Week of Geek: A fond farewell… with trailers!

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Hiya Geeklings!

So, bad news first.  This will actually be my last post for the Teen Vortex website.  We’re going to be moving away from blogging here and looking into other options.  So don’t worry, I’ll still be around in the libraries and creating lists on the catalog and hopefully I’ll find another place to write, it just won’t be here anymore.  Womp womp.

So quick thank you to you all.  To everyone who read my posts.  To anyone who glanced at them.  To anyone who commented.  Hopefully you enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed writing them.  High fives all around!

So let’s cap off the Weeks of Geek the way we always have… by talking about geeky stuff.  I’ve got a few trailers for you, ’cause it’s what I do.

So we got our first look at the live-action remake of The Lion King.

Just a glimpse for now, but hearing James Earl Jones again gave me all the nostalgic feels.  Though really, can you call this live action?  All the animals are animated!  Well, we have until this summer to decide.

And a popular book series by Eoin Colfer is getting the big screen treatment.  Check out our first trailer for Artemis Fowl.

And lastly, remember I was talking about Venom last week?  Well it’s coming out on Blu Ray in December (we’ll get it into the library as soon as we can), and apparently Sony is in on the fandom response to the movie, as the trailer announcing the blu-ray release has been tweaked to make the film look a little more rom-com.  Well played Sony!

So there we go, a few fun things to tide us over.  Again, thanks everybody!  Stay tuned for new programs and new ways we’ll be keeping you guys posted on what’s going on.  And again, don’t hesitate to come in and talk to us, let us know how we can make the library better for teens, for geeks and for everyone.

Until next time, End of Line. 😉

Week of Geek: Can we talk about Venom for a minute?

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Hi again Geeklings!  How’s November treating you?

Well, we got some sad news from the world of Marvel last week.  Stan Lee passed away at the age of 94.

He was a cool guy.  I had the pleasure of being in the audience when he made his last appearance at Fan Expo and he was delightful.  He created amazing characters and touched a lot of lives.  He’ll be sorely missed.  We can all take comfort in knowing that his legacy is not going away anytime soon.  Under Disney, Marvel is expanding ever outward in movies and TV shows.  The comics are still a thing and other studios are creating movies as well.  What Stan Lee helped create will be around for a long long time.

Today I thought I’d talk about one of the stranger examples of a Marvel movie to come out this year.  One that had everything going against it, and yet, and yet, has been a huge success financially.  It’s inspired memes, a lot of head scratching and a rather unexpected ship.

I of course speak of Venom.

So first of all, who, or what, is Venom?  In a nutshell, Venom is actually two characters, the alien creature known as Venom and whichever host he’s inhabiting.  Venom is from a race of these almost liquid-like creatures that can inhabit a host body.  With Venom, his host is reporter Eddie Brock (there have been other hosts in the comics, including Spider-Man himself, but Eddie is the go-to).  A symbiote (the common name for what Venom is) can give it’s host a lot of super powers but it also has a mind and will of it’s own and, depending on it’s temperament, can cause a lot of damage and can full on eat people.  Venom is a quintessential anti-hero.

This big screen version was released back in October, and it was riding a wave of heavy skepticism and bad reviews.  It’s currently sitting at 29% on Rotten Tomatoes which, if you know your percentages, is not good.  But even before the reviews came in people were expressing disdain.

First problem is that it’s a product of the deal Marvel and Sony made years ago where Sony acquired the movie rights to Spider-Man and his various properties.  Since Sony now has an arrangement with Marvel Studios to use Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony still has ownership of other Spidey-related characters, and they thought ‘Why not make a movie featuring just long-time villain Venom?’.  A movie that features a well-known Spider-Man villain… but it doesn’t have Spider-Man.  To a lot of people that just didn’t make any sense at best and at worst was downright sacrilege.

Secondly fans were hoping the movie would have an R-rating… but that didn’t turn out to be the case, as it now has a PG-13 rating.  Which is great for more people to watch it (including most of you guys) but it could also take the teeth (heh) out of the film.  And it sounds like there were reshoots during it’s production, which is not always good for a film.

So yeah, bad reviews, rough history, a lot of fan skepticism.  Venom did not arrive in theaters with a lot of hope.

But then something strange and kind of awesome happened.  During it’s opening weekend Venom smashed box-office records, gaining the highest opening weekend in October to date.  Remember that low Rotten Tomatoes review I mentioned?  That was just for critics; the audience score is currently at 86%.  Fan art emerged, the internet came up with a bunch of jokes.  And the shipping, my gosh, the shipping, that was petty unexpected too.  And just today I read that Venom is pegged to make more money globally than any X-Men movie to date, including Deadpool.  Whaaaaaaaaaaaa?

So what happened?  How did this weird problem-prone little movie become such a hit?

Well, that article I linked to about it surpassing the X-Men movies theorized that it’s because of brand value.  Venom is an iconic character and so people will see a movie about him.  I’m not so sure about that though, and if you look at the comment (there was only one at the time of this writing) written below that article the person posting thinks that it’s because Tom Hardy‘s take on both Eddie Brock and Venom was so entertaining that it overshadowed the rest of the movie.

I went to see Venom actually, after I saw all the buzz on my favorite fan sites, and I have to agree with that poster, not just about Tom Hardy (who is a great actor, let’s not deny it) but about other components of the movie as well.  Ya see, my knowledge of the character Venom is pretty slim.  I watched the 90’s Spider-Man cartoon and he was one of the villains there.  I never saw the third Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie where Topher Grace tried to play Brock/Venom, and from what I hear I’m not missing much.  And I read about him a little in the comics.  So yeah, I didn’t go into it as a hard-core Venom fan but I did know the broad strokes.

And my take on the movie?  It was not a good movie, not by any stretch, but darn if it wasn’t fun.  Eddie was a surprisingly relateable character, just kind of a doofus who genuinely wants to do good but often times messes it up.  And Venom is… well, Venom.  But the two of them learn to work together, and it actually gets kind of adorable between the two during the last act.  There were some funny moments, some good action scenes and… yeah, it was just fun.

And sometimes that’s all a movie has to be.  Just fun.  Clearly it’s struck a nerve with a lot of people, and now there’s a good chance a sequel will happen.  Maybe we can even hope for that crossover with Spider-Man.

One last minor point; I’m really glad they changed the pronunciation of ‘symbiote’ in the movie.  Yeah, it’s a made-up word, but every time I’ve heard it spoken in a Marvel property they’ve always pronounced it as sym-BEE-ote.  One of the early trailers for Venom tried to pronounce it sym-BYE-ote.  It just sounded wrong to me.  But when I saw the movie it was back to the original sym-BEE-ote.  Thanks Marvel/Sony!

Also, this was my favorite bit of dialogue.  What a power move!

Anyway, did any of you guys see it?  What did you think?  Post away in the comments below.

Have a great week guys, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Back to the Wizarding World

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It’s almost time again, Geeklings!  Time to head back to that magical realm, where wizards and witches live undercover, where history gets a sprinkling of sorcery, and where the most unlikely of individuals can become heroes… or villains.

Yup, this Friday Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens in theaters.

And though the early reviews are ‘meh‘ and this flick is already coming in controversial, I’m still excited.  How could I not be?  It’s Newt!  And Queenie, and Tina, and Jacob, and Credence!  And even Albus Dumbledore!  DUMBLEDORE!

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As a wand-carrying, scarf-wearing Gryffindor, I am ready, willing and able to see what the next chapter will bring.  Though it’s so hard to beat the original Harry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a nice surprise for me.  I loved the characters, I loved the setting of 1920s New York, I loved the magic in America historical context (MACUSA and the New Salemers), and I loved the message.  Also, the beasts, my goodness the beasts!  So many amazing critters, including Nifflers, which have become one of my favorites.

And now we’re back!  A few years later, a growing threat, some new characters and some familiar faces.

So of course, Warner Bros, the studio behind the movie, is getting everyone excited, releasing some videos to catch people up and get them in the mood…

And on Peter’s Hill in London, Warner Bros UK unveiled something pretty darn awesome.

So yeah, people are excited.  Is it going to take us in a whole new direction?  Is it going to answer questions we may have?  Is it finally going to let two main characters be gay in a mainstream movie?  Is it going to fall flat on it’s face and totally muck things up?  Who’s to say?  We’ll have to wait until this weekend to find out.  But what do you guys think?  Are you excited too?  Indifferent?  Over it?  Post away in the comments below.

Enjoy Geeklings, let us know what you think, and until next time, End of Line.

Image result for fantastic beasts albus dumbledore gif

Week of Geek: NaNoWriMo is here again!

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Hi again Geeklings!  Hope you had a great Halloween and got lots of treats with just a few tricks.

So today I was pondering the fact that November is kind of a weird month.  Halloween is over.  Christmas is still, like, two months away, though you wouldn’t know it, what with the stores putting out their holiday wares, commercials starting to air and even TV shows getting festive.  Seriously, I was at a friends house, she had the TV on mute in the background and it was a holiday baking show.  It was November 4th!

So what to do if, like me, you miss Halloween and may love the holiday season but it’s way too early to start celebrating.  What do you do with a month like November, smack dab in the middle of two major polar opposite holidays?


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NANOWRIMO!  How could I forget?  A writer’s go time!  Where we pump out 50 000 words and write like caffeinated squirrels.  THAT’s something to work on during a lull in the festivities.

For anyone not yet in the know, NaNoWriMo is shorthand for National Novel Writing Month.  It began back in 1999, though that first year it was held in July.  By 2000 it had moved to November to take advantage of poor weather (which we’ve had in spades the last few days).  The goal is to announce an idea for a novel and then spend November writing 50 000 words of that novel.  You’re not trying to finish it, you’re not trying to edit it, you’re not even trying to make it good; you’re just writing, just getting the bulk of the words out.  You can worry about finishing it and making it awesome afterwards.

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For people like me, who’s preset mode is always ‘lazy’, having a deadline is a great kick in the pants.  I participated in my first NaNoWriMo last year, and I’m at it again for 2018 (though, truth be told, I’m already behind.  Womp womp.)

50 000 words seems a little daunting?  No problemo.  NaNoWriMo also offers the Young Writers Program.  It’s for writers from little to teen, and you can set your own writing goals.

So I encourage you all to get writing.  There have been a lot of published novels that began as NaNoWriMo projects (including one of my all time favorite books).  But, even if you aren’t planning on writing a whole novel it’s always a great thing to get inspired and try some writing, be it poetry, non fiction, blogging or whatever you like.

Happy writing everyone and until next time, End of Line.

my inspiration

Week of Geek: Month of the Macabre, Part 5 – The Final Chapter

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Hi again Geeklings!  Happy Halloween 2018!  Hope you’ve got a lot of awesome plans for tonight and some killer (not literally) costumes.

All this month we’ve been discussing scary media to indulge in, and we’ve covered books, comics, movies and TV shows.  What else is there?  How about an experience not just for the eyes, but for the ears?  There’s lots to listen to that perfectly encapsulates the feel of the season, so let’s throw some tunes on, fire up some podcasts and close our eyes while we listen, hoping that nothing scary creeps up on us while we do so.

First, some Music

“Thriller” by Michael Jackson – No list of creepy, Halloween-ready music would be complete without this song.  Not only has it been a staple of Halloween parties (and regular parties) for almost 40 years now, it’s music video is still one of the most iconic and influential out there, from the dance moves to the fashion to the make-up to the cinematic feel to the inclusion of Vincent Price.  There are a ton of videos out there of people mass-dancing to this song.  It’s huge, is what I’m saying.

“Disturbia” by Rihanna – This dance number has a beat I think any zombie could get down to.

“Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. – Really, what needs to be said?  If you haven’t seen the movie, put a hold on it right now!

“Grim Grinning Ghosts” – If you’ve ever been to the Haunted Mansion ride in various Disney parks, this is the song that plays as you ride through the graveyard.  It’s upbeat, despite the subject manner, and lets you know that though the ghosts are spooky, they only pretend to terrorize,  so you’re all good.  The band Creature Feature released a cover of it this fall.

“This is Halloween” by The Nightmare Before Christmas cast – Is it a Halloween movie?  Is it a Christmas movie?  The debate rages on, but one thing we can all agree on is that this opening number captures Halloween perfectly.  My favorite line?  “I am the who when you call ‘Who’s there?’; I am the wind blowing through your hair.”

Podcasts – These can be a little tricky to recommend because, like horror movies, they can get a little gruesome.  But the following options should be pretty safe for younger ears.

Lore – Created by author Aaron Mahnke back in 2015, Lore has gone from a part time job to a full time job for Mahnke over the years.  Our world, it’s history and it’s folklore is full of scary stories, and Mahnke wants to shine a light on where our best known freaky tales come from.  He discusses real-life events, legends and myths and how they all come together in a macabre collage to reveal what we are truly afraid of.  If you like history and spooks, this is a great place to start.  Plus, there’s a TV series on Amazon Prime and there are books from the podcast as well.  Check the first book out here.

Unobscured – Another one by Mahnke, in partnership with How Stuff Works.  This one just debuted this last October, and we’re a few episodes in so far.  What Unobscured hopes to accomplish is to visit a historical event each season and give it a deep dive, and this first season is all about the Salem Witch Trials.  I’ve been listening in, and it seems the whole thing was a bit more complicated than just ‘mass hysteria’.  Check it out!

Unexplained – Kind of like Lore, but British.  Richard MacLean Smith tries to freak you with spooky real-life tales and legends, told with a delightful accent.

Welcome to Night Vale – Admittedly I am way behind on this one, but when I first discovered it I fell in love hard.  Like, hard.  The fictional town of Night Vale is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, where the strange and terrifying are pretty mundane to it’s citizens.  The podcast is told as a radio show hosted by Cecil, the Voice of Night Vale, as he discusses the current events, any major developments and his own personal life (especially a certain scientist named Carlos).  I’ve listened to the first few seasons and it is freaky, gripping, funny, heartbreaking, smart, romantic, deep and just so many other things.  You definitely want to tune in.

Bonus: War of the Worlds 1938 Radio broadcast – Some of you may have heard of this already.  A famous actor, Orson Welles, puts on a radio broadcast of an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds that sounds a little too real to 1930s audiences and everyone promptly freaks out, thinking aliens are literally invading earth.  Well, that happened (though the panic was not quite as widespread as some of the tales would have you believe), and this year is the 80th anniversary of that event.  80 years!  Some might be wondering ‘Why would I care about an 80 year old radio show?  Who listens to radio anymore?’  And while radio has kind of been pushed to the back burner by TV and the internet, for a long time it was the main way to communicate with big audiences, which is what TV and the internet do for us now.  And radio was not always trusted as a reliable and factual form of communication (sound familiar? cough*internet*cough), and this broadcast certainly didn’t help matters.  But it’s worth a listen just for how brilliant it was at the time.  It was found footage before found footage was a thing.  It was also fake news before fake news was a thing.  It was ahead of its time.

So there we go.  Between these and our previous posts you’ll have a busy Halloween.  Anything I’ve left out that deserves a shout out?  Post in the comments below.

Happy Halloween Everybody!  Have fun, be safe, and until next time, End of Line.