Tag Archives: ~drift partner

Spoiler Alert Sunday :: her thoughts on Lady Bird

26 Nov

(I saw it too, and echo this. I just wanted her to phrase things because she felt them more articulately.)

I don’t want to say too much about this movie, because I don’t think it’s the kind of movie you should talk too much about. It doesn’t have a complicated plot, or shocking twists, or flashy cinematography. It’s just a story about a girl and her mother in the early 2000s and how they talk to each other and hurt each other and lie to each other and love each other.

 

I think what’s most interesting to me about this movie is that it’s written by someone – Greta Gerwig, also the director – who so clearly remembers being a teenager. I’ve been reading a lot of young adult novels recently, and there are some that I do finish, but that grate on me because they sound too much like An Adult Writing a Teenager. My favorite kinds of stories with teeangers are stories where teenagers say horrible things, make huge mistakes, and are the narrative doesn’t excuse or coddle them. The thing about teenagers is that many of them are very smart, and say very smart and/or very frank things, but they will also think, say, and do some truly terrible or stupid things. (A quick plug here: two of the best novels I’ve read recently that capture what terrific fuckups teens can be, while still remembering that they are sometimes very smart, are Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy and Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld.) Anyway. Lady Bird is an authentic movie because its lead character, as well as some of her friends and acquaintances, say and do a lot of cruel, assholish, or just plain stupid things. But they also do and say some clever, kind, and profound things. The best kind of teenager-centric stories remember both of these elements and neither make teens into savants nor irredeemable assholes.

The name Lady Bird is one that our protagonist, Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, has chosen for herself. We don’t see the process of her choosing it, or even where it comes from. It doesn’t matter. She insists on it, up to and including scratching out her given name on a call sheet to replace it with her chosen name. She and her mother fight about this, and about a thousand other stupid little things, and some bigger things too. (I really don’t want to spoil too much here.) I’m lucky to have a pretty good relationship with my mom, for the most part, but I could recognize elements in their relationship all the same. Both of them are headstrong, stubborn people who don’t really want to hurt each other, but who sometimes do it anyway because they forget to be careful or because their need to say something to the other is more important than thinking before they speak. It’s authentic in a way that I haven’t seen done in mother-daughter movies before – the handful that I’ve seen, I find sort of precious in a way that I can’t really stomach. (Brave is the exception here.) But in this movie, you can see how they try to love each other but don’t always succeed. It’s masterfully done.

I don’t think, at this point, it’s really necessary to point out that this movie absolutely smashes the Bechdel Test, but, well, it does. I think there are perhaps two scenes where men talk to each other? Almost all of the important relationships are between women. It’s very refreshing. However, this movie is very much about whiteness and white lower-class families – Lady Bird’s brother Miguel is Mexican and his girlfriend Shelly is black, and there are a few unnamed or briefly appearing characters of color, but for the most part it’s a pretty white cast. That’s fine, but it does influence the story.

Anyway. This is not really a movie that you need to know a lot about before you go in. It’s just a movie that you should experience. And if Saoirse Ronan doesn’t finally get an Oscar out of this, I will be very angry and never shut up about it ever.

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Marvel Monday :: our thoughts on Inhumans

13 Nov

So, friends, we climbed this whole Inhumans and somehow we survived.

We did this for you, you guys. Someone had to watch it so they could tell everyone else what they weren’t missing (or, possibly, what little relevant things they might be missing – spoiler, virtually nothing.)

This was a very bad show about some very bad people (and two good people and a good dog, and a couple of decent people, I guess) and full disclosure, we were drinking through most of it. That was really the only way to do it (the couple of episodes watched without at least some Mike’s were nigh unbearable). So let’s just talk about the people… because there was almost no actual plot between episodes 2-7 that couldn’t have been intuited from actions in episodes 1 and 8. Seriously.

Inhumans follows a colony of, well, Inhumans who live in a special secret city, Attilan, located under a dome that makes them invisible inside a very large crater on the moon. Why did these Inhumans live on the moon? They’d fled Earth for… some reason… after being persecuted…? A long time ago? (Whether or not they knew there were other Inhumans still present on Earth is vague. They learned, but it wasn’t really clear. Why some stayed but some went is also not clear. It couldn’t have been that all the Inhumans who were too unusual-looking to pass for human went to the moon because, uh, terrigenesis created Inhumans who looked unusual on Earth all the time [see also, Gordon, Raina, Lash] and most of the Inhumans who lived on the moon looked normal aside from their terrible fashion choices. You would think they would attempt to explain it. No, not really. You just have to press on.)

These Inhumans are ruled by a monarchy who enforces a completely horrifying caste system based on the usefulness of an individual’s post-terrigenesis gift. There’s none of that “oh, everyone is beautiful and useful” kind of stuff like (pre-antagonist) Jiaying preached to her Inhuman pals at Afterlife in SHIELD season 2. No, these fuckers make terrigenesis a public ceremony held in the throne room, after which someone’s gifts are immediately evaluated by the Genetic Counsel (!!!) and they’re assigned either to an upper-class life or working in the mines. What do they mine on the moon? We have no idea. But they mine something. Apparently without affecting the geology or atmosphere of the moon as a whole.

Those two paragraphs were about the social system instead of the individuals, but trust me, it’s important. It means that going into this world, you don’t have a lot of sympathy for the ruling class. Black Bolt (Anson Mount), the king, is king despite the fact that he murdered the previous king and queen, his parents, on accident with the use of his devastating powers: he generates terrible seismic waves and instant death when he opens his mouth. As a result, he doesn’t speak, which could have been really interesting… if they had, say, gotten an actual mute actor. Or at the very least actually used sign language for his communication. They didn’t. They made up a fake version of sign language, allegedly with a consultant, but it came off highly simplified and more often than not foolish-looking. “I can’t… use ASL because he’s not from [Earth],” Mount apparently said. Well you live on the moon but speak English, why not just use ASL too? This is not the only baffling thing about Black Bolt, though. He is inexplicably more than ten years older than his brother Maximus (Iwan Rheon) in present day despite the fact that they’re virtually indistinguishable in flashbacks. There are almost no scenes indicating any of Black Bolt’s actual capabilities to rule Attilan. There is an eleventh hour reveal that he’s been keeping massive strategy secrets from his wife Medusa (Serinda Swan) and the rest of their family… but after she confronts him once about it, everyone just shrugs and goes on their way. His much-feared gift is used exactly… twice, once in flashbacks of him killing his parents (which, by the way, we find out was after he thought they signed him up for brain surgery, which wasn’t even them, it was his jealous shitbag brother forging their signatures). Oh, and they never said it in the show – but his full name? Is Blackagar Boltagon.

His relationship with Medusa suffers from an exaggerated version of the problem that many MCU relationships suffer from: tell, not show. There is exactly one incredibly uncomfortable scene of the two of them in bed together, Medusa’s famed and prehensile long hair draped over all of their naked bits ‘cause it’s ABC, and it’s not overly sexual but it’s uncomfortable because it just looks so staged. When their Apple Watches ring and interruptus their coitus, it’s honestly a relief. Soon after they’re separated for a bunch of episodes, during which they try to find each other without actually expressing any emotional reasons to long for each other, and then they come back together and it’s just as stiff as it was before. This might be a narrative flaw – we just didn’t have any reasons for why they actually cared about each other. It was also implied that they were an arranged marriage, born out of some weird political something (Medusa’s parents were activists…? Who fought to challenge the class system…? How, we don’t know, but that’s who they were, apparently, and then they died, and somehow Medusa was betrothed to Black Bolt as a… peace offering? In the process also losing any political affinity she had with her parents, mind you – she doesn’t give a damn about the poor miners or whatever until she has to for narrative reasons). How or why this came about isn’t specified.

Medusa herself has the Inhuman gift of the aforementioned prehensile hair. It’s down to the floor and then some, it’s Halloween-store-wig orange, it clashes terribly with the shade of lavender that all of her royal outfits seem to be, and it’s incredibly useful for not only covering naked bits but also picking things up and attacking people… which is why Maximus, in his first-episode coup, has one of his lackeys shave it all off. It’s understandable that Medusa feels anxious about this sudden loss of power… but we as an audience have built up almost zero sympathy for her as a character at this point, so it kind of just seems like all of the hype was a chain-yank. Also, when they shave her head it looks disastrous, but in the next scene she’s got a perfectly-maintained buzz cut and once she’s on Earth she could pass for a perfectly normal woman with a buzz cut and it’s not a big deal? Also, hair grows back, my guy. So she spends seven episodes of the series having no powers, but just walking around getting into Wacky Situations (there’s a beat with an ATM that was funny… when it appeared in Dollhouse ten years ago) and befriending a wacky astrophysicist named Louise (Ellen Woglom) who probably falls in love with her, but gods only know why because she’s not a good person, Medusa. Louise is fine though. She’s one of the decent people. She’s just wacky and Really Adamant that people live on the moon even though her colleagues are like “that’s silly, woman” – good thing Medusa helps her Prove Them Wrong! Kind of. (Medusa doesn’t actually prove this. Medusa proves that her sister Crystal [Isabelle Cornish] has a teleporting dog, but apparently this is proof that there are people on the moon too?) Oh, and they never said it in the show – but her full name? Is Medusalith Amaquelin. (Never mind that THEY ARE ON THE DAMN MOON THERE IS NO REASON FOR THEM TO KNOW ABOUT MEDUSA AND THEREFORE HAVE GIVEN HER THAT APPROPRIATE NAME BECAUSE OF HER HAIR THAT THEY DIDN’T KNOW SHE’D TERRIGENESIS INTO HAVING AS A MAGICAL POWER – but this is a problem with the comics too, not just this disaster show.)

Medusa was also apparently friends with Black Bolt’s brother Maximus. They keep saying that, and show one tiny flashback of their younger selves approximate to each other, but who the hell knows. So many things are thrown into the air on this show but not actually explained.

Maximus, meanwhile, is an even more terrible person. This was pretty much a given considering Iwan Rheon – who my mother says is actually a very nice man and I trust her, but he’s never going to be cast as anything but a shithead ever again. He’s from an Inhuman family, but somehow his terrigenesis turned him… into a regular human…? But since he’s a royal he doesn’t have to work in the mines, he’s just constantly present at court and sulking because everyone thinks less of him for being a human (but also because he’s a bad person). He organizes a coup under the pretense of liberating the miners and overthrowing the caste system, which isn’t a bad idea, but he sends monsters after some Inhumans who traveled to Earth, then attacks his brother and sister-in-law, causing them to teleport to Earth too, then tries to blackmail his sister-in-law’s sister (I have no idea what that makes her familially), then attacks others, uses people in just as bad of a way as the caste system has used them, collaborates with an Earth scientist (in the grand tradition of shit ABC Marvel scientists, a Scot) to study Inhuman powers in a way that causes the scientist to work with murdery techniques, tries to go through terrigenesis again, and threatens to blow up the entirety of Attilan if his brother doesn’t concede to his demands. I’ve probably missed something, but rest assured. He’s a bad person. He doesn’t actually feed people to dogs, nor does he actually rape anyone, but he emotionally does the former and comes damn close to the latter. The best part about him is that his accent is a hilariously awful mishmash of every UK accent imaginable, and it’s fun to punctuate his sentences with a bad impression of him saying “I have an accent.” (When I do this it comes out mostly Scottish.) Oh, and they never said it in the show – but his full name? Is Maximus Boltagon.

And then there’s Crystal, Medusa’s little sister (so little that I originally thought Crystal was Medusa’s daughter – but no, she’s just Medusa’s surrogate daughter since their parents are dead of plot device). Crystal is one of the good people. Crystal just wants to be where the people are, wants to see, wants to see ‘em dancing, etc. There’s actually a scene in the first episode where Crystal is supposed to be at the terrigenesis ceremony and instead is off frolicking with her giant teleporting bulldog Lockjaw (he is the good dog – he is not good animation but he is a very good dog and every time he appears we cooed at him), echoing the opening of The Little Mermaid pretty directly. She also earned the nickname Crystal Swift, because she’s a teenage girl and it’s not her fault and occasionally she’s naive but she’s well-intentioned but sometimes she tries to be angry and it’s funnier than it should be even though I feel for her more than I feel for any of these other assholes. (“The old Crystal can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Because she’s DEAD!”) Crystal’s Inhuman power is essentially being the Avatar: she controls the four elements (earth, water, fire, air). Her journey through the series is learning that humans (gasp) don’t suck entirely, and exploring Earth, sort of. She also explores a generic surfer, but later when Medusa asks her about this, if she misses him or regrets leaving him, her answer is “…I guess.” She’s a good person who actually makes active efforts to help people. And as mentioned, she has the best stupid giant dog. Oh, and they never said it in the show – but her full name? Is Crystalia Amaquelin. (I realized how dumb this was, because literally terrigenesis is achieved through terrigen crystals, so her parents were the most uncreative ever… but then again, in the comics Crystal and Pietro Maximoff have a daughter who they name Luna because she [like other Inhumans, apparently] was born on the moon. So I guess that’s just a thing.)

The other good character is Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor), who unfortunately suffers from “mythical kind gentle simple big black man” syndrome. (He’s not black in the comics, so I’m sure they thought they were being diverse… but it was a poor decision. Gorgon literally has hooves.) He’s a big sweetie and befriends a bunch of Hawaiian surfers, learning lessons about why friendship is magic… which is sure something he hadn’t learned before, because his closest relationship is with his “cousin” Karnak (Ken Leung) – they’re also allegedly cousins of the royal family, which is never explained, despite Gorgon being black, Karnak being Asian, and the other royals being outstandingly white. It’s fine, I’m all for diversity, but it’s also another plothole. Karnak is clearly in something like love with Gorgon, despite regularly sleeping with and insulting women all around Attilan and also finding a marijuana-growing nonsequitorial fuckbuddy in Hawaii, but he’s also an insufferable douchebag. He’s rude to most people, inexplicably including Gorgon who he also severely cares for, and it’s implied that this is because his Inhuman gift is essentially that he’s magical Sherlock Holmes. Like, BBC Sherlock, with the stupid imaginary mind palace shit.  He also tried to resurrect Gorgon after Gorgon’s incredibly unfortunate death (which also made minimal sense because you’d think an Inhuman capable of great feats of strength would not be killed by a heavy impact, but whatever) by putting him through a second terrigenesis, which was exactly what the royals were trying to prevent Maximus from doing to himself because it would be incredibly dangerous and not end well. Spoiler, it didn’t. Gorgon went from friendly buddy to… barely coherent rage monster, so one bad stereotype to an even worse one. But it’s not his fault.

There are countless other things about this show that are worthy of dragging. (Inhuman side characters named Bronaja, Loyolis, and Iridia! Countless holes in mythology! Way too much brutality against Inhumans, including those of color like poor Auran [Sonya Balmores], Maximus’ head soldier – she wasn’t a good person, really, but her regenerative gift made her basically cannon fodder a lot of the time and it was uncomfortable. Etc.) But all you need to know is this: there were some Inhumans on the moon. They were mostly bad. Now they all live in Hawaii because Ramsay Bolton blew up their secret space city in a hissy fit.

Let’s hope nobody but Crystal and Lockjaw ever resurface in any other properties.

–your fangirl heroines.

yikes

Sundry Monday :: RCCC 2017

12 Sep

It was a long weekend. Long and hurried and we got very, very few pictures so here is a very brief summary. (These costumes are going to get their own better shoots later, but this should do for now. Also they’re both works in progress, so.)

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This is our “having a conversation” pose! We are Maggie Sawyer and Kate Kane aka Batwoman of DC Bombshells, featuring a lot of items found on Amazon and modded as necessary.

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This is our “action babes being casual or something” pose! We are Black Widow and Scarlet Witch, eh shrug not really circa any moment in particular. End of Ultron maybe. It did not occur to me how many people were going to confuse my coat for Star-Lord’s, which is dumb because they’re two obviously different styles and Star-Lord doesn’t wear a corset or leather pants and also if you cosplay Star-Lord you have to get either a gun, mask, or stupid headphones, but eh, shrug, whatever.

It was a good weekend. Pearl Mackie, Carlos Valdez, Danielle Panabaker, Rose McIver, and Katee Sackhoff are all very sweet people, as are the randoms we met in line and whatnot. Also I saw Chelsea Cain, who was there visiting people, and stopped her to tl;dr a little about Mockingbird mostly and she took a selfie with me and put it on Twitter and I kind of died of glee.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Marvel Monday :: our thoughts on The Defenders

28 Aug

This show was very silly and quite gay.

As always, we acknowledge the criticisms and complains others may have, but honestly, we had eight hours of fun with The Defenders and we’re here to tell you about all of the silly and/or gay things we enjoyed about it. (Many. We’re kind of amazed that our neighbors have not thumped on the floor/ceiling because we’re shouting “GAY” too loudly.)

Spoilers!

Gay things

  • Foggy (Elden Hensen) and Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) are both really really in love with Matt (Charlie Cox) and they miss him a lot. Matt is also really really gay for Foggy. Matt and Karen can also be in love BUT only if Foggy is there too. Good triad.
  • Luke (Mike Colter) and Claire (Rosario Dawson) have a very good relationship that is technically heterosexual but is nevertheless very gay. At one point she reaches up to brush some debris off his head or something after he’s been rescuing people from rubble after an earthquake, and it was the cutest thing I have ever seen. Also they break a table from fucking, which sounds about right. They care so much about each other and also everyone else in the city and they trust each other’s opinions and they’re so good together. A+ good m/f.
  • There’s LITERALLY a scene where Karen and Trish (Rachael Taylor) – after musing about the current events in a mutually journalistic fashion, which is pretty cool – are discussing their relationships with Matt and Jessica (Krysten Ritter) respectively, and Trish asks Karen what Matt is to her, and Karen says “…a good friend, it’s complicated” in a way that implies the friendship was either actually with benefits or she wanted it to be. And then Trish says, “Jessica’s a good friend too. Not in the traditional sense…she wouldn’t be there to move a couch or plan a party, but when it comes to the real stuff, the stuff that’ll last forever…” And then we screamed our heads off because the narrative directly conflated an actual canon m/f relationship with Jess/Trish. Trish Walker is in love with Jessica Jones pass it on.
  • Jess and Trish also have some nice moments together, bantering over (whiskey-infused) coffee and Trish trying to convince Jess to be on her radio show and Jess worrying about her and running into the middle of a meeting to protect Trish and a hug to end all hugs and… sorry. They’re in love.
  • The narrative grinds to a halt in the final episode for a good two minutes just so Colleen (Jessica Henwick) can tell Claire about how she’s just as important as the people who have powers and how she’s a hero too. It is ridiculous. You can see her hearteyes from space.
  • Colleen also finally meets her comics gf Misty (Simone Missick) in this series. Their first introduction is at the police station, where Misty comes to comment on the katana that her fellow officers confiscated from Colleen when she was brought in. “It’s weird,” she says, but with a kind of smirk like it might be the cute kind of weird. After a discussion about Colleen’s ability to protect herself, she then returns the katana, in the middle of the police station, just in case. Misty also shows up to participate in Colleen’s final boss battle against her erstwhile mentor, which does not end well for her but it ends not-well for her in a way that people who have any awareness of the comics at all are super excited about because it means we are this much closer to The Daughters of the Dragon. That’s their team-up in the comics, and it’s probably going to replace Iron Fist once Danny (Finn Jones) dies of being such a big idiot.
  • Honestly, most of the interactions between women in this series are incredible. Claire and Misty? Perfect as always. Jess gets to bite Jeri’s (Carrie Anne Moss) head off which isn’t gay at all even though Jeri is, y’know, actually canonically gay but the yelling is always nice because Jeri is also awful. And then there is the good-bad of…
  • Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver) and Elektra (Elodie Yung), which is very very very very fucked up but also, they have a ridiculous amount of chemistry. You have to get kind of kinkshame-y because Alexandra keeps calling her “my child,” but like, you were already going to hell if you shipped this anyway so whatever. She is constantly touching her and fawning over her and they touch foreheads like four times and it is just absurd.
  • Elektra and Matt are also excellent and despite being m/f, also quite gay. I was not expecting the freight train of feelings I got about them after season 2 of Daredevil, but they have continued to ruin me all throughout this show too. They also do the forehead touching thing, which is my favorite thing in all the world for couples to do and if I hadn’t already been ride or die for them, that would have sealed the deal. I literally get incoherent talking about them but just, they have murdered me.

Silly things

  • Let’s start this with the necessary remarks about Danny freaking Rand. We hate him. We have been trying to slog through Iron Fist for continuity’s sake and also Colleen’s and Claire’s sakes, but as you can tell by the fact that we’ve never actually blogged about it we have not managed to get all the way through. This is not because of Colleen, who is in general fantastic and I’m so happy for Jessica Henwick especially after the thing that happened elsewhere (and the other thing that happened in another place, hi Lucasfilm, fuck you too) and I just really love this badass warrior who is still at heart something of a meliorist even though she’s seen all this terrible shit, and not because of Claire, who is 100% solid always, but because of (well, the supporting characters and plotlines – the Meachums we refer to as “garbage Lannisters,” for example, and not in a fond way – but mostly) Danny. Danny is just. Every bad thing. There is literally a scene in Iron Fist where he prays to Buddha. He prays. To. Buddha. There are countless edits and crops of Defenders promo material that remove Danny from the picture (thanks to one, this has earned the name “fenders,” which is appropriate because if you remove Danny it is the same thing as removing a big old d), because nobody likes him. And luckily, none of the other Defenders seem to really like him that much either. The first time Luke meets him, he immediately whoops his ass into the ground, and the only reason Danny wins is dumb luck and his magical glowstick hand. Jessica is constantly making fun of the name “Iron Fist” and calling him by different names (such as Ironside). Even Matt barely tolerates him, and Matt has a trophy in being a whiny douchebag sometimes. (We love him, but it’s true.) Unfortunately, Colleen’s one weak point is the fact that for some reason (narratively compulsory heterosexuality) she actually cares about him, but pretty much everyone else is done with him. And the show itself seems pretty done with him too. In fight scenes with the other characters, he basically acts as a video game NPC who only has like 3 programmed moves that he cycles through. He bounces around on his heels and throws fake punches that barely connect and it looks ridiculous. He’s somehow crucial to the main antagonists’ plan, but they literally only need him for his aforementioned magical glowstick hand. At one point Elektra straps him to a large metal dolly and totes him through the building, which prompted us to give him the nickname Large Box. But we guess he had to be there because there had to be someone to be useless.
  • Everybody except Jessica is so Extra about everything. The villains are Extra about their clothes and strutting around in silly villain outfits while looking as non-menacing as possible (seriously, Alexandra’s wardrobe is the most nonsensical couture I have ever seen). Elektra is Extra once she remembers who she is and takes over the Hand, and even before she swooshes her giant coat around in every battle like she’s the Phantom of the Opera or something. Matt and Danny are the most Extra people on the planet and will not cease angsting about their cities which are either dead (Danny’s) or in danger (Matt’s) and their shitty upbringings/dead parents. Matt also will not stop doing parkour in situations that don’t require parkour at all. Colleen is pretty cool, but she also walks around New York City with a katana casually strapped to her back. Even Luke gets in on it a little bit, when he’s angsting about how he wants to help the young people of Harlem avoid getting mixed up in the Hand’s business. Jessica is having absolutely none of this and makes fun of all of them at every opportunity.
  • Matt and Jess are also hilarious together. As actors, they have great platonic chemistry, and as characters, their temperaments are so constantly on opposite ends of the spectrum that it’s wonderful. Matt parkours into a building and Jess just gets on the elevator. Matt has a lot of feelings and Jess just wants a drink. There is so much banter.
  • The main group of villains is called the Hand. They’ve been a thing since season 1 of Daredevil, but the writers decided to just go to the next level of silly here and say that they have five leaders, who are called the Fingers. Grown adults unironically call each other the Hand and the Fingers. It is so goofy it loops back around to genius.

Other

  • Elodie Yung is transcendent.
  • Jessica Henwick is, as mentioned, the most wonderful.
  • Just about everyone is pretty great, honestly, but these two warrant special mention.

–your fangirl heroines.

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Spoiler Alert Saturday :: our thoughts on The Hitman’s Bodyguard

27 Aug

You know how sometimes you just crave junk food? You know it’s bad for you, and it won’t be filling or substantive at all, but you want it anyway? This movie is basically the movie version of that. It’s stupid, and cheesy, and not even that great, and you know it, but in the moment it’s pretty enjoyable.

If you’ve seen the trailers for this movie, you’ll know whether you’ll like it or not. The trailers pretty much give away the basic beats of the movie: Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) needs Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), a former professional bodyguard, to protect him, and they’re total opposites and fight each other as well as the people who are after Kincaid. There’s a tiny bit more plot to it, which is completely ridiculous – Kincaid is the single credible witness in a trial against a foreign dictator, and escapes Interpol custody after double agents try to take him out, and Bryce is the only person who can get him to the trial before the deadline is up and the dictator is pardoned due to lack of evidence. But mostly it’s just an excuse for Ryan Reynolds and Sammy L. to banter for two hours and shoot people. This movie is basically a wacky cartoon with real people and more murder and violence.

It’s honestly kind of bad, but it knows what it is, and Reynolds and Sammy L. are pretty much parodying themselves and that makes it fun. Half of Sammy L.’s dialogue is “motherfucker,” and Reynolds is an affable tightass. Sometimes the jokes are stupid, but you can tell they’re both having so much fun that you end up smiling along anyway. I nearly always have a better time in movies when I can tell that the actors are having a good time. I was also expecting a lot more cringe-worthy offensive moments, but aside from one use of the r-slur and the occasional (not unexpected for the genre) sexist joke or titty shot, it’s really not that bad. There’s also a scene near the beginning where a man’s wife and child get shot in front of him for no other reason than a Kick the Dog moment, but hey, I wasn’t shocked, just mildly annoyed.

Most of the reason we went to see this movie on the big screen was because Elodie Yung has a pretty significant secondary role, playing an Interpol agent and Reynolds’ ex. She is the one who helps Sammy L. to a safehouse after the double agents strike, and she contacts Reynolds because, as she says, “he’s the only one who can get Darius to the trial safely.” She gets to kick a reasonable amount of ass, and her cheekbones are ridiculous. As we’ll get into more in our Monday Defenders post, she’s an absolutely electric presence. I’m also obsessed with her accent. She also screams at Reynolds in French a couple of times, which is a nice bonus. Salma Hayek is also here, as Sammy L.’s wife who is locked up, and she’s only in a handful of scenes but she is a profane delight. She’s not always in “popcorn” kinds of movies, but she was delightful. She and Sammy L. actually have a really sweet relationship too – he gushes about her nonstop and goes out of his way to perform one particular romantic gesture for her even though he’s got dozens of operatives on his tail. It’s weirdly charming and I’d watch another movie about them.

I don’t know that it’s worth full theater price, but if you don’t have anything else to do and there’s a morning or matinee showing, and you like any or all of these people, there are worse things you could see. It was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon, for sure.

–your fangirl heroines.

be20quiet

Spoiler Alert Saturday :: our thoughts on Atomic Blonde

12 Aug

Damn, guys. I’m sorry. It’s been incredibly busy lately, and I’m just going to leave it that and move along.

Now, if you’re here you probably know all the reasons you might not like this movie. All of those are valid. But we went anyway, because we wanted to watch Charlize Theron kill guys. And of course, that’s the #1 reason that you could, in fact, like this movie. Here’s five others.

  1. The aesthetic. It’s a comic book movie (though a lesser-known comic, one I’d not heard of) and that’s pretty clear from a lot of the visual layout. The hotel room in particular is a total illustration.
  2. Charlize’s character Lorraine also has an incredibly satisfyingly cohesive and interesting wardrobe that has its themes (black and white and maybe red) without being too reliant on the 80s setting.
  3. There is a very good amount of girlkissing. Yes, this doesn’t end well. No, we’re not excusing that, and yes, we look forward to a movie where Sofia Boutella gets to be happy without being painted to look like a space alien. But there’s girlkissing (and girlsex!) that didn’t feel entirely male-gazey. They’re actually cute and converse and cuddle.
  4. Bad things happen to the men that deserve it. Pretty much all of them.
  5. Bill Skarsgard’s Merkel was oddly charming, and I’m not just saying that out of Skarsgard bias, because I didn’t actually connect the dots of who he was until the end. I just liked the character.

–your fangirl heroines.

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Marvel Monday :: our thoughts on Agents of SHIELD season 4

23 May

Bullet-pointed for… something.

  • So, Daisy’s arc sort of got shoved to the side for most of this season, which. Alright. But she did have some great scenes with Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna), including the scene where they fight and she begs him to kill her (the spirit refuses, as it only kills those who have done things worthy of punishment). Daisy and Robbie had great chemistry together, and watching them work together in the season finale was a real treat. She also (along with Jemma [Elizabeth Henstridge]) was spared the uploading into the Framework (more on this in a minute), and together they worked to break everyone out. Some jackass decided Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) should come back in the Framework, and though she made it clear she wanted nothing to do with Ward anymore, the one misstep in her character development was when she said something OOC about how she “didn’t fully understand” the real Ward. Frustrating, but my only huge issue with her this season. They’re heading towards making her director of SHIELD, which I really hope is how the show ends.
  • Ultimately the main antagonist of this season was AIDA/Madame Hydra (Mallory Jansen). Yeah, it threw me for a loop when they announced that she’d be taking that role on in the Framework, but ultimately it made sense (more on this in a minute) and damn if Mallory Jansen is not just the most fun to watch. Over the course of the season she goes from being an amiable, if sometimes unnerving, android created by Radcliffe (John Hannah) for the purpose of protecting and defending agents (allegedly), so in effect a bulletproof lab assistant, to a thoroughly deranged character in the Framework, to a gosh darn real girl with all sorts of anger issues and raging hormones for Fitz. Who’s also got, thanks to the Framework and the Darkhold and other sinister things, most of the superpowers we’ve seen now-gone characters on the show have. She also adopts the name “Ophelia,” which I read too much into like a smarty, and turns on her creator for “demeaning” her by treating her like a robot. There kept being interesting little threads of possibility with her, some of which were followed through on and some of which were too damn meta for a television show to touch, but the true joy of this arc is Mallory Jansen’s performance. Part of me misses the bulletproof lab assistant because robot girls are fun, but also, AIDA was the most delightful antagonist we’ve seen thus far and also contributed to the undoing of… well.
  • Leopold James Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) – James, because there weren’t already twenty of those in the MCU – is on a downward trajectory. That’s putting it mildly. The beginning of the season saw Fitz lying to everyone and helping Radcliffe to build and program AIDA, despite a two-minute flash of conscience in the season premiere where he pointed out that after things like, y’know, Ultron, it probably wouldn’t be a great idea for a criminal scientist already in hot water to build a freaking robot. But all it took was a calm, pleasant explanation from AIDA and suddenly he was all aboard the robot train. As the season develops, he does such super-awesome things as guilt Daisy about her running away from SHIELD, expect his girlfriend Jemma to shoulder the burden of all of his emotional problems, save the decapitated head of the first AIDA model despite everyone including Jemma saying to destroy it but he thinks he can do something to help… and then in the Framework, he’s a sadistic torturing Nazi who happens to be fucking the same robot he’s gotten into so much trouble with already, but it’s okay because there she’s real, and using Darkhold tech he makes her a real body, which I don’t think I have to explain is the worst possible idea.
  • The Framework, as designed by Radcliffe and implemented by AIDA (the degree to which the design was modified by AIDA is somewhat unclear), was based on the premise that everyone whose consciousnesses were originally plugged in deserved to live in a nice happy digital computer world where their greatest regret was taken away. Or what Radcliffe perceived as their greatest regret. Some of these were totally reasonable – May (Ming-Na Wen) still regretting Bahrain, Mack (Henry Simmons) regretting that his daughter didn’t live past infancy, Mace (Jason O’Mara) regretting that he lied about being an Inhuman – and some were… something else. Coulson (Clark Gregg) regretted not living a “normal life” (since when was this a thing of his? Since about the episode before the Framework was revealed) and Fitz regretted… not growing up with his father. These daddy issues entered into play this season as well, and I’d previously been under the impression that he was content to have grown up with his mother, especially since according to exposition from Jemma his father was at the very least verbally abusive, but apparently not. And apparently growing up and remaining very close with his father, a class-A douchebag, led to Fitz… being a sadistic torturing Nazi. One who was nicknamed “the Doctor” no less, because that’s totally not sinister in this context. “I’m just like Ward,” he said after exiting the Framework, reflecting on the situation. Yes, yes you are, my ex-buddy, and here is why: not only did his daddy issues then shape the entire Framework into a totalitarian fascist hellscape where Inhumans were hunted and SHIELD, having been successfully taken over by Hydra, was a scrappy band of underground resistance fighters, but he…
    • Tortured (avatars of) Inhumans, several of which he later realized he’d known IRL.
    • Shot Agnes, who was the RL woman Sandwiches had modeled AIDA’s likeness on and whose consciousness and life, after she passed away IRL from a brain tumor, was uploaded to the Framework – ergo, he killed a woman.
    • Tortured Daisy, which didn’t actually harm Daisy’s RL body but if he had killed her it would in fact kill RL her because if your consciousness was plugged into the Framework if you died there you died IRL, so that was a near miss.
    • Ordered an op that ultimately killed Jeffrey Mace.
    • (As mentioned) plotted to build and then did build tech using the Darkhold, the spoopiest book of all time, to create an actual human body in the real world that would also be endowed with superpowers from all the Inhumans he’d tortured to death, so she could in effect take over the world that had done her wrong. (Even now I’m not entirely clear on how much of what ~Ophelia did in the Framework was actually AIDA and how much was a program, but either way – not great.)
    • After Jemma shot (the avatar of) his father in self-defense after trying to get him to cooperate with their goal of rescuing everyone from the Framework, Fitz tracked Jemma down and despite her screaming that IRL they were together and blah blah love blah blah he shot her (avatar) in the leg and very nearly shot her in the head and killed her. Would have likely done had Radcliffe’s avatar not intervened.
    • Oh, and I forgot to mention: while Daisy had been doing the non-terrigenesis’d totalitarian equivalent of what she does now in the Framework, Jemma was literally dead to begin with. When she awoke in the Framework she clawed her way out of a shallow mass grave. In the Framework, she and Fitz had never known each other. Despite the way that a robot version of Fitz tried to consentingly lure Jemma into the Framework with promises of happiness and marriage.
    • And the real kicker of this is: while the other people plugged into the Framework had grand revelations that either it was not a real place (Coulson) or their actions there were bad (May) or some other knowing moment of oh, shit… Fitz did not. Multiple times Fitz was given a chance to go oh, shit and repent. He did not. Also, several other characters had moments of ~knowing each other~ from RL contexts despite not knowing each other (Coulson remembered Daisy, May remembered Coulson, there was an implied flash of deja vu between Mack and Elena [Natalia Cordova-Buckley]) but Fitz looked Jemma in the eye and said that she meant nothing to him.
  • Ask us about our anti-Fitz feminist agendas.
  • In happier news, there were very good moments for the other members of the team! Coulson was a giant nerd in the Framework, which was sort of endearing; Trip (B.J. Britt) was still alive in the Framework and I miss him already; despite being the first to be replaced with a robot and hooked into the Framework, May still kicked some ass and was good; Mack and Elena are actually completely adorable together even though we all thought Mack was probably gay and we can’t even be mad that he too got roped into heterosexuality because they’re actually wonderful together; Mack was adorable and tragic with his daughter Hope (Jordan Rivera) in the Framework, even though they named her Hope when there’s already two different other Hopes in the MCU; Elena and Agent Piper (Briana Venskus) were precious and capable protecting Jemma and Daisy while they were in the Framework; Jemma my beloved was forced to sit through a lot of compulsive heterosexuality but nonetheless she was strong and badass and very good at what she needed to do.
  • But romantic FitzSimmons is dead. It needs to be dead. It needed to be dead before it even began, but it especially needs to be dead now. If any time is expended on any of the women, but especially Jemma, assuaging Fitz’s guilt complex next season, I will scream. He deserves to be guilty because he Did A Bad and while he seems perfectly capable of admitting IRL that he Did A Bad and that he was responsible for AIDA’s less than stellar changes, he never once said “I’m sorry.” He did say “I think I’m a bad person” and that’s pretty accurate. Sorry, ex-buddy.
  • The finale ended with everybody being arrested in a diner because everyone thinks SHIELD are bad guys again. And then it flashed forward an indeterminate amount of time to show Coulson on what appeared to be a spaceship, looking out at the vastness of space before getting up and “getting to work” in what seemed to be some kind of prison. I’ve seen buzz that this is leading up to SWORD, basically the intergalactic version of SHIELD, but nobody’s confirmed that one way or the other. We also have no idea if what Coulson is seeing is actually real or if he’s been put back into some kind of virtual reality or simulation to serve his punishment in. And we don’t know where anyone else is either. (We have awhile to think about it, since the show won’t be back until January 2018. Because ABC and Marvel are still trying to make Inhumans happen. It’s not going to happen.)

–your fangirl heroines.

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