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[personal profile] helloladies
Today we're excited to welcome [tumblr.com profile] justira back to to Lady Business to talk about Mockingjay Part 1. Ira is an awesome illustrator, writer, and web developer who gained their powers by consuming the bones of their enemies. They make art, comics, and writing when they are not distracted by way too many video games. You can find more of Ira's work at their tumblr.

Mockingjay's recent release to DVD has reignited my ambivalence towards the movie— don't get me wrong, it's great having another female-led spec fic film, especially one with Natalie Dormer running support. But the film suffered a critical lack; the ghost of the movie it could have been hovered over the film for me: the film lacked confidence. The story — the book — is, at its core, part social commentary and part inspection of PTSD. But the film adaptation lacked the boldness to pull a full genre shift, or make up for Collins's shortcomings as a writer. Spoilers for the books and movies up through Mockingjay Part 1 and its equivalent part of the book follow.

What the movie should have done was listen to its own message more. It should have listened to Haymitch.

Haymitch explains how to use Katniss effectively.

Haymitch criticized Plutarch's effort at making Mockingjay propos: they were falling flat and felt artificial. What they needed to do — what the movie needed to do — was get inside Katniss's head, inspect the authentic intersection of her internal world and the world around her. Katniss's commodification had to be contingent upon her authenticity in order to function as intended. That's when the propos were the most genuine and effective. That's when the movie shone. Read more... )
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[personal profile] renay
I love space adventure. I love found families. When the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy dropped, it wasn't the fact it was a Marvel property that drew me in (like Iron Man and Captain America before it, I didn't even realize it was a thing), but the temptation of a story about a ragtag group of complicated individuals forming a team in space. Some of my favorite science fiction heavily features this trope: Stargate Atlantis (although I like the team dynamic better in SG-1), Firefly, The Expanse, hell, if we count one shots then there's a reason that Event Horizon, The Core, and Armageddon feature so high at the top of my list of SF films, and it isn't the rigorous science. When I found out that the script was written by Nicole Perlman, going into Guardians of the Galaxy I had high expectations for both the space adventure and the found families part. Those two elements delivered, even if space adventure and misogyhumor took precedence over found families in the end.

Plenty of other people have tackled the more sexist and nonsensical elements of the film that tossed them directly out the narrative airlock. It feels a little useless to add my voice to the pile, because the film is doing well (I'm glad it's doing well! please no more Transformers films! adapt something else!) and because it's doing well we could likely talk about these issues until we're blue in the face to unbothered shrugs from Marvel Studios. It's not that different from their constant shrugging over what the first female-led superhero film is going to be, maybe with an eye roll (none, ever, they're never doing one, not one, it's never going to happen, I am cynical and jaded and have no hope left). Whatever, it's my space adventure party, I'll cry if I want to. Read more... )
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[personal profile] renay
Recently, I listened to an episode of Friends in Your Head, titled Plot Hole Criticism. One of the hosts made the point that a lot of the time, human beings just had a problem coming out of a theater unhappy with a film and don't like to say "but I'm not sure why." because not knowing is somehow shameful! As people, some of us latch on to superficial reasons to dislike a thing and never really dig into the critical whys. I, however, am not afraid to admit I came out of the theater going, "What the hell was that? Did I like that? No? Maybe? Sure, it had good parts. But as a whole? No. BUT WHY?" Read more... )


Jul. 18th, 2014 11:11 am
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[personal profile] bookgazing

"Belle" is yet another answer to a common internet cry. Have you been longing for a period film which shows that chromatic people in history occupied a diverse range of roles? Well, Amma Asante’s "Belle" may just be what you’re looking for.

"Belle" was inspired by a painting of real life cousins Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay and Elizabeth Murray. The painting originally hung at Kenwood House, where the real life Dido was sent by John Lindsay, her white father, in the 1765. Her father’s uncle the Earl of Hampstead, was the Lord Chief Justice of England at the time and he resided at Kenwood with his wife.

"Belle" presents a fictionalised version of Dido’s life at Kenwood. In the film Dido, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, is the equal of her cousin. Although her parents were unmarried and she is of mixed race, she is acknowledged as a Lindsay by her father. When he leaves, she is cherished by her great uncle and aunt, and is encouraged to call them Papa and Mama. And when John Lindsay unfortunately dies at sea she becomes a wealthy, independent heiress.

Read more... )

Other Reviews

The Close Historian
The Guardian
Roger Ebert
The London Film Review


Jan. 31st, 2014 07:37 am
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[personal profile] bookgazing
Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna's sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter. - (source)

Cut for Spoilers )

Supplementary Material

Thoughts on Frozen

Other Reviews

Reading the End
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[personal profile] helloladies
Lady Business+ cover art

Episode #6 — Pacific Rim

Strap into your jaeger and prepare to hit the breach as Renay and Jodie team up to discuss Pacific Rim, the monsters versus robots film of our hearts. We lavish love on Mako Mori (OUR QUEEN), weep over the potential reality of Idris Elba as the Sean Bean of SF, and ponder the nature of love in action film narratives (if you don't ship Hermann/Newt, we cannot be friends). Complete spoilers for Pacific Rim, season two of Teen Wolf, and the end of Prometheus. Download the episode if your sexuality is Stacker Pentecost.

Disclaimer: this episode was recorded ten thousand years ago in Internet time.

Bonus content in the form of the 9876578 links we wanted to share but couldn't discuss in-depth. Please click all of them. )

Follow us on twitter, tumblr, via RSS, or subscribe via iTunes.

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[personal profile] helloladies
Lady Business is excited to present a guest post about Pacific Rim - one of the best films to come out of that whole sticky, summer blockbuster season- from chaila of underline everything. We're fairly confident that this post will leave you groaning about the DVD release date. Whhhy isn't it here yet?

I did not expect to love Pacific Rim, and I certainly did not expect to be bribing Jodie to ask me to do a guest post about feminist themes in Pacific Rim (this is my recollection and I’m sticking to it). I don’t usually like summer blockbusters. I do always like Idris Elba (maybe this is the time to declare my biases; if Idris Elba is in a thing, I will be interested in that thing), but I wasn’t even convinced I would see it. Then I happened to hear the director, Guillermo del Toro, talking about the movie on the radio and he made me want to like it. It seemed like more thought had been put into this movie than is usually put into summer blockbusters and I really liked the idea of original genre film trying to do a little bit better.

Spoilers: robots punch sea monsters! But this post is not very much about that )

Other reviews I liked

Pacific Rim: And why this may be the most important film you see this summer (at Gray-Eyed Filmdom on Tumblr)

Mako Mori and the Hero’s Journey (at Hello, tailor.)

The Visual Intelligence of Pacific Rim (at Storming the Ivory Tower)


May. 2nd, 2013 07:56 pm
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[personal profile] bookgazing

'In the year 2047 time travel has yet to be invented. Thirty years later, however, it has. Though immediately outlawed, time-travel technology is quickly appropriated by the mob, and used to cleanly dispose of anyone deemed a threat. The process is simple: When the mob wants someone to disappear, they simply send them back to the year 2047, where an assassin known as a "looper" quickly carries out the hit, and disposes of the body. Joe Simmons (Gordon-Levitt) is one of the most respected loopers around. Each kill earns him a big payday, and he's got big plans to retire to France. Then, one day, as Joe patiently awaits the appearance of his next target near the edge of a remote corn field, he's shocked to come face-to-face with his future self (Bruce Willis). When the younger Joe hesitates, the older Joe makes a daring escape. Now, in order to avoid the wrath of his underworld boss (Jeff Daniels), young Joe must "close the loop" and kill his older counterpart. Meanwhile, the revelation that a powerful crime boss in the future has set the underworld ablaze pits the two Joes on a violent collision course, with the fate of a devoted mother (Emily Blunt) and her young son hanging in the balance.' (source)

Ah time travel — the SF device that leaves as many holes in the internal logic of stories as a weevil in a ship's biscuit. Very few time travel stories even vaguely attempt a consistent approach to time travel, I assume because letting the consequences of time travel run its logical course means throwing all your plotted intentions off a bridge. There's a difference between being willing to kill your darlings and being willing to pull down the story you cared about because a fictional element won't stand up to scientific scrutiny.The second one involves a lot more drinking at midnight I imagine.

So, unsurprisingly 'Looper', the newest filmic addition to time travel canon, does not escape the weevil; like most time travel stories 'Looper' presents a logically inconsistent vision of how time travel might affect the continuity of a life. What are paradoxes? We don't need to deal with no stinking paradoxes! Never mind 'Looper', I still like you.

Spoilers from the future )

Other Reviews

Asking the Wrong Questions

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[personal profile] bookgazing
‘Silver Linings Playbook’ is the most engrossing film I’ve seen this year. It is the exceptionally charming and worrying story about whether a group of people affected by serious mental illness will ever be ok. And yet at times it is also a rather troubled, neat portrayal of those illnesses. There are many things I could pull out of this film to talk about, but as this is lady business and I am who I am I’ve decided to concentrate on the main woman in this film:

Gif of Jennifer Lawrence explainin that eating is one of her favourite parts of the day


It’s another ladybusiness post about a character played by Jennifer Lawrence! Yes, my interest is perfectly under control, thanks for asking.

Gif of Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany leaning in to talk to Pat. White text says I just got fired actually, on the line below it yellow text says Oh really? How? and on the line below that white text says By having sex with everyone in the office.


Unsurprisingly, considering the content of this scene, it’s common to find several similar gifs when searching for images of Jennifer Lawrence in ‘The Silver Linings Playbook’. Looking closely at this scene, where Tiffany and the film’s title character, Pat, go out to eat, illuminates how the film portrays the depression and grief of her character, Tiffany, who has been recently widowed.

She was very depressed after Tommy died )

I barely came up for air during ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and it’s been a long time since I was so deep into a film's world, or so concerned about the fate of two characters. There are so many ways to investigate this film and I hope it gets a lot of consideration, flaws and all, because that’s what an interesting piece of media deserves. Maybe my slant on this one particular part of the film will encourage you to take the film apart and share what you find.

shot of Tiffany and Pat holding hands, text reads What's this? shot of Tiffany looking down, text read I thought you were doing it
shot of Pat, text reads Oh, I thought you were doing it shot of Pat and Tiffany continuing to walk along holding hands


And if what you want to share is love for this screen couple who am I to stop you?:P
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[personal profile] bookgazing

‘A League of Their Own’ is one of those films I will always settle down to watch, if I find it while flicking around through television channels. It doesn’t matter what time I find it, or how much of the film I’ve missed this time. I always find myself putting the control down, curling up and willing The Rockford Peaches, a fictional female baseball team from 1950s America, on to victory. So, what exactly is it besides my usual interest in sporting narratives that makes me love this film so hard?

1.) The film is based around an episode in WWII history that isn’t mentioned that often in typical coverage of that period. During WWII, baseball teams were destroyed as men went off to fight. The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was created to keep interest in baseball alive (and bring in much needed money for the male team bosses). The women involved in teams that resemble the film’s fictional Peaches, receive less main stream notice than they should considering the fascination for all aspects of baseball that appears to exist in America. Media that makes me aware of under publicised history always gives me a little thrill.

2.) Obviously, with the story of female sports players at its heart ‘A League of Their Own’ is a film that focuses on women. There are so many ladies in this film1 and they all spend time playing baseball, as well as doing other things (like sneaking out to swing dance). They talk to each other about a variety of subjects such as baseball, the war, men, family and dreams. In the past, Lady Business posts have referenced links to several sources that show the serious, sexist gender imbalance in the film industry. Personally I like to see women represented in media, because woman are awesome and y’know exist, so films featuring women generally draw me in. Films where the relationships between those women are portrayed with energy and given significance get their own room in my heart.

3.) Geena Davis, who plays the film’s main Dottie Hinson, has been involved in several films and series that either worked hard to be feminist, or contained a female-centric focus. Renay tells me she is also a political activist who gave her support to The Women’s Sports Foundation and set up The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. A feminist star in a movie about women, giving a fun, convincing character portrayal! Whichever dude was taking a snooze when that happened, I thank him because it certainly is inspiring to see Davis portray such an admirable character, so vigorously.

4.) It's a funny film. Look proof that women can be funny! Oh wait, we had lots of proof already? Well now I’m all confused. Anyway, ‘A League of Their Own’ isn’t going to win any awards for comedic originality, but it’s as gently funny as any other film Tom Hanks has starred in and it makes me laugh.

5.) It tries hard to incorporate realistic historical commentary on social issues, instead of concealing any unpleasant history with jazz hands, like some many other feel good historical films (‘Leatherheads’ you are lucky I don’t bust your nose in). Dottie has a short interaction with a black women who would not have been considered for the league the Peaches play in, despite her clear talent, because of the ‘separate, but equal’ philosophy of racial prejudice present at the time. In this moment the film acknowledges that although the story of The Peaches succeeding in a traditionally male professional arena is a story of feminist triumph, not all women would have cause to fully celebrate this particular victory.

‘A League of Their Own’ also shows awareness of other compromises that would have been made as women tried to establish their right to play baseball. There are scenes where Dottie dramatically showboats to keep crowds interested. I assume a male player would have been disciplined for unnecessarily endangering score lines if he’d pulled similar tricks, but Dottie has no choice. She needs to win over crowds conditioned to be uninterested in women playing sports, or the women’s league will be wound up on the grounds that girls playing baseball doesn’t sell tickets. Other player’s must use flirtatious tactics to fill stadiums, which is a feminist compromise you perhaps wouldn’t expect of women fighting for equality, but again the Peaches have little choice. They need to fill stadiums if they want to keep playing (they really want to keep playing) and promises of kisses from pretty girls will put paying men in seats.

Here’s a feel good movie that is comfortable acknowledging the problems any historical feminist struggle has faced; the compromises made and the common place exclusion, without worrying that this will jeopardise the viewer’s support for the characters’ journey. It’s not perfect, but it has a good go at nosing some true representations towards its viewers. Tom Hank’s character, Jimmy Dugan, isn’t an instantly progressive male coach. Despite her consistent pro-female stance Dottie isn’t able to push back against the cultural conditioning that tells her being a wife is ‘enough’ once her husband returns home. Only through the depiction of the messy reality of history, can we see the true importance of the gains made in socio-political struggles.

There you go then, my reasons for shaking off the world’s claims whenever this film appears on television. Does anybody else have a bit of a thing for this film?

1 Including Madonna - I love early Madonna films


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Ira is an illustrator and gamer who decided that disagreeing with everyone would be a good way to spend their time on the internet. more? » twitter icon tumblr icon AO3 icon

By day Jodie is currently living the dream as a bookseller for a major British chain of book shops. She has no desire to go back to working in the real world. more? » tumblr icon last.fm icon

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