Mar. 23rd, 2013

solitary_summer: (schnecke)
Um. I didn't mean to disappear off the face of the Earth livejournal so completely, but life got a bit hectic since January. (In an extremely boring and uninspiring way, I should probably hasten to add.) Apart from work there's the bookkeeping class I'm still not very sure about, but have to do homework and study a bit for nonetheless, A. is keeping me busy with Russian and Russian homework and we're working on vocabulary at the moment, which is something I actually am sure about and enjoy doing, so I try to make more than a half-assed, just-scraping-by effort, and L. has been sending me texts to translate that I keep agreeing to do even if before I'd already have said that I don't have time, not even so much because of the money, but because I'm still hoping the experience might come in useful eventually. And although the weather is doing its best to sabotage me at the moment, I'm at least trying to squeeze the occasional hiking tour into the schedule to keep me sane, because the last couple of times I went out with G., alcoholism suddenly started to look quite tempting. (Kidding. There's absolutely no chance I'm going there, but, tempting.)

Oh, and the Meta from Hell (tm), which surprisingly is actually still going somewhere and there isn't even a 'RTD meta draft 5' yet, so, go me.

[Rewatch-status: DW S1: even better than I remembered. S2... a bit meh-ish maybe, because I'm not really into the more blatantly romantic Doctor/Rose angle. School Reunion is still lovely though, the Cybermen two-parter is also very good, The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit has some interesting ideas, and in my admittedly unpopular opinion 90% of Love & Monsters is among the best things RTD has written for DW overall and the best episode he wrote for S2. (The remaining 10% being the actual physical realisation of the Abzorbaloff, and the 'sex life' joke, which personally I still don't find all that horribly offensive, but I hate having to feel defensive all the time for loving the episode, so.) I don't much care for the Cybermen vs. Daleks extravaganza of the S2 finale, and I can't even say I found the Doctor/Rose part particularly touching after the first time I watched it, but Love & Monsters kills me every time, even before the final reveal of Elton's mother's death. You see these people connecting, and maybe it isn't much, maybe it isn't special in the greater scheme of things, but it says so much about how amazing it is that these connections can happen at all when they are so inherently fragile and there is so much that can go wrong, and how important they are. It's starts out as such a light, funny episode on the surface, but it has this strong dark undercurrent that makes it actually quite brutal, and really,'love and monsters' is TW in a nutshell. Human connections in an environment that is fundamentally hostile to them in every sense. There is a thematic connection there IMO, and it's not just structural similarities like Gwen and the Weevil, which is reminiscent of Elton and whatever the monster at the beginning of the episode is called, as well as the forgetting/remembering theme, or Gwen, like Elton, stumbling into something that opens a whole new world up to her in the best and the worst sense, triggering a sort of existentialist crisis. Not to mention that in Cyberwoman 'love' and 'monster' are actually thematic keywords of a sort. I'm not saying it's deliberate, but themes do carry over.

I'm in the middle of TW S1 now, and it's funny, because I always said, and I still do think that's true, that thematically TW never changed as radically as people sometimes claim, but going back, there is at least a bit of a sense of 'aw, they're all still so young and innocent' about it, especially in the first few episodes. Also realised that I have, like, sub-sub-zero interest in pre-Cyberwoman Ianto, although admittedly that might be because the whole coffee-(boy)-angle has been too thoroughly tainted by the post-CoE wank as far as I'm concerned. The character only becomes interesting when you see what goes on beneath the surface, and it's a brilliant set-up that in the long run gives Jack/Ianto some depth, although I have no idea if that was even deliberate, since I seem to remember reading that originally Ianto wasn't meant to survive the episode? Speaking of shipping, though, JB and EM have the kind of off-the-scale chemistry in Ghost Mashine that makes me wonder every time about what Jack/Gwen could have been like if they'd really gone for that angle, and I still don't understand what happened afterwards that led to all those painfully awkward UST-or-whatever-that-was scenes later on...)]

(Also, not that this is particularly relevant, since I'll still be primarily posting here, but since the AO3 officially allows meta now, I got myself an account and am going to upload at least the longer, more coherent pieces eventually...)

 

solitary_summer: (schnecke)
Finally saw Les Misèrables with G. on Thursday (his idea, and he ended up liking it better than I did, although the official version still is that I dragged him there...). Now the opening sequence... OMGholyhsitwow[openmouthedstare]wow. After that... well. It's Les Mis, so it's impossible for it to suck completely, but as a film it was bad. Really bad, for the most part. On stage no one expects realism, so a lack of it doesn't matter, but on a purely visual level the film was an awkward, constantly distracting mixture of too much and not enough realism that kept breaking the fourth wall, because it neither allowed you to lose yourself in the illusion of realism nor to dismiss it altogether and lose yourself in the play, and only ended up making the film rather kitschier than the much sparer stage productions usually are. (Case in point, the painfully fake butterfly on the iron fence during A Heart Full of Love suddenly opening its wings. I had to stop myself from giggling through the rest of the song after that.) And I can't remember what critic it was that complained about the endless, endless, unvarying close-up shots for every single song, every single time, but it was probably more than one, because that part is also painfully true.

The song written for Valjean's coach journey with Cosette is terrible and only adds to the too-saccharine overall tone of the film compared to the musical, and Dog Eat Dog should have been left in for the same reason, although I can see the reasons behind either decision.

(There's also the admittedly a bit weird thing about how English is actually my least favourite language for Les Mis. I like the French version and am quite partial to the German translation, but English lacks a certain... edge, maybe, that the musical needs? It sounds too soft to my ears to somehow to really fit the mood.)

As for the cast... Anne Hathaway deserved her Oscar, as far as I can tell, not having seen any of the other nominated films, her performance certainly stood out in the first part, both singing and acting-wise. A surprise for me personally was that it was Eddie Redmayne's Marius that I found most interesting/arresting in the second half, because Marius is usually such a thankless role that I never paid much attention to, what with all the mooning after Cosette and little else he does. This is maybe the first time I liked the character and I loved what Redmayne did with Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. That said, the fact that Marius of all characters stood out probably already says a lot about how the actual main characters were lacking. Russell Crowe was a disaster, you can't call it anything else. The singing was terrible throughout and the acting (what acting? for the most part it felt as if he was too busy to get the singing done) didn't make up for it at all. In the end, Les Mis is a musical and you can't play Javert if you can't convey a certain severity and force through your voice. The suicide scene wasn't too bad, but everything before was, and Stars especially was excruciatingly painfully boring. (Boring. Yes, really.) Hugh Jackman was technically better, although you also could hear how he was struggling with higher notes and passages that demanded more vocal power and there were parts that made me vince, but somehow I never really managed to connect to his Valjean either, although in this case I can't pinpoint the actual reason. Part of it was that for me it felt as if the character veered too much on the side of sweet-and-saintly, but I'm not sure if this is actually justified? The rest of the cast was ok, with Amanda Seyfried actually making me like Cosette (yet another thankless part) and Samantha Barks an interesting Eponine, although I have to say I found her visually arresting more than anything else. When has Helena Bonham-Carter played more than a variation of one single type of character, the last time though?

In conclusion...

oh, [sigh]. I was prepared to like this, damn it.

 

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