Monday, June 23, 2014

BAMF Girls Club


"When Buffy, Hermione, Katniss, Lisbeth, Michonne, and Bella move into one house, it's an utter BAMFgasm of awesomeness!"

Now that Hollywood seems to be getting the clue that strong female leads can sell at the box office, we will hopefully see the trend continue. Another benefit to this trend is that we are getting strong female led comedy. (Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect, etc.) And this is translating to web series as well.

In August of 2012, Comediva (Comedy + diva) launched BAMF Girls Club.


Based on Oxygen Network's Bad Girls Club, the BAMF Girls Club basically gives us the fanfic version of what would happen if some of pop cultures favorite female characters lived in the same house in a reality show situation. (And this is comedy. Not THAT kind of fanfic.) On the off chance you do not recognize them, the BAMF Girls are:

Buffy Summers (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) - Michelle Lang
Hermione Granger (Harry Potter) - Amanda Troop
Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) - America Young
Lisbeth Salander (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) - Iselle Slome
Michonne (The Walking Dead) - Aliza Pearl
Bella Swan (Twilight) - Stephanie Bentley

The result has been hilarious and fantastic. And honestly I am overdue for writing something about the series. While Twilight's Bella Swan has been the focus of plenty of the jokes (it is pretty easy), Hermione has been a good source of jokes as well, and each BAMF has had their turn being satirized. Much fun has also been had with each of their movies and TV shows. Comediva molded these over the top versions of these characters very well. There have also been some memorable guest appearances by Game of Throne's Arya Stark, Buffy's witch BFF Willow (who turns into Hermione's hetero(???) crush), the 11th Doctor, and most recently, Sookie Stackhouse from True Blood.


I wonder what other guest stars they have lined up. Maybe some original BAMFs in mentor type roles?  Ellen Ripley perhaps? Just a suggestion.

Seventeen episodes in and this series still has a lot of life in it and plenty more stories to tell and is easily one of the best and most entertaining web series out there. In a post The Guild world, I'm glad I still have the BAMF Girls Club to tune into. You can watch the series on Comediva's YouTube channel and read some additional BAMF Girls adventures in webcomic form at Comediva.com.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

5 films you should own


Grew up watching all but one of these. But the most modern entry is a favorite of mine too. These make me remember the days when having an adventure, or at least day dreaming about having an adventure with your friends outside was a thing. And I don't mean questing in an RPG. I mean actually going outside. No offense to gamers.

#1 (and really, I don't care who you are, you can't argue with this one)
Stand By Me

Technically, (well not even technically) this is not sci-fi or fantasy. But it is still an adventure. This is the gold standard of coming of age movies and the cast is fantastic. Wil Wheaton, Jerry O'Connell, Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland, and of course, the late, great River Phoenix. Much like The Breakfast Club, if you have not seen this movie, there is something wrong with you. Based on the book, The Body by Steven King, this film was big for me growing up. Because of it I know that I will never have friends like I had when I was 12 (no offense to my current friends) and even today I cant see a railroad bridge without thinking, "TRAIN!" If your friend asked you if you wanted to see a dead body, what would you do?

# 2
The Goonies

Another classic. If Stand by me didn't exist, this would be number 1. And again, what is wrong with you if you have not seen this? Where Stand By Me is more serious, The Goonies is it's lighthearted brother. I mean, we all know what the truffle shuffle is and if someone shouted out, "Hey you guys!" most of us would get the reference. Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, and Josh Brolin lead a great cast off to find a lost pirate treasure that could save their homes.


#4
Explorers

Some of you may not have seen this one. But trust me, it's gold. A young Ethan Hawk, River Phoenix, and Bobby Fite find themselves building a space ship based on designs they are seeing in their dreams. They are chosen to make first contact with an alien species that turns out to not be as advanced as they they expected. Or at least the ones they meet are not as advanced as expected.

#5
The Monster Squad

Another you may not have seen, but again, trust me, gold. Kids vs. the classic movie monsters. Basically, Dracula is putting the band back together do what monsters in movies do. It has some great funny moments like "Wolfman's got nards!" and other sweet moments like Frankenstein finding friendship with a little girl. No, seriously. It's got a huge cheese factor but it is still great. It's more along the lightheartedness of The Goonies. Not as polished but still no less fun.

# 3
Super 8

A modern entry into this list, but still a good one. I'm not a fan of everything J.J. Abrams makes. (Cloverfield? What the hell was that?) But this movie is definitely worthy enough to be on this list. It reminded me of everything I loved about the other movies on this list. Most notably, while there was teen crushing, teen romance did not dominate the story. It is about friends and family... while dealing with an alien on the rampage.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ms Marvel #4


(SPOILERS ahead for anyone who has not read)


Trying something new sometimes does not turn out well. And personally I should really try to pick up these issues as soon as they ship. But in Kamala Khan’s case, her first official outing as a masked hero got her shot. Funny enough she got shot by a kid trying an armed robbery for the first time. Fortunately, Kamala’s shape shifting gives her a certain amount of super healing. Unfortunately, she ends up her secret identity to her friend Bruno. Well, not before realizing that she had healing abilities. She reveals herself when she thought she still needed medical assistance. But hey, being a superhero has a learning curve.

So up till now, Kamala had assumed the form of her hero, Captain Marvel. Because as a fangirl, who else would she be? When her self labeled “second-best friend” who also secretly likes her a lot, Bruno, asks why be something everyone expects (i.e. blonde, perfect, etc.), Kamala finally tries to be herself and the new Ms. Marvel is officially born. To bad Bruno wasn't really as smooth as the description of the scene sounds. Now that Kamala is going to be her own person she needs a costume, obviously. Funny enough, the main part of her costume is made up of something she would never wear, a burkini. (Think about it. Swimwear that shows nothing.) It’s here that Kamala starts to look like the hero that has been advertised. She still has to sneak past a suspicious mother who thinks Kamala is going to parties. She did go to a party the first time. But that is besides the point.

Kamala still has room to grow just as any new hero would, especially a teen hero. Her biggest step so far has been the decision to be herself instead of the typical image of a hero. It’s not exactly a “with great responsibility…” type moment, but it is a sign of a larger effort to redefine what we recognize as heroes. We all know that great responsibility comes with great power and Ms. Marvel already has this in her head.Well, she has the fangirl fantasy of responsibility in her head. In her fist official "I am Ms. Marvel" gig she again finds that the real world doesn't work as smoothly as you hope.

The burden is on Kamala and her creators to keep up te momentum of this new series. Ms. Marvel could be on her way to stardom. Issue 5 will complete the first Ms. Marvel story arc. Her origin is just about done. Next is the building of her legend. Hopefully.

Read my wife's review Owl Allow It: My thoughts after reading Ms. Marvel, Issue 4 

And my review for #1 HERE and #2 and #3 HERE

Friday, June 6, 2014

10 books you should read

As in 10 book that I have read. Don't get mad if your fave isn't on this list. These are going to be very obvious to some. But there are still people who have not read these. I doubt my recommendation will push someone over the top, but maybe it will be another little nudge in the right direction. Besides, TV and film are great, but books give you more detail and insight into the characters. Added bonus, you can join the ranks of those who complain about how the book was better. Consider this my unofficial summer reading list.



1. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened."
 I mean, come on. You are deprived if you have never read this piece of hilarious awesomeness. But don't panic. The world had not been scheduled for demolition as far as we know. Prepare to know what important question is answered by 42 as earth man Arthur Dent tries to survive the universe.


2. The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
It's the Hobbit. I don't think I should have to explain this one. But Tolkien's story of a simple hobbit who lives under a hill is a nice easy read. It's not as intense and dark as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but people love this book and story for a reason. Reading LOTR isn't a bad idea either.


3. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
Personally, I think it has one of the best plot twists of all time. Also a great book if you feel like an outsider. Despite Card's seemingly nonacceptance of certain people, his Ender books are all about kids who are different because they were born that way. And their skills and intelligence are all that will stop an alien species from wiping out humanity. Worth noting, this novel is on a few real military recommended reading lists.


4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
Chabon is a great writer and this book eanred him a Pulitzer. It's a great story set against the backdrop of the Golden Age comic books where two Jewish cousins become big players. It's not sci-fi, fantasy, or even about comic book characters. It's just a really good book about a two guys in the industry.


5. Starship Troopers - Robert A. Heinlein
Don't let the movie spoil any desire you would have to read this book. The movie did have it's moments, but the book goes further into the social and political themes that the film just touched on. In fact, the movie had more bug killing action. But that is all the film has on the book. There is a reason why Starship Troopers is on the reading lists of most of the U.S. military. It is good and very good and well thought out.


6. Star Wars: Heir to the Empire - Timothy Zahn
Book one in what would also be known as the Grand Admiral Thrawn trilogy, Heir to the Empire is considered my many (myself included) as the spark that ignited the expanded universe of Star Wars. The Expanded Universe exploded after Zahn took on Star Wars. If you had to read any Star Wars books, this is where you should start.


7. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
I know some may still consider this a YA novel, and I suppose for marketing purposes it is, but I consider it a good sci-fi novel. There is a reason why the films are so huge. The story of the Girl On Fire is intelligent and entertaining. And while Katniss Everdeen does get the boy in the end, it is not the boy who defines who she is.


8. World War Z - Max Brooks
I'm in the camp that says, "forget the movie." Seriously though. Forget it. The book is not about a hero. It's about a guy collecting the stories of people who survived a global zombie apocalypse. To say this book was well thought out is an understatement. Brooks comes up with convincing ways a zombie virus could actually spread and how a global war on the undead could be won.


9. The Blue Nowhere - Jeffery Deaver
Deaver is a prolific mystery/crime author who you might know as the guy who wrote The Bone Collector, which was then adapted into a movie starring Denzel Washington. This book is about a serial killer who is a hacker. He uses his cyber skills to stalk and trap his victims and the only hope of the investigators is another hacker. It is more crime than sci-fi, but nerds and the tech inclined might get a kick out of this one.


10. First Flight - Chris Claremont
Yes, that Chris Claremont. The guy that made the X-Men huge also wrote a few books. This one is the first in The High Frontier trilogy and it works very well on it's own.  This is the story of Lt. Nicole Shea on her first space mission that seems routine until the crew crosses paths with a band of space pirates. Lt. Shea will also unexpectedly make humanities first contact with an alien race. Chances are you will only find this trilogy online.

Your recommendations are appreciated, but I am backed up on things unread that sit on my bookshelf as it is.
HyperSmash.com