Over the course of the past month or so, we’ve been shown some pretty impressive first looks at many of 2014’s biggest movies. This is the post where I show […]
Over the course of the past month or so, we’ve been shown some pretty impressive first looks at many of 2014’s biggest movies. This is the post where I show them all to you and react to and grade each one. I recommend clicking on the title of each trailer inside the video to watch the bigger version in HD on the YouTube site. You can also click on the linked titles to see each film’s Wikipedia page for more info.
In the order in which they were released:
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (opens 5/23/14)
Director Bryan Singer returns to the X franchise in what will easily be the biggest of the X-Men movies, combining most of the original cast from the older X-flicks with the younger cast introduced in First Class a couple years ago. The big excitement here for many fanboys and comic book geeks is that we’re finally gonna see the dreaded, mutant-killing Sentinels: towering machines built to defend humans against the mutant threat. I loved when the Sentinels appeared in the X-Men cartoon show, and have been longing to see them on the big screen ever since the movie franchise started in 2000. In this film, the Sentinels are created by a company called Trask Industries, which is headed by a dude named Bolivar Trask, played in the film (and briefly seen in this trailer) by the great Peter Dinklage. (I’m sure there’s no irony intended here in the fact that a dwarf is responsible for creating 30-foot tall machines.) The plot is based on the popular comic book story arc Days of Future past and finds both groups of X-Men fighting for survival in two different time periods. I’m wary of the time travel angle, but it’s going to be fun seeing all these actors in one movie, that’s for damn sure. Seeing Michael F. Assbender and Ian McKellen playing Magneto (my favorite comic book character) in the same movie is going to be awesome. I’m always a fan of the “bad guys teaming up with good guys” concept, and we should get a lot of that in this movie as well, with Professor X and Magneto (both young and old) bringing their groups together to fight for the survival of all mutants. It’s the kind of epic storyline that has a lot of potential for good drama (and lots of character deaths), but it’s also one of the most difficult kinds of stories to pull off.
I like this trailer, but don’t love it like I had hoped to. My big concern here is that with a cast this large, for any of these characters to get any serious screen time and development, the movie will have to be close to 3 hours long. I’m definitely not opposed to that, but there’s very little chance of it actually happening. It’ll probably wind up being 140-150 minutes, which is great, but probably still inadequate. The best movie in this series, X2, was 133 minutes long, and First Class was 132 minutes. This will be one of my 5 most anticipated movies of 2014, but it’s definitely one I’ll be going into nervously.
Trailer Grade: B+
Here’s a viral video Fox released back in July showing a couple quick glimpses of Sentinels:
Hopefully the Sentinels in the movie are more competent than the dumbass robots from the animated series (MUST WATCH):
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (opens 5/2/14)
The last time they put 3 villains in a Spider-Man movie, we got Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man 3. Need I say more? I’m sorry, but why should I expect anything different this time other than a gigantic narrative mess? We’ve got Peter Parker‘s continuing love story, Peter Parker’s continuing to adapt to the complexities of life as Spider-Man, and now we have to introduce and/or create Electro (Jamie Foxx), Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper), Harry Osborn/The Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and The Rhino (Paul Giamatti)? Aye vai. It’s not a good sign when they’ve already told us the footage they shot introducing this franchise’s version of Mary Jane was thrown in the trash because there were too many characters. Aside from the overstuffed call sheet, I find there are a lot of effects shots in this trailer that still need a lot of work. Right now it looks like a video game with some live-action cut scenes thrown in to create a “story”.
As much as I love Jamie Foxx, I’m gonna have to see this movie to believe he can be a good villain. Not to mention the fact that Electro seems like a kind of silly villain to begin with. I won’t judge the character til I see the movie, because I do trust in Foxx’s talents. On the plus side? Those non-action/CGI scenes were beautifully shot. So there’s that! I enjoyed the first Amazing Spider-Man quite a bit, but it seems like they rushed this one into production, and combine that with a confusing first trailer, and I will be going into this movie with fairly low expectations. It’s also a shame that director Marc Webb, who came to prominence after the amazing (500) Days of Summer (see what I did there?), is now stuck balls deep in the Spider-Man franchise, potentially for years to come. He isn’t officially signed up for Amazing Spider-Man 3 yet, but if he must make yet another Spidey film, I pray to god he gets to do something completely different in between 2 and 3. Oh wait, that’s impossible, because The Amazing Spider-Man 3 ALREADY has a June, 2016 release date. No pressure, creative team! No time off either, bitches! I’m tired of losing quality directors to sequels and remakes and other such franchise nonsense that’s beneath their abilities.
I promise I’m not quite as pessimistic about this movie as it just came across, but once I get rolling with the critiques, it’s hard to stop because I don’t want to leave anything out. Sorry, guys! The movie has a goddamn fantastic cast. +1 for that!
Oh, one more thing. As of this moment, I do NOT approve of Hans Zimmer doing the score for this movie. At what point is this man stretched too thin? He can’t score every comic book franchise, people. Granted, James Horner‘s score on the first movie was fairly unmemorable (well, completely unmemorable since I can’t think of single note from it as I sit here), but was there no one else Marc Webb could think of to give this movie a musical whirl? Apparently Pharrell Williams is going to co-compose the score, which is cool, but as much as I adore Zimmer, I think he’s been doing way too many movies the past few years, and I can’t help but wonder if his workload is affecting how well he scores each individual movie. I’ll happily take 4 Zimmer scores a year if need be, but if he only did 2 per year, would those two be better for it? There, I said it. Now of course Zimmer & Williams will come up with an awesome Spider-Man theme and I’ll eat my words, but I want my concerns on the record, and it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I don’t want Hans Zimmer creatively drained before I get to work with him, dammit.
Trailer Grade: C
EDGE OF TOMORROW (opens 6/6/14)
Yes, it looks like we’re going back to the alien invasion well, but at least this time there appears to be a different approach to it (and that’s all you can hope for at this point). I remain a huge Tom Cruise fan, and he almost always nails his sci-fi projects. I love those mecha suits and the oversized guns. I’m also madly in love with Emily Blunt, and it’s cool to see her in this kind of muscular role. This is director Doug Liman‘s (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Jumper) return to big budget action fare, having not made any studio movies since 2008. He seems to be a good match for this material, and the visual effects and action scenes are already looking fantastic. The movie is based on Japanese author Hiroshi Sakurazaka‘s 2004 novel (or is it a manga? I don’t want to use that term and be corrected by anime nerds) All You Need is Kill. That title is fantastic, and the movie was originally called that until The PG-13 Pussy Patrol took over. I think there’s a lot of potential here, and my only big concern right now is that there are 5 writers currently being credited on IMDb, which is usually a good sign the finished movie will send mixed signals. Hopefully that’s not the case here, but it’s a distinct possibility.
I dunno, I don’t have much else to say about this other than the concept is really cool, it’s a great trailer, and I like the “Live. Die. Repeat.” tagline.
Trailer Grade: A-
Oh, and here’s the nifty music from the trailer, in case like me you were curious what it was.
GODZILLA (opens 5/16/14)
This is a perfect teaser trailer. Fucking perfect. WOW. That’s how movie marketing is done, folks. I’ve been sort of nervous about this project all along (despite the ridiculously good cast they put together), but this trailer has changed my attitude completely. Warner Bros. gave director Gareth Edwards the reins to this, his first studio movie, after he made the well-received 2010 low budget monster flick Monsters (which I will need to see before Godzilla opens), and it looks like that faith has been rewarded. And that cast! We’ve got Elizabeth Olsen (the talented one, not the twins), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (aka Kick-Ass), Bryan Cranston and David Strathairn (both of whom ought to be in every movie), my boy Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins and Juliette Binoche. I don’t think you get a cast this good, with several established actors who have never done a movie like this before, if the script is garbage. Just a hunch. Edwards also has a top-notch crew at his disposal (composer Alexandre Desplat, cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, Matrix trilogy production designer Owen Paterson, editor Bob Ducsay, costume designer Sharen Davis, and stunt coordinator John Stoneham Jr. among others) that gives me even more confidence. The cast and crew of Godzilla have more than a dozen Oscar nominations between them. The visuals in this trailer are incredible, and the smoky reveal of Godzilla at the end is astonishing. It’s nice to hear that patented Godzilla scream again, too.
Trailer Grade: A+
This movie looks good enough that it may actually erase all the wrongs Roland Emmerich & co. committed in the much-hyped 1998 Godzilla, which admittedly also had one of the best teaser trailers I’ve ever seen:
INTERSTELLAR (opens 11/7/14)
Nothing much to see yet as far as actual footage from the movie, but that’s fine, since they’re still knee deep in filming it. I’ll take whatever I can get at this early stage in the game. I like the little space exploration montage, and that clip of Walter Cronkite‘s unscripted joy during the Apollo 11 moon landing always makes me smile. As much as I adore Christopher Nolan‘s Batfilms, it’ll be nice to see him finally move on from superheroes, especially with another original story like this. The last time he did something original, we got Inception, and he’s one of the only directors in the business with the clout to get studios to finance big budget original material. The plot to this film is still a well-kept mystery and I for one like that. I’m super excited Matthew McConaughey 2.0 as the lead in a Nolan movie. There are a couple of Nolan veterans returning here (Anne Hathaway and Nolan binky Michael Caine), and they join a huge list of actors that includes Jessica Chastain (my love), Wes Bentley, Topher Grace, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, David Oyelowo, and Bill Irwin. I just feel like Christopher Nolan making a pure sci-fi movie is a really terrific and appropriate thing. Frequent Nolan collaborator Hans Zimmer is back to score (this’ll be his first real sci-fi score, which is cool to think about), but I’m not sure if that’s his new music you hear in the trailer. I’m assuming it is. What else can I say? It’s an even numbered year next year, so it’s time for a new Christopher Nolan movie. The only bad news? We have to wait until November to see it. Get ready for everyone on the internet to stupidly compare Interstellar to Gravity, too. You’ve been warned.
Trailer Grade: A
If just a few of these movies live up to the promise of these first glimpses, 2014 will be a much better year for big budget Hollywood filmmaking than 2013 has been. Here’s hoping.
I just discovered this new trailer for Netflix’s second season of House of Cards. After one brilliant season, this is already my second favorite active show, behind only Game of Thrones. HoC just won 3 Emmys, including one for David Fincher for his direction of the pilot episode, and season 2 looks just as impressive from a writing, acting and visual standpoint. The entire second season will be available for streaming on Netflix starting February 14th, and that means I will spend much of Valentine’s Day falling in love with House of Cards all over again.