Transformers: The Last Knight Reviews Are Filtering In…

TransformersI’m politically liberal, which I mention because it  mystifies me when people fall for a fairly obvious ideologue/fake populist like Donald Trump.

The same reasoning process extends to the movies I enjoy in that the Transformers have always been terrible (I give a pass to the first–it wasn’t great by any means–but it was at least new and novelty matters) but enough people don’t seem to think the same way–especially internationally–that they seem to make lots of money quite reliably, hand over fist.

Despite being loud, obnoxious, sexist and the cinema equivalent of diet soda (less taste and offering dubious benefit) people can’t seem to get enough of them. 

So, it’s very likely that Transformers:  The Last Knight will be a rousing success.

And just like Trump, it sends the entirely wrong message but don’t just take my word for it. 

The Daily Beast

The Wrap

The Hollywood Reporter

Deadline

Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets – ‘Space Is MAGIC’ – Trailer

Luc Besson is nothing if not ambitious and Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets is his most ambitious feature yet, but I am concerned.

The movie, based on a French comic book written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières, is likely unfamiliar to most Americans, which is likely why the director spends quite a bit of time in the trailer telling the viewer what it is they’re going to see, and what it’s  based on.

If I were promoting the movie in the United States I’d  bypass the origins of the characters–which domestic audiences are likely unaware –and instead concentrate on two things:

  • Spectacle

Valerian appears to be visually spectacular, as if Besson took the visual esthetic of The Fifth Element and combined it with Star Wars and Avatar.  Movies are all about diversion and this is an aspect that–in promotional materials–needs to be played up (it goes without saying that he movie itself will hopefully have a story that matches the visuals) even more than it is in this trailer.

Promise a visual experience like no other.  And sure, it’s likely not to be the case –I have seen few, if any, movies to actually live up to such hype–but it doesn’t stop movies from saying it, so Valerian might as well do the same.

  • Competition

Valerian cost somewhere between $170-200 million dollars to produce and while I expect it will perform strongest in Europe (where familiarity with the source material is likely greater) I wouldn’t discount it doing well in most international markets.

How well it does domestically depends upon when it is released, and perhaps more importantly, what it is released against.   It it performs (domestically) like Universal’s The Mummy, which had Wonder Woman to content with, then it had better do as well as that movie did internationally (despite not starring an actor with the international pull of a Tom Cruise) or there might be troubles for EuropaCorp (Besson’s production company, though the movie is released domestically via STX.).

Though if Valerian has a month or so alone (and there’s no Spider-Man: Homecoming waiting in ambush) competing with smaller releases it’s likely to do just fine.

Jaden Smith’s Batman

When future historians are studying what led to whatever atrocity Jaden Smith will likely commit in the future–I envision a Terminator/SkyNet-type scenario myself–this video will like rank high among the evidence of when Smith lost his mind.

Typically, when someone makes a video tribute/parody to Batman they make an effort to at least use costumes and things that attempt the mimic the feel, style and atmosphere that the character is best known for.

Not Smith though, who clearly marches to the beat of a different drummer.  The video isn’t by any means offensive, though his curiously rhythmless moves and stark white Batman-like costume–which must work on the idea of mesmerizing his opponents because stealth’s clearly off the table–is at least interesting.

Though what I wonder most about is who directed the video because there’s an odd, meandering, almost Parisian quality about it where things are emphasized, like a glass of water and a window Smith uses as a blackboard that appear to serve no purpose to the narrative other than to be weird.

Flatliners (2017) – Trailer

imageJoel Schumacher often gets a bad rap because he directed movies like Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.  

And having seen both of those movies in their neon-lined, homoerotic glory some of that opprobrium is certainly deserved though it has the unfortunate (and perhaps unintended) effect of tainting everything Schumacher has done before or since.

For instance, he also directed The Lost Boys (which also had a homoerotic subtext, though unlike in the case of his comic book adaptations, fit the material).  I also recall Falling Down being enjoyable, as was Flatliners, a supernatural-tinged drama revolving around four medical students who participated in experiments where they ‘kill’ each other, then bring themselves back from the brink of death.

I don’t recall why they were doing that, though I’m reasonably sure the reasoning was pretty ludicrous. 

The hook of the movie was that, when they came back, they came back haunted by events that took place in the their pasts.

I recall it being visually pretty interesting, though the third act was a bit trite and simplistic. 

And unlike what some entertainment web sites may allege, the upcoming Flatliners isn’t a reboot, but a sequel to the 1990 movie.

Which is a really good thing since the story is essentially going to be the same as the original movie, so they might as well use it as a starting point and movie into (hopefully) new places. 

 

 

 

Why Remakes (More Often Than Not) Suck – The Blob

I don’t recall seem the original The Blob (released in 1958 and starred Steve McQueen and ‘an exciting cast of young people’) though oddly enough the creature featured in the trailer seems to out-act the humans that it shares screen time with. 

And typically I would seek it out, to see how faithful the remake is to it but the Chuck Russell-directed reboot was so satisfying, so delightful visceral (all the effects were practical, since CGI wasn’t in use at the time).  Though what made the movie most fascinating is that, despite the way the creature ran through the cast–even children weren’t safe, something many modern movies tend to tip-toe around–none of the deaths felt mean spirited or sadistic, which is always a good thing.   

So imagine my reaction when I learned Hollywood–in their finite wisdom–is planning another reboot!

 My issue with it is why are they remaking a movie that was already pretty damn good?  

So, I have serious difficulty imaging it better than the 1988 movie and if you can’t clear that particular hurdle, I am not sure I see the point of hue whole enterprise 

And let’s be honest.  There are plenty of terrible movies that would really benefit from a reboot/remake.

Though The Blob isn’t one of them. 

‘The Mummy’ Likely To Die A Slow Death

Remember 2014’s Dracula Untold?  That Luke Evans starrer was originally supposed to be the first movie in Universal’s Dark Universe imprint till they did a ‘Green Lantern‘ and changed their minds.

Though based on reviews coming in for Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy reboot they might have been better served by going with their original plan.

Indiewire’s David Ehrlich calls The Mummy, “…the worse movie Tom Cruise has ever made–it stands out like a flat note on a grand piano.

Robert Abele, writing for The Wrap says that “(The Mummy)…is an out-of-the-gate stumble that doesn’t even have the sense to sport its own so-bad-it’s-fun personality. It’s the same loud, excessive strain of blockbuster that’s cursing multiplexes, barely qualifying as horror, adventure, fantasy, thriller or even Tom Cruise vehicle.

Which isn’t to imply that all reviewers disliked the new take on a classic horror character.

Jeff Grantz of Heroic Hollywood says that “Overall, I really enjoyed The Mummy.  I think that this was an excellent start to the “Dark Universe…

Mixed reviews are nothing new, though what’s problematic for The Mummy is that the negative review are extremely negative, while the positive ones appear filled with caveats; so expect The Mummy–despite the presence to A-list actors like Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe–to slowly sink beneath the desert sands.

This is a manifestation of the issue I discussed on Screenphiles, namely that Universal, with Dark Universal, is trying to make stories that are bigger, grander and more epic than they have any reason for being.

Polaroid – Official Trailer

When I went to catch Alien: Covenant last Sunday (review coming soon!) I saw a poster for a movie called Polaroid.

Polaroid cameras in general would be an interesting way for evil to spread after all there’s something mildly disturbing about watching an image appear–almost ghostlike–when there had prior been nothing.

One of the original trailers for Lars Klevberg’s short was released and it looks plenty atmospheric, though by no means unique.

And while this trailer isn’t for the remake, it will likely look very similar (despite the inevitable Americanization).

Hopefully what made the original short so acclaimed will not be lost.

It also genuinely surprises me that there haven’t been more movies revolving  around instant cameras like the Polaroid (though I think there was a Stephen King story based on the iconic camera called The Sun Dog).