‘Peanuts’ And ‘Popeye’ Trailers

Peanuts, based on the beloved cartoons by Charles Schulz, has been beautifully rendered in CGI, though looking at the trailer, I honestly can’t see a pressing reason why (other than virtually all American animation has gone the way of the computer). The characters themselves were never terribly distinctive–visually speaking–as cartoons, so it’s no surprise their CGI versions aren’t either.

Apparently they’re rendered so faithfully to the cartoons that it makes me wonder why they didn’t stick with that format in the first place.

While Popeye works better in CGI because the cartoon itself was always a bit odd and surreal, and if the test trailer is any indication, that weirdness has transferred over to the movie relatively intact.

‘Late Phases’ Trailer

I know that this is going to sound odd, but I have a pressing need for Adrián García Bogliano‘s Late Phases to be a entertaining, well-done horror film, of the werewolf sub-genre.  For a start, I have seen Bogliano’s Here Comes The Devil, and it’s pretty mediocre.  I haven’t yet seen Cold Sweat–it’s currently on #Netflix, though for whatever reason I have had a only passing interest.

Late Phases has been getting quite a bit of good buzz, so that’s at least reassuring–then again, so did Here Comes The Devil, so I guess that I shouldn’t get my hopes up too much.

More recently, I have seen Annabelle and Ouija, neither of which meets my strict definition of what a horror film could–or should–be (which is that the film doesn’t necessarily have to be overtly gory, or even violent–though it helps–but it does have to be suspenseful, create a sense of tangible unease and/or discomfort, and make the viewer uneasy and perhaps most importantly, get the blood racing, pardon the pun).

Late Phases stars Ethan Embry–an uber-talented and extremely under-rated actor if there ever was one–and Nick Dimici (Stakeland) which makes me want to see it even more.

‘Dragon Age: Inquisition – The Breach’ Trailer

I’ve played the original Dragon Age, if I recall, for less than a half hour before I lost interest.  That’s more a commentary on me being really fickle more than anything else.

In other words, it doesn’t take much for me to lose interest in something.

For instance, if the control scheme is a bit unusual and takes adjusting to, then–more often than not–I’m done.

Hell, remember Defender?

I enjoyed watching people play it but never bothered myself.  Why?  Too many damn buttons to keep track of; not exactly what I would call intuitive.

That being said, I don’t recall Dragon Age looking anything like the animatic above, which implies that the gameplay may have changed from what I remember.

And while the Breach, where the monsters came from in Pacific Rim is an idea that I don’t think can be copyrighted, though it strikes me as sort of odd that the makers of the game–if the trailer is to believed–essentially took the concept, and just moved it to the sky, as opposed to the bottom of the ocean.

And they even call it the same thing.

Mortdecai – Trailer

MortdecaiMaybe it’s just me, but I am getting the feeling that Johnny Depp is coasting just a little bit.  I laughed when I saw the trailer the the upcoming Mortdecai–he’s pretty amusing–but you’ve also seen variations of this schtick from him before (particularly in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise) and I just wish he’d do something every once in awhile like the character he played in Blow.

Preferably something small and without the weird quirkiness–and fake mustaches–he seems to invest in many of his characters would also be welcome.

‘Kingdom Come’ Trailer

I am jonsin‘ for a entertaining horror movie.  Recently two new ones from Blumhouse Pictures (The Conjuring, Insidious, Insidious 2, etc), Mercy and Mockingbird (review coming soon) turned up on Netflix, and to say that both were underwhelming would be an understatement.

Though Blumhouse seems to be innovating in a genre all its own, which is hard to describe because it’s not Horror–they may be called that, but if something is going to be called “Horror” I’d like to think that it’s at least scary–though “Mildly Disquieting” is more fitting, though I can understand why it’s not something that they use on their posters.  The thing is, I am not even necessarily talking about gore (though I wouldn’t complain if there were more) because you can have a pretty horrific movie without a drop of blood if it has an engaging story and full-bodied characterization.

Then again, if the Paranormal Activity films have shown us anything, it’s that there’s a huge audience for thin, wispy plots and jump scares.

So I am posting this trailer for Kingdom Come, a movie that I would bet money won’t appear in wide-release, though it looks ambitious enough that maybe it should.

‘Minions’ Trailer

I have never been too into the Minions, those daffy pill-shaped things from Despicable Me and its sequel.  As you can tell from the picture, whatever the goal the animators were aiming for, any sort of realism wasn’t one of them.

These Are Minions.  What They're Supposed To Actually Be, I Have No Idea

These Are Minions. What They’re Supposed To Actually Be, I Have No Idea

That being said, what I find interesting is that, despite the fantastical nature of the Minions and their world, Egyptians look more accurate than they will probably be–considering that Joel Edgerton will be playing one (though Christian Bale playing Moses isn’t much better)–in Ridley Scott’s upcoming Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Minions in EgyptWhich is really, really sad.

 

‘Chappie’ Trailer

Don’t get me wrong, I think Neill Blomkamp is probably one of the most visually innovative directors working today.  His films, despite taking place in an undefined future, always have a worn, grimy, lived-in look that’s almost the polar opposite found in other science fiction movies.

Almost the anti-Kubrick, if you will and I for one really appreciated the thoughtfulness he brings to each movie.

That being said, he also has a tendency to lay the moralizing on a bit thick.  I didn’t notice it in District 9, his first film, because his visuals were pretty stunning.

Though by his second movie, Elysium, they weren’t enough to distract from sometimes heavy-handed storytelling.  On top of that, a few too many things happened not because of any particular logic, but because the script needed them to.

Like, why didn’t Elysium have some sort of satellite-based defensive/offensive systems?  We’re actually working on such things now, so it would have been within the (relatively) realistic framework of the rest of the film.  Instead they used operatives planetside, such as Kruger (Sharlto Copley), to shoot down ships from Earth.

It was sort of odd, and was made worse by Blomkamp never explaining why that was the case.

His latest film is Chappie, which is the story of a Number 5–like robot that appears capable of learning, and how that changes the world around it.

It’s not a new story, and visually Blomkamp approaches it with the combination of what I like to call ‘high tech squalor’ found in his prior movies, though I hope the story is handled with a lighter touch.