Bright – Official Trailer

David Ayer’s Bright is the ‘fast-talking cop teams up with Orc’ movie we didn’t know we needed.

Watching the trailer I’m shocked at how long it feels (I haven’t seen the movie, yet it feels like I already have).

I also get the impression that the movie is treating orcs as Ordinary People, except for being…well…orcs.

Max Landis apparently earned a few million to write this, yet I suspect all he did was replace aliens with supernatural beings because this sounds awfully like Alien Nation.

The Shape of Water – Trailer

Guillermo Del Toro is, visually speaking, one of the most distinctive directors working today.

The way he lays out a scene, the color palette he uses…typically unique and unlike any anyone else.

So, why am I (atypically) lukewarm toward his latest project, The Shape of Water?

Maybe because it looks very much like things we have already seen from the auteur before.

The set design of the laboratory where the creature is held looks too similar to designs he’s used in movies like Blade II and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army while the Deep One itself looks like a not-too-distant relation of Abe Sapien from the latter movie.

In fact, the trailer plays almost as a Hellboy prequel (minus Hellboy, that is) which is certainly odd.

Blade Runner 2049 – Trailer 2

The latest trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049–a pretty terrible title, by the way–a few hours ago and so far reminds me less of Ridley Scott’s original and more than Peter Hyams’ 2010 in that it appears to take the most important elements of the original (Harrison Ford, replicants, a neon-bright skyscraper, a whiff of conspiracy) and makes them more palatable for general audiences.

That was what 2010 did as well, namely taking Stanley Kubrick’s cold and analytical 2001: A Space Odyssey and preserving its themes and ideas, while recasting them in a way that–while still challenging–was more narratively traditional and just easier to like.

Reviews Have Begun To Drop For Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets

Reviews have begun to drop for Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and while it’s early days yet, let’s just say they haven’t been charitable.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy was particularly tough on Besson’s latest effort, saying, ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets really is that bad, bad enough you don’t know for longest time that Valerian is one of the lead characters and not a planet or a spaceship.’

Ouch.

Steve Pond  of The Wrap was slightly more charitable, saying ‘(Luc) Besson takes all that fun and color, along with a wild array of fantastic creatures, and deploys (them) in service of a big, dopey story that remains resolutely uninvolving and quite often annoying.’

Now, as I said earlier, it’s early days yet and a few mediocre reviews aren’t likely enough to torpedo Valerian’s chances at the domestic box office (after all, it’s taken five movies before many moviegoers in the United States noticed that the Transformers movies are really, really bad).

Though I get the feeling at that we’re not going to see Spider-Man: Homecoming-type box office when the movie goes into wide release.

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.

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.