Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Movie Review: Margin Call

For a movie that studies the hazy gray area between right, wrong, and necessity, Margin Call spends a lot of time in darkness. First-time director J.C. Chandor’s exploration of thirty-six hours in the life of an unnamed Wall Street bank as it teeters on the verge of financial meltdown plays out the majority of its narrative in one tense, pivotal night, but even the daylight does little to chase away the shadows. They fall on everyone, sucking the light from the monochromatic color palette of crisp whites and expensive Armani blacks - and this is surely deliberate. If nobody is truly guilty in Chandor’s financial world, nobody is innocent either.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Boozing and Sniffling

My neighbour came in to say goodbye this evening and we both ended up in tears. I suck at letting things go. So, with a sense of profound self-congratulation for having the foresight not to pack the gin, I’m spending my last night in my house toasting the memories and making a list move-related of things for which I’m grateful:

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Closing Door

The time has come...

I was filling a spot on the wall this evening that my dog had chewed (yeah, my dog chews walls. Is that not a thing dogs do?) when he was a puppy, and it suddenly hit me: I’m leaving. I’m not too proud to admit that I promptly burst into tears.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Winging It

Luckily, it turns out you can’t tell how a day’s going to go by virtue of the fact that you lose your iPhone first thing. I’m on my way home from the BECTU Freelancer’s Fair in London, and it was fantastic.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness: Why the Abrams Defense Doesn’t Work

(NB: I'm a film and gender theorist by training, but I'm also a huge Trekkie of many years' standing. Please don't mistake this for an anti-Trek rant; it's not. STID is not my favourite Trek movie by any stretch, but I'm about to go and see the film for the third time and I am very much "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY" about anything to do with Kirk or Spock. This is a response to an effort to position to Marcus Sequence and the Kirk Sequence as something they're not, pure and simple. I didn't like the scene in the movie, but it wouldn't have bothered me enough to write about it without Abrams' appearance on Conan.)

In the wake of the recent controversy around a scene in the new Star Trek movie, Into Darkness, in which Science Officer Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) strips to her underwear, writer Damon Lindelof took to Twitter to offer an apology to fans and moviegoers offended by what they saw as exploitative female bodily display. “I copped to the fact that we should have done a better job of not being gratuitous in our representation of a barely clothed actress,” he wrote on his Twitter feed (@DamonLindelof). “What I’m saying is I hear you, I take responsibility and will be more mindful in the future.” He did, however, qualify the apology thus: “We also had Kirk shirtless in underpants in both movies.” Likewise, director JJ Abrams, appearing on US talk-show Conan on May 22, posited not only the Kirk scene - in which actor Chris Pine is seen shirtless in bed with two scantily clad alien women - as a balance to the Marcus scene, but also suggested that a further sequence, cut from the theatrical release, in which villain John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) showers as the camera pans in on his naked upper torso, effectively answered accusations of sexism.
I want to use this article to argue that these counter-scenes - what I’m referring to as the Abrams Defense - do not, in fact, redress issues of sexual objectification and female bodily display. In doing so, I want to bring in issues of power, dominance, and the gaze, and to look at the disavowal mechanisms built into the Kirk scene that effectively allow him to reclaim his objectification in a manner denied to Marcus.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

On Holidays and inspiration

View of the Alhambra from the Mirador, Grenada

So, I've been working pretty much non-stop for the past three months - and when I say non-stop, I mean evenings, weekends, lunch breaks, down time at work. It's been stressful, it's been unhealthy, and it's been utterly, bone-wearyingly exhausting, and, worst of all, it's become unproductive. An exhausted brain struggles to be creative; the concomitant reduction in output causes the pace of work to increase in order to compensate; and the whole thing becomes a vicious, ugly circle that leads to nothing good. But what's the alternative? The work needs to be done.

I had a holiday planned, and, as the date got closer and the project still wasn't finished (side note: one day, I will learn not to underestimate how long it will take me to complete any particular piece of writing. Because I'm never right. I could guess sixteen years and it'd end up taking thirty-two. I'm that bad at looking at a volume of work and trying to set a realistic completion date), I started to wonder if I'd have to take my laptop and work in the evenings. The whole idea of that just made me want to cry - and that's not me. Writing doesn't make me want to cry. It makes me want to tear my hair out and yell profanities at the heavens sometimes, but it never, ever causes that level of despair, that sense of "Dear God, just get me away from this because I cannot look at it any more."

Sunday, 3 February 2013