lotesse: (hmmm)
I'm bummin about TFA. lots of spoilers. )
lotesse: (glamazon)
I'm not planning on seeing Crimson Peak myself, despite my lasting love for del Toro, because it just doesn't look like my sort of thing (also because i walked out of Mia Wasikowska's Jane Eyre and i might still be bearing a bit of a grudge). But the talk around it has been helpful for me in clarifying something about my gendered investments in the gothic.Read more... )
lotesse: (freedom)
Selma might be the most absorbing, intense, engaged viewing experience I've had since first watching The Fellowship of the Ring as a teen. I will fight anyone who says shit about this picture; apart from a couple of complaints about the handling of Coretta Scott King, it was flawlessly done. And imo less violent/brutal than it could have been; I felt very safe seeing it on the big screen. It made me feel stronger, not weaker; affirmed, not beaten.
Read more... )
lotesse: (glamazon)
ob!meme: Everyone should post your most ten CRUCIAL CRUCIAL - ASS movies, like the ten movies that explain everything about yourselves in your current incarnation etc...

1. The Empire Strikes Back
2. La Belle et la Bete (1946)
3. Into The Woods
4. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
5. Rebecca
6. Lagaan
7. West Side Story
8. The Court Jester
9. The Adventures of Baron Munschausen
10. The Fall
lotesse: (sorrow)
I've also been thinking about bell hooks' critique of 12 years a slave, because I'm on the record as loving it and wanted to account for the discrepancy.

Looking back at my own viewing notes, I see that I was already uncomfortable with media narratives about Patsey/Lupita Nyong'o. hooks asks us to imagine the movie without her - and for me personally, that's not actually that hard to do, since I connected most heavily with Solomon and Eliza. Adepero Oduye's work in the film has really haunted me, and if I think about it I think I'm really frustrated with how much Lupita has eclipsed her in the public eye. And yes, I do think there are reasons for that that have to do with beauty, and now that hooks has me thinking harder probably there's also some things going on with Patsey in white response to Nyong'o - one thing that's about the slave girl turned award-show Cinderella, how good and meritocratic it seems, and also maybe an erotic thing about her naked and beaten body in the film; it tries hard to short-circuit that, but it's also super possible that the filmmakers overestimated audiences in assuming that a beaten Black body could escape erotic charge no matter what.

I also observe that my notes slide more and more into film language as Patsey's narrative rises; I'm paying attention to how it's done instead of fully empathizing as I had earlier in my viewing experience. bell hooks has to have something about the presence of the gaze; there I am tracking it. there was some amazing manipulation and subversion of the gaze going on, but tbh I'm not sure I think the film would lose all that much if Patsey's body hadn't become so focal. it's the earlier parts at the Cumbermaster's plantation that draw on me most; the roses in the arbor on Sundays, Solomon's feet searching slowly for the ground, the tremendous opening visual metaphor of human bondage and tightening violin strings, Eliza being told by her "kindly" white mistress that she'll soon forget the loss of her children.
lotesse: (faerie)
I'd just nipped on to netflix and put on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in an attempt to get myself out of a snurly mood - I sometimes find, when I'm having a hard time relaxing/engaging, that the multimedia stim of those old movie musicals is really helpful in its sheer intensity & ability to distract - and for the first time ever I noticed that the screenplay is credited to Roald Dahl of all people. So it turns out that while the movie's technically based on an Ian Fleming novel, pretty much everything I love about the movie is Dahl stuff. The name "Truly Scrumptious" - because of course it is, god - and all the stuff in the magical kingdom. It explains the distinctly childs-rights tone of the piece, for sure, and also the relative absence of bad gendered business, and movie's overall sense of humanist gentleness; imo it's the pinnacle of "want Dick VanDyke to be your daddy" filmmaking, and I also have to say that the "doll on the music box" never gets less wonderful. As a kid I picked up on the doll-as-rich-girl metaphor, but now I'm stupid touched by the lack of pretension in the way they turn the plot's fairytale courtship all the way up to where it gets vulnerable and open and sweet on metaphorical registers.

Well, I'm certainly unsnurled now :)

eta: talked on the phone with the best friend who I might still have feelings for who's also currently relocating north. shit we have such intense talks, all these breathing silences. I'm trying to wait on things & not think too much until we've lived around each other for a while; I've never been entirely sure of him, but then again I can so easily imagine us pulling together. We want the same things right now, country life, and by his circle's lights we're both pretty old to not have had children yet. and he's already so much part of my family, and knows & understands us/me. I think at some point one of us is going to have to initiate some emotional honesty, because there's too much we still don't say.
lotesse: (sillycat)
good bit of gossip turned up in this morning's writing:

"So self-aggrandizing is the sequence [in Branagh's Henry V when he makes his first entrance] that when Judi Dench (who played Mistress Quickly) saw the rushes, she is reported to have said, Wwho do you think you are?', to which Branagh is said to have replied sardonically, 'The film is not called Mistress Quickly the Fourth.'"
lotesse: (glamazon)
Talk around Dylan Farrow's recently-published account of Woody Allen's sexual abuse of her during her childhood is bigtime reinforcing my opposition to marriage, and my belief that it's an institution that should be discarded rather than adapted. The creation of a legal category of family implicitly defines other situations as not-family, when in fact kinship structures are more complex and evolving than "marriage" can account for. There's a lot of chatter right now over whether your mom's long-term boyfriend is your dad or not, with reference not to Dylan but to Soon-Yi Previn, her sister-stepmother, in service of what seems to be the very dodgy claim that if she's only your long-term partner's teenaged daughter it isn't incest or abuse and doesn't establish a pattern of sexual predation on daughter-figures. Because Mia Farrow and Woody Allen never married, the kids are being tacitly denied the protection from parental abuse that we offer marrieds' children. We recognize that the family is a place of intense feeling that can become very unsafe in conflict - but what legal measures we have against familial violence seem kind of distressingly heteronormative. It's a problem that legal relationships and actual relationships don't always match up.

I look at the families around me and I see a lot more going on than mama+daddy+offspring. It's not just that marriage prioritizes reproduction over love, although the current heteroitude of the institution does indicate that - it's that marriage prioritizes sexual partnerships over non-sexual ones, reinforcing the fiction of the nuclear family and denying people the right to name their own kinfolk.

Anyway, I've been having really intense responses to the whole thing - maybe because I connect to the way that it's hard to admit that abuse can come out of cool nontraditional families without seeming to reject them/re-establish the norm as the best and only way. I need to take an MPEG Streamclip hacksaw to Midnight in Paris, the only Woody Allen movie I give a damn about, and cut out all the angsting and nebbitude and subtle misogyny and just keep Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway.
lotesse: (l'engle_unicorn)
So, I've got to say - I'm halfway through Blackfish, and it's a whole different experience from the one I'd been expecting. I avoided the doc in theaters because I was afraid of Sad Animal Feelings, a genre of pain I find unnecessary. But instead it's doing this wonderful thing of detaching me from my species loyalty; these American brats and white tourists treat majestic, powerful creatures like gratification machines, less respect than they'd give a dog, so that when the whales turn on their trainers you see the heroic nobility of their soldierly attempts at escape, communication, sabotage. Free the prisoners, fuck the police. The footage of orca violence comes off as remarkably considered and strategic, from the hunting group in the wild that works together to overturn a seal's icefloe to the precision way they dominate and damage their primate tormentors. Some of the anti-SeaWorld commentators talk about psychosis, but the attacking whales remind me more of that moment when you just can't take the bullshit anymore. Don't fuck around with beasts. They have more mojo than you.

I've had Virginia's bit from Three Guineas in my head a lot of late: "Set fire to the old hypocrisies. Let the light of the burning building scare the nightingales and incarnadine the willows. And let the daughters of educated men dance round the fire and heap armful upon armful of dead leaves upon the flames. And let their mothers lean from the upper windows and cry “Let it blaze! Let it blaze! For we have done with this ‘education’!" She backs down from it, and by all pragmatic thinking she's right to do so; but although no being should have to kill for its freedom, I end up hissing and baring my teeth and curling my toes with the intensity of watching "trainers" getting schooled on the real powers with which they've dared interfere. "Trainers." there's a difference between teaching and training, between training and genuine interspecies interaction. I don't train my cats, and all jokes to the contrary they don't train me; we communicate. Reciprocally. In a non-hierarchical fashion. ime anything that thinks of itself as a trainer lacks knowledge and spouts disinformation.

I'm drifting from my first thought, but stream-of-consciousness style: what is up with Disney princess movies normalizing the abuse of domestic animals?! I've been clipping for a vid about princesses tripping balls, and keep noticing really cringeworthy stuff. Cinderella is unforgivably rude and disrespectful to that poor cat, for one thing, and on reflection I think he was actually quite decent about it all, far more decent than she deserved. And then, how is killing a cat literally a part of the movie's Happily Ever After? It's not confined to the 50s, either; in The Princess and the Frog, the little white girl is shown treating animals in a borderline abusive manner. It indicates how CUTE!! and BOUNCY!! she is. And I guess just screw the poor beasts that she mauls? becuz animals, amirite? Definitely lower than humans on the Great Chain of Being.
lotesse: (bsg)
Aack. Mom just dragged me into a "who do you love best" game between Daddy and his sibs. And I'm not saying my aunts aren't psychotic. They are. If you told me that my aunt K. had killed someone, I'd believe it without hesitation. But I have a lot of sympathy for anyone who had to grow up with my dad; it's complicated enough being his daughter, let alone his little sister. They're psychotic, he's supercilious. It's not a good mix.

I'm feeling more belongingness with them than with my parents of late. I catch too much secondhand undigested anger from mom and dad anymore. Maybe it's that I feel better hanging around kin who actively admit their crazy rather than denying that they have any in the first place.

Home now, at any rate, and processing my feelings via watching all the Naomi episodes of The Sentinel. Did y'all know that the actress who played her did I Love You, Alice B. Toklas with Mia Farrow and Peter Sellers? I'mma have to look that business up; Sellers is an old favorite of mine, and I love Mia Farrow but don't often actually see her in things because I don't watch Woody Allen or Roman Polanski movies (except for the parts of Midnight in Paris that involve Gertrude Stein or that fabulous caricature of Hemingway).
lotesse: (btvs_womanwarrior)
I'm tired of all the people talking about how important it is that folk all have "the same chance to succeed." How about the same support toward success? Something that doesn't imply that everyone should start level and we should just, what, ditch the ones that somehow "fall behind"? Where is "behind," anyway? What does it mean, to have "a chance to succeed"? How are we evaluating success? Equality of chances doesn't do much without followthrough or social safety nets, and anyway the whole rhetoric rests on the idea that some people are failed people, and I'm not sure that's the best starting point for progressive action.

My uncle had a probably-but-not-yet-fatal stroke last night. We weren't close, but the family really didn't need to bury anyone this year, and he was just 50. I am Not Dealing with this right now, and so will proceed to comment that it sucks balls that 12 Years a Slave took the Golden Globe for Best Drama but none of the actors were individually honored. Not particularly surprising, but definitely shadeworthy. And to note that Ronan Farrow gives me hope; it's wonderful to see a young man publicly standing with the women he cares about against patriarchal abuse and dismissal.

(I don't really want sympathy comments about my uncle? I don't want to think about it, and I wasn't going to put in anything at first, but then that felt weird. But I still don't want to think/talk about it atm.)
lotesse: (sg1_tealc)
Effing cold. A big-ass tree fell on my roof last night, thankfully not doing any damage other than startling me out of my wits. Think I will not leave the house today.

What I am doing, though, is watching 12 Years a Slave. It's been high on my list since it came out; unlike Django Unchained, it's a film about USian slavery made by POC, albeit British POC in key positions, and that makes it need watching. Didn't want to see it in the cinema, though, because I need to be able to step away and digest. Don't see much point in getting blanked out by fear and pity. Aristotle was no revolution's friend. Behind the cut, viewing notes: )
lotesse: (kink_femme)
Y'all are fired. Not only has the new season of Lost Girl been up and running for like two weeks now without me knowing about it, but 4.01 involves Kenzi doing a three-way tango - literally, not sexually - with Hale and Dyson?! And Ksenia Solo turning out to have maaaad dance skillz and looking like some kind of throwback flapper sex goddess and being tres Cyd Charisse? The only thing I love more than LG is mad ballroom dancing skills. I am the pleased.

(also saw Catching Fire last night, and found it kind of triggering tbh - oppression + defeatism = not something I can really cope with all that well. I was at a little local volunteer-run theater with lots of smallish kids in the audience, and I spent a lot of the movie fretting about whether they were okay, and if their parents had really known what they were in for in terms of bleak grimdark violence and unresolved trauma; I'm not usually one for backseat parenting, but The Hunger Games this was not.)

Lost Girl eta: HO SHIT IT'S GEORGE TAKEI. SOLO AND SULU. WE ARE HITTING TERMINAL AWESOME. OH SHOW OH SHOW OH SHOW i lurve youuuuuu.
lotesse: (p&p_witticisms)
This made me laugh and grin all over my face and believe in humanity and and art and all that, so I thought I'd share: 35 Clueless Quotes That Make Everyday Life Worth Living.

One of the best-written films of our generation, and also a wonderful case of people Getting Austen, which I gather the new Austenland movie fails to do.
lotesse: (lotr_movie!sam)
Haven't posted in a bit - I've been up north with my parents, enjoying the lovely film festival with which Michael Moore has seen fit to gift my hometown. Finally seeing Much Ado About Nothing this evening, which makes me glad I waited - because it will be lovely to get to see it with my family in the lovely restored State Theater of my native downtown.

Went gliding with my father for the second time last week, and I still really really like it. Being up in the sky is lovely, and there's no noise or anything, because no engines. I envy my sister for living so close to home - tho of course she's not nearly as in to it, and despite her opportunity has only been up once. And half the fun is getting da's lessons on the mechanics of flight, which I could listen to him talk about all day. So fucking soothing. So much like rereading The Once and Future King.

Read Kameron Hurley's God's War and Infidel, which I enjoyed TREMENDOUSLY, especially the second book. I'm a long-time reader of her blog, and it was really fun getting to see her work in print. Waiting with excitement for Rapture.

Have been having thoughts about psych meds, courtesy of mama; I continue to find all the - I think five now - varieties of antidepressant I've taken fairly ineffective? I mean, I think I'm better off than I was a year ago, but I feel like a lot of that's down to other things, like me being able to run around outside more and also remembering more frequently that I am not the ubermensch and that there's no shame in resting when you need it. Kind of want to go off meds altogether, but I'm not sure if that's a bad impulse. Either way, I won't do anything without seeing my shrink, obvs, but the guy who prescribes for me is kind of a dink - very superior about traditional medicine, told me that not smoking mary jane would solve all my problems, has in two separate sessions now made cracks about me being a "big girl," fuck you very much asshat.
lotesse: (starwars_OT3)
This morning my chiropractor wonked my neck, picked up my left hand, and said that my fingernails were blue. They were. My oxygen sat was 95%. So today I'm trying to breathe more and keep things chill, because apparently I've been revving so hard that I've actually been depriving myself of air. I'm doing okay. Just a little bit of panic and overload. Karl Rove is on campus today, and even though I've got choir practice to prevent me actually hearing any of his bullshit I can feel the shadowy edges of his presence like a pall over the land. Blecch.

I watched Men in Black III last night, which was surprisingly awesome. How did I not know that Emma Thompson had taken over MiB HQ? There is nothing not fab about that. And as usual the broyay was strong, and the timetravel plotline was satisfyingly fanservicey. Stuff like this is why I love science fiction, y'all - because realism is never going to get you to that one where you meet your baby back in time and they don't know you but you still love them crazy hard. And that's one of the best ones there is.

Because I'm writing Star Wars fic today, have 4+ minutes of Mark Hamill auditioning - reading against Harrison Ford, of course. That right there is why I give like 75% of the credit for the OT to the actors - the rest goes to Frank McQuarrie, Frank Oz, Ben Burtt, and Bob Anderson.

video embedded behind the cut )
lotesse: (trek_uhura)
Yay my proposed course for next year = accepted! Dirt discourse here I come.

Now, back to Soapdish. Early 90s RDJ + Carrie Fisher + Whoopi Goldberg = win.
lotesse: (trek_changein)
I've been having a lovely wallow in Brecht over the last few days - I volunteered to lead seminar on him this week, because he's where I come from and very dear to me. I very much like his point about the unsure intersection between ethics and sympathy, although I don't always live by it - but it gives me language to talk about what happens to me in fandoms like Iron Man or Stargate, where I fundamentally disagree with the characters on ethical grounds but fall in love with them anyway.

(I just realized, this might be why I watched all the "Jack and Daniel fight" episodes of SG1 this week - because those episodes actually get close to articulating some of the Very Deep Issues I have with the entire premise and mission of the SGC. This is also, nb, why I hold so close to earlier characterizations of Daniel and am troubled by latter ones - because for me there's a big difference between a geeky outsider trying to shift the system and a scientist-collaborator who sells knowledge and intellect to a government for the purpose of making war.)

I don't want to NOT fall in love with them, though. My love affairs with characters like Tony Stark are oddly precious to me. They represent some of the best feelings of my life. And, every now and again, some lovely fanworker will make something like Average Avengers Local Chapter 7 of New York City, and bring love into line with ethics. Brecht knows that to be a passive part of the audience is to open oneself up to being used through one's loves; his solution is to force the audience to participate in the creation of meaning, so that they cannot be victimized, so that they have to be a responsible part of what is made.

I watched Theater of War last night, a gorgeous documentary - available on Netflx Watch Instant! - that follows the Tony Kushner/Meryl Streep production of "Mother Courage and Her Children" in 2008. Seeing clips from that production was lovely, but the documentarians also did amazing things with the model book from the original 40s production. The model book gives a series of stills of the production, sometimes only seconds apart; the documentary put them into a semi-animated slideshow, with the text spoken over, so that you got a real sense of ghosts in motion. Streep has a great line at one point - the interviewer asks her what it is to be an actor - she says that she is the voice of people who have died.

The film's worth it if only for the footage of Brecht's testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He treats it like a farce. It's beautiful.

daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin

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