Why Piracy is Making a Comeback

Why Piracy is Making a Comeback

People flocked to streaming services because of the exorbitant pricing of bundled cable and satellite television services. These bundles forced consumers to pay upwards of one-hundred dollars for 5-10 channels that they actually watch because services bundled those handful of channels to only be purchased with the addition of 200+ other channels. Not only that, but Netflix offered consumers convenience. Soon, other streaming services followed suit and illegal downloads fell. So what happened?

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Classic Witch Movies to Binge While Giving Out Candy on Halloween

Classic Witch Movies to Binge While Giving Out Candy on Halloween

Not everyone dresses up for Halloween. Some of us enjoy staying home and handing out candy and being entertained by the awesome costumes of trick-or-treaters who beg for candy.

Staying home and handing out candy doesn’t have to be dull. After all, Halloween is supposed to be a magical night, as pagans believe it’s the night that the veil is thinnest and we’re able to more easily communicate with and feel the presence of our lost loved ones. It’s basically “The Season of the Witch.” Here are some amazing witchy classics to binge-watch while handing out candy this Halloween. Or just to binge watch period, because they’re just that freakin’ good!

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Ready Player One: Can A Girl Get Some Respect?

I've been dwelling on my view of Ready Player One since I saw it in theaters. I cried when I left the theater, impassioned by my own memories and nostalgia. I felt cause to celebrate the gaming community aspects of the film because, as a lifelong gamer, I completely connected with the intention of the heartfelt relationships the characters built in their virtual world. Witnessing the bond and friendships between the gamers that have never met hit me right in the feels.

To Spielberg’s credit, the movie was action packed, entertaining as hell and full of stunning digital creations and effects. But the effects of the source material could not be undone, and the female character problem remains unresolved. Ready Player One, based on the 2011 Ernest Cline novel of the same name, at surface level is a love letter to pop culture and gaming centered around a boy named Wade Watts. But upon closer inspection, it reveals itself to have female characters that are instruments of the protagonist at worst or shallow at best. 

Source: Warner Bros via Wikia

Source: Warner Bros via Wikia

5.  F'Nale Zandor is one of the antagonists in the film. F’nale works for IOI and seems to be in charge of doing the dirty work for her boss, Nolan Sorrento. She exists solely for him to achieve power and complete control over the Oasis. Nolan has her do the dirty work because he's trash. She willingly agrees and actually hunts Wade and his friends in the real world. Chaotic evil? Yes. But even bad girls deserve to be treated with respect! 

4. Wade Watt’s Aunt Alice is blown up for the sake of character development. Like comic book superheroes, Wade’s parents are dead, so his aunt takes him in. Alice seems to have a very trope-y history of dating abusive men. In the film she is in a relationship with a man who abuses her and Wade. In an attempt to destroy Wade Nolan Sorrento blows up the stacks where his Aunt lives. POOF! BOOM! BANG! RIP Wades Aunt; you deserved better.

Source: Warner Bros via Insider

Source: Warner Bros via Insider

3. Aech is Parzivel’s best friend in the Oasis. In the Oasis, her character is male and she often reminds Parzivel that you can’t trust people in the Oasis. People hide their real identities for a multitude of reasons. She ends up saving Wade time and time again in both artificial and actual reality. Aech is clearly the wiser, more skeptical of the two, a capable engineer, mechanic and warrior. She possesses  a self-awareness that Wade does not. So much more could have been done with this character, but instead she was used as just another rung on the ladder to Wade’s goal of being the savior of the Oasis. The fact that the story also “hid” her identity from us robbed us of an opportunity to actually get to know her.

Photo: Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros via Vulture

2. Artemis is a famous egg hunter (Gunter) in the Oasis. She’s smart, she's quick and she’s powerful. She seems to be doing fine on her own until the story begins, at which point she becomes completely dependent on Wade’s help every step of the way. The film even seems to go out of its way to show her get a clue completely wrong, which leads to a risky fight and chase. Wade becomes obsessed with her in a MPDG-crush fantasy world way, still treating the Egg hunt like a game. By the end of the movie she’s revealed herself entirely to Wade in a pretty bland “I have typical motivations” type way and let’s Wade do the heavy lifting.

1. Kira - the “key to it all.” James Halliday the Oasis creator had a one true love, her name was Kira. We find out that Kira is the trophy, she is the unifying key to hunting down the hidden easter eggs and winning the Oasis. James was always in love with Kira and because of his extreme anxiety, insecurities and light incel (involuntary celibate) nature he failed to kiss her when he had the chance. Since he failed at love, it’s only... obvious…? that he would make her the center of his Easter Egg hunt. Ya know, a puzzle for everyone else to overcome, belitted to a kiss not taken. We don't know anything about her aside from a few men’s perspectives. Maybe if he chose to shoot his shot the Oasis wouldn't exist? If he had would this movie still exist??

There is already so much in nerd and geek culture that excludes the female perspective. Ready Player One is a beautiful spectacle of nostalgia that, unfortunately, refuses to include women in that narrative as anything more than pawns.

Have you seen Ready Player One? Tell us what you think in the comments.
 

The Oceans 8 Trailer is Finally Here

And it looks damn good.

Ocean's 8, part of the Ocean's movie series stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Sarah Paulson, Helen Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway. The star-studded, woman-led cast are following in "impossible heist" footsteps of its predecessors, Ocean's 11, 12 and 13

High end robbery seems to be in the Ocean bloodline. Debbie Ocean, Danny Ocean's sister in crime wants to pull of the most outrageous and impossible heist, robbing the Met Gala of $132 million worth of goodies. That's $16.5 million for each of Debbie Ocean's 8. cha-ching! 

Ocean's 8, part of the Ocean's movie series stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Sarah Paulson, Helen Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway. The star-studded, woman-led cast are following in "impossible heist" footsteps of its predecessors, Ocean's 11, 12 and 13

Amy Poehler to Direct Netflix Original Movie

Are you ready to finally get a Poehler-directed film?

Parks & Recreation star and Saturday Night Live Alum is slated to star in and direct a Netflix original movie titled Wine Country featuring former SNL cast members Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Paula Pell and Ana Gasteyer. This will be Amy Poehler’s feature film directorial debut. Poehler previously directed episodes of Broad City and executive produced  three episodes of Parks and Rec.

The screenplay, co-written by costar Emily Spivey (writer for SNL for ten years) and  Liz Cackowski centers around a group of friends on a weekend adventure in Napa Valley to celebrate a 50th birthday.

Will Jac Schaeffer Do Marvel's "Black Widow" Justice?

If TiMER is any indication of Jac Schneider's abilities, then Black Widow is in serious trouble.

If Wonder Woman's success is any indication, the world is ready for more women-led superhero films. WW broke records and barriers, becoming the first successful, woman-led superhero film. WW is something we've been asking for for years but film industry execs didn't think that a woman-led superhero film could bring in the big bucks. Boy were they wrong! Now, that Hollywood has gotten the message, Black Widow has gotten the green light. But there's cause for worry.

Jac Schaeffer is rumored to have been selected to pen Black Widow's solo film debut. But who the heck is Jac Schaeffer? What has she done? Why is she the right woman for the job?

Schaeffer made her screenwriting debut in 2009 film TiMER, an unconventional romantic comedy about timer implants being able to predict and countdown to the day the wearer will meet their soulmate, provided their soulmate also has the timer implant. The humor was a bit dry. I struggled to sit through the entire film, but I had to. I was hoping against all hope that the film would turn into something magical. It didn't. Granted, the film wasn't horrible. It was just not very memorable, exciting or funny-not entertaining.

Schaeffer also wrote The Shower, a Black List script (film and television scripts that were not selected for production, so a group of professionals offer to do readings of the script). The Shower is about a baby shower that is abruptly interrupted by a meteor shower that turns all of the men into blood-thirsty zombies. It's not a film premise I'd get excited about. It sounds like a film I'd maybe check out if it were on network television and I couldn't find anything to watch. The celebrities who read for The Shower raved about its unexpected and fresh writing. Maybe that says something. But the humor was just flat or nonexistent. Not even the talented Anne Hathaway reading could spruce it up. Schaeffer also wrote Frozen's Olaf's Adventures. Kids like Frozen, so there's that.

This isn't looking all that great for Black Widow and she deserves better. Now is not the time to take a gamble on one of the most anticipated female superhero characters--someone fans been dying to see in a solo film since her first film appearance in Iron Man 2. What about about Ryan Coogler? Everything he's written has been beyond beautiful, especially Black Panther. How about Nicole Perlman who wrote Guardians of the Galaxy? Or Jane Goldman who wrote Kick-Ass and Kingsman: The Secret Service

#Girlboss 8 Woman-led Films To Motivate You to Kick Ass

When I'm feeling down and need motivation, watching action films starring women who kick was always boosts my mood. There's just something empowering and motivating seeing other women in control and, honestly, beating the shit out of people. It's illegal for me take a samurai sword and chop someone's head off or unload a full clip into someone who broke my heart. So why not cheer on women who can? Films with intelligent, strong, badass women saving the day, exacting revenge or executing a damn near flawless heist, inspire me to get off my ass, take control and make something happen.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2

 
 

Kill Bill was an instant cult classic. That seems to happen to a lot of Quentin Tarantino's films. Tarantino said he wrote this film specifically for Uma Thurman after working together on Pulp Fiction. Kill Bill is a duo of hack 'em, slash 'em revenge films that gets women in action all the way right. Not to mention, the perfect soundtrack to accompany each fight scene.

The Long Kiss Goodnight

 
 
 
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The Long Kiss Goodnight is in my top 10 favorite movies of all time. ALL TIME. Geena Davis plays a woman who has had amnesia several years. She's a wife, mother, school teacher and pillar of her community. She's also a former covert operative. Remember the rapper Charlie Baltimore? She took her rap alias from the insanely badass Charlene "Charlie" Baltimore of this film. 

Point of No return

 
 

Point of No Return is an American remake of La Femme Nikita (honorable mention). Maggie (Bridget Fonda) was a junkie accused of murdering a cop and forced to train to become an assassin. Sadly, too many people haven't seen this film, so I won't give away spoilers. I'll just say, watch it. Bridget Fonda comes from the legendary Fonda acting family (her father is Henry Fonda and her aunt is Jane Fonda). I'm sure the pressure was on, but she looked as if she didn't even break a sweat! After seeing this film, I was hoping to see her in more action roles because she was good!  

Underworld series

 
 

Vampires, werewolves and a badass vampire heroine killing them all. Do you need more convincing? 

The Resident Evil Series

 
 

Zombie killing. Based on the popular game series, Resident Evil is nonstop action. Milla Jovovich does her own stunts. Oh, and killing zombies. Did I mention zombies?

 
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Columbiana

 
 

Zoe Saldana is probably the queen of action films. Her background in ballet allows her fight scenes to look so fluid, real. Have you ever watched a fight scene as just thought "This looks horrible"? Never have I said that about a Zoe Saldana fight. And with Columbiana, she's the best. Saldana always opts to do her own stunts. My only problem with Columbiana is that there could have been more character development. 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

 
 

The writing is extremely cheesy, but fun. That's what makes Buffy delightful. Sometimes you don't know what you can do until you have to do something, right? Granted, the television show that came from it wasn't as cheesy, but the campiness is what made Buffy "Buffy". Hooray for feel-good vampire killing!

Jackie Brown

 
 

When you've had enough, then you've had e-damn-nuff! Written specifically for the legendary Pam Grier, Jackie Brown is about an older woman whose tired of being caught up in other people's mess and she's ready to get out. This isn't the typical action film, but it's motivating nonetheless. Jackie is older and tired of the bull. One last score is all she needs. 

Tank Girl

 
 

She's eccentric, hilarious, loyal and dangerous. The film Tank Girl was based on the British comic debuting in the first issue of Deadline Magazine in 1988. It gives us a futuristic look at what can happen when corporations control the most basic of needs--water.

Which films do you turn to for a pick-me-up? We want to hear from you.

Suicide Squad, BDSM and Removing the Abusive Component of J+H

To cheer myself up after a horrible day, I decided to re-watch Suicide Squad. 

Disclaimer: This piece is not condoning abusive relationships. Nor does this piece deny the manipulative aspects of the the Harley and Joker relationship. This piece merely points out the BDSM elements that were added to the Suicide Squad film's Harley and Joker relationship.

It's entertainment--not the best movie, but entertaining nonetheless. It's one of those movies that you can watch over and over, every time it comes on. We can debate about the sloppiness of the script and whether or not you like the actor choices for the characters another time. This insomnia-driven article is about the removal of one of the main variables of the Joker-Harley Quinn romance--the abuse.

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Since Harley Quinn was introduced to Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn and Joker's abusive relationship has been unavoidable. And while liking the characters individually, I've always detested their relationship. The comics depict Harley as a bit of a stalker where Joker berates and abuses her for his amusement, places blame on her or just beats her due to sheer annoyance. Hell, in one episode, Harley actually caught Batman for Joker and he beat her because she basically stole his thunder. I was so glad when she left Joker.

One of the things many die hard Harley-Joker fans do is romanticize the abusive relationship as this beautifully imperfect--twisted relationship based on abuse and there was nothing beautiful about it. I've heard so many Harley fans say, "They're just two twisted people who love each other. They get each other." And all I can ever do is roll my eyes at their ridiculousness. And those same people don't like the Suicide Squad version of the Harley-Joker relationship because "it isn't true to the comics because Joker looks like a 'lovesick puppy." That was the most widely used reference I heard "lovesick puppy". 

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In the Suicide Squad version, their relationship is depicted more as a Dom/sub relationship and is, thus, actually quite beautiful. Harleen Quinzel is a collared baby girl--Daddy's Lil' Monster--Daddy being Joker. She lives to please him and in this version, Joker lives to protect Harley. He shot a man  in the head for calling her a bitch! Yeah, yeah, yeah, he's Joker--he doesn't need an excuse to shoot anyone in the head, but still. Work with me, here. 

In BDSM the Dominant/submissive power exchange is about trust. The submissive freely surrenders power to her/his Dominant. The general consensus is that the submissive, while surrendering her/his Dominant, is still the one in control because that power was given freely and can be taken away by leaving the relationship or setting boundaries not to be crossed. In the film, Joker tells Harley, "Submission is power."

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In that scene, while most movie goers probably thought he was being his manipulative Joker-self, he seemed to be asking Harley to be his submissive. 

Joker: Would you die for me?
Quinn: Yes
Joker: That's too easy. Would you live for me?
Quinn: Yes
Joker: Careful. Do not say this oath thoughtlessly. Desire becomes surrender. Surrender becomes power. You want this?
Quinn: I do.

In the SS, through flashbacks, they show Joker's sadism and Harley as a willing, masochist participant. Their power dynamic, in the film is pretty decent in that they worship each other And while the introduction of this type of dynamic pissed off a LOT of die hard fans as not being true to the comics and their actual, abusive relationship, I, for one, was very grateful that David Ayer gave us a newer, better version of the Joker-Harley relationship. I'd rather see Harley be wanted, protected and needed as a sub as opposed being a punching bag and punchline for comic fodder. Harley Quinn is such a complex character who deserved so much more than being a sidekick who suffers abuse from a douchy boyfriend.

Intentional or not, this is, of course, how it appeared in the film.