RogerBW's Blog

April-May 2017 Trailers 11 May 2017

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

The Exception: I know that Second World War films have been done and I'd rather see a new story than a rehash of one that's already been told very well, but somehow this doesn't strike a spark for me; perhaps it's that it feels so carefully set up, the Jewish spy and the Nazi officer who fall in love, like a trolley problem with real people.

Kingsman - The Golden Circle Red Band: I wasn't grabbed by the original, and there's nothing here to drag me in now: just more women as scenery, a thoroughly unconvincing young man as an action hero, and action that would look clichéd in a comic never mind on screen.

Cars 3: the dialogue is so feel-good anodyne it hurts, but the animation is still pretty enough I suppose.

We Are X: Ah, not the American band that's become retro trendy again recently, but a Japanese metal band. Fair enough. Feels like an extended promo video: buy the album, folks.

Whose Streets: Good luck to it. Black Lives Matter is out of the immediate media window and therefore it's obviously been completely resolved and isn't important any more, just like Occupy.

47 Meters Down: oh dear. Well, at 47 metres you'll be seriously narced (which makes normal people behave more like people in films), but most crucially the air tank which would have lasted you an hour for a normal dive will be empty in 20-30 minutes - and that's assuming you don't breathe any faster. Also when you do that emergency ascent you'll give yourself serious decompression sickness. And I'm writing about the technical aspects because nobody here is shown to have any character other than "is female and pretty".

Ingrid Goes West (Teaser): always good to see Aubrey Plaza, but I really have no interest in anyone else here.

It Comes at Night: what I always want to know is what elevates this horror beyond the generic. This trailer does its best, as most do, to look unchallenging and generic.

Kill 'Em All: Eighties action has not died, but its face has turned into some kind of mouldable putty.

Once Upon a Time in Venice: more geezer action comedy. Meh. But the abysmal Going in Style made back 47% of its production budget on the opening weekend, so apparently there's a market for this stuff.

The Big Sick: har har Pakistanis are all the stereotypes, plus standard rom-com. I suppose there's some potential for interest more than in a standard rom-com alone, which is presumably what would have been released if this film hadn't existed, but.

2:22: yeah, but we've had Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow and even Source Code for goodness' sake. Just saying "time is being fscked about with" is not enough. Even if The Babe is in really heavy eye shadow. If there's more to this film than that, the trailer won't tell me.

The Dark Tower: this is apparently meant to be a sequel to Stephen King's eight-book series, as well as a stand-alone story that combines material from three of the books. So that's going to work well. I predict now that it will be called "confusing", because even if the filmmakers got things explained on screen those explanations will have been cut for running time. Meanwhile, the film's taken ten years to make, gone through three directors (the other two being people you might actually have heard of) and four scriptwriters including pablum-writer-to-the-world Akiva Goldsman (who co-produces), and if there's anything of substance left after the multiple rounds of sanding down anything that might scare the mass audience I shall be impressed. Great adult cast though.

Dunkirk: the proper trailer at last, and this looks like something close to a "classic" war film – made by Nolan with Hoyte van Hoytema (cinematographer on Interstellar) it'll certainly be pretty, and with any luck the real story will shine through the artificial focus on a few individuals (plots being Nolan's weak point at least in my estimation). I have some hope for this one.

The Hunter's Prayer: assassins are people too, but they still get to be cool and tortured. This looks as if Jonathan Mostow is remaking Leon, just as he tried to remake Terminator 2.

Absolutely Anything: even with Simon Pegg starring (and the Monty Python crew as the aliens, Terry Jones directing) it'll take a lot to get me past the KOMEDY! hump on this one. (And it's been in development since Douglas Adams was still alive.)

Wonder Woman (last trailer): yeah, still really not interested in superheroes, but this seems as though it could be worth seeing. The last superhero film I actually enjoyed was the first Iron Man. Hope springs eternal.

Blade Runner 2049: good imitation of the original score, less good imitation on the visuals, but oh, Harrison Ford, you belong in a museum and you can still out-act Ryan Gosling with one lift of your eyebrow. Oh, you wanted women as more than wallpaper? This is a boys' film.

  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 11:18pm on 11 May 2017

    I watched Carol on Channel 4 last week. I enjoyed the film and started looking up some details of it, particularly what cameras Therese was shown using (I was amused they felt the need to show her loading 35mm film, presumably the youth of today have never seen it).

    But I also ran into discussions about issues getting Carol made, and apparently one of the big ones with the financiers and film studios was that it has two female leads and the only male characters aren't that significant. I frankly hadn't even noticed that when watching the film, I was so engrossed in the story and how the two female leads both lit up any scenes they were in. Why is no male lead character such a problem for the film industry? What is wrong with these people? Did Thelma and Louise have that problem?

  2. Posted by Owen Smith at 11:27pm on 11 May 2017

    I watched the Blade Runner trailer. Bloody American, what date do they mean by 6.10.17? Let's be ambiguous for the hell of it shall we?

  3. Posted by RogerBW at 09:14am on 12 May 2017

    The film industry, to a first approximation, is a white American man in his fifties to sixties who doesn't like change. And who is terrified of the idea that men might have to try to identify with female protagonists, but who thinks that women identifying with male protagonists is perfectly normal and acceptable.

    When a female-led (non-romcom) film does badly, that's evidence that audiences don't want women as leads, so let's not fund any more. When it does well, there was obviously something special about it which means that other female-led films won't do as well so let's not fund them. When a male-led film does badly, too bad, let's make some more. In effect, "female-led" is still a way of being different from the herd, just like "thoughtful science fiction" or "not a sequel/remake".

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