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If you guessed Jupiter Ascending you'd be right. It absolutely more than lived up to its tumblr hype. I adore it. Aside from the pure joy-squee of formerly-winged space-werewolf bodyguards with rocket boots and the most glorious ballgowns imaginable, it's incredibly subtly-crafted tone&message-wise, with a really impressive eugenics metaphor in how the Abrasax family stays youthful and immortal. I want to do a better write-up than this, but I feel like [personal profile] staranise has doen a much better job on tumblr than I ever could. Essentially, don't listen to anyone who says this movie is "so bad it's good" or good in spite of itself. It's, truly, genuinely a pleasure, a smart, woman-dominated, woman-oriented film that manages to be fantastic and joyously genre while simultaneously being clever and powerful. It's so much fun, and so, so thoughtful. And pretty.
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I just went to see Annie with my parents, having forgone our trip to see the California relatives because on fucking Christmas I caught a fucking cold, and miserably slept most of the day. Whatever. It ended up being a good idea not to go, as my uncle is imuno-compromised and really shouldn't be around even remotely sick people. Anyway, we saw Annie.

That was one of the best movies I've ever seen.

I um, started pathetically crying in the first five minutes and it only occasionally abated from there. This movie is *for* millennials, and it's beautiful. It's just so smart, and so utterly self-aware. Not to spoil everything (though the general shape of the story is pretty well-known) but the first image the audiences sees is a little white girl with red hair and a red sweater, giving an essay presentation on William Henry Harrison. She does a little tap dance and the entire class sighs, then she's sent back to her seat as Annie B., our Hero, goes up to give her presentation. Hers is on FDR, and she explains the Depression as 'just like now, but without internet'.

The girls sing 'It's a Hard Knock Life' while cleaning up their foster home, remembering the right bins for trash, recycling and compost. Mr. Stacks doesn't have an army of servants, but he does have a Smart House that knows Annie's every want before she does. There's a scene where Stacks, taking Annie on a helicopter tour of New York, sings about how he worked hard for success and achieved it, and Annie asks him why his helicopter never flies past 97th street. There's the surface self-aware moments, like when Isabella asks what a Hard Knock Life even means, and then there's this. Stacks grew up poor and a person of color in Queens, but came of age probably in the late eighties or more likely the nineties, when the tech boom had only just begun and it was easier to get rich from nothing. He talks about how hard he worked to get where he is (and where he is is so disconnected from the reality of everyone else around him that his mayoral campaign is a joke) to a little Black girl growing up in an abusive foster home, and he talks about playing your cards right and she says, 'what if you don't have any?'.

This movie is brilliant, so much of a win, of a Yes, of an acknowledgement of the world we live in now, where a wealth gap that exceeds the Depression exists alongside technology our parents couldn't have dreamed of, and I cried my way through it and saw myself in pieces of it. I am not Black, and I did not grow up in the foster system or New York or even a working class household. But I know the cynicism, the intelligence and lack of interest in nostalgia, the suspicion and the hurt and the strange, broken hope. Annie's precocious bubbliness isn't blithe unconcern, but nor is it entirely fake. She smiles because she refuses to let people see her cry, but she returns to the restaurant where her parents promised in a note to meet her one day because she does still have that stepped-on hope. She really does believe (despite the not the bad hand she's been dealt, but the fact that she doesn't have cards) that things will get better. She trusts Tomorrow, the Tomorrow she can make by herself, and with her chosen family, and that's the most millennial theme of all.
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The one thing that continually hits me as the film's most egregious waste however, is that Harley, the kid Tony finds himself 'connected' to, is a little white boy. I'm always struck, while rewatching it, by how the one thing that holds it back from completely taking apart the myriad problems with the Mandarin (and yes, that twist is the reason I love this movie the way I do, fuck you) is the lack of representation elsewhere in the cast. I think if Harley had been Chinese-American, and had got to explicitly point out exactly what fucking ugly caricatures the Mandarin has in the past and continues to embody, and use, it could have closed that last bit of difference between the movie and a lot, if not most, of its critics. Obviously, racists are racist, and will continue to be racist regardless of whether someone tells them they're racist, but they utterly lose any leg they have to stand on when the text itself calls them out. Or at any rate, it makes them out themselves as assholes for complaining about it. This is what stands between Iron Man 3 and perfection.

Another, entirely unrelated, thing that hit me here was just how horrifying some parts of this movie are. Obviously, in an action piece, there's a great deal of stylized violence, but so much of the violence in Iron Man 3 stands out because it isn't. Pepper and Maya don't get to look nearly as beat up, as is mostly to be expected, but Tony spends the latter half with blood and bruises crusting his face, is held captive not by high-tech torture devices, but zip-tied to a bed frame. Maya's shot in front of him and it's ugly, and Tony reacts as one not trained to encompass that. He has, by this point, seen a hell of a lot of death, and in often worse ways, but Maya threatens to kill herself to save Tony in vain, and Killian simply shoots her, to give Tony 'desperation'. Pepper, who's also seen more than her share of violence, is visibly traumatized, is visible in suffering, and (testament to both the writers and RDJ and Paltrow) their reunion is fragile, and barely not hysterical.

So much time is spent on the aftermath of trauma, the morning after the huge climatic battle, and how difficult it is to move on from it, how much easier it is in the heat of the moment to ignore blind panic and focus on a clear objective (stop the bad guys), vs the horror of then reliving that moment, primed and ready for a battle that doesn't exist anymore. It's pretty telling that Tony's still able to function, to fight and make quips when Pepper falls and he thinks she's dead, while earlier when watching her being tortured he shuts down completely, tries and fails to look away and looks completely catatonic. Tony's perfectly capable of doing the mental equivalent of shoving your guts back into your skin and burning the wound closed--it's having the time to process that's poison. It's fitting then, that this is the film that immediately follows The Avengers. Tony's the one to hold off the act of processing the Chitauri invasion in favor of going out for shwarma, and this is where the reality of the last two years all starts to hit him, and with him his viewers as well.

Aside from that, Rhodey has my continued undying love; stripped down, Mission Impossible Tony remains the most delightful thing; and my favorite line is still

Pepper: Got you.
Tony: I got you first.

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Which I swore I wasn't going to pay money for. I mean, it was three bucks at the university theater, but you know, principles.

Uh...I'll probably do a review thingie tomorrow, but for now: yeah, I felt the same way about Quicksilver as everyone else, Kitty Pryde and the future kids were criminally underutilized, and Charles and Erik are still massive douchebags who deserve each other. Well, no. Xavier at least gets the benefit of not being a gaslighting sociopath (murdering terrorist), but man does he have a self-righteous streak as his McAvoy self that really fucking bothers me.

On the other hand, Jean's not dead now, and that's nice.
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I took my cousin to the only water-park in the state, and then we went to see Guardians of the Galaxy. It was his first time seeing it, and my third, and while I liked it well enough, it probably wouldn't have been a movie I'd have seen more than once or twice had I not been taking friends/cousin. And you know, that wasn't the Marvel movie that ate my brain this year, so.

Yesterday I helped my friend bleach her hair. So that's a new experience.
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So, as a Father's Day present, my parents and I went to go see Jersey Boys, the biopic on Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

Man, biopics all tend to be anti-climatic. Life doesn't have a narrative, doesn't have motif or symbolism or hell, balance and spacing of major events (not that any event in Real Life is more or less important than another. It depends on who's telling). The movie, like most biopics, went through the trouble of a good half hour to forty minutes of establishment of setting before the entire band had met and formed, then spent another good half hour on the first three hits that made them famous, then the fifties became the seventies in the space of two montages and a narrated flashback. My dad had really wanted to see it, and he thoroughly loved it, which was the important thing to me, so though I definitely wouldn't have seem it on my own, and almost certainly won't see it twice, it wasn't time terribly poorly spent.

And the Jersey accent-porn in the first act alone is worth price of admission, at least.
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Watching Gidgit with my parents convinced me (and my mom concurred) that Gidgit was a bebe!lesbian and that Moondoggie was bi and hopelessly head over heels for both Gidgit and Kahuna. Kahuna totally popped his cherry too. I like the movie better this way.

Also, sanitized movies!sixties slang is adorable.

After we finished Gidgit we watched The Hangover. Glorious, glorious mood whiplash.

And now I officially have a paying job, so yay!
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I was watching this 40s black and white movie starring Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable called Boom Town with the sound off, and viewed without context it looks an awful lot like two cowboy boyfriends meet a nice city lady, have a bunch of adventures and then settle down to raise a kid together. I have no idea what it's actually about, but it's really cute.
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In a fit of shallow fangirling, I decided to watch a movie I knew next to nothing about, other than it featured Sebastian Stan doing Homoerotic Things in a boys' locker room, called The Covenant.

It was glorious. I have no idea what anyone involved with this project thought they would get out of it, as it straddles a strange sort of line between B movie horror and fan-pandering supernatural-sploitation, with a hefty dose of queer baiting. I'd imagine that with this level of genre confusion it must have done terribly at the box office, but apparently it has quite the cult fanbase. I'm not at all surprised.

It has the kind of good-natured cheese I can enjoy, and while it criminally under-used its two female leads, it was nice to see them get a friendship that didn't devolve into petty squabbles over boys. The boys themselves were pretty typical fair: the lovechild of Joffery Baratheon and Draco Malfoy, a Sam Winchester lookalike, the one who looks like the guy from Teen Wolf, the one I'm pretty sure is the guy from Teen Wolf, and of course, a Depraved Bisexual Sebastian Stan.

While most of them aren't likely to win any Oscars, they worked as best they could with some deliciously stupid dialogue. Actually, the dialogue for the most part wasn't terrible all the time, just concentrated into a few scenes that jumped right off the deep end. Although I think "Harry Potter can kiss my ass" is one of the best lines I've ever heard.

I'm pretty sure this movie only exists to cash in on the millennial gothic horror craze and only made its money back on the strength of its fanservice (impressively equal oppportunity; we get male and female shower scenes and swimming pool scenes for the guys to balance out the shots of the girls running around in panties and short tank tops) but damn, was it enjoyable for what it was. And Stan looked like he loved playing the giggling psychopath.

All in all, a great way to kill time not studying for finals.
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...this movie continues to find new ways to horrify and charm me in equal measure. For one thing, I will never get over just how cute Anthony Mackie/Sam looks when he's threatening Sitwell. No reason, he's just adorable when he calls himself the good looking guy in the sunglasses.

On the other hand, the scene with Bucky and Pierce finds new ways to nauseate me and send me into creeped-out rage with each rewatch. Pierce's bullshit speech about helping HYDRA shape the world disturbs me more and more each time, mostly because he knows it doesn't mean anything to the (un)person he's saying it to, and the, I don't know, call it arrogance? with which he says it disturbs me.

My parents both liked it, which was a pleasant surprise. I figured my mother would, but my dad did as well, and given his propensity to hate anything remotely speculative in his fiction, it was great that he didn't this time.

Not much to say, really. Happy Easter, to anyone reading this who celebrates it, and Happy 420 to anybody who celebrates that.

In other news, Dreamwidth doesn't have a mood setting for over-caffeinated, and I still don't know how to put entries under a cut tag. Bother.


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