Coming Soon-Ish: Star Wars, Batman v Superman, and The Hateful Eight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I don’t know if it’s because I was in a bad mood when I watched this, or if it’s because I knew Harrison Ford was going to appear before I saw the trailer. Maybe it’s because I still don’t want the old stars in the new series, despite the obvious fact that that ship has long since sailed. But this teaser spread like wildfire around my social media today, with everyone feeling the old Star Wars magic again, and I was kind of like . . . *shrug.* Which bummed me out because for however cynical I can be sometimes, being a geek is kind of all about joy, and I absolutely wanted to feel that wonder and sentiment that everyone else seemed to feel today. Maybe I’ll get there in the first full-length trailer. (Although, actually, I was definitely more into the first teaser. Hell, maybe I am just having an off day.) On the upside, it’s not a bad-looking trailer, and I was super excited that they remembered, hey, Leia was supposed to have cool Jedi potential too. I will be PISSED if I don’t get to see Leia do at least something with the Force in these movies. That has always bummed me out. But please, for the love of God, don’t bring Darth Vader back. Please say that’s not why we’re using present tense, not unless we’re bringing him back as the badass villain he once was, and even then . . . I don’t know, guys. Sometimes, I think it’s better if the best villains stay dead. The Hateful Eight
For a teaser that doesn’t feature any actual footage, I’m surprisingly into this. Well, not that surprisingly — it’s Quentin Tarantino, after all, and it stars Walton Goggins, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Tim Roth, among others. I’m desperately curious to see a full-length trailer now, and my only real disappointment is that there appears to only be one girl in the whole hateful eight because of course there is. On the upside, there’s also apparently a dude who’s known by the name Cow Puncher. Obviously, I need to know more about that guy. Burying the Ex
Oh, no. Not feeling this one at all. Which is disappointing — zombie comedies are usually right up my alley, and I generally like Anton Yelchin. All the zombie-spewing embalming fluid stuff is kind of awesome, too. But the general premise of Girlfriend From Hell feels so . . . blech. It’s done and it’s boring and I’m kind of over watching movies about poor nice guys whose meanie mean girlfriends stomp all over them. Like yeah, I’ve known women who are over-controlling, too, but this over-the-top crazy? It feels like yet another movie where I’m being asked to sympathize with a boy’s fears about the Crazy Bitch Girlfriend, and I’m just not that interested. Actually, I’d have been a lot more curious if this whole story was gender-swapped, and the boyfriend wasn’t abusive or awful, just really annoying. That might have worked for me. Scream
Yup. MTV has made a TV show based off the horror movie franchise, and I am absolutely going to watch it. Less because this trailer does anything for me — because it really doesn’t — but because it’s the Scream franchise and I have to. Also because Bex Taylor-Klaus is apparently going to be in it, and because I love Teen Wolf so much that I’m actually a little excited it’s going to be on MTV. I know. I never thought I’d say that, either. It totally could suck. But I’m at least going to try it out. Dark Matter
This is another TV show that may also suck, but you can bet I’ll be watching the hell out of it anyway. A group of amnesiacs trapped together in space? Shit, that kind of show is practically made for me. Will I be disappointed? Oh, probably. I can’t actually think of a Group Amnesia movie I ended up being particularly satisfied with, and there’s nothing about this trailer that’s hugely original. Still. All the potential in that premise! Someday, I’m going to find a winner. Will it be you, Dark Matter? Can it be you after all this time? And finally . . . Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Because of technical difficulties, I’m just going to refer you to io9 if you want to watch this one. But it looks . . . interesting. I still haven’t made myself watch Man of Steel yet, but I know most of the major stuff that happens in it. (Still. I will watch it before I see Dawn of Justice. I will make myself do this, even if I have almost zero interest.) And this looks pretty dark. That seems to be a turnoff to a lot of people who enjoy the relatively zippier Marvel movies, but in a way, I’m glad that DC has a different tonal approach — it makes it feel more like their own. Also, sometimes I feel a little bad for DC. Not always — their fuck-ups can not all or even mostly be blamed on other people — but I can’t help but feel that Marvel gets praised when it goes light and praised when it goes dark, and DC gets shit on for doing anything. And damn it, I like the Justice League. I like Batman. Maybe this movie will suck donkeyballs, but I refuse to go into it with that as my default expectation. Okay. That became more of a rant than I intended. Let’s get back to the trailer, cause I’m getting mad Injustice vibes from it. (Without the amazing trio that is Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Harley Quinn, unfortunately.) Honestly, I’m a little more interested because of those Injustice vibes, and I’ll happily watch this again when the official trailer (with better quality) comes out. I’m not sure I’m feeling Batman’s glowy eyes, though. The voice is . . . well, I don’t know. I get why everyone’s comparing it to Christian Bale’s growl, but I think it actually reminds me a lot more of Shao Kahn. Surprisingly, I don’t absolutely hate it, although I feel like it might have been a wise decision to not do that and go with something more understated. Then again, I’m thinking this might not be the most subtle and understated of movies. I guess we’ll see how it all plays out next year.

6 thoughts on “Coming Soon-Ish: Star Wars, Batman v Superman, and The Hateful Eight

  1. I have no strong feelings on Dark Matter except “Holy shit, that girl’s blue-green hair is awesome. I wish I had hair like that. Hey, isn’t she the girl from every horror movie ever? I like her. But not as much as I’m liking her hair.”

    Wasn’t there another Group Amnesia show a while back? I think they were trapped in a small town somehow. Although maybe they just mysteriously woke up in a small town but didn’t have amnesia, I can’t remember. I think it only lasted one season though.

    • I also am pretty obsessed with that hair. That is AMAZING hair.

      Possibly you’re thinking of Persons Unknown? Possibly not, though — they were strangers who woke up in a town, but I don’t believe they had amnesia. I was into that one, but it got cancelled pretty fast — I don’t think it even made it a full season. Let’s see . . . gives it 13 episodes. I don’t remember anything that happens now, but I was into the mystery of it all. I don’t know if a damn thing got solved, though.

      • What are your thoughts on Dark Matter? And does it feel to you like Firefly with amnesia, and maybe a different tone?

        I’m hoping it turned a corner with this last episode, which I felt had a depth and emotional core that the others largely lacked. I still had some issues – I seriously wanted to have a go at script doctoring – but they were largely minor, or a matter of deleting or rewriting a particular line. (Though I wanted to get rid of that whole scene with One and Two at the beginning. Getting real sick of your Nice Guy whining, pretty boy.)

        I guess I’ve kept watching because I’m curious about all the mystery stuff, but the episodic plots are mostly dull. I didn’t care about the brave miners or the zombie ship or Pretty Boy and Asshole learning to work together. I especially didn’t – and don’t – care about any kind of love triangle between One, Two, and Three.

        Also, is it weird to you that everyone still only goes by their numbers? I get that they want to move on from their pasts, but I would’ve thought at least a couple of people would make up new names – even just for a cover identity. ‘Cause seriously, if they rock up on that planet they’re heading to calling themselves numbers 1 through 6, everyone is going to think they’re either pod people or some kind of cult.

        • Man, do I have thoughts about Dark Matter. You may regret asking this because now I’m apparently writing an essay.

          Honestly, I don’t think it would ever have occurred to me to compare to Firefly with Dark Matter, mostly because it’s hard for me to separate Firefly from its tone and unusual voice. Part of my big problem with Dark Matter is that I feel like it doesn’t have any voice at all. There’s so much potential and so little originality or character development. I’d be far more likely to compare Firefly to Killjoys, which I’m actually enjoying quite a bit. (And to think, I only tried that on a whim because I saw a preview and was like, “Hey, it’s Jinks!”)

          Dark Matter is . . . okay. (SPOILERS, in case anyone else is actually reading this thread. Hey, I remembered my own rule for once!) I’ll watch the whole first season, but if things don’t improve for me, I probably won’t stick around for Season 2. (Assuming there is one.) What I did really like about the last episode was the scene between 6 and 5 where he’s convincing her that she has to come back. There are so many interesting ideas about identity that this show could be discussing and, for the most part, really isn’t, but I really liked 6’s speech here. I thought that was easily one of the best scenes so far.

          On the other hand, I was kind of bummed when it was revealed that not one but two of our guys were framed for their Big Bad Crimes — it felt a little easy. Not that they couldn’t have done other terrible things, or that 2 or 3 couldn’t have actually done the terrible shit they were accused of, but . . . I don’t know. I’m now worried that the show is going to go out of its way to make everyone a secret good guy, and that’s boring.

          The episodic plots haven’t been great (though nothing has bored me more than the brave miners), but my biggest problem remains the characters, I think. I read one review that argues their tropey natures comes from the fact that none of them have their own memories, but I just don’t buy it. I think it’s just bad writing, pure and simple. I like 6 okay, who actually strikes me as a real person. And 2 is growing on me, now that I’m finally pushing my way past her COMPLETELY IDIOTIC scene at the beginning where she beats up 1 for no good reason because he was “in her way,” like that actually made any sense in that context whatsoever. The others . . . well, I think 3 is landing more of his jokes than he did at the beginning, so, fine. Not exciting, but fine. 4 is kind of growing past his enigmatic stereotype? He’s got moments, but . . . yeah, still pretty much a stereotype. And okay, I actually like the Android.

          1 and 5 are where I’m having real problems, though. 1 should basically be shot out of an airlock — he is SO annoying and almost completely without nuance and, frankly, I’m not hugely impressed by the actor’s performance thus far. I’m also not a big fan of the 1-2-3 love triangle, mostly because 2 is too good for either of those guys. I was surprised that 2 slept with 3, but I kind of liked it, and her attitude towards casual sex is sort of refreshing. I wouldn’t even mind her saying that she’d rather be sleeping with 1 if only she could deal with Love Complications, except that these two have had, like, half a forced Moment so far, a half Moment I didn’t even buy because the actors don’t have much chemistry and because 1, as far as I can tell, is a whiny useless POS and I don’t know why 2 would like him anyway.

          And 5 doesn’t appear to have any kind of personality. As far as I can tell, her personality is Innocence with an occasional side order of Creepy when the scene calls for it. It doesn’t help that the actress is clearly older than the part she’s supposed to be playing, like, it took me a little bit in the first episode to realize why everyone was treating her like she was 15. I don’t need 5 to be a badass or anything, but some actual character traits might be nice to see.

          And yeah, the number thing is kind of weird. Frankly, I thought the number thing was weird from the beginning — not because that’s the system they decided, but how abruptly they decided it, like, it didn’t feel nature to me at all. I’m pretty sure I laughed out loud. And yeah, you’d think a few of them might try to get back to their old names or pick up new ones. 2 deciding to stay 2 felt like a Character Moment, but in a way that kind of means less because the other characters just stayed their assigned numbers by default. And yeah, aliases might not be a bad call. Then again, I’m not convinced these are particularly adept criminals.

          . . . okay, I guess that’s it. For now. (Except, wow, how dumb was it when Three blackmailed One to agreeing with him in group arguments, and One turned out to be the worst liar in all the world? Is there anything this guy does right? Out. The. Airlock.)

      • I am coming right back at you with the essay-length comment, I’m afraid.

        Apart from the amnesia, I find the starkest difference between Dark Matter and Firefly to be tone, so I understand that. I think they have similar universes, premises (they’ve both got that whole “broke-ass petty criminals on a spaceship, just trying to get by,” thing) characters, and themes, but Dark Matter has little of Firefly’s warmth, humour, or sense of fun.

        I don’t think I’ve heard anything about Killjoys, but I guess I’ll go watch a trailer now.

        Yeah, that scene was where the episode really came together for me. Up until then, it was still probably the best episode of the pack for me – but that’s more speaking to the other episodes’ weaknesses than this one’s strengths. It was only the second time that the plot of the week was actually tied in to the rest of the show, instead of being some random episodic shit. (Those worked fine for Firefly, but less so for this show.)

        Episode 7 was a big step down for me – I had very little interest in any of the plotlines – but then No. 8 was back up in terms of quality. Interestingly, both (and No. 6) had a greater focus on character development and emotional arcs than I think most of the previous episodes had, even if No. 7’s character development fell completely flat for me. So that’s promising.

        I’m worried about that too, and have been since we found out that One wasn’t the real Jace Corso. Until last week, I’d suspected he’d infilitrated the ship on behalf of the mysterious group that was meant to save the miners. And then there was Three and his sick girlfriend – they weren’t saying Marcus Boone was any less of a bloodthirsty puppy-kicker, or whatever, but the flashbacks we saw were just about him and his dying lady love, which casts him in a more favourable light.

        OTOH, we did get that flashback where Three decided to deal with a teenaged stowaway by murdering her, and in Six’s flashback he killed not just the dude who’d set him up, but his innocent comrades as well. So I still have some degree of hope, although I have to admit it’s shrinking.

        If it turns out that as members of the Raza, they were all the murderous mercenaries and space-pirates they were initially sold to us as, it won’t matter so much whether they were framed in their origin stories – but the last couple of episodes have raised concerns about that. Why didn’t the General or *especially* Four’s old teacher mention their crimes post-framing? Four was carrying on about his innocence, so it would’ve made sense for the teacher to be like “Yeah, but what about all the bad shit you did *after* you were framed?”

        All the characters feel at least somewhat underdeveloped to me – even the ones I like. That review’s theory is an interesting idea, but I think it’s unlikely based on what I’ve seen so far.

        I feel bad for the Android. In this universe, androids apparently have feelings and self-awareness but everyone except Five mostly just treats her as a piece of hardware – or at best, their servant – instead of a person. I was pretty pleased when Terminator Wendy was like “Yeah, just having to cook, clean, and be used as a sex doll actually wasn’t that much fun.”

        But then the Android’s reaction to her own feelings would indicate that they are unusual amongst robots, so I don’t know if the show *meant* Wendy to have them? Even though she clearly did – her perkiness prior to One “activating,” her was quite possibly an act that Entertainment Models are programmed to display, but what about once she was in Terminator Mode? If she was just supposed to kill everyone, why was she acting angry in her scene with Three, or even bothering to talk to him? What purpose did that serve to her mission? Gah, this is so stupid.

        God, yeah, One. I guess I like that he supposed to be the sentimental moral centre of the group, while our female lead is the one who is all levelheaded and practical? But that’s about *all* I like about him. His moral centre-ness tends to come off as moral superiority instead. (Plus, volunteering Three, Four and Six to risk their lives for the miners without their permission was actually really shitty, IMO.) And I am so annoyed that he basically whined his way into Two’s pants – first because she slept with someone who wasn’t him, and then because she wasn’t ready for a relationship.

        Not only do I think they don’t have chemistry or much of a romantic connection – unless you count his aforementioned Nice Guy complaining and jealousy as romantic – I wouldn’t say most of the cast have any sort of bond or discernable relationships with one another. This isn’t necessarily a total criticism, because these people sort of only met a few weeks ago, so there’s a possibility that it’s intentional. But thus far it seems like their previous characterizations and feelings towards others instinctually carry over – especially given Three’s reaction to Sarah. In which case, the lack of a dynamic (positive or negative) amongst most of the cast is definitely worth criticizing. This would also be a pretty major distinction from Firefly, where the dynamics between the crew felt lived-in and authentic from the beginning.

        I too liked that Two was completely blunt and unapologetic about having had casual sex with Three, though.

        I like Five, but I think that’s largely because of the hair (I can’t stop staring at it in all the close-ups! I wonder if it’s actually dyed different colours, or if it’s an effect of the lighting.) and my familiarity with the actress. And seriously, what was with that part where she was like “Oh, Six couldn’t have been a terrorist!” Did she somehow miss the memo on them all being big giant criminals pre-memory wipe?

        I did really like that bit where she revealed she’d climbed into Three’s room and stole the ammo from his guns after he got a bit too suspicious of her, and that she utilized that to give Team Rescue The Android the advantage. I’d like to see more of that kind of sneaky cunning and self-preservation from her.

        Given my annoyance at the lack of definable relationships, I *do* like that Five has a clear sibling-y bond with both Two and Six, and a friendship with the Android, though. If only everyone else could receive that kind of relationship development.

        What really bothered me about that is that it seemed like the worst blackmail ever. Because One doesn’t remember – that never seemed to be in doubt, anyway – and the entire crew (supposedly) did horrible things before they got mind-wiped. Them trying to come to terms with and move past their pre-amnesia deeds is a major part of the show. So they’re all okay with all their shipmates being amnesiac murderous pirates, but Three’s blackmail was reliant on them turning on One because pre-amnesia, he peacefully infiltrated the ship? At least once everyone found out, they really only cared that he’d lied about it. (And gosh, I hope everyone throws Two’s constant flaming hypocrisy back in her face once they find out her bite wound healed itself.)

        Seriously, unless someone managed to fool the lie detector test (which is, in fairness, a distinct possibility) I don’t see that it matters that much who mind-wiped everyone. Them getting amnesia too places them in the same boat as everyone else. What matters is *why* they did it, and whether it was part of some larger plan with other people outside the ship, who might come down on the crew later. Presumably, they’d still want to find out who, in the hope that it would lead to the why – but my problem is that they don’t seem to care about that part. It’s more like they want to find out who did it because said person is the enemy, and that’s the part I’m having trouble with.

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