Trailer: Focus

willsmithold

If it seems like Will Smith has fallen off the face of the earth, well… you wouldn’t be too far off.

Other than an abysmal third Men in Black flick in 2012 and 2013’s After Earth, a vehicle for Smith’s son Jaden, we haven’t seen Will Smith lead a film since his duo of 2008 movies, Seven Pounds and Hancock. Considering it’s almost 2015, that’s a long time to go without Smith’s undeniable charisma gracing the big screen.

Directed by Glenn Ficcarra and John Requa (I Love You Phillip Morris, Bad Santa), Smith’s next film is titled Focus. While the plot itself doesn’t seem particularly original – the smooth-talking conman, the big heist, the femme fatale of questionable motives – I can’t help but be pleased to see Smith doing what he does best: making us wish we were as cool as him.

The movie looks slick and fun and maybe a bit mindless… which is all right by me if Smith can carry it.

Focus has a stateside release date of February 27, 2015.

Trailer: Dear White People (Red Band)

dearwhitepeople

Back in July, Kurt posted the first trailer for Dear White People, an amusing indie directed by Justin Simien from his own screenplay that was inspired by his own experiences at college. The film won the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent at Sundance and still is sitting at a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes after 10 reviews.

The film follows four black students at an Ivy League college as they prepare to deal with an upcoming off-campus party thrown by white students… in which the theme is blatantly mocking aspects of African American culture.

The original trailer for Dear White People was solid. This red band trailer is great. The film is sure to highlight the privilege and less overt 21st century racism of which most of white America is completely oblivious (or unconcerned).

The film hits theaters in a limited run on Oct 17, 2014.

Would you like to know more…?

Trailer: The Black Sea

What to make of the career of Scottish director Kevin MacDonald? He started out his career making documentaries until mountaineering doc Touching The Void became of of the highest grossing docs ever made. He went on to try his hand at Oscar Bait (The Last King of Scotland), Hollywood star vehicles (State of Play), Sword and Sandals epics (The Eagle) and Young Adult fiction (How I Live Now), all to mixed success.

Here MacDonald tries his hands at the sweaty submarine thriller, mixing elements of treasure hunting adventure and the horrors of men. It looks like solid entertainment somewhere in the middle ground, pop genre cinema with high production values, but not squashed by CGI. I am not entirely sure if Jude Law is miscast or daring as a rogue submarine captain who pulls together a misfit crew of Brits and Russians to go after a sunken Nazi treasure in the depths of the Black Sea. Greed and desperation over shares of the spoils turn the already fragile crew on one another in the cramped environment.
Would you like to know more…?

Trailer #2: Exodus

ExodusMovie

A second trailer for Ridley Scott’s Moses biopic features more CGI, more Christian Bale screaming at the heavens, more sad Ben Kingsley and more bad eyeliner on Joel Edgerton. Despite its posh production value and sophisticated computer graphics, the whole thing is still rather yawn inducing.

Trailer: Inherent Vice

InherentVice

This is way more comically broad that I expected it to be, but the trailer for P.T. Anderson’s 1960s set ‘beach-noir’ is zany and across the board hilarious. I’m going to call it here, this is Anderson’s The Big Lebowski, if this is any indication.

Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon and Eric Roberts are delivering the goods with no apparent safety net.

Have at it.

Trailer: Black Hat

BlackHat

The world-hopping cinematography looks good as does the gritty-on-the-ground camera work, but the characters speaking and blunt cut-away graphics are borderline embarrassing. Will we ever get a good ‘hacker movie’? I hope it this is a case of a marketing department failing to sell the movie with any wit, over a case where the film is a blunt and silly as this trailer makes things out. We will not abide another The Net.

Set within the world of global cybercrime, the film follows a convict and his American and Chinese partners as they hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta. Formerly titled Cyber now titled Black Hat which actually means something, but isn’t much better of a title. The film has a release date of January 16, 2015.

Trailer: Listen Up Philip

jasonphilip

There has been a void in my life HBO criminally and unexpectedly axed Bored to Death after three seasons. While I could suffer through one of those dreadful criminal investigation shows if I wanted more Ten Danson in my life (I do, but not that badly), Jason Schwartzman has only been popping up here and there, mostly in supporting or bit roles. There has been a seriously lack of Schwartzman in my life.

Later this year though, that changes with. With the release of Listen Up Philip, we get Schwartzman in a starring role as an author named Philip (very clearly based on Philip Roth, though nobody seems to be mentioning this) who tries to balance the publication of his second novel with his girlfriend (played by Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss) and his budding relationship with his idol, a writer named Ike Zimmerman (also clearly based on Philip Roth’s alter ago, Nate Zuckerman) who has offered him a chance to stay at his summer home.

It looks good and interestingly, even has a bit role for Ernest Hemingway’s great granddaughter, Dree Hemingway, perhaps an intentional nod to the film’s literary inspirations.

Check out the trailer below. Listen Up Philip hits theaters stateside on October 17, 2014.

Trailer: The Homesman

tommyleehilary

If you never saw Tommy Lee Jones’s 2005 directorial debut The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, do yourself a favor and get a copy of it. If you never watched his follow up feature, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Sunset Limited (my review), then you’ve missed out on a masterpiece.

Needless to say, I’m eager to watch his next feature, The Homesman, which is his take on a classic western tale. He’ll also be starring in the film alongside Hilary Swank, who plays a woman who recruits Jones’s character to help her escort three mentally unstable women from Nebraska to Iowa.

If the plot doesn’t do much for you, maybe the rest of the cast will: Meryl Streep, Hailee Steinfeld, William Fichtner, James Spader, John Lithgow, Tim Blake Nelson, Miranda Otto, Grace Gummer (Streep’s daughter), and Jesse Plemons round out the cast.

While the film premieres at Cannes back in May, it hits theaters stateside on November 7, 2014.

Pinkband Trailer: Wetlands

Wetlands

The images says it all. The very graphic trailer for the Sundance sensation Wetlands, a German comedy about a girl discovering her body and experimenting with extreme personal hygiene which is also a romantic drama of sorts. Poppy, colourful and wince inducing (razors, blood, and a toilet seat that will challenge Trainspotting‘s ‘dirtiest toilet in Scotland,’ the germans have always had a thing for ‘kino scheisse,’ and it appears as if David Wnendt’s film gets to indulge in this fetish in pop-cinema circles.

The adventures of an eccentric girl who has strange attitudes towards hygiene and sexuality longs for the reunion of her divorced parents.