naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Mad Max: Fury Road.

Basically, what everyone is saying about it being a feminist action masterpiece is true.  And I don't think it was even written as one, which is probably the only reason it even got made.

It's a fucking amazing movie in almost every way, and I have only two criticisms of it.  One, it was an astonishingly white cast when it in no way had to be.  Two, I would like to see movies that are this feminist written by women get actually made.  And I know they are out there.  Excellent movies like this still take up space.  In an industry as resoundingly sexist, this is not surprising, nor is it okay.  But I would rather this movie get made than some other big action movie without the excellent political commentary.

I've watched the other Mad Max movies, and this one really doesn't have anything to do with them, which is fine with me, though it kind of undestandably upsets other people.  It can and quite possibly should be judged on its own.

Both leads are disabled.  Furiosa is missing part of her arm, which is never explained, just presented as how things are. and which is never made out to be a tragic thing or even much of a hindrance.  They are careful to show that it does affect how she does things but it doesn't really stop her.  Max obviously has severe PTSD and who knows what else going on, and it's not a bad depiction of the consequences of that.

It is really, really odd to talk about character development in a movie that is essentially one long chase scene, and without a lot of dialogue, but Charlize Theron as Furiosa is amazing.  Haunted, desperate, empathetic, but also incredibly stubborn, strong, brave, and levelheaded.  Absolutely the toughest person in the movie, and the coolest.  A lot of female action heroes are written as this inflexible, almost inhuman kind of tough, and if they ever crack it's because they are falling for some guy, at which point the writers almost inevitably have the character begin to make stupid mistakes (see: the Underworld series).  There is nothing like that here.  She's treated like an actual character.  There's a scene about 2/3 of the way in where the rug just gets sort of yanked out from under them, and when she wanders out into the wasteland and just loses it in this anguished scream, I actually was fighting back tears.

A lot of this movie relies on the viewer being able to fill in the blanks emotionally and understand what these women are feeling, which may be why a lot of women are all over this movie and a lot of men are just whining about it like babies who have recently pooped themselves.  Because a lot of the things it asks you to come to the table understanding are things like "What is it like to be viewed as a commodity?" and "What is it like to live with the constant threat of sexual violence?" (although the movie shows none of it, because it doesn't have to) and "What is it like knowing that the instant you disobey, your owners will go to any lengths to punish you?" and "What is it like knowing that you and your children have no future?" and "What is it like living in a culture that could take care of you but the people in power simply do not wish to?"

It isn't a movie about Max.  He's just there to witness it: he's the viewpoint character, not the protagonist.  Max mostly helps out and stays the fuck out of the way otherwise, makes a couple of suggestions, and when all is said and done, rather than stick around and be showered with glory, he just sort of fucks off, which . . . I really liked, actually.  He deserved it, and certainly they would have let him come with them, but here's the thing: he didn't feel entitled to it.  Because deserving a thing because you earned it and being entitled to something are not even remotely the same thing, and the script was obviously trying very hard to emphasize that.  It needed to, in order to make its point, which is that we should not help because we expect to be rewarded, but because it is the right thing to do.  At no point in this movie are women used as a reward for male heroism.

And at no point is there anything as clumsy as "UGH I HATE MEN MEN ARE EVIL MEN DO EVERYTHING WRONG MEN ARE TRASH PIG ASSHOLES DOWN WITH MEN UP WITH FEMINIST UTOPIA!!!"  No, it doesn't need to do any of that shit.  It just lays it right out there for you.  The closest it comes is an angry "WHO BURNED THE WORLD?"  Well, we're led to understand the apocalypse was roughly contemporary with today, and right now the people in positions of power are pretty much exclusively men and that is because of sexism.  That's not a what-if, that is an actual truth, and the movie expects you to be adult and honest enough to accept that.  So yeah, it was men who destroyed everything, at which point things devolved into some sort of horrible male power fantasy and things just kept getting worse from there.  I find this completely believable, although if such a thing happens, I don't know if it will end in awesome muscle cars and fire-shooting guitars.

And at no point is there a heavyhanded argument about "NOT ALL MEN!" between Max and Furiosa, which I have come to expect from action movies that feature a strong female presence.  Like "We'll let you have your pro-woman message, but you have to leave room for all the guys in the audience to identify with the hero, who is exempt from judgment, so that they can be exempt from judgment, too."  There is nothing even remotely approaching that conversation.

It's pretty incredible to some people that a very big, (visually) very dumb action movie manages to do all of this, but I don't think fans of action movies will find that too farfetched.  I mean, if action movies can be some of the worst offenders when it comes to reinforcing gross sexist cultural norms, shouldn't they be one of the most powerful ways to subvert them?  Hasn't the potential for that always been there?  And now we see it actually done.

I haven't seen anything like it since Sucker Punch, and Sucker Punch tried really hard (like, obviously itwas TRYING SO HARD LOOK AT ALL OUR FEMINISM) and didn't do it as well.  A lot of people saw it as the very thing that it was striking out against. 

Sucker Punch also, because of the way it ended, left me feeling like I hadn't been shown anything but the inevitability of what I already know and live with.  The fact that it got through to and deeply moved a lot of people is wonderful; I personally didn't see anything there I didn't already know.  It was very sad, but it wasn't revelatory in any way.  In that regard it was very much like those "Queers Die for the Straight Eye" movies like Brokeback Mountain, that are objectively very good, but which offer nothing new to the people like the ones they depict and which do not take the tragic narratives past the tragedy and into resolution/revolution.

Fury Road actually showed something something that is possible but has not yet come to be, so it actually has something to offer that provides hope, not just a bleak mirror with "YES, YOU'RE FUCKED" written on it in expensive lipstick.  It offered heroism to its hero, not martyrdom.

Sucker Punch is something I would show to young people and to people who want to understand but aren't quite there yet.  Fury Road is for people who are already fucking there and are sick to death of it and want to see it punched repeatedly in the face and then blown up.

Obviously if you find action movies boring it's not going to do anything for you.

I find the way it's making sexists cry about the feminist agenda absolutely hilarious.  Disgusting, too, but hilarious.

So . . . see it, if you enjoy action movies.  I want it to be successful.  I want people to see there's a market for movies like this.  I want them to get made.  I want the feminist propaganda to spread far and wide.

OF MARS

Mar. 21st, 2012 11:02 pm
naamah_darling: Spotted hyena teeth. (Teeth)
Went to see John Carter A Princess of Mars (fixed that for you).

Really, really good movie. Visually stunning, original look, excellent CGI, and just general awesomeness. It was just beautiful, and some of it shot in Dead Horse Point, Utah, which is one of my favorite places I've ever been. So, apparently I have been to Mars. Love.

I love the Burroughs Mars books, without reservation and also without pretending they are anything other than what they are. I really do love them. Like, I have gone on record as saying, and will say again, that while I do not intend to have children, ever, that nonexistent child's middle names are "John" and "Carter."

I could make legitimate criticisms of the movie, but the thing is, it's silly to complain that a movie adapted from material pulled from the most beloved planetary romance of all time -- total pulp -- is too overstated or that it's unsubtle. It is what it is, and the source material is what it is, and the two of them agree, and that's really how it ought to be, and so I won't complain. I will say that it never reminded me of Star Wars visually, which is a feat.

I will also say that the reviews can fuck off, Taylor Kitsch was perfectly fine as John Carter, accent or not. He looks gloriously sexable. One of my fondest memories of reading the books after Sargon forced them into my hands lo these many years ago was saying "So . . . you never told me that this John Carter guy is extremely hot." Which is not something that gets acknowledged about the source material, since everyone (fanboys) is busy getting excited over Dejah Thoris -- also extremely hot. I am glad that they acknowledged it here. "He's just pretty, he can't act!" is a ridiculous criticism. First, we -- as in people attracted to men -- have been suffering through pretty actresses who can't act and fugly leading men for time immemorial. That this wasn't allowed to happen here is nothing short of a fucking miracle. Second, Taylor did okay. He's charismatic, he has good physical presence and competence, he's so very hot when he's angry, he has beautiful eyes, and wow, what a gorgeous neck.

Dejah Thoris, played by Lynn Collins, was resplendently beautiful, and actually had about thirty times more character than she ever acquired over all the books. And they found a way to make her hotter: they made her a geek. They let her kick plenty of ass, and general sexist fuckery was kept to a startling minimum, especially given the source material. Lynn Collins has great presence, immense dignity, and comes across as smart enough to pull off "arch wit" without it seeming forced. Poise.

The loyal and steadfast Kantos Kan (or, since I've read the books, Kantos Who Occasionally Couldn't) got a little screen time and a lolarious moment of awesome. I'd watch James Purefoy sit and read a newspaper, so it wasn't exactly a chore, but he looked surprisingly awesome in the greco-roman-barbarian-with-henna-tattoos getup.

So, you know, when that threesome happens, I'll take a link to the fanfic, please.

Mark Strong is a great villain, and I am glad to see him getting work. Dominic West is as sleazily attractive as usual. Everyone was pretty much perfect for the roles.

It's just frustrating to me that the studio orphaned it, how it was buried before it was even born, and now it's being panned as "derivative" by incredibly ignorant people who know nothing about the genre and its history. Who don't care.

I'm sorry . . . motherfuckers, every sci-fantasy movie I have heard it compared to would not be there if not for Burroughs' books. Those books made a place for hundreds of other books, then hundreds more. The books led to movies, serials, comic books. I mean, Star Wars owes its existence to John Carter. Think of how Star Wars revolutionized the genre. Look at all the people who grew up watching those movies. Look at the merchandising empire, no matter what you think of it. Look how it's changed the way we look at movies, at trilogies. Now look at John Carter. Now look at all those movies and books you love or hate or love to hate but that exist in such wondrous and sometimes appalling multiplicity. Now look at John Carter. And show some fucking respect. Dude was there in 1912. One hundred years ago.

If you are a fan of the source material, see it. It's a treatment that honors, not exploits. If you aren't, well, I honestly have no idea how it would seem to someone who had never read -- or who didn't love -- the books. But it's pretty, and I am terribly sorry that it has not done well. At least that will save us from terrible sequels. And, frankly, if it had become very popular, that would have rankled in its own way. I'd rather have one good movie that nobody liked than three bad ones that everyone liked. So maybe it's better this way. Just me, my books, my imaginary boyfriend, and now, a really fun movie.

I love you, John Carter. I am glad to see you again.
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. (Alpha Female)
A rewritten version of my Ginger Snaps movie review is up now at Holding Darkness, a horror movie (and sometimes other horror stuff) review blog with a feminist bent.

Meeting the Beast: Ginger Snaps and Feminist Werewolves

I think it's a lot better than the original review, frankly. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] lunalelle, who so graciously waited forever while I rewrote the darn thing.

Holding Darkness is also looking for fresh blood. Go read, poke around, and if you think you're a good fit, have at it!
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Alpha Female)
A rewritten version of my Ginger Snaps movie review is up now at Holding Darkness, a horror movie (and sometimes other horror stuff) review blog with a feminist bent.

Meeting the Beast: Ginger Snaps and Feminist Werewolves

I think it's a lot better than the original review, frankly. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] lunalelle, who so graciously waited forever while I rewrote the darn thing.

Holding Darkness is also looking for fresh blood. Go read, poke around, and if you think you're a good fit, have at it!
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: 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: 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.
naamah_darling: The Punisher skull with a red ribbon barrette. (Punisher Ribbon)
You all know that I'm not a movie snob, right? So when I say that 10,000 BC really, really sucked, I mean it really, really sucked.

On a scale of one to ten, where ten is terrible but hilarious like, say, Flash Gordon or Krull, and a one is something nauseatingly unwatchable like Blood Waters of Dr. Z, this movie was about a three and a half. One point for Steven Strait, one for scenery, one for prehistoric mammals, and a half-point for the MST3k-style wisecracking it provokes.

Folks, this puts it behind Undiscovered for bad Steven Strait movies. He is shirtless in both, but he spends an awful lot of time in 10,000 BC looking like he rolled in mud the day before, so it fails (comparatively) at showcasing his prettiness.

I'm not sorry I watched it, it was enjoyable enough to hold my attention, but it was really bad. The dialogue was horrible, the fake accents were horrible, the plot was horrible, the characterization was horrible, and it was completely predictable. At one point, Sargon said "Hey! This is right about when guys on horses should come riding in to kill everyone. With torches and a battle standard!" Which is what happened.

"Oh, look!" I said. "It's the annoying comic relief sidekick! You can tell by the hair!"

And, later: "So, he's going to rescue this saber-toothed cat, and later it's going to save his life. Right?"

"Yeah! Then they'll call him 'the Boy Who Speaks To Pixels!'"

It was the kind of movie where you go: "That guy has a big ol' cloud of doom, that guy's going to sacrifice himself nobly, that guy's going to die by impalement. . . ."

It's quite beautiful to look at, so it's not an hour and a half of my life I want back, but I recommend watching it with both the sound and your brain turned off.
naamah_darling: The Punisher skull with a red ribbon barrette. (Punisher Ribbon)
You all know that I'm not a movie snob, right? So when I say that 10,000 BC really, really sucked, I mean it really, really sucked.

On a scale of one to ten, where ten is terrible but hilarious like, say, Flash Gordon or Krull, and a one is something nauseatingly unwatchable like Blood Waters of Dr. Z, this movie was about a three and a half. One point for Steven Strait, one for scenery, one for prehistoric mammals, and a half-point for the MST3k-style wisecracking it provokes.

Folks, this puts it behind Undiscovered for bad Steven Strait movies. He is shirtless in both, but he spends an awful lot of time in 10,000 BC looking like he rolled in mud the day before, so it fails (comparatively) at showcasing his prettiness.

I'm not sorry I watched it, it was enjoyable enough to hold my attention, but it was really bad. The dialogue was horrible, the fake accents were horrible, the plot was horrible, the characterization was horrible, and it was completely predictable. At one point, Sargon said "Hey! This is right about when guys on horses should come riding in to kill everyone. With torches and a battle standard!" Which is what happened.

"Oh, look!" I said. "It's the annoying comic relief sidekick! You can tell by the hair!"

And, later: "So, he's going to rescue this saber-toothed cat, and later it's going to save his life. Right?"

"Yeah! Then they'll call him 'the Boy Who Speaks To Pixels!'"

It was the kind of movie where you go: "That guy has a big ol' cloud of doom, that guy's going to sacrifice himself nobly, that guy's going to die by impalement. . . ."

It's quite beautiful to look at, so it's not an hour and a half of my life I want back, but I recommend watching it with both the sound and your brain turned off.
naamah_darling: Glass of tawny port on a table branded with a seven-pointed star. (Port Wine and the Morning Star)
Wow. So.

Sargon got me the special edition director's cut version of Kingdom of Heaven, and . . . wow. All my friends who have told me to see it were right.

You have to see it.

I thought the theatrical version was pretty, and in places it was affecting, but overall it was sort of . . . empty. Balian was an empty character portrayed by an empty Orlando Bloom. The story was straightforward enough, but it was too philosophical for the hollow performances, and not philosophical enough to succeed as an intellectual movie. It didn't have enough action (even though there was plenty) to redeem it as a violence-filled period action movie.

They had butchered it. Oh my god. The movie I saw was a 3-star acting movie with 5-star cinematography. This was . . . 4.5 or so for acting. A total change.

The director's version did what I thought would be impossible: it restored Orlando Bloom's acting. I've always thought he was beautiful, but I've never thought of him as an actor. Just scenery. I'd seen him act once, in Ned Kelly, where he had only a small part, but he nevertheless disappeared into it, so I knew it was possible. I just doubted I'd ever see him do it again, as he's been so busy overacting ever since, but. . . .

All of the character bits they put back in near the beginning, the extra development given to Balian's relationship with Sibylla, it rounded out the character, completed the performance. It's tiny things -- the most fleeting facial expressions, even. Little bits of dialogue. Brief interactions that lend so much depth. It was a subtle performance, and cutting it sucked away all of the subtlety and turned Balian into a well-meaning action figure who was only doing what he was doing because the script called for it. Putting it back turned him into a quiet, philosophical, deeply troubled man fighting a moving struggle to navigate through a difficult time by doing only what is right. And it wasn't Orlando Bloom. It was some other guy who kinda looked like him.

And they cut out an entire subplot with Sibylla's son, a storyline that defines her character arc and underscores the arc of the occupied city itself as a character. They cut it out. I never thought I would complain about a child being cut out of a movie, but by golly, here I am doing it. I think it killed Sibylla's character and made her later choices seem foolish, hasty, and . . . petty, even.

It went from being a pretty movie that I would only watch for the scenery and soundtrack to a movie that touched me deeply, a moral movie. Not moral in the sense of self-righteous, but moral in the sense of taking a moral stance and sticking to it. You don't get those much anymore, because it's so easy to overdo. This was not overdone.

If you thought the original cut had potential but was lacking in depth, please, please see the director's cut. It's a completely different movie.

If it had been released in this version, it still would not have done well. Most people no longer know how to respond to true moral quandaries, nor do they know how to relate to a truly honorable character. They certainly don't know how to process a subtle movie that is, in the end, all about character. We, as a society, cringe away from morality, honor, character, and subtlety. Movies like this aren't ever going to be received well in their time.

And, dear me, cutting out some of David Thewlis' appearances as the Hospitaler removed some incredible, elevating moments. Like the unicorn at the end of the restored Blade Runner. It just kind of . . . changes what you're looking at in retrospect.

Amazing.
naamah_darling: Glass of tawny port on a table branded with a seven-pointed star. (Port Wine and the Morning Star)
Wow. So.

Sargon got me the special edition director's cut version of Kingdom of Heaven, and . . . wow. All my friends who have told me to see it were right.

You have to see it.

I thought the theatrical version was pretty, and in places it was affecting, but overall it was sort of . . . empty. Balian was an empty character portrayed by an empty Orlando Bloom. The story was straightforward enough, but it was too philosophical for the hollow performances, and not philosophical enough to succeed as an intellectual movie. It didn't have enough action (even though there was plenty) to redeem it as a violence-filled period action movie.

They had butchered it. Oh my god. The movie I saw was a 3-star acting movie with 5-star cinematography. This was . . . 4.5 or so for acting. A total change.

The director's version did what I thought would be impossible: it restored Orlando Bloom's acting. I've always thought he was beautiful, but I've never thought of him as an actor. Just scenery. I'd seen him act once, in Ned Kelly, where he had only a small part, but he nevertheless disappeared into it, so I knew it was possible. I just doubted I'd ever see him do it again, as he's been so busy overacting ever since, but. . . .

All of the character bits they put back in near the beginning, the extra development given to Balian's relationship with Sibylla, it rounded out the character, completed the performance. It's tiny things -- the most fleeting facial expressions, even. Little bits of dialogue. Brief interactions that lend so much depth. It was a subtle performance, and cutting it sucked away all of the subtlety and turned Balian into a well-meaning action figure who was only doing what he was doing because the script called for it. Putting it back turned him into a quiet, philosophical, deeply troubled man fighting a moving struggle to navigate through a difficult time by doing only what is right. And it wasn't Orlando Bloom. It was some other guy who kinda looked like him.

And they cut out an entire subplot with Sibylla's son, a storyline that defines her character arc and underscores the arc of the occupied city itself as a character. They cut it out. I never thought I would complain about a child being cut out of a movie, but by golly, here I am doing it. I think it killed Sibylla's character and made her later choices seem foolish, hasty, and . . . petty, even.

It went from being a pretty movie that I would only watch for the scenery and soundtrack to a movie that touched me deeply, a moral movie. Not moral in the sense of self-righteous, but moral in the sense of taking a moral stance and sticking to it. You don't get those much anymore, because it's so easy to overdo. This was not overdone.

If you thought the original cut had potential but was lacking in depth, please, please see the director's cut. It's a completely different movie.

If it had been released in this version, it still would not have done well. Most people no longer know how to respond to true moral quandaries, nor do they know how to relate to a truly honorable character. They certainly don't know how to process a subtle movie that is, in the end, all about character. We, as a society, cringe away from morality, honor, character, and subtlety. Movies like this aren't ever going to be received well in their time.

And, dear me, cutting out some of David Thewlis' appearances as the Hospitaler removed some incredible, elevating moments. Like the unicorn at the end of the restored Blade Runner. It just kind of . . . changes what you're looking at in retrospect.

Amazing.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Lucian Wags)
"Spiteful, vindictive, very large, but never crazy."

We saw Enchanted on Monday night, and now I really want that on a shirt.*

It was an extremely cute movie, even if I spent about half of it going "Oh, no way! They aren't going to go the--AAAAAAGH!" Because they totally did do that. I recommend it.

The idea of moving between a fantasy fairy-tale cartoon world and live-action modern Earth is rife with possibilities for humor. Sargon and I have decided that Giselle is going to be so unhappy when she finds out about Aunt Flo. Then again, it'd be hilarious to hear her singing the Happy Little Tampon Song. I believe that [livejournal.com profile] spacezombie gets credit for that idea, from waaay back when we were watching The 10th Kingdom.**

As an aside, James Marsden is so incredibly cute, and I very much want one, but I don't think they make cat carriers in his size. Alas. (Please tell me I'm not the only one to have noticed that he looks like a housecat. Specifically, old-school Puss in Boots.)

We also rented Skinwalkers last week. Now, I'd heard that this was a truly terrible movie. To my surprise it proved to be okay.

I thought it had a weak beginning. There was a lot of "We must find The Chosen Child before the Convergence of Plot Points, when the Capital Letters will converge and render us all Powerless!" It was stilted and awkward. It picked up, though, and by the time they hit the road and things started to go wrong, it was much more interesting.

Yes, the mystical child bit has been done to death, but the actor was genuinely funny, and they at least gave it an interesting twist -- even if it only came at the end of the movie.

I also liked the villain's story arc. They avoided giving him a simple ending, and I thought that was a wonderful dramatic decision. I don't know if I buy Jason Behr as the stroppy werewolf alpha -- he was pretty ex-boyfriend Billy Fordham in the vampire-wannabe episode of Buffy, for Pete's sake -- but even if he didn't have the forceful sort of presence I'd have been casting for, he at least tried, and I have to admit he looked hot doing it.

My only real disappointment is that there was no strong wolf element. At no point did any of our werewolves actually change shape. Oh, sure, they grew some fur and they got some facial prosthetics, but it's very hard to do early-stage transformation makeup without making the subject look like an extra from CATS. They tried, and it looked pretty good, but it wasn't wolfish . . . except in the very last fight scene where both Natassia Malthe and Jason Behr got some of the most interesting and unsettling werewolf facials*** I've ever seen. That last shot of Varek, where we see him at his most animal -- freaking out, fangs bared, drooling -- was amazingly effective. They at least made a stab at accurate canine dentition, which is nice of them.

Don't mistake me; it's not a good movie. It's a good B movie. A 5 on a scale of 1 to 10. It was severely bad in places, but there were a few good bits -- plus some werewolf sexin' with two extraordinarily good-looking people, so that's a win.

Anyway. I'm going to end on that note.

Up next, a link roundup!

* Even though it's a lie -- I am definitely certifiable.

** Which is a wonderful little mini-series detailing the adventures of a New York girl stuck in a fairy-tale kingdom. I highly recommend it, too, for very silly fun.

*** . . . But, then, I suppose a werewolf facial would always be pretty unsettling.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Lucian Wags)
"Spiteful, vindictive, very large, but never crazy."

We saw Enchanted on Monday night, and now I really want that on a shirt.*

It was an extremely cute movie, even if I spent about half of it going "Oh, no way! They aren't going to go the--AAAAAAGH!" Because they totally did do that. I recommend it.

The idea of moving between a fantasy fairy-tale cartoon world and live-action modern Earth is rife with possibilities for humor. Sargon and I have decided that Giselle is going to be so unhappy when she finds out about Aunt Flo. Then again, it'd be hilarious to hear her singing the Happy Little Tampon Song. I believe that [livejournal.com profile] spacezombie gets credit for that idea, from waaay back when we were watching The 10th Kingdom.**

As an aside, James Marsden is so incredibly cute, and I very much want one, but I don't think they make cat carriers in his size. Alas. (Please tell me I'm not the only one to have noticed that he looks like a housecat. Specifically, old-school Puss in Boots.)

We also rented Skinwalkers last week. Now, I'd heard that this was a truly terrible movie. To my surprise it proved to be okay.

I thought it had a weak beginning. There was a lot of "We must find The Chosen Child before the Convergence of Plot Points, when the Capital Letters will converge and render us all Powerless!" It was stilted and awkward. It picked up, though, and by the time they hit the road and things started to go wrong, it was much more interesting.

Yes, the mystical child bit has been done to death, but the actor was genuinely funny, and they at least gave it an interesting twist -- even if it only came at the end of the movie.

I also liked the villain's story arc. They avoided giving him a simple ending, and I thought that was a wonderful dramatic decision. I don't know if I buy Jason Behr as the stroppy werewolf alpha -- he was pretty ex-boyfriend Billy Fordham in the vampire-wannabe episode of Buffy, for Pete's sake -- but even if he didn't have the forceful sort of presence I'd have been casting for, he at least tried, and I have to admit he looked hot doing it.

My only real disappointment is that there was no strong wolf element. At no point did any of our werewolves actually change shape. Oh, sure, they grew some fur and they got some facial prosthetics, but it's very hard to do early-stage transformation makeup without making the subject look like an extra from CATS. They tried, and it looked pretty good, but it wasn't wolfish . . . except in the very last fight scene where both Natassia Malthe and Jason Behr got some of the most interesting and unsettling werewolf facials*** I've ever seen. That last shot of Varek, where we see him at his most animal -- freaking out, fangs bared, drooling -- was amazingly effective. They at least made a stab at accurate canine dentition, which is nice of them.

Don't mistake me; it's not a good movie. It's a good B movie. A 5 on a scale of 1 to 10. It was severely bad in places, but there were a few good bits -- plus some werewolf sexin' with two extraordinarily good-looking people, so that's a win.

Anyway. I'm going to end on that note.

Up next, a link roundup!

* Even though it's a lie -- I am definitely certifiable.

** Which is a wonderful little mini-series detailing the adventures of a New York girl stuck in a fairy-tale kingdom. I highly recommend it, too, for very silly fun.

*** . . . But, then, I suppose a werewolf facial would always be pretty unsettling.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Vitriolic)
Well, [livejournal.com profile] alainbriongloid asked me for a list of movies I never want to see again, and I couldn't resist the opportunity. So, I compiled a partial catalog of stuff I could go the rest of my life without seeing ever again.

Just like there are some movies that are bad, but enjoyable anyway, there are some movies that are good, but that I don't want to see again. Many are, in fact, perfectly entertaining movies, but something about them roused my ire. Sometimes it was sheer unpleasantness, sometimes it was a single actor, and sometimes it was merely my personal taste making me loathe something all out of proportion.

The list does contain bad movies, but I vetted my choices for movies that were not just crappy MST3K fodder, but were more than ordinarily bad. The movie must have either sucked in a truly epic way, or ruined a sequel or franchise. Preference was given to high-budget, much-hyped movies, and movies that are popular. I tried not to include movies that are widely regarded as terrible, like the Star Wars prequels, unless something else about them was particularly heinous.

At any rate, and in no particular order, they are:

Drumroll, please . . . )

Aaah. I feel better.

I know that this list is nowhere near complete, but 14 is all I could come up with at a single sitting. There may well be further installments.

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