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Spoiler Alert Sunday :: her thoughts on Logan

12 Mar

(We went to see this together, but honestly, my entire enjoyment and opinion of this film hinged on hers. She’s passionate about Laura in a way that most people aren’t passionate about anything. So I’m just letting her take this one.)

I’ve been an X-Men fan for almost ten years. I’ve read hundreds of the comics, watched all three cartoons, and have seen all but two of the movies. (I skipped The Wolverine because the first one was so bad, and Apocalypse because all it was going to do was make me rage.) At this point, I probably have a better working knowledge of the X-Men mythos than 80% of the population, and I haven’t even read any direct X-Men comics in a couple years. So it’s been personally painful to watch the movies devolve into what they’ve become, after X-Men was a decent setup movie and X2 was a solid if flawed adaptation of the spirit of the comics. I swore off the movies forever, after hearing about all the ridiculous issues with Apocalypse. But then they released the teaser poster for Logan.

I’d been dreading this movie for over a year. The tiny hand holding Logan’s either meant one of two things: Daken, his biological son via his Japanese wife Itsu, and a character which I have deep-seated contempt for, or X-23/Laura Kinney.

X-23 is similar to Harley Quinn in that she was first introduced in an animated series (X-Men: Evolution and Batman: The Animated Series respectively), but both proved so popular with fans that they crossed over into comics canon and have had multiple ongoing series featuring them. X-23 was first introduced in a miniseries called NYX, then later had two miniseries entitled Innocence Lost and Target X. The most basic explanation for her creation in the comics is that she is the result of the attempt to repeat the success of Weapon X, the program that enhanced Wolverine. A group of scientists attempted to create a clone of Wolverine, but after 22 attempts and non-viable embryos they ran out of Y chromosome. (I know, I know, just roll with it, comics are stupid.) Finally, on the 23rd attempt, they create an embryo with two X chromosomes and have one of the scientists, Sarah Kinney, carry and deliver it. X-23 was born with two bone claws on her hands and one claw on both her feet, and they coat her bones with adamantium just like Wolverine’s and begin to train her to be a living weapon. Sarah Kinney works closely with her, secretly names her Laura, and helps her to connect with her humanity. Eventually Laura breaks out and destroys the facility as she escapes, but accidentally kills Sarah in the process. Target X is about her attempts to connect with her biological family, first Sarah’s sister and niece and then Logan himself.

I read Innocence Lost when I was 16 and it was a transformative experience. Most people have one or two favorite X-Men; Laura is mine. So I was anxious about how they would adapt her character to the big screen, especially since the X-Men movies have a shaky track record with my other favorites (Rogue, hilariously incorrect; Gambit, physically spot-on but missing the accent and the charm; Nightcrawler, serviceable but missing key aspects of his personality; Shadowcat, best forgotten as an embarrassment). I don’t usually look up the plots of movies before I go to them, but this one I did, because as long as I knew what happened, I couldn’t be blindsided by any stupid plot developments.

Logan is a damn good movie. I wish I could say it was a great movie, but there’s a really glaring issue with it that spoils my enjoyment a bit. But it’s a good movie, and more importantly it’s a good X-Men movie. I feel like this was Fox’s apology to us all for the various shitty X-Men movies they’ve given us over the last decade or so. This was the X-Men movie we’ve all been waiting for, even if we’re sick to death of Wolverine (and I really am). This is gritty and violent and Logan swears up a storm and it has humor and heart and it really captured the spirit of the character. It’s set decade in the future (2029), where there are few mutants left and no mutant children have been born in decades. A dying Logan (Hugh Jackman) acts as guardian and painkiller supplier for an also-dying Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). Both their lives are interrupted when Logan meets a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen), and the three of them set out on a journey that may be a fool’s errand. I looked up the plot, but I would recommend that unless you too will start screaming in rage about deviations from the comics, you just go see this for yourself.

Things I loved, with as few spoilers as I can manage:

  • Laura was perfect. Dafne Keen’s performance was outstanding – she nailed Laura’s eerie, non-blinking stare and the way that, especially early on, she didn’t speak often and when she did it was using as few words as possible. She also nailed her hair-trigger temper, and the way that she (especially as a younger child) flew into a rage when provoked. They also chose to make her bilingual but primarily Spanish-speaking, which is interesting. She does know multiple languages in the comics (one joke in Target X is that she and her cousin go to school, only to be thrown out of French class because Laura listed off multiple gruesome facts about killing people) so this is fine. One thing I do wish they’d managed to incorporate was the trigger scent, which they trained her to automatically respond to (and which was how they forced her to kill her mother). Also I’m mildly confused because she mentions that she’s killed people before, and they were “bad people,” but I was under the impression that they didn’t get very far using the mutant children as attack dogs for hire before they scrapped that program. I think maybe a bit more fleshing out of that idea would have been good. But Keen is amazing, certainly the most subtle child actor I’ve seen since Quvenzhané Wallis, and I hope she’ll go on to do great things with this character.
  • I am sick to death of Wolverine as a character, but Jackman is playing a weathered, beat-down old man who is the last of a dying breed and who can’t find peace with himself. This is the Wolverine movie they’ve been trying to make for twenty years, and Jackman is giving his all. He probably won’t get any serious award nominations for this, but it’s a real pity, because he deserves them. I’m glad this is the one he chose to go out on.
  • Patrick Stewart is also phenomenal, of course. He’s an old man in pain and sometimes barely conscious, and letting out some of his salt while he’s at it. He and Jackman play off each other beautifully. The film teases out some of the history of what happened to the rest of the X-Men and why Xavier is mostly alone at this point, and it’s fascinating. I almost want to know more about that history, but I think that the film gave us just enough and didn’t beat us over the head with what happened.
  • Any movie that has Wolverine in it and isn’t rated R is just asking for trouble. This one goes barreling straight into the violence, with Logan and Laura slashing and decapitating people left and right. But it doesn’t really feel gratuitous; it feels like the movie we’ve been building to all this time. If you’ve read a Wolverine comic, then you know that this is the kind of violence we should’ve been getting all along. It’s been a hell of a wait, but it’s immensely satisfying to get it now.
  • SMALL SPOILER: The mutant kids were neat, though I wish we’d spent a little more time with them. We barely know anyone’s names, except for the de facto leader, Rictor. Rictor has earth-moving powers, and has been in the comics since the 80s. He’s a good character, and I’m hoping they’ll do more with him in future movies. (He has been a member of X-Force, and I keep hearing rumors that Fox is trying to make that movie. Fingers crossed.)

I have a few complaints, though. Some of them are nitpicky and some of them are not. SPOILERS for major plot points.

  • The single most frustrating thing about the movie is that about two-thirds of the way through it, a Wolverine clone shows up. No, not Laura – Laura has been there for an hour by this point. We already love tiny murder machine Laura. This clone is a full-size Hugh Jackman Wolverine clone with a flat-top haircut who basically runs on rage for…some reason? This is deeply stupid. This doesn’t make any sense, even if you divorce it from the comics. There was no reason to have a Wolverine clone in this movie. No reason. It cheapened the movie for me, and even though most of the scenes with the clone were good, there was really no damn reason for it to be there. True, part of the reason I’m annoyed is because of the comics canon – it has been established that they can’t make a male clone of Wolverine, and their attempts to copy the success of Laura were first destroyed in Innocence Lost and then recently again in the new Wolverine comic starring Laura. (She currently has one biological “sister,” Gabby, but all the other “sisters” have died.) There has never been a male clone of Wolverine in the comics, because that defeats the entire purpose of Wolverine – he is the best at what he does. The clone in the movie is called X-24 (I’ll get to why that bothers me in a second), and its only purpose is to act as living hubris for the scientists who created not only Laura and the other mutant children (again, getting there). Oh, and to beat Logan to a pulp of course. The fight scenes with it are pretty good, but it was just so unnecessary. Anyway, the reason why it shouldn’t be X-24 is that X-23’s name in the comics comes from the fact that she is the 23rd attempt at the Weapon X cloning program. There is a direct line in the comics about “X-24 through X-50,” the other viable embryos that were created after Laura – which Laura destroys along with the rest of the facility. There should be no “X-24.” If there were no cloning attempts before Laura, then why make Laura female? And if they could make a male clone all along, then why didn’t they before? It was ridiculous and pissed me off every time the clone popped up.
  • I am also deeply annoyed about their choice to call Laura and the other mutant children they created in the lab “the X-23s.” Why bother calling them that? Without the Weapon X context, the name X-23 is completely arbitrary. It’s fanservice but it’s fanservice that’s doesn’t actually make any sense and will probably piss off more fans like me, who actually care about the reasons behind the codenames. (Laura’s code is “X-23-23,” which is so stupid I can’t handle it.)
  • I hear that Caliban (Stephen Merchant) was in Apocalypse. For some reason he was in this movie too. I’m familiar with this character from the comics and, while I understand the logistical reasons for him being there (his power is to find other mutants, so they needed him to track Logan and Laura), I’m still upset at how incorrect he was. In the comics, Caliban lives underground with a group called the Morlocks, the “undesirable” mutants that can’t live amongst regular people because of their hideous or abnormal appearances. He is an empathetic, shy person in the comics, who helps Shadowcat after she becomes ill and falls in love with her, but allows her to return to the surface when he realizes she does not love him in return. He also speaks in the third person, which isn’t a huge deal but is just annoying to change because it’s a distinctive part of his character. And his skin doesn’t get burned by the sun. I get why they made these changes but as a low-key fan of the character I’m just annoyed. I would’ve preferred they just make up a random mutant-tracking character and given him the same role.
  • I understand for plot purposes why they had the biological mothers-slash-carriers of the mutant children be Mexican women, and it’s actually a really interesting bit of meta-commentary, but considering how important Laura’s mom was to her in the comics, I’m not very happy that they’ve just erased her like this. I’m guessing maybe they will call her Laura Howlett in the movies now, which. Whatever.
  • At one point Logan and co. help a family, the Munsons, and end up staying with them. They are, of course, slaughtered by the X-24 clone. They happened to cast a black family, and while there are a handful of other black and brown characters in the movie (mostly unnamed children), they are the only named characters of color besides Laura’s nurse Gabriela and her friend Rictor. I wish they hadn’t been black; there are unfortunate implications there.
  • The head of the program is called Dr. Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant). Zander is actually from the Innocence Lost series, but he’s different, aside from being the son of a man who worked on the original Weapon X program. He’s been aged up, and his role in Laura’s development has actually been replaced by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). In the comics, Zander treated Laura as subhuman, openly sneering at her and assuming he could control her; Pierce takes on this role in the movie. It’s not a huge issue but for someone who knows the original miniseries as well as I do it was jarring.
  • This is a stupid personal hangup, but Laura calls Logan “daddy” as he’s dying and I have an in-joke about that word so it kind of spoiled the emotional effect they were going for. Oh well.

END SPOILERS.

There’s a good amount for me to bitch about, but the fact is that I enjoyed myself in this movie immensely, and it is the best X-Men movie since X2. Maybe it’s the best X-Men movie period? Anyway, I recommend it.

apparent20smugness

Spoiler Alert Saturday :: my thoughts on The Wolverine

3 Aug

Or, it… could have been worse, I guess?

I mean, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is a giant angsty walking pile of manpain, but that’s not really a surprise.

I could have done without the repeated angsty ghost dreams of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), but a lot of that is just that, call me crazy, I prefer my fictional ghost sightings to be life-affirming and bittersweet-but-overall-good, not come wiiiith meeee~.

I could definitely have gone for more individual development of… you know, every character, but more Mariko (Tao Okamoto) and Yukio (Rila Fukushima) could really not have gone amiss, and a better explanation of Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) would have been quite helpful too.  But, at least in this one (as opposed to the first of the Wolverine solo films) there were multiple women characters!  They even spoke to each other, and Mariko and Yukio were friends so that was cool, and they got to do things (Mariko got saddled with a lot of being kidnapped, but she also stabbed some dudes, so that was nice; Yukio kicked a reasonable amount of ass, and that was cool – some people in our theater laughed the first time she said she was Logan’s bodyguard, and my reaction was “why is that funny?  I think it is fairly accurate!” but hey – and she did have… somewhat of a story, at least, so) and it was by no means the worst.

The story itself wasn’t super well-explained (we all called that Yashida [Haruhiko Yamanouchi] was in the robot, but I’m still a little unclear as to why it was a robot, especially of that size) and some things about it just felt like they were tossed out there and then forgotten (Noburu [Brian Tee]), but it wasn’t… the worst I’ve seen.

I expected worse, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish I’d just gone to see Pacific Rim again.

–your fangirl heroine.

sarcasm face

Superlative Sunday :: the 2013 Oscar nominations

20 Jan

Or, a checklist of what I need to get done by February 24.  Strikethroughs represent what I’ve already gotten done.

Best Picture:
Amour
Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

I just.  I miss when there were only five Best Picture nominees, I really really do.  I used to write an entertainment column for my high school newspaper, and I actually seeing all of the nominees was both more feasible and something I actually wanted to do.  With more options, though, it’s harder.  I can’t see every movie in the world and I know that, and you know what?  Sometimes I’m a philistine and I want to see things that aren’t Oscar movies.  When it was only five contenders, I could go “oh, it’s okay to try and see that even if I don’t care, there aren’t that many.”  I just can’t make myself watch so many movies that I otherwise don’t care about.

And it’s like… I know these are good movies.  Obviously, they’re good.  It’s just that considering the number of times lately I’ve gone “I understand that was good, but I don’t feel anything” (like I was complaining about having to do last night) I am loathe to sit down for more things that probably will make me do that.  War movies stress me out, inspirational animal stories tire me out, emotional elderly people dramas overwhelm me, and I just have to weigh my options, I suppose.

Oh, and I have no idea who’s going to win.

Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

And sorry, Denzel Washington, but I have no intention of ever seeing Flight.  I remember watching the trailer and turning to one of my people and going “…really?” and leaving it at that.  Overall, my instinct here is to admit that it really is hard to beat Daniel Day-Lewis, but someone just might because sometimes the Academy is weird like that.

Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Now I just feel kind of bad.  I don’t feel bad for not having seen Best Picture nominees, necessarily, but being the connoisseur of female performances I am, I wish I could see all of them.  And I don’t know, I guess I’m going to try, but I can’t give a verdict yet, nope.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Alan Arkin, Argo
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

I’m torn.  Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christoph Waltz both belong in the “please, give them all the awards when they’re in movies that aren’t crummy” categories for me, I’d be happy either way.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Fields, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

Like last night, I must ask: why in the world is Silver Linings Playbook nominated for everything?  It was good, and the performances were good, but Jacki Weaver, for example, had really not that much to do overall.  She facilitated other characters, but I never got a sense of her as a character.  That’s not her fault as an actress, it just wasn’t written that way.  I guess I watch too many “popcorn” movies, because I don’t necessarily feel comfortable suggesting an alternative, but though really it is nothing against Jacki Weaver, I don’t really know why she was the nominee.  That said, I’d be comfy with Amy Adams, and I’d be comfy with Anne Hathaway which has, I’d say, about a 90% chance of being the case.

Animated Feature Film
Brave
Frankenweenie
ParaNorman
The Pirates: Band of Misfits
Wreck-It Ralph

I don’t care that I’ve only seen the nominee I’m rooting for.  As far as I’m concerned, there is no contest.  This is probably the only category that I have a true, deep emotional investment in this year, and I will go on about it vehemently.

Cinematography
Seamus McGarvey, Anna Karenina
Robert Richardson, Django Unchained
Claudio Miranda, Life of Pi
Janusz Kaminski, Lincoln
Roger Deakins, Skyfall

When it comes to technical categories, I often just root for the movie I liked the best, but here it works, because Django Unchained was shot so, so nicely.

Costume Design
Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina
Paco Delgado, Les Misérables
Joanna Johnston, Lincoln
Eiko Ishioka, Mirror Mirror
Colleen Atwood, Snow White and the Huntsman

I know there will be no Oscar given on the basis of properly designed female suits or armor or things that make Charlize Theron look ridiculously smoldering-good, and I am resigned to that.  I think I’m actually going to vote for Anna Karenina despite not having seen it yet, because I like elaborate, overblown period costumes of grand natures.

Directing
Michael Haneke, Amour
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

And Quentin Tarantino is where?  I’m sorry to keep picking on Silver Linings Playbook, but I am positive that the direction of Django Unchained was more powerful than at least the direction of that.  For example.

I’m not saying anything about documentaries because I know nothing about any of them.

Film Editing
William Goldenberg, Argo
Tim Squyres, Life of Pi
Michael Kahn, Lincoln
Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers, Silver Linings Playbook
Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg, Zero Dark Thirty

I… don’t know?

I’m not saying anything about foreign language films because I know nothing about any of them.

Makeup and Hairstyling
Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel, Hitchcock
Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell, Les Misérables

I… don’t know?

Original Score
Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina
Alexandre Desplat, Argo
Mychael Danna, Life of Pi
John Williams, Lincoln
Thomas Newman, Skyfall

There are more nominations for Skyfall than I would have predicted.

Original Song
“Before My Time” from Chasing Ice, music and lyric by J. Ralph
“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted, music by Walter Murphy, lyric by Seth MacFarlane
“Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi, music by Mychael Danna, lyric by Bombay Jayashri
“Skyfall” from Skyfall, music and lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
“Suddenly” from Les Misérables, music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

I don’t care, I’m voting for Adele.

Production Design
Sarah Greenwood (Production Design), Katie Spencer (Set Decoration), Anna Karenina
Dan Hennah (Production Design), Ra Vincent and Simon Bright (Set Decoration), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Eve Stewart (Production Design), Anna Lynch-Robinson (Set Decoration), Les Misérables
David Gropman (Production Design), Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration), Life of Pi
Rick Carter (Production Design), Jim Erickson (Set Decoration), Lincoln

I’m good any of these ways.

Saying nothing about short films because I know nothing about them, saying nothing about sound editing because I’m still not sure how to judge that.

Adapted Screenplay
Chris Terrio, Argo
Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
David Magee, Life of Pi
Tony Kushner, Lincoln
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

But I do not understand.  I do not.  (Imagine this said in a Tommy Wiseau voice to get the full extent of my confusion.)  I will bring up the “but where is my Perks?” thing again, like I did last night, because that was actually a perfect adaptation.  I don’t say the word perfect lightly or really ever, but I’m saying it there.  That was a perfect adaptation of material I had feared unadaptable, and did it just get blown off because it was about teenagers or something?  I don’t get it, it was a good film.

That said, I’m voting for Lincoln because the theatre person in me defaults to Tony Kushner always.

Original Screenplay
Michael Haneke, Amour
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
John Gatins, Flight
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom
Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty

Nope, sorry.  The everything person in me defaults to Quentin Tarantino always.

Also, I feel somehow like this list might have too many dudes and not enough ladies on it.

–your fangirl heroine.

curious cat

Superlative Sunday :: the 2013 Golden Globes and how I feel about them

13 Jan

Otherwise known as wow, I watch a lot of stuff, but apparently it’s not always the right stuff.

Argo (Motion Picture, Drama; Director, Motion Picture [Ben Affleck])
I haven’t seen this.  A couple of my people have, however, and they were fairly comfortable with its winnings.

Les Miserables (Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical; Actor in Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical [Hugh Jackman]; Supporting Actress in Motion Picture [Anne Hathaway])
I ranted during last year’s Golden Globes recap about how I actually hate the “Comedy or Musical” category, and let me expand on this: not all musicals are comedies.  As such, when you have a decidedly dramatic musical in the running, it skews the judging.  There was nothing comedic about Anne Hathaway’s Fantine, for example; Les Miserables is the opposite of lighthearted.  It literally translates to “the wretched,” for goodness’ sake.  It’s not inherently better than a comedy, but it packs a different kind of emotional punch that some might associate or confuse with gravitas.  Also, I think it’s silly to have the genre division for motion picture and for actor/actress, but not for supporting actor/actress: by definition, there are going to be more supporting roles to choose from, and oftentimes they’re just as rich and varied, so what’s up with that?  All this notwithstanding, I approve wholly of Anne Hathaway, yes.

Django Unchained (Supporting Actor in Motion Picture [Christoph Waltz]; Screenplay, Motion Picture [Quentin Tarantino])
Yes all right always.  Both of these awards were more than deserved.

Zero Dark Thirty (Actress in Motion Picture, Drama [Jessica Chastain])
I will see this someday.  I approved wholly of Jessica Chastain’s speech, also.

Silver Linings Playbook (Actress in Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical [Jennifer Lawrence])
Well, I haven’t seen this either.  See what I mean?  I see a lot of things, but apparently I haven’t chosen the correct ones to see.  I do like Jennifer Lawrence, though, so that works out.

Lincoln (Actor in Motion Picture, Drama [Daniel Day-Lewis])
Kind of a gimme, honestly.  But I’m not complaining.

Brave (Animated Feature Film)
YES.  That is all.

Amour (Foreign-Language Film)
Okay, sure?  Honestly, of all the kinds of awards-buzzy films there are, Tearjerkers (That Aren’t Based on Broadway Musicals Or Novels I Know Or Something) are the ones I feel the least compelled to hurry to.  This is awful but true.

Life of Pi (Original Score, Motion Picture [Mychael Danna])
…sure.  Okay?  Smiling and nodding.

Skyfall (Original Song, Motion Picture [Adele])
Yay, Adele my darling!  I’m so proud of you.

Girls (TV Series, Comedy; Actress in TV Series, Comedy [Lena Dunham])
Also, hurrah for all of you!  It took me a little while to really get into Girls, but I am nonetheless so happy and proud of everyone involved here, too.

Homeland (TV Series, Drama; Actor in TV Series, Drama [Damian Lewis]; Actress in TV Series, Drama [Claire Danes])
I.  I am a horrible person and still don’t watch this, and every time I see an awards show, there’s part of me going “oh, you really should just sit down and watch Homeland, it must be really good,” and then there’s another part of me going “okay but there are so many other amazing television dramas out there aren’t any of them also this good?  I’m pretty sure they probably are.”  And then there’s a part of me going “I don’t care, this means extensive shots including Morena Baccarin’s face and I like her face so there.”

House of Lies (Actor in TV Series, Comedy [Don Cheadle])
What is House of Lies again?  I’m sure I’ve heard of it at some point, but I’m drawing a spectacular blank.

Game Change (TV Movie or Miniseries; Actress in TV Movie or Miniseries [Julianne Moore]; Supporting Actor in Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie [Ed Harris])
And this is even more spectacularly dumb.  Not that these awards were given to these people, I don’t know, maybe they deserved it, I haven’t seen Game Change (modern-political buzzy things are also ones I don’t feel compelled to hurry into, I admit).  But that everything that appears on television is lumped into the same category for supporting actor/actress.  Television is made by supporting actors and actresses.  The vast majority of television shows that I’m attached to, I’m attached to because of the supporting cast; actually, a lot of my shows are almost entirely supporting cast.  By throwing everything into one category, you eliminate the potential to recognize so many wonderful performances. You eliminate the potential to recognize a wider variety of performances.  And that’s a bummer.

Downton Abbey (Supporting Actress in Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie [Maggie Smith])
One of these days I’ll get around to this.  It’s on my Netflix instant queue.

Hatfields & McCoys (Actor in TV Movie or Miniseries [Kevin Costner])
This was on our DVR for ages, but we deleted it without watching it.  Which is to say, I have no opinion here.

–your fangirl heroine.

you do not deserve my patience

Spoiler Alert Saturday :: my thoughts on Les Miserables

29 Dec

I’ve honestly been dreading writing this review since I first saw the trailer for this movie, for essentially the same reasons as I dreaded writing about The Hobbit.  Some of you may remember my admittedly vitriolic taking-apart of the plot of this show prompted by the stage version of Les Miserables that I saw awhile back, and so I won’t get too terribly much into that again.  There’s no need.

And see, I don’t begrudge anyone else their enjoyment of Les Mis.  I really don’t.  If someone else finds it sweet and touching and romantic, that’s good for them.  That’s their business.  I just, as I mentioned on Thursday, really struggle with “love at first sight” tropes.  And I really struggle with accepting that Javert (here Russell Crowe) is so dedicated to the letter of the law that he still, still has such a need to punish Valjean (here Hugh Jackman).  And I just don’t connect to any of the characters.  Sometimes occasionally Eponine (here Samantha Barks) because she is the French Revolution’s Girl Friday and generally speaking, that’s how I roll, but really none of the others.

And this is not to judge anyone else who does get into it.  I understand why you might.  Goodness knows I connect emotionally to many things that many people don’t understand.  I am also occasionally a hard-hearted emotional robot who has a hard time being moved by such things as romantic love or dramatic interpersonal grudges.  (Case in point, the French Revolution plotline?  Yeah, I’m pretty much there.  I’d be cool if the story was just about a bunch of people who all got shot in the name of defending the poor of France.)

So I’m just going to leave that at that and move on.

I don’t think Russell Crowe could necessarily do musicals on stage.  He didn’t quite have a Broadway stage voice.  But he was very serviceable here.  Hugh Jackman is a pro, I am comfortable in that analysis.  Holy wow, Samantha Barks is quite talented.  I was somewhat nosewrinkling about Amanda Seyfried but she pulled it off quite nicely.  Eddie Redmayne, you continue to prove yourself versatile and good at what you do.  Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen, would anyone else have played those parts in today’s Hollywood world?  No.  Anne Hathaway, well, whoa.  Quite nice.

Aaron Tveit, you get your own special paragraph.  I just realized I’ve never really talked about my Aaron Tveit thing before, so I guess let me get into that: though I don’t have the same personal loyalty to him as I do to Skylar Astin, I do hold him close to my heart.  Though I didn’t realize this until later, he was in the chorus of Rent the first time I saw it on tour.  He was Link in Hairspray the second time I saw it on tour.  Then came Next to Normal, which as you all know is a personal favorite of mine for many reasons.  I did meet him after that show, stagedooring like I do, and he was quite sweet.  Then Catch Me If You Can in previews, which he was also very good in.  (Also, once I was required to bring pictures of myself and family members to a language course; I spaced on this, it being a casual assignment only designed to facilitate conversation using familial nouns, but then I quickly opened my phone and found my stagedoor picture with Aaron Tveit; since he wasn’t really famous for anything that non-theatre people would have known of at that point, that entire class was led to believe that he was, if I remember correctly, my brother.)  Clearly, I enjoy the man’s work.  And he did not disappoint here.  Though I still didn’t feel a lot of feelings about Enjolras, he was working it, and his voice was fantastic and wonderful.

Also, the overall production value of the film was quite incredible.  Everyone sounded lovely and acted very well.  Yes.

–your fangirl heroine.

or time-consuming

Television Tuesday :: somehow, the geek in me is cranky.

3 Aug

August 5, 2011 issue of Entertainment Weekly: under the PLUS AN EXCLUSIVE COMIC-CON PHOTO GALLERY STARRING heading we have:

  • Hugh Jackman (okay, comic cred, he’s Wolverine, but here he’s showing off what honestly looks to me like Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, the Movie)
  • Emma Stone (okay, comic cred, ish, she’s gonna be Gwen Stacy)
  • Justin Timberlake (showing off some movie called In Time that I’ve never heard of that does not earn you nearly enough cred in my opinion)
  • Chris Evans (okay, Captain America, I’ll give him that)

The article discusses

  • The Amazing Spider-Man briefly (with paragraph and picture)
  • Twilight (with a picture)
  • Cowboys & Aliens
  • The Walking Dead (with a paragraph)
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Game of Thrones (with a paragraph)
  • Glee (with a picture)
  • Chuck
  • Fringe
  • Twixt (just a picture)
  • True Blood (with several pictures and a paragraph)
  • Tintin (with a paragraph and picture)
  • Ringer (with a paragraph and picture)
  • Snow White and the Huntsman (with a paragraph and picture)
  • The Vampire Diaries (with a picture, costarring the guy from Chuck)
  • Nikita (with a picture)
  • Haywire (with a paragraph, and what even is that?)
  • Spartacus (with a paragraph and picture
  • A panel with Jon Favreau and Guillermo del Toro.

The photo gallery features

  • The cast of  Game of Thrones (well, if “the cast” means Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Emilia Clarke, and Peter Dinklage)
  • Chris Evans
  • Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart (promoting that Snow White nonsense)
  • Henry Cavill (yum) and Freida Pinto (of Immortals)
  • Taylor Lautner (here for Abduction)
  • Jim Parsons and Mayim Blalik (of The Big Bang Theory)
  • Some folks from True Blood (producer Alan Ball, eh, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Alexander Skarsgard [yum], Kevin Alejandro, and Nelsan Ellis)
  • Carey Mulligan (here for Drive)
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar (here for Ringer and looking adorable)
  • The cast of Total Recall (what is that I don’t even know, but it’s Jessica Beal and Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale)
  • The cast of Person of Interest (a crime series that I have never heard of, with Taraji P. Henson, Jim Caviezel, and Michael Emerson)
  • The cast of The Vampire Diaries (Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev, and Ian Somerhalder)
  • Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield repping Spider-Man
  • The lord my god Joss Whedon, repping The Avengers
  • Francis Ford Coppola, repping Twixt
  • Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake, repping In Time
  • The cast of the new Charlie’s Angels rebot (Annie Ilonzeh, Rachael Taylor, Minka Kelly)
  • Hugh Jackman, repping Real Steel
  • Pee-Wee Herman
  • Andrew Lincoln and Sarah Wayne Calies, repping The Walking Dead
  • Michael C. Hall, repping Dexter

NOW WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE.  I am now switching to numbers to show order of importance.

  1. Really no mention of… y’know, actual comics?
  2. Aside from one picture of Joss, shoved to the sixth page of the photo article, and the True Blood bits, and the Game of Thrones bits, and Sarah Michelle, I can honestly say that none of the reasons I give a damn about this Comic-Con were featured.  And I’m sure I’m not the only irate geek.
  3. If Game of Thrones received such a “roaring reception,” how come half of the paragraph was just about Jason Momoa ’cause of Conan the Barbarian?  The picture only had five of the cast (although Lena Headey and Emilia Clarke are both badass ladies, and Kit Harington is kinda cute).
  4. Etc., etc.  I was a lot angrier before I checked the website’s extra photo galleries.

The website, at least, had some of my people.

 
Two of my man Nathan, one with Joss my god.


A total of one of my darling Felicia Day, who has been declared on the interwebs as the Queen of Comic-Con, and rightly so.  I mean, babygirl has 1,800,000 Twitter followers, and I know nothing about Twitter though I recently joined solely for blogwhoring purposes, but I know that’s impressive, and she’s got, what, two webseries now [The Guild, of which season five just started, and one based on the game Dragon Age coming out soon], and she’s guested on god knows how many epic things and she’s one of two most prolific ladymembers of the Whedon mafia between Buffy and Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible, and THAT ISN’T WORTHY OF APPEARANCE IN YOUR DAMN MAGAZINE BUT TAYLOR LAUTNER IS?


One of Sarah Michelle Gellar.  She’s actually gotten the most decent coverage of any of my nerdloves that aren’t in True Blood in these articles, so good for her.  Ringer is gonna be fun, I hope.


Some shots of the True Blood cast, of course.  I only feature the one of Deborah Ann Woll here because I don’t just wanna be everyone else posting ASkars (as they call him) though I do love him.  But, but, Deborah Ann’s Jessica is… one of my favorite things about the show, honestly, and I am loving this path she’s going down, and that picture is insane with the previously mentioned blue eyes, and.


One freaking picture of the Knights of Badassdom cast.  ONE.  I know it’s an indie flick.  But it’s an indie flick about LARPERS WHO SUMMON A DEMON.  And just look at that cast!  I mean, geek cred out the window, just by virtue of them.  Ryan Kwanten (known for True Blood), Michael Gladis (of Mad Men), Jimmi Simpson (who is also gonna be in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter!!!), Margarita Levieva (okay, I know her from Adventureland, but hey), SUMMER FREAKIN’ GLAU (my looooooove), Danndy Pudi (of Community), and Peter Dinklage (of Game of Thrones, recently).  COME FREAKIN’ ON ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY.  This is why geeks go to Comic-Con.

The tagline to the article was “Get ’em to the geeks!  Stars flocked to the annual San Diego gathering — and worked harder than ever to reward faithful fans.”  Sure.  These Hollywood people maybe worked harder than ever, but those not-quite-mainstream celebrities, those that we geeks hold dear, they work hard every year.  I mean, Felicia’s going to a crap ton of Comic-Cons everywhere, for example (and sure I may be a little biased towards loving her ’cause I met her at Emerald City this year).  The people that we love love us back.  They know that we are what make them mighty.

Entertainment Weekly, this is the time that I’m just gonna have to bust out that interwebsism and inform you that yes, I am disappoint.  I know you’re geeky, EW.  The love letter you wrote to a Firefly rerun this spring alone proves that somewhere there is one of you who is a proper geek.  Probably more of you.  Yet, this article mainly focused on the things that would be accessible to “mainstream America” or whatever.  Which, in my humble opinion, misses the point of Comic-Con.  Sure, these things are there.  But the niche-ier things are, too.  And they sorta just got brushed over.

And that makes me sad enough to tl;dr.  For the equivalent of six pages of Word Document.

–your fangirl heroine.

Superlative Sunday :: the 2011 Tony Awards and how I feel about them

13 Jun

So.  I’ll show-sort this, just because lots of the shows I can skip over as I know nothing about them and have nothing to say.

The Book of Mormon (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance By a Featured Actress in a Musical [Nikki M. James], Best Direction of a Musical, Best Orchestrations, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, Best Sound Design of a Musical)
Jesus Christ, what didn’t they win?  That’s a good nine awards there, out of fourteen nominations; I’m pretty happy with it.  I think The Book of Mormon is one of those musicals that sneaks non-theatre people in because they hear Trey Parker and Matt Stone and then they realize, oh, fun!  Singing and dancing and plot!  Yay!  I haven’t heard the whole album yet, and obviously haven’t seen it, but I certainly want to.

War Horse (Best Play, Best Direction of a Play, Best Scenic Design of a Play, Best Lighting Design of a Play, Best Sound Design of a Play, Special Tony Award  [those cool/creepy puppets])
The puppets look cool, yes.   They also remind me of Body Works, with all the pipes and stuff, and Body Works freaks me the hell out, but hey.  Power to ’em.

Anything Goes (Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical [Sutton Foster], Best Choreography)
This could be called the are you really surprised it won these?  list, because, really, are you surprised about any of these?  I know I’m not.  I’m pretty sure it’s law that Sutton has to at least be nominated when she’s tap dancing in the 1920s or 1930s, and out of the nominees, she was the only one I give a damn about.

The Normal Heart (Best Revival of a Play, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play [John Benjamin Hickey], Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play [Ellen Barkin])
I have no idea.  I have no idea, and I’m just going to accept it.

Jerusalem (Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play [Mark Rylance])
Again, cool for him.

Good People (Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play [Frances McDormand])
Well, the woman has my heart forever, even if she did show up in a jean jacket.

Catch Me If You Can (Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical [Norbert Leo Butz])
Although I do have a massive crush on Aaron Tveit and his sexy voice and sexy body, I can admit that Norbert was the best thing about the show (not that it’s bad, it’s not, but he was the best thing there) and I will always love him, so I’m happy for him.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical [John Larroquette])
Which one was he?  I dunno.  I admit I was sort of a teeny bit rooting for Adam Godley in the category, if just because he was Clyde Ambrose on Dollhouse, but I’m sure he was good.  When they did their big splashy performance number, I was thoroughly impressed by Daniel Radcliffe’s ability to work it.  He was keeping up with the others, if a bit short of breath at times, and he wasn’t at all ridiculous.  And he was pulling a pretty decent American accent, too.

The Costume Design awards went, respectively, to The Importance of Being Earnest and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, not a surprise either way.  The number from Spider-man made me think several things: Jennifer Damiano, stop having such a pretty voice; what the hell is this crap; “time has no meaning”?  Uhm, yeah it does.  The number from Company made me glomp all over Neil Patrick Harris even more, not to mention my girl Christina Hendricks, love of my life, beauty of my heart, gushing fangirly things.

But the best part?

–your fangirl heroine.