I finally caved in to the horror films, while all alone in a remote house in the country. I am just that good at making wise decisions (see: tabasco sauce in eye incident, number of previous relationships, PhD). Anyway, the post below will contain spoilers for a 2001 film called Wendigo. I am probably going to regret this.

And on to the monsters! )
eye_of_a_cat: (restart/resume?)
Okay, you've got me. The reason I don't like The Da Vinci Code is because I'm religious. And naturally, being religious, the very idea of a story where Jesus is portrayed as human sends the icy chill of insecurity down my spine. The kind of story I want would feature a vague, mystical Jesus, whose messages were too cool to be spread around the common masses, whose bloodline would be so important that people would kill over it, and whose descendants would all be royalty because of his magical DNA!

No, wait. That is The Da Vinci Code.

All right, then. The real reason is because I'm religious and therefore very conservative about the appropriate role of women, and I can't stand stories about Mary Magdalene being an important apostle. No, indeed! The kind of story I'm after is one where she's merely a receptacle for sperm and babies, defined entirely by her reproductive capacity and included among the apostles just because she was somebody's boyfriend.

No, wait...

Okay, here's why. )
It's not that there's anything wrong with documentaries that advertise themselves with the line '[Insert Subject Here]: Should We Be Worried?'. It's just that there's a lot of questions which should be asked before that one, and preferably back at the production stage. Like 'Who's "we"?', or 'Who says we're all worried about the same things?', or 'Is this really decent journalism, or just poorly researched sensationalism dressed in the badly-fitting costume of objectivity?'. And whoever's in charge of covering religion at Channel 4 should nail that last one over their door.

Monday's The New Fundamentalists was disappointing for a lot of reasons: it oversimplified complex issues, it tried to do too much in too short a space, its presenter let all his journalistic experience fly merrily out of the window during the first two sentences of every interview. Mostly, though, it was disappointing because it didn't seem to know what it wanted to do. The rise of evangelical Christianity in Britain is a good topic, one that warrants some detailed, thoughtful discussion, but it's not one that's best tackled with 'Hey, look at these weird people!'.

And that's really not the way to argue with evangelicals. )

Obviously I should know that reading Daily Mail columns is only going to cause me pain, especially when they're written by Melanie Phillips, but this is just insane.

Britain is sitting on an infertility time-bomb. A leading fertility expert, Professor Bill Ledger, has warned that within the next ten years the number of couples experiencing problems conceiving children is expected to double.

By 2015, he says, one in three couples may need fertility treatment. Low success rates from IVF mean soaring numbers will be left childless, with extra thousands going through this draining treatment at huge cost to the health service.

So it's a health-related column, you think. Perhaps a health-related column that's going to end up whining about how 'asylum-seekers' are draining all the money out of the NHS, since this is the Mail, after all, but still essentially about health. Right?


European women should be staying at home to breed more European babies and thus halt the moral decline of our immigrant-filled culture! )
(and no, it's not The Thorn Birds - in this book, getting gored to death by a wild pig in the middle of a bush fire would be a cheerful intermission.)

When I was finishing my undergraduate degree and trying to work out what to do next, I bought a book called How To Get A PhD. It's the most discouraging, pessimistic, unhelpful guide to anything ever written, and I have no idea why it didn't put me off completely. Many years later, it hasn't turned out to be any more helpful than it looked to start with, but it has proved quite useful on many a fun evening's Find The Most Ridiculous Quote Ever competition with my housemate.

This is why. )
Unless you're a character in the Iliad, of course.

I saw Troy tonight (I'm guessing I don't need spoiler warnings for one of the oldest epics still in circulation). My housemate had seen it already, and recommended it "if you ignore some of the dialogue", so we went to see it together; secretly-deep-down, we're still Classicists. (Our undergraduate Classics professor liked it, too.) It's worth seeing, especially on a big screen, and it was better than I'd expected. But some things...

They took the gods out. They took the gods out. I already knew about this, and I don't really blame them; I'd love to have seen Greek gods done well in a serious modern film, but part of the reason I'd love to see that is because I can't imagine how they'd do it, so quite possibly they couldn't either. (Plus, it would have been terribly confusing and six hours long if they'd tried to fit the gods in.)

But I wasn't expecting them to take the gods out quite so much. They went for a very human-centred Iliad, where people believe in the gods but the gods aren't there. Which, well, okay, Historical Epic. They worked around the plot points that require divine cheating involvement in the story quite well. Except... it made it sort of flat, I think. And it definitely lessened the idea of having characters who think quite differently to us. (Except that one of my favourite parts was the negotiation of burial rituals for Hector, when the script went all subtle and didn't hammer us over the head with Burial Rituals Are Important, just had the characters take this for granted so well that we got the message anyway.) (My other favourite bit was the duel between Menelaus (pronounced 'Men-e-louse', apparently) and Paris, with Paris crawling away and clinging to Hector's ankles.)

They also went for a very hero-centred Iliad, in the sense that they were trying (part of the way, at least) to make it a film about how heroes and myths are created. And this is the sort of thing I like, although here I think there's so much more they could have done with it. When Achilles dies, it's not the arrow in his ankle which kills him, but the four or five in his chest - but he pulls them out, and when his body is found, there's only an arrow in his ankle. I think we were supposed to get the implied "...and when this story is retold, they'll all say that it was just an arrow to the ankle that killed the mighty Achilles!". Hmm. Clever, but...

Oh, and Briseis was about the wimpiest Mary Sue I have ever seen. Helen was at least supposed to not do a great deal, and start a war about as passively as it's possible to do so. Briseis was just a terrible, terrible character all round. I wish she'd stayed as a bit-part, and I hope to hell they didn't give her such an extended role because they needed a good female character, because she's really not it.

On 'Van Helsing'

Wednesday, 2 June 2004 17:14
I am not a great person to see films with. I'm fine to sit next to in the cinema if you don't know me, but if you're the person who came to see the film with me and I don't like it, then woe betide you. My ex nearly strangled me during Signs (stupidest aliens on this or any other planet, and was that supposed to be a storyline?) and Matrix Reloaded (insert your own reason for suckiness here - it's not like there aren't enough to go round). My father still speaks in anguished tones of the time he took me to see Care Bears: The Movie when I was four or five, because I'd wanted to see Return of the Jedi but was in hospital for an operation when the cinema was showing it, and of how I complained all. The. Way. Through. Very, very loudly.

This is a bad habit. I know that, and I feel truly sorry for anyone who tries to sit through a film I don't like with me, and these days I try my best to stay quiet and sit still until the credits start rolling. It's an effort, though.

And with that in mind, I have no idea whatsoever why two of my supposed best friends decided we should all go and see Van Helsing last weekend, when both of them knew and freely admitted I was going to hate it. Obviously, they thought it was a good sign that I adored the LOTR films and didn't complain about the changes from canon (well, mostly, mumblemumblegrumpy!Elrondmumblemumble).

But I was good, and I didn't complain a tiny bit during the film itself. Only now I have all this grumbling worked out, and nowhere to grumble it. So...

lj-cut for spoilers, none of which aren't entirely predictable from the first eight minutes of the film anyway, but still )



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