tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (hobbits in woods)
So apparently it was Orlando Bloom's last day of Hobbit filming, and this happened.  I laughed until I ran out of oxygen, and then I laughed more.  (I stopped laughing before passing out, but it was a close thing.)



Meanwhile, I saw Much Ado About Nothing.  It was glorious.  I adore the People Joss Knows Acting Troupe so much.  Also, I want Joss's house.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (top hat eccleston)
Hello, y'all!  In an effort to be the change I wish to see in the world, I am going to try to make my LJ a livelier place by posting more often.  My flist has been sadly quiet lately.  I don't really like tumblr as a platform, but I find myself spending tons of time there because it is so lively, plus it's easy to look and reblog even when I feel too tired/uninteresting/incoherent to write a post here.  Nevertheless, I am going to try to get my rear in gear and actually post, even if it's only about the latest movie I've watched.

I saw Now You See Me in the movie theater today.  I was excited about it based on the trailers, but the not so hot rating on Rotten Tomatoes kept my expectations on the low side.  I ended up really enjoying it.  I would recommend it if you like the following:

  • magicians!

  • heists

  • twisty plots with surprises, including some of the sort that I didn't see coming but which made so much sense after the reveal

  • Mark Ruffalo

  • other attractive cast members

  • Morgan Freeman

  • Michael Caine

  • moral grey areas that allow us to root for both the magicians pulling off criminal schemes and the cops investigating them

  • a sense of wonder

  • a Robin Hood sensibility that fits well with our post-economic crash times

On the minus side, the characterization was a little thin for many of the characters, and I actively wanted the two lead cops' relationship to remain platonic despite the film apparently feeling the need to shoehorn in some romance.  That's a fairly minor gripe, though.  In certain respects, it is reminiscent of The PrestigeNow You See Me is not as good as that, but then, The Prestige has David Bowie playing Nicola Tesla, and I don't think it's possible for anything to live up to that.  I don't want to risk spoilers by saying to much, but if anyone else has seen this movie and wants to talk about it, I'd love to.

Speaking of things one doesn't want spoiled, I have been having far too much fun with schadenfreude while reading people's social media reactions to this week's episode of Game of Thrones.  All these sweet summer children who apparently expected characters to survive!  However, I really need to make reading books 4 & 5 a priority, because I just got accidentally spoiled about a future character death, and I'd like to keep that from happening anymore.

Also on the topic of things that can rip out hearts, I continue to adore bendingsignpost's Sherlock/John fic Bel Canto, which is a fusion with The Phantom of the Opera.  The fusion of the canons works way better and less crackily than I might have expected.  This fic is also stuffed with complex interpersonal conflict between characters who each have validity to their viewpoint, danger, insight into both the major and minor characters, powerful prose, occasional bits of humor and sweetness, and heartache.  Far too much heartache.  It's a WIP, but there are only two chapters remaining and they update weekly.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (allosaurus bitches)
I went to see Jurassic Park in 3D.  I really enjoyed seeing this movie, which I hadn't seen in years, on the big screen again.  I would rather have just had a 2D rerelease, but the 3D was done well enough not to be annoying (aside from the ticket price and having to wear uncomfortable plastic glasses over my real glasses, of course).  Getting to see everything huge and with a big sound system was the draw, and it was totally worth it.  The dinosaur effects have held up surprisingly well (although we now know that some of those species should have had feathers), and it's still a well told action story (even if some of the dialog is a little hokey). I love that in addition to the fear, the movie also conveys a strong sense of wonder at the dinosaurs.  The score is a big part of that.  As an adult, I have an enhanced appreciation for all the shots of Jeff Goldblum with a gratuitously open shirt.

I saw Jurassic Park when it was first released in theaters.  I was nine, young enough that my parents didn't normally let me see PG-13 movies, but my love of dinosaurs made me beg to see this one.  I may even have already read the book.  After first going themselves to check it out, my parents decided to let me go.  It was definitely scary for kid-me, but also tremendously fun and thrilling.

In honor of Jurassic Park, I recommend this extremely silly and joyously dino-centric fanvid made a few years ago by [livejournal.com profile] bironic.  The entry is here.

tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (hobbits in woods)
I saw the Hobbit!  I have a few major gripes and a few great joys. 

Here there be spoilers. Also, I complain about the high frame rate version. )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (big damn hero)
First, there are still plenty of unguessed songs over on the lyrics meme!  Artists include Ani DiFranco, the Indigo Girls, Johnny Cash, Lifehouse, Marian Call, Roseanne Cash, Shawn Colvin, Shawn Mullins, Sheryl Crow, and others.

I just saw the Dark Knight Rises, and I have Thoughts!


Spoilers lie within )
 

-I am continuing to hold in the light those affected by the Aurora shootings.  I wish them healing and peace. 
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (take my hand s-j)
The US will finally get to see The Reichenbach Fall legally tonight.  Tissues for all!  I hope the fandom brings a new push to the "I believe in Sherlock Holmes" public campaign now that it will make sense to non-pirate viewers. 

I saw Dark Shadows.  It was pretty entertaining, though I wouldn't exactly classify it as good.  Eva Green as the villainous witch was great fun to watch. 

Avengers stuff keeps appearing on my flist and especially my tumblr dashboard.  I found a magnificent Natasha/Clint fic that exactly fits the craving I'd been feeling since seeing The Avengers:

-we were emergencies by gyzym:  Clint and Natasha struggle through recovering from the horror of mind invasion.  The fic shows both of them as badly broken, but also shows how badass and snarky and even caring they can be.  Watching them drag each other up from the depths, difficult baggage and jagged edges and all, is wonderful to behold.  This fic gives me SO MANY FEELINGS.  I stayed up far too late last night reading it, and I regret not one second of that.  (word count:  37154).

Also, I enjoyed this article of meta about Black Widow, why her characterization is awesome in The Avengers, and why it's so frustrating that many mainstream reviews didn't give her enough appreciation. 
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (prepare for awesomeness)
I saw The Avengers this weekend.  This is the obligatory squee post:

SQUEEEEE! 

That's how you do an ensemble action film, folks.  Exactly like that.

SPOILERS and further thoughts under cut )

-I hope the success of this project gives Joss the clout to do whatever he wants most for his next project.
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (doomsday beach)
When I first heard that Titanic was being re-released in 3D, I rolled my eyes a bit at the shameless effort to squeeze some more bucks out of a movie that already brought in boatloads of cash.  Then I realized (with a sinking feeling) that I was going to have to see it again.  My inner 14 year-old crawled out of her chamber of angst in the back of my mind and insisted that I add one more big screen viewing to the three times I saw it when in first came out.  I gave in and paid my $10.50 for a matinee on Saturday.

You know what?  I'm glad I did.


further thoughts cut for length (also spoilers, if you live under a rock) )
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (holmes profile echo)
Things I have done in the past few days:


I Believe in Sherlock Holmes (cut for photo and vague spoilers for Sherlock 2x03) )


-dyed my hair a dark reddish brown.  This marks an improvement over the long roots in dull medium brown, faded chestnut middle, and tips sun-bleached almost blond that it had become in the many moons since I last dyed it.

-saw The Artist.  I was attempting to see The Descendents, but that was sold out, so I decided to see something else at my friendly local independent cinema since I was already there.  I thought The Artist was interesting, well made, and a lot of fun, though I don't understand why critical response has been quite so overwhelmingly fantastic.  It was good but not THAT amazing.  However, I'm not really a movie history buff, so I guess I'm not the optimal audience.

-amazed a sixth grader at work who started singing some of the few clean lines of "I'm On a Boat" by telling him that I knew that song and he needed to stop singing right there.  The fact that I'd heard the song apparently blew his young mind. 
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (sherlock holmes & watson)
Y'all, there's a trailer for the upcoming RDJ & Jude Law Sherlock Holmes movie!  I don't see a way to embed, but you can watch it right here.  I'm excited!  Holmes rocks some drag, Watson is exasperated and badass, lots of stuff blows up, and (I kid you not) there's spooning.  Whee!  This incarnation of Holmes may not be terribly true to canon, but it retains enough of the important bits to satisfy me, and the first movie was hella fun (not to mention full of glorious slashiness).  I have high hopes for the second to follow in its footsteps.

In other movie news, I went to see Midnight in Paris.  It was a frothy wish-fulfillment fantasy, but I really enjoyed it.  There's time travel to visit famous authors and artists, which is one of my favorite recurring tropes in Doctor Who.  It's really funny, especially conversations with Hemmingway or Salvador Dali.  Owen Wilson and the rest of the cast give excellent performances.  The shrewish fiance character is over the top–I had no clue what brought this couple together in the first place–but other than that Midnight in Paris was a charming comedic love letter to Paris.
tardis_stowaway: sherlock and john lean aagainst a wall, laughing, with the words "we can't giggle, it's a crime scene" (can't giggle crime scene)
Y'all, I've seen some of the best things on dvd lately.  Stuff that makes me flail my arms in the air in happiness. 

On Fringe, I'm up to "Brown Betty" (2x20).  Fringe S2 in general has been stellar, but this episode takes the cake for being brilliantly bonkers. 

Fringe 2x20 spoilers )

Tonight I watched The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.  I've been meaning to watch it for quite some time, and except for a few issues it did not disappoint.  Getting the disappointment out of the way, I thought the ending was a let down.    Other than that, it was like they made this film just for me (Mark Gatiss also loves it deeply, so I'm in good company).  So much fan candy, y'all!  There is ho yay and an investigation involving the Loch Ness monster.  Those things alone would please me, but there's so much more.   spoilers )

I should probably stop flailing on my keyboard.  It's way past bedtime.  But y'all, watch Fringe and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.  Now. 
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (hobbits in woods)
Look!  Peter Jackson just released a ten minute video diary about preproduction and the start of filming on the set of The Hobbit

SQUEEEEE!!!! 



How the heck am I going to deal with this level of anticipation for as long as it will take to get this movie released??? 

I'm highly amused by the welcome ceremony where everyone in the cast and crew is wearing street clothes except for Andy Serkis, who appears to already be in his motion capture suit.  Possibly that IS what he wears on the street?  Also, presumably when everyone has their costumes and is acting in character, my brain will be a little less "ha, John Watson is in Middle Earth!"
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (zoe show some respect)
I just saw The Secret of Kells at my local indie movie theater, and I highly recommend it.  The visuals were absolutely stunning.  Some sequences felt like being dropped into an illuminated manuscript.  The story was simple but heartfelt, and I really appreciated the reverence for books.  Now, on to the TV meme!  I'm making no attempt to catch up with a double header today.

Thirty Days of TV Meme, Day 8:  A show everyone should watch

While DW is my personal favorite show, I've found that reactions from my RL friends tend to be a bit mixed.  I've concluded that it's not for everybody.  *shrug*  Humans are weird.

However, I can say with confidence that everybody in the 'verse should watch Firefly.  If you are somehow reading this journal and have not seen it yet, please proceed immediately to netflix, a local business from which you can rent or purchase dvds, or other source.  Watch the whole series, then come and thank me.  Those of you who are familiar with Firefly are probably nodding in agreement by now. 

For previous fans who wish to share in the squee or future fans who need a little persuading, I shall elaborate.  Firefly's got some of the funniest, most quotable lines around (even the theme song is quotable, for crying out loud), but it's not just a collection of one-liners and banter.  The character-driven writing gives the brilliant ensemble cast plenty of chances to shine. The setting – human colonies in space with a Western/frontier vibe plus Chinese cultural influence – is creative and beautifully brought to life.  The ship looks and feels like a home inhabited by people operating on the margins of society.  This show was cut down after only 11 aired episodes (plus three unaired episodes on the DVD and the following movie), but every single one of those episodes is great television, and it was getting better as it went along.  Its early demise is one of the greatest mysteries and tragedies of recent television history.  On the plus side, that's a very short time commitment for those wanting to watch or rewatch. 

Firefly is so awesome that actual astronauts have taken the DVD into space. (Astronaut fans surely appreciate the fact that Firefly has relatively solid science for TV science fiction.  There's no sound in space!)  It inspires such loyalty in fans that they persuaded the powers that be to make a movie.  Even people who don't much care for Joss Whedon's other shows tend to enjoy Firefly.  So, go forth and watch it.  Bring your friends.  Bring your family.  Bring your plastic dinosaurs.



tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (donna+rose bench)
I went to see An Education today and really enjoyed it.  Carey Muligan is indeed outstanding.  Our Sally Sparrow totally deserves her Oscar nomination.  Her performance hits just the right mix of confidence and vulnerability.   Also, I was startled to see Olivia Williams, known to Dollhouse fans as Adelle Dewitt, in this movie too!  She wears some really bad glasses to play the hard-edged yet caring teacher, and of course she rocks. 

Following the lead of just about my entire flist, I've finally started watching Merlin.  I am currently five episodes in and having a grand time.  It makes Doctor Who seem based on rigorous logic, but it's far too charming not to love. The cast is absolutely gorgeous (and contains Giles!)  Merlin in particular is utterly adorkable.  Also, the slash doesn't need goggles.  (Seriously, Merlin thrashing around in a fever dream while calling out Arthur's name?  That has to be intentionally slashy.)   Part of me wants to rush through at top speed so I can be caught up enough to participate in fandom without spoilers, but part of me wants to go slowly to savor the pleasure of discovering a new series. 
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (sorry your planet imploded star trek)
I saw The Road the other night at my local independent movie theater.  I can't say that I enjoyed it, because it's not really the sort of movie one enjoys, but it was extremely good, and I'm glad that I saw it.  This is an apocalypse movie that doesn't even bother explaining the mechanism of the destruction, focusing instead on the bleak aftermath of increasingly hopeless survivors in a ravaged landscape.  A lot of apocalypse movies (and books and TV shows) feel like adventures; this felt like the end of the world.  The scope and thoroughness of the vision of death for the earth and human civilization alike was stunning.  Shooting that movie must have involved making odd statements like, "Damn, it's sunny.  Gotta shoot inside today."    Viggo Mortenson gave an excellent performance.  He looked like he had lost a really scary amount of weight for the part.  Maybe some of that was effects, because otherwise someone needs to give that man a sandwich, stat.  The kid playing his son was also quite good.

The post-apocalyptic landscape where plants no longer grew was populated by people so desperate for food that they'd turned to cannibalism.  There are a few really scary and horrifying scenes that gave me some trouble when trying to fall asleep afterwards.  It reminded me of the butchers in the Epitaph episodes of Dollhouse or Reavers in Firefly, but these had the extra horror value of having reached that state without any drug or technological brain alteration, changed into monsters just by desperation and the breakdown of social controls.  The film was as sad as it was scary.  I cried at a scene where Viggo is trying to bring himself to get rid of mementos of his dead wife, then again at the end.  Buckets at the end, although oddly enough it was the grace note of a little faint hope (well, not so much hope as less than total devastation) that made me cry the hardest.  Overall, this movie is not for the faint-hearted, but for those who can deal with both creepy basements and existential angst it is very much worthwhile. 

Meanwhile, I just came across the band Florence + the Machine, and I've rapidly become obsessed.  (Note:  I live under a rock, and thus sometimes hear about bands and such much later than normal people.)  "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)" and "The Drumming Song" alternate in continuous rotation in my head, but I can't bring myself to mind.  (For one thing, they've finally dislodged "Bad Romance," which has refused to entirely unstick itself from my brain for ages and ages.).  Pop music with a harp and unique, sometimes fairytale-like lyrics?  Yes, please!  Here, have the trippy, beautiful video for "Rabbit Heart." 




Other exciting find of the week:  the gray tights I bought for an Amy Pond costume for Gallifrey One turn out to be the most comfortable tights I've ever worn.  The brand name is Hue, and they are so comfy I didn't want to take them off.  Score!
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (top hat eccleston)
Rather than venturing out into the rain for a movie in the theater on this final day of my three day weekend*, I finally got around to watching my netflix dvd of The Invisible Circus.  I admit to having rented this movie pretty much exclusively because it had Christopher Eccleston in it with no other expectations, but I ended up enjoying it a fair amount.  At its best moments it managed a lovely dreamlike air, like a flashback near the beginning when the protagonist, Phoebe, aged 12 at that point, comes downstairs at night to find her house full of circus performers invited in by her older sister.   I was not a fan of the movie's use of the stupid trope where it's depicted as okay for a character to cheat on a girlfriend/boyfriend whose only fault is that they are not a main character.  However, I generally liked the characters despite that, and there were some fun period clothes.  The plot is occasionally a bit contrived, but not too badly, and some fine performances help sell it.  Plus, pretty travel shots of Europe make me happy.

Most of all, though, it delivered lots of Christopher Eccleston.  Mmmmm.  Talent and hotness were both in fine form here.  He rocks the long hair, and at one point sports a leather jacket that looks vaguely like a poorly fitting version of his Doctor jacket.  There were one or two shots that I recognized from Doctor/Rose manips that pop up around the internet, which was kind of distracting.  Amusingly, his character is named Wolf.  At one point, when Phoebe was looking through his stuff illicitly, a box from the bottom of his drawer contained not just old photos and such but a fobwatch.  It was a meaningless bit of set dressing, but it caused considerable flailing from me.  I would be utterly unsurprised if there's a crossover fic out there where Wolf turns out to be fobwatched Nine.

*of all the reasons to be grateful for Martin Luther King Jr., the federal holiday is one of the shallowest, but I feel it strongly every year.  Also, thanks for the strides towards a just and equal world, MLK! 
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (seasonally appropriate laugh)
I saw Invictus today and enjoyed it quite a bit. It's about a truly inspiring time, the early days of Nelson Mandela's presidency of South Africa. They country had just left apartheid behind, but many blacks were still bitter about all those years of horrible oppression while many whites were extremely distrustful of the new government and angry about their own loss of power. The nation could so easily have fallen apart, but it didn't. There are a number of factors that kept South Africa from disintegrating, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, but Invictus focuses on two: Nelson Mandela and rugby. I could care less about rugby, but it was a good microcosm to show all the racially charged issues that South Africa had to cope with. Also, all of you Doctor Who fans will be interested to know that this movie has Adjoa Andoh, who played Francine Jones, playing one of Mandela's aids.

I spent five months in South Africa in college, studying at the University of Cape Town. I really enjoyed all the reminders of life in that country I got from the movie, everything from drop-dead gorgeous aerial shots of Cape Town to a passing mention of a proposal to make retailers charge extra for plastic bags. (This was established law by the time I visited in 2004. Why doesn't every nation do this?) It was nice to go into the film knowing a little bit extra about the underlying politics and symbolism, but the film explains enough that you don't really need prior knowledge. f you're interested, however, I recommend Nelson Mandela's autobiography Long Walk to Freedom. It's a well-told personal story of a truly remarkable man, but it is also a good introduction to recent South African history. Better yet, go to South Africa. Take me with you!

As for the film, it was quite good, though not truly great. I felt like it told most of the story it had in the first two-thirds or so, leaving the last third weighted down with too much slow-motion footage of large men slamming into each other while grunting a lot. Some bits toed the line between inspirational and trite. Matt Damon, playing the captain of the rugby team, did a decent South African accent but not much else. If you see only one 2009 movie about South Africa, it should be District 9. However, Invictus is still very much worthwhile. Bonus points: read this blog post on what Nelson Mandela's leadership in Invictus teaches us about how to tackle global warming.

I'm currently reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynn Truss. I correctly anticipated its appeal to my inner punctuation snob, but I never predicted how often it would make me laugh out loud. Consider this sentence about the Italian printer who, among other achievements, invented italics and printed the first semicolon: "That man was Aldus Mantius the Elder (1450-1515) and I will happily admit I hadn't heard of him until about a year ago, but am now absolutely kicking myself that I never volunteered to have his babies." Ha!

Amelia

Nov. 12th, 2009 12:17 am
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (big ears)
I went to see Amelia despite some mediocre reviews.  After all, it features:  (1) Amelia Earhart, a fascinating and courageous woman who I admire; (2) the seriously attractive Ewan McGregor; and (3) Christopher Eccleston. You all know how I feel about him.  ;)  It was an enjoyable enough way to spend some time in a movie theater, and it did deliver the three things I went to see.  Still, I wish it had been a little better.  The review that follows isn't especially spoilery (it's a history; we know how it ends), but the extremely spoiler-phobic might want to turn away now.

The film put a lot of emphasis on the relationship between Earhart and her husband/publicist, played by Richard Gere, but it never really convinced me to root for their relationship.  Part of it was that I'm not a huge fan of Richard Gere (nothing against him, I just don't find him at all attractive and his acting isn't extraordinary enough to make me care about him anyway).  Part of it was that his character was occasionally a bit sleazy.  I'd have preferred to see less of that relationship, with more focus on Amelia's early life, her relationship with Ewan McGregor's character, and a bit of background for Christopher Eccleston's character that would let us know why he decided to go along on the extremely dangerous round the world flying attempt.  More Eccleston is always good, despite the fact that he was freaking me out by doing an American accent.  (Also, the film totally wasted an opportunity to have Eccleston make out with Hillary Swank, which would have been hot.  Hell, if I'd been writing it I'd have found some excuse to get Chris and Ewan kissing.  I blame the internet for the corruption of my brain.)   Also, I just wish the film had been a little braver, speculating  a little more, especially in giving us some additional window into what Earhart and Eccleston were feeling in the final moments. 

After that complaining, here's some additional things I liked about it:  lots of lovely shots of vintage planes over beautiful landscapes.  Ewan MacGregor looking very debonair.  Hillary Swank's performance.  The young son of Ewan McGregor's character telling Amelia that he wished she could be married to [Richard Gere's character] and his dad.  Aww, the poor kid would fit right in on the internet.  Learning a little bit more about Amelia Earhart, a woman ahead of her time in more than just her daring flights.  I would recommend that others see this movie, but wait for when when it's released on DVD rather than spending money for the theater.

Meanwhile, I was amused by this Onion article about an alternate universe's Sci-Fi channel show asking what would have happened if Germany lost WWII

Weirdness

Oct. 26th, 2009 12:26 am
tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (9/Rose/Jack banana)
-While sitting in a public park in the ridiculously warm weather, I saw a man bicycling past with a LIVE IGUANA on his back. 

-I netflixed Terminator because I'd never seen it before.  I can't really offer much of an opinion on the movie as a whole because I kept getting distracted by the extreme eighties-ness of the hair and clothes and dissolving into giggles.  Also, in other states, if there is film available of the governor's naked butt it usually requires an apologetic press conference.  California is a special place.

-Netflix also recently delivered the first disc of Secret Diary of a Call Girl.  It was funny and quite enjoyable, if not my usual sort of thing.  I was glad that Hannah/Belle's speech and makeup were different enough from what Billie Piper had in Doctor Who that I wasn't constantly thinking "Rassilon's toenails, Rose!  What the hell are you doing?"  Sometimes, but not constantly.

-After a few weeks of being out of the writing mode, I finally made a tiny bit more progress on the post-CoE Jack/Doctor angst-fest that is currently the least stuck of my fic ideas.  However, a substantial part of today's wordcount was the lads digressing into a discussion of cowboys.  *facepalm*  Muse, you baffle me. 

-Let me say this again:  bicyclist with live iguana.

tardis_stowaway: TARDIS under a starry sky and dark tree (the sound of torchwood)
Things that were awesome about today:

1.  Mini singalong in the Goodwill store! I was looking at trousers (no success) when "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" came on the store radio.  At the part where it bursts out loudly "I! Love!  You!  BA-ABY!/ And if it's quite alright.." I realized that not only was I accidentally humming under my breath but two other people, apparently not in the same party, started singing along.  If a few more people had joined in I'm convinced that backup dancers would have spontaneously appeared.  It happens in movies ALL THE TIME.  

2.  I saw the movie Whip It and had a ton of fun! You could describe it as a coming of age, teen girl rebellion movie crossed with a sports flick, which sounds like a recipe for badness but turned out to be awesome.   That's the sort of thing that capable screenwriters and actors can do.  Plus, the sport in question was roller derby, which is delightfully bizarre.  Ellen Page (from Juno) played the lead with pizazz and heart, and the rest of the cast was excellent as well.  It was funny, full of action-packed contact skating, and a bit moving.  The plot was somewhat predictable, but the dialog and characters were fresh enough that I didn't much care.  It's a film about discovering your passion, families both natural and chosen, and growing up alternative in a small town.  (Bonus: this showing was a sneak preview, so they had local roller derby women skating around outside the theater trying to interest passers-by. Fun!)

3.  This photo of the Spanish Prime Minister's family posing with the Obamas is great.
Apparently Spanish law allows the Prime Minister to prevent the press from publishing photos of his teenage daughters, so nobody had seen them.  The US state department didn't get the memo or something, released the photos (oops!), and revealed the big secret: the daughters are kinda goth. 

I like this photo for several reasons:
a.  Barack and Michelle seem to think this is great.  Admittedly they must have practice smiling in weird situations, but I think Barack is probably thinking that teenage goths make a nice change from the power-hungry old men in suits that he has to spend much of his time with.

b.  The Zapatero parents are accepting enough of their daughters' phase (or lifestyle...who knows at this age) that they have not strongarmed them into wearing something more conventional.  Admittedly we don't know whether they tried.  I imagine there were intense negotiations before the photo session.  "Honey, if I let you wear the Doc Martens will you change into a simple dress with no latex or fishnets?"  "Mooooom!  *sigh*  Fine.  But I'm not taking off the black nail polish!"

c.  The girls appear to be in a dilemma about how happy they can look without losing Goth cred.  On the one hand, Goths don't smile, and they are having to pose with their totally embarrassing parents.  On the other hand, they are getting to meet with Barack Obama, who even a teenaged Spanish First Goth has to admit is kinda cool. They have settled on uncertain half-smiles.  The huge slumps indicate their disapproval for Obama's message of hope.

d.  The fact that the girls have such lousy posture indicates that they are not trained in media appearances, which is somewhat refreshing.

e.  Other people's awkwardness is hilarious!
 
I do feel sorry for the girls, given that there will undoubtedly be a lot of commentary that is not so nice.  At least it will provide fodder for some properly angsty teenage poetry. 

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