I really like indie director Adam Wingard, who gave us a nice mix of films in the past 10 years, Pop Skull, You’re Next and The Guest. But this all-fury-with-no-silence trailer for his entry in the now-official Blair Witch franchise makes it look like just another shitty Blumhouse picture. I hope, like the Ghostbusters comeback, the trailer is mis-representative of the tone of the film. Please, internet and horror community, get the #JumpScareWithCare hashtag going so that the message gets out that horror isn’t just about a quick edit and loud ringing noise. Sheesh.
From now on, when I say “T2”, I’m not talking about shapeshifting robots and time traveling assassins. I’m talking Sick Boy and Danny Boyle.
There really isn’t much to go on here other than an announcement, but it’s nice to see the four guys back together again. I’m really hoping Kelly Macdonald makes an appearance as well. Normally I’d be skeptical about something like this – and there have been a lot of “something like this” as of late – but for me, Danny Boyle is a go to screenwriter/director that can do (almost) no wrong. So I have faith in this cast and crew to make T2 something special.
I sort of wonder if Boyle and co. can go back and capture the gritty, independent spirit that the first film had to make it somewhat of a cult classic. Afterall, Boyle has been pretty glossy ever since then and something this dark hasn’t been part of his repertoire for some time. But hey, like I said, I have faith. Anyone else excited for this?
Todd Solondz has been rather quiet in the past few years. Cinephiles in the 1990s immediately warmed to the tone of his awkward-by-design black comedy, Welcome To The Dollhouse, which featured a shy tween girl, Dawn Wiener (aka Wiener-Dog), getting into unpleasant situations. Now, 20 Years later, Solondz has made this sort-of sequel cum anthology film. Dawn Weiner (now played by Greta Gerwig, not Heather Matarazzo) is in one of the parts, but the film is not named after her. The wiener dog is quite literally present here, not just a nasty nick-name, and is the one element that binds the four stories together. The eponymous canine, or at least its hind quarters, are featured on the rather minimalist poster for the film,
The quite funny, and talent loaded trailer is also tucked under the seat, for the curious.
Okay, MCU, I quit*
The shark has been jumped, and in this case I may be the shark and Kevin Feige and his team of TV directors are the Fonz. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is the logical conclusion to – but unfortunately just the next phase of – this series of bloated, meaningless storytelling.
Following a series of disasters in both real American metropolises and fictional foreign nations, the less interesting Avengers (Thor and Hulk are elsewhere, as are the expensive big name love interests from previous films) find themselves subject to reckoning from the international community, demanding oversight to their actions, leading to a schism between those who idealistically see the negative implications and will not compromise, and those who see the path of least resistance and would like to keep a hand on the wheel.
After an hour or so of “good for basic cable but it ain’t HBO” style of drama which has earned Daredevil many fans (but man has that show also grown drab and tedious) we get the film’s centerpiece, a defining and damning moment – the big showcase battle royal – and in pro wrestling terms it is an indie spotfest that has all the weight of an arcade fighting game. For those uninitiated to the Sport of Kings, that means generic grapplers doing a lot of creative flipping with no selling (nothing hurts), no storytelling (are you working down a body part? do you have a strategy?), and no heat. And the “smart” indie fans lap it up in spite of knowing what actually makes a match any good.
Civil War has no heat. This is the movie that has divided up earth’s greatest heroes, telling us that a conflict has arisen where there is now no choice but to butt heads. And yet the process reveals no. goddamn. new. side. of. anyone. While Iron Man and Cap have their logical sides, and others have their loyalties, several others are there for no good reason at all, adding nothing to the shallow discussion, and damage their own characters in the process. Tom Holland makes a wonderful Peter Parker but a Spider-Man more eager to please new friends than do what’s right. Likewise Paul Rudd initially brings life with his fresh Ant-Man character but is quickly reduced to a bumbling fool showing none of the subtlety required in leading his own film. The time comes for battle, and there they go, and I buy their reasoning even less than Batman v Superman.
David Ehrlich summarizes the centerpiece better than I could have ever imagined when he writes:
“Watching “Civil War,” it’s easy to understand why the MCU is so hung up on the fight in New York — it’s the franchise’s only great action sequence. Joss Whedon’s visceral understanding of cinematic geometry and his symphonic flair for choreographing movement allowed that marquee set-piece to galvanize the separate threads of the Marvel Cinematic Universe into a unified whole. On the contrary, every action beat in “Civil War” is such a discrete hodgepodge of close-ups and medium shots that they might as well exist in a vacuum — at times, this feels like the first movie ever made entirely out of gifs.”
And it’s not just the action in this scene that is so clumsily shot, choreographed, and considered. What the Russo’s are interested in this big moment… is quips! This big moment, planned for years over the course of several films, is upended by a pair of red and blue underoos. This scene is the big coming out party, and more thought seems to have been invested in putting butts in seats for Homecoming than paying anything off. And the quip-slinger is the other side of the mediocre coin. His material is good for an open mic, but ain’t no HBO Special. After a series of groan-worthy one-liners where Holland and Rudd ask for autographs from their friends and adversaries, they are sent off on his merry way and proven irrelevant.
Question: What is less essential? Zoolander 2 or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2?
Bonus: The above trailer highlights the perils of changing languages mid-‘franchise.’ The exposition/dialogue in the trailer is atrocious. While the original film kicked off the trend of art-Wuxia pictures in 2000 — Hero, House of Flying Daggers, The Promise, Wuxia (aka Dragon) The Assassin have followed in the ensuing 15 years — I do remember many complaints from the Mandarin speakers at how badly Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-Fat were with the dialogue, as both are native Cantonese speakers. This fact that was lost on subtitle reading Western art-house audiences, but may come into sharp focus with a Netflix audience this time around.
So it’s Saturday and I can post whatever I want. Those are the rules. When the Star Wars VII trailer was first unleashed to the world a couple of weeks ago, people all over the place were sighing and pooh-poohing the thing. It’s too fake and glossy looking they said. The lightsaber doesn’t make sense they said. There’s too much CGI they said. I, on the other hand love the trailer – especially the more I watched it. In my comments I mentioned that the trailer actually looks a lot like scenes from the original movies. It’s very minimal and open when it needs to be, detail oriented and claustrophobic when it needs to be.
I found this trailer today which kind of proves my point. It even shows moments that I specifically mentioned in my comments.
What this mock trailer also proves of course, is that it’s ludicrous to judge a movie based on six or seven 3-second shots from a movie; context is imperative. But I think in terms of visuals, from what I can see, Abrams has nailed it.
Lots of StarLord but no mix tape (and very little sense of humour), Jurassic World looks about as lazy as they come in terms of sequels. Colin Trevorrow’s (Safety Not Guaranteed) direction here, looks to be exactly what a studio wants: Extruded plastic product. Judging by this digitally-bright and quite colourful trailer, Jurassic World is Jurassic Park minus any sense of wonder. Only the franchise remains, trapped in amber and poked for cloning every few years.
Just a quick rumor report to dish out for all you Ridley Scott / Alien fans. Michael Fassbender recently told Collider that he wasn’t sure when Prometheus 2 would be released (or even when it production was scheduled), but he did say it is happening and has laid the claim he will be reprising his role of David. So there you go.
The ever expanding roster of soldiers of fortune in Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables franchise gets a handsome black and white photo shoot, and a trailer just in case you are not photo gallery’d to death. If there is ever a case of character-posters getting out of hand, I present it below, tucked under the seat. But I will give it this, the black and white, minimalist style here with the lighting equipment visible in the frame does impart the overkill-basics ethos of the series.