glitter_n_gore: (emma)
So guys! There's a new Star Wars movie coming out. As you may have noticed, I'm neglecting this blog badly. Ahem. But the reason is I've been running three--count 'em, three--separate review marathon series elseweb, and had to let something go. Anyway, we're approaching game time for The Force Awakens (yes, I have my tickets already OF COURSE), and I recently realized I have seen more movies this year than I have collectively in the past five--half of them in theaters. Why is that? Are movies especially awesome this year for some reason? Is there more big-budget, explodey-things fare that demands to be seen on the big screen? Have I found a larger number of real-life people who aren't my mom to go to movies with, instead of waiting for the DVD like I usually do?

A bit of all those things, but what I want to talk about today is this: Today's heroes are a little different from the heroes I grew up with. They're more flawed, more relateable, and more diverse. Funny thing, because most of the people playing heroes onscreen right now? Grew up at the exact same time I did.

Disclaimer:
I'm going to allow SPOILERS for The Force Awakens and all other films mentioned in the comments, and I won't be marking them because that tag is freaking impossible. But there will be none in the post itself.

Read more. . . )
glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
Because one retrospective at a time just isn't enough, I'm also taking a look at the Disney Princess movies. ALL the Disney Princess movies, in chronological order, over an undisclosed period of time. I've also started posting reviews for some of the Star Wars books over at the library, so the first of those is here. I want this journal to be more active and do at least two or three posts a month. I know that's not super-active, but I'm learning.

Anyway!

The reason I'm doing the Disney Princess thing is I want to take a closer look at some of the criticisms and assumptions I've seen floating around out there about what sort of fantasy role models and heroes we have for young girls. So the obvious choice is to look at the fantasy role models I had as a young girl, and what they look like to me now that I'm older. My main questions/talking points are: Who is the main character and what values do they embody? & Is romance/marriage the driving plot or the goal?

Since this is the first post in the retrospective, I'm starting at the beginning.

Q: What's black and white and red all over?

A: Snow White. Also Goth chicks. Surprisingly, these two things aren't unrelated.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first of the Disney Princesses, and the first feature-length animated film ever made. This isn't one of the movies I watched over and over as a kid, and the parts I remembered before rewatching it mostly involved the Queen and how frighteningly relentless she is. I'm glad the live action reboot didn't forget that, and managed to make the Queen even more awesome. Snow White, on the other hand, is both the least interesting character and the most fascinating archetype of all the Princesses. Today, I'm focusing on how we went from this:



To this:



I want...my prince to come. )

Next time: Cinderella (1950)
glitter_n_gore: (stoker)
Happy International Women's Day! My retrospective is still topical! WOOO!

This was an intriguing year for horror. Pickings were slim this year, but there's an overall uptick in quality that started in the late 2000s, after we got tired of torture porn and remaking stuff from Japan and Korea. (Although remaking stuff from the '70s is still an issue.) Also, with David Slade at the helm for the third entry in the Twilight saga, we got some actual terror, tension, and action thrown into the mix along with the romance, and Melissa Rosenberg did such a solid job with the script that the line reads are intentionally funny in all the right places.

Twilight Saga: Eclipse - $300.5 million
Black Swan - $106.9 million
Paranormal Activity 2 - $84.7 million
(A Nightmare On Elm Street - $63 million)
Resident Evil: Afterlife - $60.1 million
The Last Exorcism - $41 million
The Crazies - $39.1 million
(Vampires Suck - $36.7 million)

As I said, we didn't get much, but what we did get was truly unnerving and truly above the bar. I'm talking, of course, about Black Swan.

Read more. . . )
glitter_n_gore: (midori sours)
Hello, my name is Laurel, and I am a Fangirl. I want to tell you a story.

This past Saturday, December 6th, 2014, at my favorite rock club (the NorVA), I saw the Black Veil Brides in concert. And they kicked ass. My personal Best Rock Show Ever is My Chemical Romance at the same venue in 2006. The BVB show was not better than that, but they were pretty damn amazing. They gave everything they've got and then some, and I had a total blast.

If you aren't familiar with the Black Veil Brides, they're a Hollywood-based rock group that's been around with the current line-up for about five years and four albums, although the earliest songs came a few years prior with frontman Andy Biersack and a rotating shuffle of other musicians. I first heard them when my dear friend Christine sent me their third album, Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones, this Halloween. (Thank you, Christine, thank you thank you THANK YOU.) I'm not quite sure how to classify them genre-wise--there are elements of punk, metal, and glam rock, but nothing that defines them as any specific type. I mean this as a compliment, by the way--genre-blending is one of my favorite things. Personally, I see them as a throwback to the brazen, audacious fabulousness of '80s hair metal, with a gothic visual aesthetic and a thematic emphasis on believing in yourself and following your dreams.

What's ironic is I've occasionally heard these guys described as the "new" My Chemical Romance. So what do I think? As someone who's seen them both live at this point, I should be able to make that call, right? I don't really think that's fair to either of them--not to mention intellectually lazy. They're both great bands, but they're great in different ways despite the similar uniforms of their respective fanbases (which I suspect is why those lines are drawn in the first place). So why even bring it up? Well, because it's the first and only rock show I've seen since the MCR show eight years ago that's come anywhere close to matching it.

Read more... )
glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
I'm saying "queer" because it's easier to type than "LGBTQ + a bunch of other letters I can never remember." (Love the people, not the acronym. It's not kind to dyslexics.) Apparently this is the only thing I'm doing for Pride Month this year. Which is still better than previous years, in which I've done absolutely nothing because I'm horrible at keeping track of when things are.

I ran into a lot of unforeseen qualifiers once I started putting this list together. For instance, I wanted to only use artists who are actually out and on the record as not-straight. As opposed to people who've been the subject of speculation but have neither confirmed nor denied anything, or people who use fanservice as a gimmick (particulary the girl-on-girl kind--yeah, don't get me started), or people who appeal to a queer audience for whatever reason but aren't queer themselves (Madonna, Cher, Celine Dion, etc.). And from there I had to narrow it down to music I actually like.

Wasn't easy, let me tell you. I've also, sadly but somehow not surprisingly, wound up with a completely male-dominated list here. It's not that I don't like Tegan & Sarah--I saw them live once, opening for Ben Folds, and they put on a good show. But it's still not really my thing. And much as I've tried to like Lady Gaga, I still feel only "meh" about her music.

That in mind. . .

My Top Five Queer Artists! )

So who have I left out? Anyone have recommendations? Questions? Hit me--I'm all ears. :)
glitter_n_gore: (clockwork orange)
Something occurred to me about midway through my new favorite TV series, "Sleepy Hollow": the representation of other-than-white people in the main cast. Specifically, the way Abbie is portrayed as the main protagonist.

Now, I've been watching with my Mom mainly OnDemand, which means we don't usually get a chance to see them right when they air. We get to it when we get to it. The episodes are formulaic as hell from week to week, but it's fun, action-packed, and endlessly entertaining, even as it plays fast and loose with American history and the mythologies it's drawing from for the supernatural conflict. I love this show.

If you're not familiar, the main plot revolves around Ichabod Crane--here a soldier from the Revolutionary War who woke up hundreds of years after his own supposed death on the battlefield, having been felled by a headless horseman--and Abbie Mills, a police lieutenant who teams up with Ichabod to track the horseman's movements and (hopefully) prevent the coming apocalypse.

What I wanted to point out here is probably not news to anyone, but I felt moved to draw attention to it all the same: our "everyman" character in this scenario is Abbie. She's the character the audience is supposed to relate to and identify with. Ichabod is the out-of-place stranger here to amuse us with his lack of familiarity with the modern world. He's the Other. Just think about that. In Ichabod's point of view especially, Abbie--an intelligent, unmarried, career-driven black woman--is his touchstone for understanding the years he missed when he was asleep. In his eyes, she is the face of modern America.

I'm not sure I'm going anywhere in particular with this observation. But I think it's a very good thing.

Thoughts?
glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
I'm not sure why it's taken me so much longer to get through this deconstruction than I anticipated. In my defense, February is a short month. For the second half of my look at female-centric horror films--and what I suppose is my last entry for WiHM this year--I'm talking about Silent Hill and The Moth Diaries. If you hadn't noticed, I'm doing these in chronological order, with the most recent movie last. Have things gotten any better over the years?

Read on... )
glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
First, a bit of background:

When I was little, I had a healthy-sized collection of My Little Ponies. Still do--let's be honest. One particular collection, the Sparkle Ponies, was very special to me because Mom used them as rewards when I did well in school. One at a time, she put each of the ponies on top of the refrigerator, and if I had good grades and good comments from my teachers at the end of the week, she'd take that week's pony down and give it to me. I loved those Sparkle Ponies not just because I'd earned them, but because they were space ponies, and that was awesome. (In retrospect, I don't know if they were actually from space, but that's what I decided. Because space ponies are awesome.)

I also had the castle with the working drawbridge, and I still remember how the heirarchy was ranked in my collection. When I turned . . . 8, I think? I had a pony-themed birthday party with official My Little Pony paper plates and cake and party favors, and real live ponies for me and the rest of the kids to ride in the park.

I never watched the show that was on at the time. I think I tried to once or twice, but I just got bored. I was always more interested in shows like Thundercats and later Inspector Gadget; when it came to the Ponies, I prefered to make up my own adventures in the privacy of my bedroom.

Fast-forward to mid-April-ish of this year, when I started to watch the rebooted My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. This newer incarnation of the show is the brainchild of Lauren Faust, formerly of The Powerpuff Girls and Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends. I became interested based on the sheer amount of buzz the show was getting on the Internet, and lo and behold, I was hooked in one episode flat. Friendship is Magic, in my opinion (and the opinions of countless others) is a vast improvement over the previous incarnation of the franchise due to its intelligent script writing, memorable cast of characters and streamlined animation, and all those things contributed to its success and popularity.

However, that's not what so remarkable about it. I'm talking, of course, about the Bronies.

Read more here... )



Last book read: Shine, Shine, Shine, by Lydia Netzer
Currently on: American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis
glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
It's been ten years. Most of us have stories. This is mine.

I was in biology class. )
glitter_n_gore: (Default)
If you're a fan of Doctor Who, and if you know someone who isn't but probably would be if they'd just sit down and give the series a try, chances are you've uttered the following two words: "Watch Blink."



Perhaps not all, but most followers of the good doctor are quick to recommend this one particular episode as a primer for the uninitiated. It's not the beginning of the series, or even a season opener--it occurs towards the end of Season 3 of the newer shows, the David Tennant and Freema Agyeman years. In fact, the Doctor himself is confined to less than ten minutes of total screentime altogether, and none of the characters you meet here are at all relevant to the overarching storyline.

So what exactly is so special about Blink? )

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