ellestra: (big gun)
I, as everyone else, saw Captain America: Civil War and it was as fun as the trailers promised. And like all the reviewers promised it didn’t feel overcrowded as Age of Ultron did. And the introduction of both Black Panther and Spiderman was superbly executed and left me wanting to see their own movies. Good job marketing!

I also saw it in IMAX 3D and it was OK but not really worth it until the big battle. That was filmed with IMAX cameras and there is big difference between this 3D and the upgraded 3D. In that battle all the details are so crisp and everything is shinier and everyone’s prettier and there is more depth. That was cool to see on the big screen.

One of the things that surprised me when I was watching Civil War was that I disagreed with Cap. This doesn’t mean I’m Team Iron Man exactly but I see the point of view of the governments and the public opinion that drove them to it as completely rational. After all, at least in democracies, governments are selected by people and armed forces (and spies) are, at least nominally, under the rule of those governments and all of them answer to law. Avengers operate on their personal discretion and don’t answer to anyone.

Captain America freely admits that he does what he thinks is right and anyone else’s opinion is not as good as his. And if they disagree he will use force to push his agenda. Trial by combat is not how the world is supposed to work.

Of course, he is a really nice guy and really wants the best for everyone but everyone, even the bad guys, believe they are doing the right thing and that ends justify the means. However, one - intentions are not the same as effects of your actions (after all, road to hell is paved with the best of them). And two - the public in MCU isn’t privy to all the information we are - they don’t know Steve like we know him so why would they trust him. He doesn’t trust them.

Of course, Tony Stark isn’t much better as he basically just acts on his feelings - guilt, remorse, hurt (and the whole Ultron mess happened because he ignored everyone’s objection to satisfy his curiosity) and picks a side or a fight based on them. Until a new one comes along that is. He kept being wrong and losing control despite trying to do the right thing and stay in control of everything. His life and his life's work is unravelling here and all he does is ju7st making it worse. Friends gone or hurt. And damage count keeps rising.

I also don’t think that a force defending Earth from threats like that should be steered by a committee - that never works. However, I do think that they should be more directly responsible for the damage they cause. Just not by being stuck in a secret prison without trial.

In the end I was left with a feeling that only Natasha and T'Chaka turned out to be grown up. Black Widow just tried to do all she could to de-escalate the situation. And Black Panther understood the trap that revenge is and chose the law instead off his feelings.

And to my surprise I felt sad about Zemo (one nitpick though - noone but English speakers would say that as Zeemo). He was consumed by his grief and the revenge left nothing but ashes. What's left when nothing's left? I'm hoping Daniel Brühl gets to be a villain again - instead of being killed off in 5 minutes in the next film.
ellestra: (muppets)
I saw Zootopia yesterday. It is as beautiful, funny and moving as everyone else says. The animation is great. The animals are very anthropomorphised but at the same time all the little movements - like the nose twitches - are so very animal like. And the ideas behind the world design were beautifully realised too. All the climate zones and different sizes of habitats and equipment for different sizes of animals. You can just get lost in the designs.

But the best part is the story.

Everyone talks about how great this film is about showcasing different kinds of prejudice (from bunnies to predators to sloths) and how even if you are discriminate against doesn't mean you don't hold preconceptions and aren't a subject to confirmation bias. It was heartbreaking to see Judy fell into it when she was always saying to everyone it is a wrong thing to do. But this is also the best part.

She tells her parents not all foxes are bad and they shouldn't believe in stereotypes but their warnings and prejudices do get to her. Like a little voice in the back of her head that makes her doubt the very things she says she believes in. So she took that fox repellent, told all about predators not being able to help their DNA, got scared of Nick. Because even if you try to not let the prejudices get to you if something is said often enough you internalise it eventually. Especially if you also fight the stereotypes about yourself.

But just like their words got to her so her words got to them. Her parents tried to follow her see beyond their prejudice and work with Gideon and see not all foxes are bad even if they were bullies as kids. So even if she cannot always stick to her ideals it still matters to say it. Even when you fail at them others can keep them going and that spreads around too.

It matter that she believes those things - both because when she treats others with care and respect it gets back to her (saves her life really) and it lets her s keep trying even when others (even her parents) don't believe in her. It's important that Judy recognises her mistakes and realises the horrible consequences of her prejudice. But for me it was even more important to see the positive ideas she believed in change the people around her. Because nobody can do it alone. And that cooperation how she managed to solve the case.

Oh, and my favourite in joke - was the ad for Moana (one of the not yet released movies Duke Weaselton was selling was Zootopia version).

Who and Me

Dec. 5th, 2015 11:52 pm
ellestra: (tiger)
This was season full of references - to old Doctor Who episodes and to newer ones - places, enemies and friends. And so was this episode - Doctors (Ten, Eleven, One), friends (Donna, Amy and Rory), places (diner, barn, home). It was also about dealing with loss and letting go and boy, the Doctor is truly bad at that.

The worst quality of Doctor is that he is always right. He will do whatever it takes - even punch a wall for billions of years - and he always wins. But he spent all this time teaching Clara how to be just like him. And she is great at this. She is so great at it she out-doctored the Doctor. He has tendency to force his solutions on people. Clara said "no". This was the best talk of the season - "Nobody is ever safe. [...] Tomorrow's promised to no one, Doctor, but I insist upon my past. I am entitled to that. It's mine." It's reverse Donna only Doctor can figure out some of it because he's really clever.

The thing with prophecies is that they can be easily misinterpreted. The prophecy said the Hybrid will kill billion hearts to heal it’s own and Doctor dies billions of times to heal his heart - to get Clara back. It says the Hybrid will stand in the ruin of Gllifrey and he does at the end of time when everything is gone. And he unravels the web of time save Clara. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy - it only happens this way because Time Lords decided to force Doctor to tell them who the Hybrid is so they created the situation that lead to Clara dying and that lead to him doing all the prophesied things

They’ve been teasing us with Clara’s death the whole season. Daleks kill her but not really. Zygons kill her but not quite. And finally Raven kills her dead but Doctor finds a way around that too. Clara always had special relationship with death - there were all those versions of her who died for the Doctor and her whole existence was struggling with it - she saved Doctor (got him more regenerations) and tried to get Danny back (almost made it) so this was all very much part of the course. Of course this time Doctor went all the way to destroy the Universe level but he watched her die for him twice already - enough is enough.

The other recurring themes this season were confession dial - and now we know what it does. Frenemies - with enough time it’s hard to tell friend from enemy. We saw it played with Missy - his greatest enemy (at least she thinks so) and his oldest friend (the one he gave the confession dial to and who gave him Clara). Now we see the opposite wit the Time Lords and even Sisterhood of Karn. Friends, enemies - it all becomes fluid with time. Like Ashildr - friend, foe, victim, rescuer, adviser, companion - all depends on perspective. And time.

Also the Doctor says he came long way round - that’s what Me says. And Ashildr did it again at the end. Doctor might’ve went 4.5 billion years to get there but she must’ve lived much, much longer. As we know from Utopia end of Universe is more like 100 trillion years in the future. And now she adds time travel to it. And now she travels with the dead girl. They say the time slows and you can live you whole life in the second before your death. Clara does it literally.

I like how the diner from Impossible Astronaut was foreshadowing what happens in the end. Clara is basically doing what Eleven did after the events of Impossible Astronaut (and the Doctor went all The Wedding of River Song on Clara). He travelled to his death - fixed point in time - the long way round. Took about 200 years, didn’t it? And he told Me you can avoid anything if you stole a time machine - the summer can last forever. Also the Orient Express version of “Don’t Stop Me Now” playing in the background. Having a good time. I’m sure you do Clara.

And she leaves Doctor with one last smile and a version of her trademark phrase. And the last of memories peel off the TARDIS.
ellestra: (big gun)
I liked Dominion this season much more than the last one but today's season finale left me pissed off.

They killed off Claire and turned Noma evil. While David and Risen are still alive. I was already about Uriel being killed off of screen. Now we only have Arika left and just as she and Claire became friends. I quit shows for shit like that. I give them an episode next season (if it happens) to explain themselves.
ellestra: (lightning)
So finally, my long postponed thoughts on the story about Doctor and his friends and enemies and their long tumulus history together.

I was meh about another Dalek story but this was really about Doctor's relationship with his oldest enemies. How after such a long time they are defined by each other. And may even be sort of friends. We saw it with Missy - perfectly fine to taunt and torture the Doctor but unwilling to even contemplate the Universe without him. Their relationship is antagonistic but it also depends on each other. It's similar with Davros - their whole lives are intertwined and defined by hate of each other. Doctor was there for all the important, defining events of Davros life. And Davros actions defined Doctor's life in may ways (and the rest of Time Lords - Missy's quip about killing Daleks was priceless). No wonder he came when Davros asked. He cannot not to even though he spent a lot of time mulling about this.

And I think what they said to each other was genuine in many ways even though they both planned to cheat the other. It was part of their old, old argument - Davros showing compassion is weakness and Doctor letting Davros ruthlessness destroy his plans. I also think Doctor was expecting he might die when his regeneration energy was drained from him but was rescued by Missy not letting anyone else kill him.

I also loved how most of the time we got two pairings that hate each other. Doctor and Davros are ancient one but Clara has a very good reason to hate Missy and her working with an enemy until she gets betrayed but preserving in the end mirrored Doctor very nicely.

Some quick reactions to the episode.

I liked how Missy was the Doctor for most of the episode. Doing seemingly random things that turn out to be a brilliant plan to outsmart the enemy. Including a lot of trash talking. Of course she is also evil so she has mean streak where Doctor has compassion so she tried to make him kill Clara.

Also the ending - last year she used Cybermen as her personal army. I wonder if it’s now Dalek turn.

Miss Oswald was back inside a Dalek. That’s how the Doctor met the Impossible Girl. Maybe if he told her she’d know she should’ve rambled about souffles.

We’ve seen Daleks say “mercy” before - it wasn’t that surprising but I think that’s the first time Doctor wondered why. But of course the “I show mercy” part was really shocking thing to say for a Dalek.

The whole thing where basically every emotion is turned into “Exterminate!” was brilliant and made such a perfect sense for Daleks. The name thing however didn’t - or the thing with Daleks having names has been retconned? I lose track sometimes what is the current cannon.

Davros knows Gallifrey still exists. I liked how Davros set up Doctor for a trap only it turned out Doctor made his own trap but there is no way that confession won’t come to bite his ass.
ellestra: (big gun)
The TGIT and Heroes Reborn started today and reminded me why I dislike all those people.

I quit Heroes at the beginning of the 3rd season and never looked back. It was inconsistent mess of retcons and plots forgotten as soon as something new and shiny came into view sliding form trope to cliche. I decided to see if they could do better with Heroes Reborn. There were some nice moments - the teleportation power is cool and Peter Pan storyline was pretty good. I also liked underground shipping of evos to Canada by masked vigilante storyline. But the video game adventure was awful. And then there were some pretty worrisome parts too - crazy parents on killing spree were ridiculous and never run out of bullets. Killing off Rene (the Haitian) was criminal. The way HRG forgot not only Claire's regeneration powers (one of the least likely people to die but of course she has another show so plot stupidity) but also the rest of his family (I didn't watch but at least according to wiki Luke is still alive) and he's sudden jump to find Molly Walker thing weirdly obsessive (he ddoesn't care about a couple who just murdered a whole room of people getting away with his files - only Molly Walker matters). The shadowy company big bad plan is also pretty ridiculous. They built something that only Molly Walker can operate and will implement tomorrow even though they still have no idea where she is. And that that pair who found her - that's the stupidest way to detain her. Why was that guy throwing her around the hallway with telekinesis? What if she got really hurt? Why didn't he drugged her? Back in the gambling place even. Why the whole convoluted scam? It's only a miniseries and I already feel like it's just going to crash and burn.

I still watched it over Scandal. Mostly because I'm still mad at Fitz/Olivia happening. Not because I like Jake more (even though I do) but because the whole mechanism of their love (and the soap operaish drama here) requires them to go back and forth in the way that makes the whole relationship creepy and dysfunctional and makes them both look horrible and obnoxious (it's like Huck and murdering - it just gets worse with every iteration). And I don't want to dislike Olivia. So I hate Fitz instead. He is a jerk anyway. And the plot of this episode didn't help as I couldn't stop thinking hypocrite at Olivia. The man you are sleeping with did way worse and you are no saint yourself. The problem with going over the top is the fall down from your high ground.

I gave up on How to Get Away With Murder when they killed Rebecca last year (poor Katie Findlay - he's going to get typecasted as murder victim). I remember thinking there was no reason to do it except for the shock value. I thought that the explanation is going to be bullshit and it's just a hook to make the audience come see next season - and I thought "no". I peaked during the commercial and it turned out I was right. The peak also reminded me I dislike all these people. Scandal is as bad in its over the top, shock storytelling but at least I like many of the characters. Here I don't. Even Annalise is awful person and we are supposed to sympathise because she cries at night when she's alone (the only thing that saves her is that she is played by Viola Davies). She is surrendered by vapid awful people who worship her and murder people and sometimes murder people because they worship her. I'm supposed to worry about them getting caught but instead I hope for it. I'm not sure where it fail to connect with me but it did.

Same is actually true about Empire. Those are awful people that we only think we like because Lucius is so much worse. I blame reality TV - Kardashians, all the Housewives, etc. - for making this glitzy storytelling where everyone is so over the top and awful and full of contempt into the most desirable form of entertainment. It's self-centredness and cruelty elevated to virtues. And the fabulousness of Taraji P. Henson as Cookie makes everyone overlook the fact that this is horrible show for female characters. They barely interact and even if they do it's almost always in antagonistic or dismissive or degrading ways and I'm not even sure if the last night episode passed the Bechdel test. All of this reminds me why I don't watch reality TV shows.

Luckily, nothing here was as bad as Rosewood which was so heavy with the tropes (he forces himself on a police investigation in most obnoxious way possible of the new hot detective but he is right and they will fall in love at the end) that I wanted to murder the writers myself (I couldn't even stand 30 minutes of that).

The best thing I watched today was Dominion (if I add Wednesday then Blackish was also funny). And that's kind of sad.

EDIT: I should stop writing rants in the middle of the night before I become incomprehensible. I think I fixed the worst broken sentences and typos now.
ellestra: (muppets)
There were more pilots today but the only one that mattered. The Muppets are back.

I was afraid that it won't live up to the hype. They did the whole media frenzy about the break up for weeks. The whole tabloid treatment. The story was all over the ABC's late night yesterday too. It was almost like real reality TV stars but that kind of a bad thing so I was afraid this reality TV angle would make the whole thing unbreakable. But it worked. It was funny. It was entertaining. And underneath that more adult, tabloid version it was still the same Muppet show we all love. The late night talk show format lets it be more grown-up and keep the guest star format Muppets always did (they even had a band at the end). I loved it all. Even the things I though will be cringe worthy - like Fozzie dating Riki Lindhome but it actually turned out pretty sweet. And that Piggy was being made into an awful cliché with bitchy and self-absorbed turned up to 11 but the did let her be vulnerable too. And they did let Kermit to be awful too (poor Tom Bergeron). And Elizabeth Banks was great with Skitter. And as always Waldorf and Statler were in top form as always. This is the one I will certainly keep watching so ABC - after the return of Agents of SHIELD my Tuesdays are pretty much yours.

I also watched the 2 hour premiere of Scream Queens and it was a very Ryan Murphy thing - over the top, campy and borderline offensive in it's stereotypes but also making fun of itself and playing with the horror genre tropes. It was fun because of that but 2 hours was just too much at once. It felt like I binged on sweets until they made me nauseous (it was certainly more of Chanel and Chad breaking up than I could take). Everything is in candy colours and straight out of one of those Housewives shows. And it's full of young and very pretty people (even if some are made Hollywood ugly) and a lot of pop-stars (dying ridiculously). The only counterpoint is Jamie Curtis' dean in dark fitted suits and snarky, reasonable attitude (but she turns out to be evil too). Most of the plot turns you see coming from a mile away so there are no surprises and the violence is an even more candy-coloured gore than on the last American Horror Story season. In a way it is like if someone took the Finn part of Freak Show and added even more vapid, self-centred assholes and visually pretty killings. If this is Scream Nick Jonas and the boyfriend are the killer duo.

I never liked the Limitless idea (the movie had that horrible 10% thing) but the reviews were positive so I decided to see for myself. It was actually pretty entertaining. It didn't have any glaring problems with internal logic like the shows yesterday and it didn't treat the viewers as completely stupid - repeating everything ad nauseum to make sure we got it (also yesterday). The main character we pretty likeable. I also liked that he did realise he was a looser and that he didn't really did anything that deserved this sudden super intelligence. One of the things about one guy getting extra-boost like that is the unfairness of why not make everybody smarter. If Bradley Cooper's character knows how to make it safe why people around him - like that nurse for example - why wouldn't she take the shot and then NZT (even if Cooper's character gets mad she can just figure out long term solution for herself while on NZT and spread it around). But even though the senator is an asshole and keeps it to himself and the guy he wants to manipulate in certain position (our main protagonist) the FBI want to reverse engineer it. The plot arc - for good or bad, I bet. The bonding about father issues was a little cheesy but generally the chemistry between Brian (NZT addict) and Rebecca (the FBI agent) is pretty good. It's also nice to see Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio again. And Ron Rifkin is not evil.
ellestra: (aeryn)
Today is the first day of Autumn. Yesterday I went for the one last swim in the pool. The water was cold (reminded me of Poland) as nights were cool but the sun was still shining bright and it was still 30C. Today I woke up to clouds and much colder weather - at moments I almost felt cold in my t-shirt. The fall is here and so is the fall TV.

This week is full of pilots and premières and today it was Gotham, Minority Report and Blindspot.

I was hoping the whole last season Gotham could pull of Agents of SHIELD and become fun but it never really happened. I had some hope for this season but all we got was one episode rehash of Jim Gordon gets kicked out the police force and then comes back but even more anticlimactic as the last time. And with more stupid. Of all people Jim Gordon should've known that Penguin would ask him to do something illegal and then blackmail him with that. He's a policeman who wants to stop things like that and lets a kid to guilt him into breaking the law. On the other side all the villains (theme of this season) got more cartoonish. Gotham's Arkham were they keep Barbara together with all the men and let her wear custom made dress in those trendy prison stripes. With young Joker becoming her new friend (they bond over killing parents). Penguin and Zasz go all for the demented laughing and killing villain routine (rubbing hands included). And then James Frain as a new commissioner makes his own demented version of Suicide Squad (only evil). I wished I chose to watch Switched at Birth.

I had high hopes for the Minority Report. I liked the movie and I always want more future on my TV. And there are some traces of a good procedural in this but they get lost in a clunky and disjointed story telling. Dash seems too twitchy and maladjusted compared to his fellow precogs. Vega's snark seems forced. Arthur and Vega's boss/ex/colleague were giving out creep vibes. And the tech is one of those who can do everything - no need for teams. The story does so much exposition (they didn't have childhoods!) and repetitiveness (how many times Vega will tell us she thought precrime was best thing ever?) you almost forget the stakes. However, the sad truth is that the thing I remember best from this episode is the hight difference between the two main characters. I understand why Vega wears high heels to work because even in them Dash is a head taller than her. I don't know if Meagan Good is so tiny or Sark Sands and Nick Zeno are so tall (or both) but it cannot be easily hidden. Also they make Vega wear very tight clothes with very suggestive gap. I suppose it was to attract the portion of audience that didn't get there for cool SFX graphics of future tech. Because I have to admit the tech was nicely done (it looked like they took Almost Human designs) and if the they can make the character chemistry work better and the season arc won't get destroyed by the Fox airing it out of order (poor Almost Human) it might become fun. At least this one has some promise.

I wanted to like Blindspot because I've been fan of Jaimie Alexander since Kyle XY and she deserves to be main character in something. But this was ridiculous. The whole episode was full of ridiculous things. The worst was for me was the part with the bomb in the Subway - especially the way the shock wave that rattled the subway car only made the main hero just slightly dishevel. I didn’t like any characters and frankly the chemistry between them was barely existent. Jane Doe goes from weepy to determined to killing expert to weepy again and neither seems like genuine reaction. The FBI guy is so nondescript I kept forgetting his name despite it literally being tattooed on main character’s body. Marianne Jean-Baptiste is wasted on exposition. Ashley Johnson has almost too much personality compared to everyone else. And the most likeable character (and had the best scenes of the episode) was the doctor guy and I don’t even know if he’s part of regular cast.The plot makes little sense - why she gets the intense FBI scrutiny instead just landing in a hospital? Would military really not tell them if the amnesiac woman used to work for them? Why does the guy still tried to blow the Statue after he is discovered? If it was because he was blackmailed to do it by the bearded guy then why does the bearded guy bothers? That’s a ridiculously complicated way to do anything. If he has run around and make sure all the things implied with the tattoos happen it seems like a lot of work. Even with blackmail they may change their minds and then the tattoo would be wrong. And the longer the time since they made the tattoos the higher probability of people changing their minds. They should’ve stuck with solving cold cases. Also how does the bearded guy know in which order the FBI will decode the tattoos? What if they decipher the tattoos in wrong order? What if Jane didn’t notice the Chinese characters on time? This doesn’t seem to be well though out. There is nothing to suspend your disbelief on unless this one also has precogs involved. There is nothing to suspend your disbelief on unless this one also has precogs involved.

Out of these Minority Report was the best but is a faint praise. However, it also looks like something that also could easily improve and that could make a nice futuristic procedural with some interesting long arc. Let's just hope it won't get crushed by out of order character development.
ellestra: (slingers)
I saw Ex Machina yesterday. It was one of the films I really wanted to see this year - it is about my favourite subject after all - and I'm glad I wasn't disappointed.

I liked the twist that the reason why Ava looks the way she looks is to be appealing to Caleb. Nathan lies when he says she has sexuality and is interested in him. He just trying to see if Caleb would anthropomorphise her and choose her above a human. At the same time he tells her Caleb is her only way out so she needs to make him care and manipulate him to letting her go. The test was a pass as she did convince Caleb to let her go. And that was supposed to be it - Caleb goes home. Ava's new skill can be a basis for something even better. Nathan thought he had it all under control.

Of course Nathan is brought down by his own hubris. The AIs he treats as objects and fuck toys. They all hate him. Caleb who he manipulates and goads but also underestimates. He thinks he thought of everything. He never believes any of them is as smart as him and it kills him.

But he also right because Ava is not human. She doesn't have needs and wants a human has. Her evolution was about observing people and their reactions and learning every twitch of our faces and emotions it conveys. And she seems to crave more of that above anything else. She uses the face she got to manipulate Caleb and his face to read his needs but that's not love nor care. She leaves him without second thought and goes to observe more people (standing at the intersection). It's not about malevolent or benevolent AI. It's about an alien intelligence. That she can understand and manipulate our basic instincts is just a useful tool but not a purpose of her being. What she wants seems useless waste of time to us but that's just shows how human specific our priorities are. I love stuff like that.

And I always say that search engines will be first AIs. We keep trying to make them get what we mean and someday they might. But the pressure to be the best at search and find may create an intelligence that will be completely alien to us as far as it's priorities go.

The only thing I don't get is why Caleb cannot get out at the end. He reprogrammed the security system to open the doors during emergency power. The emergency power thing happened because Ava was overloading the system. Than Ava leaves. Why the house switches to emergency power? Why the doors stay closed? Did she reprogram the house to keep Caleb locked so he die there and take the secret of her existence with him?
ellestra: (cosima)
Orphan Black is back! Orphan Black is back!

I sent the whole day looking at other people reactions and reading interviews and behind the scenes specials. Do you know Tatiana was the scorpion - including the clicky noises? And that the safe word is "corncob"?

I love that Helena's fantasy is all about family and food. All her sestra's (including brother sestra) and Kira and the baby and so much food (mostly Ukranian - she goes back to childhood comfort food in her dreams. And cupcakes). And I love that everyone is a kind of basic version of themselves but twisted and up to 11 - Sarah is all black leather and shades and looks like a hole in that bright garden, Alison is a kind of 50s housewife complete with cupcakes and Cosima is the folk one (in this case Ukrainian version) and all healed by science.

Rachel is alive but not well and Delphine is now in charge. She's the new Rachel (as Cosima says) and Marion gave her access to most (some) of Dyad's secrets and her promise to Cosima to keep all her sisters' safe became a difficult task. She always kept secrets but now she has very deadly ones. But she's still not good at keeping them - Sarah was never supposed to know about Helsinki. And that's only one bomb dropped on her. She also learns Mrs. S sold Helena to project Castor. All on the same day.

Delphine breaks up with Cosima :(. So Cosima tells about The Island of Doctor Moreau only to Scott. Secrets are power. Especially now that Castor clones are also looking for them. Because it looks like they're having their own sickness and they also cannot have kids. I wonder if that's why military wanted Helena (or Sarah). Probably trying to figure out how to make more or at least cure the ones they have.

Ari Millen looked creepy as Mark but Rudy and his creepy moustache brother are even creepier. It's like multiple Helena's only without any cute food fetish.

James Frain as Ferdinand was both creepy and hilarious. His secret life with Rachel - from kinky sex to planning to kill the other clones. Topside likes their clones to be unaware and Rachel likes to be special. But who would've thought there was so many clones in Helsinki. The whole Finland only has 5.5 million people - no wonder they eventually met each other.

As always Tatiana was amazing - from the group, dream scene to Sarah as Rachel (I kept thinking that she walks like Sarah and Ferdinand will notice) to Alison being so barely holding it as Sarah (miming was perfect) to the scorpion guiding Helena how to get out of boxes (out of first one already). They are all going to be sorry they messed with Clone Club. And as always the illusion is complete - you never question Tatiana slapping Tatiana as unnatural. Just Sarah trying to distract Ferdinand by hitting herself in the face.

Good that the Hendrixes were there to lighten the mood. Alison is back to her old self and Marci Coates should be wary even if Donnie and Alison doesn't go on another killing spree. Donnie was so Donnie at loosing his job but at least it'll give us Alison's mother and that should be fun to watch.

The only problem is that the time frame of the show and real life became more and more detached and now it's pretty obvious Kira got a year older in a day. Truly, a special child. Regenerates, brings dead back to life and grows up super-fast - that's a demigod like stuff.

I finally figured out why them saying Helena's name as Helana is so annoying - American's tend to do this to my name too - pronouncing 'e' as 'ay'.

I know episode 2 leaked out but I'm strong. I'm going to watch it on BBCA.
ellestra: (tiger)
I just updated to Lollipop and I don't like it. I liked all the previous versions of Android and I was very happy with KitKat when I got S5 but this update is all kinds of irritating. The worst part is white background on the notifications and settings and all the phone stuff (phone, contacts, messaging). It was so much better looking and easier on the eyes in black. It's the new Material Design thing that's supposed to give more freedom to designers and bring 3D looks but just looks bad and too bright. Also now screen uses up noticeably more battery. Luckily for me TouchWiz still uses transparent background for App Drawer.

Another deeply annoying thing - the app switcher (Overview) screen. The one when you can look at and close the open apps. You can still use it to close and switch between apps (although I like the old list version better then the new wheel one) but I can no longer go to the home screen by taping the background. It was so much more convenient when I could chose between any of the apps and the main screen in the same place. Why? Why would they remove that?

Samsung Apps updates for Lollipop are also not an improvement. As I mentioned before I used the Health app to track my movements and it just became much less useful. We get the attack of white background again and a lot of less, badly designed information. The screens are much more cluttered and I can no longer check how many steps I did in every 20 minute interval (the graph is smaller and without any scale and you cant move the check point). Also map tracker is pretty much usless now that it's no longer a real map. And a lot of cool statistics got lost too or switched to small pictures instead of something that you can touch, zoom and check at different points. But there whole bunch of stupid, useless awards. YAY! (I'm being sarcastic here).

I could install dark Materials but I would have to root the phone and there are some default things I want to keep so I'm contemplating going back to KitKat. Or I could try different launchers. But the fact that there are already options for darkening available shows I'm not the only one who hates this. As far as I can tell this is a very common complain.
ellestra: (big gun)
I saw Insurgent today. It was very pretty but the heroes are not very interesting. I wish it was about the adults. And Peter. Or maybe I'm just too old for this.

Tris is so self-absorbed she thinks it's all about her. She blames herself for Janine's coup and her parents death - "If I wasn't divergent this would not happen." I wanted someone to shake her and tell her that if she wasn't divergent Janine would still have done it and Tris might've been the one shooting her parents. She's like the worst version of self-absorbed teenager because her specialness is unfortunately true (no one is as specially divergent as she is). Four is pouting at his mother even though they obviously need help with the revolution but his feelings were hurt and that all that matters and then goes after Tris to get himself killed in some stupid romantic gesture like he was thirteen not thirty (seriously, Theo James is obviously older than Shailene and Ansel and I kept thinking "you are too old to act like this").

This made we wish we could've seen this story from the perspectives of adult characters. The struggles between the council and Janine. The story of Johanna (head of Amity faction) and Jack Kang (Candor) to stop Janine (and Erudite) to completely destroy their civilisation. Their uneasy alliance with Evelyn (Four's mother and leader of Facionless) because they need more firepower to stop the Dauntless forces Janine commands. And than maybe burnt when she makes the moves to overthrow them too. I don't know what is her endgame but even with those couple of sly looks and final assassination it already seemed more interesting than her kid's romance.

BTW I'm so happy that they actually went and killed the bad guys this time. It started to get annoying that they spare them and then get hunted by them all over again. But now that Janine and Eric andare dead we can concentrate on new problems - Evelyn and the stupidest experiment since the Maze in Maze Runner (who sets up a system that supposed to create divergents and doesn't tell anyone - with all that wonderful tech I'm sure they'd find a way to breed for them - so instead they get treated as a threat and killed off).

I also liked Peter. For a guy who keep betraying everyone whenever it's convenient he always seems to land on the right side. He's also smart, ambitious and resourceful and even brave. He finds a way to force Tris to give herself up and gets away with it and than betrays Janine and saves Tris when all Four manages is to get himself caught. And than helps Tris to get to the message even though it endangers him. He's the most interesting of all the kids and, despite his occasional evilness, I want him to succeed.

I liked that Tris and friends end up fugitives blamed for everything. Janine is still in power spinning the whole mind control thing as an attack by rebels. Winning doesn't matter if only the loser gets to tell the story.

I like those little tag, mind control bugs although the mind control was a little Doctor Who like.

There was a lot of pretty visuals - once again devastated Chicago shines but also all the flying buildings and disintegrating reality in sims. Beautiful. It is, however, a little silly that all the best scenes in those films (both most emotionally charged and with best visuals) are sims. All that's really important happens in virtual reality. Only deaths are real.

The film has an ending that could be taken as a ending to the series if there is no next movie. However, it seems to be doing the same as Divergent in US and much better in the other countries so we should see book 3 as always in 2 parts. I'm mostly happy about that because there were so many asinine comments about Tris hair (which wasn't completely unexpected after Jennifer Lawrence hair freakout) I just want it to succeed just to piss all the people who think not having long, flowing hair makes her useless as lead character.
ellestra: (slingers)
I watched Chappie this weekened. Despite all the violence and cursing it was weirdly like watching a cartoon. The story and villains were simplified and everything like drawn with bright crayons - from the guns painted in pink in yellow to Die Antwoord clothes to the orange robot and clouds over Johannesburg.

Die Antwoord played a weird alternate reality versions of themselves (they are even called Yolandi and Ninja) where they are gangster dealing drugs and robbing people instead of being successful musicians but they still dressed like themselves (one of the best things were their clothes - from Yolandi's American flag tunic to Ninja's dollar shorts and Die Antwoord tanks). Their guns are painted in bright colours and look like toys. They are evil in a general way that they go rob and kill people but they are also kind of parents to Chappie and sort of good guys in the film (compared to almost everyone else). This is the highest level of complexity in the whole movie.

For the rest the good guy is very idealistic and the bad guys are very evil. The main gangster is pure evil asshole - you can tell from the tattoos and almost unintelligible accent that gets subtitles (also because he played the mercenary bad guys in both D9 and Eysium). Hugh Jackman plays this weird caricature of stereotypical Australian (down to the Steve Irwin shorts). His conflict with cluelessly ideological Dev Patel character is ridiculous outside the cartoon story. So what if his robot is too big and powerful for police - why wouldn't Tetravaal sell it to armies. All armies would love it (and as American recent history and many dictatorships show a lot of police forces too). It almost feels like Tetravaal is a garage company not something that does AI level robotics. Not to mention their awful security procedures were anyone can get the super USB drive that can reprogram all the robots. Although this being very unsecure while company PR spouting assurances about how secure it was was the most realistic part of the film.

Dev PAtel character - a genius inventor who made all those robots for the company but still works in a same cubicle as everyone else and build AI in his home - is also very cliche. He is idealistic to the point of ridiculousness and even his heroic act in the end is useless. It feels like it's only there so he can be saved by Chappie. The same Chappie who grew up to be the most noble of all characters even though his only lesson in ethics is his creator telling him that killing and robbing people is bad for two minutes. The whole learning process is over simplified with Chappie magically understanding what people mean without any real explanation how (even understanding gestures of "come to me" and tone of voice requires brain structures that robots wouldn't have and than he just gets painting and ethics without even an example). And at the end you feel like "YAY Chappie!" but if you took away all the killing and swearing and made it animated it'd have more simplistic story than Big Hero 6.

The strength of District 9 was that Wikus was an asshole and he became sympathetic by loosing everything and changing. Here no one really changes. Some people just die. And some of them get reincarnated as robots. Chappie grows up but he is Christopher Johnson equivalent here. Everyone else stays who they were so there is no personal investment in their story. Just a little satisfaction when the bad guys got beat up.

But I have to admit that I like Neill Blomkamp letting actors use all their different accents - makes it feel like the future where people from all over the world meeting (even if it's really people from different English speaking countries). Another nice touch was making the guy called Amerika Latino - for the people outside US American passport is all that matters. Too bad that in the film happening in South Africa there is almost no black people.

Grey world

Mar. 1st, 2015 11:20 pm
ellestra: (tiger)
Today was the time for freezing rain and then just rain in the afternoon when the temperature finally reached the increadible high of 2oC. So I spent the day inside. I finally used the fireplace - I used some of the branches that were broken by the storm and burn some papers that shouldn't be just thrown away. It was fun but now I need to figure out how to get rid of ash without spreading it all over. This is so much easier when you have hard floors and not the carpet.

I also watch Ida on Amazon. It's free on Prime. It felt so weird to watch a movie in Polish on Amazon but I learned there are few more there. For example Korczak is also available for free on Prime. It reminded me of watching TV Polonia. I tried not to read the English subtitles because the need to correct the translation was taking me out of the story.

People much better at analysing films already did that. Since I was watching this in US on Amazon Prime I kept thinking how much of the background foreigners understand. Like there was one scene when I almost laughed. Not because there was anything funny but because it spent a lot of time focusing on the "nieśmiertelny fikus" ("immortal rubber plant"). That plant used to be a staple of every public building (survives really well inside in low light and little watering) so it was such a perfect detail. Just an indispensable part of times. As a detail even more impressing than the cars.

I also wondered how much of the cultural nuances people outside Poland notice. Like the way Wanda talks to the son - Feliks - and how the policeman talks to Wanda after bringing her to the station. They both use "you" and that's very impolite when talking to an adult you don't know. Kids can do it between them and so do adults when talking to kids and now when people tried to show how more relaxed and cool they are but then and in this situations - no way)\. You basically treat the other person as a much lower in social standing. Contrast this with policeman releasing Wanda next day and using "comrade" to address her (just like she requested before). Outside of party talk you are supposed to use "pan/pani" (which doesn't really translate to English but means something like "Mr/Ms" and "sir/ma'am" at the same time and it's polite and neutral) In Wanda's case - the way she talks to Feliks it's like she's interrogating him - the use of "you" and threats - it all makes perfect sense when you learn she used to be a prosecutor.

This was the biggest surprise for me. I knew what was the subject of the film so I expected that what happened to Anna/Ida's parents was awful so I fully expected the Polish neighbours to be responsible. But I didn't expect that they would use "żydokomuna" ("Jewish communist" - I don't even know how to properly explain how loaded the term is in Polish) stereotype for Wanda. Not that this didn't happened - there were Jews among the communist and Stalinist ranks (she was based on Helena Wolińska-Brus who Pawlikowski knew). After all Stalin was preferable to Hitler and that was true for many people in Poland. People cried when he died even though there were many arrested and executed or just died from beating and malnutrition in prisons. And most of the Stalinist were Polish but the the Jewish ones were used to blame the Stalinist oppression on Jews by subsequent communist regimes and it's the rallying cry of all the anti-Semitic crap that the right-wing ideologues spit out (and one of the biggest insults they can throw at people). For me making "bloody" Wanda embodiment of that was way more shocking than who the killer was.

Probably because I expected this film to be from the Neighbours line of facing the past (there were more Poles helping Jews than any other occupied nation but there were also the ones who didn't and Neighbours was a book that started the discussion about that - still not very popular topic in Poland but at least people started talking about this). I knew that the right wing has deemed the film anti-Polish so I didn't expect into also use anti-Semitic stereotypes even though in both cases it's historically accurate portrayal.

This has also made Wanda the most fascinating character - she is the one who benefited in the system. She has power, influence, respect and money (owning a car was very rare at that time so and usually meant you are someone in the party and earn well so was having such a big flat all for yourself) but she is also completely broken. She resents her niece for being a nun (and Catholic in general which is opposite to both being Jewish and communist) but she's the one who left her in the convent orphanage and never even tried to contact her. And she hates herself.
ellestra: (aeryn)
I was too sick last weekend to go and see Jupiter Ascending so I did it today. And it was so beautiful. I just couldn't get enough of looking at it. There were moments when I wanted to be able to freeze it and then go frame by frame to be able to fully appreciate how beautiful it was. It was also a pretty fun action film with some political undertones and a pretty interesting science fiction concepts.

I really liked that the whole royalty thing didn't mean the space was run as a feudal system. Abrasax family is something between aristocracy and wealthy industrialist dynasty - think more Hiltons than British Royals. And they only one of such rich dynasties. They also don't run government - the bureaucracy, police (Aegis) and army are independent of them, although, of course, they have a lot of influence with all of them and they have their own, privet security forces.

This means that they couldn't stop Jupiter from getting her inheritance. Not that they all wanted to. Of the three primary heirs only Balem was against it. He was the one loosing his most priced possession - Earth - so he needed to do everything to stop Jupiter. And then tries to blackmail her to give it back to him.

Kalique was the good one in this because she was the one who was gaining from Balem misfortune. Her holdings were second to Balem but without Earth he's position will weaken and she is posed to gain from that. This is why she saved Jupiter and helped her to get to As her advisor said in the beginning it's all about mutual gain.

Titus of course also wanted her alive to get her inheritance. His plan was to use her to snatch Earth from Balem in a bid to gain an upper hand. He wasn't doing so well with his part of inheritance (maybe it's all those 3D orgies) so he's plan was to steal Balem's most prized possession. By getting Jupiter to marry him and killing her so he could get his hands on her inheritance.

Of course they are all evil as their wealth is based on killing people to prolong their lives. Space vampires Jupiter calls them and she is pretty right.

Balem didn't seed the Earth. That happened 100 000 years ago and the mother of the Abrasaxes was 91 000 years old. I don't know how long ago she died but it seems this industry was going on before any of them. No wonder noone even thinks about it as being wrong. Still I like the how it shows that there is nothing people wouldn't do if there is a gain involved. There was and still is son many horrific crimes committed for wealth. It's easy to believe this would be something that happened. Also made me think of Torchwood: Children of Earth.

It's much harder to believe that this is the only way of life extension for such an advanced civilisation. And wasn't it convenient that Jupiter was from Earth and that she was left Earth in the inheritance? What if she was from another planet? Or was left some other planets (was she left something besides Earth)? Or what if the planet she was to inherit was already harvested? Would she get another one of the same value? Of course this is also a film where a main character is named after Jupiter and the final confrontation happens on Jupiter so I shouldn't complain about convenient coincidences. And that's just nitpicking anyway. My real main issue with the movie was that there wasn't enough of it. I would like to explore that world more. I almost wish it was a TV series but TV would never have the money for this kind of pretty.

I generally liked Jupiter's story. It's a pretty standard chosen one story but I liked that she starts as a pawn of those who would like to exploit her status and ends up fighting for her own life in her own hands (starting with clothes). When she says no to Balem and then fights him it's finally becomes the titular character instead of MacGuffin. I even liked the love story between her and Caine. Even the wings.

I liked how Jupiter's family is contrasted with the Abrasaxes. We see both using her to gain control of Earth or money by selling her eggs but her real family actually cares - even the ones who seem awful at the start. And she appreciates it more once she met the alternative. Although I don't understand why she doesn't make herself win lottery or something so they don't need to clean toilets any more. She owns Earth and has at least some access to technology that allows rebuilding a city in a day. She could use it for more than sliding around a city in antigrav boots.

I loved the Terry Gilliam tribute with the bureaucracy planet being something straight out of Brasil both in function and in aesthetic (as I said beautiful film) with the man himself as the final step.

I liked that the cops were the good guys and I'm happy that Nikki Amuka-Bird was a the unambiguously good one in this.

The biggest shocker in the whole film - Sean Bean doesn't die. He even gets his wings back. Literally.

I had a lot fun watching it and it's something that I want to see again. It makes me sad it failed while 50 Shades of Creepiness is shaping up to be a big hit. Maybe I shouldn't compare it to a movie I'll never see but at least Jupiter sticks with people who listen when she says she wishes to change clothes by herself and while she's concious. And I'm pretty sure Jupiter Ascending has much better love story.
ellestra: (charlie jade)
Amazon is having another pilot season right now and one of those possible new series in The Man in High Castle. It's based on one of the most famous novels of Philip K. Dick that's set in a timeline in which the Axis won the Second World War.

The US is divided between Nazi Germany Greater Reich and Japanese Pacific States with Neutral Zone between them but this may change with Hitler's death. Everyone is expecting another war between those two superpowers. It's implied Japan would lose and the Nazi Germany rule is even worse - casual burnings of undesirables and what happens to all the dark skinned and adherents of wrong religions when they take over makes Japanese occupation seem almost quaint. At least Juliana is mostly fine with it until her sister is killed in front of her eyes by the police. So she takes over her mission and goes to neutral Zone with a film that shows a reality in which Allies won. Another tape is being transported from New York by a man she meets there. Too bad he's a double agent for Gestapo.

The most astounding parts of the story is the worldbuilding. Agent Carter is bright, colourful version of the past and this is the drab one. It looks more like the European films of the war and almost black and white at times and the colours that show are either very muted or red. All the small touches with Nazi Germany and Japanese Imperial iconographics, design and culture and how people get used to living in oppression - not thinking about it might be them in the next batch to burn (because of their ancestry or just because they are no longer useful) or that the bombs may fall from the sky at any moment. It's a way of surviving in a world were slightest dissent may end in torture and death. But they also, deep down, dream of better world. Like Juliana and the New York resistance they all still long for the hope of different future. I want to see more of that.

I was pretty meh about the Chris Carter world end or whatever that was pilot in the last batch so I didn't care when they passed on the series but I hope they'll make this one. If they only make one SF series the next few years I want it to be this one.

Also the finale for the Librarians was pretty fun. It shown us the team as if they each were Librarian for pat 10 years and Flynn as if he wasn't. And Eve was the Guardian for them all. So now they are all Librarians and it was strongly implied they are better as a team. And Eve is the Guardian for them all. We got confirmation Dulacque was Lancelot and Jenkins was Galahad (also Rebecca's husband once again gets to be in her show as not a very nice character - so that's how they amuse themselves). And Morgan wasn't evil in Cassandra's time line (Morgan taught her magic and how to heal herself - I wonder if that'll ever come back - I would love that). I always like that the show didn't go through the whole tiring "would or wouldn't they" and got straight to Flynn/Eve and just like everything else they found it was something needed to bring Library back. The blood of someone who loved you was needed to open the door but, unlike Dulacque, Flynn used it to get to something that could save Eve. It just happened to be in Library. All those fated objects and events so she could be saved from her fate. I like how they finally go on a date and that it's also another adventure (although Flynn does that with all the girls).
ellestra: (root and shaw)
So first there were two hours of Agent Carter and then Person of Interest and I was all "best day ever1" and then...

Agent Carter was as great as the trailers promised. I loved everything about it - the over the top action (stapler was my favourite) and dialogue (I loved Angie calling Peggy "English") and that two main characters in 40s/50s USA talk all British too each other.

It's not quite real version of the era but a kind of comic book/detective movies of the era one - the colours, the clothes, the dialogues and the accents (especially secondary American characters), the cars and gadgets - and it's perfect. This is the setting that lets you believe in assassins with no larynges and shiny, imploding globes. At the same time Peggy Carter is a fully realised character. You feel for her. The loneliness - from the sexist agents that make her alienated at the office to normal life where she cannot share what she really does and doesn't want to endanger people around her to the loss of a man she loved who she is constantly reminded of by popular culture. You want her to succeed with her fight against her awful work environment and the bad guys.

I loved all the action and all the lines and how badass she was but Jarvis big talk about not detaching herself from what she protects and on importance of relationships with other people was awesome too. Usually this type of talk is delivered to a male protagonist so that fit well with the entertainment tropes and the equality message.

The PoI had it's Remedial Chaos Theory episode (that repeating the slow-mo shooting over and over again was their dice slow-mo roll). I feel too much to be coherent about this right now but I loved it so much.

This was Root and Shaw episode - from Machine including their banter, and the simplified version was the best, in it's simulations to the actual version when Sameen first admits she finds Root hot and then kisses her before her great heroic sacrifice almost like something from that radio show Agent Carter listens too only much better and Root was screaming and and Sameen was looking at her while the lift door was closing. ARGHHHHH... Too much emotion.

The versions - Finch died, Reese died, Root died - just told us who won't die but I was sure Shaw will came to the rescue in that last scenario with 2% chance of everyone's survival and she did and then they chances went up like crazy and I was all screaming "YES!2" and then they were shooting together and it was perfect and then Shaw went to save them all and I went "NOOOOOOOO!" but then the promo for next episode happened and I'm all better now. I mean Root is right. Shaw's not dead. Everything is going to be OK.

Also seeing Machine's decision making process was awesome.

1Well maybe not ever but certainly this week.

2Very loudly in my head
ellestra: (once upon a time)
I might be the only one but I really liked Galavant. I laughed and generally enjoyed myself.

I loved Madalena choosing power and wealth and then terrorizing the king who kidnapped her. The whole thing with her cheating on him, constantly comparing him to Galavant and making him obey her every whim was priceless. Richard picked her for the looks and kidnapped her so I'm not sorry for him and she married him for his money despite being disgusted by him so I'm not feeling to bad for her. And that song at the end was perfect - my favourite line - "I know there's something scary behind you cold, dead eyes". I just love that she's worse than the evil king who kidnapped her. It's like someone took Princess Bride and made Buttercup one behind the whole plot.

Princess Isabella Maria Lucia Elisabetta (Lucia Maria subtitles and Sid are in disagreement over this) is my favourite but Vinnie Jones has really good comedic timing and his makeover of King Richard was the best. The training montage was perfect and so was the joust. And they sure have fun with names - especially guest stars' characters.

But the singing show promo adds were little much.

Also The Good Wife is back and that was a tense episode. Very dramatic. I'm pretty sure this arc will end Lemond Bishop but we know he has new carrier as vigilante before him so it's all good. I suppose this is also the set up of Kalinda's exit - I knew another main cast actor was leaving but until know I didn't check who because I was trying to see if I can figure it out and it became pretty obvious tonight. This makes me sad as I always loved hers and Alicia's friendship and there isn't that many women friendships outside soaps these days and I'm going to miss this one. The biggest surprise this evening - that kiss.

I liked The Librarian movies but the first episodes of the new series - The Librarians - were a little stiff. Rebecca Romjin didn't really click at first and all the actors seem a little stiff at their roles, except John Larroquette - he's been wonderful from the start. Even Wyle wasn't really the Flynn I remembered (a lot of people compared him to the Eleven and it seems right). However, today's episode was great. It was funny, it was entertaining and it finally had a good team chemistry. I can't quite put in words how much I loved that Baird was the Princess (Cinderella!) and Cassandra was the Prince Charming (with all the girls swooning for her and buying her drinks). And then the girl got to tell the stories and made the Woodsman a robot and a princes a Ninja princess and I want this fairytale book. I still miss Judson and Charlene but Jenkins is great replacement. I'm starting to really like this series.
ellestra: (muppets)
I saw Into the Woods today. I'm not a big fan of singing out the story (except for the Muppets and Mr. Kleks - they can get away with anything) but I like retellings of fairytales (from The Witcher to Once Upon a Time) so I wanted to see this one too.

It's all obviously metaphorical about sex and relationships and growing up you know the standard stuff but with a lot more singing. It's an adaptation of a musical and unfortunately it feels like it. All the real cows and pretty special effects doesn't change the fact that it feels like it's happening on a stage. Especially in a scene when everyone are going into the woods and they are supposed to be scary and such but they all within couple of meters from each other and it looks like a busy intersection not woods. The fact that they all keep running into each other is made even more ridiculous when they show aerial shots of the forest and it always start from the same spot so you realise they are in the same tiny corner of it. I did my share of wandering through the woods at all times of day and night and they are not usually that full of people (except maybe mushroom picking season) and not that romantic poem illustration. You'd think they know it pretty well having lived there and walking it their whole lives but they act like they never been there before for the most part. And I know "into the woods" is a metaphor but it feels ridiculous on film. It's never scary or exiting or both. It's like those games aristocrats used to play when they pretended to be shepherds or chase each other in the garden maze. This feels like the characters are running through a garden and pretending it's a scary forest.

There are few good jokes and some good story parts. I loved the witch not being just evil but wronged and misguided and right. I loved Jack's recklessness and Red's attitude. I loved that Cinderella loved the idea of feast and prince because it was so much not her life but then she never really like the actual reality of being princess and kept running away until she didn't come back (On The Steps of the Palace was my second favourite song). The princes, especially Cinderella one, were a perfect embodiment of douche (Agony was my favourite song in this - they are so perfectly self-centred they even make each others pain all about themselves). Rapunzel one might have been salvageable but the other one is hopeless. I was glad Cinderella quit that. It was also pretty nice summation of the fairytale relationships. Between this and Fables you really can stop caring about Charming princes. The acting is great but especially Emily Blunt, Tracy Ullman and Meryl Streep.

I didn't like that the female characters get their comeuppance - even when they are innocent or it's admitted they might've been in the right. Stepsisters are both blind and limping. The witch melts. The giant woman gets killed. The cheating wife falls to her death. Mother gets pushed, hits head and dies. While cheating prince gets to go back to his castle and the so does steward who pushed the mother. And sure stepsisters were awful and witch did some pretty bad things but I thought witch was loosing beans to get her powers back so she could do something about the giant woman but she just turned into puddle of goo. And mother and baker's wife just got fridged so Jack and baker can grow up and take responsibility. And giant woman just wanted justice - she was nice to Jack and he robbed her and killed her husband (and then her).
ellestra: (winged)
I finally went to see Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies today. I still cough a little but the battles were so loud even I couldn't hear myself. They were also quite pretty but not worth their own separate movie.

Because the movie is basically one big battle. There is the actual desolation of Smaug at the beginning when the dragon burns the town and then Bard kills him. And then a long boring bit when Thorin gets swallowed by gold (it's the dragon curse you see, everyone gets all weepy about the dragon curse, before Thorin shakes off the dragon curse). But outside of that it's just one big battle. There was of course preparation for battle and marching towards battle and then returning home from battle (only to battle some relatives over the furniture) but mostly it's battle.

There is land battle and air battle and battle on ice and in the city. There is sword fighting and lance fighting and axe fighting and all other weird weapon fighting and of course a lot of bow action. There is magic battle with three Elven ring bearers and Saruman agains the Necromancer and Ring Wreiths. There are dwarves and people and elves and two armies of orcs and bats and eagles and even Beorn in his bear form.

Everyone who supposed to die dies - the dwarf succession is not to be messed with. I always was sad about Kili the most (and I have a thing for Aidan Turner since his Mitchell days) - but I'm not sure if the whole extra thing with romance made it better or worse. On one hand it was nice to have a female character in the story but on the other the whole thing with Legolas and Tauriel just always felt tucked in. At least it gave lee pace an occasion to do something else than be gigantic dick and have some nice emotional moments with both Tauriel and his son.

This might be unpopular opinion but I like inclusion of some of the events mentioned in Silmarillion like defeating the darkness and delaying Sauron's return. It was nice to see Galadriel and Elrond and Saruman do some real magic and show their badass side. I also always wanted to see more of Radagast the Brown (it's always about Saruman and Gandalf and the other Istari never get the any attention) so I liked his adventures.

What I hated was the fact that Peter Jackson forced turning Hobbit into 3 movies and adding a lot of pointless scenes (I will never forgive that whole stone giant sequence) but we never really get any resolution for most of the characters. Besides Gandalf taking Bilbo home nothing else is really shown. The jewels Thranduil was ready to go to battle for - did he find them?What did dwarves do after funerals? What about humans? Did anybody go back for the gold or did they seal it as cursed? So many hours spend walking through New Zealand and not even a voice over? This one was 20 minutes shorter than all the others - they could've fit a short what happened later narration by old Bilbo in there. They certainly did everything else and then some.

My main thought at the end of all of that was I would really like a book with those drawings from credits. And that Billy Boyd has a really nice voice. Also Billy Connolly's voice is so characteristic I knew it was him the moment I heard him speak even though dwarf make up and helmet made him really hard to recognise.

May 2016

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