naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Sargon finally got me to go see Avatar in IMAX 3-D.

The varied reactions I had read around the internet and my f-list had prepared me for the philosophically objectionable elements, so I was not surprised, only exasperated. However, the fits of exasperation lasted no more than a few seconds, until the next awesome thing came on screen.

If you are going to see this movie, see it in 3-D, and if you can possibly do it, see it in IMAX. I have never in my life had an experience like that. I have never seen anything like it. I was completely and utterly blown away. I was in tears, parts of it were so beautiful, and so real. Even if you know you will find the themes offensive -- which I knew, and which I did -- it is worth seeing. It is that amazing.

I hate movie theaters, I hate long movies, I hate sitting next to other people, I hate things on my face, I hate being out of the house for more than a few hours, I hate having to listen to people eat popcorn and candy, I hate waiting for the movie to start, and I hate paying for the "pleasure" of putting up with all that crap.

I did not care about any of these things. I was riveted. I barely moved or blinked. And I will gladly endure all of those things I hate again, just to see it one more time. I would have gone to see it again immediately, except that I was hungry and thirsty and sort of punchy from the sheer spectacle.

I can only assume that most of the people seeing it and saying "meh, it's okay" didn't see it in IMAX 3-D. That's all I can think. Because I just don't see how it's possible to pan something that looks this fantastic.

I have no problem with people raising legitimate concerns about the movie's themes, and in fact I think we should discuss those things, but I do not understand completely dismissing something this groundbreaking and incredible. It should be criticised. Absolutely. There are things very, very wrong with it, and those things should not be overlooked or dismissed just because this is an unparalleled example of what special effects can do when mixed with first-rate art design.

I wish it had handled things better than it did. I wish it had not done many of the things that it attempted to do and failed to pull off. In many ways, I wish it was a different movie. And yet I can't hold any of its deficiencies against it as it exists in the 3-D theater. Once it comes out of the theater, there will be much less to recommend it, so see it while it's there. Dear god, if you are going to see it, see it big, see it in 3-D, even if you have to drive to do it.

I am displeased with how deeply it played on the myths of the "noble savage." I said pretty much everything I want to say about that here on Sargon's post picking apart the Noble Savage thing.

I dislike the way the mercenaries were portrayed. Within the metaphor of the movie, these men were clearly the stand-in for The Military. Not only were their tactics unsound (they had to be or there wouldn't have been a movie, I realize that) but they were portrayed as total bastards. I really dislike hamhanded attacks on the military and on war itself. I know, that is very conservative of me. It's still how I feel. I don't appreciate one-sided hating of the military -- which is how this will be interpreted -- when it was actually big business that was the real villain here.

I am not a big fan of the peaceful, nature-loving angle. Yes. Peace is nice, nature is beautiful, but the extent to which they carried this rapidly became annoying and insulting to my intelligence. I am too acquainted with human nature and with nature itself to have much stomach for that kind of thing. Nature isn't peaceful. Humans aren't peaceful. Closer to nature does not mean closer to moral center. Peaceful does not mean morally superior.

I do not appreciate a physical handicap being used as a metaphor for "life sucks" when that is not how actual disabled people necessarily or even usually feel about their actual disabilities. Jake's individual situation is understandable; yes, for him, this thing has fucked up his life in a major way. It's terrible for him. He is miserable about it, but stoic (a Good Cripple™). It's not that I don't believe that this has made his life worse. However, the fact that this kind of thing is used all the time in movies to represent some other aspect of the human condition is unacceptable, as is the fact that the Miracle Cure™ is almost never far behind. Disability is not a metaphor for precious authors and filmmakers to use to make their point, any more than race is.

And this movie does that with race as well, using a white guy as the identification character and then using race (species) to represent that white person's struggle to find belonging. And once more, a white guy becomes the crux of an interracial conflict, and the plot hinges on his ability to fix everything. What these folks need is a white guy. Human beings have been destroying and conquering for our entire history. That sort of story will always be relevant. But the ways in which we tell that story are often deeply problematic.

All of this is standard movie fare, so typical we don't often stop to think about how not okay it is to take someone's identity and use it as a symbol in some other metaphor, instead of treating things evenhandedly and respectfully. This is the thing I most expect people to tell me I'm wrong about or am misunderstanding, which is largely going to be because I'm not really expressing myself very well on this point, but I suppose that's a chance I will have to take. It just rubbed me the wrong way.

Like Brokeback Mountain, which I maintain was a gay movie for straight people, this is a movie about race for white people. Only it doesn't do this as well as Brokeback Mountain did. It's possible to tell this sort of story well, it is. I don't even hate this kind of story. I love John Carter of Mars, and dread the day that that movie comes out and people start tearing into it just for being what it is. The thing is, this story has been done a million times. No one movie is the offender, this movie is not the offender, it's all of them together. I would like to see a movie that did things differently, I would like to see this story and also lots of other stories. I would like to see stories that focused on the experiences of disabled people and people of color as characters instead of focusing on them as visible symbols of difference.

It was a beautiful movie, beyond beautiful. It was heartbreakingly pretty. I can't overlook that, nor do I think it should be overlooked. But I don't think its deficiencies should be overlooked either.

I could go on for hours about the amazing, beautiful parts of it. All the moments I jumped and shied because I had forgotten that what I was seeing was not real. How beautiful -- calculatedly so -- the Na'vi were, how real, and how if they hadn't been ten feet tall, they would have been unbearably fucking adorable, what with their little ears and cute their noses. The landscape, so Roger Dean meets Gilbert Williams, more beautiful than anything I had ever imagined, which is really saying something because I spend about 3/4 of my time imagining beautiful things. That this was all done in the service of a plot that was not groundbreaking or challenging in any way is unfortunate.

It's really a mixed blessing. I think it'll change things about the movies, change how they are made. And so it's my hope that because this has proven so popular, this technology and this level of skill and artistry will eventually be used in the service of a story that is worthy of it.

ETA: To address two things.

First, yes, I do think it sucks that some people aren't able to see the 3-D, or cope with the side effects, so that basically, this movie is accessible in its intended format only to those who are not only sighted, but have a certain kind of sightedness, and furthermore, a certain kind of visual processing that doesn't make them seasick just watching it. I wish this weren't an issue. That I am recommending people see this in the theater in 3-D doesn't mean I am disrespecting people for whom that won't work, and it doesn't mean that I think that nothing needs to be done to make entertainment more accessible. There's a huge discussion to be had about art and technology and accessibility, but I'm not having it here, now. It's just too big.

Second, I realize that some of my wording doesn't really hold up. Rather than go back and change it, which I never like doing because I don't like hiding my fuckups, I will just say that if you personally don't want to see it because you cannot overlook the major issues this movie has, I respect that. I don't mean to imply that such objections aren't important, or that I think one should overlook them. What I said above, however, was more or less the opposite; it came across as privileged in a way I did not intend, and I apologize for that. I do not believe that one should put aside one's feelings about the negative elements entirely, simply for the sake of something that is pretty. That is not what my actual words said above, though, because I put my foot in my mouth. So, if I offended you by saying something stupid, I apologize for expressing myself poorly and basically saying something that contradicts my own values. It is often a manifestation of privilege to be able to ignore the problematic elements of something. While everyone has different basic tolerances for that sort of thing, it's a thing that's made easier the less of it you have to deal with -- and that means privileged folks usually don't have as hard a time with it. I have a combination of high basic tolerance and privilege. I apologize for speaking from that place. I can't apologize for thinking the movie is visually amazing, and I can't apologize for the fact that for me personally the visuals outweighed the negatives of basically the entire plot. I confess I can't come up with much of a reason to see it without the IMAX 3-D, however, and that is because I find the content largely unsupportable.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Sargon finally got me to go see Avatar in IMAX 3-D.

The varied reactions I had read around the internet and my f-list had prepared me for the philosophically objectionable elements, so I was not surprised, only exasperated. However, the fits of exasperation lasted no more than a few seconds, until the next awesome thing came on screen.

If you are going to see this movie, see it in 3-D, and if you can possibly do it, see it in IMAX. I have never in my life had an experience like that. I have never seen anything like it. I was completely and utterly blown away. I was in tears, parts of it were so beautiful, and so real. Even if you know you will find the themes offensive -- which I knew, and which I did -- it is worth seeing. It is that amazing.

I hate movie theaters, I hate long movies, I hate sitting next to other people, I hate things on my face, I hate being out of the house for more than a few hours, I hate having to listen to people eat popcorn and candy, I hate waiting for the movie to start, and I hate paying for the "pleasure" of putting up with all that crap.

I did not care about any of these things. I was riveted. I barely moved or blinked. And I will gladly endure all of those things I hate again, just to see it one more time. I would have gone to see it again immediately, except that I was hungry and thirsty and sort of punchy from the sheer spectacle.

I can only assume that most of the people seeing it and saying "meh, it's okay" didn't see it in IMAX 3-D. That's all I can think. Because I just don't see how it's possible to pan something that looks this fantastic.

I have no problem with people raising legitimate concerns about the movie's themes, and in fact I think we should discuss those things, but I do not understand completely dismissing something this groundbreaking and incredible. It should be criticised. Absolutely. There are things very, very wrong with it, and those things should not be overlooked or dismissed just because this is an unparalleled example of what special effects can do when mixed with first-rate art design.

I wish it had handled things better than it did. I wish it had not done many of the things that it attempted to do and failed to pull off. In many ways, I wish it was a different movie. And yet I can't hold any of its deficiencies against it as it exists in the 3-D theater. Once it comes out of the theater, there will be much less to recommend it, so see it while it's there. Dear god, if you are going to see it, see it big, see it in 3-D, even if you have to drive to do it.

I am displeased with how deeply it played on the myths of the "noble savage." I said pretty much everything I want to say about that here on Sargon's post picking apart the Noble Savage thing.

I dislike the way the mercenaries were portrayed. Within the metaphor of the movie, these men were clearly the stand-in for The Military. Not only were their tactics unsound (they had to be or there wouldn't have been a movie, I realize that) but they were portrayed as total bastards. I really dislike hamhanded attacks on the military and on war itself. I know, that is very conservative of me. It's still how I feel. I don't appreciate one-sided hating of the military -- which is how this will be interpreted -- when it was actually big business that was the real villain here.

I am not a big fan of the peaceful, nature-loving angle. Yes. Peace is nice, nature is beautiful, but the extent to which they carried this rapidly became annoying and insulting to my intelligence. I am too acquainted with human nature and with nature itself to have much stomach for that kind of thing. Nature isn't peaceful. Humans aren't peaceful. Closer to nature does not mean closer to moral center. Peaceful does not mean morally superior.

I do not appreciate a physical handicap being used as a metaphor for "life sucks" when that is not how actual disabled people necessarily or even usually feel about their actual disabilities. Jake's individual situation is understandable; yes, for him, this thing has fucked up his life in a major way. It's terrible for him. He is miserable about it, but stoic (a Good Cripple™). It's not that I don't believe that this has made his life worse. However, the fact that this kind of thing is used all the time in movies to represent some other aspect of the human condition is unacceptable, as is the fact that the Miracle Cure™ is almost never far behind. Disability is not a metaphor for precious authors and filmmakers to use to make their point, any more than race is.

And this movie does that with race as well, using a white guy as the identification character and then using race (species) to represent that white person's struggle to find belonging. And once more, a white guy becomes the crux of an interracial conflict, and the plot hinges on his ability to fix everything. What these folks need is a white guy. Human beings have been destroying and conquering for our entire history. That sort of story will always be relevant. But the ways in which we tell that story are often deeply problematic.

All of this is standard movie fare, so typical we don't often stop to think about how not okay it is to take someone's identity and use it as a symbol in some other metaphor, instead of treating things evenhandedly and respectfully. This is the thing I most expect people to tell me I'm wrong about or am misunderstanding, which is largely going to be because I'm not really expressing myself very well on this point, but I suppose that's a chance I will have to take. It just rubbed me the wrong way.

Like Brokeback Mountain, which I maintain was a gay movie for straight people, this is a movie about race for white people. Only it doesn't do this as well as Brokeback Mountain did. It's possible to tell this sort of story well, it is. I don't even hate this kind of story. I love John Carter of Mars, and dread the day that that movie comes out and people start tearing into it just for being what it is. The thing is, this story has been done a million times. No one movie is the offender, this movie is not the offender, it's all of them together. I would like to see a movie that did things differently, I would like to see this story and also lots of other stories. I would like to see stories that focused on the experiences of disabled people and people of color as characters instead of focusing on them as visible symbols of difference.

It was a beautiful movie, beyond beautiful. It was heartbreakingly pretty. I can't overlook that, nor do I think it should be overlooked. But I don't think its deficiencies should be overlooked either.

I could go on for hours about the amazing, beautiful parts of it. All the moments I jumped and shied because I had forgotten that what I was seeing was not real. How beautiful -- calculatedly so -- the Na'vi were, how real, and how if they hadn't been ten feet tall, they would have been unbearably fucking adorable, what with their little ears and cute their noses. The landscape, so Roger Dean meets Gilbert Williams, more beautiful than anything I had ever imagined, which is really saying something because I spend about 3/4 of my time imagining beautiful things. That this was all done in the service of a plot that was not groundbreaking or challenging in any way is unfortunate.

It's really a mixed blessing. I think it'll change things about the movies, change how they are made. And so it's my hope that because this has proven so popular, this technology and this level of skill and artistry will eventually be used in the service of a story that is worthy of it.

ETA: To address two things.

First, yes, I do think it sucks that some people aren't able to see the 3-D, or cope with the side effects, so that basically, this movie is accessible in its intended format only to those who are not only sighted, but have a certain kind of sightedness, and furthermore, a certain kind of visual processing that doesn't make them seasick just watching it. I wish this weren't an issue. That I am recommending people see this in the theater in 3-D doesn't mean I am disrespecting people for whom that won't work, and it doesn't mean that I think that nothing needs to be done to make entertainment more accessible. There's a huge discussion to be had about art and technology and accessibility, but I'm not having it here, now. It's just too big.

Second, I realize that some of my wording doesn't really hold up. Rather than go back and change it, which I never like doing because I don't like hiding my fuckups, I will just say that if you personally don't want to see it because you cannot overlook the major issues this movie has, I respect that. I don't mean to imply that such objections aren't important, or that I think one should overlook them. What I said above, however, was more or less the opposite; it came across as privileged in a way I did not intend, and I apologize for that. I do not believe that one should put aside one's feelings about the negative elements entirely, simply for the sake of something that is pretty. That is not what my actual words said above, though, because I put my foot in my mouth. So, if I offended you by saying something stupid, I apologize for expressing myself poorly and basically saying something that contradicts my own values. It is often a manifestation of privilege to be able to ignore the problematic elements of something. While everyone has different basic tolerances for that sort of thing, it's a thing that's made easier the less of it you have to deal with -- and that means privileged folks usually don't have as hard a time with it. I have a combination of high basic tolerance and privilege. I apologize for speaking from that place. I can't apologize for thinking the movie is visually amazing, and I can't apologize for the fact that for me personally the visuals outweighed the negatives of basically the entire plot. I confess I can't come up with much of a reason to see it without the IMAX 3-D, however, and that is because I find the content largely unsupportable.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
I thought I should warn you about Night Watch.

Just in case Netflix decides not to publish my review, here is an enhanced version complete with the profanity I was forced to cut.

If you liked this movie, I suggest you skip this. Reading it might lead you to argue with me, which would forever tarnish my assessment of your sentience and call into question your qualifications to breathe oxygen.

I do not understand the people falling all over themselves to worship this movie. It's like watching a pack of otherwise intelligent people fall down to worship the face of Christ on a burned cheese sandwich. They are seeing something that plainly isn't there, and how they have deluded themselves into believing otherwise is a mystery both utterly foreign and completely terrifying to me. It makes me question my faith in humankind.

This movie is bad. In fact, this incomprehensible pile of cinematic sewage is not even redeemed by its badness, like Blade Trinity. Its incoherence is rivaled only by the worst anime I have ever seen, and its visual appeal is about on a par with Jean Reno's nutsack. Its awfulness could not be rendered watchable even by a full MST3K makeover and intercut scenes featuring Tom Welling furiously jerking off onto Jessica Biel's shoulder muscles. By the end I was literally swearing and moaning aloud in pain, and afterwards both Sargon and I were forced to make horrible use of the bathroom in some sort of displaced self defense reflex.

A complete lack of anything resembling a coherent plot is the primary crime here, followed by an utter dearth of interesting or sympathetic characters, compounded by a cinematic style that renders what was already a disjointed, weak storyline into an attention-deficit fueled exercise in pure viewer willpower. In service to a good story with likeable characters, the cinematography would have been interesting, but story and character failed completely leaving nothing at all for the viewer to hold on to.

It is the gom jabbar of vampire movies. It exists only to cause pain. The only reason to watch it is to see if you are brave enough to make it all the way through.

The main character was not quite as appealing as a lump of rancid cheese tied into a filthy gym sock and soaked in pig's bile. Even if he had been attractive, which he so was not, he still would have had all the charisma of a cold rectal thermometer. At every turn, I wished fervently for his gruesome death. Specifically, I wished for the werewolves from Underworld -- itself a textbook lesson in how to make a good bad movie -- to come onscreen and bite his face off, beginning with his horrid lips, before urinating into his empty eyesockets.

I would say the movie took itself too seriously, but it was not even coherent enough to deliver the ponderous, ham-handed sort of over-preaching that one usually sees in movies convinced of their own superiority. No, that would require some level of plot-related activity and not a random diarrhea of vaguely-related ideas and images. Taking yourself seriously requires that you make a point and then illustrate it. This movie could not have illustrated suppository instructions. It did actually aim for humor and a sort of over-the-top action appeal, but failed utterly. Not funny, not entertaining, and we're not caring.

The underlying "good vs. evil" theme is fundamentally hackneyed, especially when combined with the tropes of "prophecy" and "magical kid," but in the hands of a competent writer it can still be handled in an entertaining way. It is, however, an uphill battle on the best of days. This movie staggered about like a drunk, and like that same drunk falling down and passing out in a puddle of his own sick, this movie never wandered far from its starting point. Bad from start to finish.

I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone watch it for any reason. If you want a good horror movie, I advise you to watch anything else (except The Host, which also fucking sucked). If you want an entertainingly bad horror movie, you would be better off with any Hammer movie ever made.

Watching roadkill decompose provides more riveting fare.

For those of you inclined to defend it, well, sorry. You can say you liked it and I won't gainsay you, I like a lot of things that frankly suck, but a good movie it was not. I would prefer to watch the remake of The Fog a dozen times rather than revisit this tripe even once, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
I thought I should warn you about Night Watch.

Just in case Netflix decides not to publish my review, here is an enhanced version complete with the profanity I was forced to cut.

If you liked this movie, I suggest you skip this. Reading it might lead you to argue with me, which would forever tarnish my assessment of your sentience and call into question your qualifications to breathe oxygen.

I do not understand the people falling all over themselves to worship this movie. It's like watching a pack of otherwise intelligent people fall down to worship the face of Christ on a burned cheese sandwich. They are seeing something that plainly isn't there, and how they have deluded themselves into believing otherwise is a mystery both utterly foreign and completely terrifying to me. It makes me question my faith in humankind.

This movie is bad. In fact, this incomprehensible pile of cinematic sewage is not even redeemed by its badness, like Blade Trinity. Its incoherence is rivaled only by the worst anime I have ever seen, and its visual appeal is about on a par with Jean Reno's nutsack. Its awfulness could not be rendered watchable even by a full MST3K makeover and intercut scenes featuring Tom Welling furiously jerking off onto Jessica Biel's shoulder muscles. By the end I was literally swearing and moaning aloud in pain, and afterwards both Sargon and I were forced to make horrible use of the bathroom in some sort of displaced self defense reflex.

A complete lack of anything resembling a coherent plot is the primary crime here, followed by an utter dearth of interesting or sympathetic characters, compounded by a cinematic style that renders what was already a disjointed, weak storyline into an attention-deficit fueled exercise in pure viewer willpower. In service to a good story with likeable characters, the cinematography would have been interesting, but story and character failed completely leaving nothing at all for the viewer to hold on to.

It is the gom jabbar of vampire movies. It exists only to cause pain. The only reason to watch it is to see if you are brave enough to make it all the way through.

The main character was not quite as appealing as a lump of rancid cheese tied into a filthy gym sock and soaked in pig's bile. Even if he had been attractive, which he so was not, he still would have had all the charisma of a cold rectal thermometer. At every turn, I wished fervently for his gruesome death. Specifically, I wished for the werewolves from Underworld -- itself a textbook lesson in how to make a good bad movie -- to come onscreen and bite his face off, beginning with his horrid lips, before urinating into his empty eyesockets.

I would say the movie took itself too seriously, but it was not even coherent enough to deliver the ponderous, ham-handed sort of over-preaching that one usually sees in movies convinced of their own superiority. No, that would require some level of plot-related activity and not a random diarrhea of vaguely-related ideas and images. Taking yourself seriously requires that you make a point and then illustrate it. This movie could not have illustrated suppository instructions. It did actually aim for humor and a sort of over-the-top action appeal, but failed utterly. Not funny, not entertaining, and we're not caring.

The underlying "good vs. evil" theme is fundamentally hackneyed, especially when combined with the tropes of "prophecy" and "magical kid," but in the hands of a competent writer it can still be handled in an entertaining way. It is, however, an uphill battle on the best of days. This movie staggered about like a drunk, and like that same drunk falling down and passing out in a puddle of his own sick, this movie never wandered far from its starting point. Bad from start to finish.

I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone watch it for any reason. If you want a good horror movie, I advise you to watch anything else (except The Host, which also fucking sucked). If you want an entertainingly bad horror movie, you would be better off with any Hammer movie ever made.

Watching roadkill decompose provides more riveting fare.

For those of you inclined to defend it, well, sorry. You can say you liked it and I won't gainsay you, I like a lot of things that frankly suck, but a good movie it was not. I would prefer to watch the remake of The Fog a dozen times rather than revisit this tripe even once, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest.
naamah_darling: Picture of a treasure chest with a skull and crossbones on top. My art! (Artistic)
Just a heads-up. The drawing for the Palimpsest map boxes I made for the release of [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna's book Palimpsest is still up, and will be up until Monday.

Each is filled with goodies. Signed books, jewelry, perfume, chocolate, and more. C'mon, you know you wanna.

There are two boxes, and two ways to win. All you have to do is post about the book, link to it on Amazon, and email Cat with a link to the post. You can also buy the book and email her with a proof of purchase. Both ways will get you entered.

More details are here.

What are you getting?

Map Boxes 01

These are big boxes. Eleven inches across, seven inches high, and six inches front to back, with an interior depth from the bottom to the lip where the box opens of four inches.

They are painted durably with acrylic washes and covered with matte and satin sealer for a slightly weathered effect. The hardware is antiqued with a faux-verdigris glaze and then sprayed with a strong fixative.

Map Boxes 13

Go for it while you have the chance, folks! It's free to enter by linking, and there is no requirement that you have a huge journal readership or anything. Can't beat something for free.

(Coyote skull and pirate treasure not included. Them's mine.)
naamah_darling: Picture of a treasure chest with a skull and crossbones on top. My art! (Artistic)
Just a heads-up. The drawing for the Palimpsest map boxes I made for the release of [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna's book Palimpsest is still up, and will be up until Monday.

Each is filled with goodies. Signed books, jewelry, perfume, chocolate, and more. C'mon, you know you wanna.

There are two boxes, and two ways to win. All you have to do is post about the book, link to it on Amazon, and email Cat with a link to the post. You can also buy the book and email her with a proof of purchase. Both ways will get you entered.

More details are here.

What are you getting?

Map Boxes 01

These are big boxes. Eleven inches across, seven inches high, and six inches front to back, with an interior depth from the bottom to the lip where the box opens of four inches.

They are painted durably with acrylic washes and covered with matte and satin sealer for a slightly weathered effect. The hardware is antiqued with a faux-verdigris glaze and then sprayed with a strong fixative.

Map Boxes 13

Go for it while you have the chance, folks! It's free to enter by linking, and there is no requirement that you have a huge journal readership or anything. Can't beat something for free.

(Coyote skull and pirate treasure not included. Them's mine.)
naamah_darling: Picture of a treasure chest with a skull and crossbones on top. My art! (Artistic)
Catherynne M. Valente's Palimpsest came out today. I now have a copy sitting under the cat right next to me. I also have something to share with you.

Boxes!

Cat asked me to make these, so I did.

Map Boxes 01

Cut for awesome. )

Map Boxes 12

These aren't for sale, no, but you can win them.

Buy book, win box!

From [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna's journal: "If you link to Palimpsest in your journals any time in the next week, send me a link and I will enter you in a drawing to win a Palimpsest Immigration Package -- one of these, made by [livejournal.com profile] naamah_darling. Each of these contains a signed copy of the book, a complete line of the Starborn Alchemy Palimpsest scents, a Palimpsest pendant, an original piece of jewelry by [livejournal.com profile] upstart_crow, a set of Palimpsest-inspired chocolates by the owner of Habeas Brulee, and many more goodies. There are only two of these in existence: email me the link to your post to be entered for one; send me a receipt showing you've bought the book to be entered for the other!"

It is true. There are only two of those. These are special, and I want them to stay special, so I won't be doing any like them for a good long time, y'hear? I also want one of you to wind up with one. I would love that. You are my friends, I love you guys.

More information is on [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna's LJ here, along with other ways you can help spread the word. She also gives details about upcoming appearances, readings, and signings, links to some marvelous art both to look at and buy, provides icons . . . lots of good stuff there. Go check it out.

Please, spread the word. Use pics from my gallery if you want, I don't mind.

You want to know what the book is about? Here, have a trailer:



Go forth, read, enjoy, link!
naamah_darling: Picture of a treasure chest with a skull and crossbones on top. My art! (Artistic)
Catherynne M. Valente's Palimpsest came out today. I now have a copy sitting under the cat right next to me. I also have something to share with you.

Boxes!

Cat asked me to make these, so I did.

Map Boxes 01

Cut for awesome. )

Map Boxes 12

These aren't for sale, no, but you can win them.

Buy book, win box!

From [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna's journal: "If you link to Palimpsest in your journals any time in the next week, send me a link and I will enter you in a drawing to win a Palimpsest Immigration Package -- one of these, made by [livejournal.com profile] naamah_darling. Each of these contains a signed copy of the book, a complete line of the Starborn Alchemy Palimpsest scents, a Palimpsest pendant, an original piece of jewelry by [livejournal.com profile] upstart_crow, a set of Palimpsest-inspired chocolates by the owner of Habeas Brulee, and many more goodies. There are only two of these in existence: email me the link to your post to be entered for one; send me a receipt showing you've bought the book to be entered for the other!"

It is true. There are only two of those. These are special, and I want them to stay special, so I won't be doing any like them for a good long time, y'hear? I also want one of you to wind up with one. I would love that. You are my friends, I love you guys.

More information is on [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna's LJ here, along with other ways you can help spread the word. She also gives details about upcoming appearances, readings, and signings, links to some marvelous art both to look at and buy, provides icons . . . lots of good stuff there. Go check it out.

Please, spread the word. Use pics from my gallery if you want, I don't mind.

You want to know what the book is about? Here, have a trailer:



Go forth, read, enjoy, link!
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (You Fool!)
Advertising equating food with sex has started to really freak me out and piss me off.

You know, according to our would-be cultural programming we ladies aren’t supposed to indulge in either wanton fucking or wanton eating, because if we do we are in serious danger of nobody ever wanting to fuck us. But we have to indulge in a little bit of both or we aren’t any fun. If we aren't any fun, nobody will want to fuck us, and that's what we are here for. If we want to fuck back, that's a no-no, because even a little bit of cock is enough to make a person fall off the slutwagon completely.

The only safe answer is to channel our urges to fuck into our urge to eat. But not too much! Only enough to keep our appetite under control. Just until someone comes along who wants to fuck us. We just have to be careful not to eat too much, because that's not ladylike and it will make us fat, and nobody wants to fuck fat strumpets. Tiny, measured portions are totally the best substitute for the sex we would rather be having with Hugh Jackman.

Isn’t it nice that we have advertising to tell us how much fucking, food, and fun is enough? I mean, I’m a shallow consumer-zombie whore. I sure as fuck don’t have the brainpower to figure it out on my own. When I get the craving for a nice hot can of cock-and-brains, I just can't trust my appetites!

Excuse me, I have to go watch TV for three hours to see what my “getting done in the ass” forecast is.

Original version in comments at Shapely prose.
A nice takedown.
The offending product. Again.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (You Fool!)
Advertising equating food with sex has started to really freak me out and piss me off.

You know, according to our would-be cultural programming we ladies aren’t supposed to indulge in either wanton fucking or wanton eating, because if we do we are in serious danger of nobody ever wanting to fuck us. But we have to indulge in a little bit of both or we aren’t any fun. If we aren't any fun, nobody will want to fuck us, and that's what we are here for. If we want to fuck back, that's a no-no, because even a little bit of cock is enough to make a person fall off the slutwagon completely.

The only safe answer is to channel our urges to fuck into our urge to eat. But not too much! Only enough to keep our appetite under control. Just until someone comes along who wants to fuck us. We just have to be careful not to eat too much, because that's not ladylike and it will make us fat, and nobody wants to fuck fat strumpets. Tiny, measured portions are totally the best substitute for the sex we would rather be having with Hugh Jackman.

Isn’t it nice that we have advertising to tell us how much fucking, food, and fun is enough? I mean, I’m a shallow consumer-zombie whore. I sure as fuck don’t have the brainpower to figure it out on my own. When I get the craving for a nice hot can of cock-and-brains, I just can't trust my appetites!

Excuse me, I have to go watch TV for three hours to see what my “getting done in the ass” forecast is.

Original version in comments at Shapely prose.
A nice takedown.
The offending product. Again.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Lucian According to Whom?)
Hey, Underworld fans, help me out.

Included in the inserts for one of the first two movies, I remember there being a slip advertising a short comic series that was a prequel to the first movie, featuring everyone's favorite alpha male, Lucian.

I cannot find this slip.

Does anyone have it? I think it was in the case of the first movie's not-so-special edition, but cannot be sure. My special edition no longer has any inserts, so it could have been there, too. It could also have been in with the second movie, but if that's the case, I still don't have it.

Note, I'm not talking about the cheesy comic book adaptation insert they put into the second movie's case. This was a single-page slip advertising an actual short comic series. The art featured Lucian and Raze, as I recall.

I really want a scan of this insert, both sides if it has both sides, or at least I want the information on it.

I want to know if I completely missed these when they were out, or if they are the same thing as these two comics, collected in this edition, which are the only Underworld comics I can find but which do not feature any art that I recognize.

I can't find any mention of this series anywhere, and have been trying for a year or so. I'm kind of annoyed. Please send help? I don't want to ask the [livejournal.com profile] ljgenie, despite its awesomeness.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Lucian According to Whom?)
Hey, Underworld fans, help me out.

Included in the inserts for one of the first two movies, I remember there being a slip advertising a short comic series that was a prequel to the first movie, featuring everyone's favorite alpha male, Lucian.

I cannot find this slip.

Does anyone have it? I think it was in the case of the first movie's not-so-special edition, but cannot be sure. My special edition no longer has any inserts, so it could have been there, too. It could also have been in with the second movie, but if that's the case, I still don't have it.

Note, I'm not talking about the cheesy comic book adaptation insert they put into the second movie's case. This was a single-page slip advertising an actual short comic series. The art featured Lucian and Raze, as I recall.

I really want a scan of this insert, both sides if it has both sides, or at least I want the information on it.

I want to know if I completely missed these when they were out, or if they are the same thing as these two comics, collected in this edition, which are the only Underworld comics I can find but which do not feature any art that I recognize.

I can't find any mention of this series anywhere, and have been trying for a year or so. I'm kind of annoyed. Please send help? I don't want to ask the [livejournal.com profile] ljgenie, despite its awesomeness.
naamah_darling: Lucian from Underworld next to a snarling wolf. From the dark into the black, throwbacks always have to go. (Lucian Throwbacks)
For Lupercalia, I thought I'd give you an essay about blood, sex, and wolves. Seems appropriate.

I saw Ginger Snaps last night, finally, after being a bad werewolf fan and waiting way too long to see it. I really, really liked the movie. It was very sharply-scripted and incredibly funny. It hit some wonderfully dark notes without losing its deft touch. I probably will buy it.

That said, the people who have claimed that this is a masterpiece of feminist awesomeness are wrong.

This was the same nonsense we always see: sex used as a metaphor for degeneration and moral decay. The end result was more of the same body-fearing, sexuality-fearing bullshit that I'm accustomed to seeing in horror movies, and despite some sharp writing, really excellent acting, and a genuinely interesting exploration of what happens when one of a pair of friends (in this case, sisters) begins spiraling into self-destructive behavior, it brought nothing new to the table. Hey, why break with tradition now?

Coming-of-age stories for women are pretty limited. Many are cautionary tales warning of the dangers of sex and sexuality. This kind of story at least hints at pleasure-driven sexuality, which a lot of surviving women's stories do not. I'm much more likely to give a thumbs-up to a story that has the character suffer horribly for fucking than I am to give a thumbs-up to a story that shows the character being rewarded for settling down with a husband and popping out a litter after a brief excursion into adventure and free-will. To my mind, better fucking and dead than live and enslaved. Make of that what you will. At least you get that moment of freedom before you go to the bitch-whore's culturally-mandated demise.

The good things about the movie were very good.

Cut for possible spoilers and for feminist discussion. )

And now my fur has turned to skin
And I've been quickly ushered in
To a world that I confess I do not know,
But I still dream of running careless through the snow
And through the howlin' winds that blow
Across the ancient distant flow,
It fills our bodies up like water till we know.

-- Blitzen Trapper, Furr

From the dark into the black,
Throwbacks always have to go,
But now I know it's painless.

-- Tarot, Painless

I would recommend, if you want to see a very good movie that discusses these things in a more approachably female way, that you see A Company of Wolves, based on the peerless Angela Carter story of the same name. And while you're at it, reading the rest of the book in which it appears, The Bloody Chamber, is probably a good idea.
naamah_darling: Lucian from Underworld next to a snarling wolf. From the dark into the black, throwbacks always have to go. (Lucian Throwbacks)
For Lupercalia, I thought I'd give you an essay about blood, sex, and wolves. Seems appropriate.

I saw Ginger Snaps last night, finally, after being a bad werewolf fan and waiting way too long to see it. I really, really liked the movie. It was very sharply-scripted and incredibly funny. It hit some wonderfully dark notes without losing its deft touch. I probably will buy it.

That said, the people who have claimed that this is a masterpiece of feminist awesomeness are wrong.

This was the same nonsense we always see: sex used as a metaphor for degeneration and moral decay. The end result was more of the same body-fearing, sexuality-fearing bullshit that I'm accustomed to seeing in horror movies, and despite some sharp writing, really excellent acting, and a genuinely interesting exploration of what happens when one of a pair of friends (in this case, sisters) begins spiraling into self-destructive behavior, it brought nothing new to the table. Hey, why break with tradition now?

Coming-of-age stories for women are pretty limited. Many are cautionary tales warning of the dangers of sex and sexuality. This kind of story at least hints at pleasure-driven sexuality, which a lot of surviving women's stories do not. I'm much more likely to give a thumbs-up to a story that has the character suffer horribly for fucking than I am to give a thumbs-up to a story that shows the character being rewarded for settling down with a husband and popping out a litter after a brief excursion into adventure and free-will. To my mind, better fucking and dead than live and enslaved. Make of that what you will. At least you get that moment of freedom before you go to the bitch-whore's culturally-mandated demise.

The good things about the movie were very good.

Cut for possible spoilers and for feminist discussion. )

And now my fur has turned to skin
And I've been quickly ushered in
To a world that I confess I do not know,
But I still dream of running careless through the snow
And through the howlin' winds that blow
Across the ancient distant flow,
It fills our bodies up like water till we know.

-- Blitzen Trapper, Furr

From the dark into the black,
Throwbacks always have to go,
But now I know it's painless.

-- Tarot, Painless

I would recommend, if you want to see a very good movie that discusses these things in a more approachably female way, that you see A Company of Wolves, based on the peerless Angela Carter story of the same name. And while you're at it, reading the rest of the book in which it appears, The Bloody Chamber, is probably a good idea.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Warning: Death Ray)
I have finally gotten over my pissoff long enough to watch the new Casino Royale.

You are forgiven for nobody liking Timothy Dalton as Bond, and for Pierce Brosnan getting a little too old, and for not picking Ioan Gruffudd for the new Bond even though he was practically born to play the part (if you're going with sexy and dashing).

Daniel Craig is just fine. I don't think he's hot, per se -- I mean, he was hotter in The Golden Compass, what with the "Professor Daddy" thing he had going on -- but he is really charismatic, and this Bond is very scary, so . . . keep doing what it is you're doing.

Also? Eva Green is very beautiful, and she can actually act. Keep putting her in stuff.

You are not so much forgiven for the disturbing ending, which guarantees that I will never watch the last half-hour of the movie again.

Also, I have to admit . . . I'm sorta glad I don't have balls, or I'd still be coaxing them back out of my abdominal cavity. I see the new Bond franchise is not playing with the idea of sexy torture any longer. So on second thought, I'm just as glad that wasn't Ioan, thanks.

Still, net gain there, so I give you the thumbs up. That was a damn good spy movie.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Warning: Death Ray)
I have finally gotten over my pissoff long enough to watch the new Casino Royale.

You are forgiven for nobody liking Timothy Dalton as Bond, and for Pierce Brosnan getting a little too old, and for not picking Ioan Gruffudd for the new Bond even though he was practically born to play the part (if you're going with sexy and dashing).

Daniel Craig is just fine. I don't think he's hot, per se -- I mean, he was hotter in The Golden Compass, what with the "Professor Daddy" thing he had going on -- but he is really charismatic, and this Bond is very scary, so . . . keep doing what it is you're doing.

Also? Eva Green is very beautiful, and she can actually act. Keep putting her in stuff.

You are not so much forgiven for the disturbing ending, which guarantees that I will never watch the last half-hour of the movie again.

Also, I have to admit . . . I'm sorta glad I don't have balls, or I'd still be coaxing them back out of my abdominal cavity. I see the new Bond franchise is not playing with the idea of sexy torture any longer. So on second thought, I'm just as glad that wasn't Ioan, thanks.

Still, net gain there, so I give you the thumbs up. That was a damn good spy movie.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Give Blood)
Okay, this has been bugging me for years now, and sparked by a recent re-watching of Bram Stoker's Dracula, I want to end the suffering. Maybe one of youall can help me out.

I am looking for a specific vampire documentary.

When I saw it, it was no earlier than 1995, and was probably more like 1998. I know it could not have been past about 2002 or so. It is likely that it was on the History Channel, though it might have been Discovery.

It was pretty well-done, discussing the history of the vampire myth and giving some biographical details of Vlad "the Impaler" Ţepeş (aka Drăculea), but it was not specifically a biography. It also discussed modern explanations for the myth, such as porphyria.

Sounds like pretty much every vampire documentary ever made, doesn't it? Yeah, thought so.

I have one more identifying clue, though: one of the experts they consulted was an anthropologist (I think he was an anthropologist, I was too busy staring . . .). He was, if I recall correctly, Romanian, and in my recollection he was absolutely, stunningly gorgeous. He was young, pretty, clean-shaven, had very dark hair, bright blue eyes, and a disturbingly sexy little accent.

He made at most a half-dozen appearances, but I remember him to this day.

I have to find out what documentary that was. It has reached the point where the not knowing his name is driving me mad.

Can we find out what it was called so I can see about locating a copy? I want to know if I am remembering him right.

Any recommendations as to where I should post this where vampire documentary fans will see it would be most welcome, too. If I have to, I will work down a list of vampire documentaries, but I would really rather it not come to that; there's only so much voiceover a woman can take.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Give Blood)
Okay, this has been bugging me for years now, and sparked by a recent re-watching of Bram Stoker's Dracula, I want to end the suffering. Maybe one of youall can help me out.

I am looking for a specific vampire documentary.

When I saw it, it was no earlier than 1995, and was probably more like 1998. I know it could not have been past about 2002 or so. It is likely that it was on the History Channel, though it might have been Discovery.

It was pretty well-done, discussing the history of the vampire myth and giving some biographical details of Vlad "the Impaler" Ţepeş (aka Drăculea), but it was not specifically a biography. It also discussed modern explanations for the myth, such as porphyria.

Sounds like pretty much every vampire documentary ever made, doesn't it? Yeah, thought so.

I have one more identifying clue, though: one of the experts they consulted was an anthropologist (I think he was an anthropologist, I was too busy staring . . .). He was, if I recall correctly, Romanian, and in my recollection he was absolutely, stunningly gorgeous. He was young, pretty, clean-shaven, had very dark hair, bright blue eyes, and a disturbingly sexy little accent.

He made at most a half-dozen appearances, but I remember him to this day.

I have to find out what documentary that was. It has reached the point where the not knowing his name is driving me mad.

Can we find out what it was called so I can see about locating a copy? I want to know if I am remembering him right.

Any recommendations as to where I should post this where vampire documentary fans will see it would be most welcome, too. If I have to, I will work down a list of vampire documentaries, but I would really rather it not come to that; there's only so much voiceover a woman can take.
naamah_darling: Sepia picture of Heath Ledger from A Knight's Tale with the words "I Miss You." (Heath Miss You)
It was really, really nice to see Heath again. Even as the Joker. And what a performance. Jesus Christ, that was creepy. It was not him. Heath was gone. At no point, none, did he remind me of any of his characters, of himself, anything.

I want to be clear that the Joker as a screen character has never really scared me. The only version I've even liked has been Mark Hamill's Joker for the Batman animated series. But here, during the scene when they're showing the film the Joker took of the captive Batman wannabe, I actually felt identifiable fear when he snarled "Look at me!" And then, a few moments later, a tremendously disturbing laugh. His monologues were unhinged and some of them were absolutely inspired.

Any portrayal of the Joker hinges on an ability to convince the audience that you are dangerous and crazy, and could do anything at any time. You have to make therm believe you have no limits, no rules. It also hinges on being slightly funny, which can be annoying if it's played up too much, if it's too campy. Heath didn't lean. There were some funny bits, but it was almost all comedy of the "comedy is when you fall into an open manhole and die" school. And they didn't write him as stupid or as merely crazy. You got the idea that he was smart enough, had seen enough, to know exactly what kind of world he was in, and his response to it was perfectly reasonable to him, was even one that I can understand. Yet he was not made sympathetic in any way, except in as much as Joker is always sympathetic -- as the voice of our own most destructive urges.

Overall, it was a pairing of some really great plotting and scripting and a fantastic performance from an actor who had no right being that good that young.

The cinematography was intriguing, lots of circular pans to keep things off balance, and some really interesting camera work in some of the scenes with the Joker, paired with absolutely spine-wrenching music cues -- just one, long, building scream. Also very effective in selling the Joker's character.

Bale is a great Wayne and an all right Batman. The suit wears him, he doesn't wear the suit, but we'll forgive him because it's still very cool, and for me he comes way closer to being Batman than any other live-action person has. Bonus points for the appearance of the glowing white eyes toward the end. Now THAT looked right! And creepy as fuck.

There was a lot of horrific psychological stuff going on, on a purely human level, which made this a tremendously dark movie. It's not unrelieved black, but it's definitely . . . noir in spirit. And the ending sequence, with Gordon's speech, is really great. That is what Batman is about.

It had infelicities and a couple of plot holes and some truly comic-book science, but it was 95% solid storytelling. Great stuff.

I made it through the whole movie without a problem, but broke at the end when his name came up on screen. That was really hard. I know there's one more movie out there, we might get Gilliam's Imaginarium, but . . . well, this was his last completed work, and that's not an easy thing to handle.

I miss him.
naamah_darling: Sepia picture of Heath Ledger from A Knight's Tale with the words "I Miss You." (Heath Miss You)
It was really, really nice to see Heath again. Even as the Joker. And what a performance. Jesus Christ, that was creepy. It was not him. Heath was gone. At no point, none, did he remind me of any of his characters, of himself, anything.

I want to be clear that the Joker as a screen character has never really scared me. The only version I've even liked has been Mark Hamill's Joker for the Batman animated series. But here, during the scene when they're showing the film the Joker took of the captive Batman wannabe, I actually felt identifiable fear when he snarled "Look at me!" And then, a few moments later, a tremendously disturbing laugh. His monologues were unhinged and some of them were absolutely inspired.

Any portrayal of the Joker hinges on an ability to convince the audience that you are dangerous and crazy, and could do anything at any time. You have to make therm believe you have no limits, no rules. It also hinges on being slightly funny, which can be annoying if it's played up too much, if it's too campy. Heath didn't lean. There were some funny bits, but it was almost all comedy of the "comedy is when you fall into an open manhole and die" school. And they didn't write him as stupid or as merely crazy. You got the idea that he was smart enough, had seen enough, to know exactly what kind of world he was in, and his response to it was perfectly reasonable to him, was even one that I can understand. Yet he was not made sympathetic in any way, except in as much as Joker is always sympathetic -- as the voice of our own most destructive urges.

Overall, it was a pairing of some really great plotting and scripting and a fantastic performance from an actor who had no right being that good that young.

The cinematography was intriguing, lots of circular pans to keep things off balance, and some really interesting camera work in some of the scenes with the Joker, paired with absolutely spine-wrenching music cues -- just one, long, building scream. Also very effective in selling the Joker's character.

Bale is a great Wayne and an all right Batman. The suit wears him, he doesn't wear the suit, but we'll forgive him because it's still very cool, and for me he comes way closer to being Batman than any other live-action person has. Bonus points for the appearance of the glowing white eyes toward the end. Now THAT looked right! And creepy as fuck.

There was a lot of horrific psychological stuff going on, on a purely human level, which made this a tremendously dark movie. It's not unrelieved black, but it's definitely . . . noir in spirit. And the ending sequence, with Gordon's speech, is really great. That is what Batman is about.

It had infelicities and a couple of plot holes and some truly comic-book science, but it was 95% solid storytelling. Great stuff.

I made it through the whole movie without a problem, but broke at the end when his name came up on screen. That was really hard. I know there's one more movie out there, we might get Gilliam's Imaginarium, but . . . well, this was his last completed work, and that's not an easy thing to handle.

I miss him.

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