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: (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: (Jesus on livejournal)
Oh...my...There's going to be a live action film version of Captain Planet.

That's so awful that it turns around and becomes awesome again. Who will they get to play the blue skinned, green mulletted, red speedo wearing super hero? Will they keep the theme song and the pre-credits rap? And will it tackle serious issues and events (Aids, the troubles in Ireland, HITLER) in the same hilariously inappropriate way?

Dear Hollywood, please mess this up. The power is yours!

On Thor

Apr. 27th, 2011 12:39 am
bennet_7: (Iron Man: The weapon you use once)
I saw Thor yesterday and it was good! Really good, actually. I didn't enjoy it as much as Iron Man because the central character/performance isn't as compelling but that's not to say Chris Hemsworth as Thor is bad. He played the role well and made Thor likeable yet seem of another time and place - he isn't a contemporary man.

It's different to all the other superhero origin stories we're getting because it's not about a man discovering or getting powers - Thor was born with them (right?). Thor's journey is about learning humility and maturing to the point where he is worthy of those powers, understanding the responsibility and the consequences of them. Where other men become superheroes, Thor is a superhero becoming a man.

I haven't read the comics and what I know of the character made me fear that his mythical origins and magical powers wouldn't gel with the technology based universe that Marvel set up in Iron Man. But they did a really good job of making Thor's abilities not seem hokey, drawing on Arthur C. Clarke to raise the idea that magic is science they don't understand yet.

I thought it was paced and structured well, though the transitions from Earth to Asgard were occasionally slightly jarring. The CGI for the most part was really impressive, with the ice creatures very convincing. Branagh used a lot of tilted angles and quick cuts during the fight scenes and it would have been nice to see the camera pull back and remain steady so that you could really appreciate them, but you could still tell what was going on - it wasn't all shaky cam a la the later Bourne movies. I'd need to see it again with a more critical eye to really judge the direction but I think Branagh did a good job overall.

I think he certainly pulled good performances from the actors. I've been having trouble with Natalie Portman lately but she was really charming here. Anthony Hopkins does kingly gravitas well and in other news the sky is blue. There was quite a lot of humour in the script to, some of it physical, but mostly good jokes delivered well.

As for the characters, there were so many good ones! Especially the women! The movie passes the Bechdel test in the first two minutes, I promise. In the comics Jane Foster (Portman) is a nurse but here she's an astrophysicist which I think was a really good change because it ties her storyline to Thor's for reasons other than she fancies him. She's shown to be passionate about her career, intelligent, and kind of a dork - I really liked her. She's aided and abetted by her assisstant Darcy (Kat Dennings) and guys, I really love Darcy and want to write fic about her. She's mostly there for comedic relief but she still comes across as a normal person. Spoiler that you've probably seen in the trailer but that I'll cut anyway )

And then there is Sif, who is one of Thor's friends and a badass warrior. There's a moment early in the film that I really like where Dialogue spoiler ) I've learnt that in the comics she's sometimes a love interest of Thor's but they didn't really play on that, just showing them as good friends and her as one of the guys. Sometimes its just nice to have female characters who aren't shown to be in a romantic relationship with one of the gang.

Having said that, on shipping )

Idris Elba as Heimdall was really good, very noble and stoic. I've been a fan of Tom Hiddleston for a while and his Loki was complex. Shame about what they did to his hair, though (black and straight where it's normally blonde and curly. His fan community on LJ is called [livejournal.com profile] magnificenthair for a reason!) Plot spoilers )

Final verdict: fun and entertaining. It may not have a whole lot of depth but it's not shallow and you won't feel stupider for seeing it.
bennet_7: (TVD: Stefan has a sense of humour)
Spoilers )

If you haven't seen this already, you must: some guy made his own Muppet Theatre Playset from scratch and it is so freakin' cool! I love it and I want it but I have neither the talent nor the patience to do it myself.

This is a series of pictures depicting historical costumes entirely made out of paper. It's amazing work.

This is really only good for a laugh. It's the trailer for Anonymous, which takes the theory that Shakespeare wrote none of his plays and turns it into a big budget, conspiracy laden epic from the director of The Day After Tomorrow and Independence Day.

The tag line: We've all been played.

Snerk.
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 )

Iron Man 2

May. 2nd, 2010 11:55 pm
bennet_7: (Iron Man: The weapon you use once)
Everyone on my flist who has so far seen Iron Man 2 has been so great about not giving even the slightest hint of spoilers in their posts - no 'I'm so happy' nor 'I'm so disappointed' - and I'm going to do the same.

Behind the cut, though, I'm spoiling to hell and back. So don't click if you haven't seen it yet. Instead, go watch Tim Gunn give his considered opinions on comic book super hero fashion through the ages (here and here). That man is a delight. I totally want there to be a 'design a super hero costume' on Project Runway.

Some super spoilery thoughts on Iron Man 2 )
bennet_7: (KKBB: The Amazing Harold)
So remember when I got very, very angry about the new TV series based on 10 Things I Hate About You? Well tonight I decided to give it a go, partly because I was pretty curious to compare and contrast, but mostly because there is so very little on at the moment and I'll watch pretty much anything.

Verdict? It's not awful, and sometimes it's even pretty good (note: my bias is totally clouding my judgment. I love the film with a passion). Don't care much for the characterisation at this point but the writing is generally sharper than you'd expect for one of these ABC Family series and there are some funny lines.

But I'm going to keep watching mostly because of the guy who plays Patrick.

Now, I wasn't wrong about him looking like a lost Jonas brother. He does and it kinda freaks me out. But here's the thing: unlike the Jonases, whom I could take in a fight, this guy is solidly built and not a waify elf-child. And he's decently tall too.



He's a bit too pretty here...



...but yes I would like tickets to the gun show.


For the first 2/3 of the show he mostly sits and broods and looks mysterious and vaguely dangerous and rides a motorcycle because that's what bad boys do (actually, real bad boys steal from you so that they can go and buy heroin after they've cheated on you with some other girl). But then, they finally let him talk and whoah. Dude has an unexpectedly deep and sexy voice - I really did not expect him to sound like that but it's good.

A few more pics under the cut )

So yeah, I'm gonna keep watching because mostly because I'm shallow...and partly because I'm hoping that the White Rastas, Urban Cowboys, and Bogey Lowenstein will eventually show up.
bennet_7: (Iron Man: Pepper/Tony dance)
Just a quick note to say that I am not dead. I am just finishing up my BA and preparing for Honours (I was invited! EEEEEEEEE! 15,000 words on 19th century literature here I come) so things have been hectic.

Here is a list of things I like:

- Royal Pains featuring Donna's Republican boyfriend and Ax from Animorphs. Only two episodes so far but I think it has potential. I particularly like Tucker and Libby. At the very least, it's light summer fluff and I need that some times.

- The trailer for Creation a new biopic about Charles Darwin. Suck it Intelligent Design!

Things I love:

- These cookies. I made them on Sunday and have had to keep them in my room so that my brother doesn't eat them all. Of course, my brother would still eat them all if they were mediocre cookies but they are not. They are ridiculously good. I cooked them a little longer than the recipe says to and I left out the raisins because you don't mess up a chocolate cookie with fruit! Try them. Try not to eat them all.

- Glee which is charming and funny and smart and not High School Musical the TV show. Definitely the new series I am most looking forward to.

- Hugh Dancy. Again. Some more. Watched Confessions of a Shopaholic for him. Stupid book turned into a slightly less stupid movie (and the book is really stupid). Cleansed my palate by watching Dancy in Daniel Deronda which is how I first fell in love with him. Hadn't realised that Jamie Bamber was also in that adaptation.

Bamber's horrible/hilarious period facial hair under the cut )

Things I don't like:

- The weather here in Australia can not make up its mind. It's winter. Be winter-y Australia!

Things that are taking way to long to download:

- Casualty 1909 which I am watching for a) the social history and interesting turn of the century medical procedures, and b) Millais Culpin/Ethel Bennet who are AWESOME and ADORABLE and SAVE LIVES.



If you like angsty, realistic period dramas then this one is for you.
bennet_7: (Doctor Who (Donna says NO))
Attention everyone: the Apocalypse snuck up on us over Easter.

The end is nigh. Be on the look out for four horsemen. I am outraged. I am sad. I am confused.

Why would somebody do this?



WHY????

Why would you remake the awesome 10 things I hate about you into a crappy TV show ten years after it was released? I do not understand.

The girl who plays Kat does not look capable of kicking a guy in the balls and then saying that he kicked himself in the balls. The boy who plays Patrick looks like a Jonas brother. And Bianca? How dare you replace Alex Mack! SHE HAS A SECRET WORLD! (Is that show on DVD yet?) Bogey Lowenstein isn't even mentioned in the new cast list - will Nigel still bring the brie?!

Why yes I have seen this movie 9 million times. How did you guess?

How can they top this moment:




The real rub of it all? The TV show is being directed by the same guy who directed the movie. Kat's father is being played by the same actor too.

Still, it's going to be wretched. For those of you who want to rewatch the film it's here on YT. For me, this will always be Heath Ledger's best work.
bennet_7: (colin being serious)
This was going to be a nice, reflective post about the film Pan's Labyrinth but while I was driving home a kangaroo jumped in front of my car and I nearly hit it so now I'm kind of hysterical because I've never almost-hit-a-kangaroo-while-I've-been-driving before.

I feel like I've undergone a right of passage...ish.

Anyway, the film is excellent. Set in Spain in 1944, a young girl named Ofelia travels with her pregnant mother to the base camp of her new step-father, a cruel and vicious captain in Franco's army searching for Republican Militia in the mountains. Once there, she escapes into a fantasy world where she is told that she is the lost daughter of Hades and must complete three quests in order to return to his magical kingdom. The quests are dangerous and horrifying but nothing compared to the real world she so desperately wants to escape.

The acting is wonderful, the special effects are great and the film is beautifully shot. However, this is not a family film. More time is spent in the real world than the fantasy one, and the real world is dark and depressing. Lord of the Rings, despite it's huge battles, is more appropriate for kids than this.

Very mild spoilers and character discussion )

If you like your fairy tales truly fractured, don't mind subtitles and can stand some violence then go and see this film. But I say again, DON'T TAKE THE KIDS!
bennet_7: (emo Nemo)
Alternative subject line could be: [livejournal.com profile] koalathebear made me do it.

The first thing she made me do was watch the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. She has professed her love for this film on numerous occasions, saying that if you only ever see one film from Hong Kong, it should be this one.

And as usual, she was right. Despite the language barrier and thus the whole have-to-read-subtitles-thing this was one of the most enjoyable films I have seen in a long time. It's smart, tightly paced, beautifully shot and well acted.

Pics and more under the cut )

Secondly, [livejournal.com profile] koalathebear directed me towards these gorgeous caps of the film Finding Nemo. I'm not really a fan of complete CGI kids movies but I love Finding Nemo. It's beautiful but that is secondary to the story. Soooooooo icons! Use them as such or for bases - I don't mind ;-) When my computer isn't acting so funky, I might edit them a bit more.



I speak whale )
bennet_7: (Kinda don't care (Lamb))
Last night I saw The Da Vinci Code. My parents were paying, otherwise I probably wouldn't have bothered.

I've read the book. I like the book. It's not a great book but it is enjoyable. It has some major flaws (characterisation and Brown's writing style for starters) but I liked the (kinda) historical subject matter and I can read it in an afternoon if I just want to chill (I read really fast).

It's popular to hate the book. I guess it gives people a sense of superiority. Whatever. I like dipping into popular culture and have no problem with going from something like this to something 'literary'. 

The movie? The movie should be hated. It's awful. The suspense which made the book work is completely absent here, making it very slow.

It's badly shot. Too many close ups of the actors' faces, not enough wide shots to give you a sense of the art and architecture that is so important to the story.

The dialog is clunky  and fails to build on the book- Akiva Goldsman should not be allowed to write.

The book describes the main character, Robert Langdon, as 'Harrison Ford in Harris tweeds' so I damn well expected (Indianna Jones) Harrison Ford not Tom Hanks with a dead animal glued to his scalp pretending to be hair. Hanks is woefully miscast and doesn't even try with this admittedly two-dimensional character. He's too old to be opposite the gorgeous Audrey Tautou, who plays Sophie. She doesn't do much with her character either but she does improve towards the end of the movie. 

Alfred Molina, one of my favourite actors, doesn't get to do nearly enough. Jean Reno is quite good. Ian McKellen is fantastic as the Grail expert Leigh Teabing and I thought Paul Bettany was excellent as Silas the monk. His character is very creepy and the whole audience gasped at one point when he just appeared.

The big controversial story line? It's handled ok.
spoilers )

The movie is long and I would have preferred if certain scenes were cut in order to spend more time with
spoilers )

The big problem is the pacing - the book managed to be an enjoyable thriller despite its many faults,  because of all the twists and turns Brown employed which were manipulative but effective. The movie lacks this and thus ruins the opportunity to make a decent thriller. 

However I'm glad I went because the milk shake I bought was fantastic (Swiss Choc Caramel) and I saw the trailers for Superman Returns and Casino Royale. Kevin Spacey looks like he's having fun in SR, while the new Bond film looks very pretty.

bennet_7: (Kinda don't care (Lamb))
Ok so there are only 6 comments over at the brand spankin new [profile] neptune_online but over a hundred people have friended us so methinks that people are reading but just not commenting.

Just so we're clear, commenting? Is awesome. Seriously. Tell us if you love it. Tell us if you don't love it. But tell us something. 

Do you know how hard [profile] spadada worked on this thing to get it posted? Really hard is the answer. Like until 3AM in the morning. I know this because we were chatting on AIM with [profile] babsonite and [profile] beppergirl (also two very hard workers on this)  and so I saw how hard everyone worked to make this as fantastic as it is.

So yeah. Comment please. I'd like to hear that we've done good.

***

And in other news I am not doing that essay which is due next week. Or the other essay that is due next week. Or the power point presentation that is due the week after next (actually I can't work on the power point because the other people in my group havn't sent me their stuff).

I am trying hard not to watch the next episode of Farscape but it is seriously addictive. Maybe I will reward myself with some Farscape once I get one of the essays done (or half done. Or have the introduction written. Or have it planned).

I was watching Pretty in Pink last night and Andi should have gotten together with Steff. Because Steff is cool. And a lot like Logan. And Andi is like Veronica. And Steff is played by James Spader, and Spader is amazing and gorgeous and one of those people I would pay to see reading the telephone book aloud (other people on this list include Jason Dohring and Victor Garber). 

Also watched Napoleon Dynamite and Tina Majorino is so freaking adorable in that movie. I really hope that she's in the third season of Veronica Mars (though that would be kinda contrived).

Yep. I'm procrastinating. Will go and do an essay now.
bennet_7: (Mac)
So the power cord for my laptop is now fixed. It doesn't make weird noises or spark anymore. This is good.


I had work today. I work at the local supermarket. Mostly in the deli. It's not glamorous but it will be paying my $200.00+ book fee next week when I go back to uni.

I once asked a guy how thick he wanted his ham cut and he said 'relative'. Umm, relative to what? 

That was the stupidest thing a person has said to me at work until today when a woman asked me if all the hams tasted differently.

'If they all tasted the same then we'd only have one ham instead of 15 you idiot' - is what I wanted to say but couldn't.


Last night I watched Red Eye and Monster-in-law. My mother wanted to see the latter not me. I only stayed in the room for the shirtless Michael Vartan and a small appearance by Will Arnett (Gob from Arrested Development). 

You really have to wonder why Jane Fonda came out of retirement for such crap.

Red Eye was actually pretty good. Very suspenseful in the beginning with a really good action sequence at the end. The story was simple and straight to the point, but so many movies these days over complicate things, that I really enjoyed the simplicity.

I loved how Lisa (Rachel McAdams) took action. When characters do stupid stuff on TV and in movies my mother likes to berate them from the comfort of her couch. This rarely happened in this movie.

Cillian Murphy as Jackson Rippner was great. I've liked him since I saw him in The Way We Live Now where he played Paul. His eyes....so pretty.

Brian Cox played Lisa's dad, and he just seems to be in everything these days. I for one am glad, because I really like him as an actor. I just looked him up on imdb.com and he's got a slew of movies coming out including one with...Bowie! Shamrock Boy.


Will be spamming the pics VM style later tonight.
bennet_7: (Arabia)
Had work this morning and I didn't want to faint so that's an improvement. However it was super busy which sucked. And we ran out of 'Star Wars' crispy M&M's! (I work at a supermarket) So sad. I was forced to buy Kit Kat Bites instead and they aren't the least bit Star Warsy. They do sort of taste the same though.

Yesterday I was going to recap, for your entertainment and mine, the movie "The African Queen" starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn and directed by John Huston. However, I hadn't seen it before and it was hard to type and watch the movie at the same time so I stopped. After two minutes. (What? It was hard recapping the sound of the jungle. Shut up!)

So now I'll tell you of the things I learned while watching this movie.

1. It is easy to make torpedoes (My only experience with making explosive devices is when we made sparkler bombs at a couple of neighbourhood barbecues but they wern't that great. Oh and there was the time I blew up a barbecue (except I didn't really blow it up, parts of it that wern't supposed to be on fire just caught on fire. It was windy that day. There was really no need to call the fire department. And I don't think it was really my fault. Hello? There was totally no parental supervision. And I was, like, 10))

2. It is easy to fix a broken propeller

3. Capsised boats will rise to the surface at just the right moment in order to blow up a German ship

4. Just before you are about to be hanged, your German captors will marry you to your fellow captee. Which is very bizarrely nice of them. Well though they were German, they wern't Nazis so that might explain it.

5. It is easy to blow up a German ship

6. When dragging your boat through the reeds as you walk in chest high water, the worst that will happen is that leaches will latch onto you. You won't be attacked by crocodiles or hippos or poisonous snakes.

7. It is really easy for an alcoholic to give up gin cold turkey. Really!

8. Humphrey Bogart had crooked teeth. Hadn't noticed this before. (I have perfect teeth and my sister is always having dental dramas because the morning of an inter-school carnival she and my brother started fighting in the play room and she fell on the floor and chipped her tooth on the tiles. Ever since then it had been dental drama after dental drama. She even hurt her tooth when we were in Phuket! (also while fighting with my brother. Noticing a patten? I have) Anyway because of all this (and the dental dramas another one of my friends had (they had to break her jaw in order to correct her over-bite) I tend to notice dental imperfections fairly quickly)

9. It is seriously hard to guess Katharine Hepburn's age. I kind of always knew this one but it was really apparent in this movie.


Dinner is ready. Will be back later.

(edited later because grammar and punctuation are good)

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