From Up on Poppy Hill (viewed at home 19 April 2013)
B and I watched this subtitled with the original Japanese voicing. I’d wanted to see it since I knew it was coming out (in English) in the United States this year and it’s always a good thing to support anime in theaters. I didn’t want to see it dubbed, though, and the last Studio Ghibli film I went to see in theaters… wasn’t the best thing ever. So, found it online and we watched it together in the comfort of my own home. Yay. Also, I’ve been sorely lacking in watching anime recently, and B (apparently) really likes Studio Ghibli, so… (although he did complain about it having been directed by Goro Miyazaki and not Hayao Miyazaki). Now, that being said: I know Studio Ghibli is near and dear to many fans’ hearts, and of course that’s fine, but with the exception of Mononoke Hime, I just haven’t loved/adored the Ghibli films I’ve seen. Maybe it’s similar to my relationship with James Joyce’s work; I acknowledge that he’s a master among many, but I just don’t like his stuff. Sorry, it’s just a preference.
Supernatural, season 4 (viewed at home late March 2013)
All right, so I think my interest in this series peaked somewhere in the middle-to-late part of this season. What I’m really interested in is Sam and Dean’s relationship with each other, and watching it become strained to nearly the breaking point is realistic, but it’s not… something I want to watch. I have enough problems in my own life, you know? I’ll keep watching the series, obviously, because the characters are compelling and holyshit Lucifer’s out. (Is that actually a bad thing? Grraaaaagh cliff-hangers!) Also, Dean was right all along about Ruby. (He owes Sam the biggest “I told you so” ever.) Kind of made me sad, but she’d been a prick in the brothers’ sides for… well, basically since she arrived, so I also wanted her death to be… more drawn out. ^_^;; Hahaha, maybe I’m a little sick, I don’t know. On to season 5!
Oz, the Great and Powerful (viewed in theaters 31 March 2013)
Grandma’s family night choice. I was surprised she picked it, though I suppose that the Wizard of Oz stories are right up her alley, so maybe I shouldn’t have been. Anyway, my sister had seen it previously and said it was full of wasted potential, so I my expectations were pretty low. It turned out not terrible, all things considered, though I agreed with my sister’s assertion that the title character was kind of useless until the very end, wherein he made strange-but-interesting use of his “powers” and saved the Emerald City and the Land of Oz from… two evil sister witches? I mean, yes, they were “evil”, but they were so two-dimensional (and so was every character), that it was basically laughable. I feel like the whole movie, despite actually passing the Bechdel Test, was a giant step backwards for women’s personal agency.
Supernatural, season 3 (viewed at home late February – late March 2013)
All right, so I finished season 3 with my heart in my throat. Lilith as a child was really not my cup of tea (children creep me out, to say the least), and Sam and Dean (and their relationship) keep growing on me. People keep telling me the show gets better and if that’s true, Supernatural will end up holding a place in my top five all time favorite television shows ever. I really like the portrayal of family here, each brother willing to do literally anything to save the other. That’s how I feel about some of the people I know, and it’s a relief to see that I’m not the only one who has such strong feelings. (I realize Sam and Dean are fictional characters, but somebody had to make them up and write them that way, right?) I’d really like to see more siblings with strong, complicated relationships portrayed positively on film/TV.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (viewed in theaters 16 March 2013)
This film is so bad, it’s good. The title characters are like Neo and Trinity reborn as siblings and dropped into the nineteenth century… sort of. Anacronisms and f-bombs abound, and you know what? It was awesome. Most critics didn’t like it, and I didn’t watch it expecting anything Oscar-worthy. I really love retellings and continuations of classic fairytales, and this didn’t disappoint. It was gorier than I expected—gratuitous violence isn’t really my thing—and the antagonists were pretty two-dimensional, but like I said: I wasn’t expecting much. What most interested me was the dynamic between Hansel and Gretel, two different-gender main characters who explicitly do not have a romance going on between them. I wish that dynamic had been explored more; it was refreshing to see a reunion scene that didn’t inevitably lead to an “adult situation”, for example.