recent movies

2017-Mar-05, Sunday 12:28
mindstalk: (rogue)
As usual when visiting S, I get exposed to movies.

* Moonlight. Emotionally powerful, but kind of unpleasant for me. Would probably not watch again.

* Castle in the Sky: I've seen this at least three times, 2007, 2014, and now. I keep liking the movie, but checking my notes, I keep forgetting what I observe about it, like how its a visual melange of motifs from other Ghibli movies, or the fact that the dubbed cast includes Rogue and Dawson Leery. (That it includes Luke Skywalker I do remember.) Has a good dub... I'm not 100% sure if I've actually watched it in Japanese, though I probably did in 2007.

* The Tale of Princess Kaguya: I've wanted to see this for a while, and finally did! Beautiful and sad. Different visual style from the usual Ghibli. Decent dub.

Castle notes over the years:

It's Gort! Who attacks Gort? Oh, secret heirs... visual melange of
Cagliostro and Nausicaa in one scene.
Behind the Microphone: James van der Beek (Dawson) as Pazu. Mark Hamill
(Luke) as Muska. Anna Paquin as Lucita. Now to compare Laputa and
X-Men directly and see if her voice changes.

movie: Castle in the Sky (re) big hit. scary for M.
I noted it's kind of a theme or motif mashup of Nausicaa, Cagliostro,
and Spirited Away. The princess and evil relative from Cagliostro, the
nature and God Monsters of Nausicaa, the engineer guy from Spirited Away...
her pigtails get shot off, making Sheeta look more like the standard heroine
not just Mark Hamill. Anna Paquin as Sheeta(!), James Van Der Beek as
Pazu, Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya as Louis?). I don't known Cloris
Leachman as Dola, but others do, and long career

M got excited and squirmy a lot.
engineer in Castle reminds me of stoker in Spirited.
Ponzu dad's drawing looked like long haired Mushka.
crystal scene like spirits in Mononoke
pink skull pirates.
pink pants
I wondered if they wear the same clothes, she actually changes a lot. four outfits.
flooded city like Cagliostro
inscription like cuneiform
squirrel things like Nausicaa
Egyptian art style on Laputa
700 years gap
robot like god warrior.
sodom, Indra's arrow.
progress, can't stay hidden
shoots her pigtails off


2017-Jan-22, Sunday 16:54
mindstalk: (lizqueen)
Saw it this afternoon. Fairly good. Or at least it had catchy songs (if not as catchy to me as Frozen) and I teared up a few times, so it does the job of a good Disney musical-movie. I did wonder about the response of native Hawaiians or Polynesians to some of the cultural depiction. Checking Wikipedia... the main criticisms there are about the lack of a strong goddess, and Maui being an "overweight" buffoon. So "culture is okay, but the gods weren't." Also controversy about a costume.

Absolutely no romance, even less than in Brave.
mindstalk: (Earth)
I. Headphones
I keep buying cheap earbuds and they keep breaking mysteriously. I'm not sure this is avoidable, even if you spend lots of money. Well, there is some alleged "Rugged" model out there. I figure as long as they're cheap enough it's okay, but I searched anyway, and found good reviews for the Panasonic Ergo-fit TPM 125. Also some others. Not necessarily for ruggedness, but for sounding good and fitting well at a $10 price point. And Panasonic has a good reputation with me, I've liked all few of their products I've owned (a walkman tape player, a VCR) compared to alternatives. And Consumer Reports rated them very highly for reliability a while back.

OTOH I also like instant gratification, and when I popped into a Dollar Tree the other day, I found earbuds there (despite what the two employees I asked thought) for, yes, a dollar. I bought three different ones.

One is technically over ear -- not like a muff, just hooks that go over your fleshy bit. Sounds okay but not that comfortable, and pops out when I try to wear my actual noise muffs over them. The second one sounded okay but smelled of plastic so strongly that I got paranoid about cheap Chinese products and put it in my spare room to air out. The third one I opened too and left to air as well.

Then I decided to go by Panasonic. Never seen them in a store so away! to Amazon! Next day wasn't that much more compared to basic shipping, so I indulged, and they came tonight. Sound fine and fit well, yes; nothing's going on for me to judge their noise isolation properties. And they don't smell toxic.

Keep in mind I'm no connoisseur, so feel free to be skeptical about my ideas about "sounds fine."

II. Bikes and pedestrians
So when I'm a pedestrian, I hate it when a bike zips by me at speed. "What if I'd stepped to the side for some reason?" I wonder. So when I sidewalk -- which I do a lot, because cars are scary -- I try to pass peds considerately, with enough space that I'd miss them even after a big sudden step sideways. If I can't I slow down a lot; if they look particularly fragile or unpredictable (senior, child, dog) I slow down even more, to pushing with my feet if need be.

OTOH I admit that from the other side, sometimes you can model the ped so that they seem predictable and you don't have to be that chary. Today I had an example: I was taking my safety-cut (I'm not sure it's a short-cut) across Harvard's extended campus, and a woman was crossing from left to right. Totally unaware of me, but given the paths and visibility, it totally made sense that I could zip by her on the left with little risk.

III. The Martian
I read the book a while back and liked it. I've heard the movie is good and sort of thought I should see it. When I realized it had left the Somerville theater (which is nice and walkable) I realized it was starting to fade and I should go see it Now. Happily I got two friends to come with me to the Alewife/Apple Cinmea. It was pretty good. They cut out at least two crises from the book, and may have jazzed up the final intercept a bit, I'm not sure. I'm still skeptical that Martian storms are at all like that. But good. I cried. I was disappointed they cut Mark's boobies emoticon/leet after they told him he was live.

As for the theater, I miss Somerville. Or Kendall. We had to buy tickets from the concession stand, waiting for her to finish getting food for other people. While there's a certain labor efficiency, it's also inefficient for people not planning to buy stuff. And she refused to give me a cup of water. I don't know if they'd have let me bring in a backpack with a water bottle inside. Oddly, there seemed to be lots of other employees standing around doing nothing.

I'm fairly sure that Kendall gave me a cup of water when I asked, and I don't remember grievances against it or Somerville, so probably either got cups or brought my backpack in.

The three of us stood in the lobby talking about it for a bit; right after the other two split off a woman asked me what we'd just seen. I guess we sounded animated and excited, I'm skeptical she was randomly hitting on me.
mindstalk: (lizsword)
I saw this with friends last night. In 3D! My first 3D movie ever, I think. Certainly with the new type of glasses, though I have a vague memory of the old paper blue and red ones.

Short verdict: fun, funny, actiony, not very deep. Some spoiler comments below.

Trailers: something so dumb I won't name it; "Annie" which seems a modernized and race-flipped Lil Orphan Annie; "Secret of the Tomb" which seemed potentially amusing, and something I correctly identified as "Into the Woods" before it became undeniable. Coming out on Christmas. I'm torn between fear of the medium change and, well, I've seen 3 different performances of the musical, and listen to the soundtrack a lot, I'll probably go see it. When I say I like musicals, that largely means I like Into the Woods. Won't be seeing it on opening day, not if I'm in Chile again, though...

Spoilers for Guardians
Spoilers )
mindstalk: (Mami)
I just saw this tonight, spontaneously with fanw, as if we're friends living near each other. Shocking! The movie... I'm not going to try to describe in any detail. It's humorous, I'd say a blend of surrealism, silliness, and genre-bending; it reminds me of my very dim memories of "O Brother Where Art Thou". I rather doubt it'll become one of the great memories of my life in its own right, but it was entertaining.

It soooo does not pass the Bechdel test.
It has somewhat more gore and violence then I expected from a humorous movie about a quaint old hotel.
Fanw's German is rusty but she had some comments on the German in the movie, which I didn't catch. Lutz is probably fake but she asked about Lodz, and playing Eurorails with G&S taught me that Lodz is in Poland, FWIW, and that suggests to me me that the imaginary Ruritania of the movie could well be a fake Poland. Before, I would have placed it more to the SE, in the Balkans or Bulgaria. Not that it matters. At all.
If you stay for the ending credits, as I was raised to do, then they're not too long, you get to see lots of exotic German or Slavic names, and there's really catchy Eastern European music which I sort of danced to in the back of the theatre. Near the end there's even an animated dancing guy in traditional Slavic costume. I did not try to imitate his headstands.

This was in the Davis Square Somerville "we sell beer and wine" Theatre which I hadn't been to before, so afterwards fanw showed me the Museum of Bad Art in the basement. I just realized I have no memory of how we got there, or out, as I simply did my usual following-a-friend thing with minimal attention to the route. Like old times. Anyway, the museum has various paintings, allegedly meant to be serious paintings by adults, and snarky commentary in the identifying placards. It, too, was amusing. I guess you have to have a movie ticket to get to it. Or, checking the inevitable website, go to one of the other locations...

Wow, that makes five movies I've seen this year, not counting the Christmas vacation ones (seeing DVDs with the family I'm staying with is traditional) and it's only mid-April. Three of them in theatres! My recent average has been under one a year.

Disney's Frozen

2014-Mar-10, Monday 20:30
mindstalk: (rogue)
I've never been a big Disney movie person, though I've started to wonder if I've missed something. But i went to see "Frozen" Friday, and wow! Really good. Also not primarily about a comical snowman, despite the misdirection of some trailers or ads,t apparently. It's pretty musical -- I thought that was normal for Disney, thus my wonder if I've missed something, but I've seen people call this one in particular "a musical". I'm a bit sorry now I missed the sing-along version, that could have been fun.

I wouldn't call it perfect; it's got all the detailed worldbuilding of a Disney princess movie, and the plot setup is rather accelerated, staccato even. OTOH, some of the weaknesses some people perceive are actually subtly (or not) addressed in the movie.

If you're willing to trust me, I'd say go out and see it soon (hurry! it's been out since November, can't be around too much longer, can it?) and read the rest of this later. If you're not, or you have seen it, well, spoilers ahead:

"Riding across the fjords like a valiant, pungent reindeer king!"

Read more... )

Unrelated: Disney princesses as Doctors Who. Mostly lost on me really, but Rapunzel as the Fourth Doctor is worth it alone.

Pixar's Brave

2013-Feb-13, Wednesday 23:51
mindstalk: (lizsword)
The queen was able to read her mail. I assume these pseudo-Scots use scribes to actually write, since it would have been a much different movie had a bear been able to carve words into the turf. Not that we see any hints of any other written matter anywhere in the movie.

Still, it was emotionally effective, and I enjoyed watching it. Something in the air, I was tearing up for some reason near the end, and I didn't even cook with onions today!

Most of my Linux media programs choked on the DVD, only totem came through, and it needed some patience and thwacking to get to the Bonus Shorts. Yes, it turns out you can thwack a piece of software.

Moon the movie

2009-Jul-20, Monday 21:27
mindstalk: (Default)
This is mostly a Facebook Beacon test. But we saw it last night, and it was good. I thought it was pretty flawed at first, but most of the major flaws turned out to be actual plot points. There's still the fact that I see claims lunar He3 isn't that good a resource --- takes more energy to extract than you'd get from fusing it -- but if that were the worst still say about a space movie it's pretty good. I still thing the political-economics are probably dodgy but not as much as they first appeared. OTOH, Gerty is a big gaping mystery and question mark aimed at the premise.
mindstalk: (rogue)

Or am I forgetting something? I guess Uhura and her nameless Orion roommate talked very briefly about Uhura's work, so maybe a partial pass.

There's a blog but it went on hiatus before the movie came out.


2007-Aug-26, Sunday 21:54
mindstalk: (robot)
Just saw it. Liked it. Noted lots of differences from the original. Think I prefer the original, especially as a fairy tale -- this was more like "Stardust as an action movie plus extra luv, and much less bittersweet." The ending was a nice alternate, though I don't think was even possible in the original -- candletravel didn't work that way.

"It's Julio Scoundrel and the training montage!"

So, good movie, but Yvaine as the immortal regent of Stormhold will be the 'real' Stardust for me.


2007-Aug-23, Thursday 14:34
mindstalk: (Default)
Anyone not seen it yet, or want to see it again? Because I haven't.

At Kerasotes east at 3:30, 6:30, 9:30, plus 12:30 on Saturday.
mindstalk: (robot)
Just watched Laputa. Pretty good. Thoughts:

It's Gort!
Who attacks places that can make Gort? (This is later answered.)
It looks like Cagliostro! And now Nausicaa!
Gee, even when his heroines look different, they end up looking alike.
Oh no!
Oh, okay.

Then I checked the "Behind the Microphone" special, which taught me that:
the English dubs still make me cringe
the English dubs sound like they had a different translator than the subtitles
James van der Beek aka Dawson of the eponymous Creek is Pazu and doesn't sound too bad, unlike who ever did Lucita.
Mark Hamill aka Luke Skywalker plays Muska

IMDB tells me Hamill's done a lot of TV and voice actor work. (Including in Nausicaa.) I guess his performance as Luke didn't launch him onto a great acting career.
IMDB also tell me Lucita was Anna Paquin. Wait, I like Anna Paquin! She's Rogue! Now I need to listen to Laputa and X-Men together and see if I'm right that dubbing is meant to sound horrible.
mindstalk: (robot)
[ profile] lyceum_arabica and I saw Moore's "Sicko" tonight. Well done for emotional impact. Low on stats, though the claims it did make on comparative health measures are AFAIK accurate, and supplementable by how much we spend for our lower outcomes. We wondered how much emigration it might inspire. The credits even mention a site[1].

Stats I don't have are on how representative his horror stories are: he got lots of complaints, he showed us people being bankrupted or denied treatment, and health care workers and doctors testifying as to how they're paid better to deny treatment (vs. the British doctor getting paid more for getting patients to stop smoking, or get low blood pressure in the pool), but how many insured Americans do run into such problems? Of course, even those who don't still get the experience of being afraid to be unemployed for a while, or to start a small business, due to the high expense of individual insurance if you can even get it.

He actually didn't make some of the standard financial arguments for universal care. He touched on such systems paying for preventive care, and thus having lower total costs than ER-based care (the US *has* government mandated universal care, really, with ERs having to take in anyone; it's just a really inefficience and ineffective form of care) but not that heavily, and didn't say anything private insurers having high overhead, plus the billing overhead doctors have to deal with, nor the point that insurance works better the bigger the pool that risk is spread among.

Note when I think of universal health care, I think of "Medicare for all", not the epicyclic mandates and subsidies of existing insurers that the leading Democratic contenders talk about, and which HR Clinton was into the first time around, or a couple of states have done (Vermont (Howard Dean) and Massachusetts). Yay, insurance, but you're still dealing with inefficient denial happy profit-driven bureaucracies; much of Sicko is about the insured who get screwed anyway, not the uninsured.

[1] Huh, just noticed James dropped from his Usenet sig.

Racist 300?

2007-Apr-02, Monday 16:18
mindstalk: (Default)
I still haven't seen it, but I got this article from my mother.
Gary Leupp on 300

The message is indeed clear. Sparta = Greece = the Western World = freedom. Persia = slavery and oppression. This was perhaps the gist of Herodotus' message; he did write that while the Greeks knew that men were free, the "Asiatics" knew only that one (the ruler) was free. But that was a skewed
notion in his time and can only dangerously circulate in our own, while Iran is in the neocons' crosshairs. Again, I think the Iranians might be over-concerned, since much of the film-viewing crowd won't even associate the ancient Persians with the modern Iranians, but the "clash of civilizations" theme is definitely there.

I would propose that those exposed to it imagine a different Xerxes than the nose-pierced caricature in the film. Imagine a Xerxes who addresses the American audience, including the Christian fundamentalist audience, as follows:

"I am Xerxes, Emperor of Persia, son of Darius, grandson of Cyrus. My grandfather Cyrus liberated the Jews from their Babylonian exile and let them return to Judea and rebuild their temple. My father Darius urged our people to revere the 'God of Daniel.' I myself married Esther, a Jew."

"I come from a long line of believers in the One God preached by Zarathustra, our Persian prophet whose teachings have influenced the Jews during their exile among us. I refer specifically to their concepts of
Satan, Heaven and the future Messiah which weren't part of their pre-exile belief system and are clearly borrowings from our Persian religion.
In short: 300's depiction of the battle of Thermopylae is not merely inaccurate, as any film adaptation of a graphic novel has the perfect right to be. It's what the Iranians say it is: racist and insulting. It pits the
glorious Greeks with whom the audience must sympathize against a "mystical" and "tyrannical" culture posing an imminent existential threat. It is, de facto, an anti-Persian/anti-Iranian propaganda film, and should be rated appropriately: not just R (for racist) but X---for extremely stupid and
vicious and dangerously ill-timed.

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