Tag Archives: trailer review

The Last Jedi [Teaser Trailer]

Outlook: Face-melting excitement

Director: Rian Johnson

Cast: Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Benicio Del Toro, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, & Kelly Marie Tran

Last Jedi Poster.jpg

Hagood’s Review: 

To be perfectly honest, I cried when Rian Johnson introduced the trailer for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi at Star Wars Celebration Orlando. I am beyond excited for this movie. But I must steel myself and try to be logical.  I was equally excited for The Force Awakens and after three viewings of it, I must admit, I’m a bit let down. Rogue One was a much stronger movie and I’m hoping that Kathleen Kennedy and Lucas Film have learned that Finn’s modern dialogue/humor and a hackneyed plot do not belong in the Star Wars universe.

Now, to the trailer. It begins during Rey’s training. The first shot shows her scared and out of breath with Luke’s voice telling her to breath. This harkens back to Luke’s training on Dagobah when he entered the cave to face his fear. I’m sure Luke will not take his training of Rey lightly, especially after losing all his former padawans to Kylo and his Knights of Ren. He’ll want to overly train her so she can survive another bout with the new Dark Lord. Also, during The Last Jedi panel, Mark Hamill mentioned that Daisy was his “dog” then he caught himself and said “companion,” which I’m sure means Luke puts Rey through hell.

I was quite fond of the shot of Rey standing above the sea pit during another training session and the next shot of her training with the lightsaber as Luke looks on. Kylo’s crushed and smoldering helmet is certainly intriguing. Why did Kylo destroy it? Does he feel he finally realize that he needs to forge his own path instead of trying to follow Vader’s? Was he even the one who destroyed it?

Also, what are in the Jedi scrolls Rey touches? How did Luke get them? Didn’t the Sith destroy them after they executed Order 66? I was happy to hear Rian Johnson say that The Last Jedi will uncover more of Rey’s backstory. That was another one of my qualms with The Force Awakens. It just stated stuff (i.e. Maz having Luke’s lightsaber) without backing things up. Some mystery is fine, but I hope this movie substantiates such plot holes.

There was a distinctly Mad Max-esque shot on a desert plain that seemed to have AT-AT’s in the distance fighting Alliance (?) land speeders. This match-up will hopefully best The Force Awakens land-air battle between The First Order and the Alliance on Maz Kanata’s planet of Takodana. I found that battle to be an unfulfilling tease due to a great set-up but poor payoff.

Another question that arose for me was the fire scene at the end. Was that a flashback to the Knights of Ren destroying Luke’s training academy or in the present? Thankfully Kylo is back (my favorite character) and he seemed to be in the present because you could see the scar on his face that Rey dealt him.

Finally, what does Luke mean by “It’s time for the Jedi to end?” Does he mean they need to evolve like the Sith did when they transformed into the Knights of Ren? Or does he mean something completely different?

I loved this trailer. This is how trailers are supposed to be made. It gave away no plot, but instead raised many questions without answering them. Kudos to Disney, Lucas Film, Kathleen Kennedy, and Rian Johnson. I cannot wait for The Last Jedi. 

Saul’s Review:

Given the striking opening to this trailer, The Last Jedi may be the best directed Star Wars film so far.

In the teaser trailer, we see the First Order retaliate following their loss of Starkiller Base, mirroring The Empire Strikes Back. Captain Phasma walks towards a burning settlement while a rebel base is attacked. Clearly the First Order are going to be a far more ubiquitous menance in this film, instead of threatening the galaxy via a doomsday weapon hidden on a remote planet. It would be interesting to see the First Order begin to take over more of the galaxy, and finally expand beyond the edges of space. Hopefully, we will not lose old man Luke Skywalker due to the First Order’s wrath.

I have two questions following the trailer. Firstly, what will Finn’s role be? He briefly appears in what seems to be a medical capsule, but no other information is given. More importantly, does Luke’s belief that the Jedi must end mean that he is now between the lightside and the darkside? If he is, what new order will emerge?

For the trailer, see below:

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) – Teaser

Outlook: Shamefully Poor

Directors: Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandburg

Cast: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom (rumored), Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, & David Wenham

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales comes out on my birthday. May 26 has seen the release of many great summer blockbusters, including a few Star War films. Thankfully, this year I will be in India, where I will hopefully not be near a theater playing this movie.

Disney is really scraping the bottom of the (rum) barrel with this fifth installment in the Pirates franchise. The trailer proclaims that this is Jack Sparrow’s “Final Adventure.” I certainly hope their statement is true.

The trailer repeats the plot of the franchise’s predecessors: Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) running away from some half-dead man who is out to kill him. Javier Bardem’s character, Spanish Captain Salazar, could easily be exchanged for Geoffrey Rush’s skeletal-zombie Barbossa from the first film, or Bill Nighy’s mutated Davy Jones from Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End. Salazar looks like a mix between these two previous villains.

I would gladly open my wallet for Jack Sparrow if Disney put him on a different adventure. I thoroughly enjoyed the first film and liked the third one as they were different and fun. The second and fourth, Dead Man’s Chest On Stranger Tides, bored me because of their lacking plots, tired dialogue, and flat characters. I wanted to leave both. This movie, like those predecessors, looks fatigued.

The only part of the trailer that interested me was the introduction. I would love if this movie utilized a more historically accurate story instead of mystical elements and zombie villains. That would be a welcome change. Young Jack Sparrow looked like a stone-cold badass. I want more of him.

Sadly, it appears Disney is sticking to the formula that they know works. They’re even attempting to revive the Elizabeth Swan-Will Turner relationship without Kiera Knightley and Orlando Bloom. At least those two actors have the sense to stay away from a bad movie. It appears Johnny Depp either doesn’t care or needs the money to help maintain his stupidly opulent lifestyle.

I’m a HUGE Disney fan and I strongly believe it is a mistake to continue this franchise with such a recycled story. I hope that I’m wrong.

By Hagood Grantham

 

It Comes At Night -Teaser

Outlook: Spine chillingly good

Director: Trey Edward Shults

Cast: Joel Edgerton, Riley Keough, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr.

In the wake of The VVitch and The Blackcoat’s Daughter, A24 has been developing a fine pedigree in the horror genre. It Comes At Night looks to be the darkest horror film produced by A24 so far.

The film’s premise is that two families, escaping an unknown menace ravaging America, find refuge together in an isolated hut. Yet the threat outside their shelter is quickly overshadowed by the enmity and paranoia which develops between them all.

It Comes At Night is directed and written by Trey Edward Shults, a rising director who gained critical acclaim for his debut film Krisha, about an estranged woman trying to reconnect with her family. Brandishing a larger budget for his second film, Shults has crafted a post-apocalyptic horror which borrows heavily from The Road, which is one of my favourite films. From the teaser trailer alone, both films explore the themes of family, love, and survival in a brooding and eerie post-apocalyptic setting where danger is everywhere. One scene in the teaser trailer, where the camera silently pans down a dimly corridor adorned by family photos, is reminiscent of the cannibal’s house in The Road.

Unlike The Road, where the apocalypse is caused by an unknown cataclysm, It Comes At Night suggests an unknown, but palpable force is sweeping across the world. Horror films have been using the trope of an unseen menace since The Blair Witch Project,  to create the monster in the audience’s own imagination.

Horror based on suggestion is effective but also destructive. The trope creates a subjective expectation of what the menace is, which often surpasses the final reveal and renders a film anti-climatic. The better horror films which rely on suggestion conclude without any revelation. Paranormal Activity did an excellent job in crafting the house’s dark presence without divulging anything at the film’s end.

It Comes At Night bears the challenge of delivering upon the threat outside, without the revelation being disappointing or jarring with plot’s slow-paced tension. Regardless, I am excited to see this film on release, and from the trailer alone, Trey Edward Shults has the potential to be a great director.

By Saul Shimmin

For the trailer, see below:

Alien Covenant- Teaser

Outlook- Promising, but there are doubts

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Katherine Waterston, James Franco, Danny McBride, Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup and others.

Prometheus was the first draft of a film, rather than the complete tale. It tried to explain the background to Alien, while exploring the premise of human life as an accident, devoid of intelligent design. The film was ambitious but relied on inferences and assumptions to cover up gaping holes in the story. To audiences who had not seen Alien or who were not fans of Scott’s work, Prometheus was incoherent. Ridley Scott is a talented director who can muster another  masterpiece equalling his earlier films. Following the teaser trailer which came out a few months ago, Alien: Covenant will be another classic film crafted by Scott’s hands.

20th Century Fox has just released the official trailer for  Alien: Covenant. Visually, the film is a gorgeous blend of CGI, practical effects, set-pieces, and on-location filming. The cut between the Covenant gliding across the stars to their landing on their new home was breathtaking. The trailer follows the transition of a great horror film, from cautious optimism to increasing terror. Scott has perfected the ambience for this film.

Alien: Covenant boasts a great cast overall, and their respective characters have been developed through the ominously titled The Last Supper prologue for Alien: Covenant. The scene itself presents the traits of the main characters very effectively through snippets of dialogue, and imparts a real sense of comradeship, excitement, and trepidation as the Covenant’s crew embarks on the landmark colonisation of a distant planet.

I would recommend watching The Last Supper prologue before watching the Alien: Covenant trailer.

 

While watching the full Alien: Covenant trailer, I occasionally noticed the same incoherence that afflicted Prometheus. The trailer reveals multiple threats to the Covenant’s crew, a hooded-figure, an airborne virus, and strangely enough two different types of alien. The alien in the later scenes of the trailer is the classic xenomorph we know and love, but halfway through, one of the covenant’s crew is gored by an anaemic and wiry variant. Hopefully Scott has returned to Alien’s template of a monster film in space, instead of building an overly complicated plot like Prometheus.

I still have issues with Katherine Waterston as the lead character, Daniels. Alien and Prometheus centred upon a strong female lead, and so far I have only seen Katherine Waterston playing helpless and unsympathetic characters. Scott has stated that casting is the pivotal part of his film-making process, but Waterston still comes across as wet, which disappoints me because in Inherent Vice, she tantalised us with glimpses of potential.

Having watched the trailer a few times, here are a few things I have noticed so far:

1.36: The dog-tag in the Alien ship definitely belongs to Elizabeth Shaw, the sole human survivor of Prometheus, as the Weyland corporation logo is present.

1.56: The hooded figure, seen in the teaser trailer and who does not belong to the Covenant crew, heads towards an engineer settlement, surrounded by dead xenomorphs and maybe even dead engineers. From the number of bodies which fill this large landscape shot, it looks the engineers made one last stand against the xenomorphs.

If you are a fan of Ridley Scott’s work, check out our 4th wall post, Ridley Scott and the value of life: part one . This is the first piece in a miniseries exploring Alien, Blade Runner and Prometheus.

Let us know if you spot any more secrets in the new trailer!

By Saul Shimmin

For the trailer, see below:

Song to Song (2017) – Teaser

Outlook: promising

Song to Song is the latest film by American auteur Terrence Malick and will continue Malick’s blend of gorgeous cinematography and editing while contending with emotional and philosophical themes.

Malick has accrued an ensemble cast once more for his latest film, boasting Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Mara Rooney, Natalie Portman and also the legend that is Iggy Pop. Hopefully old Iggy’s role will be more substantial than a concert cameo.

Song to Song’s plot revolves around two love triangles between bandmembers in Austin, Texas. Michael Fassbender’s lust for Gosling’s girl, played by Mara Rooney, sparks off the whole affair. I have never seen Shame, but Fassbender strikes me as someone who could comfortably play a seedy lothario.

Malick’s filming style changed between The Tree of Life and his previous film, Knight of Cups. Malick’s approach in The Tree of Life alternated between sweeping landscapes to an intimate focus upon characters, cropping out of other portions of those individuals that were not necessary. In Knight of Cups, Malick seems to use wider angles and a steady-cam, giving the film a more immediate grounding in the story. Song to Song is a mix of both styles, and I am eager to see how Malick’s style has changed once again.

Ryan Gosling provides vocals during the trailer for Song to Song, and following La La Land audiences will be eager to hear Gosling deliver another musical performance. Gosling continues to eschew typecasts, flitting between the tougher persona of an action hero in Drive, to a comedic performance in The Nice Guys, to more dramatic roles in A Place Beyond The Pines and Blue Valentine. Gosling’s motivation may lie in his struggle to overcome typecasting as a child actor, but he has become one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood, and in terms of awards, one of the most overlooked.

By Saul Shimmin

For the trailer, see below:

Alien Covenant (2017) – Teaser

Outlook: Promising 

My apologies for not reviewing Alien Covenant’s trailer sooner. The trailer, like the series’ titular monster, appeared innocuously over the Christmas break, only to emerge from hiding when it is far too late.

The dictionary defines a covenant as ‘a promise’. The word itself brings forth biblical connotations of both God’s promise to protect the Israelites if they were faithful to him, and God’s promise to Noah to no longer harm human life once the flood subsided.

Ridley Scott’s choice of Alien Covenant instead of Prometheus 2 must have been deliberate, especially as Prometheus is the titular myth where an act of theft creates humanity. Scott’s sci-fi works explore the relationship between creator and created. They challenge the belief that humanity has value over other life because we were purposefully created. In Scott’s Prometheus,  humanity is created by another race, but never clarifies why we were created. It only reveals that our creators decided to destroy us.

Hopefully, Alien Covenant will reveal why the ‘Gods’ from Prometheus created humanity. It would be interesting if the choice of ‘covenant’ does relate back to God’s promise to Noah, to learn why our creators reneged on their attempt to destroy us. Hopefully, Scott will depict humanity as an experiment gone awry that spread like a virus, just like the alien.

The new trailer for Alien Covenant mixes together Prometheus and Alien but adds new elements too. The space crew panic through dimly lit and claustrophobic corridors, just like the crew of the Nostromo. The rejected pleas of one crewmember to be released from a medical room was reminiscent of Ripley’s refusal in Alien to let the scouting team back aboard the Nostromo. The crew encounter both the parasite virus from Prometheus, and the iconic facehugger from Alien. What a great combination.

Fassbender returns from Prometheus, but he is not the same David android. His hair is brown not blone, indicating that he is a newer model. Curiously, the new David android seems to be in a similar room to where Peter Weyland, who financed the Prometheus mission, recorded a message for the Prometheus crew. Covenant ties to Prometheus in less obvious ways. Katherine Waterston’s character finds what is probably Elizabeth Shaw’s dog-tag in a ruined alien spacecraft. The armed and cloaked figure at 1.31 is either Shaw, or the older David model, having somehow crafted a new body.

Danny McBride has been one of my favourite actors since Easbound and Down. I am looking forward to seeing him perform in a more serious film, and go beyond comedic relief. Katherine Waterson will hopefully veer away from the type of helpless damsel she has played in both Inherent Vice and Fantastic beasts and where to find them. Hopefully, working with Ridley Scott has realised Waterson’s potential, which I have witnessed in brief flashes in other films. Fassbender was great as the android in Prometheus. I expect he will deliver another great performance in this role.

I do have some gripes with the amount of plot that the trailer revealed. Especially in terms of Danny McBride’s death by the alien and the infection of one other crewmember by the virus which appeared in Prometheus.

Finally, I would love it if the original David android, has lured the crew in Alien: Covenant to this new planet. David’s motive would be to send the alien to earth, thereby enacting revenge on humanity, which David laments created him for no reason in Prometheus.

By Saul Shimmin

For the trailer, see below:

 

 

Future Imperfect (Blade Runner 2049) (2017) -Teaser

All those moments are rebooted in time

A Blade Runner sequel has been rumoured for a long time. I was hoping a sequel would never materialise but we live amidst a swathe of reboots, spin-offs and sequels.

The original Blade Runner was in a reality where human sentience had become mass produced, leading to android slaves who were disposed of and hunted by natural humans. Thirty years later, I felt a nagging wave of irony that Blade Runner 2049 has replaced Harrison Ford, who played the original Blade Runner Deckard, with a younger model. Gosling’s character is an updated Deckard, a version that will may reach Blade Runner 2069 before his own ‘retirement’.

Blade Runner was a complete arc that needed no addition. I am wary that this new film is simply a reboot, the vanguard for a cycle of spin offs which belittle the world penned by the great Phillip.K.Dick.

Many have forgotten that Blade Runner was not a box-office smash. The film has become acclaimed over time due to its influence over following generations of filmmakers, writers, film theorists and other creatives. We live in a time where nostalgia is profitable, but if Blade Runner 2049 will match the original, it will have to bear an intellectual profoundness that is starkly different from the nostalgia action experiences of recent years.

I am disheartened that Ridley Scott is only acting as the executive producer for Blade Runner 2049, but Denis Villeneuve is an excellent director who most know for Sicario. His earlier film, Enemy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal in a tale of doppelgangers, proves that Villeneuve is willing to make films that challenge viewers.

The new film is still going to be set in the 1980’s conception of L.A in the near but radically different future. In the trailer, Gosling’s character ventures outside of L.A., into some hazardous hinterland where the environment has become a dust-bowl. Having read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? four years before watching Blade Runner, I am curious to see how much of the land beyond L.A will be formed from the book, a world ravaged by Soviet-American nuclear war.

Blade Runner is a statement about existence, reality and whether we can leave a legacy after we die. Every time I watch the original, I am both relieved and unsettled, unable to answer all the questions the film raises. If Blade Runner 2049 does not deliver the same reaction, I hope it is forgotten, like tears in rain.

By Saul Shimmin

 

 

Dunkirk (2017) – Teaser

The next movie for one of the all-time-great writer-directors, Christopher Nolan, is Dunkirk. The movie is about a little-known battle that took place in the spring of 1940 in Dunkirk, France. The movie stars Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, and the legend, Kenneth Branagh. The cinematographer attached to the film is Hoyte Van Hoytema, the man behind of the lens of Interstellar, so audiences are in for a visual treat, at the least.

Hagood’s thoughts:

Admittedly, I know little about this particular battle, but I’m seeing it. No questions asked. My favorite actor, Tom Hardy, is in it, and one of my favorite directors is helming it. I have no doubts that it will be amazing. I’m interested to see if Nolan inserts his signature plot-twist at the end of it since this is a major genre change for him. Even though one could argue Nolan doesn’t work in one genre with his diverse catalogue of movies: Memento, the Dark Knight trilogy, The PrestigeInception, and the most recent Interstellar. I’ll be most disappointed in you if you don’t go see this film.

Saul’s thoughts:

Hagood’s description of Dunkirk as a ‘little-known battle’ reveals not only how narrative is shaped by so many layers, be it identity, culture or nationality, but the risk Warner Brothers has undertaken in committing to this film.

To me, a British person, Dunkirk did shape our world as the trailer declares in text between cuts of soldiers dying in cold water and scrambling for cover on the shore. By June 1940, Germany had overwhelmed France in a matter of weeks. In the British Army’s retreat, Nazi forces trapped them in Calais. The British troops fought in desperation against German encirclement so that they could escape through Dunkirk. Personally, Dunkirk was something close to Pearl Harbour, a defeat transformed into a victory which imbued the country with a resolve to fight on, becoming the island nation that defied the Nazis alone.

I think that sometimes, people outside of Europe forget how much the continent is shaped by World War Two. New Order and Joy Division take their name from Nazi phraseology, Liverpool still had bombsites from German attacks until the 1990’s. During my first time travelling through Europe, each country I visited bore scars from the war.

To keep this review brief, I think this film is going to be a masterpiece. The trailer alone is an intricate encapsulation of the story, conveying so much emotion through sound and vision. The audio beings with a faint of a Jericho trumpet, attached to German Stuka bombers to intimidate those below, which then builds with a stopwatch counting down until we see British soldiers being mowed down by planes above.

All the major World War Two films set in the Western Front have a morality to them. The Allies are on the side of good and the Germans are the incarnate of evil. Even Saving Private Ryan‘s trailer, a film that deals with the horrors of war, ripples with patriotism and good-will. The Nazis were evil and they needed to be stopped. Therefore it is refreshing to see a film that removes the binary trope of us-vs.-them where the soldiers are not heroes but men, who wanted to survive, and go home, just like Cillian Murphy’s character. In the end if you were on that beach, or any front, you probably were not thinking whether the side facing you were good or bad, but whether you would see tomorrow.