RogerBW's Blog

July 2016 Trailers 01 August 2016

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

Bleed for This: OK, so that is how this boxing film is different from Generic Boxing Film. Fair enough; it'll depend on the quality of the performances to drag me in, and these don't seem amazing, but might be worth a look.

Why Him: o god the stereotypes they burn. And the only things stopping this from looking like a film disinterred from the Sixties are (a) the word "Internet" and (b) there are no black people here.

Batman - The Killing Joke: er... OK, I guess. Adapting a woman-fridging graphic novel from 28 years ago, from before Alan Moore ate all the mushrooms, is the best you can come up with? Still, I know people who love what's been done in DC animation, and at least they got the right guy to voice the Joker.

Imperium: Daniel Radcliffe continues to take the most scungy parts he can find – in an attempt to get away from the image of Harry Potter? Doesn't appeal much to me, though it may hold together. Incidentally, yes, there is stock footage of a Polish National Independence Day parade here (around 1:09) standing in for the neo-nazis. Tone-deaf much?

The Intervention: just the music tells you that this is going to be a Komedy! But actually it's just going to be horrible people hating each other. Yay!

Table 19: at least there's some admission here that big weddings can be a terrible idea. If any of these people have developed characters rather than comedic traits, it might go somewhere.

In Order Of Disappearance: Swedish revenge thriller. Sure, a certain amount of "ordinary decent man is stronger than the criminals because he has Moral Fibre", but this looks potentially rather good.

Goat: probably more interesting if you regard fraternities with anything other than horrified revulsion. I don't do human pack behaviour, I don't understand it, and it repels me. So does this film.

Becoming Zlatan: will probably mean more if you've heard of the guy.

Tallulah: mistakes compound mistakes. Doesn't look much fun, but some people like that sort of thing.

Loving: Oscar season starts earlier each year… yeah, thought it would be about that given the name. The timing is obvious enough. Of course the Lovings will be saints and everyone who disagrees with them will be devils.

A Monster Calls: a child with a shit life who tries to fix it with supernatural powers. Based on a Carnegie Medal winner, gosh how surprised I am by that (actually I thought it would be a Newbery). Liam Neeson does an excellent imitation of Patrick Stewart, though.

The Hollars: "fiercely funny". Yeah. Right. And lots more mistakes compounding mistakes, but here all the people are so comprehensively unappealing that it just puts me off.

Sharknado 4 - The 4th Awakens: this series continues to be suitably silly and hasn't yet worn out its welcome with me. It's good from time to time to see unabashed crap that isn't trying to be anything more, but which people are still having fun making rather than just pinching off another Extruded Movie Product.

Rules Don't Apply: I tend to feel that a film with the H-4 in it ought to be about the H-4, but I'm biased. Also a certain amount of ick at Warren Beatty making time with a woman 52 years his junior. Still, it might work, if the stars can forget they're stars and do some acting.

The Edge of Seventeen: yeah, but does it have anything to say? (And a truly terrible Beatles cover.) Woody Harrelson is the most watchable thing here.

Author - The JT LeRoy Story: it seems a shame that the pseudonym should have been uncovered, but it's pathetic that the media should have thought there was capital in uncovering it.

Beyond Valkyrie - Dawn of the Fourth Reich: looks clichéd, but maybe the clichés will align into something worth having. Can't tell much more from this.

Skiptrace: Jackie Chan is 62 years old and can do this in his sleep. Johnny Knoxville is… well, Johnny Knoxville. Even the script (by Chan) seems to be rehashing 48 Hrs. Renny Harlin directs.

Before I Wake: well, it's a slightly new twist on the usual demon-child narrative, and I suppose that's something. Still seems to rely an awful lot on jump scares, and being a horror film it will have to end with the dream-powers being suppressed rather than used to improve the world.

In a Valley of Violence: I guess Westerns really are being a Thing now. This one looks just like all the others, except for the presence of Travolta, which for me is not a point in its favour.

The Wave: I'm a sucker for a good disaster film that doesn't get too up itself. And Norwegian scenery too? Sold.

xXx - The Return of Xander Cage: the parade of cliché burns my eyes. More interestingly, it's fourteen years since the first of these films, and Vin Diesel is now 49 years old. Show me the 49-year-old actress who gets cast as the lead in an "extreme" action film. Go on, show me.

A Tale of Love and Darkness: Natalie Portman directs... herself, acting in her own screenplay. A courageous decision. Clearly Oscar-bait; I wonder whether it will be the safe option of Israel Good, Everyone Else Bad, or dare to show some of the seriously bad behaviour on all sides.

Operation Avalanche: I have a Buzz Aldrin level of tolerance for stories about faking the Moon landings. And the filmmakers lied to NASA about the subject of their film in order to get permission to film on location. I don't care how good this is, I want nothing to do with it.

Blair Witch: formerly known as The Woods, and mentioned as such in my reviews for May, but: the original found-footage horror film is back! Only bigger and stupider! And after 17 years, people still don't realise that you will not end up walking in a circle if you follow a river or stream.

Justice League: will probably appeal to people other than me. Still, I guess if you want people not to laugh at Aquaman, having him played by the guy whose last big role was Conan the Barbarian is probably a good start. Is this introducing too many heroes without giving them their own films first (The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg)? Eh, probably not; the public seems to have an endless appetite for this stuff even if I don't.

King Arthur - Legend of the Sword: starting off with people "running", but clearly not on their feet, isn't a great start. Looks like a late entry for those "fantasy legends have feet, and other parts, of clay" films that were briefly popular a few years ago. Still, it's Guy Ritchie, so basically it'll be an East End gangster film with swords. Does anyone get called "thou slag"?

Kong - Skull Island: haven't we had enough of this franchise by now? Not until it stops making money. Visually very much in the Full Metal Jacket style, which could work; there are some lovely shots in this trailer, but as usual there's only one woman on the team.

Wonder Woman: doesn't leap out at me, but oh boy, it could be a whole lot worse. I guess that's all one can hope for in superhero films these days. Mind you, if I were picking a war to add good guy/bad guy superheroes into, it wouldn't be the Great War.

Doctor Strange: will probably work better for people who aren't burned out on the Cumberbatch Style (the same one he does in every role he plays), and who have at least a passing interest in comics... and who also aren't burned out on Chosen One stories. The flexing city looks great, though. Tilda Swinton plays a character who has previously been a Tibetan man, but obviously they couldn't keep that in – gotta sell the film in China!

Office Christmas Party: well, it looks as if it might be slightly less sexist and male-gazey than the usual "people get drunk and behave badly" comedy, but there's really nothing here that appeals to me.

Tickled: yeah, apparently it's real. And the people involved have exploded in a shower of implausible legal threats. I guess there must be actual money involved.

Ithaca: I think the genre here would best be called "Americana", which doesn't engage me. But John Mellencamp was the perfect person to score it.

Pup Star: good heavens. I'd rather watch Sing. At least that doesn't use real animals. Or have a world where fully sapient creatures are casually owned by humans.

Split: Well, the rail car setting is interesting. Otherwise, meh, just another loony torturing young pretty women.

The Accountant: starts off looking as if it might have something to say, but in the end it's just another action thriller with a guy in his forties and a woman who's just turned thirty. Oh, poor baby, you lay down with pigs and now you smell of pigshit.

Hacksaw Ridge: Directed by Mel Gibson, but might be worth seeing all the same. A genuine heroic story, too. Definitely worth a look.

Masterminds: maybe it's just me. I've seen Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones do vastly better than this (and not just in Ghostbusters). I have never seen Zach Galifianakis or Owen Wilson or Jason Sudeikis in anything that didn't leave me regretting the time I'd spent on it.

The Beatles - Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years: well, we all know the story. Do we need to hear it again? Or see the footage we've mostly seen before? Probably for Beatles completists.

The Great Wall: I tend to like my Chinese fantasy starring actual Chinese people, rather than having Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe dropped in to make it more palatable to the American audience. Equating the Eurasian steppe nomads with inhuman monsters, well, that's par for the course when you take the big ol' stack of yuan. But it will be huge and spectacular, and Zhang Yimou has done some great work before even if he's a bit patchy these days.

See also:
May 2016 Trailers

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