500 Reasons Why There Should Be a Black Widow Solo Film

black widow1) As Scarlett Johansson rightly stated, Black Widow’s history is rich, and steeped with great stories to tell. As a spy, she has been involved in so many organisations, and this has been touched on by the MCU, which uses her as a bridge to connect HYDRA and the Red Programme, The Winter Soldier and SHIELD. Exploring her past in a more comprehensive manner would have the advantage of revealing her associations to each, as well as weaving a complex web of relations.

2) Natasha Romanoff is a Russian woman. To have her star as a protagonist would be a huge leap for Marvel, as characters of non-American ethnicity, when featured, are generally played as villains or thugs, rather than with heroic story arcs. This is superbly illustrated by the fact that the woman that Marvel has picked up to title the first solo superheroine film is Carol Danvers, a white American woman with a military background, despite Natasha’s pre-existence as a popular MCU character.

3) The Black Widow is very popular (and the lone Marvel superheroine). She has an avid and dedicated following, who would be more than willing to watch and applaud a solo film, as seen from demonstrations, tweets and general comments made since Natasha Romanoff first appeared on the big screen. Furthermore, there is no disagreement from higher levels such as Kevin Feige. It would be a very easy sell.

4) There are already fanmade title sequences and trailers of the film! Beautifully made, one has tricked many an unsuspecting Marvel fan that a Black Widow film was on the table. In fact, given the quality of the trailer, if the film was made, it might outstrip the rest of Marvel’s creations so far. Additionally, there’s no shortage of actor, writer and director enthusiasm – a treatment of the film was written back in 2010, and many celebrities have been quoted as saying that they’d be on board with the enterprise.

black widow

This is, along with the top-most image, is a screenshot from a superb title track you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhR6eZWOMeU

5) If a movie were to be made, it would give audiences the added pleasure of potentially delving into Hawkeye and Bucky Barnes’ histories as well, uncovering more backstory and spy shenanigans.

Reasons 6-500) Natasha Romanoff is one badass lady, and on top of that, she is a chameleon. She evolves, constantly. Wouldn’t it be awesome to watch those metamorphoses on screen? (the answer is a resounding YES).

RBB2015 Art

Voila!! It’s a couple of days late, since my author was very busy with personal stuff AND writing another RBB fic at the same time, but finally the day has arrived for my Cap-Ironman 2015 Reverse Big Bang art to come to light!

It’s my second year, and I’m proud of the fact that I’m no longer classified as a newbie! Also, that this year I have done a larger quantity of pieces to help my author along – in part, actually because of their fic. I took a completely different direction from last year, challenging myself to go down the steampunk path. Actually, the initial character sketches of steampunked Tony, Pepper and Steve (which I was pretty happy with) detailing clothing, patterns and ornaments didn’t end up being part of the final product, but I enjoyed doing them, and they definitely influenced my work.

This was the result:

RBB2015 Heart

This was a later drawing, a line in the fic which really resonated, and made me want to draw a mechanical heart. So I did 🙂 Unfortunately, something about the red blood tubes makes it vaguely resemble a rugby ball… This was drawn in pencil and acrylic paint.

 

RBB2015Ship#2

The Iron Maiden! I’m not sure if I like it exactly, but here’s a depiction of the ship – Jarvis was obviously doing the laundry when I took a reference photo 🙂 This was done in pencil.

 

RBB2015 Cap'n'Tony

So, this is an earlier scene where Tony meets Captain America for the first time. It was actually drawn after the next picture, because my author created a really cool opportunity to have a sort of parallel scene 🙂 This was done in pencil.

 

RBB2015Masked

Last but not least, the original artwork!! (Or, rather, the original piece intended to be displayed for the RBB Challenge). This was a scenario I came up with, and my author rose to the occasion magnificently, writing a touching scene that also explained why Steve was in clothes and Iron Man was wearing his armour in a very convincing way! (Hooray!) This was done in watered down black acrylic paint, in lieu of watercolour or ink, which I had no access to, and pen for the detailing.

 

Still Life

Directed and written by Uberto Pasolini, Still Life was originally released in Italy in the Venice Film Festival in 2013, and went on to win the award for Best Director in the category ‘Orizzonti’. It also received the Black Pearl award at the 2013 Abu Dhabi Film Festival for “its humanity, empathy, and grace in treating grief, solitude, and death”[1]; and for his performance, lead actor Eddie Marsan won the Best British Actor award at the 2014 Edinburgh International Film Festival. One might, therefore, expect quite a stunning film, and this is backed by the 81% positive audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. What one might not expect is to be holding back yawns for the majority of the film.

This 92 minute drama commences with a series of funerals, varying in religion and venue, but not in attendance. The sole mourner, John May (played by Eddie Marson), is a London council worker who is charged with finding the next of kin of those who have died alone. Not only does he attend the funerals of the deceased, he also arranges them himself (using council money which, as his boss pointedly remarks, could be better spent elsewhere) and even writes their eulogies. This painstaking nature is carefully maintained by Marson, who depicts Mr. May as systematic in every aspect of his life, including his austere tuna-and-toast dinner (applying the ‘bachelors cannot cook’ cliche) and the meticulous ritual of pasting photographs from his casefiles into a personal album. The audience quickly realises that Mr May is without relatives and friends, and his muted, solitary life is observed with as much quiet sympathy as he accords to his cases.

The melancholic leitmotif, a sombre plucking of strings which follows Mr May throughout the film, lends it a subtle atmosphere of sadness, although the majority of Still Life is drably ordinary and not conducive to alertness, especially on a comfortable cinema seat. (The woman behind me was sleeping for a lot of it. I kinda almost nodded off a little too). Perhaps too light on backstory, the film only offers small glimpses into the life of Mr Billy Stoke; the last case Mr May is responsible for, and none on Mr May himself. When Joanne Froggart is introduced as Kelly Stroke, the late Billy’s daughter, a breeze of conversation and change floats across the screen. Then, with only 15 minutes left, the inevitable conclusion is turned on its head and Pasolini pulls a bus out of the hat! With a lugubrious, unexpected ending, Still Life is transformed into a profound bit of dramatic irony that is almost worth the very lengthy wait.

-Let’s call me Lily

[1] http://www.abudhabifilmfestival.ae/en/archive/2013/2013-10-31-Feature-Film-Awards

Mr Turner Review

Directed by Mike Leigh, this biographical drama of the eccentric-yet-great British painter, J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851), is 150 minutes long and in my opinion, drags out rather a bit. Lauded with praise by critics, a bevy of nominations for accolades such as Best Director, Best Actor, Best Costume Design and Best Cinematography, as well as two wins in the 2014 Cannes Film Festival (amoung other awards), Mr Turner also received enthused reviews of The Guardian and our own NZ Herald. Nevertheless, wider audiences seem underwhelmed by the film, with many commenting on the lack of structured plot and relatively slow pace (including me).

Something everyone agrees on, however, is Timothy Spall’s fantastic performance as leading man, known to us as the irascible “Mr Turner”. Though he slightly recalls ‘Wormtail’ from the Harry Potter series in the animalistic nature of his character, the physicality of Spall is transformed into a great, grunting boar, rather than a timorous rat. His vigorous painting style capture the frenetic genius of Turner, and his taciturn, piggish nature gives a tremendous performance on screen, especially when paired with Marion Bailey’s more maternal and jolly Mrs Booth (his mistress). He and his father, “Daddy”, played by Paul Jesson, make quite a matched pair. Indeed, the drama lives up to its name with the two monumental death scenes of Messrs Turner, complete with rattling last breaths, bright yellow light transfiguring a dying face and the breakdown of the loved one left behind. The other supporting actors and actresses all give strong performances, well-outfitted with appropriate Dickensian prose and costume.

Mr Turner is very technically beautiful, with a well-articulated Victorian feel to it, and haunting music which swells as the camera pans across the gorgeous vistas and stunning landscapes which Turner frequents. The cinematography is a poignant visual reminder of the advancing nature of human endeavours, complementing the film’s narrative offerings of Turner’s reactions to the introduction of steam engines and the camera. Quite self-reflective as a whole, Mr Turner also includes some hilariously magniloquent talk of art. It describes the tensions of the British arts scene at the time with both humour and tension, picking up on Mr Turner’s respected position and fondly accepted advice as well as his royal humiliations as a member of the Royal Academy of Arts.

The final word? If you like Mike Leigh, you’ll like this. If you’re after a gripping, tear jerking drama, perhaps not. But it certainly garnered a good few chuckles from my neighbours.

Gift Wrapping

As part of my ‘let’s participate’ plan, I signed up for a holiday gift exchange! It’s now fine to post it, so here goes.

I had a bit of trouble with the prompt I was given, as the request was much more fic-based than geared towards art:

Steve’s got Tony wrapped around his little finger and doesn’t even realize it. And they’re not even together (yet). But Tony’s got a plan for that and it’s in motion and he’s a genius so it should go perfectly…right?

Extra happiness if 1) other Avengers (incl. Bucky and Sam) end up involved, 2) there’s porn, 3) there are cats

So I asked for a more visual request, something that was easier to draw… the person came up with this:

Hmm, a scene where Steve’s just making an off-handed comment about wanting something and Tony going out of his way to get it for him while slipping in a really failed attempt to ask for a date? Then another where someone points out to Steve that he’s got Tony wrapped around his finger and Tony’s probably into him and Steve is blushy and hopeful-dismissive like ‘he’s not into me like that…is he?’. And in the end Steve making a comment like ‘I wish Tony would ask me on a date’ when he knows Tony’s listening around the corner so Tony will finally ask him properly.
Or if it’s more fun, Steve coming across Tony tying himself up to be Steve’s present for Christmas/New Year’s/some holiday.

Which still didn’t fit the bill exactly for me, as I was hoping for a preferred medium or a composition idea. But! In the end, I prevailed and turned out not one, but two pieces of art, which I am not too unhappy with. I used pencil to sketch everything out, then went over the sketch with a fine black pen.

#1Comicdec2014

I even managed to incorporate 2 bonus points (I ignored the second one completely), and some of the prompt!

#2Comicdec2014

As always, the scanner seems to have blurred everything up, even at high definition :/ Just imagine it sharper, and let me know what you think!

– Let’s call me Lily

Second companion piece for: Staring Into An Eclipse

BB 2014 Pencil Final

My second piece for the 2014 Cap-Ironman Big Bang – this one took rather longer, even though it’s only pencil, as I had to redraw it. Originally, I was going with Tony being shorter than Steve, never having seen them standing side-by-side in the 616 verse and thus simply presuming that he was. As it turns out, they’re the same height!