Star Wars: Rogue One Official Trailer 2

As I have written in the past, I’m not particularly fond of Gareth Edwards as a director.  I think that he’s talented but the movies he’s directed so far never seem to fit well with his stylistic sensibilities.

Monsters could have been titled ‘Traveling Through Mexico Meeting An Occasional Beastie‘ while Legendary’s Godzilla remake could have been called ‘Godzilla?  Where!?‘ due to, pardon the pun, the legendary monster’s late entry in his own movie.

That being said, what we can see from his direction of Star Wars: Rogue One is interesting because it shows a grittier side of the Star Wars movies, which look almost sanitized by comparison.

It looks like that we’re going to see more of the aftermath of what happens when the massive vehicles common to the Star Wars universe lay waste to a place; the human cost of all the technology run amok.

It should be an interesting juxtaposition and perhaps better fitting with Edwards’ style.

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets – Poster


Lucy Besson, while a visually sumptuous director, is not a terribly original writer–which may have a little to do with him settling with John Carpenter over his 2012 movie Lockout, which was essentially Escape From New York aboard a space station.

Lucy, directed by Besson in 2014, fared particularly well financially, though many considered the story (about a woman, played by Scarlett Johansson, who though a mysterious drug gains the ability to unlock the unused potential of the human mind and gain god-like powers) as particularly dopey.

He’s back in 2017 with Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets–a title that on its face doesn’t make sense–that’s based on a French comic series by Jean-Claude Méziéres.

I hope it does well mainly because many European comics don’t get nearly the recognition here that they do there, and it would be good for people to expand their knowledge of such things beyond what we see presented by Marvel Studios and DC Films.

The Magnificent Seven – Review

screenshot-2016-09-23-21-57-45Antoine Fuqua, arguably one of preeminent action directors working today, has once again teamed with Denzel Washington, whom he worked with on Training Day in 2001 and The Equalizer in 2014 with his reboot of John Sturges’ 1960 Western, The Magnificent Seven.

And it’s a good movie, though to call it ‘magnificent’ is a bit of hyperbole though the reason that it attracted so much attention on its initial release is probably the least unimportant thing about it.

And that was the fuss made over its  diverse cast, though when you look at history of the American West, what’s more inaccurate were the portrayals that pictured it as entirely occupied by white people, to the exclusion of tNative Americans, Chinese and African-Americans that were present as well.

As I said earlier, it’s not a great movie, though it’s well done, entertaining and at times pretty amusing.

Though there are some moments where present day filming techniques and CGI get in the way of the illusion (which I go into in my video) but those instances are relatively few and far between.

It runs a bit long and could have used some trimming, though when all is said and done. it’s a pretty good time.

Fist Fight – Trailer 1

screenshot-2016-09-26-00-53-21Richie Keen’s Fist Fight looks to be pretty funny (and Charlie Day looks pretty short, especially when you consider that Ice Cube can’t be any taller than 5’6, give or take) but it also looks particularly one-note.

And while I haven’t seen the movie, I get the feeling that it’s going to end one of two ways:  Ice Cube beats Charlie Day within an inch of his life (possible, though unlikely), or some deus ex machina enables Day to get out from receiving the beating of his life.

What I don’t expect to happen–unless the movie movie is much more clever than I give it credit for–is that Ice Cube somehow gets his arse handed to him by a guy that the trailer establishes as pretty incompetent as far as fighting goes.

Blair Witch – Review

Screenshot 2016-09-17 01.03.48.png

If you happen to be a fan of Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez’s 1999 found-footage horror The Blair Witch Project, then Adam Wingard’s sequel/reboot Blair Witch will feel very familiar.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Blair Witch follows the same beats as its predecessor, as James (the brother of Heather Donahue from The Blair Witch Project) gets together a group of friends to search for his sister after receiving a videotape where she turns up for a brief moment, leading him to hope against hope that she was still alive somewhere in the depths of Maryland’s Black Hills.

This is despite an extensive search for the intrepid explorers, which the movie notes; though the funny thing is, despite having seen The Blair Witch Project I am not entirely sure what happened to her either, though I can say for certain that it wasn’t very good.

There’s a sub-plot about a filmmaker who’s interested in filming James’ search, which while evocative of the first movie is somewhat pointless and goes nowhere in particular.

Things proceed as you’d expect, which is good for moviegoers though not so much for James and his crew, as the force that vanished his sister reaches out to claim him and his friends.

As I mentioned earlier, Blair Witch feels very familiar, though it does differentiate itself in some important ways. For a start, it feels more like an actual movie than what proceeded it. This is important because my biggest problem with The Blair Witch Project–and why I preferred Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2–was that the former felt less like an actual movie than someone’s idea of a movie.

(It’s worth mentioning that watching the frenetic camera movement of Blair Witch initially made me mildly nauseous–though I suspect this had more to do with a lack of sleep the night before).

Money matters, and more often than not a humdrum movie (the only thing that saved the Transformers movies were their giant robot-sized budgets) can be made better–at least visually–with a large production budget. Blair Witch was produced for $5 million, and while that’s probably the catering budget for bigger films it’s still significantly more than the original movie, which cost $60,000 in 1999 dollars (I don’t know what that is in 2016, but I imagine it’s significantly less).

Though what surprised me most was how funny the movie is. Most of the humor was supplied by Peter (Brandon Scott) by the way he reacted to the chaos that unfolded around him.

It’s refreshing to see a character in a horror movie acting (for the most part) like a normal human.

That being said, it wouldn’t be a horror movie if people weren’t willing to venture into places where anyone with a modicum of common sense would fear to tread, but that’s a cliche that is typical for the genre.

Blair Witch isn’t perfect–then again, neither was the movie that inspired it–though what it is is a worthy follow up to one of the most innovative horror movies of it’s time.

Passengers – Official Trailer

Screenshot 2016-09-20 16.39.34.pngVisually, Morten Tyldum’s Passengers holds a huge debt to Pixar’s Wall-E, Danny Boyle’s Sunshine and Apple’s design esthetic.

In other words, it’s attractive, but doesn’t appear to strike any new ground.

The same thing can be said of the story, which revolves around two people who accidentally emerge from suspended animation 90 years too (or was it?), and eventually fall in love.

As I said, it’s nothing new.

Though it’s welcome that Jon Spaiths wrote the screenplay (Prometheus–before Damon Lindelhof came in and purged it of direct connections to the Alien movies and Marvel Studios’ upcoming Doctor Strange) so there’s perhaps the hope of a mystery (which is at least hinted at) to balance Lawrence and Pratt looking all starry eyed at each other for over an hour.

The Bye Bye Man – Teaser Trailer

Screenshot 2016-09-13 15.36.46.pngI had never heard of Stacy Title’s The Bye Bye Man–or Stacy Title, which doesn’t sound like a real name, for that matter–before yesterday, but it’s a horror movie so it got my attention.

What’s interesting is that it’s from STX Entertainment, who earlier this year released The Boy.

It seems to me that they’re following in the footsteps of Blumhouse Pictures, who are adept at releasing and marketing low-budget horror movies.

It’s a strategy that appears to be working. The Boy–which felt like it was out for no time at all–actually earned just over $64 million worldwide.

Now that’s a not a huge amount of money, relatively speaking, till you take in account that the budget was only $10 million.

That’s a pretty good return for a movie that didn’t exactly kick up a lot of noise at the box office.