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So, I don’t do this as often as I used to, but this one has really given me some food for thought. Eug and I went to see Oz: The Great and Powerful on Friday night.  And while overall, I liked it, and thought it was a well-made movie, there were a few things about it that distressed me.

Elizabeth Rappe over at Jezebel already wrote quite a lovely article  about this already, but I feel like while she set up the history and talked about Baum’s own political leanings, there’s a lot of individual points about this new movie itself that don’t find their way into her piece.  Which is good: she’s working with a very specific thesis.

The short version: Baum was very much a feminist, his stories all focused on strong female characters and gender identity in a way that we would probably find revolutionary even today.  Oz: The Great and Powerful ignores all of that to make a movie about a man coming into his own in typical hero’s journey fashion, in a quest that requires him to overpower women who are much more powerful than he is.  It’s like the Grendel’s Mother of twee fantasy, here.  The scariest monsters are always ladies, gentlemen.

I mean, now I’m getting off the trajectory of Ms. Rappe’s argument, but that’s fine.  That was my point here.

So, let’s talk about OZ.  And let’s talk about OZ in the context of modern children’s fantasy.

(Be warned:  There are spoilers.  And lots of ‘em.) )

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

teaberryblue: (Default)

So, I don’t do this as often as I used to, but this one has really given me some food for thought. Eug and I went to see Oz: The Great and Powerful on Friday night.  And while overall, I liked it, and thought it was a well-made movie, there were a few things about it that distressed me.

Elizabeth Rappe over at Jezebel already wrote quite a lovely article  about this already, but I feel like while she set up the history and talked about Baum’s own political leanings, there’s a lot of individual points about this new movie itself that don’t find their way into her piece.  Which is good: she’s working with a very specific thesis.

The short version: Baum was very much a feminist, his stories all focused on strong female characters and gender identity in a way that we would probably find revolutionary even today.  Oz: The Great and Powerful ignores all of that to make a movie about a man coming into his own in typical hero’s journey fashion, in a quest that requires him to overpower women who are much more powerful than he is.  It’s like the Grendel’s Mother of twee fantasy, here.  The scariest monsters are always ladies, gentlemen.

I mean, now I’m getting off the trajectory of Ms. Rappe’s argument, but that’s fine.  That was my point here.

So, let’s talk about OZ.  And let’s talk about OZ in the context of modern children’s fantasy.

(Be warned:  There are spoilers.  And lots of ‘em.) )

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

teaberryblue: (Default)

Jess and I got tickets to see a preview screening of Men in Black III last night at the Museum of the Moving Image, followed by a talk by movie makeup legend Rick Baker.

Full disclosure: I found the first MIB movie enjoyable if a bit short to justify the cost of a movie ticket.  I never saw the second one.  But Jess had been talking about how disappointed she was that we got no MIB trailer when we went to see The Avengers, so I figured she might like this sort of thing, and I knew I would like listening to Rick Baker even if the movie was disappointing.

In the end, and without spoiling, I thought the movie was fine.  There was one comic relief character whom I felt was way overused to the detriment of the film, and I think there was only one female character of note in the entire film, which is kind of…disappointing.  There were lots of female bit parts, but only one woman who appeared in multiple scenes, and only one of the substantial bit parts was a female character.  I also felt like the ending was a bit of a copout– there was a different ending that I thought that they were going for, that would have been a gutsy ending to the film, and they didn’t go there, which was sort of a letdown for me.   But there were lots of pretty aliens and such, some very good comedy, and some good acting moments.

Rick Baker was fascinating, and he told wonderful stories. He is one of those people who can take questions from an audience and transform them– it didn’t seem to matter how irritating the question was, whether it was a question someone else had already asked, whether he’d already basically said the answer, whether it was clearly a question designed to show off the questioner’s knowledge more than to ask a question; he fielded them all with grace and with the kind of creative storytelling that made every single one of his answers fascinating.  He talked about having to turn down the opportunity to work on Edward Scissorhands in order to do some movie that he didn’t find particularly good.  He talked about doing monster makeup in his bedroom as a child. He talked about meeting Michael Jackson and working on Thriller, and actually seeing a crowd of zombies dancing, live.

The 3-D glasses we used were a cut above the ones you normally get at theaters. They had a security tag in them, and a warning not to steal them, and that they don’t protect from UV rays, because that is what I have come to expect from 3-D glasses.  They were also, and I was most excited about this, the traditional blue-and-red style 3D glasses, just…amped up.  But one lens was red and one lens was blue and I was very excited by that!

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

teaberryblue: (Default)

Jess and I got tickets to see a preview screening of Men in Black III last night at the Museum of the Moving Image, followed by a talk by movie makeup legend Rick Baker.

Full disclosure: I found the first MIB movie enjoyable if a bit short to justify the cost of a movie ticket.  I never saw the second one.  But Jess had been talking about how disappointed she was that we got no MIB trailer when we went to see The Avengers, so I figured she might like this sort of thing, and I knew I would like listening to Rick Baker even if the movie was disappointing.

In the end, and without spoiling, I thought the movie was fine.  There was one comic relief character whom I felt was way overused to the detriment of the film, and I think there was only one female character of note in the entire film, which is kind of…disappointing.  There were lots of female bit parts, but only one woman who appeared in multiple scenes, and only one of the substantial bit parts was a female character.  I also felt like the ending was a bit of a copout– there was a different ending that I thought that they were going for, that would have been a gutsy ending to the film, and they didn’t go there, which was sort of a letdown for me.   But there were lots of pretty aliens and such, some very good comedy, and some good acting moments.

Rick Baker was fascinating, and he told wonderful stories. He is one of those people who can take questions from an audience and transform them– it didn’t seem to matter how irritating the question was, whether it was a question someone else had already asked, whether he’d already basically said the answer, whether it was clearly a question designed to show off the questioner’s knowledge more than to ask a question; he fielded them all with grace and with the kind of creative storytelling that made every single one of his answers fascinating.  He talked about having to turn down the opportunity to work on Edward Scissorhands in order to do some movie that he didn’t find particularly good.  He talked about doing monster makeup in his bedroom as a child. He talked about meeting Michael Jackson and working on Thriller, and actually seeing a crowd of zombies dancing, live.

The 3-D glasses we used were a cut above the ones you normally get at theaters. They had a security tag in them, and a warning not to steal them, and that they don’t protect from UV rays, because that is what I have come to expect from 3-D glasses.  They were also, and I was most excited about this, the traditional blue-and-red style 3D glasses, just…amped up.  But one lens was red and one lens was blue and I was very excited by that!

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

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I wrote a little bit about Harry Potter the other night. Here’s a little bit more.

I didn’t read any Harry Potter books until 2001. That’s, holy crap, ten years ago now. I had no interest in the books. My only experience with them was that they seemed to be read by a lot of elementary school kids who had an attitude about how they ONLY read Harry Potter, and nothing else. So that had kind of turned me off of having much interest in the series.

But then, one day at work, a friend and coworker who was almost 40 and had impeccable taste in most media– and was one of those people who was excellent at recommending things that would be in the taste of the person to whom he was recommending, which I think is an even more valuable skill, said he was shocked I hadn’t read them. He told me that they would be absolutely the most important books I ever read– not from a “quality of story” perspective but from a “value of social phenomenon” perspective.

So I capitulated and read the first one. I remember thinking it was okay, and mostly perceiving it as a Roald Dahl ripoff…it reminded me a heckuva lot of Matilda, especially in the earliest chapters. I told him so, and he encouraged me to keep reading.

I got through the second book, with much the same feeling as I had about the first.

And then I read the third book. And it was the third book that started to make it all make sense to me. The third book was the one where the plot really started to gel, where I realized these books were about more than a little kid with magic powers and cliched storylines (even though the storylines did remain cliched through most of the series). At very least, I started to get why people liked them.

I didn’t read the fourth book for a long time. I’m pretty sure the paperback wasn’t out yet when I read the first three, and so I waited for it to come out in paperback. Then I promptly forgot about its existence and went on with the rest of my life. I finally read it over two days at Christmas in 2002.

And then I went back to not really paying attention, even though I was totally and utterly fangirling Mad-Eye Moody. But then the fifth book was announced to come out while [info]haruspexy was in Italy, and had no way of getting the book. She was a huge fan, so I ordered it to be shipped to her for her birthday so she could read it. I ordered a copy for myself, too, but somehow the order didn’t go through and I only found out two days before the book’s release that I hadn’t actually ordered it after all.

I was going to a New Britain Rock Cats game that night, and I bought the book at the train station before heading up to see the game. I had spent the whole night awake roleplaying and was pretty much zonked– plus, it was raining and I was coming down with something. So rather than watch the game, I hid out in the management offices (the Rock Cats were partially owned by my dad’s boss) and read. I read all the way to where That Thing That Was a Giant Spoiler happened, and then promptly fell asleep on my book.

Then [info]pinkfinity contacted me about using one of my memes for Fiction Alley. And that was pretty much my first taste of fandom.

When the sixth book came out, I went to the local bookstore for the midnight release. In costume, because I happened to discover that that was what people were wont to do. By myself, because this was back when I was living in Cambridge. I dressed up as a wizard pretending to be a Muggle (a href=”http://www.antagonia.net/images/random/cowboy.jpg”>picture here). I had an awesome time and stayed up all night to read it. And then fell asleep. And got up and kept reading.

But in all this, I never really felt like part of the fandom. I was just reading the books because I I enjoyed the books, but they weren’t my favorite thing since sliced toast. I liked understanding jokes people were making on the internet, though.

And then, in the winter of 2005, when pretty much everything that could possibly go wrong in one person’s life happened all at once, I signed up for [info]hogwarts_elite out of curiosity. I signed up because one of my generator memes was getting tons of hits from inside the community, and I had to apply and get accepted to see why. So I did.

I wasn’t expecting to stay in. I was planning on just joining and seeing what they used my meme for, and leaving. But I was staying with my parents, and bored, and home a lot without anywhere to go, and H_E had art contests and writing contests, so I started participating.

And I started making friends. The first one I made was [info]rainy_day. Holy crap, Brenna, I love you. Then came [info]katieupsidedown, whom I also love. And then more and more and more. When I moved back into Manhattan in 2006, I started hanging out with [info]spiralstairs and then with [info]cacophonesque. I convinced [info]seori to join up, and though she didn’t stay around, [info]liret did.

I made some of my best friends because of Harry Potter. So for me, it doesn’t matter how good the books are. It doesn’t matter how many there are, or that the last of the movies is finally out for public consumption. It is amazing to have experienced this as a cultural phenomenon firsthand, but what is even more amazing is to have made some of the most wonderful friends, around the country and the world, because of a series of books. You are all incredible, every one of you.

Now that the sappy bit is over, I am going to talk about seeing the movie last night. Not in the sense of my feelings about what I liked and didn’t, but the whole experience of going.

I told my coworkers I was going to see it, and most of them didn’t know enough about the books for me to explain my costume– I explained myself as “an evil journalist.” I was wearing my dress, but not my wig, at work.

At the end of the day, I was talking to Clare, and I told her I was going, and she got super excited and asked who I was going as. I told her, and she was like “Oh, awesome!” And I was like, you actually know who Rita Skeeter is? And she was like, “of course I do!” So that made me happy.

I went home and changed, and Jess came over, and we futzed around a little and did our makeup, and then we went into the city. Jess had forgotten her credit card, so we went to the movie theater and asked what she could do about it. They told her that if they could see her the confirmation notice, it wouldn’t be a problem. I picked up tickets for me and Kate, and they gave us glasses.

We’d heard that they were giving out glasses than looked like Harry Potter’s glasses, but the ones they gave me were the regular Real 3D glasses. I was a little disappointed, but shrugged it off. Then Jess and I went to get some sushi for dinner. We passed some people hanging out on the street waiting for the movie, and one of them was dressed like Hagrid.

We got our sushi, and went back to the theater. There wasn’t anyone else waiting, so Jess and I headed over to a pub and got a couple pints. When we walked in, this one guy at the bar turned to us and was like, “okay, you just made my night.” He was also there for the movie and was just so exicted to see people in costume. So we chatted a bit, and he left, and then this other guy came over to chat with us– named Rich. Rich had never read any of the books, but he was a huge fan and had seen all the movies. He had made a deliberate choice to see all the movies first, and was planning on going out today to buy the books and finally read them. It was so cool! We asked him for his predictions and quite a lot of them were right.

Kate came over to the bar and had a beer with us, and then we went over to the theater, where– surprise! They HAD THE HARRY POTTER GLASSES AFTER ALL. So I have mine still in the plastic, joy!

I loved the Ziegfeld because it was just so stress-free to go in knowing where my seat was and not having to rush or worry about someone stealing it. However, Jess DID have a problem getting in and Kate and I had to leave and go vouch for her, but it all worked out and the manager was extra-nice and actually had an usher let us in a side door and show us to our seats, which made me feel all VIP-ish. I also got stopped by so many people who were totally excited about my costume, even though there was a dearth of people in costume there. Quite a lot of people in Hogwarts tee shirts, but not really many costumes, which disappointed me.

Kate and I went out to get popcorn and sodas, and Kate ran into her friend Erica, and we made plans to go out after the movie. Which we did– I dragged everyone to the pub I go to sometimes with my coworkers, because I know they have Goose Island on tap, and we chatted for a while, and then Kate was kind enough to drive me and Jess home.

I documented everything with my camera:

 

Love, love love.

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

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I went to see Inception yesterday morning and I wanted to write up my thoughts about it.


For people who haven’t seen it yet, it’s a movie about a team of people who go into people’s dreams to steal information. Early on in the film, we learn that the title, Inception, refers to the much more difficult task of planting information in a person’s dream. It’s not a super new idea– Neil Gaiman played with similar ideas in Sandman, and there’s a bit of the same concept in City of Lost Children, and I assume it’s much older than that, but those are the two examples foremost in my mind, but applying the concept to a modern-day action movie is pretty new, as far as I know.


From here on in, this is going to be pretty spoilertastic stuff if you haven’t see it yet, but I also don’t feel like it’s the kind of movie that can be spoiled, except for a lone single shot that doesn’t effect the plot of the film. People who’ve seen the movie know what lone single shot I mean.


People who haven’t seen it and want to remain completely unspoiled, the short version goes, I enjoyed it, but there were a lot of things I was hoping for that weren’t there, and a lot of things that disappointed me about it.



Spoilery thoughts below the cut )

I don't want to make it sound like I didn't like the movie, because I did. I found it thoroughly enjoyable, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable on the same level that I find many action movies with tight plots and stellar casts to be enjoyable, but no more, and I was really banking on this being a much more highly fantasist film than it was. That it wasn't was a bit of a letdown.

more spoiling )


Mirrored from Antagonia.net.
teaberryblue: (Default)

I went to see Inception yesterday morning and I wanted to write up my thoughts about it.


For people who haven’t seen it yet, it’s a movie about a team of people who go into people’s dreams to steal information. Early on in the film, we learn that the title, Inception, refers to the much more difficult task of planting information in a person’s dream. It’s not a super new idea– Neil Gaiman played with similar ideas in Sandman, and there’s a bit of the same concept in City of Lost Children, and I assume it’s much older than that, but those are the two examples foremost in my mind, but applying the concept to a modern-day action movie is pretty new, as far as I know.


From here on in, this is going to be pretty spoilertastic stuff if you haven’t see it yet, but I also don’t feel like it’s the kind of movie that can be spoiled, except for a lone single shot that doesn’t effect the plot of the film. People who’ve seen the movie know what lone single shot I mean.


People who haven’t seen it and want to remain completely unspoiled, the short version goes, I enjoyed it, but there were a lot of things I was hoping for that weren’t there, and a lot of things that disappointed me about it.



Spoilery thoughts below the cut )

I don't want to make it sound like I didn't like the movie, because I did. I found it thoroughly enjoyable, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable on the same level that I find many action movies with tight plots and stellar casts to be enjoyable, but no more, and I was really banking on this being a much more highly fantasist film than it was. That it wasn't was a bit of a letdown.

more spoiling )


Mirrored from Antagonia.net.
teaberryblue: (Default)
I went to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie! Here is what I thought of it!




Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

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I went to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie! Here is what I thought of it!




Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

9

Sep. 14th, 2009 09:37 am
teaberryblue: (Default)
Sometimes, when I see movies or read books, I will realize partway through them that what I *thought* they were going to be about is not what they were actually about, and that what I thought they were going to be about was much cooler-- or where I thought the plot was going was much cooler, and so on.

This weekend, I saw 9. This cut is for pretty explicit spoilers )

9

Sep. 14th, 2009 09:37 am
teaberryblue: (Default)
Sometimes, when I see movies or read books, I will realize partway through them that what I *thought* they were going to be about is not what they were actually about, and that what I thought they were going to be about was much cooler-- or where I thought the plot was going was much cooler, and so on.

This weekend, I saw 9. This cut is for pretty explicit spoilers )

9

Sep. 14th, 2009 09:37 am
teaberryblue: (Default)
Sometimes, when I see movies or read books, I will realize partway through them that what I *thought* they were going to be about is not what they were actually about, and that what I thought they were going to be about was much cooler-- or where I thought the plot was going was much cooler, and so on.

This weekend, I saw 9. This cut is for pretty explicit spoilers )
teaberryblue: (Default)
OKAY WHATEVER THIS IS NOT WORKING. I APOLOGIZE BUT PLEASE WATCH MY MOVIE AT MY BLOG WHERE IT WORKS. I made a movie and it is a cartoon about socialism! But it won't work! Try it on my blog! IT also works on Dreamwidth. It just doesn't work here.
teaberryblue: (Default)
OKAY WHATEVER THIS IS NOT WORKING. I APOLOGIZE BUT PLEASE WATCH MY MOVIE AT MY BLOG WHERE IT WORKS. I made a movie and it is a cartoon about socialism! But it won't work! Try it on my blog! IT also works on Dreamwidth. It just doesn't work here.
teaberryblue: (Default)
OKAY WHATEVER THIS IS NOT WORKING. I APOLOGIZE BUT PLEASE WATCH MY MOVIE AT MY BLOG WHERE IT WORKS. I made a movie and it is a cartoon about socialism! But it won't work! Try it on my blog! IT also works on Dreamwidth. It just doesn't work here.
teaberryblue: (Default)
I just got back from seeing "Waltz With Bashir." I had seen the previews for it and in spite of it winning a zillion awards, I thought it looked like someone's crappy flash movie.

Then it won the best picture awared from The Society of Film Critics.

I don't know if they just felt bad for not recognizing last year's Middle-Eastern autobiographical animated film about political strife in the 1980s, which was awesome? Because I can't for the life of me get why this thing that looks like one of those animated Charles Schwab ads and sounds like a bunch of Israeli soldiers trying to pass the buck Nuremberg-defense style ("Oh, well, I told my commander that the massacre was going on; I figured he would do something about it.") is supposed to be better than Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, or Milk. Is it because they have never seen an edgy animated film before?

Granted, out of the 87 minutes of footage, there were three or four sequences that were visually stunning, but that amounts to maybe less time than Rhino the Hamster is onscreen during Bolt.

So, yeah, totally not impressed with this movie. And it is very rare that I dislike a movie so much that I consider leaving fifteen minutes into it. I didn't. But I wanted to.

Something good did come out of the experience, though! I made this!




I am also reading Gail Carson Levine's "Fairest." She has now done retellings of two of the fairy tales I have always wanted to do retellings of-- "Ella Enchanted" came out when I was two chapters into the first draft of my own Cinderella retellng and it really discouraged me for a while-- but I love that book. This one is excellent as well, so far. I am really pleased, because I was not as big a fan of "The Two Princesses of Bamarre."

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