BlackkKlansman – Official Trailer #1

Spike Lee can be a very controversial director, though I typically find his movies somewhat difficult to watch.

This is due less to the subject matter–though he can be a bit pedantic at times–than he has certain stylistic tendencies (such as putting the actors on dollies and pulling them through a scene) that typically feels more distracting than illuminating.

In fact, the more ‘conventional’ Lee’s movies appear–such as Inside Man and Clockers, though so recall both have dolly scenes–the more I tend to enjoy them because they’re less about directorial affectation than telling a story as efficiently and as effectively as possible.

I can’t tell which camp BlackkKlansman will fall in, though I find it interesting that a similarly-titled movie was released in 1966. 

What I find particularly interesting about Lee’s film is that it’s supposedly based on a true story (which triggers my bs sensor because when that phrase is typically so loosely applied that it becomes almost meaningless).

Though the thing is that the premise of BlackkKlansman (a black man infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan) sounds so ludicrous that I’m willing to bet that a lot of it will be end up being true.

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The Predator – Teaser Trailer

What is it with the Alien and Predator franchises?

It almost feels like they’re being deliberately sabotaged (few other things can explain why Ridley Scott is so intent on undermining a series he himself helped to create) by some really bizarre decisions on the part of the people directing them, and it’s a pity.

In the case of the Predator, the problems started with 1990’s Predator 2 (the great idea of a Predator movie in the vein of Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop undermined by Stephen Hopkins paint-by-numbers direction and a weak script) and have pretty much continued to varying degrees since that time.

Though I had assumed that the Predator franchise had bottomed out with 2007’s Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem.

And apparently I was wrong because despite being co-written and directed by the undeniably talented Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3) the upcoming The Predator looks to continue the time-honored idea of mixing lots of bad ideas with one or two half-decent ones.

For instance, the idea that the predators are using the DNA from the creatures on the planets they visit to make themselves even deadlier?  Great idea and probably the best addition to the franchise in many Hunter’s moons.

The idea that a little kid discovers a model (!?) of a Predator craft that somehow manages to (apparently) control an actual Predator spacecraft!?

Dumb beyond belief (on the face of it, at any rate).

Then there’s the idea of the movie taking place in Small Town, U.S.A., an idea that didn’t do AVPR ANY favors, so why not do it again?

As I said earlier, Shane Black is a damn talented writer and director, but I get the feeling he’s screwed the pooch on this one.

Robin Hood – Teaser Trailer

Watching the teaser trailer for Otto Bathurst‘s upcoming Robin Hood I wonder if it’s alternate title was Arrow: The REALLY Early Years because thematically it plays just like an episode of that series in a medieval setting.

Though that’s picking nits.

A more significant problem potentially is that, despite being masked, how is it even possible–even in medieval times where I hear they didn’t have the Internet–does one become such a great archer sans a reputation as such?

Archery isn’t an innate skill.  You have to learn it, so why isn’t anyone aware of a guy who’s a master archer–especially one so young–is a bit odd.

The movie may explain this, but it feels like it might be a bit of a plot hole.

And I hope the movie expands upon another aspect of life in that period, namely medieval cities were supposedly filthy–if London was any indicator–which helped the spread of plagues like the Black Death (though according to Wikipedia it didn’t start there, pre-existing sanitary conditions certainly wouldn’t have helped matters).

Though I get the feeling that the archery won’t be the only thing that’s blatantly unrealistic.

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.  

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.