RogerBW's Blog

February 2016 Trailers 01 March 2016

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

Pandemic: because first-person view worked so well for Doom (the film, rather than the game). Like watching someone else play a game for a couple of hours, with videogame-grade acting to boot.

Green Room: oh, right, zombie redneck torture family. Oh well. Imogen Poots is better than this, and looks as if she'll be clearly the best thing in it.

Me Before You: well, the whole film's right here in the trailer, and there are clearly not going to be any surprises. So all it's got to lift it out of the sea of other films like it is the performances. Will they be enough? They're mildly appealing, I suppose.

Get a Job: the leads just look unappealing to me. If the film's got something to say then that may overcome the problem, but it'll need to take steps to engage my sympathy. (That the film's also been sitting on a shelf for four years waiting to be released also isn't a good sign.)

Miles Ahead: beautifully shot, and if I liked the music more I'd probably be all over this. Alas, for me Miles Davis is an example of throwing discipline to the wind in favour of self-expression and indeed self-indulgence.

Stealing Cars: nasty people are nasty and demand Respect. Is there more to it than just another bildungsroman?

The Driftless Area: Romantic drama rather than comedy? That's something we don't see much of these days. Excellent cast too.

The Jungle Book: Even further from the original than the last time Disney did it. I quite like the original. Why not make a film about talking animals and not claim it's based on a book?

High-Rise: now we see a "proper" trailer, and I think they're still getting this right. No real plot details beyond "this is meant to be a really great place, but things are going wrong". Visually excellent. Definitely on my list to watch.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates: perversely enough, the fact that the women are even more horrible than the men makes this appeal to me. So often we see relationships painted as "men want to have fun, women are sensible" (or, more rarely, "women want to have fun and men are mostly there as lust-objects"); this seems to grasp vaguely towards the idea that both men and women can have fun at the same time. Even if the men are dudebro idiots.

Hardcore Henry: two first-person-view trailers in the same month? This one looks slightly more self-aware (a comment on the traditional silent protagonist), but I'm not sure I could watch more than a few minutes of first-person action that I wasn't controlling; I can't when it's computer games. The opening is quite promising, but after that it looks as though the wife is literally locked in a box at the end of the level. So sorry, the princess is in another secret facility.

The Purge - Election Year: people said good things about the second of these, but whether it's of any interest to me will depend on the balance of satire versus gore. This looks mostly like gore.

Equals: looks like a higher-budget version of Equilibrium. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Doesn't give much away beyond that, and I think it's fair.

Our Kind of Traitor: there's very little clue here as to the talk/action balance. I suspect, this being based on le Carré, it'll be mostly talk. I'm not generally a fan, but it might work.

The Darkness: maybe it'll transcend the genre horror box, but I don't think so. When your child Goes Wrong, it's obviously because of something supernatural, not something you've done or something going wrong in his life that he doens't want to tell you about.

Criminal: looks distressingly like a variant of Self/less with more explosions (though not a lot more explosions: three different bits of that submarine missile launch footage get used in different places in the trailer). Still, maybe the explosions will be pretty.

Mr. Right: action romcom? Well, that's at least slightly off the tracks that have been worn miles deep by now. Looks rather fun, actually.

The Huntsman Winter's War: I like the mirror! And I've heard vaguely positive things about the original, though I haven't seen it. Mostly this looks pretty, but it does look very pretty.

Cabin Fever: for a moment I thought this might be making the horror a real human horror, but no, it's just another spam in a can of the sort that The Cabin in the Woods rendered entirely obsolete. Oh, so the horror is a disease rather than Zombie Redneck Torture Family? That really doesn't make a difference.

Mother's Day: all the romantic comedy clichés, only with Female Bonding rather than mating dances. May hugely appeal to people other than me.

Ukraine Is Not A Brothel: serious points to be made, but can it resist the urge to exploitation? I hope so.

Sing: so basically it's Pop Idol/X Factor/etc., only animated? Fair enough. But will the people who tune in to the competition shows be happy with cartoon characters, who don't really regard this as their only chance of ever having anything important in their lives?

Bastille Day: is it just me, or is this just another mismatched buddy cop/criminal film? That's not necessarily a bad thing, and the leads are appealing, but I'm bored with the template.

Nina Forever: zombie film as high art? Or as low comedy? Might be pretty decent.

Hyena Road: a "these people play both sides" story in the mould of Good Morning Vietnam, but looks potentially well-made.

Identicals: there's science fiction that explores an interesting idea, and there's science fiction that subordinates everything to a heavy-handed moral message. This smells like the latter, but it might surprise me.

The Preppie: and I'm supposed to feel sympathetic with this guy? The trailer gives me no reason to care. "I did it for her" as if that were a good reason.

A Country Called Home: is it enough that this standard-looking bildungsroman is about a young woman rather than a young man?

Born to Be Blue: another jazz biopic? Well, these things do happen (see the Year of the Robin Hoods).

I Am Wrath: John Travolta doesn't do that stuff any more. But a bad man kills his wife! So he's entirely justified in killing all the bad men. See, we have moral depth! Also a strip club scene.

Pete's Dragon: will depend heavily on the quality of the child actor.

Dheepan: I pity the poor immigrant, as they say. Not my usual sort of thing, but there's something about these faces that seems appealing.

The Light Between Oceans: the trailer offers a lovely setup but a boring-looking story to follow it.

Maggie's Plan: I don't do comedy much, but this is an excellent cast and an unusual premise so I may well give it a go.

Precious Cargo: another criminal who Doesn't Do That Stuff Any More until his wife is threatened. Ho hum. The action looks good but I do demand a bit more motivation these days.

The Man Who Knew Infinity: I suppose it's about time for a Ramanujan biopic (what with Hawking and Turing having been done), but this looks like a very heavy-handed Racism Bad message. If there's a bit more subtlety to it, maybe.

  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 01:55pm on 01 March 2016

    That's more films than I've watched at the cinema in the last 20 years.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 02:09pm on 01 March 2016

    It's all about taking the long view. I don't do cinemas any more either (the last films I saw in the cinema were The Two Towers and Die Another Day), but I find it interesting to look at trailers as a first pass at what may be interesting and what may not. Reviews of cinematic release are the next step, and by the time the thing's out in a format I'm willing to purchase I have a pretty good idea of whether I'm going to be interested.

  3. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:07pm on 02 March 2016

    I just wait until films are on TV, and if the first 15 minutes don't hold my attention I watch something else.

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