Unordered List

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Teen Wolf: The Girl Who Knew Too Much.

Previously on Teen Wolf: "Visionary".

Before we move onto this week's review, I've gotta mention that immediately after posting last week's, I heard a theory that I reeeeally hope is true. That is, that the "Derek" we saw in last week's flashbacks is actually Peter Hale. I hope this is the case because otherwise Derek is a pretty terrible character, both writing-wise and as a person. However, if it does turn out to be Peter Hale then I'm still not going to be enormously impressed, because the clues/foreshadowing in the episode were kind of nonsensical. But I'll discuss that in more detail if/when we learn more in future episodes.
"The Girl Who Knew Too Much" was back on classic Teen Wolf form, featuring multiple scenes in the boy's locker room for no reason whatsoever. How many people have died there, now? Not to mention all the fight scenes. Murdering each other in the highschool boy's locker room in the middle of the night: the favourite hobby of Beacon Hills citizens. What I don't understand is why the lights weren't on at the beginning of the episode, because there were clearly a bunch of kids in the school for that music practice. My personal theory is that nobody switched them on because nobody in Beacon Hills has the natural mammalian survival instinct of being afraid of the dark. At last, an explanation for why so many of them wander off into the forest to die! It must be something in the water. Alternatively, they're all were-lemmings.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Why you need to watch Spanish Snow White movie "Blancanieves" AT ONCE.

Blancanieves came out in 2012, but I figured that if I'd managed to miss it first time round, some of you guys might too. And you should definitely be watching this movie, because it's fantastic. Last year saw two major Snow White blockbusters come and go, and neither of them were good. I was obsessed with the badass-looking Snow White and the Huntsman until I actually saw it, and the reviews for Mirror Mirror were so bad that I didn't even bother -- despite the fact that the costumes were by Eiko Ishioka, one of the most talented designers in cinema history. Blancanieves, however, is perfect.
I confess, this post isn't for purely altruistic reasons: I want everyone to go and see this movie so I can get someone to write fanfiction about it. Because seriously, it's a black-and-white silent film about matadors. This is not going to get a vast quantity of traction online, outside of the Yuletide festival for obscure fanfic. So I need you to a) watch Blancanieves, b) fall in love with Blancanieves like I did, and c) nominate it as a Yuletide fandom this Christmas, so we can all share the love. OK?
Blancanieves is far, far better than the vast majority of supposedly "fairytale" movies I've seen in recent years, keeping the basic elements of the Snow White story but changing the setting to 1920s Spain. Snow White's mother dies in childbirth, leaving her father, a paralysed former bullfighter, alone with a predatory nurse -- the inevitable Evil Stepmother. But rather than growing up to be a flamenco dancer like her mother and grandmother, Snow White becomes a bullfighter. A bullfighter.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Teen Wolf, "Visionary".

Previously on Teen Wolf: "Currents". 

This episode was so shitty that I considered not writing a review at all, because this is clearly not going to be a funny or entertaining post. But then I decided, hey! That would be a fitting commentary on the episode itself, which was not funny or entertaining either. As one of my friends put it on Twitter, "If this was a fanfic, I would've X-ed out ages ago."

Most of my problems with this episode boil down to two main issues: the fact that it was total nonsense, and the continuation of this season's ongoing effort to ruin Derek Hale for everyone. That second issue is pretty damn ironic, because the apparent aim of Derek's backstory is to make him seem more sympathetic and tragic, but instead he ended up looking like even more of an asshole than before. Which is, unfortunately, a microcosm of the failure of this season's "This Might Hurt" tagline.
At first, the whole "This Might Hurt" theme seemed like an excellent idea. Yes, I realise that the slogan was thought up by an MTV marketing team rather than the actual Teen Wolf writers, but it fits perfectly with Jeff Davis' love of torturing beloved characters. And we were looking forward to it! Teen Wolf thrives on angst and violence and doomed romance. HOWEVER. 90% of this season's angst, violence, and doomed romance has been focused on Derek, who does not need it. Like, his character has already MAXED OUT on trauma, what with his entire family being burned to death, and having been seduced by an evil hunter who presumably warped his view of sex and relationships for life. In TV Land, where every "dark" and "misunderstood" character has to be fueled by childhood trauma and dead-relative manpain, Derek Hale was already lightyears ahead of everyone else in Teen Wolf.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

The costumes of X-Men: First Class, Part 1: Womenswear.

Sometimes I feel like superhero fandom is suffering from some kind of intricate mass delusion regarding X-Men: First Class. Specifically, that it's a good movie. Because it's not. It's just not. But I love it anyway! Half of it may be trash, but the other half is heartbreaking doomed romance and clumsy-yet-effective political allegory. And McAvoy and Fassbender are really excellent casting, which is just as well because it takes serious acting chops to make some of their dialogue sound plausible. NEVER FORGET that this is the movie that forced Kevin Bacon to utter the line, "Turn the nuclear reactor up to 100% and make sure I'm not disturbed."
The best way to appreciate XMFC is to remove your brain with an icecream scoop and concentrate fully on the agonising Romeo & Juliet-style romance between Magneto and Professor X. It is beautiful. It is timeless. They could have cut out every other character (except maybe Raven and Oliver Platt) and I would still have queued up to watch the Doomed Mutant Terrorist Soulmates show on opening night. Also, if you're focusing on the Charles/Magneto stuff then you're less likely to notice this movie's main flaw: the fact that it's intensely terrible when it comes to The Gurlz.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Teen Wolf: "Currents".

Previously on Teen Wolf: "Motel California".

Ordinarily I'd be giving this episode a very positive review. It was full of the kind of Teen Wolf nonsense that usually warms the cockles of my heart: boner jokes, half-assed plans plans like "flood your apartment and electrify the water", Isaac wearing cute knitwear, werewolves jumping 10 feet in the air like Spring-Heeled Jack, Lydia being awesome. However, Boyd's character arc has been so poorly handled that it ended up overshadowing my enjoyment of the rest of the episode.

I heard a rumour recently that Isaac would be killed off in this episode, and my immediate reaction was "NO!!!" because a) Isaac has endured constant torment for two solid seasons now, and b) why kill him? It would be cold hard proof that Jeff Davis is indeed Voldemort. However, I wouldn't necessarily have been annoyed with it as a writing decision, because it would've been in keeping with Teen Wolf's overall tone as a show where bad things happen to good people, and everything is tragic and dismal all the time. However, killing off Boyd struck me as total bullshit.
Since the introduction of the three new betas, Boyd has always been the one with the smallest amount of useful screentime. Until last week he had almost no backstory, and overall he's been given fewer lines and less agency than almost anyone else in the cast. This season he's had maybe three good moments, including this episode's electrocution plan and last week's revelation about his sister. And in the light of his death, this now makes it seem as if he was written to be a disposable character. Which surprises me, because Teen Wolf's M.O. is to torture its audience by torturing its characters, and it's kind of difficult for the audience to get attached to a character when he's rarely given anything to say.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Mako Mori and the Hero's Journey.

(Crossposted from Tumblr, because it was so goddamn long.)

So, it’s come to my attention that there are a bunch of people who think Mako Mori is a “weak" female character, because of course. In fact a good friend of mine (who is a woman and professional film reviewer) thought Mako was too “emotional" , which a) made me go "!!????!!" in blank incomprehension, and b) brought it to my attention that people who aren’t random internet misogynists do indeed have this opinion. Still, it’s a wrong opinion, and here’s why:

First of all, let’s talk about cliche. Pacific Rim is positively roiling in cliches. On purpose. This isn’t a blockbuster movie where some faceless production company focus-grouped a selection of generic Hollywood movie cliches and combined them to create the new Avatar or Transformers. No. This is a movie where Guillermo del Toro, an acclaimed filmmaker and all-round nerd, sat down and thought, “what cliches are awesome?"

Which is how we ended up with a movie about people in giant mecha suits fighting giant Kaiju monsters in an epic battle to save Planet Earth from a Lovecraftian apocalypse.
Guillermo del Toro took a bunch of classic action/adventure movie tropes and gleefully combined them in a cheesy yet incredibly effective way. Also, he conveniently ignored all the shitty action/adventure tropes that regularly make Hollywood blockbusters into a pile of offensive trash. For example, shitty tropes like America Saving The World. Or female characters being relegated to the role of love-interest, helpless damsel, or ass-kicking sex fantasy.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The costumes of Pacific Rim.

N.B. If you're here via Bleeding Cool, here is the masterlist of my costume design posts. I know a lot of my recent posts are about Teen Wolf, but I promise that most of the time, this is a costume design blog. ;) 
Dress For Success – An Analysis Of The Pacific Rim Costume Designs, for

Pacific Rim may come across as a live-action anime, but the costumes are relatively down-to-earth. Set a little over a decade in the future, Guillermo del Toro ignored futuristic styles in favour of a mid-20th century aesthetic.

As an outspoken pacifist, del Toro was keen to remove any militaristic overtones from the movie. Hence the Jaeger crews all having ranks like “Marshall” and “Ranger”, and the general lack of a military aesthetic. The overall look of the movie is more wartime than warlike, with people bustling around either in civilian clothing or the grubby overalls of an airport hangar. Any uniforms we see are generally more like those worn by the crew of the Nostromo in Alien, rather than a military uniform with obvious ranks and a dress code. [READ MORE]

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Teen Wolf: "Motel California".

Previously on Teen Wolf: "Frayed".

If there was an award for "most arbitrary reason for a shirtless scene", Teen Wolf would be a shoo-in. This was a genuinely good episode, but I couldn't help but LOL at all the ab-cameos. While there were a couple of relatively legitimate shirt-removals (ie, for sex), some were... less so. Like for example, when Boyd tried to drown himself in the bathtub, but stripped his shirt off first. (But not his pants.) Even in the flashback to Uncle Moustache's 1970s suicide, we got an ab shot. WELL DONE, TEEN WOLF. Well done.
Anyhow, this was a really great episode of Supernatural. Luv cursed motels. Luv cameo appearances from Stephen King's creepy old aunt. Luv totally arbritrary reasons for every character in a TV show to be in a new location. "Athletics meet"?? Since when is Lydia an athlete? Is everyone an athlete? Why do they have to take an overnight trip, and why does Chris Argent barely seem to know where his daughter is, and why? Oh, it doesn't matter. For Reasons, everyone had to stay overnight at the Scooby Doo Haunted Motel, chaperoned by the world's worst authority figure, Coach Finstock. "No sex, kids! But if I hear screaming during the night, I won't notice or do anything about it, because that would interfere with the plot!" Repeat after me: Just Go With it.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Teen Wolf: "Frayed".

Previously on Teen Wolf: "Unleashed".

The title refers to the frayed nature of the shirts worn by most of the main cast. Scott, Boyd, Derek and Ennis all suffered a severe clawing, while Ethan and Aiden avoided the issue by showing up to the fight shirtless and then twinsforming into the werewolf megazord again. In case you're still curious about what happens to their pants when they stick themselves together with magical morphing werewolf glue, Jeff Davis has given us an answer. Kind of.
This episode featured what felt like decades of flashback footage of yet another werewolf showdown. As usual, everyone ran at each other while yelling -- a prime martial arts technique, if you are three years old. Happily, this scene catered to my neverending fascination with Beacon Hills' urban planning, because it took place in a heretofore unmentioned post-apocalyptic abandoned shopping mall. Which Scott and Isaac rode into on Scott's new motor scooter. (It's unclear whether this was at ground level or not, because Derek and Ennis fell at least three storeys down from there. WHATEVS.)

Sadly, most of those flashback scenes were kinda pointless, because we already knew what was going to happen. And @snazdoll pointed out on Twitter, all that slow-motion glowering gave us ample time to consider the bafflingly confused character continuity.