So its been awhile. I know. 

The new job is awesome, but I have been putting in some long days .Actually, I am typing this up on my lunch break. THAT’S how crazy its been.  I will be better I promise! 

But here’s the real reason that I wanted to talk to you today.  There is this little article that @EllieSullie (and, unbeknownst to be until after the fact) @JulianGrant threw up on their Facebook feeds.

It pissed me off to no end folks.

I will be nice and link you to said article which you can read here.  The gist of the article is this, that the “strong female characters” we have been seeing in films lately are really just… to use the author, Tasha Robinson’s own words “Superfluous, Flimsy Character disguised as a Strong Female Character”.

She lists example after example of this: 

-Valka in How to Train Your Dragon 2

-Wildfyre in The Lego Movie

-Tauriel in THe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

-Dahl in Riddick

-Carol Marcus in Star Trek: Into Darkness

and more and more.  Here’s where I get ticked off:

The idea of the Strong Female Character—someone with her own identity, agenda, and story purpose—has thoroughly pervaded the conversation about what’s wrong with the way women are often perceived and portrayed today, incomics {sic}, videogames, and film especially.” 

This is an annoyance right here. The entire article focuses on films. If you are going to mention comics and video games, then guess what, you need to give examples of those too, which Ms. Robinson does not. (This is Speech 101 kicking in). However, I would like to bluntly express, in my post, I will NOT be talking about video games because I am not a gamer.

However, I am a TV/Movie/Comic Geek and Gender theory in mass media is one of my favorite subjects.

The other thing, she only gives one- yes ONE- good example, which is….. Emily Blunt’s character, Rita in the recently released Edge of Tomorrow. That’s it. One example of a positive (by her standards) strong female character.

I do agree with Ms. Robinson that there are a number of “wanna-be” SFC in mass media, but to give only one positive example is ridiculous. I ranted on @elliesullie’s post on this, and I realized there are a ton of SFC in film, television and in comics. So to balance out the negative article, here is a list (not completely comprehensive, because that would take probably 8 years to read) of strong female characters, through and through.

According to Ms. Robinson, to be a “legit” strong female character needs to do the following:

  1. After being introduced, do something that is “fundamentally significant to the outcome of the plot”. 
  2. If she is contributing to the plot, is it something other than getting hurt to motivated the hero? (I.e. what I always called the “damsel in distress” role).
  3. If the character could be replaced with a note on an inanimate object, then she is not useful to the plot.
  4. She cannot be the strongest/fastest/meanest etc until the male protagonist shows up who is stronger/meaner etc
  5. If she never needed to be rescued before, does she get rescued in this story to make the male hero look good?  (For comic fans- think of the old Fantastic Four or X-men comic books where all of a sudden Sue Storm got a nose bleed in the beginning of a fight or Jean Grey wandered off to fix her make up). 

So with that five qualifiers in mind, I would like to present to you some of the most kick ass “Strong Female Characters” in TV, Film and Comics.

(Some with explanations, but a complete list will be added and continued to update as time goes on). 

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  • Glenn Close as Monica Rawling, Season 4 of The Shield

A former professor of mine, PG, can attest how much I love this character. I wrote a paper (it was suppose to be only 10 pages, I wrote close to 20) for my final grade for his class on Monica Rawling. 

Why is she so kick ass?  Well she is one of the first characters I ever saw that DID NOT fall into one of the major categories (whore/saint/damsel in distress). She was all of them. Coming from a cop family, I am VERY picky about my police shows but Ms. Close just made my jaw drop on the first line she has. Throughout the season she plays a tough as nails police captain (which right there, being a female captain is hard enough), dealt with unpopular politics of a controversial asset forfeiture program she spearheaded and even went out with the Strike Team to kick ass and take names. She didn’t see herself above anyone else, and even though she was a captain, didn’t have an office. She planted herself right in the thick of everything (defiantly-lead from the front, not behind a desk).

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  • Black Widow (both in comics and portrayed by Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2, The Avengers and Captain America: Winter Solider

Ill be the first to admit that I have a girl crush on Black Widow. She has always been one of my favorite characters ever since I started reading the Daredevilcomic book. She is THE spy. She is NEVER the victim. I mean really, to be part of the KGB red room training is not something anyone could go through. Did Natasha ever go “woe is me, I was made into a KGB spy against my will?” No. She rolled with it and then turn coat and started working with America. So now, you have a KGB agent, who’s now an American agent? Hell’s yes. And if anyone questions her, she pretty much kills them. 

Now, with the film adaptation, I was slightly disgusted because in Iron Man 2, she was handled more like a trophy wife until the last 5 minutes of the film. Now in Avengers, Wheadon actually gave the character some depth, and then in Winter Solider, she actually seemed more….human… then in Iron Man 2.

@EllieSully pointed out that alot of the aforementioned article that makes me upset does force feed some ideas down kids throats (in regards to The Lego Movie) and that there wasn’t really much out there for kids.

I beg to differ.

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-Merida in Brave

I mean come on. She stands up to EVERYONE going “yeah, no I am not following tradition to be married off so we can get some land”, she is an early tomboy, “yes, I much rather play in the woods and shoot things with my bow and arrow”.  She realizes her mistake and does everything in her power to fix it, unlike the delayed realization with her mother.

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-Torunn in Next Avengers

I love… LOVE… Torunn. This Marvel animated movie (set in an alternate universe), is a story about the sons (and daughter) of the Avengers. The parents were killed by Ultron and they are being raised by none other than Mr. Bachelor himself, Tony Stark. 

Torunn is the daughter of Thor and is upset because she thinks her dad either left her and/or is dead. Understandable why she is upset.  She is very much into her heritage. So much so she goes to the opposite extreme to be Asgardian as possible- even trying to put words like “Verily” into her every day speech. She goes through the true hero’s path (stubbornness, fighting, loosing something she thinks is important, realizing that it isn’t important, saving the day— wow, sound like her father much??) Her journey is practically a mirror image to the Thor film. At the end of the day- even though she could return to Asgard and be with her family, she decides to stay on Earth and take care of her little “brothers”. 

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Agents Simmons and  May in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

There are various reasons why these two should go on the list. Simmons is smart as a whip, May is a tactical genius. Simmons creates all types of gadgets etc and geeks out reading scientific studies. May, well she is nicknamed (much to her dismay) “The Calvary” for a reason. These two, both being on the same show, display vastly different aspects  of a “strong female character”- both brains and brawn. Do they need to be rescued sometimes? Yeah that happens to even some of the male heroes on the show, so you cannot count it against them.

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Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller in Sons of Anarchy

There is a specific reason that I used the image above with that quote. I will agree with some people that the way Gemma handles things is not exactly ethical, but its coming from a good place. If they need to put a picture with the phrase “Mama Bear” then it has to be of Gemma/Katey. For those who haven’t seen the show, Gemma has been a victim of rape and also of domestic abuse. I am only using the word “victim” here to classify the plot. She was NOT a victim by any stretch of the imagination. She picked herself up, brushed herself off and in the moved on (to do some devious planning to retaliate against the people that hurt her, but you get the idea). 

Other Strong Female Characters: (listed)

  • Agent Carter (Captain America: The First Avenger and the upcoming Agent Carter miniseries on ABC)
  • Agent Scully (X-Files TV show and movies)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (both television and comic books)
  • Captain Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager
  • Hermonie Granger in the Harry Potter Series (Both books and films)
  • Pepper Potts in the Iron Man films
  • Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games (both books and movies) 
  • Wonder Woman (Comics and the ever loved Lynda Carter TV Series)
  • Xena the Warrior Princess (TV)

Please feel free to comment and throw your two sense in here folks. The bigger this list gets the better! Support your reasoning and I will update this post (asap) with your reason on the list! 

I need to back up for a moment and explain why this story has brought me to tears on a packed CTA bus.
My father died of renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) in 1999. At the time,  he was ONE of 1500 known cases in the world.
He was a federal cop, a solider and the coolest dad ever, he died a superhero to me.  Towards the end, my father submitted himself to clinical trials which made him even worse. When I begged him to stop the trials he told me “if it doesn’t help me it will help another family”
13 years later, I found out  that the FDA approved a drug that would help treat this cancer. It wasn’t a cure, but it was a huge step in the right direction. When I saw who the pharmaceutical company was that got approval, I cried at my desk at work. It was the same company that my dad was part of the trials for.
He WAS right.

A year after my father died, thanks to my speech coach, one of my film professors and a sociology professor, I became addicted to comic books…in particular Daredevil. To make a long story short, I find out from one of my uncles ( 2 months later another family member confirmed this for me) that not only was my dad a huge comic nerd, but his favorite books were all Marvel – in particular Daredevil. I never knew this.

I was welcomed into the Marvel Fandom with open arms. Since Iron Man came out in the theaters in 2008, the Fandom has grown by leaps and bounds. It’s insane, but awesome. I have made some of the best friends because of this fandom. I have been a part of and witness too the Fandom rallying around each other and helping with whatever they can.

Since Marvel Studios came to be,  I have noticed the actors, production heads even a prop master rally to help a fan. But this story of Sophie and Stratford hit close to home.

I don’t know if Strat’s daughter Sophie will ever read this blog, but what you have done is amazing.  I wish that I was able to do something like this for my father.  As one fan to another, please tell your dad that I am keeping him and your family in my thoughts. I am also rooting for him to prove the doctors wrong. No one should be told when their last days are. Our heros, both real and fiction, get up every day and fight the good fight not knowing if it’s going to be their last day or if they still have years left in them.

It’s the hardest thing to watch a family member in a situation like this. I’m doing it again with my mom. The only thing that gets you through the day sometimes is when your other family, the ones who you never met but talk about your favorite things with (like comics) are out there rooting for you and supporting you. I have never met this family, but because Stratford is a fellow Marvel fan, he’s part of my other family…my Marvel Fandom family. 

For all the Merry Marching Society members that moved with lighting speed to help Sophie out: you guys are the reason why the Marvel Fandom is so great.  We may not know all of each other, I may not even meet a quarter of all the members in my lifetime, but when shit hits the fan, I know you are there.

So, I ask that all of the Marvel family, support in anyway you can another family member. In this case, I ask that you send messages of support on twitter with the hash tag #capforstrat so this family knows we are sending our support and love from around the world.

Sometimes, just sometimes, a message of love is exactly what a hero needs to keep fighting.

Sorry folks.  I promised before there would be a better and current blog post cycle and I failed. However there is a very good reason. After nearly 9 months of unemployment, over 1000 applications and hundreds of interviews I finally landed the dream job in recruiting thst I have been looking for. Is it my dream job? No. That dream is running a certain film studio in Hollywood,but I am a realistic person.

This company, the more and more I spend time with our top brass makes me happy. Why? It’s really how the company philosophy is and the philosophy of our COO and CEO. I’ve been here two weeks and tackling everything … including taking on the sales side of recruiting in which I haven’t had the opportunity to do yet. I am currently writing this on my tablet at the family home of the owners outside of Boston. I have been here a couple of days with my boss and a few others in a massive amount of training.

Since I have been back in recruiting, I realized that there are a lot of things that drove me up the wall with this job. Some of these I have already addressed (which you can see here and here ). Considering now that I am handling candidates and clients and learning a whole new industry,  I thought this would be a great post.

1. Keep your recruiter informed.
If you are working on a contract at company ABC but it was company XYZ that contacted, interviewed you and is cutting your check, stay on your recruiters good side. Keep them updated. This does not mean tell them about every single sneeze you take, but if you feel uncomfortable working at the site TELL THEM. There could be a miss communication somewhere.
Even the best recruiters can mess up, without even knowing. I know of a case, years ago, where a friend was working a contract. She was told that the job would have XYZ job duties.  About a week after she started, she learned it was really ABC duties. She felt uncomfortable but didn’t want to say anything in fear of loosing the position. Some of these duties she hadnt had alot of experience doing in the past, but, suzie being suize pulled out all the stops to do the job to the best of her abilities.
A couple months went by of this into a six month contract. Then all of a sudden the client tells her not to come back on Monday. She leaves and calls the recruiter. The recruiter is confused at first because they just learn that Suize was doing ABC not XYZ. Not only could Suize have been making more money per the arrangement that the client had with the recruiting company, but the client trashed her to the recruiting company saying that Suize wasn’t performing well in the job.
Guess what? If Suize would have said something early on, the recruiter could have gotten her more money, fixed things with the client, held the client to the terms of the contract and Suize wouldnt have been miserable waiting to see if the axe would have dropped on her that day. Any recruiter worth their salt would have tried to fix the problem from day 1. In this situation it was not the recruiters fault because they were going by what was written in the contract, but the client was trying to work the system to get a skilled worker for cheaper.

2. Never ever in a million years call a recruiter and leave a message trashing the client (if its a contract job), their company, or their colleagues.
This happened to me last week. I was on the phone talking to a new candidate.  My phone rings but I can’t switch over quick enough.  Before I can listen to the voicemail, a client calls with a problem. While I am talking to the client, the same number calls again (within 5 minutes of the first call) and leaves another voicemail. I finally get to the voicemails ( within 1/2 hour of the first call left).
Bob (not real name) left me two voicemails, upset because supposedly no one ever calls him from my office. My boss overheard the voicemails. Even she was a bit taken aback. Bob went on and on trashing the recruiter previous to me. I have never spoken to him and didn’t even know who he was. Bob didn’t know there was a changing of the guard so to speak, which does not excuse the unprofessionalism he displayed.  Do you really think I want to send him to any client right now??

3.Do NOT APPLY TO POSITIONS that you are not qualified for.
In the last two weeks I have probably looked at a few hundred resumes. I have said this in the other posts, but I cannot stress this enough. If you are a chemist do not apply for a, say, police officer posting. We recruiters talk to each other regardless of what company we work for. Recruiters that I worked with at my last job still talk with me, we pick each others brains and try to top each other with “you wont believe the candidate that I got today” stories. Guess what? Three totally different companies in three totally different fields.  How is it then we all know candidate Bob McCreamcheese? (Totally made up name). Because Bob had a resume that stood out, in a bad way, and applied to jobs each of us were managing. I, probably better than most, understand the job hunt/trying to keep food on the table desperate moments, but one of the reasons that Bob has not found a job yet is because he is blindly applying.

Let me put it this way. You are in a candy store and can have ANY candy. Lets say you are allergic to peanuts, but you really want something with chocolate. You wouldn’t sit there trying piece after piece of candy till you found something that tasted good, now would you? No, because not only could you get yourself sick from all the sugar, but you might accidently eat peanuts and REALLY get sick. Plus there is the fact that you are wasting time and money to figure out that you wanted chocolate. If you did your research and paid attention before you walked into the candy shop, you would know that the chocolate bark is good, but it has nuts so you can’t eat it, but the dark chocolate fudge doesn’t have nuts, and its super yummy.

So why would you blindly apply to every single job that you see? You are not only wasting time of whoever on the receiving end of your application, but, much like you might have an allergic reaction in the above scenario,  you could be doing more harm than good. Job hunting is NOT a numbers game. It’s a strategic one.

More to come!!!

Wow. Scourge and I saw Captain America:The Winter Solider last night at our favorite theater here in Chicago:Amc River East. This theater is in the heart of the Gold Coast neighborhood down the street from Navy Pier. It’s always packed for opening shows.

Since Iron Man 1 Scourge and I will go opening weekend (preferably midnight shows) for the Marvel films here. Never regretted it, especially after last night.
For the last year or so, there’s been this trend to have opening shows at 8pm on top of 10 pm and midnight release of a movie. Why? I don’t know, probably to capture more sales, but it works.

Scourge and I had tickets for the 8pm show. We got to the theater at 7pm expecting chaos like always. Kudos to the theater. Seriously. Since Avengers mayhem, AMC (especially River East) are on the ball with keeping the chaos to nill. We had tickets for the 2D show and we’re able to go straight to the theater where as ticket holders for 3D were standing in a long line waiting to go up.

This is our theater at about 730 last night:

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It was awesome. If you look dead center in this picture you can see a guy wearing sequined shirt of Captain America’s uniform. Four to the left is a women dressed as Black Widow. I actually thanked her after the movie for doing the traditional 616 comic book version of the costume….and it was awesomely done. While everyone was waiting, people were standing and talking to other fans and complimenting them on their choice of attire for the evening. I got numerous compliments for my Captain button up work shirt and earnings.

I knew this was going to be a great crowd when someone cat called at the screen for a commerical for Rock In Rio. It was even better during trailers.

After the Michael Bay Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer, someone…well I won’t repeat verbatim what they said, but they wished the death of Michael Bay. The entire audience roared in laughter. There were squeals of delight (myself included) when Angelina Jolie appeared on screen as Malificent. 
Scourge and I have a tendency to whisper to each other throughout a movie. Scourge claimed after watching that trailer that Angelina will get an Oscar nomination for the role. I wouldn’t be at all surprised…he is very good at making Oscar predictions.

One of the best parts (before the film even started) was the crowd reaction to the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. It was insane. I actually turned around to look at the audience and saw people STANDING applauding the screen. This is the same trailer that aired weeks ago on Jimmy Kimmel Live, not anything new.

THEN the movie starts and during the Marvel Studios title card opening there were numerous cries of “Finally” throughout the audience.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but just based on the crowd reaction in my theater and the waves of people I saw for the 3D showings, I am predicting over $90 million for opening weekend ( frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if it cleared $100million). The film is great, everyone in the theater cheered, laughed, booed at the right parts (the booing came when certain villians appeared). At the end of the film, the cheering was deafing.

As the people (who were smart enough to stay till the lat end credit…which was most of the theater) strolled out, it was like listening to a bunch of little kids talking about their favorite cartoon. Everyone was in love with the film, didn’t hear a SINGLE negative comment. Gave me warm fuzzies.

But that’s the great thing about movies: the shared experience. Years and years ago when Daredevil came out, I went to see the Friday noon showing before going to work. The crowd was thin, but hilarious. My favorite memory from that was hearing a guy yell “holy shit it’s Silent Bob” when Kevin Smith came on screen.  When I saw X-men 2: X-men United, a brother and sister I started talking with while waiting in line were sitting in front of me. When Nightcrawler and Mystique are talking in the forest one of them said “Oh that’s cute he has a crush on her” and my reaction was “dude…that’s his mom”

I won’t ever forget,  till the day I die, when Black Widow says in this movie “I’m multitasking” and Scourge elbowed me and whispered ” my god that’s you”.
Or when the girl called for Michael Bays death. I yelled back “thank you” which caused more laughs. No one in the theater will forget that.

This is the reason why you need to go to a theater and watch a film. That new community was built, albeit a short time, where we all enjoyed an amazing story.

That’s why I love movies!

MickeyThe answer: Copyright problems.

I would like to preface this post to make it explicitly clear that I am NOT a lawyer. However, I do have an extreme interest in copyright law. Why? Well I come from a law enforcement family. I was actually considering going into law for a long time until my mom convinced me I would be happier in the film world. The great thing about producing is that you need to know a lot of legal things, at least a basic understanding of copyright, trademark and contract law.

While at Columbia College Chicago, I really studied copyright law because it just interested me that much. Since graduating out, I have (and Scourge can attest to this) read legal briefs for fun, especially if its about copyright law. This is why the post today is about copyright. Deadline broke the news today that the Jack Kirby estate is taking their issues on copyright law all the way to the Supreme Court. The Kirby estate is going up against the biggest baddest lawyers– Disney. These were the same lawyers that actually got a new clause written into the copyright law back in 1998. That clause changed rules on public domain so much that its unofficially called the “mickey mouse” clause.

Click on the links for the nitty gritty details on the Captain America/Kirby Case and the Superman/Schuster Case. I don’t want to get into the specifics of these cases, but I will say, unlike some

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Jack “The King” Kirby

companies, at least Marvel has tried to reach a middle ground with the Kirby family. That and I am surprised that both cases are being repped by the same lawyer- Marc Toberoff. Man, I am glad I am not him.

I cannot stress this enough. In this day and age, where if you make ANYTHING (a film, comic book, photography) you should copyright it. Why? Well theres alot of great reasons but heres the big ones:

  • If something happens to you, you can transfer the rights to someone else (i.e. your kids).
  • If someone,god forbid, tries to steal your work, registering it with the copyright office solidifies when the work was created. Plus, with registering, you can sue for punitive damages (which you cannot if you do not register).
  • If you want to sell the rights to your work (especially if you want to option for say, a film or tv show) any producer worth their salt will not touch your property or even think about optioning unless you have the copyright notice on you.

I cannot tell you how much it gets under my skin when people do stupid things. Over the years, I came across postings on Craigslist of fans trying to make movies of {insert comic book here} and flat out admit in the posting they don’t have the rights. Guess who sent emails to the publishers to let them know? Yes, me.

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Superman By Alex Ross

I know you may think that is very mean/dirty/underhanded. It’s not. People who do this cause problems for everyone else. First and foremost, its not fair to the original creator that someone is taking their property and doing something with it without the original creators permission/input. Secondly, lets say that this fan film got made. Then lets say, Lionsgate did the proper paperwork etc and wants to make the same movie? Now there is confusion in the market.

It’s like shopping for a high end purse- unless you know what you are looking for- you can’t tell the knockoff from the legit. When I was in school, Ellie Sully (read her web comic here or her blog here) worked on every single production that I did either as a production designer/actor or both. There was one shoot in which I couldn’t be on set for a chunk of the day. The director called me pissed as hell because Ellie Sully was holding up the production.

Why? She went through the entire department with a fine tooth comb looking for anything that was showing logos. I mean, EVERYTHING. She flipped dvd’s on the shelf around so you couldn’t see the labels, taped over logos on the stove and fridge, pulled down posters etc. Ellie told the director that if I walked on to the set and saw all the trademarks I would have a melt down.

Well she was right. I told the director to deal with it. Then I called Ellie Sully and told her to hurry up. I saw rough edits later on in class along with other people. Guess who was the only director that wasn’t going to have to go back and “clean up” ? Yea. You guessed right. The director, right then and there, dubbed me the “copyright nazi”.

There is also this huge misconception that if you give credit, then you don’t have to get the rights. For example, you made a movie for a class project and added, say Bon Jovi music to the soundtrack then uploaded said movie for class onto youtube. Even if you give credit to Bon Jovi, they can still sue you.  Why? You didn’t get permission before hand.  I know someone will be like “But I made it for class! It falls under educational use!” Actually no it doesn’t. Education use is only for teachers folks! Not students!

If you ever have a question about using someone else’s work or if you should copyright something go to the US Copyright Office website. They have a great little FAQ section and you can also

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Captain America by Alex Ross

register your work online here!

Also do a bit of research- if you need some legal advice there are numerous charities that could help depending on what you are doing. Here in Chicago we have a great organization called Lawyers for the Creative Arts. If you need help and you are working on a comic book or realize that someone stole your art etc talk to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.  Do a google search for more charties that are local to you. In a lot of cases, they will not charge you or they will charge you VERY little.  I have worked with Lawyers for the Creative Arts personally, and they are awesome. I am also a member of CBLDF. If you ever have an extra few dollars- help them out!

 

 

I graduated out of Columbia College Chicago. BA Film/Video specializing in film producing. I love movies. Always have, even as a kid. It was a special treat in my family to go to see a movie opening weekend. I lost count how many Friday evenings were movie night with the family.

These are the films that I am *stoked* to see this year. Here’s the thing, I am rating these based on if you should spend your hard earned cash at the theater or wait till you can watch it on Netflix.

Rating System is as follows:

  • Opening Night Worthy: These are the films that I would (if I had the time and money) sit outside the theater until midnight to see the film.
  • 2nd Run Worthy: We have a couple of theaters in Chicago that play films in second run (usually a month or so after they are released, quicker if the movie is exceptionally bad).
  • Must Own on DVD: This should be part of any good fan’s collection.
  • Red Box Worthy: Worth checking out for a buck to see how good/bad it really is against the reviews that came out. Or to rip apart. 🙂

Anything else I wouldn’t even waste my time on. All release dates are for USA market.Muppets


Muppets Most Wanted
 

  • 2nd Run Worthy
  • Released: March 20th, 2014
  • Directed By:James Bobin
  • Starring: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Animal, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey

I was pleasantly surprised by the first film (especially during the “Man or Muppet” segment with the guest star). Initial reviews of the film are not so hot, however Tom Hiddleston makes a cameo and it deserves at least one viewing on the big screen.

 


Captain America: The Winter Solider

  • Opening Night WorthyCap2
  • Must own on DVD/Blu-Ray
  • Releases April 3rd/4th 2014
  • Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
  • Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Georges St-Pierre, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Emily VanCamp, Maximiliano Hernández

It’s Captain America! Come on! In this film we are supposedly going to see how Cap adapts to the real world (I am really hoping that one of the lines is “Whats an Ip-od?” which is right out of the comics). Also, another reason I want to see this is that supposedly they are going to expand the character of Black Widow. With the upcoming Marvel Knight’s Netflix shows (particularly Daredevil) I am hoping to see a reference there!

 

 

Only_Lovers_Left_Alive_23

Only Lovers Left Alive

  • Opening Night
  • Releases April 11th, 2014
  • Limited Release, check your local listings.
  • Directed By: Jim Jarmusch
  • Starring:Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright

Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as Vampires against the world. Do I need to say anything else? Mucho props to filmmakers for filming in Detroit and helping the economy in the area. Plot Summary: set against the desolation of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, depressed by the direction the world is taking, reunites with his lover. Their love story has endured for centuries, but the woman’s uncontrollable sister disrupts their idyll. Can these wise outsiders continue to survive as the world collapses around them?

The Amazing Spider-man 2spidey2

  • 2nd Run/Red Box Worthy
  • Releases May 2nd, 2014
  • Directed By: Marc Webb
  • Starring:  Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, Colm Feore, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field,
    B.J. Novak

I was really hoping that with the revamp to the franchise things would get better and they did. However I had a lot of problems with the first film and it seems as though they are carrying over into the second film. The two things are a) too many villains (really haven’t we learned this formula doesn’t work yet Hollywood?) and b) poor VFX work. I come from the school of thought that the best VFX work should be where you can’t tell its VFX work (ahem, I submit for example pretty much anything Marvel Studios has done). This still looks campy to me.

 

X-men: Days of Future’s Past

  • Opening Weekend/2nd Run Worthy
  • Releases May 23rd, 2014X-Men-_Days_of_Future_Past_134
  • Directed By: Bryan Singer
  • Starring: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Halley Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Fan Bingbing, Boo Boo Stewart, Adan Canto, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Lucas Till, Evan Jonigkeit

I am having a love/hate with what I have seen thus far on the film. There’s a HUGE change to the original story (which in some ways makes sense, but I am still the producer type that says “Don’t change massive parts of the source material”). Then again, we get to see Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen on the screen together again.. hmmm. Then again, Bryan Singer returns to the franchise, hopefully to salvage what has been done with X3: X-men United, and the Cannon retconned in X-men: First Class.  This is an epic storyline from the comic book, and well known to readers and those of us who grew up on the cartoons back in the 90’s, so hopefully its handled with care.

 

 

Maleficent  Maleficent_13

  • Opening Weekend Worthy
  • Releases May 30th, 2014
  • Directed By:Robert Stromberg
  • Starring: Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville

Wow.. Just wow. My favorite Disney film of all time was Sleeping Beauty (because its the first movie I can ever remember watching. I fell asleep at one point and woke up to see Maleficent fighting the fairies… which scared the hell out of 4 year old me). The makeup and costuming for this, just based on the trailer, deserve Oscar nominations. Plus, Angelina Jolie just looks born to play the part. I’ve been watching the trailer over and over again. The last time I was this excited to see a new take on a B-list type of character was when Iron Man 1 was in production.

 

Hercules  

  • 2nd Run WorthyHercules_15
  • Releases July 25, 2014
  • Directed by: Brett Ratner
  • Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan, John Hurt, Rebecca Ferguson, Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Aksel Hennie, Reece Ritchie

Another Love/Hate situation here. Love the story of Hercules, love Dwayne Johnson as an actor… but hate the VFX work. Needs to be watched on Big Screen at least once. I am praying that the VFX are solid enough that it holds through the movie. It seems as though lately with films that take place in the Greek/Roman Pantheons that the VFX are just… icky.  My big concern is that this is being directed by Ratner, who as a tendency to go off the reservations when adapting things and/or trying to squish 4 storylines into a film (I submit to the court for evidence: X-men 3)

 

 

 

Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_29

Guardians of the Galaxy

  • Opening Night Worthy
  • Releases August 1, 2014
  • Directed By: James Gunn
  • Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro

Come on, have you seen the trailer for this yet? This looks like a load of laughs. 3 reasons to see this movie (in no order): A walking/talking tree named Groot, Glenn Close, and a Racoon with a bazooka. Who isn’t a racoon. But looks like a racoon. (It will make sense, I promise).I was worried at first when I heard that Gunn was directing this. Still slightly worried, but not nearly as much after I saw the trailer. This is a risk by Marvel to take, but I think they are at the point that *god forbid* this tanks at the box office (which I doubt it will) that it won’t effect the company too much (now Ant-Man is a different story).

 

 

Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill ForSin_City-_A_Dame_to_Kill_For_3

  • Opening Night Worthy
  • Releases August 22nd, 2014.
  • Directed By: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller
  • Starring: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Powers Boothe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Eva Green, Dennis Haysbert, Martin Csokas, Rosario Dawson, Jamie Chung, Jamie King, Alexa Vega, Julia Garner, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven, Ray Liotta, Juno Temple, Christopher Lloyd, Stacy Keach, Jude Ciccolella

All I can say is: FINALLY. Yeesh, 9 years after the first film comes out, we finally get the next one. As a huge fan of film noir, and comic book junkie, I have been waiting a long time for this.

 

 

Gone Girl

  • 2nd Run Worthy
  • Releases October 3rd 2014
  • Directed by: David Fincher
  • Stars: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Carrie CoonGone_Girl_1

I’ve always been a sucker for thrillers and espically if Affleck is in them (In my opinion he’s a better director than actor, but as far as acting, he needs to stick with dramas and thrillers).

Synopsis: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick Dunne’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick Dunne isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but hearing from Amy through flashbacks in her diary reveal the perky perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

 

The JudgeThe_Judge_1

  • Opening Night Worthy
  • Releases October 10, 2014
  • Directed By: David Dobkin
  • Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vera Farmiga,

RDJ plays an attorney that comes back to his hometown for his mother’s funeral. Duvall is the town judge suspected in the murder (RDJ father). Come on. A mystery with the two greatest Roberts of acting? Could RDJ finally get the Oscar he deserved since Chaplin?

 

The Secret Service

  • 2nd Run Worthy
  • Releases October 24, 2014
  • Directed by Matthew Vaughn
  • Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson, Sophie Cookson, Sofia Boutella

From the same team that brought us Kick-Ass, we get a story about ” … the ramifications of how America is struggling on the world stage,” Millar wrote of the series in its original solicitation. “Funding is being seriously undercut to balance the books and some people are trying their best to take advantage of the fragile global situation.”  Makes me want to pick up the comic and read it now 🙂

 

There are probably alot of films left off this list that you think I would be interested in. What are those? What are the films you are excited for? Speak your mind below!

 

I really do have a love/hate thing going on with the CTA. We have the iconic Elevated trains (or as us locals like to refer to… “The El”)….

TheEle

The El System, downtown Chicago.

But lately we have just been having problems left and right. For those of you not local to Chicago, there was a very bad accident involving the Blue line that runs from Forest Park in the south side up to O’hare on the Northwest side. Allegedly, a train at approximately 3 am crashed at the ORD terminal (the end of the line)  due to a conductor that is a “floater” (fills in various shifts) falling asleep behind the “wheel”.  This is one of the lines that runs 24 hours hours (or just about) because of the incoming/outgoing passengers at O’hare.

This is still under investigation, but footage as leaked of the crash :

Keep in mind that this concerns me as I live only a few a stops from there. Thank god, that this happened early in the morning. 30 people were injured (not life threatening). Could anyone imagine what this would be like say, during rush hours? Those platforms are always packed.

Not only that but this follows another incident that happened just 5 months ago in Forest Park with a run-away train that magically started out of a yard, down the tracks and crashed into another incoming train.

Oh and then there are things like this that just annoy me that happened two weeks ago:

semiiriving

Semi Caught under 90/94 underpass at Irving Park 3/18. Taken by Tessana Nemenski

 

This is a constant headache. I would say at least once a month that this happens at Irving Park. When I was working in West Lincoln Park off of North Ave and Kingsbury, I cannot tell you how many times I was late for similar incidents in that area also. I understand that maybe no one as thought to NOT have semi-trucks get off at these exits, or maybe we can’t, but it totally screws up the CTA. I actually sent an email to the CTA saying that this happens often enough that the people at the station should radio it to the trains so people don’t have to backtrack onto the train. They could just make an announcement on the trains and people could stay onboard to a neighboring stop.

Don’t get me wrong. The CTA is not the best system in the world, but its far from the worst. I have friends out in LA who say they would love to have the problems they had while going to school/living here in Chicago. When I have friends come in from out of town, we have to make a mandatory trip on the El around the Loop (downtown Chicago).

I’ve met alot of interesting people on the CTA (both good and bad). I use to be an avid netflix viewer on my commute to and from work, but after an incident years ago with a passenger that was high on god knows what, I stopped doing that.  A lot of times I will put my headphones in and not listen to anything but neighboring conversations of other passengers. It makes for great laughs and fodder for stories. Scourge told me this one last night and I couldn’t help but to create a post for it.

Teenager 1:

You know what would be awesome?

Teenager 2:

What?

Teenager 1:

If someone came up with an English to Shakespeare App.

Teenager 2:

Yes that would be awesome.

 

*mental head slap*  hiddles

This is the type of stuff that I am talking about. There is enough of this type of things that I over heard that makes me laugh and sometimes is so bad that I loose faith in humanity.

The best time to ride the trains is when there is a comic convention in town. At random places you will see cosplayers waiting on {insert train here}

Green Ranger

People of the CTA- Go Go Green Ranger!

whattt

People of the CTA- I don’t even know what this is.

Toy Solider

People of The CTA- Where’s the Toy Store-y??? 🙂

 

SW on bus

Thanks to the 501st Legion page for this pic!

 

Special thanks to the People of the CTA and 501st Legion Websites for these pictures!

 

Overall, The CTA is barely tolerable. Most days its a *shakes head* type of day. But I can guarantee, all this is a “Only in Chicago” type of moments!