RogerBW's Blog

November 2015 Trailers 01 December 2015

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

Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong: a visually great setting for a very generic-looking love story.

Anomalisa: Kaufman is Kaufman. Will he make it interesting, or just clever-clever? I can't tell from this.

Christmas Eve: The usual problem of huge ensemble cast films like this is that each individual story doesn't get enough time, so what I want a trailer to do is tell me that that problem's been fixed, or at least thought about. This doesn't. Nor does any of the individual stories seem compelling.

Chi-Raq: Spike Jones does Lysistrata. Fair enough. Apparently this trailer has generated Controversy; I'm sure Spike didn't intend that in the slightest, oh no not at all.

London Has Fallen: yes, that's the threat you want to snoop on the entire world to defend us from. Fucking imaginary supervillains. This sort of thing is just too hateful a concept for me to enjoy it any more.

Alice Through the Looking Glass: another Dark and Edgy Reinterpretation. Well, Tim Burton does this sort of thing quite well when he's on his game. Suffers rather from looking a bit like the dismal flop Pan, but maybe people will have forgotten about that by the time it comes out.

God's Not Dead 2: Being wished Happy Holidays means you're being PERSECUTED! Yeah! Let's GET them persecutors! But Christspoitation is not aimed at me anyway, unless it's amusingly bad.

The Hateful Eight: what, another grim and gritty Western? (Also: #wherearethewomen? The one woman here is a prize to be transferred from one nasty protagonist to another. But what else would you expect from Tarantino?)

400 Days: a puzzle story, clearly, of the "what's going on" flavour; but can the solution pay off the atmospheric build-up? Usually, alas, the answer is no.

American Hero: Another unlovable loser gets superpowers. Well, obviously I'm going to care about what happens to him.

Touched With Fire: considering Katie Holmes's background, she ought to be able to play a sane person surrounded by nutcases easily enough. Those poets, they're just endearingly ker-razy, aren't they? But this looks as if it might try to get a little deeper than that, which would be a good thing if true.

Warcraft: the game is basically about fighting. The usual answer when making a film about a plotless game, as in Doom, is to come up with a plot that has nothing to do with the original story. And making peace between the Two Big Factions certainly sounds like an innovation which would entirely undermine the premise of the gameā€¦

Finding Dory: assumes you already know and love the characters. Yay, more of the same!

Miracles From Heaven: more Godsploitation. Remember when Jennifer Garner got better lines than "I'm not leaving this hospital until I know what's wrong with my little girl"? Somehow I doubt the Incredible True Story is as presented here.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2: the original was thirteen years ago. Who was calling for a sequel? The accountants, that's who. Does this have anything to say to people who didn't (a) love the original and (b) spend the intervening years asking for more?

Ice Age Collision Course: the only good thing about these films is Scrat, and you can watch Scrat without charge.

Moonwalkers: there are too many people who actually believe the moon landings were faked for me to be happy with it as the premise for a comedy. And apparently Rupert Grint wants to be the next Mike Myers. Unlikeable people doing unlikeable things to each other, again.

The Divergent Series - Allegiant: I haven't even got round to reading the second book yet, never mind this one. Looks very heavy-handed; trailers always do, but the first book was heavy-handed too.

The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun: OK, you've got the visual spectacle nailed. What's it about?

Gods of Egypt: seeing the title, I wondered whether this would be another CGI fantasy beat-em-up or another Godsploitation. Looks like box A. That kid with the floaty hair who's meant to be a hero looks as if he's wandered in from a cosmetics advertisement. Look, guys, I can play computer games and get all this and interactivity too.

How To Be Single: Rebel Wilson has moved on from the Fat Chick to being the Raunchy Fat Chick. What progress! Oh, the film? Bridesmaids with more nightclubs.

Now You See Me 2: it really didn't need a sequel, but I guess it made money. I note a total lack of actual character moments here, except for the new guy comic relief.

The Huntsman - Winter's War: another film that didn't need a sequel, though I suppose more Chris Hemsworth beefcake is welcome. A bit heavy on the CGI, with appropriate lack of actual emotion. Looks as if it's all about the nifty visuals; what a waste of good actors.

Zoolander 2: the original just barely made twice its budget. Most films performing at that level don't get sequels. But that's what you get by being an insider: your excrescences get put up on the big screen for everyone to jeer at.

Extraction: oh Cthulhu, not more bloody superhuman terrorists who justify the existence of nasty "good" guys who don't have to worry about tedious things like warrants and legal process. Films like this are part of the problem. (See also London Has Fallen.)

Fifty Shades of Black: no doubt the sort of film which will appeal hugely to people other than me. But I'm not in the target audience in too many ways.

Midnight Special: looks as though it'll be hard work to get through the long segments of grunting manly men between the special effects.

The Benefactor: Richard Gere as a sinister controlling man. So no change there then. As so often in trailers these days, I'm given no reason to care about any of these people.

Every Thing Will Be Fine: are we going anywhere with this? Are we finally going to get a tortured author story where the tortured author isn't a wonderfully perfect guy who gets laid wherever he goes?

The Boss: oh gosh, nasty formerly-rich woman has to learn to be a good person while remaining sassy. I have never experienced that story before.

And I wrote that before I saw this one:

The Bronze: oh gosh, nasty formerly-famous woman has to learn to be a good person while remaining sassy. I have never experienced that story before.

Knight of Cups: Can Malick make a film with a story, or just a Malick Film? Is he going to have female characters with more to their personalities than a convenient wad of tissues?

Barbershop - The Next Cut: That's what a comedy needs: someone saying "he he he, he's funny, he makes me laugh". Because otherwise we wouldn't know it was a comedy. This looks like a modern blaxploitation film, without the gratuitous carnage that was the point of blaxploitation.

The Little Prince: so is this a film of the book, or a film about the book, or both? Was the original book not considered good enough to support a film on its own?

The Other Side Of The Door: "a tragic accident that changed everything". What, again? Oh, right, just another generic horror film. Ho hum.

Captain America - Civil War: apparently we are supposed to have been primed and enthused for this by Agents of SHIELD and other media. But you know, just because all the people beating each other up are good guys at other times, that doesn't mean I want to see lots and lots and lots of scenes of people beating each other up. Particularly since, because they are all good guys at other times, it's more than usually pointless.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: it's a shame they couldn't intercut new footage with an existing film of Pride and Prejudice, but that would have offended the Copyright Gods. While the story is obviously silly even by the standards of zombie films, this looks surprisingly good; the cinematographer's Remi Adefarasin, who's been doing decent work in minor productions for years. On the other hand this thing's had four directors and endless rewrites since development started in 2009, so if there's anything worth watching beyond the cinematography I will be amazed.

A War: ah, it's Awards Season. This may be pretty good, but by now we've (or I have at least) seen a lot of good films about the post-2001 American (and allied) invasions and occupations, and I'm not sure this really has anything new to say.

Son of Saul: definitely Awards Season. Though the lead has a perversely appealing face; what can I say, I'm allowed to be shallow sometimes.

  1. Posted by Michael Cule at 12:02pm on 01 December 2015

    Hmm, no hint in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR of the issue that drove the plot of the CIVIL WAR comics: the Metahuman Registration Act. Perhaps it would be politically unwise to make those parallels just now? Or perhaps it's in the film but not the trailer?

    And I remain convinced that I could write one of those classic literature/monster mashups if only I could find the core idea. Hmm, MIDDLEMARCH: CITY OF EVIL? BLEAK HOUSE OF THE DEAD? MURDER AT THE MILL ON THE FLOSS?

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 01:13pm on 01 December 2015

    I think the various Marvel TV series now do the foreshadowing that's missing from the trailer, so all that's left to say here is "lots of fights and angst". Certainly I gather that's what was done with The Winter Soldier.

    Three Men on a Vampire Hunt? The Even More Most Dangerous Game? Crime and Punishment and Frankenstein?

  3. Posted by Dr Bob at 09:48pm on 02 December 2015

    Um... what's Knight of Cups actually ABOUT? I couldn't tell from the trailer. Unless it is just a couple of hours of Christian Bale alternately looking bemused and shagging?

    I saw Now You See Me. If it had been real magicians live on stage doing what was in the movie, I would have doubtless gone "Ooooh, that was a cool trick". However, watching it in a movie just had me going "Meh - it's all CGI and clever editing. Why are you trying to do stage magic in a movie???"

    Won't bother with the sequel.

  4. Posted by RogerBW at 12:48am on 03 December 2015

    I suspect Knight of Cups is "a Terence Malick film" more than it's about anything. (Wikipedia calls it a "romantic fantasy drama", but the plot summary makes it sound like one of those novels written by middle-aged male writers in which a middle-aged male writer dumps his wife, has lots of sex with nubile young women, and thereby rediscovers his muse.)

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