Blindspot: Changing the Trend

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog called I weep for women in crime shows. Since then I have been keeping my eyes open, when not full of tears for shows that alter the trend of buddy cop duos where the male character is infinitely more interesting than the female character.

Blindspot is step in the right the direction. Jamie Alexander (you might remember her from Thor where she played the warrior Sif) is the unfortunately named Jane Doe who has no identity but lots of tattoos. The FBI gets involved and the drama begins.

The less than satisfying aspects are the obvious objectification of the female form. This woman arrives naked in Times Square in a bag. Her body is covered with tattoos. In order for her to be a strong female character, she apparently needs to be disfigured in some way because as a viewing public we cannot face a woman who is strong, intelligent and resourceful without the implication that she has been controlled and manipulated in some way. It is a shame…but we shall reserve the slightest hope of something more than an emasculated Blacklist without the hat.

‘The Fisherman and his Soul’ Part Two

‘The Fisherman and his Soul’ by Oscar Wilde

In the previous part, the Fisherman caught a beautiful mermaid in his nets and made her promise to return and sing her beautiful song. The more the Fisherman heard the beautiful song, the more he fell in love with the mermaid until he could bear it no more. When he told the mermaid he loved her and wished to marry her, she told him she could not because he had a soul and the people that lived in the sea had no souls. In an attempt to remove his soul, the Fisherman went to a priest who told him his soul was his most valuable possession, yet when the Fisherman tried to sell his soul at a market, no would buy it.

Part Two
And at noon he remembered how one of his companions, who was a gatherer of samphire, had told him of a certain young Witch who dwelt in a cave at the head of the bay and was very cunning in her witcheries. And he set to and ran, so eager was he to get rid of his soul, and a cloud of dust followed him as he sped round the sand of the shore. By the itching of her palm the young Witch knew his coming, and she laughed and let down her red hair. With her red hair falling around her, she stood at the opening of the cave, and in her hand she had a spray of wild hemlock that was blossoming.

Continue reading “‘The Fisherman and his Soul’ Part Two”

Panic among Preteens One Last time? Probably Not

It is occasionally surprising what people want to read. Earlier in the year I wrote about Ariana Grande Causing Panic among Preteens. It turns out many people are still interested in the story.

Over a 100 million people have watched the video on Youtube. Or maybe less people watching the video over and over and over…it doesn’t matter.

The single trended on Twitter…big deal. Grande only has to have breakfast and it will trend on twitter.

The single hit the top twenty. Grande’s fifth song to achieve that status. However, I wasn’t particularly conscious of hearing it and wasn’t impacted by the panic. Which is maybe a shame.

Eurydice is a reference to Greek myth about the nymph who drove Apollo’s sun chariot. Having watched the video there also seems to be the sense that the journey of Orpheus through the underworld to reclaim his wife Eurydice. Orpheus was a musician of such skill he was able to send the Gods into tears. He was told to seek his wife in the underworld where he used his music to tame beasts and ultimately convince Hades to allow him to take Eurydice. The only condition was he needed to lead the way and if he looked back she would be gone forever. He nearly did it, at the very end he was so happy to be free of the underworld he turned back, but Eurydice was not yet out. He never saw her again.

It was a classic found footage video. Ok, but no way as sophisticated as Max Landis’ Chronicle and I didn’t get the story. Where was she going? Running towards the blasts, through flaming rooms and the homes of strange bearded men, into smoke filled corridors? Clearly the arrival of the comet damages an individual’s sense of self-preservation.

The only question I have is who found the footage? If the world is destroyed by a comet there is no one left to watch Ariana Grande videos. Shame.

‘The Fisherman and his Soul’ Part One

‘The Fisherman and his Soul’ by Oscar Wilde

Before The Picture of Dorian Gray was published in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, Oscar Wilde submitted a short story called ‘The Fisherman and his Soul.’ Wilde would later include ‘The Fisherman and his Soul’ in his collection of stories, A House of Pomegranates.
The story provides an insightful introduction to The Picture of Dorian Gray. While the narrative of The Picture of Dorian Gray has a contemporary setting, ‘The Fisherman and his Soul’ is a fairy tale. However, on issues of love, the supernatural, morality and the separation of the soul from the individual, the two stories present a number of interesting overlaps.

Part one
Every evening the young Fisherman went out upon the sea, and threw his nets into the water.
When the wind blew from the land he caught nothing, or but little at best, for it was a bitter and black-winged wind, and rough waves rose up to meet it. But when the wind blew to the shore, the fish came in from the deep, and swam into the meshes of his nets, and he took them to the market-place and sold them.
Every evening he went out upon the sea, and one evening the net was so heavy that hardly could he draw it into the boat. And he laughed, and said to himself ‘Surely I have caught all the fish that swim, or snared some dull monster that will be a marvel to men, or some thing of horror that the great Queen will desire,’ and putting forth all his strength, he tugged at the coarse ropes till, like lines of blue enamel round a vase of bronze, the long veins rose up on his arms. He tugged at the thin ropes, and nearer and nearer came the circle of flat corks, and the net rose at last to the top of the water.
But no fish at all was in it, nor any monster or thing of horror, but only a little Mermaid lying fast asleep.

Continue reading “‘The Fisherman and his Soul’ Part One”

So where is the Captain America: Civil War Teaser Trailer?

Big news at D23. For those of you who don’t know, D23 is the Disney Fan Convention. Well, actually D23 refers to the Disney fan club which is named after 1923, the year good ol’ Walt arrived in Hollywood. The fan club is best known for its expo often referred to as just D23.

But you didn’t come here to find out about obscure abbreviations. Ok, so obscure might be an understatement.

While there were some interesting Star Wars reveals, the big news is a Captain America: Civil War teaser trailer. Out May 6th 2016, the third Captain American film sees an important role for Iron Man and some friction between our happy bunch of Avengers after that Ultron problem.

Apart from a couple of handcam versions of the trailers, anyone who wasn’t at D23 is not going to see the trailer until November, possibly December. We didn’t know this Saturday night when no doubt, thousands of people spent their evening on Google refreshing ‘Captain America: Civil War trailer’ searches. The idea is cool. I like the sense of excitement and anticipation, but I don’t know if having release dates for trailers is the way to go.

Back to the context of the trailer. Significant inclusions in the trailer will be the arrival of the villain Crossbones. You might remember him from Captain America: Winter Solider as the Hydra agent, Brock Rumlow. Oh, and yes, packed full of heroes. Apart from Cap, Iron Man, Falcon, Ant-Man, Vision and a sneaky Spiderman make an appearance.

You might not be able to watch the trailer, but you can watch the chat surrounding the trailer.

What I am also interested in is the Doctor Strange trailer. A little bit of a different character from the ones we have seen so far. There have been lots of Doctor Stranger fan made posters and trailers that I am curious what this film is going to look like.

But we are going to have to wait. Wait for the Captain America trailer and wait for the Doctor Strange trailer.

In the meantime, here are things you don’t have to wait for: a post on Supergirl, the new James Bond film Spectre, the Suicide Squad trailer, a great little Stan Lee video, a crazy plane crash, steampunk short stories, drabbles, some movie reviews and if you are getting a little classical try some great literature in the form of Dorian Gray.

True Detective Season 2: Successful depression with a few failures

SPOILERS: don’t read if you haven’t finished watching season two.

I seem to be among a limited number of people who enjoyed season 2 of True Detective. I say enjoyed but the show was all about immersing you in the compulsive nihilistic experience of fighting against a mind set and system to which you personally proscribe and continue to support. The character’s were appropriately messed up, fighting inner demons as terrible as the corruption that surrounded them. The tragedy of Paul Woodrugh’s death is it became an apparently convenient resolution to the difficult problems of his sexuality, child and mother.
The intersection of the four characters was important but gave an authentic sense of continued misunderstanding. We never really know each other and we find our own lives difficult to manage. When you add the oppressive faceless presence of corruption, I think we ended up with a gripping, if not hugely depressive experience.

The biggest success has to be the names. Ray Velcoro, Ani Bezzerides, Frank Semyon and Paul Woodrugh. Clearly created to send Google into fits of self-doubt as the difficult spellings typed by thousands every day. I’m not even sure I have them spelt correctly.

My biggest problem with the series was the cheap way that Frank and Ray were killed. I must first state that both men were doomed. In other situations Ray was instrumental in supporting other characters in time of need, but his journey into the mountains with Frank was assassination pure and simple. It was vendetta and revenge. Oh yes and greed.

So Ray. Killed because he made the mistake of forming a bond with his son and continued to struggle with his own feelings of inadequacy as a father. And then because he was trying to protect Ani. By itself I could just about accept his death were it not for the tracker from the Incredibly Obvious Surveillance Device store, circa 1988. To begin with I’m thinking bomb. He can’t see the people following so why not take the cash and run? Nonsense.

And Frank. Killed by Mexicans because they are Mexican. The Google translation of Mexican is apparently violent crazy mother…you get the picture. It was a cheap plot twist. I can see that the Mexicans didn’t like him, but they were plot devices not characters, which would be ok if the series has not just made us spend 8 episodes investing in this character. And there were other questions. Surely Frank would go out fighting rather than let himself get taken to the desert, and how in hell did they find him? Maybe they cut a scene: Mexician’s in truck driving through White Castle. One says ‘Hey ese, is that Frank?’ The other one replies, ‘Yeah, lets take him to the desert where we have that grave already dug.’ Frank deserved a death that was written better. Vince Vaughn did his best with desert hallucinations and it wasn’t great.

The season is done. Can we expected more? Maybe. The actors probably won’t be as famous, but all the hype that has been created and all the rubbish that his been written (a twitter storm of plot confusion is still a twitter storm) means we are likely to get a True Detective Season 3. And I look forward to it.

Spectre: Franz Oberhauser

Franz Oberhauser? Who? No, not the singer of the new Bond theme, but close.

Franz Oberhauser appears to be the main protagonist for the new Spectre film, but what do we actually know about the character? Very little apart from the fact he is played by Christoph Waltz and he is the villain of the film.

Waltz has claimed that he is not Ernest Stavro Blofeld, the infamous number 1 of SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). Despite Waltz’s track record of playing villains, I am tempted to believe his character is not Ernest Stavro Blofeld, in this film. Which is to suggest a couple of important ideas:

  • Number 1: that Blofeld does not appear in this film and the next film will continue in a similar way that Quantum of Solace continued to from Casino Royale. A hint of this is given with the appearance of the Quantum representative Mr White from the first two films.
  • Number 2: that Waltz’s character is not Blofeld yet. Do not forget that classic Donald Pleasence Blofeld had a nasty scar across his face. Could Oberhauser play a character who becomes Blofeld? In Fleming’s account of Blofeld, the character was initially employed by the Polish government and when war arrived, he destroyed all evidence of his existence. Are we being set up for a similar transformation that is going to move us into Daniel Craig’s fifth (and possibly final Bond film?).
    Unless we have a massive script leak in the next few months, we will need to wait until November to know for certain. However, there are a few important pieces of information we can gleam from the Spectre trailer.

Waltz’s character is not a good guy. Sitting at the head of the long table, in the dark surrounded by well-dressed individuals either suggests he is a bad guy or it is his birthday party and it’s time to sing. My money is on the bad guy option. Although I like the sound of a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday Franz Oberhauser.”

Bond PhotoThere is a childhood connection. The burnt photography with a teenage Bond and another boy with a missing face suggests that the identity of a bad guy is being hidden. What? Another reason he is a bad guy? Finally, Oberhauser’s comment:
“Welcome James, it’s been a long time and finally here we are.” Sounds a little ominous.

It’s still a long time until November, in the meantime we have a couple of clips to get us in the mood for some Bond.

Day of the Dead Opening Scene:

Car chase through streets of Rome