Mike Caroleo is the guest writer this week to join me for trailers. It was a good week for comedies and foreign films, but it was a superhero movie that we both picked as our best of the week.
“Suicide Squad” (August 5) *Trailer of the Week*
M- Coming from the music licensing world myself, I have a huge appreciation for this trailer. It is widely known that Queen is extremely protective over “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and to my knowledge (feel free to correct me) the only movies it’s been placed in are Wayne’s World & The Love Guru – I’m not sure if the band is friends with Mike Myers or what. There have been other commercials and video games, but only at a hefty price (see here). The trailer house that put this one together undoubtedly paid multi-million dollars just for the placement. And after I finally got over the fact that they were able to land this song, I realized they were using it in the best way a movie called Suicide Squad could use it. The trailer quickly introduces the characters, showcases the action and humor the audience can expect, yet doesn’t give much away in terms of plot specifics, all edited to follow the song. I probably like this a whole lot more than the average person, but in my opinion this easily tops the first trailer with the creepy cover of the Bee Gees’ “I Started A Joke,” which I thought was a Top 5 trailer of last year. At this point I’m way more excited for Suicide Squad than I ever was for Batman vs Superman.
“A War” (February 12)
A- For what it’s worth, ‘A War’ is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars. After watching the trailer and knowing the credentials I have to imagine the Academy got this one correct. It reunites the director and star (Tobias Lindholm and Pilou Asbæk, respectively) of ‘A Hijacking’, a Danish film about pirates hijacking a ship. It came out the same year as ‘Captain Phillips’ and, while it dealt with a lot of the themes of the Hanks/Greengrass film, ‘A Hijacking’ dug into the value that people and corporations put on their employees lives. It was harrowing, but exhilarating. This is a must see.
M- After seeing that this was directed by Tobias Lindholm, I remembered a quote about him from my most film-obsessed friend (he’s also a director): “The questions he asks are impossible to answer yet impossible to avoid.” I haven’t seen anything by Lindholm, but this trailer seems to support that thought. The trailer itself is alright. I would have preferred a little less plot, but I’m sure it’s difficult to market a foreign language film to a US audience without giving something away. Speaking of which, I would urge anyone who thinks foreign cinema is inferior to Hollywood to sit down and watch one of the nominations this year. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve come around to them myself and by no means am I an expert on them, but I’ve learned that oftentimes foreign pictures have a lot more depth and nuance to them than what we’re used to in America, simultaneously introducing you to different perspectives and understandings of the world.
“Keanu” (April 22)
A- Everything with that cat was gold. The slow-motion of it running and wincing as it tries to avoid a man’s leg was at once a phenomenal bit of attention to detail and cute. I’ll avoid saying how cute, because that’s up for each individual person to decide, but if you don’t want to see this movie after seeing that cat dressed as a gangster I don’t understand you. Key and Peele, and director Peter Atencio, have reliably been one of our best comedy teams of the last several years and this not only looks like it will continue the funny, but will call attention to the great filmmaking that all these guys put on display every week.
M- I was a little disappointed to learn this isn’t the Keanu Reeves biopic I’ve been waiting for, but once the cat showed up, I quickly got over it. I don’t even like cats, but this looks hilarious. Also, it’s nice to see “Cheese” from The Wire. Really anyone from The Wire. I’m curious to see how this does at the box office. For Key & Peele’s sake, I’m hoping it’s a hit.
“The Wave” (March 4)
A- So Norway has decided to basically remake ‘San Andreas’. I’m down for that. Mostly because ‘San Andreas’ was hot garbage. Except for the blurbs saying ‘The Wave’ is good, there’s not much here that explains why this might be special, but I’m going to be optimistic and say that this trailer was to grab attention and the next one will dig into the substance.
M- On the topic of watching foreign films, this looks like a good one to start with – we can all relate to not wanting to drown in a giant 300 ft wave, right? I didn’t see ‘San Andreas’, but I feel pretty confident in saying this will be a little more interesting, if not as bombastic.
“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” (May 20)
M- I might not have the popular opinion here, but…I’m looking forward to this. I only saw Neighbors because I caught a free preview screening, and it was everything that anyone that hated it says except for unfunny. My wife even laughed throughout it, and she hates Seth Rogen! While I would admit there’s a few gags that fall flat in this trailer (corded phone), there’s also a few that made me laugh out loud (the clown). Overall I wouldn’t count on this improving on the original, which I know eliminates any interest from some of you, but the first one earned enough belly-laughs from me that I’ll be sure to catch this on DVD. Also, it worries me that director Nicholas Stoller spent ~4 years straight on Neighbors & Neighbors 2. I’ll be the first to admit that can’t be good for anyone.
A- I went along with my brother to see the first ‘Neighbors’ and we both came away surprised and delighted at not just the amount of humor, but the insight into humanity that the film had. It really is worth catching up on. As far as the sequel, I will see it in some capacity. If it gets reviews anything similar to the first one I will probably catch it with a friend in a theater. I am holding back expectations simply because it’s a sequel to a comedy. These are tough.
“Term Life” (March 1 VOD, April 8 Theaters)
A- Debuting on VOD makes sense.
M- Nope nope nope nope nope this is ALL WRONG. Who’s in charge here? Who’s responsible? Who casted this? Who picked a happy-sounding song with the lyric “Take the money and run” over a trailer of a guy trying to save his daughter from the mob? Who accidentally swapped “TERM LIFE TRAILER” with “TERM LIFE IN 2 ½ MINUTES?”
“Barbershop: The Next Cut” (April 15)
A- I love a lot of the supporting actors in this; it’s kind of a who’s who of black television actors. I also like that it appears this movie has some real statements to make about culture and current events. Even if those statements probably won’t be overt and uncomfortable they would still be welcome. But I don’t know if I’ll see it, and yes, it has to do with race. Sometimes movies are made for certain races, genders, age groups, etc. That’s fine. That’s what television has been going toward for years and you hear no one complaining about the amount of quality and diversity of tv. I hope this movie is great and makes a lot of money because I’m a fan of the idea of movies. I’m just probably not anywhere near the top of the targeted demo which, frankly, hopefully starts happening more if Hollywood ever diversifies and grows.
M- I don’t know much about this series, but the cast does seem fun. If nothing else, it looks like they had a great time filming. My understanding is that the barbershop is located in Chicago, so it’ll be interesting to see how they tackle the issues of that city as well as some bigger issues.
A- “Barbershop 4- Chi-Raq Cuts” directed by Spike Lee. Let’s do this.
“The Divergent Series: Allegiant” (March 18)
A- The motto for this movie comes from Jalen Rose, “Keep gettin’ dem checks”. I look forward to seeing all you wonderful actors in movies I’ll actually go see in the near future.
M- Is this the last one? I haven’t seen any of these, but I’ve read & seen every single Hunger Games book & movie, which is more than enough for me. By now, you know if you’re going to see this or not. And if not, may I suggest another Shailene Woodley & Miles Teller movie: The Spectacular Now. It doesn’t have an epic story, evil bad guys, or CGI, but it does have Kyle Chandler and a fantastic script based in reality. You’re welcome!
Image from BGR.com