Movie Review: Innocence (2014)

(No Spoilers)This movie, officially released on 9/5, is much better than I thought it would be.

I know that’s vague.

This is a film for the Twilight, Vampire Academy, Beautiful Creatures crowd. And it starts out similarly to many other YA novels and flicks with a Plain Jane (in this case the “Jane” is Beckett Warner played by the adorable Sophie Curtis), a family tragedy (fridged parents everywhere!) and a move. It’s even raining in the first scene -there was no way not to think of Forks! 

As the movie progresses, Beckett remains reserved- logical for a teen who just experienced tragedy, but instead of being angsty and laying around in the grass; she makes friends with the snarky Jen (Sarah Sutherland, yes she is Kiefer’s daughter) and cute skater boy, Tobey (Graham Phillips). Beckett has friends! A girl who is a friend! She doesn’t just have haters that she’s better than! This is a bizarre thing to be excited about but it is actually very rare!

But things get strange for Beckett right off the bat. The school’s lavishly dressed staff and alumni all seem to rally around Beckett, either to help with her issues after her mother’s death or to hit on her father. Then she catches resident mean girl, Sunday, cutting herself and then Beckett almost gets squished during Sunday’s apparent suicide. After that, Beckett starts having nightmares and seeing ghosts. Her visions alert her to previous student deaths leading her to believe that there is more going on behind closed doors than “alumni book club”. Beckett becomes conflicted and doesn’t know who to trust. Meanwhile, the school nurse (Kelly Reilly, “Black Box”, Sherlock Holmes films) is lounging sexily around her apartment and adults everywhere are trying to keep her away from her new crush. 

This film is not without plotholes. You have to suspend disbelief to make it fit, but it’s good. Beckett isn’t socially awkward to the point of nonsense like Bella, she allows herself to be young and lash out unlike Katniss, her friends don’t just jump in and believe the crazy stuff she tells them like Clary’s friends. It’s like she’s a real teenager. She pursues Tobey. She even breaks into his house. Which I still don’t recommend, but it’s still less creepy than Edward watching Bella sleep. There’s no love triangle. The girls’ uniforms aren’t sexed up like the girls from Vampire Academy:


or the Coven Clique from The Craft


Beckett and Jen look and act like regular teenage girls without being reduced to boy crazy day dreamers or willed into impossibly cool and bad ass crime fighters. They share headphones, they make mistakes, their parents are clueless obstacles that have no idea what they are going through, they pierce each other. It actually had a little in common with Thirteen that way. And there is no “slut shaming“! There is a genuine teenage feel to this. And if you are into that sort of thing, you’ll dig it. 


The film sets up for a while that Beckett’s problems might be in her head, it’s not till fairly late in the film that the sinister secrets are revealed. There’s a few clues here and there. It’s also a good metaphor about adults, envious of youth, setting unrealistic expectations but then coveting their potential. It’s good. 

It made me interested in the novel as well, I would love to get more into Beckett’s headspace. At just an hour and a half the film is really quick and there’s not as much time for suspicious suicide pacts and exposition. The audience also doesn’t get to know why (if any reason) Beckett gets an elaborate grooming while others had not. I would be interested to see if Jane Mendelsohn dove further into those aspects when writing the original novel. It’s not a series, which is too bad, really.

3.75 plaid skirts!

Nerd News-Day Tuesday (Bonus Anime Content)

upworthy takes on female fantasy armor. Creator of 90s cartoon Gargoyles releases YA series that takes place on fictitious islands in the Bermuda Triangle includes ghosts supernatural forces as a group of friends try to solve a mystery. The Jem and the Holograms movie is being cast on tumblr but sadly it’s being made without creator Christy Marx


John Ostrander speaks up about the changes DC made to his character Amanda Waller.

In “But Why?” news: The Grudge is getting a reboot.

+Walking Dead tribute brew is made with …real brains. Smoked goat brains that is.

Any guesses as to what FOX’s mystery Marvel movie will be?

Bonus Content-

Attack on the Titan’s English dubbed version premiered at Anime boston last weekend

+epic new merch

Is This A Zombie was rereleased today as a “classic” by Funimation.

I’m staying optimistic about the rad diversity that the Sailor Moon reboot will bring.

eBook manga is hitting the US (+ beyond) thanks to Yen Press and Square Enix, first titles include Soul Eater and Black Butler.


13 Ways to Ensure I Will Not Like Your Book

1. The book involves racism against WHITE PEOPLE: White protagonists suffering at the hands of “evil minorities” solely because they are white. KNOCK THAT SHIT OFF.

2. The women in this book are all morons.

3. There’s one woman in the book and she incessantly talks about how much better than everyone else she is.

4. Misogynist werewolf nonsense

5. There’s one woman in this book who seems to be lacking all commonsense, reason and logic but is somehow a high ranking government agent/paranormal detective.

6. There’s one woman in this book and she’s supposedly mega-powerful but keeps needing to be saved (by the men! there are no women here)

7. Creepy brother and sister relationships. Game of Thrones gets a pass on this.

8. Instant-love. Soul bonds, mated pairs, fated couples. Blah blah blah. This implies that no one has any agency in their own destiny or happiness. And, it’s lazy writing. “Look I threw in some ‘magic’ so I didn’t have to waste time on writing how their perceptions of each other change and how they develop a mature relationship.”

9. Honestly, weretigers. Everything I’ve ever read with weretigers is dumb.

10. Stuff that out of nowhere goes on political/religious rants that make no sense for the story but were put in by the author who could just not resist spewing her bigotry.

11. “Immortality is a curse” What?! no!

12. Books that are obvious knock-off of the Hunger Games (I didn’t even love the Hunger Games).

13. Stalking/obsession/abuse as true love. We’re grown ups and we should know better. The sheer amount of this in YA and TV aimed at tweens is gross. Seriously, someone call To Catch A Predator.

I stole this idea from the Top Ten Tuesday Meme, but I made it my own. I will read any topic, even some of these if someone steps in and says “this is not okay!” But usually they don’t. It’s annoying. And mostly you can’t tell from the outside of the book if the author is unabashedly a vehement racist. I can’t read that shit.

Book Review #10- Mockingjay (Book 3 of Hunger Games)

This book begins where the other left off. Peeta and Katniss separated. Katniss is in District 13. Everyone is preparing for war.

I didn’t want to finish this series. I liked it. Really. More than I thought I would. But there came a point when I just knew there was going to be no way I was going to get what I wanted out of it. 

Katniss was rescued from the arena to be a symbol of the rebellion. Not because she could actually do anything. She’s manipulated from all sides. From the beginning, but it gets more flagrant as the series continues. The atrocity that it takes for her to FINALLY stand up against this is mindblowingly egregious. (By the time in the second book, when Peeta told everyone she was pregnant; I would have started shooting everyone who had a plan, involving me, that didn’t tell me about it. Goddamn ridiculous. BANG, you’re dead. Eff you.) But it was good that she finally got to that point. 

During the time when Peeta and Katniss are separated, Peeta is forced/coerced into making these videos that tell the rebellion to desist. Katniss stands up to President Coin and says that Peeta and the other tributes need to be granted immunity (in a rare moment of strength) it happened early on in Mockingjay, and I really thought a new tone would be set, but instead Katniss falls for the same old schemes and tricks.

The names in this book, in particular are ..silly. It was hard for me to keep the new characters straight (which didn’t seem to matter). So I’m not going to try to even debate the actions of female vs. male bit characters. They brought back Johanna, Johanna, former victor. Johanna, who was in on the rebel plan. Johanna, with no one left to love. Tortured. Snarky and addicted to morphling. Johanna and Katniss become (wait NOT friends) allies. Johanna and Katniss, have done nothing to prepare for combat and get sidelined, decide to train together, to which Johanna says, “…I’m going to the stinking Capitol if I have to kill a crew and fly there myself.” So they train together and take a test that “exploits their biggest weakness” and Katniss passes, and Johanna …has a mental breakdown. And doesn’t kill a crew. And stays in District 13.
Of course.

Couldn’t possibly have anyone else… no, no, wait.. Couldn’t possibly have any other FEMALES get their fucking shit together and get revenge of the Capitol. Two females who are both brave and tough? Better not have them both in one place too long. Peeta even shows up and is useful. But Johanna? Nope.

At some point in the rebellion, Katniss makes up a plan of her own, keeps it a secret from everyone. Which serves them right. But then, she feels bad about it, and confesses. And Gale says, “Katniss, we all knew you were lying…” SHE THINKS SHE’S ORCHESTRATING A PLAN AND THEY ARE ALL IN ON IT WITHOUT HER KNOWLEDGE. “Do you really think Jackson believed you had orders from Coin?” Of course not, because only Katniss will repeatedly fall for this shit! UGH! There are even 2 times in this (just THIS) book where something was explained to her but she still didn’t understand it.

And Peeta and Gale. Who you would think at some point, would actually realize that the earth is not revolving around them. Gale says something to the effect of, “She’ll choose whoever can help her survive this.” Which he didn’t say as an insult, but Katniss took as one. Most people don’t get fairy tale love. That’s real life. In fact, those coming from poverty are more likely to list requirements for marriage as “steady income”, where wealthier people are more likely to list “open communication”. Basic needs get met first, everything else comes later. If basic security isn’t met no one gives a shit about the other stuff. 




Most of them are operating around that orange area there, sometimes red. Gale is not. He’s much higher up on the pyramid there. Which is probably why he understands that. So, that’s interesting. Of course, I would have shot Peeta in book 2, so whatever. 

There was a whole angle, too, with the camera crew filming propos and live footage. Since I read this after Feed and Deadline, it made me think of the defacto After the End Times motto, “If you’re going to die, at least die on camera. It’ll be our highest ratings.” I thought it was a fair assessment of how media spin can motivate people’s actions and choices. 

I guess I have to rate this, there’s this thing with trilogies that the first book is really awesome and self contained. And the second one wraps things up but prepares to launch you in to the next book. At this point the author usually knows there’s backing for the third book so they leave some plot devices lying around. And then the third cleans up the loose ends and hopefully you get what you came for. 

Honestly, there wasn’t a lot of character development over the course of the three books. Katniss frequently says that she is not the same girl that volunteered to take Prim’s place. But in so many ways, she is. Which, sadly, I could have forgiven if Johanna got to go to combat (and not die) or married Gale or something. The characters may have annoyed me, but Suzanne Collins writes interesting backdrops and assesses the actions that those in power will take even when they are supposed to be “the good guys”. I feel obligated to give it a 4, but what I want to say is 3. 3 and 1/2? 3 and 1/2 cups lamb stew with dried plums. That’s all. 

Book Review #5- Hunger Games (Book 1)

1/4 the way in to the 48hbc, just finished Hunger Games. 

Quickie Review:

Are there any vegans here? Nope, but locavores abound.

Where the ladies at? Katniss, duh. Smart, strong, skilled, resourceful uhhh…. yeah. Of course, there isn’t much else to mention on that front. Rue was smart and savvy, but could never have been victorious. And all the other girls were nameless goons or helpless fools. I doesn’t have to be that way, for the record. Katniss could have volunteered over her little brother, not her sister who was too sensitive to hunt. Any of the boys or men who helped her in District 12 out could have been girls. By establishing one dominant female (there can be only one!!!!) only. ever. it breeds contempt between women. And I know Katniss and Rue helped each other out in the arena and I was glad to see it, but let’s face it, it was brief (and Rue’s death was a plot device). 

Random Stuff- “It’s to the Capitol’s advantage to have us divided among ourselves!”

And Katniss thinking that she doesn’t know who she will be when she gets home if she’s not a poor girl from the Seam who breaks the law to go hunting. If she’s not that scavenger. 

It’s a difficult mentality to break. Poor people win the lottery or come into money in a hurry don’t even know what to do with it, and it usually runs out quick or doesn’t bring satisfaction. The pervasive idea is that money will cure everything, It’s rarely true. And I like the way it was described and that the awareness was conveyed well. 

And for your listening pleasure: 

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