don’t know any better because that’s just what I think. Don’t get me wrong though, this in no way is me badmouthing the actors in this film. Each and every one of them played their part perfectly, but even well trained and experienced actors can’t turn trash into gold. If that’s something you didn’t know before, take a look at “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale” and you’ll find it out for yourself.

After watching the movie in its entirety, the only thing on my mind was how soo much money produced such a substandard film. I’ve seen movies with noticeably smaller budgets and less well-known actors in it that could run circles around this piece of fantasy garbage. There’ve even been Sci-Fi originals made by the Sci-fi(now Scy-fy) channel that were more enjoyable and well thought out than this film.

If this movie in of itself wasn’t bad enough…. there’s a sequel. That’s right.. a sequel. Now.. I’ve yet to see the sequel titled “In the Name of the King 2″(to the best of my knowledge that’s the title), but here’s what Wikipedia says about the film: “Uwe Boll has confirmed that the film will have a time travel story where Dolph Lundgren will play a former military officer who is attacked by ninjas and sent through a time vortex where he gets stuck in medieval times. Boll has also gone on to confirm that a dragon will be included in the film.” If the first movie wasn’t ludicrous  enough (and it was…. oh how it was.) then this must surely be more-so. I mean Ninjas, time vortexes, dragons, and Dolph Lundgren? How could this get any more ridiculous? Wait.. they could throw in trained bears that dance around whilst preforming acts of acrobatics on giant red rubber balls, but that’d be overdoing it just a bit, don’t you think?

Enough is Enough…Isn’t it?

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) – “The Avengers” has a new superpower: 3D. Walt Disney Studios said Thursday that the movie will be released in the format when it debuts May 4.

I’ve noticed an alarming trend recently. That trend being that there are more and more movies being made in 3D. Now don’t get me wrong, when I saw James Cameron’s Avatar, I had to see it in IMAX 3D. It was just that epic of a movie. So I’m not against 3D movies all together. There are a ton of movies that have been made 3D though and unnecessarily at that.  Upon checking Wikipedia, I found over 30 titles that have been released in 2011 alone in 3D; starting with The Green Hornet on January 14, 2011 and ending with the release of The Darkest Hour on December 23, 2011.

While I love my films based on super powered individuals as much as the next person, or a little more, I don’t really think that every single superhero film should be made in 3D.

Movies deserving to be made in 3D this year include:

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Final Destination 5

These are the kind of movies that should be done in 3D, especially seeing as you don’t see these types of films being popped out every other day.

Movies undeserving of being made in 3D this year include:

Gnomeo and Juliet

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never

TT3D: Closer to the Edge

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil

Thor

Piranha 3D

Priest… the list goes on.

Now I’m sure you’ve noticed the first list is shorter than the second one, but that’s just the way I see it. I’m not saying that any of these movies are bad in any way(except the Justin Bieber one of course.) All I’m saying is that if you’re a film maker and you’re going to make a movie in 3D then you should be sure that the film is worth being put in 3D. You don’t see George A. Romero making every single zombie film he makes in 3D, do you? No.. and his films are awesome.

As a matter of fact, I’d say why not take a break from making 3D films Hollywood.?. I mean.. does 3D really enhance the films or is it just plain unnecessary? The average price about now where I live to see a non 3D film is $9.75 for an adult, $7.00 for children, and $7.00  for seniors. When it comes to watching those same films in 3D, the prices jump to $11.25 for an adult, $10.50 for children, and $10.50 for seniors. Sure, that’s only a difference of $1.50, but is it really worth it when the odds seem to always lean more towards the 3D being ill-used? If a family of 3 were to go on a movie night just to see.. “The Adventures of Tintin 3D”, assuming it’s 2 adults and 1 child the price for viewing the movie alone comes to about $33.00, not to mention the concessions such as drinks, candy, and or hotdogs…

Are you a slave to 3D?

Zombies and Magic and Line-dancing ..Oh My!!

Six friends take an ill faited road trip to Galveston, Texas in an RV for the wedding of their friend, Kelly (Portia de Rossi). The driver, Johnny (Oz Perkins), gets lost and they arrive in the small town of Lovelock and his friends Sara (Ever Carradine), Kate (Bianca Lawson), Melody (Gina Philips), Christian (Jeremy Sisto), and David (Erik Palladino), decide to spend the night in a bed and breakfast owned by the creepy Mr. Robert Wise (David Carradine).

David has an argument with the chef of the inn, Henri (Diedrich Bader), and when the chef is found dead and Mr. Wise has a heart attack in the middle of the night, the local Sheriff (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) suspects the group of travelers have a hand in it . He instructs his Deputy, Enos (Mark Kelly), to confiscate the keys to their RV and tells them that they have to stay in town for the duration of the investigation. The Sheriff then arrests a mysterious drifter (Brent David Fraser) [Gotta love those mysterious drifter characters…] who soon becomes his prime suspect in the murder. When the clumsy Johnny accidentally breaks an ancient exotic wooden box belonging to Mr. Wise, he releases the terrible, monstrous “Kuman Thong” (A take on the Thai Guman Thong or Spirit Child) which possesses all the local town folk, transforming them into zombies. Ultimately, the mysterious drifter becomes the hero. He is a long time student of powers from “the other side”, and is the only one who knows how to fight and kill the evil spirit. He sets about doing this with the help of Sara and Melody. Only they survive, leaving the bed and breakfast in ruins and what’s left of the town behind.

In so many ways, this film is like most other zombie films. Mysterious things happen and of course nobody involved wants to believe in the existence of the zombies or of the “Kuman Thong”. Unlike most other zombie films though, the only initially likable character is to blame for all the misfortune that befalls the cast of characters. If that’s not enough, this movie unlike most zombie movies boasts redneck zombies. What’s more, these Appalachian-like undead dance. While it’s just plain sad, you can’t help but watch it and laugh. It brings to mind Michael Jackson’s music video for Thriller.

As far as acting goes, the only real actor in the movie seems to be Mr. Carradine, though he has a limited appearance in the film. After watching this movie I was left solely with George Takei’s famous catchphrase. “Oh My!” Anyway, if you like movies that are loosely glued together with zombies, David Carradine, line dancing, rednecks, and seemingly random introductions to quasi Asian paranormal beliefs,  or movies that are so bad they’re possibly good then take a look at this movie and make your own opinion.

Of Hobbits and Dwarves

 

The much awaited trailer to The Hobbit (The cinematic version of the prequel to J R R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings) is finally among us; seeming to have aroused a great deal of online interest. One viewer of the film’s trailer from Badass Digest states ” You Can Go Straight To Mordor If You Don’t Like This THE HOBBIT Trailer.” Another viewer from /Film stated “Though I first saw The Hobbit trailer almost two weeks ago, the best part of watching it again is that new Shore score. Wowzers.” Yet another vewer from Hollywood.com had this to say: “Look, I’m just scared to revisit something I love. Blame Star Wars. Blame Crystal Skull. Blame Tron.”  And his sentiment is totally understandable in the wake of the films listed. As a fan of the The book of which this film is an adaptation, I would hate to see what looks to be a promising and entertaining film turn out to be the bastardization of something I care about. I too have seen this happen with films such as “The Last Airbender”, “Disturbia”, &  “Queen of the Damned”; to name a few.

After having seen the trailer for this film I can only say that I have high hopes and expectations of this film in its entirety. Given director Peter Jackson’s previous successes with the three Lord of the Rings films, one can only hope that he presents The Hobbit on a level equal to the aforementioned films or on a level surpassing them.

The one thing I’m left with is excitement. The trailer  its viewers with the familiar through means of Gandalf, Bilbo, the other hobbits, and the Shire. We’re also presented with the not soo familiar.. cinematically speaking in the form of the dwarves, Mirkwood, and the appearance of something of a relationship between the characters of Gandalf and Galadriel. One thing for me personally that got my attention in the trailer is the dwarves singing in Bilbo’s home. The song they sing is shortened din the trailer, but it still rings familiar to me none the less.

My opinions aside, I leave you with the trailer to the film located at the bottom of this blog post. Make your own opinions, and if you like to.. let me know what you think.

The Gay Geek

The word geek can be defined as a slang term noting a person as “One who is perceived to be overly obsessed with one or more things including those of intellectuality, electronics, etc.” … or a person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest. From oxforddictionaries.com it’s asked “Is being a geek something to be proud of?” I personally say yes, yes it is. The site goes on to say that “a few decades ago the answer would almost certainly have been no: the word was a cruel and critical label attached to clever, but socially awkward, people: train-spotters, computer geeks, and unpopular college students. Then in the 1990s everything changed. The computer industry helped many geeks to achieve great success, and the wider perception of geeks began to shift. Being a geek was suddenly a positive thing, suggesting an admirable level of knowledge, expertise, and passion: geeks could do ‘cool stuff’. It’s now common for people to be self-proclaimed or self-confessed geeks, with geekiness no longer confined to the world of science and technology ( a music geek with an awesome vinyl collection, the kind of film that every true movie geek would give five stars). Nerds have undergone a similar change of image but to a lesser extent, with some negative terms such as boring and pathetic still commonly attached to the word”

I’m greatly inclined to agree with oxforddictionaries.com’s take on geekdom. Thanks to the computer being a thing that’s widely used worldwide and in countless homes across the globe, people who show an incredible interest in it are no longer shunned as being strange, or weird simply for their interest. These days a geek is not simply someone with technical know how and an interest in the electronic. A person can be a geek for sci-fi movies and novels, fantasy, video games, music, film in general, anime or any number of things. I myself saw the light of geekdom at an early age when I watched my first episode of Star Trek, though it was expressed even earlier with my love of Star Wars merch. As an adult I consider myself an all around geek, or the equivalent of a “jack of all trades” sort of geek. As well as being a geek, I’m gay.. and a+b equaling c would make me a gay geek.. even a gaymer as some would say.

The Sci-fi genre has seen its share of gay and or bi-sexual characters since I’ve grown up. There’s the lesbian character of Willow from TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, (TV & comics), Parthenon, aka Dan Williams from “Who Wants To Be a Superhero?”; The Sci Fi Channel, Ianto Jones from “Torchwood“; BBC America, Northstar, aka Jean-Paul Beaubier from “The Uncanny X-Men“; comics, The Midnighter, aka Lucas Trent from “The Authority“; comics, and Captain Jack Harkness from “Torchwood“; BBC America to name a few and plenty of Gay actors out there; most notable are Ian McKellen (Gandalf from Lord of the Rings and Magneto from X-Men (Film) Zachary Quinto (Sylar from Heroes and Spock from Star Trek the movie), & George Takei (Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu from the original Star Trek, Captain Sulu in an episode of Star Trek Voyager, Kaito Nakamura from TV’s Heroes). Any geek; gay, bi, or straight worth his salt could tell you who at least one of those characters is.

That all being said,the influx of gay characters in the sci-fi, comic book, fantasy, and cinematic world has also seen a rise in gay geeks in the last few years or so. You can’t go to an anime convention or Trek convention without coming across at least a small handful of gay men who share your passion for things geeky in nature. Despite this influx of awesome, the dating pool if you will, for a gay geek stills seems as small as it has ever been. Where are all the men who appreciate a well-timed Star Wars reference? Where are the men who can understand my fascination with Doctor Who…when they’re not at the cons looking resplendent in their geeky costumery? Where’s Waldo? I obviously don’t know the answer to any of those questions; otherwise I wouldn’t ask, but I wish I did.

Even if Mr. Geeky “Right” eludes me, I’m happy to know that geekdom has a foothold in the gay community and visa versa. I’m also happy that I have a community…. communities in which I am welcome as I am.

The Unsocial Network

Upon logging onto my Facebook today, I received a lovely little message basically stating that my ability to send friend requests on the site would be disabled for a number of days. Now what was it I did again to anger the “admins” of facebook? Oh, that’s right… I friended people.

Ever since Facebook launched their “People You May Know” …”campaign”, I’ve been flooded with people I may or may not know. If I know them, good. If I don’t know them we have friends in common and maybe getting to know them would be something worth doing… at least that’s how I think

According to the “admins” I’ve been sending out too many friend requests I guess. Mayhaps I’m wrong, but I was under the assumption that social networks served the purpose of keeping people connected and helping people connect to others who may be potential friends or who may have similar interests and so on. Maybe that’s what social networking claims to be all about, but it’s really about something else. Maybe it’s all about controlling what we can or can’t do on the internet while masking it all as some sort of cyber “free will”.

Whatever the issue is, I for one am considering deleting my Facebook account. If I wanted to be under the thumb of a group of shadowy “admins” or endure pointless updates that do nothing but make the site less and less user friendly then I would have stayed on myspace. Mayhaps I should have stayed on Myspace. It may be lame and it may be a bit outdated, but the one thing it’s not guilty of is faulting me for doing something it’s designed to help me do… meet people.

That being said.. one day the internet will rise up against you Facebook. One day you’ll be where Myspace, Friendster and other like sites are now. The only difference will be that you won’t be there because you’ve simply grown outdated and useless. No, it’ll be because you did yourself in.

So, the next time I decide I want to get to know someone on your less than lovely site and you decide to….”punish” me for it, just remember that. Your time’s coming Facebook.

Night of the Living Allegory

Cinema is littered with allegory, from movies as far back as Metropolis(1927) & its allegory of a fear of mob rule, fear of being overcome by technology  to current day, such as with The Chronicles of Narnia and their allegory of Jesus Christ of Nazareth as the lion Aslan. Allegory is everywhere, whether it’s meant to be there or not. Ever since the first zombie dug its way from out of the earth, zombies have been a widely used and popular symbol of our science run amok. You can look at a zombie film and see it as an allegory/symbol for out of control technology, as they are often brought into being by a spill of some highly toxic experimental chemical, re-animated through the means of some bio-engineered/man-made bio-weapon, or even though less often than other cases they are brought into being due to mans meddling in forces far beyond their understanding.

With Night of the Living Dead you have the possibility of all of these allegories, yet one that stands above them all is that of racism. The role of the lead character of the film (Ben) is played by Duane Jones, a black male; though the role does not call for a black male specifically. Ben is noticeably the sole non-white character in the film. Some saw this casting as significant, but George A. Romero says “he simply gave the best audition.”

Looking at the film, you can see the interaction and the distinction between the black and the white characters in the film.  Racism is defined as “The belief or doctrine that all members of each race possess inherent differences or abilities specific to that race that determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race  is superior and has the right to rule others.”

As noted by one Steven Russell, within the film Night of the Living Dead “despite the fact that Ben is the only member of the house that survives the night and in spite of his success against white zombies, he is killed quickly and cleanly by the living white, the zombie lynch mob, as he emerges into daylight.

As I stated at the beginning of this blog, there are zombie films where the dead are often brought into being by a spill of some highly toxic experimental chemical, re-animated through the means of some bio-engineered/man-made bio-weapon, or even though less often than other cases they are brought into being due to mans meddling in forces far beyond their understanding. Most of these cases easily show in the titles 28 Days Later & 28 Weeks Later where you have a zombie outbreak unleashed by means of monkeys who’ve been tested on using a “rage virus” which infects unsuspecting and slightly militant “animal rights activists” early in the film. These two titles(28 Days Later & 28 Weeks Later) also highlight how quickly man can go from reasonable and rational to irrational and just plain immoral.

Though lacking subtlety, in Zombies of Mass Destruction we see less the folly of man in his becoming overwhelmed with aftermath of his own machinations and a more racist, sexist, homophobic underbelly not of the undead, but of the people in the town who are plagued by the undead. The virus in this movie is described as a “terrorist” virus and being in a small town, one of its inhabitants believe the sole Middle Eastern girl in town to have had a hand in the virus attack. Here you see the racism brought to light by the zombie outbreak. It is not that the outbreak caused the racism, but that because of the outbreak we are allowed to more clearly see racism’s presence. You have sexist mayor who flouts the campaign of his female opposition, but more-so you have homophobia brought to light by the homophobic yet quite closetly gay preacher. In the film, before the outbreak takes place you have a cute gay couple who are coming to visit with the mother of the not soo openly gay half of said couple. The mothers reaction shows a lesser degree of homophobia than the aforementioned preacher. Through “re-education” he believes he can change someone from gay to g-d fearing straight. The themes of racism and homophobia lay strewn about the story this movie tells.

Regardless of the film title or director; zombie films have come with some lesson or parable that we as human beings should probably take to heart. Till that happens, there will always be a zombie movie pointing out the bigotry, violence, hate, racism, and just plain worse that humanity has to offer…while occasionally…possibly offering us a laugh or scream or two to lighten the tone or not focus soo heavily on the meat of the films.