I’ve previously blogged about the Avengers and their suitability in bed: now it’s time to get *snikt snikt* X-TRA KINKY!

(Note: I know, I didn't list them all, but I can only stretch my imagination so far...)

wolverine-x-men-days-of-future-past-bone-claws1. Wolverine
Played by: Hugh Jackman
Mutant powers: superfast healing, Adamantium skeleton and retractable claws
Let’s face it. The guy never ages, he’s got muscles bigger than your head, and if you’re into BDSM, he heals instantly. Your only challenge would be keeping up with him. And he’s Hugh freakin’ Jackman. Even if the mutton chops and claws don’t do it for you, Hugh’s singing might.

xavier magneto bed2. Younger Magneto/Younger Charles Xavier (ménage)
Played by: Michael Fassbender/James McAvoy
Mutant powers: ability to manipulate metal/world’s greatest telepath
You might think it’s somehow unfair to tag team these two in a battle for bedroom dominance, but when I see these hotties on screen together, it’s like being presented with two cupcakes and being told I can only take one bite. Naturally, I smash the two cupcakes together and shove the whole mess in my mouth. Fassbender’s cold conviction as Magneto is tempered by McAvoy’s softer but equally as intense Xavier. These two sizzle on screen. Throw in some silk sheets, maybe a pair of plastic (nonmagnetic) handcuffs and you know there’ll be fun times ahead.

xmen-days-of-future-past-poster-mystique3. Mystique
Played by: Jennifer Lawrence
Mutant Powers: shapeshifter, superagility, superhealing
Guys. She can turn into anyone. Anyone. That means anyone on this list is fair game…unless she kicks you in the head first.


Nicholas-Hoult-as-Hank-McCoy-in-human-form4. Younger Beast
Played by: Nicholas Hoult
Mutant powers: superagility, superstrength, high intellect, some monstrosity
I’m not wild about bestiality, but I do love me a brain. As non-blue-furred Hank McCoy, I’d be hard pressed not to lead this nerdy cutie off on a leash. Surely someone who can hang upside down from the ceiling by his toes can provide some interesting evening entertainment?

Xmen-Days-of-Future-Past-Fighting-Professor-X5. Older Charles Xavier
Played by: Sir Patrick Stewart
Mutant powers: world’s greatest telepath
First, I don’t think Patrick Stewart has aged at all in the past 20 years—there’s probably a holodeck program somewhere of him getting older. Second, he’s a telepath. He could do anything to your brain—set you in an exotic locale, make himself look like anyone you wanted. He wouldn’t have to touch you to blow your mind.

Least Doable X-Men

anna-paquins-rogue-cut-from-x-men-days-of-future-past-151697-a-1387632295-470-751. Rogue
Played by: Anna Paquin
Mutant powers: absorbing the powers and life force of anyone she touches
It’s not that I don’t like her, or think she’s ugly anything like that. But her mutant power pretty much says it all; if I even touched her, I’d be dead, or maybe I'd end up looking like a shriveled condom drying out in the sun.

james-marsden-and-x-men-profile2. Cyclops
Played by: James Marsden
Mutant powers: optic blasts from his eyes
The ongoing joke I have about James Marsden is that he always plays the other guy. If (God forbid) they remade Casablanca, Marsden would play Victor Laszlo. They should make another superhero movie and cast him as Cockblocker, whose superpower is to be the jock boyfriend to every relationship. Cyclops is a cutie, sure, and leader of the X-Men, but let’s face it, he’s no Wolverine, and he seems to perpetually get the short end of the stick.

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-Quicksilver-889x10243. Quicksilver
Played by: Evan Peters
Mutant powers: superspeed
Aside from the fact that he’s a minor, something tells me this kid would literally last a fraction of a second. And yet, I still ranked Cyclops as less doable.

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-Bolivar-Trask4. Dr. Bolivar Trask
Played by: Peter Dinklage
Mutant powers: none (human genius)
Okay, so technically, he's not a part of the X-Men, but c'mon. Peter Dinklage. And yes, I would do him over Cyclops.


X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-character-photo-Ian-McKellen-as-Magneto5. Older Magneto
Played by: Sir Ian McKellen
Mutant powers: master of magnetism
With all due respect to Mr. McKellen, whose talents I revere, boinking older Magneto would be exhausting (if he was a child during WWII, he'd be about 80 now). But I’d still do him over Cyclops.

Honorable mentions (for the underused X-Men)

Played by: Omar Sy
Mutant powers: energy absorption and redirection
Only Thor can wear a cape as well as this guy does, but Bishop has dreadlocks. He may not have had much of a role in the film, but I’d totally hit that.

Played by: Daniel Cudmore
Mutant powers: ability to transform body into organic steel; superstrength,
Look at him. I mean, look at him. Seriously, can we say “hard as steel” like *that* (snaps) about any of the other X-Men?

Played by: Halle Berry
Mutant powers: weather control
So Storm’s one of the most powerful X-Men out there and was played by an Academy Award-winning actress…yet they couldn’t give her anything interesting to do over 7 movies. Pity boink?

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-Kitty-Pryde-812x1024Kitty Pryde
Played by: Ellen Page
Mutant power: can phase through matter
Another wonderful character played by a fantastic actress, and yet they replaced her crucial comic book role in the Days of Future Past storyline with Wolvie. A tendency to become incorporeal might be problematic during coitus.

Played by: Shawn Ashmore
Mutant power: creates and manipulates ice and water
Adorable Canadian actor; could make all my drinks cold instantly. But I think I friendzoned him in the second film.

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Back in August, I was asked to participate in the Women Write About Comics roundtable about the 2013 summer blockbusters. I forgot to post it here. Enjoy my ramblings and some very insightful discussion from some very smart ladies.

Part One:

Part Two:

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Much Ado About Nothing
Directed by Joss Whedon

As much as I enjoy films and though I am a Torontonian, I rarely attend the Toronto International Film Festival. I went once about ten years ago and watched a movie called Chinese Coffee starring Al Pacino and Jerry Orbach. I can't remember much about the film, which probably means I was "meh" about it, and I wasn't into seeing the stars.

This year, however, my in-laws got me tickets to see one of the most anticipated geek fests out there: Joss "Avengers" Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing. (Thank you, John & Rita!)

I was thrilled to be attending the world premiere of this movie. Not only was the director present (SQUEE!) but so was the entire cast, including Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Clark Gregg, Fran Kranz, Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher, Tom Lenk and a bunch of other Whedon alum. (SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!)

I am totally biased when I say I loved this film. For one, I love pretty much everything Whedon does, I love the actors he chooses, and I love Shakespeare. So really, this was a no contest SUPERAWESOMESACKOFWIN for me.

It's a beautifully done in black-and-white movie, filmed over 12 days in Joss Whedon's gorgeous home. Shakespeare's play is quite light and quirky, but Joss does his thing and digs up the darkness beneath the subtext while ensuring a healthy dose of laughs. He called it "romance noir," which was quite apt for the small but bursting-with-life production.

My husband and I were ecstatic about this show, and so was the rest of the audience. I heard one woman in the restroom say she only came because her daughter wanted to see it--she'd never heard of Joss Whedon and didn't enjoy Shakespeare, but she said, "I LOVED this film!"

High praise, indeed.

Silver Linings Playbook
Directed by David O. Russell

The second film we saw, again thanks to the in-laws, was Silver Linings Playbook, starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro. The film, based on a book by Matthew Quick, is about bi-polar man (Cooper) who has just been released from a mental health institution. He moves back in with his quirky parents while he tries to put his life back in order and win back his ex-wife. An off-kilter neighbor, played by Lawrence, agrees to help him if he'll enter a dance competition with her. It's a movie with deeply flawed characters and lots of dark humor. Lawrence and Cooper get to stretch their acting muscles in these roles, and they play off each other quite well.

Overall, I enjoyed the film. Cooper does a bang-up job being obsessive and broken, while Lawrence plays prickly and vulnerable without being sappy. There are some hard-to-watch moments, especially if you've ever had to deal with mental illness, but the story is heartwarming and triumphant.

And yes, the stars and the director were there. Was I impressed? Not as much, considering  the act it had to follow. Still, this was definitely a TIFF to remember.

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Take This Waltz
Directed by Sarah Polley

I wasn't sure what I was walking into when I got advance screening tickets to this film. Set in Toronto, Take This Waltz is about a young married woman who is infatuated with her neighbor across the street and endeavors to start an affair with him. Though played with great aplomb by Michelle Williams, there was something...icky about the whole scenario. At it's heart, though, lies the truth: that even shiny new things get old. And while I couldn't drag my attention away from the inconsistencies of the Toronto geographical landscape (sorry, Sarah, I know you live here, too), I did leave the theater thinking about the movie a lot, which is rare for me.

Magic Mike
Directed by Steven Soderbergh

It's kind of an old, but classic tale: a male stripper with a heart of gold just needs a chance to turn his life around. Meanwhile, he guides a lost nineteen-year-old thrust (ahem) into the world of male stripping and plays Obi-Wan to his er...very naked Luke. (Yeah, that went somewhere I didn't want to go...) I went for the sheer camp factor, but instead, I got some really awesome dance performances. The sexual aspect of the stripping faded quickly for me. Channing Tatum has some serious talent and gets to show it—and his fabulous abs—off in this wildly fun but sometimes sobering movie. Good times were had.

The Hurt Locker
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

Finally got around to seeing this movie, mainly due to my current obsession with Jeremy Renner. It was everything the critics promised it would be: taut, intense, unflinching, with performances that had me wanting to curl up into a ball and hide for a while. Renner was at once stunning and terrifying in the role of Sgt. James. If nothing else, this movie will make you appreciate the hell our troops go through.

The Dark Knight Rises
Directed by Christopher Nolan

This was the nearly perfect cap to Nolan's Batman trilogy. My only gripe about it is that the writing for most Batman movies always comes off as a little campy. But part of the appeal of superhero movies is the absurdity that surrounds masked crusaders. I don't want to have to think too hard at a movie featuring a guy who sounds like Scooby-Doo flying around in a cape. Which is why I exited that theater with a big smile.


I saw him in the Avengers first, and my heart couldn't stop pitter-pattering.

The role of Cupid will now be played by Jeremy Renner


Then I watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and couldn't stop smiling at him doing lunges in inappropriately tight pants. My husband decided I needed a Twitter hashtag on par with #Fassboner to describe my crush on Renner. Contenders included #hawkeyecandy, #rennersploosh and #rennerection.

My seat for The Bourne Legacy has been his lap


I'm not entirely sure I know why I like him. He's kinda...funny-looking, actually. Tufty facial hair is usually a turn-off for me, and his soulful blue eyes are so wide-set, I kinda feel like I'm staring at one of those Mad Magazine foldouts. And then I saw a picture of him as a young musician during what I can only assume was the age of grunge, and I thought, Is he wearing guyliner? No, in fact, I'm pretty sure he's not. But he looks like he is in a lot of pictures, if you Google Image him.

Hide your daughters. He plays guitar.


And yet, somehow, he gets my engine going every. Damn. Time. Part of it is the intense, serious special-agent look that puts cute wrinkles in his forehead. I love a guy who can scowl prettily. The other part is pure on-screen presence. He radiates power and confidence, but keeps it safely stowed beneath a soft exterior. And his no-nonsense haircuts say "I know exactly what I'm doing, babe. But I'm not afraid to let it grow out a little and get wild."

Did it hurt when you fell from heaven and into my dreams?


As of writing this, I've yet to watch him in his breakout role in The Hurt Locker. But I await The Bourne Legacy with bated breath, and will very likely go to see Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters for him alone. Such is his hold over me.

Got a celebrity crush you can't quite fathom? Tell me about it in the comments!


I won't go on too long about how much I ABSOLUTELY LOVED Marvel's the Avengers—enough to see it twice in theatres, and for my husband, three times. Suffice to say Joss Whedon got it all bang on, made me care about characters I knew nothing about (Hawkeye, Black Widow) and even made me like the Hulk. I hate the Hulk. Two separate movies and they still couldn't get the franchise going, yet somehow, I loved him in this.

But I promised not to wax on, so I won't. Instead, I present you The Avengers, in order of bangability:

#1 Thor, God of Thunder, son of Odin.
Skills: Super strength, wields a magic hammer. And we all know hammers really stand for.
Bangability factors: Chris Hemsworth's bulging muscles speak for him. With that smile and those locks, old school chivalrous affect plus godlike stamina, Thor is the ideal bedmate. I'd take this guy to my high school reunion.

#2 Captain America, aka Steve Rogers
Skills: Super strength and speed, wields a shield made of vibranium-steel. Imagine the possibilities...
Bangability factors: Like Thor, Chris Evans's physique is impressive, but his wholesome, boyish virgin factor makes him extra appealing to me somehow. Which disturbs me a little. I just want to make him salute the flag and cry while singing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

#3: Iron Man, aka Tony Stark
Skills: Genius billionaire playboy philanthropist with a flying rocket suit.
Bangability factors: Genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, played by Robert Downey Jr., and he's got a wicked beard and a wickeder sense of humor to boot. Many would argue he ought to be my number two, especially compared to vanilla Steve Rogers, but the fact that Stark's with Pepper Potts and his obsessive compulsive tendencies kind of turn me off.  Great for a one-night stand and a few ostentatious "it's not you, it's me" gifts, but that's just my opinion.

#4: Hawkeye, aka Clint Barton
Skills: Master of archery, martial arts, acrobatics.
Bangability factors: I knew nothing about Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye before this film, save for the minute or two of footage from Thor. But wow, do I ever want to see this guy get his own movie, or costar in one alongside Black Widow. The guys sinewy arms and laserlike focus on the mission shine through. Apply that to the bedroom and I'm sure he'd have me bull's-eyed.

#5: Loki, the Trickster, stepson of Odin
Skills: Super strength, telepathy, magic abilities.
Bangability factors: Okay, so technically he's not an Avenger, but look at him. Tom Hiddleston is irresistibly charismatic in this role. As one character aptly put it, "He kind of grows on you," even though he's really a conflicted and kind of pathetic character. But imagine what he could do with the power to manipulate your mind. You could have him AND all the rest of the Avengers with you...

#6: Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff
Skills: Superspy. Particularly good actress.
Bangability factors: She may be the only woman on the team, but she proves herself to be an equal among these powerful men, leveraging her foes' underestimation to her advantage. She's smart and fearless and doesn't back down from a fight. If I had to have a lesbian experimentation phase in my life, I'd be honored and thrilled if it were with Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow.

#7: The Hulk, aka Robert Bruce Banner
Skills: As Banner, genius-level intellect; as Hulk, nearly invulnerable, can take flying leaps, smash.
Bangability factors: Mark Ruffalo's performance was adorable, but he still managed to keep the simmering monster visible beneath his trembling nerdy exterior. Yes, I still put him dead last in this series because, let's face it, while size matters a little, I'm not sure I could go one round with the Hulk without needing serious physical rehabilitation afterwards.

#0: Nick Fury
Skills: He's motherf***ing Samuel L. Jackson. All he needs to do is be badass.
Bangability factors: He's number zero on this list because, chances are, he's already f***ed you and left. Because that's how S.H.I.E.L.D. operates, motherf***er.

The Secret World of Arriety (2010)
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Based on the book The Borrowers by Mary Norton, this charming tale about tiny people who live off the leavings of household inhabitants is beautifully brought to life by the wonderful Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.

While not as exciting as some of Miyazaki's other works, the film is reminiscent some of the older Studio Ghibli movies, with a focus on domestic details and the not insignificant trials of everyday living. The art and scenery are lush and gorgeously painted, and there's little a child would find frightening. A must see for Miyazaki fans, naturally.

Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Directed by Drew Goddard

Joss Whedon's much-anticipated horror/slasher flick does not disappoint, blending classic horror tropes and plots with Whedon's trademark wit and sociological insight. I can't give out many details about this movie without spoiling it. Suffice to say, if you're a fan of Whedon, you should go see this.



Shattered Glass (2003)
Directed by Billy Ray

The true story of former disgraced journalist Stephen Glass is one that every journalism student should watch. Hayden "Anakin Skywalker" Christensen plays the erstwhile Glass,  who fabricated many of his stories and eventually got caught. It's a cringeworthy precautionary tale, and watching Christensen really flex those acting chops as a charismatic pathological liar makes you realize how wasted he was in the Star Wars franchise.

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The Hunger Games (2012)
Directed by Gary Ross

The most highly anticipated movie adaptation of the bestselling series by Suzanne Collins will likely be reviewed by better than me, and more thoroughly. But I thought I'd give my impressions here.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't read the books...well, why haven't you???

Overall: I enjoyed this film. It managed to distill all the important parts of the book into a 142 minutes, and included more in-depth looks at the universe that were not included in first-person narrative of the novel. There was lots of action, enough world-building to understand the basics of Panem, and lots of great performances by the main cast, who really brought the characters life.

The Good: Jennifer Lawrence played Katniss with aplomb, capturing her conflicting emotions, her coldness and her laserlike focus. Josh Hutcherson grew on me very quickly. He was convincing on many levels, and his likability and chemistry with Katniss will make it hard to root for the other guy when the inevitable love triangle comes into play. Gale didn't get a lot of screen time, but what I did see, I liked.

The scenery and sets are terrific, the costumes are fantastic, the writing sharp and not overexplained. It's an easy movie to watch and like.

The Meh: President Snow as portrayed by Donald Sutherland lacked any real bite. He's supposed to be scary, but he just came off as lukewarm. Cinna, played by Lenny Kravitz, did not make much of a splash, and part of that, I figured, was because his assistant stylists who are a constant, chattering presence in the book didn't appear much in the film. Likewise, we didn't see much of Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), another key figure. I can only imagine some of his best scenes are on the cutting-room floor.

The Bad: Excessive use of shaky-cam and quick cuts made many of the more horrific sequences easier to film/stomach and kept the film PG-13-friendly, but they got tiresome. Not quite Michael Bay-tiresome, but I was definitely googly-eyed by the end.

Since this franchise is going to be spread across four movies, I felt there needed to be more contrast between the Capitol and Districts. An overreliance on CGI didn't ground me in the excess of the Capitol--things were just a little too blue screened at times, and as colorful and fanciful as the costumes were, the transition between District 12 and the Captiol was too jarring. The costumes, while beautiful, were used almost too much. I really wanted to see the banquet scene from the book.

I also felt they could have gone a lot darker. As has been pointed out on Twitter, it's a strange world in which a movie about kids killing each other in an arena bloodsport gets a PG-13 rating, while a documentary about bullies gets an R for swearing. The horror of the Hunger Games was well done, but they could have gone two shades darker and really hit the nail on the head. I can only hope the sequels will be a little more unflinching in their treatment of violence.

The Conclusion: This may be one instance in which I recommend reading the book before watching the movie, only because it's a great book, and it translates fairly well. I'll go see the sequels, no doubt about it. Hats off to the cast and crew. I look forward to Catching Fire.

I've been thinking about movies I've seen that really made me think about the writing process and the writing life and that I've learned something from. I thought I'd share the ones that struck a chord with me.

Adaptation (2002)

This is a fantastic semi-autobiographical tale about the film's writer, Charlie Kaufman, in his quest to adapt the book The Orchid Thief (by Susan Orlean) into a movie. The result is exactly what you see on screen in all its off-the-wall craziness, and it's phenomenal.

What you can learn: Everything you write is terrible and cliche and predictable. Your efforts are in vain. You will die lonely and miserable. But if you meet your deadlines, if you sweat and bleed and work your hardest, in the end, you'll have something beautiful and spectacular and complete. Passion is worth sacrificing for, and writing is no different. There are stories everywhere: start living them.

Also, Robert McKee is God.  (LANGUAGE WARNING)


Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

Will Ferrell is the unwitting hero in his own monotonous life who one day starts hearing a narrator tell his story. Emma Thompson is the author whose writer's block is the only thing that is keeping him from meeting an untimely death, and it's up to him to find her and change her mind about killing him off for the sake of her book.

What you can learn: Sometimes your characters will take on a life of their own. But that doesn't mean you get to go easy on them. Make them suffer. And be prepared to kill your babies.


The Shining (1980)

A family retreats to an old hotel for the winter. The father, a writer, is slowly driven to violence by an evil spirit that is also affecting his psychic son.

What you can learn: All Work And No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy. Get out of the house once in a while, especially if evil lurks there. You can't write in a vacuum and, let's face it, murdering your family is not going to help you sell your manuscript.

Misery (1990)

Stephen King takes two places on this list because, let's face it, he knows what he's talking about and has a knack for showing us the worst of the world.

A popular novelist is rescued by a fan (famously played by Kathy Bates) and forced to rewrite his manuscript to please her fandom mania.

What you can learn: If you're lucky to be a publishing phenomenon, you'll get fans. Lots of fans. Sometimes even crazy ones. Be prepared to deal with them. Maybe not like this, though. (EXTREME VIOLENCE CONTENT WARNING ON THAT YOUTUBE LINK.)

Got a film about writing you want to share? Leave a comment!

Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows
Directed by Guy Ritchie

Holmes faces off against his nemesis Professor Moriarty in this sequel starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Jared Harris as Moriarty. The plot is relatively simple with its various Doylesian twists, and the actors deftly portray the world's most famous detective and his sidekick. Though the aesthetic is bang on, the high-def motion capture cinematography pretty to look at and refreshing in that thank-god-this-isn't-Michael-Bay way, I wasn't absolutely enthralled. In the end, though, everything is nice to look at, and there's enough action and story to keep you awake. A good matinee flick for everyone.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Directed by Tomas Alfredson

This Cold-War espionage flick based on a John le Carré novel stars a whole bunch of terrific actors, including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Benedict Cumberbatch, and a bunch more. Oldman plays a veteran MI6 agent forced out of retirement to track down a mole within MI6's ranks. It's a long, slow, plodding kind of movie—you won't find any fast-paced chase scenes or heart-thudding action, but it suits the hold-your-breath mood of the period, and the film's crescendo pays off.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Ever since I heard that former women's MMA champion Gina Carano would be starring in this flick alongside Channing Tatum, Ewan MacGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas, I was stoked to see what she could do. Carano's character, Mallory Kane, is a secret agent on the run after being set up by her former employer for the murder of a Chinese dissident. With the focus on her, it leaves the heavy hitters with very little to do, but that's the magic of this movie. With so many stars, Carano has her work cut out for her. But you root for her because she is a strong and capable woman surrounded by men conspiring to beat her down. She is the instant underdog who doesn't need to prove anything, but is going to anyway because—and here's the tagline—they left her no choice. If anyone else had played Mallory, this flick would have flopped.

Carano is brutal, unrelenting, and completely physical in this film. Every fight scene is genuine, with long shots and unflinching hits with plenty of nods to her Muay Thai and MMA training. It's very satisfying to see a woman who is strong and beautiful without being plastic or glamorous kick serious ass. I applaud Soderbergh for making this movie. Not once do you see Mallory pose, boobs and ass sticking out, wearing skimpy outfits or using her sexuality to get what she wants. She is smart, efficient, and goes after what she wants. No TSTL moments here. I would have liked to see more from the male characters (who doesn't want to see more Michael Fassbender?) and there isn't a lot in the way of character arcs or dialogue, but otherwise I enjoyed this film thoroughly.

Here's a great article about Carano.