Does Underworld: Blood Wars Underwhelm?

Nobody wanted to see Underworld: Blood Wars with me. I was forced to see it all by myself. (Will this be my fate again when Resident Evil: The Final Chapter rolls into theaters at month’s end?) Apparently every civilized nation got to see it last year, so we’ll cut right to the SPOILERS.

The Underworld movies have never been masterpieces, but they do enough to please me. Legitimutant vampire Kate Beckinsale starring as Selene is one of them. She proves women can be stoic hypercompetent ass-kickers grumpy over their missing loved ones & being betrayed by her former allies just as well as men. Unfortunately that archetype is already played out, even if it’s slightly more novel for this gender. Even with vampire David getting his own subplot, it’s still incontrovertibly her movie.


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Who Wins Winter’s War?

Snow White & the Huntsman is I movie enjoy aside from Snow White, which is problematic given that she’s half the title. The Huntsman: Winter’s War is even more fun because it corrects this oversight by only showing Snow White’s back for a few frames.

Normally I’d object to removing the lead heroine from her own franchise, but all the women in this are so much better than Snow White. There’s even a kickass lady dwarf named Mrs. Bromwyn played by Princess Jubilee! Queen Ravenna’s incesty brother from the first movie has mysteriously vanished & been replaced by new sister Queen Freya. At first it seems completely mercenary to graft a thermokinetic queen onto Snow White’s backstory, but Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen did begin with a magic mirror turning the title character frigid. Of course this movie spends even less time as an adaptation of that classic feminist fairy tale than Frozen. But who cares about continuity or faithful adaptation when Charlize Theron & Emily Blunt are glamorous magical monarchs feasting upon all the scenery? (One of them really ought to be Amora the Enchantress in Thor: Ragnarok if Cate Blanchett is Hela.) This is a gorgeous movie because Colleen Atwood makes the best costume porn. Blunt controls snowy Bubo spies by wearing a mask evoking Princes of Power action figures & Michael Whelan’s The Snow Queen cover.


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Vindicating The Vox Populi!

The readers have spoken! But before I reveal which of the three The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose paintings YOU picked, I’m going to sidetrack with my guest appearance on The Wages of Cinema podcast (I came up with the name for it) in which I discuss Avengers: Age of Ultron with Jack Gattanella, Andrew Birchenough, & Korey Hughes for an hour. If you hate reading, now you can hear me nitpick!:

I forgot to mention during the podcast that another big gripe I had is that Klaw’s ship is anchored at “the African coast.” Um, all of the continent’s perimeter is coast. At least pick a map orientation to narrow it down slightly. I thought we were past the Geography Fail of acting like Africa is a country by this point.

So last week, I asked you which The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose painting you wanted to see next based on the incredibly vague working titles “Theft,” “Pursuit”, & “Pounce.” The winner by a near unanimous vote was … “POUNCE!” I want to give a special thanks to the commenteers of The Mary Sue & the Unstable Molecules forum of UXN for helping me with my indecision. They are lovely folks with good taste. So, without further ado, here is a photo of a painting that’s not necessarily named “Pounce!”

s3This is actually the first painting I made for The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose. Note that it does not contain the eponymous lead character anywhere. Instead it features supporting character Stephfi the Marauderatrix battling a Manticore. Motivational speakers say “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I was disappointed in the shortage of warrior women fighting Manticores in our culture. So I wrote it into a novel & painted a picture of it.

The best part about making my own artwork for the book is that I don’t need to worry about other artists mistranslating the scenes I envisioned in my head. This was particularly important for Stephfi because her outfit is much more unique than Brother Banenose’s standard Franciscan monk habit. Her chainmail bellyshirt & skirt are a nod to Red Sonja’s notorious chainmail bikini. But unlike most depictions of Red Sonja, Stephfi is obviously a physical powerhouse. This costume is still very impractical to fight in (unless you draw upon the power of the uterus) but intentionally so because the book is full of comedic absurdities. The Marauder men wear even less clothing & appear in other paintings for the pleasure of your objectification.

When I reread the chapter for details to include, I realized that Stephfi  was wearing a disguise during this scene. I wasn’t about to paint a baggy robe over her after all the work I put into it, but I did include part of her robe at the bottom. Now the issues was that the painting was an inaccurate representation of the story. I would be a hypocrite to take such a large creative license with my own book. So I rewrote the chapter with Stephfi casting off her robe right before this moment. And that’s how you abuse power to solve problems the lazy & lateral way!

I’m considering adding a Facebook or Disqus plugin for the comments. Or are you in favor of sticking with the standard WordPress comments section? Let me know what you’d prefer. Until next week, you can post inquiries about my novel or paintings underneath.

I Want You To Want To Read Me!

Hola, faithful readers from a variety of nations! I realize that there are scads of blogs competing for your attention, but you’ve chosen (for the moment) to read mine. I’m honored!* It feels like I’m writing in an echo chamber, however, because I haven’t received many comments from people like you. I’d chalk up the silence to “you’re doing everything right; no need for us to interrupt,” but I’m not sure I’m that egotistical. So I’m looking for your feedback on how I can ensure Matt The Catania: Almost Clever! is a blog you’d like to continue reading.

I’ve come across plenty of blogs where the author has a very focused mission statement:

“I love writing/photography/cooking/acting/gardening/fencing/taxidermy/etc.! I think about it 24/7! Whenever I’m unable to do this specific activity, life  loses all its value!”

I feel somewhat aberrant in comparison because I don’t have one overwhelming passion. Instead I possess a diversified array of obssessions because I want to be a dilettante when I grow up. Do you, however, have a preference for me to focus on specific topics rather than others?

As you may have already noticed, I sometimes write things. I’ve even been paid to do this. making me a professional writer. While I’m not going to post a full length novel here, I think I could manage the occasional short story. I do poetry for glory. Are you interested in more behind the scenes peeks at articles I’ve written for Topless Robot, io9, & Legal As She Is Spoke? Is there a particular format or topic you’d like me to cover? Are my musings too verbose or too succinct?

I like making movies, but unfortunately there won’t be many of my own here. This is simply because I don’t personally own filmographic equipment & it takes lots of people working together to make something worth watching. I can show you various videos I’ve cameoed in for friends. I may even make a guest appearance in one of your films if you ask! Otherwise I have plenty of anecdotes about FILLER! That’s what everybody needs, right?

Consuming culture is another thing that I do. Afterwards I analyze it. So I could critique novels, comic books, TV shows, & movies for you. The problem is that there are already so many outlets that already do that. I’d have to think of a unique way to make my rambling reviews radically relevant from the rest. Do you have any suggestions.

I’m an avid action figure aficionado. I’m even customized some. I’ve also built model kits. Would you be interested in me posting digital photographs of those here? I also  provide many cat & vacation snaps as alternatives.


Nightcrawler has ported in to break up all the text. (Why can’t he just wear his classic costume in the movies since they’ve established he has the same circus background as the comics? Or have velvety blue fur instead of weirdly elaborate scars?) Do you like these sorts of things? Have you ever been compelled to share these “memes” about on The Interwuzzle? Also, do you prefer having to click on really long posts to see the entirety or would you rather they take up as much of the front page as needed?

Most of my art is done with pencil or paint. Do you like to see planning sketches or just finished pieces? Next week I’d like to discuss another painting for The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose. I have three paintings in various stages of completion & three that are ready for viewing. Based on these extremely vague titles, which would you prefer me blog about next?
1. theft
2. pursuit
3. pounce

So tell me in the comments section below (or on my Fan Page or The Twitter) how I can provide content that’s more relevant to your interests. Even one reader’s comment can shape the course of this blog! Will it be yours?

*”HONOR!” is a registered trademarked of Prince Zuko