trinityvixen: (thinking Mario)
I caught this article on Tor.com about the renaissance of the comic book movie. Despite the $$$ made by The Avengers, I have a suspicion that comic book movies, specifically superhero comic book movies, are actually on the wane. Not necessarily in terms of quality, but I think the fad it going to start petering out.

Anyway, it will surprise no one that I disagree with a lot of points in that article. I have a long post as to why I disagree, but I summarize it up in an image for those not interested in the rant.

Because she never mentions this guy:



I am Iron Man. )
trinityvixen: (fangirl)
Between trips to the bathroom, I managed to complete Mass Effect 3 this weekend. (I typed "4" there by accident at first. Alas, never to be.)
Absolutely no spoilers, just my opinion on the tenor of the ending, but just in case. )

I am more upset that the franchise is over. I suppose it isn't, really. If I want to try and get different endings, apparently I have to play multiplayer. Or one of two iOS games, which, yes, I've already bought and will put to use with my Renegade Shepard to see if it does diddly or squat. There's always something more you can do, given the way the game has been marketed--more you can buy to get at the cheap thrill version of the fun you had actually playing the game. I've never subscribed to that, which is why I'm annoyed that you can alter your results with things that feel completely extraneous to the game. Multiplayer? Come on now. Are you going to give out codes for reading the comics as well? Might as well, seeing as multiplayer is going to get fuck-all attention from me.

I don't like the necessity of having to pull on more and other media or different genres of video gaming within the same universe in order to achieve within the game you love. If you want more from the game, by all means, have at the comics and the extra missions, but, call me old-fashioned, I believe, for all the choosing of my own adventure within Mass Effect, there was a core story and very little extra was needed or improved it where it was added. It's nice that they are something else I can have if I get too depressed that the story is over. I'm a little depressed, not gonna lie, but it feels cheap to go for those tie-in stories as if they'll satisfy in the same way. I'd almost love to see a trilogy of games that takes place centuries after the ending of Mass Effect 3. Where will the universe be then? That, to me, is more interesting than all the stories of what various folk are doing while Shepard is saving the goddamned galaxy.
trinityvixen: (wtf)
The Dark Crystal: quoi? )
The saving grace of those movies, of course, is that someone tried something other than a reboot and did it with a metric ton of puppets. Which is good. I just wish these supposedly seminal movies were actually important after the fact. I realize that I have this problem a lot. Some movies remain important long after they have been made irrelevant--tonally, visually, etc.--by films that owe them a lot of credit. I'm told that The Godfather is one of those movies; I hated it, but supposedly it is the basis on which gangster movies ever after were fashioned, and the good ones (yeah, right, what were those again?) all are due to it. I wonder, though, whether that's fair. There are plenty of movies that pioneer effects, tones, etc. that go on to be used in better movies and we don't hold them up as all that extraordinary. I mean, The Matrix borrowed its signature effect from technology last seen in a GAP commercial and a wardrobe stolen from Wesley Snipes' Blade. Oh lord, I'm gonna hear about that from the Blade-lovers out there.

But I think Blade is a perfect example. It is decidedly not a great film. It's passable enough--like tougher version of Underworld, minus the werewolves (although not necessary without them, as some deleted scenes from Blade 3 would suggest)--and undoubtedly stylish. Otherwise, it's a fairly hollow narrative, based on a caricature better represented in several other characters. The stoic, violent anti-hero who struggles to resist becoming his enemy? Been there. It's still the reason we got X-Men made, and, subsequently, the renaissance of the comic book movie. That doesn't make it great or even necessarily worth watching. (The parts with the fat vampire being baked and Tracy Lords, just in general, make my case for me.) I think there are probably many movies that fit that profile and that people don't generally admit to not liking.

Or maybe it's just me.

Huh.

Oct. 5th, 2011 11:02 am
trinityvixen: (thinking Mario)
So last night [livejournal.com profile] moonlightalice and I watched The Thing, which she was watching for the first time and I was rewatching in anticipation of that "we swear it's not a reboot" prequel coming out in a couple of weeks. She liked it, as only someone with good taste would, but she said something that really made me think. She said she only liked science-fiction or supernatural horror. Considering this angle, I found I could only agree.

Now, there are exceptions--I enjoyed (no, really!) the first two Saw movies, and however ridiculous they were or were not, they were not supernatural. (I put the first one as almost a noir, what with the focus being on two guys in a room with a dead body.) But even the largely reviled slashers are mostly supernatural, Nightmare on Elm Street undeniably so, but Halloween and Friday the 13th were (or became), supernatural, too. Torture porn stretches credulity on occasion, but most of that is non-supernatural, and, mostly, I do not like it. High Tension wasn't technically supernatural, though it pushed the line a bit, and I did like that. But those are two examples and I watch a lot of horror.

Anything with zombies is automatically science-fiction, if it's not outright supernatural, and that makes up a chunk of the horror I watch and enjoy right there. After that, what else is there? Ghosts? Vampires? Unkillable killers like Freddy, Jason, or Michael Myers? Is it because we classify anything that features the flesh-and-blood killer antagonist, no matter how gruesome or scary the movie might be, as "thriller" rather than horror? I wonder.

Speaking of horrors, though: Friendly's is going bankrupt. This isn't horrifying in and of itself, really, though I do have some sadness at the loss of something I used to enjoy going to. It was terrible for you and the food wasn't always great, but I remember, fondly, going to Friendly's as a treat growing up. My mother liked the salads there and she and sometimes Mrs. D would go with me to just chat. Really what saddens me is what has already happened as a result of the stores closing: the Friendly's just up the block closed. There was a man there that I remember working there for all of my life as far as I was aware--so, easily, 15+ years. It was always a little sad to see a grown man working at a food joint (for reasons that are prejudicial based on class, I do realize), but it's even sadder to think he doesn't have a job now.
trinityvixen: (thinking Mario)
Not mine, just the ones under discussion in this blog post about a movie review. Being uniquely situated to comment on this--a.k.a I actually saw Crazy, Stupid, Love.--I feel I needs must add the weight of my opinion to the blogger. At issue, a scene in a movie where an extremely buff man takes off his shirt and a woman exclaims in response, "It's like you're photoshopped!" The reviewer of the movie is so relieved that she finds this gratuitous display of manly hotness revolting and takes it as a given that Hollywood, despite putting said hot-bodied man directly onscreen is likewise relieved that it no longer has to support such body types, really. Lucky break for the men who, unlike the women watching that scene, no longer have to conform to the body types that make others drool over them.

Which would be fine except that, a) see aforementioned comment about Hollywood movie putting -5% body fat man undressed onscreen, and b) that's not how that scene plays out. In the movie, the woman making this loaded comment is looking to achieve...something from this. It is she who asks him to take his shirt off, presumably to work up the courage to sleep with this man whom she barely knows. As such actions are really outside of her character--she's a play-by-the-rules, be-friends-first sort of person, not a pick-up-sleazy-guys-who-hit-on-her sort--it makes a sort of sense that now that she's talked herself into sleeping with him she needs all the courage she can muster. The reviewer would know that if he followed, at all, the scenes immediately prior and post to this line, wherein this heroine downed roughly 20,000 ounces (relative to her presumed tolerance levels) of alcohol she didn't like and then insisted that her paramour woo her as hard as he fucking knew how, respectively. This is not a scene about reassuring men they don't have to look like Ryan Gosling to get laid. This is just a scene, part of a whole psyching-herself-up-for-seduction thing that this woman is doing. If anything, the lasciviousness on wanton display proves that his looking like Ryan Gosling with his shirt off is probably half the reason she can get on with her plan to be seduced by him.

Point is, if you have a movie wherein Ryan Gosling has shirt off and a woman starts drooling (while delivering a line that indicates she's a little intimidated by how hot he is but NOT AT ALL DISAPPOINTED), and you read that to mean "Narcissism is bad!," you should be able to determine that you are an idiot who should not write reviews about films that you cannot possibly understand outside the context of your narrow film-school/film-major degree/focus. Leave the psychoanalysis to those as who get it, mm?

For the record, Crazy, Stupid, Love. was kind of adorable, though it comes with the requisite milestones of any modern romantic comedy. You have your mentor figure who tries to pull the lovelorn out of their slumps; the impossible coincidences; the boy-gets-loses-gets-girl whirlwind; the unfortunate trope that loving someone a lot, against their will, is totally cute and not at all inappropriate, mortifying, or creepy; and, naturally, no one ends up unhappy with their pairings off. There's some real issues raised--how does one be single after being with the same person for so long?--but they're very lightly dealt with for the most part. There's some real sense of melancholy and some of the negative aspects of breaking up and falling in love (jealousy, obsession, dealing with the approval of others), but none of it really pierces through the overall sense that everything is going to work out in the end. I mean, there is a lot of crushing by people on others that they shouldn't (that it is potentially ILLEGAL that they do), and yet it's all treated as candy. So long as no one really fucks this or that person, or they feel reeeeeally bad and are embarrassed a lot for it, then it's okay.

Wow, that review was more negative than I meant. The movie is enjoyable, and there's one scene that it would spoil the whole thing to reveal that was so funny people were laughing too hard to hear the dialogue. Steve Carell is so sweet, you can't be mad at him and his equally adorable onscreen son for some of their antics. Overall, it's one of the better rom-coms I've seen of late, though I grant that that is not saying much.
trinityvixen: (fangirl)
Penny Arcade is occasionally impenetrable to me because despite loving video games, I don't actually play that many. Today's strip, though, was about Mass Effect, a game with which I am so intimately familiar, we are common law spouses in 16 countries. Still, I needed to read the run-down on why this was suddenly a thing to figure out why this comic is even more awesome than previous thought.

I had heard some while ago that BioWare is making a stab at true parity for their games by offering, for the first time, a version of Mass Effect (in this case, the third game) where the cover has a female Shepard on it. (If you call her "FemShep," I kill you. Fuck you, she's not a brand of Shepard. She is Shepard. If you start in with the FemShep bullshit, you better be modifying male Shepard to ButtfuckuglyShep.) Apparently, there is a Facebook poll where you can vote on which Shepard you want to be the archetype female Shepard, since there hasn't been one on a cover before from which to take the basic female avatar.

Except...there has been? There is definitely a default female Shepard, and I'm sure that, despite changing scars and hair color, most of my female Shepards have been largely unchanged from this default. Why not just put her on the cover? Whatever, people are reeeeeeeally pissed that a blonde Shepard is/was leading (with Penny Arcade commenting on it, I'm sure those numbers will change). I don't get why she's automatically dumber-looking/less feminist-looking (buh?) for being blonde. I think she looks pretty fucking badass, actually. She looks goddamn dangerous with that glower, which, whatever the skin-tone politics of these options are, does come across more easily in a picture with a paler skinned avatar. Not that Shepard 2 doesn't look like one serious motherfucker. (She's a demon, you guys. HER EYES. DO NOT LOOK AT THEM.) But Shepard 5 actually looks like she's been through a sweaty firefight, which, okay, I can see how that may sex her up a little to some, but to me it mostly looks like she's walked through the fire and her hair's a mess as it should be. The others are all too clean-cut, unruffled to be really soldier-y.

As far as girly-girl stupid looks ago, I think the model for Shepard 6 is the wors. She looks like Snow White, and a less badass Disney Princess has never graced this world. Shepard 4 looks like she was kicked out of an emo band, with her pouty lips and hair covering one eye. Shepard 1 is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Her precious pixie cut makes her look like you could snap her neck like a chicken's. If anything undercuts Shepard's goddamned dangerous, no nonsense reputation, it's a haircut that last looked good on Twiggy.

So I appreciate Penny Arcade's take. Because precious haircut or hair color shade synonymous with dumb, Shepard is a mean motherfucker. End of story.
trinityvixen: (Doom)
I went to drop off laundry this morning that probably should have been done a lot earlier. (It was exercise stuff, mostly, that had been soaked through when I rode home from work last Friday, and it smelled...unpleasant.) As I was waiting to get my receipt, another customer in the store saw that I was reading A Game of Thrones and started freaking out about how great the TV show was, and was I watching it? I told him, no, I wanted to read the book first. He thought that sounded like a great idea until I told him was 800 pages.

I'm now 700+ pages in, and I've just hit the scene that was the spoiler heard around the world. MY GOD IT TOOK 700 PAGES TO GET TO THIS, NO WONDER EVERYONE IS JUST WATCHING THE SHOW. I just want to be done. Of course, they start filming the next season in a month, and it'll be on before I've got time to read the second book if I don't push on. HELP ME.

On the spoiler issue: I talked about with my roommates about it last night. It's really not something I could help coming across. It was a spoiler so large the internet exploded. It wasn't careless people on Twitter (which I mostly ignore anyway) or reviews of the show itself on geek websites that got me. It was things like Entertainment Weekly not caring for anyone so lazy and poor as not to have both HBO and a TiVo that they could catch up on the show within a week that spoiled me. I'm not even a huge spoiler-hater person. I mentioned to my roommates how little I care to read reviews for anything I'm excited about because I tend to like some seriously crap stuff. And it has been my experience that the less a given film/show/book is esteemed, the less reviewers give a shit about spoiling important things. I agree with [livejournal.com profile] moonlightalice that basic plot outlines are not especially spoiler-y, but when you're talking about the difference between The King's Speech and something like Priest, a reviewer will, despite the formulaic and historical nature of the former, spare it and spoil the latter in a review. I do not care that I called the "surprise reveal" in Priest two seconds in--even if it's obvious, don't give it away, okay?

But, yes, I'm about to finish A Game of Thrones, and I've quite enjoyed it. I hope it manages, in the next 70 pages or so, to resolve enough that I don't have to tax my already exhausted reserves to finish the book after in order to feel any sense of closure. (This is where you don't tell me whether I do or not, okay? Save it for when I do a full review.)
trinityvixen: (blogging from work)
It's Friday. I so rarely get the weekend itch, but today I have it. I stayed up all of half an hour later than my usual last night, and I'm paying for it today. I almost called in sick because that's how alluring my bed was. Now that I'm at work, I'm going through my tissues like mad because something's in the air. I should probably go get some Claritin or whatever. Stupid trees, stop having sex!

I saw Anything Goes last night. Had a great time.I need to go out to the theater more often! )

I should note that my marked interest in theater correlates, possibly, to my dread of the next few weeks of cinematic releases. I'm bang-on for completing my New Year's resolution to see a movie-a-week, but the next three weekends' movies? Green Lantern always looked horrible. There was one second of my life, though, where, after seeing X-Men: First Class and having it not suck despite the marketing department doing everything it could to make me think it would, where I thought the same could be true of Green Lantern. Yes, the trailers were THAT BAD. The CGI was THAT BAD. But X-Men: First Class was not a total loss, so maybe...

Then I passed exactly one poster for Green Lantern and came to my goddamn senses, as the early reviews confirm my worst suspicions. One interesting line at The A.V. Club's review struck me as a brilliant summation of what's wrong with the movie and why the DC properties aren't experiencing the phenomenal revival the Marvel ones are:

"Green Lantern
tries to make a case of human exceptionalism: Out of the thousand-plus species comprising the Green Lantern Corps, only Hal, the newcomer, has the humanity that can save the universe"


Hero exceptionalism: some meta )

Hero exceptionalism: some meta )

Hero exceptionalism: some meta )


Perhaps none of that matters. Perhaps Green Lantern is just a shitty movie and Warner Brothers has just had uneven luck in bringing DC's properties to life and Marvel has had astonishingly good luck. Maybe it's not about the fundamental differences between the two comic giants' philosophies on heroism and it's just a question of talent and trust. But I don't think so. For starters, the WB has thrown so much money and recruited plenty of talented folk for its movies. And they only have The Dark Knight going for them. (Granted, a $1Bn movie isn't such a bad thing to have going for you.) There's got to be something there, right?
trinityvixen: (Default)
A link on [livejournal.com profile] linaerys 's journal has proved most interesting. I do not necessarily agree that X-Men: First Class plays up the X-Men as the Jewish other, but that's an experience-dictates-impression sort of deal, I suspect. This is the part that I liked the most:

Rather, what troubles me about the film is that it feels like yet another expression of an attitude that I've been noticing more and more often in Western, and particularly American, popular culture as it struggles with the topic of genocide and national trauma--a crucial failure of empathy, imagination, and, finally, perspective, that leads to a blanket condemnation of anger.  I
saw this in Battlestar Galactica when human characters who refused to make peace with the Cylons--the people who had destroyed their civilization--were made into villains.  I noticed it a few weeks ago when I watched an old Star Trek: Voyager episode, "Jetrel," in which Neelix is urged, and eventually agrees, to forgive the person who designed the weapon that depopulated Neelix's home colony and killed his entire family.   And I see it in the increasing prevalence of vengeful victim characters, who are condemned not for the choices they make in pursuit of revenge, but simply for feeling anger.  There is in stories like this a small-mindedness that prioritizes the almighty psychiatric holy grail of "healing"--letting go of one's anger for the sake of inner peace--over justified, even necessary moral outrage.  First Class condemns Erik not for targeting innocents and embracing the same prejudiced mentality as his Nazi tormentors, but for wanting to kill Shaw.  It places two choices before him: either he takes the life of the person who killed his family and tortured him, in which case he's a villain, or he relinquishes not only his quest for revenge but the anger driving it

I love this. I absolutely agree. As we have started to rebound from stories where it is perfectly acceptable to have the successful prosecution of revenge be the climax of the story, we may have gone too far the other way. Anyone who has the desire to kill somebody, even in perfectly justifiable rage, is the bad guy. Obviously, this does not apply to the odd revenge-fantasy movie that still gets made. But if you want to have "nuance," people are not allowed to be angry, much less be allowed to kill, without becoming the bad guy.

And that is horse shit. It's a problem especially for heroes who never kill, like Batman. After a while, all sensible people would think, "Gee, it's nice that you see murder as the defining line that separates all good people from bad, but the Joker has just killed hundreds of thousands of people and I think it's time to stop playing nice." I don't advocate murder or summary execution of villains, but the self-righteousness of the psychology against ever killing is, well, self-righteous.

It's also not even close to what the X-Men are about. One of the things I love best about the team is that it routinely recruits thieves and murderers. And those people are recruited on purpose, not just to reform them but because they are, to paraphrase Wolverine, the best at doing things that aren't very nice. Storm once ripped the heart out of an enemy rather than let her destroy people with a bomb. STORM did this, Ms. Serenity Now Weather Goddess. One of the best X-Men stories I read in the past ten years was one in which a kid's power vaporized people around him. He ran off, after realizing what he had done, to hide in the mountains, when Wolverine caught up with him to calm him down. They share a beer, relate to each other, commiserate. The last panels show Wolverine emerging from the cave and walking off. He is very much alone. Do you think Wolverine took it upon himself to be that kid's mercy angel? No. He was sent. You better believe he was. It's kind of sad that that history is not embraced in cinema. The movie would be better for it.

trinityvixen: (fangirl)
I shouldn't have this much to say about Thor. At least this isn't about Thor really?

After the debacle that was shoe-horning in Black Widow into iron Man 2 and all the Avengers stuff that Jon Favreau clearly wanted nothing to do with, I was, despite my abiding love of Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson (who I think is way more interesting than Samuel L. Jackson as Fury), quite done with the crossover stuff to a degree. I knew that there would be some Avengers stuff in Thor, especially a much talked-about cameo by spoiler! ). The aspect of a cameo, in particular, annoyed me because it would either be a throwaway scene that stopped the momentum entirely or would be a literally nothing scene where you couldn't tell who or what you were supposed to be excited about.

As it turned out, the cameo was more the latter than the former, but it worked for me. It was just significant enough that you went, "Wow, we seem to be more involved with this one guy than we have any of the other faceless SHIELD agents," and no more involved than that. If you didn't know who it was, you didn't really notice. This is in direct contrast to the very heavy presence of SHIELD in the movie. Some people felt that it was still being studio-mandated or whatever into being. I think that setting up Agent Coulson as a means to throw Thor and his human companions in together a little more firmly really helped instead of hurt the film.

A.O. Scott's review was extremely negative despite the fact that he, for the most part, conceded that the movie was good. It's funny because he was especially upset that the movie was good and it exists, in part, to be a prologue to the Avengers movie. There's a point to be made there, that this movie, however good or bad it may be, is part of a money-making scheme that obligates you to return for more later to get the entire payoff. I understand that, but that's more a criticism that should be lobbed at a not-great movie that boosts its popularity by demanding that you see it in order to understand what comes later (Iron Man 2) versus one that is good and has some elements that will set up a later movie (but doesn't require that you see it for something else). Look, Marvel made its bones on its crossovers, but people liked those crossovers. Yes, it's a crass commercial calculation, but if it also pleases the audience, it isn't just about money.

All this is a long way of saying that my antipathy towards the advertising for The Avengers has been mostly dissipated. In fact, I think I threw myself firmly in the opposite camp and now I want alllllll the franchises to go into a blender. I think I, in all seriousness, endorsed an Ocean's Eleven/The Fast and the Furious crossover. I would love to see Vin Diesel and George Clooney plot a heist together. For real.
trinityvixen: (thinking Mario)
Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott talk about the increasing presence of violent women in cinema. I'm not sure it's worth investing one of your 20-articles-a-month freebie reads at the NYT for, seeing as they say nothing really new. I did, however, appreciate this point made by Dargis:

I complain about the representations of women, but I’m more offended when in movie after movie there are no real representations to eviscerate, when all or most of the big roles are taken by men, and the only women around are those whose sole function is, essentially, to reassure the audience that the hero isn’t gay. The gun-toting women and girls in this new rash of movies may be performing much the same function for the presumptive male audience: It’s totally “gay” for a guy to watch a chick flick, but if a babe is packing heat — no worries, man!


Bingo. This touches on what I was trying to say earlier about how this latest Fast and Furious movie seems more gay than previous ones (despite my not remembering exactly how often the men in the first movie were shirtless together). NHEMs aside, so long as there is a sop to heterosexuality--a hot chick with a semi-interesting personality (she doesn't have to be that interesting, which is how Kate Hudson has a career)--the movie gets to skate the gay issue. (Not so with slashers, but then the slashers can slash anything. And they do.) But when you literally remove every single female character, there's nothing left. I mean, that's how it appears to the decidedly heteronormative folk, even me (and I'm the one who was rolling her eyes at BSG for the way they didn't--and then, worse, did--engage with the gay characters.)

Like it or not, if there's a chick between two guys, the movie is not gay. It can be SO GAY, like Top Gun gay, and the 18-49-year-old dudes it's aimed at will never see it, and a good chunk of us hetero ladies will miss it (or not think it's as bad as reputed). I could see it, if I squinted, in The Fast and the Furious, but I like it better without that spin. Once you get down to Fast Five, and the tokenism of the lady-parts-having characters is that blatant? You can't squint to not see it.

I also share their interest--though not their concern--about violent ladies in cinema these days. A.O. Scott makes a good point about how it's creepy that a lot of them are young girls being shepherded by father figures. But otherwise, I don't subscribe to Dargis' point that this is two steps forward and two steps back. There is something to Scott's claim that the movies emphasize the woman's ability to fight at the expense of her sexuality (often as a means of pre-empting her sexuality). That's a valid point to make, seeing as we argue at women in the public sphere all the time to be perfect--maybe not killing machines, but definitely at every thing else--while insisting that "good" women haven't got sex drives at all. I don't know that the films reinforce that belief so much as reflect it, is all I'm saying.
trinityvixen: (thinking Mario)
There are no spoilers here, just some musings on what I got from the show over its run. )

As touching as the finale was, I'm not really all that sad for LOST to be over. I mean, I'll miss the fun of watching it, of being constantly on the edge of going crazy trying to work things out, and I think I'll never love some of the actors in it in anything else they do. But the show itself needs to retire, gracefully--something I think the finale will help. It's not LOST's fault that it got over-exposed in its last season, that it was so popular that there were, I shit thee not, about five covers on Entertainment Weekly alone devoted to tales of the last days and episodes of LOST. They worked hard to build their audience, to respect their creation as much as exploit it, and they deserve some measure of popularity. If pop culture is a waste zone in this depressed time, it makes sense that LOST would be everywhere.

Doesn't mean I'm unreasonable when I say I'm tired of it, though. I'm happy to geek out about the finale with folks for a while, but I'm most looking forward to that point, in a month or so, when the distractions of summer and what-not put LOST on the back burner indefinitely. I can only hope that what people learn about this show is not that it needs to be extended (no spin-offs, please), copied (Flash Forward has shown how poorly the imitations are received), or prolonged in the pop cultural memory. I hope, instead, what they see is a show that thrived on trusting its audience to follow it and benefitted from breaking the mold, not re-inventing it. If the most studios learn from LOST is to grant creators of popular shows the ability to call the show off when it needs to be done, I'll be happy.

So long, LOST. It's been a long, strange road, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

(Note: there may be spoilers in comments!)
trinityvixen: (somuchlove)
I think if I made my opinions on this post three times as long, I'd never express myself half so well as this post on Hit Girl at Jezebel. Just...wow.

One of many very important parts of her incredibly well thought out analysis:
But I do like [Shit Blows Up And A Lot Of People Die] movies as a rule, and so do about a gazillion other people, so it's probably safe to assume that liking them does not actually make you a bad person who struggles to be compassionate and non-violent in real life. It just means you can suspend your better nature for a short time in order to watch a lot of intense, terrifying shit happen to (and because of) a fictional character, provided you know that character has the intellectual, financial and physical resources to wind up safe and triumphant, and that the fictional people who get slaughtered along the way are all A) evil and B) trying to kill the hero first. Hit Girl is clearly shown to be such a character, fighting such characters. So if you can't stomach this well-established formula with her at the center of it, the obvious question is, are you usually willing to suspend empathy because of the character's resources and the good/evil thing and the knowledge that it is fiction, or because the hero usually has a dick and a deep voice?

And this, definitely this:
I like that I walked out of there with a gut reaction of "That was awesome!" immediately followed by an intellectual reaction of, "Damn, it's fucked up that I thought that was awesome." That tells me I just saw something new, if nothing else. And on further reflection, the new thing for me was not a violent, remorseless, brutalized, potty-mouthed child but a female action hero with all the agency and skill of a man, whom the audience is not supposed to want to fuck. That is a pretty awesome thing, even if it is also frankly pretty fucked up that I thought that movie was awesome.
trinityvixen: (wtf)
The morning after we saw Kick-Ass, I finally sat down to read Roger Ebert's review, selecting his most hyperbolically low rating as a good indication of what the general temperature was among the people who didn't like the film. For the record, I loved it, but not so dearly as I can't admit it has flaws, or that it was, at times, rather uneven. So I wanted to see what he and others thought that kept them from enjoying the movie. That was Sunday.

Today is Wednesday, and I still do not understand why this film provoked such an negative reaction from him. Pearl-clutching confusion below, some minor spoilers for Kick-Ass. )

Pink Raygun has an article up about how disingenuous is the furor over Hit Girl. I think the most brilliant portion is this, which touches directly on the parts of Ebert's review that actively squicked me out:

Ebert goes on to say that “Big Daddy and Mindy never have a chat about, you know, stuff like how when you kill people, they are really dead.” You know what? That’s a conversation that real daddies should be having with their real children. That’s not the film’s job.

That's just it. Whatever else you might think about the premise of that post (about how the outrage would not exist were this a foul-mouthed little boy killing people), that much she gets exactly right. It's not a film's responsibility to teach your kids that what they're seeing is meant to be over-the-top and, therefore, comedic. (I must stress here that I'm not attacking people for not finding it funny. There's a difference between being unamused and being affronted.) It's such a bizarre demand from a reviewer that a film espouse within its diegetic space a morality of which you approve. Dirty pool, Ebert, my lad.
trinityvixen: (no sense)
A serious article about film criticism and its decline.

vs.

ZOMG COMIC BOOK MOVIES R OVR.

The criticism of online reviewers in the first link seemed especially prescient this morning when I went from it to the second link. Of course, the problem with the io9 criticism is that the cyclical nature of genre popularity is just that: it is only popularity that waxes/wanes, not actual production. There will be some stepping off of making superhero movies, say, when a few superhero movies have failed to make big bank or have failed critically (either with fans or reviewers or both). But the movies will still be around. After Watchmen did less well than hoped, and after Wolverine was so boring even fanboys didn't bother watching the leaked movie, we are still looking at a slew of movies that were pushed into action regardless of those films failures.

This year, we get Iron Man 2. Next year, Thor and The Avengers. DC is pushing a new Superman movie and another in the Nolan Bat-films. Kick-Ass is already rumored to have a sequel in the works. It is not that we'll tire of superhero movies. We only tire of some superheroes. That's what I mean about popularity. As the Burton-Schumacher Batman franchise started to wane, Blade stepped in, as did X-Men. (The former informed upon The Matrix; the latter took a few cues from it.) Within a couple of years, we had Spider-Man. All around them were the also-rans: The Hulk, The Punisher, Fantastic Four. Then we came back to Batman again.

To the internet's credit, most of this was pointed out to the io9 OP. Perhaps we aren't all the anti-education film reactionaries that that first link assumes many of to be?
trinityvixen: (thinking Mario)
[livejournal.com profile] moonlightalice and I had an interesting, if depressing conversation following our viewing of The Wolfman about werewolves in movies. She, like me, prefers the psychology and pathos of the werewolf/wolfman story to that of the vampire narrative. There is something so much more relatable in the story of the werewolf/wolfman. For one thing, the werewolf is, quite aside from a few days in the year, human. Increasingly, the werewolf's unnatural strength and superhuman senses carry over to the human side, but for the most part, a werewolf is a human with a problem. Versus a vampire who is another creature entirely and is no longer human at all. It is easier to relate to someone who suffers a curse beyond his/her control than it is to relate to an undead creature that stays beautiful and powerful forever.

And yet the vampire story is the more successful one, especially in film. We wracked our brains trying to think of one well-done, well-told, interesting werewolf/wolfman movie. Wolf happens to be a favorite of mine, with the idea that you have to be literally cutthroat to make it ahead in business. But it's barely a werewolf movie for all that posturing. I've seen plenty of werewolf movies, but none of them have been very good or taken the werewolf pathology to a very interesting end. (Books have done better, and Buffy did all right--at first--with its werewolf character.) Werewolf movies of late have depended on a sort of rivalry with vampires to sell them--Twilight, the Underworld series. Where are the examinations of man versus monster, the recognition that man is the monster and that being a werewolf is just something that allows him an outlet for his monstrosity? Why, oh why, did we get An American Werewolf in Paris instead?

Maybe I'm missing out on something good. So here comes the request: I would like anyone who has a suggestion for a good werewolf/wolfman movie to send that title my way. I'm happy to try any and everything. (I am the person who stocks her Netflix queue off of lists of the the worst movies that others can think of, so clearly I am not picky.) Send him here. I'll take 'em all.
trinityvixen: (thinking Mario)
I don't agree with everything in the top video, but it's a pretty good start on why a lot of video game culture is alienating to women.

Worth a watch and a discussion. Some thoughts. )
trinityvixen: (epic fail)
It looks like I was right. I blogged about this before, but this really slam dunks the case I was trying to make in a much, much shorter format.

I'd also like to point out the disproportionate loss of women of color from that map. Every season, you lose at least one female character, usually the non-white female character. They tried to compensate, it seems, by putting in two new female characters in, but one of them always leaves and the others are now all white.

The issue of women on this show is a sore one for me. Every season has, in a list of 11-13 central characters, only 4 female characters AT MOST. Of those four, only two have been around since season one, if you fudge the matter and count Ali Larter as being continuous even though her characters have not been. That's a serious imbalance before you begin to consider how marginalized the women in this list are. The three remaining in the fourth season play the very definite roles of maiden, mother, crone, too. Which helps immensely, let me tell you.

Someone remind me why I watch this again?
trinityvixen: (thinking Mario)
I assume most of the Supernatural fangirls I know have heard something about an upcoming episode where Sam and Dean go tonot really a spoiler, but just in case ) (I'm still behind on Supernatural, so I dunno if that's the next episode or later down the line or what. Hence, spoiler tag.)

How do we feel about that? I'm not convinced fans will come out the better for this. )
trinityvixen: (window)
So far this season, Heroes has not been awful. I credit much of this to Robert Knepper and the uber-creepy inclusion of the Carnival. Everything is better with circus freaks. Everything. Of course, this will all change in another few episodes and I'll regret saying this, but I'm even enjoying parts of this season. (My reviews at Pink Raygun for this season are here, here, here, and here.) There are definitely still problems, much of which stem from the show's loyalty to characters and the actors playing them.

That might be about to change, however. If you still care about spoiler warnings, don't read what's under the cut.Who am I kidding? I'm the only one still watching this show. )

And did I mention the racefail? )

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