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: (TToI: Turning it all the way up to 11)
I really don't like Great Expectations. So naturally there are going to be two new adaptations of it next year.

First up we have the BBC's effort which stars Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham. The trailer is wonderfully atmospheric and contains a haunting version of "Carol of the Bells"...



...but do we need a eighteenth adaptation of this particular novel? Or a nineteenth that will be released in cinemas and have Helena Bonham-Carter as Miss H? I think not (though of course I will see them). There are plenty of other great novels that are out of copyright that have either never been adapted or haven't been done in thirty years, but instead we get the same four over and over again: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Great Expectations.

Much better news is that Peter Capaldi is joining season two of The Hour. That show just got more awesome and will hopefully help sate my longing for Malcolm Tucker and The Thick of It.
bennet_7: (10 Things: Stupid teen cliché)
Woo! The Powers That Be have made a second series of Dance Academy, the sometimes ridiculous but generally awesome show about teenagers studying ballet in Sydney. I've previously discussed it a little here and the new trailer is below:



Damn, that looks like some high-quality brain candy.

A lot of season 1 is available on YouTube and the episodes are uploaded in the usual places. Definitely give it a shot if you like dancing and well-handled teen issues (the gay storyline is particularly well done and actually kind of fresh).

TV

Sep. 27th, 2011 03:16 pm
bennet_7: (GW: The good lawyer)
Last night I had a thought: wouldn't it be great if boots were like four wheel drives?

Seriously. Think about it.

Press a button when you're off-roading in the country and suddenly you've got extra traction control and grip. The suspension gets firmer (or whatever) and you can go through, like, rivers and mud and sand dunes.

But then, you're back in the city and you don't need all those features. So, you press another button (or maybe the same button, I DON'T KNOW) and then you're boots become lighter and somehow more stylish because you don't need fog lights on in the city...



...this is the kind of thing I think about for more than five minutes.


::

The Good Wife is back. I liked it! Spoilers )

I didn't actually know that Being Erica was back this week - it was just there to DL in the comms - but I'm glad it's back. Spoilers )

The latest episode of The Dan and Blair Show was quite short and light on plot, but it's nice to know that it's still being made. Spoilers )

I tried out three new shows, all of which were light and fluffy and none of which I loved: The Secret Circle (which has one more episode to rise to the level of The Vampire Diaries), Pan Am (because shows with a ratio of four female main characters to two male are rare. This one will get an even greater grace period to get itself some depth), and Hart of Dixie (which was stupid in many different ways but somehow the most enjoyable). Spoilers for HoD )
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: (TH: James and Moneypenny)
- Aided and abetted by [livejournal.com profile] cobweb_diamond I have been making ridiculous post-film Captain America graphics on Tumblr because lady spies are awesome. I am attempting fic on this theme so we'll see how that goes.

- But the Captain America fandom at large is weird and wanky. There's already been a big brouhaha over in the kink memes (yes, plural) and I'm a bit bemused by the fact that the most popular pairing on the most successful meme is Steve/Tony...and Tony wasn't even in the film.

- My thoughts on episode three of The Hour )
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.

The Hour

Jul. 21st, 2011 02:00 am
bennet_7: (TH: Fairly beautiful)
Anyone else watch the first episode of The Hour? I really liked it. I know that some have been calling it the BBC's answer to Mad Men but they feel like different beasts to me.

Spoilers )



More )
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!
bennet_7: (TCC: more of them than there are of you)
Today I made a mobile for my two year old cousin out of some old CDs, fishing line, and three pieces of wood, and because I successfully used my dad's hammer drill I feel like a DIY goddess.

Seriously, someone could hand me some flat pack furniture right now and I would assemble the crap out of it.

In other news, Project Runway Australia has returned and it's like they scoured the land for the next big designer quirkiest personality. The challenge was really good - each designer had their fabrics chosen for them and then they had twelve hours to make a cocktail dress - but none of the designs really shone. Considering the quality that was produced last season (it was better than anything I've seen on the US version) I have high expectations for this batch.
bennet_7: (I: What is this fuckery?)
Spoilers )
bennet_7: (I: The Pointman)


I just found one of my favourite documentary series on YouTube, cleverly titled Savile Row because it is about the tailors of Savile Row and their bespoke craftsmanship. If you've ever been interested in what makes and what goes into making a good suit, then this is well worth a watch, especially the first episode (there are three). It also discusses the changing market and how mass produced and designer wear threatens this niche industry. Above all, it shows how good tailoring is an art form and that these skills need to be passed on and treasured.
bennet_7: (Dork (Jimmy Stewart))
If you didn't really understand the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (I certainly didn't. Honestly, the only subject I ever failed was Economics 101) then HBO's recent TV movie Too Big to Fail does a pretty good job of unpacking what went down on Wall Street while still managing to be fairly entertaining and suspenseful. It's making the rounds of the usual places and I recommend it. Fans of The West Wing will definitely get a kick out of all the wheeling and dealing.
bennet_7: (1909: You can't tempt me with cakes)
I'm not sure how I really feel about Game of Thrones. It's hard to judge it just as a TV series now that I've read so much of the books (somewhere in book three at the moment) and know what has been left out and what has been added. I find myself frequently liking scenes not in the books - generally those with Jaime and Cersei as the early books don't give them much depth - but a lot of the perfectly replicated scenes just feel like exposition.

And my problem with the books is that so many chapters and storylines are just exposition. We find out about things not because we see them through the POV of a character but because that character is told about them. Big events happen but we don't get to witness them and sometimes that works well for the books - I don't want to read endless descriptions of battles - but at other times the constant telling and lack of showing becomes is frustrating and hollow.

With the TV series I find myself enjoying individual scenes but having no strong feelings about the episodes as a whole. I don't think "Wow, that was a perfectly crafted hour of television" but rather "I really liked that scene between X and X." For me, the TV series is working as an illustrated companion to the books rather than a cohesive entity in its own right, as the most recent mini-series adaptation of Dickens's Bleak House did.

I'm curious as to how other people feel, whether they've read the books or not (especially not). Is context clouding my enjoyment of the series?
bennet_7: (Doctor Who (Tardis))
If you aren't watching Parks and Recreation you should. I know I've said it before but I honestly believe that you are missing out on one of the best and most enjoyable TV shows I have seen in a long time. It's funny, it's smart, it's heartwarming, and it's consistently awesome. Spoilers for latest episode )

I thought this last episode of Community was good but not great. Spoilers )

Doctor Who was pretty great! Spoilers )

Finally: EUROPE! I AM DISAPPOINTED IN YOU! HOW COULD YOU VOTE FOR Spoilers for the winner of Eurovision )

One of my favourite entries, from 2007.



This is what Eurovision should be!
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: (D&B Show: Well that's one thing we got)
Some things that I watched in the order that I watched them.

The Killing

Another good episode but I'm slightly concerned that Spoilers )

Forbrydelsen

I watched the first episode of the original Danish version of The Killing and damn it was weird. So many similarities, not just in terms of the script, but the shot composition and the acting choices as well - particularly Mitch Larsen. I knew before that the two series shared the same composer but it was really jarring to hear the same music cues used. There are some notable differences though, mostly in the structure. You learn something about Stan in the first Danish episode that only comes up in the fourth American one.

I know that the killer is going to be different and that the American version will eventually diverge from the original but for now I'm going to wait to watch the rest of Forbrydelsen until after The Killing is finished as its the latter I'm currently more involved with and I don't want to be spoiled on even the smallest details.

Game of Thrones

I wasn't super psyched for this one because it looked grim, depressing, and incesty and it is all those things but I enjoyed it anyway and am really looking forward to the next episode. Spoilers )

How I Met Your Mother

Decent! Loved the credits.

Chuck

Beige! The only bright spot for me was Sarah's impression of Chuck's intersect face.

Cougar Town

Yes, I watch Cougar Town. I swear it's really really good! These episodes were no exception: funny, but with heart. Penny can!

The Chicago Code

I liked how this episode showed that there are people other than Gibbons that Teresa has to fight. Spoilers )

The Dan and Blair Show

Feeling remarkably optimistic about this one because Spoilers )

Parks and Recreation

Was the best! As always! Spoilers )

Community

I enjoyed this episode a lot more than any other of late, even as it pointed out just how formulaic Community can be. Spoilers )

The Office

I was whelmed. Spoilers )

Doctor Who

I liked a lot of this episode but I think I'm going to need to see the next part to figure out if I love it. Spoilers, sweetie )
bennet_7: (GW: The good lawyer)
Spoilers )
bennet_7: (P&R: Here's a good idea: makeout already)
The thing about living in Australia is this: I don't quite understand the scheduling of American TV, nor do I know when a TV show is going to have a little mini-hiatus right in the middle of its season.

I mean, I don't really know what 'March Madness' is (I know it has something to do with basketball but I really don't want to find out more. If I can't give a damn about Australian basketball, no way am I going to care about it in the US), but is it followed by 'April Apathy', where everyone winds down from the crazy and forgets to put my shows on?

Like, all last week I was expecting my shows to appear on the internet, kindly uploaded by the good-natured pirates, as per normal, but the only one to appear was The Good Wife. And it's the same this week so I did some investigating and found out that none of them were supposed to air anyway which is very disappointing. There needs to be some kind of app for international downloaders to keep us aware of scheduling changes so that we don't get our hopes up like I did last Friday, expecting to come home from work and find all my Thursday comedies ready to watch; I'd been anticipating them all week, looking forward to The Office for the first time in a long time, but they weren't there.

A couple of new shows did air so I gave them a try.

Chaos had an decent premise (the three musketeers and their d'Artagnan in the CIA) but wasn't very good. If it does improve I imagine that it will develop a huge slash fandom thanks to its cast of attractive white males. Only one female series regular in the pilot (and she was a POC so yay) but Christina Cole has made the jump across the pond to play the other (still a ratio of five guys to two women, though. Disappointing). Apparently Christina Cole will be playing against type: her character will be nice. The only times I have ever seen Christina Cole not play an uber-bitch were her small role in Casino Royale and as Norah in He Knew He Was Right (though Norah had a few moments). It's kind of amusing how many of the great bitches of English Literature she's played: Blanche Ingram, Caroline Bingley, Mrs Elton.

Anyway, I might keep an eye on the reviews to see if it gets better. I do enjoy stories about spies and James Murray's face.

The Killing was much more impressive. I really like the main character, Sarah Linden, who is very thoughtful and speaks only when necessary, but doesn't come off as cold, aloof, or bitchy. If they pace it right, the murder investigation could be really compelling and I like watching these stories unfold over multiple episodes so I'm in for now.

Spoilers for The Good Wife )

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