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.

Sony’s Bug Problem


And while spiders are arachnids, not bugs, bear with me and all come clear.

Spider-Man: Homecoming makes its North American debut today, and some pundits believe that it will ensnare an opening somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million.  If this bears out it would make the movie the fourth of 2017–joining Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 and Wonder Woman–to reach that milestone.

Though–at least at the moment–Sony only plans to work with Marvel Studios on Homecoming and its sequel, and that’s problematic not only for that reason, but because they’re also planning movies based on Venom, Silver Sable and the Black Cat, all outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe (known as the MCU).

This is a terrible idea because one of the reasons Spider-Man: Honecoming is projected to do as well as it is is because Spider-Man is returning to the MCU, which people are interested in seeing, while Sony’s upcoming movies will likely not have this version of Spider-Man, if any at all.

As I said, it’s a problem because you’re not only taking away the context that Venom currently exists in–which is the MCU–you’re potentially taking away the reason Venom himself exists (the symbiont originally chose to bond with Spider-Man.  Only when it was rejected by him did it turn its attentions to Eddie Brock).

So Venom (as well as Silver Sable, Black Cat and whichever other Spiderverse characters they intend to use) existing outside the MCU is problematic.

Though without Spider-Man?

That’s more than a problem; that’s a disaster for Sony.  For Marvel?

Not so much, especially when you take into account that while they never actually needed Spider-Man he’s back (albeit temporarily) and the MCU version has appeared in Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming and with three movies on the way (Avengers: Infinity War, an untitled Avengers movie as well as a sequel to Homecoming).

If Sony were smart–or smarter, after all they did have the foresight to cut this deal with Marvel Studios–they would ensure that the Spiderverse remain in the MCU with a deal a similar to that that they reached with Spider-Man (which would probably have Marvel Studios getting a cut of the box office, perhaps in exchange for contributing to the costs of production).

It’s certainly worth a thought.

Polaroid – Trailer

Always jonsing for a new horror movie, the trailer for Lars Klevberg’s Polaroid turned up a few days ago, and it looks pretty much like it’s cribbing from virtually every horror movie from the the past ten years or so.

Which doesn’t that it won’t be an enjoyable–horror is known for its recycling ethos–but what it does mean is that visually (and more importantly, thematically) it sounds like A LOT of other movies.

Though what’s perhaps more interesting is that the movie comes from Dimension Films, who it could be argued created the ‘Blumhouse model’ before Blumhouse (though without that company’s singleminded dedication to the concept).

Here’s the trailer and as usual, let me know what you think.

Marvel’s Inhumans – Official Trailer 1

I have to admit that I liked the first trailer for Marvel Television’s upcoming Inhumans a lot more than I thought I would.

That being said, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t a few problems. such as…

  1. Way too many guns.

Gun

The whole point of the Inhumans is that they have abilities that set them apart from regular humans (something another Marvel Television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  understands quite well)

Here? Not so much.

      2. (Too) Obvious Fan Service

Screenshot 2017-06-29 10.44.35

The woman pictured is Crystal, and as you can see from the image below, she looks a lot like the version of her character from the comics.  The problem is that that hair is too faithful to the comics, and doesn’t translate to an actual person very well almost pulling me out of the drama, instead of immersing me (as it should).

Screenshot 2017-06-29 11.02.08.png

       3. Lockjaw is Glorious!

Though all is not lost because Lockjaw (which should have been the most difficult idea to get across) looks absolutely glorious!  Though admittedly he’s not seen for long (and the transporting effect isn’t that great) when he does turn up, so did my smile.

Screenshot 2017-06-29 10.49.26

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

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.