RogerBW's Blog

February 2017 Trailers 25 February 2017

Some trailers I've seen recently, and my thoughts on them. (Links are to youtube. Opinions are thoroughly personal. These trailer posts are now not on a strict monthly rotation any more, but are being mixed into the automatic post scheduler that runs the rest of the blog.)

Journey to the West - The Demons Strike Back: there have been a great many adaptations of this (being an Englishman of a certain age I think first of the late-1970s Japanese TV series). This one's going wild with the computer graphics, which I think may be the best way to bring this kind of story to film if you have to do it at all. This seems to be the sequel to a first chapter from 2014, which I may go and look for.

The Chamber: looks like good old-fashioned underwater action and claustrophobia, and might be quite enjoyable.

Girls Trip (Teaser): "(X) Behaving Badly, And The Audience Is Meant To Like Them" is now enough of a genre in itself that it can even withstand having protagonists who are black and female. Yay.

Personal Shopper: seems to have been put very deliberately into the post-Hitchcock "don't trust anything you see or hear" bucket, which doesn't usually appeal, but it's a decent cast and great imagery, and that may be enough.

The Blackcoat's Daughter: oh, right, you're using the Catholic school as a shorthand for "creepy authority figures". Fair enough, but it's a bit of a waste. And very standard anxieties apart from that, though there's a welcome absence of jump-scares here.

Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Men Tell No Tales: oh, they're still making these? The trailer says nothing about the plot, which is probably just as well.

The Fate of the Furious: oh, they're still making these? The trailer does say something about the plot: same old, same old, whiz bang boom.

Aftermath: "you crash the plane in the first half-hour, or you don't crash it at all." Boring revenge fantasy. And of course it's the responsibility of the guy on the job, not the accountant who made sure there was only one person on the job with no relief. Good heavens, is that what Arnie looks like these days? And another truly terrible cover version, clearly all the rage for trailer music, probably because it's cheaper than paying the extortionate fees demanded by Immediate Music.

The Red Turtle: great artwork, and pleasingly dialogue-free at least in the trailer. Looks promising. Ghibli is more than Miyazaki.

The Beguiled: fairy-tale-styled lust and decay, or possibly decay and lust. Oh dear.

The Lego Ninjago Movie: no doubt will appeal hugely to people other than me, people who still think that generic-Oriental-accented English is funny. Basically, the animation, while impressive, isn't enough on its own - I want an interesting story, dammit!

Wish Upon: the music-box prop was clearly made by a real artist, and is thoroughly appealing to look at. Unfortunately it's being used in the exact same story that everyone always tells when wishes are involved.

Resident Evil Vendetta: old-game-grade animation, and dialogue straight out of the Beginner's Guide to Cliché. Oh dear.

The Ticket: er, OK. And? A directionless trailer might mean it doesn't fit in the standard film genres (good), or that they just have no idea what's going on.

Unlocked: good guys don't need rules, because they're good guys. Phillip Noyce has a worryingly mixed record (including The Saint, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger as well as several films I actually liked). Toni Collette plays Judi Dench playing M. Bored bored bored.

Marine 5 - Battleground: probably means more if you care about any of these people as WWE stars.

The Ottoman Lieutenant: still looks gorgeous, if a bit Merchant-Ivory. "This is no place for a woman." "This is something I have to do." If it can survive the cliché it may well be worth watching; alas, the presence of Ben Kingsley doesn't bode well. (Later: turns out that, with lots of Turkish money behind this film, the Armenian genocide is presented as just an unfortunate side-effect of war rather than a deliberate policy. Ho hum.)

Ghost In The Shell: oh, I see, that's how they're doing it. Blend the original story with a new one where it's all about Kusanagi as the Mostest Speshul Cyborg EVAR. What a pity. At least we still have the original manga (and films and series).

The Bad Batch: looks like very generic American horror, complete with pretty girl in peril, but Ana Lily Amirpour's other film was amazing. So maybe.

Swan Princess - Royally Undercover: the trailer for the pirate one seemed vaguely interesting, but apparently the film wasn't. This one looks like generic spy romp.

Dean: yet another bildungsroman, with a thankless and generic role for Gillian Jacobs. Of course women exist solely for men to improve themselves. It works best if they're dead.

Everything, Everything: sick girl romance glurge.

The Institute: inconvenient rich girl in asylum horror turns into cult horror. Might manage to have something to say, but if so it's been carefully removed from the trailer.

Alive And Kicking: this is a genre, isn't it? "People who do a weird thing are just people, really, though some of them are still weirdoes har har".

Mine: I thought for a moment I'd already seen this, because it starts off looking awfully like the trailer for every film set in "the desert far away". And then it turns into "guy cannot move" horror, which has been done quite a bit recently. So all that's left to make it worth watching is the acting talent of the lead… who is Armie "white bread looks exciting next to me" Hammer. Oh.

The House: "comically" stupid and unsympathetic people are taken advantage of by an obvious skeevy guy (I mean, he's brown, how disreputable can you get?). Amy Poehler gets to channel Carrie Fisher in one shot, but is that worth suffering through the rest of this for?

Youth In Oregon: family road trip shenanigans. The concept might work if the cast is great, but it isn't, and it looks as if they filled in any empty pages in the script with generic road trip spackle.

Maudie: broken people cut each other with the jagged edges, but eventually mesh. An odd time of year to release Oscar-bait (well, it's an Irish production). I thought from the performance we see here that Maud was supposed to be mentally impaired in some way, but the real Maud Lewis was apparently no stranger than most artists; on the other hand she did have crippling arthritis.

Song to Song: pretty people problems. Apart from the modern trappings, this looks distressingly like Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice meets The Apple (yes, I do mean the Menachem Golan production from 1980). Fame is bad for people, and they can't hack it; they should stay in their burrows where it's safe.

A Cowgirl's Story: sooner or later someone will notice that it doesn't matter what you do to "see you through difficult times", as long as it takes a lot of concentration and effort. Until then, we have pretty people doing pretty-people things.

My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea: the title warns you that it's going to be yet another YA my-life-is-terrible revenge-fantasy book. I suppose it might be fun, but whatever appeal it has fails to reach my calloused heart.

Alien - Covenant ("Last Supper" Prologue): we've seen this kind of thing before, but the basic concept is good. This looks much more interesting to me than the "official" traailer from a few months ago.

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