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we're the death of the novel

Wasn't able to continue doing Solstice Specials anymore.

But I've continued keeping track of full TV episodes watched!

episodes watched April - JuneCollapse )

Jun. 20th, 2015

oh well, Cameroon couldn't put everything together. Still showed a lot of promise and I hope they keep going through future competitions. Now, if the US beats Columbia, they have to get around China's defense...

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world cup rambles

so yeah Columbia has some good attack and Sepulveda was great (but not going to be in the next game) but they also had bad calls in their favor in the games before England, esp the HAND BALL. also, Andrade punching Abby in the Olympics

Cameroon is my new fave I really like their play and players
they are the real breakout surprise imo

I also liked Switzerland a bit but I'm watching the Switzterland - Cameroon game rn (dl) and I def prefer Cameroon

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Jun. 3rd, 2015

Photos from my Las Vegas trip are posted here.

May. 23rd, 2015

ended up not going to Fanime because of sinuses. darn head cold on the right side of my head

May. 6th, 2015

Avengers thoughts:

[gauge of Ultron]


Much of the theater gasped and clapped when The Vision lifted the hammer.

Am I the only one not really impressed with the opening fight? It was really iffy in-medias-res? Not a fan of the slow-mo throughout the movie- it only worked well around the Maximoffs' powers. I thought the first Avengers was great in having relatively more legible fight visuals but this was just here and there. Also some weird cuts that jump position like in the ship off the "African coast." (like, can't there be a general decision about which side of Africa contains Wakanda and the neighboring country we saw? it's kind of hilarious when the African coast can mean so many places)

Andy Serkis was fine to see in his few scenes as white smuggler traitor trash. the Baron played by Kretschmann died so fast haha. My brother noticed that the voice for F.R.I.D.A.Y. is Irish and it turns out to be Kerry Condon, who played the likeable girl who helped Jet Li in Unleashed! among other things.

The spark-circuit talking between Jarvis/the Vision and Ultron was interesting but could have been rendered even better

Liked the concern for civilian life, though. Ppl criticized Winter Soldier for the destruction but they weren't able to maneuver as much there. Like Fury was forced into a car chase...Back to this film, it was nice to see that the current franchise tactic of expanding locations to appeal to global audiences leads to scenes where the poplace of Asian and African countries are both seen as worth saving and seen saving each other instead of just suffering from random destruction. Powerful scene when the Hulk witnesses all the civilians running away from him.

So much of the criticism of Whedon's treatment of Natasha is well-aimed. (for more on Whiny Whedon. lol his talking about sympathy w Ultron) I didn't mind that Bruce and Nat had a romance, but the fall-onto-breasts shot and, outside of the movie how some of the cast seems to demean the character - whether or not "she slept with four of the six main characters", which really isn't supported by the movies? there was flirting? they don't treat playboy Tony like this-  she is supposed to be their characters' friend and ally.
Of course the worst was the tonal mess of the flashback scene, where the "I'm a monster too" was placed to refer more to her forced sterility than to her trauma at being trained a killer. Great feminist there, telling audiences of an all-ages blockbuster that sterility can be equated with the destructive, monstrous behavior the male characters can or cannot control. One person I follow said to imagine a sterile person going into the theater for a little escape and entertaining and, out of nowhere, being called a monster. Of course Natasha can have additional trauma from sterility too, and feel tragically robbed by the Red Room, but the placement of lines was horrid. The buildup to that climax in the flashback was horrid. (Why involve Julie Delpy in that too!) Combined with the weird tonal inserts of Natasha wanting to join Bruce in the shower-  it was all over the place and didn't feel natural for the character.

Like, I get what Whedon was going for, that Natasha is haunted and found someone whom she might trust with romance and sex for connection, but the dynamic was totally messed up in execution. Auntie Nat getting a child named after her was nice, and it's great if she wants to help raise the kid and through the other Barton kids maybe see what a different life would have been like, but this scene mucks up that gladness and pride with the undertone that a somewhat-surrogate child is her necessary consolation prize.

Then when Bruce helps Nat escape from jail, he says, "You've done enough" and it was so odd when there were still fights going on?

NOT TO MENTION TONY'S 'PRIMA NOCTAE' LINE
SO DISGUSTING

also if a straight girl like me could notice all the shots centered on ladies' breasts with low-cut tops (Natasha when in zipper suit, Wanda, random fleeing mother in flowery dress)... It's not so much the costume as the focus- Wanda's costume fits her character, but sometimes it looked like a scene was framed oddly to look down her shirt. That's not the best tactical wear for Natasha, though, especially compared to her other sleek bodysuits. I liked the light-up suit though! Some could say I'm making too much of nothing, but then there was the mother in the dress who stood out from the other citizens' wardrobe and I was like what kind of fanboy appeal was this?

pooh at the commenters who say that "oh stop complaining! the Marvel movies are more geared to the female than male gaze because they show hot men who occasionally praise women! the lady geeks I know say they prefer this to making more female-centered movies!" They really don't understand all the meaning of "gaze" and presentation of power (focusing on toned men still creates a powerful image for men compared with how women's beauty is usually featured in a vulnerable or token one-shot takedown manner that still skews towards male-gaze sexiness). Even with limitations keeping Jane Foster and Pepper Potts out of the movie; there could have been more interaction between Maria Hill, Natasha, Helen, Laura Barton and the daughter, and/or Wanda. And not just in this movie, but throughout the MCU.

Quicksilver was kinda blah (at least Aaron Taylor-Johnson wasn't as much of a charisma vaccuum as he was in Godzilla) but his care for his sister still got through and his death was still shocking. Guess there can only be one Pietro on movie screens? Also his outfit makes more sense when you realize that it hits the Eastern European stereotypes of tracksuit. Adidas shoes, and bleached hair. He was fridged for Wanda! Wanda got a good pep talk from Hawkeye that helped her choose heroism! Elizabeth Olson has more presence when she doesn't rely on "standard glower!" I still wish they didn't so thoroughly whitewash the twins ( I know my fave Utopia did a similar thing but this has more impact. in addition: better treatment of sterility as a very important aspect but not the ultimate trauma of male and female characters). Maybe the accents would have been less awkward. All the English-language scenes in situations where people might not speak English were awkward. Yeah it's a blockbuster mostly set in a fictional Euro country but there's either subtitles or a sort of cue to show that what we hear in English is a translation (like they did it through a camera pan shot transition in one of Sayid's first flashback episodes in Lost so that Naveen Andrews could continue speaking in English in Iraq-set scenes). So many mainstream movies have subtitled scenes now.

BUT I LIKED THAT CAPTAIN AMERICA WAS SORT OF ON THEIR SIDE AT ALL TIMES! THAT STARK'S WEAPONS INVOLVEMENT WAS TO BLAME FOR THEIR VOLUNTEERING!

but there should have been more about the Iron Legion's influence than just one sudden scene in Fictional Eastern European country to really build up their anger. Especially since they extended it to more than just Stark. Could have seen Avengers defending dubious people and/or causing destruction, effects of the first movie, being seen as a tool for the West, etc. A lot of plot turns seemed really overcomplicated and sudden, and it didn't feel like it was because so much was left out (at least an hour more of running time or something like that).

Great scene with Steve talking with Sam about Brooklyn. Nice to see his vet friends at the party, including Stan Lee cameo! People say that Whedon can't write Steve in general, but I think it's mostly on the joke side that Whedon misses the mark on the character.

Thor was good but some of his scenes that set up the Infinity War felt like they were from an entirely different movie. Great to see Heimdall, and I think this hints at how Loki is causing trouble in Asgard.

Wanda's "magic" visions for Tony and Steve were scary and well-done. Peggy!

Lol Norwegian geeks in Oslo

how would Tony go from driving away from the new hidden Avengers base in upstate New York (which I think of as Xavier's mansion territory) to Civil War?

Rhodey was great! Nice to see the new Avengers lineup! although I'm still cautious about upcoming movies!

also quite a few scenes that could be potential Vison/Wanda set up cough cough

we saw Helen live, right?

overall...I wasn't expecting much, and there was some of the worst, but it was overall enjoyable with a theater audience.

ETA: Richard K. Morgan on when he introduced sterilization into Black Widow's story:
"That narrative thread actually emerged not from any specific interest in children on Natasha’s part — my sense of the character is that she’s probably not keen on the idea — but because one of her fellow Widows was trying to have kids and had run up against the Red Room biotech that prevented it. So when Natasha finds this out, it’s almost a casual blow. But what’s telling, I think, is her reaction; there are no tears, no mawkishness, no collapse into becoming womanly distress — she’s just very (and dangerously) angry. And it’s important to realise why she’s angry — it’s not because she necessarily wants kids. She’s pissed off because she’s had the choice taken away."

my understanding is that forced, probably secret sterilization would probably part of any Black Widow or Wolf Spider program, but the problem is that Whedon made it "graduation" and placed it in that dialogue context

aw man

I have messed up everything today from calls about my insurance to work projects to discarding a toothbrush to dinner orders and even the icon I'm using in this post because I forgot to make sure I wasn't saving changes to the original cap

there are still 52 minutes left in this day


it wasn't an entirely horrible day, quite a few good things happened, but I made so many mistakes

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AT FIRST IT WAS FORTITUDE GOING SURPRISE BONKERS AND KIND OF RIDIC BUT STILL. EMOTIONS! ON TO SEASON 2 NEXT YEAR!

AND THEN IT WAS SEEING MY LETTER ANSWERED IN THE FADE OUT #5



AND NOW THE STAR WARS TRAILER THAT FINALLY CONVERTED MY RESERVED ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE FILM (still too bad how JJ. ended up ultimately doing Star Trek low for it tho)

I HAD THOUGHT MY DAYS OF GOING INTO CAPSLOCK SPIRALS OVER THINGS WERE OVER

I WAS WRONG

Apr. 12th, 2015

lol my brother's calling me a hipster for not wanting to watch Game of Thrones anymore

couldn't really get into the Daredevil pilot (well cast but...I dunno. seems like close to the Bendis-Maleev stories I really liked but not quite there), but I started Fortitude today and now I'm on...episode 4. Strange because most people think the later is slow and it's usually hard for me to stick with murder mystery TV becausthey aren't contained like movies. But this show starts out with a polar bear eating a dude! Interest captured right there.

not an April Fools' post

An FFA friend posted a link to this today: In Celebration of Old-School Livejournal

I had stayed off of f-list and tumblr dash the past two weeks to make time to watch movies for a "Best of 2010-2014" poll for YAM-Magazine. The vote actually ends in fifteen more days, but I want my life back! So I'm slowly returning back to social media and all the TV and other things I had put off during that period.

I also had a really nasty sore throat; last week during an overnight shift I had to keep running back to the water fountain whenever I got violent, suffocating coughs that required lots of water to help me recover. (I made sure to cough into my elbow instead of the clothes I was fixing at the store, though.) Today, I'm still coughing a little, but recovery's going well.

Ranking some of the movies I've seen recently for the poll, from excellent down to pretty good:

  • The Boy and the World (O menino e o mundo), 2013: a dialogueless Brazilian animated movie that I first couldn't get into when I was tired, but when I woke up and sped up the movie a little (I thought the poll deadline was that midnight) it was perfect. Doesn't matter that the message is blunt- it's relevant to Brazil and done really well.

  • The Missing Picture (L’image manquante), 2013: The director, Rithy Panh, made clay figures to illustrate his life in Cambodia before and during the reign of the Khmer Rouge. Some commenters said it was slow but I thought the pacing had good speed. This is the only movie I actually paid to watch, since I streamed it with Amazon gift credit, and I was so captivated I had finish the film at wayyy too early in the morning.

  • The Tale of Princess Kaguya (Kaguya-hime no monogatari), 2013: It's great, but I have minor quibbles about things that stand out after reading the Yasunari Kawabata prose version of the tale.

  • Whiplash, 2014: Definitely my tempo.

  • Grey Matter (Matière Grise), 2011. It starts out a little meta, following a young director in Rwanda trying to put together a movie. Then you see the movie he had in mind. Some early parts seem really iffy but pay off at the end. Only wish for a little more to the final full circle scene, but otherwise a great debut that has me anticipating more from Kivu Ruhorahoza.

  • The Selfish Giant, 2013. Really plunges you into the lives (and accents) of two kids who try and make a little money from selling scrap metal.There are a couple of moments that made me gasp, and the last third of the film is so intense.

  • The Prize (El premio), 2011. Very good with performances and atmosphere. Though made in Mexico, it's based on the director's childhood under Argentina's dictatorship.Good interview in Spanish here.

  • Nostalgia for the Light (Nostalgia de la luz), 2010. Chilean documentary that makes a brilliant connection between astronomy, archaelogy, and the experience and aftermath of life under dictatorship.

  • The Dark Horse, 2014. An outstanding entry from New Zealand in the usually middling "troubled coach helps troubled kids through training in a competitive activity" genre.

  • Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (Jigoku de naze warui), 2013. A Sion Sono hyperexplosion of blood and color about yakuza wars and filmmaking.

I saw other good movies, but these are the ones I felt most compelled to write about at this time. Okay, special mention to the macabre Canadian comedy Eddie: The Sleepwallking Cannibal (Thure Lindhardt should really get to do more comedy!) and trippy Russian movie Generation P. The animation style in Le tableau is so gorgeous and the meta concept so innovative that I wish the script was better for the first third of the movie. Oslo 31 August really messed me up, and I was able to recognize quite a few of the performers in the end montage of Bombay Talkies.
Made some other discoveries, like: Tom Hardy does a really good Welsh accent and I can easily identify Andrew Scott's voice (Locke), and Matthias Schoenaerts in Bullhead/Runskop really looks like Tom Hardy. Looking forward to future significant roles for Amrita Acharia (Jeg er din), Saleh and Adam Bakri (Salvo, Lamma shoftak, Omar), Aniello Arena (Reality), Karidja Touré (Bande de filles), and so many of the actors in Starred Up. Also glad to see quality features from female directors such as Paula Markovitch (El premio), Clio Barnard (The Selfish Giant moreso than The Arbor), July Jung (Dohee-ya), Annemarie Jacir (Lamma shoftak), Tanya Hamilton (Night Catches Us), Alice Rohrwacher (Le meraviglie and Corpo Celeste), Iram Haq (Jeg er din). Amma Asante (Belle), and more.

Finally, the reason for which I actually intended to make this post:TV episodes watched between January 1 and today.Collapse )

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