Thoughts on “Logan”

*I shall attempt a no spoilers post*

I recently went and saw the movie “Logan” which is the last film in the Marvel film series about the X-Men (or so it would seem).  I must say that as a person who has found just about every Marvel movie annoying since the original X-Men series, I was very pleased with this movie.  While all of the X-Men films, and Marvel films in general, have been the same special effects driven, generic movies, “Logan” had a a gritty, real world feel to it that made it far more engaging than the usual superhero movie.

That is because Logan (played by Hugh Jackman) is one of the few characters from the original films that is still a mutant and still has powers. However it becomes clear very early in the movie that his powers are waning, and he’s not the paragon of strength that “Wolverine” used to be. He’s looking old, his scars are showing, his eyesight is failing, he limps like a man whose worked too hard and is in his sixties, and his wondrous healing powers that had seen him through so much are disappearing. He also seems to be extremely depressed. After years of being something, he’s been reduced to a limo driver whose purpose is to drive around drunken idiots. He’s also taking care of his old friend, Professor Charles Xavier (played by Patrick Stewart) whose very old and suffering from Alzheimer. Logan has no choice but to watch as one of the most powerful minds in the world deteriorates into nothing. Professor X, on the other hand, is very aware that people are “just waiting for him to die.” Many older people experience this, which brings to Xavier a feeling of mortality as he realizes the restrictions of his brilliance brought on by old age.

The audience gets the feeling that Logan is about ready to give up. He’s carrying around an Adamantium bullet, the only thing that he knows that can definitely kill him. He’s realized that most of the purpose in his life has gone away, and he is ready to die. When he meets the little girl Laura, who has powers just like him, his will to live is renewed as he cannot help but love the child who becomes more than a little special to him.

Logan is a very interesting character to study, especially as he progresses through the series. When we first meet Logan, he is, indeed, a cage fighter in Canada, running away from a past he can’t remember and trying to avoid all human contact. This is probably because he’s trying to avoid getting hurt. He is very aware that if you care about anything, losing it means the potential for emotional pain. While he presents himself as a character with a massive chip on his shoulder who cares for no one, that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. In fact, he may be a loner, but he also has a big heart that is easily shattered by loss and pain. Throughout the series there are several deaths and un-requited love stories that he goes through.

What Logan’s attitude boils down to in the end is fear of loss, fear of pain, and possibly just a desire to not have to deal with that anymore. By the time we reach the Logan story, he has to be almost three hundred years old. In that span of time, one can be witness to more human tragedy than anyone should ever suffer. Some part of him probably longs for mortality, the release of death means the release from pain, which is probably why he carries that bullet around with him.

As Logan goes through the story, he realizes that he doesn’t have to kill himself. With his failing powers, he’s staring down mortality. And he realizes the limits of his strength just as any normal human would. The audience can tell that this brings him both relief and fear. But there’s one last thing he has to do. That he has to finish. And finish it he will, even if it ends him.

The movie “Logan” is all about endings. In some ways it is also about beginnings. There is the classic theme of passing the torch from one generation to the next. This is a theme that is as old as story telling as the old hero passes his sword to his child so that the child may carry on when he can no longer. It is also a story about how even heroes all fallible. Logan, who was once invincible, is no longer what he used to be. The mask of the hero is lifted to reveal a mere mortal. It is also about facing down fear, whether it be the fear of taking the risk and loving someone, or the fear of mortal limitations. All in all, it is perhaps the best film in the series.

Just like Deadpool, this movie is not really appropriate for children as it has it’s share of swearing and stabbing people through the head. However the violence in this movie is not a bad thing. It actually contributes to the story and the character as Logan, the Clint Eastwood cowboy type, carves his way to a difficult victory. In some ways it is like watching an old Western movie like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, or a Chinese Kung-Fu film like The Blood of the Dragon where the hero doesn’t even fall down to die. Which in some ways kind of makes it a guy movie, but just about any X-Men fan, or action movie fan and sit and enjoy it. In fact it’s kind of nice that heralds back to that old action movie feel. The tone is both modern and nostalgic for those who have always loved action movies.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it.

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The Value of Fan Fiction, Fan Art, Fan Videos and Costumes

 

 

Hello all. Thought I would go ahead and post something because it is one of those things I am interested in.  It is often said by some that “fan projects” are not worth the time or effort. This is not true at all. “Fan projects” are more pivotal now than they ever have been. Why do I say this? Because engaging in fan activities such as writing fan fiction, doing fan videos and creating fan art are fostering the next generation of artists. Basically what I am saying is that, with these projects comes knowledge, practice in the art that you want to be involved in, and experience.

Lets start with fan fiction. Many authors will say that this is not the kind of thing that “real” writers engage in. That is not true. Even writers and film makers that are well respected have dabbled in borrowing, fan fiction and “ripping off”. Take Suzanne Collins who wrote “The Hunger Games”. It is quite clearly based, in some form off of the film “Battle Royale”, A Japanese film about a group of Japanese students who are forced to fight to the death in a contest where only one is meant to come out alive.

Then again, “Battle Royale” is much more interesting and amusing, because it is not a film made to be considered as “overly serious film”, it is a film that caters to the interest of many audiences, action fans, Japanese film fan, people who like the irony and strong social messages put forward by the film. But basically it is an “it is what it is film, and if you try to make it something more, you’ll merely disappoint yourself”. The Hunger Games” caters to it’s built in audience, and is therefore full of teen angst and characters that one only finds interesting if they are into that sort of movie. There’s nothing wrong with the films. For me, they are just not as entertaining as a film like “Battle Royale”. But still, it cannot be denied that the premise is basically the same and one is simply more entertaining that the other.

Let’s take a moment to look at “Star Wars” and George Lucas. George Lucas’s earliest movie was “THX1138”, a dystopian film about a very controlled society. Here we actually have Lucas who has borrowed from George Orwell, who’s books (that later became films) are basically the same story. People living in a controlled society. Then when it came time for “Star Wars”, George Lucas, who was a great fan of Akira Kurosawa, basically took the plot of Kurosawa’a film “The Hidden Fortress” and set it in space. The George Lucas ripped himself off and Created “Willow” which is the same story with little people and Val Kilmer. Then, as Honest Trailers pointed out, J.J. Abrams basically recycled the plot, except this time around, Luke was a young woman who didn’t whine or complain as much. And in fact, you could say that Collins ripped off both Lucas and Orwell…Haha…

Even a smutty book like “Fifty Shades of Grey” was borrowed from the plot of “Twilight”, which I have always found amusing. Anne Rice took the plot of “Sleeping Beauty” and filled it with smut. Also borrowing from other people is what remakes are, adaptations are, they are also why Marvel keeps regurgitating it’s superhero franchises.

So here’s the thing. If these people are allowed to borrow, adapt, rip off and do all these other sorts of things, why can’t we fans do so? Some writers will say that, “ah, fan fiction. That is no good because you’re just taking someone else’s story and doing things with it.” Well yeah! That’s what art is all about. Copying and borrowing from the masters in order to gain competence. Even Da Vinci and Michelangelo started, probably from copying some of their art, or borrowing it from the person that they learned from. Everyone learns something. The difference is how quickly you can pick it up.

Also they say, “oh you don’t get good feedback on fan fiction”. Not true at all. If you are a good writer, people will know it and know how to respond to your writing, regardless of what it is based off of. There is a difference in writing styles and motives in fan fiction. One is for the writer who someday wants to write. The other is for people who use it for some kind of odd wish fulfillment, which shouldn’t be in the same caliber. However, I have gotten a lot of good feedback from writing fan fics. People seem to like what I write and know what kind of writer I am, and therefore, they ask questions, point out plot holes, make comments on my having too much exposition, all kinds of useful comments. So one cannot claim that they do not get good feed back. If you are a good writer who is working to morph a good narrative, readers will know it.

Some fan videos are wonderful, and I enjoy watching them. They can be funny, touching, interesting visually, and just plain emotional. So here the thing. What you are looking at are the writers, comedians, film editors, and producers/directors of the future. If you can make a good fan video that people like, then chances are you want to work in film. The fact that you are working with someone elses content, just as long as you make it clear that you are playing with someone elses baby, and you’re not slapping your name on it saying, “this is mine”, I don’t see a problem with it. When I edit photos, people know they are not mine. Nor do I claim them as mine. They belong to someone else, and I try to make that as clear as possible when I give credits to people. So we should not demonize people for stealing when all they are doing is borrowing. If they have the footage, chances are they own the original, and most people still like to buy the DVD. Personally I don’t like downloads of anything, whether it’s film or music or game content. I want something I can hold, that is mine. So I still buy DVDs and things. I love things like commentary and interviews and extras, so I buy the damn movie! It isn’t mine. I claim nothing because I cannot. All I do is what most other artists do is borrow and take what I can from a given plot and work with it. Here are a couple of videos from Sweetladybat that I just love.

Fan art is also a very useful teaching tool. Again, learning from the masters. Also fan costumes. If you go to conventions, you will see thousands of costumes that people have worked numerous hours on, sometimes just to wear to one event. What you have here is artists in the making and future costume designers. You may have the next Edith Head amongst their numbers. Or even a Donatella Versace is you think about it. why would the film industry and fashion industry not take advantage of these people and their art?

There are so many fandoms out there, and there are so many people who want to be a part of them. And if you do not foster the talent of the next Shakespeare, or the next Da Vinci, or the next Edith Head, the industry will be missing out on some great and awesome talent.

Thank you for reading, I greatly appreciate it!! Shara

Recent Issues In Hollywood. You know, the diversity thing and the rehashing…

Hello ladies and gents!! Decided to do a little something different this time around!! I have been checking out entertainment and film news lately, and there are some interesting things going on. First of all, Jennifer Lawrence pointed out that when the Sony emails came out, she noticed she was not being paid as much as her male counterparts. Also, Viola Davis recently pointed out that people of color were not offered as many opportunities as their Caucasian counterparts. Also there was the bit where Matt Damon said on his show, “Project Green Light” that diversity behind the camera was not as important as diversity in front of it.

Jennifer Lawrence makes an interesting point when she said that she was not paid as much as the male actors in her films, but in some ways, that has been the way that it has always been. Males have generally made more money than females throughout history regardless of what profession they are in. Why is that? I could not say for sure, but it sort of reeks of some sort of superiority thing, and it is definitely a control thing. Consider a scenario where everybody made the same amount of money for doing the same job. This would be ideal, and would make everyone equal. However, the world is not ideal. Not that that ideal situation cannot be achieved. It certainly can. The problem is, we’re not there yet in any facet of society. While Americans claim that there is equality between men and women, it is not necessarily true. If it were true, then we would be in that ideal zone. So that does not exist yet. While women currently have some amount of respect in Hollywood, because they do their jobs and do them well, that does not make them equal to their male co-star. If they were, everybody would be making the same kind of money. Ms. Lawrence is also right when she says that when you ask why you are not getting what you want or need, people tend to call a person difficult. It is especially easy to call a woman difficult. I even tweeted recently to Elijah Wood that, “it is easy to call a woman difficult merely because you don’t want to deal with them”. Again, true and not true. While there are some women who genuinely want to do things in order to better their situation, there are those who are in fact difficult. So there is a difference between that woman who wants to make things better and the woman who is truly difficult and a pain. And certainly there are male actors who are difficult as well. It is not a solely female issue. There are many people in the film industry that are just plain hard to work with. It is whether or not the reputation is true to the person that is the issue. Some people are difficult, others they want you to think are difficult.

Diversity is an interesting watch-word these days. Viola Davis says more people of color, Matt Damon says not necessarily. She’s right, he’s wrong. We need people of color in front of the camera, behind the camera, writing, directing, doing costumes, music, everything! Not on every film, but it is best to make sure that both cast and crew are as diverse as possible. Having more diverse people means having more creativity, ideas, direction, whatever. Not only that, but an Asian person, say a Chinese person, or a Korean person, or a Japanese person, Malaysian person, or what have you, are going to know more about Korean, Chinese, Japanese culture than a Caucasian person who is trying to write for them. They know their culture better than a person from outside of it. This is also true for Hispanic people, African American people, or people of African descent, whoever the cultural person is. So we need those writers and directors and producers. They will make the project more authentic. (one thing that kind of offended me was the fact that they chose Scarlett Johannsen to be the lead in “Ghost In The Shell”. Any hard core anime fan has seen it a million times, any science fiction fan has seen it a couple of times, and then there are people who just love good Japanese animation who loved it too. This was the perfect opportunity to use a Japanese actress, but they decided to go with a woman who was not Japanese. This made me incredibly sad…)

Last thing that has been bothering me lately. Recently, Hugh Jackman was in a movie called “Pan”. It sounds to me like it didn’t go very well, or at least it was not as great of a success as people expected it to be. What is the reason for this? It is not the fault of the actors, as I am sure that they all did the best they could. It was perhaps because of the fact that the story of Peter Pan has been told a million times in a million ways. And while each method of telling the story might be slightly different, it’s still the same story. Very often people get bored when they are offered the same thing over and over again (what’s the definition of insanity again?). If it is a story people have heard over and over again, they are going to lose interest. Batman=done to death, Marvel=also done to death, films about zombies=done to death!! Where’s all the great stuff that people used to make? The quirky science fantasy stuff and the action flicks that weren’t sequels, and the comedies that didn’t run off of bad sex jokes? All gone. Traded for rehashing, endless sequels, and a whole bunch of other stuff that nobody asked for. I will admit, there are a few dramas that I am anxious to see, and I am going to go and see “Star Wars” at least once (I hope I am not disappointed). Somehow it disappoints me that studios aren’t willing to take risks anymore. They want guaranteed hits as opposed to the films that may merely break even. What that does though is it leaves the little guy, passionate film makers who have the drive but not the resources, out in the cold. I know many fine young film makers who are starting out on fan films, and webseries, and other ambitious projects who would love nothing better than to be given a chance to make a film with the resources that the production companies and studios spend on the big guys. If we don’t help them out, then there are so many diverse stories that will never be told. Many of the people I know that are working on film projects are young people of color, and they deserve a chance. So lets finish with the rehashing and give these guys a chance!!

Thank you for reading this post. I know it is slightly long winded and perhaps a bit dour, but it was an opinion I just had to get out. I appreciate your readership!! If you like what you see, or you have an opinion, please comment, follow or like. This is my opinion, and I thank you for giving it a read!! Cheers and many thanks!!

Shara

Amusing Things You Will See in “Poldark”.

Hello again all! A few months ago, I was able to catch the BBC drama “Poldark”. Actually I found it quite interesting, though that is not usual fare for me. The scenery is lovely and the story is certainly fascinating. The characters are interesting, and very true to the era in which the story is set. So all in all, it’s very worth a view if you have not seen it already. Go find it on PBS, you can buy it on DVD, and you can probably stream it from Netflix or something. Very worth viewing.

Of course this is the third posting in my “Amusing Things” series, so most of what you will find here are jokes that I will hope you will find funny. Just know that all of these are done out of love and jest, though some of them may seem harsh. Poldark stars Aidan Turner, Eleanore Tomlinson, Kyle Soller, Heida Reed, Warren Clarke, Ruby Bentall, and several other great and lovely actors. Also thanks to BBC 1, Mammoth Screen, and PBS. Thank you for reading, and I do hope you enjoy.

Let’s kick it off with a Red Coat!

Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark.

Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark.

Here’s a little song for him!

Having a keen sense of the obvious.

Aidan Turner and Kyle Soller As Ross and Francis.

Aidan Turner and Kyle Soller As Ross and Francis.

Sleeping beauty with a healthy fear of Anne Rice!

Aidan Turner.

Aidan Turner.

Idiot face!

Kyle Soller as Francis Poldark.

Kyle Soller as Francis Poldark.

Mr Toad of Toadhall.

Warren Clarke as Chales Poldark.

Warren Clarke as Chales Poldark.

A twenty-five year old spinster!

Ruby Bentall as Verity Poldark.

Ruby Bentall as Verity Poldark.

Idiots dueling.

Kyle Soller, Aidan Turner, Ruby Bentall, Warren Clarke and Richard Harrinton.

Kyle Soller, Aidan Turner, Ruby Bentall, Warren Clarke and Richard Harrinton.

Working for a living!

Beatie Edney as Prudie and Phil Davis as Jud Paynter.

Beatie Edney as Prudie and Phil Davis as Jud Paynter.

Being fused to your horse!

Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark.

Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark.

The best decision he ever made. And some Star Wars-ian humor.

Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson as Ross and Demelza.

Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson as Ross and Demelza.

Rich witches…Or is that with a “b”?

Eleanor Tolinson, Harriet Ballard, Heida Reed, and Mary Woodvine.

Eleanor Tolinson, Harriet Ballard, Heida Reed, and Mary Woodvine.

Seriously, I think this is what they turn into at night.

Here for your souls

A broken heart…

Aidan Turner cradling Baby Julia.

Aidan Turner cradling Baby Julia.

True love.

Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tolinson as Ross and Demelza.

Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tolinson as Ross and Demelza.

Getting thrown in the slammer for something you may have done…(allegedly)…

Aidan Turner getting arrested.

Aidan Turner getting arrested.

A song for Ross and Demelza.

Well, that’s it for now!! I hope you enjoyed this posting. The next one will be either Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings. If you have a preference, let me know! Leave a comment, “vote for Star Wars” or “Vote for LOTR” and I will tally them up in a couple of days and get on it ASAP. I gots stuff to do though, so it may be a week to a couple of weeks as usual!! Anyway, I shall see you then!!

Aidan Turner Shirtless Scything: Sexism or Just Something That Happened That Women Love?

Hello ladies and gents!! Just thought I would give an honest opinion on something concerning the Lovely actor Aidan Turner since it still seems to be everywhere. I was cruising around on Facebook in one of my groups, one dedicated to Aidan Turner, and I came across this article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11561120/Poldarks-Elizabeth-Aidan-Turner-topless-obsession-is-sexist.html#disqus_thread . Usually I don’t read these kinds of things, but I decided to give it a look. I won’t say I was surprised, but I will say that I found it interesting on several levels and this was my original comment via the group:

Okay, here is the first reason why this is ridiculous. The term “reverse sexism” is absolute crap. There is no such thing. Sexism is sexism and it applies to anything/one. Just like the term “reverse racism” is bull. Goes which ever way, racism is racism. Also there is the fact that it’s about time that women started objectifying a man, as it’s usually the other way around. Women objectify men much less than men objectify women. Suggesting this is wrong because it is a man is just silly. I mean let’s go for a little equality in harmless objectification. I mean it’s not like we are demanding that we want him to go around with his shirt off all the time. Nor are we asking that he take it all off in anything more than jest. Women’s sexual wants are no less than mens, we just express them less publicly and not all the time. I mean when you think about it, there are far more magazines in the stores with women hanging out of clothing than men. Anyway, a mere opinion. And one would think that he would be a bit flattered. “People like me, hopefully body and soul. I should be happy of that. And if it’s just body for now, so it goes. It’s still recognition.”

Now that I consider this, it is both true and not true. While he is getting exposure, so to say, it is not necessarily the exposure he wants. Then again there is the old saying that, “any publicity is good publicity”. Again, both true and not true. While Aidan Turner is at a point where he is on the edge of  the “wide exposure/discovery” stage of his career, as before “The Hobbit” and “Poldark”, most people within the United States (and some other countries) might not have known him very well, he runs the risk of being know for a very long time as “half naked scything guy from “Poldark”” (sorry Aidan, had to go there). He may be at the point where he is trying to decide if that is what he wants. He could end up in the same vortex as Mark Hamill who will always be Luke Skywalker, William Shatner who will always be Captain Kirk, or  any other number of actors who will only be therefore identified with one role or type of role. Aidan probably wants to be seen as more versatile, as he is more versatile than that. There is a lot of potential in Aidan, and he wants to express that. Maybe he will go on to be James Bond, or an action star, or take on comedic roles. If he is going to do that, he has to paint himself as something more than a British period series sex symbol.

Aidan Turner in the BBC show "Poldark" Scything and asking the fundamental question.

Aidan Turner in the BBC show “Poldark” Scything and asking the fundamental question.

However, the above statement that I made is not completely wrong either. Women are far more objectified than men are. The fact that women are taking an interest in a sexy guy and letting it be known should not be a shocking thing. And in some ways I think he should be a bit flattered. Most people would enjoy a bit of mild fawning over their sexiness. I know that if I were a bit more sexy, I would want a bit of attention. Then again, too much is too much, and we should all be respectful. Aidan works hard, is proud of his work, and he thinks focus should be on more than just his sexy physique. That’s a good thing. They should all be proud of “Polark”. It was a good series, it was interesting, people seemed to like it, be proud!! But it cannot be denied that if they hadn’t had Aidan, and they hadn’t utilized him…So to say…The show probably would not have been as successful as it was.

One cannot deny that Aidan Turner is a sexy man. I still think he should be named “People Magazines” Sexiest Man Alive!! I mean, if they can make Chris Hemsworth the Sexiest man Alive… He has a bright future ahead of him, and it will be interesting to see how his career plays out. I do not think that his stint at scything will be anything other than good for him, and it certainly cannot be considered a “bad thing”. Do I believe it is sexism? Maybe it is. More than anything, if it is a respectful admiration of something beautiful, then perhaps not. Appreciating something for it’s beauty is not necessarily sexist. When people are disrespectful and degrade it, that is the point where it turns to sexism. Personally I am of the opinion that everyone should keep their clothing on. Taking off one’s clothing, hanging out of it, or just not caring about states of undress merely defeats the purpose of clothing…So either go with or go without.

As for Aidan…He can go with, go without, hang out in his Kili costume. Whatever floats your boat. It won’t change the fact that he’s still a very attractive man, and if we choose to fawn, so we will.

Thank you for reading!! I hope to hear from you!! Now for a relevant song…Or somehow I feel it is…