Apr. 23rd, 2017

shadowkat: (Default)
1. ) Well, I guess Dan Stevens of LEGION fame, career has now taken off. According to my friend, he's moving from NY to California. Doesn't want to, but has to...for career reasons. (He's a tenant in one of her clients buildings.)

2. ) Doctor Who - The Pilot

Rather liked this episode of Doctor Who. First one that I've enjoyed since the Many Husbands of River Song. Of course, I keep skipping over episodes of Who, and lose track of it, because it's not consistently aired, pops up infrequently, and reminds me a little bit of Sherlock in those respects.

Enjoyed it, all of it. No issues. First time in a long long while that everything in a Doctor Who episode worked for me, and my attention didn't wander off completely out of boredom. The metaphors, the plot, the dialogue, and the new companion. I really like the new companion, even if I can't understand half the things she's saying. She's speaking English...but it might as well be Greek, lots of slang and mumbled words. Wonder if this is how folks feel when talking to some New Yorkers?

Best line?

"Poetry - Physics, is there a difference?"

(I thought, no, not really.)

And the idea of traveling through space and time as water, was rather unique. The antagonist wasn't really evil or a villain just trying to do its thing. I liked the Doctor's take on that. "Most things aren't evil, per se, just hungry. It depends on which side of the cutlery that you happen to be on."
Very true.

Another great bit was memory wipes...in which Bill asks the Doctor how'd he feel if someone did it to him. That makes him pause, because of course that's exactly what had happened to him. So he changes his mind...about memory wipes and companions.

Anyhow the relationship between the two of them was fresh and innovative and finally jumped away from the romantic/crush bit that I was beginning to find a little unnerving, particularly with a much older Doctor Who. Pretty heterosexual female companion and much much older guy...does NOT work for me. I find it skeevy. Here, we have more of a Teacher/Student relationship, and Bill is a lesbian, so the romance is sort of non-existent. It solves the problem, you have a female companion, but she's gay, so no romantic yearnings with the Doctor.

As a result of this...for the first time since he was introduced and outside of the Many Husbands of River Song, I actually liked Capadali in the role. The series also felt brand new and fresh, free of the baggage it had had weighing it down...all that ponderous back story. The best bits of it, put on the Doctor's desk as pictures in frames, that he talks to on occasion.

3. How you can kill someone's interest in a tv show by trying to connect it to a long-term comic franchise or Why I can't stand Marvel Agents of Shield and cancelled it from my DVR

In a nutshell? The Terrigen Mists released by the nitwits in Agents of Sheild and their ret-con regarding the Inhumans decimated the X-men, killed my favorite character, and destroyed the series.
And I happen to find the X-men more interesting, ambiguous and far better written than Shield or Agents of Shield. Also more interesting and complicated characters. Shield was Marvel's lackluster attempt to do an X series without the X-men, because they sold the rights to Fox. If you want to see a good superhero series -- go watch Legion on F/X.

Here's the proof of it:

Cyclops killed by Terrigen Mists or the M-Pox

Ugh. Oh well, on the bright side? I have no interest in buying or reading the comics any longer. As I told a friend some time ago, it's a bit hard to care when they kill off your favorite characters and the characters that you were invested in.

Regarding MoAS? I could never get invested in any of those characters and none of the tropes worked for me. I don't really like militaristic series...had similar issues with Quantico, Space Above and Beyond, Tour of Duty, and others of that ilk. Military series don't really interest me that much.
shadowkat: (Default)
Watched Hidden Figures last night and Feud: Bette and Joan today...and now, I feel this overwhelming urge to kick white guys.

Seriously, if white men got over their massive egos, the places we could have gone as a society, the levels we could have reached...we'd have been to Jupiter and beyond. And Hollywood? The movies would have been so much better. But no, little boys and their little pissing contests.

Note -- these stories show white straight guys in a VERY negative light. And they aren't subtle about it.

Also not very nice about Capitalism.

Anyhow, Hidden Figures...is one of those movies that I wanted to like more than I did. The story is there, but the execution fell short of it. Too much focus on the cliche romances and social justice moments, not enough on the process of getting there. I think they tried to combine too much in a short space of time. This was a story that would have benefited a great deal from a television adaptation or a longer format. Then we could have seen the day-to-day struggles of these three women and their contemporaries to get ahead in their fields.

Movies really aren't suited for these sort of tales, they are too short. In a movie -- what we get is a slice of life. It's the visual equivalent of a short story.

Hidden Figures is adapted from a book. I'd rather they had made The Immortal Henrietta Lacks into a movie and Hidden Figures into the mini-series, because Laks, I think could have easily been abridged into film format. But, they did the opposite.

Granted as a film, Hidden Figures gets a bigger audience. But, the story felt...chopped. And emotionally manipulative. The white characters came across as one dimensional, as did the black. There were a few who stood out -- Harrison (Kevin Costner), Stafford (Jim Parsons), Mrs. Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Butler), and Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Hensen)...everyone else felt a bit like an established trope. Even Stafford did. I wanted more of Dorothy figuring out the computer system, more of Katherine figuring out how to work with an all white male team for a common cause, more of the female engineer, Mary Jackson, working to become an engineer and how she worked with NASA. Instead we had bits and pieces of things cobbled together -- dance scenes, picnics, Katherine's romance with vet, church scenes, and drives to and from work.

It was as if the writers wanted to compress a twenty-two episode miniseries into two hours.

I've seen it done better -- with the Right Stuff, although that too felt overly compressed. But it was more focused on what was happening at NASA and more subtle about the rest. I think here, the writers wanted to underline the civil rights issues, and I'm not sure that was necessary. They were obvious. To continuously hammer me over the head with it, at the cost of other stories which would have given that message more power and weight...I think was a mistake in the writing and direction.

I loved the story. I just felt the execution could have been better and was somewhat disappointed in it. I wanted to love this more than La La Land. But La La Land was better executed, if not as interesting or as rich a story.

At any rate, at least it got notice. And as such more stories will be told like it.

I found myself yelling at the screen at various points...

Glenn: Before I go up, have the girl recheck my numbers!
Harrison: Girl? Oh you mean Katherine Johnson.

Me: John Glenn, I love you, but seriously, she's guiding your rocket and capsul, her math is keeping you alive...all you are doing is sitting in it. The least you can do is either remember her name or call her a woman.

And...

Seriously, guys, you can't let this woman use the white woman's bathroom? Are you insane.
Reminds me of our current bathroom law issues.

Stafford? Get over your massive ego.

Harrison? I think I love you.

Hmmm...this movie really doesn't show Stafford and the white women at NASA during this time period in a good light, does it? Moral -- watch who you piss off, you might find yourself the villain in someone's text book.

This brings up something that I've been thinking about lately...that art in many ways defines who we are as a culture. It's not our actions or deeds that are remembered so much as how others choose to relate them through art. Memory alters reality. And writers, poets, artists, can sculpt the past as they see fit. What we remember of MacBeth is what Shakespeare decides to relate, what we know of
Richard the II is what Shakespeare tells us. What we've been told of Hamilton is what Ron Chernow and Lin Manuel have written. Trump's legacy lies in various tweets, new blurbs, but mainly in what various artists relay about him.

Art is what we leave behind. The artist is the teller of our history. The builder of our cultural identity. The artist reflects in mirror detail what we do, what we think, and how we act as a culture. Often showing the demons, shadows, and rot at the core. If the most popular television series are Scandal, Game of Thrones, and Walking Dead...what does that say about us, what reflection are we seeing?

Our artists rip away the layers through metaphor and story...depicting various possible futures and various pasts...and various presents...this, they seem to say, is what worked, and what didn't. Please learn from it.

I think sometimes art expresses that which is impossible to state directly. The artist does it from the side...softly. Sometimes, I think, it has to be shown. And art shows...more than tells. When done well.

Hidden Figures at times felt more like it was "telling" than showing. I wanted a bit more showing. When it relied on showing -- it excelled. And it has some wonderful scenes. Many of which, make me very glad that I stopped wearing heels ten years ago. Seriously why would anyone in their right mind wear them? Heels should be outlawed. Watch this film, and you'll see why.

Although the film does underline something with the heels...The black women who worked at NASA, specifically Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan, did what the guys did, except better, dancing backwards, in heels. Imagine what they'd have achieved, what we would have achieved, if they didn't have to wear heels and were treated as equals? We'd probably have several space stations, and have gone into another galaxy by now.
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1.) For the Doctor Who fans on the reading list...

Have Breakfast with Six Doctor Whos... Only one not coming to the party is Nine, spoilsport.

I rather adore Matt Smith and David Tennant as actors...seen them in other things, they are insanely good.

2.) And for the X-men fans out there...the movie franchise is about to ramp up again.

X-men movie news

* Dark Phoenix is the next X-men arc film, secretly titled X-men: Supernova
with a definite YA vibe. This means they may actually do the story justice. (I hated X-men Last Stand, which handed the whole thing over to Wolverine and ruined it.)

* New Mutants

* Deadpool 2 and Josh Brolin has signed on as Cable, with Domino showing up.
(YAY!)

They actually got some better actors in there playing the roles and a good lineup. We can thank the success of the tv series and the last few films for this new ramp up.

So happy about this. I prefer the X-men films to the Avengers franchise. My favorite superhero film is X-men: Days of Future Past, it's a little Manchurian Candidate meets Malcolm X.

Since the X-men comics have gone off the rails, at least we got the movie and tv franchises.

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