As Cool As A Fruitstand

…and maybe as strange. A movie blog.

Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

What’s Making Me Happy this week – Week 30

Posted by Hedwig on July 29, 2012

I’d originally planned to talk about comedy in this post (I’ve been watching a lot of COMMUNITY and PARKS AND RECREATION lately), but I just got home from BRAVE, and well, it made me very happy.

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On the one hand, I can understand that the reviews were a bit more muted than usual with Pixar: the film doesn’t have anything comparing to WALL-E watching HELLO, DOLLY, the silent montage at the beginning of UP or the toys facing their doom together in TOY STORY 3. Despite the fact that this story has actual magic in it, it doesn’t quite get to the magical level that some moments in previous Pixar films achieved. It does, unfortunately, suffer from the same flaw as most Pixars, devolving into a fairly generic action movie in the third act.

 

Still, it made me positively giddy. Merida, to start with, is a great character, rising above the tomboy stereotype: she looks down on girly stuff, but that’s mostly because its constraining her. It’s not so much that she wants to be a boy, but that she wants the freedom granted only to boys in her world. Read the rest of this entry »

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What was making me happy last week – geeky things in week 25

Posted by Hedwig on July 1, 2012

(I started writing this post last sunday, but didn’t finish and then got crazy busy. As in, the only night I didn’t have anything planned was Wednesday, and I picked sleeping over the other things I wanted/needed to do. Belatedly, then, last week’s post, about DOCTOR WHO and A GAME OF THRONES. Oh, and note to potential employers: I swear I’m much better at keeping to externally imposed deadlines. I never want to disappoint other people – but disappointing myself, eh. Been there, etc.)

Two geeky things were making me happy last week, a sci-fi show and a fantasy book: DOCTOR WHO and A Game of Thrones.

Doctor Who because I watched the last three episodes of the first season (of New Who) this week, and can’t wait to see the rest, even if it’s too bad Eccleston will not be returning. Read the rest of this entry »

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Snow White and the Huntsman

Posted by Hedwig on June 9, 2012

Note: I’ll keep it spoiler-free above the fold, but I would like to discuss the ending below it.

Updating fairy-tales is all the rage these days, with not just two Snow White movies but even a Jack & the Beanstalk one, but they’ve really never left the public consciousness. It can be safely assumed that like vampires and Frankenstein’s, they will never truly disappear, since the bare bones of the stories can so easily be adapted to the times, the core elements familiar but the subtext fluid. The stories of princesses might all look the same, and seem to embody only the most antiquated of gender roles, but their messages and lessons still ring strong.

Snow White, of course, has always been about beauty and youth. “Who is the fairest of them all?”, the queen asks, eager to hear her own name, and furious when it turns out she is fairest no longer, surpassed by a raven-haired pale beauty with crimson lips. In the fairy tale and in the new action-movie adaptation SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, Snow White “wins” the contest because she has inner as well as outer beauty. But the movie makes implicit that the queen’s desperate desire to retain her youth and beauty is not vanity alone – she fiercely defends herself because her beauty is the source of her power, perhaps even the only power she has. She’s a monster, but a monster made by the system, and this explains why Snow White can’t help but feel sorry for her. Charlize Theron clearly relishes playing such a grandiose, evil part, but she never forgets that her queen Ravenna is at heart a pitiful creature.

It’s too bad they haven’t found a Snow White to match her. Just to clarify: I’m no Kristen Stewart hater. The Twilight movies are easy targets, but she managed to give Bella something completely absent in the books: a personality. I can understand why she was cast: she projects a certain authenticity – carefully cultivated in her public image, too – that helps her play wide-eyed wonder and innocence without it going into maudlin territory. But this Snow White is a warrior too, and when called upon to give a St. Crispin’s day speech, she can’t quite pull it off. She shouts, and her chest heaves with labored breathing, but she lacks the authority Theron has no problem summoning.

Overall, though, I thought this adaptation was both visually stunning and thematically interesting. And what really sold me on it, the thing that made sure I left the cinema not just satisfied but elated, was the ending (and here be spoilers) Read the rest of this entry »

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My Week in Pop Culture – Week 20

Posted by Hedwig on May 21, 2012

Last week was filled with social and other activities, and thus little time was left for Pop Culture. Most of the time I had was spent on twitter, following #Cannes tweets (so nice to have all those American bloggers in my time zone…), and as a result deciding to re-animate my old twitter account, changing the name to @HedInTheCloud. I’m also experimenting with #GetGlue as a way to tweet what I’m doing, though the sticker thing I can’t seem to disable is a bother, and it might be easier to just tweet directly, without a third party app. We’ll see.

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These posts will thus become more focused, talking about just one or two things I saw/read/consumer. This week: HEADHUNTERS, a Norwegian thriller about an art thief/headhunter who gets into trouble, which I went to see in the cinema by myself on Saturday night. I rather like going to the movies solo, but I was also happy that the screening room was rather full, since it’s a movie that profits from the laughs and “ewwww”‘s of an audience – could have done without the two middle aged ladies constantly asking each other what was happening, though. And it’s not like the movie is complex – it’s quite neatly constructed, as a matter of fact.

What I liked most about the movie is that the protagonist starts out so despicable (shallow, self-absorbed, manipulative, hypocritical, insecure – you name it) that you look forward to Nicolaj Coster-Waldau going all Jaime Lannister on his ass…. and then the man gets so systematically broken down from all directions in all different ways, stripped to the bone and covered in shit, that you kind of start feeling for him despite everything, maybe even rooting for him. The violence in this movie really hurts, which can’t be said for most  action movies, like for instance the other film I went to see in the cinema this weekend, SAFE. I’m not saying that’s inherently better – I rather enjoy mindless cartoon violence every once in a while – but it’s nice  that both exist. 

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On Fantasy

Posted by Hedwig on May 6, 2012

Note: there’s quite a bit of nostalgic/biographical nonsense in the first three paragraphs, but after that I get to discussing China Miéville’s PERDIDO STREET STATION and Scott Lynch’s THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA – in case that might be something you’re into.

I read quite a bit of fantasy as a teenager. THE LORD OF THE RINGS, of course, twice: the Dutch translation when I must’ve been 11 or 12, the original a few years later. I also remember devouring David Eddings’ BELGARIAD cycle, probably even more (I remember reaching the double digits in how many books of his I read), and I would take the heavy tomes with me to school, reading in any spare moment, on the floor with my back against the wall, completely oblivious to my surroundings. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Hunger Games

Posted by Hedwig on March 24, 2012

(cross-posted to tumblr)

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 Maybe this is how you make a truly faithful adaptation: make sure the same criticisms and praise that apply to the book can be applied to your movie as well. In this case: clumsy style decisions are luckily overshadowed by the strength of the story, story-telling and characters.

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Justified S03E09 – Loose Ends

Posted by Hedwig on March 20, 2012

We’re heading into the home stretch, and JUSTIFIED knocked another one out of the park. Without further ado, let’s get to all the disparate elements that came together here.

The most fascinating plot for me was the culmination of Ava’s descent (or should that be ascent?) to criminality. Read the rest of this entry »

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Justified S03E08 – Watching the Detectives

Posted by Hedwig on March 13, 2012

It’s still not intentional, but I’m kind of liking writing these recaps just before the next episode airs. It gives my impressions a chance to settle, and it invariably makes me psyched to see what’s next – even if, like last week, the episode kind of fizzles out.

Well, that’s not really true. The episode’s plot fizzles out, with Raylan rather easily wriggling out of both traps sprung on him, but the conversation between Raylan and Wynn Duffy toward the end of the ep if simply brilliant. You could show just that scene to anyone who doesn’t yet watch Justified and make them a convert – that’s how cool and well-written it is. Well-performed, too, and it even plays a valuable role in the ongoing plot, showing Duffy’s not quite been declawed yet, and that we shouldn’t count him out amidst this season’s proliferation of villains.

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Justified S03E07 – The Man Behind the Curtain

Posted by Hedwig on March 6, 2012

Note: breaking news! We’re definitely getting a 4th season!

Maybe it’s just because I’ve been watching those GAME OF THRONES promos too much, but I’ve been thinking about power again. Two new players are introduced this week, and they provide two new perspectives on how to wield – or not wield – power.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Angelina Jolie’s leg

Posted by Hedwig on February 29, 2012

So, everyone’s in a huff, because of this:

 

 

It was mocked (brilliantly, imho) right away by Jim Rash, adopting a similar pose when accepting his screenwriting Oscar, many twitters and tumblr’s were born, etc. And the concern trolling started: cries that she should eat a sammich/cheeseburger – always either of those two, somehow – speculations about drugs and/or a mental breakdown, designations of “Most Try“.

 

Everyone just seems so… peeved. My pet theory? People expect women (or at least “hot” women, and glamorous stars in particular) to perform femininity and sex appeal – but they don’t want to know it’s a performance. Kind of like women are expected to look flawless without revealing any of the effort it requires. Jolie made the performance aspect of it undeniable, glaring even, and the backlash is immediate: she “tries too hard”, and (burn!) isn’t-all-that-sexy-anyway-look-how-bony-ugh.

As a not-really-conventionally-pretty* girl not employed in the entertainment industry, I have the luxury of opting out of a lot of the performance elements – I never wear make-up, for instance, and few people will even notice if I show up to work in a hoodie. Jolie, for obvious reasons, can’t (remember the time Julia Roberts forgot to shave under her armpits?). Her bankability and perceived employability depend on her looking the part of a sex symbol. I wouldn’t even be surprised if the photographers actually asked her to show her leg on that red carpet, as appears to be the case – and her response was both hilarious and, in its way, subversive.

 

*note: I like the way I look, and this is in no way to be interpreted as a call for re-assurance.

 

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