Episode 106: Viva Las Vegas! Army of the Dead!

Andi and Lise chat about the movie Army of the Dead (2020), a zombie heist gore-fest directed by Zach Snyder (Dawn of the Dead, 2004). That’s right, heist. A zombie outbreak has occurred in Las Vegas after a military convoy crashes and patient zero escapes into the city and the government has to build a wall all around it. A rich casino owner wants a team to sneak into the city to crack a vault in his casino and snag two hundred million dollars. However, all may not be as it seems, either with the casino owner, the heist plan, and the zombies themselves. Andi and Lise highly recommend that you not dig too deep into this; you’ll only end up asking WTF more than once. Take it as pure adrenaline-fueled entertainment and don’t scratch the surface. Also, this movie probably isn’t appropriate for young folx (kids, ’tweens, some teens) because it is, as mentioned, a gore-fest. 

More info and trailer can be found at IMDb; stream it on Netflix. 

Shout-outs: Lise highly recommends the series “The Great Pottery Throw Down,” available on HBO Max. It’s a British reality show along the lines of the “Great British Bake-off” in which the competition is to decide Britain’s best home potter. Four seasons now streaming. Andi raves about the graphic novel Snapdragon (2020) by Kat Leyh, about a girl who doesn’t fit in and ends up befriending the town “witch” and in doing so, finds out more about her own capabilities. Queer rep, amazing art, great story, wonderful characters. 

Episode 102: Birds of Prey: All About Harley F*ckin’ Quinn!

Andi and Lise discuss and express much love for the 2020 DC movie with the longest subtitle in either the DC or Marvel universe: Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. The movie, narrated in parts by Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), is a story about how she finds herself after the end of a relationship with the Joker (arguably a poster child for toxic masculinity) while also dealing with the fallout from the relationship. She manages to forge an alliance of sorts with Black Canary, Detective Renée Montoya, and Huntress as they battle another poster child of toxic masculinity, Roman Sionis. The result is a gorgeously frenetic journey through and with the mind of Harley Quinn, filled with great fight scenes, excellent character development, and snappy, snarky dialogue. Lise and Andi agree: this film is liberating, and makes us vicariously love kicking ass. 

Fantabulous Trailer 

IMDB info 

Shout-outs: Lise highly recommends the animated miniseries Over the Garden Wall (2014), in which 2 brothers are lost in a mysterious land trying to find their way home. Vintage aesthetic and elements of fantasy, a bit of creepy horror, and other surprises. Andi implores listeners to read Sarah Rose’s 2019 D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II. Beautifully written nonfiction account of some of the women who were parachuted/boated into occupied France to support and develop Resistance networks. 

Episode 97: Salt

Pass the Salt! 

This week, Andi and Lise chat about the movie Salt (2010) starring Angelina Jolie as a kickass action heroine who may or may not be a Russian sleeper agent. Jolie – Evelyn Salt – is an agent with the CIA who may also have been trained in Russia as a child and placed in the U.S. for a day when she and several others would activate to enact circumstances to create war between Russia and the U.S. As viewers, we’re trying to figure out where her loyalties lie as she runs from the CIA after a Russian agent shows up at CIA headquarters allegedly to defect and ostensibly activates her. Pulse-pounding excellent espionage thriller with lots of twists and turns. Also, Jolie should be in all the action films. 

Salt trailer 

Shout-outs: 

Lise recommends that we go watch Wandavision, available on Disney Plus and Hulu. It’s a miniseries based on the Marvel comic character Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff). It shared continuity with the Avengers universe, but you don’t need to have seen all the Avengers films to enjoy it. Set after Endgame, Wanda and Vision are living a nice life in the suburbs, but things are not as they seem. 

Andi is feeding her lifelong fascination with the Soviet Union and is reading Adam Higginbotham’s 2019 Midnight in Chernobyl, about what happened at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine in 1986 that resulted in the worst nuclear disaster in history that may have contributed to the end of the Soviet Union. Absolutely gripping and horrifying. 

Episode 94: Happiest Season…?

Andi and Lise are joined by fab Lambda-winning author Meghan O’Brien to discuss the 2020 holigay movie Happiest Season, in which Harper (Mackenzie Davis) is not out to her conservative family. Harper brings girlfriend Abby (Kristen Stewart) along to her family’s for Christmas and things don’t go well. Neither does the script. Andi, Lise, and Meghan talk about effective elements of a romance and queer rep. 

Find Meghan at her website and also find her work at Bold Strokes Books

Shout-outs! 

If you want to watch a coming out film, Lise recommends But I’m a Cheerleader, starring Clea Duvall (who wrote Happiest Season) and also D.E.B.S. while Andi recommends The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love. Want some Xmas movies that have F/F elements? Meghan recommends Let It Snow while Andi shouts out Season of Love. And Meghan also would like to shout out the F/F relationship in the TV series Orphan Black

Episode 93: Anna and the Apocalypse

Zombie apocalypse Christmas high school musical! 

No, really! Andi and Lise discuss (and rave about) the 2017 Scottish film Anna and the Apocalypse, in which Anna and a few friends have to fend for themselves in a zombie pandemic at Christmas time, save who they can, and try to rescue parents from the high school. It’s campy, fun, angsty, sad, but always heartfelt. Excellent musical numbers, great songs, and great soundtrack overall. 

Movie info 

Trailer 

Soundtrack on Spotify 

Streaming on various platforms, including: Amazon Prime, Fandango,  Hulu, iTunes, PlayStation, Xbox, and Vudu. 

Shout-outs: Lise just finished spec fic author Rebecca Roanhorse’s latest, Black Sun (2020), an “epic fantasy set in a world inspired by pre-Columbian Indigenous cultures” (SyFy Wire). Also – queer rep! Andi just watched the gay (M/M) 2020 Christmas movie, Dashing in December, which is basically a cute, sweet Hallmark trope made cute and sweet and gay. Fluff, angst, and Andie McDowell!

Episode 90: Aliens

Andi and Lise talk about the 1986 movie Aliens, starring Sigourney Weaver. It’s still one of their faves and holds up really well. Probably why it won a bunch of awards for special effects (including an Oscar). Here, Ripley (Weaver) is back on Earth after 57 years in cryo-stasis (following the end of the 1979 Alien) but agrees to go back to the moon where she initially encountered the xenomorphs when a terra-forming colony’s comms stop. She accompanies a band of Marines and a corporate shill thinking they’re going to destroy the xenomorphs but one of the themes this movie explores is enemies external and internal. Also includes major women’s and girls’ badassery, and for that time, that was rare. 

More on Aliens 

Original trailer 

IMDB cast listing 

Shout-outs! 

Lise would like to shout-out  the new series Truth Seekers, with awesome British comedy duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz, which Andi and Lise talked about HERE and Shaun of the Dead). Here, Frost is a paranormal investigator whose team goes ghost-hunting but may have stumbled onto something bigger (available on Amazon Prime). Andi shouts out season 2 of The Mandalorian, but is bummed that one of the actors in it whose career she’s enjoyed over the years turns out to be problematic (Andi and Lise discussed problematic faves HERE). Find The Mandalorian on Disney Plus. 

Episode 88: The Night of the Living Dead

Andi and Lise decided to do a couple of spoooooky Halloween shows, and this is the first. Here, they dig into the classic 1968 zombie apocalypse film Night of the Living Dead, co-written by George Romero, who also produced and directed it. This is the origin of our pop culture understanding of zombies, but there are some other currents at play here, and Lise and Andi will chat about those, too. 

More info about Night of the Living Dead

Trailer 

A few things you might not have known about the movie 
Some behind the scenes info 

Shout-out: Lise shouted out the pulse-pounding, tense movie Pitch Black (2000), a horror/space movie with Vin Diesel. He and others end up on a planet on which monsters come out at night, but what happens when that night is a month long? Andi piled on to Lise’s shout-out about this movie; she loves it. 

Episode 85: Why We Love Antiheroes

Andi and Lise love antiheroes and all of their messy, complicated humanity. In this episode, they discuss some of their fave antiheroes and the flaws that make them relatable: Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly); Han Solo (Star Wars); Helena (Orphan Black); Parker (Leverage); Handsome Jack (Borderlands) Max and Furiosa (Fury Road); Sarah Connor (Terminator and T2); Andy (The Old Guard); Annalise Keating (How to Get Away with Murder).

Andi and Lise discussed the movie The Old Guard in episode 82; the movie T2 in episode 84; Terminator in episode 73; and Fury Road in episode 50.

Lise’s shout-out: times are tough; but she’s finding some solace in cosplay art and finishing edits on her latest book.

Andi’s shout-out is an in memoriam to stellar actor Chadwick Boseman, who died August 28 at the age of 43 after a 4-year battle with colon cancer. He was amazing and oh, he’s missed. Wakanda Forever.

Episode 84: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Andi and Lise break down the 1991 movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day (directed and co-written by James Cameron), which they both consider is one of the best sequels ever made. Andi and Lise discuss themes, characters, pacing, plot, and nods that T2 includes to its 1984 predecessor, Terminator, and also how watching it now, in this historical context, gives them different perspectives than they had watching it both originally and over the years.

Here, Sarah Connor’s son John (he’s 15 now) is a juvenile delinquent living with foster parents while Sarah is warehoused in a psychiatric institution after she tried to bomb a computer factory (trying to destroy Skynet). But Skynet is at it again and sends a terminator back in time to kill him while the future resistance sends an alternative terminator back to protect him.

T2 Trailer

Shout-outs: Lise has been reading The Murderbot Diaries, a Hugo- and Nebula-winning novella series by Martha Wells, in which a “murderous android discovers itself”—its identity and the author interrogates that nature of consciousness through artificial intelligence (from Amazon description).

Andi does a shout-out to fellow author KD Williamson’s new YouTube channel, in which KD taste tests different hot sauces and shares recipes. She’s also bringing other authors on! Check it out at Grrl on Fire.

Episode 82: The Old Guard

RUN, don’t walk to Netflix as you’re able and PLEASE watch the movie The Old Guard, starring Charlize Theron as Andromache of Scythia who is still alive.

“Four undying warriors who’ve secretly protected humanity for centuries become targeted for their mysterious powers just as they discover a new immortal.” – from Netflix description, available HERE.

But there’s a catch…

Adapted from Greg Rucka’s comic of the same name, the story is about Andromache’s (“Andy’s”) leadership of this team and their attempts to stay undetected over the centuries, and what it means to be immortal when there are so few people in the world who are. Excellent diverse characters (two of Andy’s team are men who are soulmates who met during the Crusades and the newest immortal is a Black woman), fabulous action scenes, fast pacing, strong writing.

The Old Guard trailer
The Old Guard comic

Lise’s shout-out is for the movie Knives Out, available on Amazon Prime. A clever, engrossing murder mystery in the style of ol’ skool mysteries like Agatha Christie’s.

Andi’s shout-out is for season 2 of The Alienist on TNT, which just started airing. 19th-century New York City crime and crime-solvers. Dark and gripping.

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