Blogger has been good to me, and thank you for all the support I've had thus far. All good things must come to an end, but sometimes it's because you're moving onwards and upwards. I'm excited to announce that I now have a new and improved, grown-up website with an actual domain and everything! So update those Google Readers and visit me at www.geekappetite.com for more geeky treats, feminist rants, foodie goodies, and cultural conversations. Thanks, readers!
Sometimes you just feel like blowing off some steam and playing a video game in the dark at home, just you and the comforting glow of the screen. But sometimes you get the urge to play with others. Hopping online with friends, you can connect with people miles away while you lay snuggly in bed, a book as your mousepad. But sometimes you get the wild urge to leave the house, and that's where gaming lounges come in. Gaming lounges are a unique place. You don't have the dissonance of playing at home with a bunch of peers far away-- you take comfort in being in the same room as your comrades, not to mention you also meet new people.
Last week, I went to a gaming lounge with my husband and his little brother, and we played Left 4 Dead II for several hours. Since there were only three of us and it's a four-player game, the fourth player was the computer. So, when zombie hoards ripped us apart, we used all our med packs, unlabeled pills, and healing supplies on ourselves, leaving the computer to fend for itself, since it wasn't a real player. However, sometime within the 3 hours we played, a fellow comrade from the gaming lounge joined the game and we hadn't noticed the name change. So, we're not exactly sure how much time passed while we left the poor guy mangled and bleeding alone before we realized it was no longer the computer but an actual person! Once we realized our mistake, I called out, "Sorry, dude!" and healed him with a med pack, and a guy from across the room looked up and said, "Thank you!" And the four of us banded together and were a much stronger force with the computer player out of the picture.
Our new comrade had played the game a lot more than we had, and he was gracious when we messed up, helped us when we were on the verge of death, and schemed with us for our next moves. We became friends. And as I revelled in our gaming friendship, another guy across the room bought pizza for everyone who was still at the lounge at midnight on a Saturday night. There were no jokes about noobs. There were no socially awkward remarks for my being the only woman in the place. There were no angry yells. And there was free pizza for all. This is one pretty cool gaming lounge-- a place for human connection, in addition to virtual connection. Call me sentimental.
You can check out the gaming lounge we frequent here. It's called Gamerz Funk. Don't judge it by the name.
A recent rental release, The Raid: Redemption is totally worth the drive to the nearest Redbox. As far as kung-fu movies go, it doesn't get much better than this. Be warned, The Raid is pretty damn violent-- the entire movie is almost packed end-to-end with fight scenes, which include various weapons, plenty of hand-to-hand combat, copious amounts of blood, and some visceral details. To be sure, this film has some of the best fight scenes I've seen since Oldboy (without all the weird familial relations). In the brief intermittent scenes between scores of violence, this film masterfully builds tension. I suggest finding a teddy bear to hug or some food to gnaw on, lest you bite your nails incessantly (though on second thought, the food might not be a good idea given the gore). In addition to the awesome fight scenes, this film also has a satisfying story, which many kung-fu movies lack for me. If you're even marginally interested in kung-fu movies, this is a must-see.
* Note: Not surprisingly, I completely disagree with Roger Ebert yet again. Between this and his Avengers review, I've decided he hates films and fun, and I vow to never mention him again on the blog.
I've been a slacker about the blog, mostly because right after Comic-Con I married my best friend and ran away on a honeymoon. But I wanted to share some of the details from our geeky wedding reception. It was everything I hoped it would be and more: casual, fun, and completely suited to our personalities.
(centerpieces with comics and pez)
We're lucky to have such wonderful family and friends who supported us in our endeavor to turn our wedding reception into something resembling a 6-year-old's birthday party. It was awesome.
This has been a whirlwind of a week, and I'm sorry I haven't had time to update the blog with all my Comic-Con goodies yet. But, I needed to post this ASAP: I had the privilege of asking Master Tarantino a question at the Django Unchained panel. As I stood there in my Beatrix Kiddo jumpsuit, I died from happiness when he said I looked like Charlize Theron dressed as The Bride. But what brought me even more happiness: I got to ask him a question I've wanted to ask for years, and he gave a thoughtful, awesome answer (and so did one of the stars of the film). Part of me was nervous that Tarantino could never live up to my expectations, but guess what? He was smart, humble, kind, articulate, and funny. I wish I could've talked to him for hours, and I'm a bigger fan than ever. My exchange with Tarantino starts at 42:30. It was a dream come true, and I hope you enjoy sharing in my fun.
Before seeing Prometheus, I was bombarded by mini-reviews from Facebook and Twitter friends saying, "meh," and I have to say, I think this film is better than mediocre. Perhaps everyone set my expectations low, but I thought it was enjoyable and engaging. Having said that, it definitely has its problems.
I love the way the film looks, and it's fun being transported to an Alien-like realm that's also new and interesting. It has a satisfyingly creepy, eerie design and feel that kept me at attention, waiting for something to lurk from the shadows, and I wasn't disappointed. There are a few scenes that genuinely disturbed me in the best way possible, and I found myself clutching my seat with vigor. Oddly, this film also has some horrifying motifs that echo female anatomical parts, possibly created by someone with Mommy issues.
Aside from the awesome atmosphere, the characters themselves were big hits and big misses, but I thought the main characters were spot-on. The eerieness of the film was contributed to in no small part by Michael Fassbender's robot character, Michael. Win. Also, I loved the main female character Elizabeth Shaw (played by Noomi Rapace) who brings some serious badassery. And for all you feminists, I liked that this actress rocks some curves-- and yes, between Rapace and Theron, this film does indeed pass the Bechdel Test. Besides the characters I liked, there were a few scientists in the mix that proved ridiculously incompetent, but I forgave them for the characters that were cool.
Overall, I like that this film leaves things open-ended and doesn't explain too much. However, awkwardly amongst the obscurity, there are a few scenes that painstakingly over-explain the obvious, and those are the parts where I face-palmed. For me, the good outweighs the not-so-good, and I think this beautiful film (yes, I use that word in conjunction with an alien-horror film) deserves a watch.
I've now seen Avengers a couple of times, but I hadn't written a post because I didn't know what I could say that hadn't already been said. It was awesome, everything I hoped it would be. Whedon stood tall and rose to all my expectations. The arrangement of strong characters was well-balanced and well-written, each contributing a unique personality to the whole. Roger Ebert is an idiot. Moviefone is sexist. The end.
After discussing the film with others and watching it a second time through, I realized that while this film has some fantastic female characters, it does not pass the Bechdel Test (watch this if you're not sure what the test entails). Having said that, I still think it's a film with successfully feminist female roles in the form of Black Widow, and more interestingly to me, Maria Hill (Fury's second in command).
I like that Black Widow plays into all the stereotypes of the damsel in distress (helpless, sexually objectified, emotional, vulnerable) in order to trick her male counterparts into spilling their secrets. Is she still a femme fatale figure? Yes. Is her sexuality still referenced as important to her job? Yes. Is she still tied up at one point? Yes. But she's still a really cool superhero and incredible leaps and bounds beyond female characters in other Marvel films (I'm scowling at you, Jane from Thor).
However, the female character who really caught my eye is Maria Hill. This may seem odd, since she isn't a main character. She just sort of drifts in and out of scenes like a shadow with no backstory or characteristics shown besides those pertinent to her job. But this is what I like: her role could have easily been played by a man, keeping the script exactly as it was written. Of course, it would be strange if all female characters were written in such a way. But in this case, as a military-like employee, it makes sense. And I like that no one ever comments on her gender or makes gendered comments to her. She is just part of the operation; it is natural. She is a woman doing her job. It was so simple to make this character female, and yet, many films fail to incorporate similar female roles: everyday females doing their jobs in typically male-dominated fields. I like it.
At this point, it's no secret that I'm a sucker for horror movies, but this one takes the cake. This is one of the funnest horror movies I've ever seen (yes, I might even like it more than Jennifer's Body, which is a statement I haven't yet uttered about a horror film until now). Not only was The Cabin in the Woods a celebration of all things horror, it was clever, shocking, and different. It gushed (pun intended?) with originality, a rarity in contemporary horror.
In the era of the postmodern smarty-pants viewer, well versed in genre constructions, we are in the age of meta-horror. It seems that every film since Scream has tried to point out its own constructedness, paying homage to the horror genre and referencing the horror conventions that have come before. The Cabin in the Woods (we're talking the 2012 version here, of course) forces this agenda to a new level, pushing the purpose, commentary, and conversation of contemporary horror. This isn't self-referentiality for the sake of street cred-- this is self-referentiality that propels itself and the genre to something new, one of the markers of a great work.
And in case you were wondering, yes Joss Whedon is an incredibly talented writer who has grown a lot since Buffy and Angel. Moments of serious horror and gore are undercut with witty and thought-provoking humor that fits into a story that pushes its premise to its limits. I can't wait to see what this guy does with The Avengers. To all you nervous, Whedon nay-sayers who worried if he'd be able to shine on the silver screen, I just want to give you an inelegant and irritating (but well deserved) "I told ya so."