Another Terrifying Trailer for In the Heart of the Sea

In the Heart of the SeaI don’t know, you guys, I just don’t know. This movie looks like something that is right up my alley but ALSO something that will completely terrify me. I’m not sure whether I can handle seeing it on the big screen. What’s everyone else thinking? Maybe I’ll read the book first and then decide? Argh. It’s out in December! And it has so many people I like in it that I really WANT to see it. And it’s historical! BUT SCARY ARGH.

Also: I think I ranted about this regarding a previous trailer, and I know I did regarding the way Sleepy Hollow was being discussed, but: Moby-Dick is a novel. Someone wrote it. Insisting on calling it a “myth” – though I understand that that’s trying to get at how it’s become this cultural force and idea beyond just people who have read the book – devalues the writers. SOMEONE HAS TO STAND UP FOR MELVILLE, DARN IT.

ALSO also: I just realized the great Ben Whishaw is playing Melville himself, which is awesome and also makes me curious whether they’re putting Melville ON the ship, which he, of course, wasn’t. He was a baby when this happened. (I honestly didn’t notice him in any of the ship scenes in the trailer because I was TOO BUSY BEING TERRIFIED.)

The Martian: Book Review + Trailer

The MartianI read Andy Weir’s The Martian earlier this week, both because of the upcoming movie and because a whole bunch of my friends recommended it. I was slightly skeptical of the “alone in space” stuff but excited about the “kind of boring potato calculations” I’d heard so much about, because, well, I’m me. But I wound up really liking the book, more than I expected; I think what made it work for me was the way it alternated between Mark’s point of view alone on Mars and the points of view of the NASA people (and a few others) trying to rescue him. It kept up the momentum, as Mark’s sections occasionally dragged a bit – which I realize was both inevitable and perhaps intentional, in highlighting his isolation, but just because I understand why the author did something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what I want to read. (Though I’ll say – Mark’s sections were way less tedious than I’d feared.) Also, “a bunch of prickly smart people coming together to solve a problem” is literally the thing I want most in fiction (or, heck, nonfiction), all the time. All the math and science was definitely a plus for me, though this is a personal preference thing and I can definitely see it turning some people off.

(A brief digression: I don’t think everything has to pass the Bechdel test to be worthy as art, but it is something I generally think about, and I was just musing: does it count as “talking about a man” in the same way if women are talking about a man because saving him is their job and they are talented professionals? Because that feels different.)

Anyway! This book was very cinematic and I think the “man alone on Mars” stuff interspersed with “NASA urgently doing things” will keep the momentum of the movie going, as well. I can’t say Matt Damon is exactly who I pictured as I was reading (even though I knew he had the role), but I like him well enough in general, and I’m really excited about a bunch of the supporting cast – Jeff Daniels! Mackenzie Davis! Sebastian Stan! Jessica Chastain! Sean Bean! Donald Glover! Chiwetel Ejiofor! EVERYONE IS IN THIS.

Here’s the trailer. Thoughts? I just noticed that 20th Century Fox has released a few clips – maybe I’ll post them over the weekend and we can discuss further.

Allegiant Teaser: Beyond the Wall

AllegiantWe’ve got our first teaser trailer for the third Divergent movie, Allegiant! Dystopians so often feature very closed societies, and I’m always interested to see what happens and how the system breaks down (both internally and externally – does the worldbuilding hold up?) when the world expands a bit, so I’m looking forward to this. (Insert Game of Thrones “beyond the wall” joke here.) It was also good to get a look at Jeff Daniels, who I feel is suddenly in everything, though I guess I just mean this, Steve Jobs, and The Martian. Otherwise: Running around with guns. Kissing. General sense of doom. Basically what I look for in a Divergent movie.

Allegiant Part 2 Gets a New Name

AscendantWe’ve known for a while that the third book in the Divergent trilogy would be split into two movies – of course, what third book isn’t? – but last week MTV broke the news that the fourth movie would have its own name – Ascendant – rather than being called Allegiant Part 2 or similar. This is probably a good marketing decision – it’s not like “allegiant” is a word that particularly rolls off the tongue. Some book fans are mad, of course, but it doesn’t seem to be that controversial. You can see the new Ascendant logo at left; click through to see the new Allegiant one as well. That MTV article points out something interesting about the tagline – if “The End Is Never What You Expect,” well, is it not what book fans expect or not what NON-book fans expect? Because those could be very different things.

Concussion Trailer (and Article and Debate)

ConcussionThe trailer for Will Smith’s football brain injury movie Concussion is out, and with it a minor uproar about the fact that Sony shaped the movie to avoid backlash/lawsuits/etc. (This was revealed in emails from the Sony hack.)

First, in case you, like me, missed it the first time around, here’s the GQ article on which the movie is partially based. (I didn’t read it when it was published because my brother was playing college football at the time, and I couldn’t bear to think about this stuff any more than I already was, which was a lot.) It’s fascinating and I totally get why people thought it would make a good movie, even if they weren’t trying to advance an anti-NFL agenda. So it really doesn’t surprise me that they tried to do it without angering the NFL too much. I get why people are upset about it – both from a “purity of art” perspective and a “they SHOULD be trying to take down the NFL” perspective – but we don’t live in a world in which major corporations don’t have to think about the ramifications of their actions and messaging. It’s just good business sense.

And on to the trailer!

It looks good! Aside from the actual football issues, two thoughts: 1. I get the timing for awards season, but, um, Christmassy? AND interesting to have it come out DURING football season. 2. I’m curious how the “Yay immigration!” part will play in the current political environment.

Thoughts on any of this?

What do we think of the Shannara trailer?

The Shannara ChroniclesMTV debuted its Shannara Chronicles trailer during the VMAs, and . . . huh. Well, watch, and then let’s discuss:

I have been so curious to see what MTV would do with a fantasy epic, and so far, I . . . am still curious, because I feel like I didn’t get a great sense of the show from this. This trailer had lots of visuals – some of which really looked like a video game, no? – but practically no dialogue or sense of story. I expected it to look like knock-off Game of Thrones, but it almost looked more like The Maze Runner or Syfy’s Dominion. What do book fans think? I am completely sure that I read the first of these novels in college – I have a vivid memory of reading it in the dining hall – but apparently I remember ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about it.

And I have to say – I like Austin Butler a great deal; he was wonderful in The Carrie Diaries. But this is such a tonal shift for him that it’s going to take an episode or two before I can look at him as a half-elf and not giggle.

The Shannara Chronicles premieres on MTV in January.

LOOK at This Macbeth Trailer

MacbethI was excited about the prospect of this new Macbeth movie from the start – I love the play, and stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard are both great. But this trailer has me BESIDE MYSELF with excitement. It’s visually gorgeous, and if it’s any indication of the tone of the movie, it will be dark and intense and gritty without seeming gimmicky or modern. (I mean, I know it’s not modernized, but sometimes with historical things trying to be “new” the tone can just be – off, and this doesn’t seem that way, so far.) And it’s still recognizably Shakespeare without coming across as a filmed stage production. Is it December 4th yet??

5 Thoughts on the Lookinglass Inside Look

Okay, watch, and then let’s discuss:

1. WHAT IS WITH THIS TITLE? No, seriously. I get that it’s the company that the people in the show run, but it’s a TERRIBLE title. The Frankenstein Code wasn’t a GOOD title, but it was better than this.

2. “He looks beautiful. The monster is inside.” Of course. Because this is TV.

3. I do like that they named the main female character Mary, presumably after Mary Shelley.

4. Wasn’t Tim DeKay supposed to be one of the stars of this? Where . . . is he?

5. Other than the whole “bringing someone to life” thing (through genetic splicing here, not sewing together parts), I’m not really convinced that it has much to do with Frankenstein. Which is fine, and maybe part of why they changed the name, but . . . huh. I’ll be curious to see how many thematic echoes there are, if not direct plot echoes.

What do you think? Anyone planning to watch this? I was thinking it was a fall show, but nope, 2016, so we’ve got a while to wait to see if it’s as ridiculous as it looks!