Archive for the ‘Now reviewing…’ Category

Pacific Rim movie

January 6, 2014

Just saw Pacific Rim.  I had a couple of thoughts.  Just stupid little formless things.

First: the equation that might have indicated the exponential increase of kaiju attacks – I’m definitely not mathematical, but it seems like an equation like that could either be much simpler or else it could have been done in a graphical format.  You know, the whole math thing be done two moves earlier like they talk about so much in the movie.

Second: most scientists I know don’t fetishize their work as it is presented by their characters.   Yes, lots of them are weird and over-involved in their product.   It’s their work and hence while really cool to them, it is also humdrum and kind of a pain and an ever-present burden hovering over their shoulder as they worry about their jobs.

Third:  Guillermo del Toro loves the conflict between hardware and soft nature.  He is usually on the side of hardware, but he does love all the flourishes only crazy organics can do.  He also totally loves anime, and is obviously the same age as W because W could pinpoint a lot of the homage.

Fourth:   I have got to stop reading movie meta.  Don’t get me wrong, I love it.  I don’t give a crap about spoilers.  But people love these movies and they start theorizing and I eat that up, so delicious, and then it gets me all excited about the movie.  I imagine the movie is going to be awesome.  Then I see the movie and it’s a bit of a let-down.  I just imagine that the movie would have been so awesome before I was in on somebody else’s squee.  Very little can match somebody else’s squee.  You’ve got to build up your own squee yourself.  At least, I do.

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day dreams

July 12, 2013

So I got an invitation to subscribe to a knitting magazine.

It contained the usual sorts of things you’d expect: descriptions of the amount I’d save by subscribing, the awesomeness of their patterns (from beginning to advanced), knitwear designers, ways to improve your skills, reviews on products.  Then came:   “Inspiring photography that invites you into a yarn-filled daydream.”

Cue image of me with a thought bubble, and the only thing in the bubble is a skein of yarn on some grass, somewhere in the Hebrides or a fjord or something.   (I don’t need cute animals or attractive people in scanty knitwear – I just want yarn on a lovely landscape.)

Knitting magazine, my hat’s off to you.  You really know your audience.

(Conclusion, I didn’t subscribe.  But you definitely got my attention.)

not alice starmore

April 24, 2013

I just finished reading Adrienne Martini’s book, Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously.  Basically, the author knits a difficult sweater and talks a lot of people during the time she does it.   The author is interested in why people knit, what is the meaning behind really designing a sweater, the community of knitting.  It was a good fast read in a topic I’m obviously interested in.  I liked it, but I had some thoughts.  Further, she talks about the designer – Alice Starmore, who is a star in the knitting world.  (I have some of her books, and they are inspirational, but I probably won’t be knitting any patterns from them.)  Martini (or the persona she presents in this book) is someone who is seeking validation for her choices, trying to learn more about a person (or a way of thinking) who is, ultimately, not accessible.   It’s a bit unsatisfying in that way.

I think a central concept of the book – whether or not any changes made to an item designed by someone, even an item as particularly detailed as the sweater of the book by the designer in question – it doesn’t sit well with me.  Because things as perceived by the designer isn’t necessarily going to satisfy the knitter.  (I suppose Martini could be doing this intentionally to the reader, but she doesn’t seem to be that kind of writer, nor this that kind of book.)

I’m not quoting this right – but I think it’s Stephanie Pearl-McPhee that says what is closest to what my own opinion: any changes you make to a sweater makes it less theirs and more yours.  (Like making an Alice Starmore-designed stranded sweater in exactly her branded 100% wool specially dyed yarns and colors as opposed to fiddling with sizing and pattern and color and yarn content.)

My thinking is that this relationship between knitter and designer, between concept and execution, is a collaboration.

Honestly, by virtue of having made the sweater, it is yours.  The designer, most likely, doesn’t have a relationship with you, ordinary consumer knitter (except by a few small types of impersonal transactions – sales, Ravelry displays), and it is unlikely they will ever see your work of their design.  But you definitely have a relationship with them.  (There’s got to be a word for that kind of mostly one-sided relationship.)   Knitting something that was designed by someone else reveals a bit of the contours of the designer’s thought process – even simple phrasing like “Cast-on in your preferred method” versus “Cast-on tubular, exactly like this link, or else the fit will be wrong.”

It’s a bit like fandom, really.  Someone presents you with their work (“canon”) and you love it so much that you want to participate in it (“fandom”).  (The knitting thing is all about participation, but some people by their very nature are just participators, whatever their “craft” – fic, art, what have you.)  And Pearl-Mcphee also says something about being very surprised about some of the ways/places her patterns have ended up (“not her vision”) – and I imagine much similar can be said for the creators of almost any popular media.

It’s multiple levels of transformation, some more faithful than others. (The stories I have loved and have gone back to over time are often not exactly the way I remember them.)

Part of my feelings have to do with being a creator of sorts, of writing fic – that what I imagine as fabulous and amazing doesn’t necessarily come out to be the same as I imagine.  (Translation 1.)  And then there’s the weird thing where someone else seems to like it – but maybe not necessary for the reasons that I like it (or why I wrote it)  (Translation 2).  And if they do a riff on it, then it becomes something else entirely, in my opinion, even though they think they’re being faithful to some aspect of it (Translation 3).  It’s interesting, and I want the stuff to be done well because if it truly is a story I don’t like for whatever reason – what does it say about my own work?  (Which I recognize is stupid – because really, it should be bout the pride and happiness of the writer who did that story as opposed to self-centered me.)  But this is all hypothetical.  If and when that does happen, I will accept that and try to be happy I inspired somebody else’s creativity because, really, what else can I do if I put my stuff out there?  If it truly gets to be a problem, I will take my stuff down and be done with it.

Now, perhaps the creators of canon see my fic as some awful misshapen acrylic Red Heart Supersaver in neon colors when they imagine their own canon to be, well, an Alice Starmore.

knitting a prawno

March 23, 2013

I just saw the movie Zack and Miri Make a Porno.  It’s a Kevin Smith movie, and I do enjoy a Kevin Smith movie from time to time.  Which means there’s a lot of colorful language, some substance usage, and some toilet humor.  (I’m going to admit it – I’m not above that.)

I was noticing all the hats and scarves Miri (actress Elizabeth Banks) was wearing in the movie – and it’s sort of a weird for a movie to have it so much featured knitting, although since I’ve started to knit more seriously, I’ve been noticing that kind of thing more often.  I was watching a deleted scene and Miri is knitting, sitting in front of a sign for a craft store (I’m guess she works there).  It makes so much sense now!  In every scene, there is a whole different set of knitwear.   (Although I don’t know if Elizabeth Banks can actually knit.  More like she’s just holding the needles and yarn with a thoughtful expression – which is sort of relevant to the plot, but any knitter would be knitting furiously in that sort of emotional state.)

I borrowed the movie from the local library, where it is simply titled Zack and Miri.  The idea that one of the little old ladies (and indeed they are little old ladies at my local library) bought this movie, perhaps without knowledge of what this movie was, is pretty funny to me.  It’s funnier still if they did know what the movie was.  (And good on ’em if they did.)

Edited to note that apparently Elizabeth Banks did learn how to knit for the movie.

currently

March 12, 2013

So I finished the brioche stitch hat as it was and didn’t let it ruin my day.  (We’ll let the whole “ruin my shower” thing go.)

briochehatdone

You can’t hardly tell that it was driving me crazy, could you?  (The encouraging answer here would be “No.”)

It’s too big for J, but that’s okay.  I can keep it safe for her (while wearing it).  I purposely made it a few repetitions longer, and I guess my knitting is always a bit loose.

Now, I’ve got to figure out what else to make.

And in other news: on Presidents’ Day, W and I saw Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer.  (Awww, yeah, ‘Merica!)  The movie was okay, but I think I must have a knee-jerk reaction to action movies these days.  It’s just too slick, and generic, and the analogy of slavers to vampires kind of doesn’t work.

Abraham Lincoln’s real-life mythos is a hard thing to overcome – he’s a towering figure in American history, and he doesn’t need to be a vampire killer to be awesome.  (In fact, it makes him a little bit diminished if that’s all he is.)  He’s my favorite president.  I was a fangirl from waaaaay back – like, second grade.  So, your media presentation better do it right, otherwise, it just won’t work for me.

I know I’ve said that if there were depictions of American historical figures as action figures, I’d be all over it, but this was not the way to do it.   I guess I meant it more cartoony – like anime style.

Besides, if you think about young Abraham Lincoln, dude was already an action figure.  Splitting all those logs?  Wrasslin’?  Circuit-riding?  Action-debating?  Rising from poverty and a harsh childhood to become President of the United States?  Aww, yeah, Abe.  You the man.

clash of the whoozits?

March 9, 2013

Recently saw the remake of Clash of the Titans.

Ugh.  Just terrible.  Not even so bad it’s good.  Just terrible.  Shitty writing, shitty direction, poor use of what is obviously too many resources.  An all-around rotten movie.

But probably better than the movie it started being.

From Wikipedia, “The Main villain was the Sumerian Sea Goddess of Death and Destruction, Tiamat. Perseus was originally kidnapped by an avatar of an unidentified Chthonian Earth Goddess, who planned to have him married to Andromeda so as to develop better relations with humanity. The Earth Goddess and Perseus proceed to fall in love. Zeus prepared to engage in war with Tiamat; taking the aids of other gods (such as Thoth, Marduk, Yahweh and Osiris). A High Priest named Fantasos starts a Cult of Tiamat that quickly conquers the city. Andromeda was originally a promiscuous spoiled Princess who possessed various male sex slaves.”

Like they were just cutting and pasting random words and images from an 1980’s D&D manual.  Ridiculous.  But in light of this information, the resulting movie is probably genius.

(In thinking about it, the wikipedia snippet sounds like fanfic on steroids – the stuff that other people spork.)

podcasts

January 15, 2013

I like to listen to podcasts.  Especially comedy podcasts.  They’re great for when I’m knitting or cooking or doing a little housework.  I like the voices, the different viewpoints, the surprise of guests, the whole thing.  I like not being distracted by the picture, like I would be with television.  Plus, I can carry the thing around from room to room if I need to.

And if I like the speaker/guest I will go see if they’ve got stuff on the Internet.  Often, I’m really surprised when I actually see what the speaker looks like.  Just the reality of that person – the individual characteristics of hair and face aren’t usually what I picture.  Because I think the voices give a clue as to what the person looks like, a clue that is often false.   The off-set in my head was a weird thing.

Then I realized what it is that I do.  If I like what the person is saying, and I think it’s funny or deep or interesting, I imagine the speaker is really attractive, man or woman.  (To me.  Other things could vary.)

When I said this to W, he looked at me and just *twinkled* – like I had give him the compliment.

tinkering and tailoring

November 2, 2012

I’ve watched Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy recently.

My wants are simple.  My needs few.   I want cross-over fic between Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)  and Naruto.    Maybe where there’s a suspected leak, Sandaime or Tsunade as Control, Kakashi as Smiley, Iruka as Guillam…  I don’t give a shit really, who else is who.  I guess Mizuki could be Haydon, Danzo as Alleline.  Naruto as Ricki Tarr?  Hinata as Irina?  Obito as Karla?

Honestly, I just want Cold War-like spying anecdotes and serious men in well-fitted suits crying about their pasts and the lives and loves they’ve sacrificed.

I’ve always like spy movies.  I tried reading The Little Drummer Girl when I was in high school, but I just don’t think I had enough patience to figure it all out.   I probably should have read it a couple of times more than I did.  It was more cerebral than I was expecting.  (Please give me a break – I was a teenager, for one, and I had a lot of pretensions, for another.)

But now, after Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, (which I watched a bunch of times in the past couple of weeks), it all seems so intriguing and layered and I could spend some time in this mental place.  First of all, I found the movie rewarding on multiple watches.  (Partly because it seemed like it was starting slowly, but it was actually full-on Things Happening and I wasn’t noticing and my weakness is catching names with what might be a large cast.   But once I got it, holy cow!)

W loved the whole thing about the Santa/Lenin and the singing in Russian.   He wonders if it could be a real life anecdote.  And the way they tried to make attractive actors into less attractive everyday men in non-glamorous jobs.  Also,  beautifully shot.   Some of the angles were really beautifully done.  (The scene where Smiley is talking about Karla and the shot that takes in the empty chair across from him really caught my attention.)  The usage of light was also great.  The period clothes, slow-moving archival paper pushing, the sudden, startling violence amidst the slowness, the endless smoking.  Did I mention the suits?   I love all of it.

So, yeah.  Next up might be the 80’s mini series, just to see the comparison.  (Although I’m not certain I want to enter the fandom for it.  Not ready for slash between any of the characters, even though W had ascertained something between Prideaux and Haydon in a way I didn’t.  And he doesn’t even own slash goggles!)

Things Meme made me do

July 21, 2012

I watched The Fifth Element.  You know, that cheeze-tastic movie with Bruce Willis and the lady without eyebrows, and directed by Luc Besson.

So, thanks to the internet, I figured out there’s a lot more going on in this movie than I first thought when my brother made me watch it when it first came out on DVD.  (It’s his favorite movie, by the way.  Honestly.  He loves it.  I think he has a bit of a crush on Bruce Willis.  Although to be fair, so did almost everybody in the world at one time or another.  I just didn’t think the bleach blond look did a lot for him – or the orange.  What is up with Gaultier and the orange in this movie?)   So now, I do respect it more.  Still not in the top ten, though.  Sorry, bro.

However, I did watch John Carter recently.  (Based on Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars books.)  I could give two nothings about the actual Princess or John Carter or their romance.  I was totally captivated by the Tharks (not the Martians).  Their horde, their rituals, their religion – even the overdone arena/gladiator scene is somehow new and fresh in this movie.  There’s something so awesome about them – I can’t quite explain it.  I also quite liked the bits of steampunk-ishness.

I’m afraid that John Carter might be my Fifth Element.  I can’t tell if it’s bad, because I am overwhelmed with the four-armed awesome that is the Tharks.  And Tars Tarkis.  And Solas.  All my tears for them.  It appears I am a sucker for weepy family tropes tucked into stupid sci-fi/fantasy novels.   And alien physiology.   Sigh.  (Maybe it’s just alien weepy family tropes that I like.  I do have trouble with John Carter wearing his wife’s wedding ring with his ring on the same finger.  Yes, I know, angst.  Still, his wife either had a really fat ring finger or John Carter has unusually skinny fingers.  My mother, who is zaftig and a bit taller than my father, still wears a smaller ring than he does, because he’s got big knuckles, like most guys I know. )

Now I want to go out and read the books, but I’m afraid I won’t like them.  Because they’re full of the problematic stuff of a 100 years ago.  And not just any 100 years ago, but the 100 years of the most id-ficcy Ur-tropey dude-bro thing ever.   Maybe when I have time, and find the books my brother’s got.  I just don’t want to shell out the money for this yet.

More Thor-ness

July 7, 2012

I was going to write some more fic, but found myself staring at the screen and checking email.  Go me.

So now, I will post my thoughts (scintillating) about having actually seen Thor, the movie.  (I am so edgy, you’d best keep your distance, else you might get cut.  Ha.)

ALIENS?!

ALIENS?!  What the ever-loving thing was the writer thinking?  They should know better!  Technology so advanced = magic bleh trope.  THOR’S A DIETY, NOT E.T.

I’m so irritated, it ended up in capslock.

At least he didn’t end up with the girl.  (I do think it would be nicer for her to end up a lesbian with Darcy, but there you go.)

I kept running this through my head, trying to figure out the best way this piece of fanart might actually turn into decent fanfic – but all the true horrors and pleasures of fanfic escape this movie.  There is no gratuitous sex, gay or otherwise, there is no real clothing/furniture/technology pron.  There is a little bit of woobie.  Okay, movie, I’ll give you that.  But nobody is getting their id stroked from what bits were available.  It’s not really long enough for the scenes that are most interesting, and the scenes that draw out forever (getting to the hammer) are kind of unnecessary.  Also, what – the sword in the stone analogue?  *rolls eyes*

I was a little irritated with the whole Marvel Universe thing coming over and over, but it is a franchise so you have to allow for them to sell it.  Never mind the Grape Nuts they were also trying to sell.  (Did anybody else notice that?)

I also have a hard time buying most actors as scientists/nerds.  I just do.  I have spent my life around them and being one and it’s just different.   What Hollywood thinks is nerdy and scientific is not what I have seen.  Fake glasses don’t cut it.  Nor do whimsical t-shirts.  Will think more and come back to this.