thedeadparrot: (meditation)
(posted by on May. 27th, 2017 06:18 am)
(or maybe just enough?)

Saw Moonlight for the first time last night. I've been waiting on seeing it, mostly because I wanted to be in the right mood for it. It's such a lovely, aching thing. Quiet and understated. Full of unspoken things. The sound design is fantastic. I think I wanted the ending to have more of a punch, but maybe it's better that it drifts off the way it does. The most amazing thing about it is that it's pretty much the opposite of Oscar bait, and yet.


In more fandom-focused topics, I saw a survey about ways of financially supporting fan creators on Twitter and I'm still trying to process my reaction to it. I am a creature of the gift-economy fandom. In some ways, this conversation is a sign of just how far the wider internet fan communities have come that we now do have mechanisms and models for supporting creators in ways that still mean that their content is still freely available. Probably spearheaded by dudes who are far more shameless when it comes to asking for money, but that's another post and conversation for another day.

I'm glad these models do exist, and I'm glad that creators who want or need that support can get them, whether it be through commissions or Patreon or tips or what have you. But I don't think it's ever going to be something I do for myself, whether it's paying into someone's Patreon or opening myself up for commissions. And to some degree, I know this is my privilege talking, because I'm pretty financially stable right now, and I have a work/life schedule that allows me to indulge in numerous hobbies at my leisure. But I would feel uncomfortable, having the pressure on me to provide work to the people who are giving me money, and it would feel uncomfortable to me to know that other people would feel pressured to write things for me because money changed hands.

And, I dunno. I feel fundamentally like I am happy to write for the feedback I get. Or, well, post for the feedback I get. *eyes up fic hoard full of wonky first drafts* And I feel like making that the basic exchange that happens for my writing makes everything simpler. Everything gets uglier when money gets involved.

In conclusion: WILL WORK FOR COMMENTS AND KUDOS. PLS INQUIRE WITHIN.
thedeadparrot: (batman begins)
(posted by on Feb. 12th, 2017 04:37 pm)
It was delightful, ridiculously self-aware and meta, but with a genuine heart at the center of it.

I was having a good Saturday already, but seeing it with [personal profile] bironic made it all the better. :DDDD

Talk to me if you've seen it as well.
thedeadparrot: (oracle)
(posted by on Jan. 8th, 2017 08:54 am)
So I went to go see it last night, and A+, enjoyed it quite a bit, but I also had a lot of thoughts about it that I figure I might as well articulate here, while I'm trying to be more active on DW.

spoilers? )
thedeadparrot: (saving the world)
(posted by on May. 8th, 2016 06:53 am)
I'm kind of ambivalent about this one. It has a lot of things to do, and it does them all very well, but it doesn't feel like a movie? It feels more like a machine.

Or maybe here's a better metaphor: It juggles about 20 different character arcs and storylines, and it even juggles them effectively. But like watching a skilled juggler, I came away from it entertained and impressed but not moved.

And maybe that shallowness is okay. It's definitely spurred me to go look for MCU fic, and it might actually spur me to go write some more. There are emotional arcs to be fleshed out and empty spaces to be colored in. That's always been fandom's job in the past. Maybe it's okay that it continues like that into the future.
thedeadparrot: (boston)
(posted by on Dec. 3rd, 2015 07:15 pm)
for [personal profile] escritoireazul
(I'm happy to take more topics!)

This is so tough for me to say because I consume a lot of media and I hate ranking things. So here's a list of 5 things I have enjoyed a lot over the past year! I will most assuredly forget things or leave things off that I will totally regret not mentioning earlier. Anyway, I'm just going to talk about what I liked about these things without caveats, even though they're imperfect and flawed.


Sense8

This show was such a breath of fresh air! It's so easy for scifi/genre entertainment these days to be cynical and grimdark, and I'm no exception to that. It's so refreshing to have a show that is unabashedly humanist. It's not all sunshine and flowers. The world can be ugly and imperfect, too, But it's a show that believes human beings are worth caring about, that we can be better than we are. It's such a lovely and powerful message.


Jessica Jones

I noped out of Top of the Lake because it was so dismal and so bleak. I complained to a bunch of friends that I was sick of stories about 'men doing awful things to women'. I wanted more stories of 'women doing things'. And this is that show for me. It's all about women having agency, struggling to make correct decisions, even when the villain is the embodiment of a lack of agency. I loved the way the metaphors and the genre trappings fit together perfectly. I loved how many different types of female relationships and female characters are portrayed. I loved that it was a story about recovery not revenge.


Ms. Marvel (vol 1.)

It's a fairly standard 'girl gets powers, has to figure out how to use them and also how to maintain a secret identity', but it's done with such verve and detail and sweetness that I can't help but love it. The handling of Muslim identity was great. It taught me things I didn't know anything about. And I loved that I could see plenty of my teenage self in Kamala.


Magic Mike XXL

This movie is full of contradictions for me, but I can't help but be entertained by it anyway. Where the first movie is split between its desire to be gritty and real and also dirty-fun entertainment, this one throws out all the gritty realness in favor of going all-out on the dirty-fun entertainment. And strangely enough, it's a much better movie for that.


Inside Out

I am generally a sucker for Pixar, and this was just such a warm, heart-wrenching story of growing up, told in a delightful way. I legit cried like a baby in the theater because the emotions were so visceral to me. It makes its argument that we need to learn to be whole people, to embrace all the flawed, imperfect sides of ourself and use that knowledge to grow and become better. It doesn't make this journey easy. It's one of the hardest things in the entire world. And this movie is all about how difficult and how painful it can be and how rewarding it can be if you can succeed.
thedeadparrot: (Default)
(posted by on Oct. 8th, 2015 06:30 pm)
Amazing how much media you can consume when you're stuck on planes for 20-some-odd hours. Mostly off the cuff because I should be sleeping right now.


Ancillary Justice

I started this last year during Christmas break but couldn't quite get into it. When I first read it, I was only good at following one storyline at the time, and the present-day stuff was easier to follow, even if it was slower and less interesting. This time around, I was more able to track what was happening in the flashbacks, and the story started pulling together. I enjoyed it quite thoroughly, though I think I'm less enraptured with it than some of the other people I know. Definitely willing to continue reading the series. Not sure when I'll have a chance.

I think my favorite bit of this story was trying to intuit the way the other characters relate to and feel about Breq through Breq's POV.

The gender stuff didn't quite work for me the way it did for a lot of other people. I didn't care about gendering characters because the POV character didn't.


Spy

As advertised, a fun, feminist tweaking of James Bond films. I just wish it was smarter. Jason Statham's casting was inspired, and he got the biggest laughs out of me.


Pitch Perfect 2

Pleasant enough and hits the usual story beats for a sequel to an underdog sports movie. Still feels like it's trying to be Glee, over-the-top offensive humor and all.


Mr. Robot

Only saw the first 4 eps, because those were the only ones available.

This show is interesting to me because I am still trying to figure out if I want to watch the rest of it. It's definitely one of the most accurate shows about computers/technology/hacking that I've seen. It's also definitely a kind of wish fulfilment show for socially awkward nerd-dude hackers.

But it's a lot more nuanced and sharp than it needs to be. It's a show that is incredibly deliberate about the compositions of its shots and calls attention to it. Rami Malek is riveting to watch in his stillnesses, which is always impressive. The Robin Hood story at the center is a lot more complex than it first appears.

The treatment of the women bothers me a lot. With a few exceptions, they're forced to the outside, where things are done to them and they aren't allowed to do anything besides be emotional support for Elliot.

Masters of Sex

Only watched one episode of this (episode 3), and I enjoyed it? There's a lot of stuff tossed into the mix here, and it's serialized enough that I feel like I barely got a taste of it. Even with how up-front it is about its subject matter, it feels more prurient and voyueristic than, say, Sense 8. I think I'll have to give it a few more episodes before I can draw a real conclusion about that.
thedeadparrot: (flying)
(posted by on Jul. 11th, 2015 08:22 pm)
I was extremely delighted by this movie! I saw it with some other fangirls, and while there wasn't a lot of people in the audience (matinees are like that, I guess), there was at least one woman in the row behinds us also cackling with laughter and joy.

The first movie was very much split down the middle in a lot of ways, like it was two different movies welded together in a way that didn't quite fit. This movie is about taking the side of that movie that was more enjoyable (hint: it involved dancing boys) and throwing itself headfirst into that.

The first movie was so sad, so full of sleeze and misery, and this movie is so joyful. You can see how they're connected, but you can also see how the filmmakers decided to pivot for this one. And I think ultimately, they pivoted towards talking about women, which is odd in a movie where most of the characters are men. Here, women are allowed to have voices. In the first movie, there was Mike's love interest, who remained the only female character with a voice and personality. The women who existed in the crowd scenes only expressed their interests and voices by throwing dollar bills and occasionally were dragged onstage to be dry-humped. They're still dragged onstage and dry-humped, but now they're asked about what they want, who they are. Mostly, anyway.

The scene with Andie McDowell looked so cringeworthy in the trailers, an older woman who needs to taught how to get her groove back with a bunch of strippers, but it's played so much smarter. She's so active and present and in control of it.

But there's definitely an oddness to the movie and the way it treats female pleasure. M mentioned that it's a fantasy universe in which rape doesn't exist, and I think that's the simplest way of describing the confusing contradictions at the center of the movie's attitudes towards sex and gender. I think Tasha Robinson's essay on the movie's take on female pleasure expands on that idea really well.

Still, though. This is a movie about the joy of entertaining, of making people feel good through your art. I've never been much of a live performer, but I know the little hit I get when someone comments on my fic with smiley-faces. So that felt very real and happy-making to me.

(Also, on a shallow note, I'm really glad they got Twitch to join the crew as probably the only other person on the cast who can match Tatum as a dancer. And hoo boy, did they look good dancing together.)

Other takes on this movie that I have enjoyed:

Film Crit Hulk's complete adoration for it
thedeadparrot: (silent sigh)
(posted by on Jul. 4th, 2015 06:50 pm)
So you probably haven't heard of this movie, because I hadn't heard of it either. But Beyond the Lights is a show-biz romance movie, and despite how terrible it sounds on paper, it's actually rather good. (You can find it on Netflix and/or on Amazon. Amazon has it at 99 cents to rent!)

Here's the synopsis: Fake-Rihanna almost commits suicide and then falls in love with the LA cop who saves her life.

Like I said, sounds terrible on paper.

But it's a lot better than that. The movie plays all of the melodrama in a low-key, understated way. The actors are great and turn in lovely performances and have great chemistry. There's a feminist streak to the whole proceedings, trying to explore the ways in which the recording industry uses women without being heavy-handed about it. It's a romance between too black characters in a movie made by a black woman (she also did Love & Basketball!).

And in the end, for all that the romance is sold to be front and center, it's a story of self-determination, about learning how to find yourself when everyone else is trying to control what you are.

It feels a little like a good fanfic in a lot of ways. It goes through the predictable motions of a romantic drama, but it goes through those motions with enough skill that it doesn't drag everything down, and adds a lot of interesting character development and nuance and care on top of it. It's not a mind-blowing, revolutionary movie, but it's good enough that I'm sad that I'd never heard of it, and I think that other people would enjoy it too.

Here, have a trailer:

thedeadparrot: (need for speed)
(posted by on Jun. 20th, 2015 05:42 pm)
I'm still kind of a blubbering mess over this movie, so bear with me.

So, I have to admit that I have a heart of stone and don't really cry over movies or TV. I didn't even cry over Up, okay? Sure, it was a super sad movie, and I felt sad while watching it, but I didn't cry.

This movie made me cry.

So I guess I will answer [personal profile] bironic's question about whether or not the movie did a good job for advocating for sadness as an emotion, and I would say that it's actually the central thesis of the movie. When the other emotions try to prevent sadness from getting a say in Riley's life, everything breaks down and the main plot begins.

What I also find interesting about the thesis is that it also feels like a statement of purpose from Pixar, that the reason their movies turn us into blubbering messes is because feeling sad, genuinely sad, is as important to us as feeling joy.

other thoughts, no spoilers )
thedeadparrot: (meditation)
(posted by on May. 31st, 2015 03:23 pm)
My parents were in town this weekend, but I got to avoid all the awkward annoying stuff by having them go with me to an open house at a yoga studio. I'd never done a proper yoga class before, though I'd tried out a few online videoes from time to time but hadn't gotten off my ass to properly start doing it.

My body is, probably understandably, very ow right now. My mom got to indulge in her favorite hobby, which is buying me clothes. At least I have a chance of wearing them? And now I can be guilted into going to class and doing yoga now that I have outfits for it? Also, I think I am the only person in the world who doesn't see yoga pants as lounging-around-the-house-wear. I always feel like my thighs are getting strangled by them.


I am still meditating. Still working on it!


Fic work is continuing! I am now approaching 11k, and I am powering through my plot points. There are still a lot of plot points left. I have been mostly unproductive during the week and ridiculously productive on the weekends. I occasionally am convinced that I will never finish it, even though I'm past the halfway mark.

As part of fic 'research' ah-hem, I went and watched Cruel Intentions, which was kind of interesting.

Non-spoilery thoughts:
- There is a character named Blaine (who is canonically queer -- also a drug dealer) who interacts with a character named Sebastian and they both go to an expensive prep school, and now I am reading a fic where Blaine and Sebastian hook up. If you squint sideways, you can almost imagine that it's Glee fanfic instead.
- Speaking of which, the queerness in the movie is so odd. It exists in that weird in-between place, where queerness is acceptable enough to be shown in a trashy teen soap opera of a movie but still transgressive enough to be considered edgy and risqué.
- I wish Ryan Phillippe were a better actor, because his Sebastian always sounds so flat about everything. Also, he has a baby Justin Timberlake face, which makes it even harder to take him seriously.
- On the other hand, the ladies killed it, especially Sarah Michelle Gellar and Reese Witherspoon.
- The race stuff in this movie is occasionally sharp, but mostly it's weird.
- The love story is hilariously truncated because they wanted to put a lot of time on Teenagers Behaving Badly. It is so difficult to find it convincing. SO DIFFICULT.
thedeadparrot: (need for speed)
(posted by on May. 23rd, 2015 04:42 pm)
I finally got to see it after hearing a lot about it (perhaps too much about it). Overall, I enjoyed it a lot. The worldbuilding is impressive. The action is tense. The emotional stakes are well drawn. It feels deeply fearless, in ways that blockbuster movies rarely are these days. There are a lot of women involved! Of all different types!

But I guess my expectations weren't set in the right place, because I'm not as impressed by it as other people are.

more spoilery thoughts )


On a completely unrelated note, I am not sure how I feel about continuing to watch Game of Thrones, but everything about this fake Game of Thrones musical (written by Coldplay) is hilarious:

thedeadparrot: (flying)
(posted by on Apr. 5th, 2015 08:52 pm)
Furious 7. What can I actually say about these movies that other people haven't already said? They're everything all at once. They unabashedly embrace everything. Gigantic explosions, ridiculous car scenes, absurd human body tricks, portentous dialogue, full-throated emotion. I've started writing some fic. It's not going to be good, I don't think, but I guess I'm going through one of those weeks where I kind of have given up on writing for any other reason than to get the feelings out.


Somewhat tangentially related, I also watched Step Up All In today, which I feel like has embraced Fast and Furious's model of constantly trying to be bigger and better and accidentally, over the course of 5? 6? movies, creating a minor mythology for itself. It's a lot less ambitious in terms of storytelling than the Fast and Furious movies are, which is a bizarre thing to say, but it knows the joy of a simple story told right and the power of pure spectacle. Similar to how in the F&F franchise, everything can be solved by adding more cars to it, everything in the the Step Up series can be resolved by dancing more.


As fun as Step Up All In was, it was a pretty bog standard competition storyline, except even more thinly put together than usual to make room for extended dance sequences. I am still curious about Step Up: Revolution, in which they battle the evil forces of capitalism by dancing at it.
thedeadparrot: (going places)
(posted by on Oct. 29th, 2014 09:20 pm)
There are movies that stick with you, even if they are not so good. The Adjustment Bureau is one of those movies for me. I saw it for the first time a couple years ago, and I was just thinking about it again, so I guess I'll word vomit about it a bit.

you really don't care about this, honest )
thedeadparrot: (oracle)
(posted by on Jul. 23rd, 2014 09:19 pm)
So there's a movie about Alan Turing coming out featuring Burgerking Chowderpants, and here is a trailer for it.



I have some thoughts on this, insofar as it looks like the most boring prestige piece that could be made about Turing's life. I have a deep resentment over the fact that it looks like it's been made for the express purpose of winning lots of Oscars. I hate the crying and the screaming. I hate the overwrought music. I hate the focus on WWII. I hate the fact that they'll most likely turn him into some sort of tragic queer character who will barely kiss or hold hands with a dude in the movie.

It always surprises me to hear people say that Alan Turing is some sort of figure that's been lost to history. I know that this is from a very particular (computer scientist) perspective, but he's got his name over pretty much all of computer science. Oh, Turing machines? That's him. Oh, Turing completeness? That's him, too. Oh, the Turing test? Him again. We haven't forgotten him. I don't think we ever really will.

His contributions to computer science are huge, and they're important, and it's not the sort of thing that plays nicely on the big screen. Looking at this movie, all I can see is the ways in which they can overstate and fail to capture what really makes his work so impressive. His contributions are pretty much pure math, not engineering. I'm not sure how much they'll acknowledge this.

It makes me sad that we're going to get A Beautiful Mind II: Now With More Code. Look at this Great Man Nerd who does Nerd Things! Look at how he defeats the Nazis! Look at him invent the computer! Look at him die so tragically! Now will you give us all the awards? Please?

Sigh. Let me know when the Ada Lovelace or Grace Hopper get their own movies, though.
thedeadparrot: (crouching tiger)
(posted by on Jul. 13th, 2014 01:17 pm)
I haven't posted much here because of busy-ness -- work-busy-ness and life-busy-ness (omg, who would have thought that buying property would be a lot of work?), but here are things that I have been thinking of:



Snowpiercer! I saw the movie this Thursday with friends. I feel like, after reading some of the reactions online, people either have really positive or really negative reactions to it.

I'll try to keep my own thoughts brief and spoiler-free. I think I fall into the 'positive' camp overall, but that's not without ambivalence and caveats. There's good acting, great art direction, and tiny bits of interesting and fun worldbuilding that is like crack to my brain. But overall, it's heavily metaphorical in ways that highlight the weakness and inconsistencies of the premise rather than papering over them and making them palatable. There's a dreamy fairy-tale quality to the whole thing that's at odds with its attempts at gritty honesty.

Overall, I think the best thing I can say about it is that I would like us to have more movies that are like this. Movies that are ambitious and wild with their ideas and unafraid to push them to their limits, even if they do fall down a little at the end.



There's this game article that I read a while back, Games, Noir, and the 17%, that has stuck with me. Not because it's about this particular game (L.A. Noire) but because how it addresses the way women have disappeared from our media and how we have become accustomed to being disappeared, not just from the foreground, from the leading roles, but from the background as well.

Er, I don't feel like I'm explaining this very well. Just go read it.



World Cup final tonight! I am less excited about the game itself and more excited about my super swanky cream soda, chocolate-covered peanut-butter-stuffed pretzels, and the homemade meatballs my friend promised to make for me. Nomnomnom. The only that could make this better is chicken wings.

Also, how much do I love that the US team is known as the USMNT? SO MUCH.



I have spent a lot of my free time video gaming. XCOM is like crack. Oh look, aliens! Oh look, aliens go boom! Watch me as I cackle as my sniper headshots a fun-loving muton IN THE FACE. Watch me curse as my assault trooper misses hitting a stupid drone thing with its shotgun! So much tasty turn-based wackiness.
thedeadparrot: (shatner bullshit)
(posted by on Jun. 5th, 2014 07:02 pm)
[personal profile] merisunshine36 wrote a review of Silver Linings Playbook that reminds me of all the reasons why I couldn't finish watching it because it made me so angry. It's pretending to be deeper and edgier and more thoughtful than your average romcom, but really it's all about how terrible it is to be a guy who nearly kills another guy in a jealous rage and is in the process of stalking and harassing his ex-wife. Why shouldn't a guy like that find love with Jennifer Lawrence again? (On the other hand, Jennifer Lawrence convinces him to join a ballroom dance competition with her by promising him that she'll take a letter to said ex-wife that he's stalking while knowing that he's obsessively stalking his ex-wife, so maybe they really do deserve each other.)

Seriously, fuck everything about that movie.
thedeadparrot: (angel alley)
(posted by on May. 26th, 2014 06:42 pm)
It was a good enough movie in its own respect, but it was also chock full of Charles/Erik feelings (as both old people and young people!), and that is all I wanted from it. Love still can't save them in the end! Except for when it kind of does!

I might want to see it again. I also might want to start writing fic in this fandom again. We will see.
thedeadparrot: (flying)
(posted by on Apr. 5th, 2014 08:21 pm)
I saw the Captain America 2 today with a bunch of fangirls. It was pretty great and extremely fun.

I have lots of thoughts because this is what I do.

spoilers in scattered though format )
thedeadparrot: (flying)
(posted by on Dec. 15th, 2013 11:01 am)
I had a very fantabulous dinner + Man of Steel hatewatch last night. I knew the movie was going to be bad, but my anger was mollified by the good company and the delicious food.

I also went back and found my long rambling entries from, um, seven years ago, about Superman (and Batman) after Superman Returns and I was a much less jaded and bitter fangirl back then. I think Superman Returns has plenty of flaws (some of which are repeated in Man of Steel), but I still have some fondness for it, since it feels like a movie made with love. Man of Steel feels cold, for all that we get sad, angsty expressions from Henry Cavill. It doesn't feel calculated and commercial, but it does feel more like an intellectual exercise than an emotional one. I want my Superman movies to be filled with joy. Ripping off Terrence Malick in place of actual emotional depth will only get you so far.

Also, it would be more convincing as an intellectual exercise if anything made sense.

At least they didn't knock up Lois Lane with Superman's kid and then have him run out on her? Small mercies, man. Small mercies.
.

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