Eralk Fang
27 July 2014 @ 10:29 pm
Film

Magic Mike

A little emotionally deeper than anticipated. Tatum remains a national treasure.

Project Progress:

Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek Televisual Canon: 32.5% (13/40)

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Eralk Fang
20 July 2014 @ 03:56 pm

Music

REO Speedwagon, The Earth, A Small Man, His Dog And A Chicken

“Love is a Rock” brings us to the sweet spot that is REO Speedwagon—catchy, earnest, and a little sappy. “All Heaven Broke Loose” is along the same lines, but with more synthesizers.

REO Speedwagon, Hi Infidelity

Swerving briefly into slightly darker territory (like, 2 degrees darker) with “Don’t Let Him Go” before surfacing for the intensely sweet “Keep On Loving You” and the catchy-to-the-point-of-possession “Take It On the Run.”

REO Speedwagon, Good Trouble

This happened.

REO Speedwagon, Lost in a Dream

This also definitely happened, but did not earn any notice from me.

Television

Sailor Moon, “Usagi’s Joy: A Love Letter from Tuxedo Mask”

Okay, the age differences are getting to me, but I remain very charmed by how Sailor Moon focuses so specifically on the trials and tribulations of young teenage girls. I mean, Nephrite sending every girl in Tokyo a love letter from Tuxedo Mask in order to try and flush out Usagi? (Instead of, I dunno, kidnapping him, would be the obvious one?) Adorable. Plus, Naru being head over heels for Nephrite’s civilian persona is cute on her end, even though, again, HE IS HOW MUCH OLDER THAN SHE IS?

We also finally see Mamoru transform into Tuxedo Mask. I think it’s been pretty obvious so far, but I already know who Tuxedo Mask is.

Sailor Moon, “The Summer, the Beach, Youth and Ghosts”

An episode that doesn’t feature the Dark Kingdom! Just the girls on vacation and using their powers—namely, the power of friendship!—to help a tiny psychic get some agency in her life. While Sakiko is, like, seven, tops, she just wants to be a normal little girl with friends who is also a powerful psychic. The villain that must be defeated is her father’s hubris and inability to see her as a person. And all that’s fixed, complete with Usagi freaking out over having to stay in a house that is obviously haunted.

I also like how casually spiritual their world is. It’s a great note with Rei, who first approaches the problem as a priestess, not a Sailor Scout. (Sailor Senshi? That first American dub is going to screw me up forever.)

Project Progress:

Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek Televisual Canon: 32.5% (13/40)

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Eralk Fang
13 July 2014 @ 10:31 pm
 Music

Vaudeville Smash, Dancing for the Girl

After enjoying “Zinedine Zidane,” I sought their first album. Love the influences, although it can be a little forgettable at times. “Don’t Say a Word” rises above the rest to be a moody but fluffy break-up song, while “Devil Said” strains for Scissor Sisters. But “Sailor Moon” is the band’s first crack at filk, and it’s marvelous.

Television

Sailor Moon, “Usagi’s Panic: Rei’s First Date”

HE IS IN COLLEGE AND YOU ARE FOURTEEN. CALM DOWN.

Sailor Moon, “A Girl’s Dream: Usagi Becomes a Bride”

There’s a thin line between Sailor Moon focusing on the issues closest to the hearts of preteen girls and accidentally reinforcing stereotypes already tired by the early nineties—specifically, that all girls dream of a wedding, they don’t even care what the groom is like! But Usagi remains her usual, delightful self, declaring that she has such high standards that she has to marry a hot guy and then daydreams about marrying the only two hot guys supposedly on the market (THEY ARE IN COLLEGE CALM DOWN USAGI) at the same time. Dream big, you crazy diamond.

Sailor Moon, “Usagi’s a Model: The Flash of the Monster Camera”

And we have more Usagi shenanigans here, in the first of an odd but refreshing pair of episodes that look at traditional masculinity and sets it down, gently, on the far end of the table without making much eye contact. Here, a preteen boy’s art is compromised by his sudden, sexualized desire to take pictures of any young woman in a swim suit—a desire forced on him by demonic forces, as represented by the butch for the standards of a shoujo anime Nephrite. (His hands are massive.) And then Zoisite, the femmest gentleman we’ve met so far, specifically shows up to mock Nephrite.

Plus, Usagi shows some smarts in the battle against the youma, turning her camera against her.

Sailor Moon, “Shingo’s Love: the Grieving Doll”

And then we have traditional masculinity poisoning the friendship between a little boy and a little girl, because Shingo is so embarrassed at the teasing of his friends that he ends up breaking the doll Mika made for him. But we’ve got Usagi to save the day, by stepping in as a big sister at the behest of Mika’s friends. I love seeing these little moments with Usagi, because the show craps on her a lot—that, on top of being her delightfully lazy self, she’s also kind and sensitive to justice. Plus, we learn that Shingo thinks Sailor Moon is super-cool, which is really sweet. We so rarely see little boys looking up to female superheroes.

(Although that joke about Shingo maybe having a crush on Sailor Moon IS AWFUL.)

Project Progress:

Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek Televisual Canon: 32.5% (13/40)

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Eralk Fang
06 July 2014 @ 07:10 pm

Fanfiction

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, “untitled” by potofsoup

I wish this had a title so badly. Heartwrenching ficlet about all the habits Bucky picked up to compensate for Steve’s various disabilities, what happened to them during the war, and what the Winter Soldier did with them. I am an ocean of tears, good night.

Top Gun, Maverick/Iceman, “Attitude Adjustment” by thefourthvine

Did you know that I used to read fic without having seen the source material? (My apologies, Gundam Wing.) This was just one such fic. But this has a spot on my fic rec list of what to read after you’ve fallen in love with an obscure ship. Maverick/Iceman doesn’t seem obscure, true, but remember that it is largely shipped by people giggling at how gay Top Gun is, not the usual slashers. Anyway, a scorchingly NFSW fic that gets the characters perfectly. 

Film

Top Gun (1987)

If you could overlay “Danger Zone” over that volleyball game, you would have the height of the eighties. It’s not a good movie (characterization? what’s characterization?), but it’s a fun one.

Television

Sailor Moon, “Usagi vs. Rei: Nightmare in Dream Land”

I’m not sure how to feel about Usagi and Rei’s rivalry over Tuxedo Mask. First, I’m told that wasn’t in the original manga (Rei, need a boy? PSSSSSSSH), but it’s clearly here to generate filler: Rei rags on Usagi for being a flirt, but also experiences the same kind of emotions. But it doesn’t bring them together—it tears them apart, with Ami playing mediator. It’s… hard to look at. But those nineties fashions sure aren’t.

Sailor Moon, “I Want a Boyfriend: The Luxury Cruise Ship Is a Trap”

And just as Rei and Usagi continue to bicker without getting to know one another, we get a positive female relationship with Queen Beryl and Thetis, the Monster of the Week. Thetis, head over heels over Jadeite, offers to help, and ends up getting killed for her troubles, which angers Queen Beryl to the point that Jadeite is finally on the chopping block for being awful.

Sailor Moon, “Girl Power! The End of Jadeite”

Ladies, you run sideways from a plane, c’mon. Notable for the girls using their attacks together for the first time, which ends with Jadeite getting offed (by nineties anime standards) at the end of the episode. Later, hater.

Sailor Moon, “A New Enemy Appears: Nephrite’s Evil Crest”

The new general, Nephrite, has a much easier plan: use the stars to identify one human to drain energy from, after agitating them to peak energy. This also means that we get more characterization, since we’re not dealing with large amounts of people. Sure, Usagi gets the usual crap thrown at her, but it’s softened when Naru comes to her for help and Usagi offers it freely. (True, that comes with Usagi realizing that this might be just the right way to show up Rei and Luna for crapping on her 24/7, but she’s fourteen, people.) I like Usagi because she’s so unapologetically a teenage girl, but this was the first time I got a glimmer of why Sailor Moon is a real hero. D’aww.

Project Progress:

Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek Televisual Canon: 32.5% (13/40)

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Eralk Fang
29 June 2014 @ 08:58 am

Fanvids

Marvel Comics, Steve/Bucky, “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now,” by trelkez

It’s rare to see good fanvids made from comics, but Ken Burns, eat your heart out. Hilarious and heartwrenching.

Film

22 Jump Street (2014)

As I suspected, superior to the first! The fourth wall takes incredible amounts of abuse as tons of money is thrown into the Jump Street program in order for Schmidt and Jenko to do the same thing as last time, but the two idiots finally figure out that it isn’t like last time. I heartily appreciate the meta, but Lord and Miller do more visual comedy here, whereas 21 Jump Street’s pacing seemed to indicate that a lot of it was from the “film them improving!” school of comedy. (Hilariously, Jenko despises improv in this film.) Upon moving into their shared dorm, the boys inventory all the cool stuff they’ve gotten. Since Schmidt and Jenko go through a rough patch in their relationship, split screen is utilized brilliantly, especially with a contrasting drug trip (insecure Schmidt has a nightmare; oblivious Jenko floats around in sweats on a tiny Lamborghini) and Schmidt and Jenko simultaneously realizing that a life without each other kinda blows. (Fun fact: Schmidt isn’t celebrating his thirtieth birthday alone in a restaurant; he’s celebrating Jenko’s. A THOUSAND TEARS!)

And it’s a smidge… well, I want to say more diverse, because there’s more ladies involved, but it also contains a scene whose humor is derived from the fact that a once be-penised gentleman now has a vagina and is forcing Dave Franco into a sexual relationship. C’mon, y’all. You’re better than that. Literally: Jenko takes a course about human sexuality and actively stops using gay slurs and shames others for using them. (There’s also a blink and you’ll miss it moment when Jenko wonders if he and Schmidt have ever had sex while drunk; it’s buried in a joke about him misunderstanding the word “embed”, but he seems merely curious and not disgusted.)

Music

Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass

It’s a great song about body positivity—that also hates on “skinny bitches” and says it’s okay to be big because boys like it. I have a complicated relationship with that message, but it’s just so damn catchy and poppy and sweet. “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top!” is just so cute, and the video is adorable. I am torn.

MS MR, Secondhand Rapture

I think of MS MR as the dark twin to “Hideaway”—faraway, posturing, and decidedly retro (although surely it would be early nineties?). Although it’s also of a piece with more recent stuff that I’ve been liking, like Midnight City and Lana Del Rey. “Think of You” is the pinnacle, but “No Trace” is lovely and self-determined, “BTSK” is a delicate love story, and “Ash Tree Lane” is the roundest the sound gets.

Vaudeville Smash, “Zinedine Zidane

Hilariously catchy. I have a new band to investigate.

Project Progress:

Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek Televisual Canon: 32.5% (13/40)

This entry was originally posted at http://eralkfang.dreamwidth.org/242295.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
 
 
Eralk Fang
22 June 2014 @ 11:04 am

Fic

21 Jump Street, Jenko/Schmidt, “Destiny,” by Resonant

Well, duh, I was going to go looking for fic. Now, the problem with a lot of fic for comedies is that the fandom is, in my experience, more interested in cuties boffing than the comedy and characterization. It’s just a matter of what writers certain fandoms attract: the smaller the fandom, the lower the probability that you’ll get a constant stream of amazing things, as, I believe, the Sherlock fandom is enjoying. SO! I am glad these two fics exist, because they are very funny, true to the characters, and scorchingly hot. “Destiny” locks our protagonists in a cupboard and is the funnier of the two.

21 Jump Street, Jenko/Schmidt, “We Never Thought We’d Find a Place Where We Belong,” by withthepilot

Although that’s only by a very slim margin, because this one has a perfect balance of fluff, smut, and comedy. (This is all I ever want in life.) From Jenko trying to steal a defaced photo of Schmidt from his mom’s house to Schmidt approaching his attraction to Jenko with grim resolution and the voices are pitch perfect. J’adore.

Film

The Sandlot (1993)

I haven’t seen this in years! It is such an early nineties live action Disney picture, from the clinical opening shot to the MS Paint logo, but there are some fantastic moments. I am wildly uncomfortable that Squints gets away with tricking an adult woman into kissing him to the point that the film thinks of it so warmly that they get married and have tons of sex.

21 Jump Street (2012)

Apparently 22 Jump Street is so hilariously meta that I have to see it, so 21 Jump Street became required viewing. And it’s a lot cleverer than anticipated! The fact that Jenko and Schmidt become fast friends simply because they want to, despite their high school “rivalry,” is incredibly sweet, and makes for a much more interesting friendship than the usual targets for bromantic antics. (I’m weary of the word bromance.) And they’re also just fun characters to spend time with. Two Dipshits Do Something is a fantastic microgenre in comedy (though I don’t care for Dumb and Dumber), and, in that sense, this reminds me of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, with one character being marginally more cunning than the other but still operating in total madness. (Thus ends the only comparison to Jane Russell Jonah Hill will ever enjoy.) The jokes are pretty fast and furious, so what doesn’t work is quickly forgotten, and the pacing is fantastic. Plus: I did not realize Channing Tatum is a comedic genius. Jenko is just so beautifully, perfectly stupid, adhering to his own bizarre but affable logic. (Hell, he wins arguments with Schmidt a couple times.)

So, I quite liked it! And I always like comedies about morons that actually respect and like their characters.

Music

The Ark, Prayer for the Weekend

When “Man, remember when I was super into the Ark last year?” turned into “Oh snap, Prayer for the Weekend is on Spotify!” “All I Want Is You” is good, clean, representational fun (the narrator has had boyfriends and girlfriends before becoming consumed by their love for the unspecified subject), while “Prayer for the Weekend” is elegant and dancey. “New Pollution” is dancey angst.

REO Speedwagon, REO Speedwagon

Oh, snap, I listened to these this week! I’m more interested in their later material, so neither stuck.

REO Speedwagon, T.W.O.

See above.

Project Progress:

Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek Televisual Canon: 32.5% (13/40)

This entry was originally posted at http://eralkfang.dreamwidth.org/241945.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
 
 
Eralk Fang
15 June 2014 @ 07:40 pm

Fanvids

X-Men: First Class, Charles/Erik, “Heart’s a mess,” The god with a Laurel Crown

I’m not a huge fan of the coloring—it skews more filter than adding anything narratively or critically—but the attention to microexpressions, precise editing, and flawless song choices (“Let me occupy your mind as you do mine”) is magnificent. And the use of the deleted scene in the hallway to highlight their physical proximity (and lack)… this is so beautiful and tear-inducing.

Films

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Due to all the hype from those I respect—specifically, Empire—I was expecting a little bit more. But I think Pacific Rim, which even only approaches the diverse vistas being imagined in prose in sf these days, has spoiled me in every way, from characterization to plot to tension to escalation. (I still haven’t seen it since my first viewing, mostly because nothing can top crouching in my seat quietly muttering “oh shit oh shit OH SHIT!”.) BUT Edge of Tomorrow is still a pretty smart piece of work, from playing against Cruise’s type to playing with the timeline. I don’t know if I’m totally in love with Bill and Rita as a couple, although I adore Rita as a character. Again, spoiled by Pacific Rim: if they’d headbutted instead of kissed, and the last shot was Bill just happy to see her again, to have a shot at a relationship beyond “EVERYTHING IS ON GODDAMN FIRE.”

Also: then those two guys could have headbutted too. IT’S THE FUTURE, HOLLYWOOD.

Television

Jem and the Holograms, “Battle of the Bands”

This is my comfort viewing these days, even though it’s new to me.

Jem and the Holograms, “Starbright, Part 1: Falling Star”

Jem and the Holograms, “Starbright, Part 2: Colliding Stars"

Jem and the Holograms, “Starbright, Part 3: Rising Star"

This is a three-part story, about the Misfits screwing over Jem and the Holograms’ movie (turns out Pizzazz is secretly loaded!) and one of the foster girls going blind. Boasts a handful of moments of the girls telling off people for judging other people and telling them what to do. Specifically, Jem continues to play Rio like a fiddle. Their love life is complicated.

Sailor Moon, “Usagi Learns a Lesson! The Road to Stardom is Tough”

…this happened. Yes. It happened.

Sailor Moon, “Is the Genius Girl a Monster? Brainwashing School of Terror”

And finally, we get another Sailor Scout. Sailor Moon, in my memory, is all about the many, many characters, because it’s about friendship.

Sailor Moon, “Usagi's Misfortune! Watch Out for the Rushing Clocks”

Tuxedo Mask crosses dimensions to show up to inspire Usagi and then leave. Whatta babe.

Sailor Moon, “Cursed Buses! Fire Senshi Mars Appears”

Rei, you glorious badass. I remember being impressed by Rei fighting in heels as a kid, but now I’m really fond of her status as a shrine maiden. I don’t watch enough anime for it to be an overused trope for me, and it does give Rei the interesting ability to fight demons while not a Sailor Senshi. I love characters who choose to go out and fight evil, which doesn’t—or at least, hasn’t—happened so far. Usagi actively rebels against it and Ami seems to approach it like she does school—something to excel at.

Project Progress:

Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)
Star Trek Televisual Canon: 32.5% (13/40)

This entry was originally posted at http://eralkfang.dreamwidth.org/241892.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
 
 
Eralk Fang
08 June 2014 @ 10:56 am

Music

2NE1, To Anyone

I fell down a K-pop hole this week. My usual inclination towards singles serves me well here, but I do like 2NE1 as a whole and their attitude. “I’m Busy” is the only song off this album that I really dug, though.

2NE1, 2NE1 Mini Music Album

Mostly because “I Am the Best” is my favorite 2NE1 song, from the breakdown to the delirious music video. And while I don’t like to listen it because the message feels weird, “Ugly” is so damn catchy.

Project Progress:

Saturday Night Live: 15.3% (5/39)

Star Trek Televisual Canon: 32.5% (13/40)

This entry was originally posted at http://eralkfang.dreamwidth.org/241595.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
 
 
Eralk Fang
25 May 2014 @ 04:39 pm

Film

Belle (2014)

Gorgeously acted and one of the only period dramas I’ve seen that actively engages with race, albeit in a pretty soft way. Still, sharper barbs get through: Belle identifying with her mother, her cousin’s suitor attacking her in a way that clearly communicates his repulsion of his sexual interest in her, and the easy, natural presence of other people of color in London at the time. (There’s a scene where a free maid takes Belle aside to show her how to care for her hair; her hair styling improves over the rest of the film.)

Music

Makthaverskan, Makthaverskan

I quite like “Asleep,” off their second album, but their first album left me cold.

Television

Sailor Moon, “The Cry-Baby: Usagi’s Beautiful Transformation”

I love Sailor Moon, but being raised by wolves meant that I only ever caught a handful of episodes when living on the West Coast as a small child. So having the subbed show turn up on Hulu before the new adaptation starts this summer is an absolute joy. It’s fun to see how nineties it is and I’m kind of surprised and delighted by how unrepentantly girly the show is: the lazy Usagi cares about food, boys, clothes, and jewelry, not necessarily in that order. The show does take some cracks at her, but, for the most part, she’s allowed to be a whole human being who can be shallow and childish while also embracing the role of Sailor Moon. (I mean, she’s also fourteen. She’s going to be a bit of a baby.)

Sailor Moon, “Punishment Awaits: the House of Fortune Is the Monster Mansion”

Plus, the show’s plots focus on the agents of Queen Beryl—well, Jadeite (nice to see you, sir!) specifically—exploit young women and how Usagi punishes them for it. I’m not thrilled by Umino as a character, although he and Naru end up an item? Maybe? I’m remembering the first dub weirdly.

Sailor Moon, “The Mysterious Sleeping Sickness: Protect the Girls in Love”

And this episode makes that point a lot more clearly, since Usagi specifically calls out Jadeite for exploiting young women who want to express their romantic feelings. Honestly, it’s just so refreshing to watch a series (even a twenty-year-old one!) that anchors itself so specifically in the mindset of a fourteen year old girl. I suppose this is what Buffy was after—by literalizing the idea that high school is hell—but this one works for me.

Project Progress:

Saturday Night Live: 13.1% (5/38)

Star Trek Televisual Canon: 32.5% (13/40)

This entry was originally posted at http://eralkfang.dreamwidth.org/241005.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
 
 
Eralk Fang
18 May 2014 @ 10:25 am

Television

Jem and the Holograms, “The Beginning”

A trip down nostalgia lane (via I Love the 80s and attempts to see if the British version has survived) led me here, because She-Ra isn’t available on Netflix. I’ve never seen this show, and so did not realize that it is wall to wall madness. Like, the Misfits? Ride bikes shaped like guitars and can maneuver them in and out of buildings. Also? They hate everything. Except Stormer, who has a heart. Aww. Also: did not know that they raised orphans along with playing in a rock band controlled by a robot in fitness gear. You learn something new everyday.

Jem and the Holograms, “Disaster”

Okay, I’m stupidly fond of Jerrica playing Rio like a violin with Jem; she’s worried that he’s going to be confused and upset about it, while still making out with him as Jem. Like, not accidentally, like actively. Rio is dumb, guys. But I think that’s why she likes him.

Jem and the Holograms, “Kimber’s Rebellion”

What.

Jem and the Holograms, “Frame Up”

Roxxy and Pizzazz will totally lock a child in a chest and force Stormer, the nice one, to leave her there, but Stormer has a heart of gold! You go, Stormer! Someday you’ll break out of that band.

Saturday Night Live, “Charlize Theron/The Black Keys”

A pretty standard episode (down to Colin Jost being beige, poor dear) thrown a little by Bayer (who I adore) attempting and failing to touch what is undoubtedly Amy Poehler’s sacred ground. But Theron is game, making even Heshy a delightful throwback to the loud, silly physical comedy of early Will Ferrell. The “Breaking Nudes” joke in Weekend Update is also a nice throwback, although Jost doesn’t sell it well. “Bikini Beach Party” revels in its simple, blissfully stupid presence—that whale corpse is gonna blow—along with giving Aidy Bryant time to indulge in “Tourists” is very sweet comedy, but the standout is “Pet Rescue Commercial,” complete with sociopathic cats and Kate’s perfect old woman get-up.

Project Progress:

Saturday Night Live: 13.1% (5/38)
Star Trek Televisual Canon: 32.5% (13/40)

This entry was originally posted at http://eralkfang.dreamwidth.org/240740.html. Please comment there using OpenID.