“Why Is There A Watermelon There?”

It’s the final week of the Clarion West Write-a-Thon and, coincidentally, my last week before vacation. Which means you probably won’t see me around much for a little while. Before I go, though, I have my second (and final) WaT reward essay to share. While last week we discussed John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness (a film where Satan is a bunch of green goo in a vat, and bugs are fucking everywhere), today we’ll be shifting gears to talk about The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, a film where a brain surgeon/comic book hero/test pilot/rock star/physicist saves the world with his buddies, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, from hostile aliens.

My friends, this movie is an experience.

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Coming Soon-Ish: Adaptations, More Adaptations, and The Woe of High School

Beauty and the Beast

My interest in this is mild. On one hand, Beauty and the Beast is kind of my favorite, I like Emma Watson quite a bit, and some of the cinematography looks lovely. On the other hand, I’m having a bit of a hard time taking the Beast seriously, and despite a couple of interesting changes (Belle is going to be the inventor of the family? Excellent), this remake is looking a little too shot-for-shot for me, like, I could go watch this in theater or I could just stay home and watch the animated movie again for free.

Not that I actually have this choice, mind you. Mekaela has already informed me that I’ll be going to see this movie whether I like it or not, so, fine. I’ll go. But I’ll be chewing on my Milk Duds in a sulky manner and silently snarking about Beast’s stupid face the whole time! (Until we get to the library scene, of course, which is when I will promptly melt, because let’s not even lie about that.)

Ghost in the Shell

So. The look of this movie is fantastic. I know extremely little about the manga and anime upon which it’s based, but watching this trailer, my inner SF/F nerd instantly started buzzing. The world looks fascinating and original and heavy influenced with Asian design . . . except for all the white people. Yeah, the white people are pretty noticeable.

I knew about the controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson’s casting prior to watching this–I mean, of course I did, I’m not dead–but when I watched the trailer in full, I couldn’t help but notice that nearly every role who had dialogue or otherwise seemed important went to a white person, while the Asian actors in the film mostly seem to be around to shoot things or get shot. And that’s just kind of shitty even when you haven’t adapted a Japanese story into a Hollywood film where you’ve kept the setting but not the people. That’s just kind of crap.

Look, unless I hear it’s awful, I’m probably going to watch this. I don’t want to pretend I’ll do otherwise, because problematic or not, the movie looks really interesting to me. But there’s no reason that this movie wouldn’t have also looked interesting with, say, Ellen Wong as Major and Tamlyn Tomita as the presumably nefarious mentor doctor lady. Hollywood could and should have done better.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

This looks cute. I never read the books or saw the Jim Carrey movie, but I might check this show out at some point: it looks whimsical enough, and there’s quite the cast (some of whom are presumably guest stars). Other than Neil Patrick Harris and Malina Weissman (AKA Young Supergirl), we have Alfre Woodard, Joan Cusack, Patrick Warburton, Aasif Mandvi, and even Mr. Trick/That Guy From Grosse Point Blank! (IMDb tells me his name is K. Todd Freeman. Someday, I will know the name of every That Guy.)

I’m not desperate to see this or anything, like, there are no grabby hands here, but it might be some decent light-hearted humor on a bleak day. (Well. Light-hearted might not be the best word, after all: “Perished means killed.” HA! That right there is what won me over, like, ten seconds into the trailer.)

Before I Fall

This is sort of interesting. It’s like Groundhog Day, but instead of an arrogant city jerk learning that kindness is key and small towns are great, it’s a teenage girl learning that being mean to unpopular kids is a total dick move, and also, pay attention when you’re on the road because getting into a collision with a truck is probably going to ruin your whole day.

Honestly, this trailer looks a wee bit melodramatic for my tastes, but I generally enjoy Groundhog Day stories (more than I like the actual movie itself, honestly, heathen, that I am) and the idea of applying that concept to different genres appeals to me. But I’m not sure I’m expecting much from this. I’m also not quite clear why our young leading lady can’t change her fate; I know it’s common in destiny stories to always end up at the spot you were trying to avoid all along, but that’s not usually a Groundhog Day thing, is it? It’s not where you end that usually repeats, after all, but how you begin; that’s kind of the whole point.

Maybe just adamantly refuse to get into a car for the entire day, like, not for any reason? See how that works out for you?

The Edge of Seventeen

As far as YA movies go, I’m actually much more hopeful about this one, even though there are no speculative elements, and you all know that I prefer my stories with either murder or speculative elements, preferably both. But this looks entertaining: grounded, funny, not too sappy. I like that it’s rated-R, actually; for most kids, high school isn’t PG-13, after all. And I haven’t seen Hailee Steinfeld in anything since True Grit, which she was excellent in.

It’s not a theater movie for me, but I could see it as a rental. So Mek, fair warning: this might be your payback.

And finally . . . Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Look, I have no idea what this movie’s actually about, but this is like Luc Besson times a thousand. This is The Fifth Element met Star Wars and had a baby while listening to the Beatles, and I don’t know if it’s going to be good or not, but I’m definitely in. (I’m almost feeling generous enough to forgive that ludicrous boob armor. I mean, come on guys. You get points for using “Because” but still. This is ridiculous. This article has been around for years. You should know better by now.)

“Mars Will Come to Fear My Botany Powers.”

Earlier this year, I read The Martian by Andy Weir, and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it the way most peopled seemed to. Which, honestly, kind of feels like my personal theme for 2015, much to my annoyance. I’m totally okay loving an It-book; like, despite the name of this blog, I’m not actively looking to disagree with my fellow nerds. It just seems to keep happening to me.

Still, I was really excited to see this movie because I felt like a lot of the problems I had with the story wouldn’t actually be applicable to the film itself, and I was excited to see if this was the rare — nay, the first — film that I enjoyed more than the book when I’d read the book first. Up until last week, that had never happened.

cover

But now it has because I thought The Martian was a pretty solid film.

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“I Don’t Believe in Surrenders.”

Sometimes, I just feel like I don’t agree with the AFI on anything.

searchers

The Searchers is one of the most well respected movies in the world. It is number one on AFI’s Best Westerns list. It is number twelve on their 100 Years, 100 Movies list. And John Wayne loved playing Ethan Edwards so much, he named one of his own children Ethan.

I thought it was . . . okay. Not my least favorite western of the year — I definitely liked it better than McCabe & Mrs. Miller — but it sure as hell wasn’t my favorite.

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