Coming Soon-Ish: Aliens, Mathematicians, and Luke Cage

Arrival

So, this one’s based off a Ted Chiang story that I have not yet read (obviously, I need to), and I’m pretty interested. I find linguistics in SF pretty fascinating, and I’m excited about a movie that’s primarily focused on the communication aspect of First Contact. Also, it’s nice to find a movie with such an all-star, Academy Awards-type cast (Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, etc.) that I’m actually curious about.

I could potentially drag myself to the theater to see this one. You know, depending on life and whatnot.

Hidden Figures

Normally, inspirational, real life, biopic crap is totally not my thing. This, however, might be the exception.

When the trailer says that Hidden Figures is a true, untold story, my immediate reaction isn’t to roll my eyes and yawn like normal; it’s to think, “Holy shit, you’re right, I don’t know anything about these awesome black lady mathematicians getting their crazy calculus shit on at NASA.” (No, I don’t have any idea what branch of mathematics it actually is.) It is, for once, a true story I’m actually interested in learning.

Plus, holy shit, this cast. I’m just going to keep typing names off the IMDb page until I finally come across one I don’t know: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, and Aldis Hodge. I mean, damn.

Same Kind of Different As Me

Just to be clear? This is exactly the kind of trailer I was talking about before, only instead of merely rolling my eyes and yawning, I also gagged a bit, and then tried to guess what number it would land on in a Top 10 Movies The Devil Will Subject Me to in Hell list.

Zoom

Er. I have no idea what the hell is going on in this movie, but I’m interested.

I like Alison Pill a lot, and this looks totally nuts. Funny, possibly confusing, with a healthy side of total WTF. At any rate, it’s a great antidote to that schmaltzy “I’m white, and I’m helping this strange yet profound homeless black man, and did I mention that he’s homeless, wow, I’m great for being such a thoughtful, considerate person” trailer. (Was that grammatically accurate? I have a sneaking suspicion that wasn’t grammatically accurate. I care not.)

Atlanta

This looks . . . interesting. It’s hard to get a good sense of the show, obviously; all I’m really going off of is a single interview I read, and this minute-long teaser trailer. Still, I’m just curious enough to (probably) check it out.

I can’t pretend the actual synopsis does anything for me (I’m struggling to think of a movie or TV show centered around the life of an up-and-coming musician that I even remotely cared about), but this show seems like it’s going to go tonally weird, darkly comic, and uncomfortable places. And I like Donald Glover a whole hell of a lot, so it’s at least worth checking out the first episode.

Finally . . . Luke Cage

Okay, I know this trailer has been out for a week now, but I forgot that it was up, so I actually just saw it. I was already pretty pumped from the teaser trailer alone; now, I can’t wait until September 30th. I liked Luke Cage well enough in Jessica Jones, but I’m way more interested in him starring in his own show, and hey, it’s Mahershala Ali again! AND ROSARIO.

Count me in, folks. I’m ready.

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“We’re Bad Guys. It’s What We Do.”

So, Suicide Squad was out for about a week before I had the opportunity to see it, and the reviews in that week were . . . not kind. I’d heard from a few people directly who enjoyed the movie, but overall it was sounding like yet another DC live action fail.

The thing is I’m, like, contrary and opinionated and shit, so despite the poor press, I had to make my way to the theater to try it out myself.

ss cover2

Ultimately, it’s a bit of a hot mess. More than a bit, honestly; I want to edit the holy shit out of this movie. On the upside, it’s way more enjoyable than Man of Steel or BvS!

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Your August Movie Quotes Challenge – Revealed!

Okay, kids. Here are your answers.

1. You’re Next

youre next

“Would you just die already? This is hard enough for me.”

One of those rare movies that perfectly balances comedy with horror, You’re Next is a decent enough pick for Halloween but really ought to be watched just before Thanksgiving, or any other family reunion that you desperately don’t want to go to. Also recommended for those seeking out a Final Girl who’s actually useful, or anyone who ever wanted to see Home Alone as a slasher. This is your movie.

2. Identity

identity

“All right. You want a plan? Everybody want a plan? Here’s the plan, okay? No one’s gonna move. We’re gonna stay here, like this, in this room until dawn. No one leaves, no one moves. And if he tries anything, I’m gonna shoot him! And if there’s something out there and it comes in here, I’m gonna shoot it! And if anyone of us tries anything, I’m gonna shoot ’em!”

This is a hot mess of a movie, but I have something of a fondness for it . . . and for Ray Liotta’s semi-hysterical yet totally pragmatic strategy for not dying.

I approve, Mr. Liotta. I approve.

3. The Golden Child

golden child

“Only a man whose heart is pure can wield the knife, and only a man whose ass is narrow can get down these steps.”

I haven’t seen this in some time, and I have a sneaking suspicion it’s probably more problematic than I’d care to remember, but I was a big fan of this movie when I was a kid, you know, back when I enjoyed Eddie Murphy films. It’s actually where I first saw Charles Dance, long, long before he became Tywin Lannister. Love you, Charles Dance!

4. Ant-Man

ant man

“It’s a Carbondale. It’s from 1910, made from the same steel as the Titanic.”
“Wow. Can you crack it?”
“Well here’s the thing. It doesn’t do so well with cold. You remember what that iceberg did, right?”
“Yeah, it killed DiCaprio.”

I finally watched Ant-Man, like, a week before I went to see Civil War; I’d planned to do a review of it, but honestly, I just ran out of time. Maybe someday I’ll go back and do one, but I kind of doubt it: parts of this movie were really funny (the above dialogue, for instance; also, Thomas the Tank Engine), but mostly what I remember is being annoyed on Hope van Dyne’s behalf. And I’ve got to tell you, after several seasons of wanting to strangle Kate Austen on Lost, I was not anticipating this reaction at all.

5. Lone Star

lone star

“You can’t be desperately in love when you’re fourteen years old.”

Watched this movie during my 2014 Noir Challenge. In fact, it ended up being my favorite of the bunch; it’s a really good, underrated mystery and it kills me that I never hear people talking about it. Great cast. Great dialogue. Incredibly well-crafted.

If nothing else, this movie deserved an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Damn you, Fargo. Damn you to Hell.

6. Murder, My Sweet

murder my sweet

“How would you like a swift punch on the nose?”
“I tremble at the thought of such violence.”

Another movie from my 2014 Noir Challenge, only an actual classic noir this time, not a 90’s Texan neo-noir. I’m a Humphrey Bogart fan, so I don’t know that I wasn’t expecting much from this, but Dick Powell really worked for me as Philip Marlowe. And Helen may be one of my very favorite femme fatales of all time. Also the dialogue: so many snappy comebacks and one-liners. This is just a very enjoyable little movie.

7. Dog Soldiers

dog soliders

“If we do happen to make contact, I expect nothing less than gratuitous violence from the lot of you.”

One of my very favorite werewolf movies. (Others: Ginger Snaps, An American Werewolf in London.) Kevin McKidd is great. Also, Sean Pertwee is a hell of a lot more likable than he is as Alfred on Gotham, while Liam Cunningham is considerably less likable than he is as Davos on Game of Thrones. (It’s okay. He’s supposed to be an evil dick.) This movie has got humor, action, and plenty of that good old gratuitous violence, and except for the fact that it’s one of those 10 men/1 woman movies (roughly, I didn’t actually count the men), it’s pretty awesome.

8. Singin’ in the Rain

singin

“She’s so refined. I think I’ll kill myself.”

One of my favorite musicals ever. Which I guess isn’t saying much from a girl who hasn’t even seen West Side Story (or listened to Hamilton, for that matter), but this is definitely a comfort movie for me, something I’ll put on when I’m not feeling well and just want to watch some singing, dancing, and glorious technicolor to cheer me up. (Though, for me, it’s always been more about Donald O’Connor than Gene Kelly, and definitely more about Jean Hagen than Debbie Reynolds.)

9. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

willy

“Don’t just stand there, do something!”
“Help. Police. Murder.”

Overall, I definitely prefer the original film to the remake, but there are aspects about the 2005 film that I do genuinely enjoy. (Freddie Highmore, for instance, who I definitely prefer over Peter Ostrum.) Sadly, Johnny Depp’s performance generally isn’t one of them. He certainly has moments, but on the whole it’s all about Gene Wilder for me . . . although I still have no idea WTF is up with the creepy ass tunnel scene. I mean, as an adult, it makes me laugh my ass off, but . . . like . . . WHAT?

10. Kingsman: The Secret Service

kingsman

“I’m a Catholic whore, currently enjoying congress out of wedlock with my black Jewish boyfriend who works at a military abortion clinic. Hail Satan, and have a lovely afternoon, madam.”

This might have been the most obvious quote in the challenge, but . . . like . . . just look at it. It had to be used. I laughed so hard in theater.

11. The Matrix

matrix

“You’re cuter than I thought. I can see why she likes you.”
“Who?”
“Not too bright, though.”

Oh, The Matrix. Didn’t really care for the second one, never bothered to watch the third one, but the first movie was a BIG deal for me when I first saw it at, oh, 13? Came out of the theater and was like, Oooh, maybe the world isn’t REAL. (When you’re a teenager living in a very small town, this prospect probably has more appeal. I’d be considerably less excited about finding that out now.)

12. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

threesome2

“Jim, if you ask me, and you haven’t, I think this is a terrible idea.”

Finally, this is my least favorite Trek movie I’ve watched thus far, but I will admit that it’s got a handful of lines I really enjoy and one or two nice ideas. They’re just lost in a sea of plot conveniences and serious WTF. On the other hand, look at that picture. That picture is everything.

Okay, that’s a wrap for this challenge. Thanks, everyone, for playing!

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“Is That Classical?”

Plenty of Trekkies despise NuTrek Abramsverse the Kelvin Timeline, but–as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before–I’m really not one of them. I’m a completely unabashed fan of the 2009 Star Trek, and while I think Into Darkness has some deeply frustrating problems, I don’t think it’s, like, THE DEATH OF STAR TREK or anything, either. Honestly, it’s not even my least favorite Trek film: out of Wrath, Search, Whales, God, Captain von Klingon, Bridge, Borg, Insurrection, Reboot, and Huge Dead Tribble, God is easily my least favorite–although it should be noted that I haven’t seen The Motion Picture or Nemesis yet, and I barely remember Bridge at all, much less Insurrection, which I KNOW I’ve seen but has obviously been so thoroughly erased from my brain that I couldn’t even come up with a clever 1-3 word nickname for it. (Meanwhile, Wrath would clearly be KHAAAAN!, while I’m thinking Search should either be Spock Lives! or maybe Star Trek: A Study in Negating Everything Interesting About The Previous Film in the Series. Or do you think that’s too long?)

I feel like I’ve digressed. The point is this: I can now add Star Trek Beyond to the list.

st beyond cover2

And how did I like Star Trek Beastie Boys? Well, I have some problems because, you know, me. Overall, though, I had a pretty decent time watching it in theater.

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It’s August and I Haven’t Done a Movie Quotes Challenge? Let’s Fix That.

It’s pretty simple, folks. I’ve selected a quote. You tell me what movie it’s from. If you see BOB in the quote, do not be fooled. BOB is my customary substitution for any character name. BOB is (probably) not in this movie.

1. “Would you just die already? This is hard enough for me.”

2. “All right. You want a plan? Everybody want a plan? Here’s the plan, okay? No one’s gonna move. We’re gonna stay here, like this, in this room until dawn. No one leaves, no one moves. And if he tries anything, I’m gonna shoot him! And if there’s something out there and it comes in here, I’m gonna shoot it! And if anyone of us tries anything, I’m gonna shoot ’em!”

3. “Only a man whose heart is pure can wield the knife, and only a man whose ass is narrow can get down these steps.”

4. “It’s a Carbondale. It’s from 1910, made from the same steel as the Titanic.”
“Wow. Can you crack it?”
“Well here’s the thing. It doesn’t do so well with cold. You remember what that iceberg did, right?”
“Yeah, it killed DiCaprio.”

5. “You can’t be desperately in love when you’re fourteen years old.”

6. “How would you like a swift punch on the nose?”
“I tremble at the thought of such violence.”

7. “If we do happen to make contact, I expect nothing less than gratuitous violence from the lot of you.”

8. “She’s so refined. I think I’ll kill myself.”

9. “Don’t just stand there, do something!”
“Help. Police. Murder.”

10. “I’m a Catholic whore, currently enjoying congress out of wedlock with my black Jewish boyfriend who works at a military abortion clinic. Hail Satan, and have a lovely afternoon, madam.”

11. “You’re cuter than I thought. I can see why she likes you.”
“Who?”
“Not too bright, though.”

12. “BOB, if you ask me, and you haven’t, I think this is a terrible idea.”

Leave your guesses in the comments section. I’ll post the answers probably Tuesday or Wednesday of next week!

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Clarion West Write-A-Thon: Week 6 Update

I’m afraid I’m abandoning my usual setup for these updates this last week of the Write-a-Thon, partially because I have to go to bed sometime, and partially because I have considerably less to update this week. My goal was to finish at least two mostly workable short story drafts over six weeks and, hey, I actually already accomplished that! Go me. So much patting on the back today.

I considered starting a third story during Week 6, but I didn’t have as much time to spend on it as I would’ve liked and decided it was a better idea to go back to the first story I finished (previously known as Operation Hail Mary, now to be known under its new codename Venus) and working on edits, particularly in regards to format. Half of the story is in iPhone conversations (in my head, it’s specifically an iPhone–apparently, I have a dreadful Apple bias, so sorry) and I’ve been playing with how I want those sections to look on the page. And while that’s pretty important to me, I have to admit it’s not exactly riveting material for a blog.

But, sadly, that’s pretty much all I’ve got for you today. Venus is out now to a few people who can hopefully tell me how to make it better, as is Codename: Army of Janes. Once I finish with final edits, they’ll be off to the markets . . . and the long, slow, and anxiety-inducing process of waiting will begin.

Thanks to everyone who donated and/or listened to me babble about writing here. More than likely, I’ll see you next year for the 2017 Clarion West Write-a-Thon, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel.

Oh, and your final Random Line of the Week:

I don’t know what a clown would do with a planet, but nothing good could possibly come from it.

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MEGA Coming Soon-Ish: Not-So-Live From Comic Con

It’s been years since I’ve gone to Comic Con. I’m always deeply envious when it’s going on, but luckily, the internet provides some of the shiny without me having to get up at the crack of dawn for a 5:00pm panel in Hall H.

Here are a bunch of trailers that came from San Diego’s massive annual nerd convention.

Justice League

I did not like Man of Steel. I did not like Batman v Superman. But God help me, Justice League actually looks pretty fun so far.

I mean, I’m not totally getting my hopes up. It’s super early days and, to my eternal disappointment, Zack Snyder is still at the helm. There is still the serious likelihood that this will be another stupidly angsty, convoluted mess.

But I actually liked Ben Affleck as Batman in BvS, and I really enjoy his chemistry with Gal Gadot. Ezra Miller is working for me, so long as they don’t push that whole awkward nerd thing too far into the ground. And Aquaman, naturally, looks all handsome and manly. Disappointingly, we don’t see much of Cyborg, but overall it’s not a terrible first look. If the movie can create interesting team dynamics and remember to actually be entertaining (and, you know, make sense), I could be into it.

Wonder Woman

And speaking of promising . . .

I have a lot more hope for Wonder Woman, although I have to say that if I don’t like it . . . I might not be going to see Justice League after all, cause, like, I’ve already given this franchise two chances and been pretty disappointed with both films. Fourth times the charm kind of isn’t a thing.

This trailer is decent. I don’t know if I’m totally wowed by it, but I am interested. I definitely liked that moment where Wonder Woman’s all, “What I do is not up to you.” YES. More of this, please. In fact, all of this.

I admit, I’m curious to how they’ll treat love interest Chris Pine: will he primarily function as a typical love interest, or will he get to do more just because he’s a guy? The latter would kind of annoy me, but so long as Wonder Woman’s motivation doesn’t solely revolve around him (and the movie doesn’t solely focus on leg shots), I could be into this. I desperately want it to be good, anyway, considering if it’s not, plenty of people won’t just consider it a bad superhero film. Rather, people will use it as “proof” that female-led superhero movies are terrible and don’t attract audiences. But we’ll have to wait a while to see how that turns out.

Doctor Strange

It’s interesting. I have the same casting problems that everyone has already mentioned, but . . . hot damn, are the visuals in this stunning.

I’m sure I’ll see this movie. It has a great cast, and it looks both beautiful and weird. Marvel meets Inception, you know? But as much as I love Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton . . . I wish they weren’t in this particular story.

The LEGO Batman Movie

I’m still worried that this is going to be a one-joke story that can’t fill up a whole movie, but this latest trailer does make me smile. LIFE DOESN’T GIVE YOU SEAT BELTS. Although poor Robin. Someday, Robin will get to be cool on screen. You know, when Michael Cera isn’t the one voicing him.

Luke Cage

I don’t think I have anything to say to this but DAMN.

I’m into it. I’m definitely into it.

Legion

Er . . .

I honestly don’t really know what to make of that. I know I watch basically every superhero show on television, but TBH, I didn’t really have any plans to watch Legion. A show about Professor X’s abandoned son who thinks he’s schizophrenic? Eh, no. Not my thing. Still, I figured I’d check out the trailer at least, and now that I have, I feel like I should at least check out the pilot. I like the cinematography, anyway, and it certainly looks . . . interesting . . . although I do find Dan Stevens’s American accent a bit grating.

So, yeah, I’ll probably try it. It could be entertaining, but if the whole show is about Am I Crazy/Am I Not? Yeah, I’ll probably fall out of it pretty fast.

The Flash (Season 3)

So, now we know what Barry did to the timeline.

Is it wrong that I’m still hoping this is all resolved in two episodes max? This could be temporarily fun, but please, please say we aren’t stuck in Flashpoint all season long. RESURRECT THE HARRY AND CISCO SHOW. Cause, yeah, this isn’t fully doing it for me.

Arrow (Season 5)

Eh. I’m always hot and cold on Arrow, often within the same episode, but this trailer is leaving me pretty much just cold.

I’m not particularly interested in New Team Arrow. Curtis, yes. Curtis can always stay. But that other dude seems annoying, and the girl . . . well, let’s just say that Artemis was my absolute favorite in Young Justice (well, her and Robin, anyway), so I’m far more likely to be critical of her. If they screw up Artemis, I’m going to be deeply  unhappy, and if I’m being honest, I fully expect them to screw up Artemis. (Her background, for instance, is already completely wrong.) Not to mention, I’m not really looking forward to multiple scenes of Oliver screwing up as a superhero mentor and everyone threatening to leave him and blah blah blah. (I just assume.)

I’m still planning to watch, just . . . I don’t know how many more seasons of Arrow I have in me.

Kong: Skull Island

All right, I think we’ve finally gotten past the superhero stuff.

I’ve gotta admit: with a roster like Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, and John Goodman, this certainly has the cast to beat. And I like the general look of the movie. Still, my interest is middling at the moment: a rental, probably, rather than a theater visit. The last Kong movie didn’t do a whole lot for me, and I worry about the predictability factor: right now I’m predicting Goodman dead, Samuel L dead, a bunch of extras/minor characters dead, and Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, and their probable UST alone surviving to tell the tale.

This could be totally wrong, of course–in fact, I hope it is–but if not, I’m already yawning.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

So far, I haven’t been able to muster up much interest in this, despite how much I enjoyed both the Harry Potter books and movies. This trailer, though, is the first thing I’ve seen that makes me think, Okay, maybe I could check this out. On one hand . . . I kind of feel done with the HP universe, like, I love it, I’ll revisit it, I desperately want to go to Universal Studios and visit Diagon Alley–but I also don’t feel a lot of need to see prequels, sequels, side stories, etc. On the other hand, magic in this particular time period is always kind of fun, and I could enjoy this.

Although. I must say that while No-Maj didn’t bother me so much when I first read it . . . it’s kind of jarring to hear it out loud. It just really does not sound like American slang to me at all, and I hope that’s not a consistent problem throughout the film.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Well, this looks about as ridiculous as you’d expect a Guy Ritchie version of King Arthur to be.

I have no real plans to see this anytime soon, but I’ve got to admit: the trailer with its anachronistic music, super fast action, and 110% Guy Ritchie-ness did make me smile. Of course, I’m not a purist: Arthurian mythology, on the whole, has never done much for me, so I totally don’t care that Guy Ritchie’s probably going to mess it all up. And the cast is sort of fun: along with Charlie Hunnam, Djimon Hounsou, and Evil Jude Law, we also have Littlefinger, Roose Bolton, and Morgana . . . although, sadly, I don’t think Katie McGrath is playing Morgana here. Still, the actual story itself makes me just kinda shrug. I doubt I’ll pay theater prices for the experience.

American Gods

Well, shit. It’d be really helpful if I had Starz, huh?

It’s been quite some time since I re-read it (I’m trying to decide if I want to do it again before the show or not), but I picked up American Gods when I was, oh, 18? And I adored it. I’m so excited to see it come to life as a TV show. This is a pretty promising first look, and I’m very hopeful. I mean, the cast alone . . . damn. There are a ton of great people in it, but I’m just dying over these pictures of Gillian Anderson as Media. SUCH a lady crush right now.

I desperately want this show to be as awesome as it sounds. Please be awesome, show. Please be awesome like I know you can be.

Teen Wolf (Season 6)

Well, my friends. We have our first look at our final season–Teen Wolf is saying goodbye to us with Season 6, and much as I love the show, it’s probably time. Here’s to hoping it can end on a good note. (It’s always so sad when shows can’t.)

It looks pretty cool. I like the idea of a Big Bad that abducts and erases people from all memory. The story is Stiles-centric, which obviously appeals to me. And the Sheriff doesn’t remember him? NOOOOOOO! On the downside, we lost Kira and got Theo in return? BOO. This is not a great trade, in my book.

And finally . . . Dirk Gently

Oh, this looks kind of fun.

I’ll admit, I’m getting a little tired of that one genius detective character who does whatever they want and suffers no ill consequences. Still, this definitely looks offbeat and I think I was pretty much sold when Elijah Wood screamed, “I am NOT your Watson, asshole!” Plus, it looks like there are some interesting side characters (I’m already intrigued by the one kickass black lady near the end of the trailer) and . . . is that Richard Schiff? Hey, it is! YAY!

This trailer doesn’t really jive with what little I remember from The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, but it has been more than a decade since I read that book, so who knows. I’m sure I’ll try this one. I’m such a sucker for quirky detectives, although, historically, the weirder they are, the faster they get cancelled. (RIP forever, Terriers, The Unusuals, etc.)

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