meganbmoore: (Default)
 Livejournal wants FIFTEEN DOLLARS to change my username, which is not happening, and I don want my LJ and DW IDs to be different. Oh well.

For anyone interested in looking for me on tumblr, I did change that to [tumblr.com profile] Swordsandparasols .

I also registered for Imzy as swords_and_parasols, though I haven't done anything there except for create an account.

Dickensian

Aug. 29th, 2016 10:22 pm
meganbmoore: (bright star)
Dickensian is a big budget fanfic that serves as a prequel mashup of various of Dickens's works. The main works featured are Great Expectations, Bleak House, A Christmas Carol, and Oliver Twist. So, pretty much, most of the ones most people can name even if they've never read Dickens, or only have if it was assigned in school, though characters from several other books have minor roles, and there are references to other characters and books.

The central plotline is Inspector Bucket from Bleak House investigating the murder of Jacob Marley (Or, as I liked to call him, "Victorian Donald Trump." Go ahead look up a picture. They went out of their way there.) from A Christmas Carol, and the primarily secondary plotlines are the finacial difficulties of the Barbary family and eventual pregnancy of the future Lady Dedlock, Honoria Barbary (Bleak House), and Merrywether Compeyson's seduction of Amelia Havisham (Great Expectations)*, with lots of other, slightly smaller plotlines running around and intersecting. The Oliver Twist plots were, IMO, largely the weakest part. Nancy was a darling and the Artful Dodger was entertaiing, but a lot of it focused on the Bumbles, who had good actors and so were EXTRA irritating, the portrayal of Fagin was still somewhat antisemitic, even though they did seem to try to make that aspect better, and it was very awkward and diffiuclt to watch nancy and Bill Sykes but all lovey dovey when you know what happens. (And even more awkward to read tumblr posts by people who had no idea what their future was).

I actually listed the three main plotlines in opposite order of my personal interest. Inspector Bucket was fun and the murder mystery made for a good unifying plotline, but I never really cared who killed Marley, especially since almost all the possible suspects were still around years later in their own books, so you knew it was unlike that the killer would actually be punished when discovered. But the Barbarys and Havishams? Oh, all the drama and angst and secrets and doomed siblings. Especially the doomed siblings. Both Arthur Havisham and Frances Barbary love their sisters very much, but they're also overflowing with bitterness over how their more charming and loved sisters have been favored over them, though for different reasons. I've seen some people jokingly say that a theme of the show is that siblings ruin everything, but it would actually be accuruate to say that people's lives were ruined because siblings wouldn't put aside their issues and just sit down and TALK and work things out before things went too far. Also, Merrywether Compeyson ruins everything. EVERYTHING. His abuses of both Havisham siblings would probably be triggering to some people, but it's not gratuitous, and for once a show doesn't give us an abuser portrayed but an attractive and decently charismatic white guy and leave any room for woobification or reading him as "misunderstood" or redeemable, especially as he starts wrecking other peoples' lives to keep the Havishams isolated from outside help or influence. At the end of the day, the shows was all "Ok, mmmmaybe he actually was fond of Arthur and mmmmaybe he actually did fall in love with Amelia, but he is Satan, Evil Incarnate, a vile greedy abuser who ruins everything and aren't you mad at us for not going completely off script to have Magwitch show up and kill him RIGHT NOW?"

The first few episodes were well done but slow, but once it got going, it REALLY got going. There was talk about a second season following the same characters, but that talk was officially put to rest recently. Honestly, I'm glad? Because while I would have enjoyed a second season about characters from other books, there wasn't anywhere else to go in most cases except to just jump right into the main canons of the books. Everyone was in place and suitably sad and miserable as they waited for their respective Dickens canons to take over after their tragic backstories.

*Gillian Anderson played the latest BBC versions of both Lady Dedlock and Miss Havisham before this series, so I get an extra kick out of the fact that Dickensian made them be best friends here.
meganbmoore: (archer)
 231 x The Musketeers 


here ) 
meganbmoore: (Default)
 Does anyone have an extra invite for Imzy?

ETA: Taken care of, thanks!
meganbmoore: (curiouser and curiouser)
The Curse of Sleeping Beauty is a modern gothic horror retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Which sounds a lot better than it is.

A reclusive artist named Thomas keeps having dreams about, well, a sleeping beauty who he tries to kiss but can't. He used to be sociable but now just sits in his apartment all day, drawing pictures of the creepy house and sleeping girl in his dreams. Then he inherits a house from an uncle he's never heard of before that turns out to be the creepy house from his dreams. His uncle leaves him a letter that basically ays "Really sorry to do this to you kid, but it really sucks to be part of our family. Also, don't go to the lower levels. Ever. EVER. Trust me."

Naturally, he isn't there for five minutes before he's knocking on basement walls to find secret passages.

The house is full of creepy weird manequins. The local appraiser says that people keep disappearing and everything points to the house, but nothing is ever found. His new neighbor, Linda, tells him thatshe moved to town after the house took her brother, and that 53 people have been disappeared by the house over 125 years, so she's pretty sure it's cursed. OBVIOUSLY, Thomas and Linda go exploring the hidden tunnels and almost die from it.

I would have loved to see this movie get a good budget and a more experienced team (apparently the writer/director Pearry Teo, has done several other indie horror movies, but I haven't heard of them). The concept is there and a lot of the visual designs for the horror and fantasy elements could have been amazing with a good special effects budget. Unfortunately, the movie doesn't have what it needs to fulfill it's potential on any level. Don't get me wrong, I've seen some low budget indie SFF movies that I wished could get the full Hollywood treatment for the budget they needed to live up to their full potential, but still thought they did the best they could with what they had. That isn't what happened here. This movie is a half-hearted mess that threw up its hands in the last 5 minutes and decided not to write an ending in favor of sequel baiting for a sequel that will almost certainly never happen.
meganbmoore: (Default)
I might need to change up my social media names soon for RL reasons(good ones). Any brainstorming ideas? (Will likely keep Megan or Meg somewhere in it.)
meganbmoore: (Default)
I have been without airconditioning all weekend. (It's a wall unit that has been making all the right noises, it just wont blow more than the occassional gust of air that i can just feel right in front of it. As a reminder, I live in Midwest Texas. It has been "cool" this weekend in that it was in the mid-80s* yesterday, and 91 today, as opposed to the normal 100+. The only upside is that with it being slightly cooler, I've been able to get by with that little bit of air, the overhead fan in my bedroom and dining room, a small portable fan, and taking advantage of the fact that I live alone and don't have to worry about scandalizing anyone by being underdressed, so I avoided having to pay the emergency maintenance fee by having someone come out. Though, if they can't fix it tomorrow, I may have to move in with my parents until they do. (They live about 20 minutes out of town.)

*fahrenheit
meganbmoore: (Default)
 I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a movie garner so much universal disdain from all corners as Suicide Squad has. Even the villain stans I know (aka, the people I know who are most likely to like it) haven't really mustered anything more favorable than "it was ok, I guess" that I remember seeing.

(I mean, I never intended to watch it, but I'm glad it looks like it's tumblr cycle might be short luved, even though the studio will probably say it failed for having too many women and POC and not enough white guys, as opposed to it apparently just being a straight up bad movie.)
meganbmoore: (paladins: yan yu/mo le: pre-angstplosion)
If you follow me on tumblr, then you know I fell into something like a bottomless pit of cdramas over the last few weeks, bingewatching 2 completed series in a very short period of time, and then starting 4 airing dramas this week.

Series I completely watched:

Green Hill Fox Legend is a fantasy series from earlier this year that is the latest anthology series based on Strange Tales From a Chinese Studio. Unlike others that I've watched, these stories are all connected by having the leads of each story be part of the same large fox clan, with an ongoing plot of a thief stealing the magic fruit the goddess Nuwa tasked them with guarding. Most of the stories really would have benefitted from being at least half an episode shorter, but I enjoyed all nut one of them. The was "Ying Ning", in which the show was embarassingly aware that they were romantically pairing a 15 year old actress with an actor at least 10 years older than her and pretending they were the same age, nd in which the heroine chooses to leave all the people who love her to care for her unrepentant abuser. Another story, which was really fun, had the end cut off because it apparently had canon gay, which made the network panic. Aside from those bits, though, it was a goof fantasy series, though not one of the best.

Detective Tang Lang is the other one I bingewatched. It's a mystery/action series from 2010 set in 1920s Shanghai featuring Wallace Huo as a somewhat odd private detective who keeps getting tangled up with a lawyer named Hung Cue, played by Chang Meng. She has a signature red leather coat, does Sherlock-style cold reads of people, and has a Secret And Mysterious Past. About 2/3 through the series, the show forgets that Tang Lang is the main character and it becomes all about Huang Cue's Secret And Mysterious Past and the fallout in the present, with Tang Lang largely serving as her glorified bodyguard. There isn't much that's particularly original about it, but I enjoyed it a lot.

Then there's the airing dramas. The main culprit here is Ice Fantasy the much-hyped, big budget epic fantasy series that's actually on both viki and dramafever. It's a fairly straightforward "two kingdoms at war" series in which the immortal gods of the Fire and Ice Clans (with humans stuck in between) ended their war a century ago, only to have the Flire clan restart it. Two of the Ice clan's princes escape, and go on a quest to find pieces of a magic artifact. It's really straightforward fantasy blended with wuxia elements with complex worldbuilding and good characters and actors. It really needs to calm down with the CGI at times, but I love it. It also keeps adding more and more excellent ladies (at one point, the fragile old granny who plays with kids in the woods decides she's JUST HAD IT and THESE YOUNG'UNS ARE TAKING TOO LONG and singlehandedly storms the castle and rescues a Damsel In Distress), and has a nice genderswapped version of the "sheltered princess alone in the world for the first time who falls for low-born knight/bodyguard" trope that's just accepted as normal. also, the Fire clan stepped right out of an "edgy" 90s MTV video (poofy hair! dramatic makeup! flashy fabric everywhere!) and goes into battle by surfing on their shields. I kid you not. The Ice clan are the serene and elegant immortals and everything there including clothes and people and hair is white and silver and it's incredibly beautiful and I hate it because unless there's a closeup or they're in a field away from everything it's just a huge blend of white and silver and I can't always make everything out.

I love it to bits and I ran out of episodes and am twiddling my thumbs waiting for more.

While I was watching, I realized that 3 other series I've been waiting on are also airing and getting subbed, so instead of catching up on other TV or doing something productive, I watched the first two episodes of all three.

The Mystic Nine is set in the 1940s and is about 9 treasure hunting families competing against each other, not that most of them have shown up yet. I thought the first episode was good, but it didn't really grab me aside from a few bits. I liked the second episode much more, though, and I'm looking forward to the feuding treasure hunters. That said, it is in dire need of more female characters. So far, there's exactly one, and she's the kind but sickly wife of one of the main characters and I fear she will be fridged. Promotional materials promise a lot more ladies, so we'll see.

Novoland: The Castle in the Sky is another fantasy series about two clans of gods (this time with wings!) who were at war until 100 years pre-story. That's all it really has in common with Ice Fantasy. In this one, a young woman with A Secret Past sneaks into the academy where the young noblemen from both winged clans and the humans train to see her crush/surrogate brother (who is under a curse the he will suffer unendurable pain and die if her has lustful thoughts about her) and gets in trouble. I like it ok so far, though not as much as I was expecting to. Like The Mystic Nine it only has one female character so far (though at least she's the lead here, and there was at least one other in the prologue who will be important later) and unlike The mystic Nine, I don't particularly like any of the male characters so far (and rather loathe her apparent eventual love interest, who is not the cursed fake!brother but a Super Jerk from one of the winged clans-I'm really over the guys who go out of their way to be awful to the female leads but are secretly nice and trying to help in their own special way). The cursed fake!brother and the other guy caught up in her problems are ok, but don't grab me yet.

Lastly, there's Demon Girl, set in 1915 and about a poor dancer who falls in love with a rich police officer. And, unknown to her, her mother was a demon (the series actually opens with Mom slaughtering a bunch of European invaders who were killing everyone in their town), and he is currently unknowingly hunting a demon. And demons here supposedly only prey on evildoers. Based purely on the first two episodes of all three series, I'd say this is my favorite of the airing cdramas, outside of Ice Fantasy, though it looks like it's going to be melodramatic even for the genre. It's my first experience with a Yu Zheng drama, and his stuff seems to be rather polarizing. several of his dramas are in my backlog of things to watch, but I noped out of trying out his stuff until this came along after everything I heard about his version of Return of the Condor Heroes.

Except for Ice Fantasy, it's entirely possible that I'll watch a couple more episodes of each then fall behind and not watch more until they finish airing, which is what has happened pretty much every other time I've tried watching a cdrama as it aired. That used to be the case with kdramas, too, though, so maybe it'll change.

WHILE I'M HERE ANYWAY, let me take a moment to mention Thunderbolt Fantasy, a show that I'm not sure how to classify.  iIve been lumping it into anime since that's the closest I can come up with for it.  It is very much a wuxia, but from Japan, and featuring elaborate and stunning puppets. The story is a very straightforward wuxia one-a young woman who's family guards Super Special Swords is being pursued by A Villain and falls under the protection of two wanderers, one of who summons a bunch of friends to join them in taking on The Big Bad- and plot and characterwise, it has nothing original to offer yet. But it...it is just so good, despite the painstakingly small doses. I've been mostly bingewatching stuff and watching dramas outside of a few US shows lately, so it just feels SO WEIRD AND WRONG to only get 20 odd minutes of shows a week. The puppetry is so good that you can almost forget they aren't animated, and they do some amazing things with the FX and angles and shadows. Urobutcher is behind it, though, so it'll probably end in pain and tears and anger on my part.

And these are the things that have consumed me of late and kept me from everything but work and tumblr. Well, these and pokemon go.
meganbmoore: (Default)
 Minor nudge to let everyone know that HULU HAS THE FIRST SEASON OF UNDERGROUND AND YOU SHOULD GO WATCH IT.
meganbmoore: (girl from 10th avenue)
 Hail, Caesar! is about a day in the life of Eddie Mannix, famed Hollywood fixer. In 1951, when the film is set, the real Mannix married his second wife, after his first wife died while in the middle of divorcing citing, citing abuse and multiple affairs for her reasons for divorcing him. In the movie, Mannix is a loving husband and father who regrets  not having more time for his family. So, eeeh right from the start in certain regards.

The movie is really good with studio and actor shenanigans and the truly awful movies from the period we pretend didn't exist at the same time as beloved classics, and has plenty of vibrant characters, though many only appear in one or two scenes. The absolute best part of the movie was Tilda Swinton as feuding twin sisters who were rival gossip columnists.

Unfortunately, while I do think it was a good movie, it fell flat with me. It may have never really had a chance, though, after a scene very early on where Mannix slaps around a young actress for posing for risque photos, with the movie acting as if she deserved it, establishing the "this is HISTORICAL FICTION so we don't have to remember that we actually do know better because HISTORICAL ACCURACY (in a movie with a highly fictionalized version of a real person and in which most of the characters are based on actor types, as opposed to being based on real people)" tone. It didn't go as far with that as I expected after that scene, but it was there. It's also worth noting that Mannix also slaps around a male actor roughly his age and with comparable strength and more social power than the girl from the beginning, and THIS Mannix expresses guilt over because he views the male actor as having value,which just made the scene from the beginning even worse in retrospect.

So I like what it set out to be even if I wasn't overly fond of what it was in the end. I also really want to rewatch Oscar and Clue now.

(I am hoping to watch a lot of movies over the next week or so, so there might be a lot of movie posts in the near future, unless I get sidetracked.)
meganbmoore: (emilia: eat your brains)
Marvel is doing another Civil War event and Bendis is writing it again. I guess to tie in to the movie that I haven't gotten around to watching yet. But, I mean, did anyone ever actually LIKE the first Civil War event? All I remember is people hating it, and saw a lot of hate for it again when the title for Cap 3 was announced. What I've heard of this one sounds like it might be even worse.

Somewhat related to this, another recent Marvel thing and a few other things over the years: if you are looking to have a shocking reveal and go "what is the most shocking, awful thing we can do that no one will see coming?" then you're probably already on the wrong track because you're looking for shock value, not story. But if your answer is "take this good guy people have followed for years and maybe decades and make hir evil" then there's about a 2% chance this will actually result in good storytelling and interesting developments, and a 98% chance you're just going to piss off your consumers and have to find a way to backed al out of it at the speed of light.



This kind of villainous fall/reveal can work in movies and books, and even single seasons of TV series, but once you make it years instead of hours, days or even months, you're probably lost. Redemption works better than villainous falls because people either already like the character but want better for them, or their current opinion of the character is more likely to improve than to go down, even iredemption arcs for more popular antagonists tend to be divisive at best.

ETA: I have been reminded that it was Millar, not Bendis, who wrote the first one. Bendis was probably behind some other Marvel Event around the time that I hated. (And, I mean, their increasing rise in  popularity was somewhat related to my unintentionally dropping out of superhero comics that difn't involve Jubilee.)

ETA 2:  Ah, yes, House of M and Secret Invasion...
meganbmoore: (10k: downtime with obsessions)
 Like most of your online friends, I seem to have been bitten by the Pokémon Go bug. I installed it a few days after it came out and played a bit, but didn't really get interested until sometime next week. There's a pokestop in the cemetery next to my apartment complex (and by "next" I mean "they share an enclosure wall") but I haven't actually been able to go there because it's been over 100 fahrenheit here every day, and I'm just superstitious enough  to not be willing to wander around a cemetery when it's starting to get dark.  Though, while I'm not 100% certain how the pokestop ranges work, I must be in range of the lures because sometimes I'll be sitting here with the app open and have 5-8 pokemon show up at once, or have them appear at 1-2 minute intervals for a while. There are also a lot of residents wandering around, trying to pretend they aren't playing.

I'm currently at level 7 and joined Team Mystic because it's blue and I liked the symbol. Very deep thinking on my part, there.

I really do need to visit the pokestop, though, to get pokebalks, and find a gym that's convenient to me. My church is actually a gym, but way too far away for me to go just for that.
meganbmoore: (stage door: AGONY!)
Anyone who's been following me long enough remember a time about 8 or so years ago where I went in to get my hair trimmed and they cut off 8 inches instead? Well I do, and IT HAPPENED AGAIN.

Context: When I left my apartment 3 hours ago, my hair was to my hips. It now doesn't reach my elbows. The last time my hair was "short" on purpose, I was 18 (currently 35) and it was shoulder length. The only times it's been this short since are now and the last time they lopped 8 inches off without my permission.

Not EXACTLY the same because the time before, it was a bad, uneven cut and they were rude about it and tried to claim it was the cut I told them to give me. This time the hairdresser was nice and professional, and it actually IS a good cut, JUST HALF A FOOT SHORTER THAN IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE. we both referred to it as "a trim" before starting and he showed me on his comb how much he was going to cut off. I had to leave and come back because I was in shock and I thought it was going to be a huge fight with trying to blame me again because when I came back and explained, the receptionist's response was "there's nothing we can do about that." And, true, you cannot magically reattach 8 inches of hair to my head, but that is most certainly NOT the proper response to that situation, especially to someone almost in tears. she backtracked when I called her on that, and at least the manager I spoke with was much better and only nominally tried to make excuses ( "there must have been a miscommunication" WELL I'M NOT SURE HOW BUT OBVIOUSLY THERE WAS). I don't know what their reasoning was because they were at lunch when I went back.

Anyway a huge UGH to the whole thing. This weekend is fired and I want to travel back in time 3 hours but I can't so I'm going to hibernate with my Korean and Chinese dramas. There are also several people who I know I won't be able to not see for the next few days who are always saying I should cut my hair shorter who will probably try to convince me that this was a good thing.

P.S.: Anyone want to make recs for shampoos or supplements that make hair grow faster? For obvious reasons, it's not something I usually have to worry about.

ETA: my hair is very fine and really long hair sometimes breaks off. My assumption is that he saw some had broken off and thought it best to do the requested trim above that length. If that's the case and he had told me, I would have been upset at the necessity, but prepared and accepted it. BUT NOTHING WAS SAID ABOUT CUTTING ANYWHERE NEAR THAT MUCH OFF.
meganbmoore: (beneath)
Ok, it's time for me to attempt to articulate why Stranger Things got me to watch the entire first season in 1 sitting and has had me wanting to squeal out loud for the last week.

Stranger Things is the latest Netflix Original to drop. It's a gothic horror series set in a small town in 1983 feature scrappy teenaged monster hunters, evil government scientists and conspiracies, an androgynous psychic kid, teenaged douches and preadolescent bullies, shortwave radio and walkie talkies providing communications to other dimensions, people in other dimensions using lightbulbs to communicate with our world, and D&D loving kids who like to ride their bikes all over town, and a missing child. Winona Ryder was heavily put forth as a lead character, and with good season. Her name alone makes you think of 80s and 90s pop culture hits, and this is her first major role in years. She more than lives up to the hype, but while she plays one of the major characters and is one of the two most central adult characters (the other being David Harbour's sheriff Hopper) but the main focus of the series skews more to wards the teen and preteen characters.

The thing about Stranger Things that makes me love it is that it's a nostalgia show that isn't actually nostalgic. By which I mean, most nostalgia shows and movies are very aware of the nostalgia and are looking back on the nostalgic period, and the narrative itself has some awareness of the fact that it's looking back at a previous time period. Stranger Things doesn't do that. Instead of looking back on the 80s and drawing from them, it completely immerses itself in the 80s. It uses similar camera angles to 80s movies, the credits are 80s credits, everyone sacrifices their heads to poofs and mops, plaid and jackets are everywhere, and the soundtrack isn't "inspired by" the 80s or simply using 80s songs, it actually IS an 80s soundtrack. The only way it could possibly be more 80s than it already is would be if they were to reveal that it secretly IS an 80s show that has been amazingly remastered. Kids able to ride their bikes home at night without supervision? NORMAL. "BECAUSE COMMUNISM" to explain things? YEAH WE KNOW. Tabletop D&D games that have an entire basement devoted to them? WHAT KID DOESN'T HAVE IT? Having to go to a store to get things printed off? HOW ELSE WOULD YOU GET THEM IF YOU AREN'T RICH? Off the top of my head, the only real nod to an awareness that the show isn't taking place in the time it's set in is that some technology that is now obsolete or has changed so much that it's unrecognizable in its form from 30 years ago gets explained, but it gets explained to people who would have a logical reason not to be familiar with it. It's nostalgic because it crams every trope and reference to 80s (and sometimes 90s) horror, scifi and kid adventure movie in that it can, but it approaches it as "that's what people like to watch these days" not "these are what the oldies that were popular then" were like.

(Spoilers past this point, largely for the pilot, and things very heavily implied in the pilot)

cut for length and spoilers )

YMMV with all of that. If you like 80s stuff, gothic horror, small town mysteries or Adventurous Kids and Teens, then you'll probably like the show. I don't know if Netflix has made any announcement yet for a second season, but it has an open ending that both wraps things up in a way I found satisfying, and gives strong hints about what the second season will be about, if there is one.

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