alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
I wrote an off the cuff review on twitter. But overall: I liked the central arc, about a bladerunner who knows he's a replicant, and is numbed to the emptiness of his life, getting dragged into the mess caused by the events of the previous Bladerunner movie. Ryan Gosling does a good job of looking beaten up and sad, and the visuals were pretty effective in a bleak cyberpunk dystopia kind of way. But for a story about the question of who counts as a real person it sure could have done with 1000% less objectification of women and exotification of POC.

Also there were a lot of random loud Inception-esque BLAAAAARP noises, at least in the Titan-whatever cinema we were in. They undercut the emotion of various scenes and also would probably be unpleasant for people with some hearing issues.

Anyway, sound balance aside I've been pondering how the basic plot could have been made into a more enjoyable movie. I'm having trouble sleeping, I think in part because all those objectified boobs did bad things to my brain, so here's some rambling thoughts.

Spoilers like WHOA, and it won't make much sense if you haven't seen the film.

SPOILERS FOR BLADERUNNER 2049 )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Long list of stuff I have read and played etc!

Note that almost all the tv and movies are on Australian Netflix.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
Mush up Pirates of the Carribean with the original Guardians of the Galaxy in a blender with some cheese, and give it a flouro 80s candy coating, and you get this movie. If you can turn your brain off and enjoy the silliness and explosions it's pretty fun. Not very deep and mostly about A Man And His Father Issues but gives the female characters more to do than the last movie. The perfunctory attempts at a Peter/Gamora romance are ineffective but also pretty easy to ignore (I usually like that kind of pairing but this one doesn't work for me) and the Gamora and Nebula sister relationship gets the exploration that was missing from the original. I feel like they sanded off the unhealthiness of Peter and Yondu's relationship for convenience, but otherwise enjoyed the story, which is all about family. Mantis's character felt like a bit of an Asian stereotype but her arc was ok. None of the female characters get sexualised very much and Chris Pratt is super pretty.
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
(Where that season is Summer, regardless of what most internet sites assume is globally universal)
Books, movies, anime, manga, webcomic )

Arrival

Nov. 12th, 2016 05:58 pm
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (I like pi!)
This is a really good, thoughtful, humanist science fiction movie. It doesn't turn into horror or action halfway through, it's just about ideas and emotional truth. The heroine isn't badass in any traditional sense, but is still great, and gets treated like a real person instead of a Girl (eg she wears sensible clothes with her hair in a ponytail in situations where that's what any real person would do)

At times it crossed my personal line from "meditative and beautiful" into "ponderously slow" for a minute or two, and I imagine that if "linguist solves alien language problem by thinking about it very seriously" isn't your idea of a good time you'd it boring. But I loved it!

I read the original short story years ago and feel like the movie captures the stuff I loved about it (and I loved it a lot), some aspects didn't translate well to film (eg they do cut out the more technical linguistics) but other parts worked amazingly well. Knowing the plot didn't ruin my enjoyment but Cam LOVED the experience of going in unspoiled and I'm a little sad not to have experienced that.

There's very little "hard science" as in physics etc, Jeremy Renner's physicist character mainly serves as a sidekick. (I think the most sciencey thing he does to progress the plot is solve a fraction) But it's hard scifi in the sense of being about ideas. But also feelings! And a compassion for all people which is something I needed right now. It's also really visually effective, I'm glad we saw it at the cinema.

While ultimately uplifting in a bittersweet sort of way there's some very sad moments and it made me cry.

Content warning about one specific kind of sadness below. This stuff comes up in the first few scenes and I don't spoil anything past that point.
****Content warning, some spoilers**** )
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (I like pi!)
Saw this yesterday, and I liked it! Unlike the previous two, it was a sincere and mostly successful attempt to make an actual Star Trek movie: There was a mildly interesting philosophical conflict, some attempt at diversity, and a LOT of bromancey interactions between Kirk, Spock, and Bones. Although most of the film was made up of fight scenes and explosions, which were pretty. It felt a bit like an original series Star Trek episode spliced with a Michael Bay film. Sometimes that fusion felt a little strained but it was enjoyable enough. It's not SUPER scary but some scary stuff does happen.

The diversity was very pasted on, it is at heart very much a story about White Dudes Saving The Day, and while the fact there's a teeny bit of lgbt representation is nice (and it was handled ok) it's just ambiguous enough that a determined homophobe could say they were just Very Close Friends, and homophobic censors can easily cut it entirely. On the plus side I thought they were going somewhere Very Racist with the villain and they weren't, though he's still a POC-in-latex villain (with an African accent I think? I am so bad at accents) being defeated by a white hero.

Also Uhura and her relationship with Spock is so quickly sidelined it felt like the start of a slash fic. If it had actually turned into Spock/Kirk/Bones it might almost have been worth it but no, it was no homo bromance all the way. Sulu could have had more to do as well. On the plus side, the "Strong Female Characters who are competent and not sexualised but ultimately secondary to men" approach to women in this film is still more feminist than "Into Darkness". And the new female character is conventionally attractive but noone seems to notice, it all feels like brotherly friendship (I don't think we ever see her talking to any women. In general this is not a Bechdel Test friendly movie)

As someone who used to be a HUGE fan of the original Star Trek movies I did enjoy the cuddly bromacey feels. Everyone felt more in character than in the previous two, and there was in general a cuddly, optimistic feel to the Enterprise and Federation as a whole. Also, since it would have been heartbreaking given that the actor died: nothing bad happens to Chekhov.

And it really is pretty. Lots of cool science fictiony special effects.
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Things I was recced:

The Swancon community is apparently 37% male, 50% female and 13% non binary. The registration table this year offered neat little pronoun stickers to put at the bottom of your badge and there were unisex toilets.

Stirfire Studios ran a demonstration of a game they're writing for the HTC Vive Virtual Reality headset/controller, I was one of a long line of people who got to play it for a few minutes. It was SUPER FUN, very immersive. They got me to stay in my wheelchair to see how well that could work, the answer being "not very well" (I couldn't reach anything high up) but that was fine just for playing around. Also I was longer at the front than the system expected so I banged my footplate into a wall before the "stop walking!" warning grid came on. I've had a few interesting conversations with them about accessibility, am curious to see where that goes.

I only stayed for the very beginning of the masquerade and had no costume but everyone else looked great.

I did a clay animal making activity in the family room which was HEAPS of fun, I was a sought after artisan of little eyes since the children had trouble making them neatly.

Non Violent Video Games
So You Want To Make A Video Game

Various Jane Espenson notes, Science Doesn't Work That Way, Trailer Park, Queer characters: Tokenism, realism and support )
alias_sqbr: Me on a couch asleep with a cat sitting on my lap top, with the caption out of spoons error (spoons)
As always, bear in mind that my standard go way down when I'm sick.

Books:

Sword of the Guardian by Merry Shannon (On sale right now!) This is basically a cheesy, tropey 90s-esque eurofantasy romance... with lesbians! AND I LOVED IT. Stoic, protective, crossdressing butch bodyguard and feisty, headstrong princess yesss. Many of the tropes are questionable-if-iddy (eg there's a bunch of dub con kisses that "don't count") to outright unfortunate ("swarthy barbarians", really?) and it is SUPER earnest but the ratio of cheese I enjoyed to cheese I didn't worked for me. nb the cover art whitewashes the bodyguard, who has a dark olive complexion which is a bit exoticised.

Apparently the sequel is about the buxom lesbian chambermaid, SOUNDS GOOD.
Books! Games! Movies, even! )

Star Wars!

Dec. 17th, 2015 10:39 pm
alias_sqbr: A stack of turtles against stars (turtles all the way down)
So: I quite liked it! Not the best movie ever, but about as good as a Star Wars movie by J J Abrams was ever likely to be.

Spoiler free reactions! Has some very broad information, if you want to go in totally unspoiled then... well, I wish you luck, but you should avoid this post as well as most of the rest of the internet :)
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: Hannelore: Worry hat! Bravery plus 10, charisma plus 5 (worry hat)
Written to distract myself from the fact Cam will be leaving for a work trip in a couple of hours.

Movies:

Inside Out: Pixar cgi odd couple roadtrip movie about anthropomorphised emotions inside an 11 year old girl's brain. I really liked it! The overall theme is growing up and accepting change and negative emotions and I thought this was done pretty well, even if it was about sane, relatively well adjusted people and I had bittersweet memories of my own much less cheery childhood. The psychology felt plausible and was apparently pretty good, I can see children (mentally ill or otherwise) finding it a useful way to conceptualise things. It wasn't THE BEST movie ever but it was funny and cathartic and had WAY more female characters than pretty much any other Pixar film: the three main characters are the girl Riley and the two female coded emotions Joy and Sadness, and the secondary characters are Riley's parents and the other three emotions who are two guys (Fear and Anger) and a woman (Disgust). I now ship Joy/Sadness which was unexpected. Not especially subversive, or diverse asides from gender but...it's Pixar :/

TV:

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: All caught up! Season 3 ends in a pretty satisfying place, even if it dragged a little in parts. They even briefly remembered she has a dead sister! EDIT: Have been reminded that it was actually kind of cheesy and odd, even if I enjoyed it anyway.

Utena: Am slowly rewatching this every now and then at TV night, it's interesting now I (vaguely) know how everything fits together, and I'm enjoying it. The remastered animation is surprisingly crisp. I am also enjoying watching my unspoiled friend react to everything :D

Games:

Love Chronicles: The Sword and the Rose: replayed the first Hidden Object game from Big Fish I encountered, it was actually pretty fun, the shallow plot suited my need to just click a bunch of puzzles mindlessly, the art is mostly very pretty and I really like the "building wacky devices" puzzles.

Fairway: Finished it! Played it through again! Definitely worth $5 if you like solitaire with variations and increasing difficulty.

Hmmmmmmm I know there were more but I have blanked entirely.
alias_sqbr: exploding train (train)
I overall quite enjoyed this film but there were definitely things I didn't like. My feelings are a series of ambivalences which average out positive.
Spoilers for the premise )
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (I like pi!)
Saw The Hobbit: The Five Armies today. It was...pretty much what I'd been led to expect by the previous two films. Overblown and overlong and soooo the story of the manly dudes (and sometimes the sighing squealing women they fight for) vs the gross sickly hordes, but it was pretty and the main stories pretty much affected me the way they were supposed to. It descended deep into B grade cheese in parts but Thorin and Bilbo sold their tragic love. Probably helps I haven't read the book for so long I've forgotten the plot.

It would be a lie to say I didn't enjoy it at least 50% as a Dragon Age AU, with all the dwarfy stuff Inquisition was missing. It certainly reminded me of what a blatant Tolkein ripoff Dragon Age is. One might say deconstruction if it deconstructed more. Though it does at least have more characters who aren't (ostensibly) straight white cis dudes (and who don't appear for five seconds and then die)

Also: Gosh this house is better than the old one in hot weather. We have insulation, decent aircon, decent blinds, and a line of trees blocking the main sun, and it makes such a difference.
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Graceling by Kristin Cashore: It took me nearly 100 pages to get over HOW MUCH of a YA fantasy first novel this is: the main countries are Estill, Wester, Nander, Sunder and Middluns laid out exactly as you'd expect and the author still felt the need for a map, the main character is a spitfire tomboy called Kat(sa) who is the neice of the king but everyone shys away from her because her Special Eyes show she is cursed by awesome, and by the way despite being isolated and socially awkward she runs a massive secret network of do-gooders she just created from scratch one day because she thought it would be a good idea? But once I got past all that I quite enjoyed it. Although this is pure "awkward girl who feels like everyone hates them finds love and acceptance" wish fulfillment there's no moment where Katsa puts on a nice dress and becomes the prettiest girl at the ball(*), part of her arc is finding people who are ok with her cutting her hair super short and dealing with her frustrations by fighting. And I loved seeing a redemption arc for a girl who really has done some awful things, even if she had no choice in the matter (her Specialness involves being really fantastic at hurting people, and her uncle the King took complete and terrible advantage of it) Also the male love interest, despite being a bit smug, is the calm sensitive one and I liked that :) It was only once I was partway through that I remembered I had decide to avoid it because I'd heard the bad guy is a pedophile, it was subtle enough not to trigger me but ymmv. Could also have done with a bit less of Katsa being compared to a "wildcat", but it's that kind of book.

(*)I am all for those moments for female characters who HAVEN'T spent most of the book talking about how much they hate dresses and balls.

Guild Wars 2: I have found myself entirely unmotivated to play since shortly before Dragon Age Inquisition came out. It really doesn't help that once you get past a certain level it's pretty much all zombies all the time :(

Veronica Mars Movie: Have I mentioned how awful this was? I mean I did have some happy affectionate nostalgia but it was overall just an incredibly bland chewed over rehash of the most shallow nostalgia laden reading of the characters, with the worst sort of "Lol you thought we were making social commentary but actually we hate poor people" plot and an incredibly unfortunate drug use metaphor/running joke. It's ten years later and noone's really grown or changed (except Weevil, bless him) Oh and Logan has finally finished his Woobie's Journey to Sainted Male Love Interest. I liked Veronica/Logan, but over 3 seasons and a movie they rehashed the same angst over and over in increasingly boring ways until it lost all meaning. See: every other aspect of the show I used to like. And despite being overall safe and pedestrian they still managed to include some really gross rape stuff, it was just tacked on at the end instead of underpinning the whole story.
alias_sqbr: Alien city skyline (atlantis)
Do you like space? Like, really like space? Do you have a soft spot for theoretical physics taken to imaginative extremes? Can you cope with yet another story about the future and fate of the world which centers entirely around white american dudes (and a light scattering of white american ladies and black american dudes) to the extent that the entire rest of the world might as well not exist? Do you really like space?

Then you might enjoy Interstellar.

I do really like space, as long as it walks that careful line of realistic enough not to make me roll my eyes but over the top scifi-ish enough to be fun (eg more Contact than Gravity) And this movie walks that line pretty well, getting some physics right that NOONE EVER GETS RIGHT but willing to sacrifice accuracy for rule of cool here and there (also The Power of Love. Like Contact with The Power of Faith, except Mathew Maconnahey is older and on the other side of the argument. And the main character :/)

It's like a live action version of the 90s hard sf I devoured enthusiastically all through my late teens, getting through the slightly hackneyed personal relationships and self indulgent dull sections through solid sensawunda. Definitely worth seeing on the big screen, you have a lot of long 2001-esque shots of slowly revolving space stations to sit through.

The world building has some interesting aspects if you don't think too hard, and the plot is ok if ponderous and unsurprising. The female characters aren't quite as useless as the trailer implies, and the black guy gets...some lines...and they're all competent, driven science nerds. But this is very much a Christopher Nolan movie, with all the incoherent morality, skeevy subtext and parochial blather that implies. ALSO NOTE: the start of the film is literally just about farming. For ages.

But, eventually...space!

(Also some background AIs. Predictably, I am both impressed at how well they were made to feel like a natural part of the background worldbuilding without the movie ever losing Space momentum and becoming About AI, and wanting an ENTIRE MOVIE about them. Set in space. Starring all the non white dude science nerds, and space)

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