Leslie's Films in 2013 Review Part 1: Krypton, Gods, Lots of Beer & Zombies (Again)

So yesterday I took into consideration the general blah-ness I felt towards pop culture in 2013 and pulled out some of my personal highlights for television. Today we hit up movies. Yet another area where mediocrity seemed to be the norm. We didn’t see nearly as many movies this year as previous years and there are some we missed completely that may have turned out good. Here is part 1 of my highlights for films in 2013.

Movie I Was Honestly Surprised to Enjoy As Much As I Did: Thor: The Dark World

I was completely indifferent to the first Thor film. It was okay, but I enjoyed Captain America more (which is saying something, since I was indifferent to that one too). Perhaps it was the Tom Hiddleston’s dance tour that got me jazzed for it or maybe it was genuinely more enjoyable, but The Dark World had a spark that the first was missing. The plot was super silly, but it works for a movie about Asgardian gods.

Movie that Contributed to my Confusion towards Crushing on Zombies: Warm Bodies

I’m not sure what it says about me that I have never had a fangirl crush on Nicholas Holt until they put him in zombie makeup. This was the year’s other great book-to-movie adaptation. It’s a strange little film for a strange little book.

Best Movie that Wasn’t: Man of Steel

This was the very best movie of the year until Krypton blew up and cardboard not-Matt-Bomer went on his walkabout of heroism. The visuals, the technology, even Russell Crow – that was the movie I wanted, the war that led to Krypto’s demise. Everything after Clark lands on Earth was rehashed back story, stupid, nonsensical plot points (seriously, with the dad and the dog thing?) and explosions for the sake of explosions.

Movie Where I Felt Someone Had Spiked My Drink: The World’s End

What did I just watch? This was completely bonkers and yet tonally different from the other two films in the trilogy. Perhaps it’s Simon Pegg playing the slacker instead of the straight man, but something about this movie left me flabbergasted and I felt like I was the one drinking 12 pints. Nearly six months later and I still haven’t decided if I liked it or not.


Tune back in tomorrow for more highlights (and not so highlights) of film in 2013. What movies are on your favorites list?

Trailer Park Friday: The Doctor Meets Batman, Muppets Return, & Something Called Medieval Land Fun-Time World

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, videos have been coming out on an hourly basis it seems. I'm trying to stay as spoiler free for the anniverary episode (which airs TOMORROW YAY!), so you're not going to find any of those behind the scene and interview vids here today, but you will get the answer to one of life's most important Doctor Who questions:

What would happen if the Doctor had coffee with Superman and an Amy Pond-loving Batman? Awesomeness, that's what would happen. The guys over at How It Should Have Ended decided to find out.

And now on to a couple of movie trailers. First is Malificient, which comes out May 30, 2014, starring Angelina Jolie. I'm always up for a retelling of a classic story and the effects look pretty good in the trailer considering, so hopefully this one will be better than Snow White & the Huntsman.

I am of the generation that grew up watching the Muppets and Muppet Babies cartoons every day, so I always getting stupidly happy when a new Muppet movie comes out. This trailer has a ton of guest stars, some who flash by so fast and look so ridiculous I can't even identify them. Should be fun. Muppets Most Wanted releases March 28, 2014.

And finally my sister-in-law introduced me to this video. I don't even really want to say anything about it other than you should watch it because it's called Medieval Land Fun-Time World.


Seen any awesome videos lately? What movies are you excited about seeing? Who has already seen Catching Fire?

Random Tuesday: Star Trek, Robots, Hawkeye Initiative & Book to TV Adaptations

Working 10+ hours a day is not really conducive to collecting items for Random Tuesday, but this week it WILL NOT STOP ME BEING RANDOM! Oh no, I shall post things so unrelated that it might give you whiplash. Monkeys and popsicles. Basketball and baby rattle. Or something.

I might be a little delirious from lack of sleep, too much work and my yoga instruction attempting to kill me on Sunday, but whatevs. That just makes being random more fun.

First things first, we still have an INTERNATIONAL CONTEST open for submittals. Not a lot of people have entered, which makes me kind of sad. But do you know what that means? If you enter now, you have a VERY GOOD CHANCE OF WINNING. And winning is always fun. Go enter to win your choice of Shadows or Ashes by Ilsa J Bick. You will not regret it. I promise.


I really liked JJ Abrahm's first Star Trek movie. Like, really, really, watch-it-over-and-over-again liked it. Toss in some Cumberbatch and I get all grabby hands. Is it May yet?


Have you heard of the Hawkeye Initiative? If you haven't, you really should check it out. I can't even open that page at work for fear of the long-running giggle attack it will induce.

I'm also happy that it introduced me to the great fanart of Blue. More art for me to convince Fernando we must have! I mean, this belongs in my house! And this!


Have your weekly dose of ROBOTS! If you're not satisfied, you can find more robots at TheMarySue.com.

Bookstores are awesome. You probably think that too because you're here. This particular bookstore is covered in extra awesome sauce because they had someone create Sauron's tower using Lord of the Rings box sets. (via geekologie.com)


For those of you who are single sci-fi geeks, io9 has their top 16 pickup lines from science fiction properties. Some of them I think could be incredibly awkward to say to a stranger in a bar, while others would definitely start a conversation with me (though not so much with the picking-up).


Someone else is attempting to make a Wonder Woman television show. I'm not going to hold my breath to see it.


And going back to robots, the Japanese are apparently creating a friendly robot to keep their astronauts from getting lonely in space. Luckily there probably aren't many Japanese astronauts named Dave, so things should be fine.


I always knew there was something not quite right about that Superman guy...


The BBC is going to adapt Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, a giant doorstop of a book that had me sucked it from the first page to the very last. Magic! War! Faeries! Craziness!


Also MILA 2.0 has already been picked up to be turned into a television show even though the book doesn't come out until March 2013. The lady behind Grey's Anatomy is developing it, which makes me leery but it has androids, so WIN!


And now I'm taking my delirium off to watch The Walking Dead. What random things have you come across lately?

Review: Superman: Earth One (Volume 1) by J Michael Straczynski & Shane Davis

Superman: Earth One, Volume 1
Written by J Michael Straczynski
Art by Shane Davis

DC Comics
Released Nov. 2, 2010
136 pages
Superheroes / Comics

Find it on GoodReads

Purchase it from Amazon

J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5, joins forces with rising star artist Shane Davis (SUPERMAN/BATMAN: THE SEARCH FOR KRYPTONITE) to create this original graphic novel that gives new insight into Clark Kent’s transformation into Superman and his first year as The Man of Steel. This is the first in a new wave of original DC Universe graphic novels, featuring top writers’ and illustrators’ unique takes on DC characters.

A few weeks ago, Fernando reviewed an early edition of Volume 2 in the Superman: Earth One series and really enjoyed it. I thought that meant it was time for me to pick up our hard copy edition of the first graphic novel in this Superman retelling. The idea is a very interesting one that might not be so interesting had I ever watched Smallville, but I didn’t, so transporting Clark Kent and telling his Superman origin story in modern day sounds like a fun idea.

I’ve never been a huge Superman fan, a fact that does not please Fernando. I just never found anything interesting about a near indestructible boy scout alien and I could not get beyond the idea that somehow, just by wearing glasses, nobody could put two and two together to get that Clark Kent = Superman with glasses and less spandex. I prefer the more vulnerable Batman, who has no superpowers other than a massive ton of money and gizmos aplenty. But I thought a modern version could be just the thing to get me more interested in the Man of Steel. It was partially successful.

Read More

I Do Not Read Books (6): Superman: Earth One, Volume 2 by J. Michael Straczynski & Shane Davis

Here is the next edition in the on-going yet randomly occurring series of book reviews from Fernando, my webmaster/taste tester/getter of things on high shelves.  He doesn't read a lot of novels, thus the title of the series. However, if he continues to enjoy the books he reads, I might turn him into a reader yet!

Superman: Earth One, Volume 2
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Shane Davis

DC Comics
Releases November 6, 2012
136 pages
Superheros / Comics

Find it on Goodreads

Preorder it from Amazon

Following the events of the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling graphic novel by acclaimed writer J. Michael Straczynski and superstar artist Shane Davis, comes the long awaited sequel SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE VOL. 2! Young Clark Kent continues his journey toward becoming the World's Greatest Super Hero, but finds dealing with humanity to be a bigger challenge than he ever imagined! From a ruthless dictator to a new love interest who's NOT Lois Lane, things are never easy for this emerging Man of Steel.

And the worst is yet to come, in the form of a man-monster with an insatiable appetite, the Parasite! The only thing that might appease his hunger is The Last Son of Kryptonian! But that will also mean he will have Superman's powers without his conscience, and Kal-El cannot come anywhere near him, even though he has to stop him!

Graphic novels don't count as books in the truest sense, at least not to me. Graphic novels are a fantastic way to tell a story and in this case a perfect way to reboot an iconic story. Superman: Earth One is the classic story with slight twists that result in giant ripples in the lexicon of the Superman legend.

Earth One does a great job of bringing Superman into the present tense. Volume 2 brings the same great artwork and combines a great story by adding sprinkles of familiarity and the icing of modern day cynicism. There are two main plot lines that I won't spoil too much. One - Clark is struggling to find his place as an average man in Metropolis. Two - the government has a growing concern about the Superman who just saved the planet.

Read More

Random Tuesday: An Origin Movie, Neil Gaiman Dream Casting and Movie Rumors

I'm a little grumpy today because the Olympics apparently has caused people to forget what a spoiler alert is. Facebook has run amok with people spoiling things I don't want to know about, and as I use Facebook for work-related things, it's not like I can avoid it during the work day. Just if you're watching events live, remember we all can't do that and use spoiler alerts please.

Anyway, how about some randomness on this hot Tuesday?

- Yesterday Peter Jackson announced that he's turning The Hobbit set of movies into a trilogy after seeing all the footage he came away with. Now for those of you keeping track at home, The Hobbit is one single book, shorter than any of The Lord of the Rings volume. I have no idea what he's using to fill in all this time, but I really hope that it doesn't drag like Fellowship of the Rings did. I'm not sure I'm too keen on this idea, but hopefully it will turn out pretty good. I mean, Sherlock plays a DRAGON!

- Origin by Jessica Khoury has already been picked up for a movie deal, though the book hasn't come out yet. I have a copy waiting for me to read, but it definitely looks exciting. Hollywood still loves their YA dystopias.

- Tor.com casted a fictional Neil Gaiman biopic, deciding that Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch should play the young pre-comics Gaiman. Best. Casting. Ever. Now I want that movie.

- Rumor has it that Wonder Woman might be involved in Man of Steel somehow, which would be super cool, especially if it's a cameo.

- Speaking of books inspiring movies, here's the trailer for Cloud Atlas, a crazy massive book with multiple storylines.

And now I go back to the Olympics. Send me Randomness!

Comic Con 2012: The Wonderful Art of the Con by Katie Cook, Lord Mesa, & More

The best part of the Comic Con exhibit hall is Artist Alley, where artists showcase their work and often times take commissions for a fee, drawing whatever they're asked to do. Every year we come home with lots of art to add to our collection and this year was no exception. Here are the newest pieces we'll be adding to our walls.

Most of the Comic Con artwork is related to comics, fantasy or science fiction, so I was surprised when I came across the sweet art of Celine Chapus. Be forewarned if you check out her site, PurpleTopHat.com, because she does a lot of moderately NSFW with her collection of angel-inspired artwork. Most of her work is more of the romance genre, but I loved this commission she'd done for a writer friend. Cupcakes and books, who needs anything else? This piece will take up some prime real estate in my library.

You can also find Ms. Chapus on Twitter at @purpleceline.

Fernando was on a mission to find some Game of Thrones art and was successful. These are postcard-sized prints from the artist who does official GoT cover artwork for the graphic novel adaptation. Mike S. Miller does some pretty incredible things and you can see much more of his artwork on his DeviantArt account here.

I love Lord Mesa. He makes some of the most adorable superhero artwork out there. For the past three years, I've bought new artwork from him and this year, we finally bought our first piece of Marvel superhero art. I mean, how could we not buy this Avengers inspired piece?

He's also drawn all the characters from Young Justice, which is my favorite superhero cartoon now that I've caught up with Super Hero Squad. I heart Robin. To see a lot more of Lord Mesa's art, check out his DeviantArt account.

By the time we were loaded down with too much art and Fernando had declared he would buy no more, I found this print by Tess Fowler, an artist I hadn't heard of before. Of course, he bought it immediately (which was lucky for him because it was her last copy). To see more of her work (including My Little Pony, Doctor Who, and a slew of female superheroes), check out her blog here.

I got Superman: Earth One for Fernando as a Christmas present last year. He got super excited when he discovered the cover artist, Shane Davis, selling prints in Artist Alley. Turns out he's done a ton of DC cover artwork.

A few months ago, I posted about Steve Dooley's Victorian steampunk series of superheroines. To my surprise, Mr. Dooley was in artist alley selling prints of his series. I had to buy some because these are gorgeous and my walls need more fancy battle armour and corsets. I love Wonder Woman the most. You can see his entire series here. And can I just say that there are more on his DeviantArt account that he didn't have with him and OMG LADY MECHANIKA! I hope he returns next year with others because I will BUY ALL THE THINGS!



And then of course, there's my Katie Cook commission of Batwoman. I never got close enough to her to get more minipaintings, but I love this Batwoman painting so much, I'm perfectly fine with that. Visit her on Twitter (@katiecandraw) because she's super amusing.