Celebrating International Women’s Day with a Captain Marvel Viewing

Geek out!, Movies & TV

March 08 is International Women’s Day. Very appropriately, we are celebrating by going to see Captain Marvel!

IMDB Captain Marvel Eyes Horizontal

Marvel Studios via IMDB.

I’m hoping it’ll be as awesome as the trailers look!

To the people complaining that this version of Marvel is too political and therefore massively off-putting, I have only one thing to say.

(Long post warning.)

Congrats: Black Panther Wins Three Oscars!

Geek out!, Movies & TV, Thumbs Up

Black Panther won three Oscars at the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday!

Ruth Carter – so, so deservedly! – won the Achievement in Costume Design, Sweden’s Ludwig Göransson won the Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score), and the Achievement in Production Design went to Hannah Beachler (Production Design) and Jay Hart (Set Decoration).

Instagram The Academy Ruth Carter w Oscar 2019

Ruth Carter with her Oscar. The Academy on Instagram.

My warmest congratulations to all the BP winners! Keep on busting down that glass ceiling!

On the Visual Design of Birnin Zana, Wakanda’s Capitol

Design & Designers, Geek out!, Movies & TV

All the “best of 2018” movie lists I’ve seen remind of how much I loved Black Panther. So, I’m stealing an early start to the Martin Luther King Day weekend and reading about the design of Wakanda’s capitol city.

It’s called Birnin Zana and nicknamed the Golden City, although neither name appears in the movie. The Birnin Zana we see on the screen is the creation of the movie’s production designer, Hannah Beachler.

In a CityLab interview with Nicole Flatow, Beachler recounts her starting point:

“You know what’s keeping us together: the connectivity of people, not the connectivity of users. We’re not users; we’re people, but we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re users,” she said. “So I took all of that, and I just chucked it out of Wakanda, because the people were the most important thing about it, and we’re forgetting it. And I think that’s why people responded to Wakanda on this massive level: people.”

CityLab Marvel Studios Wakandan Street View

Marvel Studios; via CityLab.

The first impression of Birnin Zana is of course the skyscrapers, but if you look closely, there is water and ample greenery, too. The skyscrapers don’t seem to block the light too badly either.

Wired Marvel Studios City from Above

Marvel Studios; via Wired.

And if you really look, you can see greenery both in and on the buildings.

fxguide Marvel Studios Royal Landing Pad

Marvel Studios; via fxguide.

Vanity Fair Marvel Studios City Concept

Marvel Studios; via Vanity Fair.

Ahh! Nice.

Many of the building shapes hark back to traditional African aesthetics; also the surface detailing is rich and striking. In an interview with Collider, Beachler talks about the influences for her work:

“I started poking around and looking at really modern architects who have designed in Africa, all over Africa, east and west Africa. And someone who I really fell in love with was Zaha Hadid, who has passed away, but she is one of the foremost architects. So I started looking at her. Her architecture is very voluptuous and very flowing, very organic. So I thought this would be good. And the more I started digging into Senegal and Nigeria and finding things, while not necessarily futuristic-looking, very modern in their sensibilities as far as the way they’re putting together their elements and the colors that they use. I was struck by that. So I took a lot of that in. And a lot of it does come from Nigeria. I think in Kenya, Uganda, Johannesburg was another one, where no matter where you go, you really do see that they’re always keeping in mind the tradition.”

Los Angeles Times Marvel Studios City Concept Low-Built Area

Film Frame / Marvel Studios; via Los Angeles Times.

Collider Marvel Studios Wakanda City Concept

Marvel Studios; via Collider.

Beachler also created a 500-page “Wakanda Bible” for the actors to study, including the history of Golden City and names for all the buildings. The records hall held special meaning for her:

“Because [Wakanda residents] know everything about their past”—a privilege that real-world African Americans don’t have—“and [that] will never go away again in this city.

“I felt that way because I never knew my history. I didn’t know my ancestry, I didn’t know how far back it went …That was truly the most important thing to me. I don’t have that, but I could give it here in this fantastical world.”

I wish we got to see it, but I don’t think we do. (If you’ve spotted the records hall, let me know!)

Anyway; gorgeous through and through, isn’t it?

Now, I’m a city girl and have been almost my entire life. However, my concept of a city is different: all urban areas back home are typically so roomily built I’ve heard that if we were to follow some particular EU directive the whole country of Finland wouldn’t have a single city. (No idea whether that’s true, though.) Add my introversion to the difference in our respective urban population densities, and I suspect I would need a lot of alonetime were it possible for me to visit the Golden City.

Other than that, I LOVE everything we see: Color! Fantastic public transit (maglev trains, streetcars), but with people and their needs (and not cars) clearly at the focus. Traditional crafts and art that live very comfortably next to high-tech. Street vendors of almost every stripe – especially the food vendors make my mouth water every time I see them.

I do wish we could have a real-world Wakanda, for many reasons, the fabulous design being just one.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

A New Hope for a Sanditon Adaptation

Books & Mags, Movies & TV, Thumbs Up

Over two years ago, I spotted news that a screen adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished last work, Sanditon, was in development by Fluidity Films. To all appearances, their project never got any further than that.

Now there is a another project commissioned by ITV and executive produced by Rebecca Eaton at Masterpiece with Belinda Campbell at Red Planet Pictures. The script is written by Andrew Davies (who also wrote the 1995 Pride & Prejudice, 2007 Northanger Abbey and 2008 Sense & Sensibility, among others), and the eight-episode series will be distributed by BBC Studios.

Re-reading Jane Austens Lady Susan

According to PBS, filming is expected to start in spring of 2019. No casting details have been announced. I also couldn’t find Sanditon on Davies’s IMDB page yet; I guess it’s too early still.

But, nevertheless, hooray! Double yay!! We’ve long been overdue another Austen adaptation.

Relevant reads:

Plus the multiple(!) articles in the Spring 2018 issue of Persuasions (Volume 38, No. 2), accessible online at the JASNA website.

What a great excuse to re-read Austen. 🙂

P.S. Belatedly I realized that my headline sounds like a Star Wars – Jane Austen crossover. If only! I’d watch that! 😀

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Awesome Mashup: Pantherpuff Girls

Design & Designers, Movies & TV, Stunt Double

PrimePremne designed an incredible mashup of Powerpuff Girls and women from Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther movie. See for yourself:

Ript Apparel PrimePremne Pantherpuff Girls

PrimePremne via Ript Apparel.

Available from Ript Apparel. Found via Graphic Policy on Twitter.

I’m in transit (hopefully without a hitch) much of today; hope this scheduled awesome cheered up your day.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Roundup of Some Black Panther Costume Design Articles

Design & Designers, Geek out!, Movies & TV

Black Panther opens tomorrow! I am so excite! I’ve been looking forward to it since forever. Ok, not forever even if it feels like it; something to the effect of July last year is more like it.

To me, visuals have been one of the most interesting aspects of this installation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here are a few of the costume design articles I found most useful.

Finnish Folk Hop Ensemble Tuuletar Lends Wings to Game of Thrones Ad

Arts & Crafts, Movies & TV, Thumbs Up

Alku (‘Beginning’), a piece by the Finnish vocal folk hop ensemble Tuuletar, appears in a Game of Thrones commercial. The band’s website says,

“’Alku’, the opening track from Tuuletar’s debut album “tules maas vedes taivaal” has been sold for the use of one of the most popular tv-series in the whole world, HBO’s Game of Thrones. The song will be heard in the season 7 DVD and Blue-Ray [sic] commercial, which will be broadcasted worldwide. The deal was made together with Finnish record label Bafe’s Factory and ThinkSync Music from London.”

The ThinkSync news page on the sale links to a German-language DVD / Blu-Ray trailer for GoT season 7 on YouTube with Alku in the background:

GAME OF THRONES Staffel 7 – Trailer #2 Deutsch HD German (2017) by Warner Bros. DE

Tuuletar mashes up a cappella, beatboxing and Finnish folk music and poetry into a unique combination. Their debut album, Tules maas vedes taivaal (‘On Fire and Earth, in Water and Sky‘), won the prestigious Emma Award (the Finnish version of a Grammy) for the best ethno album of the year in 2016.

Tuuletar IMG_0510-1024x683

Tuuletar.

Vocalists Venla Ilona Blom, Sini Koskelainen, Johanna Kyykoski and Piia Säilynoja make up Tuuletar. More videos at YouTube or Tuuletar website.

Congrats, Tuuletar! I first blogged about the band two years ago just before they released their debut record, and am absolutely delighted to see them doing so well. And Alku is so amazing it gives me chills – always a sign of greatness!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Spotted Online: Life-Sized Boba Fett Wall Decal

Movies & TV, Room of Awesome, Stunt Double

I had to share this in honor of the U.S. opening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Nicole Balch used a life-sized Boba Fett wall decal to finish off her son’s Star Wars -themed room, and the results are fantastic.

Nicole Balch Making It Lovely Sons SW Room

Nicole Balch at Making It Lovely.

Kudos! Visit Nicole’s blog for the full details.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

2017 Jane Austen Rewatch: Persuasion

Books & Mags, Movies & TV

The last but certainly not least in our Jane Austen rewatch, Persuasion is a novel of pressures, choices and second chances, posthumously published in 1817. The heroine, 27-year-old Anne Elliot, has never come to terms with her refusal to marry the great love of her life due to the prudent advice of a friend in loco parentis. The he returns to the neighborhood 8 years later…

Jane Austen Rewatch Persuasion

JASNA provides a map for tracking the physical locations of the story:

JASNA Persuasion Locations map-pers-1200

Map of locations in Persuasion. Jane Austen Society of Australia, via JASNA.

Like Mansfield Park, there aren’t terribly many screen versions of Persuasion. We rewatched the 2007 and 1995 movies, although apparently also a miniseries from 1971 is available.

The newer movie (from 2007, screenplay by Simon Burke, directed by Adrian Shergold) stars new-to-me Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot. Rupert Penry-Jones, whom I know from the British spy series MI-5, plays Captain Wentworth. Unfortunately, I find both performances listless and unenergetic, even though the script – bafflingly – has Anne indefatigably running all over the city of Bath after Captain Wentworth at the end of the movie.

Minor performances, for example by Anthony Head (Giles! from Buffy!) as Sir Walter Elliot, are ok. There are some other oddities in the writing, filming and music which diminish my enjoyment of the story, but it looks like they actually went to Bath, which is great.

The 1995 Persuasion, however, is excellent. The screenplay is by Nick Dear, and Roger Mitchell directed Amanda Root as Anne Elliot and Ciarán Hinds as Captain Wentworth. I really like Root’s understated and considerate version of Anne; Hinds works well enough even if a few scenes tend towards hammy.

Although the picture quality is grainy, the soundtrack is nice, and there are subtitles (not a given on older DVDs). The props, locations and costuming are also great. This is my favorite version so far – in an ideal world, of course, we would be due another adaptation.

Read more about this Jane Austen rewatch project.