purplecat: Texture by simpleandclean (LiveJournal) (Doctor Who)
([personal profile] purplecat Mar. 25th, 2017 06:24 pm)


Sarah Jane maintains the Dr Who tradition of companions making dubious fashion choices.


I was first amused and then subsequently puzzled by the copyright notice under the picture. This is, after all, a publicity still created with the intention that it would be copied and published by other people.

At any rate, I'm assuming that at this point in the game I'm a) too small a fry a b) people distributing publicity images on the Internet is too common a thing for the BBC to come after me, but I suppose we shall see.
I was hanging out with other fans this past weekend and one of them pointed out to me that I don't post much anymore. I guess that's probably true. I should try to change that! Here we go.

- After five years of trying and failing to learn to meditate (there's a anxious hamster in my head and it WILL NOT STOP SQUEAKING), I found an app that's extremely helpful. It's called Calm. I mention this in case any of you are similarly afflicted. You can unlock the full app with a subscription, but there are features you can use without that. I regularly make use of the guided meditations and the sleep stories. Yes! Droning bedtime stories meant to knock you out! They work pretty well. Last night I listened to a shipping report. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

- I went back to re-read some Bruce Wayne/Clark Kent fic I had bookmarked, and I'm very very amused by the notes I used so I could find them again. (There's a reason so few of my 1,760 bookmarks are public.) For instance:

* that one where Bruce is masochistic and Dick is fucking pissed
* ugh stupid men on a farm and domestic goodness
* the one with the swear jar that made me LOL
* so good! go back and slobber on the author later

- Speaking of DCU and/or Berlantiverse, how cute was The Flash/Supergirl musical ep??!! OMG. SO CUTE. And then you juxtapose that with Arrow, which...listen, I want a ton of Diggle/Oliver hurt/comfort fic right this instant, and it just isn't out there. It's the same for Steve/Sam and Tony/Rhodey, and it isn't right.

- Also re the DCU: behold our glorious Wonder Woman.

- I have a non-spoilery confession to make about Legion: I fast forward through about three quarters of every episode because...I just don't care. It's not because it's trippy and surreal; I can deal with that. See: Hannibal. But the reason Hannibal worked for me was my deep and abiding investment in the characters, all of whom were portrayed by tremendous actors. The same cannot be said of Legion. I don't care about the characters. But I did start to cut them some slack in chapter 7 for reasons I won't mention here. (If you're watching, you already know why.)

- Here is a quick rundown of why I think Iron Fist is terrible. I gave up 13 years hours of my life to form these opinions; I therefore feel entitled to share them with you now. Below the cut, spoilers. )

I'm going to leave you with an embed of this year's MIT admissions vid, which is basically a fan film of Riri Williams making her Iron Man suit, because I love it so. Somewhere out there, I think RDJ is applauding.

scaramouche: Captain America's shield & Iron Man's arc reactor; Civil War artwork (steve+tony)
([personal profile] scaramouche Mar. 25th, 2017 06:34 pm)
Still in a Steve/Tony high, I decided to have an MCU mini-marathon with The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War. It was most fun. Some conclusions:
  • The Avengers is more nerve-wracking in rewatch, knowing that SHIELD is actually Hydra part deux. Just about everything to do with or done by SHIELD made me anxious.

  • The action in The Avengers isn't... shot very well. Age of Ultron, despite having more CGI weirdness, is far more dynamic and physics-heavy. On the flipside, The Avengers as a whole is continuously exciting and engaging, while I found myself mentally checking out of some quieter scenes of Age of Ultron. As for Civil War, it feels emotionally tight in a way that the other two films simply don't, and the hand-to-hand combat is also excellent, but the airport fight goes on way too long in rewatch.

  • There is something to be said for the opinion I'd seen on the interwebs that Age of Ultron works really well as an immediate follow-up to The Avengers, i.e. if you pretend that Iron Man 3 never happened. (Captain America: The Winter Soldier less so, because there's at least some consequences from that movie brought forward.) Which is a bummer, because I love Iron Man 3.

  • Considering I just read a book about meteoroids and global-level extinctions, Ultron's plan is even more ridiculous. I mean, sure, superhero-movie physics, but eh.

  • Steve's dialogue improves DRAMATICALLY between The Avengers and Age of Ultron. How much of that was Steve's The Avengers PTSD getting lost to the cutting room floor, and how much was it due to Steve's snarkiness being highlighted in The Winter Soldier, which might've influenced the writing for Age of Ultron? Don't even get me started with Steve's costume in The Avengers.

  • Natasha and Thor are hilarious, and although I can understand them being flattened a lot in fic that's focused on other characters, it's still a damn shame that it happens.

  • Look, Steve is my fav, but the thing that bugged me the most about his POV in Civil War is that he presented no alternatives to signing the Accords. He was just a wall, and made no effort to bridge the divide. I can buy that being part and parcel of the character, but let's just say that I know enough walls like that in real life that I get stressed as hell seeing it in fiction.

  • The logic of the Accords continue to be shaky as hell (why... are they blaming damage caused by other parties on the Avengers) but I can buy this in a sense because the true endgame a la Zemo had nothing to do with the Accords itself. Though I am interested in seeing how the Accords play out in the following films, if at all.

  • All three films involve the core team being split apart by the bad guy. ALL THREE. It's weird as hell to watch back-to-back, and the only thing Civil War does differently is that it makes it permanent, while the previous two have the team getting back together for the sake of the battlefield, though without actually talking about it or having any emotionally honest team moments. Which, I guess, highlights how the team was volatile to begin with, and only really work as a team when they can focus on a common target. Fandom has wanked to hell and back about whether these guys really are friends instead of mini-cliques who work together by necessity, but I find it more interesting to look at it this way: Tony and Steve's first real emotional moments happen under the weight of the Accords, and later in Siberia in the worst possible circumstances. (They had a single, great banter scene at the end of Age of Ultron, but it felt like merely skimming the surface, especially compared to the connection between Tony and Bruce in The Avengers, plus Steve's with Sam and Nat in The Winter Soldier.) Extrapolating from that, Avengers: Infinity War would be a spectacular cap off for this cycle of films if it manages to present true, bona fide emotional team moments. No pressure.*

*I mean, I'd love it, though I know better than to pin my hopes on it.

It's just really egregious when watching the films back-to-back, how the team just head off for the final fight with Loki/Ultron without addressing the team conflict presented on-screen beforehand. The Avengers is less an issue because they're just starting out as a team, but Age of Ultron is really awkward -- they were literally beating the crap out of each other before Vision pops out and picks up Mjolnir.

I felt that Civil War does really well to address that emotional gap with dialogue that actually depicts familiarity between the members (the Steve & Tony argument just before Bucky gets triggered is so so SO different from their arguments in the first two films, with actual affection present between the lines) but, well... civil war, et cetera. Even the epic fight in the airport felt less stressful in a sense, because they were aiming to stop, not to hurt, whereas the fights in both Avengers films were very much targeting the soft, squishy bits of each other. Basically, after watching the first two Avengers I felt starved for more friendly interactions, but somehow after Civil War I wasn't as much, despite it ending on such open-ended heartbreak. Which is food for thought, I guess.

While I was about halfway through Civil War, my father came in and decided to join me. He'd never seen it before, and he hasn't seen Age of Ultron either, but he seemed to be able to follow it well enough, and was really into it until he realized what was going on and said, appalled, "They're fighting each other?"

Plus, once the reveal with the 1991 accident happened, he said flatly: "Well, that's difficult."

Yes. Yes, it is.
Die Hard. The original movie, John McClane at Nakatomi Plaza, dealing with terrorists, burglars, cops, the FBI and so on.

When John arrives at the big holiday party on the 30th floor, a small string ensemble is playing classical and seasonal music. They're located in a musicians' gallery, partway up a side wall, a kind of balcony, with a stairway for access from the main room, possibly a doorway to an upper hall behind them. Shots are fired, Hans and his merry men arrive, and the employees of Nakatomi Corp. are harried into the central room with the small fountains, stonework, pools, plants, etc. The musicians are seen once, running down the stairs or away from the situation, with their instruments.

What happens to them?

They can't get out; the building is locked down, the elevators (entrance in the room with the hostages) are stopped. They are not shot, harassed, or anything else onscreen. They are not among the group on the roof, later. Neither they nor their instruments are seen again for the entire movie.

I have a theoretical answer.

They are not human; they are fey musicians, arranged for by someone at Nakatomi who has connections to the Faerie world. When danger arises, they move down, huddle with the crowd and vanish, in such a way that they are not seen doing it -- and so many people are in shock at the terrorists' arrival that their leaving isn't noticed.

They make their way back to their homeland -- there is a gateway nearby, in the green area surrounding the building; the Los Angeles fey community has used it for centuries, and the modern era's takeover of the region with concrete and steel does not affect them; as long as the steel is not exposed and they are not forced into contact with it, it is not an issue. And they report what has happened to their region's queen.

The queen parts the gossamer curtains and scries in a pond in the mortal world. "It will be well. McClane is there." And she forbears to send elven troops to deal with the interlopers.

The magicians huddle and murmur. Who is this McClane? Ahh, *that* McClane, the reincarnation of one of their mightiest warriors, canny and powerful, who goes this time in the guise of a NY city cop, the better to fit into the culture. All will indeed be well.
During some link-hopping I discovered that, despite Disney tentatively doing a live-action film of their The Little Mermaid, and there being a film adaptation with Shirley MacLaine coming out this year, another indie film managed to leapfrog both for a 2016 release and became, officially, the first English-language live-action feature film adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid.

(It's true. Despite the book coming out in the 19th century, all the prior adaptations have been animated, live-action for television, or in languages other than English.)

Last night I watched this 2016 film, which stars Rosie Mac as the little mermaid, and can say quite reasonably that the only thing this film has going for it is that it that was made quickly enough to get that First English-Language Live-Action Film Adaptation moniker. Its worst fault isn't that it looks like it was made for $100 dollars (of which $90 dollars was spent on the gorgeous mermaid tail that seen for maybe 30 seconds), or that the story is a cynical modern-day adaptation with very little wonder, or that the acting leaves a lot to be desired. Its worst fault is that it's boring.

I can forgive a lot if there's a decent idea somewhere in the center of any story, and although there were a few flashes of maybe-brilliance in this adaptation, it's just a slog to watch, and with very little charm. I didn't care about or understand any of the characters, and I had very little idea of what the story was trying to say. Plus it had that sense of look-how-edgy-we-are in having the little mermaid and her (first) prince having a one night stand that ends badly, and then the little mermaid being curious about sex toys and then becoming a burlesque dancer. I have very little patience for edgelord adaptations that don't retain any sense of magic, and not to mention that this makes it the third recent cynical adaptation for The Little Mermaid specifically, the others being Little From the Fish Shop and Charlotte's Song (which is more inspired-by instead of a straight adaptation, but still).

Still, I think in theory that I could have enjoyed a modern-day adaptation that takes a cold, hard look at the culture clash of a mute mermaid having to navigate our world, if only it weren't so damn dull and cheerless.
The Koch brothers and their network, the financiers backing the Republican party, are telling Republicans not to vote for Trump-uncare. What was that about a house divided? ETA: Ah. They're concerned that the Trump plan *doesn't go far enough.* Scratch that bit about compassionate conservatism.

Trumpery doesn't understand technology and change. And, as you might guess, he's a laughing matter and no joke. Along with which, he threatened a 17-year-old girl who created a satire website with kittens clawing him. The question remains: how did this philandering, lying, cheating, abusive jerk manage to hijack the religious right? He's so far from the moral high ground that he couldn't find it with a compass and a platoon of Marines. But the religious right's ancestry is racism and bigotry, and it has returned to its roots with him.

Meanwhile, during the Senate hearing on the Gorsuch appointment, a unanimous Supreme Court declared that one of his previous rulings was wrong, wrong, wrong in every way it could be wrong. Yes, unanimously. The decision concerned education for disabled students -- Gorsuch said it could be as little as legally needed, and the court said no way to that.

A long long opinion from SIIP traces how what has happened here fits into Russian plans, and where we fit into it. A future article is to suggest some remedies.

***

ETA:

The Wall Street Journal, bastion of the conservatives, tears Trump a new one, in detail.

Trap a self-driving car by using ritual magic. It works!

Verizon, AT&T and others pull ads from Google because of placement next to hate speech ads. Ads with hate speech in them, not ads against it. Google, of course, cannot look up the answer on itself.
scaramouche: Vocal Adrenaline glee club from Glee, with "Bring It" in text (glee bring it)
([personal profile] scaramouche Mar. 23rd, 2017 02:52 pm)
It's been literally months since I came back from my London trip, but my stack of new media sitting in the middle of the floor of my room has barely shrunk. In fact, it's grown a little, thanks to the bunch of stuff I've been buying lately post-Rogue One. I know I should just put everything away, but I really do want to consume the DVDs and music at least once before shelving them.

I tried to start up again by watching Red Sonja (the movie version, with Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold's Conan expy). I've wanted a decent DVD version for some time now, and had held off getting one back when DVDs were still exciting and getting decent extras, but it's been too long of a wait for a special edition of some sort so I caved and got a basic version if only so I have the movie at all.

I did a rewatch and MAN OH MAN I forgot how much this movie did for my younger self's id. It's so aggressively eighties, with its style and special effects and earnest dialogue and matte paintings, plus Sandahl Bergman (who plays Queen Gedren) had a particular vocal quality that had me flashing back to the English dubbing of various cartoons and European films that I grew up with. I don't know whether it's the way she speaks as Gedren, or how her voice was recorded or what, but it pings a very specific sensory memory, it was most disconcerting.

Fresh-faced Brigitte Nielsen was also a delight, with her awkwardness working as a plus in selling the character to me as a child, though perhaps it comes off differently if I'd watched the movie for the first time as an adult. I'd also forgotten how non-subtextual Gedren's interest in Sonja was -- somehow I'd convinced myself that it was something I made up but, nope! Gedren really does want Sonja, just as it sounds. Tremendous.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
([personal profile] twistedchick Mar. 22nd, 2017 07:36 pm)
Melania, are you ok? Other people seeing what I am seeing: an abused and mistreated woman in a marriage with an egomaniac (to be polite), and whose son may also have been abused by her husband.

The real bombshell of the House Intelligence/Trump/Russia hearing happened in the hallway. AKA someone's either ignorant as an upstream rock, or else lying in front of cameras.

Yes, the FBI did wiretap Trump Tower -- to keep track of the Russian mobsters.

Trumpery fired Preet Bharara as a prosecuting US attorney -- so now he'll teach kids at NYU how to be as tough and critical and prosecutorial as he is.

Farewell, David Rockefeller.

Gorsuch, abortion and the concept of personhood.

White Pride and prejudice. I am not entirely in agreement with their version of what liberal thnking entails.

Trump's exaggerated new border rules keep all the Africans from the African Summit in LA. This is *ridiculous*.

An actual war criminal may become the US's second leading diplomat. Pass me the vomit bowl; I cannot stand this man.

***

These cities are divesting from the banks that support the Dakota pipeline.

The NY state attorney general has hired an attorney to go after Trump full time -- and he knows the territory.

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Ivanka Trump's company over unfair competition.

The country is a mess. Meet the fixers. 50 people with ideas, guts and ability who are making change.

Apologies for typos; my eyes are very tired today.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
([personal profile] twistedchick Mar. 22nd, 2017 12:20 pm)
1. How long can you go without using phrases or idioms that are derived from war, battle, duels or other conflicts? When you are with others, how long is it until you hear them in conversation?

(I am exempting from this those of you who work in government or the military and *have* to deal with war and conflict in your occupation.)

2. How long can you go without using phrases or idioms derived from sports, any sports? How often do you hear them in conversation?

3. Do you notice any difference between war idioms and sports idioms?

Comments welcome.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
([personal profile] twistedchick Mar. 21st, 2017 09:57 am)
A lying liar who lies. Who says so? The director of the FBI, in public, concerning unsubstantiated tweets and the investigation into the Russian incursion into the American election -- which is an attack on the US. You can see both video and text at this link.

Oh, but Trumpery doesn't want other people's truth getting in the way -- and is installing political aides in the agencies to be his eyes and ears. That's not democratic process. That's an authoritarian dictatorship, enforcing must-think.

And promoting American values at the UN apparently includes promoting right-wing-tip religious denial of women's rights. That's not American either -- well, in the 19th Century it was, but it shouldn't be now.

The guy with the hair (or toupee) also may have revealed classified information during a Faux News interview.

It's possible that a senior Trump advisor took a lifelong oath to a Nazi group.

Rex Tillerson, the minimalist diplomat.

Some truth to spread about 'taking back America'.

***

How Egypt's activists became Generation Jail, when protest was outlawed.

Brianna Wu wants to change the Democrats' playbook.

***

The passion of the Slayer, 20 years later -- now more than ever.

The life-changing power of happy food.

Exploring the twisted politics of dreadlocks.

A NY court will determine if a chimp is a person, and has human rights.

The rise of the parnoid citizen.

Books can take you where Trump doesn't want you to go.

How to break up the Silicon Valley boys' club.

Watch the placement of your Oxford commas.

Escaping from the erupting Etna.

Teenager discovers 7.44 carat diamond in Arkansas state park.
.

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