“Pocahontas, That Tree Is Talking To Me.”

ETA: Trying to get back to business as usual, at least for the moment, though fair warning: there may be more political talk in the future. There may also not be; I don’t have any specific plans right now. But just so you know, the majority of this review, save some minor edits, was written before nearly half of America decided to vote for an unrepentant and unqualified bigot, so. Nothing here past this paragraph is election and/or protest related.

Okay. For a variety of reasons, my Disney Princess Movie Challenge had to be put on hold for several months, which leaves me with just under two months now to watch six movies and review them. This does not sound difficult until you understand that I am not a fast writer, and anytime I spend here writing for fun is, very unfortunately, time I’m not spending writing for money, and look people, I like money. I’m not even going to lie about that. Even if my rent hadn’t just doubled, which is sort of a consideration, I also like it when I have the opportunity to spend cash for things; I have, like, zero qualms about my materialism.

Regardless, I really would like to finish this particular challenge after failing so abysmally last year on Best Picture Winners, so I’m going to give it a shot. When we last left off, Mekaela and I had just watched Aladdin for the first time in about 20 years. Now?

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Now I watch Pocahontas for the very first time. God help me.

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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.

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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.

“You Still Picking Your Feet in Poughkeepsie?”

The movies that I tend to find interesting are rarely the kind of movies that win for Best Picture. There are exceptions, obviously (Chicago, Silence of the Lambs, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), but in general, I’m not drawn to the kind of film that gains accolades by the Academy.

This year, however, I’ve challenged myself to watch twelve of these movies. And already I regret it a little — do you know how long Gone With the Wind is? 238 minutes. That is two minutes shy of FOUR HOURS. For Christ’s sake, even RotK isn’t that long (The non-extended version anyway. The extended version is longer, but only by twelve minutes.)

So, I figured, You know, Carlie, let’s ease into this. We don’t need to start with the four hour plantation epic. There’s no reason to begin with the Holocaust movie that’s probably going to make you cry into your pillow all week. Let’s pick a movie closer to your own interests, starring actors that you generally enjoy. Cops. Drug dealers. Gene Hackman. Roy Scheider. This isn’t going to be so hard.

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But somedays my blog is aptly named because wow, did I not like The French Connection.

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Coming Soon-Ish: Tomorrowland, Demon Whales, and Kick Ass Librarians

Tomorrowland

This looks kind of interesting. Heartwarming, too, I assume — because, you know, Disney. But the teaser sparked my curiosity enough to check out the cast, and man. There are some fantastic people here. Other than Britt Robertson and George Clooney, we also have Judy Greer, Hugh Laurie, Keegan Michael Key, and Chris Bauer. I’m concerned that the success of this film could mean movies for every Land of Disney — I personally fear the dread Critter Country movie — but this could eventually be a rental, if I like what I see in longer, more illuminating trailers.

Although I feel it should be said: wouldn’t you try to pick up the pin with your sleeve or something, at least until you got out of juvie? I think I would.

In the Heart of the Sea

And then we have an excellent cast starring in a movie I have absolutely ZERO interest in. Let’s see, we’ve got Cillian Murphy, Chris Hemsworth, Brendan Gleeson, Michelle Fairley, Ben Whishaw, and Donald Sumpter, all being directed by Ron Howard, and yet . . . no, unfortunately, it’s still about a bunch of dudes who get shipwrecked by a giant whale. Pass.

Seriously, there’s this line where they say, “The tragedy of the Essex is the story of men . . . and a demon,” only we’re looking at a giant whale tail with, like, angry alien screaming background noise or something, and I just can’t take that shit seriously as all. I’m not saying a whale can’t fuck your shit up. I’m saying DEMON seems a little excessive. And yes, I know this is the story that inspired Moby Dick, or at least I figured it out by watching the trailer. Still can’t take it very seriously.

Fun fact: when they first mentioned the Essex, I was like, “Hey, I’ve heard of a ship called Essex before, and it obviously wasn’t this. How do I know that name?”

Star Trek: TNG, baby. “Power Play.” Ha.

Top Five

And another one where I care considerably more about the cast than the story, although admittedly, I’d rather watch this than In the Heart of the Sea. (Probably. It’s problematic. As a romantic comedy goes — cause I think we all know that’s where Chris Rock and Rosario Dawson are headed — I don’t think Top Five will do anything I haven’t seen a dozen times before. And the whale movie, at least, could have more exciting action and (hopefully) grisly death scenes. On the other hand, that movie looks like it’s taking itself WAY too seriously. This one isn’t screaming for Oscars and could ultimately be the more enjoyable film.)

Honestly, it’s the rom-com stuff that has me worried. I actually could watch a movie about a comedian who wants to take on more serious roles. It might be kind of nice, even, to see Chris Rock in something that isn’t, oh, Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2, one of the Madagascar movies, etc. Kevin Hart, Whoopi Goldberg, Gabrielle Union, Rosario Dawson, and Tracy Morgan also make up a vey nice supporting cast. I’m just not hugely inspired by this trailer, that’s all.

A Merry Friggin Christmas

Oh, this is sad. It’s always strange to watch actors in their last roles (or one of their last roles, as the case may be), doubly so with Robin Williams. You just don’t quite know how to react. And Robin Williams seems a little different in this movie. Not in a ‘you can tell he was in a dark place’ or some bullshit like that. (I kind of can’t stand people who think they know what’s going on in someone’s life, even if they’ve never met them.) I mean, his role in this particular movie seems less spastic and childlike than others. He’s apparently the conservative, grumpy old man guy, and in a way, that’s kind of funny in and of itself.

Christmas family comedies come out every year, and they usually don’t do much for me, but I’ll admit, Joel McHale and Lauren Graham do pique my curiosity just a bit. (Probably not enough to actually see it, though, not without hearing good things from people whose film opinions I trust.)

And Finally . . . The Librarians 

I’ve only seen one of TNT’s Librarian movies — The Curse of the Judas Chalice — and let me tell you guys: it was hysterical. Intentionally, even. I watched it purely to mock the movie and was delighted to see that it was constantly making fun of itself. With that in mind, I watched the trailer for the new TV show, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to try this one out. The self-aware cheesy humor hasn’t gone anywhere. It seems like the perfect silly show to fill the gap that Warehouse 13 left behind. (Also, Leverage.) And I like many people in the cast, particularly John Larroquette and Christian Kane (who has, praise Jesus, cut his hair).

Admittedly, I’m less excited about Lindy Booth, but I guess I can’t entirely blame Cry_Wolf on her, and it’s not exactly her fault that she played the dumbest character in Dawn of the Dead. I will give her another chance. But I may have to be won over.

“I’m Your Huckleberry.”

Oh, this movie.

tombstone

I watched Wyatt Earp a few years ago — I don’t even remember why — and I read Emma Bull’s Territory last year, so I figured I might as well add Tombstone to the list of westerns-to-watch this year. You know, really round out my various versions of the OK Corral and the Vendetta Ride.

Yeah. Not the best idea I’ve ever had.

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“No, My Place is Here . . . Corrupting the Young.”

A few weeks ago, my friend Cory recommended a movie that I had never heard of before called Plunkett & Macleane. Now, Cory and I seem to have fairly similar tastes in things — I particularly adored Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora, which he suggested I read  — but I always get a mite (unnecessarily) nervous when someone I like recommends a movie or book because, well, what if I don’t enjoy it? What if I think it’s pure, unadulterated crap? What if we lose respect for each other as people and OHMYGOD THE FRIENDSHIP IS DEAD.

Yes, well, I’m sure you’ll all be very relieved to find out that Plunkett & Macleane was a lot of fun, and the friendship is, as far as I know, still among the living.

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