RogerBW's Blog

June 2016 Trailers 01 July 2016

Some trailers I've seen recently, and my thoughts on them. (Links are to youtube. Opinions are thoroughly personal.)

Satanic: I have thought for a while that there are two sorts of horror story: the one in which innocents get sucked into something that's not of their making, and the one in which they deliberately get involved. Usually that latter sort is because they're characters with agency who try to do something about an horrific problem, but in this case they're just bored teenagers. Which comes back to: to appeal to me, you need to get me to feel at least a little sympathetic towards your protagonists, to care about what happens to them. "Some of them are played by ladies with nice breasts" is not a sufficient motivation for me to want them to live through the story.

Collide: ah, another of those "medical expenses" films that would only work in the USA or other primitive countries (soon to be joined by the UK). And all that interesting-looking setup is just an excuse for a Good Guy Who Doesn't Do Bad Stuff Any More doing One Last Job. Anthony Hopkins, I hope they paid you a lot. Ben Kingsley continues his tradition of appearing in only the worst films available.

Marauders: so we have nasty violent criminals versus a nasty greedy banker? Yeah, I know, it's terribly old-fashioned to want some good guys in a story, but I do prefer it, particularly in film.

Monster Trucks: so the cute friendly alien is happy to contribute to Awesome Automotive Action. Um. This might just be dumb enough to be fun.

Yoga Hosers: all right, Canadian Nazis is something. But that's about it. Yeah, I have no sense of humour.

Vigilante Diaries: not so much vigilante as freelance soldier. Bang bang bang, how exciting.

Kicks: not my usual sort of thing, but it manages to look at least a little interesting. Mind you, I thought the protagonist was female at first, which would have elevated it another step; male coming-of-age isn't enough on its own any more, as it's been done.

Spaceman: oh, OK, nothing to do with space then. May appeal to people who find baseball interesting.

Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV: eh, it does a decent enough job of being an action movie trailer, but it doesn't give me any reason to watch this action film as opposed to some other.

Moana: Pacific Islands culture chopped up into convenient easily-digestible chunks, from Disney of course.

31: a nasty person is killing people. And he appears to be rather better developed than the expendable meat who are the nominal heroes. Yet another survival game, woo hoo.

Morris From America: oh, hey, an Unattainable Girl. That's obviously the ultimate motivator for everything in the world.

Petes Dragon (sic): a boy and his fire-breathing flying dog. Standard Disney template with extra scales.

Denial: fuckwits gonna be fuckwits. If anyone can make this look good and be interesting, I'm impressed – but it looks a lot like a film with only one point to make, making it repeatedly.

Swallows & Amazons: of course it had to be moved to Scotland. If you're going to make a film of the book, I suppose you must… but why not make a film of the perfectly good book, rather than adding spy hijinks?

Outlaws and Angels: yes, but there are lots of Westerns, these days. Again, why should I go and watch this film rather than any of the others? All right, it has a reasonable number of women, at least some of whom aren't just there as prizes for the men; that's a start.

Anthropoid: interesting, finally a film based on the successful Nazi-assassination plot. Looks as though they've sexed it up a bit, but it might still be worth watching.

Disorder: unpredictable twists are clearly required here. A good cast, though, so maybe it'll work.

War on Everyone: Alexander Skarsgård is in this. Poor fellow. Horrible people doing horrible things to other horrible people, and not even for some sort of gain – apparently just for their amusement.

A Street Cat Named Bob: yeah, if everyone goes out of their way to make things better for you, it's not so hard to pull yourself out of life on the photogenic streets.

American Honey: American Loser Crime is a genre, isn't it? Only when it's written by Carl Hiaasen or Tim Dorsey it's fun, and to me this just isn't.

The Birth of a Nation: ah, more slavesploitation. What do you have to say that The Keeping Room and 12 Years a Slave and Django Unchained and all the others… didn't? And yes, I see what you did with that title.

The Girl with All the Gifts: yeah, boring old zombies, but it looks as though it may have something more to say than that. Would be good if it does.

Jack Reacher - Never Go Back: the first one was barely profitable, but I guess what Tom wants, Tom gets. After the first film adapted book 9, this one adapts book 18; granted, they stand alone pretty well, but there's a whole lot of interesting background material that'll just be ignored here in favour of a generic action film.

Keeping Up with the Joneses: "edgy" comedy turns into spy-jinks. Oh my aching sides.

American Pastoral: ech, Philip Roth. No doubt will appeal to people who like that sort of thing.

Mechanic - Resurrection: generic actioner. Woman as prize, grunty manly men, bored bored bored.

Ouija - Origin of Evil: the first one made a little money, but was ridiculously cheap, thus large percentage profit, and a sequel was inevitable. Didn't we see this when it was called The Exorcist?

The Swan Princess - A Princess Tomorrow, A Pirate Today: ignore the franchise nonsense. Sure it's kidvid, but it's kidvid that might actually do some good. It will probably sink without trace.

Chevalier: if this were made in Hollywood, there wouldn't be any downside to this extended dick-measuring contest: it would be presented as a positive thing, and what guys do. I trust that a female director outside that toxic environment may do a bit better. But this certainly doesn't look appealing.

The 9th Life of Louis Drax: ooh, psychological thriller. Let me guess, the mother did it? The authors of these things always seem to end up blaming women for everything. I'm guessing all the horror imagery is inside the kid's head, or they'd be pushing this as a horror film.

Ghost Team: ech, loser comedy.

Dirty 30: well, I guess films about men behaving badly don't need any excuse to exist, so why should films about women? Not my sort of thing, though, in spite of the cast.

Joshy: presumably the fiancée died, and it'll turn out that he killed her. Or am I just reaching for something, anything, interesting?

Sully: I suppose a dramatisation was inevitable. But of course the incident itself is over in a few minutes, so to fill up a film it has to be all about the enquiry instead.

Viral: really, the only question is "is this a real-world contagion film, or is it a zombie film". Well, it's a zombie film. Great big meh.

  1. Posted by Rory at 01:52pm on 18 July 2016


    I looked but couldn't find a reference to "Free State of Jones" in the last few months. It's long but worth it.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 02:13pm on 18 July 2016

    Back in January. (There's a search thingie. I wrote it myself.)

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