Trailer: Marvel’s Black Panther

I have read more than a few afro-future science fiction novels, and I have to say, that despite the Marvel brand on this film, I’m impressed with the world that Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) and his team have built with Black Panther. Helped enormously by the big paydays with the Guardians of the Galaxy films, a more gonzo and original feel to the latest Marvel movies makes them visually impressive to say the least. We don’t post a ton of trailers for comic books around here these days because they are all starting to look the same, but lo and behold, he comes a new look.

After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa returns home to Wakanda. He soon finds his sovereignty challenged by factions within his own country. When two enemies conspire to bring down the kingdom, T’Challa must team up, as the Black Panther, with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje—Wakanda’s special forces—to prevent a world war.

Trailer: Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel

The annual Woody Allen joint for 2017, Wonder Wheel, is a mob story set on Coney Island in the 1950s seemingly in Technicolor. Starring Kate Winslet (in Romance & Cigarettes mode), Juno Temple, Justin Timberlake, and a very potbellied Jim Belushi. The film revolves around Ginny (Winslet), the wife of a carousel operator (Belushi), who perks up when she falls for a handsome lifeguard, Mickey (Timberlake). But when her husband’s estranged daughter (Temple) resurfaces and also sets her sights on Mickey, it begins ‘the great unraveling of Ginny. Not as baroque or kooky as Jonathan Demme’s Married To The Mob, but still it looks like Allen stepping a (wee) bit outside his comfort zone here. Once again, Amazon Studios is funding, and while the film will premiere at the New York Film Festival on October 14, it will be seeing a wider release on December 1st.

The eponymous Coney Island Ferris Wheel is no stranger to being on screen, as it is featured in The Taking of Pelham 123, Remo Williams, Angel Heart, underwater in A.I., and in the opening credits of Walter Hill’s iconic, The Warriors.

Trailer: Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs

So, well within the vein of Fantastic Mr. Fox, comes Wes Anderson’s Japan-set new stop-motion animated feature. Isle of Dogs was not penned by Roald Dahl, but Anderson and his team certainly made Fantastic Mr. Fox their own when they adapted it for the big screen, and this feels almost like a sequel. Many of the Anderson regulars, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Fisher Stevens are here, with some new voices added including Scarlett Johansson (who does a LOT of voice work these days), Greta Gerwig, Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston and Liev Schreiber. It looks familiar and great, and really, Fantastic Mr. Fox was one of the best things to happen to feature length animation some time, even if Anderson directed it over the phone from Paris to London.

The film gets a wide release date, March 23, 2018.

Trailer: The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro is certainly an auteur at this point in the game. I went to his private collection of memorabilia and childhood influences exhibit last year at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (aptly titled “At Home with Monsters”) and you could see the very distinct flavor of both his inspirations as well as his output.

All that said, this has a little more of “the feels” to it. Almost like Jean-Pierre Jeunet had a hand in production. In fact, if this trailer is anything to go by, it feels a little safe to me. A misunderstood or “different” person/creature is able to find themselves with another who is “different.” Meanwhile the evil scientists do evil stuff. I feel like I’ve seen this story a million times. I mean shit, Doug Jones as the guy in the water tank? Really?

Still, it’s del Toro and slew of great actors (Hawkins, Shannon, Stuhlbarg, Spencer, Jenkins, et. al), so this is still very definitely on the must see list later this year. Have a look below; am I way off base here?

Alexander Payne is “Downsizing”

I am not sure why I never come up with Alexander Payne’s name wehen asked who my favorite directors are. The usual names pop up such as The Coens or Tarantino or Kubrick. But Payne has for years, consistently created wonderful and intimate character pieces that are always fresh and exciting. Even a simple road trip movie between an old man and his son or a land dispute between brothers in contemporary Hawaii or just a guy who likes to wine and whine or a girl looking to become class president. The man doesn’t have the largets filmography out there, but his stories are 5/5 efforts every single time. And funny enough, Downsizing looks like it will be one of his larger pictures – in terms of scope and effects work… yet it still remains intimate.

Matt Damon and Kristin Wiig are a couple of the best working in the quirky dramedies of today. Hell, Damon’s best work is Soderbergh’s The Informant and he appears to be harnessing a little bit of that character here. This is Honey I Shrunk the Kids for adults – a comparison I’m positive I’m not the first to make. And while I’m often turned off by iconic pop-rock songs in my trailers of today, I can’t think of a better use of The Talking Heads. Yeah – I’m seriously looking forward to this “little” Christmas present in late December.

Trailer: 78/52


Alexander O. Phillipe’s compulsively watchable documentary on the 3 minute show sequence from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is finally getting a commercial release from IFC. And here they have cut a wonderful ‘talking heads’ sans talking heads trailer using the re-staging moments from the film. It pulls you in. And as all the critics quotes (curiously mostly nerd sites over more prestigious outlets) say, it is indeed an excellent examination of cinemas most famous murder. 78 Shots, 52 cuts, aka 78/52 comes to theatres and VOD on Oct. 13, 2017.

Trailer: Blade Runner 2029 – The ACTION Picture


 

The latest advert for Denis Villeneuve’s sequel to cult classic science-fiction-noir Blade Runner, is made for television. With that in mind, I never expected the tradition and history of this film to result in a generic shoot-em-up action picture, but hey, that is how one gets butts in seats. Of course, the trailer also gives more glimpses of the wonder post-urban world that cinematographer Roger Deakins and producer Ridley Scott magnificently deliver.

The internet is ‘freaking out’ and telling people not to watch this, as they embed it in the very-same ‘warning article.’ I am less caring about Spoilers, and more curious as to if this film will indeed be an action picture, and not an atmospheric, thoughtful science fiction film. Knowing Villeneuve (who recently made the nearly-gun-and-explosion-free Arrival, which brimmed with thoughtful sci-fi concepts and sophisticated film grammar, I am expecting the latter in spite of this bit of marketing.

 

Trailer: Five Fingers For Marseilles


 

The Western is alive and kicking. Having been adapted to Southern Europe in the 1960s with a flood gate of Italian and Spanish ‘Spaghetti’ entries, and more recently to northern Europe with 2005’s Belgian Vincent Cassel vehicle, Blueberry, and also this year, Let The Corpses Tan. Australia and New Zealand (The Proposition, Red Hill and Slow West) have gotten into the mix in the 21st century, as has Asia (South Korea’s Kimchi-Western The Good The Bad And The Weird, and the recent Japanese remake of Oscar winner, Unforgiven). Now it is time for the classic American genre to drop its saddle bags in Africa.

Near the colonial town of Marseilles in the rugged Eastern Cape of South Africa, a group of rebellious friends dubbed the Five Fingers use well-placed eggs and slingshots to drive off the oppressive police force. But when the cops seize quick-tempered Tau’s childhood love, Lerato, he goes from throwing eggs to shooting bullets. Scared of capture or worse, Tau flees, returning 20 years later to a town, and friends, transformed by the violence caused that day. With the crooked cops now replaced by a caustic gang, Tau must marshal what remains of the Fingers to once again defend their home.

South Africa’s Five Fingers for Marseilles is burning up with style and intensity. If I were attending TIFF this year (sadly, I am not) it would be high on my list of things to see. The trailer is below.

 

Trailer: The Shape Of Water

 

Beautiful and emotional and quiet. The latest film/fairy-tale from Guillermo del Toro, features a deaf Sally Hawkins tentatively courting a merman (Doug Jones) a Cold War 1960’s government laboratory where she works as a janitor. Michael Shannon and Michael Stuhlbarg are the G-Men, and Octavia Spencer Richard Jenkins, in full beard, are the nice folks. But really, the star as always is the visuals and the tone that the director is aiming for. Remember all those parts where Hellboy hangs out with Abe? This appears to be the feature length, even more romanticized version, and it looks wonderful.

The Lure, Disney’s live action remake of The Little Mermaid, Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid, Jason Mamoa’s Aquaman in Justice League, and now The Shape of Water. Mer-people are clearly in vogue at the moment. And while on that subject, so is sign language. The War For The Planet Of The Apes, and Baby Driver also made good use of sign as quiet character building.

Trailer: The Snowman

 

At one point the big film adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s serial killer novel, The Snowman, was to be directed by Martin Scorsese. Eventually the job went to Thomas Alfredson, a Swedish director who is no stranger to murder set stories in the ice and snow, as he stormed onto the global stage in 2008 with coming-of-age vampire drama Let The Right One In. This trailer mixes almost repetitive exposition with some really intense images, and a cool soundtrack. It’s hard to get a read on whether the story (one of many featuring the authors lead detective, Harry Hole) will be more Zodiac or Seven, but all things point to the latter. Rebecca Ferguson, Michael Fassbender, Val Kilmer, Chloë Sevigny, J.K. Simmons, and Charlotte Gainsbourg ensure the film will have no shortage of acting talent, combine that with a Hossein Amini (Drive, The Wings of the Dove and Alfredson’s exceptional directorial chops, and this has prestige written all over the gruesome subject matter.

Trailer: The Disaster Artist

 

Based on Greg Sestero’s best-selling tell-all about the making of Tommy Wiseau’s cult-classic, The Room, which has taken the title of the “Best Worst Movie Ever Made” from other inept stalwarts like Plan 9 From Outer Space, Troll 2, Fateful Findings and Manos: Hands of Fate, The Disaster Artist looks, from this trailer, to strike a good balance between the personalities of its stars, James Franco and Seth Rogan, and actually having a script (written down and everything) this time.

It has been impressive to see the cult of The Room grow over the past decade, but cinephiles are kidding themselves if they think the vast majority of moviegoers are even aware of Tommy Wiseau’s odd romantic tragedy. This new comedy tell-all stands a good chance of kicking things (or rather, casually tossing the football) into the widest popular culture frame. I like this trailer in particular, in that it is essentially just one scene from the movie, both The Room and The Disaster Artist, and a scene that fans of will know pretty well. It encapsulates everything that one might imagine behind the scenes, but everyone gets the humour of the situation instantly, it appears that this could indeed stand confidently beside American Movie, Ed Wood, and not just be another throwaway Rogan-Franco spliff.

The film debuted to excellent reviews at the SXSW Festival and will be released by A24, wide, on December 1st, 2017.