Hey everyone. Apologies about missing yesterday’s update (and the week was going so well, too). I decided to hit the sack early and catch up on some much-needed sleep. But I’m back!
Today’s update consists entirely of trailers. Lots of trailers. Also of note, the Sundance Film Festival opened today. Among the movies scheduled to premiere at Sundance are: Before Midnight (Richard Linklater), The East (Zal Batmanglij), Stoker (Park Chan-wook), and The Way, Way Back (Nat Faxon & Jim Rash). And of course, Upstream Color (Shane Carruth)! So expect a future bulletin to detail some of the early critical reaction to those.
For now though, trailers.
I see the potential for something good here. I’m all about the historical dramas (as you may have gathered from my love of Band Of Brothers and Lincoln, among others). So why am I feeling so underwhelmed?
There are a few factors at play. First of all, I’m not at all convinced Tommy Lee Jones is the right guy to play Douglas MacArthur. I loved him in Lincoln, but there he was playing a historical figure I’d never heard speak. I’ve heard MacArthur speak, and when I see Jones playing him, all I see is Jones. He’s got such a distinctive voice I don’t know that I’ll ever really be able to get into the film. Another thing that helped his role in Lincoln was that he at least looked a little different with a wig. Here, Jones looks… Well, pretty much like he looks in everything.
But the question of whether or not I’ll be able to buy Jones as MacArthur is moot if the movie sucks anyway. And that brings me to another worry. When I think “historical epic” I think of directors like Ridley Scott or Martin Scorsese (or even pre-insanity Mel Gibson). The guy I don’t think of is Peter Webber. You might remember him as the filmmaker behind Hannibal Rising, the thoroughly unnecessary fifth Hannibal Lecter film that no one saw.
But hey, at least the screenplay should be good, right? After all, it’s from Vera Blasi (who hasn’t had her name on a produced screenplay in over a decade) and David Klass (who we last heard from as one of five writers credited on Walking Tall, the 2004 film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). Oh, wait.
At this point, it might sound like I’m rooting against the film. I just want to be clear that I’m not. Being a bit of a dick perhaps, but not rooting against the film. That’s something I never do. Seriously. I go into every film with hope, and I’ll do the same if/when I see Emperor. My hopes might not be very high, but still…
Emperor begins a limited theatrical run on March 8th.
Well, talk about shifting gears. We go from historical drama, to wacky action-comedy. I enjoyed RED about as much as any piece of fluff, so I’m happy to see this gang of not-so-retired killers return for another go-round. This time, we’ve lost a Morgan Freeman, but gained an Anthony Hopkins and a Catherine Zeta-Jones. I love me some Morgan Freeman, but I think this is still a pretty good trade. And as we can see, Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich and Mary-Louise Parker are all back, which is great news. I could watch Mirren bathe corpses in acid (I think that’s what she’s doing?) all day.
The original screenwriters, Jon and Eric Hoeber, have returned after the brief break they took to write Battleship. Which, let’s be honest, must’ve taken at least a couple of days. I just hope they didn’t completely sap their creativity before writing this.
On the directorial side, Robert Schwentke has given way to Dean Parisot. Parisot is mostly known as a TV director (his credits include episodes of The Good Wife, Monk, and Justified), but he also directed Galaxy Quest back in the day. And I think we can all agree that movie was pretty awesome.
Expect RED 2 to look pretty good as well. Enrique Chediak (who worked on 127 Hours and 28 Weeks Later) will be the director of photography.
RED 2 opens August 2.
I’m not going to spend too much time here, because there just isn’t much to say, since this is more of a teaser than a proper trailer. So, this film is the conceptual sequel to last year’s found-footage horror anthology V/H/S. Most of the directors have left the party (David Bruckner, Ti West, Glen McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, and four-man team Radio Silence). Adam Wingard, who directed the framing narrative in the first film, stays in. Not sure if he’ll perform similar duties here or helm one of the segments.
With so many departures depleting the ranks, a whole new crew has joined to take up the reins. They are: Jason Eisener (Hobo With A Shotgun), Gareth Huw Evans (The Raid: Redemption), Edúardo Sanchez and Gregg Hale (Blair Witch Project), Simon Barrett (You’re Next), and Timo Tjahjanto (Macabre). I’m only familiar with about half the guys on this list, but I think most of them are upgrades over the original lineup. And god, I hope so. V/H/S was a cool concept, but a lot of the segments were pretty weak.
One thing the sequel continues to lack is a female presence. I’m not super knowledgeable when it comes to horror, so I don’t know all the directors. But I have to imagine there are a few ladies in the mix helming some of these slasher movies, no? Would’ve been nice to see one of them take a stab (ha!) at a segment in S-VHS.
S-VHS premieres at Sundance (so in a few days, pretty much). I’ll definitely be following the reactions as they appear online. No word yet on a release date.
This is definitely my pick of the bunch. It’s writer/director Jeff Nichols’s follow up to Take Shelter, which I thought was an excellent film. So I’m in just for that. Knowing it’s his eye overseeing things helps me feel okay about the presence of Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, who don’t do it for me ordinarily. At least here they’re stepping a bit outside the rom-com crap they normally do (McConaughey’s still shirtless though; it must be in his contract or something).
If the film’s stars aren’t my ideal picks, the supporting cast makes up for it. Michael Shannon reteams with Nichols after his starring turn in Take Shelter, and Sam Shepard and Sarah Paulson are onboard too. Plus, the two kid actors look like they’ve got some chemistry, which is always good. Both are pretty new to movies – this is Jacob Lofland’s first, and Tye Sheridan’s only other credit came in last year’s The Tree Of Life.
The film got a good reaction when it premiered at Cannes last year, so I’m hopeful. It’ll begin a limited theatrical run on April 26th.
That’ll do for today, I think.
Well, it might also interest you to know that the trailer for Harmony Korine’s new film Spring Breakers is out. But there’s really no way to discuss that without sounding like a perv. Not that I’d expect anything less from the director of such films as Gummo and Trash Humpers, mind you. Anyway, you can see the trailer here. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.