[THEATER THURSDAY] 12 movies of the week.

My viewing and recommendation list for this week. *All 12 are spoiler-free.*

Maleficent–4 stars. Great effects. Angelina looked like she’d been born for the role. As with Frozen, I liked the twist on the old Disney love at first sight bs. It was also good to get the “villain’s” side of an iconic story. PG rating, but note it might be frightening and violent (a few non-bloody fight scenes) for younger viewers. Biggest con for me was Maleficent being so powerful…until the plot needed her to not be. She could do this and that, but when it was convenient for the script, suddenly, she had limitations and vulnerabilities. I didn’t get an explanation for that. Still, worth a watch. Maybe even for the whole family.

X-Men: Days of Future Past–4.5 stars. Michael Fassbender channeled Magneto well. I would have thought he was Eric Lensherr (older Magneto) if I didn’t know better. Magneto and Mystique are hands down my faves. Here, Wolverine went back in time to save the mutants. I usually find time travel confusing, so I’ll be spending some time on IMDB to fill in the gaps of my understanding on how the events in this movie affect the past and future of the franchise. This movie is really a big turning point. A great one.

That Awkward Moment–3.5 stars. Zac Efron, Miles Teller, and Michael B. Jordan did a good job with this predictably silly movie about a pact between bros to remain…hoes. It’s a romcom, I suppose, not to be taken too seriously. I’m not sure if it was the script or directing, but something about it just didn’t grab me as it should have with this cast and synopsis. Nope. Not even a shirtless Zac or Michael made me feel more for it.

GoT–I know it’s not a movie, but with a production like this, who cares? Um…that last episode (season 4 episode 8)–I can’t stop talking or thinking about it. You need to watch Game of Thrones, if you aren’t already. That’s all I’m saying.

Angels of Sex (El sexo de los ángeles)–5 stars. I loved it. It’s streaming on Netflix (subtitled), so check it out IF<–Big IF–you can handle MMF scenes. I’ve gotten close to some of you fans over the past few years, so I know I have some followers who would enjoy it. I’m just warning the rest of you: This is NOT for everyone! There is a love triangle. There are explicit scenes. I’ve said enough.

White Frog–3 stars. The main character has Asperger’s Syndrome. That drew me to the story. Tyler Posey is in the cast. That may have had something to do with it too. :/ Ultimately, it’s about grief and acceptance. I was cool with all that. My problem was the After School Special vibe that crept in towards the end. Almost ruined it for me. Also streaming on Netflix.

Kaboom–another 3-star movie for me. WTF happened within the last 10 minutes of this movie, man? I loved the fluid sexuality of the main character. I liked his friends. It would have been great as just another college debauchery film. Introduction of the apocalyptic plot was just way out there…and not in a good way. Maybe if the ending had slown down so it could sink in, it would have worked. I don’t know. I’ll have to chalk this up to it being directed by Gregg Araki. He’s one of those off-the-grid directors, and that normally works for me. I enjoyed: Mysterious Skin, The Doom Generation, and Splendor. 4-star efforts for me. I liked this one about as much as his movie Totally F***ked Up though. Kaboom is streaming on Netflix, if you’re curious.

Stranger By The Lake (L’inconnu du lac)–4 stars. Streaming on Netflix. Subtitled. It is a gay hardcore film. If explicit sex scenes bother you–don’t even think about watching this one. It’s not porn, but you will mistake it as such. If you don’t like seeing full frontal male nudity or men getting it on–avoid it. There is not one woman in the whole film. It’s about a guy who cruises the beach for fun in the sun and falls for a guy he shouldn’t. It moves slowly, which I didn’t mind. The ending was another WTF moment though. Seriously. W.T.F.

Pompeii–3.5 stars. I won’t lie–I watched this because Kit Harington plays the lead, and he’s hot. That’s it. I usually like these period pieces, but I could tell from the preview, it wouldn’t offer much else. Well, I was sort of wrong. It also had Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who I’ve loved since Oz (1997). And other viewers may appreciate seeing Keifer Sutherland. Beyond seeing them on the big screen, this movie didn’t have much going for it, especially in originality. This is really Gladiator meets Volcano meets The Titanic…meets Game of Thrones. If you know the history of Pompeii, then you will be more prepared for the ending than I was. Just made the whole movie seem pointless. Kit played the character the same way he does Jon Snow on Game of Thrones so…I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad. Overall, not a bad way to spend 105 minutes. Just not great.

Demons Never Die–3.5 stars. Um…so I’ve been crushing on Irish actor, Robert Sheehan, for a while now, ever since I became obsessed with the show Misfits (BBC). I watched this movie because I watch all of his movies, dammit. It was an added bonus to see Jacob Anderson play Sachin, since I’ve grown very fond of him on Game of Thrones as Grey Worm. Additionally, Idris Elba produced this movie. What? Yep. I saw him in the credits, then confirmed it on IMDB. The kids in the movie have a suicide pact until they realize they have something to live for. Of course, that’s when someone starts killing them off. Those expecting this to be a horror film will be gravely disappointed, as I’ve surmised from other reviews. Yes, it is a slasher/whodunnit movie, but if you go into it looking more at the characters, their relationships, and the underlying message of unity and love, it will be more enjoyable. Just forget that sh*t that happens at the end when they reveal the killer. That was just out of left field and will ruin it for you. Or you could just ogle Robert Sheehan as I did.

DAMN. I watched a lot of movies this week.

YPF–4 stars. It stands for Young People F***ing. And that’s just what it is. It’s about several couples over the course of an evening. Their interactions are broken up into the following phases: Introduction, Prelude, Foreplay, Sex, Interlude, Orgasm, and Afterglow. Not much more to say about it other than it’s a raunchy, predictable comedy.

Lastly…

Ten Inch Hero–4 stars. It got corny towards the end, but I thought it was cute and funny throughout. Ok, ok. I watched it because Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester) is in it. You got me. It’s still pretty good though. Likeable characters with some surprises along the way.

On another note–WOW. I have never had so many things to tag in one blog post.

Where Are The Black Men In Your Book?

I’ve been delaying commentary on this question/criticism for a while, but it’s time I address it. Each time I’ve been asked why there are no black men in Sleepy Willow, the reader has first said he or she LOVED the book but…where are the black men. So, I’m not sure if this is really criticism or just an observation. A somewhat inaccurate one. Nevertheless, I’ll try to answer the question thoroughly.

First–Punch is a black man. Remember him? The HUGE black man in my story? He looks something like bodybuilder Ulisses Williams, Jr. in my head:

Nice, huh?

But, I get it. Punch is not the main love interest for my heroine. That’s really the issue, isn’t it? The romance is between Willow, a black female vampire and Remi, who is…not black. So ladies and gentleman, what we have here is an interracial relationship, right? Willow’s maistre vampire, Maximilian, is…not black. That’s another one. Willow’s boss, Franco, is…not black. Another one. Willow’s nemesis, Agent Monroe, isn’t either. I could keep going down the list, but by now, if you haven’t read it, you’re beginning to understand that this is not an African-American novel. It is a multi-cultural one.

I’m going out on a limb here and guessing those who asked about the absence of black men within the story are wondering why 1) the lead female doesn’t have a black love interest since she’s black, and/or 2) why there aren’t more black men because…I am a black woman author. As in, why would a black woman author not have more black men in her books, like Terry McMillan or Sista Souljah or Zane.

It’s simple, really: it’s already been done a million times or more and I strive hard to make my books unique. I’m leaving the AA fiction to the women listed above and delving into more risque’ material. More controversial stuff. I’m adding several layers of wild and daring, not just one. I’m going beyond an older woman, younger man scenario (McMillan) and drugs and abortion (Souljah) and threesomes (Zane), though I applaud these women for writing books I’ve enjoyed immensely.

Secondly, I did everything I could to make each part of my book a surprise. When you find out Willow’s black–surprise. And when you find out everyone else’s race, religion, love interest, supernatural gift–surprise.

Willow + Punch = predictable. Predictable–> Boring.

I worked hard to keep my book UNPREDICTABLE. (Side note: I’m overjoyed that most of the reviewers respected this and posted non-spoiler reviews. Thanks!)

The Narcoleptic Vampire Series is not the only one featuring an interracial relationship, but you’ll be hard pressed to find more than a handful of paranormal romance/dark urban fantasy stories with a black female lead (first hurdle) who has a non-black romantic interest (nearly nonexistent). And that, my friends, is one of the reasons I wrote it that way.

But that’s not all.

Truth is–in order to answer this question entirely, I’d have to reveal more secrets of my creative writing process. And you know how much I hate doing that. *Being sarcastic, of course.* But seriously, you’d need to know where my ideas come from and how I develop my characters to understand how each one is written the way he or she is.

In this old post, I discussed how Remi’s character was inspired by Nir Lavi. In this old post, I discussed how Joe Manganiello inspired my character Dario. I get inspiration from random input and I run with it. Lots of times, it comes from watching a movie, developing a very short-lived crush on a character or actor, and allowing my imagination to run rampant.

If you’ve been paying attention to my blog, you know Tom Hardy has recently inspired a character or two. For sure. But I have to write my thoughts out now before I lose interest. There will be another flavor of the week really soon. Which means I’ll be inspired to write about different characters with different story lines. I’ll have to chuck the deuce to Tom and welcome my new inspiration.

More so than that, I have a nondiscriminatory policy. I like and dislike men equally. White, black, yellow, green. Doesn’t matter, as long as something stands out about him.

Hey, I just had an idea for a good green character. Wait a minute. I think Laurell K. Hamilton did that in in her Merry Gentry Fae series.

Anyway…

I have to write about whatever I feel most drawn to at the moment. Whatever is churning around in my brain and won’t let me rest until I’ve written about it…him or her–that’s how it works.

I’ve had crushes on Shemar Moore (until I met him in Atlanta while he was filming Diary of a Mad Black Woman. He was gorgeous and nice. I just lost interest after seeing him as a mere mortal), Vin Diesel (not sure he’s black, but he keeps popping up on black men lists), Tyson Beckford (gloriously chocolate), Taye Diggs (wowsie!), Morris Chestnut (I mean, did you SEE him in The Best Man?), Blair Underwood (holy moly), and Will Smith (when he’s not being silly). Just to name a few. But I can no longer write about a character based on them since I don’t feel passionately drawn to them at the moment.

Now you know the method to my madness.

I have a black man at home. A good-looking, athletic one. He’s agreed to pose for an upcoming promotion for Sleepy Willow part 2, by the way…but damn. I’m rambling today. My point is–I have a black man at home so I probably won’t develop a crush on many. Why? You got it–because that’s not different. A Brit with tats, an accent, and THOSE lips…that’s another story altogether. Yeah, I’m talking about Tom again.

Funny thing–other than Idris Elba, Denzel Washington, and Will Smith, you don’t see a lot of black men featured in sexy roles on the big screen much at all. I may have to go on a hunt and find one to base a character on, after all. Any suggestions?

I may have just wasted my time and yours trying to explain this because what you could have been asking was: “Dicey, I just love your book so much and love the characters and I’d like to see more men like Punch in your books because he’s totally hot and I love reading about black men and since you wrote one awesome black male character, I was hoping you’d write more.”

Okay. I’ll do my best. Let’s see how the mood/inspiration strikes me. 🙂