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DAILY BULLETIN: Golden Globes, Star Wars sequel hubbub, other stuff

Going to jump into things quickly today as there are a few bits of news floating around that I’d like to address…

The Golden Globes are a thing
70th Annual Golden Globe Awards - ShowFirst off, the Golden Globes happened last night. I didn’t watch. I don’t have some big aversion to them – I just more or less can’t be bothered to care about the whole “road to the Oscars” thing. When it’s actually Oscar time, then I’ll tune in. Until then I’m not so interested in all the other shows that go on, except for using them to predict Oscar winners. On that front, Ben Affleck winning the Globe for best director may have thrown a wrench into things, since he’s not even nominated for the same award at the Oscars.

For what it’s worth, I heard hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were very funny. So maybe someday I’ll reconsider my stance. Ah, probably not. In any event, you can find the list of winners here.

Zack Snyder to work in the Star Wars universe (or not)?
Sucker PunchSo, word on the street is (sorry, I’ve always wanted to introduce a piece of news that way) Zack Snyder (of 300 and Watchmen fame) could be directing one of the future Star Wars spinoff/sequel things. This one’s still in the rumour stage, and in fact it may have already been quashed before it really got legs, since Snyder’s reps apparently told The Hollywood Reporter, “While he is super flattered because he is a huge fan, Zack is not involved in any way with the new Star Wars. He is currently in post on his two films, Man of Steel and 300: Battle of Artemisia.”

Now we go off further into the mists of doubt… Some are taking the above denial (i.e. “not involved with the new Star Wars“) to mean Snyder isn’t involved in Episode VII directly, but that he might be doing something else Star Wars related down the road. Specifically, there’s been talk of “standalone” Star Wars films, not related directly to the familiar Anakin/Vader storyline, but set in the same universe. At one point there was a mention of doing a story based on Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai (which would make sense since Star Wars itself was inspired by another one of his films, Hidden Fortress).

But hold your horses, ’cause Snyder’s apparently not doing that either. His reps say he’s not working on anything related to Episode VII, VIII or IX, or the offshoot movies.

But then again, they could be lying. All speculation at this point, so let’s move on.

Michelle Monaghan joins HBO’s upcoming series True Detective
michelle-monaghanThe show’s name doesn’t really get me going, but True Detective more than makes up for its generic-sounding title with a cool premise and a solid cast. Plus it’s airing on HBO and yeah, they tend to make stuff that’s pretty good.

The series will be set in Louisiana and follow two detectives played by Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey during the course of a long hunt for a serial killer. We’ll see two timelines – one in 1995 that follows a murder investigation, and another in 2012 that provides a framing narrative after the case has been reopened.

These details have been known for awhile, but the new news, as I hinted at up there in the title, is that Michelle Monaghan is going to be playing the female lead, the wife of Harrelson’s character.

I like Monaghan and I think she generally does solid work, but I’ve never really seen her in a role that made me sit up and take notice (possible exception: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). That said, this part has some real possibilities. You can’t bring in just any actress and saddle her with the task of elbowing her way into the midst of a swagger-off between Harrelson and McConaughey. It’s a tall order, but if Monaghan can pull it off this show could be great.

A couple more background details for True Detective before I move on. The initial run of the series is an eight-episode order, to be directed by Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre). The writer is Nic Pizzolatto, who’s relatively new to the screenwriting game. But he’s a novelist and short story writer who’s taught literature at several universities, so it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about the craft. More recently he was also a  staff writer on the first season of the AMC show The Killing, but he resigned before season two.

Trance trailer
With the “real news” now safely out of the way, I’m free to do my usual trailer analysis stuff. So let’s talk about the trailer for Trance. This trailer actually came out closer to last Friday, but as you’ll recall I got way into Portal and fanfilms and whatnot that day so I decided to save this for later. Well, now it’s later. So here it is:

If you need a refresher on any details, I talked about Trance a couple weeks back. Having now seen the trailer, I like how this thing’s shaping up. James McAvoy’s character has an interesting arc going on here, from his starting point of looking pitiful and getting roughed up to the way he declares, “I remember!” at the end. And the way the line is delivered retains just enough ambiguity to keep me curious. Is he happily telling this news to Rosario Dawson’s character like they’ve been in on it together the whole time, or is he saying it like, “I figured it out and now I’m taking what’s mine?” He’s sounding a bit deranged, so I’m leaning toward the latter…

Trance seems like it’s gonna be one of those movies where you’re never quite sure who’s side anyone’s on or how much different people know at various times. These kinds of puzzle-like narratives are always interesting to figure out. Particularly when you throw in an unpredictable element like amnesia. I look forward to finding out who’s double-crossing who.

The Call trailer

I’m not gonna spend too much time on this one. Let’s face it, it doesn’t exactly look like anything too special. Everything here is just pretty well middle-of-the-road. Not necessarily terrible, but just standard. This is the kind of movie I’ll rent about this time next year, when I’ve seen pretty much everything else from 2013 that had my interest.

Ah, I’ll give it a quick going over just for kicks. So the best thing you can say for The Call is it’s got some good acting talent behind it. It’s been a pretty rough decade for Halle Berry since X-Men 2, but maybe Cloud Atlas will mark the start of a resurgence for her. Meanwhile, Abigail Breslin is still working to measure up to some of the early promise she showed as a child actress in 2003’s Little Miss Sunshine. Don’t get me wrong, she’s had other good roles since (her character Little Rock in 2009’s Zombieland leaps to mind). Plus she’s got a bunch of other movies on her plate, so I don’t think she’s going anywhere. This one just feels like a pit stop on the way to bigger and better things for her.

Even in looking through the other credits I’m not seeing much here. The last things on writer Richard D’Ovidio’s resume are 2001’s Thir13en Ghosts and Exit Wounds (remember DMX, everyone?), and director Brad Anderson has worked on some fantastic television shows (most notably The Wire, but also Boardwalk Empire and Fringe), but his film work is far less impressive. The Machinist and Session 9 are about the best we’ve seen from him.

I’d like nothing better than to be proven wrong about The Call, but for now we’ll have to wait and see. It opens March 15th.

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