redfiona99: (Default)
The Case For The Prosecution:

The problem with the A-Team film is that it tries to be too many things all at once.

Admittedly the series only had 1 TV hour (so ~ 42 actual minutes) to play with, while the film has 117 minutes, but the series knew that you can focus on one thing at once. If it was a Hannibal episode, Hannibal got most of the scenes while Face, Murdoch and BA went and did their thing. The same, with the names moved round, for the other characters.

The film, meanwhile, tries to shoehorn in:

1) Hannibal's crisis of confidence after the team are betrayed.

2) Face learning to believe himself and his ability to plan.

3) BA trying to find a balance between necessary violence and his own peace of mind.

One, or maybe two, of those would have made a good solid film. With all three of them in the film, none of those storylines has the chance to breathe and fulfill their potential. It also leaves Murdoch with nothing to do.

I also don't like how the do BA Baracus.

In the show, Face is the one with criminal tendencies. If anyone was going to have been dishonourably discharged, it would have been him not BA. BA is, and I suspect quite deliberately, a riposte to the idea that a big, black angry man must be a thug. Because the whole thing with BA is that he is the loveliest and cuddliest of the A-Team, it's just hidden by the fact that he looks terrifying. Looks, they are deceiving and so on. It feels retrograde to make BA the thug just because they've got Rampage Jackson to play him.

That last point brings me to my last objection. Face is supposed to be the pretty boy. Rampage Jackson is significantly prettier to mine eyes than Bradley Cooper. I have been assured, repeatedly, by several people that I am the only one with this problem.

The Scene Itself:

Why the scene is so good:

If the phrase, "the A-Team fly a tank" does nothing for you, the scene will do nothing for you. If, on the other hand, your reaction is "OMG, I've got to see this", it is done and done well.

It is ridiculous done well, and the characters actually acknowledge the ridiculousness of the situation they are in.

I particularly like Lt. Sosa's eyerolling reaction, because, of course they're going to try to fly a tank. I also have a love for the little old German lady laughing at the end because yes, that is a spectacular karma for dynamiting fish.

(The only scene that really comes close to being as good is the scene with Pike and Lynch in the car. Part of the problem with the film is that Pike is the most fun character.)
redfiona99: (Default)

Mayan 'nesting doll pyramid' discovered in Mexico -


Stevenage: The town that aimed for Utopia -


The 21 Documentaries from the 21st Century Everyone Should See -

Law and Order:

The Dutch prison crisis: A shortage of prisoners -


The Man Who Fixed His Own Heart -


Why The Heck Do Animals Live In Our Houses? -

11 times 'The Simpsons' accurately predicted the future -

My father's double life as a British spy -

Israel's Arab soldiers who fight for the Jewish state -

The slot machines that changed bingo -

Is it right to train babies to sleep? -


Untangling Trump's Conflicts of Interest -

The Lessons of Henry Kissinger -

'Crazy' to say Facebook helped Trump win - Zuckerberg -

US election 2016: The Trump-Brexit voter revolt -


Here’s What Happened the Day the Dinosaurs Died -


Unknown dinosaur almost blown to oblivion -

Science Fiction:



Rugby Union:

China's drive to become a rugby union superpower -
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Apparently I ought not to be stunned by the technical solidity of Atomic Blonde because it was directed and stunted by people who are already on the 100 things diagram for having directed and stunted in films where they weren't the problem.

Other things that really weren't the problem with Atomic Blonde were the costumes. I don't just mean Charlize Theron and her wardrobe of awesome. I mean the smaller characters like Spoiler's daughter. I had a coat exactly like that at that time, when I was in Vienna. And I mean exactly, I can tell you that despite the pink accents on the outside of the pockets, the lining of the pockets is in fact pink and purple.



Pick a character I've written and I will give and explain the top five ideas/concepts/etc I keep in mind while writing that character that I believe are essential to accurately depicting them.
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Atomic Blonde is a great soundtrack in search of a film.

I think my anger with the film is because of its wasted potential. It could, and should, have been so much better.

The acting is solid, as is the directing and the technical stuff. The make-up department deserve an Oscar nomination. No, seriously. A character goes into shock and they made the character up to the right shade of pale.

The problem is the plot.

It makes no sense. No, seriously.

Without the last two "twists" (neither of which is a twist if you'd paid any attention during the film), it just about makes sense, because of some serious legwork by the actors, mostly Charlize Theron.

With the penultimate twist, spoilers )

Unfortunately, that's when they throw in the last twist. Which isn't really a twist and ruins all that has gone before )

In short, when your most sympathetic character is a Stasi agent, there is something wrong with the film!

I'm not even going to go into the really weird thing where there is only 1 German actor, who gets no lines in German. All the other Germans and Russians are played by Scandinavians. Now the amassed Vikings all do a damn good job (no, seriously, all my love for Roland Møller and Bill Skarsgård) but if you're actually filming in Germany, which this was, it's a bloody odd casting choice.


While the film is nothing like the advert, I am willing to give the ad makers props for one thing. Spoilers )


In a more fandomy way, you know the concept of a Remix. I would love to see Remixes of the film from the perspective of spoilery dead characters.
redfiona99: (Default)

Shopping in Australia, while in China -


A Stray: Finding and filming the real Somali immigrant experience -


'I can't imagine being a doctor for five more years' -


The Suez Emergency: The forgotten war of the conscript soldier -


The Skype sex scam - a fortune built on shame -

Sex, honour, shame and blackmail in an online world -

Natasha Annie Tonthola: My fight against Malawi's 'hyenas' -


Syd Barrett: Cambridge honours its 'Crazy Diamond' -


The Russians who fear a war with the West -

Will Central Asia fight over water? -

The kids who have to sew to survive -

Child refugees in Turkey making clothes for UK shops -


In pictures: Framing the Mafia - I do wish they'd gone with a different title for the article.


US election 2016: Indians' verdict on Donald Trump's Hindi - From before the last US election

How to deal with uncertainty -


Regrets of a Naturopath -


Chicago Cubs: City parties as baseball 'curse' ends after 71 years -


Jose Mourinho: Man Utd boss says life alone in hotel is a 'bit of a disaster' -

Heading footballs 'affects memory' -


Key Change: From prison cell to sell-out show -

Amadeus play: NT homecoming in fine tune -
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1 - I have doubts, grave doubts, about this 4DX film thing. It strikes me as gimmicky, Castle-level gimmicky.

2 - I think I know why I am so disappointed by the idea of Blade Runner 2049. We're spending lots of money to recreate the way 35 years ago thought today would look. Where are the films about what today thinks 35 years in the future is going to look like. So much has changed since 1982, you'd think that would be reflected in our vision of the future.

Think about it - Dennis Villeneuve + all the money + a free reign to envision a future.

I think I won't enjoy Blade Runner 2049 because Ryan Gosling is one of those actors with whom I do not jibe but I'll probably give it a go.

3 - I've figured out what really didn't work for me about the characterisation about the A-Team film. I've been rewatching the show on UK Spike and it struck me. The film make BA be the one with the pre-existing criminal record when in the show, it's quite clear that Face is the one with criminal tendencies. BA is not a thug. He is lovely. He wouldn't hurt a fly (unless that fly were a fool etc). Changing that alters the team dynamics.
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From Musesfool, the OPI Nailvarnish Colors as Prompts fest. Full details here -

(I may be working on a couple already.)


One of the weirder Freeview channels was showing the 2003 version of the Lion in Winter. Which was an odd experience. Because I know the film very well. And it's not that it's bad.

Part of the problem is that, to pinch a line from Douglas Adams, very little money has been spared to show no money has been spared, but most of the crowd scenes looked like extras had been told to look like they're having lots of fun.

Nothing wrong with their Henry or Eleanor, though the characters are read very differently. I think there's a conscious decision to underplay the theatricality of the roles, which makes very little sense to me but it does affect the feel of the thing. The other problem is that of the younger people, Rafe Spall as John is by far the strongest actor, and that really skews things because where the film one is just a sulky lump, he's actually cruel to the servants, but he's very good at making you feel sorry for John.

I would have watched the rest of it but a friend called and we went to see Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

So I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the opening best of all. I entirely understand anyone who complains that parts of it feel like a less fun retread of the Fifth Element, but bits of it stand up on its own. Luc Besson continues to be a magnificent director, he just needs help with his scripts. Like, possibly someone going "people don't speak like that" every now and again. It would be a good start.

I think having slightly stronger actors in the lead roles would help too. Because Clive Owen and whoever played General Okto-Bar did a much better job of coping with the dialogue than Dane DeHaan or Cara Delevigne.

But I happily forgive all of that for the visuals. I am a Cinema du Look girl, and always will be.
redfiona99: (Default)
The Case For The Prosecution:

I feel a bit mean about putting the Expendables in here because the film does exactly what it says in the tin. It's an action movie that's basically an excuse to cast every old action star we love in one film. I think people were expecting more from it than it could ever actually deliver (probably where I fit), and then other people wanted something really OTT, which I think Stallone was trying to avoid, so they didn't get what they wanted either.

The excuse of a plot works solidly. The surrounding cast are decent, especially Sandra and General Garza. I personally find that there's too much CG but you know, nothing that can be complained about. Nothing that can be raved about either and I think that's why some people are down on it.

I'm also not sure every scene could be as good as Tool's scene, without the film becoming unwatchable in the sense of being too intense.

The scene itself:

Why the scene is so good:

It's Mickey Rouke. Actually bothering. When he actually bothers, he's exceptional. He hits regret and the living with it, and that there is no living with it (when it's about something as serious as this).

Even at the time, I said one of the messages of the film was "these are cool guys but being a mercenary is a shitty thing to be", and this is the scene where that's really brought home. It's incredible. You know those scenes that will never get the credit they deserve, because of the film they're in. This is one of those.
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An update of this post. Includes films watched up to the 15th February 2015.

First things first, I really do like the new pie chart layout from google docs. It's much neater and easier to read.

Showing locations of films, only including real places

The number of films set in the US is the section that's increased in size the most. As before, there's a much greater spread of locations than in the books I read.

Locations for UK based films

Are completely skewed towards England.

Film locations, including fictional places

The outer space set films still haven't overtaken French-based films.
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Why a Bollywood film has been accused of distorting history -


These charts show how much of your life you will spend being sick -

What is the food that can really improve your eyesight? -

'I know cannabis is illegal, but it is medicinal' -


What I learned about languages just by looking at a Turkish typewriter -


Starting university: What to bring, who to avoid - Some of this is reasonable, some of it, not so much.

Vogue: Nine down-to-earth discoveries I made at the fashion bible -

Fabric closure: What next for the UK's club scene? - Or the further death of UK nightlife

What Is A Data Scientist And Should We Instead Be Talking About Data Teams?

Illness forces 12% of workers to quit before pension age - TUC -

Why the former USSR has far fewer men than women -


Puberty calorie burn fall 'could explain obesity rise' -

DNA confirms cause of 1665 London's Great Plague - As I had to explain to a friend of the time, yes, Y. pestis was the main suspect, but this is the first proof.

What's the evidence for the gluten-free lifestyle? -

Meet the Greater Honeyguide, the Bird That Understands Humans -



Tour of Britain: How cycling is helping flood-hit Cumbria recover -


FFP forces Inter to effectively split into two teams - There ain't no sneakiness like Inter sneakiness

Kosovo ready to rock the boat in Finland despite eligibility confusion -


Team USA should dominate the Paralympics. So why doesn't it?

Rio Paralympic Games: Why bookies won't be taking many bets -
redfiona99: (Default)
Large Image Under The Cut )

Octopussy is separated from the other films. This is understandable given that it's a lot older than the other films.
redfiona99: (Default)
Which I enjoyed. It might not have been as good as the first but it made me cry as much.

The main thing I disliked was that the characters were too broad in the first half so the reconciliation in the second half would work. But it did work. Probably better than the equivalent scene in the first one.

The character-is-a-screw-up-because-of-missing-Dad is a trope I could live without, but at least Peter Quill has a better reason than most. Peter Quill is still the one of the gang I like the least but that is not Chris Pratt's fault, as he does a damn fine job.

The film struck all the "I'd still rather have the Farscape film this isn't" chords that the first one did. Not helped by bonus Ben Browder. (Who got this film's giggle of recognition.)

And also every other Australian actor I sort of recognised. Although I want Elizabeth Debicki in all the films. I really like how they did the Sovereigns (or however one is supposed to pluralise that), that mixture of dangerous and silly.

The cool thing about the Guardians of the Galaxy films is that they acknowledge that they're based on comics so they occasionally go "stuff physics and reality". It is glorious. As is James Gunn's direction. Can he direct all the things? Because he makes everything look so pretty.

Spoilers begin below )

While it didn't quite work for me, I like that the film went full bore on its themes and linked everything together.


Jun. 11th, 2017 04:21 pm
redfiona99: (Default)

What are the smuttiest ships? -


Pedro Almodovar: Why there was no room for comedy in my new film -

The best 100 films of the 21st century, according to 177 film critics around the world - Let the arguing begin, although the list is reasonable.


Third 'given wrong initial heart attack diagnosis' -


Centenary of 'Spitfires of the Seas' -

Joan of Arc’s Ring: A Question of Possession and Cultural Patrimony -

Pocket Guide to Northern Ireland -


REVERSE VOXSPLAINING: DRUGS VS. CHAIRS - More specifically, patent law

Law and Order:

Ramen is displacing tobacco as most popular US prison currency, study finds -

Cooking with ramen: Prisoners get creative -

Two articles based on the same report.


What parents really mean to say about exam results -

Parents 'struggle' to find holiday care for learning disabled children -

Go-getters in the ghettos: The bright side of France's migrant suburbs -

What US counties are named after -

'London is most educated city in Europe' -


The social housing tenants miles from home -

America’s elections are less swingy

Lopsided electoral-college margins now appear to be a thing of the past - (From before the last US elections)


The woman who discovered India's first HIV cases -

United States Just Placed Bumblebees on Endangered Species List for First Time -

Read These Before You Write That Op-Ed - About drug pricing

Could mouthwash combat gonorrhoea? -


Rio Paralympics: Two refugee Para-athletes named for Rio Paralympics -

The Olympic Games 2016 by Tom Jenkins -


Leicester fans light up stadium as floodlights fail in savage storm -

How hooligans exposed the ugly rift in Croatian football -

Celtic: Callum McGregor eager to learn Champions League opponents - Sorry, I am a sucker from ballboy to first team stories.

Wycombe Wanderers' Matt Bloomfield: 'I knocked the ref's front teeth out' - On the occasion of Bloomfield's 400 (!!!) game for Wycombe.

Rugby League:

Challenge Cup final: Warrington captain Chris Hill on plumbing and Wembley -


Innovators vs Exploiters: Drug Pricing And The Future Of Pharma -

The tech helping disabled people dance, run and compete -

The Australian town that wants to get off the grid -
redfiona99: (Default)
The Case For the Prosecution:

Yes, yet again, there's a film I don't mind on this list. Now, I'll be the first to admit that Octopussy has its longeurs, chunks of film where nothing interesting happens. But that's not it's main problem.

No, Octopussy's main problem is inconsistency of tone. Really dark horrifying things are right next to slapstick humour. Which is a combo that can be done well, but it isn't in this case. There was an bit in several Roger Moore obituary's that said that all later Bond had to go gritty to provide contrast, but the later Moore films (baring View To A Kill) do the same thing.

The scene itself:

Why The Scene is So Good:

To my mind, this is still the most tense scene is all of Bond. Despite the fact that all it is is two men chasing another one down. No fight scene, just steadily ramping terror until that crash through the window.

The music more than plays it part in building the tension, as does the slow, relentless chase of the knife-throwing twins.

009 being in in full clown suit and make up should make it ridiculous. But it makes it scarier because of the contrast. His desperation, the way his breath catches, and how he almost makes, would make it if it weren't for the clown shoes. In a series of films where the 00 agents seem superhuman, 009 is human and that's what makes the scene terrifying.
redfiona99: (films)
This began as a review of Assassin's Creed, and turned into a discussion of the nature of storytelling. If you want a review, that's easy:


Run far, run fast, don't look back, don't try a Leap of Faith in the real world.

None of the following is a diss on the technical people involved. The film was beautifully made. The costumes were amazing, I loved the camera work.

When you're as good as that cast list are, then the acting is not the problem. Particularly Michael Fassbender at the beginning, he was amazing.

The trouble was it was difficult to care about any of that when no-one is given all that much character.

I mean, Aguilar gets a bit, but the fact that I can only remember the assassin's name and not the modern-day dude should tell you something. The film was really bad at giving the characters names and identities. For instance, the only reason I know that Maria's name is Maria, not 'unspeakably hot Assassin chick' which I had to call her, was because I looked the film up on IMDB and had to work backwards from female actresses listed.

The same thing for the modern day Assassins. I would care a lot more about the fate of Assassin 3 and 4 if, you know, they were people rather than cardboard cutouts that some fine actors were doing their best with.

I mean it. Name one non-Aguilar assassin just from watching the film.

There's no sense of them being real people, they have less personality than the NPCs in the game do.

What Mad Max: Fury Road did excellently well, this doesn't bother to do at all. I'm not given a reason to care about these characters, so I don't, which means the grand sacrifice scenes don't work.

It's odd that a film that took so much care over everything else (the sets, the costumes, the little details like Aguilar's name and the Torquemada's nose) had such a bad, flat script.

My other problem is not the film's fault. Or rather, I have the same problem with the games but the film emphasises it. The whole, 'there are no rules' philosophy is well and good if you're strong and strapping. If you've the kind of person who isn't, it tends to end badly for you. Relying on people to look after each other in that sort of set up also ends badly. That the film just blithely accepts that the Assassins view of life without questioning it is ooky.

Some spoilers below.

The film goes out of its way to avoid shades of grey. Whether it's making Cal Lynch a criminal who prays on other criminals (so it's okay to cheer him on), painting the Assassins as completely good and the Templars as completely evil, or just making Marion Cotillard evil all of a sudden (I cannot overstate how bad the film was at giving the names of the characters). That was also a shocking waste of Marion Cotillard. She’s an amazing actress, so use her.

Assassin's Creed annoyed me, because it came so close to being good. It had one glaring flaw, but the script was so bad and a script makes up such a large part of the film that I felt really let down.


May. 14th, 2017 10:19 pm
redfiona99: (Default)
We're back at link in the singular.


redfiona99: (Default)
The case for the prosecution:

I am probably the wrong person to talk about the Matrix series.

As I sci-fi fan, I was already used to the concept of machines being in charge and other civilisations using humans, so I didn't get the shock of a new concept, which some people did. And my Nan was huge kung-fu film fan so I was used to wire work, so I didn't get the wow of new concept from that either.

Don't get me wrong, the first film used the concept and the wire work really well, but it meant I wasn't as sold as a lot of my friends were. But at least that meant I wasn't as disappointed by the sequels.

I think I've made my dislike of pseudo-mystic stuff quite clear, and oh boy do the sequels ever suffer from that. But if they'd been better, I don't think I would have minded as much, because the first film has that too but styled its way out of it. Style only takes you so far.

For me, the major failing of the two later films was an excess of CGI to create their shock and awe. In the first one, most of the really cool stunts, the ones that look spectacular, the ones you remember, were done using a mixture of practical effects, including wire work and camera trickery. In the others, most of that was replaced by CGI. And the problem was that CGI still hadn't quite progressed to the point where it was capable of rendering reality. Which should be fine, because, hey, they're in the Matrix for most of it, but it just feels flat. There's a lack of danger to the fight scenes, not to the actors and stuntcrew but to the characters.

The scene itself:

Why the scene is so good:

It's the glory of simplicity. Just two characters going at it, no huge armies or anything. Hand to hand, not oodles of weaponry. And it's all done with practical effects. And it's so well done.

It's the only fight scene from the last two films I remember, because it stands out because of this.
redfiona99: (films)
The film, not the mutant.

I can't really better the description I gave a friend. "It's a brilliant film. I never want to see it again." Which is one of the highest pieces of praise I can give a film.

It's just so skin-crawlingly ooky in parts.

Jake Gyllenhaal is incredible in this. I shall be peeved on his behalf if he doesn't at least get some award nominations. Spoilers )

The directing and cinematography, particularly the cinematography, were wonderful. The way the scenes were lit gave it a perpetual night feel but you could still see every little detail.

Just one warning - if you've got an embarrassment squick that's anything like mine (I can't cope with the UK version of the Office and a lot of the modern comedies of embarrassment) this will set you off. I was sore afterwards due to the scrunched up position of "no, don't do that" it forced me to assume. I am very grateful that I had no-one sitting near me.

Further Spoilers )

There is one brilliant scene that I would demand everyone watched (if I were ruler of the world). Yet more spoilers )

Not perfect, but highly recommended.
redfiona99: (films)
I can see why they shortened the title in all the UK ads to Charlie Countryman (or, more accurately, 'the necessary death of' in writing too tiny to read, Charlie Countryman in readable writing).

As you might have gathered from the title, it's a little bit too arty for it's own good.

Shia LaBeouf was actually good in this. I totally originally went to watch it for Mads Mikkelsen and Til Schweiger, who were excellent in their roles (needless to say) but yes, must repeat that there was entirely unexpected excellence from LaBeouf.

The soundtrack was also excellent.

Spoilers )

Not the film I expected from the trailer and from what other people said about it, but worth watching.
redfiona99: (Thinking)
This film was serious Raphael propaganda and did terrible things to my boy Mikey but it was surprisingly good fun.

Contrary to reports received, April O'Neil was awesome. I suspect people have been prejudging her because of who is playing her and who produced the film but she was tenacious, heroic, brave and wonderful.

Splinter was also awesome, even if, rather worryingly, Raphael was my favourite Turtle in the film. This is a very wrong thing.

Advanced warning, the opening of TMNT is awesome, and then there's about 15-20 minute that are not so good and then the film kicks into gear.

Spoilers )

I was sat next to a particularly talkative example of the actual target audience (I still don't know why this was a 12A). The 7 year olds in attendance loved it, which is what matters, even if they have been brainwashed into liking Raphael.

Why Raphael worked for me in this, more so than he normally does. )


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