movies

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Movie Reaction: Wonder Woman

Published June 6, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Yes, “reaction,” not “review.”  I wouldn’t know how to give the movie a proper review.  However, I will admit that — despite an opening that disgusted me (which will be the focus of this post) — I was really digging it until a scene that had me muttering under my breath “No, no, no, no, no!” and “Don’t do it!  Don’t you dare do it!”  (At which point my brother leaned over and told me he agreed with me 100%.)  Unfortunately, they didn’t listen to me about that scene, and it pretty much wrecked the entire movie for me.  Aside from that, it’s the first movie in this new wave of connected DC movies that is actually, you know, a well made, competent movie with a script that actually plays like a single, proper draft, and features a cast of characters you can actually like, as opposed to a few likable characters surrounded by a sea of “meh.”  And it strikes me as hilariously ironic that they shifted the time period from WWII to WWI in order to avoid comparisons to Captain America, and yet they still had a Captain named Steve (played by a guy named Chris) who gathered together a small crew of interesting and multi-cultural buddies to help him fight the Germans, and I don’t want to go into spoilers, but there was an aspect of the climax that was rolling out the red carpet for the comparisons they wanted so much to avoid.

But none of that is what I want to talk about.

What I want to talk about is the astonishingly awful mutilation of Greek mythology.  (So, yes, feel free to dismiss this post as the whining of a mythology geek.  I really don’t care what anyone else thinks of me.)

Now, it’s not that I went in expecting the mythology to be handled with anything resembling accuracy.  I’ve seen a lot of episodes of the animated Justice League show that was on Cartoon Network…uh…whenever that was (I’m thinking early 2000s?), and my brother and father are both hugely into comic books, so I’ve heard a lot on the subject from them.  So I knew already that Ares was Wonder Woman’s biggest foe (and always had been), and that the reboot changed her very cool origin of a statue brought to life to the hyper-boring origin of being a daughter of Zeus.  So I knew what I was going to see was not going to be anything even remotely accurate to the myths or the personalities of the gods described therein.  But I wasn’t expecting anything this mutilated.

Very early in the picture (definitely in the first ten minutes), the child Diana is told a bedtime story about the gods and the duty of the Amazons by her mother, Hippolyte.  Given that it was so early in the picture, I feel like I can discuss it at great length without it being considered a spoiler, but just in case anyone feels differently, I’ll put it on the other side of the “Read More” tag.

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(Netflix) Movie Review: Velvet Goldmine

Published May 27, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

This review is long overdue a re-write!  So it’s finally getting one.  (3/2/17, for a post first published on 5/27/16.  Definitely long overdue!)  I’ll leave the original review below in strikethrough, in case anyone’s curious to see what it said.

So, a proper review of my new favorite movie, Velvet Goldmine.  It’s from 1998, but I only first saw it last May, mere days before it was taken down from Netflix.  I had come across its thumbnail earlier in browsing through Netflix, and had clicked on it because I wondered what in the world the title meant.

Velvet Goldmine thumbnail

(To be honest, I still don’t know what the title means.)  Since I quoted the Netflix summaries before, I can give you both the shorter and longer version of their summaries.  The “on mouse rollover” summary was:

Trying to find the man behind all the mystery, a journalist delves into the life of a missing glam rocker.

Clicking on it brought up this further summary:

A decade after a British glam-rocker fakes his assassination and disappears, a tabloid journalist is dispatched to deconstruct the star’s legend.

That’s all it said, along with the information that it starred Ewan McGregor, Johnathon Rhys-Meyers and Christian Bale.  (Well, that’s what it said the first time I saw it on the Netflix list, months earlier.  When I saw it there again in May, it had replaced Bale’s name with Toni Colette’s.  Presumably because she’s third in the cast list and he’s fourth, but considering his character’s mentioned in the summary and hers isn’t…)  And I must say in looking at that second summary, two things leap to mind.  One:  he is not a tabloid journalist!  He works for a perfectly respectable newspaper (as far as we can tell, but he had previously been assigned to cover the visit of President Reynolds to NYC, which seems pretty legit to me).  Two:  the word “deconstruct” should officially be banned from use by all people who don’t know what it means.

So when I read the premise back whenever that was, I added it to my “to watch” list, for three reasons.

  1. Two hot actors.
  2. Intriguing plot, what little of it was described.
  3. I was wondering why it was listed in the “Gay and Lesbian” section.

Yeah.  Netflix failed to add that little tidbit to its summary.  Oh, and the distributors of the DVD and Blu-ray versions?  They failed to add that to their summaries, too.  For that matter, the theatrical trailer didn’t even hint at it!  I cannot imagine what I would have thought of this movie if I had discovered it in some other way.  (Well, okay, actually, because of when I discovered it, I still would have liked it.  If I’d seen it in the theaters when it came out without knowing what it really was, I have no idea how I would have reacted.)

A more accurate back-of-the-box blurb for the movie might be written as follows:

In a bleak, almost Orwellian version of 1984, a young reporter (Christian Bale) is given the assignment to write a retrospective on the career of legendary ’70s glam rock singer Brian Slade (Johnathon Rhys-Meyers).  As he interviews Brian’s ex-wife Mandy (Toni Colette), the audience begins to see the other side of Brian’s career, especially his passionate affair with fellow rock star Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor).  But no one seems willing to answer the question “whatever happened to Brian Slade?”

Of course, even that fails to do it justice.  Most of the movie takes place during the 1970s, as you might expect, including the opening, before we get the first 1984 sequence.  (Well, okay, actually the opening starts in the 19th century, with the birth — uh, arrival on this planet — of Oscar Wilde, but that’s a bit different.)  You might be surprised by which primary cast member you meet first in that first 1974 sequence:  Christian Bale’s.  His character, Arthur Stuart, was a big fan of Brian’s in the ’70s, and was in the audience when he faked his own death on stage.  (Which is, of course, where the movie starts.)  So it’s rather odd that he’s the last name before the title, because he’s probably got the second largest amount of screen time in the film.  (Not that I’ve timed it or anything.  But he dominates the 1984 sequences, for obvious reasons, and we get a lot of his flashbacks to the ’70s, too.  And he was still young enough in 1998 that he convincingly looked like a teenager in those sequences.  Now that I’ve discovered Newsies is streaming on Hulu, I have to watch that and have a look at how his appearance in that compares to Arthur’s teenage self, since he’d have been about Arthur’s ’70s age when that was filmed.  Also I’m curious if he was towering over the adults in the cast…plus I’m generally curious about the movie in the first place…)

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Shares and other Blogging things

Published February 16, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

Okay, so this has been bugging me for a while now.  I clicked on the “Site Stats” link from the main Dashboard page, and scrolled down to where it said “Totals, Followers and Shares” at which time I wondered what it meant by “Shares” and so I clicked on that tab.  It gave me an underlined number, which of course turned out to by a hyperlink.

Of course, I clicked on that, too.

But then I left my comfort zone.  By which I mean “then I went somewhere with nothing that I actually understood.”

Near the top of the page, it says this:

Note: we don’t count shares from ‘official’ buttons, just the standard share links. These numbers may not match the Sharing buttons or stats provided by the Sharing Services themselves, because we can only count shares that happen on WordPress.com.

Am I totally stupid, or does that not really say anything?  Or rather, what are ‘official’ buttons?  What are standard share links?  I’ve never put anything share-related on any of my posts, though WordPress automatically puts on ones for “Press This,” “Twitter,” “Facebook,” and “Google+”…though I’m not at all sure what “Press This” does, since it’s obviously different from the “Reblog” button right below it.

Um, anyway, I’d think those were the ‘official’ buttons, but if so, then what are the standard share links and how did they get on some of my posts, since I didn’t put them there?  I am very confused.

Anyway, I went to check the first post on the list, and all of the buttons are still a flat, dry gray, with no little numbers on them.  (I know sometimes they have numbers, ’cause I’ve seen that on other blog posts by other, more popular people.)  I found it odd that the stats page says it’s been shared 7 times, but no one actually likes it.  (At least, no one’s clicked the “like” button.  But that’s okay, ’cause it’s silly and only about four lines long.  Five.  Whatever.)

So, what’s up with the claim that’s it’s been Twittered thrice and Facebooked thrice and Google+ed once?  What does it mean?  Is it a statistical error?  (That’s my best guess, anyway.)  I can’t check these things out to see if they’re true ’cause I don’t have Twitter or Facebook, and I haven’t a clue how to use Google+.  (I have a Gmail account, so I think I am, technically, on Google+, but…I’ve no clue what, if any, its functions are.)

Looking at the other posts that register as having been “shared” in this manner (whatever that manner actually is, since it sounds like it doesn’t involve pressing the share buttons), it seems like half of them are quotes from the Iliad, including the “homoerotic” passages I quoted back in June.  I guess that means I’d be more popular if I only quoted the Iliad?  That would get boring pretty quickly, though.  (Particularly if I started quoting the Catalog of Ships…)

Anyway, if anyone’s interested, the total “sharing” scores are Facebook 37, Twitter 23 and Google+ 23.

I have no idea if any of those numbers means anything.  (I suspect they do not.)

But since you’ve read through this much boring stuff, let me reward you!

I have here some links to posts from the last week that I’ve enjoyed, so let me share them with you.  (Sharing them in a way I actually understand, too!)  These are just a few of the many, many posts I’ve read in said time, ’cause I follow a ridiculous number of blogs, and not all the posts I’ve liked felt really shareable.  (Especially since there’s a bunch of very personal ones in there, and a bunch of doll-related ones, and…)

In roughly chronological order…

Juliet” is a really hilarious take on the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.  (I’d rather see that play than the real one…)

Reinterpreting Zeus’ Golden Rain:  The Greek Anthology on Persuading Women“…because I enjoy looking at ancient erotic pottery.  Er, no, truth beam disengaged!  Actually, it’s just interesting.  And I don’t think that Klimt painting looks the least bit tame, personally, no matter what you’re comparing it to.

In a very different vein, “70 Collections to Infuse Your Writing” is a very useful set of links to collections of examples of descriptive writing.  As a writer who can’t describe anything to save her life, this is a super-useful post.  (If I can ever train my visual side enough to be able to figure out what anything I’m writing about looks like in the first place…)

The “Super Awesome Self Promo Thread of Doom” may have the best title I’ve ever seen on a post.  Like, ever.  Also, it’s a chance to promote your own posts and see what other people are doing at the same time, which is always cool.

For my fellow doll collectors (who are probably not looking at this blog, but my other one) the post “Support a Great Cause and get a chance to win a cute Custom Pullip” does, well, just what the title says.  There’s a link to a place to make a charitable donation in exchange for raffle tickets in a contest to win a very nice custom doll.

And, last but definitely not least (except perhaps in terms of sanity), is “Orphan Club:  ORIGINS” which cannot be described in words.  Its hilarity must be experienced to be understood.  (But I feel obliged, as one who is too old-fashioned to swear in public, to mention that it’s definitely got R-rated language.  Which is actually about the way I talk, so I have no problem with that, but since it’s not the way I write…)

 

Okay, so…it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything this random, huh?

I’ll try not to be so random in the future.  (In fact, I ought to be re-writing my paper on Descartes and Kant right now.  But…I…it’s just such a lame paper.  I can’t really bring myself to bother.  It’ll suck whether I re-write it or not.  And these papers are really not worth much of our grade at all.  It’s mostly the final paper that matters.  And actually showing up to class.  He’s become very big on that since the last time I had a class with him.  He got really ticked last week when it looked like most of the class bailed due to the snow storm.  But then they were all just late, and so he was fine with it.)

But!  While I’m being random, I wanna share something else random.  In the last two days, I’ve been to see two movies.  (Which probably did not help my paper any, but I’d already finished it by the time of the one I saw today, so I wasn’t being completely irresponsible.)  So, the first of the movies, as you might expect, was Deadpool.  (Which was, as you’ve probably heard (or experienced), quite awesome.)  The one I saw today was Hail, Caesar!…which was also awesome, though in a very different way.  (But I suspect people who don’t know anything about Hollywood in the 1950s probably don’t get much out of it.)  Possibly my favorite scene was the one where it starts out with all the sailors in a bar set and I’m like “oh, they’re about to do a riff on Anchors Aweigh now, right?” and then halfway through the song it starts adding a decided undertone of “In the Navy” and I’m dying laughing.

Um, okay, that wasn’t actually what I wanted to say.

What I wanted to say was to tell you about the odd realization I had after getting home.  All I knew about the picture, going in, was that it had George Clooney as a movie star in the 1950s who gets kidnapped, right?  And before the picture started, in the “Coming Soon” stuff, there was a trailer for a movie in which George Clooney, as a TV star, is the hostage in a hostage crisis.

Um, is he going through a “victim” phase in his career?

Or was this just a really weird coincidence?

(Also, is his career somehow going backwards in some meta way?  Is his next picture after that going to have him playing a guy who’s landed a role as the comic relief in a B movie?  And getting kidnapped?)

Yeah, probably meaningless.  But the coincidence was odd.

(Like how before Deadpool, there was a trailer for the new X-Men movie, and then Deadpool makes this “McAvoy or Stewart?” joke in the movie…uh, yeah, that probably wasn’t actually a coincidence, huh?  Still, I didn’t actually pay attention to that trailer until McAvoy showed up.  Up to that point it was like “yawn, another apocalyptic movie” until he suddenly addresses the girl as “Jean” and I’m like “whoa!”)

Hmm, my inner ’80s girl appears to be showing.

I should probably get that seen to.

Yureya

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