RogerBW's Blog

August 2016 Trailers 01 September 2016

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

Finding Altamira: "From the director of Chariots of Fire", and of very little else in the intervening 35 years. The actual ridicule mostly came from the scientists of the day rather than from Big Bad Religion, but hey.

Dunkirk (teaser): can't say much about it yet, but Nolan's not the director I'd pick to make a film about this. On the other hand he may well find something interesting to say about it that wasn't already said in, well, Dunkirk (1958).

Two Lovers and a Bear: looks confused, which often means the film doesn't fit readily into a standard category. Good, if so! Looks appealing.

Down Under: how to make a film about the 2005 riots in Sydney? With humour, of course. I think this may fall into the "no appealing characters" box for me, but making a film is better than pretending it didn't happen.

Emily & Tim: an interesting conceit, and a solid cast, but foregrounding that conceit makes me worry the film has nothing else going for it.

I.T.: geeks! You can't trust 'em! Yes, the threat you need to worry about is one disturbed kid, not huge companies or government agencies or Chinese manufacturers, who have always your best interests at heart, honest. (This message paid for by huge companies and government agencies and Chinese manufacturers.)

Brother Nature: if you object to anything anybody else does, that's a sign that you are Wrong and need to relax and go with it, because fat guys who want to have fun are always right. Poor Gillian Jacobs who has to do shit like this.

The Sea of Trees: well, it might just have been a tedious relationship drama, but it looks as if it's been blended with a tedious drama about finding God. ("If God isn't waiting for you on the other side, who is?" Oooh, profound, man.)

Bad Santa 2: ha ha ha ha ha. Oh my aching sides. Oh, wait, that's the woodlice waiting to consume my corpse.

Resident Evil - The Final Chapter: probably not the best place to enter the franchise.

The Idol: I'm sure there are people for whom this will work. It leaves me utterly cold. Why not read about the real story of real people instead?

Complete Unknown: an actual character piece; self-indulgent, but it has some appeal even so.

The Great Gilly Hopkins: The first frames tell you this is an adaptation of a successful YA novel. Complete with stereotyped casting.

Tell Me How I Die: Good concept, good setup, appealing actors, why do they keep starting these things well and then pissing all that good stuff away on generic horror with jump-scares?

Rogue One - A Star Wars Story: Can Star Wars be made more interesting by removing the magic plot-tweaking powers? Well, it looks good, if character-free. But in the end it's still Star Wars; the trick will be to make that work for the film rather than against it.

Allied (teaser only): Cotillard will make this worth watching even if it is just generic "you can't trust anybody" spy-filler.

Hidden Figures: will be simplified, as always in these things, but it's a story that needs to be told and it looks as if it's being told at least a bit competently even if several of the background characters are purest stereotype.

The Good Neighbor: horrible people play a prank on another horrible person, and get paid back for it. Meh.

Arrival: well, at least this is an alien invasion film that isn't about blowing them up or getting blown up by them. Looks potentially interesting, though an awful lot will depend on whether it carries through on the promises it makes here, and the "I am the only person who is on the Right Side" vibe of the latter half of this trailer leaves me concerned.

Same Kind of Different as Me: Great cast, but it's basically a standard Christsploitation story (based on a book by Lynn Vincent, popular Christian-brand ghostwriter who who also wrote Going Rogue and Heaven is for Real) with extra bonus racism (magical negro!) and general idiocy. The character played by Zellweger here was safely dead of cancer and had no input into the book, so believe it's a "true story" as you like.

Moonlight: looks like just another bildungsroman.

Priceless: so… it's a grittier and less actiony version of The Transporter? And a Great Male Saviour who's fighting for the women, and that's a good reason to fight, so that's OK, he's not just a mindless thug. Honest.

Voyage of Time: seems like a bad parody of Cosmos (either version). Which, from Malick, it probably is. If Werner Herzog made this it might be worth seeing.

Equity: This is going to hang entirely on the lead's performance; I don't think I've seen Anna Gunn before, but she looks as if she's got the chops for it.

Kidnap: Every Mother's Nightmare (TM). And sure enough there is nothing in the trailer to make her look like anything less generic than Every Mother. But actually what I see here is a quite standard normal-person-makes-good action flick (with the usual ration of pointless bystander deaths caused by the protagonist), except that the normal person is a woman, and therefore to make her comprehensible it's her son rather than his girlfriend/daughter that's been kidnapped.

Max Steel: it might be an interesting story about infectious upgrading and consent, but no, it's just a Chosen One. Hey ho.

My Blind Brother: rom-com with a gimmick. Do you find the gimmick fascinating? That will determine whether you will enjoy this film.

Manchester by the Sea: High-tension family drama; not really my thing but the clips look remarkably good.

Rings: so we have the original mildly interesting horror of Ringu, mixed in with a load of body-horror, and a soupçon of Final Destination… looks as if it's a reboot in all but name. The lead's been in a few Italian productions, but is now suddenly in three films in English all coming out in 2016 (the others being Ecstasia and Summertime). Hmm.

The Disappointments Room: "This is a new beginning." "Based on true events." Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Let me guess, mommy had a breakdown and that's why nobody takes her seriously? I've never seen that film before.

Lion: an attractive cast, particularly Dev Patel, but a perversely uncompelling story, at least to me. Where's the threat, where's the tension?

Planetarium: Looks pretty, but Natalie Portman appears to be channelling herself from Black Swan and this seems like a tawdry little tale of what it takes to be a star.

A Dog's Purpose: canine reincarnation, whoopee. Well, if you feel like watching a succession of attractive dogs, I suppose that'll do.

A United Kingdom: nasty racist colonials are nothing in the face of True Lerve. All right, the historical events on which it's based were pretty one-sided too. And it's good to see Rosamund Pike get some meatier dramatic roles.

Jack Goes Home: Rory (brother of Macaulay) Culkin has an interesting face, but this looks like standard jump-scare horror.

Cardboard Boxer: heartwarming. My heart is warmed. Honest.

  1. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 11:30am on 02 September 2016

    A couple of those I shall want to see regardless: Rogue One and Resident Evil, which even looks interesting. But the Arrival trailer is certainly is tantalizing, if only for the leads.

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