WFTM Podcast Episode 28: What We're Looking Forward to in 2016

WFTM Episode 28.jpg

Man, time flies. Fernando and Leslie finally got some time to sit down to talk about all the things in film, television and books they're excited for in 2016. Yeah, it's a month late, but we're planning a wedding and work is killing me (Leslie), so... life, right?

Download it from the iTunes store here!

We’re now on Stitcher as well!! If Stitcher is your chosen app of podcasting choice, listen to the Working for the Mandroid podcast here.

Random Tuesday: Leslie's Favorite Summer Movies

Summer is over. Or at least in a calendar sense it is now over. It’s still 100 degrees here in Texas and probably will be for the next month. The big summer blockbuster movie season is over though, and over the next few months, we’ll get a lot of quieter award bait films with fewer explosions. So how did this summer blockbuster season measure up? Well, I couldn’t come up with five films that I would willingly sit down and watch all the way through again, so not very well.

I also realized while compiling this post that I didn’t see a ton of movies this summer. A lot of the big budget films looked like bloated wastes of time, so I steered clear of Transformers 4 (even with the dinosaur robots) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (even – or possibly because of – my renewed love of the characters). I like entertaining films, but I’m not keen on ones that treat me like I’m stupid. There were also several that had been on my radar, like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Maleficent, where my interest waned as reviews started coming in. Those films quickly landed on my “wait until Netflix” list instead (as did The Fault in Our Stars because there is no way I will voluntarily go to something I know will make me ugly cry in public).

So I made a list of the films I did see and there were four gems on the list. These are movies I would purchase to own. These will become my next Scott Pilgrim or Pitch Perfect, where no matter where it is in the movie, I will watch the rest of it every. single. time. it comes on HBO. These made me happy and left me hopeful that there still could be good blockbuster films to be made. Here are my top four films from the summer of 2014:

Guardians of the Galaxy


I saw this during my doctor-induced blogging hiatus, so my sheer love for this film wasn’t as well documented as it would have been otherwise. This may be my favorite movie on the year so far, though I really don’t want to pit Pratt against Pratt, so I haven’t been thinking too hard about if this beats the nostalgic glee of The LEGO movie.

This movie should have been a mess of nonsense, but instead we got an authentically entertaining mix of action and heart. Is this a perfect movie? Absolutely not, but it’s a fun movie that left me smiling from ear to ear as I left the theatre. A month later and I still desperately want a baby Groot of my very own.

 

Lucy


WHERE IS MY FEMALE SUPERHERO MOVIE?! The Internet – or at least the parts of the web I travel – was screaming this over and over again after Lucy came out. It was fast paced and surprising with a bizarre twist ending that I never would have predicted. Scarlett Johannsson kicked some major ass and not a damsel in distress was seen after the first ten minutes. I just wish the commercials and trailers hadn’t given away all the big action-y bits, so that it would have felt newer. Even so I had high hopes for this movie and it fulfilled expectations.

 

Snowpiercer


I thought Snowpiercer was going to be a giant wreck. I’d followed the politics and drama with its US release, so I wasn’t even all that interested in seeing it. But the Internet promised me that it was the original director’s cut and not some nonsense Weinstein disaster, so we took a chance. And it was good. I never had any particular feelings towards Chris Evans before now, but I kinda want to see everything he’s ever been in. This movie is pretty straight forward with a predictable story, but it’s the details and the performances that make it so awesome. Don’t think too hard about the logic or plausibility for the setup of the film because you might start bleeding out the ears. Action mixed with some seriously bizarre visuals made this one of the most unexpected and entertaining hour and a half of my summer.


X-Men: Days of Future Past


I knew the basics about the comic storyline for Days of Future Past, and this movie wasn’t the comic. Instead it was a weird pseudo-political thriller action adventure dystopian whatsit taking place over two time periods drawn together by Wolverine. Even so, I would watch James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender stare at each other for two hours. Thankfully I didn’t have to and I got to watch a comic book movie instead. It’s not perfect, but at least I liked Jennifer Lawrence’s Rogue in this one. This barely made my list of favorites for the summer, but the ridiculous set pieces were thankfully overshadowed by some over-the-top-but-highly-entertaining performances from the main cast. Also Quicksilver = the best.


Honorable Mention: Captain America: The Winter Soldier


This movie made it feel like summer came early. I can’t wait to get my hands on the DVD, so I can watch it over and over again to see the things that I missed. The first Captain America movie verged on boring and it’s not one I’ve revisited since its release, but in this second one, Steve Rodgers has a lot more heart and having him paired up with Black Widow gave him a great opportunity for snark and great banter. I fell in love with Falcon and my heart hurt for Bucky, so all around this movie was filled with great characters that I want more from. The giant battle towards the end was way over the top, but it provided great opportunities for action sequences and impressive stunt work (that was probably all computer generated, but whatevs).

 

Movie I’m Scared to See: The Giver

I almost went to see this and then 7-year-old me started kicking me in the stomach and yelling,” NO NO NO NO!” The Giver is one of those literary touchstones in my life – a book that had such an impact on my life view as well as my reading habits that I couldn’t stand seeing it destroyed on screen. While I won’t say The Giver single-handedly turned me into a lifelong reader, it did introduce me to how to escape into a totally different world through reading (or in my case hearing) some words that were written down. I’ve heard mixed reactions to the movie, so I think I’m going to have to protect 7-year-old me and avoid this screen adaptation.

 

All right, friends. What were your favorite movies from the summer? Was there something glaringly missing from my list that I must dropped everything and go see right now? Will The Giver break my 7-year-old heart? Let me know if the comments.

 

Gifs were created by people more awesome than me. If they are yours, let me know and I'll be happy to credit.

Random Tuesday: Read All the Books, Overpriced Batman Clothes & Other Randomosity

I'm having one of those days where you remember about a hundred different little things that you meant to do days ago, that you promised people days ago, and yet somehow the Earth spun around the sun a few times and suddenly I'm here with none of those things done. Where do days go and how can we make them stay a little longer? Perhaps Random Things will help.

First of all, hello Mr. Falcon. Aren't you looking all badass and awesome? I'm firmly on whatever team thinks we need more superheroes with cool flying contraptions.

How did life-sized Mario Karts not exist before now? Thanks to Geekosystem and The Mary Sue for providing me this discovery.

Disney Netflix will soon be a thing it seems. Hopefully that doesn't mean that they'll pull their superhero films from Netflix. (found via TheMarySue.com)

Black Milk Clothing has an entire line of overpriced Batman inspired clothing. I'm not sure how people would react to me showing up to pool parties with a capped one piece. They also have a Hogwarts inspired line and soon a Game of Thrones line.

Amtrak is starting a "writer residency" program on their trains in case you're a writer that lives near an Amtrak line.

Thanks to a study done at Emory University and introduced to me by Lifehacker, I now have another good reason to read instead of doing something else considered "productive" by my peers.

So the current pilot season is full of comic book adaptations and one of them is a version of Constantine from Hellblazer. Thankfully they've casted a British guy to play the lead. (from The Hollywood Reporter)

I'm ending this Random Tuesday with another Marvel-related image. What happened to you, Amy Pond? Please don't eat my soul.

Trailer Park Friday: Captain America, Robot Bromance, the Doctors & Silly Supernatural

It's Friday, YAY! That means I get to sleep in tomorrow morning and read for two days straight! I'm going to be on my best behavior and not do an entire Trailer Park Friday post full of Benedict Cumberbatch interviews that I found during several hours of Youtubing earlier this week. Instead have some superheroes, some robots and some silly Supernatural boys.

First up is Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which doesn't come out until next April. I thought the first Cap movie was just all right, though I did end up enjoying it more than I had expected. The preview of the second one looks far superior even if it doesn't have Peggy Carter.

Along with bumping the start date to November 17, FOX put out a new trailer for Almost Human. This video may be under 2 minutes, but it has me thoroughly convinced that this may become my favorite show. Television needs more snarky robots.

BBC finally released a teaser trailer for the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who though it doesn't show any footage and it looks like Matt Smith is wearing a terrible wig. Either way, it got my excited to see the episode on November 23.

And just because it's Friday and my hours of Youtube perusing this weekend kept bringing me back to it, have Jensen Ackles being silly. And then even more Supernatural silliness.

 

What videos have caught your eye this week? If you send me links to Cumberbatch videos, you are sending me down a black hole of life sucking propotions (but I will love you anyway).

Random Tuesday: Zombie Book Birthdays, Explaining Doctor Who, Robots & More

First up, I would like to happily say HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY to Lia Habel and Ilsa J Bick, who have sequels to two of my favorite reads from the past year coming out today. Dearly, Beloved is the continuation of Dearly, Departed, the awesome sauce steampunk-in-the-future Victorian zombie novel that made me feel conflicted about it's lead male character and had me questioning myself. And then Bick's Shadows is the continuation to Ashes, which had me cursing like a sailor upon finishing it because I had no idea it was the beginning of a series and it has the worst/best cliffhanger I've seen in a long while.

Reviews for both are forth-coming, but don't wait for me to tell you how stupendously awesome they are. Go buy them now - Dearly, Beloved here and Shadows here.

 

Our site's motto is "Because the World Needs More Robots". Here's some more robots:

Designed by Daniel Nyari, you can buy a poster copy or get the illustration on all sorts of things through his Society 6 page.

 

My birthday is coming up, so you know, if you were wondering what to get me...

 

I love Doctor Who. I've introduced it to several people, who now also love it. It might have been easier to get them to make the leap into the TARDIS if I'd had this comic (found via GeeksAreSexy.net)

 

Steven Spielburg's version of Robopocalypse (another book I've read recently that I loved) is starting to get a cast. Ben Whishaw definitely doesn't fit my idea of the hacker Lurker, but whatevs. ROBOTS!

 

A girl in Toronto proposed to her boyfriend via a Scott Pilgrim themed scavenger hunt, which is awesome.

 

And that's what I have for this week in Random Tuesday. Have you found any cool random things around the interwebs lately?

A Week of Random: Random Tuesday - Superhero Videogames, Superhero Art, Superhero Cartoons, Superhero Cupcakes

Five minutes ago, I was unaware this even existed. Now I desperately want this more than anything else in the world and it's my new favorite videogame.

Look! I can be Robin! Or Nightwing! Or Superman! Or the Flash! Or Catwoman! Or or or... I really hope Batgirl is an option. As far as I know, none of the Lego games have been completely open world (Harry Potter is kind of close), but I have loved every single one of them that I've played.  I am so excited about this game and I want it right now.

And now I've just checked on Amazon and it comes out in FOUR WEEKS! If I go missing around June 19, you guys will know why.

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Movie Mini-Reviews: Captain America: The First Avenger / Cowboys and Aliens

Cowboys & Aliens

Cowboys & Aliens is a giant popcorn movie.  Pretty much all you need to know about this movie's plot is in the title.  There are cowboys and there are aliens.  They don't get along.  Cowboys ride their horses and shoot their little guns, aliens ride their spaceships and rope the cowboys like cattle.  It's not exactly a complicated story, so what needs to hook you are the characters.

Harrison Ford plays a wealthy jackass named Dolarhyde, who has a drunken jackass son who gets arrested for "accidentally" shooting a deputy.  The son then disappears for just about the entire movie.  A number of other vaguely introduced characters also disappear for most of the movie.  These characters will not hook you.

Daniel Craig is an amnesiac cowboy named Jake Lonergan.  It's implied from the beginning that he's not exactly the most honest of men, and past deeds mean that he and Dolarhyde butt heads.  Until they don't.  For no apparent reason other than Lonergan has a gizmo on his wrist that can shoot down the alien ships.  He probably won't hook you either unless you're hooked by the fact he's ruggedly attractive.

Then there's Sam Rockwell, who is generally brilliant in all things, playing a bartender every one calls Doc.  He doesn't know how to handle a gun and the aliens took his wife.  These are the only things we ever learn about him.  This makes me sad.

The first half is a great cowboy movie.  I say it's great because I don't generally like cowboy movies and I liked this one, so really it might mean it's an awful cowboy movie.  It's a group of men riding dusty roads attempting a rescue mission, coming across violent bandits and fighting among themselves.  Then, half way into the movie, both Dolarhyde and Lonergan's characters flipflop into different people.  Now Dolarhyde is a gruff but nice old man, who looks after kids and is respected by those around him.  Longergan is an honorable man who is just misunderstood.  And all the while these aliens are flying around, snatching people and being a general annoyance.

My biggest problem with the film is simple: the cowboys could never beat the aliens.  The aliens are high tech with their laser gizmos and flying ships, not to mention their armored skin and the fact that bullets don't seem to have much of an impact.  The cowboys have horses and little hand guns.  One of the guys is a little more prepared and has a nice shotgun (my weapon of choice for any future zombie or alien attack).  During the pinnacle scene where the cowboys and aliens finally face each other in battle, an endless number of cowboys appear out of nowhere and they seem to have suddenly obtained invincibility and/or immortality.

The side plot with the girl was silly and unneeded, so I'm not even going to talk about it other than to ask: Does Olivia Wilde ever play a character that isn't dead eyed and bland?

This could have been so awesome and it just wasn't.  It's not a horrible movie.  It's not a good movie.  It's... just sorta there.

 

C-

Disappointing execution to a potentially awesome concept; inconsistent characterization; complete waste of Sam Rockwell; Daniel Craig is still hot, though his American accent threw me off a little

 

 

Captain America: The First Avenger

I went into Captain America exhausted from Comic Con and with a creeping migraine threatening to make my trip home hellish.  This movie had a million things going against it in my head: my disinterest in Chris Evans, the creep factor of seeing Chris Evan's face on a teeny tiny body, my general boredom with war movies, and the fact that most of the comic book movies this summer have been disappointing.

And yet, I really liked it in a "shut your brain off and enjoy the explosions" sort of way.

A quick tutorial on Captain America: he's a scrawny kid from Brooklyn that wants to fight in World War II, but gets rejected for a number of reasons.  A nice scientist decides to try an experiment on him and turns the kid into a giant, muscular super soldier.  He runs fast, he jumps high, and he has a really awesome shield.  Oh yes, and he's also the ultimate patriot good guy or something.

Skinny Steve Rogers still creeped me out and I was happy when he became the super soldier, though I also wanted someone to poke his pecs with a sharp pin to see if air would leak out.  His hat is also stupid.  Why with the hat?  Why not the get up without the hat?  No one else was wearing a hat, and if they were, it was a somewhat protective metal helmet, not a rubber toboggan.  

Hugo Weaving, playing a psychotic Nazi supernatural specialist war hero named Johann Schmidt, excelled at creepy before he ever showed himself as Red Skull.  AND he played the bad guy without me expecting him to say "Mr. Anderson"* all slow and evil-like, which doesn't happen very often.  He's probably scarier with his actual face on, too, which I don't mean as an insult.  Once he's Red Skull, it's all a bit over-the-top and silly as comic book villains tend to be.

Chris Evans is... whatever.  Passable, I suppose.  He makes Steve likable and believably courageous without seeming too cocky or too much of a Marty Stu (though Captain America just might be the biggest Marty Stu ever in history).  

One of the best parts was a simple scene in the middle of a exciting chase.  Having just turned into a super soldier, Steve is chasing on foot an evil Nazi infiltrator who just murdered his scientist creator.  The evil Nazi grabs a young boy as a hostage and drags him down a pier to his super-secret Nazi submarine, where he throws the boy off the pier so Steve will have to dive in and save the boy, not chase after him.  Except the boy yells at Steve to forget him and go after the bad guy because he knows how to swim!

I know there are probably lots of 10-year-old children that don't know how to swim, but it was nice to see a kid that could save himself in the end so that the hero could do the overall "save the day" thing.  It's the small things that make me happy.  Such as how well they integrated this movie into the timeline previously built in the Iron Man films, what with a trip to a Stark Expo and Howard Stark being all technical inventor guy.

We also get a montage of Steve Rogers acting as the "face of the war effort" in a nice song-and-dance troupe where he gets to wear the silly classic Captain America costume.  We also get to see a lot of things blow up and soldiers shooting the Nazis' laser guns at the bad guys.  There's zip-lining and eventually a plane full of bombs that leads to the inevitable - Captain America magically being in the current day so he can be in the Avengers and get into arguments with Robert Downey Junior Iron Man Tony Stark.

 

B-

Big dumb stupid fun; things go ka-blaamo and there are laser guns; Bucky was sorely underutilized and Jensen Ackles should have been Captain America**

 

* A reference to The Matrix for you young whippersnappers out there

** Me, holding a grudge?  Never...***

 

 

*** And Matt Bomer should have been Superman!