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A nice transgender story, v1.00
I have not come across many transgender stories in feature films. Transamerican and XXY are both fairly serious, reminiscent of the novels of such as Julie Anne Peters. Also, XXY as a subject that is close to transgender rather being solidly part of it. Mrs Doubtfire as definitely not a transgender story, though it is what many understand to be transgender??? Could be that Doubtfire is transgendered without being aware of it or being able to admit it? I find that there are a lot of insidious pressures towards gender change being hidden.
Willy Milly, my UK DVD gives Something Special as the title, is not serious. It is strongly in the tradition of male to female fantasy stories, except those typically have the male to female ending up as permanently female. Here the story was written by someone likely born as a male and ends with the female to male happily ending up back as female. The qualities of maleness, crude, cave man, for how Willy is taught fit the genre: It does not line up with how many of the males actually are. Memories of the transition scene in She's The Man (2006), and how most of the males actually are in that story. If Willy Milly had been written by a female to male it would be rather different.
I experience the story as really okay. Fun escapist nonsense. My DVD is by Pegasus Entertainment. The only flaw with my disk is image quality. IMDb lists the feature as having been made on 35mm, but the visual quality is poor, as if it originated on video. For me it is worth it because of the story.
Grease 2 (1982)
For value in this I have to look to Michelle Pfeiffer and no further. To me that is enough to be able to experience this story as very acceptable.
There are plenty of aspects of the story that are okay, glamorous even, but without my central focus being on Pfeiffer I would have to brush them off.
There are plenty of aspects of the story that I experience as weak, best avoided. I need to fast forward in such as the classroom song Reproduction. Except that some really like that song. Personal taste? In comparison, Blue Crush 2 and Mean Girls 2 are more difficult for me. They lack the simple hook that Pfeiffer gives for appreciating this story, though Mean Girls 2 looks to have had an unusually good script that does not survive the direction of the acting.
The Dam Busters (1955)
A story that ages well, v1.00
In the 1950's and 60's I really used to like war films, especially on the box.
In 2015 I tried looking back and mostly my taste has changed, I now prefer such as Clueless or Mama Mia or Rock Of Ages, but this is one of those that I can still really like.
I note that it is now out on Blu-ray. As I was looking at the genre I went for a DVD disk collection instead, The War Collection vol 1 and 2, and found these useful as I could rate high most stuff on the disks.
Used to be that I had a real love for Lancasters and Mosquitos. The Mosquito does not do so well in features, but the Lancaster does well by this and modern video replay technology allows more detail to be seen.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Fashion Rules, v1.00
A fun story. Except that for me the main actor is the fashion, all else is secondary.
I was thrown that the story is rooted in reality, someone screaming with horror at their experiences when working at Vogue USA. Questions of ethics. Except that the portrayal of the editor is solid. Backtrack. It is bad, just when watching it I am not thrown by it, the editor is a person of stature. Unless one thinks things through. There are all sorts of things that I would really like to scream in horror about and I do attempt to scream occasionally and my IMDb review of Alexa Vega's Innocent (2009) was such an attempt, it got deleted by IMDb, however. There are standards.
The classic feature for ethics problems as Fast Times At Ridgement High as an example and Cameron Crowe's fictionalised biography Almost Famous as background notes.
I find the view of dieting as scary and I do not know how real that depiction was. I have been on a calorie controlled diet for a while due to age or something knocking out my previous tendency to skinniness. The dieting in this story talks of an imbalanced diet based on a false identification of what is healthy. I would have expected Vogue articles to be fairly clued up re healthy diet, though I used to skip over the food ones.
Die wilden Kerle 2 (2005)
Wild love, v1.01
Early 2016 I purchased four very low cost DVDs as a speculative purchase. Would they be fun second childhood food or not? One was Mean Girls 2, which I was not expecting much of. However the price was low and I do remember a review that suggested that it was a lot better if one did not expect it to be a true sequel. This is made to very different production values and is much meaner than the original, but that could be the direction rather than the script.
The others were Die Wilden Kerle 1 to 3. The DVD boxes were fully in German, but the distributor was Buena Vista so I assume that there was likely to be an English language alternate soundtrack, or at least subs. The first feature turned out to be German only, but the other two had English subtitles.
If I had read the IMDb reviews before purchase I would have avoided these. As is I found both 2 and 3 to be fairly typical of average quality features for kids. Technically weak but interesting none the less. I accept that such stories often get poor IMDb reviews. Personally, I found these imaginative Wilden stories to be a breath of fresh air.
The second feature involves a feud between a mostly boys sports team and its banker. The story flow is based on a pseudo vampire luring the team's best player away by careful use of romance, something that the team itself does not have a clue about. A quality story.
The third feature centres on a feud between the team and someone who left them in the early years, friendship destroyed, a different sort of love being central. All good stuff even though the acting feels weak. A nice extra for me is that this is a transgender story.
I was impelled to get the disk of DWK5 and that is up to the same standard. In this the love theme is the bad guy having a type of love that sucks the victim into eternal chains, eternal death. It also does not get good reviews, but some should be able to get a lot of fun out of these stories, despite that.
In comparison, Mean Girls 2 felt weak. It also reminded me of Disney stuff such as Camp Rock 1 and 2, but weaker. I can still find entertainment in Mean Girls 2, though.
An adaptation that is very okay, v1.00.
The biggest problem that this film series faces is that it is based on some very long and delicious novels. The Hunger Games series shows that the features can still be okay, but that is not the same as 'delicious'.
So I experience Divergent to be very okay. It is an adaptation rather than a straight copy and the two commentaries with my disk do help me see why the adaptations were made. A lot of the film can feel natural, even though such as The Pit is rather different to the book.
The film makers / director are / is, not surprisingly, very visually orientated rather than technically orientated and to me this is the root of the main problems that I experience in Divergent the film. To fully experience most features films one has to suspend disbelief, which can take a bit of work. Mostly with Divergent I find it easy to suspend disbelief, but I had not read the novels for about a year prior to my first viewing.
With the feature Super 8, the train crash is deliberately visually orientated to an unreal extent and its commentary says why. Divergent: My biggest problem, first viewing, was the zip line ride from the Hancock building. Visuals gone wild at the expense of reality. Try such a ride in even a less windy city would be asking to get smeared on the buildings that are passed. Building such a ride would not be so easy for such a society, either. Yet the novels feel very real in their depictions of the ride. The Abnegation underwear of Tris, a more humorous piece of unreality.
There are plenty of other parts of the story where the visuals are too hotted up for my taste, becoming unreal, but to point to them can easily get in the way of appreciation of the film.
I get the descriptor 'delicious' from that magnificent second childhood story Ramona And Beezus.
Les Misérables (2012)
Christmas Eve, 2014, v1.00
I purchased my blu-ray because of Mama Mia, no other reason. If it was anything like I would be wanting to watch it on Christmas Eve and on every other day for the next few days. It would have been the highlight of the holiday season.
I found Mama Mia via the serendipity method, an ultra low cost second hand DVD. I was soon needing to purchase a blu-ray, again low cost second hand, and went straight to the blu version of this, again low cost second hand, despite blu being less easy to play.
So I watched it the once, but as is I am holding back from re-watching it for a few days. To me it is more akin to Evita than Mama Mia. Evita, first viewing I switched off before 15 minutes were up. I eventually went back for a second viewing and by now I rate it as a quality feature film version of an opera, one that can grab me all the way through. For me, it does not have the immediacy and fun appeal of the musical Mama Mia. It is just a different beasty.
For Christmas I re-watched my recently acquired blu of Selena Gomez's Getaway. High octane fun, if for occasional viewing only. Nothing like Les Miserables. Also, a second childhood level Barbie DVD, 12 Dancing Princesses. I had purchased this months before but held back from re-watching it for a special occasion. As if I really needed Christmas 2014 to be fun. I also re-watched my blu version of Jurassic Park, one of those that is even more amazing than the original DVD.
For reading, a Rachel Caine from the Weather Warden series. Indulgence.
It is Evita and the user reviews of LM that make me have faith in LM. This is nothing like Mama Mia.
Eye opener, v1.00
I found this to be the most approachable of the five features. I found reading the novel after watching the feature to add to the experience. I found the Youtube audio books by BreakingDawnReader1, etc, to add to that.
The dress code of the wolves, at first I found that to be a big let down as it is not explained in the features or the commentary. I am now wondering if it is part of the novels that I have forgotten about. The novel series Animorphs by Katherine Applegate does give a believable explanation in its early episodes and I now import that into my experience of this feature and I can shrug off what used to be a big negative point, to me.
I used to experience the romance of the first three features as fake, unreal. After gradually acclimatising to this feature I can now accept the romance in all of the features. I have now watched it through, the full set of features, a few times and found them all to be okay. I needed this feature in order to be able to do that.
I found the later features of Kristen to be a problem to me due to her acting style. Riley's and Snow White. This feature has enabled me to overcome that. I can now like them more. I will now be wanting to get more of Kristen's later features.
Me rating this feature as 10 out of ten. That is more as a tribute to how it has affected my experience of the series and of Kristen's work.
An average series, v1.01
My first impression was that there were things lacking in this. Recently I have seen Star Wars for the first ever time and I got the same impression and shrugged that off by considering it as a story written by a very effective geek that not surprisingly turned out as geared to 8 year old boys.
So, many still respect Star Wars, I only saw it because of the comments about it in the Scream series and then found ordinary priced second hand copies of a few. Some seem to like Pramface as well, though I do not think that it is intended to appeal to boys of such a young age?
I find Pramface to have several positive aspects in the story details so I will not try to hide from season 2, if it appears on disk. Pramface has some very effective actors, but for me it lacks the support needed for their effectiveness to shine.
Other series that I have seen recently includes Jonas season 1, season 2 not being available yet. I was attracted to this because of Camp Rock. A positive aspect that this shares with Pramface is no canned laughter. For me a big plus. Other than that, a problem as the first ten episodes I really preferred to avoid. But by 1-11, midway into disk Season 1, Volume 2, things picked up and it varied between average and a bit above average. It includes a character with the Disney look best shown by Ashley Tisdale in HSM and Zach And Cody, just for me the look was starting to feel overdone. It did make me wish that season sets of Zach And Cody were available instead of just the two sampler disks. Tisdale has a real magnificence in these.
Shake It Up. I had great hopes for this, just it turned out to be just an average series with canned laughter added. Aarghhh. My DVD is a compilation of seven episodes from seasons 1 and 2 so it is unlikely to appear as full season sets. I was actually a bit disappointed by the lack of sets as season 2 improves.
W.I.T.C.H. animated series. The first few books of the series are available locally at affordable second hand prices, just the DVDs only seem to include a few episodes so I guess it might work out rather expensive to get full season sets, if that is possible. I do like the novels, though, neat second childhood food. The TV version seems really okay too, once I had gotten over my initially hostile reaction.
Sofia's World. A TV series from one of the smaller TV channels, and one that is definitely a step above average. A UK sixth former doing work experience at a teen magazine. My DVD set has a dozen episodes, comprising all of seasons one and two.
Fame. I came across a few of the later episodes of the 1980's TV series when it was broadcast in the UK. The season 1 DVD set tells me that it is way better than I remember it, a lot better than the average TV series, quality, though many appear to disagree on that.
Hi-5. A series from Australia, with some seasons geared to the USA market. This is geared to kids around age 5, though some males in their twenties appear to have a love of it. Is that the age twenty something actors being what some would consider to be attractive or is it recognition of useful second childhood food? First viewing of volumes 5 and 6 I found Hi-5 to be alien, but tolerable on a later viewing.
Six Feet Under, season 4. This has four episodes with the Trachtenberg as a scary popular music singer, guarded by the lover of the gay. I find this series as way above average if not viewed too often.
Gossip Girl season six. As with other seasons I experience this as way above average. This final season is also more approachable than the others. The series finale is excellent.
Surprise. Star Wars, Clone Wars, animated series season 1 volume 1. Instead of being Star Wars disease I found it to be even better than any of these, even better than Gossip Girl, series finale excepted.
Inspiration to , v1.00
Some reviews here consider Tumbleweeds to be too derivative but I experience it as being worthwhile.
I was impressed. I had not written any IMDb comments for several months and this made me start writing. I also started a review of the TV series Pramface that I had high hopes for but which turned out to be only average. In 2013 it was the two Snow White movies and Machete that I found to be inspirational.
Tumbleweeds does not give a polite interpretation of some aspects of USA male society. Some might experience it as threatening. This talks of a time when many mature males are likely to have been reared by the 'Cave Man' methods of 'Dr Spock'. The men who the mum of this story had relationships with, something is tragically predictable there.
The mum in this ends up feeling that she has no option but to swear off romantic relationships with men. My interpretation, the story does not say that, one uses one's imagination.
The past year, the UK pogroms included actions against some people with disaster level sexual skills and some key UK figures pointed to were very respected BBC radio popular music DJs. The disaster that the mum faces in this has counterparts in the UK, though the disaster does not seem identical.
In the UK I call what is happening a Pogrom because it points to behaviour that is often obviously junk and encourages the population to feel secure in drawing fairly puritan conclusions about these bad guys. For me the 1990's was showing me how tied up people can get, with a lot of pressure to get tied up to sexist or puritan ways. I would have expected the modern world to be moving towards healthier ways to clean up the disease. Instead, the UK seems to be as bad as the Middle East, diseased; rooted in puritan disease and fighting the good fight against those with different disease.
This story is from the point of view of the mum and daughter. As a tangled male to female under pressure to get tangled even more I do not find this story to be threatening. The issues are very real 'modern world', to me. I am finding it a fun way to consider related aspects of the wider world.
I feel a need to compare this story with Machete (2010). A fun story about immigrants, mostly illegal, which I prefer to interpret as a parable about the apparent impossibility of moving to the symbolic New World, for me the promised land of transgender working out okay, not getting excluded from key aspects of reality.
Machete ends with a big shoot up and if that happened in the real world the immigrants would just get messed up badly. As is, it makes for a fun story.
The land of ice and penguins. Features such as Independence Day (1996) by Roland Emmerich remind me of parables where symbolic beliefs are portrayed as solid reality. At the end of 2013, Yahoo showed some 1990's pictures of the new sea level if all of the permanent snow and ice melted. A rise of sea level of around 300 metres, lots of coastal land submerged. For that to be physically true it would call for the permanent ice to have an average depth of several kilometres, which I consider to be inaccurate in a really huge way. I just do not believe it.
I assume that is a symbolic belief. Likely talking about iced up individuals, fears of what would happen if the chained were liberated. Tumbleweeds includes several different types of ice-scream-victim in need of liberation and the world has always been under pressure to notice big reasons to fear their liberation.
Praise the effective, penalise the crippled. Vomit, but the previously crippled mum is moving to a position where she can start to appear as effective.