selenak: (Bruce and Tony by Corelite)
( Sep. 2nd, 2014 09:54 am)
In which your faithful reviewer is driven to google the WWII German nuclear weapon project, because some of the content of this episode made her say "hang on, that can't be right", but her memory of the dates of said project was vague.

Read more... )
In which there are good character stuff and gigantic plot holes.

Where is a continuity scriptgirl if the Moff needs one? )
Because I couldn't resist and marathoned that one, too, courtesy of Itunes.

Illegals and other spies, oh my )
I must say, this It's hard out there for a York tv version of the Henry VI plays plus Richard III , aka the Hollow Crown sequel for Shakespeare newbies, sounds better and better, casting wise. In addition to Sophie Okenodo as Margaret of Anjou, we also get Keeley Hawes as Elizabeth Woodville and Judi Dench as Cecily Neville, Duchess of York.

...which makes me imagine she'll pulverize B. Cumberbatch in the scene where Richard gets chewed out by his mother, but maybe he'll be able to hold his own. Also, given what the Hiddleston-as-Hal/Henry V. casting wrought in fanfic, when can we expect the historical Sherlock AUs where he's M's kid?
selenak: (Equations by Such_Heights)
( Aug. 26th, 2014 07:28 pm)
In which Charlie turns out to be the American Guttenberg, which is a lame joke only Germans understand.

Also we get both history and present day parallels galore )
Consider me mightily pleased Breaking Bad cleaned the slate at the Emmys. All very deserved, except for the fact they didn't even nominate Dean Norris and that was unfair because Hank was such a key part to the last season. But what really makes me squee is that Moira Whalley-Beckett won for her fantastic script for Ozymandias. I was afraid they'd give the Emmy to the finale, Felina, for sentimental reasons (last episode, written by the show creator), but as Vince Gilligan himself stated before either episode was even broadcast, Oyzmandias is unquestioningly the best episode of the season and one of the best Breaking Bad episodes ever.

And of course I'm very happy about Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn and Aaron Paul getting a leading team of actors win. No offense to anyone else nominated. But that was such a great final run and the acting so sublime. Who knows whether they'll ever get such good tv roles again?
You know the Companion of ages past Clara should now urgently meet? Peri, in her early days with the Sixth Doctor.

Read more... )
I did see Zeppelins, and some of the most spectacularly beautiful parts of the Bodensee, which is where Germany, Switzerland and Austria meet. I mean:

 photo SAM_3835_zps0b17ade7.jpg

More below the cut )
selenak: (Science Buddies by Mayoroftardtown)
( Aug. 22nd, 2014 11:05 am)
I won't be able to watch Peter Capaldi's first Doctor Who episode in real time, after all, and not for a considerable time after (read: Monday), but it's for a good rl cause. Meanwhile, there's multifandom fanfiction:

Marvelverse: Howard Stark usually shows up in one of two ways in MCU fanfiction - either as part of Tony's daddy issues, or, more rarely, in Captain America WWII era fanfiction in pretty much the same capacity as he did in the movie - flirting with Peggy (and/or Steve), but nothing series. This story, by contrast, takes the canon info of Howard having worked on the Manhattan Project and runs with it in this taut exploration of science and responsibility, dealing with history in a way very few Marvel stories do which usually go for window dressing. Short, but every sentence carries a punch. Like this one: He would ask Arnim Zola about it, once. About Poland. Once, and never again. Says it all about post WWII transfer of German scientists (though Zola, as he points out to Steve in the movies, is Swiss) to the US, and all the handwaving that entailed. Here's the story:

A particle, a wave (1068 words) by kvikindi
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Captain America (Movies), Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Characters: Howard Stark
Additional Tags: Manhattan Project, References to Injury of a Child

"My father helped defeat Nazis. He worked on the Manhattan Project."

Highlander: Even shorter - a drabble - but a great character piece about Rebecca and Amanda, and how to survive as an immortal:

those who shine brightest (100 words) by storiesfortravellers
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Highlander: The Series
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Amanda Darieux/Rebecca Horne
Characters: Rebecca Horne, Amanda Darieux
Additional Tags: Pre-Series, Training, Swordfighting, thieves, Mentor/Protégé, Drabble

Amanda and Rebecca are practicing their fighting skills when Amanda finds out that Rebecca knows some of her secrets.

The first season is now available on dvd in Germany, and thus I could at last marathon it. I think I have a new show which provides me with entertaining (fictional) spying and shady characters. Given my fandom backstory, if I had to pitch the first season in a sentence I'd say "the Spyrents, Jack and Irina from Alias, if they had both been working for the KGB".

Once upon a time in the 80s )
selenak: (Elizabeth - shadows in shadows by Poison)
( Aug. 20th, 2014 07:44 am)
It's weird what breaks one's suspension of disbelief. Here I was, starting a novel with a premise that's, well, extremely unlikely, but which I was prepared to accept for the fun of it, to wit, Roger Ascham taking his most famous student, 13 years old Elizabeth Tudor, abroad for a few months, and not only abroad but to the greatest chess tournament of the world, taking place in Constantinople. Where gruesome murders ensue which Ascham has to investigate. Roger Ascham as a detective, barely teenage Elizabeth as his Watson, Constantinople? Sign me on, thought I, what an entertaining premise, to hell with likelihood.

Bug then, on page 23 of Matthew Reilly's The Tournament:

"We were sitting in my study reading Livy's account of the mass Jewish suicide at Masada."

Livy. Masada. Livy, as in Livius, contemporary of the Emperor Augustus. The mass suicide at Masada, which took place during the Emperor Vespasian's reign. SEVERAL GENERATIONS LATER. My dear Mr. Reilly, thought I, I can buy any number of historical AUs but you have to show me you did your research first. The historian you want is Flavius Josephus, aka Josef Ben Mattias, and that's not really hard to find out. Off with your head!
selenak: (Obsession by Eirena)
( Aug. 19th, 2014 08:45 am)
In which something I hoped for last week happens promptly.

Read more... )
selenak: (VanGogh - Lefaym)
( Aug. 18th, 2014 02:41 pm)
Living near the alps has its benefits. As I have to leave the area again and head for my annual longer stay in Bamberg with the APs, I have to share some photos from the past few weeks from the Tegernsee and its people:

 photo 2014_0811Supermond0001_zpsbd257e33.jpg

More beneath the cut )
L.A. Confidential has been nominated at the SunnyD Awards ! In the categories: Best Comedy, Best Gen Fic, Best Characterization. Whoever did that: thank you so much! I'm one happy author.

 photo imagejpg1_zpsc97878fa.jpg

And now I have a whole new rec list of stories to check out via the other nominees on the list.
selenak: (Guinevere by Reroutedreams)
( Aug. 16th, 2014 10:36 am)
This film, named after its heroine, got released in Germany two days ago (titled with her complete name, "Dido Elizabeth Belle"), a few months at least after the British release, so I'm not sure whether it's still in AngloAmerican cinemas. If it is, though, or you can watch it on dvd: do so. Especially if you like a) (good) romantic costume drama, and b) movies with social awareness of the times they're set in, not to mention the big one, c)a movie with a black heroine.

These factors are rarely united. Belle is based on someone who actually existed, Dido Elizabeth Belle, a mixed race girl (black slave mother, white father), who as opposed as most children in her position ended up being raised by her father's white aristocratic family. There isn't much known about her, which gives the script lots of room, but one of the few known circumstances mentioned in every article I had read ahead of watching the movie was that the man who became her guardian, Lord Mansfield, in his capacity as Lord Chief Justice ruled in two important slavery cases which later became credited with paving the way to eventual abolition of slavery in Britain. Mind you, knowing this I was both curious and worried, worried that the movie would be solely his story, with Dido confined to being his motivation and having no agenda or personality of her own.

Which turned out not to be the case. Not only is Dido, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, assuredly the heroine of her own story, but one of the clever things the film does is to use narrative tropes familiar to the viewer from just about every Jane Austen adaption ever - the need to marry for economic reasons, status differences, various ill fitting suitors, hasty judgments, Mr. Right first sparring with the heroine, a cad revealed etc. - , and puts them in the (still) unusual context provided by Dido being who she is. And where she is, which is in between. She's regarded as enough of a family member so that she can't eat with the servants, but not enough to dine with the family if there are guests present. (Shared breakfasts sans guests are okay.) Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) can't imagine anyone worthy of his bloodline proposing to her because of her colour but won't accept anyone of lower status, so has her marked to follow the current elderly maiden aunt (played by Penelope Wilton, great as ever) as a glorified housekeeper. Because her father left her an inheritance, Dido has money, while the white cousin she was raised with, Elizabeth, has been disinherited by her father in favour of his children from a second marriage and thus doesn't get proper offers in the marriage market, either.

The "finding a husband"/"is a husband worth finding?" trope provides just one of the subplots, though. Another is Dido coming to terms with who she is, and forging an identity that's not based solely on her white relations. A visual theme through the film is Dido looking at the pictures in the splendid Kenwood House, which do have the occasional black figure - always in a servant position and somewhere in the background. (Throughout the film, however, the (historical) double portrait of her and Elizabeth is created.) When Elizabeth has her London debut, there is a black servant in the town house, Mabel, and Dido is at first very uneasy with her before steeling herself to ask whether or not Mabel is a slave. When first told there aren't likely to be any marriage prospects and there can't be an official debut for her the way it is for Elizabeth she, in the privacy of her bedroom, claws at her face. But throughout the film, the case of the Zong massacre is running, and Dido's growing identification with the slave victims of said massacre (who were drowned, all 142 of them, so the ship owners could cash in the insurance; the slaves had gotten sick and would have been sold at a lesser price than the insurance that was to be paid) becomes part of the identity she forges. At the end, she claims her mother as well as her father.

Sam Reid plays the idealistic John Davenier who wins her heart by supporting her in this quest. The movie's obligatory cad (interested in Elizabeth until he finds out she doesn't get an inheritance, leering at Dido) reminded me of someone, but I couldn't place him until the credits: it's Tom "Draco Malfoy" Felton in Georgian costume. But another attractive quality of the film is that it treats Dido's sisterly, supportive relationship with Elizabeth as equally important to her developing romantic relationship with Mr. Davenier. And, of course, there's the relationship with Lord Mansfield, who loves her like a father - but also has to work through his own bias.

Lastly: kudos to director Amma Assante for including black people other than Dido (and Mabel) in the London crowd scenes. Not a majority, of course, but enough to indicate that the big cities in England had at that point started to acquire (literally) a black and mixed race population.

In conclusion: a really enjoyable movie. And the next time a Daily Mail reader says you can't do British costume dramas and include actors of colour, just point them its way.
In other news, some more reviews:

The Veronica Mars movie: charming fan service. I liked the show, though not so much that I watched the third season after finding the second already only so so. (You can follow the film without having watched the third season, btw.) The movie, which was, after all, financed by fans, doesn't bear examination when it comes to inner logic - as [profile] abigail_n points out here, "the high school detective premise doesn't work very well when your detective is ten years out of high school, and yet Veronica Mars behaves as if the problems that plagued Veronica as a teenager are the same ones that will dog her for the rest of her life" - but it delivers exactly what its backers paid for: Veronica quips, Veronica and Keith are an adorable daughter and father together, Veronica has chemistry with Logan, the rich kids grown-ups are still mean, the Sheriff's department is still corrupt (though Sheriff Lamb has been replaced by his identical if played by another actor brother, also Sheriff Lamb - couldn't they get the actor back?), and not a single potentially unpopular storytelling decision is made. I enjoyed watching, a lot, but I certainly have no urge to watch again.

Manhattan, episode 1.03: I have spoilery things to say. )
selenak: (Claudius by Pixelbee)
( Aug. 12th, 2014 12:52 pm)
From various friends:

Give me a letter and I will hold forth on one of the following topics:

A. Author You’ve Read The Most Books From
B. Best Sequel Ever
C. Currently Reading
D. Drink of Choice While Reading
E. E-Reader or Physical Books
F. Fictional Character You Would Have Dated In High School
G. Glad You Gave This Book A Chance
H. Hidden Gem Book
I. Important Moments of Your Reading Life
J. Just Finished
K. Kinds of Books You Won’t Read
L. Longest Book You’ve Read
M. Major Book Hangover Because Of
N. Number of Bookcases You Own
O. One Book That You Have Read Multiple Times
P. Preferred Place to Read
Q. Quote From A Book That Inspires You/Gives You Feelings
R. Reading Regret
S. Series You Started and Need to Finish
T. Three Of Your All-Time Favorite Books
U. Unapologetic Fangirl For
W. Worst Bookish Habit
V. Very Excited For This Release More Than Any Other
X. Marks The Spot (Start On Your Bookshelf And Count to the 27th Book)
Y. Your Latest Book Purchase
Z. ZZZ-Snatcher (last book that kept you up WAY late)


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