Wednesday Video Want A Black Widow Movie!

popcornSo there’s been a lot of chatter online lately about how badly we need a Black Widow movie.  Hollywood seems to be having a hard time grasping this concept, but luckily the folks on youtube are here to help them.  Here’s not one, not two, but THREE Black Widow videos for you (two fan made trailers and one music video).

First up, here’s an origin story.  Look, it’s arty!  This is flawed but fascinating.

OK, maybe you want a love story between Widow and Hawkeye.  We got you covered.

And here’s a short music video, just because I like it.  It’s a little short, but lots of fun.

OK Hollywood, your fans did all the heavy lifting for you.  Now MAKE MY MOVIE!

 

 

History’s Hidden Heroes: Luis E. Miramontes

photo of Luis MiramontesLuis Miramontes (full name: Luis Ernesto Miramontes Cardenas) is the reason, or rather one of the reasons, that women can safely plan their families.  A Mexican chemical engineer, He was the co-creator of one of the most important components of the birth control pill.

Miramontes was born in Mexico in 1925.  When he was still an undergraduate, he was recruited to work with the European scientists  George Rosenkranz and Carl Dejerassi.  He was instrumental in synthesizing norethindrone, an oral protestin.  A progestin is a compound that mimics the behavior of progesterone, which suppresses ovulation.  Norethindrone was the first highly active progestins that was synthesized that could be taken orally.  It was used in the first three version of birth control pills although its use is less common today.

Miramontes’ contributions highlight the collaborative nature of the scientific process.  The common image of an inventor is of a loner like Edison or Tesla, who has a brilliant idea and invents a thing single-handedly.  But many inventions are the work of many.  The invention of the birth control pill included the molecule synthesized by Miramontes, without which an effective oral birth control pill would not have been possible.  Other scientists before and after Miramontes’ invention were also vital in the project.  The birth control pill has been frequently ranked among the most important inventions of all time, and Miramontes as one of the most influential chemists of all time.

You can find more about Luis Miramontes Cardenas at his website.

 

Happy Birthday to Geek Girl In Love!

Kirk and Spock in Birthday HatsI can’t believe it’s been a year since I started Geek Girl In Love!  I’ve been learning so much and have so much more to learn.  A lot has happened this year:

Hey look, I started a blog!

Thanks to all of you follow me here and on Facebook and Twitter.  I had no idea Twitter could be so addicting – it’s like typing haiku all day long.

Hey look, I wrote a book!

My very first book, Pride, Prejudice, and Popcorn: TV and Film Adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Harlequin.com, and iTunes.  It’s only $.99 so if you don’t have a copy yet check it out!  I had so much fun writing it and I hope you enjoy reading it.  Behold the cover:

Cover of Pride, Prejudice, and Popcorn

 

 

This year has been exciting and scary and amazing.  I love being able to share my thoughts on science fiction and fantasy here, in print, and at conventions.  Sometimes I have to write a bad review, but what excites me is getting to write good reviews.  I love being able to say, “Hey, check this out – you’ll love it!”  But what I love more than anything else is feeling part of a community, in person and online.

Quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald

Thank you all for following Geek Girl In Love and making it a wonderful year!

 

Wednesday Video: Game of Thrones, Musically Speaking

popcornGame of Thrones is back, and there is much rejoicing all across the Internet.  In honor of this exciting moment in time, the people behind the Symphony of Science Series have brought you Game of Thrones auto-tuned – as safe for work as Game of Thrones is ever likely to get, and catchier than I ever would have expected.  Also, really kind of a rush.

“There is only one God, and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to death:  ‘Not Today’”

Book Review: Cress, by Marissa Meyer

Cover of "Cress"Cress is the third book in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series.  This is an imaginative, clever series that uses fairytale motifs in a futuristic setting.  The first book, Cinder, was about a cyborg with a big secret.  The second book, Scarlet, was about a girl with a red hoodie who also has a secret, and who falls in with a street fighter named Wolf.  This book, Cress, deals with the stories of Cinder and Scarlet as well as a computer genius named Cress, who is imprisoned in a satellite orbiting earth.  Together, they attempt to stop the evil Lunar Queen from marrying Prince Kai and taking over the Earth.  Somehow, when I type this, it sounds silly – but it isn’t.

I was a big fan of the first two books.  You can find my review of them at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.  Cress is no different from the other books in terms of tone and quality.  All three books have strong romantic elements, dynamic female heroines, and imaginative world-building.  The books also excel at seamlessly incorporating the fairy tale stories into the slightly steampunk futuristic setting.

The problem I had with Cress was that at the end of the second book, the main characters of Cinder and Scarlet finally join forces.  I was looking forward to them working together in Cress, but almost immediately the team is split up again.  By the time I settled into one groups’ story, the viewpoint shifted to another group.  The pacing was frustrating and distracting.

By far the best part of the book was the romance between Cress and Captain Thorne.  Cress has a crush on Captain Thorne that she developed by reading about his exploits.  When she meets him, he turns out to be different from what she thought, but as the two get to know each other better the romance is touching and sweet and satisfying.

If you have an interest in this series, you will definitely want to start with Cinder.  This isn’t a series to jump into.  In fact, it’s been long enough since I read Scarlet that I had forgotten some crucial stuff and I wanted a “Previously On..” section.  I do love this series and although Cress had it’s flaws, I can’t wait to read the last book, Winter, which takes on Snow White.  Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White kicking ass together?  Sign me up!

covers of "Cinder" and "Scarlet"

 

 

How Captain America: The Winter Soldier Gets It Right

Movie poster of Captain America, the Winter SoldierCaptain America: The Winter Soldier is a great comic book movie, a great action movie, a great comedy/drama, and a serviceable political thriller.  I’d argue this is the best stand alone Marvel movie yet, with Iron Man III running a close second.  Here’s what Winter Soldier did right:

This sequel is character-based.

Winter Soldier has tons of action.  But the movie isn’t about action, it’s about character.  The central problem of the movie isn’t “How will Steve (Captain America) stop that helicarrier from killing everyone?”  The central problem is, “Can Steve continue to play a heroic role in a complicated, morally ambiguous and corrupt world?”  One way Steve can play a heroic role is, in fact, by stopping a helicarrier, so there’s plenty of action, but all the action seems to come organically from the results of the character’s decisions, and all the action counts.

Marvel has been following a pattern in which they use each character’s origin story to tell us what makes this character comfortable.  Tony Stark feels powerful in his suit?  Make him fear the suit and then take it away altogether.  Steve Rogers feels comfortable with honor, teamwork, and a fight against evil?  Throw him into a situation in which morality is ambiguous and everyone lies all the time.  The approach is genius because it allows the audience to have that sense of comfort with the known (Steve still likes honor) while creating a fresh set of conflicts that are based around his character (Steve has to live in a world that is murky and corrupt).

Steve Rogers and Nick Fury

Every major side character has their own story, even if that story isn’t fully explored.

This is especially important because we still haven’t gotten a stand alone movie featuring a woman or a character of color.  This is beyond annoying.  If I don’t see a Black Widow movie in, oh say, five minutes, heads will roll.  Also I’d like a Falcon movie, please.  Lately Marvel has many triumphs and few failings, but the fact that so far all their movies feature straight, white men is a failing.

But what Marvel DOES do right is avoid having side characters be merely accessories or tools to further the hero’s story.  This is most true in the Captain America movies.  Peggy, Sharon, and Natasha have lives and dreams and missions and accomplishments that have nothing to do with Steve.   Natasha’s emotional journey in the film is so powerful that they could just as easily have flipped the credits and called it “Black Widow:  The Reckoning, also starring Captain America”.  The female characters aren’t there for decoration and they don’t revolve around men, although they are deeply influenced by the powerful men in their lives.  Meanwhile, while The Falcon and Nick Fury lack Steve’s augmented soldier abilities, they are both extremely skilled at combat and The Falcon is much better at living life than Steve is, while Nick Fury is much better than Steve at manipulation and survival.  I would LOVE a Falcon movie – I found him to be a compelling character on his own aside from being that guy who can truthfully say, “I do everything he does.  Only slower”.

Anthonly Mackie as The Falcon

 

The film manages to balance humor, angst, and fun.

Somehow this movie manages to combine some fiercely painful drama with truly suspenseful action, hilarious lines, and a sense that while some things about superhero life suck, having super powers can be pretty fun.  It’s hard to keep all this tonal stuff balanced.  In a lot of movies that try combining drama and comedy, either the drama feels forced or the comedy feels forced, but in this movie they meld seamlessly.  Remember how I said this movie is character based?  Part of what keeps these elements balanced is that everything everyone says feels genuine, whether they are saying something heartbreaking or funny – or in some cases , both, as in Steve Roger’s response to whether he’s doing anything Saturday night:  “Well, all the guys in my barbershop quartet are dead, so…no”.

The fact that the movie is so rooted in character is also what helps create a sense of tension and menace.  We’re all pretty sure that Captain America will survive, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll end up OK, and we care about that.  While I thought the basic premise of the film was pretty ridiculous, it’s ridiculous in a way that’s consistent with the crazy Marvel Universe, and I was truly worried about some of the characters.

Natasha Romanoff

This movie is fun, it’s painful, it’s emotionally engaging and visually exciting, and it’s fun.  I wish they had done more with the political angle – while Robert Redford tries really hard to sell the idea that what he does is morally grey, it’s quite clearly not grey at all (whether it’s black or white you’ll have to discover on your own).  But overall this movie was the kind of movie that I want to rush right back into the theater to see again.  Well played, Marvel, well played.  Now get me my Black Widow movie.