christinesrant, community, Cop show, corruption, Drea de Matteo, Entertainment, Family, Feminism, Jennifer Lopez, NBC, Ray Liotta, Review, Shades of Blue, Television, TV, TV-series, USA

Shades of Blue. Not Worth the Bribe?

Shades of Blue is a brand new cop show from NBC starring a Latina pop singer, one sober Drea de Matteo, a multiform support cast and haven’t-aged-a-day-since-the-80’s Ray Liotta.

First off, we are introduced to a bruised and crying Jennifer Lopez breaking down in front of her webcam.

We get that e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is falling apart too slowly to realize and too quickly to see it coming.

I must admit, Lopez is a better actress than I give her credit for.

2 weeks earlier, NYPD Deshades_of_blue_postertective Harlee Santos’ (Lopez) rookie partner Michael Loman (played by Dayo Okeniyi), straight outta the Academy, makes an epic mistake.

He kicks down the door and shoots a suspect only to find that the gunshot he heard was from a video game the perp was playing, no gun in sight.

With absolutely no time-out, Santos rearrange the crime scene and their story, so it matches a how-not-to-be-fired-on-the-second-day-script. Because the perp was a bad guy. No doubt about it.

She even shoots her poor rookie partner in the vest. Without warning him, and she is somewhat cold and eerily calm while doing all of this.

This is not her first rodeo.

When asked later why she did not warn him, she answers, “Cause you would have flinched. And I’m not that good a shot.” Okay, then. That makes it alright, I guess.

And even when she meets her teenage daughter and banters her, she still seems emotionless.

But it does not feel limited to Lopez’ acting. I actually believe she is this cold.

The first time she is even remotely emotional is when the rookie seeks her out, telling her that he wants to come clean when talking with Internal Affairs. He even suggests keeping her part out of it all.

Her reaction is to rant on how HER daughter is HIS daughter because the badge makes them family, and that she saved him today and that he need to save her tomorrow.

Her boss Lt. Wozniak (Liotta) is of course in on it all. They all are. Santos and a bunch of colleagues meets in the cold unit in a backroom somewhere, getting their dirty money. Mr. Lt. Police Boss is in charge.

Okay, so she has money problems. Her daughter’s school is too expensive. However, her boss is there for her. He is taking care of it all. Just like family should.

Enter the FBI.
And trouble.

Because corruption is still corruption. Even if it makes a good and safe family, and it has cleaned up the neighborhood.

Santos needs to choose between her family and her dirty cop family. And I am guessing this will fuel the drama and suspense of this show.

Liotta is marvelous as a loving father figure gone psychotic dirty cop. The rest is kinda meh.

I enjoy the 80’s flare and Lopez is actually not that bad. I like her character (before the FBI). Here’s hoping she keeps her cool and not fret out. Keep the suspense and less drama.

There is also something about the weird tension between Santos and FBI agent Robert Stahl (played by Warren Cole) I find musing.

I think I will give it a few more episodes.

Christine

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animation, Children, Children movie, christinesrant, Disney, Entertainment, Fantasy, Feminism, Movies, Review, Tinker Bell

Tinker Bell. Rebel of the Disney World.

I finally came around to checking out the story of Tinker Bell, a Disney original story made into a whole franchise somehow overlooked by the masses, at least by young adults and grownups without children.

This is perhaps because these movies are considered spin offs of the Peter Pan movie from 1953, and therefore considered not as good. But mostly because they tend to speak to a younger audience than your average Disney blockbuster.

It is also why I have not seen them before. I admit it. I am a blockbuster whore.

With absolutely no expectations at all, I sat down to watch the first instalment (from 2008) of the young girl movie franchise. ‘Cause let’s face it. It is a girly movie.

The curvaceous Tink appeared first in the play Peter Pan from 1904 and in the novelization Peter and Wendy from 1911. Her popularity exploded with the Disney-animation from ‘53.

I was born in the early 80’s, so my entire childhood and young adult life was Disneyfied. Yup, that is in fact something! Some might claim my life still is.

Fucking princesses everywhere.

So I was really interested in seeing what young girls learn from Disney now a days.

tinkerbelldvdcover

Like The Hunger Games, Divergent and every fucking YA book and movie franchise out there, the fairy society Pixie Hollow is divided into factions. Everybody got their own little group (selected in a magicky kind of choosing) they belong to. And don’t you dare step outside your group.

From the beginning I was thinking; Hell yeh, Tinker Bell! You go girl!

She is a tinker, a creator, a discoverer. She is in with the geek lot, where being smart and creative is the way to go. She faces every challenge head on with enthusiasm only surpassed by one Miss H. Granger on house-elves rights. And from the very beginning, she fights the restrictions.

Tinking is her talent, but she does not stop there. She is a dreamer.

She is headstrong, hotheaded and somewhat rude (the term little tinker is actually used as a term of endearment for a cheeky young child) but all she wants is to go to the Mainland with the other fairies. But she is a tinker and tinkers does not go to the Mainland.

So she goes out of her way to try to learn the other fairy talents, bending every rule there is, and she fucks up BIG TIME. She is trying to prove too much. She is a little too creative.

And she ultimately destroys everything. She has a meltdown and shortly gives up, totally heartbroken.

After talking to a friend, she discovers that she is proud of who she is, and should honor her tinking abilities and not try to be like everybody else.

She needs to fix what she has destroyed and finally manages to tink her way to the Mainland.

You show them, Tink!

Ultimately, Disney tells us that we have a destiny, a talent we will excel in. On the negative side, we do not have free will and the possibility to learn a new talent do not exist. But if you are smart and strong-willed enough, you can use your talent to explore and shed said restrictions.

I am swaying to and fro on this one.

But in the end, the movie is free from (really?) romantic entanglements and Tink does not want or try to change because she is in love. She does not change per se but becomes more aware of both the positive (creation) and negative (destruction) sides of her talent.

At the end, she is still a headstrong, hotheaded girl that still dreams about impossible things.

Impossible made possible when you know how to tink.

Christine

 

 

 

 

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Bipolar disorder, christinesrant, Entertainment, Feminism, gender, gender identity, Mental disorders, Mental Health, Mental Health issues, Mental Illness, Prejudice, Rant, Television, TV, TV-series

Homeland. Making a Home Run.

TV show Homeland (2011-) is interesting for many reasons.

Carrie Mathison (portrayed by Claire Danes) is a strong female lead. She is actually one of the most complex female characters I have seen on TV.

All while not being stereotyped as the sexy female skimpy outfit hooker agent (Yup, an older rant here).

That and the sensitive portrayal of Bipolar Disorder make Homeland a series to watch.

I know the show has been criticized for its stereotyping of Muslims (originally based on the Israeli series Hatufim/Prisoner of War  (on my to-watch list)), and for fear of exhausting the story. Both equally legitimate but not the focus of this rant.

Before watching it, I was afraid that the show was only a copy of 24, but what do I know? I have not seen 24. And probably never will.

I am glad I gave Homeland a chance.

I am impressed by the portrayal of Bipolar Disorder in the first season. Somebody knows what they are writing about!

It is off course simplified. It needs to be, to tell the story.
And the story is not about bipolar disorder, mental illness or awareness at all.

Claire Danes is perfect for this role. I have personally been a fan since My So-Called Life (1994-95) but feels she has made some weird choices during her career. Now, as Carrie, I feel she is right at home, playing on her strengths as an actress.

Her subtleties, wide range of emotions and expressions are executed perfectly. Carrie is intense and somewhat unpleasant.

Her strengths are also her weaknesses. I would actually go so far as to say that she is excellent at her job, not in spite of, but because she is Bipolar.

Claire makes her believable and watchable.

Carrie is pushy, confrontational and ambitious without becoming bitchy.

Her highs and lows intricately played out; from incoherent, maniacally chaotic to her dark and silent meltdown feels raw and real.

Carrie is flawed but never flat.

Christine

 

If you have questions about Bipolar Disorder or other mental health issues, please contact your national and/or local mental health organizations and clinics.

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christinesrant, Discrimination, Entertainment, Feminism, gender, Prejudice, sexism, Television, TV, TV-series, Women empowerment

Covert Affairs. Not So Covertly Discrimination Against Women.

My first reaction to Covert Affairs was this:

I have now finished the 1st season and let me be clear; I am horrified!

Annie Walker, a young sexy female CIA trainee is handpicked and fast-tracked suddenly finding herself Operative.

This could have been a funny twist on the sexy female agent trope. Perhaps that was what they were going for but let me tell you why and how they fail. Miserably.

Introduced as a pretty tomboy, Annie quickly evolves into Action Junkie Barbie.

When called in by a (male) CIA/military trainee officer, she awkwardly blabbers on admitting to sleeping with her taekwondo instructor. Which btw, is not against the rules. She has already checked.

In a couple of seconds, she is transformed into a geeky-girl-next-door type who knows how to google.

The CIA clears her after interviewing her with a series of questions about her sex life. We now know her beach relationship with ex Ben Mercer ended ugly, she is fluent in six languages and she likes to wear outrageous cleavages. It is a good thing her breast barely manages an A-cup or it would be boobies all over the place!

She comes off as a man-eater as we see her flirt with Conrad, a man she just met on the steps of her new CIA home. Who, in all honesty, is flirting with her.

Her awkwardness is yet again apparent when she tries to walk through security without her passkey. Switching her from sexy confident to silly and girly.

Here lays the secret to what I hoped this show would be like.

Already we have seen Annie as confident, silly, headstrong, naïve, determined, awkward, sexual, weak, smart, emotional and strong. Not completely one-dimensional.

It gives me hope.
However, there are signs I do not like.

Her commanding officer points out that she is the best driver of any women the CIA academy (?) ever have had. WTF?!

And, Conrad is goading her to make the no-passkey mistake.

The bureau needs Annie because she can pass as a hooker. Seemingly, as the only other woman in this department, Annie’s female boss gives her this assignment. As if that makes everything all right!

Her boss is another example of the sexist craftsmanship of the writers. She cannot trust her unfaithful husband, and continues to interrupt his business meetings throughout the entire season trying to shame him in front of others. Resulting in high bitch levels herself.

Auggie, a blind agent now acting as the geeky IT guy and obviously the romantic lead in this show, he cannot judge her by her looks. He has instead perfected the skill of listening to how other men talk to women to find out if they are sexy or not.

Back to Annie.

She flirts wherever she goes. It is her secret weapon but is seriously rattled when finding that her contact guy is an ugly middle-aged man, and she frowns at the ordinary looking man her sister sets her up with. Not giving it a chance in hell.

Instead of CIA mentoring her so she slowly gets better at what she does, everybody seems to be goading her and then laughs or yells at her for not doing her job well. Her ex being the only actual reason she is there.

She screams like a girl, cannot walk in those high-heeled Louboutins as if her life depended on it, and is manipulated by everyone around her.

At one point, her ex and her new loverboy bickers about how to best keep her safe, while she is there. Doing nothing.

Every episode ends with her being rescued by a man. She tries to fight but is defeated every fucking time.

In the second episode, just to be certain we get how womanly weak she is, she is equipped with a panic/rape alarm and pepper spray. Emphasizing her (gender) as a victim.

When Annie’s only female to look up to, her boss, gets the career opportunity of taking her husband’s job, making her the highest-ranking woman in the history of the CIA and do an amazing job at it.

In spite of all her confrontations with her husband, she turns the offer down willing to fight with him (instead of against) keeping their marriage true.

Is this actually an accurate portrait of a working woman in the patriarchy? Especially working in a male-oriented workplace?

Because when ex Mercer romantically asks Annie to change her ticket the next day, all I hear is, “Please sacrifice everything for me! As a man I cannot, but you are only a woman. You can.”

Christine

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Adaptation, christinesrant, Entertainment, Fantasy, Feminism, sexism, TV, TV-series, Werewolf, Women empowerment

Bitten. A Showdog Through and Through.

Bitten is a crap show. I am surprised by the news of a second season, starting January 2015.

The werewolf setup is simple.

Elena is bitten by a big dog when visiting her fiancé Clayton Danvers (her former boss at the University) at his home estate. Alas, it was not a dog.

Against all odds (!), she survives which means she is the only female werewolf in the world. ‘Cause girly were-pooches cannot handle the change. They die.

They (writers and production) try hard to make her the hero. Molested as a child, she has this whole rape-revenge thing going on. Unfortunately, she is an uninteresting character played by Laura Vandervoort, a non-awe-inspiring actress.

Sure, she is a surviving bitch who does her own fighting and demands a lot of sex but she does not come out of it empowered. The rest of the time, she just comes off as lame. Very sexual, but still lame.

To no-ones’ surprise, werewolves are either born or bitten. Organized in one Pack with a Pack Master and a set of rules spread around the world. Secrecy the number one rule.

Individual wolves (Mutts) live outside the Pack either by choice, lack of knowledge or by Packs decision, and are therefore the sworn enemy of the Pack.

Born werewolves (males only) always has a pooch for a father and a human mother. They usually grow into their hairiness during early puberty. However, if bitten the change is immediately.

When a baby boy is born, Fido is supposed to kidnap the baby and raise it within the pack, which means raising it among men only. Now, this I find refreshing!

The pack members’ masculinity is quite, eh, feminine. They really are just soft cuddly puppies really.

And stereotypical.
Strong, muscular, healthy, protective and brutal when necessary.

Men of integrity.

There is a lot of hugs, kisses and different displays of physical affection, even love, between them. They ugly-cry when Antonio dies, snot and all.

They are comfortable with their own, and each other’s nudity.

They always gather around the kitchen table for huge meals. A table also used when members are wounded/dying, so it is constantly covered with either food or blood.

Clayton is the irrational one. Acting out every emotions whether it is love, happiness, anger or destruction in a pair of jeans and flannels. He is their best fighter (with a mean streak), introverted, moody, scruffy, pushy and protective. He craves Elena. Going against everything, just because he wants her. Willing to sacrifice himself. A typical male hero, that is. But he is smart too. He is a professor at the Department of Anthropology.

Clayton tears up on multiple occasions, after interrupted moments with Elena, when begging Elena to come back and save him from his rampaging. And, ultimately when Elena puts their former engagement ring back on his finger comforting him that there will be no more sacrifices.

Jeremy is the conflicted father figure. His own father threw him in a lake as a puppy with a rock around his neck. He is the law, love and soul of the pack. He has saved/adopted/taken responsibility for everyone in the Pack at one point. He is artistic too. His paintings displayed around the house.

Antonio and Nick, actual father and son (i.e. kidnapper and victim) are business types dressed in suits. They have a loving relationship. Nick is comfortable with both sexes in bed, sometimes together. He is Elena’s favorite shopping stand-in and generally a metrosexual man.

Logan is the outsider in the pack. Raised by his mother he had a painful upbringing. So much that he became a psychologist. Or, is it that he is the only African-American member in the pack? Complete with an African-American girlfriend. Now an expectant father, he decides to run and hide his family from the Pack.

Clayton is not the only one craving Elena. He is getting competition from the Mutts, now organized.

Since she is the only bitch that can give them beautiful and true puppies, her status is skyrocketing.

The Mutts worship her as The Mother/The Goddess/The Bitch. An archaic patriarchal enjoyment of women. As a baby making machine.

The Pack equally needs Elena but recognized as Clayton’s (somewhat unwilling) partner, it is a non-issue.

It is however clear that Packmaster Jeremy is weak (as a man and as a leader) because he is not using her full potential when he chooses not to rape her.

Am I going to watch season two?

Nope.

Christine

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christinesrant, community, Entertainment, Feminism, gender, gender identity, Television, TV-series

Orphan Black. Kicking Nature’s Ass.

The Canadian TV-series Orphan Black has taken audiences and a bunch of critics with storm. It is renewed for a third season airing in 2015.

I admit I was sceptic in the beginning.

As I watched episode two and onwards I got over the Ringer copycat thing and started to really enjoy the clone story. It is nothing like Ringer, you just need to get past the first episode.

The first season is okay. Some cool tweaks but the genius part is solemnly Tatiana Maslany’s  fault. The second season is much like the first one, not introducing enough clones though.

The abbreviated summary full of spoilers is this: There are these clones, right. In the beginning they do not know but through hula hoops of coincidents, true detectiving and a suicide, they or at least some of them discover each other and their true origin.

Which is the same gene pool.
Perhaps even an international adoption agency. The details are a little bit blurry about that.

The clones played by Maslany only look alike. Which is not THAT difficult since the same actress plays them all.

Their personalities however are very different. Due to their upbringing.

Classic Nurture vs. Nature.

The interesting part is that their differences does not stop at simple personality traits but also in their sexual identity and orientation. Including one being a lesbian and one a transgendered/transsexual male.

Are you born heterosexual or is that a choice? Choice, in this case being a very complicated concept.

I do get why pro-gay right activists still cling to the “I (They) am (are) born this way” argument although I find it archaic. Their demands on equal rights not diminished by it not being their nature.

Although it is more likely that it is a combination of the two and not versus, this show has made a stand. At least made a statement.

It is enough for me to find it refreshing.

Christine

 

 

 

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christinesrant, Entertainment, Family, Feminism, gender, Genre, Television, TV-series

Mom. The Perfect Family.

I am a huge fan of the family sitcoms like Raising Hope and Modern Family.

They both portrait family as a non-homogeneous group of individuals defined by their good and their bad qualities. Not perfect families.

Of the two I recommend Raising Hope.

It is a highly non-functioning family portrayed with so much love and kindness that the Pritchett/Tucker-Pritchett/Dunphy-alliance, although both gay and multicultural, comes out as just petty.

Although both MF and RH is a tad goodie two-shoes, it seems that a “in your face” type of humor is seeping through many new comedies lately.

Humor so explicit it is only comparable to the cumshot in porn.
2 Broke Girls  is an example.

I am no prude. I enjoy 2BG immensely!

Then I saw an episode of the sitcom Mom.

I never found Anna Faris funny in the Scary Movie franchise.
Which I also did not like. Must be all the poop jokes.

However, I respect Allison Janney  immensely.

Where 2BG mostly joke about sex, Mom joke about fucking up life with drugs and alcohol but mostly fucking up your children’s life for the same reasons.

It is somewhat trashy. I can handle that.

Between the three generations portrayed, there is so much psychological and emotional abuse, and child neglect; it just gives me an iffy taste in the mouth.

I did not laugh through the whole season. I was uncomfortable all the way.

Then it strikes me.

Perhaps this is exactly why this show is worth watching?

It is honest.

It portrays flawed and somewhat broken females struggling to redeem themselves as individuals, as women, mothers and as a family.

Most importantly, they do it without judgment.

Christine

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