And in today's entry of "Links for people who didn't hate Age of Ultron":



Earth's Mightiest Monsters: thoughtful meta on the movie.



Fanfiction:

on second thought, better to use a spoilers for the movie cut )
selenak: (Black Sails by Violateraindrop)
( May. 9th, 2015 08:53 am)
Briefly, as conference duties call:

Black Sails:

At last a collection of beautiful icons! The lack of Black Sails icons has been depressing. I used this bunch to rectify the situation immediately. Oh, I should add there's male nudity in some, I suppose, so if your employer frowns on that sort of thing, beware, etc. (The same icon post also has Daredevil icons, btw.)


Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Two positive reviews not despite but because of Natasha's part in the movie, praising it:

Here and here.

And lastly.

Sense 8:

Trailer for a new Netflix show which is of fannish interest because JMS (that's J. Michael Straczynski for non Babylon 5 people) wrote it. Oh, and those Wachowski guys are producing. It does look interesting. Caveat: JMS obviously is very interested in mutants/superpowered people and the way they're intrumentalized and/or persecuted by societies, since he's been dealing with that subject not just with the Telepath arc on B5 but repeatedly in comics - Supreme Power, The Twelve, Rising Star (not sure about the last title, I may misremember it). This had results ranging from the fascinating to the Byron, and I am not thinking of the poet. And then there's the part where Supreme Power petered out after a strong start because he lost interest, and we never got the Telepath War, and, well, I want my complete story, is what I'm saying, he's spoiled me on B5. All this said? I'll definitely tune in.
Met [personal profile] kangeiko and [personal profile] naraht yesterday, which was lovely and included a brunch and a lengthy walk along the Thames respectively. I also watched Avengers: Age of Ultron. Non-spoilery version: I liked, though didn't love it the way i did the first movie. (Perhaps inevitable because getting-together-tales are a soft spot of mine.) Was tickled (by which I mean very amused) by some stuff that literally Josses lots of fanon, due to the fact that I wasn't keen or neutral towards said fanon. Rolled my eyes at one bit of dialogue, enjoyed lots of others (not surprisingly.) Because I watched it in close proximity to the Oppenheimer play , there were inevitable thematic overlaps for me. Was sad about SOMETHING which wasn't the something I expected. Do have a favourite among the new characters.

Spoilery version )
Okay, firstly, as far as Once upon a Time is concerned, this week's episode settles it: we're in Heroes season 3 territory, and I'm out of here. Regretfully, since I really loved the show and the characters, but it's always been my policy not to stick around once you derive more anger than enjoyment from a fictional source, and not to spoil things for the rest of fandom by endlessly complaining when you can rather watch something else you actually do enjoy. This announcement also isn't an invitation to bash OuaT in the comments; as I said, until relatively recently, I enjoyed the show. I'll simply regard the end of season 3 as the perfect ending (minus the tag scene); in many ways, it brought the main characters full circle since the pilot and concluded several main characters' arcs in a good way.

Secondly, I marathoned Daredevil. Which is definitely well made, by two Jossverse veterans, Drew Goddard and Steven DeKnight, with a growing into iconic persona arc for both the hero and the main antagonist, conveying a great sense of atmosphere and place (Hell's Kitchen in New York definitely becomes a character in its own right), establishing an ensemble of interesting characters. This being said, it's also heavier on the male character side (which doesn't mean there aren't interesting women around, and one of them, Karen Page, has a great arc of her own). And yes, the pilot uses "bad guys get introduced as bad by attacking women" shorthand, though the rest of the show does equal opportunity menacing on the villains' side, and Karen being put through hell in the pilot (not via rape, I hasten to add, that's one cliché avoided throughout the season) motivates her relentless quest for the truth and to bring down the network which menaced her through the rest of the season - not in a "revenge" way, but in a "I must ensure this doesn't continue to happen to other people!" way. Let's see, what else on the negative side: while the New York depicted here is far more ethnically diverse than the one in Agent Carter, there's just one black main character - reporter Ben Urich (who btw is white in the comics, but as with Nick Fury, the MCU changed this) - and spoilery observation applies )

Violence: I was very amused to read Steven DeKnight in this interview profess amazement that people describe the show as very violent before ruefully admitting that working on Spartacus has maybe changed his standards for this. I'd say, so, yes. Sure, compared with Spartacus, where they lovingly slice people open in every episode, with lingering close-ups, Daredevil isn't that violent. But that's like saying Henry VIII. was a faithful husband and lover compared with Giacomo Casanova, i.e. beside the point. I'd say the violence level is comparable to shows like The Wire, which incidentally DeKnight names as the type of show he's going for (while admitting this is going for an incredibly high goal but better to be ambitious and failing than etc.).

Now re: my own familiarity with comics canon, I've encountered comics!Matt Murdock/Daredevil mostly in other people's comics books - he's Jessica Jones' lawyer, seems to have an on/off thing with Black Widow, and an Elizabethan version of him is a main character in Neil Gaiman's 1602 - oh, and as for the main villain onf season 1, him I encountered in The Runaways, of all the comics - , but I absorbed enough via general pop culture osmosis to recognize the joke on decades of continuity when in the pilot Matt's best friend/partner Foggy Nelson sighs: "If there's a stunning woman of questionable character in the room, Matt Murdock is going to find her, and Foggy Nelson is going to suffer." However, in the actual on screen show Matt/ Morally Ambuiguos Women aren't yet a thing. (Though Foggy mentions "that Greek girl you liked" in college, which I take it is a reference to Elektra.) The one brief romantic connection he forms on screen during the first season is with an unquestionably heroic woman who wisely breaks it off. Instead, the main romance of the season belongs to the main villain, Wilson Fisk, the future Kingpin. (The woman in question, btw, Vanessa, is another of the interesting female characters, and she's neither a deluded innocent nor an eye-liner heavy sex goddess, which love interests of villains more often than not tend to be. Instead, she's an age-appropriate smart art gallery owner who goes into the relationship open eyed.) Who certainly qualifies as most detailed and layered of all MCU antagonists. Granted, the villains of the MCU so far haven't been that great (in the sense of being three dimensional), and the only one who became popular was Loki, but still, this version of Fisk, placed by Vincent D'Onofrio, is an impressive creation, and you can see the Wire influence here - he has various varied relationships (not just the romance), both a close friendship with his main sidekick and rivalry-ridden antagonistic ones with his business partners/competition, we see him in his surroundings just as we see Matt Murdock in his, and like our hero, he has childhood backstory trauma and an "I must save my city" obsession, the difference being that Fisk's idea of saving comes with a lot of death first. But throughout the first season, he's definitely regarding himself as the misunderstood hero working for the greater good. Spoilers happen. ) "Who am I and how do I achieve what I want?" being a question of protagonist and antagonist get asked throughout.

On the relationship front, there's certainly OT3 potential with Karen, Foggy and Matt. The set up reminds me a bit of early Angel with Cordelia, Doyle and Angel, though Matt has yet to heroically jump into the wrong car. Also, Karen's the one with the hinted at mystery in her backstory, not Foggy, who has what's today called a bromance going with Matt that should make the slashers weep with joy, especially in the episode with the flashbacks to how they met in college. (Which comes late in the season for plot reasons.) More spoilery observations re: Karen follow. ) There's equally OT3 potential between Fisk, Vanessa and Fisk's Faithful Lieutenant Wesley (!), until spoilers happen ). Then there's the mentor/protegé type of relationship Karen and Ben Urich form. Matt also confides into a priest (one of the few things I knew about comics Daredevil was that he's a Catholic, so that didn't surprise me) and into Rosario Dawson's character for plot reasons, while Fisk has his two most entertaining relationships when it comes to fellow crime bosses with Madame Gao (heads the drug trade, old lady on the outside, but do not cross her) and the endlessly bitching Leland Owlsie (not sure about the spelling) who handles and transfers everyone's money.

Looks: definitely revels in the dark and the New York neon lights. Since Matt doesn't aquire his iconic red costume until the end of the season, and until then dresses in black for his illegal outings, this can make some of the fight scenes tricky to watch. I'm also not convinced of the brief attempts the show makes to visualize Matt's post-blinding sight, but other than that, no complaints. Also everyone, more or female, dresses professionally, i.e. like what their respective profession would make you believe they can afford and/or what's comfortable given what their job is.

Hang on, I know that actor: Rosario Dawson, obviously Vincent D'Onofrio; I thought Matt's father in the flashbacks looked like a slightly heavier Jason Dohring (Logan Echols in Veronica Mars), but the credits tell me it wasn't him, while Fisk's father in the flashbacks was none other than Herc from The Wire. Fisk's mother in the flashbacks looked a lot like the actress who played Amanda in Caprica and Katniss' mother in The Hunger Games, but I haven't checked yet whether it's the same woman. (I mean, I know Amanda and Katniss' mother are the same, just not whether she's also Fisk's mother Marlene.)

MCU continuity: Ben Urich has a couple of old articles hanging on the wall of his office, including one about the battle of New York (i.e. what happened in The Avengers) and one about the Hulk devastating Harlem. (The Incredible Hulk.) When Claire (Rosario Dawson's character) first talks to Matt in his not-yet-Daredevil outfit, she asks him whether he's "one of those billionaire playboys I keep hearing about", and the gentrification of Hell's Kitchen is directly tied to all the damage New York suffered through the last few movies. No Stan Lee cameo that I could spot, though. At a guess, this is set post Captain America: Winter Soldier, since no one ever mentions SHIELD, nor do they show up during certain events. Anyway, all these are brief injokes; plot wise, nothing depends on previous MCU knowledge, and the characters in this show are all new, they haven't been anywhere else before. (Though I wouldn't be surprised if in the upcoming Jessica Jones series, Matt Murdock does show up as he does in the comics, not as Daredevil but as Jessica's lawyer.)

All in all: impressive. I didn't fall in love with it the way I did with the more rambling but more of my favourite itches scratching Agent Carter, but I'll certainly keep watching.

And the question remains: Steven DeKnight in the interview I linked mentioned loving Better Call Saul. I'd say that calls for a legal crossover, Steven, wouldn't you?
After Marvel delighted me already by casting Krysten "Jane from Breaking Bad" Ritter as Jessica Jones and Lemond Bishop's actor as Luke Cage, I now hear they've hired David Tennant to play the Purple Man. The main villain in Jessica's life or rather backstory. Now this isn't a casting I'd have thought of, but wow. Never mind the snide tone in the article (obviously the writer hasn't read the Alias comics), that guy is the creep of creeps, and calls for an unafraid and unvain performance, which I have no doubt DT can deliver.
That started promisingly.

Why does this keep happening? )
Firstly: I'm unspoiled, other than having watched the trailers, and would very much like to remain so. I'm not even reading interviews for that reason. So please do not tell me anything.

With that in mind, let's see. In no particular order:

- obviously, Clint needs some fleshing out beyond his relationship with Natasha (which I enjoy!), due to spending most of the last film possessed. Bonus point if this includes at least one chat with Thor, not least because they're bound to have different takes on Loki, given events in Thor: The Dark World and yet Thor knows very well Clint is one of Loki's victims.

- continuation of Natasha's old and new friendships (Clint, Steve) and of the what-do-we-call-it relationship with Bruce; given that Natasha has just outed herself (and everyone else) to the world, which is a completely new state for her, I'm curious to learn how it affects her, and whether some of her own debts in that ledger have come to haunt her; scenes with Maria Hill and Wanda would be lovely.

- Tony exited Iron Man III in a very good state, as well adjusted as we've ever seen him. Since well adjusted Tony Stark does not provide drama (or snark), I don't expect it to last, but I hope whatever happens will come across as emotionally logical, and also that it won't negate the things he did learn over the course of four films.

- speaking of Tony, more Science Bros. That was a lovely and unexpected Whedonian invention in the last Avengers, and no matter whether it comes across as Bruce & Tony or Bruce/Tony, I want more of it. Incidentally, this can by all means include arguments on the ethics of inventions. [personal profile] lettered wrote some fantastic stories in which they have very different takes, which makes sense.

- Thor as of The Dark World has decided he never wants to be king, full stop, and has just started a new life on Midgard. Maybe he finds the every day reality not as easy a change from Asgard and being a prince as he thought? (Yes, he had a depowered taste of that in Thor I, but that was only a short while and very different circumstances.) Also, he doesn't really know any of the other Avengers yet, so I'd like some relationships to form.

- The twins: as we don't know yet what Joss' take on Wanda and Pietro will be like, beyond some educated guesses based on favourite Whedonian tropes, I can't wish for specifics there, or which Avengers they'll interact with most. I'm curious to find out, though!

- we need a logical explanation why Steve is interrupting his Quest For Bucky, but actually I don't think that will be too hard to come by; saving the world always comes first with him. As I mentioned with Natasha, I'd like more of their friendship. Also, a scene with Rhodey would be great, since movieverse Rhodey is among other things quite what Steve Rogers, born in another time and without the serum, would be like, and I don't think Tony is aware of the irony.

- please, please, please no dead Maria Hill; the trailer with the scene where she's hanging out with the Avengers was lovely until I remembered Coulson got fleshed out in The Avengers from cypher to person, and look what happened next.


Other than that, I got nothing. Except that I'm very much looking forward to this movie.

December Talking Meme: The Other Days
No, the other one. A few years back, it was briefly announced there's be a tv series about Jessica Jones, based on the Alias comics but in order not to be confused with the tv show Alias called "Aka Jessica Jones" instead. Then nothing happened, and word was the idea was given up.

But now not only is the tv show back on, but Krysten Ritter will play Jessica Jones. As I know her from Breaking Bad, where she played Jane in season 2 (and was awesome as the character), this makes me very happy indeed. Mind you, it will inevitably joss my Jessica Jones in the X-Men movieverse story, but hey - such is fannish life.

Oh, and the internet also told me that the actor who currently plays Lemond Bishop in The Good Wife is considered for Luke Cage. Which would make the tv prospects even better!
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. :)
.

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