212 Yosemite trip photos!
Took me a week to sort through everything I photographed during the trip. A few photos didn't need color editing, but some were carefully edited to match my memories of the place while others... only had the contrast heightened.
While I'm sorting through which Yosemite trip photos I'll post to Flickr (and then Tumblr), this is a pic of my outfit during the main hike. My mom insisted we wear long sleeves and bright colors because of the insects. At least my undershirt kept me cool.
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I saw Megatokyo volume 6 at the library and flipped through it to see if I had read it. I ran into a ton of L33tspeak and I just could not continue. so much embarassment. It really was a different time.
Cameroon is my new fave I really like their play and players
they are the real breakout surprise imo
I also liked Switzerland a bit but I'm watching the Switzterland - Cameroon game rn (dl) and I def prefer Cameroon
Much of the theater gasped and clapped when The Vision lifted the hammer.
Am I the only one not really impressed with the opening fight? It was really iffy in-medias-res? Not a fan of the slow-mo throughout the movie- it only worked well around the Maximoffs' powers. I thought the first Avengers was great in having relatively more legible fight visuals but this was just here and there. Also some weird cuts that jump position like in the ship off the "African coast." (like, can't there be a general decision about which side of Africa contains Wakanda and the neighboring country we saw? it's kind of hilarious when the African coast can mean so many places)
Andy Serkis was fine to see in his few scenes as white smuggler traitor trash. the Baron played by Kretschmann died so fast haha. My brother noticed that the voice for F.R.I.D.A.Y. is Irish and it turns out to be Kerry Condon, who played the likeable girl who helped Jet Li in Unleashed! among other things.
The spark-circuit talking between Jarvis/the Vision and Ultron was interesting but could have been rendered even better
Liked the concern for civilian life, though. Ppl criticized Winter Soldier for the destruction but they weren't able to maneuver as much there. Like Fury was forced into a car chase...Back to this film, it was nice to see that the current franchise tactic of expanding locations to appeal to global audiences leads to scenes where the poplace of Asian and African countries are both seen as worth saving and seen saving each other instead of just suffering from random destruction. Powerful scene when the Hulk witnesses all the civilians running away from him.
So much of the criticism of Whedon's treatment of Natasha is well-aimed. (for more on Whiny Whedon. lol his talking about sympathy w Ultron) I didn't mind that Bruce and Nat had a romance, but the fall-onto-breasts shot and, outside of the movie how some of the cast seems to demean the character - whether or not "she slept with four of the six main characters", which really isn't supported by the movies? there was flirting? they don't treat playboy Tony like this- she is supposed to be their characters' friend and ally.
Of course the worst was the tonal mess of the flashback scene, where the "I'm a monster too" was placed to refer more to her forced sterility than to her trauma at being trained a killer. Great feminist there, telling audiences of an all-ages blockbuster that sterility can be equated with the destructive, monstrous behavior the male characters can or cannot control. One person I follow said to imagine a sterile person going into the theater for a little escape and entertaining and, out of nowhere, being called a monster. Of course Natasha can have additional trauma from sterility too, and feel tragically robbed by the Red Room, but the placement of lines was horrid. The buildup to that climax in the flashback was horrid. (Why involve Julie Delpy in that too!) Combined with the weird tonal inserts of Natasha wanting to join Bruce in the shower- it was all over the place and didn't feel natural for the character.
Like, I get what Whedon was going for, that Natasha is haunted and found someone whom she might trust with romance and sex for connection, but the dynamic was totally messed up in execution. Auntie Nat getting a child named after her was nice, and it's great if she wants to help raise the kid and through the other Barton kids maybe see what a different life would have been like, but this scene mucks up that gladness and pride with the undertone that a somewhat-surrogate child is her necessary consolation prize.
Then when Bruce helps Nat escape from jail, he says, "You've done enough" and it was so odd when there were still fights going on?
NOT TO MENTION TONY'S 'PRIMA NOCTAE' LINE
also if a straight girl like me could notice all the shots centered on ladies' breasts with low-cut tops (Natasha when in zipper suit, Wanda, random fleeing mother in flowery dress)... It's not so much the costume as the focus- Wanda's costume fits her character, but sometimes it looked like a scene was framed oddly to look down her shirt. That's not the best tactical wear for Natasha, though, especially compared to her other sleek bodysuits. I liked the light-up suit though! Some could say I'm making too much of nothing, but then there was the mother in the dress who stood out from the other citizens' wardrobe and I was like what kind of fanboy appeal was this?
pooh at the commenters who say that "oh stop complaining! the Marvel movies are more geared to the female than male gaze because they show hot men who occasionally praise women! the lady geeks I know say they prefer this to making more female-centered movies!" They really don't understand all the meaning of "gaze" and presentation of power (focusing on toned men still creates a powerful image for men compared with how women's beauty is usually featured in a vulnerable or token one-shot takedown manner that still skews towards male-gaze sexiness). Even with limitations keeping Jane Foster and Pepper Potts out of the movie; there could have been more interaction between Maria Hill, Natasha, Helen, Laura Barton and the daughter, and/or Wanda. And not just in this movie, but throughout the MCU.
Quicksilver was kinda blah (at least Aaron Taylor-Johnson wasn't as much of a charisma vaccuum as he was in Godzilla) but his care for his sister still got through and his death was still shocking. Guess there can only be one Pietro on movie screens? Also his outfit makes more sense when you realize that it hits the Eastern European stereotypes of tracksuit. Adidas shoes, and bleached hair. He was fridged for Wanda! Wanda got a good pep talk from Hawkeye that helped her choose heroism! Elizabeth Olson has more presence when she doesn't rely on "standard glower!" I still wish they didn't so thoroughly whitewash the twins ( I know my fave Utopia did a similar thing but this has more impact. in addition: better treatment of sterility as a very important aspect but not the ultimate trauma of male and female characters). Maybe the accents would have been less awkward. All the English-language scenes in situations where people might not speak English were awkward. Yeah it's a blockbuster mostly set in a fictional Euro country but there's either subtitles or a sort of cue to show that what we hear in English is a translation (like they did it through a camera pan shot transition in one of Sayid's first flashback episodes in Lost so that Naveen Andrews could continue speaking in English in Iraq-set scenes). So many mainstream movies have subtitled scenes now.
BUT I LIKED THAT CAPTAIN AMERICA WAS SORT OF ON THEIR SIDE AT ALL TIMES! THAT STARK'S WEAPONS INVOLVEMENT WAS TO BLAME FOR THEIR VOLUNTEERING!
but there should have been more about the Iron Legion's influence than just one sudden scene in Fictional Eastern European country to really build up their anger. Especially since they extended it to more than just Stark. Could have seen Avengers defending dubious people and/or causing destruction, effects of the first movie, being seen as a tool for the West, etc. A lot of plot turns seemed really overcomplicated and sudden, and it didn't feel like it was because so much was left out (at least an hour more of running time or something like that).
Great scene with Steve talking with Sam about Brooklyn. Nice to see his vet friends at the party, including Stan Lee cameo! People say that Whedon can't write Steve in general, but I think it's mostly on the joke side that Whedon misses the mark on the character.
Thor was good but some of his scenes that set up the Infinity War felt like they were from an entirely different movie. Great to see Heimdall, and I think this hints at how Loki is causing trouble in Asgard.
Wanda's "magic" visions for Tony and Steve were scary and well-done. Peggy!
Lol Norwegian geeks in Oslo
how would Tony go from driving away from the new hidden Avengers base in upstate New York (which I think of as Xavier's mansion territory) to Civil War?
Rhodey was great! Nice to see the new Avengers lineup! although I'm still cautious about upcoming movies!
also quite a few scenes that could be potential Vison/Wanda set up cough cough
we saw Helen live, right?
overall...I wasn't expecting much, and there was some of the worst, but it was overall enjoyable with a theater audience.
ETA: Richard K. Morgan on when he introduced sterilization into Black Widow's story:
"That narrative thread actually emerged not from any specific interest in children on Natasha’s part — my sense of the character is that she’s probably not keen on the idea — but because one of her fellow Widows was trying to have kids and had run up against the Red Room biotech that prevented it. So when Natasha finds this out, it’s almost a casual blow. But what’s telling, I think, is her reaction; there are no tears, no mawkishness, no collapse into becoming womanly distress — she’s just very (and dangerously) angry. And it’s important to realise why she’s angry — it’s not because she necessarily wants kids. She’s pissed off because she’s had the choice taken away."
my understanding is that forced, probably secret sterilization would probably part of any Black Widow or Wolf Spider program, but the problem is that Whedon made it "graduation" and placed it in that dialogue context
there are still 52 minutes left in this day
it wasn't an entirely horrible day, quite a few good things happened, but I made so many mistakes
AND THEN IT WAS SEEING MY LETTER ANSWERED IN THE FADE OUT #5
AND NOW THE STAR WARS TRAILER THAT FINALLY CONVERTED MY RESERVED ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE FILM (still too bad how JJ. ended up ultimately doing Star Trek low for it tho)
I HAD THOUGHT MY DAYS OF GOING INTO CAPSLOCK SPIRALS OVER THINGS WERE OVER
I WAS WRONG
couldn't really get into the Daredevil pilot (well cast but...I dunno. seems like close to the Bendis-Maleev stories I really liked but not quite there), but I started Fortitude today and now I'm on...episode 4. Strange because most people think the later is slow and it's usually hard for me to stick with murder mystery TV becausthey aren't contained like movies. But this show starts out with a polar bear eating a dude! Interest captured right there.
I had stayed off of f-list and tumblr dash the past two weeks to make time to watch movies for a "Best of 2010-2014" poll for YAM-Magazine. The vote actually ends in fifteen more days, but I want my life back! So I'm slowly returning back to social media and all the TV and other things I had put off during that period.
I also had a really nasty sore throat; last week during an overnight shift I had to keep running back to the water fountain whenever I got violent, suffocating coughs that required lots of water to help me recover. (I made sure to cough into my elbow instead of the clothes I was fixing at the store, though.) Today, I'm still coughing a little, but recovery's going well.
Ranking some of the movies I've seen recently for the poll, from excellent down to pretty good:
- The Boy and the World (O menino e o mundo), 2013: a dialogueless Brazilian animated movie that I first couldn't get into when I was tired, but when I woke up and sped up the movie a little (I thought the poll deadline was that midnight) it was perfect. Doesn't matter that the message is blunt- it's relevant to Brazil and done really well.
- The Missing Picture (L’image manquante), 2013: The director, Rithy Panh, made clay figures to illustrate his life in Cambodia before and during the reign of the Khmer Rouge. Some commenters said it was slow but I thought the pacing had good speed. This is the only movie I actually paid to watch, since I streamed it with Amazon gift credit, and I was so captivated I had finish the film at wayyy too early in the morning.
- The Tale of Princess Kaguya (Kaguya-hime no monogatari), 2013: It's great, but I have minor quibbles about things that stand out after reading the Yasunari Kawabata prose version of the tale.
- Whiplash, 2014: Definitely my tempo.
- Grey Matter (Matière Grise), 2011. It starts out a little meta, following a young director in Rwanda trying to put together a movie. Then you see the movie he had in mind. Some early parts seem really iffy but pay off at the end. Only wish for a little more to the final full circle scene, but otherwise a great debut that has me anticipating more from Kivu Ruhorahoza.
- The Selfish Giant, 2013. Really plunges you into the lives (and accents) of two kids who try and make a little money from selling scrap metal.There are a couple of moments that made me gasp, and the last third of the film is so intense.
- The Prize (El premio), 2011. Very good with performances and atmosphere. Though made in Mexico, it's based on the director's childhood under Argentina's dictatorship.Good interview in Spanish here.
- Nostalgia for the Light (Nostalgia de la luz), 2010. Chilean documentary that makes a brilliant connection between astronomy, archaelogy, and the experience and aftermath of life under dictatorship.
- The Dark Horse, 2014. An outstanding entry from New Zealand in the usually middling "troubled coach helps troubled kids through training in a competitive activity" genre.
- Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (Jigoku de naze warui), 2013. A Sion Sono hyperexplosion of blood and color about yakuza wars and filmmaking.
Made some other discoveries, like: Tom Hardy does a really good Welsh accent and I can easily identify Andrew Scott's voice (Locke), and Matthias Schoenaerts in Bullhead/Runskop really looks like Tom Hardy. Looking forward to future significant roles for Amrita Acharia (Jeg er din), Saleh and Adam Bakri (Salvo, Lamma shoftak, Omar), Aniello Arena (Reality), Karidja Touré (Bande de filles), and so many of the actors in Starred Up. Also glad to see quality features from female directors such as Paula Markovitch (El premio), Clio Barnard (The Selfish Giant moreso than The Arbor), July Jung (Dohee-ya), Annemarie Jacir (Lamma shoftak), Tanya Hamilton (Night Catches Us), Alice Rohrwacher (Le meraviglie and Corpo Celeste), Iram Haq (Jeg er din). Amma Asante (Belle), and more.
Finally, the reason for which I actually intended to make this post:( TV episodes watched between January 1 and today. )
- lighter news/goals: withdrawing from Tumblr dash until the end of April because YAM-Mag is conducting a “best of 2010-2014″ movie poll amongst staff & I want to watch as many movies as I can before the vote ends April 1. I've been watching things for the poll since...mid-January? but now I'm really focused on locating and trying out all the movies that seemed interesting to me. Yeah, it's just a movie poll, but I want to make sure my vote is more representative of good recent movies from all over the world.
- also need to review an advance release book...
-three ladies now have complimented me and asked for exercise tips at the apartment's gym. The first two were older housewife-types but the latest was someone around my age who wanted to get back into stretching and splits (I can't go all the way, but I'm only one-two inches off the ground) after many years.
I'll mention what appeals to my odd tastes, but the links are there so you can check what appeals to you!
Emphasis on world premieres.
Fandor's most anticipated of 2015.
The Guardian's alphabetized list.
IMDB’s poll lists Sundance titles likely for distribution
Full list of Berlinale announcements.
Ioncinema's anticipated "foreign" release countdown.
Indiewire's anticipated 100, all on one page.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Johnnie To’s Design for Living musical with Sylvia Chang Ai-Chia that is mentioned at the bottom of this article. Not sure if it will be even finished this year, though.
Mockingjay Pt. 2.
Iffy on Avengers 2.and also Chappie-- Neill Blomkamp gets another chance but why Die Antwoord...
Mad Max: Fury Road - based on the trailer
Ferryman - Wong Kar-wai and Tony Leung
RESERVING JUDGMENT, POTENTIAL IN CONCEPT:
Advantageous - Victorian Futurist sci-fi about a mother's struggles and sacrifice for her daughter.
Atom Heart Mother - "Ali Ahmadzadeh will showcase his movie ‘Madare Ghalb Atomi’ (Atom Heart Mother) whose cast include[s] famous Iranian actor and actress, Mohammad Reza Golzar and Taraneh Alidoosti." (source) Named after the Pink Floyd album?
Beasts of No Nation- Good book. Cary Fukunaga directing. Idris Elba will play the leader of the soldiers.
Calamity Qui? - "brings Western heroine Calamity Jane back to life in a kaleidoscope of cinematic and historical references."
La casa más grande del mundo (The Greatest House in the World) - "By Ana V. Bojórquez and Lucía Carreras. Entrusted with a major task, the Mayan girl Rocío grows beyond her own limits. In sublime shots, the camera follows Rocío’s journey through the breath-taking mountain scenery of Guatemala."
The Forbidden Room - I'm not the Guy Maddin fan I used to be, but this seems promising.
Francophonia : Le Louvre Under German Occupation - Alexander Sokurov (who filmed The Hermitage in one take in Russian Ark) now visits The Louvre.
The Hateful Eight
Have You Ever Killed a Bear? Or Becoming Jamila - "a young actress takes an in-depth look at an Algerian resistance fighter she is supposed to play."
In the Heart of the Sea - Ron Howard directing Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw and Brendan Gleeson. I've heard the book is good.
K - Emyr ap Richard, Darhad Erdenibulag. “Tries its hand at Kafka’s novel fragment The Castle and transposes the land surveyor’s struggle against opaque bureaucratic structures into the Inner Mongolia of the present.”
Li Wen at East Lake - "Shot as a straightforward doc, the style of the film feels like a departure for Luo, until after 35 minutes this non-fiction preamble comes to a close and a fictional story begins featuring the titular Li Wen."
London Road - "dark musical" with cameo by Tom Hardy.
Nebesnyj Verbljud (Celestial Camel) - "By Yury Feting. The 12-year-old shepherd boy Bair has to find an angry run-away mother camel. On the back of an old motorcycle, he sets out on a magical and dangerous journey through the endless vastness of the Mongolian steppes."
Partisan - Vincent Cassel is a commune leader who trains child assassins. Won a Sundance special jury award for cinematography.
Queen of Earth
The Revenant - Alejandro G. Iñárritu directing Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and Domhnall Gleeson in a revenge Western. Emmanuel Lubezki is director of photography.
The Second Mother - "This densely layered yet almost fast paced-feeling drama, from writer-director Anna Muylaert (Collect Call), passes not only the Bechdel test with flying colors but dissects with both chilling precision and humor such matters as class differences, real mothers vs. caretakers and whether privilege and one’s own station are things that can be questioned or changed."
The Seventh Fire - "When Native American gangster Rob Brown gets sentenced to prison for a fifth time, he must confront his role in bringing gang culture to the remote Ojibwe village of his youth. For seventeen-year-old Kevin, Rob is the embodiment of a new kind of Native "warrior" in this haunting and visually arresting nonfiction film about the gang crisis in Indian Country, presented by Terrence Malick."
Spiderwebhouse - Black-and-white drama turned fantasy as three children are left by their mother (Sylvie Testud) to take care of themselves.
Things of the Aimless Wanderer - "cutting-edge" multiple-perspectives film from Rwanda with only two scenes of dialogue.
Tordenskjold - Life after war for an 18th-century naval hero played by Jakob Oftebro.
Wondering if Guldkysten is the movie Oftebro talked about that deals with Scandinavian involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.
The Wolfpack - documentary about brothers reenacting films
RESERVING JUDGMENT, POTENTIAL WITH DIRECTOR/REPUTATION:
Arabian Nights - Miguel Gomes. I'm not sure about shifting the 1001 Nights to modern-day Portugal, but we'll see.
The Assassin - Hou Hsiao-Hsien directing Shu Qi in wuxia.
Balikbayan #1 (Memories of Overdevelopment Redux) - Kidlat Tahimik
Bombay Velvet - Anurag Kashyap
The Brothers Lionheart - Tomas Alfredson
Crimson Peak - Guillermo del Toro
The Embroiderer - Brillante Mendoza
Éternité - Tran Anh Hung (The Vertical Ray of the Sun, The Scent of Green Papaya, Cyclo) directing Mélanie Laurent, Beatrice Bejo and Audrey Tautou in period drama.
Floating Gardens - Majid Majidi
The Insects - Jan Švankmajer
Journey to the Shore - Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who also might release a French-language film with Tahar Rahim later this year.
Let the Bodies Sunbathe! (a.k.a. Corpses in the Sun) - haven't seen Cattet and Forzani's other works yet, but they have an interesting title.
Love in Khon Kaen - Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Love and Peace - Sion Sono, who also has Shinjuku Swan this year.
Mariposa - Marco Berger
Midnight Special - Jeff Nichols
Mountains May Depart - Jia Zhangke directing Zhao Tao in a drama that reaches from 1990's China to 2020's Australia.
Sicario - Denis Villeneuve directing Emily Blunt as an FBI Agent versus a drug cartel. Wondering how they will treat the subject.
Taxi - Jafar Panahi
Tomorrowland - Brad Bird
Triple Nine - heist drama by John Hillcoat
Umimachi Diary - Hirokazu Kore-eda
The Voice - Gyorgy Palfi
War on Everyone - John Michael McDonagh
Yakuza Apocalypse: The Great War of the Underworld - Takashi Miike
Zama - Lucrecia Martel adapting Antonio di Benedetto. The book is good, although it's not my favorite by the author.
RESERVING JUDGMENT, POTENTIAL WITH CAST:
Green Room - "Director Saulnier’s follow-up looks to be heading into similar heightened exploitation territory, a twist on the siege movie that pits punks against psychotic fascists, the former led by ever-rising stars (Anton) Yelchin and (Imogen) Poots, the latter by, in one of the best bits of casting of the year, Shakespeare veteran/winner of the internet Patrick Stewart, who rarely gets to play with material like this and is bound to have a ton of fun with it."
Legend -Tom Hardy as the Kray twins.
IMDB: 2015 in upcoming TV series
io9's guide to sci-fi and fantasy TV
When does [insert show name here] come back in the United States?
SOME NEW SHOWS
Currently watching Agent Carter and Kampen om tungtvannet (The Heavy Water War). The Man in the High Castle had a pilot with potential.
Fresh Off the Boat
Humans (might be a better-looking remake than the one for Les revenants)
Narcos. Not sure about this but it has Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar (accents?) alongside Pedro Pascal.
The Millions' Great Book Preview
look interesting: Kelly Link's Get in Trouble, Kazuo Ishiguro's The Buried Giant (though advance reviews say it's just ok), Toni Morrison's God Help the Child, Mark Z. Danielewski's The Familiar, Volume One: One Rainy Day in May, Mia Alvar's In the Country, Mia Couto's Confession of the Lioness.
Io9's 2015 sci-fi and fantasy book preview. I've heard good things about Genevieve Valentine, whose Persona will be released this year, and Porochista Khakpour, whose The Last Ilusion is based on Persian classics. I'd wait on word about Robert Charles Wilson's The Affinities and others.China Mieville also has a short story collection called Three Moments of an Explosion.
Image Comics' 2015 lineup. Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda's Monstress and Darwyn Cooke's Revengeance could be good.
2015 album releases
The Dead Weather might release something more than a few singles this year?
did you knnow that the Macy's stores in Union Square were open 24 hours until Christmas Day? We got out after midnight and I sung "Silver Bells" to myself.
The Saturday before Christmas was busier than Black Friday at the mall where I work.
Merry Christmas Eve for now.