Not quite a 10 Cent Review – Newsflesh Trilogy


brilliant political thriller

that just happens to take place after the zombie apocalypse

I don’t used the word, “brilliant,” often in reference to books.  Mira Grant’s Newsflesh Trilogy is a well-deserved exception.

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Anne Hathaway is awesome


If you’ve been under a bridge for the last year, you might not be aware that the long-anticipated (for me, at least), mostly faithful, feature film adaptation of Les Miserables hits theaters this Christmas.

Lately, I’ve been avoiding gossip rags and entertainment news since they tend to SPOIL EVERYTHING, so I didn’t hear the buzz from the premiere until I heard about Ann Hathaway’s visit with Matt Lauer.  Sadly, discussion of Ms. Hathaway’s heartfelt performance as Fantine is not what got my attention.

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The Hawkeye Initiative

Everyone who has ever read comics should go check out The Hawkeye Initiative.


The picture above is artist Blue‘s commentary on Marvel Comics’ choices in cover art.  Keep in mind, this is a cover for an All-Ages (marketed to children) comic.  I don’t know about you but, when I was seven, I would have been more interested in Black Widow’s kicks and punches than her sexy acrobatics.  Great job attracting more girl readers, guys!

And so, the Hawkeye Initiative was born.  The challenge is simple: redraw “empowered poses” from comic books with Hawkeye in the role of the female character.  I love the comments from some of the artists that they feel “pervy” adding the butt cheek highlights and other details.  We’re so used to these images that it takes a paradigm shift to see how sexualized they really are.It’s been eye-opening for a lot of the internet.  Here are a few of the reblogged comments:

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Beautiful, Wretched, Magnificent Holiday Movies

It’s that time of the year, folks: the time when ABCFamily, Hallmark, Lifetime, and others devote large swaths of programming time to cheesy holiday movies.

They feature just about every actor you can imagine, picking up some cash during off years.  Neil Patrick Harris and Rob Lowe have done a bunch, including the one they appeared in together.

Oh Clarissa, you can do so much better

If the Jesus isn’t your thing (and it definitely isn’t mine), don’t worry.  Even the options with “Miracle” and “Angel” in the title rarely feature that dude.  He gets a mention sometimes in the ones with dying kids, but otherwise you can weed out the religion with a brief glance at the summaries.

Mostly, they are of the magnificent cheese variety.  Love Actually, while an excellent film on its own, has a lot to answer for.  These clumsy imitations feature mediocre writing, phoned-in acting by big-name cameos, and location fudging that makes ER‘s “Brownline Subway” look like high art.

My holiday confession:  I’m addicted to them.

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10 Cent Review – Homeland

How crazy is Carrie, really?

How crazy is Carrie, really?

political thriller full of realistically-portrayed mental health issues that gives me a heart attack weekly

If I tried to get into everything that makes homeland awesome, I’d be here for hours, and I’d spoil half the show for you.  Here’s what grabbed me from the first: all the characters are archetypes turned on edge and the acting makes them so real it hurts.

There’s the super sleuth who is so obsessed people think she’s crazy.  In Homeland, she is crazy, but that doesn’t mean she’s wrong.

There’s the war hero torn by PTSD who is being used by his government to popularize the war.  In Homeland, he might go the usual route and kill himself, but he might also be so torn up about it that he’s willing to blow up a room full of people to make his point.

There are others: the mentor, the grieving widow, the best friend, the hard-nosed boss, etc.  Each brings something new to the role.  Mandy Patinkin, in particular, shines beyond what I ever expected.  He was fantastic in Dead Like Me.  He is great in Homeland.

My roommate picked up Season 1 this summer, and within two weeks we were caught up and had ordered Showtime.  The plotting is tight, the characters are consistent, and it contains some of the most gloriously messed-up relationships I’ve ever seen on television.  I’m never certain where they will take the story next, but it always rings true.

5 out of 5 Deadman Switches

Led Astray by the Smut Peddler

June is my book amnesty month.  For 30 days, I will try anyone’s recommendations, no matter how ridiculous they sound.  It would be easy to back out, but every year I find one or two things that make the whole exercise worthwhile.


Last June, at the urging of a librarian friend (the titular Smut Peddler), I picked up a few titles for a trip.  They were adventure novels with a touch of the supernatural and a LOT of sex.   They were full of smart, feisty women who couldn’t be controlled by the patriarchal hierarchy that raised them. To my great surprise, I loved them.

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10 Cent Review – Super 8

super 8

Thought provoking family sci-fi film about loneliness and alienation (pun intended)

Super 8 was not the best movie of 2011.  Super 8  may not have even been the best alien movie of 2011 (I hear great things about  Attack the Block which I still have to see).  It was, however, the best live-action, family film I’ve seen in a very long time.  Heartfelt performances (can someone give Kyle Chandler the awards he deserves?), geeky childhood enthusiasm, and small town desperation combine to create something special.

3 1/2 Alien Thumbs Up