sasha_feather: Black, white, and red image of woman with futuristic helmet (Sci Fi Woman)
The original La Cage aux folles (the birdcage) (1978), in French with English subtitles. A little slow to start, but delightful, warm, and hilarious.

Renato owns a nightclub, mostly featuring drag queens. He lives above it with his long-time partner Albin. Renato's son Laurent comes to visit, announcing his engagement to Andrea, whose family are stuffy conservatives in the government. Andrea lies to her parents and says that Renato is a cultural attache. Laurent (who should feel BAD about himself) talks his father into making the appartment look like a hetero den and having them over for a fancy dinner, continuing the lie. Farce ensues. I notice this has an R rating because GAY but it really doesn't deserve it.

Elementary Season 4

Joan Watson!!!!

The Good Place

This was just OK, and some things about it bothered me a little, but I really liked the characters and the diverse cast. I especially liked Chidi, a black nerdy philosophy professor who clearly has an anxiety disorder. He tries so hard.
sasha_feather: horses grazing on a hill with thunderheads (horses and lightning)
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2018, er, 2016) is on Hulu. It's a New Zealand film about a kid, Ricky, who is in the foster system and goes to live on a farm with an older couple, Bella and Hector. Bella is loving and exuberant; Hector (Sam Neill) is standoffish. Ricky is settling in and starting to be happy, when Bella suddenly dies. A letter comes saying Ricky will have to go back into foster care. He decides to run away into the Bush. Hector comes after him, but neither really want to go back to society, so with one thing and another, they spend five months in the bush, encountering wildlife and eccentric people. They evade the authorities and become minor celebrities.

This film is at turns hilarious and poignant, with real heart all the way through. Ricky shines as a fat, Maori kid who likes rap and haiku and reading-- a misfit looking for acceptance. Hector is also a misfit and their scenes together were wonderful. It's quirky and the landscapes are gorgeous.

I loved this film, laughed my butt off, and will watch again.

content notes )
sasha_feather: Amelie, white woman with dark hair, smiling cheerfully (Amelie)
Captain Phillips
This was even more racist than I expected. I mean I think the movie makers were *trying* to make a story about an "ordinary" guy who keeps a cool head in a tough situation. But what I saw was that there is a huge mobilization of the American military (a Navy ship, helicopters, SEALS, etc) to save this one white dude from people who are in a desperate struggle. I would have liked to see some more de-escalation techniques, more nuance when it came to the pirates and their reasoning, more contextualization of their lives. Instead we see wealthy white heroes and poor black antagonists... sigh.

Spotlight
I loved this to pieces. The story of 6 journalists from the Boston Globe who broke the story of the Catholic abuse scandal in 2001-2002. This film handles a tough subject in a sensitive and intelligent way. It's empowering in that it makes you believe in jouralism and the free press-- although the journalists struggle and encounter barriers, the first amendment is on their side and they are able to succeed. This film is chilling, subtle; highly recommended.
content note: detailed discussions of child sex abuse (not portrayed on screen)

Cradle will rock
Loved this ensemble film about the federal theater company in the 1930s. A playwright creates a musical about a union struggle in a steel town. Meanwhile Rockefeller hires Diego Rivera to paint a mural in his lobby. Congress investigates the theater company regarding concerns of communism. Orson Welles dreams up production designs. Super fun and inspiring.
Content note: brief scene of police violence against protestors
sasha_feather: Big book of Lesbian Horse stories book cover (lesbian horse stories)
Essay:

Hunger Makes Me by Jess Zimmmerman.

Content note: discussion of disordered eating.

For a woman who has learned to make herself physically and emotionally small, to live literally and figuratively on scraps, admitting that you have an appetite is a source of cavernous fear. Women are often on a diet of the body, but we are always on a diet of the heart.

---
Comic (web and print)

O Human Star by Blue Dellaquanti

http://ohumanstar.com/

Robots, roboticists, queer and trans experience, relationships, wonderful art. I want the goddess print that is over Alistair's bed.
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
I'm tired. Really tired and not breathing great.

I'm watching the Fosters on Netflix, playing computer games, and chilling. The dog park is not great right now because it's super icy. And the last few days have been brutally cold. Today was warmer, so we went briefly, but it's tough walking over rough slush that's been frozen. This time of year, I wish for an indoor dog park. Abbie does too. I'm thinking of buying her an expensive coat. It's tough to spend money, but she could really use something to help cover her hairless thighs. The Greyhound people like this brand:
http://www.k9apparel.com/Greyhound-s/138.htm

I liked this Teen Wolf story which also has some great art!
Tide Pulls from the Moon by paintedrecs
http://archiveofourown.org/works/5438072
sasha_feather: sirius black from harry potter films (sirius black)
At Shingle Street on Ao3

Rating: Explicit
M/M original characters
about 33K
WWII, England

Once I started reading this fic I couldn't put it down. It has alternating view points between a disabled English WWI veteran and a young deserter from the German Army, during WWII in England. The characters are exceptionally well drawn. Hugh, the Englishman, has lung problems from gas attacks. This fic got at some of my favorite themes: living with disability (for Hugh), queer identity (for both charcters), and a slowly building relationship. I loved it.
sasha_feather: Amelie, white woman with dark hair, smiling cheerfully (Amelie)
Fiction:
Mission Child by Maureen McHugh

Non-Fiction:
Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist by Jacqueline Jaeger Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long

Comics and Graphic Novels:

The Infinite Wait and other stories by Julia Wertz
Seconds, by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Ms. Marvel volumes 1 and 2 by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
The Midas Flesh vol. 1 by Ryan North, Braden Lamb, Shelli Paroline, Steve Wands
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Saga, vol. 4 and 5 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
My breathing was crappy yesterday due to wildfire smoke coming in from the West. The sky was gray and hazy at 5 pm and the sun was orange. Today seems a bit better.

The internet still randomly cuts out on me, but the good news is the upstairs neighbor wants to share so at least it isn't costing us as much.

Trees are being cut down in our neighborhood; I think they are Ash trees, at risk from Emerald Ash borer.

Have a Teen Wolf Rec!

Electricity in the Contact by ladyblahblah

Derek/Stiles, Pretend Relationship, 27K.

One thing I loved about this story is that in their pretend relationship-- which is for the benefit of making Derek appear less vulnerable at a werewolf event-- Derek and Stile have safe words which they use to express their discomfort with something in front of others who are not in the loop. Then they go away in private and discuss the thing. It's a very healthy approach to a pretend relationship! Heh. I loved this story.

Spy

Jun. 18th, 2015 10:38 pm
sasha_feather: Cindi Mayweather (janelle monae) (Cindi Mayweather)
Really enjoyed "Spy" starring Melissa McCarthy and Miranda Hart (Chummy from Call the Midwife). See if if you can! Lots of women, massive Bechdel pass, very funny all the way through.

content notes: small things )

Movie notes

May. 4th, 2015 09:57 pm
sasha_feather: Black, white, and red image of woman with futuristic helmet (Sci Fi Woman)
I saw a bunch of movies last week!

Ex Machina - a science fiction thriller about artificial intelligence. This was quite thought-provoking and stylish, but emotionally I found it cold, creepy, and disturbing.

Woman in Gold - I loved this film and highly recommend it. Helen Mirren plays Maria Altmann, a woman living in LA who hires a young lawyer and friend of the family (Ryan Reynolds) to sue the Austrian government over paintings stolen by the Nazis during WWII. The foremost of these paintings is the titular Klimt. Maria's aunt was the model for the portrait, and her uncle commissioned it. Tatiana Maslany plays the younger Maria. This film has grace and humanity; it explores the Nazi's outright thefts, violence and indignities, and the later cultural appropriation of art by the Austrian people in a subtle and moving way.

Avengers Age of Ultron - my main complaint was that it was too long, clocking in at 2 hours 22 minutes, plus many previews. [personal profile] skygiants wrote this hilarious summary.

Older movies I watched on DVR:

Book of Eli - The premise of this movie was so ridiculous that it was hard to suspend my disbelief enough to care. Eli, played by Denzel Washington, is carrying the last copy in existence of a Bible, and he's trying to get it to a safe place. He's moving through a post-apocalyptic world, killing raiders and scrounging for food. Gary Oldman plays a villain who wants to get his hands on the book and use it for evil purposes. It's a stylish film, and kind of fun survival story, and Mila Kunis is enjoyable as his side kick. But the story would have made more sense if the MacGuffin were literally anything other than a Bible.

12 Years a Slave - I loved this film and thought about it a lot after seeing it. That said, I was happy to be able to fast-forward through a couple of violent scenes, and I found them to be gratuitous. One thing that works well in this film, for a modern audience, is that Solomon Northrup is an insider to his time and country but an outsider to Southern slave culture, so his experiences act as a bridge for the audience. His disorientation and bewilderment are incredibly effective ways of showing how ridiculous, brutal, and incomprehensible slavery is. Epps, played by Michael Fassbender, is so completely out of control that it's difficult to believe that he is functional, and yet his society not only tolerates his rages and dangerous behavior-- the society empowers him. All of society has to be complicit in slavery for this system to work. It makes no sense whatsoever, and yet it went on for hundreds of years; a society based upon terrorism. This film is incredibly effective at showing all of these things.
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: a fox curled up around a rabbitt (fox and rabbit)
Last night a friend and I re-watched "Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home", also known as "The One with the Whales".

Why this is a feminist film:

this post contains spoilers for a 1986 film )
sasha_feather: Black, white, and red image of woman with futuristic helmet (Sci Fi Woman)
First, previews:

Terminator: Genysis (or some other kind of misspelling). This. looks. awesome. On the one hand, how many movies can there be about trying to stop judgment day? On the other hand, who cares? I love this franchise and will definitely see this.

Avengers sequel: This looks pretty good. I may have made some squeaky noises at seeing these two trailers in a row. Marvel knows how to put a good trailer together, for sure.

The Lazarus Effect (Project?): a horror movie, thus I won't see it.

Ted 2. I was thinking, how did they manipulate Mark Wahlberg into making this film, but then I remembered that he has a bunch of shitty things in his past. This looks so, so, terrible.

Chappie. Another SF film that looks a bit like Short Circuit, but by the director of District 9. Probably will be violent. Hugh Jackman has weird hair in it.

spoilers maybe )

"Pride"

Jan. 15th, 2015 10:44 pm
sasha_feather: Moriary and his neck, Sherlock BBC (Moriarty)
I didn't do much today but it was a Twitter success day: re-tweeted by @Karnythia (29.8K followers) and Saladin Ahmed (24.1K Followers). If you care about that sort of thing. I used to have a locked twitter, so.

I watched the film "Pride" (2014) with some friends. I quite liked this film about a group of gay and lesbian activists in the UK who support striking miners. It's great to see a film about activists and politics; it reminded me a bit of "Milk" but was better because it focused on a group of people instead of one individual, and it focused on the politics and not on the drama of their relationships. It's a hopeful movie about the power of community activism.
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
Previews we saw today in front of "Big Hero 6":

Home. Looks like a Lilo and Stitch type movie, about an alien who doesn't fit in, and a black woman with a flying car; in other words awesome. We laughed a lot at the preview which is a good sign.

Minions. This looks cute and funny! The Minions themselves are unmarked gender, which is apparently "everyone is male," and that bothers me some. But the goofy, cute humor appeals.

Inside Out, from Pixar. This looks awful. The preview was sexist, annoying, and unfunny. Playing on base gender stereotypes and families being annoyed at each other is not fun.

Spongebob. I'll skip it.

A Lucas film offering with fairies; it looked dull.

--

Big Hero 6 was all-around wonderful. It was funny, beautiful, and moving. Highly recommended. There is an extra scene post-credits.
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
Sell Your Body to the Night by [archiveofourown.org profile] dsudis. Teen Wolf, Derek/Stiles, explicit, 121K words.

I've been thinking about this one for days since finishing it. Stiles becomes a runaway sex worker in San Francisco, living in poverty. I was utterly pulled in to Stile's emotional state, the way his world narrows down to the things he can cope with, and how he focuses in on his time with Derek because it is what makes life tolerable. This was a controlled, slow story that led the me expertly right where it wanted to go. Also there is a great water sports scene plus Laura Hale being awesome.

Some Legends are Told by elisera. Derek/Stiles/Lydia. AU. 23,921 words. explicit.

Lydia is in line to inherent the throne, and her country has been at war for many years. She takes charge and does things her own way. It is awesome. I enjoyed the way that the relationship between these three slowly develops. Also, it isn't only about their relationship-- they also have a war to fight and a country to run. The setting reminded me of some YA fantasy novels that I love (Kristen Cashore and Megan Whalen Turner books), and it was also great to read a story where Derek doesn't magically heal.

Games

Dec. 14th, 2014 02:16 pm
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Some games I've played recently

FTL (Faster than Light)

Love it. It's hard, but the difficulty keeps me playing.

The player controls a Federation ship staffed by humans and aliens, jumping between FTL beacons to explore the region and fight rebels and pirates. Hostile ships can destroy you, as can boarders and environmental hazards such as asteroid fields. You gather weapons, fuel, and scrap (money), buy things at stores, and upgrade the ship to do better. Progressing through the regions (levels), things get a bit harder until you reach level 8, where you have to fight the Rebel flagship. I played this game a bit obsessively until I finally beat the flagship, on easy setting, using the Engi cruiser ship. I like that there are different ships and settings-- this rewards multiple play-throughs. I like that the game is relatively easy to learn and has a science fiction setting. You can name your ship and staff anything you like.

Long Live the Queen

A visual Novel that I bought off steam at the recommendation of [profile] ribbonknight. You play a princess that is preparing to take over her Kingdom. You control what classes she takes, building skills that impact available decisions. You can also influence her mood by choosing activities. This is fun, low stress and has death achievements. It rewards multiple play-throughs because there are a lot of different things to unlock. I used some guides on Steam to figure out how to get a couple of achievements, because it was not intuitive to me. I also appreciate that the princess can have relationships with both men and women in this game.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Sherlock glass)
I really liked The Hospital Suite by John Porcellino, a graphic memoir focusing on the author's experiences with illnesses. He has mysterious and severe gut pain, which turns out to be a tumor (non cancerous) requiring surgery. He loses a lot of weight and has trouble gaining it back. Eventually, though natural and alternative medicine, he starts to feel better physically, but then his old problems with anxiety and OCD act up, causing problems with his marriage. There are some intense descriptions in here including self-harm, thoughts of suicide, OCD symptoms, and food issues, which some readers will no doubt want to avoid or approach with caution.

I loved the no-nonsense honesty of this book. Porcellino doesn't have a lot of regard for his doctors, who misdiagnose him and don't show him much compassion. He furthers his studies with Buddhism and finds comfort in koans. Especially stark for me were panels depicting experiences of pain and mental illness, successfully using simple line drawings to show tension and pain.

What I continually admire from graphic memoirists is their ability to be so forthright about their experiences. Body, mind, soul, relationships are laid out on the page for all to see. I wonder if the simple cartoon format works as a distancing mechanism for the author.

Highly recommended.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k and I saw this together and we both really liked it.

Set at a Harvard stand in called Winchester, DWP focuses on 4 black students who are searching for their identities in a highly pressured environment. The houses that people live in feature prominently, as do the newspapers and satire publication. People's connections and activities have the inflated importance of the Ivy League environment. Race, class, and sexual orientation are addressed in a way that is natural to the characters and plot.

Samantha White, an activist and artist, runs for president of her house and wins unexpectedly. She becomes the de facto leader of the activist black students on campus, while struggling to find her own true voice and desires. She has a radio show called "Dear White People" and makes films.

Troy Fairbanks loses this election, to the disappointment of his father, the Dean of Students. Searching for something else to get involved in, he investigates the satirical publication Patische, (the not-Lampoon), which is run by the most entitled white boys on campus.

CoCo Conners wants to be a star and is willing to stir up trouble in order to catch the eye of a talent scout who is on campus. She is most definitely not an activist.

Lionel Higgins is a queer, geeky writer who doesn't fit in anywhere. He thinks about writing a story about Samantha, tries hanging out with the white journalism geeks, and ends up finding his place with the activists.

The villain of the piece is Kurt Fletcher, who heads up a fraternity and runs Pastiche. All of these people and threads come together when the fraternity throws a racist Halloween party.

There is a lot going on here but it's easy to follow, and easy to get drawn into these people's lives and dramas. They are realistic and sympathetic characters even when they sometimes make foolish choices. There are some very funny moments and some painful ones.

The experimentation and searching that people go through during college are familiar themes, and it's wonderful to see things like racism, homophobic bullying, etc, consciously explored through several characters' view points. Sure, everyone searches, but some people have more shit to deal with, and different people respond in different ways.

I hope this movie makes a ton of money and we get to see more like it.
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.

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