Movie Review- Wonder Woman

Most obviously, Wonder Woman was the reason Batman Vs Superman was even watchable. As soon as her theme hit the audience knew she was there to save Batman, Superman and all of us from banality. Gal Gadot filling Wonder Woman’s boots and bringing the Princess of Themyscira to life in her own major motion picture filled many fans with excitement. But still many were cautious… or even critical of her armpits.

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The movie begins first in the present day with a gift from Bruce. But we are quickly treated to Diana’s origin story. A young Diana, running through the roads of Themyscira. The only child on the island, she’s impatient to start her training to be an Amazon warrior. Destined to protect the world from Aries’s corruption. She grows up on a diverse island of bad bitches, everything is going so well. Until Nazis show up. (Okay, not really, just Germans.)

To be fair. First it’s Chris Pine. Who is a British Spy with no sign of an accent. He’s taken with her and the other Amazons (and their bioluminescent springs), but he is on a mission. Diana quickly decides to join him as she is discovering her true strength. Compared to even the other Amazons she is strong, she is trained 10 times harder (they say trained, not that she is naturally more powerful) but she doesn’t know what waits across the ocean.

People have been right to draw parallels between the behavior of Diana and Thor. Smart, although somewhat bewildered because of being raised without the industrial revolution. Honorable. Hyper capable. Muscular. Armor clad.

People also have some interesting ideas about how her upbringing affects to her ability to consent. The blogger, Christina Cauterucci states that there’s a love story “shoehorned in” is positioned as a “no homo” to Diana’s “inherently queer backstory”. I would argue that it’s not. The love story develops quickly and expectedly, yes. But why the upbringing is “inherently queer” when the other main characters on Themyscira are Diana’s mother and aunt and Diana is a generation younger than everyone else… I’m not sure. Cauterucci quotes Diana as saying that she learned about sex from books and knew men were necessary for reproduction but not pleasure. So maybe Diana did get some. It’s not implied any further than that whether she has or hasn’t had sexual contact. How this leads Cauterucci to the assertion that Diana’s ability to consent is blurry, I am unclear. Diana has never met a man, but that does not mean she has a child’s mind, and she barely had a sip of beer before they went to dance.

Steve Trevor doesn’t doubt her, he does talk down to her a bit because she doesn’t understand social conventions which could be annoying, if it wasn’t under the context of Steve urgently trying to stop WW1. Although they did have time for a clothes shopping montage in the midst of it which I did find obnoxious.

There are a couple other women central to the plot, one is Steve’s secretary, Etta. Etta didn’t ask for more responsibility but she handled it competently enough and she even got a brief moment of heroics. And then there is Dr. Poison. I was actually surprised there wasn’t more conflict between the two women, because usually there can be only ONE powerful woman. And they seek to destroy each other above all else. But that’s not the case here. Although Dr. Poison does get jealous over a distracting Diana in a blue dress after Steve accidentally wavers his attention. Dr. Poison is never fully fleshed out but her motives are her own and she takes great pride in her work… there’s something to be said for that… right?

Diana appreciates everyone for their efforts, whether its flying, sailing, fighting or singing, but she stays focused on her own quest. She is truly a Wonder Woman.

5 Stars

Alright, so leave me a comment if you want to debate consent, pit hair, how men control the whole world but don’t even know to take the eggs from the back when they go to the grocery store, if you think Wonder Woman could lift Mjolnir, if Steve Trevor is average or if you think I should have boycotted because Gal Gadot is a Zionist.

Movie Review- Horns (2014)

I enjoyed this movie thoroughly, more than I was prepared to, in fact. The trailers had looked amusing, but it’s short theatrical release and mixed reviews prevented me from giving this one a fair shake. It turned out to be a bizarre, twisted whodunit. Very stylish, sort of Brick meets “Supernatural”.

Iggy Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) is suspected of murder after the love of his life is found murdered. The town and even his own family turn against him. He loses faith in God, and after a drunken bender that sets him pissing on religious artifacts, he sprouts horns. Far from just head gear, those around him start confessing to their deepest -and sometimes darkest- thoughts to him, and caving into their desires at his mere suggestion. Ig uses this to his advantage to punish those who seek to exploit Merrin’s death, and to seek out her true killer.

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This film is based on a novel by Joe Hill who wrote the graphic novel series “Locke and Key” and enough short stories to rival his father, Stephen King.

The characters themselves are wonderful, the truth is revealed in bits and pieces. But as always in media, certain tropes are prevalent. The male characters exist in many shades of gray. Radcliffe’s Ig is a mess following the death of his one true love Merrin (Juno Temple), he’s drunk and dirty and hanging by a thread. All understandable, but even in flashbacks, we see that he was never the most capable of his friends -Lee fixes Merrin’s cross necklace that Ig then returns for he appreciation, he nearly drowns on a dare. As an adult, he doesn’t seem to have much going on outside of Merrin. Ig’s brother, Terry (Joe Anderson) is a drug addicted musician, he lies to his brother and he didn’t even try to save Ig when he nearly drowned as a kid. Terry is somewhat of a coward. Lee was always the good friend, the attorney who vows to protect Ig, the friend who saved him from drowning, who stayed friends even after Ig gave him a defective cherry bomb that disfigured his hand. But Lee always coveted Merrin.

The women, however, fit another pattern all together. Glenna is promiscuous and viewed by the town as “trash” -she’s also the only person who truly reaches out to Ig, but this is somewhat overlooked. She could have played a more central role, but instead, Iggy encourages her to but the town in her rearviews and start over. Veronica (Heather Graham) lies about seeing Iggy chasing down Merrin and threatening her on the night she was killed so that she can get attention and see herself on magazine covers. She’s vain and vile. A liar. She has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. But Merrin? Merrin is pure, Merrin flirts via morse code and always wears a cross, she’s shown in beautiful dresses, sunlight radiating off her skin. Even in flashback, Lee points out that “Merrin is different from other girls” and he mentions how trashy Glenna is, and that the older boys only keep Glenna around because she’ll give them handjobs. And like all “perfect” women? Merrin dies. And worse? She dies for it.

And that’s why the whole town is angry, why Ig’s mother wishes he wasn’t her son, why his father thinks that Merrin was the best thing about Iggy. Because she was so pure.

Merrin, the mythical “perfect” woman is missed by everyone in a way that causes unending venom to be spewed at Iggy Perrish while Glenna does a Courtney Love impersonation and vain Veronica has seemingly no morals whatsoever.

But after all that, this is a very good flick.

Iggy brings out the worst in people. They delvolve, their deepest, darkest thoughts are acted upon before his eyes once he turns his back on God and grows horns. But he’s not a personification of evil. That’s hard to understand at first. He claims his innocence while turning into a devil. But he’s presented as a fallen angel and Merrin as an angel. Once he realizes how “persuasive” he is, he starts following leads and interrogating townspeople to find the truth. While the audience discovers that Merrin had a secret of her own. And Iggy must decide who is to blame and if his humanity can be saved.

Great effects, solid plot, consistent rules, unique storyline.

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Movie Review- Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse

Starring Joel Gretsch and Reilly Dolman (who?) as a father and son team that are forced into solving the cause of global disasters. Neil and Colin Martin are nearly killed by a freak meteor strike (while the dialogue plays up that both men are lonely and bad with women) and soon after are contacted by Kathryn Keen (Emily Holmes) who works for a private company with an interest in an artifact that she believes is causing the disasters. Neil is a professor and archaeologist who is illogically broke and jumps at the chance to help after Colin negotiates the fee up to $100,000.

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Neil and Colin make a series of preposterous Indiana Jones Lite finds, including rescuing Sophie (Andrea Brooks, star of the upcoming CW series “iZombie”) before Katherine reveals some questionable motives. The the Department Of Defense gets involved (one of the Agents is played by “Hemlock Grove” actor Aaron Douglas) and tries to shut down their science experiment/quest for adventure and salvation.

Neil discovers that the disasters all present themselves as Zodiac signs and they try to narrow down the upcoming dangers. The special effects are worse than Sharknado. Christopher Lloyd makes a cameo for no good reason. He doesn’t even say “Great Scott!”

There’s nothing remarkable about this film. There are pacing issues, fake science, bad effects, worse plot and an obvious ending. It’s like an Indiana Jones knock off for fans of Sharknado. There’s not much else to say about that. Andrea Brooks’ portrayal was the only highlight.

Couldn’t save this flop for me.

Part of my disdain may be that now when I here “apocalypse” that I expect ZOMBIES

1/5

Movie Review- Found (2014)

Based on Tom Rigney’s 2004 novel of the same title, Found has won big on the film festival circuit. 40 Official Selection awards, 15 best picture awards and 8 best actor awards. It’s a dark coming of age story that follows Marty (Gavin Brown), a bullied young boy who spend his free time watching horror flicks and creating graphic novels… and sneaking peeks at the decapitated heads inside of his older brother’s bowling ball bag.

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He knows his brother Steve (Ethan Philbeck) is a serial killer but he still wishes that they were closer like the old days. Their mother is clueless, or at least seems to be from Marty’s point of view, and their father is a racist and an asshole.

I can tell without looking that the Best Actor awards went only to Gavin Brown, because no one else there was doing any good acting. Ethan Philbeck delivers his lines in a bizarre manner, and audio quality and editing seem to make the other’s seem jerky and unsure. Everyone else looks like they are acting.

This film really could have gone places for me. It’s doing something really rare in horror, focussing on the emotion not of the tortured but on that of someone just on the outside. Following a family living in suburban paradise, a family who has secrets. Marty has an all too common real world problem, he’s bullied by classmates until his own friends turn on him. And a dysfunctional older brother who loves him. He thinks his parents are out of touch and he doesn’t understand what is happening around him. Steve takes revenge on Marty’s bully and Marty threatens a friend who turns on him that Steve will kill him… a stunt that he wonders if Steve will turn on him for.

And it would all be so perfect. So perfect.

Except that there is a movie within the movie, called “Headless” (which you can watch in full on the DVD) which involves a serial killer who hacks women to bits and then fucks the decapitated heads. Not to mention that Steve’s killings are racially motivated. Why? We were going along so well without racism, And needless skullfucking. And uncomfortable to watch scene of eyeballs being eaten and regurgitated (although that one by itself isn’t a deal breaker). But after following horror nerd Marty around and people thinking he’s weird for liking pretty much all the shit that I like and having him misunderstood by peers -it seems thrown away to have Steve motivated by a horror VHS that he stole from the video store.

And I hate everything where there is rape or incest portrayed just to have it there. Because the heads in the bowling bags didn’t indicate that Steve was a bad guy or anything by themselves… right?

So it starts out rather poetic and then gets too weird at the end for me to have loved it the way that I would have without those troubling elements. Sadly, I feel like the purpose or moral of this story is thrown out nearly entirely by the break down of Steve’s character. It could have been so much more. But sadly, 2/5 stars.

Book Review: A Vision of Fire (by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin)

The reviews for this were optimistic and vague. Most seemed to center around the fact that the novel (the first of a series) is by Agent Scully. Taglines on the back proclaim, “Gillian Anderson is returning to the genre that made her a cultural icon.” -Entertainment Weekly, “This is basically the dream of nerds everywhere.” -Flavorwire. But is it? it’s cowritten by Jeff Rovin, he’s written 130 books of varying genres, fiction, non-fiction, TV shows. He frequently ghostwrites. Which makes me wonder how much of this was written by who. Not that it actually matters or not, a good book is a good book but if it is depending on a big name in Sci-fi to sell books and it’s that of an actress instead of an author… well, it seems like selling out.

Anyway, the characters are great. Caitlyn, Maanik, Ben, Jacob, Flora, Gaelle are well thought out and planned. No one appears just to stumble on clues for the MCs. Caitlyn is a professional woman with a well rounded life who embarks on this journey to find the cause of a traumatised child’s suffering and ends up finding ties to an ancient race. She travels the globe and starts a romance with a colleague without coming up Pollyanna-ish or forgetting she has a son, a family and other professional obligations. Which happens a ton in the fantasy genre (how is Sookie Stackhouse still employed?).

Book One of the Earthend Saga, as it also is called, starts out slow, the characterization works well, but we don’t get to the meat of what is happening until the last quarter of the book. The daughter of the ambassador to the United Nations witnesses an assassination attempt on her father and starts coming apart at the seams. Across the globe a boy spontaneously self-immolates. A political conflict in Kashmir threatens a world war. A woman watches her mother nearly drown in Haiti. And all these events are connected.

And Caitlyn comes to discover that the suffering is connected to events like this across time and space.

Suffering does not exist in a vacuum. We are all connected.

That is the main theme of the book, and it was enjoyable. But not astounding.

But if you think about it deeply, we are becoming more of a global society and we need to stop think of events in other countries as far away, about past tragedies as “long ago” or barbaric, we need to stop thinking of those suffering in war torn countries as “other”. We only have one planet here and no matter what, we are all connected and we are connected to events past and present and we have more in common than we may realize.

3/5 Stars

Male Objectification Monday- Shemar Moore

My recent nonstop bunge on Criminal Minds has definitely left me with a fixation for this hottie.Shemar Moore shemarmoore2 Shemar-Moore3

Granted, I haven’t seen this model turned actor flex his thespian chops in much else, he catches all my attention in Criminal Minds. Look at those abs.

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Anyway, seems like most Criminals Minds fans have a softspot for Mr. Matthew Gray Gubler, and he’s not ugly either:

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And he’s an easy crush, slim, awkward, oddly handsome, wacky hairdo, storylines that make you want to give him a big ole hug (from his early seasons struggles with his upbringing, with relating more to the unsubs than his coworkers, with not being able to pass the firearms test, to his PTSD/repressed memories in Las Vegas, his abandonment issues, SO MANY ISSUES) he’s always the one who has to talk the unstable off the ledge and if I was there I’d give him a big hug and cry my eyes out on the jet home. But I have a Whovian crush who fits that bill.

Derek Morgan gets to knock out brutes and steps up to lead the team when Hotch can’t. He also flirts with Penelope Garcia… a lot. He has some emotional plotlines as well but not with multiple episode story arcs like MGG, Prentiss, Elle, Rossi and Hotch. (Maybe he does in later seasons, let me know if I’m speaking too soon, I only catch the first run here and there)

BONUS: comic book connection

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Shemar Moore voiced Cyborg in Justice League War …put him in the JLA movie, DC. he definitely spruces up the place.

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Movie Review: ABC’s of Death 2 (2014)

The follow up to the original film makes you rethink your fragile existence with 26 more interesting short films of bizarre deaths. Not all of these are horror (though many are). The plots range from sadistic killers to vacations gone bad to children’s fantasies gone awry. Most are live action, but some are claymation or animated. Some send chills down your spine while others are quite poignant, and another references The Three Stooges.

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Some of Radio Of Horror’s favorites: A is for Amatuer gets the ball rolling with an action packed romp about a beginner level assassin. The most bizarre short was D for Deloused directed by Robert Morgan who is known for directing Tool music videos which are also bafflingly creepy. Believe that this stop motion animated freakshow of beheadings and bugs will make your skin crawl. E is for Equilibrium  switches the tone to something completely different with castaways fighting over a woman who washes up on shore. Then F is for Falling tugs on my heartstrings with the story of a female Israeli soldier whose parachute gets tangled in a tree is found by an armed Palestinian young man, in just a few short minutes Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado tell a modern story more gorgeous and heartbreaking than “Romeo and Juliet” that ties into current affairs that seem intangible and far away to much of the West and instantly it’s relatable, it’s just fascinating.

H is for Honorable Mention: H is for Headgames is an interesting concept: a man and a woman kiss and it turns into a surreal power struggle. I am a huge fan of Bill Plympton and I really wanted to like this one a bit more than I did. It was good, and instantly recognizable. I’ve been a geek for Bill Plympton since I Married a Strange Person came out in 1997 (just kidding, I was 12. I probably watched that for the first time in 2003).

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Bringing the horror: The contest winner (chosen from 541 submissions); M is for Masticate takes a turn for true crime and reminds us all about bath salts (did everyone just smarten up real quick about those or what?) and it was great, both humorous and terrifying. Hajime Ohata’s O is for Ochlocracy a mother protecting her child from zombies finds herself not in a struggle for survival but a legal battle when zombies are “cured” and coexist. S is for Split sees an ill fate for one half an unfaithful couple. In Jen and Sylvia Soska (The Demon Twins of Berlin in American Mary)’s T is for Torture Porn a woman harassed at an audition gets her hentai on. U is for Utopia gets sci-fi, big brother meets cosmetic culture when an unattractive man is targeted in a crowd of the fit and well groomed. V is for Vacation gets gritty and real with killer prostitutes. French actress Beatrice Dalle appears as a creepy and unstable babysitter in X is for Xylophone. Z is for Zygote creeped me out …mostly because the idea of being pregnant for 13 years is terrifying.

This film has many high points, although it is up for debate which ones are king. With bites from various genres, demographics, weapons of destruction, style and sentiments there is something for everyone. And it’s worth watching for that alone. Most of the actors are unknown and so the only thing to judge on is the direction, which is something so rare in the typical reboot and sequel cinescape, that’s what really makes this unique (even if it is the second time). The showcasing of new or relatively unknown directors with cult favorite directors made for innovative and enticing bites of film.

Worth the watch -just put down the popcorn during D for Deloused.

4/5

Produced by Ant Timpson and Tim League, distributed by Magnet Releasing.

Have you watched? What were your favorites?