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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.

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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.

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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.

Leaving Books Around the House

7 Jun

With summer here and my recent move, my house has been volunteered for revolving door service. This is fine, stressful, but not in a bad way. Having family and friends choose to visit while I am a bit in the midst of nowhere is nice.

a little isolated

Other than furious cleaning, because… maybe I still had boxes just lying around unpacked.   Please though, a little slack.  Remember when other people packed the boxes?   Some boxes, I would open up and just wonder at the clusterf*ck that ended up in there.

Kind of like this

Miscellaneous things were shoved into boxes, which made them such chores.  The house is also lacking in storage spots as well.  This means that anything I kept ends up a lot of times in totes in the bottom of closets or on shelves.   Some boxes just get frowned at and the lid put back on until I can figure out what to do with them.   And then hidden in my room.

But since the rest of the house is immaculate at this moment, I’m okay with the maze I have to navigate to make it to my bed each night.

cleaning is endless

While most of my books are stacked on shelves and bookcases in one room, I do like to strategically leave books sitting out in the hopes that someone visiting will pick it up with curiosity.

This of course means also tailoring the books to tastes of the people in their proximity.  Also, not choosing something too long perhaps?  Does anyone else agonize over this?

Currently, these are the small piles I have around my home.

Fairytales from Ireland

Folk Tales of Ireland and A Light in the Attic

photo (2)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, What the Dickens and Grimm’s Fairytales

photo (3)

Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Anne of Green Gables and The Screwtape Letters

Right now it’s just family coming by but I know the books will change once it comes time for friends instead.

Does anyone else do this?

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.

New YA Title, Eyre House by Caitlin Greer

2 May

We are always looking for new things to read here … though really there needs to be more hours in the day to just read.

Since we are fans of YA, sci-fi and fantasy (all this authors categories), we were intrigued by the upcoming novel.

Cait writes YA and NA stories that range from sci-fi and fantasy (because she loves making worlds and things up), to contemporary (because she kind of sort of fell into it and discovered she’s not half bad). (from GoodReads)

When eighteen-year-old orphan Evan Richardson signed up to work at Eyre House, on the sleepy tourist getaway of Edisto Island, SC, he never expected to find himself dodging ghosts. But Eyre House seems to have more than its fair share of things that go bump in the night, and most of them seem to surround his employer’s daughter.

Back from her freshman year of college, Ginny Eyre is dangerous from word one. She’s a bad girl with ghosts of her own, and trouble seems to follow her everywhere she goes. But living or dead, trouble isn’t just stalking Ginny. When her ex-boyfriend is found murdered in the pool, Evan knows he’s got two choices – figure out what’s going on, or become the next ghost to haunt Ginny Eyre.

Mark it to read on the below link!

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17694883-eyre-house

We will have more information as it gets closer to the release date. 
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