Logan: A Review

It’s been almost a year since we’ve posted a blog post here at The Art of Radical Geekery — and that is because we are revamping the website and mission of what we do here. In the meantime, we’ve come to you with an amazing review of the new X-Men related movie, Logan from author Jennie Davenport (author of the supernatural romance Hemlock Veil).

I’ve known Jennie for a number of years since we worked in a tiny Idaho town together and have been amazed at her dedication to writing and how she gets across her voice. So, without further ado, here is her review of the last installment of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.


The time has come for me to (finally) say some things about Logan. It’s been a few days since I’ve seen it; I know this is cliché to say, but I simply couldn’t find words to describe my feelings. But then, I thought, leaving it unspoken would be a greater injustice. So, here are my thoughts—twelve of them, to be exact:

  • My eyes kept leaking. I cried actual, rolling tears at least three times in the movie. And when the tears weren’t actively flowing, they were there, lingering—wetting my eyes for the remainder of the film. I’ll get to why it made me cry in a bit. (I picked a great night to wear a lot of eye makeup, let me tell you that. It wasn’t pretty.)
  • Not suitable for the Littles—finally. The R rating was the best thing they could have done for it. The BEST. I can’t adequately describe how awesome it was to finally see Wolverine/Logan at his full, on-screen potential. Don’t get me wrong, he has always been written well, even in the X-Men and Wolverine movies that weren’t written well; but to have no limits to the real Logan… Well, put simply, it was perfection.
  • A Comic-Book Western. I can’t discuss Logan without mentioning the dark, gritty, western-ish theme. I mean, wow. How incredible was the whole tone of the movie. How brilliant. James Mangold used the theme and undertones from Old Man Logan (one of Marvel Comic’s alternate storylines of Wolverine) as inspiration…and completely killed it. I can’t be the only one who believes this film should be critically-acclaimed, right?
  • All the words. The writing. Part of this is an addendum to my previous point, but everything was written so goddamn well. From storyline to dialogue. In combination with the cinematography, the directing, the score, the previously-mentioned tone, it was such a well-oiled machine. Every single part functioned as it should, and in fact surpassed all my expectations. *still feels blown out of the water*

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  • Not your everyday superhero flick. Anyone who knows me, whether online or in person, knows I’m just kind of a geek for superheroes (mostly of the Marvel variety). Okay, so that’s an understatement. I’m a sucker for Marvel’s heroes, whether they’re the boy-next-door kind or the anti-hero, mercenary kind; and almost any movie in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe—of which the X-Men team, and Wolverine alike, are sadly not a part) can give me a wet dream. Hashtag-Sorry-Not-Sorry. Yes, sometimes that MCU love is blinding, and prevents me from properly picking out a film’s flaws (at least right away). But after a film has had time to percolate in my squishy brain, I can, and will, point them out. In this, however, I truly have nothing. I have no negative criticism. I even tried thinking of some. And part of that, I think, is because Logan doesn’t follow the typical superhero tropes. All the ones that usually get crammed into superhero movies, and in turn, usually bog them down, can’t be found here. Logan followed a different theme. The point wasn’t to make Wolverine some super-human badass, who fights stupid bad guys with stupid plots and cheesy one-liners. The point was to focus on the character of Logan the man, and all that is flawed and wrong with him. It’s about redemption, when forgiveness seems utterly impossible. It’s about human relationships, with others and ourselves. It’s about how gruesome and daunting the (Super)Hero’s Journey is (others have tried hitting on this; none pulled it off so well), and where that has placed Logan the man. And then, when we are all moved like never before, then and only then, Mangold throws in those moments of badassery we would expect from a superhero film—the badassery I have always craved from Wolverine. It’s just the right amount of it, secondary to the rest—a perfect combination.

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  • Show, don’t tell. If you’re not a writer, you may not have heard that classic phrase. As a writer, we are told it all the time, until it embeds itself into our brains—either ruining or making every book and movie we will ever experience again. It means what you might think: don’t tell us what is happening; show us—with action, feeling, pacing, events, etc. In addition to the above-mentioned Hero’s Journey taking front and center, Mangold also made this unlike other superhero movies by forgoing the play-by-play exposition we so commonly see in superhero movies—the kind that is, let’s face it, usually overdone. Who needs exposition, anyway? Well, we sure don’t, not when Mangold is at the helm. When done right, we the viewers are content to watch and listen along, learning things as they come up naturally. No flashbacks, no flowery dialogue that you know wouldn’t be there in normal speak. He offers us just the right amount, instead giving us pure, in-the-moment story. Sure, he may have trusted us enough to know the majority of Wolverine’s story by now, even those unfamiliar with the comics; in that alone, we are trusted to pick up on things and fill in the gaps as we go. But it is more than that. It’s good writing, pure and simple (that director-to-viewer, or writer-to-reader, trust is so very important). We did fill in the gaps as we went, and the gaps that weren’t filled in by the end were, I believe, intentionally blank. Because they were irrelevant to the story. For me, it says a lot about media when I don’t feel the need to know more than what they gave me. Logan spoke that in volumes. We knew enough. *still internally claps for Mangold*
  • Real-World “Superhero.” Okay, so you can’t consider mutants, the mutant gene, and their abilities something that actually happens in real life. But if it did, this movie would be classified as a real-to-life drama. It’s not about the leotards and theatrics, as Logan himself says. It’s about all that happens behind them, how those theatrics, and all involved with having to perform them, can destroy a person. One thing I absolutely loved is how the X-Men and Wolverine comic books are as real to the people existing in the Logan world as they are to us in the real world (though the issue they reference is one they had to create just for the film). Thanks to a friend of mine for pointing out this next part (I’m giving you credit for this, Keith—if you’re reading); I have to share his thought because it illustrates my point so well: at one point in the film, Logan rejects his comic iteration, saying dejectedly (and with Logan-like frustration) that only about a fourth of it is true and that in the real world, people get hurt and die. That, right there, is what this film is really about. Add to that his line to Laura, which was once Charles (Chuck—tee hee) Xavier’s line to Logan: Don’t be what they’ve made you.
  • Hugh Jackman.
  • Hugh. Jackman.

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  • Wait, what was that? I said, Hugh Fucken Jackman. Come on, God. How is he even real? I mean, THANK YOU, but you’ve raised the bar to impossible levels for the rest of us here. It’s a given that he is our Wolverine—he always has been. He’s been an impeccable fit for the character since day one, when that role first hit the screen back in 2000. It’s also a given that he is one of the best actors Hollywood has given us (he was finally dubbed as my official favorite since Les Mis). But wow…again, I’m blown away—just as I was in Les Mis, but even more so (mainly due to my biased, undying love for Wolverine). He’s just so fantastic. I don’t think I’m finding appropriate adjectives here, so sorry about that (telling, not showing), but give the man a damn award for this! In all seriousness though, my words could never do him or his performance justice. And I know I keep using that overused term “perfect.” But I don’t use it lightly. In this case, with this role, it is that: perfect. Perfection, all around. He somehow manages to remove his Hugh-Jackman self, and actually becomes Logan. Jackman is Logan—feeling, experiencing, and breathing all that we see on screen. I’m convinced that is the only way what he does is possible. And some of the tears I shed were simply for that—because I was so moved by him, and by the fact that what I was seeing was his last stop on the Wolverine Saga. Let me tell you, that’s the way to bring a geek to emotion, folks. He will always be My Wolverine, and I am honestly not sure any actor will ever fit a role so well. I want to meet him, just so I can hug him and tell him thank you. Plus, he’s a great guy in real life, too, from what I hear—so what can go wrong there? (Don’t answer that.)
  • The other guys, too. The acting, all around. Not just by Jackman, but by all of them. Patrick Stewart—holy crap, his role was heart-wrenching. I have so much love for him. Then there is the little, fierce Dafne Keen. Holy crap (again), this girl is incredible. Talent, in any form, is always mind-boggling, but even more so at a young age.
  • The Merc with a Mouth. I know, I know—he’s not a part of Logan. But his trailer kinda was, right? I feel like I would just be repeating myself about Logan at this point anyway, so I will end with my last point being this: the Deadpool trailer right before. All the shitty previews made me angry because I’d been seeing them for a long time now. Aren’t new, big releases supposed to bring new movie trailers with them? It’s a pet peeve of mine when they don’t, because I’m one of those weird people who actually enjoys movie trailers. So…to say that my excitement level shot off the charts when I saw Wade Wilson pulling out his ear buds is an understatement. That short clip by my other favorite anti-hero, full of his usual breaking of the fourth wall, made sitting through all the other trailers worth it.

There. I’m sure I’m missing something else blog-worthy about Logan, but in the meantime, go see it if you haven’t (if you can handle gruesome violence and language). Like, now. If you have already seen it, go see it again. Just know that heart strings will be tugged, and all sorts of things will be stirred inside you.


You can find Jennie on Facebook here and follow her witty quips on twitter here. Give her a big thanks in the comments below and let us know what you would like to see next on The Art of Radical Geekery.

Let’s Play Doctor

Happy Valentine’s & Galentine’s Day to everyone! If you haven’t noticed by following my instagram account, I’ve been completely obsessed with a new craft lately — cross stitching. I’ve been pouring all my creativity, time and effort into learning the craft and it has finally paid off with this latest Doctor Who inspired V-Day piece.

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This was an interesting pattern for me to create because it was adapted from a paper-and-thread tutorial that I found on Instructables. Comparing paper and fabric was a no-brainer for me and I quickly end up frustrating with the paper tearing at the slightest movement, so instead of using cardstock that made me want to throw it across the room, I grabbed a white Aida 14 and cut it down to about a 4 in. length x 3 in. width.

The black threaded outline on the outside was actually something I added as a small touch just so that this small piece would stay on it’s backing (actual cardstock). I didn’t start out to make it look uneven, but I missed a few stitches and thought it gave it a kitschy look and kept it.

Let's Play Doctor Who Cross Stitch Pattern by Radical Geekery

DMC Thread Colors for Let's Play Doctor Cross Stitch by Radical Geekery

Since this was a last minute project, I didn’t have time to throw together the correct colors for the TARDIS, but according to this thread, you can use a variety of colors, so it really is up to you. I used what I had on hand, but if I were to redo this one, I’d get the actual darker blue colors.

 

Let's Play Doctor, Final Shot

I can’t wait to create more patterns like this one, and I’m seriously thinking of investing fully in Mac Stitch so I have access to all the features of the program. It’s super easy to use and you can create your own patterns in a snap. Much thanks to Jess of Geeky Little Stitcher for the suggestion.

Learning the down-and-dirty of putting together of making my own pattern was so much fun, I’m actually going to apply it to a larger project I’m working on, check out this photo for a sneak peak. Hint: Winter is Coming

What other cross stitch projects are you working on? I’d love for you to link to them below or share pictures on Radical Geekery’s Facebook page.

 

Why Neville Longbottom was included in my scholarship essay

Earlier this year I started university classes back up for the first time in almost seven years. It’s been a bit of a rocky transition, but I think I might finally be getting a handle on my classes and everything that goes with college life. This is my second “go” at a university-type setting, and it is definitely different than my first. I’m ten years older, ten years more married and have ten years of life experience behind me. Part of these new experiences in school are applying for scholarships, one of which is below. I’ve really enjoyed being able to express myself in essays for scholarships and classes and my love of Harry Potter came through on this one.

Essay Topic:

  • Your topic is to select one fictional or non-fictional character whom you have read in the past, who has had a strong and positive impact to help shape who you are today. This character may be chosen from a contemporary fictional work, a modern creative work (ie. poetry), or may span past historical classics or plays (ie. Shakespeare). You must be sure to describe, in depth, some of the characteristics this individual exhibits and how they relate to who you are and how they have impacted you. For example, were these traits something you closely related to? It’s imperative that you give very specific examples on how you were affected. You may elect to use some selected text from the readings for support, however, the majority of your essay should be your own personal analysis and reflection. In other words, this essay should not be a book report.

Neville

I realized that when I started this essay that my choice of literature might seem childish or common, but the Harry Potter series has changed my life as it has so many other young people in my generation and age. We grew up on these books and movies that have changed our life.

While some people may choose Harry, Hermione or Ron as their character to pull from, I pull from a more minor character, but one that is still so important to the story — Neville Longbottom. Neville enters the story as a bumbling young wizard who is chubby, awkward and unliked. In other-words, me as a child, sans being a wizard.

I was awkward and bumbling and was teased mercilessly. I never seemed to fit in and I couldn’t relate to my classmates without being labeled a ‘weirdo’. This was a phase that I thought would never end and like Neville, I immersed myself in my favorite subjects, hobbies and ideas. Even though I wasn’t an only children, I was a lonely child because of the teasing of my peers. Looking back, I relate myself to Neville, through his triumphs and his sorrows.

At the end of the first book, Professor Dumbledore told Neville that, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” After reading the first book, this is something that has stuck with me. While it may be hard to stand up to our enemies, our friends are people that are close to us in so many ways and it can be harder to stand-up to them than our enemies, or people we hardly know.

My experience in standing up to friends (and family) comes only a few short years ago for me. As a bit of a backstory, I grew up in a restrictive religious household and never questioned what I was taught or told. I went along with everything because that was what was expected of me.

Four years ago, I started to read and explore ideas outside of the confines of my born faith and came up across these same sort of friendship obstacles that Neville did. When I began to question, my friends and family both told me to set those concerns aside and focus on my religion. I realized that I could I either sacrifice my integrity and self to others or stand-up against something I didn’t believe was right — I chose the latter.

Every since that day, I have followed Neville Longbottom’s path on being loyal to my friends who care and love for me as well as fighting for what is right like Neville does with Dumbledore’s Army. I have involved myself in several social justice causes in my community in order to make the place I live better for those around me and those to come. I have worked on environmental, food rights, GBLTQA and other issues that are dear to my heart and would love to work closely with the Harry Potter Alliance an actual non-profit that works on social justice issues with a flair of magic.

You may recall that near the 5th book, it becomes more clear that Neville Longbottom is more than just a minor character, that if Lord Voldemort would have chosen Neville, he might be the one with the scar on his head instead of Harry. When I read this, I realized how important each one of us really are. It doesn’t matter if I am famous or have a lightning-bolt scar on my head because of the Dark Lord — I matter. I have had friends show that to me in my life. What I do matters and I can change the world, little by little.

Even though I have parts of Harry, Ron and Hermione in my personality, I associate closest with Neville. He is who I see myself becoming and who I have always been in the back of my mind. I am not a hero to all, but I can be a hero to just one.

With this knowledge, I plan to continue my education to benefit those in my community and world around me. I want to use my knowledge that I gain in the next few years to help not only myself, but those that I touch so that I can help change the world, one person by one person.

Whether or not I receive this scholarship, I am grateful for the opportunity for a bit of geeky self-reflection to talk about one of my favorite book series and how the characters and stories within have changed my life.

Accio Scholarship!

*Written January 2014

Emerald City Comic Con 2014

It’s been a heck of a couple of weeks and I was going to post about Emerald City Comic Con the day after I got back, but I came down with the case of the flu + cold that had me down for awhile. Here are some of the pictures that I was able to snap.

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My friend and I waiting in line to get in!

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Captain America a.k.a. my husband

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My new flask, inspired by Firefly

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The posters that were new at comic con this year. I have to give the ECCC staff props for putting these up.

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My husband and I waiting in line for Alan Tudyk

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My new favorite Doctor Who dress

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A brillant Cheryl and Pam (Archer) cosplay

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A Dalek and Harley Quinn

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OMG! I love this shirt. It’s a bunch of quote from Serenity.

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One of my biggest nerdgasm moments of the con

Handmade Holidays: Firefly

It’s time for another round of Handmade Holidays. If you missed our first from last week, you can check it out here. If you are all about being a browncoat, then todays post is for you. There are a few gifts that may need a couple of months saving for, but they would so worth it for cosplay or comic con. For a full list of Firefly-inspired gifts, check out my Etsy Treasury here. If there are other handmade gifts you think should make the cut, be sure to share them in a comment below!

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Serenity Leather Cuff by Stars Spikes & Madness

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Firefly Serenity Mirrored Christmas Ornament by Through Thick and Thin

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Crocheted Jayne Cobb Hat by Gamer Glam

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Firefly Malcolm Reynold’s Pistol by QE Props

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Curse Your Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal Firefly Bow Tie by Speicher Tie Company

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Kaylee Shindig Gown by Walker & White

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Handmade Holidays: Star Wars

The gift-giving season has come upon us so fast and it is hard to believe that Christmas is just right around the corner. Here at Radical Geekery we are all about handmade artisan gift-giving and we wanted to share some of our favorites this year. Check these fabulous pieces out and perhaps pick up a few for this years gift-giving holidays.

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Star Wars Princess Leia Pinup Series by Ant Lucia

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Quilled Paper Stormtrooper from Alia Syed

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R2D2 Cooking Apron from Haute Mess Threads

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Yoda Birthday Card by Sweet Geek

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Rougue Squadron Print by Andrew Heath

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Star Wars Rebel Alliance Tree Skirt by Nasakat

Most of these items you can find on Etsy, and for a full-list of my favorite Star Wars-inspired gifts, you can check out my treasury list here. If you have any other fun gifts that you think should be included on my treasury list, link them below!

Felicia Day Giveaway – The Guild Official Companion Book

A few weeks ago I received a mystery e-mail from a marketing executive at Titan Books, I was being given the chance to review Felicia Day’s new book The Guild: The Official Companion. I nearly fell out of my seat when I saw that line and got so excited that I did a little happy dance. At first I couldn’t figure out how or why he picked my blog out, but then I remembered that back in March at Emerald City Comic Con, I met Felicia Day and ended up networking with her a bit. I was so happy to know that something came of it.

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This is the ultimate book for anyone who is a fan of The Guild web-series, it is full of behind-the-scenes photos, interview, sketches and drawings and hilarious stories that you wouldn’t hear otherwise. One of my favorite bits comes from the first time Felicia Day and Will Wheaton (spoiler!) met IRL to discuss plans of him being in the show. He says, ” She told me how she’d created this character who was the leader of a rival guild. ‘He’s a douchebag in a kilt,’ she said. That was pretty much all I needed to hear, and I signed on immediately.

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One thing that I found really great about this book was how real and down-to-earth it brought the characters of the show to be. In the introduction, Felicia talks about how the creation of the Guild came about and I found out that she was actually addicted to WoW (World of Warcraft) and ended up quitting cold turkey in order to work on the show.

This was actually one of my favorite photos in the book because it is actually what got me interesting in the show in the first place. I had heard of Felicia Day from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog, but hadn’t really seen what other work she had done. Along came the music video, “Do You Want to Date My Avatar?” and I was hooked. This video is a hilarious spoof of MMORPG’s and pop music. Watch it below and see what I mean:

If you are a veteran of MMO-gaming you will find that video to be spot on. To find a great acoustic version of the video (featuring Felicia Day), click here. All-in-all this book is one of the best behind-the-scenes books I’ve encountered. It has lots of information that I wouldn’t have known otherwise and I’m having a lot of fun flipping through and seeing the artwork and photos. And now it’s time for you to participate. I was lucky enough to get two copies of The Guild: The Official Companion and I want you to get involved. Jump below this awesome Guild artwork to find out the guidelines.

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To enter:

1. Like Radical Geekery’s Facebook Page and leave a comment below. (Mandatory)

2. Leave a separate comment below with your favorite Guild character and why! (Optional)

3. Follow Radical Geekery on Twitter @radicalgeekery and leave a comment below. (Optional)

4. Giveaway is open from now, Tuesday, July 23rd until midnight on July 31, 2013.

Ready. Set. Game!