Megamind (2010)

Sat, Nov. 6th, 2010 05:46 pm
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Hey, a movie I watched in theaters that didn't have massive amounts of fail!

Even more amazingly, there was more than one plot twist in there that I hadn't anticipated, and in fact, until the ending, I really was unsure what was going to happen next. (In a good way. Unlike Robin Hood, in which Robin Hood + Magna Carta = WTF?!)

Quick thoughts and spoilers )

I realize this sounds like I didn't like it. The sad thing is, I have the above problems with the movie and the movie fails the Bechdel test on almost all levels (and it only barely qualifies for part 1 of the test by having Megamind's mother speak a single line), yet it is heads above most other Hollywood movies I have seen in the past few years. And it was actually funny!

I suspect this is way more enjoyable if you've barely seen any of the previews or read any synopses.
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LA!

Thu, Mar. 25th, 2010 11:22 am
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I drove down yesterday with a friend from school. Six hours passes remarkably quickly when you reminisce about going to schools where you clean and wear school uniforms and have all the same dorky festivals in high school shoujo manga. Of course, singing along to all of Rent and Wicked and Les Miserables helps as well!

[personal profile] rachelmanija was on call that night but luckily was not called out, so we hung around, ate Fatburger (why do more burger places not have fried egg?), and rewatched the episode of Project Runway that involves the hardware store.

Both of us nearly fell off the sofa laughing every time the camera panned back to poor Emilio attempting desperately to recount his washers in the hope that they had miraculously mated with each other and multiplied. Alas, this was not the case. Also, both of us noted that in addition to the terms milkmaid, diaper, jock strap, chicken thighs, sofa, bridesmaid, prom, Las Vegas, elementary school project, maxi pad, and stewardess, the term "cat in a baby sling" is one of those things you never want said about your outfit.

I then showed Rachel My Girlfriend Is a Secret Agent (7급 공무원), a spy comedy I watched largely because 1) spies! and 2) Kang Ji-Hwan! Amazingly, I largely approve of the gender politics, as Lee Jae-Joon (Kang Ji-Hwan's character) is pretty much The Girl despite becoming a spy. We also rolled around on the sofa more as Kang Ji-Hwan demonstrated his total and utter commitment to looking like a complete fool on screen. I haven't watched many movies of late, as Hollywood has demonstrated a total and utter commitment to pissing me off, but this one both does not piss me off and makes me crack up continuously.

After this, we realized there was enough time to get Beard Papa while letting Tivo record the American Idol results show, so we hied off to Beard Papa. And! When we were there, a bulgogi taco truck was parked nearby! It was sadly not Kogi, but after we nearly got run over crossing the street, we managed to plead with the guy to squeeze in two more orders, one for a pork taco and one for a kimchi quesadilla. The taco smelled divine and tasted wonderful, and the kimchi quesadilla came with this awesome sauce that made the entire thing. Why do they not have these in Bay Area? There is a market hole that needs to be filled!

Amazingly, the shower has not clogged, the toilet has not overflowed, we are not infested with pantry moths or fleas, none of my rats have taken ill, there have been no medical emergencies, and mice caught in glue traps have not fallen down from the ceiling loft. Since it was too much to ask to have an entirely pest-free trip, right as I was settling in to read A Conspiracy of Kings, I saw a giant black blob moving across Rachel's ceiling out of the corner of my eye. Since Jody was not here to save us, I made Rachel whack at it. Alas, rather than killing it, the spider simply dropped down to the floor, where it is lurking about, probably planning on a reappearance tonight while we are sleeping unaware...

Assorted media

Sun, Jan. 10th, 2010 07:13 am
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Back in Taiwan! Sadly, only here for another few days before school starts and I have to go back to the US.

三槍拍案驚奇/A Simple Noodle Story - 張藝謀/Zhang Yimou's newest movie, and a damn weird one too. It's based off of the Coen Brothers' Blood Simple, but from what [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija says, this one is actually more Coen Brothers-esque than the original! A murder takes place in a tiny noodle shop in a deserted region of China, and half-hilarious, half-grotesque hijinks ensue. It has Zhang Yimou's now-signature color-coding and beautiful camera-work and all the violence and awkwardness of the Coen Brothers, with the addition of noodle throwing and a truly bizarre song-and-dance sequence at the end. I don't think I'd recommend it unless you're really up for something weird, and I'm still not sure I enjoyed it, but it was definitely an experience!

花木蘭/Mulan - With 趙薇/Zhao Wei/Vicki Zhao from 赤壁/Red Cliff (she played 孫尚香/Sun Shangxiang). An adaptation of the story of Hua Mulan, done with lots of extras, battles, and etc. I didn't remember much of the original poem at all when I watched this, save the loom and the twelve years, but it's interesting to see that the visit to the emperor is canonical! The beginning feels more like the Disney Mulan, though with less emphasis on the disappointment. I thought it was interesting that they still stuck with her sneaking off, especially since the press I've seen on this indicates that the director really wanted to make something different from the Disney version. However, most of the movie is not on Mulan's personal growth to accept who she is; rather, since she's in battle for twelve years, most of it is about her becoming a great general. The director also set this in the Wei Dynasty battling the Rouran nation (tribe? It feels weird using "nation" pre-nation-state-formation, but "tribe" feels so dismissive). Unsurprisingly, the Rouran are portrayed as more barbaric with furs and skins and such, but the movie mostly lays the blame on one Rouran ruler rather than all the people. And the Rouran princess was unexpectedly awesome and part of one of my favorite parts of the movie.

Spoilers )

Overall, more character development and less wuxia than I had expected. Some pacing problems, but I enjoyed it a lot.

終極三國/K.O. 3anguo - OMG people. Someone in Taiwan has remade Romance of the Three Kingdoms as HIGH SCHOOL AU! Like, this was actually filmed! Since I was only able to get through 15 minutes of it, that is all I can report on. 關羽/Guan Yu and 張飛/Zhang Fei have been kicked out of way too many schools, and when they meet a guy named 劉備/Liu Bei, he promises he can get them in one. There are also four time travelers (don't ask me).

All seven of the guys I have met so far have distinctly different hairstyles, which is really an accomplishment in and of itself. It was very handy for character identification.

Also, Guan Yu presses a button on his watch to magically zap his weapon into existence.

And then, the time travelers drop a coin which ends up tipping over a boulder that squashes Liu Bei right after the three swear to be brothers. (Seriously, don't ask me.)

I am not even describing the extremely bizarre and strange sound effects, visual effects (picture the heads of Guan Yu and Zhang Fei on little cartoon bodies), and plot or complete lack thereof. And did I mention the time travelers? That's about when I stopped watching!

One of my friends says it is fairly popular in Taiwan. I am completely at a loss.

Sherlock Holmes - I succumbed and watched! It was suitably funny and snarky, though I didn't appreciate the totally-non-subtext of "Women ruin everything between two men!" I desperately wanted to love the Irene Adler character, but she needed a much better actress. They really should have cast someone with the chops to stand up to Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, but sadly, they seem to have gone for looks instead. The movie also continues the rule that Satanism in fiction makes things funnier (thankfully, the movie was not very serious about the Satanism). And finally, although I am sure I will enjoy the snarky Holmes/Watson that fandom is inevitably writing right now, what I really want is fic with a much snarkier Irene Adler outwitting Holmes a lot.

(no subject)

Sun, Dec. 27th, 2009 09:25 am
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While wandering around in Kinokuniya today, I got my greedy hands on Ooku 4 (finally!) and Hoshi wa Utau 6 (both in Chinese). But! OMG! Mizushiro Setona has another new series out that is not Kuro Bara Alice? Baka-Updates says it is about a boy who tries to perfect his skills at making chocolate to get the girl he likes! Awesome. I think I will check to see if it's in Chinese before possibly getting volumes 1 and 2 in Japanese.

Also! There was the second volume of Hagio Moto's Sphinx! I have no idea what it is... anyone? Worth getting in Japanese? Or will the vocab be difficult?

So far, we have also eaten so much that we turned down extra bites of crab during lunch, and after the Kinokuniya trip, we watched the movie 十月圍城/Bodyguards and Assassins. It is about Empress Cixi sending a host of assassins to get to Sun Yat-Sen when he visits Hong Kong. I have doubts as to its historical accuracy, and it has terrible heart-string-tugging moments (symbolic dolls and pens and watches and fingers!), but was extremely enjoyable nonetheless. I am also extremely happy to learn that I will still be in Taiwan when 花木蘭/Mulan screens!

One trailer was also another historical Chinese war movie, only this time about... Confucius! Apparently they will send assassins after him too. The best bit was the name of the movie (Confucius) showing up with Dramatic Movie Music, which is really not the way I am used to thinking of him.

Still, I eat up this recent trend of Giant Chinese Epic Historical War Movies with a spoon. Historical costumes! Honor! Tactics! I love it so! I do wish there were more with women protagonists—fighting or not, I don't actually care. I find running households and embroidery and whatnot interesting too—but hopefully Mulan will satisfy that. And correct some of the really annoying things about Disney's version argh argh argh.

Armageddon

Mon, Jul. 6th, 2009 05:36 pm
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Not the Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis movie, although I feel that one would have been much improved with the presence of Andy Lau, spontaneous combustion, and lethal microwaves.

As noted previously, this involves lethal microwaves and the deaths of assorted famous scientists via spontaneous combustion. And as Rachel notes, she watched this first until a priest spontaneously combusted and then something else EVEN MORE CRACKTASTIC happened, fell off her sofa laughing, then stopped the DVD and decided she had to wait and watch it with me.

I am not entirely sure what this says about either of us.

Yoon, on the other hand, wisely abstained from watching, as the bad science in the movie probably would have caused her to spontaneously combust, leaving me and Rachel with only a remnant of spine, left foot, and liver to autopsy.

Spoilers would be movie-destroying if it were possible to truly spoil the effects of this movie )

I realize there are absolutely no connecting phrases or really anything between each paragraph of plot point, but that is because there are none in the movie either! I have no idea how we got from one to the other, save via jump cut!

ETA: Also, in one scene, Andy Lau, is carefully slipping a ring onto his finger. His hand is held very close to his face.

RACHEL: Is he putting the ring on the wrong finger? Shouldn't it be on his right hand?
ME: Um. I was too busy admiring Andy Lau's cheekbones to notice. And his eyes. And jaw line. And nose...

Munyurangabo

Mon, Jun. 15th, 2009 05:23 pm
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- [livejournal.com profile] rilina's write up

As Rilina notes, this is a film set in Rwanda, in Kinyarwanda, with Rwandan people in front of the camera and frequently behind as well, directed by a Korean-American guy.

Two best friends (Sangwa and Ngabo) leave Kigali on a journey; for what, we don't know. On their way, they stop by Sangwa's home. Sangwa has been away for 3 years, and the reunion with his parents is somewhat rocky, especially as Ngabo is Tutsi and Sangwa's family is Hutu.

This is the director's first film, done on an extremely low budget around two weeks. As such, I think some of the story structure could be tighter, particularly the switch in POV near the end of the movie. Other sites have compared the technique to Ozu. Sadly, I am horrifically uncultured, because as with Ozu, I may have briefly nodded off a few times. That said, I loved the sounds of the movie. I am guessing Chung didn't have time to do much sound editing, and I loved hearing water trickling into giant plastic containers, a spoon hitting a plate, mud slapping against a wall. It scratches the same itch that listening to typing on a keyboard or high heels down a hall do for me. (This may be extremely idiosyncratic!)

On the other hand, I very much like the portrayal of family in the movie. It's a story structure that's very familiar to me, and I hope that familiarity grounds the "exotic" setting for other viewers. You can very much tell that the director is going for everyday life and trying very hard not to make things "exotic." I also like that the history of genocide is always there, but it's also very much in the background. It is not a problem movie about OPPRESSION and WOE.

Also, near the end, the national poet of Rwanda Edouard B. Uwayo (who I think produced some of the movie as well) recites a poem for several minutes, and I know no Kinyarwanda, but oh, it is gorgeous. The rhythms of the language and the alliteration and everything, just gorgeous.

Also also, I love the animal stories. It was a little odd, because I think only [livejournal.com profile] rilina and I were laughing at them, but the chicken! Sheep!

On a note that doesn't involve the movie itself, I'm also glad that Chung started the film not for himself, but as a means to teach a class on filming, and I smiled at the mix of Asian and Rwandan names in the credits.
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Up

Sun, Jun. 14th, 2009 12:02 am
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First: I laughed and laughed and even cried while watching this, had a great time, love it to pieces, thought it was extremely well executed, and loved the voice acting.

Second: I am also a giant fan of having an old protagonist, especially in action scenes, as well as having an Asian-American lead (with actual Asian-American voice!) and making no big deal about it at all. Overall, I love the movie

That said...

I know I've seen quite a lot of feminist critique of this movie, along with Pixar's other work (rightly deserved). Has there been similar post-colonialist critique of it? Because while I love 40s exploration and Indiana Jones as much as the next person, can we have critique of it some time, as opposed to people pointing out that yes, it's a throwback, but oh, isn't it fun? We all know it's fun. But at some point, if you want to keep that sense of "Pow! Bang!" and the dashed paths going across a sepia world map and the fedoras and 40s pin-curled hair and the propeller airplanes, you gotta start making something new, not just doing the same old evocation of the atmosphere while doing nothing further.

And about the squee... I totally get needing the squee. But wouldn't the squee be even better and more awesome, if, say, you had reimaginings of the 40s exploration movies with a queer woman of color in propeller airplanes and fedoras and khaki going across the unexplored areas of Europe? Steampunked (I know the era's different, but you know what I mean) wheelchairs? Wouldn't it be so much cooler to keep the fun trappings and to add another level with a social justice twist?

ETA: spoilers in comments
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Yay! I met up with [livejournal.com profile] tatterpunk over the weekend and sicced many Taiwan food recs to her and then took her to Page One for English books.

For anyone interested, my 2008 picks for Chinese and Korean media is up at the Aqueduct Press blog.

Short write-ups of random Asian (mostly Chinese) movies I have watched while in Taiwan:

海角七號/Cape No. 7 - This is the little movie that apparently took Taiwan by a storm; currently, it's the second-highest grossing movie here ever, with only Titanic beating it. Aga left Taipei to go back to his rural hometown Hengchun in southern Taiwan after not being able to make it as a rock star. There, he works as a postman, and one day he gets a package from Japan addressed to a place that no longer exists.

Read more... )

Fun and frothy.

梅蘭芳/Forever Enthralled - This is Chen Kaige's (of Farewell, My Concubine fame) latest film, about the Peking opera star Mei Lanfang, one of the most famous dan in opera. Mei lived through the fall of the Qing Dynasty, the establishment of the Republic of China, the Japanese invasion, and the Communist Revolution, although the film stops when WWII ends. My favorite parts of the film were the earlier bits, since I am a total sucker for costume drama, and the actor playing young Mei is fantastic, as is the guy playing his rival/mentor, 13 Yan.

Read more... )

Still, a neat movie if you want to know more about Peking opera, with good performances.

花吃了那女孩/Candy Rain - A tiny indie movie with several segments, each concentrating on a young lesbian couple in Taipei. I, uh, half watched this while checking email because otherwise the slice-of-lifeness would have put me to sleep. Not that it was boring! I was just sleep deprived.

Read more... )

Like the name, this isn't necessarily deep, but it's sweet and lovely.

ラブ*コン/Lovely Complex - Why did no one tell me Love Com was a movie? (Also, so is Mushishi, though I am trying to see if I can rent the DVD before deciding if I want to buy it.) I have only read one volume of the manga, so I don't know how faithful or not the movie is. But it is so cute! And they managed to find actors with an actual height difference. It also helps that the guy playing Otani is very cute. I cannot actually say if this is a good movie or not, but if you like shoujo manga, I'm pretty sure you will like it. It has all the shoujo manga effects in movie format!

My absolute favorite part of the movie was when Risa goes on about her crush on Otani, which makes everything he does sparkle. He sparkles as he falls asleep in class! He sparkles when he plays basketball! He sparkles when he sneezes! Even his sneezes sparkle! (By this point, I was trying very hard not to fall out of my seat laughing.)

Read more... )

So shoujo manga!

I am also going to watch Red Cliff II, which is coming out the day before I leave. I do not care if almost everyone dislikes Red Cliff I and nothing happens in it and really it's just name-checking the key scenes in Romance of the Three Kingdoms! It has Takeshi Kaneshiro as Zhu Geliang and Tony Leung as Zhou Yu and they bond over military strategies and trying to outsmart each other! And all the awesome Zhu Geliang stories I grew up on are in the second part (borrowing arrows, stealing the east wind, etc.).

Also, even though Lin Chiling gets all the fame for being a supermodel and playing the Love Interest (Xiao Chiao), I want more of Sun Shangxiang, who reminds me of Eowyn. She paralyzes pigeons and Liu Bei with some sort of qigong thing! She has an army of women attendants! And she secretly has some sort of relationship with Zhu Geliang in my head, as he is the only one (so far) who sees how awesome she is. I must remember to file this away as a possible Yuletide request.

I am also sad that part one of the 20th Century Boys movie seems to have come out in Taiwan, but is not out on DVD yet.

And I am SUPER SAD that the new Miyazaki movie is coming out after I leave! ARGH!
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Although [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija and I were planning on watching more Romance of the Red Dust at first, we ended up renting The Heroic Trio, a low-budget Hong Kong movie about three female superheroes. Or, er, one female superhero (Tung, aka Wonder Woman), one morally ambiguous super-person (Chat aka Thief Catcher aka Number 7), and one supervillain who has lost her humanity (Ching aka Invisible Girl aka Number 3). Together, they save the world! Or at least protect it from evil archnemesises who attempt to take it over by stealing 19 babies!

When we were standing in line to rent it, Rachel exclaimed, "This is the one with the flying decapitator! Also the flying motorcycle!" The people behind us stared, possibly wondering why that garnered an "Awesome!" from me.

Tung is married to a cop, who demonstrates his cop-ly prowess by leaping from the second floor of the ramshackle house they're about to buy, grabbing a random and convenient vine, and swinging down to avert a car thief. But at night, she goes around to save babies as... Wonder Woman! Unfortunately, the cop's salary probably doesn't go very far, necessitating the construction of a superhero outfit out of tin foil, panty hose, and an extremely ragged and dirty bedsheet. Possibly the movie's costume department hoped that the dirty bedsheet would miraculously become a cape if the audience squinted hard enough, but I feel this would have been more easily accomplished had they not draped it over Anita Mui like a bad rendition of a poncho.

Anyhow, she rescues the babies kidnapped by Ching/Invisible Woman, who is invisible. The invisibility is a good thing, because it means we don't have to see Michelle Yeoh in a bright red bodysuit and a tartan cape/poncho/bedsheet. Or in black panty hose and metal wires going from her crotch to her breasts, complete with yet another bedsheet, this one in silver!

The hospital, by the way, seems to have been set up in an abandoned warehouse, given the decor, and it's entirely staffed by nuns. Well, we thought they were nuns, although they wore giant linen tableclothes over their heads instead of habits.

At this point, Rachel may have said, "Wait, maybe I was wrong about the flying motorcycles," as Invisible Woman's main mode of transportation was running alongside walls dripping blood and Wonder Woman's was bouncing from telephone wire to telephone wire.

But then, in came Maggie Cheung/Chat/Thief Catcher/Number 7 in a horrific eighties hairdo, goggles that I can't even describe and... a flying motorcycle! She's sort of awesome, as her motorcycle carries a sawed-off shotgun and possibly a bazooka. This was, by the way, to help the police out with a hostage situation in a completely random chemical factory. She leaps off her motorcycle and onto an empty oil can, throws an explosive inside, then uses that to fly all the way into the chemical factory! As one does.

Spoilers ride flying motorcycles! (You know you want to read it) )

More to come! Bed for me now...

Although before I go to bed, I just have to mention that Evil Mastermind's henchman, Number 9, will pick his severed finger off the floor and eat it, completely disregarding the five-second rule. And if you let loose a flock of birds around him, he will proceed to leap about, cram the birds into his mouth, and slobber with feathers plastered over his face. Oh, and Evil Mastermind breathes methane.
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Even more random things:

  1. I forgot how noisy summers here are; the cicadas hum day and night, the buzz so constant that it becomes background noise after a few minutes. I remember how much I laughed when New Jersey was making a big deal over cicada season there, which apparently only happens once every seventeen years. They can have the cicadas! Well, I don't mind the noise, but occasionally one dies and falls out of a tree, and let me tell you, those are some ginormous, UGLY bugs!

  2. After fifteen years or so of being fed very good wine by my dad the wine freak oenophile, I have discovered that I seem to like Bordeaux. This makes me feel somewhat better, as the first wine I figured out I liked was German Rieslings, which are sweet and taste like grape juice and are apparently highly unsophisticated. Now I can say I also like fancy expensive wine as well! (On the other hand, I still cannot tell you anything about chocolate overtones or berry smells or notes of oak or whatnot.)

  3. I may, amazingly, be burning out on tdramas! At least, aside from Mars, which I am now obsessed with as in I flip through the manga once I watch a few eps and then read ahead a little then try to convince myself that going to bed at four in the morning to watch another episode is not worth it. On the other hand, most of the other tdramas I have tried sort of suck. Or, they don't suck completely, but they're also not excellent. For the record, I don't think it's anything intrinsic in the Taiwan-ness; much like the manhua here, I think it's because the industry is still very young and therefore doesn't have as much mature work. Plus, Sturgeon's Law applies even more when the quantity availble is small, IMO.

  4. It is still REALLY hot and muggy.


And now, giant pictures of my favorite spread from Ooku, food, knitting, food, some scenery, food, TAKESHI KANESHIRO, food, TONY LEUNG, and more food.

Giant photos )
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Wow, this show is just wonderfully solid, isn't it? And eep, two-hour finale next week. I am not ready! I want more episodes!

Spoilers for eps and movies )

In conclusion: much love, still need to rewatch all the episodes, want DVD set, still very impressed with the writing and characterization and general intelligence, very happy.
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  • [livejournal.com profile] desdenova has started to watch Damo! Whoo! I pet my shiny new obsession and beam as it spreads. Come on, people, make me feel better -- who else is out there watching kdramas?

    My current kdrama sources are [livejournal.com profile] meganbmoore, [livejournal.com profile] shewhohashope, [livejournal.com profile] rilina, [livejournal.com profile] vonnie_k, The Stack, Dramabeans, and of course d-addicts for information.

  • For the other Sekrit LJ Smith fans out there, [livejournal.com profile] shewhohashope pointed me at this. New short stories! And a promise that Strange Fate is not dead yet.

  • I'm not blogging about elections because most of the press surrounding them make me blow my top. Also, I assume everyone's already reading [livejournal.com profile] delux_vivens, but for those who aren't, she has been posting a lot of articles and links about Obama and race.

  • Via [livejournal.com profile] rilina, who already highlighted Asia Pacific Arts' best music of 2007: best Asian films, best Asian-American films (I really want to see Munyurangabo now), best wordsmiths, and top 10 places to see Asian films in CA (most in Bay Area and LA). I'm just sad there aren't more in Bay Area and even more jealous of [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija and her LA-ness.

  • I've long been frustrated by the lack of visibility of non-East-Asian knitters of color in the knit blogosphere -- I'm sure POC knitters are there, but their blogs and designs and culture definitely get much less focus if they're not East Asian. So I was delighted when SistahCraft pointed out Black Purl Magazine and its venture into the print world.

  • And David Welsh gives a wonderfully snarky tip sheet for journalists writing about women in comics. I hope they read it and actually listen.


I tend to forget that people don't read my mind and instantly realize what I'm reading; is anyone interested in knowing my blogroll? Also, since I can't telepathically figure out what you guys are reading, what are some of your favorite blogs?
oyceter: (godchild evil parrot of DOOM)
Summary: LOVE.

Slightly longer summary, with the caveat that I have only listened to the score a few times and watched the DVD of the George Hearn/Angela Lansbury version. I love the show, but from more of a distance than people who are longtime Sondheim and/or Sweeney fans:

Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman singing do not make me want to shoot myself and are actually good at times, though you definitely notice the difference between them and the people who play Anthony, Johanna and Toby. All three of the former have some trouble with the high notes, though they deal mostly by fading away instead of wavering or squeaking.

I am amazed that the movie is only a little over two hours. It moves very quickly and I never felt like I was being shuffled from plot point to plot point via horrific exposition, like I do for many book-to-movie adaptations (*cough*GoldenCompass*cough*). I was very satisfied with what they cut and what they kept, though I do miss the factory whistle.

Tim Burton also remembers that this is a movie; I think it is one of the better or the best adaptations from Broadway to film that I've seen, but again, I'm speaking very much as an amateur watching. For purposes of comparison, I love the Chicago adaptation but not as much as this because it takes away Velma's voice, and while I like Rent, I like it because it is basically the show on film (it's hard for me to compare others like West Side Story, My Fair Lady and etc., since I've only seen the film versions).

Cut for length and spoilers )

So, has anyone else posted on this? I am dying to read more commentary, particularly from people who know Sondheim better than me!
oyceter: Stack of books with text "mmm... books!" (mmm books)
I reread Gaiman's Stardust after watching the movie this weekend because I disliked the ending and the gender politics so much that I wanted to see if a) it was the moviemakers being stupid or b) I had overlooked the skanky gender issues in Gaiman's book.

Thankfully, I think it is more a) than b); though Gaiman's book isn't absolutely wonderful on gender, it is also not the glaring awfulness that is the movie.

I don't think I would have minded as much had it not been an adaptation of a book I loved; I am so used to seeing this blatant gender typing in movies that I have all but stopped being angry at it. This makes me sad.

The book Stardust is a lovely little fairy tale in the best of senses -- it is odd and wry and frightening and grand and quiet. A star falls, and young Tristran Thorn promises to bring it back to Victoria, whom he is infatuated with. So he sets out to the world beyond the Wall.

Book and movie comparisons, spoilers for both )

Links:
- [livejournal.com profile] rushthatspeaks' review (spoilers)
- [livejournal.com profile] sophia_helix's review (spoilers)
- Feminist SF's review

More links!

Mon, Jul. 30th, 2007 02:39 pm
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I will have actual content one day -- probably about a month after IBARW, after I have done nothing but knit and play with rats.

  • [livejournal.com profile] liviapenn has a good round up of links following [livejournal.com profile] witchqueen's attempts to let [livejournal.com profile] daily_deviant mods know that "miscegenation" is a racist term Note that she is not passing judgment on kinks, nor is she asking them to remove that particular kink as a prompt. She's just asking to use something not racist as a tag, like "mixed race" or "interracial." I would comment, except my head exploded at the goats. In conclusion, I need to make myself a "Please don't be stupid" icon.


  • In non-head-exploding news: Ang Lee's new movie! Lust, Caution (you have to navigate to it, yay Flash?) is set in 1920s Shanghai, starring a woman who must get closer to a prominent political leader to assassinate him. Cold female assassins! 1920s Shanghai! Period clothing! Dysfunctional romances that are doomed to tragic failure with maximum angst! And! Tony Leung plays the male lead. I swoon.


  • I also want to see King and the Clown, which looks like it has gender bending! Also, [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija, I am hoping that it will blend the theater with backstage drama!


ETA: And for anyone keeping track, the mods have posted their open letter to [livejournal.com profile] witchqueen, which I am not linking to. You can go to the comm and whip out your Anti-Racism Bingo cards. I can't decide what my favorite part is: their decrying "Americanism" at the request to change "miscegenation" to "interracial" (because if it's offensive in another country, it means we can keep using it with no worries!) or their rabid insistence that they are not racist no no no way not at all nothing has been racist here even though we're using a racist term! I particularly laugh at how they link to the Wiki article on miscegenation and handily decide that even though it references Nazis, apartheid, and notes that the word is generally considered offensive in English-speaking countries.

I am sure someone will pop up and say I am being English-centric because of the above, because it's not like we should ever worry about something being offensive in the language we choose to use.

In conclusion: my eyes roll forever, and quite honestly, I hope people end up leaving that comm in droves.

New York, Days 1-3

Mon, Jul. 9th, 2007 03:40 pm
oyceter: Pea pod and peas with text "peas please" (peas)
I arrived on a red-eye and basically collapsed into bed for the next few hours. After that, my sister and I went out for lunch and some random shopping, except I was very grumpy because the sky was grey and it started raining on and off halfway through.

I think I'm officially Californian now; I was so baffled by the concept of rain in summer. I feel I shouldn't be, as I grew up with summer typhoons and the warm, wet rainy season, but I glared at the grey skies like they were a personal insult. It's summer! Skies should be vast and blue and sunny, the weather should be hot and dry, and the nights should be cool and refreshing. This hot, wet, muggy thing doesn't work quite so well.

On the first day, the food was good but not particularly spectacular, though I did get to sample cheddar grits, which are very interesting. My sister and I both agreed vehemently with each other that sweet, porridge-like substances (oatmeal, cream of wheat, etc.) are extremely strange, and that we prefer savory porridges (polenta, congee, etc.) intsead. Of course, this is because we grew up with congee. I remember being particularly startled when [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija once told me that she couldn't eat congee because it weirded her out, as she has grown up with cream of wheat. On the other hand, I can actually eat oatmeal, but only with fruit or jam. Adding brown sugar makes my brain freak out a little.

I feel I should stop being shocked and eminently amused by small things like this, but it's like the first time I saw a non-Chinese kitchen and realized that... they had no rice cooker!

You may all laugh at me now! I am a bit obsessed with things like junk food and Twinkies and meat loaf and street food because I find different people's concepts of "normal" food extremely interesting. For example, I find tuna, ketchup, mayo and cucumbers on waffles tasty and normal but was completely surprised to see people eating waffles with fried chicken and maple syrup (I suspect that would be tasty, though I haven't tried it).

Ratatouille and Korean food )

I blogged about Max Brenner and the Union Square farmer's market previously, so I'll leave that off. And I'll write up all my book loot when I get home.

Park Avenue Cafe )

Soup, peas, and Shoujo Manga Dark Angel (spoilers for DA 2x11) )

(no subject)

Tue, Jun. 12th, 2007 07:57 pm
oyceter: Two of my rats in a tissue box (rat)
EEEEEE!

Tivo has just shown me a 9-minute preview of Ratatouille! It is a Pixar movie! About a rat! Who cooks! OMG it is like they made it just for me!

I am so excited! Because OMG! The rat! He is so cute! I watched and even though he is an anthropomorphized rat, he still does rattie little things and the way he stands on his hind legs!!!! Exclamation point!

Um, sorry. But... the only thing I could say for nine entire minutes was: AWWWW SO CUTE! SO CUTE! SO CUTE!

But yes! Cooking rat! So cute!
Tags:

Sundry linkage

Thu, Jun. 7th, 2007 11:21 am
oyceter: (honey and clover - beach)
  1. Some spoilers for PotC3 in the first two links!

    Pam Noles and Angry Asian Man perfectly articulate why I will not be watching Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, particularly after the welcoming and inclusive comments from fandom the last time around.

    (Dude, I so just broke Vee's Law! 'Elp, 'elp, I'm being oppressed!)


  2. For anyone interested, I've been updating my Wiscon reports with additional links to other write ups and transcripts when I can find them. I think I am also done writing up panels; there are one or two more that I went to, but I didn't take notes and don't have much to say about them.


  3. Also, here's more on Brian Dennehy as Kublai Khan. My bad; I had it down as Genghis Khan. Note also how there is an Asian actor in the film, but only as a sidekick.


  4. In more fannish news, [livejournal.com profile] kate_nepveu has started watching Princess Tutu! Well, that and some others, but I am most excited about my dancing duck. Spoil her and die!


  5. And! [livejournal.com profile] sophia_helix has started to watch Honey & Clover!!!! I think my squeeing last night may have woken some people up! Some day I may be less excited when people watch H&C, but apparently today is not the day.
oyceter: (not the magical minority fairy)
Description: Tom Cruise is the Last Samurai. Kevin Costner wins the heart of American Indians with his wolf dancing. Orlando Bloom, in Kingdom of Heaven, goes from medieval England to Jerusalem to teach the Arabs how to sink wells and transport water. Is there anything that can be done about this plague of Orientalist white-guy Mary Sue-ism?

Panelists: Doselle Young, [livejournal.com profile] coniraya, me, Janine Ellen Young (mod)

Props to [livejournal.com profile] vito_excalibur for the Best Panel Title Ever!

Doselle Young ran in, saw me and [livejournal.com profile] coniraya sitting there, gulping down our caffeinated beverages of choice in an attempt to be coherent for the panel, and said, "I'm the moderator?!"

"Yup," we said, still half asleep.

"But I don't want to be the moderator! Being moderator is boring! I think we should rule by anarchy!"

And we probably would have until Janine Ellen Young (Doselle's wife) came in and got stuck as the moderator. There was much joking around about what the panel needed was a honky, as Janine was the only white person on the panel. I think [livejournal.com profile] coniraya (black) joked that he was probably going to get killed off in the first half.

I don't have very good notes on what was said at the panel, since I was mostly trying to concentrate on sounding somewhat intelligent.

I gave a list of movies that may or may not fit the panel description, as largely culled from LJ (LJ knows all!). My caveat is that I got these off the flist and haven't seen most of them. I'm also adding in the titles that came up during the panel itself.

List of movies/books )

I summarized the trope as being (please picture scarequotes around all occurences of "natives"): White guy flees from his own culture for personal reasons (to set him up as different from those with white privilege). White guy meets natives. Natives educate white guy. White guy learns the way of natives, possibly also converting a native person who was originally doubtful of him, thereby proving white guy's worthiness. White guy fights for naties. White guy makes dramatic escape while the native guy dies, possibly trying to help the white guy. The movie then ends with a dramatic coda and captions that inform the audience that despite white guy's triumph, the Situation Remains Dire.

The key to all this is that the entire movie is about the white guy's personal growth and realization and that people of color serve only to further the white guy's epiphanies.

"And don't forget, the white guy always gets the sexy native girl! Or a white girl who has been raised native," said one of the panelists.

Cut for length )

All in all, this was the panel I had the most fun at, and I think it went pretty well with the audience too. I do wish we were able to talk about more things in detail, but I think we hit a good number of topics. Also, the audience was great.

ETA: I forgot! Here's the link I told people about at the panel: "How to write about Africa."

ETA2: Attributed note of white teacher subgenre to [livejournal.com profile] seaya

ETA3: Fixed info on Brian Dennehy and added link.

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