Trailer Thursday: Moonlight

You know how I recently mentioned that I was tired of the movies Hollywood puts out about black people? How I’m over movies that showcase black people suffering, or movies that show us being the help, or those movies that treat us like we’re good for little more than a few yucks? How it’s so often the same old, same old? Yeah. I’m over those. I want Hollywood to offer more diverse roles to black actors. I want to see black actors in the kind of movies that white folks receive. And while there’s a long way to go before we see any sort of parity in the movie industry in this regard, every little step does help. Steps like the upcoming  film, Moonlight (debuting in theaters on Oct. 21), which features a story about black people in roles that differ from the norm; in a couple of different ways. As such, I think I’ll plunk down my hard earned cash to watch it:

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Trailer Thursday: Moonlight
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My faith in the Justice League movie just increased

Here’s yet another trailer released by DC at San Diego Comic-Con: Justice League part 1. One of my biggest gripes with Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice was how oppressively bleak and dour it was. It was as if Zack Snyder sucked all the joy…all the fun…all the excitement out of the characters (and all the color for that matter; just look at the color palette for the film). It was just dark and dreary throughout. I was worried that his Justice League films would follow suit. Well, if this Justice League trailer is any indication, things might be looking up for this film. Dare I hope to actually *enjoy* the movie? We’ll see.

(edit: it would be more accurate to state that this is footage assembled in the fashion of a trailer, rather than the official Justice League trailer)

My faith in the Justice League movie just increased

The Wonder Woman trailer is here!

San Diego Comic-Con is currently going on and USAmerican comic book companies are revealing all manner of information about future material in the comics, as well as discussing casting decisions for ongoing television series, and most importantly for this post, showing trailers for upcoming movies. DC has released the trailer for the 6/23/17 debuting Wonder Woman, which sees Gal Gadot reprise her role as the Amazing Amazon (she first appeared in the dismal Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice flick earlier this year). Watching the trailer, it’s apparent that the filmmakers have gotten down an otherworldly feel to Diana, as well as her fighting skills and great power. The only thing I worry about is whether they will develop her beyond ‘warrior woman’. For me, Wonder Woman is best as a character who is a compassionate, empathetic, diplomatic warrior. Some of that might seem contradictory, but under the pen of writers like Gail Simone and Greg Rucka, Wonder Woman shines as someone with tremendous compassion for living beings (not just humans). She’s also someone who was raised in an all-female culture of immortals who mastered numerous fighting styles, but is also well read and highly intelligent. She’s a skilled diplomat who always strives to resolve conflicts without violence unless absolutely necessary. Which makes sense, bc she respects and values life. She doesn’t want to bring pain to anyone if she doesn’t have to. And at times, she’ll almost bend over backwards to avoid fighting. But when it comes down to it and a battle seems inevitable, the warrior in her will rise, and she becomes a relentless fighting machine. Trained. Skilled. Nearly unstoppable. She’ll fight to resolve the conflict at hand using every tool at her disposal (including diplomacy; she’s been known to continue trying to deescalate a situation in the middle of a fight), up to and including lethal force if her opponent(s) presents sufficient danger to others or herself. It is this combination of character traits that draws me to Wonder Woman, and is the thing I’m most worried about being accurately depicted in the movie. The trailer doesn’t appear to touch on any diplomatic skills, but it does show her as a warrior. Here’s hoping the finished product will present a much more rounded Wonder Woman, as it is time for this character to shine on the big screen and show the world how wonderful she truly is.

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The Wonder Woman trailer is here!

Frivolous Friday-Horror movies have been around that long?!

Well this is a cool video. Horror movies have changed a lot in the past 122 years (hell, I didn’t know film has been around that long). Brazilian film critic and editor Diego Carrera has created a fascinating visualization of that evolution by creating a video with a short clip of one horror movie from every year starting in 1895 and ending in 2016. I was glad to see Halloween make the cut in this video, as it’s my all-time favorite horror movie. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen the film, but one thing remains the same no matter how often I see it: I still get scared shitless. I know exactly when Michael is going to strike. How he’s going to kill his victims. That he’s a sadistic asshole with a perverse sense of humor (seriously, he kills Bob and then pretends to be him in a ghost costume to fool his girlfriend Lynda whom he goes on to kill). It’s pretty amazing to think that Carpenter helped usher in the slasher genre by creating the movie on a shoestring budget. More, it’s a testament to the strength of his directorial ability that the movie largely holds up over the decades. Sure, certain aesthetics are different today (landlines with those damn cords that always get tangled up; fashion; vehicles, etc), but it wouldn’t take much tweaking of the movie to make it fit into the 21st century. Even the dialogue wouldn’t need much changing. Of course it wouldn’t fit well with today’s approach to horror movies since there was no blood, and filmmakers today love their blood spatter. I wish modern movie makers would take a few notes from the movies of yesteryear. Don’t know about anyone else, but I could do with less gore and blood and more tension and suspense in my scary movies.

Frivolous Friday-Horror movies have been around that long?!

Move over Bond, there’s a new tough guy in town

Idris Elba has a lot of fans and many of them would love to see him play the iconic superspy, James Bond. Of course there is vehement opposition to that idea, bc many people are wedded to the idea of their beloved fictional character remaining white bc reasons that I’ve yet to see elucidated. Never fear though. Come April 22, if you like the idea of Elba playing a superspy, you might want to check out “Bastille Day” where Elba plays an ex-CIA agent attempting to thwart a terrorist plot aimed at Bastille Day protesters.

(h/t Black Nerd Problems)

Move over Bond, there’s a new tough guy in town

I’m not seeing anything fabulous here

I hope my gay card doesn’t get revoked, but I know nothing about Absolutely Fabulous, other than the fact that it’s a highly regarded television series in the gay community. When I heard of this trailer, I thought I’d check it out. Having done so, I’m thoroughly underwhelmed. This trailer contained absolutely nothing that makes me want to see the movie. Meh. Maybe it’s not for me. Heeeeeeey, maybe we gay people don’t share the same tastes and aren’t interchangeable after all!

I’m not seeing anything fabulous here

Five of my favorite horror movies

It’s the most fearful time of the year

With kids in scary costumes

And Hollywood filling you up with much fear

It’s the most fearful time of the year.

It’s the scar-scariest season of all

With those Satanist readings and de

monic meetings

When pagans come to call

It’s the scar-scariest season of all.

(apologies to Andy Williams for tweaking/butchering his widely loved Xmas song)

Obviously, this post is a Halloween-themed post. I don’t really think this time of year is particularly frightening (no more so than any other time of year). I was just channeling the whining of far-right fundie whackaloons. We all know how whiny and double-extra irrational they get around this time of year. I’m sure we’ll hear something from Pat Robertson about the dangers of dressing kids up or demonic energies (or other such nonsense). Me, I figured I’d take this time to list 5 of my favorite horror movies. Note that I said 5 of my favorite, rather than Top 5. The reason for this? Most of the movies I would even think to list in a Top 5 are ones I haven’t seen in a very long time. It’s hard for me to rate one movie over another when I haven’t viewed it in a while and don’t remember enough details. The only caveat here is that I *do* have a favorite movie, which I’ll be counting down to (it’s a movie I’ve seen repeatedly and it left an indelible mark in my mind, so I remember a lot about it). Here are four of my favorites, in no particular order:

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Five of my favorite horror movies

My heart will go on

Yes, I liked the movie Titanic. There. I said it. I even cried once. Or was it twice? I can’t remember. But I definitely did not cry three times. Nosiree. And no, I didn’t see the movie 3 times. ::shifty eyes:: Honestly, I cannot tell a lie. My hand to the Bible…

In addition to crying only once and seeing the movie only once (::eyes are still shifty::), I kinda, sorta, maybe like Celine Dion’s ‘My heart will go on’. But then I like Celine Dion so, that might account for why I think the song is good. But for those that don’t like her music (heathens!), perhaps you’ll like this version of ‘My heart will go on’ by Postmodern Jukebox. It’s vintage 50’s Jackie Wilson style remix and it’s really good. Trust me.

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My heart will go on

A bit more gender diversity from Marvel Studios

One of the many upcoming projects from Marvel Studios is the long-simmering Doctor Strange movie. In the comics, Doctor Stephen Strange was a talented yet arrogant neurosurgeon who sought to regain the use of his hands after a tragic accident. He traveled around the world seeking the best doctors to repair his hands, but all to no avail. Despondent, distraught, broke, and homeless, Strange continued his search and eventually learned of the Ancient One, a hermit in the Himalayas who might be able to assist him. While he is initially rebuffed by the hermit, Strange eventually proves his worth and the Ancient One agrees to help the doctor, though not by repairing his hands. Instead, he trains him in the use of the mystic arts and eventually grants him the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme.

Why all this background about Dr. Strange and the Ancient One? Weeeeell, Marvel is currently in the casting stage for the upcoming Dr. Strange film. They already have Benedict Cumberbatch lined up to play the arrogant, former neurosurgeon, and they might be close to picking someone to play the Ancient One. And they’re thinking outside the box on this one. In a move that many (myself included) see as a positive step, actress Tilda Swinton is in talks to play the Ancient One:

The Ancient One is a hundreds year old mystic who has mastered magic and travels the Earth, battling demons, later settling in the Himalayas with an order of monks. In the comics, The Ancient One was an older, Tibetan man, — and earlier in the film’s production, they had talked with Ken Watanabe, Morgan Freeman and Bill Nighy for the role — but the character’s identity is being altered slightly for the film. In the film, the character will train the villainous Baron Mordo before sensing evil in his heart and turning to mentor Dr. Stephen Strange, eventually bestowing on him the powerful Eye of Agamotto.

Swinton’s casting is exciting for a variety of reasons. The first, and most obvious, is that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and superhero movies as a whole) don’t need another all-powerful male character; there are plenty of those. It’s honorable that Marvel was looking at a group of actors that were ethnically diverse, but even better than they were thinking further outside of the box to cast a woman.

For all that Stan Lee’s work at Marvel was groundbreaking and noteworthy, he was still writing comics at a time when women were not well represented in pop culture because the socially approved role of women was homemaker or housewife. Yes, Stan created the Wasp, the Scarlet Witch, and the Invisible Girl, but they were frequently relegated to the role of damsels-in-distress or the girlfriend (and dear Odin, Stan wrote many a cringe-worthy scene involving female superheroes). Meanwhile, their male counterparts rarely (if ever) received such treatment. No, male characters in the various titles written by Stan got to be more than the boyfriend. They didn’t have to worry about being hogtied, captured, and held hostage waiting for a savior to swoop in and free them. The men got to steer the plot. The women were treated as window dressing. So it probably never crossed Stan’s mind that a woman could serve as mentor to Doctor Strange.

It’s sad in a way. Like so many people back then (and plenty today), Stan Lee’s creativity was constrained by an adherence to rigid gender roles imposed by society-he was thinking inside the box. As a result of such limited thinking, Stan Lee’s comics did not-contrary to a long-running narrative about Marvel Comics-“reflect the world outside your window“. How could it, when the Marvel Universe as created by Stan was populated by a sea of white, male faces (with a few women and a smattering of black folk included for token attempts at diversity)? That’s not what the real world has ever looked like.

That’s one of the reasons I like the idea of casting Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One. Women exist in the world outside my window (and everyone else’s). Yes, some women are housewives and homemakers, but they’re also sanitation workers and teachers, doctors and dental hygienists, lawyers and judges, astronauts and chemists, sociologists and electricians, librarians and painters, writers and activists, and so much, much more. That’s why it makes sense to me for Hollywood executives to widen the pool of potential candidates for movie roles. Instead of treating men as the default, they’re slowly beginning to realize that women can do the same things as men (hello Charlize Theron in Fury Road), and that includes playing the role of wise and aged mentor to the master of the mystic arts.

A bit more gender diversity from Marvel Studios

How to make an MRAs head explode

Disclaimer: The title of this post is meant metaphorically. I am opposed to violence in all its forms (though I accept that there are times when the use of violence is justified), and I do not engage in, advocate for, or support violent actions. So no, I don’t want the actual, literal heads of MRAs to go kablooey. Sending them into fits of incoherent rage? I’m all about that.

If you don’t know what an MRA is, go read this and this first.

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All done? Cool.

Regular blog readers know that I’m a feminist. That means I advocate for gender equality in the social, political, and economic arena (basically all areas of society). Over the years, I’ve encountered more than a few MRAs in my online travels and read more than enough comments from them to know that I find them vile. They like to claim their goal is to fight for men’s rights (hence the name), but I’ve yet to see them do anything other than harass women and feminists (while there is significant overlap between both groups, not all feminists are women). Feminists advocate for eliminating the gender wage gap, paid maternity leave, an end to restrictions on women’s reproductive rights, equal gender representation in all areas of society, an end to Rape Culture, and more. In addition, feminists have accomplished a great deal (not a comprehensive list by any means) in the fight for gender equality. Meanwhile, MRAs advocate for…well, I’m not quite sure what, if anything, they advocate for (and yes, I’ve looked); nor what, if anything, they’ve actually accomplished (and again, I’ve looked). They have grievances, some of which are legitimate, but the kicker is that feminism addresses those issues while MRAs don’t address the grievances of feminists. If they spent their time, energy, resources, and person-power working on those legitimate issues, their “movement” might actually have a r’aison d’etre. Instead, these rage-filled misogyny-bleeding douchebags spend their time spewing lies about feminists, co-opting campaigns aimed at ending violence against girls and women, and generally engage in vile behavior directed almost exclusively at women. Hell, these supposed activists for the rights of men are so disgustingly misogynistic that the Southern Poverty Law Center keeps tabs on them.

Given their misogyny and opposition to all things related to gender equality, I imagine MRAs will suffer from a case of exploding heads upon seeing the work of 18-year-old Hungarian blogger Agnes In a series of gender-swapped portraits of various characters from the first Avengers movie, Agnes takes aim at the lack of gender diversity in superhero movies:

Shailene Woodley as Hawkeye
Kristen Stewart as Loki
Kate Beckinsale as Iron Man

Click the link for images of a gender-swapped Captain America, Bruce Banner, Thor, and yes, Black Widow.

While you’re doing that, MRAs will be doing this (warning: graphic imagery of exploding heads…ahead):

In true Scanners-style, the heads of MRAs go all KABLOOEY when gender equality and representation are discussed.
How to make an MRAs head explode