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. 

 

 

 

Polaroid – Official Trailer

When I went to catch Alien: Covenant last Sunday (review coming soon!) I saw a poster for a movie called Polaroid.

Polaroid cameras in general would be an interesting way for evil to spread after all there’s something mildly disturbing about watching an image appear–almost ghostlike–when there had prior been nothing.

One of the original trailers for Lars Klevberg’s short was released and it looks plenty atmospheric, though by no means unique.

And while this trailer isn’t for the remake, it will likely look very similar (despite the inevitable Americanization).

Hopefully what made the original short so acclaimed will not be lost.

It also genuinely surprises me that there haven’t been more movies revolving  around instant cameras like the Polaroid (though I think there was a Stephen King story based on the iconic camera called The Sun Dog).

Murder On The Orient Express – Trailer

There something comforting about an Agatha Christie mystery, though I have never tried to quantify why.

Before now, that is.

I think that what drew me to them originally was the logical way the stories were constructed and the way the mystery unfolded.  Typically you put a group of strangers in a situation where there’s no readily available avenue of escape, and have one of them die by sinister means.

No one can be trusted (other than the detective, that is)  It’s not  a particularly innovative formula but I find–when they’re done well–them to be endlessly entertaining

In fact, my only issue with the 2017 version (if there haven’t been at least three or four versions there haven’t been any) is that Kenneth Brannagh is playing Hercule Poirot, who happens to look nothing at all like the character as described by Agatha Christie.

Peter Ustinov, who played the fastidious Belgian detective in Death On The Nile, was better (visually speaking) though neither can compare to David Suchet, who in my mind will always be the definitive Hercule Poriot.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – Final Trailer

The trailer for Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is almost impossibly gorgeous, but seeing that Besson’s was also the director of The Fifth Element that was never an aspect of his filmmaking I was concerned about.

Never having read the comic the movie is based upon, I will just have Besson’s writing to guide me through the movie, which concerns me somewhat.

It’s not that Besson is a terrible writer, it’s that he doesn’t typically bring the gravitas, or in some instances, the originality a story might require.

And then there’re the two leads. James DeHaan is a good actor, though he looks a bit ‘young’ in the trailer (this may have more to do with DeHaan being a relatively slight person in general, but nothing about his antics in the trailers inspires confidence to me).  Then there’s the seemingly perpetual scowl of disapproval worn by Cara Delevingne in EVERY trailer for the movie.

Maybe they have a Han Solo/Princess Leia–thing going on, or that what we’re seeing in the trailers reflects exactly the relationship between both characters in the comic, but if that’s the case then we’re in for a particularly unpleasant ride, because it’s really unappealing.

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Trailer 3

Cutting an effective trailer is a strange mix of art and science and too much of either can ruin it.

And they’re more important than you think.

Part of what saved Suicide Squad was the  trailer, which (unfortunatel) made promises the movie itself didn’t quite live up to, was so well-received by movie goers.

By the same token, they can give away plot points that might better be left uNSAIDs (such as when Doomsday was revealed in the Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice trailer).

Though just so no one thinks I am picking on the DCEU, there was a scene from the first Avengers when the Hulk saves Iron Man, who’s falling after having ‘delivered’ a nuclear weapon to the Chtauri.

It wasn’t a spoiler but it did reveal a scene that would have been better served seen first in the context of the movie.

And speaking of ‘scenes that would have been better served seen first in the context of the movie’ the trailers for Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures Spider-Man: Homecoming haven’t crossed the line into spoiler territory, but they have revealed moments that would perhaps be better served by not beight first seen in the trailer.

Such as learning that Spidey’s uniform is filled to the gills with Stark-tech.


It doesn’t break the movie to learn this in advance–besides, hints were laid out in Captain  America: Civil War that this is not your father’s Spider-Man costume, so it wasn’t a huge reach.

THough it would have still been a pleasant surprise NOT to know about it ahead of time.

Star Trek: Discovery – Trailer

The trailer for CBS All Access’s upcoming Star Trek: Discovery is absolutely gorgeous, though design-wise appears to borrow too much from J.J. Abrams’ reboot.

And I wish I were just talking about the lens flares.

No, what I mean is this…


The being above is–believe it or not–a Klingon and if you have seen Gene Roddenberry’s original series, they look very little like the being pictured above (though they do somewhat resemble the Klingons from the 2009 movie.

Which is problematic because the upcoming series was supposedly not based on the same timeline as the reboots, and instead should have been inspired to some degree by the look of the original series.

The production for Star Trek: Discovery was supposedly a very troubled one, and I think we’re seeing the first signs of it.

And it’s hard to tell from the shot in the trailer, but the Discovery may also not look similar enough to Star Trek ships in the past (other than being composed of two nacelles, and a saucer section) which is a whole other can of worms.