bennet_7: (Chuck: Our fake kisses)
Last night I saw Haywire which I've been looking forward to for aaaaaages because it is a) a female-led action movie, b) stars an MMA fighter, Gina Carano, who can legitimately kick ass, and c) is directed by Steven Soderbergh, who directed one of my favourite movies Out of Sight.

And I really enjoyed it! I was worried because the reviews, while positive, have not being overwhelmingly so and it was too much too expect first time actor Gina Carano to turn in a brilliant performance*.

*And yet I had my hopes because Soderbergh is frequently great at pulling career best work from unlikely actors. Jennifer Lopez is freaking amazing in Out of Sight. Yes. J.Lo portrays one of my favourite female characters and it is due equally to her performance as to the writing. I'll be sharing Out of Sight soon and if you haven't seen it, I urge you to snag it. (It'll be friends-only but I'm happy to share with others.)

Still, Carano has a really strong presence on screen and is very believable in the role. I think given time and acting lessons she will only improve and I'd like to see her in other films.



Plus Carano is really pretty! Those are leading lady looks there and changeable too. Just in terms of make-up and costuming she appeared different with every cover story. She has more muscle tone than your average wafer thin actress - you believe her when she strangles a guy between her thighs - but she isn't big at all. She could be a star.

Where she excelled was in the fight scenes which are some of the best I've seen in years. CineSnark pointed out that Carano fought like a woman, using leverage and momentum, when most films choreograph masculine fight scenes for women. The scenes are also shot so that you can actually see the action, with very little editing and full bodies in frame. That was wonderful because I really hate the quick cutting and jerky camera work that became so prevalent in the filming of fight scenes after the second Bourne movie.

The plot isn't anything new although it does cohere. There isn't really an emotional arc. This isn't a great movie but if you go in with the right frame of mind its better than most action movies. And hopefully if this does even moderately well it will show that there is a market for female-led action movies. That's been my thinking in paying to see this and Colombiana.

Spoilers )

Earlier today I watched the series finale of Chuck, a show I've never loved but often enjoyed. The last season was so great that I might actually miss it. I'll certainly miss the musical performances of Jeffster! Their final song was A+. You can watch all the others here in one file. I've always been partial to their cover of Toto's "Africa" because I unironically love that song.

Farewell, Chuck.
bennet_7: (Iron Man: Pepper your eyes are red too)
I was already looking forward to Haywire. Now I'm also looking forward to Michael Fassbender and Ewan McGregor doing press for Haywire. Go watch this Q & A where they are interviewed by Joel MchHale (entertaining!) with Steven Soderbergh (also entertaining!) and Gina Carano (nervous and humble!).

Fassbender and McGregor should do another movie where they are awesome redheads* who do awesome things together and speak in their natural accents.



*We do not use the term "ginger" on this blog. Ginger in all of its forms looks nothing like my hair colour.
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.

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February 2012

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