AFK Series (spoilers!)

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Short Review

Love it! Go watch it right now! https://www.afkwebseries.com/home

Longer Review

AFK starts with the premise that a bunch of people who play an online role-playing game find themselves trapped in the game as their avatars. This, happily, leads to a lot of fun gender exploration that goes a little beyond the things we’ve seen before (TWSB).

In the world of the familiar, we do have a womanizing bro who finds himself trapped as a petite Asian “warrior princess” initially wearing a chain mail bikini. The actress who plays “him” does a great job depicting a guy in a naturalistic way, and the character is well-written– hiding his former gender out of shame, struggling to deal with male attention and sexual assault.

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In addition, we have the less common female trapped as a male– and though she is not explored as fully, there are some very fun scenes dealing with her discomfort over having male anatomy.

Most interesting of all, though, is a character who refuses to reveal their real world biological gender, telling anyone who asks “none of your business.” This character does the most to challenge gender steretypes because it is very hard to guess what her identity is– in the game she is biologically female, but her attitude and mannerisms could belong to either a man of a woman– which is true in real life of many people. So, I find her the most fascinating.

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The show is on a budget, but the love and care of the whole crew is evident in the work. In addition, if you have ever played a MORPG, the show is full of really fun little jokes about the gamer life and the culture inside these games. The identity explorations even getting into people discovering there are multiple versions of themselves inside the game (in the form of their other accounts.)

You can watch all episodes online! https://www.afkwebseries.com/home

New Body Theft Movie: The Lifechanger

Lifechanger

Lifechanger on Amazon

Drew survives by stealing other people’s bodies.  He absorbs their essence, leaving them as lifeless husks, while he comes to not only look like them, but to absorb their memories and experiences.

The writer/director Justin McConnell does not lack ambition, producing a script and a movie that explores what such a life would do to a person, and how they would need to function to survive.  I applaud the effort, especially the shots the creator takes to use the premise to examine the human condition, culminating in a poetic monologue by the main character at the end of the film, about which I will say nothing so as to avoid spoilers.

Now, as for the gender bender elements, which I will confess largely fuels my interest in these types of films, there isn’t much to savor.  Mostly this results from the fact that the we enter this character’s story after he has been jumping from body to body for decades; he’s been women many times, so when he jumps into female bodies it’s just old hat for him.  Had this been a first, some scenes might have popped more for me as a viewer who loves seeing gender roles reversed; for example, he gets hit on by a guy at a bar, but it isn’t the first time for him, so the usual fun of seeing a guy have to deal with being treated like a girl is blunted.  The scenes reads like any girl getting hit on by any random guy.

As per my comments above, just as a movie looking to say somethings about life, it’s watchable with excellent performances from the cast and professional if workmanlike camera work and production.  It’s getting some buzz on the sci/fi circuit, and has found an audience, so worth checking out, but if you are seeking a deeper look at the gender issues you will probably leave feeling unsatisfied. If you just want to experience an interesting and thought provoking film, it’s an absolute yes.

Lifechanger on Amazon

Link to Interview with Director

Thanks for reading, and look for a preview of Your Memory Mine 2 as well as a giveaway later this week! Rock on, people!

The Wild Boys: DVD Now Available!

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Buy the North American Blue Ray HERE!

Though I feel few share my fascination and admiration of The Wild Boys, I nevertheless decided to post up my review of the DVD, in which I will discuss in greater depth why I love this movie, as well as the Bonus Features.

To start with my love of the movie, let me express my admiration for the film making itself, which comes from what some, including the director, call the “Incoherents” movement.  Simply, this means the director does not concern himself with creating a false sense of unity and realism such as a viewer would find a mainstream Hollywood film.

So,  in TWB, sometimes the movie looks like an old-fashioned sea adventure, sometimes like a period drama, sometimes like dream.  In fact, to my mind, the result creates for the reader an experience much like a dream– with the  use of compression and symbolism, for example, inviting a series of sub-conscious reactions.   All of this works very well with the material, which explores mutability, metamorphosis, boys turning into girls, men into women.

As with the camera, the director does not ask the actors to play everything in a naturalistic way, which in any case he rejects as just another technique.  Sometimes the actors do seem to deliver their lines “California Style” but often, working with the camera, lines are infused with gravity, characters look off in dramatic ways or turn their heads for effect.  Within that context, the actors in this film, and particularly the young women who play the boys, I find all of their performances compelling.  The young women embody young masculinity, with the mannerisms and voices feeling right– not caricature  or camp, but like boys.  Similarly, they commit totally to surreal scenes, such as when a bout of boyish rough housing beneath falling feathers turns erotic just as they stand on the cusp of their new, female bodies.

So, innovative directing that matches the themes and subject matter, plus epic performances, and that’s a great film.  But, of course, I have a particular affinity for work that explores gender, and this one does it in ways that most such movies never have the nerve to explore.

Some of favorite moments resonate either because they blow past previous limitations, or else they celebrate what seem to me “classic” TG moments.  For example, there is a scene where one of the boys, still identifying totally as a boy, is startled and screams in a “feminine” manner, then discovers he now sounds like a girl when he talks.  The “voice change” had always been one of my favorite tropes, and so it was very fun to see this played out, with the boy clutching his throat, clearly embarrassed, and the others, not realizing they will share his fate, mocking him and calling him “girly.”

Another trope I enjoy the movie explores is that they boys develop breasts before they become biologically female, so we see a couple of them struggling with the shame of having breasts, the insecurity and ways it challenges their sense of identity.

Finally, the role-reversal and feminizing– or at least the forcing of the boys into feminine roles and situations, begins long before their physical change.  The Captain sexually harasses one of them at one point, while they also are forced to walk through a field full of “groping” plants.  And, of course, there is the phallic tree and its white juice they must drink to survive, as well as a suggestive fruit they are forced to eat.  So, while some may struggle waiting for the physical changes to occur, there is plenty to see in terms of gender before they even get to the biological morphing.  After the morphing, this film gets much more naked than most, so the reality of the new bodies is right there on the screen.

For viewers interested in seeing how characters adjust to their change, this film does not offer a lot.  After initially shocked and embarrassed reactions, including some morning for their lost phalluses, the characters seem to accept their new genders readily.  In addition, they seem largely unchanged, simply becomes female versions of themselves, with the same attitudes and values as before, something which I find interesting, but might not satisfy all viewers.

Bonus Features

Not much.  Of the deleted scenes, I did find two very worthwhile:  First, as he has first turned fully into a female, one of the boys is crying, staring at himself in the mirror.  A character known as The Doctor walks over and pulls his shirt open, so he now must confront the sight of his breasts.   In the second, a group of sailors comes to the island, and we see the boys– now all female–  moving in feminine, erotic poses, luring the men to their doom like sirens.

The others were well deleted.  In addition, the Behind the Scenes, while interesting, was a disappointment– and probably meant to be.  I must confess that here I had hoped for something more conventional, especially interviews with the actors about what it was like to play boys, for example, how they prepared, the voices…etc…  But it is a surreal short film shot on Super 8 with the actor murmuring poetically.  It works as a short film and ads some to the experience of the film– there is a scene of the actors, all in their boy forms, having fun with fake phalluses– but it doesn’t reveal as much as I had hoped.

 

Buy the DVD!

 

The Wild Boys– Right out of Fictionmania!

(The director with the “Wild Boys” at premiere.)

A group of arrogant boys commits a terrible crime.  As punishment, they are sent to a mysterious island where they are transformed into girls.  It may sound like the plot of an old school TG story, but it is actually the plot of a new TG film from director Bertrand Mandico.

See Trailer

One of the excellent decisions the director made was to cast female actors to play the boys before, during and after transition.  The reviews I read have lauded these performers, and based on the trailer they did very well.  The film has the look and feel of a fever dream, the images taken directly from the seething cauldron of the unconscious.  There are screening dates set across the US for this summer and fall, and you can find them as well as links to buy tickets HERE

For non-US or if you live too far away from those locations, it is going to be streaming on a service called Mubi, and, of course, you can check European and French distributers for details.

I will report back when I have seen the film!

Gender Bender streaming on Netflix

Check out my gender bending ebooks!

And especially My Epic Fantasy Series!

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In the future, you are not your body; you are data.  And, in this future world, corporations and governments can strip your data from one human body (called a sleeve) and place it in another, or even just store you indefinitely as information either with consciousness or within a simulated world.  This is the SCIFI basis of Altered Carbon, the name of both a book and a TV series.

Obviously, this opens up a lot of possibilities for gender swapping and exploration.  In the book and in the movie, it is clear that the main character, who identifies as male and embodies the tough guy investigator type (Deckard in Blade Runner, Mike Hammer in Mickey Spillane novels…etc…) has spent some time in female sleeves.  He mentions it in the book, and in the show when people scan his ID, all his former identities come up, and several are clearly female.

Unfortunately, neither the book nor the TV show delve too deeply into the gender games.  For those who enjoy the much more rare female to male swap, there is a fun sequence where a main character, Kristin Ortega, brings her grandmother back in the body of a hulking, tattooed and very male goon in order to celebrate El dia de los Muertos.  The actor does not over play the feminine mannerisms, and is actually very good at embodying a grandmother enjoying spending a holiday with her family.

All of the characters we meet seem to identify as straight male or female regardless of their sleeve’s sex, and there is little sense that the body swapping has led to any major changes in society in terms of how people perceive male and female.  It largely reflects our mainstream world with a SCIFI filter.  However, there is some interesting action, and the little taste of gender bending that’s there was enough to fire up my imagination.

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Another Netflix series based on a novel that gets into some gender bending is Kiss Me First.  

Get Book Here

Kiss Me First follows a young woman who spends a great deal of her time in a virtual reality game, using the name Shadowfax.  This show delves into identity more intentionally than AC, and without giving away too much I will reveal that there is a character in the virtual world who is not what she seems!  We also have characters logging in as other people, and lots of questions about what’s real and what isn’t.  I would love to see more gender stuff in future installments, but again what is there and what is potentially there got my imagination working.

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Lastly, a more straight up gender bending French film called I am Not an Easy Man.  In this film, like Second Nature, a chauvinistic male finds himself transported to a mirror universe where gender roles are revered.  Women are the aggressors, and they hold most of the money and the power.  Men are expected to do their best to look attractive for the women and are viewed as the lesser sex.  It’s a fun and interesting take on the usual story as the man finds himself struggling to deal with being objectified …etc… and there is a little body image stuff as at one point he contemplated putting inserts into his underwear to give himself a bigger butt.  The acting is all good, and the film does make some nice observations about gender and politics.

Check them out and let me know what you think!  I get lonely out here in my virtual world and would love to hear from you!  Thanks for reading!  Don’t forget to brush your teeth!

Inside You– the scoop!

Inside You

Watch this movie, people!  Watch it!

It’s right here on Amazon!

As a fan of gender swapping fiction, I have seen and read movie after movie and book after book.   So, it’s pretty rare that I come upon a swap story that offers anything new.  Mostly, they can do something better, or come up with a different voice, tone or manner of presentation.   But most of them, especially if they fall into the more specific “freaky friday” mode, will pretty much just run through a series of the same beats.

Inside You does do that a little, but even when it’s running along the same beats, the writer direction Heather Fink, a student at NYU film school, often manages to find ways to ground the story in contemporary gender-wobbled reality, with behaviors and experiences rooted in the characters.

Wait.  Did I forget to run through the basic story?   Stephanie and Ryan live together and have dated for years.  Their relationship has stagnated.   Then, they switch bodies.   Now, Stephanie was, like many young, modern women, all about wearing comfortable clothes, so when Ryan finds himself in her body, there is no sudden need for him to start wearing stiletto heels and mini-skirts.  However, he does get curious, and since he is trapped in her body anyway, he spends a day playing dress up and giving himself make-overs.  it’s exploration that he now feels free to do, and that sense of exploration does not stop with clothes.

This movie delves frankly into sex issues, with some fun role reversal.  For example, Stephanie really want to know what it feels like to get a blow job, and now that Ryan is the girl she wants him to do it.  Ryan is not totally into the idea, and we then get to see play out what happens all the time anyway; the guy pressures the girl for oral sex, and she is not cool with it.  Eventually, Ryan gives in because he feels it will save the relationship, leading to a very funny scene.    Then, he turns the tables insisting that Stephanie pleasure him in return.

It’s this willingness to look at relationship and how they each end up doing things to please the other that allows this movie to stand out from the crowd.  In addition, Fink has some fun and interesting ideas concerning what to do with a camera, and she uses the camera well to tell the story.

Now, this film was made with 30,000 dollars, and there are some limits visible and audible in terms of the production.  However, watch it.  Just watch it.  This movie is all about the story, and it really doesn’t matter if it looks perfect or not, because it has heart!

If you don’t like Amazon, find it at any of these places linked from their blog.

New Forced Femme Video

Well, folks, I am getting into making little gender fluid videos now, and I just released a new one I think many of you will find very fun:  Stop Teasing Your Sister!   it’s about a bully of an older brother who mercilessly teases his younger sister when she hits puberty, particularly tormenting her by constantly snapping her bra strap.

His fed up mother eventually turns to a radical new form of therapy to turn her bad boy into a good girl.

You can find my channel here, and if you haven’t seen it be sure to check out the video for A Man Does What She Has to Do.

Please Like, Comment and Share!   I love to get feedback!!!

Meanwhile, I am working on a new gender fluid story for your pleasure, which should be coming out in early August.   It’s bound to be a gas!

Thanks, all, and please keep on being your gorgeous and amazing self!