Halftime Leisure

Trailer Takes: Dickenson, Knives Out, and Warrior Queen of Jhansi

September 25, 2019

Dickinson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBMeB6xG4rE 

Chetan: As someone who doesn’t particularly like period dramas but watches them anyway, I have to say this trailer looks pretty interesting in the beginning. Dickinson is such an influential poet, but I honestly don’t know anything about her life. I didn’t enjoy the whole fantasy ghost carriage bit, but I can see why they chose to include it. Also, the modernized dancing and the “dude” really unsettled me. Overall, I don’t see myself watching this movie this November or any time in the foreseeable future. If they chose to omit the fantastical elements in the trailer, this movie would definitely appeal more to me. 

Steven: Hailee Steinfeld is one of the most underrated actors working today so any project that gives her the spotlight is definitely worth paying attention to. I’m personally a little tired of period piece biopics, but there seems to be some interesting elements in here to differentiate it from the standard Oscar-bait fare. The dancing and some of the dialogue reminded me of the quirky anachronisms from The Favorite (2018) and I love the idea of Death as a literal character in the story. Unfortunately, this will be released on Apple TV+, a new streaming service that I have no intention of buying, so the odds of me ever actually watching Dickinson are very slim.

Leah: As someone who unironically loves costume dramas, I’m torn on this trailer. I’ll watch Hailee Steinfeld in anything (she really is that good), and her involvement alone could make Dickinson worth it. But at times, it seems like this trailer is trying a little too hard to be modern. It’s clearly their goal for audiences to see the relevance of Emily Dickinson’s life today; the issues she faced as a woman writer in that time are depressingly present. Still, there’s something uncanny about watching someone in a full petticoat say “dude.” I hope the showrunners have faith that their audience can understand subtext. (Klonopin) Leaving things to the imagination seems like something the poet herself would appreciate. On a different note: Greta Gerwig, if you can hear me, I would watch a crossover between Dickinson and the new Little Women so hard.

Knives Out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isKzKEal5T0

Chetan: Nothing made sense to me the first time I watched this trailer. What stuck out most was the all-star cast. Even though I’ve never really enjoyed Daniel Craig’s non-James Bond movies and Chris Evans’ non-Marvel movies, this one looks really promising. Watching it a second time gave me a lot of Murder on the Orient Express vibes with the whole ace detective and everyone’s -a-suspect thing going on. I have to say the cinematography is stunning, and I love the fast-paced shots in this trailer. I’m definitely going to be watching this movie this November. 

Steven: I am so excited for this movie. We don’t get very many whodunnit mystery movies anymore and Rian Johnson is the perfect director to revitalize the genre for the 21st century. Throw in an absolutely stacked cast and this could be one of the best movies of the year. I’m especially interested to see Chris Evans get away from his Captain America persona to play the foul mouthed black sheep of the family. Some of the shots at the end of the trailer suggested that there may be some horror elements in the film, which seemed odd, but Rian Johnson likes to subvert genre conventions so I shouldn’t be too surprised. Overall, this is one of my most anticipated movies of the year, and I’ll probably be there opening day to see it. 

Leah: This trailer is A LOT. I’ll be honest, I found myself so distracted trying to name check everyone in the cast that the plot was lost on me. This movie seems very campy–the acting, the literal knives as set decoration, the very on-the-nose character names (Ransom, anyone?). If it’s in on the joke, I think it could be hilarious, like an updated version of Clue. From the trailer, though, I’m not sure this movie knows what it wants to be. There’s Daniel Craig’s gloriously bad Texas meets England accent, but also a genuinely creepy scene of a girl with a spider crawling over her face? Horror comedy is a tricky tightrope to walk. I’m curious, and I really want it to work, but not sure I’d spend money to see it just yet.

Warrior Queen of Jhansi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ei9IkGdcmPg

Chetan: This is a story that’s been told so many times in the past few years, and the trailer doesn’t seem to hint at anything different or unique. A Bollywood production of this exact story came out earlier this year, so it feels like the only difference between the two is the language. The fact that this movie is in English will probably make it accessible to a wider audience, but it seems so repetitive that the same story is being told twice in the same year. People might be interested in this movie, but I am definitely not going to watch this. 

Steven: Again, period piece biopics aren’t really my jam but feminist Indian Braveheart could be kind of interesting. The cinematography, costumes and sets all look pretty and I appreciate that they’re using practical effects instead of CGI. Apparently this story has already been made as a movie, but I haven’t watched it so I’m still curious to see where this goes. It does seem a little formulaic and some of the acting is subpar (hey evil white man, we get it, you’re evil,) but if the big battle scenes are any good, I’ll be able to overlook that. This movie doesn’t seem like it will be a must-watch film, but it might be worth checking out for a generically exciting experience.

Leah: Like Dickinson, this trailer left me pretty much able to predict the whole movie. But as I was watching, I realized I didn’t care; they had me at “Warrior Queen.” Honestly, this looks like a pretty formulaic and stale biopic, more PBS than A24. But cheesy as some of the dialogue is, I’d probably be too busy cheering for an army of badass sword-wielding women to hear it. Do I want to sit through two hours of a generically inspirational script for a couple minutes of lavishly produced battle scenes? We wait and see…

Chetan Dokku
Chetan is a senior in the College studying economics and English. He likes to track every piece of media he consumes in multiple formats. He was previously a Halftime Leisure and Leisure Editor and is now a copy assistant.

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