alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (I like pi!)
So this I LOVED. It's exactly what I wanted: a fun reboot of the original which is funny and thrilling and charming and also feminist. Women being competent and weird and unsexualised and having complex relationships with each other and saving the world!! FORTY SOMETHING SCIENCE LADIES :D FAT LADIES :D AS CLOSE TO QUEER AS THE STUDIO WOULD ALLOW LADIES :D (which is not very queer. Holtzman flirts a little) ONE POC LADY WHICH IS BETTER THAN NOTHING I GUESS.

It was a very deliberate reversal of 80s comedy tropes, with Chris Helmsworth having a ball as the dim but pretty secretary who needs to be rescued. There's no romance, ones a little swoony over how pretty he is but seems to know intellectually that he'd make a terrible boyfriend. Instead there's just some really lovely female friendships (which are absolutely perfect for femslashing ;))
Some more thoughts, no spoilers )
alias_sqbr: exploding train (train)
This was exactly what I expected from the trailer: a well made, entertaining superhero film with great fights, nice character moments and utterly repulsive political subtext. On the plus side it abandons it's pretense to ~realism about halfway through and becomes purely character/explosion driven, at which point I stopped thinking "bloody Americans" every five minutes and was actually able to enjoy it.

Spoilers for the basic premise and political subtext stuff, but not the rest of the plot or the ending )
alias_sqbr: exploding train (train)
No spoilers but under a cut anyway because I know some people want to go in with no preconceptions.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: (bookdragon)
Cam has been away for the last week and a bit which has meant I needed LOTS OF DISTRACTION. (And he is still away, so I shall distract myself by writing this post)
Books, tv, movies, games )
alias_sqbr: Zuko with a fish on his head (avatar)
Last one! I put all the remaining serious-ish topics together. Homestuck panel notes to appear once I have them tidied up!

EDIT: Do not trust the recs. They are a VERY mixed bag.

Queer women in sff )
Happy Queer Sff )
Gender Ambiguity in pop culture )
Why we like misery and violence in fiction )
Matriarchies )
alias_sqbr: Zuko with a fish on his head (avatar)
Flight Rising Registration opens again April 14!

It continues to be fun and they're doing better with the bugs, the main issue is that you have to just accept the weird ups and downs (mainly downs) of the economy instead of expecting the devs to make sure your investments pay off eg I paid 150K treasure for a dragon whose babies now net me like 10K if I'm lucky. But they are all very pretty babies and that's what really matters :)

I did an Evangelion fusion recently (which I will link to next time I do a creative stuff post) and ever since I keep almost remembering some other story, I think something I was reading/watching around the same time as I saw this very interesting discussion about the anime. The memories are...non verbal or something, distinct but nothing I can put into words and they vanish again really quickly. Something about pretend heirs to a company maybe? Could it be Un Lun Dun?? It's been happening for over a day and is like something I can almost see out the corner of my eye, quite disconcerting.

Saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier and quite enjoyed it! A well made superhero movie with interesting characters, some mild social commentary, THREE named female characters and (EDIT) TWO black guys who get to be competent, lots of explosions. Don't think about it too hard, or expect it to focus too much on anyone who isn't Steve. It did however highlight my issues with the first Captain America movie: Steve himself is a perfectly well written "decent man in a less than decent world" character, but they wallow a bit too much in the lie that the past was a Simpler Time, that it was only after WWII that the US "lost it's way" morally/politically/in war etc. Yes, the US were absolutely the good guys in WWII but only because the Nazis were so terrible by comparison. The US military and government have always been morally shady, and to pretend otherwise is a massive insult to all the people they mistreated.
alias_sqbr: Torchwood spoilers for various episode numbers: Jack dies (torchwood spoilers)
Was looking over my Quickflix queue and I'm pretty sure I never mentioned these. Which says something about the impression they left...

Brown Sugar: a romantic drama. I found the guy annoying, and stopped watching.

K-On!: I now understand what people mean by "generic moe mush". Unobjectionable and entirely insubstantial anime about cute teen girls making a band. I may watch more if I need soemthing entirely mindless and happy tp get me through a fuzzy headed cold.

I could never be your woman: 90s romantic comedy about an older single mother and a younger man. Unwatchably irritating.
alias_sqbr: Me on a couch asleep with a cat sitting on my lap top, with the caption out of spoons error (spoons)
I keep putting this off until I can remember them all but this has inevitably led to a negative spiral since then there's just more to remember. So! WHAT I CAN REMEMBER RIGHT NOW.

TV:
Read more... )
Movies:
Read more... )
Games:
Read more... )
Books:
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: exploding train (train)
It was exactly what I was told it would be: a blockbuster about people in giant mechs bashing the crap out of giant aliens trying to destroy the world. There wasn't a whole heap to it beyond that. What there was was relatively progressive/interesting for a robots vs aliens movie but it was still basically the story of a thinly sketched white American guy saving the world.

I've seen a bunch of people compare it to Neon Genesis Evangelion, but as expected it had a lot of similarities to the start of Evangelion (a battered world has had decades to get used to the possible extermination of the human race, giant mecha in bloody battles with massive creepy alien things etc) and very little to the end of Evangelion ("robots" turn out to be shells containing massive humanoids budded from the million year old body of the Angel Lillith and controlled by the souls of the dead pilots' mothers, everyone turns into orange goop as they become one with the universal consciousness etc) I AM DISAPPOINT.
No spoilers just rambles )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
I am suuuuper tired today.

Recently:

Despicable Me 2: An ok sequel, barrelled along at an entertaining pace and was mostly sweet and funny but had some unfortunate subtext about gender and race (and a plot point which was weirdly reminiscent of a bad dream I had the night before the movie, but I GUESS I can't blame them for that)

Currently:

"Haunted" by Kelley Armstrong
Another "Women of the Otherworld" book. The romance aspects are kind of understated and meh but as a story of a somewhat amoral but kickass woman not letting death get between her and her goals it's pretty fun. I have a prediction about the villain based on tired romance novel tropes LET'S SEE IF I'M RIGHT.

Am currently listening to the Welcome to Night Vale podcast, which is disturbing and funny and oddly sweet, like a radio station set in a modern US version of Fallen London.

Orphan Black: Got Cam to spoil me for anything that might freak me out, am finding it less tense and thus more watchable but still slow going. It is good! It just isn't GRABBING me.

Dalja's Spring: Kdrama about a 33 year old woman who drunkenly hires a 27 year old guy to pretend to be her boyfriend to spite an ex, increasingly dramatic shenanigans ensue. The romance feels more like a cute friendship to me but it's pretty sweet and enjoyable, though a moustache twirling antagonist has shown up who feels a bit out of place. Also she keeps going on about how OLD 33 is, IT'S NOT THAT OLD.

I tried playing Undertale, a cute RPG by Toby "Radiation" Fox, one of the key music/gaming people involved with Homestuck, but it (a)has set save points and (b)closes without asking if you want to quit when you press 'escape" (eg the "menu" button on 99% of the other games I play) Which added up to me deciding it was all too much effort.
alias_sqbr: Me on a couch asleep with a cat sitting on my lap top, with the caption out of spoons error (spoons)
Kira has made it very clear that I am not to move today and I have trouble seeing any good reason to argue with her.

I GOT HULU TO WORK ON MY COMPUTER (using Hola) and am currently watching the Korean drama/comedy Coffee Prince. It's about a tomboyish woman pretending to be a man, (including, at one point, pretending to be the main male character's boyfriend) which is pretty much my het id wrapped up in a bow and it is funny and charming betides. She has a similar "Eh, gender" attitude to Haruhi from Ouran and apparently the show doesn't make her become girly to get her man, woo (though next episode's preview seemed to have the guy have her "pretend" to be a woman, I am sure hiijinks will ensue)

The current Humble Bundle includes the interactive story Dear Esther which I've been meaning to try out for ages. Coffee Prince is only 17 episodes I'll get there eventually :)

I'm watching "I could never be your woman" since it sounded good: older woman romance! Paul Rudd! Same creator as Clueless! But so far I am super bored. There's some aspects I like but if nothing else I think I'd enjoy it more if I was a 40 year old single mother who sees 32 year old guys as endearingly young. *watches Coffee Prince instead, which has TWO sexy brunette leads*

Soooo behind on email. It's all too hard.

The sequel course to the Game Theory course I did on Coursera has started up, this time on Standford's own MOOC. The course itself is fun, we're currently learning about how there's no way to count votes that doesn't mess up under the right circumstances. But the site has some Issues, eg the fact that the first assessment said "Save answers" when it meant "Submit your first and only attempt". Not only did I get 30/100 but it didn't even save my answers! Since Coursera has a "save answers" button which just saves your answers I was not the only person caught out by this, the lecturers say they're looking into it.
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Books:

Still just working through "Steampowered 2". But I've reserved the first "Circle of Magic" book from the library.

TV:

ELEMENTARYYYYY :D :D

Dr Who is over until my birthday. Stephen Moffat definitely has a shtick but since that shtick involves complicated time travel plots I'm still enjoying it well enough. This season hasn't wowed me but I like the characters (Jenny, Vastra and Strax are adorable) and I'm curious to see what's going to happen next.

Chihayafuru has been becoming exponentially slower as they catch up to the manga, so I'm not quite as smitten as I was, but slowness aside it's still fun.

Movies:

Victor Victoria: Julie Andrews plays an unemployed singer whose new gay bff persuades her to pretend to be a drag queen. She gains success but falls for a straight guy. Hiijinks ensue! Very silly and not exactly free of Issues but it was still fun and the core message is about the Power Of Love In All It's Forms which was nice. The central romance didn't convince me but there's an actual happy m/m couple at the end omg. The commentary was Julie Andrews and her husband, the writer director Blake Edwards. It was adorable if self indulgent, they spent several minutes in raptures about the acting ability of their son who has one line as a gay guy checking out the main character (played by his mother, lol)

Games:

Tomb Raider: Tried it out and as expected it is very good but really, really not my sort of game. I don't do running and jumping.

Dragon Age: Origins again! I am enjoying it very much. Here is my pretty pretty Dalish elf.
After several years of playing Bioware games the combat has gone from "so hard I gave up and used cheats early on" to "so easy I have yet to die" (on "easy" of course ;)) and I'm even EXPERIMENTING WITH THE TACTICS OMG. I was so proud of myself for not even having the console enabled...and then in Soldier's Peak the final battle refused to spawn and I had to kill Avernus with a cheat *hmmph*. Naturally my Mahariel's first major quest is going to be the Brecilian Forest, it's amusing how much friendlier all the elves are than on all my previous playthroughs. Anyway, not being in a hurry and just playing to enjoy it rather than hit any specific story buttons is fun. The combat is more fun than I remembered (even aside from being easier) and it's been long enough since I last played that the emotional buttons are fairly effective. Also it's fun seeing Flemeth etc and knowing the Part They Will Later Play.
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Movies: Star Trek: Into Darkness! Saw it today! Apart from one or two VERY SKETCHY DECISIONS RACEWISE(*) and some silly plot holes it was quite enjoyable. It hit me in the Star Trek TOS feels without saying or doing anything very new, I don't know how enjoyable it would be for anyone who doesn't feel lots of affection for the original series and/or previous movie, though there were thrilling explosions and all that. The female characters and POC got to do stuff and be competent but it was mostly about Spock and Kirk (and to a lesser extent Bones and then the rest of the crew) The Spock&Kirk relationship wasn't self consciously slashy, just friendship which in no way conflicted with Spock/Uhura etc *ships Uhura/Spock/Kirk even more than previously* Anyone who hasn't seen the original movies who liked this one should definitely watch them, there's some cute paralells (maybe start from 2, I have heard bad things about 1)

Music: Fantasies by Metric. Which I discovered almost entirely through Homestuck fanmixes haha. Really enjoying it, bought a copy from JB Hifi.

Games: Candy Box! Silly fun little browser game. Give it a little while to get going before you give up on it.

What I'm reading/playing etc right now:
Jade Empire, finally got it to work. It didn't grab me though so I've played like 5 minutes.

What's next:
I'm not sure!

(*)This spoilery link captures my feelings, and I am very glad I was spoiled. Seriously, JJ Abrams, you couldn't even be as progressive as the 1960s?

Iron Man 3

Apr. 27th, 2013 03:28 pm
alias_sqbr: exploding train (train)
In short: I liked it! Admittedly it helped that Iron Man 2 had set the bar so low, but there were a bunch of "woo!" scenes and hardly any "ugh" ones, and I don't remember ever being bored.

It is definitely a film about white men and specifically the Awesomeness of Tony, but Pepper and Rhodey get a few moments of awesome I quite enjoyed, and I actually liked Tony rather than wanting to slap him all film like in IM2. It would be nice if superhero films didn't reliably make me think "Oh no a disabled person this will end badly" (WHICH IT DID) but on the plus side it was way less racist than I was afraid of.

Anyway. Explosions, cute character moments, humour, robots, evil industrialists, and lots of SCIENCE. That's what wanted and that's what I got :)

(Possible spoilers in the comments)

Hobbit!

Dec. 29th, 2012 06:15 pm
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Today Cam and I escaped the heatwave by seeing the Hobbit. We were both very glad to have been warned that it was long and slow because it REALLY was, but that's pretty much my only serious complaint with the film.


Things I would change:
-Tighten up a lot of the scenes, cut some to be extra features (None of them were inherently bad, and I'm not sure what you'd cut, but it was just too long for such a simple story)
-Stockier dwarves. Aedan Turner is a very pretty man but he is not a (fantasy) dwarf. Some of them were downright waif-like.
-less fat jokes, less physical grossness with the goblins, it all felt a bit physically injured/ill = evil (which is RIFE in the original but that doesn't mean it had to stay)
-slightly lighter tone. Not as light as the original book, that wouldn't work with the type of story they were telling, but more like the Harry Potter or Narnia films. A lot of the plot felt too children's book-ish to carry off the DRAMATIC MUSIC and desatured blue grainy darkness etc. Also I didn't think it needed to be quite so violent and horror-y.

Changes and choices I liked:
-Beefing up the lore, foreboding tension and connections to the LOTR. Yes even the bits they made up, I thought it worked.
-Making the dwarves feel like a real people. It reminded me a lot of Dragon Age, actually (which obviously stole a lot from Tolkein, but I did like that you really got into the dwarves heads)
-Radagast! I always wished Tolkein had talked about him more.
-The singing and varying tone in general. I've heard some people complain it jarred with the darker parts but I thought it was fine. During LOTR I kept imagining Tolkein going "But where are all my songs?"

There was other stuff but I forget. Some changes I'd have liked that would never happen under Peter Jackson would be making some of the dwarves female and having anyone be non-white. As Cam pointed out, there's a lot of heavy set Maori actors in New Zealand who'd have made great dwarves.
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
I finished "The Birthday of the World", it was overall really good!I particularly liked "Paradises Lost", unlike the others it isn't about gender or sex but about the kind of culture that would develop on a generation ship. Reading Ursula K le Guin always makes other sf writer's cultural worldbuilding seem really shallow. Though the same limitations I mentioned before continued through the remaining stories and there was some really terrible ableism.

For anyone else left wanting more: The End and the Way by Luzula is a great fanfic about a single sexed Gethenian which features OMG a happy well adjusted platonic friendship between two unrelated people of different genders!

Last night I went to the local video store for the first time in ages. They are obviously trying to compete with the internet by offering exotic US confectionary (we tried a Twinkie. It was foul) and tshirts and stuff.

I watched The Sapphires and it was exactly what it appears to be: a light, feel good, music-filled film about a group of Koori (Aboriginal Australian) women forming a successful music group in the 60s. It touches on a bunch of heavy political issues very lightly and glosses over the issues around the Vietnam War completely, the Vietnamese characters are a faceless voiceless other. It reminds me a lot of Dreamgirls, but fluffier. Despite it's flaws it's still the only feel good movie about Indigenous Australians (by an Aboriginal Australian, even! Pretty obviously a guy but never mind) I have ever seen so I am incredibly glad that it exists and that I watched it. Kind of a pity they had to introduce a white guy to the story but Chris O'Dowd is quite charming and despite the apparently universal tendency for journalists to focus on his character the movie doesn't too much. Anyway. I came out feeling good and humming to myself which is the real sign of success :)

Am partway through watching season 1 of the New Girl and am quite enjoying it. Cam keeps saying "BUT IT'S SO BADLY WRITTEN AND MYSOGYNISTIC" but I am ignoring him because I like it. It's just a silly sitcom but I like the characters and the humour.

Dvd list

Nov. 22nd, 2012 01:26 pm
alias_sqbr: Torchwood spoilers for various episode numbers: Jack dies (torchwood spoilers)
Quickflix looks like they're going to close! So, in case their site goes down, here is my queue of dvds in a place I am likely to remember it. Plus I thought people might be curious. Heavily skewed by a few rounds of "What are all the old classics I haven't seen?" and "Oooh look a list of happy queer movies", only the first 10-20 or so are things I actually intend on watching (and maybe not even then. Past Sophie and I do not always agree)
Read more... )

Looper

Oct. 7th, 2012 04:12 pm
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
So, I am very glad that before watching this I was warned that is totally about white dudes: apart from that one black waitress, there are basically no POC with lines and the few female characters all defined solely as one or more of wife/stripper/mother. Because seriously, it felt like it was based on a short story from like the 50s, especially all the loopers being white guys in suits. There was overall a bunch of subtext that's kind of gross if you think about it.

But OTHER THAN THAT I really enjoyed it as a time travel movie, and a scifi movie that didn't feel like it was mindlessly ticking off the "scifi blockbuster" checkboxes. Apparently, as much as I care about representation, I love time travel more. If this is not true of you, you may not enjoy the movie.

In some ways it's a very simple film, and the science is glossed over completely, we're not talking Primer here. I guess what appealed to me was all the loops and symmetry, like in Homestuck. (Also: the angst and violence!) It assumes that you've watched and understood "Back to the Future", and nobody bothers explaining why the world of the "present" (the 2040s) is the way it is.

At heart it's about meeting an older/younger version of yourself, and the relationship between the older generation and the young, exploring the way we are shaped by our choices and experiences. The characters from the future are all so wonderfully smug, with that "Oh you adorable ignorant children" arrogance humans always have about the past.

Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis definitely felt like the same character at two (possible) points in his life, though the makeup they used on JGL was a bit over the top. I understand the need for contacts(*), but his eyebrows and nose were jarringly odd looking to me, and Cam had issues with his chin. I would have preferred if they'd let them look a bit different and relied on the acting to sell it.

(*)As much as I find JGL's eyes MUCH more attractive as brown, Bruce Willis's eyes are more distinctive looking, and they did need to match. I GUESS.

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