Trailer: Ghost In The Shell

Melancholic pop song. Check. Lots of hyper-cut violence. Check. Mystery box promise. Check. We really have to have a conversation on how to cut trailers. I do not mean to single out the first full trailer for the live-action remake of classic anime, Ghost In The Shell, because hey, it looks pretty good in a noirish cyberpunk fashion. (And hey, there is Beat Takeshi in a small appearance!) But I an tell you that if we keep advertising blockbusters this way, it is its own kind of fatigue.

For the uninitiated, in 1995, long before The Matrix was put into production by Joel Silver and The Wachowski Brothers, Japanese wunderkind, Mamoru Oshii and a large team of traditional animators adapted the 1988 Manga into an influential-in-its-own-right post-Blade Runner cyberpunk masterpiece. It also broke just as ‘anime’ was coming into vogue in America (spawning that awful term, Japanimation, may it never be spoken out loud again!) which garnered it a pretty wide North American theatrical release, which was rare both then an now. Meanwhile, in Japan it has since spawned one major (and quite opaque) cinematic sequel, several (more accessible) OVA spin-offs, as well as TV shows, books, et cetera.

Rupert Sanders (Snow White And The Huntsman) is finishing up on the often delayed American remake, see the trailer below, starring Scarlett Johansson as the iconic synthetic police woman, “The Major” who works with the counter-cyberterrorist organization in mid 21st century urban Japan.

During production, this has bred its own kind of controversy (#OscarSoWhite) in recasting an Asian character — in spite of being an android in an animated franchise — as a white girl. Currently, the landscape around this picture is fraught with peril; perhaps not as much as the recent Ghostbusters remake, but still plenty. The producers have attempted to dodge the issue by stating that the film is not set in Japan, but rather post-national urban setting where all races are represented. Personally, I am more interested if Sanders and his three screenwriters (two male, one female) screenwriters can bring the intelligence, style and wit to the picture, and not make it so forgettably ‘vanilla’ like his previous CGI-laden Snow White movie.

Nevertheless, if you have not had the pleasure of the 1995 version, I recommend finding it, even as I tentatively look forward to what this new version might possibly be. The imagery sure is striking, and much like the western, I’m always a little please to see cyberpunk poke its head into the world of big studio pictures.

One last thing, it appears that the poster designers are fans of Aeon Flux, a bio-cyberpunk, female driven blockbuster from 2005, that was itself a remake of a violent animated series. Unfortunately the Charlize Theron film was not very successful at the box office at the time; but, in my humble opinion, is nevertheless a pretty solid (and currently overlooked) entry in the genre.

Micro Teasers: Ghost In The Shell

After years of false starts and unfulfilled promises, the live-action remake of Mamoru Oshii’s influential animated feature, Ghost In The Shell is coming with Scarlett Johansson in the lead role (and Michael Pitt, Beat Takeshi and Juliette Binoche on support). Throughout a recent episode of Mr. Robot, a series of 6 second micro teasers showed during the commercial breaks, and they have been re-constructed to form a teaser trailer of sorts, and the result is a creepy Under The Skin (ish) vibe going here. Which I quite like.

Trailer #2: Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters

Less Kate McKinnon (sad-face), more ghosts (happy face). The new trailer continues the aspect of the marketers addressing the online imbroglio about gender (and concert stage diving in the 21st century). If you have not had the pleasure, it seems that conversation on the internet about this forthcoming Ghostbusters reboot quickly veers into mass hysteria; please keep it civil in the comments section, folks.

Trailer: The Magnificent Seven

Oooh, MGM Logo!

Hit and miss action-director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, King Arthur, Olympus Has Fallen) has gone and remade The Magnificent Seven.

The 1960 version was itself, of course, a remake of Kurosawa’s bonafide cinema classic Seven Samurai.

Sony Pictures has assembled a superb cast consisting of Denzel Washington (in full Yul Brenner black attire), Chris Pratt (doing his thing), Ethan Hawke (with a mighty beard), Vincent D’Onofrio (Onofrissance!), Byung-Hun Lee (no stranger to western remakes, with his villainous turn in Kim Ji-Woon’s The Good The Bad and The Weird), and Peter Sarsgaard (always welcome in anything, particularly as a bad guy) combined with a sizable budget have yielded a frothy, high octane unabashedly modern version of the story looking to capitalize on the star power and production values that this property, in all its incarnations, has always had. I could do without the crap cover of House of the Rising Sun, in the below trailer, but that is just personal taste, this looks like a solid popcorn western. Maybe this will be the one to break the curse of westerns at the box-office.

You know the story: A small frontier town of desperate townspeople employ the protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns who for a violent showdown that they know is coming.

Rubbing Is Racing In Kinetic Ben Hur Trailer

I don’t see the resurgence of the sword and sandals film any time soon, so clearly the raison d’etre for remaking the Charleton Heston biblical epic, Ben Hur, is to update the iconic chariot race. And besides some impressive Roman naval warfare, it seems Paramount (a studio on a role lately with upscale entertainment including Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Little Prince) wants to up the bar in the hippodrome.

Plus, Morgan Freeman in white dreadlocks.

Seriously.

(I know that Ben Hur has name value, but Hollywood, please, make a Lord of the Rings Trilogy of Guy Gavriel Kay’s chariot race heavy novel, The Sarantine Mosaic)

Friday One Sheet: The Lady In The Car With Glasses And A Gun

My micro-obsession with French-Belgium thriller The Lady In The Car With Glasses And A Gun continues with this handsome, high-contrast and big typeset poster. Emphasizing wardrobe and poise, and the titular sunglasses and firearm, the posters gives off a vaguely exploitation vibe (in some ways it is reminiscent of the I Spit On Your Grave poster, just from a classier angle. This is commensurate with the trailer released yesterday that showcases the sleazier elements of Hitchcock and De Palma (mmm, split screens). I’m always a fan with designers play around with the position of the credits block and ‘above the line’ names, and this does indeed feel aesthetically pleasing.

One minor gripe, is she in fact holding the gun, or is that just kind of photoshopped where her hand is. I’m not sure if it is the illusion of photography or simply weak photoshop.

Trailer: The Lady In The Car With Glasses And A Gun

Attention all trailer cutters. This is certainly one way to do it. The right song, the right rhythm, and beautiful cinematographic imagery to tease and delight anyone who like as a good noirish time at the movies. The Lady In The Car With Glasses And A Gun is a French-Belgium co-production, and for a more English speaking audience, Magnolia, offers it dialogue free, which was usually a sign of being dishonest with the audience about the films spoken language, but here, the perfect and only line of dialogue in the trailer, owns it. Bravo, I say, Bravo.

Based on the novel by Sébastien Japrisot (who also wrote A Very Long Engagement which was adapted into a film Jean-Pierre Jeunet), the trailer reminds me of a recent Canadian film called 88 which despite my affinity for Katherine Isabelle and Christopher Lloyd, is unfortunately a sloppy, and rather uninspired, piece of crap. The Lady In The Car With Glasses And A Gun looks like quality all around; just the kind of Hitchcock/DePalma sensual-sleazy gumbo I like.

Curiously, this is not the first time someone has adapted this novel into a film, and the 1970s version from Colombia Pictures stars Samantha Eggar and Oliver Reed. If you want a lesson in two eras of trailer cutting, and are not afraid of copious spoilers, you can find the original it is here. Fun Fact: Eggar and Reed would go on again to star together in David Cronenberg’s divorce cult classic The Brood

A beautiful secretary steals her boss’ sports car to go joyriding in this stylish psychological thriller. She goes to visit a seaside town she swears she’s never been to, but everyone knows her name. And when a body turns up in the truck of the car, she is suddenly the lead suspect in a murder she knows nothing about. Is she going crazy?

The 2015 film will be getting a day and date release in the US on December 18th.

Trailer: Point Break (remake)

“See you in the next life!”

Remember when the James Bond franchise started taking its cues from the Jason Bourne Franchise? It appears that the remake of Katheryn Bigelow’s 1991 high-testosterone cheese classic, Point Break, is taking its cues from the film franchise that started off as in imitator, The Fast and The Furious. This may not be a complete surprise, as the director, Eric Core, was the cinematographer for the original F&F film from 2001.

An ever increasing set of heists are featured in the trailer look incredibly expensive and excellently staged, and I must admit, Édgar Ramírez is 100% convincing as surf and extreme sports guru, Bodie (originally played at the height of fame Patrick Swayze), and relative unknown beefcake, Luke Bracey strikes a radically different tone that the “Whoa” of Keanu Reeves who originally played undercover FBI agent, Johnny Utah (which outside of Snake Plissken is probalby the best movie name ever). Supporting stalwarts Ray Winstone and Delroy Lindo are on hand to lend a little character actor gravitas to the proceedings. It looks less unhinged (perhaps from lacking Gary Busey) than the original, and seemingly in line with the expensive-and-glossy-but-safe movie world we find ourselves in.

Fan of the original? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

BIG New Trailer: Fury Road

The space goes down, down baby, down, down the roller coaster. Sweet, sweet baby, sweet, sweet, don’t let me go. Shimmy, shimmy, cocoa pop. Shimmy, shimmy, rock. Shimmy, shimmy, cocoa pop. Shimmy, shimmy, rock. I met a girlfriend – a triscuit. She said, a triscuit – a biscuit. Ice cream, soda pop, vanilla on the top. Ooh, Shelly’s out, walking down the street, ten times a week. I read it. I said it. I stole my momma’s credit. I’m cool. I’m hot. Sock me in the stomach three more times.

You probably do not need to be sold any more on this project, you are either in or out at this point. If not, watch the latest Mad Max: Fury Road trailer in 1080p