Narnia: In Which Little Happens

[Narnia Content Note: Animal Mistreatment. One gif from the Frozen 2 trailer.]

Narnia Recap: Digory and Polly used their rings to flee from a dying world but found to their surprise that the mysterious Queen Jadis was able to come with them through the power of the rings.

The Magician's Nephew, Chapter 6: The Beginning of Uncle Andrew's Troubles

When we last left our heroes, they were rocketing at high speeds away from Charn towards the Woods Between Worlds (though, through what medium they are traveling, I could not say) and they had an unexpected tag-along. 

   “LET GO! LET GO!” SCREAMED POLLY.
   “I’m not touching you!” said Digory.
   Then their heads came out of the pool and, once more, the sunny quietness of the Wood between the Worlds was all about them, and it seemed richer and warmer and more peaceful than ever after the staleness and ruin of the place they had just left. I think that, if they had been given the chance, they would again have forgotten who they were and where they came from and would have lain down and enjoyed themselves, half asleep, listening to the growing of the trees. But this time there was something that kept them as wide-awake as possible: for as soon as they had got out on to the grass, they found that they were not alone. The Queen, or the Witch (whichever you like to call her) had come up with them, holding on fast by Polly’s hair. That was why Polly had been shouting out “Let go!”

Open Thread: Light Reflected Off Wet Containers


Sorry for the lack of open thread last week, depression was really bad, and after Tuesday evening I had some very different priorities.  I figured that it was better to wait for Friday and this one than post a stopgap open thread so late on Wednesday that it might as well have been Thursday.

The picture was taken from the Portland side of the red bridge (Casco Bay Bridge.)  This loading yard used to be parking for the Scotia Prince, which was a cruise/ferry that went from Portland to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  Notable for also being a way for Mainers in the Portland area to gamble, since as soon as you crossed out of Maine territorial waters it became legal.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Film Corner: Predators

Predators

As a grand finale to the Alien Franchise re-watch, I'll close out with Predators which is not an alien film but cheekily sorta refers to the xenomorphs at one point. I really enjoyed Predators more than basically any of the other Predator movies and concepts I've seen because it was like someone took the idea and tried to make it more... hmm... tonally consistent? Well, that's my opinion anyway.

We open with Adrian Brody waking in a freefall and being very confused and terrified. A strange parachute attached to him opens when *it* feels like, rather than from any urging on his part. It's a very effective opening for shit getting real. Adrian wakes up again, this time on the ground, just in time to see a confused and frightened stranger land with similar violence and point guns at him. "Don't!" Adrian orders, but in a sort of friendly badass way.

This is my FAVORITE trivia about this movie: According to Nimród Antal and Robert Rodriguez on the commentary, in the script, the character Cuchillo was described as "a guy who looks like Danny Trejo." When Danny Trejo heard this, he called Robert Rodriguez and said, "hey, I heard there's a guy in the script for 'Predators' who looks just like Danny Trejo, and guess what, I look just like Danny Trejo!"

Royce (Brody) and Cuchillo very nearly have a shoot-out right then and there when a third body *whumps* to the ground between them and his parachute does NOT deploy. As they're trying to figure out how to feel about *that*, machine gun fire rips through the forest. WE HAVE NOT HAD EVEN A MOMENT TO BREATHE and I like that.

Royce manages to flank the shooter--a burly Russian guy--and puts his gun to the guy's head before politely growling "please stop doing that!" Nikolai introduces himself and Royce asks what he remembers. "War. Then there was a light. Then I woke up and I was falling." It's the same for the others. Nikolai asks where they are and Royce nods at a woman with a gun trained on them. "Maybe she knows."

Royce asks if she'd like to lower her weapon and she just shakes her head no. (I would die for her.) She says she's never seen this jungle and she's "seen most". I like to believe the plants are different enough from earth plants that she can just tell. She says the place is too hot, and the typography all wrong, for Asia or Africa. Then she reveals she saw more parachutes. Royce asks which way, "so I can figure out who threw me out of a fucking airplane."

She nods a direction, he takes off, everyone follows because... what else are you going to do? Safety in numbers. Behind them, a man in a *very* nice business suit silently follows. After removing his nice dress shoes, which are slowing him down, I guess. Nearby, two men are fighting. One of them wears an orange prison jumpsuit. They hesitate when they see the armed group. Isabelle tells them they have bigger problems and they join up.

Jumpsuit mentions a guy hanging in a tree who keeps calling for help, and it's (yay!) the nerdy twiggy boy from That 70s Show. His parachute trapped him hanging upside down in a tree. Royce asks if he has anything to cut himself down with and the man is confused by the question. Noteworthy, he is one of the few who isn't dressed in military-esque type clothes with lots of pockets. He just looks...normal. Royce shoots the branch so that Edwin falls into a pool below and honestly it's a miracle it was deep enough that he didn't snap his neck but this is Hollywood, he's fine. Edwin says he's a doctor on his way to work. We're going to assume that the Predators kidnapped him in order to keep everyone patched up. Team Medic!

Hey, you know what's great? Not having rape threats! Jumpsuit--who presumably hasn't seen women much lately--stares at Isabelle's ass and tells her it's "awesome" but doesn't try or threaten to try to hurt her.

The group finally notices Business Suit (Hanzo), who is staring at a metal pillar thing that looks...really alien. Everyone discusses what they think is going on. If it were a training exercise, everyone would be military. Kidnapping for ransom doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense. And the skull trophies on the ground around the pillar are...unsettling. Edwin says it isn't drugs because they aren't feeling any side-effects, and a behavioral experiment would have some kind of *point*, which this doesn't seem to have. The point is made that they could be regular-degular dead; several of them remember being in combat. Royce growls that you don't need a parachute to get to hell and stomps off to find high ground.

Nikolai tries to touch a pretty flower and Doctor Edwin stops him, pointing out that the plant would have paralyzed him with poison. Nikolai promises to protect him out here. Sweet! Isabella keeps trying to create team cohesion and Royce doesn't want any of that. Instead, she shows him a homemade.....compass? I guess? (It's a needle on a leaf, set in water.) It spins and spins rather than pointing north? He frowns, worried. Royce points out the sun hasn't moved since they arrived. Then he notes how dangerous everyone is: Spetnaz, cartel, RUF, Yakuza, Jumpsuit. ...and a doctor. "He doesn't belong." I still maintain he's surely there to patch people up for long-term hunting.

They accidentally set off a series of traps and Isabelle nearly falls into a pit. For all his "I'm stronger alone" growls, Royce instantly races to slide and save her. Bless him. Royce and Isabelle crouch back to back, scanning with their gun sights. Isabelle (the sniper) sees the threat and Royce says to "take him" but she says she doesn't have to. "He" is a corpse, his chest exploded outwards. HMMMMMM. They triggered a dead man's trap, but what was he trying to kill? The deadfall size suggests he was afraid of something *big*.

Everyone is distressed to locate a horizon on which they can see extra moons that shouldn't be in the sky.

Dogs that look REALLY WEIRD come at them and everyone drops to either fire or flee; the doctor and Jumpsuit run (they don't have guns), Isabelle and Royce calmly single fire; some others panicky waste ammo. I like this because it's the first real *hunting* thing we've seen the Predators do here; they sent dogs to flush the game and observe how they respond to threats. I don't like hunting, but this feels like actual hunting rather than invisible serial killing.

Isabelle's rifle jams and her side-arm does nothing against the dog. Cornered, she places her gun to her temples. Doctor Edwin screams for her to stop, but a whistle calls the dogs away before she can shoot. Royce orders everyone to reload. "This planet is a game preserve and we're the game. We just got flushed out." I like this because it actually *fits* the things they've observed and isn't just magically intuited or given from Ancient Writings.

They notice someone is missing, then hear his cries for help: he's in the middle of an eerie field, not moving. When they throw a rock into the field, some kind of trap electrifies and disintegrates the rock. They drift away, aware they can't help their companion. Isabelle, moved by pity, shoots him in the heart... then starts in horror as "help me" is heard in his voice again.

Royce wants to trace the dog tracks to their camp in order to see who they're dealing with. They find a... camping site with bodies hung up in various states of... being skinned for trophies? They find a predator, sans armor, strung up and suffering. Royce disappears while Isabelle has an emotional reaction to the creature. Then they're being shot at and Royce is yelling RUN. They run off a cliff into a pool which was apparently fucking freezing, per IMDB.

Isabelle punches his pretty face and tells the others that Royce used them as bait to learn about the creatures. He agrees but points out that Isabelle recognized the thing. She reluctantly spills classified information about Arnie's original predator movie. Royce has them hole up with traps to draw the predators to them, but they don't take the bait so he decides to use Doctor Edwin as bait and sends him running through the forest while something big chases him. Problem: It's not a predator and Isabelle didn't shoot it.

A whispering voice approaches them and then an invisible predator materializes. It's Lawrence Fishburne! "I'm alive!" he whispers. "You talk too loud." Noland takes them to his hideout and tells them about the place: predators dump things here--"shit like you wouldn't believe!"--and hunt and kill them. He's managed to survive by running and salvaging. The predators come in a ship, but no one knows how to fly it.

Noland goes to sleep while Royce plots to convince the captive predator to help them. "Enemy of my enemy," he says, echoing Alien vs Predator. "Doesn't make him a friend," Isabelle says. To punctuate this truth, they realize the cabin is filling up with smoke. Noland has disappeared. "He's a scavenger," Doctor Edwin yells. "He wants what we have!" Royce shoots the nearby wall in order to alert the predators and "call in the cavalry". This is...kind of effective in that they kill Nolan. Less effective in that they start killing everyone else. Nikolai takes one out (and himself) with explosives.

Jumpsuit gets himself killed but gets a few good hits in. Hanzo has a sword fight with one of the predators, which in interesting because they have guns but this suggests a legitimate obsession with becoming a "perfect" warrior. Royce, Isabelle, and Edwin are the only ones left. Edwin is maimed in a trap and Royce says they have to leave him behind if they want to survive. Isabelle refuses. "You should've gone with him," Edwin says sadly. "I know," she replies.

Isabelle and Edwin are captured and thrown in a pit. Royce frees the captured predator and the spaceship rises into the air. Edwin asks if she'd make the same choice if she could do it over again. "Yes." She promises to kill them both quick, and Edwin says "No, it won't be quick." Then he cuts her with neurotoxin and she collapses. Whoops, turns out he's a serial killer and we only *thought* he was here to be team medic. In the sky, the spaceship explodes.

Royce comes back, rescues Isabelle and Edwin from the pit, and then kills Edwin in a scene which is, like, 78% of my kinks I'm not going to lie to you all like a liar. Royce booby-traps Edwin with grenades, blows up the predator, and then beats him up while covered in mud and surrounded by fire (to confuse the predator's heat-vision). About the time he starts losing (because, I mean, it's still a predator and he's still Adrian Brody), Isabelle manages to drag herself to her sniper rifle and helps kill the damn thing.

Royce and Isabelle exchange names for the first time, hold each other until morning, and watch grimly as more parachutes fall from the sky. THE END. A downer, but I honestly love it. I believe in these kids. That's it, that's the movie, we made it to the end!!

Film Corner: Aliens vs Predator

Alien vs Predator

Alright, here we go. Movie night. Aliens vs. Predator has a soft spot in my heart because my spouse made me watch it and I expected to absolutely HATE it and instead ending up liking it a lot. That was a few years ago, though, so let's see how it holds up. I tentatively select "extended version" on the play screen, though sometimes that's a mistake. We'll see.

We start in a snowy place where a panicky man is running around willy-nilly. Invisible Wolverine stabs or shoots him, it's unclear, and we cut away. I'm sure that's fine. In space, a Weyland satellite exists. It locates an identified heat signature in somewhere. Everyone seems very excitable about it. A Black woman climbing an icy mountain gets a call on her bluetooth headset from someone claiming to represent Weyland Industries. They offer her a bribe to meet with Weyland, and when she reaches the top of the mountain a helicopter is there waiting for her.

Smash cut to... somewhere warmer and people speaking Spanish. A person excavating a dig locates a pepsi-cola cap before HE takes a call from Weyland as well. Weyland is clearly putting together the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. A Scottish man takes a picture of the Black woman while she sleeps. She has the extreme patience to not slap the camera out of his hands. He asks her to take a picture of him for his boys. He's a chemical engineer. She splits her time between environmentalism and taking scientists on the ice. I love her and would die for her.

Open Thread: Sun-Obscuring Clouds


In spite of how it looks, this isn't actually that close to Sunset.  At least, I don't think it was.  Taken through the passenger window of a car.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Film Corner: Covenant

Covenant

Anyway, if I want to start Covenant tonight I need to do it now, so I guess let's do this.

We open with David being turned on for the first time. Weyland quizzes him about what he sees and feels. Weyland looks a LOT younger than before, which suggests that the David on Prometheus was an older android model than I'd expected. David and Weyland talk about god and needing to meet one's creator and David instantly questions why he should have to serve Weyland if Weyland is ephemeral, fleeting, and capable of death. This is just... argh, no.

The best I can do here is assume that David was programmed with Weyland's values, because there's no *objective* reason to assume that immortal beings are inherently better than mortal ones. Something being fleeting does not make it less precious. It feels like Scott or whoever wants to make a really profound point about existence with these movies but instead is just exposing a lot of his own fears and biases which aren't, strictly speaking, facts or objective.

Open Thread: The Great and Powerful


Not the first time I've used an image of a toy, though it might be the first time I used a picture of one that someone I know actually owns instead of a toy spotted in the wild, as it were.  While I was picking up clothes off the floor of a closet, I found The Great and Powerful Trixie Lulamoon laying on her side.

Originally I was going to use a different image of her.  That one is much sharper, but it came at the expense of the sparkles.  Trixie here captures the light of a flash in a way that makes it look like she's glowing, but the flash completely overpowers the sparkles, and the sparkles, I have realized, are compulsory.

So, anyway: small sparkly plastic toy.  Sit/stand/whatever in awe of her greatness and power.

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Friday Saturday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us here, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Film Corner: Prometheus

Prometheus

Alright, bitches, witches, good friends with stitches, and people with itches: the Alien marathon continues with Prometheus. Prometheus has a lot of emotions for me because I wanted to see it in theaters (a new alien movie! In my lifetime!) but I was instead in the hospital having surgery. Then I saw it on Bluray and was glad I didn't see it in theaters, lolsob.

In a sign of the high quality control that went into this release, I have to wrestle with the Bluray disc for 20 minutes in an attempt to get the damn thing to fucking play. I think the bluray is trying to cleverly "resume playing" from the last time and is instead just horking itself. The fact that we're gonna have to watch the DVD instead would almost be funny if I weren't so irritated, lol.

Open Thread: Fallen Leaves


Sorry this is so very late.  Depression has been really bad.  I have food and water, but it's hard to think, hard to move, hard to get the food or the water, and hard to remember that I'm supposed to be eating or drinking it instead of staring off into space.

Normally I'd reserve such "Woe is me" stuff for the comments or my own blog, but this is really late and I figured you all deserved an explanation.

Picture from October 29th of 2018.  I haven't exactly been taking a lot of pictures lately.

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Friday Sunday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us basically over, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

November Newsletter (2019)

October is over and it feels like all I did was blink. Where did the time go?

A lot of it went to a new friend who is a bit more than a friend now. *shy* It's hard to remember only a year ago I was asking you all to reassure me that I'd someday be able to stop missing my ex-husband so much. I can't remember the last time I've been this happy, even if it means I'm not as productive as I'd like to be. Time keeps slipping away but in good ways, in that did we just spend two hours talking about our favorite movies kind of ways.

[TW: Parental Bigotry] What was, uh, not fun was my mother dropping by to demand if I was "in a homosexual relationship". (If you're on twitter, you may have already seen this thread.) This was a case of a particularly suspicious stopped clock being right: she couldn't believe my friend would come over to take care of me while I was ill unless we were dating. *sigh* I told my mother that I'm bisexual and that there's a girl I'm interested in dating, and she berated me for a bit and bluntly suggested that this was why my ex-husband left me. (It's not, and it would be biphobic of him if it was, rather than "my fault".)

I'm not quite estranged yet, but visits from my parents (and the resultant disability care they were providing me) have essentially stopped. Which is honestly a strange relief on my part, but more than a little inconvenient because I needed the aid. Based on a lot of your recommendations, I'm looking at Care.com for some in-home aid but a lot of this is overwhelming at the moment. My friend is helping to chase the nightmares away by holding me at night and I took this week off of work to try to put myself back together. It's difficult because I really did try to give my parents the fiction they wanted, but I just couldn't convincingly lie and say I was heterosexual like she wanted.

In terms of what this means for Patreon, I did get some outlining done on my No Man of Woman Born sequel idea and I noodled some words onto paper but they aren't ready for post. So it's another month of live-watches, drabbles about characters, and let's play videos. And maybe a few more things.

Reminder! It's a new month, which means new paper books for the $25 patrons and new bookmarks for the $5 patrons! If I don't have your address, send me a message on the internal system or email me at AnaMardoll at gmail dot com. I love sending ya'll things!

An index to the deconstructions on my blog is here.

My YouTube channel is here. The Phoenix Wright videos are here.

Do you like "Tumblr Threads" which collect funny tumblr posts? I have one here!

My Twitter account @DivorceKittens with stories and pictures is here.

Thank you for much for hanging in here with me--you are all quite literally helping me to stay alive. I love you.