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.

WFTM Episode 25.2: Sword Fights & The Not-So-Good Dino

Leslie and Fernando return to talk television and movies. Was The Good Dinosaur any good? Is Into the Badlands bad? Did season 2 of The Leftovers make Leslie want to lie on the couch and die like the first season did? And exactly how ridiculous was The Flash/Arrow crossover last week? All these questions are answered along with some more Star Wars talk, new development news and the latest Marvel MCU rumors.

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

So what’s in Episode 25.2?

Where we just talk about television and movies!

News:

Joe Hill’s Nos4a2 getting developed by AMC

People already in line for Star Wars: Force Awakens

Marvel Netflix Characters Probably Won’t Be in MCU Because It’s Too Complicated?

What We’re Watching:

The Good Dinosaur

Into the Badlands

The Leftovers

Arrow/Flash crossover extravaganza!

Our Favorite Thing We Watched This Week:

Fernando: The Leftovers

Leslie: Into the Badlands


Follow us on Twitter @WorkforMandroid and @fernborrego

Email your questions, concerns, thoughts and comments to WorkingfortheMandroid@gmail.com


Intro & Outro Music is “Robot Army” by Quiet Music for Tiny Robots, provided via freemusicarchive.org through a Creative Commons License

 

Leslie's Favorite Movies from Summer 2015

I have to admit it. This summer was filled with a number of lackluster movies for me. I’ve become bored by summer blockbusters that don’t provide anything new or interesting to the usual formula. Because of that, we skipped several of the big tent pictures that most people would assume we would see. At the same time, the ones we did see, generally left me unimpressed and wishing I’d spent the time binge watching something on Netflix instead. I’m honestly shocked that this was apparently the second best summer for box office numbers. But there were a few standouts this summer, so here are the top movies I actually enjoyed.

Please note that I’ve had to count April as “summer” just so I could get four for my list.

Ant-Man

I had no expectations for Ant-Man, which could be why I enjoyed it so much opposed to Age of Ultron. Paul Rudd is a charismatic actor, but a movie needs more than that to keep me entertained for two hours. Luckily Ant-Man is full of humor, sight gags and interesting action sequences. Even all the CGI didn’t bother me like it did in Ultron because Paul Rudd’s face was covered. I adored Scott’s relationship with his daughter, his grudgingness to do the wrong thing in order to do what was right and the training sequences. The only thing this movie could have done better was not force the romance between Scott and Evangeline Lily’s Hope van Dyne at the end of the film, which felt forced and unearned. Not every superhero needs to romance his badass leading lady, guys.

Mission: Impossible – Rouge Nation

The dialogue is this movie is so stupid and Tom Cruise lacks any depth whatsoever, but this movie is still fun. The stunts are amazing and the scenery is gorgeous. Though I have to admit that this film makes the list because of Rebecca Ferguson’s Ilsa Faust, who not only can hold her own in a fight, but also takes off her unreasonably high heels before running, climbing or fighting someone. Practicality in a femme fatale is rare and I appreciate it so much. Simon Pegg is delightful as always and Alec Baldwin did some nice scenery chewing too. This thing isn’t going to win any awards, but I didn’t feel like I wasted my time watching it either.

pitchperfect2.jpg

Pitch Perfect 2

It’s not as good as the first one, and it’s has some seriously problematic stereotypes it leans on for jokes, but I still laughed. The music is great and I imagine the re-watchability of this one will be nearly as high as the original. I have no idea how they’re going to shoe horn a third movie into the series, but I’ll go see it just for more of Anna Kendrick’s Beca being an awkwardly amazing badass.

Ex Machina

Technically it came out in April, but it has been one of the most enjoyable films we’ve seen this year. It’s a quiet, creepy little drama about a boy, his robot and the boy he uses to test his robot until it all falls apart in the end. All the performances from Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander are nuanced and subtle, words rarely used with summer films. This film made me think, kept me captivated and gave me the creeps all at the same time. It really deserved more attention than it received.

The Biggest Disappointment: Age of Ultron

I have a hard time putting my issues with Age of Ultron in words that haven’t been said a million times over. It had way too much crammed into a short amount of time. Subplots of Clint and Natasha to “humanize” them left me cold and often annoyed. Thor’s jaunt into a random supernatural hot tub made absolutely no sense. The twins were little more than cyphers of supernatural abilities. It felt like something tying it all together was curled up on the cutting room floor, and I just left the theatre sad that I didn’t love it like Winter Solider or Guardians of the Galaxy. Maybe after a rewatch, it’ll sit with me better, but this was the first sign to me that the Marvel Universe had gotten too big and too unwieldy to cram all into one movie.

Other big disappointments could have been Mad Max: Fury Road or Jurassic World, but I had no expectations for those and being incredible bored (or car sick in the case of Fury Road) was unsurprising.


Looking through the movies that came out the last few months, the only one I didn’t see but could have possibly rounded out this list to a full five would have been Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I think it looked too YA drama for Fernando to go with me, and it was only playing at our local indie theatre for two or three weeks. I look forward to seeing it when it comes out on DVD.

I’m hoping that this fall and winter will bring far more films worth my time and money. With Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Martian and Mockingjay Part 2 still to come later this year, perhaps there will be some more blockbusters worth my time before the year is out. What films did you enjoy this summer and which ones are you looking forward to this fall? Share in the comments!

WFTM Podcast Episode 12: Zombies Shouldn't Make You Sleepy

In this week’s episode Leslie and Fernando discuss some new pilots that we might be seeing on television next year, whether Fear the Walking Dead is worth the Walking Dead name, the cheesy action of Mission: Impossible – Rouge Nation, and a new Star Wars book plus much more.

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

So what’s in Episode 12?

News:

Help Kickstart the US Megabot!

The Second Season of Gotham Will Have a Gender-Swapped Firefly

CBS Is Adapting Luna: New Moon for Television and the Book Isn’t Even Out Yet

NBC Is Creating an Office-style Show Involving an Insurance Company in the DC Universe

ABC Is Really Spinning Mockingbird Off of SHIELD via Marvel’s Most Wanted

What We’re Watching:

Fear the Walking Dead Pilot Broke Cable Records

Killjoys season 1

Documentary Now! Pilot

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

What We’re Reading:

Dark Disciple by Christie Golden (Star Wars Universe)

Comic Con and the Business of Pop Culture by Rob Salkowitz

Up Next: Hawkeye Volume 1 by Matt Fraction and David Aja & School for Sidekicks by Kelly McCullough

What We Predict For the Next Week:

Fernando: He will love the season finale for Mr. Robot

Leslie: She will also love the season finale for Mr. Robot, remain obsessed with the Gilmore Guys podcast and remain very happy about the latest Marvel Collector Corp box.

Follow us on Twitter @WorkforMandroid and @fernborrego

Email your questions, concerns, thoughts and comments to WorkingfortheMandroid@gmail.com

 

Intro & Outro Music is “Robot Army” by Quiet Music for Tiny Robots, provided via freemusicarchive.org through a Creative Commons Licens

Review: Ms Marvel Volume One: No Normal by G Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona

Ms Marvel: No Normal
G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona

Marvel
Released October 30, 2014
120 pages
Comics / Superheroes!

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

Marvel Comics presents the new Ms. Marvel, the groundbreaking heroine that has become an international sensation!
Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she's suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she's comin' for you, Jersey!
It's history in the making from acclaimed writer G. Willow Wilson (Air, Cairo) and beloved artist Adrian Alphona (RUNAWAYS)! Collecting MS. MARVEL (2014) #1-5 and material from ALL-NEW MARVEL NOW! POINT ONE #1.

I’ve been reading a lot of comics this summer, some more classic ones and some recent ones. Even with new Batgirl comics and things by Noelle Stevenson, by far Ms. Marvel has been my favorite of the bunch. This is just a honestly fun comic without the darkness, grittiness or emotional baggage of many superheroes comics. It’s full of discovery and joyfulness that is really missing even in the Marvel universe overall.

This first volume of G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona’s Ms. Marvel introduces us to Kamala Khan, a girl from Jersey City who has been raised by immigrant parents in a somewhat traditional Muslim manner. She attends gender segregated mosque services, she wears conservative clothing, and has a bit of a suffocating home life for a teenage girl. The one time she sneaks out of the house to disobey her parents and attend a party, she gets caught in some smog cloud of doom. When she wakes up, she suddenly has the ability to transform herself into her hero, the former Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers. What’s a girl to do with these budding powers and how will she use them to do good when she’s grounded?

From page one this book is so much fun. Kamala is the new Peter Parker in the sense that she’s a normal teenage girl with a life who gets sucked into having crazy powers that she has to discover and then decide what she’s going to do with them. She’s stuck attempting to balance school, family and her new extracurricular endeavors while trying to hide her new inhumanness from the world around her. It leads to a lot of sneaking around and lying, which just gets her into more and more trouble while she tries to save her New Jersey town.

I really loved the cultural elements that G. Willow Wilson puts throughout the graphic novel, including moments showing Kamala’s faith and her family life. These things immediately added depth to the character and her world, while providing me insight into a culture I’m not that familiar with. It was different and refreshing to see this side of a superhero instead of the whole story being about which bad guy she’s going to punch next. She’s also a complete fangirl, which is fun to relate to with some as kickass as Kamala is becoming.

Adrian Alphona has a great art style that could pop off the page and become a solid “realistic” animated cartoon. The emotions he’s capable of expressing with the swipe of just a few lines are fantastic, while he’s able to maintain Kamala’s personality even as she’s transforming and wearing a mask.

I loved Ms. Marvel: No Normal for how different it felt while still being a story about a superhero discovering their powers and seeing the world differently. This is a fun story that is great for younger readers in a way that most superhero comics really aren’t. I’m really looking forward to reading more about Kamala’s adventures and how she develops into a superhero herself.

Why I Couldn't Care Less About Marvel's New Spider-Man

I guess it shouldn't really matter who is in the suit considering half the movie is CGI anyway...

I guess it shouldn't really matter who is in the suit considering half the movie is CGI anyway...

Late Tuesday Marvel Studios announced that they had finally found their new Peter Parker in Tom Holland. I don’t know if many people are familiar with the name Tom Holland, but he’s an 19-year-old British actor who has been in things like The Impossible, Wolf Hall and something coming out soon called In the Heart of the Sea. I know I couldn’t have told you who this kid was, though he has a passing resemblance to Billy Elliott (also known as Jamie Bell).

This is not Tom Holland. That's Jamie Bell from  Billy Elliot . This gif just makes me smile.

This is not Tom Holland. That's Jamie Bell from Billy Elliot. This gif just makes me smile.

What I can tell you is that I could care less about another version of Peter Parker. I am so bored with Peter Parker, and that’s coming from someone who loved Andrew Garfield’s fluffy haired version of the character. I didn’t love the movies he was put into, but his version of the character was great and his chemistry with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy was possibly the most perfect version I could image on film.

But with five movies in 13 years, I just do not care about another Peter Parker Spider-Man film. I get that the Civil War comic book story line really relies on having a Peter Parker, but Marvel Studios has made massive changes to well-known plot lines before. They could easily have replaced Peter with the never-before-seen-on-screen Miles Morales and had a new Spider-Man that not only added diversity, but didn’t require rebooting a character for the third time in less than 15 years.

I can’t bring myself to care about another Peter Parker, even with Marvel (mostly) controlling the reigns. The Amazing Spider-Man movies relied too heavily on special effects, forgetting to put much heart or plotting into the story, and leaving their far superior cast to do more heavy lifting to give the films any sort of charisma. And I don’t even want to talk about Spider-Man 3. None of the films have fully gelled since Spider-Man 2 and even that one had the problem of Tobey Maguire being a milquetoast–verging-on-whiney Peter Parker.

Perhaps having a truly younger version of Peter will give this new version of the franchise more life than the last three movies, but I have a fear that we’re just going to get a rehash of a Peter Parker origin story that we’ve already seen twice. It’s been done. Let’s move on to something new and interesting. Even Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone couldn’t make the second retelling seem new, interesting or intriguing. We knew all the plot beats before we ever entered the theatre because pretty much the same movie had been made a decade before.

Maybe Marvel will skip the origin story this time, but I honestly can’t see that happening. Origin stories are just so easy to do, and knowing that pretty much everyone and their mom knows Peter Parker’s story at this point probably won’t be enough to persuade Marvel to try something more creative.

This is Tom Holland, by the way.

This is Tom Holland, by the way.

I wish Tom Holland best of luck and I hope he and the Marvel team surprise me. I can’t imagine he’ll get much screen time with the already over bloated cast of Captain America: Civil War, but maybe they’ll figure out a way to make him stand out. It’s just going to take something special to cause me to have any interest in seeing Spider-Man The Redux Again (He’s Really Younger This Time!) in 2017.

I’ll just be over here waiting for Captain Marvel when I can genuinely get excited about Marvel movies again..

Are you excited to get another, younger Spider-Man in 2017? Who would you have cast if given the chance? Do you know who Tom Holland is? Hit up the comments to discuss.

Random Tuesday: Leslie's Favorite Movies from 2014

Oh I know, this post is ancient history already, isn’t it? 2014 is so three weeks ago, but the flu knocked me out for some time right after I made resolutions to not panic, so here I am on January 20 writing about last year. This is me not panicking and celebrating the movies that made me happy last year.

While making this list, I realized there were dozens of films I never got around to seeing. That makes me sad, but alas it's true. If your personal favorite is missing from this list, let me know about it in the comments and I’ll be happy to add it to my Netflix queue. I’m always looking for great movies to watch!

The Cabin in the Woods

This didn’t come out in 2014, but I finally saw it in 2014. Joss Whedon once again delivers the unexpected, creating a horror film that is hysterical while also deconstructing all the tropes of a usual horror movie.

Lucy

People had issues with Lucy. I was not one of those people. I thought this was a fun and unexpected sci-fi story with great visuals and an intriguing lead female. The end gets a little twisty crazy, but the rest of the film is a great ride that the crazy can be waved away a little.

Byzantium

This is the reason I don’t do my end of the year lists in the middle of December like everyone else. I saw Byzantium at 9PM on December 31, and it was a great, low key vampire flick with feminist themes and unexpectedly emotional moments.

Only Lovers Left Alive

Yet another indie vampire flick that had more introspection and less sparkles. I don’t think Tilda Swinton can do anything wrong, and my interest in Tom Hiddleston grew as I watched him play a bored, timeless vampire musician. This is a quiet film without a lot of flashy set pieces or action, but it was still a great character drama.

 

Snowpiercer

The opposite of quiet character drama, Snowpiercer is a crazy, flashy series of set pieces and madness. The setup of the film makes little sense, so don’t think about it too hard, but the number of genuine surprises kept me on my toes and enjoying every moment of this weird little movie.

The LEGO Movie

I nearly forgot this movie came out in 2014. It just feels like it’s been around for ages. There is so much nostalgia wrapped up in this movie for me and I love that it’s a cultural touchstone I can share with my niece and nephew. It’s an animated movie with heart that doesn’t just seem to pander to the common denominator. Plus having the Lonely Island rap in the theme song was a move of genius.

 

This is the part in the count down where I declare that Marvel won the year. My top three movies from 2014 are all Marvel-related, which either means I’m really an 8-year-old boy or I just like fun movies that make me forget about the rest of the world for a little bit. I’m leaning towards that second reason.

I loved all three of these movies for different reasons and will happily watch them all back-to-back-to-back at a moment’s notice, so I can’t rank them in any particular order.

Big Hero 6, Captain America: The Winter Soldier & Guardians of the Galaxy

Woobie!Bucky! Falcon soaring! Cap beating up all those guys in the elevator! Black Widow being awesome! Pelvic sorcery! Starlord’s dance off! The awesome soundtracks! BAAAAAAAAAAAYMAX! These three movies made me feel warm and cozy in all the best ways while keeping me captivated on third, fourth and fifth watch. Baymax in his bright orange battle armor keeps vigil on my kitchen counter while my admiration for both Chrises knows no bounds. Marvel can do little wrong in my book even though I’m not blind to the issues with the female characters in Guardians. I just choose fun over annoyance and these three films all have so much heart, adventure and fun in them.

 

You know what the opposite of heart, adventure and fun is? The worst movie I saw this year:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I still haven’t recovered from this demolition of not only my childhood favorites, but also a resurgent in an adult guilty pleasure. I’ve come to really enjoy the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoon, and this movie version was such a disturbing mess of terrible plot devices, destroyed canon only to be replaced with nonsense, and just general terrible life choices by everyone involved with this picture that it made me want to cry. Don’t even get me started on all the demolished and pasted together backstories that made absolutely no sense. I know I wasn’t the target audience for this film, but it still shouldn’t have been so bad that it made me feel a bit murder-y by the end of it.