RogerBW's Blog

January 2017 Trailers 01 February 2017

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

This has been a surprisingly sparse month for new trailers: only 23, compared with 30 last January.

Leap! (aka Ballerina): burning stereotypes, in particular since being a ballerina has been pretty clichéd as the pinnacle of female ambition for a while now; but I find it difficult to be sympathetic to American animation anyway, because the vocal styles that the actors use just rub me the wrong way, so there may be virtue to this that I'm not seeing.

I Am Not Your Negro: is there anyone who doesn't know this stuff already? People don't change their minds any more, if they ever did.

All Nighter: elevates "dad hates the new boyfriend" cliché to a whole new level of direness by removing the woman from the story entirely: it's all about the MENZ, didn't you know?

Cult of Chucky: can you really call it "all-new" when it's not only derivative but explicitly and overtly derivative?

Spin Out: generic rodeo love story, only with cars. In Australia. Actually looks as though it might be vaguely amusing, as long as they don't take it too seriously.

XX: a shame that the female directors need to resort to this sort of gimmick; horror anthologies very rarely work well. Still, maybe a little bit less clichéd than the usual.

Chocolat: Oscar season is here all right. Might be good, but seems very heavy-handed.

CHiPs: so the few people who remember the TV series (1977-1983) at all fondly will be hacked off because it's been turned into a generic comedy, and everyone else will say "why should I care about some show old people talk about". But someone thought this would make money. Someone genuinely thought this would be popular. They may even be right, and that scares me.

Ali: the subject doesn't interest me, and of course he will be portrayed as perfect because he's only recently dead. May work for people who aren't me.

Wilson: generic neuroticism, by someone other than Woody Allen.

I Am Michael: yeah, but we know that all the people who preach "ex-gay" stuff are lying for personal gain, no matter how you try to twist a religious fiction into supporting it. So why do we care that this particular liar was a liar?

The Nut Job 2 - Nutty by Nature: written, filmed and acted by machines. Cut out the middle-human and let the machines watch it too.

The Ottoman Lieutenant (Teaser) this trailer makes it look like a very standard historical romance with mild action. It's an interesting period, but will it get away from the clichéd tropes of this sort of thing?

Colossal: it's a good conceit, but is it a good enough conceit to carry a feature-length film? Even if Anne Hathaway is remarkably cute?

Battle for Incheon - Operation Chromite: not a style of film that gets made much any more; will a modern audience be interested in their grandfathers' or great-grandfathers' war? Can Liam Neeson look any more like Nic Cage with a hangover?

Brimstone: Mia Wasikowska backed out of this after seeing the script, and my word she's been in some pretty bad films. Grungy exploitation, not for me.

We Don't Belong Here: is it a relationship drama or a things go horribly wrong with gunfire pic? It's both! With bonus exploitation yay.

My Cousin Rachel: what a tedious version of Wicked Game on the soundtrack! If this follows the book, it will spend its entire running time teasing the reader over whether Rachel is the angel she appears to be or a conniving devil (because all women are one of those two things)… and then wimp out and not even bother to resolve that point. (And there was already a film shortly after the book came out, triple Oscar nominated, with Richard Burton and Olivia de Havilland, whom I'd much rather watch than these nonentities.)

Lowriders: will he throw away his life as a graffiti artist, or throw away his life ruining perfectly good cars? Oh the tension.

In Dubious Battle: sure, a message that needs to be repeated, but Steinbeck? And so thuddingly obvious? Will all the strikers be angels and all the bosses devils, as it appears here, or will there actually be some subtlety? (Fat chance.)

Their Finest: heh, for once Senate House is actually used correctly rather than as "generic looming building" – it actually was the headquarters of the Ministry of Information throughout the war. Good to see Gemma Arterton, whom I've always rated as deserving a bit better than Generic Hot Chick, with a meatier role. It'll be heavy-handed, of course, but might nonetheless be enjoyable.

  1. Posted by Michael Cule at 12:54pm on 01 February 2017

    Your grump is showing, Roger. (This is a public service you are providing though...)

    And as for the James Baldwin documentary, well some of us are interested in history, even history we lived through.

    And that particular story isn't over.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 01:22pm on 01 February 2017

    Well, fundamentally there are very few films made that I find appealing; even when that does happen, the trailer will tend to make it look more generic than it is, and thus less interesting to me.

    The start of the year tends to be a bit of a dumping-ground for films in which the studios don't have much confidence: US audiences don't go to the cinema much after the Thanksgiving-Christmas break. So this is likely to be the worst month for trailers in general.

  3. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 02:20pm on 02 February 2017

    Inchon looks like it may be worth watching; if only because of the paucity of Korean War films and one that covers the decisive action of the war too.

  4. Posted by RogerBW at 02:22pm on 02 February 2017

    Yes, that's definitely going on my list. I don't think it'll be a big success, but it's a sort of film that appeals to me when it's done right. ("When it's done right" equals The Longest Day, pretty much.)

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