The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie posters – are you serious?

This series is one of my very favourite book trilogies. A bit predictable, given my views on men and women, but nonetheless I adored the original books – from the Swedish setting, to the character of Lisbeth Salander, right down to book’s themes of highlighting how “men hate women” (in case you’re wondering, that’s the title of the original book in Swedish).

In saying that, I have so many problems with how the current American version of the film was marketed to the English-speaking public. That’s what I’m tackling this issue, rugby-style, today – it’s been niggling at me ever since I saw the film a few nights ago.

The Film Posters:

Firstly, a comparison. Here are two of the Swedish versions:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here are two of the American/international versions:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The differences are blatantly obvious. Particularly so in how they play on the dynamics between Lisbeth and Mikael. Firstly, looking at how Lisbeth and Mikael are positioned in the second Swedish poster – she’s in the foreground, gazing directly into the camera, and looks a lot more confronting than Mikael, who’s just chilling out on a chair in the background. She’s crouched, alert, and dare I say, ready to pounce. In the first Swedish poster, she’s staring straight out into the camera, with just a hint of aggression on her face. Not even a hint of sexuality.

If you jump straight from these posters to the first poster in the American/International series, you’d almost be forgiven for thinking it was a completely different storyline. But nope, that’s the very same Lisbeth Salander- albeit, one with less clothes.

I’m not sure if the people marketing the American version got the memo about Lisbeth Salander not liking to be touched, and the very graphic rape scenes in the book – but I’m going to take an educated guess that they either don’t know, or don’t care. Because why else would they have put her in a poster, naked, in a very submissive, ‘protected’ pose?

Rooney Mara said this about the poster:

There’s a certain way people are used to seeing nude women, and that’s in a submissive, coy pose, not looking at the camera. And in this poster, I’m looking dead into the camera with no expression on my face. I think it freaks a lot of people out.”

You know what wouldn’t be a submissive, coy pose? One in which she’s not some weird cross between a stranglehold and a protective arm placed across her by Daniel Craig. One in which she actually looks something besides passive, or at the very least, neutral. Give me the Lisbeth Salander holding a golf club, or a gun, or riding a motor cycle any day.  Because I’m sure as hell not identifying with the one with ‘no expression’ on her face. The only thing that freaks me out here is how she magically lost her clothes.

And for all the people out there that argue that Rooney isn’t sexualised in this pose, let me ask you a question: why doesn’t Daniel Craig also have his clothes off?

Because he’s an older man (albeit, an attractive one). He isn’t a young, sexy woman with her nipple pierced.

I’ll probably carry this into another post, because there’s quite a bit I’d like to say about the entire series (books, and films), and I won’t be able to do it justice all in one hit.

Twilight: Breaking Womb

Oh, I know, I know. I know. Controversial blog title, about controversial (or just downright silly) movie/book/fan girl cult.

But it’s that time of year where the tweens-and-their-mums come out to play. Specifically, to watch Edward do the dirty with Bella in a four poster bed on a tropical island (seriously? any more cliches, there, Twilight?).

I haven’t seen the whole thing, BUT I HAVE SEEN BITS (capitalisation for emphasis, etc). Due to one of my many, many jobs taking place at a cinema, it was my lucky duty to be delivering food, drinks and blankets (yes, blankets) to patrons at my particular cinema. I was also privy to seeing Edward penetrate Bella at least five times in one night (the horror, people. The horror).

But in all seriousness, here are the parts of Twilight I have so far seen:

Part One: Bella’s gloomy voiceover about how children grow up, there are kingdoms, and children live in them (or something to this effect). Meanwhile, I attempt to deliver a set of cocktails to some very squealy middle-aged women who nearly fall off their chairs when Jacob takes his shirt off).

Part Two: Bella’s wobbling around in heels. Alice tells her she can’t go barefoot (duh) and Bella then spends a few minutes staring at Edward’s face. Already, one husband has left the cinema, and I’m not sure if he’ll be coming back. His wife didn’t even notice.

Part Three: IT’S THE WEDDING, OMG. Bella is worried she’ll trip, or faint, or something. I’m struck by the fact that Bella and I are SO ALIKE because, she, like, is totally clumsy, and I’m so TOTALLY CLUMSY TOO, and GOSH, doesn’t that just make me relate to her SO MUCH!?

Part Four: (I had to duck out of the cinema for a minute here, so I missed the Brazil action. When I duck back in, Bella and Edward are swimming. Nekked).

I’m in the middle of delivering some popcorn when I realise THIS IS IT. The bed breaking scene. One of my colleagues and I stand up the back, and proceed to giggle like a bunch of five year olds when Edward breaks the bed. Twihards turn and glare. We leave the theatre to fetch more drinks.

Part Five: Bella’s woken up alone- Edward’s gone to the mainland to ‘hunt’. I’m not entirely sure how he got there- maybe he flew? Or did he take the boat and leave her stranded on the island? Either way, Bella is alone, and everyone in the cinema immediately yawns. They’re not here for Bella. But suddenly, right at the moment I deliver some maltesers to two teenage girls, Bella decides to chuck her guts up. The teenage girls aren’t impressed- that is, until they realise it’s the part when Bella comes to the conclusion that she’s PREGNANT.

As I deliver some more cocktails and lemonades down the front, Edward returns. He holds the same facial position and pose for about ten minutes as Bella waxes lyrical about her late period, and how it impossible it IS that she just MIGHT be PREGNANT. Finally, someone has the sense to call Carlisle, and the happy couple decide to return home, where Carlisle can “get that thing” out of Bella.

Part Six: (NB: Again, I had to actually go and do some work for quite awhile).

When I return to the cinema, ALL HELL HAS BROKEN LOOSE. Wolves are fighting vampires, vampires are climbing trees, and someone down in the front row has spilt a drink all over themselves in excitement. As I try and mop up the Diet Coke they spilt in their lap, Jacob appears. Apparently he has “imprinted” on something, and they all need to stop fighting RIGHTNOW. Never mind that the ‘something’ is a baby who just killed his until-recent lady crush. Werewolf laws, people. Werewolf laws.

I exit the cinema again feeling confused. Luckily, I’ve read the books. I’m disappointed because I realise I’ve missed the all-important birth-via-vampire-teeth scene, which is entirely unacceptable as it’s basically the entire point I was working tonight. I was happy to get paid and all, but really I was there to see Kristen Stewart get shredded by vampire teeth. Then I remember that I’ll actually be seeing the film for myself next week, and I should probably save the gore for then when I go home and see the film with my sister, and we can cackle in an empty cinema in the middle of regional Victoria.

Part Seven: Bella’s lying on a table. She’s looking skinny and pale- so pretty much exactly like Edward. It’s all VERY SERIOUS, though, because Bella is presumably dead. I say presumably because we all know she doesn’t die.

Then, suddenly, we’re inside Bella’s veins, and cells are exploding, and her lungs are turning to ice, and everything is SPARKLY. And then we see Bella’s hair changing colour, and her cheeks pop back out to a normal shape. And then the camera zooms in for the most predictable scene of the film (well, besides the one where Jacob takes his shirt off)- Bella opens her eyes, and THEY ARE RED, PEOPLE, THEY ARE RED.

If I actually gave a shit, at this point I would squeal. As it was, I settled for sighing and rolling my eyes so loudly the people in the next suburb heard me.

The only reason I can’t wait to see this film? I am dying to see the part where Edward rips Bella open to herd out that vampire-baby with the abominably bad name of Renesmee (seriously, Stephanie Meyer? I think my five year old cousin would have thought that name was too cliche).

Bring the vampire foetus on.

Breaking Dawn: the trailer, dissected

OMFG, GUIZ. THERE’S A NEW TRAILER OUT 4 TWILIGHT. I’M LIKE, SOOOOOOOO EXCIIIIIIIIIIITED!!!! VHBEIRUWOFTYIODHSJMZ,HDSQWUAISJKZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But really. I am. Mostly because it means I get to lampoon Twilight fans all over again. And if you’re here, chances are you’re celebrating for that exact reason, too.

Let’s begin. *cue ominous music*

Of course, we start with a series of letter openings. What on earth could this be? Why do these old vampires look slightly constipated, scarily pleased and indifferent?!  Someone, please, enlighten me!

…What’s that, you say? A WEDDING?

HOLY FREAKIN SHIT. A FREAKIN WEDDING. BECAUSE I DID NOT ALREADY KNOW THAT FROM THE LAST FILM. HOW ENTIRELY UNPREDICTABLE.

Let’s see how the family is taking the news. Bella’s dad looks… doubtful. There’s no other words for it. He looks extreeemely doubtful. In fact, he looks as if he can’t believe that his 18 (19? who knows? Certainly not me) year old daughter is about to marry some sparkly, sucky twat. Don’t worry, Dad, I feel the same way. But we all know Bella has an IQ rivalled only by that of a garden tool, so we probably shouldn’t feel that surprised, y’know?


How is that beefcake Jacob handling the news? …. Well, he looks PISSED. In fact, he looks so pissed, he reacts in an entirely unpredictable, oh-my-god-we-didn’t-see-THAT-coming-way. What does he do when he reads the invitation? Why, he storms outside, into the rain (OF course into the rain. It’s raining because the rain makes his bajillion ab muscles glisten deliciously), RIPS OFF HIS SHIRT and then TRANSFORMS INTO A WOLF. OHMFGEE, EVERYONE. A WOLF. AB MUSCLES. JACOB IS PISSED. JACOB TRANSFORMS. AB MUSCLES. JACOB RUNS AWAY AS A WOLF BECAUSE OF A WEDDING INVITATION. ABMUSCLESABMUSCLESABMUSCLESABMUSCLESABMUSCLESABMUSCLESABMUSCLESABMUSCLESABMUSCLES.

Ahem.

Don’t worry Jacob, you’ll get your revenge in the second-chapter-of-this-book-where-we-don’t-rip-off-Harry-Potter-by-making-another-film-from-the-same-book-no-siree. You get the dubious honour of falling in love with an infant. *high five*… or you know, not.

Moving along.


Edward’s looking a little… snarly. But he’s also not sparkly. What’s up with that? Did Bella ask him to tone down the sparkle for the day, so at least her eye shadow wouldn’t match his skin?

But the most important part is yet to come! (heh. Literally. Sorry, bad pun.) The part that approximately 4738920484209 screaming housewives, 574839213 twelve year old girls and no one else on the planet truly cares about- the part where Edward and Bella finally, finally, finally get it onnnnn:


And it’s reasonably good, as far as vampire and human sex goes! It’s still nothing on True Blood, and I maintain that Eric would wipe the floor- I repeat, WIPE THE FLOOR- with Edward in about 3 seconds, but still.  Edward BREAKS THE BED. Credit where credit is due, people. And I was rather impressed. This .002 seconds of the trailer didn’t make me want to simultaneously vomit and punch the screen. So, that’s impressive.

Unfortunately, it all goes steeply downhill from there. I won’t put you through the next ten seconds of somewhat random fight scenes, interspersed with R Patz and K Stew having a good ol’ fashioned make out session in a waterfall (because we all know that’s EXACTLY WHAT YOU DO when you’re 19 and on your honeymoon with your vampire husband). Suffice to say that no one cares. Let’s skip to final interesting bit: the Alien-esque situation where Bella realises that Edward’s swimmers have, well, swum:

You can see her tiny brain finally realising that holy hell, something is ALIVE, it wants OUT, she is PREGNANT, and crap freakin shit crap, is it going to sparkle in the sun like its daddy does?!

Edward is especially concerned about this last point. That baby better have some damn SPARKLES, bitches.

I can’t wait for the next trailer to be released. Actually, what I’m really looking forward to is seeing how the director handles the blood and gore scene that is Bella ‘giving birth’- that is to say, having a baby explode out of her stomach.

That is worth paying a movie ticket to go see, my friends.


Black Swan: a few observations

In the spirit of procrastination, I bring you my personal views on all things Black Swan- the deliciously psychotic film starring Natalie Portman.

The first time I saw Black Swan, I thought I knew what to expect. I was aware that it was a thriller. I knew Natalie was going to be bringing the crazy by the plateful- and yet I was shocked. I still left thinking, “That was fucked up”. Not very articulate of me, I know, but ‘fucked up’ is one of the best ways to describe this film. However, there are so many questions we’re left wanting answered (as a side note, there ARE spoilers ahead).

-Did Nina die? Was she actually crazy? Was she being abused (emotionally, physically, sexually) by her mother? And why was Beth stabbing herself with a nail file?

I watched the film again recently, and a few key themes stood out to me. And being the nerd I am, I decided to blog about it.

Nails:

Whether it be fingernails, toenails, or nail files, Aronofsky is obsessed with nails. Nina seems to be continuously attached to her nail file. Just off the top of my head, here’s a few of the key ‘nail’ scenes:

  • The first scene in the changing room. Nina’s filing away at her nails while the other girls are doing hair and makeup.
  • Nina stealing Beth’s lipstick and nail file- and later, Beth going completely bat shit crazy and stabbing herself with the same nail file in the face.
  • Nina attempts to do a series of complicated turns the night after her audition- and in doing so, she snaps her toenail. One of the first truly ‘gross’ nail moments of the film.
  • THAT hangnail scene in the bathroom.
  • Nina’s mother attempting to trim her toenails, and cutting them to the quick. Ouch.
  • Nina filing her nails on the train, and some disgustingly creepy old dude sitting opposite her and jerking off. Repressed sexuality, anyone?
  • Nina’s mother putting socks on her hands because Nina kept trying to scratch her face off in her sleep.

Quite a few people have made observations that Nina is schizophrenic. For the most part, I tend to agree- simply because I can’t think of anything else that would cause such strong hallucinations. Nina definitely had some form of psychosis. As a society, we tend to associate this with tin foil hats and a paranoia of being ‘watched’- but this isn’t always the case. Nina simultaneously displays both a strong sense of reasoning and manipulation  with a low awareness of her surroundings. For example, she reasons with the director, Leroy, that he “doesn’t need another fiasco”, right after her attempts to replace her with Lily. She then goes backstage, and almost enters the stage from the wrong place. Why are we shown this? Because we need to know how out of it Nina is. She wants to dance, and to do it “perfectly”- and yet she can’t even recall where she’s supposed to enter the stage from.

Another interesting theme is the one of mirrors. Nina is continuously seeing herself in mirrors. As the film is Nina’s distorted view of herself- her dancing, her body image, and as a person- I’m not surprised they included mirrors.

Again, here are a few key ‘mirror’ scenes:

  • Nina seeing herself in multiple rehearsal room mirrors, and her reflection scratching, staring or twitching out of sync with what she is actually doing.
  • The distorted mirror next to the front door in her house- it reflects the viewer’s image back to them in different panels, giving the impression of a dozen versions of the same person.
  • Nina stabbing Lily/herself with a mirror shard.


Another theme that’s been doing the rounds is that of mother/daughter sexual abuse. There’s a really good post on it here if you’re interested, and I tend to agree with everything the author’s said.

The relationship between Nina and her mother is pretty ‘off’. Nina is well into her twenties, and yet she is continuously babied by her mother. She sleeps in a bedroom that looks like a ten year old’s, and seems to have a wardrobe that consists of pink and white. Erica, Nina’s mother, undresses her almost every night, and sometimes sleeps in the room with her. Erica also emotionally manipulates Nina dressing how she prefers, eating what she wants, and wearing certain pieces of jewellery.

It is the idea of Nina trying access her ‘passion’, and her sexuality, that causes her mental breakdown. This attempt to “metamorphosis” into the Black Swan is what causes the strife between herself and her mother. She attempts to break the mould of being her mother’s “sweet girl”, by masturbating, drinking all night, and having sex with Lily.

There’s also a few hints the director drops that seem to confirm the abuse.

  • When Nina is kissed by Leroy, she bites him. Later, there is a small scar on her mother’s lip when she arrives home to tell her the good news.
  • Whilst Lily is ‘pleasuring’ Nina, she calls her a “sweet girl”- her mother’s pet name for her.
  • Nina barricades her bedroom door, effectively locking her mother out. This happens just before Erica walks into Nina’s room late at night and asks her, “Are you ready for me?”.
  • When Erica buys the cake for Nina, she threatens to throw it in the garbage. When Nina insists on eating some, she makes her lick the icing off her finger.
  • Erica paints a large variety of portraits of Nina.  And she is seen crying whilst painting these portraits- directly before she asks Nina if “she is ready for her”.

It’s open to interpretation- but needless to say, something is definitely rotten in the relationship between Nina and her mother.

That’s all I have for today- if you haven’t already re-watched the film, please, do it!

 

Going solo

It seems that recently, the universe has decided to force me to go a few things alone. I’m not entirely sure why- but I suspect it has something to do with me needing to prove that I’m capable of doing things myself.

The first instance of me ‘going solo’ was last weekend, when I went to the movies alone. This may not seem like a huge deal to many of you- but it was the first time I’d ever done so.

I had tried to organise to go with various other friends and family members several times- but the plan always managed to fall through, and I was getting more and more desperate to just watch the damn movie. Come hell or high water, I was off to watch The King’s Speech.

At first, I was rather uncomfortable. I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t use my mobile phone as a ‘prop’- something that I could reach for to pretend I was busy, or that I was waiting for a friend. But all the same, I found myself reaching for it the first chance I got. I kept worrying what other people must think of me- buying a ticket alone, queuing up at the candy bar by myself- and it took me awhile to realise no one else cared. I’m not the first person to ever go to the movies alone- but I sure felt like it for those first few lonely minutes.

Finally, I realised I was there alone and that I was supposed to be enjoying it.  I didn’t have to make small talk with anyone, I didn’t have to politely wait for someone while they visited the toilet- heck, I didn’t even have to share the popcorn.

Once the movie started, I found that I was more engrossed in it that usual. I didn’t have to divide my attention between the film and my immediate company. I could snort with laughter when it was funny, and cry pathetic tears at the sad bits, and no one would judge me (except the people sitting behind me, and quite frankly, I couldn’t care less about them).

And so I did. I laughed so hard I choked on my popcorn, and I cried so much in the sad bits I had to go to the bathroom to wash my face. I also stayed right until the end of the film credits- I just sat there, letting the music wash over me. It was one of the most wonderful, freeing experiences I’ve had.

I’m not saying that you’ll feel like this if you went to see, say, Hall Pass by yourself. But what I am saying is that it’s something everyone should do. Take yourself on a date, and enjoy your own company. After all- you ARE stuck with yourself for the rest of your life, so you may as well get to like yourself. Don’t you think?

Female Super Heroes

I’ve previously mentioned my love of all things Alice, from Resident Evil. She opens a can of whoop-arse every time she encounters a zombie. The girl is a super star.

However, she seems to be an exception to the female super hero rule. I recently watched “The Incredibles” for approximately the 5th time, and it annoyed me as much as it did the first time. Sure, it’s funny, and clever- but the story line is so very, very, very cliche.

For those of you who haven’t seen The Incredibles (uh, all three of you….) it’s a story about super hero parents having super hero kids, and then Daddy Super Hero gets into trouble, and so Mummy Super Hero has to rescue him, and the Kiddy Super Heroes sneak along for the ride. Entertaining, yes? Cliche? Absolutely.

The four main characters- Mum (Elastigirl), Dad (Mr. Incredible), Violet (the daughter), and Dash (the son)- were gifted with boringly predictable powers. Let’s break it down a little further, shall we?

Mr. Incredible:

Incredibly strong (lifts cars, gigantic statues), and has a heightened ability to resist pain. Not all that smart, loses his temper often- in summary, what the cinemas what like to call a typical frustrated male.

Elastigirl:

She can, uh, stretch? And transform herself into useful things like parachutes, and boats? All so she can save her children. Nice one, pixar. Elastigirl pretty much spends the entire movie going between “nagging wife” to “protective mother”. Never mind the fact that her flexibility is sold to the audience as a cheap sexual joke within the first 5 minutes of the film.

Violet:

Oh great, a strong female character who can uh…..turn invisible? And create a shield?…Lame.

I mean, I get the need for a few characters to have defensive powers. Just ask Bella Swan, who’s greatest achievement in life was learning how to ‘shield’ her loved ones from the Volturi. Nothing else- just shielding. She can’t attack things, for God’s sake- she’s a WOMAN!

Ahem. Back to Violet. Again, are Pixar deliberately trying to comment on the fact that women’s role in society is to be uber sexy and flexible, and also invisible? Whilst being able to shield others? It’s so frustrating to see yet another cool female character get the shit end of the super powers stick.

 

Dash:

Oh look, a male with athletic prowess! How extraordinary!

You know what WOULD be extraordinary? If all these characters swapped super powers! For example, if we had an Elastiboy (yes, he would still be called ‘boy’ even when he’s mid 40′s, just like bloody Elastigirl did….) as the husband who stayed at home and looked after the kids, a Ms. incredible with super strength and bulging muscles who gets fired and suffers an identity crisis, a daughter who can run incredibly quickly, and a shy young boy who can turn invisible and create shields to protect the people he loves.

Defensive abilities aren’t necessarily (IMO) negative- I would never say that a desire to protect one’s children is a bad thing.

What annoys me is how these roles are continually allocated in the same fashion. Women are cast as having the protective, ‘defensive’ skills, whilst men have the ‘attacking’ skills. For me, I don’t believe in the idea of promoting “gender stereotypes”- and that includes what you say are the “feminine attributes” of wanting to defend oneself and ones children.

I believe that defensive and attacking abilities are equal- but I’d like to see the gender roles changed once in awhile. Of course men and women can be given equal value- but when you say “typically feminine characteristics” I don’t agree that these are necessarily “defensive and nurturing” ones.

All I wish for is for the roles to be mixed up once in awhile, and for a few more females characters to come along that have the powers to attack- along with a few more male characters that have the power to shield, and nurture their children in what you say is a typically ‘feminine’ way. I don’t agree with the concept of gender stereotypes in any sense. Women should be able to have whatever role they want, and all I’d like to see is a slight increase in strong females who can do something other than shield or nuture other people.

Now that’s a movie I’d want to see.