Why Do We Go On With It All?

So, I’ve been lax this movie season. But if you thought I wasn’t lazily sauntering towards Downton Abbey think again.

There’s no rush at Downton, where it feels like time has stopped. It’s been two years but nothing much has changed, Anna has a fab new hairdo, Tom’s lost some weight, but Daisy and Andy are still downstairs, Moseley and Shaw are still at vague flirting and Thomas is still cranky and Mary is still running things.

Of course everything gets upended when the King and Queen come to visit, and the usual beats are hit. Edith has a woe is me crisis of a minor personal variety (She’s pregnant! But Bertie is being asked to go on a Colonial Tour with The Prince of Wales to model good family man behavior. Me to my mom, “Well we know that didn’t work.”) Anna gets involved with some criminal activity. (No, Little Johnny Bates is not arrested for murder. More’s the pity. Then at least something would have happened.) Thomas Barrow befriends (and more?) the king’s valet, winds up arrested in a bar raid in York, and Tom and Mary foil a plot to assassinate the king. (Remember early Tom, back when he was joining Sien Fien and burning down Anglo-Irish castles? Now he’s ratting defecting British Intelligence officers out to the crown? The part of me that loves the slow silliness of British period pieces is thrilled, the part of me who’s family left Ireland around the time this particular one is set, uh, finds it hard to stomach.)

There’s plenty of the stuff that made Downton Abbey the show, fun here. (The clothes, Isobel and The Dowager Countess trading barbs, Carson and Mrs. Hughes doing their thing.) There’s just not enough of what made it great. I rewatched the series to get ready for this movie, and while it was always a big glossy soap opera it at least had something of a human heart. That heart is gone here, which makes the whole thing feel shallow and a bit silly.

It’s all damn pretty though. My god, Highclere Castle on the big screen is worth the whole endeavor, followed closely by some of the clothes. (Michelle Dockery dons a red leather coat that’s positively swoon worthy and the gown she wears to the royal ball is worth the price of admission.) But this isn’t a good movie. It wouldn’t even be a particularly good episode of the show. (For God’s sake man, Robert doesn’t even comment about how we’re living in a changing world and old chap, we must change with it! Not ONCE!)

Rankings:

  1. Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood
  2. Spider-Man: Far From Home
  3. Avengers: Endgame
  4. Rocketman
  5. Detective Pikachu
  6. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters
  7. Downton Abbey

Trailers

What the hell is that fireman movie with Jon Cena, Keegan Michael Key and John Leguizamo and some kids? I love those three men and would like a GOOD movie with them please!

Harriet – I look forward to weeping profusely at this, which looks really wonderful. Even if I feel deeply attacked by a movie starring Cynthia Orivo and Leslie Odom Jr. that isn’t a musical.

Last Christmas – Shut up and take my money! Seriously I can’t with how adorable this movie looks. And I agree, she is most definitely going to be dead by the end. Or he’s a ghost or angel. There’s something supernatural going on with that one.

Dark Waters – We’re heading into the Oscar Pursuit Career Stage for Ruffalo and I am HERE.FOR.IT.

Ford V Ferrari – Christian Bale using his real accent! Matt Damon as a scheming smart guy! Race cars! Sciencing the shit out of things! I can’t wait to see this.

 

Let The Past Die

The Last Jedi

 

*SPOILERS FOR DAYS*

 

 

Star Wars: Episode VII: The Last Jedi is a strange movie. There’s no getting around that. It’s paced oddly. (Poorly in certain spots) It’s full of weird looking creatures and off center character beats, and more weirdo philosophy than the seven movies that preceded it combined.

It’s also Carrie Fisher’s best performance of the five that she’s in, a fitting goodbye to a legend that we all love, allows Mark Hamill to play the comedy that he’s excellent at, deepens both Kylo Ren and Rey, and executes a B-Plot with exactly 0 white guys. (Seriously, the B-Plot heist is centered around Poe, Finn, new character Rose, Leia, new character Vice Admiral Holdo, and a surprise appearance by Benicio Del Toro.)

I need to see the movie again before I really evaluate it. But I enjoyed it immensely, if only for it’s truly spectacular moments. (This is why I want to see it again. I felt similarly about Revenge Of The Sith, so I want to watch it a bit more calmly.) Rey and Kylo fighting off Snoke’s guards after Kylo assasinates him. The force connection between Rey and Kylo convincing each of them that the other can be turned. Luke’s final conversation with Yoda. (Who after 40+ years is finally fed up with the Skywalker boys and their shit) The Star Wars version of the battle of Helm’s Deep. (Just when you thought there was nothing left from Tolkien for this series to mine!) Holdo’s sacrifice. Leia using the force to survive in space. That final moment between Luke and Leia. Luke brushing his shoulder off after a barrage of bullets in the battle.

The plot is what it is. There’s a maguffin, there’s a confrontation, there is, truly the best saber battle we’ve seen yet. The performances are strong, the character beats mostly work. The themes discussed including legacy, corruption and hope are well explored. It’s way too long. There’s definitely fat that could be trimmed, but for the most part it’s worth it.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say. I’ve got plenty of family time to log this week, and talking Star Wars with my family is my favorite thing.

Rankings:

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. The Big Sick
  3. Coco
  4. Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  5. Battle Of The Sexes
  6. Dunkirk
  7. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  8. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  9. Thor: Ragnarok
  10. Justice League
  11. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  12. The Dark Tower
  13. Cars 3
  14. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

I Bet You’re Wondering How Thor Got In This Cage

Thor-Ragnarok-banner-3-1-600x372

I think I’m in a minority here, so you’re about to hear a rant.

greatly enjoyed Thor: Ragnarok. I thought it was a well made, wonderfully paced movie with some stellar performances and more than a few surprise tricks up it’s sleeve. Tessa Thompson and Cate Blanchet were sublime additions to the cast. (Though I missed Natalie Portman and Jamie Alexander, not to mention Kat Dennings.) Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are fantastic as Thor and Loki, embodying these characters as they always have from minute 1. Jeff Goldblum is a delight. Idris Elba and Mark Ruffalo kill it.

Here’s what I didn’t love. I get that Guardian of The Galaxy was a colossal monster of a hit, and very unexpected, I get that Marvel Studios has never quite known how to pitch a Thor movie. Saying, “let’s make it as much like Guardians as possible,” though? I’m not sure that worked either.

The “jokey jokes” didn’t always land for me, especially in a series that I always felt had some excellent comedy in it. (The scene in the first movie where Thor demands a dog or cat big enough to ride ALONE cements there was always humor here.) The comedy that did work for me were things like Hulk claiming Thor is “Banner’s friend” rather than his. Loki’s discomfort at being in the vicinity of Hulk, as well as Thor’s test of throwing things at his brother to determine if he had corporeal form.

The larger intergalactic plot, of Thor on Sarac, while fun and cool, didn’t engage me the way that the Asgard stuff (Odin’s death, Hela’s invasion, Heimdall evacuating the city) did. That’s always been where the stuff I liked about Thor lived though. (Well, and in his relationship with Jane, which, I get, was a necessary casualty here, because Natalie Portman, the human being, didn’t want to be in the movie.)

Doesn’t mean I didn’t love Valkyrie (Seriously, Tessa Thompson ROCKS HARD!) or most of the big action set pieces. Or our requisite shirtless Hemsworth scene. I really liked it. Marvel doesn’t make bad movies, I just don’t think this one was as drop dead awesome as the rest of the internet does.

Still really good though.

Rankings!

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. The Big Sick
  3. Battle Of The Sexes
  4. Dunkirk
  5. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  6. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  7. Thor: Ragnarok
  8. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  9. The Dark Tower
  10. Cars 3
  11. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: First time seeing it on the big screen and OMG YOU GUYS! We’re so close, and it’s going to be awesome.

Black Panther: Do you wanna know what’s nice? Ryan Coogler found space for Michael B. Jordan in this movie. (Did we think he wouldn’t?) I’m not sure how to articulate how excited I am for this movie, because it’s deep in my gut.

12 Strong: Siggghhhh, I mean, I love this cast, so, there’s that. Fun that Michael Shannon gets to play a good guy. I may see it.

Movie Season, Moving Forward:

Here’s the deal y’all! I know I’ve been slack this year, it’s for a lot of reasons, but I’ve started a new day job! (This is an invariably GOOD thing. Trust me!) And I’ve got a Disney trip in just over a week! (WEE!) But, the good news is that the new day job is a lot closer to my apartment and pays me more money, so I’ll be able to close out movie season fairly strong, as the Oscar-bait movies come out. (There’s also a small independent theater walking distance from my apartment, so…yeah…)

Aless and I are trying to figure out what we’re doing for Justice League, as I’m leaving for Disney the morning after opening. We may delay by a whole week. (This is WEIRD for us, but you know, it’s DC, we didn’t even do Suicide Squad together…) Coco will for sure happen, and we’ve already got our Star Wars tickets.

 

Tale As Old As Time

I don’t know who exactly at Disney Studios I’m supposed to thank for these live action movies, but they deserve thanks, if only for the stunning images they create.

Yesterday a new trailer for Beauty And The Beast hit and if nothing else, this movie looks absolutley stunning. Every image looks breathtaking. There are a few things that really stand out to me.

  • I’m much more excited than I realized for Kevin Kline as Maurice. Like, unresonably excited, I love Kevin Kline.
  • Maurice is caught when the Beast finds him clipping a rose. This is, unfathomably important to me. In the original fairy tale, this is what Belle asks her father for. (She also has two vain and silly sisters, I’ve always been glad Disney excised them.)
  • Emma Watson really was such brilliant casting, and she looks so at home running around the castle. (Can’t imagine why)
  • I’m still obsessed with the yellow dress, I think they did a wonderful job with it.
  • Emma Thompson’s voice is always the greatest comfort.

So we’re a few months away, but I’m really excited to see the movie. Before that there’s Moana, and you know, my trip to Disney World…so I’ll be full up with magic when the movie hit.

Looking forward to it!

The Little One Can Become The Big One

Queen Of Katwe is a very special movie. Also it made me want to hug my mom and those teachers that believed in me.

Anyway, it’s the true story of Chess Master Phiona Mutesi, who grew up in the slums of Katwe, Uganda, and through hard work and prodigious talent, became an elite chess master. The movie follows some sports movie clichés, but for the most part sidesteps those by it’s game of choice (chess) and it’s setting (poverty stricken Africa), oh, also it’s hero, (shy but intelligent preteen African girl!) sets it apart.

The story itself is straightforward, but the devil is in the details and the details are wonderful. There’s also just not enough praise in the world for this cast. Madina Nalwanga is wonderful as Phiona, every move she makes feels subtle and real. David Oyelowo turns in an inspirational and warm performance as Robert Ketende, the missionary who teaches Phiona, and the other children of Katwe chess. And then there’s Lupita Nyong’o.

We do not deserve this woman’s talent. We do not deserve her beauty and her intensity, but for whatever reason this angel of the art of acting has decided to bless us with her presence, so maybe WE DON’T FUCK THIS UP HOLLYWOOD. She’s going to be the new Meryl Streep and it’s time for us all to get on board. She’s incredible in this movie as Harriet, Phiona’s mother. Just, indescribably good.

Rankings!

  1. The Nice Guys
  2. Don’t Think Twice
  3. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
  4. Queen of Katwe
  5. Pete’s Dragon
  6. Ghostbusters
  7. Captain America: Civil War
  8. Kubo And The Two Strings
  9. Star Trek Beyond
  10. The Magnificent 7
  11. X-Men: Apocalypse
  12. The Legend Of Tarzan
  13. Suicide Squad
  14. Finding Dory
  15. Independence Day: Resurgence
  16. Alice Through The Looking Glass

Trailers!

Some documentary about Eagle Hunting that I really want to see but can’t remember the name of. It looks frickin cool though.

Fantastic Beasts trailer that I’ve never seen before. The movie looks more interesting now. My hatred of Eddie Redmayne is pretty well eclipsed by my love of all things Wizarding World, and Colin Farrell and Halle Berry and period, so you know, there’s that.

Hidden Figures: And we will look upon Taraji P. Henson and we will say, “she is queen of us all.” We will look upon Kirsten Dunst and say, “I am so glad you’ve kept up being low key and successful your whole life.” We will look upon Kevin Costner and say, “We have always loved you and shall continue to do so.” We will look upon Jim Parsons and say, “AWWW.” (I am looking forward to this movie)

Moana: MOANA!!!!!!!! Everytime I see any trailers I just think, “MAAAAN, the man is NON STOP!” Brace for EGOT.

Beauty And The Beast: It really does look stunning. But this time around, I was focused on the music. That tinkling theme really might be some of Ashman’s best music. You know the one that I mean, “DO do do do do do DOOOOO.” (If you’re familiar with the Broadway music, it’s the melody that The Beast Sings in, “If I Can’t Love Her,” the “Long ago I should have seen, all the things I might have been. Careless and unthinking I moved ON WARRRRDDD!!!”) Anyway, it’s a lovely tune.

A Rebellion Is Based On Hope

I was going to write about a running milestone I hit this week, but that’s going to have to wait because NEW ROGUE ONE TRAILER.

Just to get it out of the way, the only reason I wasn’t sobbing, was because I’m currently hopped up on Dayquil and can’t quite feel the full spectrum of emotion right now.

But I still got choked up.

Overall, I’m excited, Jyn’s father is the one who designed The Death Star!!!! This is great, because in case you missed it over the past forty years, but family legacy is kind of a thing in Star Wars.

Also we see more Darth Vader, and more X-Wings, we learn that “Rogue One” is the call sign of the team, and we learn about how the fading rebellion needs heroes and hope and OMG YOU ARE ABOUT TO GET ALL OF THE HOPE REBELLION!!!!

 

The Force, It’s Calling To You

Hey! A piece of <em>Star Wars: The Force Awakens</em> marketing that didn’t make me cry! I did get choked up, but the newest trailer managed to get me choked up and more than a little bit excited.

A lot of things that I’ve extrapolated, and much of it is just theory:

  • Leia voice over! Which is pretty great. And we saw Carrie Fisher. WHO LOOKS AMAZING. I’m very excited about her being back and seeing her. My guess is we’re getting one more trailer where we’ll finally see Luke. I could be completely wrong about that.
  • The Force appears to have sunken even further into myth and legend after The Fall of The Empire. To the point that Han has to reassure Rey and Finn that it’s real.
  • HAN is the one assuring people that The Force is a thing. Mr. “I’ve been to one end of this universe to the other” himself! Awesome.
  • Kylo Ren has Darth Vader’s melted helmet and is vowing to “finish what you started.” That is Skywalker talk, if I’ve ever heard it, for better or for worse
  • Rey refers to herself as “no one.” OK, pookie, no one buys that for a second. But those shots of her climbing around the crashed Star Destroyer are awesome.
  • Finn, what is his deal exactly? I do like his jacket though.
  • Captain Phasma. Captain Phasma is everything.
  • Not enough BB8. He’s all over Disney World, so I assume that he’s important. Also, he’s adorable.
  • The complete lack of Mark Hamill in this trailer and the poster is an interesting move. We know he’s in the movie. We’ve seen his Jedi beard, and we’ve heard the voice over, but still. I worry.
  • These trailers seem really serious. I sure hope there are some jokes in these movies. Star Wars requires jokes.

Anyway, that’s where I am! I’m excited, I got my opening night tickets this morning. (Didn’t feel like sorting through the mess last night). May The Force be with you all!

That Girl Who Follows You Around

Hey guys, let’s all talk about the Veronica Mars trailer for a minute, OK?

EEEEE!!!!!

EEEEE!!!!!

I haven’t written much about the great Veronica Mars kickstarter movie success, not because I don’t think it’s great. I think it’s insanely, unbelievably amazing, in fact. Actually, when I think about the fact that in a few months we’re going to see a Veronica Mars movie, my brain synapses wrong because of all the excitement and I then forget all about it.

But oh, the trailer came out, and let’s just, I mean, can we just digest this for a moment? There’s so much!

Let’s take it point by point.

  • Jamie Lee Curtis is Veronica’s boss. There’s something twisted and yet ideal about that. I mean, that’s kind of the perfect descriptor of the Veronica Mars universe right? Twisted and yet ideal?
  • Veronica went to law school? Veronica? How did that happen?
  • I kind of forgot that Piz was a character because I like to pretend that Season 3 didn’t happen. It’s kind of cool that he and Veronica are still together, but I mean, come on. Of all of her past guys, Piz?
  • “I don’t really do that anymore.” Ha, oh Veronica.
  • Keith is only in the very beginning of the trailer, I do hope he gets more screen time.
  • Of course Dick is still mooching off of Logan ten years later, because of course he is. That being said, Dick Casablancas is one of the more overlooked tragic characters because he never undouched. But, his father did ruin their family fortune and try to kill his stepmother, and his younger brother was a crazy sex abuse victim/rapist who later killed himself.
  • Ugh, Logan Eccols, why can’t I quit you? That smile? That charm? That chance that you might bludgeon a person to death in a moment of rage?
  • Wallace is clearly the one talking Veronica and Mac into going to that reunion. Because, he’s Wallace, and that’s what he does. Also, Percy Daggs III looks great! Wow.
  • Madison Sinclair is such an ax wound. Ugh.
  • DEPUTY LEO! I mean, it would have been a stupid move promotion wise to not throw some Max Greenfield at this baby, but I’m happy to see him none the less. Unfortunately, I think this means there will probably be no Duncan, which is a shame, because Piz, Logan, Leo and Duncan is more relationship drama than even Veronica Mars can handle.
  • Oh, wait, there’s another Keith appearance. Good.
  • “Are you going to ask if I did it?” “I wouldn’t be here if I thought you did.” Right in the feels. Epic. Love. Story.
  • They couldn’t get the original Sheriff Lamb, I guess? So they got Jerry O’Connell? Who is actually kind of a bigger deal? I’m confused? In case you couldn’t tell by all the question marks?
  • Why is Veronica punching Madison? I mean, I’m glad that it’s happening, but I can’t wait for context.
  • No Weevil? I’m disappointed.

Veronica Mars opens on March 14, which gives me plenty of time to re-watch the first 2 seasons, and then get bored in the middle of season 3 and never finish it.

Also coming on out March 14? A biopic about Grace of Monaco. Umm, looks like March is shaping up to be a big movie month for me.

The Ironman 3 Trailer Happened

Yesterday, while I was cleaning my room and planning my 25th Birthday Party, (I turn 25 in 10 days, this is weird) the Ironman 3 trailer was released on to the internet.

A few more months!

As happens with most super hero movies, the internet exploded, but because it was a debate night, it exploded slightly less. Here are my thoughts on the explodey-ness.

  1. It appears Tony has angst over the whole “ride a nuclear missile in to a space portal full of lizard monsters” thing. Also Coulson’s death, (I’m guessing), and it appears that he’s going to push Pepper away again. Which is kind of expected and a little boring and hugely disappointing.
  2. More War Machine? Yes please. Ironman 2 did not have enough Don Cheadle.
  3. Last night on Facebook my friend Craig and I discussed The Patriot Armor, and whether this means that The Dark Avengers are coming (a set up for Avengers 2? They’d be hugely Whedon-esque choice) but I’ve determined it has to be something else, since Norman Osbourne can’t be involved. Marvel Studios still does not have control of the film rights for Spider-Man. 
  4. If we learned anything from The Avengers and the films that lead up to it, it’s that there are heroes, even if they’re sometimes kind of douchey. Are we going to have to prove this premise in every movie from now on?

Either way, I can’t wait until May 3, when this baby opens. I’m interested in the direction that the Marvel Cinematic universe is going to take now that The Avengers has happened. Will actually knowing Captain America change Tony’s perspective on heroism? Or will his budding bromance with Bruce Banner change how he experiments?

We’ll find out on May 3, but if you think I’m not going to speculate you’re clearly on the wrong blog.