The Equalizer 2 – Official Trailer 1

I participated in a thread on Twitter with C. Robert Cargill (co-writer of Sinister, Sinister 2 and Doctor Strange) where he was talking about The Equalizer 2 and it’s director, Antoine Fuqua (who also directed the first movie).

I described Fuqua as ‘the thinking man’s Michael Bay,’ and it’s an apt comparison because if you look at the trailer below you’ll see some very kinetic action set pieces, buoyed by quiet, introspective moments.

It’s a pretty impressive trailer that takes the movie more in the direction of the television series (starring Edward Woodward) that it’s  based upon.

And apropos of nothing, does ‘EQ2’ vaguely remind you of the the name of a coleoneor perfume?

As usual, let me know what you think below.  

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The MEG – Trailer #1

Screenshot 2018-04-10 03.27.30A trailer just dropped for The MEG, a movie about a megalodon going around doing what sharks do in movies, which is eating humans (despite the fact that we’re by no means a normal part of their diet).

Though I have other problems with this trailer.  First off, the book this movie is based on is named ‘MEG,’ not ‘The MEG.’

It’s a small point but it makes a difference.  ‘MEG’ is short for ‘megalodon.’  ‘The’ MEG is just dumb and unnecessary.

Besides, when I see The MEG, The BFG pops in my head, which is probably not what the producers intend.

Then there’s the cast., which like Pacific Rim: Uprising seems designed to make an impression in China (and that’s understandable.  After all, one of the production companies is Chinese, though it doesn’t need to be as blatant as it is.

Then there’s the trailer, which starts off like a little like Jaws 3D (the one with Lou Gossett Jr) combined with Deep Star Six then turns into Piranha (the remake directed by Alexandre Aja. not the Joe Dante original).

It’s early days yet, but beyond seeing Jason Statham kick ass I can’t find any reason why I’d want to see this (and I tend to like shark movies, despite knowing how outlandish they tend to be).

Day of the Dead: Bloodline – Review 

While you can get away with calling Day of the Dead: Bloodline a ‘reimagining’ of George Romero’s classic, there’s nothing ‘bold’ about it (in fact, it’s such a loose interpretation that ‘Generic Zombie Thriller’ would work just as well).

Part of what made Romero’s movies so horrific (in the best possible way) was his penchant for slow-moving zombies.

Their speed was irrelevant because they’re so numerous.  They were a creeping horde of inevitability focused entirely on devouring anything living in their path.

It was this inexorable march that made them so terrifying;  no matter how fast you run, no matter how far you go, they’ll eventually catch up to you.

The zombies in ‘Bloodline’ are of the more athletic variety, which may create more immediate gratification in terms of (jump) scares, though the sense of inevitability, of tension, is lessened (If not lost entirely).

Another trait of a Romero zombie movie is what I like to think of as layered storytelling (a tendency that’s effective the less you see if it.  In his later movies he tended to hit you over then head with ‘MEANING!’ and ‘MESSAGE!!’ which made the movie that encased it a lot less interesting)

For instance, you can enjoy Romero’s Dawn of the Dead at face value–as simply a story of humans in a shopping mall facing off against the undead–or as a commentary on consumerism and how our need for stuff is literally devouring us.

Day of the Dead: Bloodline though?  What you see is literally what you get.  There’s nothing in the way of subtext, which isn’t a deal breaker if the action were more engaging or the characterization strong.

Neither of which, for the most part, happens to be the case.  Though the most damning criticism of the movie is that too many characters have more to worry about from catching ‘the stupids’ than a zombie virus.

By which I mean there’re  too many scenes where people die in circumstances where someone with an iota of common sense wouldn’t. If it happens one time you chalk it up to bad luck.

If it happens three or four more times, it’s really bad writing.

Day of the Dead: Bloodline is not by any means a terrible movie, just not particularly noteworthy.

A Perfect Vehicle for Michael Bay

Screenshot 2018-02-11 19.53.04And that’s not a sentiment I come by all too often because Bay’s movies are all about what’s on the surface, and typically lack anything approaching nuance (though to be fair he definitely knows his audience.)

Though that audience is generally not terribly discriminating, which is why it’s so maddening when the Transformers movies do so well (except for the last one), while Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim performed particularly weak domestically and would not have warranted a sequel if it hadn’t done so well in China.

As you can probably tell, I’m by no means a fan of Michael Bay as a director though if you’re looking for someone to handle big, brash spectacle, they’re few directors that can wrangle chaos as beautifully.

When he plays to his strengths–Transformers, Bad Boys, The Rock–he can be pretty amazing. though when he doesn’t (pretty much every other Transformers movie, Pain and Gain) it’s typically not too good because Bay typically has a tin ear as far as dialogue and the way humans actually interact with each other.

So when I heard that he’s considering directing a movie based on DC’s Lobo, I was okay with it because Bay is like the Main Man himself: shallow, all about bombast and climax not so much about anything approaching nuance and character development.

Venom – Official Teaser Trailer

Screenshot 2018-02-08 01.31.48Have I mentioned I really hope Ruben Fleicher’s Venom fails?

Why so negative, you might ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Fleisher (Zombieland, Gangster Squad) is a competent director, so my issue isn’t with him.

And it’s certainly not with Tom Hardy, who appears to be an actor that willing to do his best for a role despite apprehensions to the contrary.

No, my problem is Sony, who’s creating their own little offramp of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) using characters from the Spiderverse (Silver Sable, Black Cat, the Scorpion) though if that weren’t bad enough, they have to exist–as far as I am aware–apart from Spider-Man (who’s currently being managed by Marvel Studios).

That’s right!  We’re going to have a series of movies that revolve around characters that were introduced to readers via Spider-Man’s comic, only without Spider-Man.

Yeah, it makes no sense to me either.

 

Pacific Rim: Uprising – Official Trailer #2

It might just be me, but the latest trailer for Steven DeKnight’s Pacific Rim: Uprising feels very…YA-ish.

And in and of itself that’s not necessarily a bad thing (and God forbid it appeared exactly the same as the first movie.  I’d likely be whinging about that).

But it definitely feels different, anyway.

And one other thing…there’s a reason many of the Jaeger vs Kaiju battles in the first movie played out either at night or in the rain (and sometimes both!).  It’s easier to make CGI and green screen seem more realistic if it’s not quite so clearly delineated (which is kinder way of saying that the scenes set in a city in Uprising set during the day look particularly videogamey in a way the first movie did not).

Love, Simon – Official Trailer 

Screenshot 2018-01-17 02.02.38‘Coming out’ stories can be particularly difficult to do well because they’re often a study in contrasts and conflicting sensibilities that don’t benefit from leaning too hard in any particularly direction.

Which isn’t to say that there aren’t movies out there that do just that.  Urbania (2001-Dir. Jon Shear) and Parallel Sons (1995-Dir. John G. Young) are two particularly effective stories that manage to end up more than the sum of their parts.

The same thing applies to stereotypes and stereotypical behaviors.  And while it’s worth mentioning that stereotypes are typically based on a reality, more often than not it’s a skewed, distorted one.

Off the top of my head, three great examples of the genre (more accurately a sub-genre) are Head On (1998–Dir.Ana Kikkinos), The Way He Looks (2014Dir.Daniel Ribeiro) and 4th Man Out (2015–Dir.Andrew Nackman).

All the movies in the prior paragraph are available on Netflix, by the way.,

Love, Simon (directed by Greg Berlanti, an openly gay man) has a pretty good trailer, but one can easily see where the potential to fall into pathos and cliche lie.

Let’s hope it doesn’t.