opera142: (this shit is bananas)
Just read Spike cancelled Impact.
opera142: (towel)
The trailers beforehand: if you have a script featuring an old, bearded white guy who either ruthlessly controls a future dystopia or knows the secret of bringing down a future dystopia, you're going to have to walk your way to Hollywood because You Missed That Bus.

Trailer upon trailer of Old Bearded White Guys Who Were Famous In the 70s monotoning the talking points of their particular (though not unique) dystopia. By the fourth trailer, I was reverso-brainwashed and feisty and pop-culture brand rebellious. Which of these is true: do Americans have it so good that we've created a dystopia-porn industry? Or it's part of some weirdo plot to direct us away from thinking how little of American dream is coming true-- no home ownership or basic medical care for you, but it could be so much worse. You could live in a world where the only place you get to see color is in Jeff's Bridge's super library.

Anyway, Snowpiercer.

The one sentence review that spoils everything )

The longer, uncut, still spoilery review that ruins everything in detail.

Chris Evans plays Curtis, the type of hero that won't kneel to the man until he's been ordered multiple times, and then only begrudgingly will he kneel. Curtis lives in the tail (the rear cars) of a train that contains the last of humanity-- everyone else has been lost to an accidental ice age created when a plan to stymie global warming failed.

There are have and have-nots. Which gets explained to us repeatedly, first by Tilda Swinton in Margaret Thatcher drag, and then by many others. I do not know how the have and have-nots were sorted. No one other than Tilda, a handful of soldiers, a guy who makes protein bars, a sushi chef, a teacher and a manicurist have jobs. That would be my first act after seizing power in a post-cataclysmic world: give everyone meaningful work so that they either have buy-in in my Great Society or they're too tired to rebel.

Curtis is a have-not, but by God, he is determined to get to the front of the train and idk.. his plans are never really laid out. But I'm sure he's thinking of equality for all and a more democratic train.

So, he and his rag-tag band of tail-enders are planning on busting through car after car of despotism, building upon the failed plans of other, previous rag-tag bands of tail-enders. Their plans are temporarily derailed (geddit) when some soldier and a fat lady-- nothing says second-in-command-in-dystopic-fiction like an obese woman-- stop by the tail and steal some measuring-tape approved, right-sized children. This sets in motion many things: mama of a stolen kid joins the rag-tag army so as to mitigate the sausage-fest, dad of a kid fights back right then and there, and gets punished by having his arm shoved through a porthole until it freezes off, thus allowing movie viewers to judge how rebellious each character is by the number of limbs each has. To be noted: the fully-limbed Chris Evans kneels only after multiple requests; his mentor is missing an arm and leg.

Anyway, once the Tails realize that most of soldiers have empty guns (bullets have gone extinct), the push to the front begins. The Tails bust through 4 cars pretty easy, ending up in the car in which the protein bars they survive on are made. Cue everyone but the hero gorging and hording. Curtis takes a peek into the cooking vat and wretches. I'm like, the kids! But no, just lots of gross bugs.

So I'm sorta arms-cross-y about the horror show because, you know, I thought worst than the movie delivered. But, whatever, I guess I can't be mad about no-one eating babies, and wouldn't it be more logical to eat adults anyway.

Next they rescue a junkie engineer and his daughter from a prison car. They bribe him with drugs so he helps them unlock the doors between cars. Various fights scenes occur in various cars, and they are the best things about the movie. Ugly--but stylized-- close quarter combat with knives, axes and sharpened sticks, including one total horror show sequence in which the soldiers have night vision goggles, the tail-ends don't and the train goes into a tunnel. My favorite, though totally illogical and kinda stupid when thought about thoroughly scene features Main Muscle Bad Guy and Curtis staring at each other through re-enforced glass in separate cars as the train rounds a bend. They both waste way too many nearly-extinct bullets making little holes in their glass, and then each tries to shoot the other through the tiny holes. Both stand there, impassive, as bullets dent the glass next to their hearts.

The Main Muscle Bad Guy captures the Pretty Sidekick (not Sebastian Stan, some other pretty European sidekick) and Curtis is forced to choose between rescuing his friend and capturing Tilda Swinton. He choose and Tilda and the sidekick dies. More action scenes occur, occasionally broken up by odd, surreal scenes of life on the Have-side of the train. The Tail-enders enjoy a sushi break while forcing Tilda to eat a bug bar. They bust into a school day (idk, no lock-down practices for rag-tag army invasions), and again, a pregnant blonde woman is used to symbolize all that is wrong in this dystopia. Don't worry, she gets shot in the head. As does Tilda eventually, when she's no longer useful to the Have-Not cause.

Just about everyone dies along the way, even the replacement side-kick (his thing was parkour, and he gets mad acting props for actually looking like he regrets dying). And of course, the mentor, because how else can Curtis ascend to the top of the Brand New Order.

And dead sidekicks means manpain emo-speech from heroes. And serious manpain it is. Curtis resorted to cannibalism during the desperate early days of the train. Babies taste best, and he killed side-kick #1's mom with the plan to eat her baby, but mentor cut off his arm and gave it to mom-killers to eat instead, and I was like a)then why were you so delicate-freaky-pants about bug-slurry, b)how did that guy talk rationally after cutting off his arm, c) why didn't anyone eat the dead lady, d)wait, so missing arms aren't a symbol of rebelliousness; it just means people were serving their arms for dinner?

Curtis shows scars where he tried to cut of his arm, but just couldn't. Kill a woman and eat her baby, yes. Cut off arm, no.

Curtis gets to the front of the train where he meets the Old Bearded White Guy in Charge of This Dystopia. They argue about closed eco-systems and the circle of life, and oh look here, those little kids are replacing worn-out parts of the train. Scrub muck faster kiddos, we need to be to Toledo by 9pm. When reaching into the parts, Curtis loses an arm so he finally has the 3-limbed creds to run this train.

But, he lacks the time to either bleed out or seize power because junkie engineer has blown open a door to the outside (his theory of a thawing world has been supported by snow mostly melting off of a crashed airplane). The blast knocks the train off its tracks, crashing and twisting down a mountain side, killing everyone except one of the boys Curtis rescued and the junkie's daughter. They put on fur jackets and and venture off, though the snow, to rebuild humanity.
opera142: (towel)
Pretty sure this is the first time in my life I've a seen the same movie twice in a first-run theater.

My original opinions pretty much stand: Black Widow is awesome, the action is superfly, it probably should have been two movie-- one of unstoppable evil Winter Soldier with hints at him being more than he seems, and one of redeeming Bucky (a third, mostly of WS Showering and having angsty flashbacks seems necessary too though I don't know how reconcile dick shots and pg-13) and the Taking Our Freedoms is Bad Mkay message is heavy-handed and diluting itself by trying to appeal to all sides of the ideological fence. Additionally, I struggle with the unquestioning certainty of American Freedom(s). We have a lot of work on that front too, and it's just a weirdly tangled up in shitty stuff as it is in other countries.

However, heavy-handing message aside, I love the story. So much agency for everyone, so many bad decisions biting everyone in the ass, so much punishment not fitting the crime. The story got better (for me) on the second watch, sadder and creepier.

Pierce. Holy Hell. To listen to his conversations with Fury and Captain America on the second go-round, to hear how he manipulates every single exchange, the constant sniffing for information with the most seemingly small-talkish questions, the way he says stuff knowing how those words will be heard... the conversation with Captain America in Pierce's office after Fury's death is so manipulative and threatening and wrong.

My reactions to some of the conversations on the second go-round unsettled me. I went into the movie intent on paying attention to action and the beats. On the first watch, I wasn't super impressed with a lot of dialogue-- most of the jokes are meh, everyone is too nice, the big line "Who the hell is Bucky?" felt flat to me--- yes, I know it's from the comic, but I also feel the Winter Soldier doesn't jibber-jabber with his targets. (though, I can buy some other response from WS because reading reactions is a matter of self-preservation for him, and Cap gave him a too-honest reaction to ignore, but that is a 1258742145235 word post for another time; along with The Chair Scene Why Fangirls Are Interpreting It Wrong And What I Have to Say About That).

Anyways, the action. Maybe it's my lack of movie viewing showing, but the action makes me gaga. Everywhere I expected X, I got Y+. When WS rips the steering wheel out of Sam's hands, holy cats. Logically, I know it plays into a huge fear of mine (drowning in my car after it goes off a bridge. I live by lots of lakes and icy roads.), but what an efficient way of compromising your targets. Lots of competency-- especially from secondaries, one of my favorite bits was Sam on the bridge taking potshots at baddies--- wasn't using his wings, wasn't being a superhero, he was just a dude doing the right thing with his skill set.

And I like how simple-- very cool and stylized and amped and brutal, but simple-- a lot of the action was. How the characters planted their weight, block shots, reacted to counter-strikes, all of it simple and elegant and fun to watch.
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
Hey, help a neighbor out.

Put some canned food in your mailbox tomorrow. Your letter carrier will do the rest.

Need a little guidance? Can't help you with directions to your mailbox, but I'll toss out a Most Needed Foods list for you:

Kid-friendly foods: juice boxes, applesauce, cereal, mac-n-cheese

Canned fruit and veg: oh stop with the wrinkly nose and foodie pearl clutching. Kids and seniors--the majority of folks who live with food insecurity-- grub down on canned peaches. And here's the thing. Most Food Insecure folks buy or grow around 60% of their food. That means the can of peaches, that can of beans or tomatoes will be there when the 60% gives out.

Peanut butter: other than those with peanut allergies, this is one of those foods that works across cultures, generations, dietary needs and taste. It's shelf stable even after being opened, it's portionable, it's portable, it's goes with a lot of other foods... most importantly it goes with the stuff that clients of food shelves receive in bulk... crackers, pasta, day-old bakery.

Personal Care items: if you can't afford groceries, you can't afford shampoo, deodorant and tampons. There's dignity in feeling clean and put together.

Thanks!
opera142: (this shit is bananas)
Have a writing class this morning, got to the joint a little early so I could plunk down some words. All the tables near the outlets are taken up by people reading magazines or writing in paper journals. *trombone noise*
opera142: (towel)
4/20/14: off to the theater with Moe to see Captain America - Winter Soldier.

Not cutting because who reads lj anymore.

Let's get the important point out first: Sebastian Stan is hot. I could pretend to give points to the movie's attempt at discussion freedom vs. security, but it was lame, heavy-handed, and trying to appease everyone's politics. I could start with the awesomeness of the chicks... because competent without apology is my kinda thing. Also Natasha's badass moment of "the best defense is a good offense" is my new favorite gunfight moment ever. But, let's face it. It's still chicks having to carve out moments of awesome in some dude's story, and I'm in a bit of sulk over what could have been the Awesome Surprise Tough Lady was just Natasha in disguise.

So, I'm defaulting to swoon. Sulky, dark-haired dude with 90's hair and a star-stamped uniform, plus bonus tragic past pasted on yay. Yay.
opera142: (The Precious)
Godspeed Ultimate Warrior
opera142: (towel)
Quote from Chuck Wendig's latest post: And I don’t say this because I think self-publishing has no financial value. It can be lucrative, plainly, and for many authors it’s actually the best financial decision. But that’s not the same as being satisfied that it buys your bus fare (italics mine)

I <3 when other people unintentionally, unknowingly, bolster my snark.
opera142: (The Precious)
Godspeed Mae
opera142: (towel)
Season-binged it over the past couple of days. Eager for the second season. There are a few problematic plot turnings: gay-as-edgy-rebellion; tall, thin white women are the stars, everyone else is secondary.

But, the show is doing a good job at keeping the majority of the storylines about the women, even when there's a dude involved. It's also really good at giving most people deep, realistic motivations rather than generic heel/face actions.

I'm intrigued by the reactions I feel are expected of me as a viewer. Like, there's an older prisoner, former owner of a cleaning service, doing time for murdering a client who raped one of her maids. So, we're supposed to feel sorry and maybe, outraged, and I do. But it's weird to be guided to feel pity and injustice, when if the story had been about a dude in the situation, the story/emotional nudging would have been Violence is Justified, and Revenge Is Good, and the story would have been shotgun rampage without any criminal repercussions for the dude.
opera142: (bleach)
Omg. I'm over-hearing the absolute grossest conversation right now...

"Gems" so far:

"My next business venture will be a topless coffeehouse. Tittie coffeehouse. Topless waitresses will come around, and the guys can say, 'yes, I would like some cream with that.'"

"Young girls today would be better off if someone told them their whole lives 'you're nothing special'".

"When my girlfriend doesn't fee like sex, I tell her I have deadly needs."

"I tell her, 'I don't get mad. I'll just beat the shit out of whatever is pissing me off."

"If a guy goes to prison for rape, he should only have to stay in jail until the woman has sex again."

FFS, I'm at Panera.
opera142: (towel)
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night
opera142: (crayons)
I realized two things about lj today:

1) These days, I pretty much think of LJ in the past tense. Which sucks a lot. I love all you dudes, miss you guys like crazy, and wish life didn't require a reshuffling of practically everything all the damn time.

2) I've had this journal for a decade. My 30's have been digitally documented for the world to see, with only the worst of it hidden behind flocks. Random selections on my archive have reminded me that once upon a time Wendy's had coffee-flavored Frosties, I had some kind of hateboner for Batista's shoes, I could sexualize anything WWE put on television, Matt Hardy didn't absolutely repulse me, John Morrison wore all sorts of wonderful things: bedazzled abs, kilts, and I wasted all of that goodness by choosing instead to sulk over M. Hardy's receding hairline and growing soma addiction.
opera142: (crayons)
According to Subway, it is "Subtember". In celebration, write me some dirty, dirty fic.
opera142: (towel)
I was in Chicago last week for a work thing and I didn't catch Raw. And none of you bothered to say "OMG wigglepants Opera, Youtube Punk and Heyman's segment pronto! There's Handcuffed Punk getting smacked around by a shrieking Paul Heyman."
opera142: (towel)
Dean's fashion choices are still lamentable. However, Daddyissues!Punk gives me ALL THE WIGGLEPANTS.

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