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.

Raising Hell(boy)

When I read yesterday that the kibosh had been put on Hellboy III by none other than Guillermo Del Toro himself, I have to admit that I was a bit put out.

And what his account lacks in detail, it more than made up for in finality. 

As I said, I was a bit bothered, till I gave it some thought. The first Hellboy premiered in 2004, and like most projects Del Toro tackled, the love he felt for the subject matter saturated every frame.

The sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army came four years later, and managed to build on what was introduced in the first movie, while at the same time expanding on the world of the  B.P.R.D (the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense).

And as usual, it was a beautiful movie.  Del Toro was one of the first directors I can recall who used color to saturate a scene and I am confident in saying no one does so with more  assurance than he (the Underworld movies attempted a similar technique, but appeared heavy-handed compared to Del Toro’s use of the technique). 

So would I like to see another Hellboy movie?  Sure, especially since they managed to be unlike anything else produced at the time though as far as I am concerned, Del Toro (in movies) was Hellboy’s heart and soul and if he’s ready to turn the last page of this particular comic, then I am too.   

Beauty And The Beast – Official Trailer


Some movies aren’t made for me, and I understand that though what really needs to sink in is that that doesn’t necessarily mean that a movie is doomed to failure. 

I learned this rough lesson most recently when I swore to the heavens that Angelina Jolie’s 2014 movie Maleficent would tank at the box office. 

Over $758 million later, I was shown the error of my ways. 

I feel similarly about Disney’s upcoming Beauty And The Beast, which probably is an indicator that it will break a billion. 

It’s also worth mentioning that despite being directed by Bill Condon visually speaking the trailer reminds me a lot of Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak (particularly the opening till a talking clock, teapot and teacup make an appearance, reminding us that we’re firmly entrenched in Disneyland).

And maybe that’s not a coincidence because Del Toro was for a time going to direct (that is, till he wasn’t, and was replaced by Condon).  

Justice League – Teaser Trailer

Screenshot 2016-07-23 20.23.58

I have to admit that I enjoyed the first trailer for Zach Snyder’s Justice League. but if I say I weren’t concerned I’d be lying.

Reason being, he had two chances to make movies based on Batman and Superman.

The first attempt, Man of Steel is enjoyed by many, but in its way is as divisive as its follow-up, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

And the worse thing is, his task was relatively easy in that all he to do is work with two characters that between them have somewhere in the ballpark of 150 years of history.

Relatively little in in the way of a rethink was necessary, or warranted.

Acknowledge that history, and go from there. Such an approach works really, really well with Marvel Studios, as well as Guillermo Del Toro’s uber-faithful interpretations of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy

My question is why did Zach Snyder, and by extension Warner Bros., though that they could so greviously misinterpret–some say ‘reinterpret,’ though the problem with that reasoning is that you can’t reinterpret something that wasn’t interpreted correctly in the first place–these characters.

Never mind that they were seeking to differentiate themselves from Marvel Studios, because I get the feeling that most people don’t confuse Batman with Spider-Man or Superman with Thor.

 

 

I Want To Like A Prometheus Sequel

Screenshot 2016-05-26 20.42.20I really want to like the idea that Ridley Scott is coming up with a sequel to Prometheus, but I have a few problems:

First, the screenplay was written by Jack Paglen (Transcendence) and Michael Green (Green Lantern), both of whom have written some pretty mediocre movies (and let’s be clear.  Why a movie turns out not well can be due to hundreds of variables.  That being said, the director takes typically takes the heat–beyond the studios that release it, that is–because they’re the public face of things).

In the ‘Plus’ column, their screenplay was re-written by John Logan (Gladiator, Spectre, Star Trek: Nemesis) so that’s a good thing.

Though what’s most disconcerting (for me at any rate) is that initially Scott was hellbent on not making another Alien movie , though when Neil Blomkamp (District 9, Chappie) made it be known that he was interested in doing Alien 5, then suddenly Ridley Scott was once again gung-ho on returning to the sandbox of the Xenomorphs.

I have no idea if it was just a timing issue with Scott and Blomkamp or if he wanted to cockblock a fellow director, but it seemed a bit odd.

The thing is, few other directors–with the exception of perhaps Guillermo Del Toro–have the visual sense of Ridley Scott but if he’s not interested in the subject matter and he’s just going to phone it in, maybe it would be best if he just moves on from the franchise.

And speaking of the sequel to Prometheus The Daily Mail has posted pictures from where the movie is currently shooting in Australia and they look pretty fascinating.

But as I said, Ridley Scott’s movies typically look magnificent. You don’t go into one of his movies expecting them to be anything but visually attractive; it’s the story where his movies, like any other, truth be told, rise or fall.

And I am not at all sure his heart is in it.

The Neon Demon – Trailer

You’ve got to give it to Nicholas Winding Refn–he of the awfully cool name–who,  visually speaking, is probably one of the most interesting directors working today.

The way he uses color reminds me of Guillermo Del Toro, who also uses it to indicate a certain atmosphere and feel.

So it goes without saying that the trailer is gorgeous, though it’s hard to tell what the movie is actually about, besides in a very general sense.  The larger strokes are easy to see–a model looking for her big break, intimations of violence, and with a touch of lesbianism.

There’s also a Starry Eyes-type vibe, but while that movie was a take on Rosemary’s Baby, The Neon Demon is a bit vaguer.

Therein lies the problem.

Postmortem: Pacific Rim (2013)

Screenshot 2016-01-01 14.04.32.pngWelcome to the first post of the New Year!  I figured that I’d go back in time to rewatch Guillermo del Toro’s giant robots versus monsters epic, Pacific Rim.

If you ask me the true test of whether or not a movie is a good one is that of time, namely if it can stand up well to repeated viewings.

And despite the fact that del Toro’s Pacific Rim underwhelmed domestically–the bulk of its $400 billion dollar box office was due to its popularity internationally–it’s damn enjoyable and stands up to revisiting very well.

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