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I Can Have Reasons to Be Judgey

28 Jun

By the way, I’ve looked at the word judge so much now, it looks like it’s spelled wrong.

 

I have been accused numerous times of being too critical of certain media. Sometimes this lends me well, as a beta reader for various scripts and novels for instance. Other times it seems to alienate me from conversations with others when they ask my opinion and my answer isn’t glib. Conversely, if I say “I liked it” then they feel that not enough information was given. It seems I can’t win.

Recently, I was recommended to watch True Detective and for no particular reason, I had held off. Crime dramas are not usually my cup of tea. Police procedurals give me headaches in their poor recreation of protocols and realistic shows mainly give me a misanthropic view for a time afterwards. Don’t get me wrong, I have read or watch numerous true crime but usually from case files, the boring stuff with underpaid, normal looking people and dirty concrete walls for interrogation rooms. Having known and worked with a number of police officers, including quite a few involved in criminal science divisions, these shows are far more interesting to me in character studies within the political climate that can be involved at times. So for these reasons, I don’t watch a lot of “detective” shows.
After seeing it was only eight episodes, I gave in. I know it’s rated well, and it’s well acted, actually allowing me to like Matthew McConoughey for the first time ever.

 

This version of him (in just about every movie) always got on my nerves.

 

While I found this version enjoyable.

But after a while, it became plugging in to get to the end result. This will probably earn me quite a few enemies, but I’d like to get it out over the anonymity of the internet.

Spoilers ahead:
My issue with True Detective was that, it didn’t really offer anything new. For some reason, early on in the episodes, I had been reminded of “The Killing List”. Both provide exposition on two men who work together; one a family man, the other is wild and single. There are differences of course, but the format remains similar. They both provide an exposition of their personal lives and professional lives, the walls that may need to be placed in order to deal with the horrible things they’ve seen. Both even deal with occult-ish symbolism and bad men going after worse men, reinforcing that there are varying degrees of “good” and “bad” in this world. Each also have various discussions concerning religion and morality, questioning, without questioning whether they are actually intrinsically tied together? But I probably won’t revisit either show or movie again anytime soon.
I must be the only person in the world a little tired of worlds where men win by machismo and women are only extensions of the male leads. This may seem like a little thing but after reviewing maybe three novels in the last month and arguing against why I had no desire to see Wolf of Wallstreet, it all comes across a bit tiring. (FYI full of T&A is not a selling point for me) Someone voiced to me how women want movies that make them cry and men want things that blow up and it was extremely irritating. The success of Magic Mike has proven women don’t always want to cry and the fact that men have been going to see films like Maleficent proves that wrong.

But Maleficent was just so heartbreaking… .

Is it wrong to ask a little more out of movies and books? Break up the male gaze, make characters complicated, satire something, offer up more imagination, and don’t answer every little thing into a nice neat present by the end? They are not guilty of all these things, but most are guilty of more than one as a plot point. Of the three novels reviewed, one was post apocalyptic, one was science fiction and one was historic fantasy and every single one offered up boring ideas of gender, politics and the inner workings of the characters minds. I can’t understand why nomadic warriors living off the land would worry about propriety or why someone exerting their will onto another “for their own good” would be a precursor to kissing?

This scene is kind of horrific actually.

Entertainment Geekly has a wonderful article on the reasons why Hannibal has handled beautiful but horrific imagery better than both True Detective and Fargo. (Everyone go read it now, it’s much better written than this) But it was nice to see that others have thought the same things. Sometimes these shows (or books) take themselves a little too seriously and while well acted and beautifully shot, once again, don’t really offer up anything new or exciting? Or I have read and watched so much that it all seems the same to me at this point. While a fan of the original Hannibal series, I am also a fan of artists who can piece together darkness into eye candy. I am drawn to works that are visually interesting like films by Tarsem Singh or Chan Wook Park, artwork by H.R. Giger fall into this category as well as photographer Florio Sigismondi’s work. I can even forgive a poor story (to a point) if the visuals are meant to draw the viewer in, but usually a slick looking film is not enough to keep me drawn in. (I’m looking at you Michael Bay.)

Two batshit crazy people fall in love in a mental asylum, and it’s beautiful.

I have been accused of overthinking things, a lot. So that insult would be nothing new to me, but does anyone else wondering, while watching The Great Gatsby, why Daisy gets such an awful rep while Gatsby is the hero? Gatsby was a liar and criminal attempting to convince a married woman to run off with him. Does no one else question these things? I don’t doubt F. Scott Fitzgerald did while writing his novel, but with the numerous criticisms out there about Daisy’s character, where are the varying viewpoints on all the characters?

On a high note, I recently did see Absentia, a small indie film with loads of mood. This was a wonderful character study with understated creepiness. If anyone has any recommendations like this, I’d be happy to hear them.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, snooze

29 Sep

I might be picky with my animated films.  Okay, I loved loved loved the first “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”  For me, it was right up there with “Wreck it Ralph”  and  “Wall-E”.

I first noticed it when it was playing in the background and actually found myself chuckling.  So I stopped and then I started paying attention.  Then I rewound it and found more to laugh at.

The original had witty writing, subtle jokes and loads of heart.  The trailer for the sequel looked promising….

**** Spoilers ahead*****

The trailer was in all honesty, the best parts of the entire movie.  In the same way that “Community” was somehow just less funny without Dan Harmon, this movie is obviously missing Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street).  Mr. T had it right when he turned this one down!

Visually, it was stunning and there were some cute characters but ultimately, it wasn’t enough to save the movie.

The movie begins with a rehash of the entire last movie and then enters a never before seen flashback, incorporating a new hero of child Flint who as far as it seemed never practiced science but peddled food products.  (Screw you, Tesla!)

After this introduction to a new “very important” character, the movie proceeds to negate the entire last movie’s ending (where he starts a business with his father) but instead picking up just minutes after the last movie ended.  He is busy kissing Sam and making plans with all his new BFF’s.

The new very important character shows up to give him an alternative life plan (I’m still not sure how the ending of the last movie fits in) and all his new BFF’s wholeheartedly endorse anything Flint wants to do because he is no longer awkward but awesome and their hero and they will follow him… follow him wherever he may go…

oops

SIX MONTHS LATER…..

Well, nothing funny has happened yet.  In fact I haven’t even cracked a smile once and on top of that I was curious if I was in fact missing some strange in-joke involving over caffeinated hive workers.  If I did, it didn’t matter because the joke just disappeared moments later.

Flint works hard for something he really really wants… we don’t really see this,  outside of little montages that are similar to ones we saw in the first movie.  Instead, he ends up being laughed at by his entire company reminiscent of when he was young.  (they show this at the beginning in case anyone forgot).  He complains he was “humiliated” but I couldn’t see what was so bad about what happened?  Suddenly, he came across as whiny, which is awful considering how charming his awkwardness was handled in the first movie.

From here on, I can’t understand anything else he does.  He takes a job to go back and get the same machine that caused the problems before.   He makes promises he immediately breaks, berates his father for no other reason than because “it’s dangerous! stay here! GOD DAD! you never let me do anything!!” stomp stomp slams door

Meanwhile,  we finally get to the meat of the story, which is handled beautifully when it comes to visuals.  On the other hand, there are a lot of jokes that are meant to pander to the adults, I’m guessing in the mid to late 3o’s range.  (Butter? Parkay…  it wasn’t even funny the first time!)

Flint’s naivety is played up in full force as he must choose between his childhood hero and his new BFF’s… including a new girlfriend??  Except after the kiss at the beginning, this isn’t addressed again until the ending credits.  (it’s okay, they were kissing then too)

In the midst of this is an introduction to loads of sentient food and they conveniently manage to name them on the spot just for the viewer.  Watermelephants, Bananostriches (that sound like dolphins), Shrimpanzees.  Meanwhile, all the jokes during this time boil down to food related puns.

There is even a sequence where, no lie, a food/animal hybrid is translating and sounds exactly like Eric Cartman when he is whining.

Ugh, and musical sequences… wait, did I say musical sequences… yep.  Including 2Unlimited’s Get Ready for This… Will.I Am and Britney Spears… ugh ugh ugh.

Needless to say, I spent a lot of time during this movie making grumpy cat faces and being utterly confused as to what was going on.

It’s really a shame, since the writing was what captivated so many in the first film.  It was surprising, charming and just a little bit quirky enough to take it to another level.  This one, well, it was just there to bring in cash from the people who loved the first one and play out as a vehicle for families to go see together.  It never gets past being mediocre and at times is just out right boring.

Which made me sad.

Wuthering Heights

18 Jun

I finally got around to seeing the 2011 version of Wuthering Heights.

Yes, I know I’m behind.  Anyone following the Twitter feed can see that all I watch are old movies.

This movie was darker than any other version I had seen, but it kind of made sense.  While I am not sure if I liked the film, I can say I was struck by it.  It immediately made me want to go back and read the book.

I first read Wuthering Heights in high school.  I’m not sure why, but I distinctly remember thinking I was going in for a gothic romantic supernatural love story.

image

While I guess it was a story about two people in love with each other, it was also a story about two people who were also incredibly mean to each other.  They hurt each other time and again and it didn’t matter if they could justify their actions.

how misleading is this cover?!

They were selfish and destructive and yet could not tear themselves away from each other.  Even when they tried, it made it worse for those around them and themselves.

While I’m guessing I have a soft spot for this type of story since a mutually assured destructive love story was also the basis for “Jeux D’enfant (Love Me If You Dare), one of the first things I’d seen with Marianne Cotillard.

Differences, yes.  But sometimes, despite love, people can bring out the worse in each other.  Both explore the darker side of being together and how trying to move on with a “normal” relationship does not work for them.  It is too boring, too common, too tame, too civilized.

My favorite part of the novel is the second half, the half generally ignored in movies.  I always felt this part brought everything back around full circle.  There was hope and redemption in the second half, while the first part ends so hopelessly.

Healthcliff begs Cathy to haunt him.

In this version, I did think that the children actors, Shannon Beers and Solomon Glave were very good.

These two were amazing.

I felt that the intensity was lost slightly when they were adults.   I can not tell if this makes the abuse more horrifying or less since the attitude is so cavalier, but it does not feel as though they are compelled by their obsession.

As children, Healthcliff is horrifically abused; emotionally, mentally and physically, no matter how he tries to be accepted.   He spends much of his time with Cathy, who defines the relationship between them.  When he grows older and she leaves, he doesn’t know what to do without her.  Of course, as is often the case, he becomes abusive as he is now able to assert some power where he has been previously powerless.  Oh, there a lot of themes in this novel but (courtly) love is not one of them.

So while I have read reviews where people outright hated the 2011 version, I personally felt that it captured the destructive nature of the novel.  Also, how could people not feel bad towards Heathcliff?  It almost seems obvious that he is so mean as an adult after all he had to deal with when younger.  (though there is one scene that creeped me out  a bit)

I’m also glad that the age is where it should be.  Doesn’t it make more sense that their love is so intense if they are younger in age?  It’s a driving theme behind Romeo and Juliet.  Has society changed the connotations of  this novel by using older actors?

Also, as a matter of comparison, when Cathy (in the 2011 movie) is licking his wounds and sucking on her scratches, I was reminded of “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield.

I will not give out spoilers, but just know there is a tale of two lovers that seems very similar to the 2011 movie version of Wuthering Heights.

Let’s see how much is kept in for the BBC movie adaptation that will be out in Christmas of 2013.  It will star Vanessa Redgrave and Sansa Stark.

Community, Attack the Block: Destiny and Origins

7 May

 

I may have to eat my words.  Right after I posted that I was ready to give up on Community, it came back with some pleasant surprises that are making me reconsider our break up status.   As of now, I will hold off on judgement a little longer.  Let’s just say that for right now, it’s my favorite sitcom boasting a licensed doctor and an Oscar winner as part of the cast.

So the last two episodes (Basic Human Anatomy and Heroic Origins) actually made me happy.  The first is about a “ Freak Friday”  scenario which is actually handled quite well with some good laughs.  The second is Abed trying to show that they were all always destined to meet and be together, hence their origin story.

 It is really obvious that Chevy Chase is on his way out.

That’s okay though, it seems like there has been a ton of negativity on that set.  There are some very talented people working and I’m sure it doesn’t make their job easy.

So in honor of hopeful feels some Community Appreciation:

Also, I couldn’t help looking at the flashback into high school and realize I look like Annie from them.  Unfortunately I look like that now.

On another note, I really like Origin stories when they are done correctly.

Let me explain.

I do not mean, following the story/comic/graphic novel exactly.  They are different mediums and therefore can not be addressed the same way.

Sometimes, trying to be TOO faithful to a story will cause a lot of weird down time, pacing issues, missed opportunities because too much is trying to be fit in… or the worst offender ever:

THE INFODUMP

I don’t need or want a twenty second exposition about something because someone is too lazy or thinks the audience is too stupid to follow something.

The best entertainment does not infodump and instead allows the story to unfold organically and slowly, like a journey.

So when Abed brought up Unbreakable, I was surprised.   I actually enjoyed Unbreakable (no hate please) BUT it was marketed in the wrong way.  As a story on its own, I appreciated its merits.

I thought it did what it set out to do well, an origin story.

(And no, we will not bring up X-Men: Origins or any of the Wolverine movies.  We can however bring up X-Men: First Class)

But I still want to throw up an Origin story that was one of the best put on film but was only ever made for film:  Attack the Block

If you haven’t seen it (and I seem to run into more that have not), please, go, do, support.  It gave me chills at the end.  This is movie with one foot in comic and it makes it very enjoyable and re-watchable.

Oz the Great and Powerful

20 Mar

 

mickey:
http://mobile.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/03/13/sam_raimi_s_oz_the_great_and_powerful_sexism_and_the_imposter_effect.html

leela:
LMAO… omg. seriously. the author needs some chocolate and a chill pill. I couldn’t read the whole thing.
mickey:
Actually it seems like its a major gripe by people who are fans of baum’s books. He frequently had women in charge of things in his novels, generals, heroes, temporarily taking up the seat. Disny didn’t use any of his books and so none of it makes sense in canon. Why would a two bit magician be able to trick three experienced witches? Why did the women all need extra photoshopping on their faces. And the articles loves James Franco but says he and the actresses were all underutilized. I dunno, it wasn’t really anything I had wanted to go see, it was just interesting.

leela:
Here is my thing. Whoever wrote this went to the movie, and glanced at it about four fucking times before she sat down and wrote an entire article about how weak the characters were. Deep down, it makes me question if deep down the author herself, doesn’t think that highly of women in general.
Only ONE witch was tricked by this guy. One of them was evil, and was pretending to be dumb. The other Glinda (played by Michelle Williams) was basically telling him fake it till you make it, we were told a savior was coming, looks like you’re all we got.
The author here was reaching, and turning things into something they are not. And thus upholding the very reason feminists aren’t taken seriously.
Now, I have never read the books, so I am not familiar with the whole strong women characters he has in his books. That part I can see as upsetting, because its not true to the book. However, lets look back at how they had the characters in the original and how they portrayed Glinda. Oh thats right, like a sweet dumb benevolent gentle witch. SURPRISE! That’s exactly how she was in the movie. Minus the dumb.
Furthermore, the reason he could not kill Glinda, was not because of her “beauty” as the author would have anyone who has not seen it believe, but because SHE LOOKED JUST LIKE THE LOVE OF HIS LIFE.
So my message to the author, before you go and write an entire article and bash a movie, PAY THE FUCK ATTENTION to what is going on.
Oh and please, we don’t know any men in leading roles who turned evil over a broken heart? DARTH VADER ring a bell bitch? again. But its okay for him because he has balls? But not for her because she has ovaries?


mickey:
First everyone has issues with annie(kin) heh
Glinda actually DID come across kind of brainless in the movie
But in the books she ruled over quadling country. Did the movie even talk about the ozma’s?
Lol I love how passionate you are about this. It seems she did see the movie but not through the same eyes. Line I said, there are actually quite a few of these reviews going around.
I will say if you want to try on another wicked witch prequel, have you read Wicked?

Leela:

I have Wicked. The hardcover was on sale so I got it. LOL I have not read it yet though. After I read the Wicked series I want to read the one about the Evil Stepsisters.
I didn’t mean to come off so passionate about a movie, but I really enjoyed it and the attempt to steal its thunder under the name of feminism pissed me off. lol

The movie had its flaws, weak woman characters were not one of them. lol
My BIGGEST MOST GIANT GRIPE (how do you like that english) is why was there no mention of the ruby red slippers? I wanted a bit of a back story on that.

Well that and that Disney went out of their way to make sure that any time there was a crowd scene, the front row had to have a black, an asian, a spic and white guy. I found it laughable. EVERY SCENE. lol

Maybe it was different eyes with which we watched the movie with, but trust me she could not be more off lol.

People had issues with Annie, but it happens. People change after being screwed over only all the time.

 

Mickey:
Especially if they are moody and cranky and met their wife when they were a know it all child who just happened to have the ability to build the protocol droid that happens to help their son in the future. Sorry… Lol there is my gripe.
The shoes were never mentioned in any other books. I think it was implied they were made by the witch herself.

It’s ok, Glinda was a redhead anyway. And all the costumes and all make her blonde ( just like Cinderella… Her hair is so light now!! Why is that Disney?)

And no…. When I watch the Disney channel , I Never notice something like that!! Lol
PC means not talking about PC

Leela:
LOL rule number one, no one talks about episode 1-3 unless we are talking about how big of a badass Darth Maul was and how WEAK his death was…

My other gripe with the Disney channel, I feel like they try to get really good looking white kids, and the comic reliefs are always chunky brown and not that attractive… IE The best friend on Teddy, and the best friend on Austin and Ally, the best friend on ANT Farm. (the one on ant farm is a boy, he’s not fat but he’s not good lookin lol)

I dunno. Just a random observation.

________________________________________

Leela:
how about I’m more surprised shes redheaded? made sense to change it then, as she’s a good witch and gingers are evil and have no soul.

Mickey:
Oh no you are right. The suite life on deck… Good luck charlie….That’s their formula I guess.

On the other hand, are you watching gravity falls? Because you should be

 

Well , she’s a redhead in the old movie, strawberry blonde
But the costume always comes across like this

community-shirley-glinda.jpg

Meanwhile, I did see Spring Breakers and James Franco was DISTURBING!

 

james-franco-spring-breakers-image

representin’ florida bitches

Being Scared as An Adult

11 Mar

 

 

Okay, So I made the mistake of rewatching the Marble Hornets YouTube page recently.  (Did you know they will be making a movie?)  Plus there is a new SlenderMan game coming out….

I’m okay, I am a grown ass adult so it doesn’t bother me.

So here I am, putting away clothing and I hear a noise from the other room.  A really loud, really strange noise.

It’s a Furby going off.

Yes, it is ours but WHY IN GOD’S NAME did it start going off when no one else is in the house but me?? and it’s sitting on a counter, I know they’ll go off is someone moves them.  There is no TV in other room, it was just me, my dog, 30Rock reruns and then that thing…

So I can’t see out the door to the other room, from where I am, and there was NO WAY IN HELL I was poking my head out there.

Eventually, it announced “I’m Sleepy” and shut off.

Then my house phone immediately began to ring.

No one has that number.  No really.  Just two families, but instead it’s from a number I don’t recognize.  (319-535-2429) Which a quick internet search assures me is a scammer. I didn’t answer anyway.  All I had were of visions of a voice saying.. “Seven days….” So NO THANK YOU!

The TV starts buzzing periodically (it’s still on mute).

and now my dog won’t stop staring at the doorway, listening for… I don’t know what.

I don’t think I’m leaving my room for a while.

Plus I feel like  a moron because I’m an adult and I’m scared shitless at the moment.

Stupid, scary robotic animal toys, horror films, the internet and most importantly, my brain… UGH

.. my dog put her head down, but now my ipod’s alarm is ringing with an old timey phone ringer… stupid… now i have to go out there to turn it off

i forgot i had somewhere to be

*sigh*

Cosplayers Party On

7 Jan

This is a wonderful cosplay video that anyone who likes to go to conventions, watch cosplayers or love to dress up to definitely take a look at and support!
I think that all the cosplayers did a fantastic job on their costumes!

London Comic Con – May 2013 – Cosplay Music Video by Sneaky Zebra