Sunday, April 2, 2017

What's wrong with Ghost in the Shell?

ghost in the shell 2017 movie poster

Glad you asked. And since I saw it last night . . .

If you're a fanboy of the original anime like me, you might end up mildly disappointed by this movie. It's not a bad stand alone movie. But if you've watched the hype over this since the decision was made to make the film, you've heard how it was going to be a live-action remake of the classic 1995 anime.

Uhmm . . . yeah, about that . . .

A more accurate description would be that this 2017 version of Ghost in the Shell, is a lush, cgi heavy, sci-fi movie based on the classic 1995 anime of the same name.

We've got a lot of the same characters -- Batou, Togusa, Ishikawa, Saito, and the Chief of Section 9. For no apparent reason, the Chief now has a name -- Aramaki (and is played by well known Asian actor 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano). And the Major's name is also changed to Mira Killian as opposed to the original Motoko Kusinagi from the anime. Though there is a reason for that. And that is where the live action version veers away from the classic anime.

While the original is a story of how a hacking program amassed so much knowledge that it became aware of its own existence, essentially becoming a sentient digital life form referred to as The Puppetmaster but originally created under the code name Project 2501.

In the live action version, the villain, referred to as Kuze, is a failed previous iteration of the human/cyborg hybrid experiment that the Major is the culmination of. His course of action -- hunting down all those responsible for creating him and killing them, is quite different from the Puppetmaster's motivation in the original -- simply to be allowed to exist and be recognized as a new form of life with all the freedom's we afford other sentient life forms on the planet.

And while the 1995 anime is more focused on the profound implications of artificial intelligence and what might happen if/when machines evolve beyond what we've made them to be, the 2017 version is more of an indictment of the capitalist industrial complex and their (supposed) heartless drive to create new product. In this case the melding of a human brain and a cybernetic body. Of course they have to wipe out those pesky memories that might complicate matters, hence the Major's new name of Kira instead of her real name Motoko, something that is revealed in the climactic final sequences of the 2017 film.

The original also had quite a bit of examination of the politics of a new future world where the lines between corporations and governments have become blurred, that are reduced now to simply corporation = bad, government = maybe not bad.

I had previously wondered if any of the changes in the live action version might have been driven by the thought that audiences, particularly mainstream American audiences, would be put off by the talky nature of the original anime. Part of what I like about those flicks is exactly the fact that they have a lot of narrative and exposition in them as they put forward complicated thoughts on whatever subject is driving the film.

But there's also quite a few dialog heavy scenes in this current film where the Major struggles to understand who and what she is and where she came from and what might have happened to her. That sort of surprised me.

The film makers did throw in a handful of iconic scenes from the original, pretty faithfully recreated to please us fanboys -- the opening and closing back dives off skyscrapers by the Major, the cyborg body creation sequence, the water fight with the ghost hacked assassin. The Major's battle with the spider tank was altered a bit, but not in such a way that I was overly disappointed.

All in all, it isn't a bad film. I'm not sure how it will do with audiences that aren't familiar with the original. I think it's a decent stand alone movie, but I myself, couldn't separate my expectations/knowledge of the original from how I was viewing this version. It did make me smile at times. The Chief is sort of a bad ass in this version, that was fun.

So, like I said at the outset . . . what's wrong with Ghost in the Shell?

In two words -- nothing really.

And now a word about whitewashing . . .

All these social justice warriors bitching about Scarlett Johansson playing an Asian character need to shut the f*ck up, put their onesie on, grab their warm milk and go back to their pillow filled safe spaces.

Once you watch the live action version you'll understand why Johansson was a completely valid choice of actress for this part as it was written in the same way that Michael Pitt was okay as Kuze (who's original name was revealed in the movie, but I cannot remember it now).

And I know that I had written a post about Johansson's casting in this part previously and had suggested Asian-American actresses for the role, but that was primarily driven by my exhaustion of Scarlett being cast in every freakin' role that was coming down the pike back then. Watch the original anime in the English dubbed format. If you discard the Asian character names, I defy you to see any of those characters as Asian. That's one of the fetishes of anime -- the westernization of the character features. And it is also part of the underlying narrative of both the original anime and this live action version -- a Japanese woman has her mind/ghost implanted into a generic cyborg body, not a replica of her original human form, but a fully artificial man-made cybernetic body. One that is a prototype for a future lucrative business.

In fact, in the original, part of the Major's angst is that she is not sure how unique she is. She struggles to understand what defines her in the world and society. At one point, she is riding a water taxi and looks up to see someone who looks exactly like her dining at a restaurant. Perhaps if the 2017 film's creators had been able to cast a more unremarkable actress in this role it would have driven that point home with more effectiveness. But they chose ScarJo for the box office. But whitewashing?! Know what you're talking about before you make statements like that dumbasses.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Jeb Bush > Joseph Curl

In a recent article at the Daily Wire, petulant ass clown Joseph Curl referred to the former Florida Governor and Presidential candidate as a "bitter little man" over comments Bush made during a Sunday morning talk show in south Florida recently.

When asked about President Trump's recent ups and downs during the first 100 days of his administration, Jeb replied that "He's a distraction in and of himself... He's got a lot of work to do, and some of these things — the wiretapping and all of this stuff — is a complete distraction that makes it harder to accomplish the things I know he wants to do."

Jeb went on to correctly point out that Trump "...hasn't shifted to being president in the way that people are used to, and I think that's the problem, I would say. The strength is that he's acted in a good way and lifted people's spirits in terms of economic growth and job creation. But he's a distraction in and of himself by creating all of these, through Twitter and..."

Continuing along the same lines that many thoughtful commentators and pundits have taken, Bush advised that Trump "...should stop saying things that aren't true that are distractions from the task at hand." Jeb also pointed out that "...my whole approach to this is to watch his deeds, not his words. His actions matter in terms of the long-term consequences for people."

Showing more class and deference than candidate Trump ever showed him, the former Governor lauded some of the President's personnel choices so far: "I love the [Neil] Gorsuch pick. I love Betsy DeVos. I think the generals he's picked, which it's pretty extraordinary to have that many generals, but they're all people of great integrity. General [John] Kelly, who lived here, is a patriot. General [James] Mattis, Rex Tillerson — these are all top-notch people, and he's been decisive on the regulatory side, where he has unique control."

Trump and a great many commentators such as Curl here bashed Jeb relentlessly throughout the primaries. But as I said before, those of us who lived in Florida while Jeb was Governor for eight years, knew him to be an excellent administrator and highly competent chief executive for our state.

Imagine the difference in competence and tone if we had Jeb or Marco Rubio in the White House now. I was #NeverTrump for a reason. It wasn't a stance I took lightly. And as we watch Trump and his minions stumble around Washington, lashing out at conservative grass-roots organizations like the Freedom Caucus for properly standing on principle, one has to wonder what's in store for then next four years.

And for the record, Joseph Curl? F*ck you! Let me know when you've done anything other than type at a keyboard and hide behind the internet's anonymity.

I was heartened a bit by the comments below Curl's hit piece, where commenters pointed out that though they didn't care for Jeb as a candidate or even personally, he was right about everything he said.

Melissa Benoist in a bikini = unremarkable

The CW's Supergirl, Melissa Benoist, was spotted by the pap's recently spending a relaxing day at the beach with friends:

melissa benoist bikini

Look, she's adorable, no doubt about that, as one reviewer mentioned -- she's got the most weaponized pout on television. I've watched the show, it's okay, but has production values on a par with a SyFy movie of the week. But it seems the Supergirl costume is hiding some lack of effort on her part to put some super in the hero, so to speak.

melissa benoist bikini
melissa benoist bikini
melissa benoist bikini

I'm not saying she looks bad or anything, but watching commenters on various forums bashing Gal Gadot for not looking like Serena Williams, you'd think perhaps she might want to work on her fitness tone a bit.

just sayin'

By the way, Melissa has done a bit of saucy work in other productions previously. Here's an unexpurgated look at what's under that iconic costume:

melissa benoist topless
melissa benoist topless

Daily Duffster

hillary duff nipples

Hillary Duff was spotted out recently wearing her trademark hat and short shorts accentuating her power-lifter legs and impressive white girl booty, along with a ribbed tank top that wasn't quite cutting it in the modesty department.

No complaints from me

hillary duff nipples
hillary duff ass in shorts
hillary duff ass in shorts
hillary duff ass in shorts

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I'm liking this Gorsuch guy

So the second day on confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch are well under way with Dems coming at him in 30 minute sessions over the next 12 hours.

Seems a bit ridiculous to attack someone in this sort of marathon style, but it is what politics has come to in this country.

Anyway, decrepit "Senator Mam" Dianne Feinstein decided to play her best smug condescending superior role and dared Gorsuch to offer up "one or two cases we may not have heard of" in order to show he's not a biased judge ruling solely for gigantic, heartless corporations at the expense of the little guy Dems always claim they care so much about (but totally ignore during Presidential elections).

Gorsuch delivered this stunning knockout:


KaPOW!

Might want to do your homework next time princess. There's a reason why this guy was confirmed by even Democrats for his position 10 years ago. If this is the best attack Dems can come up with, why are they even bothering?

And for some follow up goodness, here's Gorsuch destroying another of the Dems lame talking points about him over an already thoroughly debunked claim by a former student that then professor Gorsuch was telling his female students that employers were put in an unfair position by having to give women maternity leave and so on:


Keep digging knuckleheads, this guy's way too smart and talented to fall for your transparent gotcha questions.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Michelle Rodriguez topless for the trifecta

michelle rodriguez nude topless the assignment

Hollywood tough chick Michelle Rodriguez appears in the altogether in her new movie The Assignment:

michelle rodriguez nude topless the assignment

If I'm understanding the plot of this pic correctly, a hitman is double crossed and is subsequently surgically transformed into a woman by some rogue surgeon played by Sigorney Weaver. The now hitwoman goes on a revenge spree after either those who double crossed her or the surgeon or both.

movie review: the assignment

Details are a bit sketchy on the movie, and like the Kristen Stewart pics in the previous post, mostly all the attention being paid to this movie is over Rodriguez being naked and also the promise of some lesbian action since she's supposed to be a guy underneath, and so on. Don't know if they'll take the opportunity to have some fun with role reversals here, but it would be a great missed opportunity for some insightful humor.

michelle rodriguez nude topless the assignment

If you're casting a movie and are looking for a recognizable female lead who could pass, attitude-wise, for a man, you can't go wrong with MRod. She's been playing the hard-ass girl in movies forever it seems. From her early appearance in Girlfight to SWAT to her appearances in the various Resident Evil installments, the 38 year old Rodriguez has the physical presence to play a convincing fighter/soldier type and enough swagger to pass as a biological man underneath Michelle's own very attractive feminine outward appearance.

michelle rodriguez nude topless the assignment

And assuming there's any sort of girl-on-girl action in the movie, we've already been treated to Michelle's sapphic leanings as she was one of rent-a-lesbian Cara Delevingne's earliest conquests in the movie industry. I'm not thinking we'll be seeing this movie at the Academy Awards next season, most likely a straight-to-video affair, but I've always appreciated MRod's bad ass character portrayals, so I hope the film does well for her.

michelle rodriguez nude topless the assignment
michelle rodriguez nude topless the assignment
michelle rodriguez nude topless the assignment

Update:

Home sick for the weekend and doing the corresponding non-standard sleep/wake thing, I rented this movie during the wee hours when I couldn't sleep. What did I think of it?

Glad you asked.

MRod plays a hit man named Frank Kitchen (a fake name as she tells us in the voice over). Made up as a man with a scraggly beard and making her voice more husky than normal, Rodriguez makes the portrayal as close as any woman could manage without massive CGI. There is a full-frontal nude scene early on where they show Frank in all his manliness . . . it's pretty convincing . . . and unsettling.

Anyway, Kitchen is double-crossed and ends up on the operating table of a slightly insane rogue doctor played with perfect God Complex insanity by Sigourney Weaver. Weaver's doctor decides to both punish Kitchen for one of his assassinations and experiment with one of her pet theories. She surgically transforms Kitchen into a woman, delivering the massive psychic shock possible by stripping away his "macho man" persona and lifestyle while simultaneously giving him the opportunity to redeem himself as a woman. The doctor believes that "gender = identity" so without the awful manliness that supports his killer asthetic, he will be able to simply walk away from that lifestyle and live a calm, happy life as a woman.

More than a little far fetched, but the doctor is crazy after all. On a more practical note, in terms of being far fetched, is the film's notion that one can recover from such massive and total gender reassignment surgery in a matter of days without scarring and bruising and debilitating pain and so on. But once we get the basic set-up, the movie then follows a fairly predictable revenge drama format with only one or two mild surprises thrown in.

There's some cleverness to how the movie is laid out with flashback timelines and storytelling, voice over by Rodriguez, and some Sin City style graphic scene cut ins and outs. It's a mash-up of styles, and I don't mean that as a negative. The movie looks good -- nice cinematography, sets and action pieces. Good casting -- along with Rodriguez and Weaver, there's Anthony Lapaglia and Tony Shaloub. They put some effort into this movie, and it shows.

Rodriguez does a good job with the role. Obviously, she can handle the action scenes, but she also conveys the emotion of her situation believably. And writer/director Walter Hill puts in some small bits of nuance -- Kitchen lamenting that the female hormones are softening/weakening his body so that he can't fight like he once could. And spending the night with a nurse he met earlier in the film as a man, he doesn't know if he can please her adequately now. Kitchen finally sort of comes to terms with his situation, at one point using his appearance to his advantage to escape a dire predicament.

Not a bad movie, I doubt you'll hear much about it unless the transgender community gets up in arms over it for some reason. I wouldn't have spent money on it if I wasn't home sick, and I can't recommend you do either. It'll make it's way onto basic cable at some point. Check it out then.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Kristen Stewart is topless too

kristen stewart topless personal shopper

Before she went in for the full butch lesbian look with the short blonde buzz cut hairdo, Kristen Stewart worked on a movie called Personal Shopper. I posted a grainy screencap a while back, and it appears there are more grainy screencaps out now. So here you go:

Update:
I found some better quality caps, so I've replaced the grainy stuff with the higher quality images. 'Cause I'm cool like that. Enjoy:

kristen stewart topless personal shopper
kristen stewart topless personal shopper
kristen stewart topless personal shopper
kristen stewart topless personal shopper
kristen stewart topless personal shopper

What's the movie about? Is it any good? Who knows. No one seems to be talking about the movie, only leaking grainy images. Might not be a good sign for the box office. just sayin'