Detroit Trailer #2 (2017) “I Need You to Survive the Night”

A police raid in Detroit in 1967 results in one of the largest and most intense riots in United States history, leading to the federalization of the Michigan National Guard and the involvement of two Airborne Divisons of the United States Army.

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, you’d think director Kathryn Bigelow would want to make a comedy or a film about ducks, but instead it looks like she’s shining a light on another controversial subject.  That’s not a criticism.  Hollywood doesn’t take risks with films that might offend or challenge people very often.  After tackling the Second Gulf War and the hunt for Osama bin-Laden, Bigelow now highlights a forgotten chapter from one of America’s darkest periods.  The phrase “we live in racially charged times” could be applied to literally any decade of American history, but the 1960s were probably the most frightening and volatile.  Bigelow highlights the 1967 race riots in Detroit, and the film will vie with The Dark Tower for primacy during the first weekend in August.  Starring John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Will Poulter, and Algee Smith, Detroit opens in theaters August 4, 2017.
Theatrical Poster for Detroit

In Theaters This Week (6/16/2017): Cars 3, Rough Night, 47 Meters Down

47 Meters Down

Each Thursday we look at what is going to be coming out in theaters this weekend, show you the trailers for the big releases, predict the box office winner and just generally give you enough of a carrot to pull you through the rest of the work week.  Pixar has arrived to unseat Wonder Woman, but it’s Cars 3 so…yay?  OR you can see Mandy Moore and sharks or a seemingly random Scarlett Johansson movie. Continue reading In Theaters This Week (6/16/2017): Cars 3, Rough Night, 47 Meters Down

My Favorite Scene: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 (2010) “The Three Brothers”

With the triumphant return of The Wizarding World in the wake of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the sequel for which is set for a November 2018 release), we’re running back through the Harry Potter series, examining the best of each in one “My Favorite Scene” column a month.  We come at last to the beginning of the end and the seventh film: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 (2010) “The Three Brothers”

Why Disney Needs to Keep Star Wars at Christmas

Chewbacca, Peter Mayhew, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Happy Holidays! Your reward for making it through another year is a trip to a galaxy far, far away from your friends at Disney. That’s been the case with The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and the upcoming The Last Jedi. However, in 2018, Star Wars films will move to the summer. Not only is this a grinchly move by Disney, it’s bad business. Disney already produces so many blockbusters per year that they’re beginning to crash into each other’s earning potential. Both Disney Star Wars films made over a billion dollars. That’s largely because they were revisited during the cinematic doldrums of January and February. Moving Star Wars to summer will pit the films not only against blockbuster competition from other studios, it will stunt the box office potential for Disney franchises typically used to summer dominance (The Marvel Cinematic Universe and Pixar Animation, for example). There are three reasons behind moving Star Wars to summer, and in each reason is a counter-argument for why Disney shouldn’t.
Continue reading Why Disney Needs to Keep Star Wars at Christmas

Top 5: Crap Films with Amazing Trailers

Movie crowd

Trailers are an art form unto themselves.  They sell the film more than any other form of marketing.  Sometimes a trailer is so good that it’s a mini-film of its own.  The very best leave you completely assured that when you walk into the movie it’s advertising, you’re going to walk out a fist-pumping veteran of a crucial, life-altering movie experience.  However, sometimes that awesome trailer that you watched 100 times to amp up for the movie, turns out to be much better than the actual final product.  Here are five, in order of release, which wrote a check they couldn’t cash (though that doesn’t mean the trailers still aren’t fantastic if you can erase the memory of the actual film).

 1. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) dir. by George Lucas

Before we knew what midichlorians, pod racing or Gungans were, we got our first peek at new Star Wars footage for the first time in 16 years and every person in that theater was completely quiet, studying every frame.  UNTIL Darth Maul ignited the second blade on his saber, and then you could have scraped the lot of us off of the ceiling.  It’s easy in retrospect to see red flags, but not many of us walked in expecting anything less than awesomeness.

 2. Where the Wild Things Are (2009) dir. by Spike Jonze

This is still one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen.  The song, by the way, is “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire, which needs to be compulsory listening for all people all the time.  Where the Wild Things Are was one of my favorite books as a child.  Maurice Sendak got the misfit, bestial energy of little boys, and this two-minute trailer is a much better adaptation than the full go.  A book with 37 sentences in it needs a whole lot of padding to reach a two-hour film.  This book didn’t need it.  The trailer did the job and still does; capturing the iconic imagery and themes of the book with the perfect marriage of Arcade Fire’s best song.

 3. Sucker Punch (2011) dir. by Zack Snyder

In 2011, Zack Snyder was coming off 300 and Watchmen and was one of the hottest directors in Hollywood.  Sucker Punch was a mystery film, but though it was completely confusing as a trailer, there were giant samurai fights, steampunk Nazi battles, science fiction cities, and an amazing dragon.  Check, check, check and check.  What I should have paid closer attention to was the trailer’s own warning “You will be unprepared”….for how deeply creepy (not in a good way) this film is.  The fantasy vignettes in the film are visually stunning action pieces.  It’s what connects them that is super, super…..no, “creepy” is the precise word.

 4. Prometheus (2012) dir. by Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott returning to the Alien franchise after what it had endured since 1986 seemed to be perfect, and this trailer cemented it.  This was a sure thing.  It looked gorgeous, had a great cast, and it looked like we were in for a terrifying introduction to where the xenomorphs originated.  What we got was a ponderous, question filled, few answers given, cryptic mess.  The aliens are tadpoles?  Does that make them amphibians?  Why is that a thing that even popped into my head?  Probably because I spaced out while someone trudged down a corridor for another 10 minutes.  And it’s STILL better than Alien: Covenant.

 5. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) dir. by Ben Stiller

Much like the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are, this works almost as a music video, this time to “Dirty Paws” by Of Monsters and Men.  If you’ve never read the short story, it’ll take you 15 minutes and it’s brilliant, and the same problems that sunk Wild Things did so in Mitty.  This two-minute short film tells you the story of a repressed, bored, lonely man who dreams of doing great things and then one day sets off and does them.  It accomplishes it with almost no dialogue.  It remains a fantastic trailer and all of the movie you ever need to see.

Revisiting all of these has my emotions in this place:
Disney Pixar's Inside Out

 

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