Jane the Virgin

Nov. 24th, 2015 10:24 pm
meganbmoore: (Default)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
 Was this the midseason finale? It felt like one.

spoilers )

Into the Badlands

Nov. 23rd, 2015 07:06 pm
meganbmoore: (when princesses grow fangs)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
 Into the Badlands really does have an excellent grasp of wuxia shipping tropes.  Sunny and Veil can feel free to not end up like their wuxia equivalents frequently do.

Two episodes in, and we have a grim dark dystopia with an unrelentingly oppressive and objectifying society, and not a single rape, sexual assault, or woman killed for shock value (2 women have died off screen and at least one in battle, but their deaths weren't gendered, and the male body count is astronomically higher.  Also no naked women yet.  I will keep harping on this until the show lets me down due to the endless cacophony of voices insisting that these things are absolutely necessary to truly portray an awful and violent society*.  The only thing that's truly bothered me about the treatment of women so far (aside from there not being enough of some of them) is a very brief scene where Ryder chokes a woman for information.  I don't think it was necessary, but it wasn't anywhere near as bad as those scenes usually are.

The second episode focused on The Widow and her "daughter" Tilda (it isn't clear if Tilda is her biological or adopted daughter, or if all the assassins she trains call her Mother.  I think it's actually both).  The Widow appears to be a kinder baron then Quinn, but also ruthless, and is trying to start a war with Quinn to expend her territories.  One of the two extended fight scenes in this episode was The Widow taking down a dozen assassins with two knives and very sharp high heels.  Emily Beecham isn't the incredibly skilled martial artist that Daniel Wu is, but it was a great fight scene anyway.

*Not saying there's never ever a justifiable reason to include rape, just that 95% of the time (if I'm generous) it's because it's a form of victimization of women that's used as a lazy narrative shortcut.

icons: Chihayafuru

Nov. 19th, 2015 09:02 pm
meganbmoore: (chihayafuru)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
 116 x Chihayafuru

here )

Into the Badlands (pilot)

Nov. 17th, 2015 07:42 pm
meganbmoore: (lotus lantern)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
Into the Badlands is a post-apocalyptic dystopian martial arts series that is a very loose adaptation of Journey to the West. Which probably tells you whether or not it's or you already.

IN THE FUTURE war and whatnot happens and there was chaos blah blah blah normal ONTO THE PLOT. (It actually does open with an Every Post apocalyptic Dystopia Ever voiceover that made my eyes roll even if it did set the tone. Just go with it.) After lots of war and fighting and death several barons took over, and and took the people in their various territories under their protection. Eventually, "protection" became servitude and eventually slavery, as the residents fell further and further into debt with their protectors. The Barons' enforcers are called Clippers, and as guns are outlawed, hand-to-hand combat, martial arts, and swords are back in style. (Not out of style: motorcycles, leather trenchcoats, sunshades, and southern accents.)

The main character, Sunny (played by Daniel Wu) is the head Clipper for one of the Barons, named Quinn. Quinn's estate is blatantly based on a southern plantation, though the social system seems to be based more on feudal domains than anything else, despite the aesthetic. The plantation aesthetic is, in the pilot at least, very much not on the nostalgic side, as a lot of the focus is on how Quinn sees himself as the benevolent baron but isn't benevolent at all, and that no one would be there if they thought they had a choice. After killing a gang of thieves, Sunny finds a boy named M.K. locked in a trunk. M.K. claims to be from the lands outside the Badlands, and that he and his mother came to the Badlands to find out information about a mysterious condition of M.K.'s (Note: Mother is missing, but not fridged at this point.) Sunny takes M.K back to Quinn's estate, where he's thrown in an arena with other young men to see who's cut out to be a Clipper. Meanwhile, Quinn's wife, Lydia, has apparently passed what Quinn considers to be her desirability date, and he's having her arrange his marriage to Jade, a young woman who was a worker on his lands. Lydia is concerned that Quinn intends to overlook their son as his heir and produce a new heir with Jade (Lydia, you are pretty impressive and would probably be so even if you weren't played by Orla Brady, but your son is a wimpy bully and a douche. IJS.) There's also Sunny's lover, Veil, a doctor on the estate, who seems to be encouraging Sunny to pack their bags and run, and is possibly the only truly decent person in the show, with the possible exception of M.K. Meanwhile, The Widow, called such because she murderered her husband, another Baron, and declared herself Baron in his place, is plotting things, and her plots involve M.K, though M.K. doesn't know what her interest in him is. Quinn objects to her calling herself a Baron, but Quinn is a misogynistic douche and slaveowner, so who cares about his opinion? (I can be more generous with Lydia because because her power and autonomy depend on his not tossing her to the side.)

While it's extremely unlikely that anyone is actually going to India for sacred texts, but it is very important that Sunny is played by a Chinese man (Daniel Wu) and that M.K's actor (Aramis Knight) is of both Indian and Pakistani descent. Daniel Wu is also a martial artist which means we get real actualfax fight scenes. The difference between fight scenes with a real martial artist and well choreographed fight scenes with amateurs is astounding, so it's nice to see the real thing on television. (I keep wanting to make a comparison to Basil Rathbone, a trained and talented fencer, always losing duels to actors who were clearly inferior fenders to him in all those swashbucklers. I mean, I like and own a lot of those swashbucklers. IJS.) The pilot as two extended fight scenes in which Sunny takes down groups of armed opponents with a lot of skill and little flash. The fight scenes are gorier than most television shows, but certainly not the goriest. I actually found the blood from the fight scenes less disturbing than the artfully displayed corpses in a lot of procedurals. I was more bothered by the bones breaking, which were accompanied by very loud snaps and twisted body parts.

The worldbuilding is a bit shaky at this point, relying more on striking visuals (And the shows is seriously stunning. AMC possibly literally poured money into it.) and atmosphere to establish the world than anything else. It does, however, do a very good job setting up a dark and depressing world, and conveying a sense of helplessness, despite the bright colors and open spaces. It also manages to create a dark and depressing world without having a single woman beaten, raped*, murdered onscreen, naked, or otherwise attacked. (So sad that that has to be pointed out.) Sunny does kill at least one woman in his first fight, I believe, but it's done as matter of factly as his dispatching of the men he's fighting, and the camera angles and focus doesn't change to linger over her death body like so many shows do.There’s also a scene at the beginning where Sunny finds a young girl who has been murdered, but again, there’s none of the prurient interest or lingering camera (on her, at least) that we usually get with dead women.  Violence involving women =/= violence against women, and I hope that's something the show actually does get, and this isn't a one off. I know from stills that there's at least one fight scene with The Widow coming up, and that she has a teenaged female assassin in her employ.

A perfect show? No. But it has a strong start, and a lot of potential.

*While Jade's consent in her marriage to Quinn would be considered questionable at best, we don't see enough of her to really have an idea of what's going on there beyond Quinn deciding he wants a pretty young woman as his new wife. I am watching for that plotline to go horribly wrong, but hoping it doesn't. I mean, they got Sarah Bolger for Jade, and I choose to believe that's because they have plans for her.

icons: Star Wars (original trilogy)

Nov. 15th, 2015 02:14 pm
meganbmoore: (sw: leia x gun)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
 53 x Star Wars: A New Hope
71 x Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
50 x Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

here ) .


Nov. 14th, 2015 04:55 pm
meganbmoore: (10k: downtime with obsessions)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
Don't have a lot to say about this week's TV.

1. Jane the Virgin

spoilers )

2. Supergirl

spoilers )

I really need to figure out why the heavyhandedness and feminism 101 aspect of Supergirl doesn't bother me at all (other things bother me-like how they're either whitewashing Dean Cain, or have Joss Whedon standing in the background going "But don't you think Chyler Leigh looks kind of asian?" Similarly, are Lois and Lucy Lane going to be of middle eastern descent since Jenna Dewan Tatum is part Lebanese, or or does she have another role that pretends she isn't?) while it did in Agent Carter. Which I did like and am very much looking forward to the second season of, don't get me wrong. I know part of it is that Supergirl seems aware of the 101 element in certain ways, though not necessarily in enough ways, whereas Agent Carter promoted itself as incredibly feminist and progressive while having a very basic sort of feminism in it's approach and ignoring many of the issues of the time to do so. (I mean, the "intelligent, educated and talented One Special Woman in a sea of unappreciative men" thing is still pertinent, in many ways, but it's...incredibly common, and possibly the most well trod plotline for women's stories.)

3. Empire

spoilers )

icons: Jane the Virgin

Nov. 11th, 2015 07:01 pm
meganbmoore: (dm: ot4 at pool)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
143 x Jane the Virgin 

here )

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