Jun. 15th, 2017 01:00 pm
giandujakiss: (Default)
Does everyone know that the Xena episode The Prodigal is sort of a bastardized retelling of the Jane Fonda movie Cat Ballou?

Because I'm rewatching Xena after seeing Wonder Woman (naturally), and it occurs to me that this obvious fact may not in fact be obvious to everyone.

But it's very much a deliberate reference - much like, say, approximately twenty zillion TV shows (including Buffy) had a "Die Hard"-like episode after Die Hard came out. Or like men jumping from high cliffs into water is meant to emulate Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It's a deliberate homage.
giandujakiss: (Default)
So there are a lot of people who enjoyed this movie on a cheesy ridiculous crackish level. [personal profile] sapote has a brief description (spoilery, but that hardly matters, really) which I would say is a completely accurate summary, but she liked it far more than I did. On Tumblr, Hello Tailor is excitedly posting promotional stills to demonstrate her enthusiasm (I agree, the costuming and set pieces are fun). Someone else on Tumblr wrote this:
I just saw Jupiter Ascending, which is a movie about an ORDINARY GIRL who HATES HER LIFE and finds out she’s a SPACE PRINCESS and falls in love with a WOLFMAN BOUNTY HUNTER who has ANGST because he LOST HIS ENORMOUS BEAUTIFUL BIONIC ANGEL WINGS.

It is every 14-year-old girl’s first novel made into a $100 million blockbuster action movie. It is ridiculous in all the best and worst ways and you need to go see it.
Which I agree is an accurate summary of the movie, and which I agree sounds so amazing, but sadly no.

First, it differs from my 14-year-old novel fantasies in that Mila Kunis (Jupiter) doesn't actually do anything except look amazed and get saved. Repeatedly. Twice, in identical ways (it's a bizarre moment of deja vu - didn't we have this action sequence already? Is anyone editing this thing?) I had gone to the movie in hopes we'd get to see the same "chosen one" character arc for the heroine that we usually see for heroes (Matrix, Wanted, etc) - she finds some inner strength and special skill and grows into heroism. But. No. She just gets saved, and to the extent anyone has any kind of arc (mostly no one does) it's Channing Tatum.

Also, and I realize this is a minor thing, but the amount of makeup Kunis was wearing really annoyed me. When we first meet her, she's a cleaning lady. She's supposed to look run down and as unglamorous as possible, so she's got messy hair and she's wearing a ratty T-shirt and sweats and is cleaning the bathroom. But she's got makeup on like she's heading to a nightclub. It is actively distracting.

(The movie really doesn't have a terrific amount of interest in its women. There are three major antagonists, and one of them is a woman. She's also the only antagonist who has no goal or motivation and she's scheming but we don't know what for. It's very unclear what she's up to, exactly.)

Second, as I look deep within myself, I realize that I'm totally fine with - and in fact encourage - ridiculous cheesy over the top premises and settings with outlandish fighting skills and DESTINY and CHOSEN ONES, but I am actually not going to be entertained unless despite all of that, at the story's core, there are decently-written characters and relationships.

So, I think about Xena, and its gravity-defying stunts and outlandish storylines, and I freaking love that show, and the reason I do is that the actual people who inhabit this silly world are, fundamentally, recognizable as people, and the show actually does care about what they think and why they do what they do and how they interact with each other.

Jupiter Ascending ... does not have that. The dialogue is awful, there's no character development, and that's the point where my tolerance for cracky silliness ends.

Also not for nothing but does this movie signal that Hollywood is serious about trying to make beards on men fashionable again? Because if so I may have to avoid all media until the pendulum swings back to clean shaven.

Hmm. Is it time for a Xena rewatch?


Nov. 17th, 2013 07:56 am
giandujakiss: (Default)
Awesome Xena/Gabrielle vid here, depicting the development of their relationship over the course of the show. Man, I love these two.
giandujakiss: (Default)
Prehistoric cave prints show most early artists were women
Alongside drawings of bison and horses, the first painters left clues to their identity on the stone walls of caves, blowing red-brown paint through rough tubes and stenciling outlines of their palms. New analysis of ancient handprints in France and Spain suggests that most of those early artists were women.

This is a surprise, since most archaeologists have assumed it was men who had been making the cave art. One interpretation is that early humans painted animals to influence the presence and fate of real animals that they'd find on their hunt, and it's widely accepted that it was the men who found and killed dinner.

But a new study indicates that the majority of handprints found near cave art were made by women, based on their overall size and relative lengths of their fingers.

Another reason we thought it was men all along? Male archeologists from modern society where gender roles are rigid and well-defined — they found the art. "[M]ale archaeologists were doing the work," Snow said, and it's possible that "had something to do with it."
Archaeologists Discover 2,600-Year-Old “Warrior Prince” That’s Actually a Warrior Princess
Last month archaeologists working in Tuscany uncovered a tomb holding two 2,600-year-old bodies assumed to be a warrior prince and his wife. The reason they thought they knew the gender of the two piles o’ bones is that one of them was laid to rest near a lance and the other near some pieces of jewelry.

But…Bone analysis [pause for a giggle break from my inner 12-year-old] has revealed that the “prince” with the lance was actually a 35- to 40-year old woman, and the “wife” who took her worldly bling into the afterlife was a man. Husband? Boy-toy? The world may never know.

Alessandro Mandolesi, who led the expedition, said the spear was placed between the two bodies as a “symbol of union,” so maybe the woman wasn’t a warrior at all. A dissenting opinion comes from Judith Weingarten of the British School at Athens, who notes that the spear was buried with the woman, not between the woman and the man.

As generally fun as this story is (yes, stories about ancient archaeology and gender mix-ups are fun, OK?), it actually highlights a serious problem in the realm of archaeology: Namely, that researchers take their gender biases into the field with them. Archaeologists saw one skeleton with a lance and another with jewelry and assumed that the former was a man and the latter a woman. But that doesn’t take into account the diversity of ancient civilizations.

Says Weingarten:
“Until very recently, and sadly still in some countries, sex determination is based on grave goods. And that, in turn, is based almost entirely on our preconceptions. A clear illustration is jewelry: We associate jewelry with women, but that is nonsense in much of the ancient world. Guys liked bling, too.”
And now that we know the cave art was by women, countdown for the paper that will declare that the art was a lot more primitive and less intelligent/thoughtful/interesting/etc than previous scholars believed.

Joy is....

Jun. 20th, 2013 04:02 pm
giandujakiss: (Default)
...watching people on your FList discover the shows you love.

Current fannish obsessions are great, but it's equally marvelous to see them marathoning your old faves, like various Star Trek incarnations, or Xena, or Starsky & Hutch.
giandujakiss: (Default)
Never done this before and I'm not very good at it - but I wanted to see if I could capture Everything Awesome About Mulan.

Read More )
giandujakiss: (Default)
Hip-huggers for heavy hitters: Military ‘gals’ getting armor inspired by Xena
The U.S. military has some unlikely inspiration for new body armor for female soldiers: “Xena: Warrior Princess.”

Army engineers are heading to the drawing board with the Lucy Lawless character in mind, designing new gear for women in the field that better fits the curves of the female shape, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

The military decided to start reimagining the body armor in 2009, when women of the 101st Airborne division went to war and felt uncomfortable in the Army-provided gear.

A subsequent study by the U.S. Army found that the ill-fitting gear actually interfered with how the women were able to perform during combat, making “it difficult for them to properly aim their weapons and enter or exit vehicles.”

Lozono explained that the armor the Army now uses gets heavier as curving increases, so engineers are looking to develop “unique chemical designs” to create lighter plates.

The Army is currently testing eight additional sizes, designed specifically to fit a woman.

The new prototypes include more-narrow shoulders and “bra-shaped darting” in the chest.

About 100 female soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division have begun testing the new gear — and love it.

“They say, ‘I could wear this all day,’ ‘I could run a marathon in this,’ and ‘It feels much lighter,’ even though it really isn’t any lighter,” Lozano added.
giandujakiss: (giles)
Look, I like Once More, With Feeling as much as the next Buffy fan, but Xena's The Bitter Suite aired, like, three years earlier. Also? Doesn't anyone remember Fame anymore?

(We will not mention Cop Rock)
giandujakiss: (Default)
Fake feminism in Angelina Jolie's "Salt"
The cover story of this year's Entertainment Weekly summer movie preview concerns the behind-the-scenes scoop on the new espionage thriller "Salt," directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ekiofor. Much of the article is a group pat on the back for the supposedly amazing progressiveness of the fact that Angelina Jolie ended up playing an action hero originally written for a male star like Tom Cruise (who bailed when the script began to too closely resemble a "Mission: Impossible" picture).

But there's a real kicker buried amid Noyce and his colleagues' smugness:
"In the original script, there was a huge sequence where Edwin Salt (the original male protagonist) saves his wife, who's in danger," says Noyce. "And what we found in the new script, it seemed to castrate his character a little. So we had to change the nature of that relationship." In the end, Salt's husband, played by German actor August Diehl ('Inglourious Basterds'), was made tough enough that he didn't need saving, thank you much."

In related news, I've been rewatching Wonder Woman, and absolutely reveling at how awful wonderful awful wonderful it is.

Read more )
giandujakiss: (Default)
So this week, Supernatural disappointed me once again. Why, why do you hurt me so, show?

Read More )
giandujakiss: (Default)
...isn't really doing much for me, after the first three disks of the first season.

I'll keep watching and report in, but I think I've figured out the problem.

It's got exactly the fantasy elements that normally appeal to me. It's got a forbidden-love romance that hits most of my kinks, and an insanely crackish BDSM premise that is exactly the kind of stuff fannish dreams are made on (that episode? With the dominatrix and the training? Holy shit.)


I'm just not into the leads.

Normally, when I fall in love with a cheap syndicated fantasy series, it's because the series features a cast that, while perhaps not particularly skillful or talented, is at least charismatic. That's what happened to me with Xena, and with Hercules, and with The Lost World (shut up shut up shut up - Marguerite was awesome - and someday when I'm in the mood I'll compare her character to certain archetypes like Debra Kerr in King Solomon's Mines and to, swear to god, one of my favorite feminist icons, Alexandra in the cartoon version of Josie and the Pussycats, but today is not that day). But none of the leads in Legend of the Seeker really appeals to me on any level, even just an aesthetic one. It's completely a matter of idiosyncratic personal taste, but they just don't have that spark that made, say, Lucy Lawless and Kevin Sorbo so much fun to watch.

But I'll still keep at it. It's hiatus, after all.
giandujakiss: (Kirk)
that in all the ST: Reboot love I have seen on my FList, and, in particular, the Karl Urban/McCoy love I have seen, there has been a noticeable failure to mine Karl Urban's past work for additional, umm, inspiration.

Maybe it's happening in the Karl Urban communities and I've missed it, but just in case, here's a reminder of one of his earlier roles.

Pictures under the cut )

You're welcome.
giandujakiss: (Default)
analogous to the character death match a few months ago where Dean Winchester emerged victorious.

So go vote! And vote for Xena, because if she doesn't make it past the first round I will seriously have to throw a temper tantrum.

(via [livejournal.com profile] sol_se)
giandujakiss: (Default)
Also with mention of Supernatural and Xena. Spoilers for CoE...

Read more )
giandujakiss: (Josie)
... betcha weren't expecting to hear from me again so soon...

Song: Hourglass by Squeeze
Fandom: Multi, including (but not limited to) X-Files, Stargate SG-1, Supernatural, Xena, Day Break

Summary: All this has happened before and will happen again.

Sizes: 46 MB (540 x 360 .avi), 18 MB (420 x 280 .wmv)
Length: 3:45

Download: Monsters from the Vids

Streaming link and embed under the cut )

Dedicated to [personal profile] cathexys. I really hope she knows why :-).

Comments would be awesome.

ETA: I've posted some entirely unnecessary and exceedingly boring notes on the vid here; you can read them if you like but I don't necessarily recommend it. Definitely watch the vid first, though.

(originally posted here)
giandujakiss: (Default)
Song: Come Out and Play by The Offspring
Fandom: Multi, including the Buffyverse, The X-Files, and more. There's likely something for everyone.
Pairing: Umm ... -ish?
Summary: The transformative power of true love.
Length: 3:17
Sizes: 480 x 360 .wmv (37.5 MB), 320 x 240 .wmv (13.3 MB), 320 x 240 .wmv (6.3 MB)

Download: Monsters from the Vids

As always, if you see something, please, say something :-).

(originally posted here)

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