The Reviews Are In: Suicide Squad

suicide-squad-assembled.jpgI’m not going to tell you that there is nothing to like about Suicide Squad. The latest DC offering, with it’s confetti-colored Hot Topic aesthetic, is a fun time at the movies. But like it’s similarly underwhelming big brother Batman V. Superman, this movie unnerves me in a way that goes beyond just poor film making. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

SUICIDE-SQUAD-55Squad is an ostensibly anti-superhero film about a handful of colorful villains that, through the cloak-and-dagger machinations of some deadpanned civil servants, get drafted into the hero business. They can save the world in exchange for a commuted prison sentence, or they can get dead. Even so, it’s a hard sell. These baddies are, apparently, the only people in the entire DC universe equipped to take on Enchantress, an extra-dimensional witch-demon who is, I don’t know, trying to bend mankind to her will? As ever, villain motivations are a little fuzzy here.

The story itself is about as messy as it could be, and not it a good way. The entire first act is Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller sitting in a restaurant with a colleague, delivering endless backstory and exposition between bites of steak, and even then the film manages to forget to introduce some of it’s characters (sorry, who is Slipknot?). It then proceeds to hit all the predictable notes, never letting you forget what kind of people the protagonists are (at one point, Harley Quinn smashes a store window for no discernible reason and drawls, “What do you expect, we’re bad guys!”, as if we were likely to forget).

As sloppy as the writing was, I’d happily overlook it if, just this once, DC had given me some interesting, fleshed-out characters to work with. Swing and a miss. All attempts at depth and humanity fall just short, resulting in a coterie of criminals that never really feel like much Suicide-Squad-Trailer-El-Diablo-Fire-xlarge-large_trans++Rp36Ti1MFCYr8PMuS2fHb17hoDUspm84EYl8tHPMRlkmore. Deadshot (Will Smith) stands out as the most sympathetic character, a man who is trying to reconcile the killer he is with the father he wants to be. Otherwise, there isn’t much to relate to here. June Moone (Cara Delevingne) is an archeologist with all the charisma of a Crate and Barrel lampshade. Diablo (Jay Hernandez) is a former kingpin who murdered his family in a fit of rage. Killer Croc and Boomerang, who between the two of them accrued about ten lines of dialogue, zero of which were memorable. And these were the least troubling of the crew. No, the majority of my beef lies with loony lovers Joker and Harley Quinn.

JOKER1On the one hand, you’ve got the Joker (Jared Leto), who’s particular brand of crazy is surprisingly formulary. It’s hard not to draw comparisons between this Joker and the Heath Leger performance that preceded it. The scariest part of Leger’s Joker was his restraint; his outward insane levity was constantly at war with the much darker madness within. Leto’s Joker wasn’t quite so…layered. And for as much unjustified screen time as he had in this film, there should have been layers.

Speaking of missing layers, we have Harley Quinn, who in true DC fashion is yet another female character not allowed to cover more than 40% of her body at any given time. As with the Joker, we are told that she’s nuts rather than allowed to see any evidence supporting that fact. Not to mention the fact that she’s fetishized beyond the point of relateability. I present exhibit A…

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I don’t want to say there was nothing redeeming about Suicide Squad. It boasts some pretty impressive cinematography and special effects. You might even say that Harley Quinn is a metaphor for the film itself: pretty to look at, and not nearly as wild as it could have been.

Whitney Weldon

 

 

Fangirly Exposed: ASMR Videos

It’s not as weird as you think, I swear.

Actually, that might depend on who you ask. ASMR (not a clinical term) is a sensory response only experienced by a certain percentage of the population. Exactly what that percentage might be currently remains a mystery. What researchers do know is that not everyone experiences this very nebulous, and as yet unexplained, phenomenon.

So what is it? Good question. Have you every gotten that tingly feeling that starts at your scalp and then slowly works it’s way to your limbs? Maybe it happens when you’re getting a haircut or talking to a friend.  Triggers can be as diverse as the people who experience them, but there are a few common denominators: soft voices, personal attention, hand movements, and a non-threatening atmosphere are only a few.

So you might be thinking, “Yo, Whitney, how does the fall under Fangirly’s purview? You guys write about pop culture, not fringe science.” Very astute.

Turns out, there’s a burgeoning internet subculture surrounding ASMR. YouTube is lousy with what’s called ASMR “trigger videos”. Here are a few of my favorites. Heads up- theses videos work better with headphones.

1)

Easily my favorite ASMR channel. Asmrrequests tends to be more innovative and creative with it’s content. I also recommend this video.

2)

I only recently discovered ALBinwhisterland, who was recommended by a friend (word up, Amanda). This channel is quickly growing on me.

3) And finally…

Another of my favorite channels, whispersunicorn has the added benefit of being quietly, and surprisingly, hilarious.  A quality we value highly here.

So that’s it. My not-so-dirty little secret. What are you favorite ASMR videos? Hit us up in our comments section!

Whitney Weldon

Fangirly Crush of the Week: Poe Dameron and Finn

Far, far away and long, long ago

Lived Finn

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and his rebel associate, Poe

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Their bravery earned them the widest acclaim

Combined sex appeal got them all kinds of game

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The Galaxy by their deeds was impacted

And the enemy by their butts was distracted

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In all the ‘Verse, there wasn’t a Lady or Foe

That wasn’t slayed by the likes of Finn and Poe

200 (3)

But it ain’t gonna work, girls, go cry to your mother

‘Cause these dudes only have eyes for each other.

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Whitney Weldon

 

 

 

 

A Fangirly Birthday Tribute: Whitney’s 2016 Gifture Book

There once was a normal girl who lived on a normal street went to her normal school and had a normal day.  She even had a normal name of Whitney.

sweatpants

 

One day, Whitney came home to her normal house and began her normal evening routine wishing she could have something other than normal.

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What this normal girl didn’t know was that she was destined for greatness and would soon be a member of the coolest, most exclusive club there is: The Society for Exceptional Ladies.

what-boom

As Whitney laid her normal head on her normal pillow, she was pulled out of her bed by masked figures.

scared

 

 

They instructed her to be quiet as they put a black bag over her head.  shocked cat

They seemed to be taking her somewhere and before long she was made to sit in a chair.

Scared and shocked

“Where am I?  Who are you?  Is this a Saw-type situation?  Because I will have you know that I am well trained in the horror movie genre and know how to handle any situation you throw at me?”

kill you

As her hood was pulled off, Whitney saw she was sitting on a chair in the middle a darkened room with only a single light bulb hanging over her.  She could see others standing in the shadows, but decided to first deal with the person standing directly behind her.

Come at me bro

“This isn’t a horror movie, Whitney.  You’ve been selected for The Society for Exceptional Ladies.”

excitement

The woman came around to face her.

“The Society…. wait.  Are you Peggy Carter?”

ac2

“Yes, I have nominated you for the society based on your general badassery and for always fighting for superior representation of women in superhero movies.”

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Whitney was still in a state of shock but managed, “Batman v. Superman was a bit of a mess, right?  They should never have cancelled you, Peggy.”

ac

“Sorry,” Whitney said.  “I didn’t mean to bring up a touchy subject.”

Peggy shrugged and moved back into the shadows as two more figures came out into the light.

ta

“Tina and Amy?” Whitney exclaimed.

“Yes, it is…we.  We have nominated you for your hilariousity and your ability to always make your cousin laugh.  Without fail.”

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They moved back into the shadows as a Tina of a different variety emerged.

tina fall

“I have nominated you for respecting the male form, especially those of the famous variety.  And especially their butts.”

tina butt

“It has been my absolute pleasure,” said Whitney.

wink

Over the course of the next hour, several more extraordinary ladies came forward.

Rey nominated Whitney for her never needing a guy to hold her hand.

Rey

Veronica Mars nominated her for being as sassy as all get out.

vm

Penny Hartz nominated her for always trying to make the best out of a bad situation.

penny

Jane Kerkovich Williams nominated her for owning up to her peculiarities.

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Alex Kerkovich nominated her for knowing the value of both TV and a well placed pop culture reference.

alex

Jane Austen nominated her for being one heck of a writer.

ja

The Clones nominated her for embracing all all aspects of her personality.

ob

Mindy nominated Whitney for knowing her self worth.

ass that wont quit

Kimmy Schmidt nominated her for always keeping it cool.

kimmy

And her cousin Ellen nominated her for being the best cousin, friend, psuedo sister, all-around-awesome person that a girl could ask for.

bad-max-side-five

(Oh, I’m sorry.  Did you not think I was going to be in this club?)

as if

Whitney accepted her new membership in the club with aplomb.

i do rock

She went on to eventually become the club’s president because even the most extraordinary of ladies had to recognize that Whitney was the most extraordinary of them all.

opera doc

THE END

Happy birthday, Whitney!  I agree with everything the extraordinary ladies said.

-Ellen

The Reviews Are In: The Conjuring 2

Here’s a not-so-secret secret about me: I suffer from sleep paralysis. It’s a sleep disorder that causes the sufferer to maintain consciousness while the body remains asleep, causing temporary immobility. Sounds awful, right? It is. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is the hallucinations. More often than not I see a dark, menacing, vaguely human shape standing Who-Plays-Demon-Conjuring-2in the corner on my room. Or, if I’m really lucky, I’ll see something waving to me from inside my closet. These experiences are the closest I’ve ever come to pure, mortal terror.

And, for the record, that’s pretty close.

The point of this story is that there is not, nor will there ever be, anything more terrifying than our own imaginations. And I further postulate that there isn’t one filmmaker working today who understands this better than James Wan, directer of The Conjuring 2. He knows how to give an audience a creaky floorboard, an empty rocking chair, and a shadowy presence looming slightly off-screen, and let their brains fill in the gaps.

This sequel to 2013’s The Conjuring (also directed by James Wan) once again stars Vera the-conjuring-2-movieFarminga and Patrick Wilson as Lorraine and Ed Warren, reputed paranormal investigators. This film, like it’s predecessor, tackles a real-life haunting, the case of the Enfield Poltergeist. In London, a single mother and her four children are terrorized by what they believe is the spirit of the previous owner of their home. Ed and Lorraine travel to England as agents of the Catholic church to determine if the haunting is legitimate.

Vera Farminga and Patrick Wilson are as groovy as ever and their onscreen romance continues to be the beating heart of the Conjuring franchise. Frances O’Connor also shines as the cockney mother at her wits end, as she and her family battle overdue rent, leaky

The Hunter. Photo by Matt Nettheim.

The Hunter. Photo by Matt Nettheim.

pipes, and the forces of darkness.

The best thing about this film is it’s restraint. Wan has a talent for building tension and then letting it diffuse, only to have it build again. It’s terrifying, but not relentlessly so. The audience gets the chance to recover from a scare before another one gets thrown at them.

I think it’s safe to say that the Conjuring franchise is horror for people who don’t like horror. These movies aren’t crude, or gory, or campy. They’re thoughtful and poignant and frequently so scary that half of your time will be spent actively trying to not crap yourself. You know, if that’s something you’re into.

Whitney Weldon 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Read Comics: Mockingbird

dcmarvelHey, I get it.  Comics are hard.

Hollywood can’t seem to get enough superheroes and it would seem that I can’t either.  A few years ago, I wanted to go straight to the source to get my fix, but getting into comics can be… daunting.  Where do you start?  Do you have to start with #1? There are more than 10 different teams of Avengers?!  These are the questions that haunted me when I entered the fray.

In light of this, I thought I would start a new feature here on Fangirly where I try and help you read some comics by highlighting series that are easy to begin.  I am by no means a comic expert, but we can do break into this world together.

My first piece of advice on getting into comics:  Just jump on in.

The good news is that there are new series or runs starting up all the time, but I’ve also learned that you can jump into a series whenever.  They always give a suitable summary at the beginning of each issue and re-introduce characters regularly.  Also, let’s face it, the plots to comics aren’t that complex.  The name of the comic is usually the good guy, they are more often than not trying to save the city from a bad guy, and bad guys are distinguished by some sort of scar, snarl, or furrowed brow.

The most difficult thing about getting into comics is knowing which series to read, but only you can know the answer to that and you can only find out by trial and error.   If there is a character you like from the movies or TV shows, start there.  Go to a comic book store and browse for a character or even art that speaks to you.  Or even better yet, ask your trusty comic book store guy (or girl) for recommendations based on what you typically enjoy.  There is so many different stories, styles, and characters out there that you’re bound to find something. Soon enough, you will find your niches and be into comics!

mockingbirdFinally, on to my recommendation!

For me, I have found that my niche is sassy ladies who kick some butt, so I thought I would highlight my current favorite of that variety: Mockingbird.   This is a great series to help you get into comics because while the character of Mockingbird is not new to comics, this is her first stand alone series and it is soooo good.  The new series, written by Chelsea Cain with art by Kate Niemczyk, features agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Bobbi Morse who was recently injected with some experimental serums. As we know from other comic book stories,  that does not always work out well so Bobbi is being monitored by the S.H.I.E.L.D. medical clinic.  It is a lot of fun to see superhero medical pamphlets and cameos from some familiar faces in the waiting room.

Even more fun is the character of Bobbi herself, who is feisty, tough, but also vulnerable as she deals with the side effects of recent “enhancements”.  The series is “puzzle box” meaning that the issues will jump from story to story in a somewhat disjointed manner but ultimately culminating in an arc that will make more sense.  This could potentially be challenging to read as a series, but the individual issues are fun enough that it doesn’t bother me.  mockingbird2

I can’t recommend this series enough and really just more people to read it so I have someone to talk to about it.  Plus, this is a great series to break into because it is only 3 issues into the series, so go to your local comic book store or online comic reader and pick it up!  You won’t be disappointed (hopefully).

Do you have any favorite series?  What are you reading?  Is there one you want me to feature?  Let me know.