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annwfyn: (love - pink heart)
So, that was Sense8.

I meant to live blog it, but instead I binge watched the entirety of season 2 instead. I now, of course, review, with loads and loads of spoilers. If you’ve not seen it, you should look away.

Read more... )
annwfyn: (Character - Venice Parrot)
One of the things I like about Buffy, which I only realized today, was just how many different flavours of women there were in it.

First of all, let me be clear. I don't think Joss Whedon is a god of feminism. Dollhouse was skeevy as fuck, both Buffy and Firefly occasionally tended towards taking pretty fragile traditional female characters and calling them 'strong' because they had super strength, and let us not talk too much about what he did to Cordelia on Buffy. The man isn't perfect.

But he did get something right. He gave us a cast of different, flawed, interesting women on Buffy. And I think most of us can identify with them all in different ways.

I mean, my favourite, of course, is Anya. Anya is totally me about 80% of the time. She means well, but she always says the wrong thing, she clearly goes way over the top when she does snap and get angry, and I can totally identify with turning into a demon of vengeance for 1000 years over a really bad break up. But she is loyal, brave, smart and takes no shit. Xander - she was too good for you.

Of course, I wanted to grow up to be Willow, who was beautiful, quirky, smart and wore interesting clothes, despite loving chemistry and books. Plus...witch! I liked books too and I wanted to be a witch and save the day by the power of research.There are so few shows in which a thorough understanding of how an index system works really matters.

And Faith was a disturbing early revelation for me; I have a theory about how many girls were first brought to confusing same-sex attraction by the power of Faith alone. I also found her inspirational - apologetically independent, secure in her sexuality, and let's face it, far more interesting than Buffy.

Cordelia, of course, was like Anya, but with added self awareness and wit. She was probably me on a good day, when I said some of that shit on purpose because I thought it was funny. Plus, season one Angel, she kicked off at the evil ghost because she was motherfucking Cordelia Chase and she was going to own that evil and make it work for her. She was gloriously unapologetic about who she was and I'm still gutted they killed her off on Angel because she and Angel were actually my OTP.

(People always kill those. See Tara and Willow and Xander and Anya. Basically, all three couples I really liked. Fuck you, Joss Whedon. Why am I being nice about you?)

I loved Tara for being gentle and wise and strong even when she felt beaten down, and Dawn for being an excellent dancer. I didn't identify with Dawn. But she did dance well. Drusilla was kooky and weird and cool. Even Darla had some good lines. And Joyce Summers must have been a genius at processing house insurance claims.

All those women, in just one show, with complex lives and big picture goals and objectives and charisma and wit and charm.

Thank you, Joss Whedon.
annwfyn: (Sally - Helen's wedding)
More Sense8, now I've watched the Christmas special. Not a long review, but some comments. Also, spoilers...
Read more... )

So, that was my review. How about you? Did you like the special?
annwfyn: (Mood - pondering fox)
So, Sense8!

I can’t remember who recommended it to me first, but I’ve now finished Season One (not the Christmas Special). Sadly, I didn’t live blog it, but am now posting with my thoughts from the first season as I prepare for more.

Review. With spoilers )
annwfyn: (Nonsense - hedgehog courage)
Following on from a conversation I was having elsewhere, I figured I’d put this up here – my top five TV shows of 2016. As a note, these are shows I’ve watched in 2016. They may have been made earlier, but due to the wonders of Netflix, only came to me this year.

I have also, in a bout of negativity, added the five TV shows I found to fail me the most in 2016. And then I think we should trade recommendations. And one that was just confusing.

So, without further ado.

The Good – Five best TV shows of 2016.

1)      Westworld.
This may yet be a mistake. It might be. I’ve not watched all of season 1 yet, but dear gods, it’s been amazing so far. It’s subtle and complex, and discusses issues about memory and identity and humanity that I’ve been wanting a TV show to ask ever since I first encountered the holodeck on Star Trek. It has amazing writing and a stellar cast that could probably make the phone book compelling but instead are given this astonishing world to work with. It is big and beautiful and has cemented my conviction that TV, and HBO in particular, have stolen cinema’s crown when it comes to in depth and high value exploration of fictional worlds. This is amazing.
2)      Glitch.
I am told this is a bit of a marmite choice. It’s a six part Australian TV drama that’s on Netflix and follows a similar premise to ‘The Returned’ with the dead coming back to life for unexplained reasons. It’s a slow burn show, with very little dramatic happening for most of the first season, but it has some beautifully detailed characters and a real sense of place with the characters from Australia’s history. It ended on a cliff hanger and I’m terribly excited about season 2 in 2017.
3)      Game of Thrones.
The very predictable choice, but it really has exploded this year. It turns out that George RR Martin may write amazing novels, but holy crap, the show runners make amazing TV, and it’s gotten even better since they overtook GRRM and got to have their heads a bit more. Sansa, my beautiful Sansa, grew as a person. Arya got back in the game. And they repeatedly outdid themselves. I thought nothing could top the Battle of the Bastards which was flat out the best battle sequence I think ever shown on screen, but then came the Winds of Winter. Oh Yara and Dany – please stick together. The worlds needs you two, you know.
4)      Gotham.
Again, I think this may be a marmite choice, but Gotham has really grown on me lately, to the point where I feel like it may become my favourite Bat-screen-representation. Sean Pertwee is amazing as Alfred, I think I prefer the kid Bruce Wayne to Christian Bale and the bad guys continue to steal the show every time. Oh Penguin, I wept when you murdered your family. DC can’t write a movie to save themselves, but they can do TV.
5)      The Man In The High Castle.
Amazon Prime’s greatest success – an alternate history America in which the Nazis won. And it’s amazing. I’m not sure who the good guys are. I think there may not be good guys. But I want the second season, and I am still thinking about it month’s later.



The Bad – Five TV Shows that failed me in 2016.

1)      The Night Manager.
A little controversial, I know, but this show vexed me. I wanted to like it. I really really wanted to like it. I adored at least one of the characters – Olivia Colman – and I like spy thrillers. But instead I spent increasing amounts of time wanting to throttle Roper for being so ridiculously naïve about Pine, who always radiated dodgy, and even more time wanting to throttle the writers for their conviction that while men needed many character traits, a woman only needs to be beautiful.
2)      Once Upon A Time.
I loved this show once. I really really did. I watched it faithfully through the ups and downs, I endured the Neverland plot and the ridiculous appearing backstory and family trees. I even supported Rumple and Belle up to Season 4 when I should have given up long before. But I have finally accepted that this show just needs to die. The Disney rip offs have become too much, too blatant. Rumple’s fake out near redemptions for Belle and immediate relapse just looks abusive at this point. And Henry isn’t cute, he’s well into puberty, and it’s just not working any more. Please…just lie down.
3)      The Killing.
Again, I loved this show all the way through series one when it was a tense cat and mouse nourish thriller. I struggled through season 2 because it felt like filler, but I was resolute. I would keep going. Now…I am just out of steam. I think the show invested way too much in Jamie Dornan, for way too long, and wouldn’t admit that basically, he wasn’t a glamorous figure. He was just kind of seedy.
4)      Homeland.
This show hurts me because I still want to love it. There are very few highly functional bipolar heroines on TV. Um. By which I mean one. There’s Carrie. She’s great. She is. But dear gods the racism. Oh yes, the racism.
5)      The Good Wife.
This is here mostly because I gave up watching it before the end. Somewhere along the line, I realized that none of the characters were nice people. Alicia wasn’t the nice woman making it in a harsh world. She was just a shark. And I really missed Shalinda. So I drifted away. Goodbye, Good Wife. I loved you once. But you turned mean.


The Ugly – I don’t understand this TV. It leaves me all befuddled.

1)      Shetland.
I just worry whenever I watch this. Shetland is such a tiny place. Yet the murder rate is uncomfortably high and looks set to keep growing with series three coming soon. And there’s only about three people in the entire police force. I just don’t think they can stay on top of this, as evidenced by the old murders that keep resurfacing. I fear it may end up like Midsomer, that horrific hellhole in southern England, where your survival chances are low and the odds of a painful and exotic demise are higher than Mogadishu.


So, those were my top shows. What about yours?
annwfyn: (Nonsense - hedgehog courage)
So, last night was the Glasgow gig as part of the Levellers 25th anniversary tour for Levelling the Land. And Jeremiah and I went. I don’t normally do reviews, but I was filled with thoughts and feelings this morning and so felt the need. As all my reviews are, it is divided into three parts. The good. The bad. And the ugly.

So, without further ado.

The Good:

  • The support acts. Ferocious Dog & Gaz Brookfield were both awesome. Gaz Brookfield is a very warm and witty acoustic singer and songwriter, who did a fantastic job of getting the crowd engaged. Ferocious Dog, it turns out, have Fruitbat from Carter USM as their guitarist, and also an unhinged tattooist as their lead singer who lists Lenin, Scargill, and Marx as his influences on their website, thus indicating a great deal of resilience in the face of an unforgiving political world which probably does help when trying to make a living as a folk rock musician. I accept that my political views are, compared to him, practically Genghis Khan like, and he probably doesn’t want the likes of me appreciating his music, but I really did. And their violinist was flat out incredible.

  • The venue – lovely bouncy dance floor, decent space, small enough to keep the buzz focused, large enough that it was easy to breathe. And it was less than an hour to get home which is a distinct improvement on the last Levellers gig I went to and no mistake.

  • The audio-visual at the beginning. I liked the neat little summary of the world according to the Levellers, from the 1980s to now, and it really put them firmly back on track as protest music, which is something I think they’ve drifted from slightly in recent years. Again, I know I’m definitely way to the right of the average Levellers fan (for I am a fickle bitch and have not kept the faith with my teenage politics) but I really appreciated that they were focusing on that edge to the songs.

  • The music! Of course! They basically played through Levelling the Land entirely, which pretty much doesn’t have a weak song as far as I’m concerned. I danced until my knees gave way and dear gods, I was happy. They remain absolutely reliable – decent vocals, decent instruments. Maybe they are getting old but they are not out for the count just yet. And, unusually, they played Julie! It was their encore song and as that’s the Levellers song which reliably makes me cry this is good. Then the final song was ‘Beautiful Day’ which is my least favourite Levellers song, so meant I could get my coat from the cloakroom before the crowds dispersed.

  • The entire gig made me think. Which is always a good thing. I’ve not yet sorted out my thoughts, especially the coherent rational ones from the ‘I used to be really passionate and idealistic and have all the answers to what made the world good and then I got old and also, I was thin when I believed that stuff, and my hair wasn’t at all grey. If I believed that stuff again, would my hair change colour? Is grey a sign of the evil in my soul’? But I do have thoughts and it was nice to have them.



The Bad:

  • The crowd booed Thatcher. Loudly. They booed Blair. Loudly. They stared in baffled silence when Farage appeared on the screen. This vexed me hugely for reasons I’m still trying to articulate. Probably mostly that I think if you are going to be so politically bloody engaged, then how about engaging with the actual political villainy of the now. This might, however, be me being unreasonable.

  • A slightly odd running order to the gig meant that they basically really front loaded the whole thing. They started with ‘One Way’, and then played through Levelling The Land, which really pushed their good stuff to the start of the gig, while the crowd were clearly getting on a roll. And that then meant their second half was slightly more random which was not bad, exactly, but could have been better.

  • More screens than I would like. I love my mobile as much as the next girl, but there is a time and a place. And if you’re in the middle of the pit at a Levellers gig, that is not the place to stand rock still, hold your phone aloft and mutter between songs about people jumping in the way.

  • The amount of pain I’m in this morning. I don’t want to admit this, but I think I might be getting old. I certainly am not in a place where I can go to a gig, dance all night and go to work in the morning feeling good about the world. Well, maybe mentally about the world. But not physically. I ache!



The Ugly:

  • Here I can only offer advice. If you’re a middle aged punk, I’m glad you’ve kept your individuality and spirit. If you want to go to a gig wearing a kilt – that’s awesome. If you want to take your shirt off then I even support that. But if you’re going to do these things, might I suggest you ensure your kilt is securely fasted to your belt, and that said belt is solidly in the middle of your stomach, before you start jumping around enthusiastically during the songs. Thank you!



Also, Ferocious Dog are playing in Glasgow again in January. I would very much encourage anyone who likes music of the New Model Army/Levellers persuasion to give it a go. Jez and I will definitely be there.
annwfyn: (Sally - in Porthcawl)
Eeeeee!

Captain America!

Eeeeeee!

Now I’ve said that, let me get on with something resembling a review.

First of all, I have to be honest. I love Captain America. I don’t mind comics-Cap. I love, adore and worship Chris-Evans-As-Movie-Cap. He has everything I love about Superman (he’s a good, decent, straightforward, big damn hero), plus he’s not a god, he’s probably the weakest of the Avengers, but that doesn’t stop him trying and regularly punching above his weight. I love 1940s pulp (which the first film was) and I go slightly weak at the knees at the thought of Peggy Carter (who isn’t Captain America, but does show his excellent taste in women) so I went into this film as a bit of a squeeing fangirl which was both a good and a bad thing.

Spoilers lurk beneath... )
annwfyn: (Sally - in Porthcawl)
I'm in work on a half day today and itching to get out of here. But I've got three hours to go. So, I'll fill it in with a film review.

As a note, this review contains spoilers for Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, so if you really want to be surprised, astonished, and aghast at everything in this film, don't read this review. And don't say I didn't want you.

Read more... )
annwfyn: (love - molly and schmendrick)
So, [profile] pierot and I just got back from 'Now You See Me'.

Short version, it was an awesome heist movie and you should all go and see it.

Long version, it was a really good heist movie. It wasn't any more than that - the characters were basically self obsessed narcissists, with less depth and more surface tension, there was a pseudo-love story which never really got going, the dialogue was so-so and the big reveal was really more of a medium sized reveal.

But none of that really mattered, because, let's face it, no one there is expecting it to be a movie with heart, or soul, or to say anything about us or the world we live in. You go there to see Ocean's Magicians or possibly the Fast and the Magical and you love and appreciate it for the slick, fast moving, gleaming, arrogant spectacle that it is.

So sayeth the Sally.

Byzantium

Jun. 4th, 2013 05:03 pm
annwfyn: (tarot-hanged man)
So, last night jez and I went to see Byzantium.

It was a bit of a spontaneous cinema outing, but I'm really glad we went, for it was a gloriously good vampire film.

Read more... )

Downfall

Jun. 2nd, 2013 06:30 pm
annwfyn: (Studious - worst witch at desk)
http://www.downfallthefilm.com/

This film is on Netflix. It's an amazing German language film about the last ten days of Hitler's life, and the fall of the Third Reich. I was kind of unsure about it originally - I feared it would be Nazi porn, which I dislike intently. I also wasn't sure I could cope with two hours in German. But I was wrong.

I won't say I enjoyed it exactly. It wasn't a fun film, it was dark and heavy going and very harrowing in places, but it was absolutely fascinating. It captured a place and a group of people who I have always found almost incomprehensible and made them real and human.

Yet I didn't think it made Hitler any less evil for showing him as human. If anything it made him a more chilling figure, sliding from grandfatherly kindness to horrific declarations. About the only issue I really had with it is that you needed a fairly decent amount of 1940s history, or Wikipedia, just to be able to put it all in context.

I finished watching it yesterday around 9pm unsure if it felt like more or less than two hours. It felt like a big two hours, but it never dragged or got dull. In a weird way, I'm also glad I'd just finished watching Band of Brothers again, for more dramatic context. I also need to find out more about the Eastern Front now as that feels like a very big hole in my WW2 knowledge. Decent books, TV shows or film recommendations are gratefully accepted.
annwfyn: (Misc - the last unicorn)
So, this weekend was a weekend of watching TV. Primarily, Game of Thrones, where I had a marathon session and went from not having watched any of Season 3 to being entirely up to date. And lo! It was good. As tends to be the way with Game of Thrones, it started slowly, with a lot of little catch up scenes for the characters scattered about the world, but it's really built up nicely, and by the end of 'The Bear and the Maiden Fair' it felt to me like it was properly rollicking along.

Some random thoughts, with spoilers )

I also watched the end of Once Upon a Time: Season Two.

More spoilers )

Oh, and that reminds me. I also watched the Season Finale of Glee, and ended up rather wanting to despair. I used to love this show. What went wrong?

So, what about you guys? What are you watching at the moment? And, considering two of the shows I am following have just reached their season finale, where should I go from here?
annwfyn: (Mood - pottering hedgehog)
The Bourne Legacy - worth it as the Hawkeye origin story, or maybe a homage to the iconic motorbike chase scene in Terminator 2. Just don't try and link it too carefully to the original Bourne films. It'll just upset you.

The Expendables 2 - perfect. On every level. My heart sings now I have seen it. My life is, once more, complete. I had no idea a film could take the very essence of the 1990s action blockbuster (maybe late 1980s, actually), distil it, and then spray it all over the big screen. Also, worth it just for Chuck Norris turning up to tell a Chuck Norris joke.

Total Recall - pretty. Not exactly clever, and I'm a little confused as to why the United Federation of Britain was ruled by an American, or why the population of Australia seemed to be Americans with a thing for a kind of steam punk Chinese aesthetic, but I'm willing to overlook that. Worth a couple of hours of my time.

The Hunger Games - Best antidote to Twilight ever. Katniss Everdeen teaches me that it's OK to be tougher than the boy, that he can love you anyway, that fighting together and protecting each other is good, and that sometimes no one will rescue you but you. Also, it's OK to have an athletic but curvy figure and if she loses weight for the next movie I'm going to be very traumatized.

So, that's me. How about you?
annwfyn: (mood - ordinary princess)
So, I just finished watching Season One of Once Upon A Time.

Thoughts. With loads of spoilers. Don't read if you're still watching )

So, that was Once Upon A Time.

Who else is watching? What do you all think?
annwfyn: (mood - ordinary princess)
So, I just finished watching Season One of Once Upon A Time.

Thoughts. With loads of spoilers. Don't read if you're still watching )

So, that was Once Upon A Time.

Who else is watching? What do you all think?
annwfyn: (Default)


On a random note, is it just me, or was this an amazingly cruel song for a man to give his soon-to-be-ex to sing as they go through their divorce?

I found this today and was really struck by that.

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annwfyn

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