I am sorry

Jan. 6th, 2010 09:48 am
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[livejournal.com profile] voz_latina points out that the author formerly featured in this space has serious transphobia issues. I apologize for the offense i caused by featuring her. will do more research on who i feature next time.
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And I loved it! But I was promised nakkid! Sherlock Holmes. And I did not get nekkid! Sherlock Holmes. I was cheated!!!!! Anyway. The film score was gorgeous:


And the slash content was absolutely aky high, to my unmitigated delight. I suppose by that idiot's lights, I am a unicorn or something *eyeroll*. Of of course there is this idiot too. *more eyerolling* Anyway, my only other complaint is that Downey spoke too damn quickly, so I missed some of what he said. Other than that...go see it! (Um. Please bear in mind that is an action film. It ain't your Conan Doyle book. See it for what it is.)
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Best films of 2009

No I had to be bombarded by Terminator 2 and 2012 and Avatar. DAMMIT.


Dec. 2nd, 2009 08:16 am
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Sex Does Not Always Sell

The message we always hear is sex sells, especially at the movies. A new report Sex Doesn’t Sell — Nor Impress by Anemone Cerridwen and Dean Keith Simonton refutes that claim. The report studied 914 mainstream Hollywood films(and their box office domestically and overseas, critical appraisal and awards) from 2001-2005, and found that in contrast to most of the Hollywood thinking “sex and nudity do not, on the average, boost box office performance, earn critical acclaim, or win major awards.” The study was recently published in the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts journal.

Well, that sure throws a wrench into the conventional wisdom which has been that sex, sexuality and nudity are vital for box office success. Yet, according to Simonton preconceived notions are hard to break even with data:
…I was struck by how hard it is to overcome preconceptions about the box-office consequences of highly graphic sexual content…
It seems that this whole thing was started by the righteous anger of a woman, the co-author Anemone Cerridwen who, when taking acting classes felt that the type of roles women she had to play made her very uncomfortable. (Guess it’s a good thing she became a researcher and left the acting to others.) But still, she wanted to know what the story was, why women’s roles are so sexualized, and spent many years crunching numbers. Here's some of her analysis

Which reminds me of what I read yesterday:

The Media: A World of Hits

Of all creative media enterprises, Hollywood is the most confident of its ability to predict demand. Film studios carry out rigorous audience research and adjust production and marketing budgets according to the size of the group they are targeting. The studios have learned that stars are much less reliable generators of profits than films based on known characters and stories. That is why, in August, Disney agreed to pay $4 billion for Marvel Entertainment, a veteran comic-book and media firm that had filed for bankruptcy protection in the mid-1990s.MORE

1.When they tell you that they can't cast minority actors because the audience doesn't know them? They are lying to you.

2. If stars are not reliable movie money generators, and if sexuality does not necessarily bring in the money either, is there any chance that Hollywood would up the ratio of actors to pretty people who can't act, and stop flaunting women's bodies in my face in lieu of a plot? To point where James Cameron is sexualizing freaking ALIENS?!?!!?
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Star Wars "despots" vs Star Trek "populists"

And a great deal of the fanfic I am reading takes the whole Kirk is genius!!!1 level to pretty absurd heights now. Occasionally the Doc will be mentioned as brilliant. Sometimes the entire crew is billed as the best and brightest of them all. But Kirk is definitely and most times demi-god now. Oh dear, indeed.

Though, tell me something. Story telling tradition in Africa and other places. Was it really the elite subsidizing them as he suggests? Or was that a function of European civilization, as I suspect?
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I know its a playboy interview. But Jesus Christ! I dont even know what to snip and highlight!!!!!

PLAYBOY: Sigourney Weaver’s character Ellen Ripley in your film Alien is a powerful sex icon, and you may have created another in Avatar with a barely dressed, blue-skinned, 10-foot-tall warrior who fiercely defends herself and the creatures of her planet. Even without state-of-the-art special effects, Zoe Saldana—who voices and models the character for CG morphing—is hot.
CAMERON: Let’s be clear. There is a classification above hot, which is “smoking hot.” She is smoking hot.

PLAYBOY: So Saldana’s character was specifically designed to appeal to guys’ ids?
CAMERON: And they won’t be able to control themselves. They will have actual lust for a character that consists of pixels of ones and zeros. You’re never going to meet her, and if you did, she’s 10 feet tall and would snap your spine. The point is, 99.9 percent of people aren’t going to meet any of the movie actresses they fall in love with, so it doesn’t matter if it’s Neytiri or Michelle Pfeiffer.

PLAYBOY: We seem to need fantasy icons like Lara Croft and Wonder Woman, despite knowing they mess with our heads.
CAMERON: Most of men’s problems with women probably have to do with realizing women are real and most of them don’t look or act like Vampirella. A big recalibration happens when we’re forced to deal with real women, and there’s a certain geek population that would much rather deal with fantasy women than real women. Let’s face it: Real women are complicated. You can try your whole life and not understand them.

PLAYBOY: How much did you get into calibrating your movie heroine’s hotness?
CAMERON: Right from the beginning I said, “She’s got to have tits,” even though that makes no sense because her race, the Na’vi, aren’t placental mammals. I designed her costumes based on a taparrabo, a loincloth thing worn by Mayan Indians. We go to another planet in this movie, so it would be stupid if she ran around in a Brazilian thong or a fur bikini like Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C.

PLAYBOY: Are her breasts on view?
CAMERON: I came up with this free—floating, lion’s-mane—like array of feathers, and we strategically lit and angled shots to not draw attention to her breasts, but they’re right there. The animation uses a physics-based sim that takes into consideration gravity, air movement and the momentum of her hair, her top. We had a shot in which Neytiri falls into a specific position, and because she is lit by orange firelight, it lights up the nipples. That was good, except we’re going for a PG-13 rating, so we wound up having to fix it. We’ll have to put it on the special edition DVD; it will be a collector’s item. A Neytiri Playboy Centerfold would have been a good idea.MORE

Where do you even BEGIN?!?!?!? With the part where women are fuck objects for men even as they go about teh deadly business of defending their homes from invaders? With the history and presence of rape and coercion that is ever present in these circumstances? To the point where dear god he insists on giving the character breasts even though her species shouldn't have breasts? How fucking skeevy and stomach turning is that????

Or do we mention the part where he seems to position the Mayans as aliens?

I designed her costumes based on a taparrabo, a loincloth thing worn by Mayan Indians. We go to another planet in this movie, so it would be stupid if she ran around in a Brazilian thong or a fur bikini like Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C.

Or does he think all the Mayans are dead?
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TaNehisi articulates my issues with the Blind Side. Its why I ignored the Soloist and the Secret Life of Bees. Its about the story that gets told. And I am sick and tired of being sick and tired of this. Avatar trailer seems to give the impression of that kind of dynamic too. I am waiting to see reviews with a clue before I watch that.
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Verb Noire has had a setback If you can spare it, please help out. Paypal verb noire at their email address. Anything is appreciated.

I managed to snag Jukebox Bard before the current difficulties and its brilliant! The Trouble with Dragons, for instance, was a lovely steampunk adventure, Guardian Angel was a very interesting take on the whole greedy-asshole-raises-devils-so-that-he-can-get-rich, storyline. It's a familiar plot, but it was freshened nicely, and I left me wanting more fleshing of that particular universe. the story ended well, don't fret, I just wanted some more stuff on the story of the angels and good and evil. I have always been rather fascinated by the story of the fall, so... Los Pequenos creeped me the hell out. Heart of Brass and its companion story Dark Sky were solid entries in the super hero genre. I tend to like the idea of superheroes but never really got into comics because the storylines bored me. This time, I was engrossed. I hope the author writes and publishes more in this verse, it really piqued my interest. But my favorite was Nodespace, hands down. Space Ships! Brass Rings! A sort of augmented reality! Wicked cool tech! Ships with black female captains named Vexation Daid! Ships with white female first mates named My Eye! SQUEEEEEEE!!!!!! (you have to understand. I. LOVE. spaceships! And traveling to different worlds. I used to daydream that I would be rescued from high school by the crew of star wars and go off to wonder the federation, for heavens sake! When I tell you that this well written story pushed every one of my OMGSPACE!!!!! buttons? Picture me dancing in my computer chair with glee as the story unfolded. :) So there it is. When Verb Noire manages to get back on smooth ground, they'll re-release this, and I look forward to hearing what everyone else thinks!
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via:[personal profile] delux_vivens

Interview with south asian writer Ashok Banker.

Por ejemplo:

What made you decide to write in English? Are there any nuances with that particular language that you’re not quite able to accomplish in Hindi?

Not-Lol. I’ve met this particular cultural bogey before and it remains as unfunny as ever! My mother tongue was English, not Hindi, and in fact, there are more English-speaking people in India than in the US – it’s one of our two official national languages in fact. And of course, you probably know that India has the fastest growing publishing industry and English-literate readership population in the world – I believe our publishing business is No. 3 right now and on track to be No. 1 at this rate in the next two decades or less. I grew up speaking only English, learned Hindi only later in school because it was a compulsory subject (as were either Marathi or French – I took French), and English remains the only language I’m completely fluent in even today. So I have no idea what cultural stereotype you have of me, and am not responsible for it but it’s as offensive as my asking someone named Johnson why he chose to write in English instead of Swedish! Still, I guess you didn’t mean anything by it, so let’s chuckle and move on. :~)

Which dovetails quite well with Twelve generations from now, people like me will still be writing posts like this.
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Whip it Trailer

I laughed and cheered and came out of the cinema feeling very freaking happy.:) And it has a gorgeous soundtrack!

EDIT: The love scene underwater must have been a bitch to shoot. Looked damn cool though!


Boys Wanna Be Her - Peaches

Your Arms Around Me - Jens Lekman
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Apologies for the text speak ladies and gents, but its the only way the title would fit.

So. Pirates of the Caribbean 3. WTF???????

So the Chinese Pirate Lord decides to kidnap Elizabeth, under the impression that she is the goddess Calypso, and tells her that he wants to have sex with her, and will rape her if she doesn't agree. At the same time he knows that ther purpose of having the goddess along on the voyage in teh first place is to ask he r to save the piratical asses from the British armada.



Ladies and gentlemen? If I am a powerful goddess, and you RAPED ME  while I was in my human form? Do I REALLY need to point out that I would FUCK. YOU. UP the second I got my powers back? HOW exactly, could the writers NOT have realized that any pirate clever enough to become a fucking PIRATE LORD (seeing that the 1st commandment among this movie's version of pirates seems to be Thou shalt betray each and everyone, unto thine own mother) would be SO. GODDAMN. STUPID. not to have that thought cross his mind? Was he supposed to be so blinded by the magic of the white woman's vagina? And then you kill him for his presumption to make ELIZABETH, a headstrong inexperienced [white] girl, the pirate captain of the Chinese fleet, [WHUT?????] and then the pirate KING????? [Yeah, my credulity just shattered to bits right there] Uhhhhh...people? There be some SKANKY race and gender issues that you just harshed my Jack Sparrow-induced squee with!!!!

And then Calypso. Who is actually the voodoo-priestess. (And since she was impersonating a Jamaican? She should have been an obeah women, for the record). She is a voodoo priestess. Who is actually a goddess. But Captain Barbarossa get to manhandle her without her taking him apart? Even though she specifically says that she's cruel and capricious? I don't recall seeing any hold on her that the pirates retained after they gave her back her powers. So why didn't she fuck him up but GOOD for his presumption? She is POWERFUL, for gods sake. You think a man who was in her position would be treated like that? Without him retaliating and proving precisely why you don't mess with him?

And finally, Elizabeth. Under what green earth does it make ANY sense to send the men out adventuring while she is left to pine on an island waiting  for Will Turner? She's gonna see him for a total of  10 days in 100 years!! What the fuck is she gonna DO in the meantime? They went to the trouble of making her pirate king, and we all have seen that Elizabeth does not sit still. You think that her character is gonna now sit patiently on a damned island? REALLY??

*sigh* yeah I liked the movie. Its was hilarious, entertaining heart pounding, fun. But can I PLEASE get movies that don't force  me to be picking them apart the minute the damn credits hit the screen?
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What karynthia said

Because some people seem to believe that we cannot see your dirty racial laundry re: Uhura and Spock, mixed with teh smelly misogyny that plagues all the other females who have the unfortunately plot point of getting in the way of your favorite slash couples.

And because it is disgusting of you to appropriate the struggles of LGBT Americans so as to satisfy your attraction to slashing goodlooking men. (Hello lesbians in Star Trek would be disappointing, we need Kirk Spock or else! To say nothing of the relative paucity of fic slashing women compared to men.)
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Verb Noire publishing house has released its first title: River's Daughter, by Tasha Campbell.

I have bought and am now reading and enjoying....
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Unless the movie or television show featured an all white cast, (and that in itself is problematic) I cannot tell the last time I have watched a movie that featuring POC that I have not been jarred out of my enjoyment of the story by race and/or gender issues. Even when the movie is based on POC books (HELLO SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE THERE ARE SO MANY ISSUES I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO START GODDAMMIT). Ahem. Anyway.

The movie is based off a book of the same name, written by Monica Ali. I bought both novel and film together while browsing Amazon a few days before their "we hate gay books!" assholery hit the mainstream; but the film came first and so sis and bro and I and Dad watched it.

I am not sure how much to tell about the plot without spoiling you, so I'll just say that it traces the emotional journey of the main character Nazneen Ahmed. I can, however, unreservedly proclaim my love for this film. The story was achingly beautiful, women were the focus of this story (yeah!!!!) and it wasn't about them desperately needing a boyfriend to feel complete (double yeah!!!!!) And it was a majority POC story, (in fact whites were actually extras in this book) that translated to exactly that on film (HELLO AVATAR AND 21) and it treated Muslims as people and not caricatures (hey practically every American film made). In fact, most everyone were set up as people, complicated three dimensional people, and that warmed the cockles of my heat, let me tell you:) And the scenery! I am a total sucker for beautiful landscapes and in my humble opinion, they did find some great ones. And the ending? Yes.

Unfortunately it does not qualify for 12films_poc, more is the pity, but I unreservedly recommend it just the same.
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My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, & Fenway Park.

I'd like to thank [livejournal.com profile] sansa1970 for highlighting the rainbow list for 2009 and 2008

Without her highlighting of the list, I might have missed this wonderful novel when I went up to Barnes and Noble yesterday for a mental health break. There I was, rummaging around in the YA section, casting a jaundiced eye on the myriad books featuring vapid white privileged girls with lots of money getting into more trouble than can be realistically believed and mentally composing a blog post taking my branch of B & N to task for their lack of diversity on their YA book shelves; when I saw a book with a brown girl, flanked by two boys with their faces hidden by an umbrella. Hmm. I thought. Nice cover design. So I picked it up. Saw the title. Said to myself, "Self, isn't this a book that was highlighted on rainbow 2009's list?" My brain did a quick check and confirmed that it was. So I glanced through it, got a laugh or two, put it under my arm, and wondered around looking for more books to purchase. (never mind that my bank account had about $20 in there. my therapy is book shopping, i rarely ever buy just one.)

Anyway. I ended up with (trigger warnings for rape) Speak which I have been meaning to buy for least 2 years, (and now there is a movie? *goes over to Amazon, adds to cart*) and The $7 Meals Cookbook: 301 Delicious Dishes You Can Make for Seven Dollars or Less (don't ask me why. I HATE cooking.) Went around to the series sections, saw one about vampires, tried it, found it boring, and then FINALLY turned to My Most Excellent Year.

Ladies and Gentlemen? It blew my socks off.The characterizations were excellent, from Alejandra, who is the daughter of the ambassador to Mexico, a strong, intelligent girl (who is NOT boy crazy thank god); to brothers Augie Hmong, who is a Chinese American who loved musicals and is so full of life and laughter that I wished that I knew him in real life and TC Keller, a white American who is a great fan of baseball and likes Alejandra. I loved the way the story was told in the form of diary entries, instant messages, emails, private messages, and newspaper columns written by Lisa Wei Hmong (Augie's Bio Mom), who acerbically reviews musicals from a feminist and classist POV. And the bond between the Hmong family and the Keller family made me bloody jealous, they are so close that TC and Augie consider themselves brothers and call each other's parents Mom and Dad. In fact, both families seems have to integrated into one family unit, which includes whatever extended family that each may have. Did I mention that I am very jealous?

I especially loved the email correspondence between Craig Hmong (Augie's Bio Dad) and Ted Keller (TC's Bio Dad); that discussed topics ranging from whether or not Craig should let Augie know that he and Wei (Augie's Bio Mom, remember?) knew that Augie was gay and how he was looking forward to commiserating with Augie on his first crush; to Ted asking for advice on how to woo TC's school adviser Lori. I loved the touches of Chinese culture that were noted in the telling the story and I loved the easiness with which they were referenced, just as easily as American culture was referenced. And I loved the way the two main romances in the book, Augie and Andy and Alejandro and TC, unfolded. And I loved the relationship between TC and Hucky, a deaf little boy, abandoned by his mother due to his deafness; who lives in a group home and wants Mary Poppins to come take care of him.

Also, I love the fact that feminist themes are present and portrayed as a great thing, that the teens are activists and get things done, that stereotypes are pretty much avoided, and relationships and drinking and other typically silly gossip-girl-like activities are not their be all and end all, in short, these teens have substance and sense and don't leave me wondering what kind of adults they would make. And the book is as funny as hell.

I don't usually buy books at full price, because I buy so many that I can't afford to. But this is one book that I would make a great exception for. I bought it at $8.99 and I would have paid up to $14 without a murmur. Get it from your library, your online retailer, or your local bookstore. However you choose to obtain it, get it and come laugh, squee and enjoy along with me.


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