“When you wake up… I’ll be a story in your head. But that’s okay. We’re all stories, in the end… just make it a good one, eh?…” – The Doctor

  1. Henry Cavill is a great Superman.  In addition to having an almost perfect face and body,  he did a great job portraying this character without making it feel like an exaggeration.  Bonus: check out Man from UNCLE,  Guy Richie’s most under-rated film.
  2. Despite the outfit which really needs a consultation with the local feminist’s association,  Wonder Woman is a bad ass.  She was a fun addition to this film.
  3. Despite Ben Affleck, Batman wasn’t horrible to watch.  Not great, but not horrible. At some points I actually believed he was an actual character, not some guy trying to act.
  4. I liked the fact that both super heroes were angsty and sad, and then took it out on each other.  It was interesting to see a film without a load of self-righteous outrage. Marvel has a lot of that.  These characters totally let their emotions get the best of them and then they did kind of go – oh crap, am I complete fuck-up?
  5. I like Amy Adams.  I like her as Lois Lane.  Superman keeps rescuing her but it’s pretty clear that it is his issue, not hers. In other words she never comes off as a damsel in distress who needs to be saved.  In fact, emotionally Clark relies a lot more on her and I think he needs to rescue her. He needs someone to serve as his emotional and social compass.  For someone who is basically indestructible with god-like powers, it is clear that he could very easily go off the rails and he knows it. He needs Lois to keep him (pun alert!)  grounded in the human world.

There are some deeply flawed elements to this film as well. Jesse Eisenberg, whom I really like and thought was an intriguing choice for Lex Luther just didn’t pull if off for me.  I kept thinking he was Mark Zuckerberg gone amok.  Maybe that’s what he was going for?  DC films continue to lack the snappy dialogue and emotional depth that has pushed Marvel into the mainstream.  Ultimately this was a film about family and the way that our family define who we are – or who we fight against.  They make us into the people or aliens that we are for both good and ill.  This is a smart and interesting idea but it didn’t get proper treatment here.  Too much fighting – not enough character introspection.  I hope the franchise is able to develop this theme more and use it flesh out the characters more fully.  And as long as Ben Affleck just has to growl around as Batman, that should work just fine.  Oh and my 5.5 – Jeremy Irons is a great Alfred, thank goodness.

Greatest Villain

“If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.”                                                                           ……

Source: Greatest Villain

Greatest Villain

If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.”                                                                                                                  -O’Brien, 1984

The above quote by O’Brien is pretty much how you feel after reading the novel, 1984 and pretty much sums up why O’Brien is the villain I chose as my greatest. While the movie 1984 does not pack the emotional punch of the original novel, I decided to write about O’Brien anyway.  Richard Burton plays the character “O’Brien” who becomes the face of Big Brother for the protagonist, Winston Smith.

O’Brien masquerades as a freedom fighter espousing the ideals that Winston dreams about.  Just think, if Obi Wan were actually Darth Vader in disguise?  He seeks out, then trains Luke to be a member of the rebellion and once he finally convinces him to help, turns him over to the emperor to be tortured for months until he finally admits that he was wrong all along, the Rebellion is stupid and he really wants to join the Dark Side after all.  This is the kind of villain that O’Brien is.  (But don’t watch the movie to get it, read the book).  I felt like Richard Burton was actually kind of flat and didn’t really do O’Brien justice.  O’Brien is such a horrible villain because he is character who writes this manifesto against Big Brother, who eloquently expresses everything which is wrong with the society, but then uses it to trap would be resisters.

O’Brien feeds Winston lines of discontent, putting into words what Winston feels deep down but can’t express for himself;

“If the general standard of living were to be increased, wealth could be evenly distributed and there would be no need for a hierarchical society. Hence, for the privileged minority to maintain their position, they need to make sure that the standard of living for the masses remains low.”

And…

“Economic scarcity is artificially created to magnify the differences between the classes. War helps people to accept the existence of this social and economic hierarchy…the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.”

Winston, emboldened by the words of O’Brien,  begins his own little rebellion by entering into an illicit, unsanctioned affair with another party member. They are betrayed and it is O’Brien (the one whom Winston thought was the leader of the rebellion) who is actually the progenitor of the re-education program.  It is O’Brien who tortures and brainwashes Winston, using all his idealism against him to reprogram him to becoming the very thing he most hates, a supporter of Big Brother.  At the end of the book, Orwell leaves us as Winston is left; completely empty, unable to think for himself, and bereft of hope. In this book, the dark side wins and the rebellion is crushed forever.

If you’re a man, Winston, you’re the last man. Your kind is extinct. We are the inheritors. Do you realize that you are alone? You are outside history. You unexist.”          -O’Brien

 

 

 

Click back on Saturday to see my choice.

Go here to participate: https://hqofk.wordpress.com/2016/03/15/great-villain-blogathon-2016/#comment-16231

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I am not a fan of Marvel – I don’t read their comics and I don’t really care much for the big block buster productions.  But I recently marathoned the first season of Jessica Jones after much prodding from multiple members of my family insisting this is a Marvel spin-off I would actually enjoy – and they were right.  Shockingly, I greatly enjoyed this show and here are the reasons I think you would enjoy it too.

  1.  The Purple Man (aka Kevin Killgrave)  – one of the best villains I have ever seen portrayed on scene.  For we Whovians, there is the added bonus of seeing David Tennant back on screen.  But that aside, this guy was so legit creepy because he seemed so normal.  I often found myself being manipulated by him and at times I really felt sorry for him.  Then he would do something so horrible I would wonder how I ever felt sympathy for him.  He is a true master of mind control.
  2. Jessica Jones – played wonderfully by Krysten Ritter from Breaking Bad. Finally Marvel has created a smart female superhero who is just as complicated as the guys.  And she does not rely on her sex appeal to get things done.  In fact Killgrave mentions her “appalling sense of style” more than once on the show.  Conversely she makes fun of his name; “what, was Murder-corpse already taken?”  She has a sassy attitude, a tragic backstory, and a grim view of humanity.  She also struggles with self-esteem, guilt and alcohol.
  3. The self-deprecation of the show and its characters.  While the show can take a grim tone it never takes itself entirely seriously making fun of some of the common super-hero tropes.  And all of the superheroes (and the villain) on this show just want to blend in.  They don’t want attention and they don’t wear costumes.
  4. Noir setting –  Usually you get a middle-aged scotch drinking man as the main character of a typical noir story.  Jessica does drink and she is about as hard-boiled as they come.  But she brings a fresh perspective as a young woman who has never quite figured out how to fit into the world.
  5. Two woman steal this show and they actually have a relationship and they do stuff without men driving the story.  The relationship between Jessica and Trish is central to the story.  Trish is the one person who keeps Jessica grounded and also gives Jessica hope.  Jessica could easily veer into villainy herself but her love for Trish makes her want to be a better person.  Close female relationships are very rarely (if ever?!) depicted in this genre so this is a refreshing departure.
  6. The story is compelling without gratuitous sex or violence.  Yes there is sex and there is violence but it is really plot driven and not sensationalized or overly graphic. Personally, I’m over the whole Game of Thrones approach of let’s make this as shocking as we can.  This shock technique does create buzz but I’m over it.  I want a show I can watch without feeling like I have a hang-over because I’ve been scarred by the horror on the screen in front of me.  Jessica Jones keeps your interest because you care about what is going to happen.  You wonder what the characters are going to do because each of them is unpredictable and flawed.

Convinced yet? jj

 

 

Geeks Nerds Unite

In the wake of Steven Moffat announcing he would be leaving Doctor Who, the biggest question has been whether or not Peter Capaldi will join him. BBC has expressed in no uncertain terms that they would like Capaldi to stay on and continue his role as The Doctor. Peter Capaldi has said that he is uncertain whether or not he plans to continue with the show. His biggest concern right now, is what direction the show will be going. Chris Chibnall will be taking over for Steven Moffat, but hasn’t announced what he really plans to do with the show. At this point it’s all speculation, but given the past history with the show a lot of fans believe Capaldi will step down. However Chibnall might just intrigue Capaldi when he does finally highlight his plans for the future of the show. We will bring you more news as it…

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The explosive mid-season premiere of the Walking dead got me thinking about some of the deeper themes of the show like, survival of the fittest and how far should you cross the line to stay alive?

The characters on TWD live in a world much like the one early humans evolved in; unpredictable and violent where only the most brutal survived.  If you don’t believe me, check out Taung child:  http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/fossils/taung-child

Taung child was a three year old living over 2 million years ago. This skull was found with puncture wounds in it.  Initially the cause of these wounds was a mystery…saber tooth cat or maybe giant eagle?  The evidence currently is pointing to a giant eagle who swooped this toddler up, carried it back to its nest, and scooped his brains out through his eye sockets with its over-size talons.  It must have been a scary world when your child can be dragged away by cats or scooped up and eaten by giant birds.

In the environment of TWD, violence reigns and Rick and his group live by the code, “kill first or be killed.”  Carol, one of Rick’s primary supporters also lives by this code.  And it is the rigid application of this code by Rick which has been the one thing keeping the group alive. In fact when Rick says, “We are the walking dead” it would seem to foreshadow the loss of his remaining humanity and that they have to live as if they were already dead, with no real regard for life.  And this works for them. It is Carol who saves the group from the disgusting cannibals in Terminus and Rick is seen as sort of a savior by the poor hapless Alexandrians who have been thus far saved from the “outside” and don’t understand the new rules of the planet.

However, this episode seems be taking the group in a new direction.  Rick and Carol’s choices are now coming back to haunt the group as that weird blond kid gets eaten right in front of his mom, (Rick’s new love interest) who then gets eaten in front of Rick.  The kid was freaking out because of the creepy things Carol was saying to him earlier.  And Rick almost loses his own son as the older child of the new love interest tried to shoot Rick for killing his dad.  The shot misses Rick but hits Carl shooting his eye out and almost killing him.

The show ends with Rick telling Carl that he made a mistake, he should have realized that he should have worked better with the Alexandrians, he should have trusted them more.  Rick has forgotten the one thing that kept those little scared primates alive for all this time, social bonding and cooperation.  In a world of violence and hate, only by working together and protecting each other can such fragile creatures hope to prevail.  Brutality is not in fact what makes us human, it is our capacity to work together, even when we are so different from one another.  Maybe Rick is finally starting to see that cooperation is the true key to survival?

 

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