tempestsarekind: (dido plus books)
The trailer for Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time film came out yesterday (or at least, I saw it for the first time yesterday):

My first, entirely shallow thought was that it needs FAR more Gugu Mbatha-Raw in it. But as I chewed on this shallow thought over the course of the day yesterday, it became a little less shallow - because it touches on the main thing that's not quite sitting right with me about the trailer:

It starts with Chris Pine.

Okay, that's a bit facetious. But it does feel wrong to start with Mr. Murry, and not with Mrs. Murry or Meg. One of the things I really loved about A Wrinkle in Time as a child was how thorny and prickly the beginning of the book is: not just Meg getting in fights at school (although that was Important), but Meg's feeling of not fitting properly into her own skin, in contrast to her beautiful and brilliant mother; her desperate worry about Charles Wallace - and then, the nastiness of the people in their insular little town, who sneer at Mrs. Murry and snicker that her husband must have just run away, who make fun of Meg's beloved baby brother for being different. One of the things I loved about the book is that we don't start with the adventurer, making his scientific discoveries: we start with his family, who don't know what's happened to him, who have to hope and believe that they aren't in the sort of tawdry, shabby story that the snickering neighbors think they're in.

And obviously, this is just the trailer, so who knows what the actual movie will be like, or how it will begin. But it feels a bit as if all of those rough, important edges have been sanded down, and the story has been made smoother and glossier than I'd like. (This extends to the look of the film as well, though I haven't written about it here: I want Mrs. Whatsit to be tramping around in rubber boots and muffled by layers and layers of ill-fitting clothing - utterly unremarkable before becoming utterly magical. I want things to be sort of shabby and ramshackle around the edges. That may be expecting something one is not likely to get from a big Disney film.)
tempestsarekind: (come along ponds)
I saw a trailer for the film The Circle today. John Boyega showed up early, and I thought, "oh, is this that movie where he was going to play a computer genius? Cool." Emma Watson showed up, and I thought, "oh, I didn't know she was in this." And then I heard a familiar Scottish voice and saw a familiar face -

- and literally shrieked, "KAREN! HI KAREN!" Because I have problems. I guess the wires to that particular knee-jerk response are still hooked up?
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
…you are excited by the fact that the opening voiceover in this trailer (which is set in 17th-century New England) forms its first question - "What came we to this wilderness to find?" - without the use of auxiliary 'do'.

The Witch Trailer and Poster: 1630s New England Was a Scary Place

This is because, as stated above, I am a ridiculous human. But that kind of thing is so rare in movies!

(Auxiliary 'do' involves the use of the verb "to do" as an auxiliary rather than a main verb: he did go, where go is the main verb, as opposed to he did the dishes. In Present Day English, we have to use auxiliary 'do' to form most questions and negative statements: Did he go to the store?; he did not go to the store. In Early Modern English, auxiliary 'do' is in use but not required: you could also say Went he to the fields this day? or he went not to the fields.)


Feb. 28th, 2015 06:58 pm
tempestsarekind: (thomas kent)
So does this mean Almereyda has decided to call the film Cymbeline instead of Anarchy?

I mean, the trailer released earlier was so ridiculous that I have no plans to see the film anyway, but given how hard the trailer seemed to be running away from the actual text of the play, that seems like a surprising decision.

(I'm also amused by how non-revealing this poster is. "The movie is about…people! With faces! And sometimes guns?")
tempestsarekind: (branches and fairy lights)
I went to see the animated film Song of the Sea last night - it's playing in my area, but only for a week, starting yesterday. It began with Lisa Hannigan's voice reciting "Come away, o human child," so that's possibly the most Relevant to My Interests opening of a film that I've seen in some time. It was a sweet, gentle movie with a tiny bit of Miyazaki about the owl-witch villainess of the piece, and some spare, wistful meditations on grief and loss. I enjoyed it.
tempestsarekind: (a sort of fairytale)
Which I could totally get behind, to be honest; as you know, I have been waiting this vampire-and-werewolf thing out for a while now. First there is Song of the Sea, now this:

The Moon and the Sun (2015)

Plot summary: King Louis XIV's quest for immortality leads him to capture and steal a mermaid's life force, a move that is further complicated by his illegitimate daughter's discovery of the creature.

It stars Pierce Brosnan as Louis XIV, and Fan Bingbing as the mermaid.
tempestsarekind: (excuse me what)

… …
… … …

…can anyone explain to me how Almereyda took the cross-dressing romance Cymbeline, with its central female character of Imogen, and turned it into the dudeliest thing ever to dude? (If you manage not to blink, you can just about see her after she's cut off her hair and dyed it, so I guess it's nice to know she's in there somewhere. Just not, you know, important or anything.)

UGH. And it doesn't even look interesting. Like, "ho hum, drug kingpins, shooting people, driving around in old cars, haven't seen that before! This is a new and fascinating look at a world that no one ever puts on screen!"
tempestsarekind: (rory and amy)
I should probably have a secondary tag "it's hard out there for a comedy," but oh well. An article from February 2014 that was linked in a recent Slate piece about the dominance of men's and boys' stories in movies:

I'm thinking about this slightly more than usual because I did two related things recently: I finished watching all of the episodes of Selfie that ABC put up on Hulu after canceling the show; and then, having felt the pangs of Karen Gillan-romcom withdrawal, rented Not Another Happy Ending on iTunes. Only one of these was really worth doing: I thought John Cho and Karen were delightful together on Selfie, and watching them develop a funny friendship was lovely. Not Another Happy Ending, on the other hand, was a romantic comedy in which the leads almost never shared scenes: there were two major scenes that should have been about interaction between them, to show us why we ought to root for them to get together at all, and the first one was a montage set to peppy pop music, while the second was drowned out by a pop ballad. In both scenes, instead of being able to hear anything of how they interacted - especially odd because the conceit of the film was that the male lead was supposed to "get" Karen's author character and provide her with excellent notes on her writing - all we could hear was someone else singing about something, as though the filmmakers didn't trust their own script, or the actors, enough to believe that their interactions would come across as convincing. Of course, not having any interaction at all in those scenes (at least not any audible ones) was even more unconvincing…

I know that romantic comedy relies heavily on a sort of alchemy between the material and the leads, and that mysterious thing known as chemistry - but why would you shoot yourself in the foot before you even had a chance by making decisions like that one?

(There was so much about this film that would have been so much better if they'd bothered to tell us anything about anything! Karen's character - Jane - has a broken relationship with her father because he abandoned her, and I guess she wrote about this in her first novel; then her father shows up at one of her book signings and they just…hug it out, like, "I haven't seen you in years, Dad, but that's fine"? I could have understood a story where Jane was so afraid that he might leave again that she wasn't willing to say anything, but they didn't really tell that story, or any other story, beyond a couple of part-for-the-whole anecdotes that didn't really work. Then Jane spends most of the movie hallucinating Darsie, the heroine of the new novel she's writing…which I guess is supposed to have some connection to Jane's life or something, but since no one ever tells us what this novel is about, or what kind of character Darsie is, that subplot goes absolutely nowhere. It's the strangest thing. Why would you expect any of this to have meaning if you left out any of the actual details and character development?)
tempestsarekind: (branches and fairy lights)
Somehow I only just found out about this film yesterday, but my first reaction was an excited cry of "Selkie movie! Selkie movie!:

And it's by the director of The Secret of Kells, which I really enjoyed, so that's a plus as well. But then it turned out that Lisa Hannigan, whose music I love, is providing one of the voices, so it's like they keep adding things to look forward to!

It appears that the film has premiered in Europe and is coming to a film festival in New York City later this month, but I haven't found any details yet about a wider release. I only found out about The Secret of Kells after its Oscar nomination and watched it on DVD, but perhaps there will be a wider theatrical release for Song of the Sea.
tempestsarekind: (regency house party [s&s])
So, before I get started, here's a review of Belle that I don't like or agree with much:
"In 'Belle,' a complex life tangled in class and commerce"

If you like Jane Austen film adaptations and/or period drama more generally, I think you should go out and see Belle if it's playing near you. And obviously I can't tell anyone what to do, but if this is the kind of thing that interests you, then I think it's worth going out to see it in the theater if that is within your means - voting with your wallet and all that - rather than waiting to catch it on DVD or Netflix. Personally, having done it yesterday*, I think it was very much worth the money, and also, Gugu Mbatha-Raw has the kind of vividly expressive face that is just made for closeups. I thought the whole thing was moving and immersive, with a script that was spare but still containing a real sense of eighteenth-century cadence, and Gugu did a fabulous job.

*I got home yesterday at about ten minutes to six, took my shoes off, ate a spoonful of peanut butter and two dried apricots while I tried to figure out what I was going to make for dinner - and then abruptly remembered that Belle was opening at my local cinema that day. It turned out that there was a 7:05 screening, so I ran back out to catch it. Happily, the theater was mostly full by the time the movie started.

As I sat there waiting for the movie to start, I amused myself by trying to imagine the kinds of ways that people might discount this movie. It was going to be "too much like other period pieces," I imagined, too much like Jane Austen, not big or significant enough to be a worthy film. And sure enough, check out the end of this review:
While the basic outline of Belle's story is real, the filmmakers have invented freely within that outline, and most of what they've invented has the themes and tone of vintage Jane Austen — dowries, deceptions, suitors only some of whom are suitable. This has the effect of making the film feel elegant but a little weightless despite the weighty matters at its center.

Still, it's smartly acted, handsome and well-crafted in a way that'll make it irresistible to the Merchant-Ivory/Masterpiece Theater set — think pride, with a whole lot of prejudice.

Got it in one, guys. (This is literally the first review of the film that I pulled up.) Because you can't tell a story about slavery without showing whips and chains and suffering black bodies; because a film set in drawing rooms can't ever matter as much as one out on the open seas; because apparently the fact that women of color rarely if ever get to be the heroine of Austen-style period dramas has totally escaped this reviewer's notice. (This was in fact the director's point, but whatever.) Because everyone knows there's only one way to talk about race in the movies, and race is always the only thing that could matter to characters of color: how could Dido (the way "Belle" is referred to in the film) be concerned with…finding a husband? That paltry subject? How could she want to find the personal happiness that everyone else might want when there is slavery on the line???

[Here is an interview with the director, Amma Asante, that is *not* tone-deaf and infuriating:
“I wanted to ask the question, ‘Who defines us — society or ourselves?’ ” Asante says. “If society simply sees her as the child of a slave but she feels like the child of an aristocrat, what is the most important predictor of her success?”

I also probably shouldn't be as annoyed as I am about the fact that this review calls Dido a "slave girl" raised in an aristocratic family when the movie tells us in, like, minute two that Dido was born on British soil - and hence not a slave, ever - but I AM, anyway. It's like the desire to fit this movie into the particular expected boxes turned the reviewer selectively deaf. This movie is *so* much about class and status as well, not just about race - it's almost like intersectionality is an actual thing, you guys! One of the major points of the movie - I don't think this was true in actual fact - is that Dido is able to inherit 2000 pounds a year from her father after his death, because he acknowledged her while he was alive, whereas her white cousin was penniless - and that meant that in that ruthless marriage market of the eighteenth century, there were people who would see Dido as the catch, even if they felt they had to "overlook" her color; this is a plot point as well. Dido's great-uncle/adopted father (Lord Mansfield, played by that period-drama stalwart Tom Wilkinson) is terribly angry when his new law student tells Dido about the slavery-ship case that he's struggling with, because as far as he is concerned, slavery should never have to matter to her: she is a Murray, and you are the son of a vicar, how dare you even speak to her! (This is, of course, naive and infantilizing; but the point is that for Lord Mansfield, Dido's color is really not the salient fact in some ways, though of course not all. And the Black servant Mabel highlights this point: she's a servant (not a slave; Dido asks pointed questions about this when they go to the house in London), not because of her color, but because in the 18th-century English aristocratic mind, some people are servants and some people are lords - they have plenty of white servants as well. But it's like there's so little frame of reference for this reviewer to imagine a Black character in a pre-1900 period film who is *not* a slave that this just passed him by.

And I do think that this attitude has ramifications beyond this one film - because there are certain kinds of Black experiences that are considered "authentic," and some that are not, regardless of whether there are actual people who live them (someone on TV - et tu, PBS! - called The Cosby Show less "authentic" than Good Times in a documentary just the other day); because people still think there were basically no Black people in the UK before the 1950s (guess who's still mad at Downton Abbey for importing a Black character from the US instead of challenging that view and finding a character from right there at home? Go on, guess). Et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum. (To say nothing of the continued stupidity of claiming that the concerns that governed women's lives in the past are weightless. How dare you.)

Anyway, you should go see Belle, because Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a delight, and it's got lovely costumes, and it's romantic (because yes, figuring out whom you are going to spend the rest of your life with is a pretty big deal when you can't get a divorce and can't own your own money because you're a gentlewoman and so can't have a job; and even if that weren't the case, people have relationships and therefore stories about those relationships are important), and I cried a bunch of times, and maybe if enough people go see this movie, maybe someday I will get my Benjamin Banneker biopic, or - no disrespect to 12 Years a Slave or the real lives that inspired it - at least some other pre-1900 period drama that isn't about a slave, because I still think it's totally fishy that Hollywood overlooks the many people of color, even in slave-holding societies, who lived in the past and weren't slaves.
tempestsarekind: (too wise to woo peaceably)
And this is why I love Linda Holmes:

"Romantic comedy, like some of the activities in which it ideally culminates, is something too many people believe they can do well with little effort."

Sing it, sister. All of those "why are romantic comedies so bad these days" articles could probably be boiled down to exactly this: the people making those romantic comedies think that the genre is easy. After all, all you have to do is put two people into a contrived setup, have them argue a little bit, add a pause for meaningful glaring, then have them kiss! Then contrived obstacle, then big gesture of winning the other person back, then kissyface and jazz hands! Give it a title that's a commonplace saying or part of a song lyric, like Till There Was You, and you're done!

None of those things are bad in and of themselves (after all, any genre has its repeated conventions), but if you treat the conventions as a paint-by-numbers formula, you get insipid and lackluster movies. Sometimes you can save a film with the charm of the leads, but if you can't get your "best" talent to work in the genre because nobody respects it and comedies don't win Oscars, then even charm is often in short supply. (My favorite actors almost never do films in my favorite genre. This makes me deeply sad.)

Anyway, has anybody seen any good (relatively recent) romantic comedies lately that I should know about?
tempestsarekind: (amy and roranicus)
Having Tam Lin feelings about Amy and Rory again, send help

I just - she loves him so fiercely and stubbornly that she remembers him back into the universe, and then is prepared to love him until he's human again (hold me fast and fear me not); she tears apart time for him; she's ready to do battle for him against creatures that want to take him out of time and away from her, with nothing more than her will... oh, Amy Pond, darling girl, no one told me you were going to choose to casually live inside one of my favorite narratives; I was not prepared for you.

This is one of the reasons it bothers me when people argue that Amy choosing Rory is automatically misogynist, that Amy is a passive character - as though "love" isn't also a verb, an action; as if it isn't terribly hard and brave; as if learning the kind of trust and faith that love requires isn't a major part of Amy's arc. As though telling stories that center around love is always sexist, no matter how they're actually executed, because love is weak and all girls in stories should fight with weapons and with fists; anything "less" is less than feminist.

In other media thoughts...I was looking at the book The Art of Brave a few weeks ago, and one of the people who wound up working on the movie said he was initially hesitant, because it was a princess movie (ugh, girls), and that mother-daughter relationship territory had been covered so often... Except, no? Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Jane from Tarzan: all father-daughter stories. (Mulan was the first Disney girl in ages to even *have* a mother; but all the big emotional scenes are between her and her father.) There are plenty of princesses who have wicked stepmothers, but that's really not the same thing. I guess there's a little bit of mother-daughter stuff in The Incredibles? Maybe? Non-animation, there's Gilmore Girls, and...Freaky Friday? Maybe I just watch the wrong stuff, but I'm drawing a blank on stories where the mother-daughter relationship is really central. (There are family shows like Joan of Arcadia and Parenthood with various important familial relationships, mother-daughter being one; that's good, but also not the same.) There was that Ya-Ya Sisterhood movie, I guess, but the mother-daughter relationship seemed (in the bits of it I saw on tv) like the frame narrative rather than the central story. And Anna Quindlen's One True Thing (the movie was kind of terrible, but I loved the book for quite a while. I wonder how I'd feel if I went back to read it now). I'm sure there are tons of books where mother-daughter relationships are key, but my point is that I don't think this is actually a narrative that's being done all the time in prominently visible media, like, oh, you can't swing a cat without hitting a mother-daughter story, let's not do another one of those.

And then I tried to come up with mother-son stories, and came up really empty there too. Tarzan, I guess, and The Iron Giant, and maybe Treasure Planet, not that I ever saw that one. I don't actually watch Teen Wolf, but gifsets on the internet suggest that the main wolf character has a good relationship with his mom? (Honestly, this is the first thing I've heard about the show that made me want to watch it. The life of a girl who loves supernatural creatures but has no interest in vampires, werewolves, and zombies, it is a hard life.) I saw a book at the library once about how our culture often sidelines and even stigmatizes close mother-son relationships (the term "momma's boy" is *not* a compliment), just at the moment when boys are going through all kinds of hormonal, emotional drama and need more support, not to be told that they're men and need to "cut the apron strings" or whatever - I spent a good while flipping through the book, although I have no memory of what it was called - and that came to mind while I was utterly failing to compile any sort of list.
tempestsarekind: (TARDIS plus angels)
So I guess Richard Curtis' film About Time is due to come out soon (time-travel romcom), so the Guardian put together a list of "top 10 time-travelers" that led to the following YouTube link for an entire series, Goodnight, Sweetheart, about a man who pops back and forth between his present and the WW2 era, to...cheat on his wife in the past, I guess?:

And a related piece (spoilers for About Time, though mild ones - nothing you wouldn't know if you'd already seen the trailer):

(what's interesting about this is that while it might be largely true of film, it doesn't really hold true for TV, and it's definitely not true for books, especially children's/YA ones.)

The piece briefly mentions an anime film that I really liked and ought to watch again, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time - with, I think, the unfair remark that the heroine "doesn't have a choice" and so it doesn't really count. Lots of time-travelers travel inadvertently, including some of the male travelers she mentions (Henry from The Time Traveler's Wife, for example). I think you can go two ways: determined, purposeful time travel (usually via machine), or scary, inexplicable natural or magical phenomenon (time-slip) - and you're doing different things depending on the method you choose. The first is often about exploration, experimentation, or prevention: what happens to time if you do this? what was history really like? can you kill Hitler, or stop the rise of the robots?

The second is often more philosophical and self-oriented: what is time, exactly? what happens to me if I stay here? what makes me who I am? how can I relate to other people meaningfully if I'm hurtling through time, or if they're dead long before I was ever born? where do I belong? Obviously there's overlap - especially if your time machine breaks down or your ride can't pick you up - but I see at least the beginnings of a dividing line.

Which is - and I was doing surprisingly well at not making this about Doctor Who - one of the things I really like about the Weeping Angels, because in a narrative where time travel is often quite controllable*, the Weeping Angels cause anarchic time travel; they force the victims to deal with that second batch of questions, as they're ripped out of their own lives and deposited into the past. (This is also why I love the two-parter "Human Nature/Family of Blood," especially that scene with Martha outside the pub in 1913, gazing up at the stars and clinging to the hope that she'll be back out among them with everything she's got: what happens to her if she has to stay there? If her self-identity as a doctor gets completely dismissed because she's Black and a woman? The historicals are often my favorites, because of the clash of present and past - "Vincent and the Doctor" for the win, for always - but I love "Human Nature" particularly because it's about staying in the past for a long period of time, not just touching down for an adventure and then hopping away again.)

*Insert joke about the Doctor's terrible driving skills here. Or, if you prefer, the exchange from "The Doctor's Wife": "You didn't always take me where I wanted to go!" "But I always took you where you needed to go." But as long as he has the TARDIS, no matter where the Doctor winds up, he's not really in any danger of not being able to get away and go someplace else.
tempestsarekind: (world in peril? have some tea)
I have now seen the first movie since Bend it Like Beckham in which I genuinely liked Keira Knightley: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. This lends some credence to my ongoing theory that she's actually been horribly miscast as a "period drama" actress. And I liked the fact that her character is a wacky optimist but doesn't become a manic pixie; I hesitate to say that it's because the film was written and produced by women, but...

Anyway, I enjoyed the film; I thought it was funny and sweet and sad.
tempestsarekind: (excuse me what)
Sigh. I watched Leap Year the other day, and I knew, I just *knew* that it was going to be bad, but I thought that maybe at least an actor that I like, Matthew Goode, would get the chance to be charming in it. But of course, it turned out to be one of those romantic comedies where the male lead is a jerk for no reason, for basically the first hour of the film, and for some reason filmmakers are under the misapprehension that this is a good basis for a film whose outcome is supposed to be that the leads fall in love with each other.

And people always cite Austen, like these films are just part of a long lineage of jerk heroes who are irresistible to women, but that's actually what doesn't happen in Austen. Darcy is kind of a jerk, and Elizabeth is totally not having it, and then Darcy goes, "whoa, maybe I should stop being a jerk" (or, more properly, "maybe I should behave in a more gentleman-like manner"), and *then* Elizabeth starts to be interested in him. Emma and Mr. Knightley disagree archly about things, but it's always clear that they like and respect each other. (Don't mind me; I'm just perpetually over in a corner, clutching my face and wailing about "Your father will not be easy; why do not you go?") Henry Tilney is a total sass-face, but he's always kind to Catherine, even after she basically accuses his dad of murdering his mom. Edward Ferrars is an awkward little teapot who's engaged to another woman, but not a jerk, and Edmund Bertram trips over his own earnestness at regular intervals, but even when he's in love with someone else, he always loves and values and praises Fanny Price. I guess Wentworth is occasionally a tiny bit of a jerk to Anne, at first, but you know, there's a *reason* for it, since she broke his heart - which I'm not saying should give a guy the right to be a jerk, just that he's not being horrible to strangers for no reason, which is what seems to happen so often in romcoms. (And of course Wentworth actually does several nice things for Anne as the novel progresses, so.) It's like the people who make these movies once heard a garbled version of P&P and decided that the takeaway was "Step 1: insult a girl. Step 2: profit." And watching that, over and over again, just makes me feel frustrated and kind of deflated, like, *this* is the vision of romance we're supposed to aspire to? This is it? Because the underlying problem with this isn't *just* that I don't see how I'm supposed to root for a couple when I can't stand the male lead; it's that it gives us such an impoverished view of what romance and love are supposed to be. I've said this a million times, and I'll go on saying it; the most romantic line in P&P is "For herself she was humbled; but she was proud of him." It's not about some supposedly overwhelming "passion" or "attraction" that means that it doesn't matter what kind of guy he is or how he treats you or other people, because you can't *help* it, you're just *drawn* to him. It's about respect and esteem and all those words that romantic Marianne shudders at in S&S - all the stuff that is the basis of something so much more interesting than hitting the halfway point in your script and suddenly flipping the switch that says it's time for these characters who couldn't stand each other to suddenly have feelings for each other, because they *argued*, right, that must mean that they're secretly into each other! Look at all that passion! That's what romance is! Forget the kind but bland fiance; everyone knows there's gotta be a *spark*! We don't need common interests or civil conversations, just that *feeling*!

There's a scene in this movie, as there often is, where the leads have to pretend like they're married. And the film doesn't do *anything* with this premise, except to stage an excuse for someone to badger the "newlyweds" into kissing (because passion! Sparks! If you wanna know if he loves you so, it's in his kiss!). And I just thought, what a *waste*. Can you imagine what this would be like, if this were between two characters who had been forced into an awkward situation but who seemed to like each other? Who picked up the pretense and both decided to *play* with it, and with each other? Who tried on the roles of husband and wife and thereby learned something about each other and themselves and their fledgling relationship? Who, I don't know, crazy thought, had *fun* in each other's company? It could have been *awesome*. And instead it was just nothing, because all they did was kiss, and suddenly all the rancor between them was supposed to have just gone away. And by the end of the movie, when you're supposed to feel like they're a couple, all they could do was parrot little catchphrases from their car trip at each other, because they didn't have anything else in common. And it just makes me so *mad*, because I love romantic comedy (when you tell people you want to write a dissertation on Shakespeare's comedies, they think you're interested in capital-C Comedy, and want to know why you're not writing about city comedies or The Merry Wives of Windsor - but the thing is, it's the romantic comedies, the ones that are about interpersonal relationships, fathers and daughters, and cousins as close as sisters, as well as soon-to-be husbands and wives, that I care about). And I would like to watch some good ones, because the genre *does* actually have great roots; recent romcoms are NOT bad because the genre is stupid or full of repeated conventions. (Action movies are also full of conventions. Westerns are full of conventions. Bond films are full of conventions. Horror movies are full of conventions. That's what genre *is* - a sensibility, a set of concerns, and repeated conventions.) But they seem, persistently, to get made by lazy people who just don't care about the format.
tempestsarekind: (henry tilney would SO write fanfic)
Two concurrent thoughts:

1) Oh man, oh man, I really don't want to see this, it looks like that awful "Regency House Party" reality show, only worse.

(I am still mad that this was the only one of these shows to be a stupid matchmaking stunt, when all the others are living history exercises. Also, I tried to read the first few pages of Austenland once and shoved it back on a shelf when the heroine was all, "yeah, yeah, Austen's novels are fine and all, but really it's about the love story! From the miniseries! And Colin Firth!")

2) But...but...but it's JJ Feild! Curses, they have hit upon my weakness! (It is a known fact that I can't see him without crooning. This counts for Captain America and episodes of Miss Marple as well as Northanger Abbey.)
tempestsarekind: (martha + ten + TARDIS)
Watching films I've had out from Netflix since May...

Finally got around to watching Looper, which would have easily been ten to fifteen percent better as a film if they hadn't put Joseph Gordon-Leavitt in those awful prosthetics. (Because, yeah, I'm watching a movie about time-travel assassins and random telekinesis, but the thing I'm going to be thrown by is whether JGL looks enough like he could grow up to be Bruce Willis. *That's* what's going to shatter the conceit.) It's not good when looking at the main character is actually unpleasant, and that's not supposed to be the case. Mostly I'm just grumpy about the movie, because it had a lot of the ingredients to make a fun, interesting time-travel story, but decided instead to be about futuristic manpain, only with a character I didn't even care about. Twice.

(Actually, it reminds me a bit of how much I hated Inception - "dream a little bigger, darling" doesn't work when no one making the movie is - and also, that thing where a female character only exists for a boring hero to have wistful flashbacks about, although I guess at least Marion Cotillard's character got a first name and some dialogue, so it can always get worse.) (Since I can't remember a single name from this movie except Ariadne, I'm assuming she had a name, but I could be wrong.)

Just - it's the future, right? Could we maybe have something more interesting than the same old tired gun battles and explosions? And no, putting them at funny angles doesn't count, Inception.

I liked Robot & Frank, though, although it did suffer a bit from that weird delusion people seem to have that libraries are just places with books in them. (One of the side plots is that these future hipsters are closing the library - which has no computers or anything in it, somehow, and of course no one ever goes there except Frank - in order to turn it into a "community space," which in the actual world is redundant, which you would know if you'd been to a library recently.) I mean, I get it, the movie is about memory and obsolescence, so it's ~thematic~, but bleh anyway.

Also, Netflix has decided from these two movies that I am interested in "critically-acclaimed crime dramas," which I find inordinately amusing. Er, no. Way to miss the point there, Netflix.
tempestsarekind: (gilmore couch potatoes)

"You can apparently make an endless collection of high-priced action flops and everybody says 'win some, lose some' and nobody decides that They Are Poison, but it feels like every 'surprise success' about women is an anomaly and every failure is an abject lesson about how we really ought to just leave it all to The Rock."

And of course, this could just as easily apply - only even more so, perhaps - to protagonists of color as well.
tempestsarekind: (Default)
You know, it occurs to me that if I never see another movie that makes a parallel between a nature program and a character's sex life, it will in fact be too soon.

Also, I learned today that I have very little patience for statements like, 'oh, I just don't think he's at an age to read books with a girl main character,' even when I love the person making the comment. If you never even offer boys books with heroines, you are in fact teaching them by omission not to read them!

Posted via m.livejournal.com.


tempestsarekind: (Default)

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