philippos42: heather (vindicator)
It's been a month. Let's post something.

I don't know how many of the TV shows I was watching before the Xmas break I'm going to pick up again. I still haven't seen last week's Supergirl and maybe I'm OK with that. I have been watching the pile of dumb that is Quantico and will probably stick with it when new episodes start up again; but if they try to drag this out more than a season, then no. I don't think I'm really going to try Agent Carter this year any more than other years; something about that show leaves me cold. Of sitcoms, I think Undateable is the one I'm really clinging to; Whitney Cummings is on it now, and it's wacky.

The big comic book movie I most want to see this year is Suicide Squad--even though it will not be the team from my old comics, and it will be a dumb, and probably too much stupid Batman. Yes, Wondy is in that Lex Luthor movie or whatever it is. Yes, Fox is finally doing a Deadpool movie. If I still had a nerd friend in town who would drag me to movies and pay for those, or something, that would be fine. But I'm not personally interested in the same way.

I am so poor I am not really planning to get Netflix. I have been buying a fair number of comics, even though it would be cheaper to trade-wait, and I kind of need to cut back. I'm not feeling really enthused about Kate Leth's Patsy Walker now that it's a real thing in my hands. Al Ewing's New Avengers is going to go back into crossover mode soon, I guess, and I'll be gone. Squirrel Girl is going to cross over with Howard the Duck, and I'm poor enough to use that as an excuse to stop buying that too--instead of buying the crossover. I kind of want to switch to non-Marvel stuff, maybe buy Usagi Yojimbo again, and am trying to talk myself into cutting out my Marvel titles. I'm not getting the new Captain Marvel, I've decided that.

Um, what else?

I kept thinking I would get in touch with the local Democratic Party last month, and I didn't, and I haven't, and I'm probably just going to show up at the Presidential primary and vote hopelessly for Bernie Sanders. Yeah.

I don't know from new music, nothing to say there, really. I find stuff when I find stuff.
philippos42: "Dark Vengeance!" (misfit)
A couple weeks ago, I guess, I ran across some DVD's at the store. There was a double package with Romeo Must Die, which I remember liking, and Cradle 2 the Grave, which I don't think I've ever seen but I think I remember Becca posting about. There was also the animated Wonder Woman with voices by Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, and Alfred Molina, and I had yet to see that. I picked them up.

So, Sunday I got around to watching Romeo Must Die again. I'd forgotten much of it in the intervening decade and change. A remarkable amount of it is Amthony Anderson and Jet Li beating each other up.

Also, I hadn't remembered how blatantly it was a love story between Jet Li's character and Aaliyah's. In "PSY AND THE ACCEPTABLE ASIAN MAN", refresh_daemon points out that the final cut of the movie did not have a scene where Jet and Aaliyah kiss, apparently because that didn't test well. But the movie is definitely going in that general direction, and the line, "Sorry, Romeo, you gotta die," isn't misplaced.

Since I read that article before actually re-watching the movie, I was certainly thinking about this dimension of interracial romance in an action movie. I kind of want to remake Romeo Must Die with a really hot male lead--like a Korean boy band type...who had to bulk up in prison, since it's a remake--and blatant snogging. Not that I wouldn't like a movie that really doesn't even try to put the male and female leads together--or one, that like the final cut, does put them together, but weights the emotional stuff and early flirting above (unseen) physical affection. Not that Han and Trish aren't affectionate in other ways--it's a neat movie in its way.

Even if the underlying plot involves a conspiracy to wreck Oakland's waterfront for the sake of land speculation for a project that doesn't need to be on the waterfront. Hundreds of small businessmen dead for the sake of bad urban planning. Oy.

···anyway···

Monday I watched that Wonder Woman movie. There is a lot wrong with that movie. I don't even want to try to pick apart everything.

But as I have said, I am a big Artemis fan, and I am struck that they pretty much took Artie and split her themes between three characters: "Artemis" is based on her visual design, and kind of on her personality. "Alexa" has a moment late in the film where she pulls a trick vaguely akin to things Artie did in Requiem (as in, come back from the dead and subvert the Big Bad's forces with knowledge of his magic). And "Diana" when she comes to Man's World is pretty much the cold clueless Amazon caricature Artie was early on--only more likely to kill her enemy's mooks.

So yeah. But I did like the throwaway joke about Artie carrying abnormally large swords (which comes from a lying cover, originally). And Artie and Di are my girls, so at the end I was kind of tearing up even for these versions, as alienatingly "wrong" (not to mention cold and unlikable) as they were written here.

The script is kind of a mess. Steve did not need to be a serial womanizer; vain, sure, but this Steve was a little too creepy I thought. "Etta" was pretty much called Etta because that's a name in the mythos (not much to do with most versions of Etta).

And of course, first thing, they had Ares and Hippolyta as exes, and I said, "Dude, he's her Dad." (Because in the comics, she's the daughter of War. Yeah. At least in the Byrne and Sekowsky runs.) Yeah, Ares in this was pretty bonkers.

Oh, well, Warner Bros. tried. Next time, do better.
Tumblr isn't responding. LJ might not crosspost this. I think I'm going to be on Dreamwidth for a while.
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Ice Dreams http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1299366/

Appears to be Jessica Cauffiel's last known work. At some angles she reminds me of Kristin Lehman in this, which is weird.

movies

Nov. 26th, 2011 08:23 pm
Movies, I've been watching good movies.

Well, not that much. But two weeks ago I was thinking, wow, I'm watching a lot of neat movies. But I didn't post about it.

The three from a week ago, when I was thinking about it before:

The Runaways, not too bad, not a great flick, but OK once you accept it's really about Cherie Currie, Joan Jett, and Kim Fowley.
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Zero Effect. This is great. It's in the vein of Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe, but 1990's. Ben Stiller is much more sympathetic here than usual, and Bill Pullman may have found his best role. I tried to track down the 2002 TV pilot with Alan Cumming, but there are no prints out there.
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The 2010 The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, that was OK. Boy, they keep hanging on to elements of the previous stories. That's going to make The Silver Chair hard. Then again, IMDb thinks that's slated for 2015 if at all.

Honestly, if the plan to next do The Magician's Nephew (which does refer back to the Pevensies at the end), then Silver Chair, and save The Horse and His Boy for when the original actors are older, that's pretty smart.

And I'm not sure there's a way to film The Last Battle that isn't surreal, Daliesque, animated, and horribly uncommercial.
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Anyway. Tonight I saw Shooting Fish, which is another 1990's movie I apparently never knew about. Cute, clever, and had me guessing a little bit. And I thought, yeah, I should make a note of movies I have been watching.

I don't remember what all I've watched in between.
Oh, sure, in theory trying to write something about Tron: Legacy while it's fresh in my mind would make sense. But no, I actually went & failed a tower defense challenge a couple more times between watching it and now.

It's a really good movie, in some ways. The CGI is really well done, the use of 3D is subversive & clever, it manages to incorporate some 1980's design sensibility into a 2010 technical sensibility, & it uses the title character in an odd but poetic way.

But I regret what's not in it, & think there are enough untouched elements to make a very wild sequel from those.

There are only two female characters who actually do anything in the whole movie, & neither is continued from the first movie. Another Hollywood film where father-son relationships are TEH MOST IMPORTANT TIHNG EVER, and women are transient utilities. This is the trope that actually irks me about the film.

There is, as someone else noted, an self-restricting choice to leave the grid as a world in a single box. What the sentient programs would make of the internet is yet unexplored. I think this makes a kind of sense, in that it returns us to the terrifying world of Tron. But it means that there is so much untouched fodder for more.

I'd like to write--or feed ideas to someone who actually would write--a script where we see further developments of Tron, Quorra, Sam, & their worlds. I imagine the internet would offer threats undreamt of by the programs from the old grid. Also, some actual Bechdel passing would be gratifying.

Really, this is one reason I roll my eyes a bit when people talk smack about Joss Whedon or Chris Claremont, & complain about them "not really being feminist." You think those guys are sexist? So much of popular culture treats women as MacGuffins at best! There's a tv show I love, where the central cast is female, called Cougar Town. But it still has a majority-male regular cast, heavily male writers, & occasionally that Hollywood male bias still shows through. And it's actually one that avoids the male-centered worldview. Mainstream Hollywood is run by men to an astonishing degree. That's why someone like Joss (who packed Buffy with female characters) or Claremont (who just kept adding female characters to X-Men--and made them point-of-view characters when many writers would not have) have appealed to so many of us fans, male and female. They don't treat half the human race as props.

Anyway, yeah, major sexfail in Tron: Legacy, but it's a failure by absence, & one that perhaps could be filled in.* What is actually in the movie is pretty good. And Quorra (the Olivia Wilde character) could perhaps become something more than a one-movie cute thing if allowed.
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* Nah, really, I just don't want people to hate this movie for its flaws when they are standard issue for Hollywood action movies &/or a lot of Disney's stuff.
Stranger Than Fiction

Finally saw this. Well, it is strange. But I suppose there is a point at the end about the poetry of irony versus doing good in the world.
philippos42: Miss Tyra funny face (what?)
Movies that pretend to be more real than they are to cheat you into suspending your disbelief:

spoiler cut for those who want to go in believing )
I watched Kamikaze Girls last week. I was struck by the character of Himiko in the story-within-the-story, & how her story affects the main characters. I like that kind of myth-building, & it's neat to see it as affecting one's reality.

Though of course it's all unreality anyway. :(
So apparently I've been watching trilingual movies now?

Free Zone starts with a woman crying in the back of a car for several minutes. It gets better, though. Later, there's a story told by one character to another that seems like the movie was made to tell that story. Then the movie sort of thrashes about for an ending, & ends with the realization that resolution is not coming quickly for all of us, but others of us can at least leave.

Somewhat more conventional, The Band's Visit is a melancholy little film, with rudeness from a beautiful woman, an amusing lesson in dating, & some music, both Arabic & Western. It is to some degree about loneliness in particular, & melancholy in general.

Both pretty interesting. I think on balance I may like Free Zone better.

Ping Pong

Jun. 29th, 2010 07:23 pm
philippos42: "Dark Vengeance!" (misfit)
Ping Pong (2002) is amazing. It's a sports movie, but since it's (a) Japanese & (b) about an individual sport, it can avoid the tropes of Western team-sports movies. And boy, does it. I really thought it was going in a different direction. The director is an fx guy, & he threw some neat visual effects in the movie in a few places. Judicious use of special effects, I would say.

Apparently the manga that it's based on is by the same mangaka who did Black & White, which I think I read some of & hated. I love this, though. Maybe the best movie about sport I have ever seen, in its themes.

Most of the main cast are supposed to be in high school, but several of them were about thirty when it was shot & look it. Ah well. And most of them find their appropriate endings, which is interesting to me.

I like the coach character. I didn't realize the actor was one of the guys from Shall We Dance? (When the DVD extras mentioned that, I visualized the wrong character in fact!)

Natsuki Mari played the only major female character. She's hot for a 50ish Japanese lady. (I am not Box.)
Midway through Broken English, I thought, "This is the best movie I've seen in a while." Well, is it really? It seems like whatever I'm into at the moment, past a certain threshold of cool, can seem the "best ever." And hey, it'd been a week since I'd watched a movie, so best in at least that long.

Is it better than Linda, Linda, Linda? No.

Well, maybe it is. It's different. To me, its appeal is actually akin to that of In Her Shoes, which I watched recently--but this is, yeah, better I think.

I enjoyed it is what I'm saying.

I like a movie with a character that's almost as pathological as I am--well, half as much as I am. And the way the storyline works--this is how I would write if I wrote.

What's it about? Um, love or something.

The pushiness of the Julian character is interesting. Do women want a man to be insistent & pushy? Is that how you tell a woman is into you, that she tolerates that noise & doesn't just tell you to bugger off? Because I think that's an unreliable marker actually.

The last act also surprised me. It's neat to see a movie that goes roughly where you know it's going to go--or almost does--but does unexpected things once you get there. At least, they were unexpected to me.

On the DVD extras, I noticed that the deleted scenes largely seemed to fit into the movie, like they were part of the overall flow, just a bit long. That's not always the case. (The one with the lesbian was obvious & ended clunkily, though.)
Where did they shoot this, a quarry?

"The last six hu-mans on Earth live in a quarry...."

Actually, it looks like Southern California. Which is perhaps like a quarry.

Robot Monster is endearingly blatant & obvious. It is what it is, no bones about it. An amusing way to waste shorten your life by spend an hour.

I could try & get into the psychosexual implications of the Johnny/Alice relationship, but nah, really, that would be reaching. Johnny's just a kid with his head full of science fiction tropes.

What is the implication of the fact that the Ro-Man is apparently stouter under his ape suit than any two of the rest of the cast? Is this movie subtly anti-fat people, or are the aliens just a larger race?

Oh, never mind.
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I don't know if I should call these reviews, even, but I'm starting to enjoy doing them.
Anti-Scottish prejudice in In the Loop? I'm not sure. Apparently the two Scottish characters are from the TV show The Thick of It. So maybe it's anti-
Scottish prejudice in that.

Seriously, I don't usually scream this much about evil Jock gits unless I'm reminded of the existence of Mark Millar. (So, yeah, that's pretty often actually.)

Anyway, the scenes of the junior violent Scotch bastard terrorizing the timid English staff made me want to paste him. This business of using physical violence to force the government to commit fraud so one can commit larger violence with the banner of UN approval merits violent response. I'd push the jerk through a window. But then, that's why I wouldn't have been hired in that office; they want someone who will respond with timid capitulation to over-the-top threats of physical violence.

The parallel asshole in the US government was of a kind more familiar to me, thus more "realistic" in my experience. Will have his way with utter calm propriety, but still a warmongering hateful ass.

I do recommend this movie if you like hearing colorful cussing & lots of it, & want to feel deeply angry about Anglo-American politics. I was at the time I began watching it under the misapprehension that it was based on true events leading up to the Iraq invasion, which makes it more powerful, I think. But it isn't really representing that specific bit of lies & self-delusion so much as the imagined process of lies, self-delusion, & inappropriate careerism in government. "Inspired by," let's say.
Paris, by Cédric Klapisch.

One of those movies that has a whole lot of characters, some of whom intersect in odd ways. I thought I identified one great loop of intersection & a cluster of other characters that don't intersect with the loop, but then I remembered that one of that cluster was neighbor to the main characters & does interact briefly with them.

Fabrice Luchini plays a very Fabrice Luchini character, who is significant in one cluster, & might have been central to another less expansive movie.

Juliette Binoche is perhaps most recognizable to English-speaking audiences, & has a lot of scenes, especially early.

But the real "central/p.o.v. character" seems to a man named Pierre (Romain Duris) who is dying of a heart condition at a rather young age, has quit work due to weakness (he was a dancer, apparently), & stands outside his apartment watching those around him. We then follow them around.

I found the treatment of sexual mores a bit surprising in one bit, but I'm a giant prude & not French.
Last night I finally saw In Her Shoes. I had a fair bit of affection for Toni Collette & Cameron Diaz already. I'm not really familiar with Shirley MacLaine, but she was good in this.

I really like this movie. I like the divergent lines plot structure, the focus on the internal development of the characters, & the ironic sense of protecting someone who's done you wrong from others' anger.

In one of the bonus features, the director (or one of the producers, I forget) was saying how this is the kind of movie that used to be common but now is rare, in how it's about modern realistic people, to whom the audience will react with a, "that's me!" I felt that way about both Rose (Toni Collette) & Maggie (Cameron Diaz) at different points in the course of the movie.

Rose is the "responsible" one, Maggie is the "irresponsible" one. And over the course of the movie, we see them each go through personal progress & reshape their relationship to each other (boy that's vague). It's quite a ride. Not one to watch with your very conservative parents, I would say, but a neat flick.

One strange thing: Why cast Toni Collette in a role that was written for a "fat" woman? I took it as "fatter than her sister"/"self-critical" but she's supposedly a woman with a noticeable weight problem (or former weight problem) in the script. She said she gained 25 pounds for the part, but she comes off as a svelte woman in baggy clothes.

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