briarwood: (Brokeback Poster)
I am so tempted to sign up for [community profile] ladiesbigbang but I simply wouldn't have time. I don't have any plot idea in least not yet. But I'm signal-boosting because I know a number of my friends may be interested. This is a Big Bang with a difference, because they're allowing original fiction and non-fiction as well as fanfic.

Check it out! [community profile] ladiesbigbang on Dreamwidth.

I'll be watching and reading, and if it runs again next year I'll have an idea ready to go (I hope).

I'm bowled over by how many have already signed up for Sentinel Big Bang. Barely 24 hours after sign-ups opened, and there are 19 authors already. Fewer artists, which is potentially a problem, but from my experience of other Big Bangs not every author will make it to the end. Stuff happens. I expect a lower drop-out rate for this than for some others I've followed, because the word count is so small and the deadline so long. But we'll see. It's a good start, and reading everyone's fic ideas is so exciting :)

I just checked the movie schedule and I've got three to choose from this weekend: Remember Me, which looked good in the trailers but the casting means it'll probably mean sharing the theatre with an annoying-as-hell audience, Clash of the Titans which looks like mindless fun and/or Kick Ass which looks amazing, but I'm a little put off by the involvement of so many of the names behind Wanted (which was visually brilliant but otherwise horrible). I could theoretically see all three by doing one on Friday and two on Sat, but that might be a bit much even for me. I need a three-sided coin to toss.

I also have my last essay to write this weekend, so seeing 3 movies is not a good plan time-wise.

Swift review of the films I saw last weekend:

I Love You, Phillip Morris is cliche-ridden, super-camp and fun in places, but it's a bit too much of Jim Carey playing, well, Jim Carey for my taste. He's like Jack Nicholson: no matter what the script, he always plays the same guy. Boring. In this case I have a strong sense the movie was meant to be funny, but for me it failed on almost every level. Not funny. Attempting to make fun of things that are definitely not for humour. Completely lacking in a moral centre - both the movie and it's protagonist. With better casting and a bit less wavering between the humourous and the tragic it might have been something. As it is - no. 5/10 (points for having multiple gay characters who don't all die).

The Blind Side was a perfect example of a movie that should have been about a person of colour in fact being entirely about a white person for no good reason. Don't get me wrong - it's a good film, though I'm a little baffled why Sandra Bullock got an Oscar for it, it's just got such a terribly white viewpoint. It begins and ends as if it's all about the black character, and since it's his story it would have been so much more logical in his POV. Yet somehow other than a small number of scenes that do manage to give some insight into who he is, it's so firmly in the white woman's POV that the movie manages to portray this guy as exactly what he protests he's not: a big, stupid, black boy who just happens to be good at football. (Of course, the other way to say it is it "should" have been all about a man, but is instead a woman's story. The thing is, that just doesn't cut it in this case.) Points for a Bechdel pass (just!), but points off for the obligatory irritating brat. 6/10 despite the racefail.
briarwood: (UTS LifeYouDontHave)
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is the movie I saw last weekend; I was really keen to see it as I've recently read the book. Since the film was not made by Hollywood I thought it might be a reasonable adaption. The book has a lot going for it. It's one of those novels that is trying really hard to be feminist while failing to understand women even a little. The chapters are separated by stats about violence toward women in Sweden...and they manage to make the opposite point from that intended 'cause I'm pretty sure the stats for the UK or USA are much, much worse. This impression is not helped by the way the book was marketed in the English-speaking world: in the original Swedish, the novel is titled Men Who Hate Women. Renaming it and putting a naked girl on the cover...way to miss the point, boys. And yet there's good stuff going for it, too.

But here I'm talking about the movie. So let's begin with the story. Cut for spoilers )

Overall...I recommend the film, but with caveats. First, if you have issues with onscreen violence, you don't want to see this film. Second, it's longer than it needs to be, so some will be better off waiting for a DVD release. And third, I do recommend familiarity with the book first, although that would spoil the whodunnit that's a judgement call. But within those limits, I really enjoyed the film. 8/10.
briarwood: (Lost Sun)
So, I happened to watch a TV advert yesterday. This is something I don't do often: I actively avoid channels with ads, using catch-up or on demand instead, or I watch on DVD. But yesterday I watched an advert.

This featured a naked woman in a field, dreamy filters on the camera and slow shots of different parts of her body to make it clear that she is, for whatever unfathomable reason, standing there naked. Kinda like a racier version of those Flake ads, you know? Although in the Flake ads the woman is usually clothed while giving her chocolate that blowjob.

What was this 40-second long porn movie attempting to sell? Well, I'll tell ya. It was toothpaste. No, I am not kidding. Toothpaste now with added porn.

So glad it wasn't my brand.


Talk about crappy reporting, this article in the Guardian is hilariously bad. Apparently some new study has shown that being overweight when elderly is a good thing. But get this:

This study has demonstrated that, for people who have survived to the age of 70, the risk of death is lowest among those with a BMI [body mass index] classified as overweight.

They couldn't possibly be muddling up cause and effect here, could they? I've lost a lot of elderly relatives in my life and the one common factor is when people get sick and quit looking after themselves properly, they lose weight. Both my grandmothers were overweight most of their lives - that post-childbirth thing in an age when the media didn't make women feel like shit for having curves - and both dropped to less than six stone before they died. Because they were sick.

I'm the first to decry the whole being-fat-is-bad-for-you thing, but I really doubt it's protection from death!

Here's another choice quote:

Women who do not take exercise are twice as likely to die as women who get regular exercise, regardless of their BMI.

So there you have it, girls. The secret of immortality! If you exercise you're half as likely to die!



My thoughts on a few of the movies I've seen recently...

It's Complicated )

Precious )

A Single Man )
briarwood: (Alias Abduction)
Thanks for all the good wishes about Poppy; she's doing much better though the vet's ball embargo is frustrating for all of us! She's just finding other ways to expend her energy, like jumping on the furniture and hunting down all the balls we've hidden. It's amazing the places she can wriggle into! I'm pretty sure the idea was to get her to not gonna happen :)

I finally saw The Road yesterday; a thoroughly depressing movie.

Um...this got long )

After that, I was glad to meet [ profile] thanatos_kalos for sushi. Yo Sushi always manages to cheer me up.

Musings about Apple's iPad and e-books )


Jan. 18th, 2010 08:53 am
briarwood: (TSCC Cameron Blue)
I saw two movies on Saturday to make up for all the days I couldn't travel due to the snow.

The first was Up In The Air George Clooney's new rom-com. Now, y'all know that I think romantic comedies are usually neither romantic nor funny, and this is no exception. But I did kind of enjoy it. )

My second movie of Saturday was Daybreakers. This I want to say it was good, because I did enjoy it until the last 20 minutes or so. But really...not so good. For some reason reviewers have been comparing it to The Matrix... )

So. How was your weekend?
briarwood: Brokeback Mountain - Shirt (Brokeback Shirt)
I haven't done that for a while.

Cut because this got long. )

Okay...I guess that was my day. Now I'm off to burn Simon in effigy on my Samhain fire.

Happy Halloween, all!
briarwood: (Alias Sark)
This isn't really a review - just a quick rec.

I just got home after seeing Public Enemies. I knew I'd enjoy it. I mean, Johnny Depp and Christian Bale in the same film? It's not just the eye candy aspect: both men, in general, have really good taste in the projects they pick.

And I was not disappointed. The film does a great job of pulling you into the period. Johnny is amazing as John Dillinger especially in two particular scenes toward the end. The script pays a lot more attention to his character than to Chris Bale's, but Chris' performance, too, was very good. Subtle. I'm a bit torn on the way his character was treated. I would have liked to see a bit more of the human side of him - all the movie really shows is this dedicated cop - but on the other hand, movies that focus too much on the personal tick me off. The happy medium is hard to find.

The one disappointment was that the two male leads didn't get much time on screen together. And that's only disappointing becauce I was looking for the slash potential :-) Which I think is there in the way it is in any hunter/hunted relationship, but I was hoping for just a little bit more...

But seriously - good film, definitely one to see.
briarwood: (FGT Sign)
Franklyn is a British-made, independent film. I didn't have high expectations: the movie poster makes it look like a crappy horror movie and the trailer, though intriguing enough to get me to see the film, makes it look like pretentious arthouse nonsense. But it's neither of those things and I really enjoyed it.

The film is set in modern day London and a parallel fantasy world called Meanwhile City. The plot is made up of four apparently unconnected stories: Emilia (Eva Green) is a depressed goth art student who films herself attempting suicide as an "art project"; Peter (Bernard Hill) is a father searching for his missing son; Milo (Sam Riley) is a young man whose fiancée left him at the altar (all of these plots are set in modern London) and in the dark world of Meanwhile City, John Preest (Ryan Phillippe) is a masked man planning an assassination in revenge for the death of a young girl.

Cut for length and some spoilers ) if you enjoy movies that play with reality, like Pan's Labyrinth or Vanilla Sky, or if you love the rusty-gothic visuals (think of a steampunk version of Chris Nolan's Gotham City and you'll be on the right track) you might like to give it a try. Definitely worth seeing on the big screen.
briarwood: Brokeback Mountain - Shirt (Brokeback Shirt)
Before I launch into a review of this movie, I should confess that I was on drugs when I saw it. Painkillers, that is, but it meant that I kept falling asleep while watching. This is not a comment on the movie, it's just that Morgan+painkillers+dark cinema=sleep.

So, Push. You know how trailers for RomCom always seem to put the entire movie into sixty seconds, so there's actually no need to actually see the film? Well, Push is almost the exact opposite of that. The plot synopsis given in the trailer (at least the one I saw) has very little resemblance to the actual movie plot...unless maybe I slept through more than I think.

Cut for length and movie spoilers ) I would recommend this movie, but I'd recommend it as one to watch on DVD. The complex plot would be easier to follow in that format and unlike many movies I don't think it would lose much on the small screen.
briarwood: Supernatural: Sam Winchester (SPN Sam Hot)
I promised a proper review of Friday The Thirteenth, so here goes. This is a re-imagining rather than a remake, with bits and pieces from several of the old F13 movies all thrown into one. I'll say at the outset that I'm not a big fan of the slasher genre and that I've seen only the original Friday the Thirteenth, not parts two to gazillion.

In the cheaply-made, effects-lite original, a group of young people come to the abandoned Camp Crystal Lake with the intention of re-opening the camp. They all die, murdered by the mother of a boy who drowned in the lake because the camp counselors were making out instead of watching him. At the end of the movie, the last (female) survivor of the group kills the killer and appears to hallucinate the dead boy coming out of the lake. There is no Jason (except that blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot at the end, and no hockey mask. The female killer actually makes it quite a subversive example of the genre.

By contrast, the new version is made by Michael Bay's company, Platinum Dunes. Bay has a producer credit but it's unclear how much input he had on the actual film. Platinum Dunes is known for these remakes and some have been very popular with genre fans, so we should expect a high quality, if unimaginative, film with plenty of nudity and gore.

Did we get it?

Film spoilers ahoy! )
briarwood: (SPN Brokeback Manip)'s a better movie than My Bloody Valentine. Actually, for a Platinum Dunes film it was downright plotty.

Am I missing the point if I say there was a bit too much death? I don't think so. There's a point beyond which the body count just gets boring. But I did enjoy it, and there were a few surprises - not all of them the horrible kind. Also, it was genuinely funny in a couple of places.

More to say when I'm a bit more awake. Except, you know what really disappointed me? Serious spoiler for both boys' films - think before you click! )
briarwood: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow and Tara (BTVS Willow Spell)
My movie of the week was Revolutionary Road - what a depressing film! Depressing isn't necessarily bad; there are a few downbeat films I really like, but this one didn't make the list. The performances are very, very good.

I'm not a huge fan of Leonardo di Caprio but that's mostly down to the kind of movies he's been making lately; this is a break from type and he really nailed the role. Kate Winslet is just as impressive. There's also a stellar supporting cast but Kate and Leo really have to carry the film.

But the plot is not a happy story and the pacing drags a lot, especially in the middle. I think maybe it'll be a better movie on DVD, when you can pause it an make a cuppa when it gets slow, and maybe if I were in a better mood I'd have enjoyed it more, I won't go so far as to say it's boring, just slow.

I think that, if the pacing were better it could have been a powerful film. The story is good, the cast is impressive and the cinematography is gorgeous. The music is irritating, but that may have been intentional, given the whole theme of being trapped and unhappy. The themes are familiar: the whole thing about being stuck in a marriage that's not working, about the sacrifices you have to make, about youthful dreams and which ones are realistic and which just aren't. There's also the abortion issue which I think the film deals with very well, but that aspect would have worked better if the movie were set in a different era...or perhaps if the historical context were better established. I had the impression that there was something significant about the context of that discussion in the film, and I wasn't getting it.

But basically...yeah. Good film, but very depressing and not really for me.


I have hurt my foot. I can't exactly blame it on the snow: I didn't fall or anything. But I have only one pair of boots suitable for this kind of weather, and I'd forgotten that there's a good reason I haven't worn them for two years. I'm not sure how to describe the injury: there's no swelling but it feels like I've badly sprained my big toe. I can't put my weight on it. I shouldn't have gone out today, I guess, but I figured I'd be sitting down in the cinema and would be sitting down if I stayed home, so why not? I am officially an idiot.

Mel, I'm taking your advice and some of Mum's painkillers :-)

I have also chucked those accursed boots in the bin. If we get more snow, I'll just have to wear my usual mules and carry spare socks.


My new laptop is coming on Tuesday! I can't wait! I still haven't picked a name for her. I thought maybe Cameron (as in the Terminator) but that could be asking for even more trouble than naming the first one HAL.
briarwood: Gal Godot as Wonder Woman (Default)
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

You can keep your Twilights, this is a vampire movie.

Cut for length )
briarwood: (MX Emma)
Two more movies I've seen this month:

The Reader )

Slumdog Millionaire )

And one stage show:

Circus of Horrors )
briarwood: (HL Methos BeenThere)
Poltergeist was made in 1982. I was ten. It was probably two or three years later when I saw it for the first time: it would have been a video rental. Horror movies were a staple of my childhood. I started watching Hammer House of Horror when I couldn't sleep at nights when I was about seven. We got our first VCR in the days before video rentals required an age-related certificate and I saw most of the old classics: Halloween, Friday the Thirteenth, The Exorcist as well as a couple of the movies that were later banned when the BBFC started certificating video releases.

Very few films from those days frightened me. There are not many I even remember. I remember one Hammer film featuring an African fetish (doll, not sexual); I remember An American Werewolf in London mostly for the bad joke the guy in the pub tells before everything goes bad ("Remember the Alamo"); and I remember Nightmare on Elm Street as the movie that made me give up on the genre for good...or so I said at the time.

Poltergeist is one of the few horror movies of my childhood that actually scared me. Over the past couple of years it's been shown regularly on Film Four and I keep missing it. So I finally bought it on Blu Ray DVD (bringing my total Blu Ray collection to three - it's huge!).

Rewatching over the past couple of days, I was struck by how completely outside the usual conventions of the genre this film is. Read a summary and it sounds like a typical haunted house movie. It's even got a couple of sequels which, as is traditional, are not especially good. It's got the usual quota of screams and special effects and made-you-jump moments. And yet...

Five reasons Poltergeist is awesome. )

Lastly: the print of the film was remastered for Blu-Ray and it really shows. I don't think the effects were re-done but there's probably some digital enhancement. The quality of this new print is fantastic. I can't comment on the sound so much as there's too much ambient noise in my house for me to judge properly, but the picture is pin-sharp and has real depth, and the special effects are actually just as good as modern CGI. Totally recommended...and just what I needed this week.
briarwood: Sentinel: My Kind of Justice (TS Justice)
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I saw a trailer for a movie that, from the trailer, seemed an awful lot like my fic Predator. Today I finally got to see the movie in question.

Sadly, it's not enough like Predator that I can sue them for plagiarism of my fanfic; on the bright side I'm glad about that because the movie plot has more holes in it than Swiss cheese. (The trailer still freaks me out, though and it would have been kinda cool if I could say Pacino and De Niro were in a story I wrote.)

The movie isn't especially good. It could have been: the premise is a good one but the script isn't as clever as the writer thinks. You can see the so-called twist coming a mile away, and like I said, there are a lot of plot-holes. Like, why bother with all that investigation when all they really needed to solve the case was a good handwriting analyst?

Still, it's worth a DVD rental, if only to see the two leads on a screen together. I'm not a huge Pacino fan, but De Niro is really good.

Oh, and for SPN fen, our very own Sterling K Brown is also in it, as one of the investigating cops.
briarwood: (CrouchingTiger Jen)
On Saturday, I saw The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas. Most of the reviews of it have been kind of ambiguous; reviewers seem to give it a high rating but don't really explain why it's good. I had to see it to understand why.

The plot: The film is set in Nazi Germany and tells of the family of a high-ranking SS officer (I think he's SS - I'm not certain about the uniform) who is placed in charge of a concentration camp. Told mostly through the eyes of a child, it's in some ways a sentimental look at the period. Bruno, the boy in quesion, befriends a Jewish prisoner working as his dad's gardener, builds himself a swing and reads adventure stories instead of his prescribed history of Germany. But as accurate as that last sentence is, it's a misrepresentation of the film.

Cut for length and some film spoilers )

This movie has joined a very short list of films I never, ever want to watch again...but I'm very glad I've seen it once.
briarwood: Brokeback Mountain - Shirt (Brokeback Shirt)
Yes, I saw two movies on Saturday. I know, I know. But I couldn't decide between them.

I saw Journey To The Centre Of The Earth 3D )

...And Mama Mia )
briarwood: Gal Godot as Wonder Woman (Default)
I haven't posted a movie review for ages, have I? Well, my movie this week was one I've been looking forward to for a while.

There have been some pretty horrific movies in the history of cinema. When The Exorcist was first released, it was so shocking people were carried out of early screenings on stretchers and nuns lurked outside theatres to bless the people coming out so the devil wouldn't get them. When the last Saw movie came out, there were stories about people becoming so ill from watching it the cinema staff had to call ambulances. And I've frequently seen extra warnings on movies, like for strobe lighting effects.

Today was the first time I've ever bought a movie ticket and had the person who sold it to me warn me it's really gruesome and "are you really sure you're ready for that?"

The movie was Teeth and, yes, the person who felt it necessary to warn me was male.

Because teenage boys SPOILER SPOILER shouldn't be funny...but it really, really is. )

I will stop short of actually recommending this movie; but if you're female and your sense of humour runs to the dark side, you'll probably enjoy it.

ETA: On a totally unrelated note - M&S fresh strawberries with vanilla liqueur cream are absolute heaven.

ETA2: for [ profile] thanatos_kalos: have you seen this?
briarwood: Brokeback Mountain - Shirt (Brokeback Shirt)
It's a bad sign when I leave the movie theatre still thinking about the trailers.

Movie review: Cloverfield )

Oh, those movie trailers? They showed a trailer for the new Rambo film (isn't Sly getting a little old for that role?) Anyhow, the trailer opens with a man holding a rosary - you don't see his face - and then the voiceover says something about a soldier without a country. Weird how fast I flashed on John Winchester, isn't it?

One track mind? Me?


briarwood: Gal Godot as Wonder Woman (Default)Morgan Briarwood

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