selenak: (Tony Stark by Runenklinge)
( Nov. 17th, 2014 09:34 pm)
I was busy writing my Yuletide story these last few days and just sent off the rough version to be beta'd, plus tomorrow I'm on the road again, hence, once more, belated reviewing.

However, I had the chance to watch a fabulous new character vid about Tony Stark:

Repetition

Go and do likewise, gentle reader!
So I was curious as to who people in the 40s thought was writing Hitchcock movies - contemporaries, not biographers with hindsight or people within the industry. Turns out that the Syracuse Herald in 1941 had an article about "filmdom's only feminine writing team-", which is patronizing as hell about women working together, but still valuable testimony as to general knowledge:

"There must be something about writing that does not bring out the best in the girls. There is only one feminine writing team in Hollywood!

Male writing teams are as common as raisins in fruit cake. Those pairing a man and a woman are rare. Usually, the girls who write movies write alone...and like it better.

Many, many women writers have put on double harness, but if they got through one picture they were lucky. Women writers just don't get along together.

"That isn't true of Joan and me," Alma Reville denied.

Alma (Mrs. Alfred Hitchcock) and Joan Harrison (formerly "Hitch's" secretary) have collaborated on most of the thrillers Hitchcock has directed in the last three years.

Alma has been writing screenplays for about 12 years. Before that she was a cutter. She laughed and covered her face with her hands when she confessed she started as a script clerk in 1916 with the London film company.

Joan became Hitchcock's secretary six years ago and has been a writer for three.

In concocting their latest picture, "Before the Fact," Alma said that Joan first boiled the novel to its "plot bones" in a one-page synopsis, then made a rough treatment or story line. Next, both women batted ideas back and forth with Hitchcock, and in about two months completed the screenplay.

This was turned over to a dialog writer. Alma and Joan doctored and tightened the script for the final version.

"Arguments?" said Alma. "Of course! But no bad feeling. I'd just as soon work with a woman as a man, just so she's good."




***

I had alredy seen the teaser trailer for Avengers II, but here it comes with an actual (and hilarious) scene attached, featuring the whole gang:




In other Marvel news, good to know about Carol Danvers and T'Challa getting their own movies, am still not clear who needs Ant-Man, and am blackly amused by the Cumberbatch for Strange? rumours.
Sometimes it really seems that the time between fannish expressions being coined and them being used in a way that's far from their original meaning gets shorter and shorter. The most prominent example being "Mary Sue" which after a gazillion people used it just in the sense of "female character I don't like" lost all its usefulness. Two or three days ago, I started to add "man pain" to the number, after reading a tweet wherein the writer of same talked about Steve Rogers' "man pain" in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."

Errr.

Steve isn't even my favourite MCU character. Or comic book character. But. If there is one superhero who reliably puts saving people first and his own angst for later, it's Steve Rogers. This, btw, is something I like about him. "Man pain", as far as I know, was coined to signify a character (usually male, though I did see people use the expression for the occasional female character as well) making not only something bad happening to him but something worse happening to other people into fodder for his own angst, and his own drama. (Come to think of it, wouldn't the female version be the expression "white women's tears"? Though that one is strictly related to poc's fates being used as angst fodder for a white female character, which "man pain" is not.) Meanwhile, Steve throughout "Winter Soldier", where he gets a couple of shattering revelations both general and personal, never loses sight of what's most important (that would be: no fascist surveillance state taking out its enemies) while finding the time to comfort Natasha through her moment of of "what the hell was my life about?"' angst. The point where he whited for spoilersprioritizes Bucky isn't until Hydra is already defeated. When it's solely his, Steve's, own life n the line. Which he's prepared to sacrifice rather than kill his friend. But when everyone else's lives were still at stake, he did fight, and he did finish that mission. Again: if there's one superhero currently in the MCU who never prioritizes his own pain over anyone else's danger or pain, and who certainly does NOT make other people's tragedies about himself, it's Steve Rogers.

End of MCU Captain America Has No Man Pain rant.

Meanwhile, via [personal profile] lonelywalker, a fabulous interview with John Logan, the creator of Penny Dreadful, in which we find out that Vanessa Ives is a Wilkie Collins kind of heroine (of course she is!), the Ives-Murray abode in London is the bridge of the Enterprise, and Victor Frankenstein isn't likely to find out happiness in season 2 (naturally; he's Victor). Consider me more thrilled than ever we'll get more of this show.
selenak: (Raven and Charles by Scribble My Name)
( Oct. 17th, 2014 01:08 pm)
Briefly, re: multifandom news:

1) New Twin Peaks: Do not want. Leave well enough alone, I say. The second season has been pretty shaky already, and although the ending was great (in a completely mean way, of course), I can't see what a follow up would achieve that would improve on it. I'd rather not know for sure one way or the ther whether SPOILER ever managed to get rid of SPOILER. Or whether SPOILER survived. And that's leaving aside that a lot of what made Twin Peaks so charming and original back in the 1990s has been copied, quoted etc. ad infinitum ever since.

...Otoh, what do I know? I'd have said "do not want" about a Shining sequel, too. And Doctor Sleep turned out to be Stephen King's best book in years (not least because he ditched the first person narration of the last few again), which I wouldn't wanted to have missed.

2.) MCU does Civil War rumor: I'll believe it if it's a bit more substantial than, well, rumor. For starters, the whole Civil War premise makes no sense in the current MCU as it is - only a few superheroes who, after Captain America: The Winter Soldier, had their identities revealed to all and sunder. And that's before we get to the part where the emotional content of Civil War depends on these people having been friends for eons, not being a couple of new aquaintances who just started to get over hostilities.

And a vid rec from the X-Men films: A beautiful portrait of Raven/Mystique!
selenak: (Hank McCoy by Stacyx)
( Oct. 5th, 2014 06:28 am)
So Days of Future Past came out on dvd, I rewatched (am still battling for time to write the Charles and Raven story I want to), was hit by the urge to check out what everyone else had written in the meantime that's relevant to my interests, and came across this fantastic and intense Hank McCoy portrait. This is MCU Hank, his massive issues, his loyalty, bravery and devotion, his smartness his love for Raven and Charles, from childhood till after the end of Days of Future Past.


the boy who blocked his own shot (12263 words) by primavera
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: X-Men: First Class (2011), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Hank McCoy/Charles Xavier, Hank McCoy/Raven | Mystique, Erik Lehnsherr/Charles Xavier
Characters: Hank McCoy, Charles Xavier, Raven | Mystique, Erik Lehnsherr, Sean Cassidy, Alex Summers
Additional Tags: Angst, Unrequited Love, Minor Character Death, Self-Esteem Issues, Self Confidence Issues, Self-Acceptance
Summary:

He doesn't look so terribly different from all the other boys. It's simply a stroke of dumb, genetic luck that he's asked to join Mensa when he's eleven years old.

selenak: (Three and Jo by Calapine)
( Oct. 1st, 2014 08:13 am)
Fandom can be frustrating sometimes, but it is also excellent for distracting from a depressing rl experience. Therefore, something which worked on me this morning:

When Jo Grant met Twelve, aka, Katy Manning and Peter Capaldi are adorable and I love them. Also someone should create an icon from this picture.

Marvelverse fanfiction:

Tinker Tailor Super-Soldier Spy (13726 words) by littlerhymes
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Captain America (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Relationships: Nick Fury/Alexander Pierce
Characters: Nick Fury, Steve Rogers, Peggy Carter, Alexander Pierce, James "Bucky" Barnes, Jim Morita
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, Alternate Origin Story, Cold War, Spies & Secret Agents, Action/Adventure
Summary:

Steve survives World War II. In 1972, he and Director Carter team up with a young Nick Fury to investigate a mission gone wrong.



Described by the author as writing Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the scriptwriters of which sasid they were going for a 1970s thriller type of story, as an actual 1970s thriller. Therefore, Steve Rogers never ended up frozen. What I love about this retelling/AU, not confined to, but mainly: 1) It's Nick Fury centric (Nick Fury doesn't get enough love in this fandom), 2.) Director Peggy Carter in her 50s is awesome, 2.) While the backstory is that she and Steve split up some time as a couple some time after the war because she didn't want to be Mrs. Captain America and he wasn't comfortable with her Director-of-SHIELD ambiguity, they're still firm friends, which isn't just claimed but shown, and best of all, the split didn't happen just so the story can get Steve together with Bucky (who spends it, as he does the movie, in the not-conductive-to-romance brainwashed Winter Soldier state).
selenak: (Abigail Brand by Handyhunter)
( Sep. 10th, 2014 09:25 am)
...because I'm in a bit of a hurry:

Generally I think authors should avoid arguing with readers on the internet, but in the case of JKR versus a homophobe, I approve.

And Marvelverse fanfiction:

An untitled vignette about Peggy and Howard and moral ambiguity in the early SHIELD days. Excellent!
selenak: (Carl Denham by Grayrace)
( Sep. 5th, 2014 09:41 am)
Guardians of the Galaxy: funny, entertaining, and nothing else, which is what it aims for. I can see what [personal profile] londonkds meant about it being "dumbed down Farscape", and agree with [personal profile] trobadora's longer review. At the same time: given how many movies are out there who aim for funny and succeed only in "cringeworthy", maybe we're too harsh on it, with its success on the pure comedy/parody level. Anyway: wasn't bored, left with a smile, have no urge whatsoever to watch it again or read fanfiction.

Much Ado about Nothing, Whedonian version: FINALLY I had the chance to watch this one, which Joss shot with a couple of his favourite actors as a way to relax from wrapping up Avengers two years ago. (And some of his former scriptwriters from BTVS, as it turns out; I spotted David Fury, Drew Goddard and Drew Greenberg in the credits for the wedding scene(s) crowd.) A great way to unwind, I must say. Sean Maher makes a surprisingly good villain - and his character usually feels like a vague pre study for Iago without the genius yet, so that was new. Not surprisingly, Amy Ackerand Alexis Denisof were great as everyone's favourite sparring lovers. Any Benedick and Beatrice pairing stands or falls whether they can make the transition from the admission of love to "kill Claudio" , and they can. This is also a production that goes with the "Beatrice and Benedick had a short fling before the play" interpretation caused by such lines like "you always end with a jade's trick, I know you of old" - "You have lost the heart of Signior Benedick" - "Indeed, for he lend it me a while, and I gave him use for mine, a double heart for his single one" etc., so much so that it starts with a silent "morning after" scene, which means the actual first scene between Beatrice and Benedick feels like the two are compensating for not wanting to admit it had actually meant something to them because it didn't seem to mean anything to the respective other. (And then it hit me: Joss made it into anothe post coital morning after disaster scene, his specialty!) It also means them getting convinced that the other does care later on feels less like a revelation and more like a release.

My favourite Much Ado remains the Branagh one but all the Dogberry and Watch portions in it make me cringe. (Michael Keaton, argggh.) Not helped by the fact I don't find the Watch scenes funny when reading the play, either. (Don't care for embarrasment humor generally.) But Nathan Fillion and Tom Lenk - and Whedonian editing, I suppose - made them somehow not cringeworthy for me. Understanding the Miami Vice parody sunglasses probably dates me. :)

The general endless cocktail party conceit with everyone getting more and more sloshed worked for me. There was no getting around the one big clash between modern day dress and content - Hero's virginity being a big deal to everyone -, but at that point I had suspended my disbelief long ago, plus Clark Gregg managed to make Leonato, whom I always disliked for his turning against his daughter in the first wedding scene, come across as torn between love and rage with love winning out physically if not verbally even before the Friar manages to calm him down.

And lastly: seems Fritz Lang's masterpiece M is re-released in Britain right now, and the Guardian thinks you should watch it. I think so, too - it's my favourite Lang movie by far -, but I found myself grumbling at the Guardian critic and the commenters that a) the police isn't presented as "incompetent" and an allegory for Weimar polticians just because they can't catch a serial killer until the grand finale (the leading inspector became such a favourite that Lang brought the character back in his second Dr. Mabuse movie), and b) no, it's not "foreshadowing the crumbling of the Weimar Republic and the Nazis". The Nazis were already very present on the streets in 1931 when Lang shot the film, having almost daily clashes with the Communists, and neither party is present in this movie. (If you think the criminals organizing into a hunt for the pedophile killer are meant to be Nazis because some are a) wearing trench coats, and b) speaking German, pray remember neither would have been unusual for a German audience in 1931, who hadn't gone through Hollywood aesthetizing the Third Reich into certain images.) I strongly suspect somewhere some editor dictated you can't sell a German movie to an audience if it's not about Nazis somehow.

What I agree about with the Guardian is that Lang's direction (and use of sound - this was his first sound movie, and as opposed to many a silent movie director he really embraced and used the new medium in very creative ways) is outstanding, and that Peter Lorre gives a fantastic performance. Incidentally, while the daring turnaround in audience sympathy during Lorre's monologue at the trial is justly mentioned as the movie's standout scene by not just this but every critic writing about "M" ever - and btw something I can't imagine in any current day movie about a serial killer of children -, no one seems to remember the actual final scene of the movie (a silent sequence showing us the grieving mothers of the dead children), which is a shame, because through it Lang achieves balance and ensures Lorre's big scene is earned by not forgetting the victims and their families.
selenak: (Undercover (Natasha and Steve) by Famira)
( Sep. 3rd, 2014 12:26 pm)
I reread Sansom's Shardlake series - there will be a new novel this autumn - and concluded again that this might be my favourite current series of mysteries set in a historical era. (Here is an earlier detailed review.) The novels definitely are my favourites set during the reign of Henry VIII. Yes, even above Hilary Mantel's Cromwell novels, possibly because the later give me the sense of Mantel being just a bit too much in love with Cromwell (who shows up in the early Shardlake novels, too, since our hero starts out as a lawyer working for him, and is much thought about in the later novels after his death), or it might be the freedom of not knowing how the main regular characters (Matthew Shardlake, Jack Barak, Tamasin) are going to end up since they're all fictional. Also, Sansom knows his Tudor lawcourts like no novelist I've ever seen and makes being a Tudor lawyer as fascinating to layperson me as The Good Wife does it currently for Chicago lawyering. Speaking of Hilary Mantel's Cromwell novels, though, or rather, the movie versions currently being shot, here's a hilarious picture of Henry VIII, as played by Damian Lewis, taking a selfie. Okay, I should have phrased this "Damian Lewis taking a selfie while in costume as Henry on the set", but who doubts Henry would have LOVED taking selfies?

(Also: is Damian Lewis the first genuine redhead to play Henry VIII?)

From Tudors to Avengers:

The planned (and unused) Hawkeye scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Would have been a cool scene, but I can see why they cut it, if that was supposed to be Clint's only appearance in the film. It depends on the audience knowing him for the emotional impact, and strange as it may seem, not everyone watching one or two of the Marvel films has watched all of them.

Incidentally, while pondering why, when I loved Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a movie, Bucky and Steve/Bucky aren't relevant to my interests, so to speak, at one point I thought it was because we don't see much of non-brainwashed Bucky in the movie and what we saw of him in the previous CA film just felt like standard best pal stuff, so there wasn't much for me to get attached to beyond an abstract "poor guy, what a life" level. But then I realised that in terms of screentime, there is even less of Clint Barton, who also walks around brainwashed through most of the only film where he's in so far with any sizable amount of screentime (that one minute in Thor really doesn't count), and yet The Avengers immediately managed to make me emotionally invested in the Natasha and Clint relationship, and in Clint, with all the attachment I can't muster for Bucky and Steve/Bucky. I would say it's because I care about Natasha and that her concern for her brainwashed partner and determination to rescue him moves me on her account, but I care about Steve, too. And yet. *ponders*

Meanwhile, a missing scene set during the first Iron Man movie which celebrates the Rhodey and Tony friendship, lovely to read:


They Don't Know Where We Come From (4699 words) by ladyflowdi
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Avengers (2012), Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man (Movies)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Tony Stark, James "Rhodey" Rhodes
Additional Tags: Hurt/Comfort, Emotions, Arc Reactor, Missing Scene, Medical Procedures, Medicine, Psychological Trauma, Trauma, Recovery, PTSD
Summary:

“Shrapnel,” Tony says, and alarms go off around his ears and he can’t breathe and the pain is going to eat him up from the head down. “In my heart. I made it. Not the shrapnel. ...Well. The shrapnel too.”

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
Summary:

"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
Summary:

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

selenak: (Cora by Uponyourshore)
( Jul. 27th, 2014 07:08 pm)
Still in haste and briefly:

Doctor Who:

Due to all the interest (and their server crashing), Big Finish is changing their 15 Days to 15 Offers, which each offer available for several days.

Make Mine Marvel:

Steve Rogers meta. Only connect, as Forster put it. And speaking of Steve, as you you can see in this bit from the Comic Con panel where the Avengers actors show up, Chris Evans got the most applause, which no one would have predicted a few years back. Methinks it was Cap 2 which made the difference.

Once Upon A Time:

Another SDCC goodie for those of us far, far away: The REAL reason why the writers decided to do that storyline in s4 which the s3 tag scene revealed. Read: a hilarious sketch in which the OuaT writing staff pokes fun at themselves. Complete with Jane Espenson's pizza fandom (known to the world since the audio commentary for Conversations with Dead People from BTVS was on dvd) and a cameo from a Dharma telephone from Lost. (The fact that some Lost alumni ended up in OuaT, others in Bates Motel and yet others in New Zealand doing Tolkien-Jackson stuff tells you all about what kind of a show Lost was. :)
Casting news (in one case older news for most people, I'm sure) that made me realise my priorities and double standards:

a) Bradley James is in the fourth season of Homeland. Sorry, Bradley James, I loved your Arthur Pendragon in Merlin, but there were a lot of reasons why I quit watching Homeland in early s3, among them loss of quality and questionable ideology, and I'm not going back.

b) Lucy Lawless is the the second season of Agents of SHIELD. Now this is a show I haven't watched so far; my flist/circle had about two third naysays, one third (all the more enthusiastic) yaysayers about it, there were so many other interesting shows to watch, and also I'm so fond of the MCU I didn't want to risk dampening the emotion by disgruntlement should I dislike AoS. However, Lucy Lawless in the Marvelverse? Must have! (Unless she's only in one episode, I should acertain that first.) (If you recognize where the quote titling this post comes from, you might feel similarly.)

Meanwhile, further news both on the Lewis & Tolkien and the solo Tolkien biopics in planning demonstrate someone's (be the publicity people, the reporters, or, heaven forfend, the scriptwriters) lack of actual knowledge re: Tolkien and Lewis, as is entertainingly pointed out here.

Penny Dreadful:

We have a Penny Dreadful vid! And a good one, covering the ensemble and the relationships between same - with one unfortunate exception. Which, sadly for me though not for the vidder and the vid, happens to be the relationship I'm most interested in. There is a complete lack of Malcolm in the vid (and hence also no Vanessa and Malcolm). Which reminds me that last week when someone at last posted Penny Dreadful icons, I was delighted...until I saw there were no Malcolm and no Vanessa and Malcolm icons. Alas. Anyway, back to the original point, which was: a shiny vid about a lovely twisted Victorian Gothic show:


A Shot for the Pain (11 words) by Franzeska
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Penny Dreadful (TV)
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Additional Tags: Fanvids, ConStrict 2014


X-Men: Days of Future Past:

Missing scene type of fanfic covering how old Erik and old Charles reunited, which is just what I need when the angst elsewhere gets too much:

Rescue Me (2492 words) by Unforgotten
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Erik Lehnsherr/Charles Xavier
Characters: Erik Lehnsherr, Charles Xavier
Additional Tags: Pre-Movie(s), jailbreak, Reunions
Summary:

Against all hope, Charles and Erik reunite at the beginning of the Sentinel War.




And lastly, not completely unrelated to the beginning of this post, something only funny if a) you know German, b) have a vague idea about what the Bavarian dialect sounds like, and c) are familiar with a certain 1990s fantasy show made in New Zealand: Xena auf Bayrisch.
selenak: (Black Widow by Endlessdeep)
( Jul. 21st, 2014 04:11 pm)
I strongly suspect one of the reasons why, by and large, I like the cinematic Marvelverse better than the DC-based movies, is that while DC ever since Nolan made his first Batman movie puts all their money on grimdark (both in themes and look) and shies away from anything looking remotely like it could be perceived as camp, the Marval guys embrace their comicbook origins and looks with gusto. (See also: Loki in full reindeer Asgard regalia in The Avengers.) This vid celebrates the comicness of the MCU (and the eyecandy) with equal gusto.


More on the thematic exploration side, but still MCU based, to be specific, about how Phase 2 of the MCU movies (Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Cap 2) had our heroes questioning the identiies they've built themselves without losing the drive to make a difference: Counting Stars .

Which was made by [personal profile] such_heights, who also made a great vid celebrating Buffy the Vampire Slayer (both show and girl): Level Up.


And lastly, I got 12 out of 13 questions right in this Beatles quiz, which is good or pathetic, depending on your pov. (I appreciated the questions weren't of the dumb "what were their last names" type you often find with quizzes.)
Yesterday, when I had occasion to hunt for quotes, I was reminded of this bit in Lewis' early day memoirs, Surprised by Joy, about his teenage self - already a big fan of Norse mythology - distracting himself of the horror that was English Public School by writing. As one does. (The easiest modern day equivalent for the "Bloods" referred to in the quotes are high school jocks.) Quoth Lewis:

But the Northerness still came first and the only work I completed at this time was a tragedy, Norse in Subject and Greek in form. It was called Loki Bound (...) My Loki was not merely mallicious. He was against Odiin because Odin had created a world though Loki had clearly warned him that this was a wanton cruelty. Why should creatures have the burden of existence forced on them without their consent? The main contrast in my play was between the sad wisdom of Loki and the brutal orthodoxy of Thor. Odin was partly sympathetic; he could at least see what Loki meant and there had been old friendship between those two two before cosmic politics forced them apart. Thor was the real villain, Thor with his hammer and his threats, who was always egging Odin on against Loki an dalways complaining that Loki did not sufficiently respect the major gods, to which Loki replied

I pay respect to wisdom not to strength.

Thor was, in fact, the symbol of the Bloods; though I see that more clearly now than I did at the time. Loki was a projection of myself; he voiced that sense of priggish superiority whereby I was, unfortunately, beginning to compensate myself for my unhappiness.



While Lewis would probably be appalled by Marvel breaking up the Odin/Loki OTP by making them father and son instead of blood brothers and giving the fraternal relationship to Loki and Thor instead, methinks he would recognize the mechanism of (a lot of) current day fanfiction easily enough and be amused.

Incidentally, speaking of brothers forced apart by cosmic politics, the trailer for Ridley Scott's Exodus is out and it looks like this version of the Moses tale will go more into the Prince of Egypt direction than the Ten Commandments one in how Moses and Ramses start not as rivals but as friends. In fact, this looks more like a live action version of Prince of Egypt than anything else. (Incidentally, who first identified the Pharao of the Exodus with Ramses II. and why? Because Ramses II. is actually one of the Pharaos who got to live into a ripe old age and ruled for decades, which you'd think makes him an unsuitable candidate to have perished in the Red Sea. Considering Cecil B. De Mille did a silent movie version of The Ten Commandments first, it might have been his scriptwriters' fault, but maybe they got their ideas somewhere else?) The trailer also makes it look as if the current day moral trickiness of the Plagues, especially the last one where God kills all the first born of Egypt, will be addressed. Then again, Ridley Scott has an uneven record and could produce anything between a dud or something amazing. The visuals are bound to be great, though. Mind you, given that Noah flopped - obvious pun of "sunk" is too obvious -, I'm not sure about the success chance for biblical epics these days. Precisely because the idea of divine punishment sits so uneasily on our shoulders. Now, some of the core elements of the Exodus tale - an enslaved people breaking free, their oppressor vanquished - have guaranteed its adaptability and potential for identification through the ages (there's a reason why so many gospels use it, for example), but I think both presenting Moses as somewhat conflicted between his Egyptian and his Hebrew identity and writing Pharao as someone other than Evil McEvil tyrant and the Egyptians as someone other than Evil McEvil oppressors is a relatively recent (i.e. later part of 20th century and following) development. (One of the most original twists' I've read was Judith Tarr's novel Pillar of Fire in which Moses was in fact Akhenaten who had faked his death and became reborn in the desert, so to speak. I'm not sure she pulled it off successfully, but interesting it was.) Otoh, of course if the enslavement in Egypt isn't truly presented as horrifying, the narrative loses some of its power, and bearing Gladiator in mind, I'm pretty sure Scott will go for brutal oppression in Egypt. Otoh, "character who belongs to the ruling elite discovers he was, in fact, born among the oppressed powerless" is just his type of identity crisis. I didn't watch Noah, but I think I'll watch this one on the big screen.

...and in completely unrelated news: according to his interview with The Guardian, one of the things Edward Snowden currently does is marathoning The Wire. Somehow, this strikes me as very fitting.
selenak: Made by <lj user="shadadukal"> (James Bond)
( Jun. 3rd, 2014 01:45 pm)
First, spotted while surfing around, a meme:

Who is your Doctor? Don't have a single one. It definitely isn't my first, because the first Doctor I ever saw was Tom Baker, whom younger me did not take to at all. Later, I became in varying degrees fond of most regenerations (still not keen on Four, though, but he has the majority of fandom to love him best, he doesn't need me). Which of them I prefer above the rest really depends on a) the mood I'm in and b) the medium (because, say, Six is so ill served on tv, and he certainly isn't a favourite there, but on audio Colin Baker rules, and so these days when I think of the Sixth Doctor I think of him in his audio incarnation).

Who is your Doctor's companion? Donna Noble. With close runner ups Ace and Jo for Old Who and Evelyn Smythe from the audios, but really, DONNA.

Who is your Batman? Michael Keaton. Though Christian Bale in "Batman Begins" is my Bruce Wayne. It's just that too much of the Nolan films ultimately ticks me off that has to do with the Batman worship.

Who is your Cat Woman? Anne Hathaway, wowing all naysayers and by far the best thing in the awful third Nolan movie.

Who is your Sherlock Holmes? Jeremy Brett, no question about it. If I'm limited to more recent incarnations, it's Johnny Lee Miller.

Who is your fictional female federal agent? (eg, Dana Scully, Audrey Parker, Olivia Dunham, etc) : Oh, how I loved Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs. Then Hannibal happened. While I like all the tv ladies named as examples, I have to change agencies to answer the question for ongoing love, because: Sydney Bristow. Who is one of those characters who aren't my favourites, nor are they the ones immediately winning me over, but they are firm secondary loves and my affection never waves. And much as I have issues with the fifth Alias season on behalf of my favourites, I thought it did well with Sydney herself and gave her a good send-off. Encapsulated in the moment when Irina says you can't be a mother and a good spy, and Sydney replies "watch me".

If we also include comics, and again, branch out in agencies, then it's Agent Abigail Brand of SWORD.

Who is your Robin Hood? The fox one from the Disney movie. I imprinted on him! Runner-up: Sean Connery in Robin and Marian for autumnal grace and wit. (Well,the script is by James "Lion in Winter" Goldman.)

Who is your Maid Marian/Marion? Audrey Hepburn in Robin and Marian, definitely. See above, re: autumnal grace and wit.

Who is your Bond? Daniel Craig from his first outing onwards. Judi Dench is, of course, my M. But not until Craig came along did she have a Bond worthy of her. *verily, my Brosnan dislike runs deep*

Who is your fictional female assassin? (eg, Natasha Romanov, various incarnations of Nikita, etc): Natasha. Especially in her MCU incarnation. Tied with Mystique (definitely her cinematic incarnation).

And speaking of the X-verse, have another rec:

Running for Cover (3094 words) by RemoCon
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: X-Men (Movies), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Erik Lehnsherr/Charles Xavier
Characters: Peter Maximoff, Charles Xavier, Erik Lehnsherr, Hank McCoy, Alex Summers, Kurt Wagner, Raven | Mystique
Summary:

Peter wasn't really looking for more family.

The other day I came across about a great post about Tiana from Disney's "Princess and the Frog. Among the newer Disney heroines (i.e. last decade or so), Tiana is still my favourite, and that article made me go and rent the dvd to rewatch her movie. Yes, still my favourite. And still so unusual in its genre, if you ask me. You've got herones wanting freedom (either for themselves or for their family/country), you've got heroines who want romance, but Tiana's ambition - to have her own restaurant - doesn't owe anything to either romance or fantasy. Ambition as a trait is so often treated with suspicion in YA fiction, unless it comes in a tomboyish form (i.e. heroine living in vaguely medieval, sexist fantasy world wants to live like a man) , and here it's treated as a sympathetic key motivation of the heroine. I'll always love that spoilers for Disney under the cut. )Incidentally, for all that so much was made about Frozen putting a relationship between sisters in its centre, rewatching The Princess and the Frog reminded me that actually all of the most recent Disney heroines have meaningful relationships with other female characters in their narratives, and as opposed to Frozen, there are more than two important female character around in Tiana's case - her mother, her friend Charlotte and Mama Odie, all of whom are important to her and the story. (Post Princess and Frog, we got Tangled which had a dysfunctional mother/daughter relationship in its centre and Merida with a mother and daughter relationship in need of repair at its center, and the witch who is key to the transformation as a third important female character. Disney products have their problems, but all of the more recent ones are actually doing pretty well in including important relationships between women.)

Avengers and the actors who play them:

- a nice profile of Mark Ruffalo, talking about politics and acting


- RDJ tweeting a photo of the cast and Joss having lunch while shooting Avengers II

Post-Cap 2 fanfiction:

The Favored Sons of History (1570 words) by zeen
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Captain America (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Alexander Pierce & The Winter Soldier, Nick Fury & Alexander Pierce
Characters: Alexander Pierce, Nick Fury, James "Bucky" Barnes
Additional Tags: Abuse of Authority, Parallels, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Seventies Robert Redford
Summary:

Alexander Pierce and his justifications.



I'd been hoping someone would tackle Pierce (and his relationship with Nick Fury), so was delighted to see this.



Problem Solving (4544 words) by persiflet
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man (Movies), Captain America (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Bruce Banner/Pepper Potts/Tony Stark, Pepper Potts & Natasha Romanov
Characters: Pepper Potts, Tony Stark, Natasha Romanov, Maria Hill, James Rhodes, Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson (Marvel)
Additional Tags: Background Relationship, Neuroatypical Characters, Moral Dilemmas, Female Friendship, Panic Attacks
Summary:

Spoilery stuff happens )

. Pepper Potts deals with the aftermath.



By now there are a lot of "other Avengers and friends reacting to Cap 2 events" stories. This one puts Pepper Potts in the spot light, remembers her backstory with Natasha from Iron Man 2, doesn't forget Rhodey exists - something that used to happen a lot though less so after Iron Man 3; hopefully Sam Wilson won't suffer the same fate -, and assumes an established three way relationship between her, Tony and Bruce which is so my headcanon until we're explicitly told otherwise. It also falls under the rare category of story that doesn't assume everyone is best buddies post Avengers. I've seen a lot of people wondering why there is no Watsonian reason given for Steve and Natasha not contacting Tony during The Winter Soldier, which I didn't have a problem with. I mean, I like the stories written pre Cap 2 in which everyone became friends and moved into the tower as much as the next fan, but: what we actually know is that Tony kept contact with Bruce, not with any of the others, and that Steve kept contact (and work with) Natasha and Nick Fury, not any of the others. In The Winter Soldier, it's noticable that while Steve refers to Howard Stark as "Howard" in dialogue, Tony Stark still is "Stark" (in both a Steve-Fury and a Steve-Natasha conversation), so chances are that MCU Steve at this point still thinks of Tony as "my friend Howard's annoying son who turned out to be a good comrade in arms when we were busy saving earth but who otherwise gets on my nerves", not as a friend in his own right. Moreover, spoilery arguments ensue. ) As for Natasha, Natasha who was SHIELD's mole in Stark Industries during Iron Man 2 has better reason than anyone to be aware of the likelihood Stark Industries may still be infiltrated, which means a phonecall to Tony in the middle of the Cap 2 events would alert far more people than Tony. (In fact, given that Nick Fury in Cap 2 admits to spoilery things ), I'm 100% sure Natasha had a successor as a mole at Stark Industries.) In conclusion: not calling Tony Stark during Cap 2 made Watsonian sense to me. Doesn't mean he's going to be happy about it, which the story also deals with.


Once upon a Time:

Once in Purpose: bugging your friends about stories they need to write so pays off, she says smugly. This one deals with, to put it as unspoilery as possible, Rumplestilskin's mental situation at a certain point in s3.


Harry Potter

The Journey of a Thousand Miles (7069 words) by igrockspock
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Luna Lovegood, Xenophilius Lovegood, Severus Snape
Summary:

After the end of the war, Luna makes two surprising discoveries: her father attempted to give Harry to Lord Voldemort, and Severus Snape is alive.



This is both a beautiful Luna character exploration and a story featuring a surviving Snape which manages to avoid the most popular clichés, i.e. pairing him up with one of his former students and/or ignore he really is a pain to live with.
In a word: disappointing. Alas.

Read more... )
selenak: (Black Widow by Endlessdeep)
( Apr. 17th, 2014 09:18 am)
Having arrived at the APs for the holidays, I'm having a busy time as always. Here are a few links collected over the last week or so:

Remember me praising Adrian Lester in Red Velvet, a play about Ira Aldridge, first black Othello on the London stage and Shakespearean theatre star with a heavy price to play for his 19th century stardom? Here he is performing a scene from said play, albeit not in costume.

You know, I haven't read a biography of Benjamin Franklin yet, I only know him from fictional presentations (he's a main character in on of Lion Feuchtwanger's novels, and of course features heavily in anything about the American Revolution), but one of these days, I really must get around to that. Check out his advice to a young man as to why it makes more sense to take an older mistress than to take a younger one!

And now for a few Cap 2 inspired tales, the descriptions of which are all spoilery, so they must go under a cut.

Spoilery Fanfic awaits )
Or, Return of the First Avenger, as it's called in my part of the world. In English, I kid you not. At a guess, the change of title is caused by the raging popularity the US currently enjoys over here and the assumptions people tend to make about superheroes called "Captain America". Which is a shame, in a way, because this film happens to be the first addressing the decade-and-more trade off between liberty and "safety", the instrumentalization of fear, the way the various secrent agencies have run completely amuck in their megalomania head on. That's right. This comic hero block buster is a spy thriller worthy of the 1970s classics of the genre, pitch black in its view of what has become of us - and I'm saying "us" because that trade off wasn't limited to the US (while Germany doesn't have a camp in Guantanomo, we outsourced people to be tortured by the CIA; shame on us, and all the power to the one who is currently sueing because of that) - and yet also not cynical; it has a belief in the capacity of humans (and not just those who are in the title credits) for decency that fits its main character, even and especially under pressure. Oh, and it also happens to change the status quo of the cinematic Marvelverse in more than one instance, and in one particular regard breathtakingly so. It's definitely the best of the Phase II films so far (and I'm saying this as someone who loved Iron Man 3 and enjoyed Thor II, and who also thought that Captain America, while enjoyable in its own right, was the weakest of the Phase I origin movies).

Now, considering that it is a thriller with twists and turns (some predictable if you know the genre, some not), I would advise you to watch it unspoiled. Everything below the cut will be spoilery in the extreme because I do want to talk about details. Above cut, let me just add one more thing: pre-movie, one reason why I was looking forward to the film was that the later trailers made it look as if Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff would be an important supporting character. In fact, as it turns out, she's basically the second lead, and until we finally get a Black Widow movie, this is the next best thing, and a very fine thing it is, too. If you're familiar with her comicverse connection to the person mentioned in the original title, this is actually not what her role is about in the movie and not why she's so important in it. The film also settles something fans have been wondering, i.e. whether or not movieverse Natasha would, like her comicverse counterpart, herself be a relic of the Cold War, kept young via serums etc.; we get a definite year of birth for her (1984 - of course it was!), which means her biological age is just what it looks like, which is useful fanfiction information to have. :)

And now, on to spoilers! )
selenak: (Bruce and Tony by Corelite)
( Mar. 21st, 2014 03:35 pm)
On the road again, and thus parted from tv. I feel weird about my [profile] rarewomen assignment this year, not in a bad way, it's just that the recipient & I were matched in three fandoms, and I'm just not used to having that much of a choice? Also I may have to revisit some old canon to get the voices right, but that's okay, I love the fandoms in question.

Meanwhile, have some recs in several fandoms:

Lord of the Rings/ The Hobbit:

Wounds (1820 words) by Ias
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Hobbit (Jackson movies), The Lord of the Rings (Movies)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Éowyn & Tauriel
Characters: Tauriel, Éowyn
Additional Tags: Past Kili/Tauriel, Grief/Mourning, Hurt/Comfort
Summary:

She had sat by many bedsides. She did not know why she thought of him now, with this golden-haired woman lying still and cold as death beside her.



In which Tauriel from The Hobbit movieverse pays a visit to Eowyn when the later is in the House of Healing. Lovely to read, and good voices for Eowyn and Tauriel both.

Avengers:

The Art of Convincing (4085 words) by zarabithia
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Avengers (2012), Iron Man (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Pepper Potts/Tony Stark, Bruce Banner/Pepper Potts/Tony Stark, Bruce Banner/Tony Stark
Characters: Pepper Potts, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, James "Rhodey" Rhodes
Summary:

Pepper doesn't plan on falling in love with Bruce. Tony probably doesn't mean to, either.



In the wake of Avengers and of Iron Man 3, I've read several charming stories in which Pepper, Tony and Bruce come to a three way arrangement, but these (at least the ones I read, which I realise may not be representative) were usually from Tony's or Bruce's pov. This story, by contrast, is from Pepper's and takes the trouble of letting her to get to know Bruce first (since on screen they haven't interacted yet) and shows what the attraction of such a constellation would be for her. (I mean, I do appreciate it in other stories, too, when the canon girlfriend isn't just declared invalid, evil or killed off to make way for the slash pairing but a threesome sometimes gives you the impression it's only there so one or both male partners don't have to feel bad about cheating, not because the author is really interested in the female partner. So I'm extra thrilled to find a story where the female partner is the focus!)

When You Go That Way (Four Times Bruce And Tony Never Met, One They Did) (2384 words) by seularen
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Avengers (Marvel Movies)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings, No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Bruce Banner/Tony Stark
Characters: Bruce Banner, Tony Stark
Additional Tags: Pre-Relationship, Mentions of attempted suicide
Summary:

Tony Stark?”

“The same.” As if there'd been another. Kinsella shakes his head. “They won every year he was enrolled. Wasn’t even a competition. That kid was unstoppable.”

I could’ve stopped him,’ Bruce thinks, looking down at the floor, saying nothing. 'Or at least, it would have been fun trying.'



What the title says. Witty and sharp.
.

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