How awesome is my padawan? This awesome.

My writing padawan, and whip-cracking editrix, Leslie has a new column where she reviews books. It’s just started up and she tackles Steamfunk, an anthology that “taking the current craze of Steampunk, with its dirigibles, steam-powered men, and corsets, and making it funky” in the “70s black power” sense. It’s a really great review and I’m looking forward to more.

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Do not take advice from The Worst Muse.

These are funny.

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Kid Movies, Adult Thoughts: Planes

This weekend Connor was watching Pixar’s Planes for the elevenbilliontieth time when a horrible thought came to me.

At the end of the movie, when Dusty finally beats Rip to the finish line, Rip flies through a row of outhouses, coating himself in, well, poo. Used oil in that world, but, still, it’s poo. We’ve seen the used oil/poo in other Pixar movies like Cars 2, when one of the bad guys falls into what is very clearly meant to be a septic truck’s tank during the car chase at the airport.

So, does that mean that earlier in Planes when Bulldog the English plane (voiced by John Cleese) suffers a mechanical failure and sprays oil in his face, blinding him, he actually managed to explosively poo in his own eyes?

Really, Pixar? Really?

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Movie Review: Transformers 4: The Soulless POS That NO ONE Appeared to Actually Want to be In

Working for a video game company certainly has some perks.

Cool free stuff in our games.

Getting to watch the magic done behind the curtain and see games go from concept to playable (it’s really neat).

Awesome swag.

And, if you work at my company, a free viewing of some movie tangentially related to one of our games (or something our CEO is simply dying to see) approximately once a quarter. This month is my company’s fourteenth anniversary which, for a company making video games, is actually pretty impressive. Studios that have created AAA games have been created, flamed out, and gone off into the great Cheap-O Bin in the sky since we first started and we’re still trucking along and expanding. To celebrate, we essentially got last Friday off of work, went mini-golfing in the morning, and then saw a showing of Transformers 4: Age of Extinction.

The best thing about this movie is that I can say I didn’t pay a single cent for it.

Now, I’m going spoil this stinking pile of shit and I do so as an act of public service so that if you had ANY desire to see this movie I will kill it as dead as Megatron.

First off, Optimus Prime kills a human. That, right there, should be enough for you to never want to see this movie. I could kind of, if I looked sort of at it with a severe side-eye, see why Supes might kill Zod. But this is Optimus Prime. This is Optimus “I will let one of my best soldiers, and possibly one of the last five of my kind, be captured and tortured, possibly to death, by humans rather than killing them” Prime. This is Optimus “I might be CG but I love humanity enough to do three films with Shia LeDouche” Prime. Prime has a better track record of not killing humans (directly, anyway) than Star Fleet does holding to the Prime Directive. And in this film, almost at the end, he just ups and shoots a human. Hell, he even says, “I may have sworn to never kill a human, but when I find out who is responsible for [hunting Transformers down, tearing their corpses apart, and reducing them to their base parts] he will die.” THIS IS THE SAME ROBOT WHO KNEW HUMANS WERE GOING TO TORTURE A VERY LIVE BUMBLEBLEE AND IS ALL, “No, surely we can’t harm the hairless apes, we’re not really any better than them.” and now he’s promising swift and brutal murder? Sure, that human was evil Kelsey Grammer and he was going to kill Marky Mark Wahlberg, but still. Optimus Prime. Does. Not. Kill. Humans.

Secondly, they kill Ratchet. Right off the bat in the movie, they hunt him down and kill him, even though they know he’s an Autobot and, IMO, they do it in a pretty torture-porn fashion. As a person who loved the cartoon series (even if it was just to sell toys) and someone who didn’t mind the first and third movie (the second can suck a big robotic wang), this offended me to the core. It’s like needlessly killing a dog in a movie. Hell, when they killed Ironhide in the third movie it bothered me but it at least made some sense. This? This just pissed me off.

You know, I was going to go into the plot and how there are huge holes in it. Like, how does Optimus Prime have the ability to fly at the end of the movie with no additional gear but NEVER SHOWS THIS ABILITY IN ANY OF THE FILMS AND IS FALLING FROM GREAT HEIGHTS ALL THE TIME? Or when he’s Broken-Ass Optimus at the beginning of the movie he tells Marky Mark that he needs the Autobots to heal him BUT later he just scans a passing semi and, BOOM, fixed? Or when at the end we’re put through a stupid chase scene as the bounty hunter Transformer’s ship is randomly using a giant sky magnet (I shit you not) to lift all kinds of metal stuff up into the air, FOR MINUTES OF MOVIE TIME, and yet Optimus dispatches the sky magnet with a few rounds of his hand cannon? WHY DIDN’T HE DO THAT AT THE START? But, if I did that, I’d just be typing up the movie and, really, that’s spending far too much time on this shitshow as it is.

No one wanted to be in this movie. Mark Wahlberg’s performance as the overly-protective, pretty misogynistic father is crap (to the point where it was hilariously over-acted in some scenes), almost on par with The Happening. Nicola Peltz was, as harsh as it might be to say, an even more inconsequential female lead that the other three movies had with Megan Fox or blond Not-Megan-Fox-Because-She-Was-Probably-Fired-By-Speilberg. Jack Reynor as Shane Dyson, the car-driving, illicit boyfriend, is particularly douchey in that he’s memorized the Texas statute that covers Romeo and Juliet, not-technically-statutory-rape relationships to justify why a twenty year-old is probably shtupping a seventeen year old (and has been for the last three years) and spends the entire movie on the opposite side of Mark Wahlberg’s character as they piss on Peltz to see who can claim ownership of her. Newsflash: if you have to argue “But it’s technically legal” it’s probably not cool.

Then there’s Stanley Tucci, whose character is just annoying throughout the movie, and Kelsey Grammer, who I assume just needed a paycheck.

Even Peter Cullen seemed particularly tired in this film but, hey, when pretty much most of your IMDB page is doing one particular character, you’re kind of stuck.

I hated this film, I hate the idea that I contributed to the fact there’s going to be a Transformers 5 what with Galvatron *coughcoughMegatroncoughcough* on the loose and Optimus Prime off flying around the universe in search of his creators to go give them what for. I hated the fact that they made this a movie almost on par with the Lord of the Rings films as far as length is concerned. And I hate the fact that they named the substance they mined out of the corpses of Transformers transformium (which, honestly, isn’t any better than unobtanium).

Do not see this film.

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I do not separate the artist from the art…

It seems that Marion Zimmer Bradley not only knew about her husband sexually abusing her daughter and other children but was also a pretty well-known sexual predator herself.

Looks like I know how I’ll be freeing up some space on my bookshelves. Jesus Christ…

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Movie Review: Edge of Tomorrow (or What Groundhogs Day Might Look Like Via DARPA and Aliens)

Last night my brother and I went to catch the recently released Edge of Tomorrow starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt (along with Brendan Gleeson and Bill Paxton).

EoT is the story of one Cage (Cruise) who is a press officer and “not really a soldier” in the US Army who is more or less shanghaied into joining the International United Defense Force, the international coalition that is fighting against the invasion by the mimics, an alien race that crashed to Earth in Europe and has subsequently taken over. Cage’s “enlistment” takes places on the eve of a Normandy-like invasion by the IUDF and, mid-battle, Cage kills a strange mimic whose blood washes over him as he dies.

Cage then wakes up the previous morning, being kicked and yelled at by an NCO just like he had before.

What follows is a movie similar in concept to Ground Hog’s Day where every time Cage dies he resets time, somehow (it’s kind of explained but that’d be spoilers), and relives the same forty-eight hours of his time joining the IUDF, the invasion on the beach, and his subsequent, painful demise.

Emily Blunt plays Rita, alternatively known as the Angel of Verdun or the Iron Bitch, the IUDF’s most celebrated and successful soldier who, with little training, managed to single-handedly dispatch “over one hundred of the mimics” and led the IUDF forces in their first major victory. Rita is part of the ground forces and Cage becomes entangled with her when he tries to save her multiple times because he figures she’s his best chance of getting off the beach alive.

Only she knows what’s going on because it happened to her.

What follows is a movie that is fairly original, has pretty good action sequences, and flows well. The mimics are unique in their appearance (I particularly liked how they flowed and moved). Rita comes across as a believable bad ass (and I think Blunt did a good job with the acting) and Cruise does a good job of playing Cage as a soldier drastically out of his element. The performances by Paxton (nice to see him in a sci-fi movie again) and Gleeson were also well done if limited in scope.

My only real issue, of course, is the time travel, which I think is understandable because time travel is so incredibly problematic. I think the movie did a good job of not trying to give the time travel too deep of an explanation, it’s mostly just hand-wave-y “This is just how it is.” which serves better than if they tried to give it a logical explanation. Why Cage’s death would reset time for everyone else doesn’t make much sense to me unless you explain it that every time he dies he’s not really going back in time as much as he’s going to an alternate universe (in the multiverse theory) two days previous where he hasn’t made the same decisions yet. The ending is further problematic but I can’t really get into that because spoilers (plus, also, the implications for the rest of Cage’s life are a little strange).

Overall I enjoyed the film. Is it necessary to see in the theater? Not really but I managed to catch it for $6.50 (totally by accident, I didn’t know it was discount night at the theater) and would’ve been happy paying full price for it. 3D might work well for the movie, there’s plenty of explosions and stuff flying every where that might make that format fun to see it in.

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In case you think a “strong, female character” is enough…

While written with movies in mind, this can (and should) be adapted for us writer types.

We’re losing all our Strong Female Characters to Trinity Syndrome

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