yeloson: (Default)
It's been a week since I saw the movie, and I've been thinking more about it, as other folks have been talking about it, plus all the stuff in the media going on in general. Especially around race, gender, etc.

So, the thing I really liked about the movie was the way in which the Capital's society clearly devalues life outside of it's happy, privileged existence, and the entitled expectation that people should be happy, even grateful to die for the sake of entertaining their betters. The uncomfortable false romance at end was really a perfect note to highlight the ways people have to make survival choices - you live, but you don't get to keep your truth or identity, and that's a luxury you can't afford. (Also reflected with Cinna and Haymitch's roles in the Capital...).

Anyway, the things I didn't like about the movie was Rue's role as the Magical Negro, and how Thresh basically fulfills the Scary Black Brute role in the matter of 10 seconds.

And it's really just occurred to me - what it says that a story that dissects how privilege eats lives and identities, demands people fulfill unrealistic roles just to be allowed to live (or perhaps, die differently) and at the same time, the movie itself is playing out JUST those roles.

Mainstream America can see it's wrong for Katniss to be forced into false roles for the entertainment of the privileged, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME the only reason Rue, Thresh, or Cinna get to be in characters in this film is the fact that they help the white girl - in a meta sense, the very thing that is crushing to the white protagonist is unremarked, even normalized as required narrative, for the black characters.

Even then, we see backlash from white fandom, as even those roles were too much blackness even then, too many seconds of precious film, too many heartbeats of empathy given, to a characters who ultimately only exist in a narrative sense (as far as the film is concerned) to be aids to the white girl.

I still enjoyed the movie, but it really makes it an interesting thing to consider when you pull back and think about it.
yeloson: (Default)

I remember seeing the preview for this like a year or two back and thinking, "That looks awesome.", but, over the years, I've been so jaded by neat previews and bad or meh movies it got filed away and forgotten.

It's on Netflix Instant Streaming and this movie is fucking win.

Queen Hijau is beset on all sides by enemies and raiding see pirates who are led by Prince Raval and his pirate sorcerer Black Raven. The queen hopes to marry her sister, Princess Ungu, to an allied country to bolster their military strength before everything comes tumbling down.

Fighting the pirates is the Chinese weapons engineer Lim Kium, the hardcore royal guard Jarang, and Paree the village fisherman/warrior-mystic who utilizes Dulum, a type of magic that allows you to divine from the water and control aquatic life.

There's a lot of interesting characters and I really felt this was fun to watch. It feels like it should have been a tv series or extended series of movies with more time to develop all these folks.

Let's see - crazy sorcery in battle, cannon fights, a mix of different cultures (Thai, Javanese, Japanese, Chinese, asian Muslim, etc.), giant boat battles... yeah, this movie has a lot going on.

The movie does give us a lot of awesome women, but doesn't let them shine or do as awesome things as the men (of course)...and we end up with 3 sacrificial women along the way (of course), but I like the fact that really, the Queen remains an important character throughout and is proactive in getting her nation solid.

The fights are ok for most of the movie, getting better towards the end, but you do get to see a lot of different weapons, including kris blades, scimitars, pistols, rifles, swords, shields, tiger claws, blowguns, crossbows, bows, and cannons all at work. Oh and sorcery-magic attacks as well.

There is a rape scene and a near-rape scene, both of which are short but, they're there.

I'm giving this movie 4/5, big thumbs up on POC focal story, action, cracktastic epic battle scenes, magic, great costumes, and fun characters, and I wish the awesome women got to show us more of their awesomeness and the other women weren't sacrificial.
yeloson: (pic#459019)
In the mood for cheesy sci-fi, I watched Skyline on instant streaming. I wasn't expecting anything good, really, and could have been happy with a not-so-great B movie with special effects.

And in the last 5 minutes of the movie, I got treated to a graphic alien tentacle rape scene.

Do not see the movie, and, based on how crass and fucked up it was? I'd probably also recommend not watching any of Rogue Films movies on general principle.
yeloson: (Default)
Though I've been sick this whole week, I saved up my energy reserves to go see Attack the Block at a free screening. I was worried that given all the hype, it would be "just ok", that I'd be expecting too much.

Wrong. That shit was filthy.

The action moved at a good clip, I never felt like anything was dragging, and all the kids' personalities got a chance to shine a bit. I like the fact that we don't get the kids' names until a third of the way through the movie, because there was never a reason for everyone to be yelling each others' names all the time. I really liked all the references that reminded you that these are teenagers ("I shoulda stayed home and played FIFA", "Call us back when you're done playing Xbox" etc.)

I also like the fact that the kids were never held up as "ZOMG GHETTO URBAN PLIGHT" children, but just kids who happened to live here and have stuff to deal with - they even had parents and not all evil orphans who exist because ghettos spawn children magically.

Action: Awesome. Acting: Awesome. Cinematography: Awesome. Soundtrack: Awesome.

Go see this movie, give them money, and tell your friends to do the same.


Apr. 29th, 2011 09:47 am
yeloson: (Default)
I wanted to like this movie... but. The premise sold to me was, "Little girl gets kidnapped by monster into magical world", which, is pretty much story crack for me, as I'm down with magical door fantasies in general.

What I got was one white dude who's a dick, and his manpain, and another white dude who's a dick and his mansplaining.

There's two groups of spirits at war - the Storytellers - who bring people good dreams while they sleep, and the Incubi, who bring nightmares. And then you have Emma, a girl with a strong imagination who's basically living her life, when, Ink, some strong monster spirit who kidnaps her in order to deliver her to the Incubi, so he, too, can become one of them.

One of the Storytellers, Allel, is charged with rescuing Emma. She ends up working with Jacob, a blind "Pathfinder" who is supposed to be able to find her and has unnamed magical powers. Allel is portrayed as being this tough, kinda awesome warrior, who... doesn't get to do much, while Jacob basically says a bunch of stuff to piss people off because he finds it funny, and randomly blurting out supposedly deep things about the universe. (Also: magical disabled character!)

Yeah, that got old real quick.

Along the way, one of the Storytellers also gets captured and tells Emma, "The second you stepped into this world, you began transforming into a lioness." So, we have the set up- girl with lots of imagination, in a dreamworld, being told she is a lionness... you're expecting awesome "I've discovered my power" kind of stuff right?

Well, instead it ends up focusing on her estranged father, who is a high powered executive who has basically lost custody after spiraling into the winning trifecta of overwork-alcoholism-drug abuse. It becomes clear early on that Ink is some kind of version of him, hoping to become an Incubi and become "Numb" to his life's fuckups. Yes, it's about him and his manpain.

Overall, this looks like the kind of movie I would have thought was awesome when I was 16. Now I'm just disappointed.

The visuals were awesome. I liked the idea of the Storytellers as dream-pakour-warriors with women and POC kicking ass all over town. I liked the Incubi's creepiness as smiling glowy weirdos in glasses. I even liked their funky doors to alternate realities set up... but I didn't get to really learn a lot about any of that, instead it was a movie about assholes and the women who get run over in their bullshit.

yeloson: (Default)
This was one of the short films at the festival. Goofy ass dude trying to get his holler on. Hella Oakland for sure.

Oakland b Mine trailer from Mateen Kemet on Vimeo.

yeloson: (Default)
Imagine the most awesome X-wing dog-fight you can imagine. Now make the X-wings owls. And the owls are ninjas.

Now that my inner 12-year-old has summarized how I feel about this movie, let me say I really really enjoyed it.

So the basic storyline is that there's a group of evil owls calling themselves "The Pure Ones" who are basically trying to raise an owl-supremicist nation by kidnapping kid-owls to raise as soldiers or slaves.


Opposing them are the Guardians, who have been hidden away in isolation, for a few generations at least, to the point most assume it's just legend at this point.

The story follows Soren, a young owl who is kidnapped by the Pure Ones, escapes, and his journey to seek the help of the Guardians.

The story manages to do the hero's journey without falling into the usual annoying tropes - Soren does important things without becoming THE CHOSEN ONE or surpassing the other characters- it's pretty clear he's outclassed by most of the other characters, even at the end.

Actually, part of what I loved about this movie was all the annoying tropes it didn't dive into- the wacky misfit characters get just enough screen time you get who they are without making you want to beat them to death. The villains tell you what they're about, but don't do huge exposition or speeches - it's all pretty short and to the point.

I thought there'd be only one, but there's actually three awesome female owls who are each badass.

Graphics-wise, it was ridiculous. So much gets communicated through facial expressions. Beautiful scenery, amazing fight scenes, just perfect. The normal shots were great and the money shots were WTF.

If you're in the mood for a fun, action-ey movie, that is just well crafted... and you have a penchant for flying ninja fights, this movie is really worth seeing.


yeloson: (Default)

November 2012



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