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.

The Gifted – Trailer

The Gifted is the second series begat from the deal between Marvel Entertainment and Fox and it’s curiously conventional-looking, especially compared to Legion (the first series launched on sister channel, FX).

That aforementioned conventionality may have a lot to do with it being directed by Bryan Singer, who helmed many of the X-Men movies, and contributed to their inconsistent tone (in terms of how they appear in movies versus their counterparts in the comics).

Close The X-Files

Everything that lives, eventually dies.

And that’s okay because it’s the fear of death, of Thanatos, that drives all animals, of which we are, to procreate (so that our genes–and what are we if not the genetic material that literally makes us up–live on in our children).

Immortality of a sort.

What does the above idea have to do with The X-Files, a series that aired from 1993 to 2002 on Fox, and spawned two movies, The X-Files: Fight the Future in 1998 and The X-Files: I Want to Believe in 2008?

Well, there’s talk of another ‘event series’ of The X-Files, following the last six-episode series that aired in 2016.

And I wish they’d just stop.  The original series started promisingly, with two FBI agents working to uncover secrets that our government denied ever existed, with an emphasis on UFO mythology, combined with stand-alone stories that existed outside the aforementioned overarching mythos.

And that was good, till it became so entangled in that ungainly mythology that it literally collapsed under it (and I’m not being hyperbolic.  The series literally became incomprehensible and nonsensical, sometime with job a single episode).

If it had just gone away longer it would acted as a breather, a palate cleanser, to remove the bitter, ash-like taste of a show that just.  Refuses.  To.  Die.

And maybe David Ducovny and Jillian Anderson would be unable (or unwilling) to return.

If so then just recast, creating a world that would be both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time to those who remembered the original series with fondness.

As it stands, these X-Files event series remind me less of the original show than The Walkind Dead, which is the true face of immortality.

Alien: Covenant – Meet Walter – Trailer

This is a fascinating trailer (and probably more interesting than any trailer has any right to be), so let’s start at the beginning.

First off, take a gander at this.  Why are they wearing these masks?  It certainly isn’t for reasons of protecting against the introduction of bacteria because they have so many large holes that they would defeat the purpose.

Though they do look especially cool.


And I think I might know a potential source that inspired them.  The ‘androids’ below are from an episode from Year Two of  Space:: 1999, One Moment of Humanity. 



Coincidence?  Maybe, maybe not.
Then there’s this which implies in the future AMD is not only doing WAY better than they currently are, but they may have even surpassed Intel, which is interesting for all sorts of reasons.

There there’s this, the logo of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.


Which remarkably similar to this…


Known as the Winged Sun, this iconic symbol from ancient Egypt is associated with divinity, royally and power and a fitting symbol for what is likely the most powerful corporation in the Alien universe.

And last but not least, there’s this…


From the trailer this looks like Walter (Michael Fassbender) is hanging with other synthetic people, but why are they all so…white?  It seems a rather odd omission when when you take into account that Ridley Scott himself has been accused of whitewashing (Exodus: Gods and Kings) and it would have certainly simple for him to include at least one person of color.

Ridley Scott Discovers Fountain of Youth is Made of People

While that title is a bit of hyperbole on my part it does capture Ridley Scott’s feeling about the Alien franchise pretty accurately because in 2014 he said that he was done with the Alien.

After all, Prometheus as originally written by Jon Spaiths was chock full of Alien goodness, though rewrites took care of those pesky xenomorphs (unless you count the proto-Alien, known as the Deacon, that appears at the end of the movie).

Flash-forward to early 2017, and Scott’s not only talking about Alien: Covenant, the sequel to Prometheus but that he’s so keen on the creature he was finished with just over two years prior that he’s willing to crank out sequels as long as people are willing to pay to see them.

And that’s an awesome thing because no one has a visual esthetic as keen as as Ridley Scott, though I am curious as to what changed his mind.

Part of me thugs that 20th Century Fox just pulled up with a massive truckload of money and dumped it at his door, but who knows.

Logan – Official Trailer

screenshot-2016-10-20-10-45-40It’s no secret that I don’t particularly like what Fox has done with the Marvel’s X-Men, though take that dislike and double it, and that’s approaches what I feel what they have done with Wolverine.

And the worse thing for me is that it’s all about greed.

Hugh Jackman’s portrayal (despite that, visually speaking, he’s not at all like the character in that he’s too tall and too handsome) won fans over early on, so what they did was make everything about him, sidelining virtually every other character.

So, did I like the trailer for Logan? It’s okay. It’s certainly trying (a bit too hard) to get across a certain mood and atmosphere, which it does; Johnny Cash song and all.

I also like that it appears that the cinematographer seems to be making use of a lot of natural light in the trailer because there’s something that’s stultifying about people that are perfectly lit.

 

X-Men Apocalypse Wobbles To The Finish

I’ve said for a long time now that Fox doesn’t know how to manage the Marvel Studios properties–currently the X-Men and the Fantastic Four–that they currently control.

So what do they do? They go and prove me right.  X-Men: Apocalypse, after a Memorial Day premiere of $79.8 million–enough to beat the competition handily–fell a dizzying 66 percent the following week.

And I don’t think anything to do with ‘superhero fatigue,’ a myth, like the Yeti or its domestic cousin, the Sasquatch.

Though what I think it does show is that moviegoers are wising up, and after an initial surge of viewers (composed mainly of fans of the characters) they’re staying away.

Which is why Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opened so strongly. This interest, as I said, driven by the fan community (though it didn’t hurt that the movie was released all over the world at the same time, which mitigated the extremely negative word of mouth that would have otherwise done it significantly more damage) is enough to open a movie big, but in the long run, not enough to maintain it.

This process of front-loading–and typically high initial profits–makes studios way more optimistic about a movie’s performance than perhaps they should be.

But it’s whether or not a movie has legs is what matters most, especially in these days of $250 million+ budgets.

And Batman v Superman had relatively weak legs.

And apparently those of X-Men: Apocalypse aren’t much better.