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DAILY BULLETIN: A bunch of clips – Warm Bodies, Mama, and Maniac

Okay, I’m just gonna say this now. It’s been a sloooow news day. Most sites are still running their various “best/worst of 2012” lists. Which is fine. But it’s not actually, y’know, news.

Anyway, there’s not much to discuss, so let’s do this. Some footage related to three upcoming movies has been released. I’m referring to Warm Bodies, Mama, and Maniac. I’ll discuss the first two bits of footage in a moment.

maniacAs for the new stuff from Maniac, I’m skipping it for now, and I’ll tell you why. Maniac strikes me as the sort of movie that’s best viewed cold. It’s dark, twisted, shocking, violent, weird, and that’s all I really need to know about it. For those who haven’t heard of it before, here’s a quick rundown: it’s a remake of William Lustig’s 1980 film about a schizophrenic man who kills women and takes their scalps as trophies. And in this new version, said schizophrenic is being played by Frodo himself, Elijah Wood.

Besides, the red band trailer that came last month has set the stage nicely. I’m already sold, so showing me another clip at this point is the equivalent of bringing me one more appetizer when I’m ready for the main course. All that said, if you would like to watch the first six minutes of Maniac, here they are:

Next up, the first four minutes of Warm Bodies is also online. Let’s have a look see…

Hmm… Can’t say I’m terribly excited here. An emo zombie? Really? I mean, I like Nicholas Hoult – he was good in X-Men: First Class as Hank McCoy. And I like some of the humourous touches in the script. But I’m not sure how well that sort of ironic tone will go over in a feature length film.

On the bright side, the film’s being directed and written by Jonathan Levine. He wrote/directed The Wackness, and also directed 50/50, which was great. And there’s a lot going on in the film that this short clip doesn’t even hint at. The whole idea of the movie is predicated on a romance between Hoult’s character and a non-zombified girl played by Teresa Palmer. And then you’ve got John Malkovich as her dad, a general of some sort.

Come to think of it, the trailer from earlier on actually does a much better job of selling what the movie’s really about. So maybe watch that instead. At least with that you get a hint of some of the chemistry between Hoult and Palmer, which is obviously going to be essential for the film’s success. So while the opening minutes of this one didn’t grab me, I guess I’m semi-optimistic for the film as a whole. Warm Bodies opens February 1st, 2013.

The last bit of footage for today is from Mama. Well, actually what we’ve got here is the short film Mama, which is being expanded to feature length. The short’s introduced by Guillermo del Toro, who is producing the feature.

It seems like it has possibilities. The movie is going to take place sometime after the short. The kids have been left alone in the woods for five years but they’ve survived somehow. Now they’re under the care of their uncle Lucas (played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend Annabel (played by Jessica Chastain). But the ghost of Mama follows…

If there’s any reason for excitement where the feature film is concerned, it’s the presence of Jessica Chastain. In a relatively short time, she’s established herself with a string of great performances. I liked her a lot in Take Shelter and The Tree Of Life, and I hear nothing but good things about her work in Zero Dark Thirty. Her role in this movie seems a bit thankless, so I’m curious to see what she can bring to it. You can get a look at some of her work in the theatrical trailer. Mama opens January 18th, 2013.

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