Have I mentioned that this movie looks batshit insane? Because this movie looks batshit insane.
Have I mentioned that this movie looks batshit insane? Because this movie looks batshit insane.
I was already looking forward to this movie but this new trailer has kicked that up a notch. It looks like George Miller might be certifiably insane. The imagery here is stunning and shocking and balls to the wall weird and I, for one, love it. Stop what you’re doing and watch this trailer now.
Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Elle Fanning, and Kodi Smit-McPhee in a future western? Sure, where do I sign?
There’s finally a full trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past and, well, I have mixed feelings.
The marketing machine is ramping up for X-Men: Days of Future Past. Here are a bunch of trailers which are… well some of them are good and some of them are awful. I’ll let you be the judge.
Today’s the day people, there is finally a full trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past. Let’s watch!
You know the game ‘Broken Telephone’? When you whisper something in on persons ear and then they to another and then to another and so on and then when that last person reveals what they heard it’s totally different? Well I think that’s happened with a movie.
It’s been less than two hours since I walked out of Jack the Giant Slayer and I can barely remember what happened. That’s not exactly a good thing, is it?
Here’s the basic set up: Nicholas Hoult plays Jack who goes to the market and sells his horse for some beans that grow a giant bean stalk into the sky via which giants attack. Pretty straightforward, really.
The problem is that despite all it’s intentions, the movies just kinda boring. There’s some pretty cool set pieces but even though it kills off some characters –including ones I understood going in were major characters– it just never felt like there was any real peril, and the movie spends so much time going back and forth between the giants being farting, nose picking bumbling fools and menacing, angry, “let’s bite the head off this human” monsters that a tone isn’t ever really effectively set.
Similarly, Jack is chastised by his uncle for being a lazy and easily distracted fool but as soon as the bean stalk grows he immediately proves himself neither lazy, easily distracted or foolish. No development there, just a switch that gets flipped to serve the plot.
The plot itself is pretty thin and it’s not really compelling at all. In fact, it’s almost like they came up with a bunch of ideas for things they wanted to see happen first and then wrote just enough of a story to string those things together and nothing else. It’s frustrating even, since there are just a few changes they could have made which yes, would have made the story a bit more cliche but which would have given Jack a better personal, relatable arc. I get the feeling they might have been avoiding the heroes journey on purpose but the end result is uninteresting.
If you’ve seen the trailer you might go in thinking that it’s going to be an effects extravaganza but it’s not. There are effects everywhere to be sure, but the giants don’t look good enough for me to have suspended disbelief enough for me not to notice that all the CGI is good but nowhere near being great.
In fact at the start of the film the back story is provided by Jacks father reading the legend of the giants which is played out on screen in what’s meant to be stylized animation but instead just looks like terrible video game cut scenes. You can see that they were going for something similar to the backstory sequence in Hellboy II but they missed the mark utterly.
It’s annoying too that the despite a pretty stellar cast I couldn’t really bring myself to care about many of the characters. Nicholas Hoult is fine as Jack and Eleanor Tomlinson is fine as the princess (yes of course there’s a princess) but Stanley Tucci is basically just being Slimeball Stanley Tucci here. It’s not terrible to watch but it would have been nice to see some experimentation. Bill Nighy is the same as the leader of the Giants. It’s a voice role to be sure, but it’s just Bill Nighy’s angry voice and nothing more. (side note: despite voicing over the trailer, Sir Ian McKellan isn’t in this at all that I could see/hear. Weird.)
The standout for me is Ewan McGregor who basically dials up the swagger to 11 and runs with it. He steals most every scene he’s in, and every time he’s not on screen I found myself wondering when he’d be back.
In my mind I like Bryan Singer. He’s made some amazing movies, two of which I count among my all time favourites, but everything he has done since X-Men 2 has fallen pretty flat. He doesn’t nail down a tone, his pacing is all over the map, and character development is at a minimum.
That’s not to say that there aren’t bright spots. Again, there are a couple of good set pieces, there are a few funny moments and there are some nice character moments, but all in all the film is just mediocre fluff. Not outright bad, just boring.
My question is this: how many more of these “let’s take an old story and go all M. Night Shyamalan ‘what a twist!’ on it’s ass” movies are we going to have to go through? Can we be done now? Please?
Meantime, if you want to see Nicholas Hoult act well then go see if Warm Bodies is still playing.
Apologies for the lack of posting folks, real life happened a bit this week. Should be back up to speed by Saturday or so.
In the meantime, Jack the Giant Slayer got a new trailer.
Originally this was scheduled for last year. It certainly looks prettier than the original trailer but this one does a far worse job of selling me on the idea that it might actually be a good movie.
What do you guys think?
It’s worth pointing out right now that I’ve liked all of Jonathan Levines movies (that I’ve seen). In particular he directed a movie in 2011 called 50/50 starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen that went on to be one of my favourites of that year.
What I loved about that film was the relationship between the two main characters while Gordon-Levitts character dealt with cancer. How they interacted with and acted around each other felt very real and honest. Similarly in his previous film —The Wackness, a coming of age story set in 90s New York– the main character goes though everything you’d expect in a film like that but he manages to keep the whole thing feeling very grounded and real.
It’s fitting then how everything I loved about those two movies holds true in Warm Bodies, a film about a relationship between a girl and a zombie. Each of these films deals with relationships in awkward or extreme circumstances, after all.
Nicholas Hoult is “R”, a zombie literally shambling through life (or more specifically death) wishing that there was something more to do or be. Teresa Palmer is Julie, the daughter of the colonel who runs the city of survivors.
R and his best friend M, played by Rob Corddry, live at the airport. They shuffle around basically reenactign what little of human life they remember. Unlike most zombie stories they have basic motor skills and even the ability to somewhat communicate. R collects things when he’s out and about in the city and M signals to a barkeep that’s not there when he gets up from the stool he’s sitting on only to realize he doesn’t have to do that anymore. Both seem to realize that they’ve lost something in death and R wishes he still had the wherewithal to find it.
It’s one of their more wordy conversations that send them to the city where they cross paths with Julie and her group of volunteers out scrounging for supplies. In the melee the zombies kill everyone except Julie who R immediately falls in love with and saves and takes to the airplane he’s made his home in in order to keep her safe.
Throughout the second act we see Julie go from being scared to trying to figure out exactly what’s going on here and eventually developing a strong bond with R and slowly but surely restarting his heart and setting him on the path back to humanity before heading back to the city for the films third act where everything of course comes to a head.
Both Hoult and Corddry are great. It takes some skill to convey feeling in screen, it takes even more to convey wanting to feel but not understanding how to do it or communicate it. Hoult shines in every scene he’s in with Julie in this regard, whether R the zombie struggling to make her feel comfortable or struggling just to tell her that he doesn’t want to hurt her.
Corddry supplies most of the laugh out loud moments in the film but not in the way you’d normally expect from him. Normally known for being bombastic and over the top he plays his part reservedly, by necessity, and he carries it off well. Comedians often turn out to be great dramatic actors and Corddry is certainly on his way to greater things that just being the funny sidekick. Palmer as well is in good form, in fact maybe the best I’ve seen her so far. Dave Franco has a supporting role as Julie’s boyfriend and while he’s not perfect you can see why he’s starting to gain traction like his brother James.
John Malkovich is Julie’s father the colonel. While he doesn’t get much screen time or development really he does well with what he’s given and he’s always nice to see on screen.
There’s a lot to like here. From the innocence of the relationship to the unconventional way the film deals with zombies. It’s not as funny as you’d expect but there are plenty of laughs to be had merely because of the circumstance.
Again, as strange as it is to say it, the film works because of the honest way the characters deal with the situations they are in. Sure, this story’s star crossed lovers are separated by life and death but it still manages to feel real for lack of a better word. There’s plenty of opportunities where it could have gone slapstick and over the top but it never does.
It’s Romeo and Juliet but Romeo is a zombie and you should definitely check it out.