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AnonymousAnonymous may well be one of the greatest bad movies of our times for its sheer absurdity, combining the ludicrous idea that Shakespeare couldn’t have written Shakespeare because CLASS! with Roland Emmerich’s nuanced and sensitive approach to anything. What a bonkers movie. — Clare

Flutter by Momoko Tenzen — Flutter is one of my favourite BL manga. It is a sweet, simple, office romance; there is drama and FEELINGS; all of the sex is consensual (Q: Susan, does that really need to be remarked upon? A: ... You must be new around here.); and the Cool Love Interest is revealed to actually be a massive dork when he's in love, which warms my heart. But what surprised me on rereading it was that Flutter actually touches on respectability politics and openly identifying as a gay man, which isn't something that comes up often in the BL manga I usually read! If you're looking for a place to start with reading BL manga, this is a pretty good place to start. — Susan

Hamilton — I actually started listening to Hamilton about a month ago, then got to the end of act one and decided that maybe, just maybe, I didn't want to listen to Alexander Hamilton destroying his own life like it was going out of style? But I was finally brave enough, and I am so glad I did. The music is incredible (I have been listening to it almost every day), and the performances are consistently excellent—they feel very visual, so it was I think my favourite theme of the musical is that of legacy; all of the male characters are concerned to one extent or another with their legacy, and all throughout the play Eliza weaves herself in and out of Hamilton's; she asks to be part of it, she forcibly removes herself from it, and at the end she is the one who shapes Hamilton's story. It's so well done. I could talk for pages about the relationships between the Schuyler Sisters and Hamilton and Burr and everyone else (I won't, this is long enough already), but I have such feelings about all of them. I recommend the annotated lyrics if you have the time to read them, because there's a lot of historical and musical analysis there, and I definitely recommend "Non-Stop", because that song gives me chills. — Susan

Hatoful Boyfriend by Hato MoaEveryone warned me about this game. Everyone. And despite all warnings about all of the plot being in the epilogue, despite the promise that there was actually nightmare fuel waiting for me behind the cute fluffy exterior, despite it being a game where you date pigeons—I played it anyway. And I loved it. The dating routes are, with a... Couple of notable exceptions... really cute! In my opinion, you can see some of the developments coming quite easily for the romances, which is more than made up for by the fact that surely no one, but no one could have seen some of the twists in the Bad Boy Love section coming. Surely. Speaking of, the game is actually really tightly plotted, which I wasn't expecting; pretty much everything that is introduced during the various routes gets explained in the epilogue. And that epilogue is really good. I wasn't expecting to love this as much as I do, but no! The pigeon game won me over. — Susan

Invincible Iron Man — I have not yet gone back to read any Iron Man comics besides the issues of Superior Iron Man I tried to read before realizing that the people who Marvel let write Tony don't seem to like Tony that much? (I don't get it.) So this series is really my first dive into Iron Man and Tony Stark comics-wise. Anyway, I have a few qualms about Invincible Iron Man, mostly that it's clearly written by men who have no concept of what constitutes creepy behavior from dudes and have their supposed hero engage it in multiple times in one issue. Otherwise, here Tony is a huge nerd who is really intensely interested in admiring the dudes around him, FRIDAY is fun, and there are cool women around even if they still haven't yet interacted with each other (so far Tony has been kind of a loner). It's sometimes laugh out loud funny, the art is great and I'm curious about the arc that's happening because I've only ever been aware of Doctor Doom as an enemy, but here I kind of want him and Tony to make out. — Renay

Jessica Jones — Wow, what can I say about Jessica Jones that hasn't been said by the whole Internet already? I do think this show isn't for everyone, because it's violent and triggery and deals explicitly with rape and rape culture. It showcases a complicated slice of humanity, where no one is all good or all bad; we're all just people and it's easy to fuck up and make terrible decisions. It centers women, their experiences, and their relationships across multiple ages and classes. It doesn't try to redeem its villain and it's aware of the cultural space its inhabiting right now as women rights and voices continue to be oppressed. It's got flaws. But it's so thoughtful and nuanced that I fell in love with the story it was telling and didn't look back. — Renay

Master of None (Series One)Ana and I are going to talk about Master of None in more detail at a later date so I'll keep my initial thoughts short and squeeful. This show is THE BEST! I watched the entire first series in two days and, after being initially nonplussed by the bland opening episode, just could not take my eyes off this show. It's such a different kind of comedy—gentle, smart, kind to its characters and no one is 'amazingly awful for the sake of comedy'. Aziz Ansari's performance is wonderfully natural and he makes such a great lead character. So. Great. Please begin watching it immediately. — Jodie

Monstress by Majorie Liu and Sana Takeda — I had no idea what to expect when I bought this, but what I got was incredible. The art and the colouring is so rich and gorgeous—there are some inconsistencies and continuity glitches, but it's generally atmospheric and beautiful, and now I have a poster of the cover on my wall! And the writing is stellar. Monstress does not hold back on drama, violence, and theoretically human characters behaving in utterly inhuman ways; plus it delivers exactly as promised on Maika's transformation into something monstrous. Plus: a comic populated almost entirely by women, where that is as entirely unremarked upon as the lack of women in a lot of comics I read? Yes. This can stay. — Susan

Supergirl (Episodes 1 - 5) — This show is an adorkable triumph. Jimmy Olsen! Cat Grant! Alex! KARA!!! Sorry internet, I can't intelligently word about this show.It is just so nice to watch a fun superhero show that doesn't repeatedly punch me in the face. If you're the kind of person who needs to know more about a show than just the main character's names then This sounds like a job for Supergirl, [personal profile] chaila's comprehensive outline explaining why Supergirl should be in your eyes right now. She does such a great job of capturing the show's strengths and I vigorously agree with every word of her post. My only significant quibble with this program so far is that it it suckered me into thinking David Harewood was finally going to be a hero for once. Maybe next time (yeah, right, and maybe someone will save Sean Bean one day). — Jodie

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume 1: Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson — [personal profile] thebaconfat recommended this to me and I am so glad because it is so funny and heartwarming! I love Doreen's humor and her friendship with Nancy and her amazing self-confidence. Henderson's art and North's humor are perfectly paired in this book, and I loved the little secret messages hidden on each page. I loved this volume of Doreen's adventures so much I immediately added the post-Secret Wars #1 to my pull list. If you like awesome, funny, tough ladies, friendship, world-saving, and puns? Definitely read this comic. — Renay

Ungodly by Kendare Blake — All three books in Blake's Goddess War trilogy were inventive, dark, and often great fun. I had high expectations for the final book - things I really needed to happen - and Ungodly managed not to disappoint; handing me almost everything I wanted from the finale to this deeply satisfying series.

Personal note: When I talk about stories based on ancient myths, I always feel like I have to apologise for my readerly background because when it comes to retellings of ancient stories and myths I am ravenous. Blame a two year stint studying Classics, and childhood featuring some very intense feels about Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Adventures. And as a consequence I get very… excitable when I see my favourite deities and Classical characters appear in any story. I bring the history of every piece I've ever encountered about Athena, Ares, Odysseus and all to every new story they turn up in. I'm also really into media that messes around with ancient myths; stories that rip the myths up, remix them and slam them into modern day situations. A purist, I am not.

So, I know Blake's series, which features heroes and deities from ancient Greece, will not be to everyone's tastes. Personally I adored all three book. They're big, bold books full of passion and characters who sometimes do terrible things. I read the entire trilogy over the course of a year which tells you a lot (I fail out of so many trilogies it's embarrassing). Can't wait to see what Blake is going to write next. — Jodie

The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire — This was the book in the series everyone was ready for me to get to. Unlike other fans who've been following the series year to year, I've jammed all the books except for Rosemary and Rue into my face this year which means I don't really have time to stop and reflect over what surprises McGuire is building into the narrative. When I got to this book I was flabbergasted. Everything I could say about the detail and characterization and plot developments are full of hella spoilers, but wow, what a great book. My favorite thing about this series continues to be Toby and her relationship with people closest to her, especially May. I didn't know what to make of May in the early days, but now I couldn't imagine this series without her. Thumbs up for her and this book and some incredibly excellent plot layering. — Renay

Date: 2015-12-05 10:20 am (UTC)
dolorosa_12: by ginnystar on lj (robin marian)
From: [personal profile] dolorosa_12
Jessica Jones and Supergirl are both wonderful, and I"m so happy to have both of them on my screen at once. Supergirl is simply a delight to watch, and Jessica Jones is harrowing, but says all things I've wanted a story to say for so long, and it's such a relief that it exists.

Date: 2015-12-07 12:41 pm (UTC)
dolorosa_12: (sister finland)
From: [personal profile] dolorosa_12
Yeah, the only vaguely similar show with a woman of colour in the lead that I can think of is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which I like, but it's not enough!

Date: 2015-12-05 05:59 pm (UTC)
brownbetty: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brownbetty
Well, I just figured out a Christmas present. The recipient is going to be confused, but whatev!

Date: 2015-12-05 06:06 pm (UTC)
brownbetty: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brownbetty
Wait: which version of Hatoful Boyfriend do I want? Is the collector's edition the one that people have the feels about, or can I get just the original?

Date: 2015-12-06 03:01 pm (UTC)
spindizzy: Alice waving her arms with a love heart over her head. (Yay!)
From: [personal profile] spindizzy
I only have the vanilla version; I think the collector's edition comes with some extras (I think it's a book and a soundtrack? I could be wrong) but it's the same game. :)

Date: 2015-12-06 03:07 pm (UTC)
spindizzy: Sherlock Holmes as played by Jeremy Brett, laughing with a hand covering his face. (You do make me laugh)
From: [personal profile] spindizzy
Oh EXCELLENT. :D Confusing presnts are the best, glad to have been of service!

Date: 2015-12-06 04:57 am (UTC)
anaraine: Young Xanxus with his arm curled around Squalo's neck, pulling him back against his chest to press a kiss above his eye. ([khr] when we were young)
From: [personal profile] anaraine
Huh. Might have to hunt down Flutter for myself - a consensual BL manga is kind of like finding a needle in a haystack.

Date: 2015-12-06 03:18 pm (UTC)
spindizzy: Kyoko stretching and looking smug. (That's what I'm talking about!)
From: [personal profile] spindizzy
Oh god, I know, it feels like they're as rare as hen's teeth. Off the top of my head, the ones that are memorable and consensual the whole way through are this and Little Butterfly, but I'm sure I must have read more than that.

Date: 2015-12-06 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingtheend.pip.verisignlabs.com
I clasp my hands together in indescribable joy whenever someone talks about loving Hamilton. It's the best. I love LMM for making women so central to this story about the Founding Fathers. I love especially that Eliza gets the last word. What a great show.


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