sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
The Keepers - Netflix documentary, 7 episodes. 2017.

This was rough, but riveting and thought provoking. A detailed investigation into the murder of a nun in 1969, this series focuses largely on women who were her students in high school (so they are in their 60s now). There is a lot of discussion of sex abuse in the Catholic church, some discussion of possible police corruption (or at least egregious incompetence), and a strong sense of the social consequences of violence. Recommended if you like true crime stories and can handle the discussions of abuse.

Masterminds - on Netflix. 2016. comedy.

This is good if you are in the mood for a silly comedy with some gross-out humor, and which is not mean, and not violent. Zach Galifinakis plays Dave, an armored car driver who gets manipulated into doing a robbery and stealing 17 million dollars. Also stars Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon. Content note: guns go off, but no one is shot.
sasha_feather: horses grazing on a hill with thunderheads (horses and lightning)
Source Code. 2011, 93 min.

LOVED this and not sure why I hadn't seen it before. A science fiction thriller by the director of "Moon". Air Force pilot Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up on a communter train not knowing where he is or what is going on. A woman is talking to him and calling him "Sean". He goes to the restroom, looks in the mirror, and sees someone else's face. Some similar themes to "Moon" about how technology can be used to exploit people.

Okja. Netflix, 2017.

I didn't like this; it seemed like a message move whose message was garbled. It's a science fiction movie with poor world building and the script needed a few more edits. Okja is a "super pig" being raised by a teenage girl in the mountains of Korea. The project is run by a corporation trying to create and market new meat products that are supposedly beneficial for the environment. From the beginning it didn't make sense: why would a food animal take 10 years to mature? That would be way too expensive and is completely unrealistic. Do some research if you're going to write about meat production.
sasha_feather: Big book of Lesbian Horse stories book cover (lesbian horse stories)
Free Reign: This is a kids/teens TV show about a teen girl who loves horses. It's ADORABLE. Zoe is about 15 or 16. She and her mom and her sister (age 10) are visiting family on an island in England for the summer. Next door there's a stable, and Zoe falls in love with a troubled horse named Raven. There are some soap opera elements to the show, and a boring love triangle element (two boys like Zoe, oh woe). But overall it's cute, funny, and well done. Zoe works with Raven to calm him down and get him rideable. Meanwhile she makes friends and starts investigating the theft of some local horses. Rosie (the younger sister), Zoe, and their mom are black; there is a South Asian character (Jade), and there are a bunch of teenage girls hanging out together and riding horses and having fun. There are 10 episodes, 25 minutes each. No warnings that I can think of.
sasha_feather: Black, white, and red image of woman with futuristic helmet (Sci Fi Woman)
Two episodes this season really stood out, and they are episodes that do not focus on Dev.

"New York, I Love You": vignettes about 3 working-class black New Yorkers. A doorman in a fancy apartment building deals with the strange requests of the tenants he works for, and he talks with his co-workers. A Deaf woman finishes her shift as a clerk at a bodega, goes to have coffee with a friend, and later goes shopping with her husband. A Kenyan-American cabbie finishes his shift, takes a nap, and then tries to go clubbing with his friends. This snapshot into regular people's lives was funny and endearing, and shone a light on people who are often invisible in media. A beautiful episode.

"Thanksgiving": Denise and Dev growing up and having multiple Thanksgiving meals at her mother's house. Denise deals with coming out to her mom and later bringing girlfriends home. We see Denise's grandmother and aunt at each meal. Denise talks about how being gay in her black community is not widely accepted. A funny and moving episode, that again features people we don't normally get to see on TV. This episode stars many black women.

I also enjoyed "Religion": Dev struggles with lying about being non-religious to his extended family. At one poing, Dev and his cousin sneak out from a religious event to go to a barbecue and eat lots of pork together.

Episodes about how Dev struggles with dating and finding love bored me epically. I realize that Aziz Ansari finds this subject fascinating and wrote a whole book about it. But there are three whole episodes (out of 10!) focusing on Dev's love life: "First Date," "Amarsi Un Po", and "Buona Notte". yawn.
sasha_feather: Big book of Lesbian Horse stories book cover (lesbian horse stories)
"Lazy Eye" (2016)

This is a somewhat slow, sweet film about two ex-lovers who reconnect over a weekend. They were together for a summer 15 years ago; now they meet in Joshua Tree at a small house. The landscapes are beautiful and the production values are high. The two are very loving and affectionate with each other. They reflect upon their lives and choices, and at the end of the weekend must decide where to go from here. It met what I was looking for: emotional, sexy, and with queer (this was sort of a typo but I'm leaving it). I got a bit impatient with the cheating story line (one of the two of them is cheating on his husband who is abroad), mostly because, sigh, why this tired trope? Why can't writers be more creative and interesting?

Content notes: animal harm/death (mice). cigarettes. Rich people. One person teasing/doubting another person's professed bisexuality. One character describes an anxiety attack in broad terms.

tv

Apr. 29th, 2017 01:50 am
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
I tried a couple of shows out and rejected them:

Hap and Leonard (on Netflix)
I wanted to like this because the guy who plays Omar on the Wire (Michael K. Williams) plays a gay Vietnam vet. But after a couple of episodes, I didn't like any of the characters. Williams' character, Leonard, was OK, but everyone else was mean and horrible.

Limitless (on Netflix)

A movie spin-off. Brian thinks of himself as a loser and a disappointment to his dad, even though his dad is supportive. He takes a drug called NZT, which temporarily turns him into a super-genious. I enjoyed the pilot because he used his genious for a bunch of things, like diagnosing his father's illness, solving a murder, playing music really well in a park, and talking to people about their problems (social intelligence!). But in the 2nd episode, it's clear that this is just another procedural about a white guy who is a rule-breaking genious for the FBI. He gets away with his rule-breaking because he produces results (and also b/c privilege). The science in the 2nd episode was also pretty bad: an engineered flu strain that was supposedly used for assasinations. Riiiiight. I stopped watching.

I settled on an addictive, violent, perhaps overly dramatic, gripping show on Hulu: BLACK SAILS. This has lots of queerness and is very pretty.
sasha_feather: Black, white, and red image of woman with futuristic helmet (Sci Fi Woman)
Game Face - on Netflix

A documentary about two athletes who are coming out. It focuses on Fallon Fox, a lesbian trans woman who fights MMA, and Terrence Clemens, a basketball player at a 2-year college. Both are black. This was very sweet and nice. There was some anti-trans language (clips from the media talking about Fallon) but it really focused on the athletes and stayed upbeat. Recommended.

Chef - on Netflix.

A sweet comedy / drama about a man who is a chef at a fancy restaurant. He feels that his creativity is stifled. He gets into a Twitter war with a reviewer and eventually quits his job. Later, with the help of his ex-wife, he starts a food truck featuring Cubanos, working with his son and a sou chef from the restaurant. This is a well-done movie with an all-star cast. I was irritated by the male fantasy aspects of it: John Favreau is romantically paired with Scarlett Johanssen and Sofia Vergara? And they are the only two women in the film, except a tiny role for Amy Sedaris.

TV shows

Oct. 10th, 2016 10:18 pm
sasha_feather: Daredevil in a suit (Daredevil)
Inspired by kuwdora, here is some of what I'm watching lately:

@midnight
A quiz-style comedy show with guests and internet prompts. There is the occasional offensive joke (based on joking about diabetes or something else tasteless); but overall it's well done if a bit on the rude side. Sometimes I laugh my butt off which is what I need. I watch this on Hulu.

Pitch
I've watched the first three eps on Hulu, and I'm in love. Ginny Baker is the first woman to play in the major leagues. She's a pitcher for the San Diego Padres. All the characters are nuanced and each episode has a theme that is explored. The pilot focuses on Ginny's first games and her relationship with her father. The second ep focuses on Ginny being in the spotlight of celebrity, and her relationship with her agent. The third ep focuses on how she wants to be treated as a ballplayer first, and how she's had to fight for that.

Luke Cage
was AMAZING. So refreshing. I don't have a lot to say about it just yet.

Supergirl
This was cheesy and had bad writing at times, but there were some things I just loved. I loved the relationships between women, and how every episode passed the Bechdel test. Cat Grant is a terrific, hilarious character. Kara's earnest desire to do good, and her belief in other people's goodness, is wonderful to watch. The show improved over the course of season one.

Nurse Jackie
I got to mid-season 3 and stopped watching because it was giving me bad dreams. :/
sasha_feather: Black, white, and red image of woman with futuristic helmet (Sci Fi Woman)
Stranger Things is an 8-episode show on Netflix. It's a fun horror show that takes place in 1983 and is reminiscent of movies such as E.T., the Goonies, and Gremlins.

In the first episode, we see a group of four boys, around age 12, playing D&D in a basement. On their way home, one of the boys, Will, takes a shortcut home and in a scary scene, is nabbed by a mysterious monster. The remaining three boys decide to help search for him in the woods and run into a girl with a buzzed hair who barely speaks. The show follows this crew of kids, the police chief, and some towns people and they investigate the disappearance of the missing boy and try to track down the monster.

Content notes: child endangerment; flashing lights; scenes of bullying

What I liked and didn't like, with spoilers )

Overall this is a clever, suspenseful, and well-done SF/horror show. Recommended.
sasha_feather: Black, white, and red image of woman with futuristic helmet (Sci Fi Woman)
Daredevil on Netflix has many problems but one thing I love are the characters. They are flawed people who care about each other in flawed ways, and they grow and change.

spoilers, Foggy and Matt )
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Consolidated notes on Queer movies that I've seen over the last six-ish years, as people seem to look for recs from time to time. Since I wrote these a while ago, some may no longer be on Netflix. Will edit this from time to time. Adding stars to ones I especially recommend.

52 movies )
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
Beginners (2010) R. Ewan MacGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent.

MacGregor plays Oliver, a 38-year-old graphic designer who has recently lost his father. In flashbacks and narration, we see his close relationship to his father, who came out publicly as gay at age 75. Now, in 2003, Oliver is struggling with grief, with the fact that his parents were never in love, and with his own relationships and feelings. Oliver falls for a woman named Anna. In flashbacks, his father falls for a younger man, played by Goran Visnjic, and gets involved with gay politics. The movie is engaging and told with sensitivity and emotional nuance. People at any age can be beginners at life and love.
sasha_feather: Max from Dark Angel (Max from Dark Angel)
Season 1 of Hemlock Grove: I liked it! With some reservations. I find the characters and world very compelling and will keep watching. There are a couple of BSG alum actors; also Famke Janssen from X-men.

If you decide to watch, be aware that at the end of episode 7 there is a disturbing rape scene.

other content notes )

chatter about the show with some spoilers )
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Short-term 12

Recommended to me by [personal profile] jesse_the_k; this indie film is about a short-term care facility for foster kids. It's from the perspective of a young woman who works there, Grace, who is a survivor of abuse and spent time in foster care. She is dating a fellow employee, Mason. They and their fellow employees clearly care deeply about the kids they are working with, and there is a lot of inherent drama and reality in the situation. I loved the way this film focused on relationships and the struggle to express oneself after experiencing abuse and trauma. It is a quiet film that focuses on hope, while not shying away from reality. I think this would make a good TV series too! Content notes for: self-harm (on screen), discussions of incest, discussion of abortion, physical abuse.

The History of Future Folk: Anti-Rec

I thought I would love this: a silly comedy about a space alien whose plot to colonize Earth is foiled when he discovers music. Unfortunately, the writer, John Mitchell, is one of those people who apparently thinks that stalking is romantic. Don't watch it.

upsetting details )
sasha_feather: Max from Dark Angel (Max from Dark Angel)
Cloudburst, 2011, starring Olympia Dukakis

A funny, great film about an old lesbian couple that have been together for nearly 30 years. Stella and Dot live together in a New England house, but when Dot gets hurt, Dot's granddaughter tries to put Dot in a nursing home. Stella busts her out and decides to drive them to Canada to get married. They pick up a hitch hiker along the way and have some adventures. There is lots of fun banter because Stella has a dirty sense of humor and good chemistry with Dot. Dot is blind and it's so refreshing to see realistic disability representation.

Content notes (here be spoilers):
notes )

Pit Stop, 2013

A sweet, slowly building film about getting over past relationships and moving on with life. It deals with the real complexity of gay relationships in a way that I loved, and dealt with working-class men in small-town Texas. I liked going into this movie not knowing who these people were and trying to figure out their relationships, so I don't want to give too much away. The movie's protagonists are Ernesto and Gabe, and each of them have pasts, attachments, and deep emotions that the viewer gets to see. Occasionally it looks a little low-budget in that the lighting and camera shots are bad, but overall it's well done. No content notes that I can think of.
sasha_feather: Simon Pegg from Hot Fuzz holding a gun looking tough (hot fuzz)
The Queen of Versailles, documentary, streaming on Netflix.

As the film begins we see some filthy stinking rich people who are literally presented as royalty: the Seigels, time-share barons in Florida, who live in a mansion with their 8 kids. They are on top of the world and are building the country's largest house, a replica of the palace of Versailles. Jackie is almost 30 years younger than her husband David and appears to be a trophy wife, but she is presented with complexity and with some sympathy. David is not presented very sympathetically. About 30 minutes into the film, the 2008 recession happens and the family's business suffers. They can't complete the house; their Las Vegas venture is in trouble, and the family must cut back. (Even then, they say they are cutting back but they still live in their mansion, etc.)

There are many "OMG" moments in this film, like, you almost can't believe people can get so out of touch with reality. Neither of these people grew up rich but they've been corrupted by their money, so that it has almost become meaningless to them. The most stunning thing from my perspective is the way they treat their help; the maids and nannies are raising the kids, and sending money back to their own families, and living like paupers. Jackie is buying thousands of dollars worth of toys that her kids don't care about and the nanny is living in the kids' unused play house.

But Jackie is not a villain, and she's not stupid. It's more like she's living out a role that is expected of her, that of the wealthy trophy wife. She just doesn't look around and question it. For her, looks and things are the way she earns respect.

Anyway, it's a really thought provoking film.
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
The Sapphires

This absolutely delightful film focuses on 4 women who form a soul singing group in the 1960s. They are Aboriginal Australians-- 3 sisters and a cousin-- who travel to Vietnam to entertain the troops and make money. Their manager is the white guy from the IT Crowd. Great to watch if you like ladies, music, singing, and movies that don't focus on white people. Content notes: overt racism, discussion of awful racist Australian policies towards native peoples, and some war violence. Has captions. Based on a true story.

I'm sure there are other things I've enjoyed watching lately but I need lunch!
sasha_feather: Steam punk goggles (Steam punk goggles)
Europa Report. 2013, 90 minutes.

This tense SF film is done in documentary style, about a troubled mission to Jupiter's moon Europa. I liked it quite a lot! It moves back and forth in time, contains "interviews" with mission planners and astronauts, and keeps you wondering until the end. It's one of these movies that has a fairly simple idea and does it well. A bit scary at times. Recommended.

The Bletchley Circle

I highly recommend this mini-series even though is about tracking down a serial killer. The heroine of the tale is a housewife who was a code-breaker / analyst during WWII, and now after the war she solves puzzles as a hobby. When she starts to investigate a spate of killings, she gets the band back together (3 more women) to help her. They use math and complex data analysis to try and catch the killer; one of them has a photographic memory. They do all this without the police's help, and their partners/husbands don't support them either. It's a brilliant show.
sasha_feather: Black, white, and red image of woman with futuristic helmet (Sci Fi Woman)
I am watching "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" on Netflix --as many people are-- and I mostly love it. I am nearly done with Season 1. Phryne Fisher is amazing in so many ways. I think it was on [personal profile] meganbmoore's journal that I read her described as a James-Bond like character-- wealthy, always well-dressed, super-competent, etc-- a female fantasy role. She sleeps with many different men, helps educate young women, is open-minded, and delivers some great lines. She handles herself well in complex social situations as well as bloody, dangerous ones. I like the developing backstory and the arcs for the various characters.

The show itself does a nice job balancing serious situations with an overall lightness in tone. I appreciate that it takes on issues such as abortion, worker's rights, the lives of immigrants, and gay people living under the radar.

What I mainly dislike is that every episode is a murder mystery, as it says in the title. In some episodes, multiple people are killed, and one starts to wonder about the murder rate in Melbourne in the 1920s. As a private detective, Phryne would be much more likely to take cases that weren't murder, so I'm not sure why the show needs to be about murder (I do realize it's based upon books, so perhaps my real criticism lies there). (This is one issue where I agree with my mother: there is too much murder on TV, and I'm simply getting tired of it; perhaps I need to watch other types of shows.)

Also, the specific cases are sometimes a problem:
here be spoilers )
sasha_feather: Max from Dark Angel (Max from Dark Angel)
Warrior. 2011, PG-13. Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Morrison, Nick Nolte.

I went in with low expectations (I am not a sports or fighting fan) but I ended up loving this movie. It has a lot of emotions in it and tells its story well. Tom Hardy plays Tommy, a laconic former Marine who returns home to visit his alcoholic father in order to ask his dad to train him to get back in the ring. Meanwhile, his estranged brother, Brendan, needs money to save his house from foreclosure and decides to return to MMA fighting. This decision gets him suspended from his job as a high school teacher, and so he trains full time for a big upcoming fight. Naturally, the two brothers are going to end up at the same fight. Little bits of back story are revealed through out and the acting is good. It wasn't as violent as I expected, because it focuses on technique and emotions rather than brutality. It was just a solidly well-done movie and I loved it!!

North and South. British miniseries.

This adaptation had a "Jane Eyre" feel to me, except it's in a Mill Town rather than a manor. I liked how Margaret's ideas about places and people change. She has a complex relationship with an owner of one of the mills, who is a friend of her father. Margaret is an outspoken and compassionate person who seems fundamentally normal, and very relatable. Recommended.

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