Woo!

Oct. 13th, 2011 11:33 pm
bennet_7: (CA: Carter. Peggy Carter)
Thor 2: Electrical Storm Boogaloo will be directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins!

The announcement also says that Natalie Portman and Hiddles will both be back, so YAY for that too.
bennet_7: (P&R: Are you getting this?)
Ha ha, I haven't even moved into my accommodation yet (I'm still staying at a hostel) but nothing will keep me from Parks and Rec! NOTHING!

My favourite show is baaaaaaack )
bennet_7: (Iron Man: Pepper your eyes are red too)
I just got back from seeing Captain America: The First Avenger. Hopefully LJ will keep its shit together long enough for me to get down my thoughts.

Overall, I liked it. I didn't think much of the direction as I felt the film lagged at times and I was never quite sure of the plot. Spoilers ) But where the film did succeed was in getting me - someone who has never read a Cap comic - to care about most of the characters.

Chris Evans normally plays smug douchebags, but I thought he was good as the nobler-than-thou Steve. Sincerity isn't easy to portray and he sold me on Steve's good intentions. I really loved Hayley Atwell's Peggy Carter, Special Agent and extreme badass. Sadly the film did not pass the Bechdel test - I don't think Peggy even talked to another woman about men - but Peggy herself was one of the best love interests since Pepper Potts. She was brave, intelligent, a crack shot, and damn good at her job. Plus, Hayley Atwell actually had the figure of a woman in the 1940s - curves instead of prominent clavicles - so that was nice to see.

More spoilery thoughts on casting, characters, and relationships )

I adored the costuming. Originally it was supposed to be in the hands of Jeffrey Kurland, whose work I loved in Inception, but Anna B. Sheppard ended up on the job which is great because I'm a fan of hers too (how much do I covet Bridget von Hammersmark's wardrobe in Inglorious Basterds? So much). The various versions of the Captain America uniform were great and I particularly loved Red Skull's leather coat (amazing tailoring), Bucky's last navy ensemble, and Peggy's red dress and leather jacket.

Because of timing, I had to see it in 3D and it looks decent in that format. The effects are great and the CGI work on Chris Evans to make him appear a foot smaller is a bit stunning (my mother thought that they'd gotten different actors). All in all, I enjoyed my time with Captain America and co....but I'm really looking forward to The Avengers.
bennet_7: (TCC: more of them than there are of you)
I really like the trailer for H+, a new "digital series" (that's just fancy speak for web series, right?).

It appears to feature a multi-ethnic cast, an apocalyptic future, interesting female characters, and a hot nerd. If I can figure out where and how to watch it, I will.



Then we have the trailer for Haywire about a spy who is betrayed by the CIA. Now, yes, that is the plot to 75% of spy movies, but this one stars Gina Carano, a female mixed martial arts fighter who is actually believable when she throws a punch, unlike the majority of skeletal actresses (seriously, Anjelina Jolie was a twig in Salt).

It also features Michael Fassbender! (looking very James Bond), Ewan McGregor! (sadly without his natural accent), and...a whole bunch of other dudes I am mostly ambivalent towards (and Charming Potato whom I actually dislike).

But I do have a problem with this trailer and that problem is going to take the form of a question.

Why is it that whenever anyone actually bothers to make an action movie starring a woman, they surround her with a bunch of (mostly white) men and no other female characters? Another question: can't we get a few of the secondary characters played by women too? That was my issue with the trailer for Colombiana and also with Salt, because when it's just one woman taking on the traditionally male role of action hero and there aren't any other female characters, it plays into the cultural narrative that action women - and even heroic women - are rare, exceptional, and not "normal" women. They are in a league of their own and that's how they are able to defeat the men.

So while the female action hero is inspirational and aspirational, it's also limiting because its the only version of womanhood we're getting. And considering that she's a super special snowflake, it's yet another ideal that few of us can live up to.

Make no mistake, I'll see this as soon as it opens, but even though it's relevant to a lot of my interests, it's still not ticking all my boxes.



In between starting this entry and posting it, I went to the ballet. One lady in the audience wore a romantic tutu in black tulle. I thought this was funny, but I suppose it's not much different from wearing your sporting team's uniform when watching them play.
bennet_7: (I: What is this fuckery?)
Spoilers )
bennet_7: (GW: The good lawyer)
1. I changed my layout. May change it again or play around with the colours.

2. Do you ever see businesses or meet people and they have the same name as someone famous? Not just the first name but the entire name? Yesterday I saw a car with 'Kevin Smith Cleaning Services' written on the side. Two weeks ago I walked past 'Leonard Cohen Legal Attorneys.' My thought on both occasions was that there should be a blog or a Tumblr dedicated to the phenomena. Which will lead to a book deal. And then a film (it would feature the famous people doing the jobs of their less famous name-sharers).

3. I've been waiting on tenterhooks for this episode of The Good Wife and it did not disappoint. Spoilers )

4. The Chicago Code has been cancelled and I am bummed but not crushed. I thought that with time it might have sorted out the kinks and become truly great but I understand that the ratings haven't been good. I think the latest episode demonstrated a few of its weak points all too well. Spoilers )

5. One of my favourite TV shows of last year (that I think I only posted about on Tumblr) was The Trip, a British comedy starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Basically, they play fictionalised versions of themselves and go on a trip together where they review restaurants in the north of England. You don't need to be familiar with either of them or their careers to enjoy it (I know, because I showed it to my mother and she loved it), because they establish the relationship and the tension between them really well and after that you just sit back and enjoy their duelling impressions, their petty squabbles, and the surprising moments of humanity.

The TV show was directed by Michael Winterbottom as a six episode series and he has re-edited it as a film for international audiences. The trailer is here and below is one of my favourite scenes.



6. It's that time of year again: Eurovision! Because they only sing one song throughout the competition, I don't watch the semi-finals because I like to be shocked, awed, and appalled by the final on Sunday. But I did find a bunch of photos of the costumes we can look forward to and they are under the cut.

Eurovision is the definition of so bad it's good )
bennet_7: (Bright Star: La Belle Dame sans Merci)
Guys, give The Chicago Code a chance. It may look like just another cop show but it's more about the institutional corruption in Chicago than it is about the finding murderer in forty-two minutes.

Plus, it has two awesome female characters, one of whom is the police superintendent and she's not just some authority figure the lead male character gets to undermine for laughs a la Cuddy from House. No, she's the one spearheading the fight against corruption.

I think it's going to be good.
bennet_7: (iClaudius)
So I woke up this morning, reheated some leftover pizza (the breakfast of champions), and turned on the TV to watch while I ate. Our cable provider has this service that previews programs from different channels; I scrolled through the selection and discovered that the TV movie Avalon High was there in its entirety, courtesy of the Disney Channel.

TL;DR: Arthur ended up being a girl and I am pleased by that )
bennet_7: (I: The Architect)
Is there anything better than a DVD rip leaking a month before the official release?
.
.
.
Well, Christmas is pretty good. So is winning the lottery. And getting into grad school (which is what I should have been trying to do instead of making icons).

Still, I was pretty pleased when Inception appeared on the internets last weekend as I've been enjoying the hell out of the fandom. Rewatching the film, the flaws I mentioned previously (characterisation, dialogue: Nolan, get better at these!) are still there but they don't diminish my enjoyment of the film overmuch and hopefully it won't fall apart the more I view it.


The quality of this copy isn't the greatest but it was decent enough for me to waste a couple of hours making icons.



The fruits of my labour )
bennet_7: (Press Gang: At last a dragon)
Being Erica is a show I really like but haven't posted much about before. The gist is this: 30-something Erica, under the guidance of the mysterious Doctor Tom, undertakes an unusual kind of therapy where she travels back in time to old regrets and tries to change them so that they have a more positive outcome. In doing so, she relates what she's learned to present day situations and starts to build a better life for herself, both professionally and relationship-wise.

One of the things I love most about this show is the focus on the women in Erica's life. Her mother, her sister, her female boss, her three female friends, her frenemy - Erica has a different relationship with each of them and the show shows just how important they are to her and how they impact on her life.

Last week's episode, the first of season 3, was tasked with introducing new characters and a new formula for the episodes to work around, which was key to setting up the season. What I appreciated about the second episode is that we got to check in on most of the women in Erica's life, even if only briefly, and got to see at two of them start new arcs of their own, independent of Erica.

Yep. It's the kind of awesome that apparently only Canadians can produce. If the male dominated TV landscape is getting you down then I heartily recommend this show for your dose of complex, relate-able women (and the male characters are really good too).
bennet_7: (1909: stubborns as mules)
I had it in my head that The Good Wife was back last night (and thus I would be able to download it today) but alas, it did not, so I could not.

A shame, because I'm really, really hankering for some awesome female-centric TV right now.

By my reckoning, the new hour-longs (I'm not wading into sitcom territory) with the most critical buzz are: Boardwalk Empire, Lone Star, and Terriers. However, I haven't felt a strong inclination to check any of them out because they are all male-centric. My understanding (based mostly on short promos and reviews from people like Alan Sepinwall) is that they break down like this:

- Terriers: Focuses on two unlicensed male PIs. Apparently, one has a well-written girlfriend and the other has a cliche of an ex-wife, but both are supporting characters.

- Boardwalk Empire: Male main character, whole bunch of male supporting characters, and Kelly MacDonald, who is/will be romantically involved with a male character. Also, as it is set in the 20s, chances for empowered, independent females who have goals and achieve them are slim to non.

- Lone Star: Male main character, four supporting male characters, 2 supporting female characters, both of whom are love interests of the main male character.

[This meta could take a turn for the serious if I was to do more in-depth research into the cast make-ups of all of these shows, but, as my mother has informed me, most viewers don't read half-a-dozen blogs or check YouTube for trailers when deciding what new shows to watch. They catch a promo on TV, they read a blurb in the TV guide, and they need to be hooked on the premise by that. So I'm doing this largely from the POV of the average viewer and also, I don't want to research a bunch of shows that have already failed to grab me, which is kind of my point.]

Now, just scrolling through the my mental Rolodex of new shows, I can think of only three where a female is unquestionably the main character: Body of Proof (not airing for another month or so), Nikita, Hellcats.

If anyone can think of anymore, please tell me! Until then, let this thought fester: two of those shows are on The CW, which, yes, does skew towards a young female audience anyway, but still. The freakin' CW is telling more new female stories than any other network.

Now, there are shows where a female shares the lead with a male. Off the top of my head: The Whole Truth (as far as I know, they are old friends but are not romantically involved and they are opponents in court), Undercovers (husband and wife), My Generation (seems to be a fairly balanced ensemble but I can't tell if there is a lead or not largely because there's been barely any buzz, good or bad, about it), No Ordinary Family, and Chase (Daniel Fienberg says "Justified is a star vehicle for Timothy Olyphant and In Plain Sight is the same for Mary McCormack. Chase isn't built the same was for Kelli Giddish, who gets the most screentime, but definitely is part of the sort of ensemble you'd see going after serial killers on CBS", which I take to mean that this isn't her story they're telling nor that they are filtering it through her POV (also, he says she's poorly written as a character too)).

Other new hour-longs with male leads: Outlaw, Hawaii Five-O, Detroit 1-8-7, The Event (actually, I don't think this has a clear lead but Jason Ritter and Blair Underwood appear to be the protagonists, Laura Innes and Scott Patterson seem to be supporting, Zeljko Ivanek seems to be supporting anatgonist, and Sarah Roemer pushes the plot forward by disappearing), Blue Bloods (again, not sure if Tom Selleck is the lead, but it is a largely male ensemble), and The Defenders.

So, for the TL;DR crowd:

- Male leads: 9

- Female leads: 3

- Male and Female lead/largely balanced ensemble: 5

In conclusion: write more TV shows with women as the main characters, where they get to be multifaceted, have goals and desires of their own, and be successful in their jobs and relationships.

You know, this was going to be a quick rant before I talked about the amazingness that is Being Erica (for the things that I listed above) but now I am spent. I'll be back later.
bennet_7: (DW: looking forward to the future & past)
I finished/handed in my thesis a couple of weeks ago and since then I have been decompressing. This has involved sleeping in late, taking the time to cook elaborate meals, reading books with no other purpose than enjoyment, re-establishing contact with friends and family, and watching a lot of TV that I missed out on.

Here are my thoughts on various shows.

10 Things I Hate About You )

Chuck )

Community )

Dance Academy )

Doctor Who )

The Good Wife )

How I Met Your Mother )

Modern Family )

The Office )

Parks and Recreation )

The Vampire Diaries )


So El-Jay, what's up?
bennet_7: (S&A: laughter and razor blades)
I've been busy trying to balance work and university lately. Right now I'm tutoring a bunch of high school kids in various subjects, including helping one girl in a period of history that I myself have never formally studied. So I have to spend time teaching myself so that I can then teach her. It's nuts.

And it's not like I don't already have more than enough material to study for my honours as it is. I'm so busy researching the short essays that I haven't really touched my thesis for the last four weeks. But I'm starting to get a good handle on it so hopefully I'll be able to work on it soon. As long as I stick to my schedule I should be ok.

Having said that, I had intended to start an essay or at least plan it out today and I didn't get round to it. But I did a whole bunch of stuff around the house so that's ok-ish. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow...

(Not a reference that really works in this context but it is late. I apologise.)

I still find time to watch TV and you know what I quite like? 10 Things I Hate About You. It's proved to be charming and quite clever at times. And I really like Kat. She decides to do things based on how feminist it will be and how it will impact on the environment. She's probably the most feminist character on TV right now. I find Bianca kind of irritating, think Cameron and Michael are just creepy, and Patrick just needs to talk more, but Kat's pretty awesome and I wish more female characters were depicted as actually being feminist and caring about these issues.

On the weekend I talked my mother out of seeing The Ugly Truth because I was kind of disgusted just by the trailer. I'm really sick of Hollywood portraying successful business women as cold abrasive shrews (last month there was another such character in The Proposal too) incapable of forming romantic relationships without a man to teach them how. A well done mentor/lover or opposites attract story can be very entertaining but when you rely on lazy characterisation, no matter how charming the actors, you are still perpetuating a stereotype. And not only is that bad for women, but it's damn boring too.

You can say that I'm taking something that's meant to be light entertainment too seriously. I do do that sometimes. But this issue gets my hackles up.

Sometimes I think I should have done Media Studies.

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February 2012

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