22: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (Official Trailer – 2013)

So.

Clearly I am not up-to-date on my imDb stalking, because let’s talk about how I almost screamed — out loud, in my office, at my place of employ — when I discovered that Chris Pine was the new Jack Ryan.

Yesterday, while innocently going to imDb for about the 40th time in a row to look up a thing I suddenly couldn’t remember once facing the search box, I saw, in the “newly released trailer” section, the teaser for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

Is that the worst title ever? Kinda. Will anything ever live up to The Hunt for Red October? Never. Do I care? NOPE. CHRIS PINE IS THE NEW JACK RYAN, YOU GUYS. I’m thisclose to vomiting a rainbow.

19: Foxes (2011)

Over the weekend, I happened to catch the short film Foxes. It’s streaming on Hulu+ mobile (my frustration with the fact that there are some things I can’t view on my phone is enormous. I’m totally willing to watch and not click through ads, Hulu! Why are you not willing to be streamed mobile-ly? SOME OF US DON’T HAVE LAPTOPS) and I needed a distraction after dealing with a random tweaked muscle in my neck.

Foxes, originally released in Ireland in 2011, is the story of a couple in the middle of a change. They’ve recently moved house, a decision made by the husband, James, as a result of a successful promotion at work. Ellen, his discontent wife, is a photographer who just can’t manage to get her feet on the ground in their new location.

The conceits of “a lack of communication” and “a dissatisfied marriage” aren’t exactly breaking new ground as far as filmmaking goes, but that’s where Foxes goes from typical to anything but. Ellen, our focal point as audience members, becomes fascinated by the foxes rooting through her trash bins one night, and the next day decides to follow them to their natural habitat. She takes a series of increasingly intimate photographs, and as though they can communicate — as if they can understand her — they follow her back home, terrorizing her when she comes down from her upstairs bedroom to interact with them again.

For a film that clocks in at just 16 minutes, Foxes is visually stunning but also haunting as hell. Ellen eschews her life and responsibilities, and in the film’s final moments, seems to have disappeared all together, although the ending is open enough that there are multiple interpretations to be considered.

Here’s the thing that resonated with me the most about Foxes: it’s a film about dissatisfaction, and the lengths folks will go to curb it, or to change it without ever having to actually do the work. Ellen, unsatisfied and underworked and mostly alone, finds a sort of solace with these wild animals. They are as much a part of her as her husband is, maybe even moreso, because he is allowed and expected to leave their home each and every day, leaving her in their large new house to languish alone. It’s a heightened, almost painful existence, but probably something everybody’s experienced; the idea of being utterly useless, while everyone else around you is progressing forward.

Ellen feels “other”, and she reacts that way, finding an escape hatch and using it. My question isn’t — why does she go, or why is she slowly losing her mind? I already know those answers. My questions is — what is the point entirely? Are we all supposed to find our inner “foxes”?

I don’t know, but it was certainly a mindfuck. I’ve watched it twice and still don’t have any answers. If you would like to discuss escape hatches, or film surrealism, or even animals you could turn into, if given half the chance, please drop me a line! Otherwise, definitely check out this movie. It’s disturbing as hell, but certainly worth a watch.

18: Medecezir (2013)

I watch a lot of television. I know you guys know, because I tell you all the time, but the facts remain the same. I watch a lot of television, and perhaps nothing was so seminal to my formative years as a little show on Fox, called The O.C..

After learning that the show, a pithy, summer replacement that might not have gone anywhere (RIP 5ever, Coca Cola’s Young Americans) had gotten picked up for later that fall, it’s possible I did a jig. I was so excited.

There was something about it that appealed to me so immensely. Maybe it was that, as a born-and-bred east-coaster, Newport was about as far as far away from my reality as possible, but it was so easy to root for Ryan and Seth and Sandy, and even Kirsten, after the first couple of episodes.

I am so excited about the Turkish version of this show, even though I don’t speak Turkish and likely won’t learn it quick enough to watch. Damn, my lack of linguistic skills!

Hopefully it shows up somewhere soon with subtitles, because that is the time when I will bask in its glory.

17: August: Osage County (Trailer #1)

There’s Oscar bait-y, and then there’s Oscar bait-y, and then there’s Meryl Streep chewing scenery so hard she might get lockjaw.

I’m not new, I know how this goes. I watched every single minute of Silver Linings Playbook, even though I was one of the few, the proud, the possibly idiotic who wasn’t as enraptured as everyone else seemed to be.

This is a movie with a bunch of famous folk that have Deep Troubled Pasts (helps that they’re southern) and how family togetherness (or not) brings them together or possibly tears them apart. It’s a play. It’s a mood. It’s a made for television drama starring Laura San Giacomo, or it would be, if this were 1989. Movies like this are easy to define, because there are often so many of them.

The reviews coming in for this film after its showing at TIFF haven’t exactly been the most complimentary or even, yet there’s something about A: OC that I am inexplicably drawn to.

Streep seems to be portraying an amalgam of classic Elizabeth Taylor characters; Maggie, aged up to 50, alcoholic and miserable, and Virginia from Who’s Afraid, but with children to berate instead of Richard Burton.

Many of the critiques I’ve read say Steep’s acting is too out of character, too dark, too cartoony, and from this brief trailer and the others I’ve seen, it’s not an assessment I can disagree with. However – and this is a big one – she’s Meryl effing Streep. I’m fairly positive that she could do Othello as a monologue, backwards, naked and covered in honey and it would be the most brilliant rendering of Othello the mass populace had ever been witness to.

…somebody start a Kickstarter for that. It would make millions.

The rest of the cast meld together, recognizable faces from past and present brushes with fame, and though she’s gotten almost caricatured in recent years, Julia Roberts seems to be the shining star, the beacon. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

Also, let’s be real: whoever thought to pair her together with Ewan McGregor was a freaking genius.

Watch the trailer, digest it, watch it again, maybe, and then come back and talk to me about what you thought! Are you going to try and track it down when it finally makes it to theaters? Is the lure of Benedict Cumberbatch too strong to keep you away? Let me know.

15: The Glorious Wonder of Shanola Hampton

A couple of years ago, my sister was going to a party I wasn’t invited to. It was a rough time for me, as we are pretty-codependent, and in my grief, I turned to a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and Netflix. E was a big fan of the show Weeds, but I had fallen off the wagon sometime in the first season. Netflix, wouldn’t you know it, had the first three or so seasons streaming at the time, and I was prepared to dive back in again.

The pilot of Weeds, in case you don’t remember, features a very young, very floppy haired Justin Chatwin, and from the moment I saw him peering out of the backseat of Nancy Botwin’s van, I knew I wanted to watch a show starring somebody that charismatic, and so I did.

To this day, I maintain that season one of Shameless is one of the most perfect seasons of television in recent memory, and that its unsung, shining star is Shanola Hampton. Playing dry, sarcastic, lovable and often very naked Veronica “V” Fisher, she and her live-in boyfriend Kev (played by the absolutely delightful Reba and New Girl star, Steve Howie) are the next door neighbors of the show’s main focal point, the Gallagher family. Shameless is one of those shows I tell everyone to watch; from co-workers, to family members looking for a fix, to friends I haven’t seen in years. I own both the first two seasons on DVD and never hesitate to share, because perhaps they’ll get hooked like I was and start watching it obsessively too.

When Shanola first started tweeting about her latest film, I was immediately interested. I’d loved everything I’d seen from her previously and I couldn’t wait to see what else she could do.

Things Never Said opens tomorrow, and I can’t wait to see it. Kalindra, the poet with dreams bigger than herself and the husband she’s built a life with are the fascinating protagonists in this tale-as-old-as-time story, and it’s one that I imagine most folks can relate to. I certainly do.

Check it out this weekend like I’m planning to, and then please come back and talk about it with me! (Also do this if you: are as obsessed with Shameless as I am, can’t understand how it’s possible that [SPOILER] happened in the most recent finale, and are waiting with baited breath to see if that hunky Jake McDorman from Greek is coming back for season four!)

14: Mary, Queen of Scots | Trailer 2013 HD

When I was a very little girl — I’m talking 20 years ago now, so probably about 6 — I heard the story of this young woman, only a few years older than me, who became Queen of England in the mid part of the 1500s.

Maybe I liked her because of the promise of all that red hair (I’d been obsessed since Ariel in The Little Mermaid), but my fascination spurned me to read every piece of Elizabethan and Tudor history I could find.

I’ve seen the films, I’ve read the fictions, I’ve perused the histories. This is one of my favorite parts of history for many reasons, but mostly, I think, because Elizabeth cleared a path for herself during a time when pretty much the most a woman could hope for was a romp through the King’s bed or perhaps a chance to play a part as a political pawn.

It isn’t that Elizabeth eschewed all of those constructs (I’m looking at you, Thomas Seymour) but she persevered. I’ll always be thankful for her for that.

Poor Mary. She hasn’t gotten any play in this intro at all, and she was a fascinating character in her own right. From what I’ve heard about this Imbach interpretation, Camille Rutherford’s performance is nothing short of astounding.

I can’t wait for this film to get a wide release!

13: Gravity (Official Main Trailer 2K HD)

Let’s talk about Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity and how it looks absolutely terrifying and also like something I want to watch immediately.

Space has always terrified me. I was never wanted to look up into the stars and explore, because of the immense unknown quotient of it. I feel like that’s way more revealing than I meant for it to be, but it’s the truth. I was the kid at archaeology camp (this is a lie, although I wish I had been) or history camp (did this exist?) or anything-that-would-tether-me-to-Earth-camp (definitely not a thing, but possibly something I should co-found with some other like-minded individuals), because at least Earth I could understand.

William Shatner wasn’t wrong when he called space “the final frontier”, but it was never a frontier I wanted to explore. Not myself.

However, thanks to the magic of television and cinema, I can explore space all I want. There’s no mystery behind why I was always so invested in the far away worlds traveled to by the Star Trek folks. Don’t even talk to me about Firefly, because I will definitely talk your ear off about how the (intended, fuck off Fox) pilot is one of the most splendidly crafted first hours of television I’ve ever seen. I’ll do it, too. No one is safe.

The thing about Gravity is that it literally takes all my fears about space exploration and ties them together with two of the most charming and beloved actors of the last twenty years. There’s no doubt in my mind that casting Clooney and Sandra Bullock in these roles was intentional. It’s terrifying to see folks we care about in mortal peril, but there’s more to it, I think. They’re a comfort; less an audience equivalent and more like guides sent forth to light the path.

I am kind of bummed that there seem to be more explodey-space ship-y things in this latest trailer. Can’t lie about it, I was kind of hoping this would be more like Ryan Reynolds movie Buried.