You probably thought I was gone, didn’t you? I can hear you now: ‘where, oh where has our sarcastic messiah gone?’. Calm down, calm down. I’ve gone nowhere – both geographically and professionally – and am back for another trailer talk. A sequel if you will. Why haven’t I done one of these for a couple of weeks? Simple, the trailers just weren’t up to snuff. We had a great week for trailers a few weeks back, and since then, the meagre offerings that Hollywood has presented us with have been found wanting.

I would have loved nothing more than to give my banal opinions on the Alien: Covenant trailer that dropped last week, but the only other big films that had trailers out that week were Power Rangers and that soul crushing Emoji Movie teaser. Urgh. Basically, not enough to sustain an article – not at all to do with the fact I would have to write it on New Years Eve, and I was getting sloshed. The week before that looked slightly more promising, with trailers for John Wick: Chapter 2, the new xXx film – the much anticipated Blade Runner sequel, and a couple of interesting films like the Shutter Island-esque A Cure for Wellness. However that would have meant I’d have to write that article on Christmas or Christmas Eve. Not gonna happen.

But now the Holiday period is over, a new slew of trailers have crept up on us, and I have no exams. Therefore I’ve got a lot of time on my hands. Honestly, I can’t imagine doing anything else, so writing another cynical ode to corporate film making appears all but inevitable. Oh well, lets get back to it, shall we?

CULT OF CHUCKY

  • UK Release Date: 2017 (I don’t know when exactly….its just been announced! Gimme a break…)
  • Horror, Thriller
  • Excitement Level: 6.5/10 murderous redheaded dolls

I must confess, I’ve never really ‘got’ the whole thing with Chucky (voiced in every instalment by Brad Douriff) and the Child’s Play movies. Partly its because the Chucky doll itself resembles me as a child in a manner too close for comfort (minus the scars and stitching), but honestly, the whole concept is just stupid to me. At least in its original incarnation, it was kind of creepy because its unclear whether the killer was the doll, or the equally creepy kid. Since then the whole thing devolved to a level that would make even the 60’s Batman show wince and then remark: “come on man, that’s tacky”.

Thankfully, the consensus amongst fans is that the franchise has picked up of late – the last installment, The Curse of Chucky, returned more to the creepiness of the original, as the doll attempted to kill a paraplegic woman (played by Brad Douriff’s real life daughter). This is apparently the tone this new film will emulate, and is a direct sequel to The Curse of Chucky. At least that’s what they’re telling me, because its impossible to really get that from this trailer, which is really more of an announcement teaser – the film hasn’t even started production yet.

I’ll tentatively give this one the benefit of the doubt however, even though I’ve never been a big lover of these films.

RINGS

  • UK Release Date: 03/02/17
  • Genre: Horror
  • Excitement Level: 2.5/10 tired Horror movie tropes

Yet another horror movie I hear you ask? Well, what can I say? Studios know how to get dumb teenagers in to watch these films – they’re cheap to make, marketable, and very rarely don’t make a profit no matter how awful they are – a perfect recipe for a creatively bankrupt film producer!

That said, we’ve been experiencing something of a horror film renaissance in recent years, with little known indie film makers directing films such as It Follows, Hush, Don’t Breathe,  The Babadook, Green Room and others in the last couple of years alone. Darkly atmospheric historical based horror movies, such as 2015’s infamously gory Bone Tomahawk, and The Witch have also shown that you can incorporate different time periods into horror – indeed, the lack of technology makes them far creepier. The Conjuring and its sequel take the haunted house template, and develop them into something genuinely frightening. Even lame horror franchises that appear played out, such as Ouija, and the Insidious movies can sometimes surprise us with frightening imagery. When M. Night Shyamalan of all people can pull off a horror film with The Visit, then something is definitely going right with how horror films are being made today. Bottom line is, there are people out there making effort.

Unfortunately, for every The Conjuring, we get a terrible Paranormal Activity sequel, or a remake of yet another iconic horror film – as if by making films that are similar in appearance to classics that they will take on the same level of quality. I hate to say it, but this trailer is exhibiting all of those problems, as the trailer rather un-creatively recycles imagery from the Japanese original (not to mention the 2002 American remake). Seriously, what do we think of when we think of The Ring? Creepy kid crawling out of TV? We got it here! Grey, desaturated colour palate? You ‘betcha! Static? Say no more my good sir, you’re in the right place! Okay, my haughty disdain aside, it’s just unoriginal, and predictable to me – they’re also horror tropes which are long since tired, and have been parodied for over a decade. They may be trademarks of the series, but don’t the film makers want to add some of their own ideas, instead of making a bland, soulless product? Apparently not, or at least thats not what the studio wants.

There was one legitimately freaky part in the trailer, where the protagonists skin begins to peal. If the film sticks with this sort of Kronenberg-esque body horror, we may have something here, but I don’t hold out much hope. The Spanish director has only directed a couple of shorts and one film in 2008 that received mixed reviews. The writers even have a sketchy background in producing bad horror film scripts. I hope I’m wrong on this, and that they can somehow pull something out of the bag – but I doubt it.

FIFTY SHADES DARKER

  • UK Release Date: 10/02/17
  • Romance, Erotic?
  • Excitement Level: 8/10 unintentionally hilarious BDSM scenes

I’ll try to keep this one relatively short – for your sake, dear reader, but mostly for mine, for I risk receiving some bemused looks at best, and getting my picture on the Uni Library’s ‘Spotted’ Facebook page at worst.

That’s no big loss however, because the Fifty Shades of Grey films aren’t exactly made with my demographic in mind. I am kind of fascinated with this however, as much like the book its based on, its all written on the level of Sonic the Hedgehog fan fiction. It makes me genuinely wonder what the appeal is – the unironic appeal that is. I suppose some women want to live vicariously through the experiences of the stunningly bland Anastasia Steele, much in the same way that men like to project themselves onto the main characters in umpteen generic action films.

I on the other hand, find it all very amusing. Everything – from the corny music, to the stalker look that Christian Grey, played by Jamie Dornan, gives Ana in every scene, (its okay because he’s handsome) to embarrassing dialogue like: ” do you think you’re the first woman who’s tried to save him”. Also in here, there’s an Eyes Wide Shut masked ball, with – I assume – less Satanic rituals, and a man who tries to get across to Ana that Christian Grey is abusive. He accomplishes this by pining her against a door. Its hysterical, the whole damn lot of it.

In between the protagonists getting it on in the shower and feeling each other up in a crowded lift, we get glimpses of a mystery plot involving someone who may be one of Christian’s former submissive’s as she stalks Ana, and then a helicopter crashes – for some reason. I’m on the edge of my seat already *cough, cough*. In any case, in about a years time, I’ll probably get drunk one night, find this on Sky Premiere and laugh my arse off. Oh, and with that in mind, if anyone reading this has a girlfriend/wife/whatever who wants to see this on Valentine’s Day, bring booze – you’ll find so much more to enjoy.

THE SPACE BETWEEN US

  • UK Release: 10/02/2017
  • Sci-Fi, Romance, Drama
  • Excitement Level: 4/10 obligatory Teen’s Choice Awards

Another, albeit rather less raunchy, Valentine’s Day option this year is The Space Between Us. Taking a cool sci-fi concept – and more than likely neutering it so it fits the standard ‘young adult’ fiction tropes – the unimaginatively named The Space Between Us, doubtless aims to be both a high concept sci-fi film, and also one of those tooth-achingly sappy romance stories that all the tweens crave.

In a nutshell, the plot deals with Gardner, played by Asa Butterfield (who’s name makes him sound like he could either be a Hobbit, or a Charles Dickens character) as he comes to Earth from Mars. You see, Gardner is the first human to be born and brought up on Mars. He later absconds to Earth, tired of his isolation, supposedly to find his father, but also runs into Tulsa, a pen-pal who he frequently Skyped with while on Mars.

Oh, and did I mention he’s totally in love with her? No, I didn’t, because you, dear readers, are reasonably intelligent people who I’m sure can accurately predict clichéd plot points. In any case, tragedy strikes (*gasp*) as Gardner’s organs apparently can’t operate on Earth, as his body is used to the Martian atmosphere – as Gary Oldman’s unkempt doctor character helpfully reminds us. Naturally big bad government scientists will attempt to take Gardner back before his organs fail, and we’ll be expected to root against them because Gardner is just so enamored by life on Earth, and love conquers all! Or some other such tripe.

They should have called this ‘The Fault in our Mars’. I’m sure this will appeal to some of you reading this – and of course to the legions of 12 year old girls, who will assuredly make this a hit at the box office whilst their Mum’s force their Dad’s to watch Fifty Shades Darker with them in the opposite screen.

 

BAYWATCH

  • UK Release Date: 26/05/17
  • Comedy, Action
  • Excitement Level: 5.8/10 joint lawsuits from Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum

Also this week, the International trailer for Baywatch came out – this will be the one we see in theatres over the next few months. I never saw the Baywatch TV show from the early 90’s, but everyone knows it has bikini girls and David Hasselhoff in it – kind of like how every Millennial has made Chuck Norris jokes in spite of never having seen Walker, Texas Ranger. It doesn’t seem like that’s really necessary to understand this film though.

At first, I switched off, as it looked like it was going down the generic ‘gritty action reboot’ track. Needless explosions, and bland trailer music that the production company probably swooped down to get from YouTube aren’t good signs. It did however pick up when it veered into comedy. The main characters here look to be the always likeable Dwayne Johnson, playing a straight man role, and Zac Efron as an irresponsible party-douche (I should have just said Zac Efron, and you’d have got the gist) and a two time Olympic gold medalist who the Baywatch brings in to improve their PR image.

The action plot comes in when a dead body turns up on the beach, and Dwayne Johnson, suspecting foul play, wants to investigate. Zac Efron’s character meanwhile drags his heels, preferring to goof off. Hijinks ensue. Sarcasm aside, it looks like it could be amusing, but I’ve got reservations. Firstly, if this set up seems familiar to you – don’t worry, I see it too. 21 Jump Street and its sequel are based on another lame show from 25 years ago. They too, were made to be more comedic and self referential when compared to their source material which was more action-drama oriented. Perhaps most important, the dynamics of the Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron team up should have Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum’s legal teams on edge. At the end, we even see a foul mouthed African-American cop chastising the Baywatch team for their dumb-ass-ery: clearly inspired by Ice Cube in 21 Jump Street. That character was apparently in the show, but he rarely chastised the characters for screwing up, and he certainly didn’t swear. Granted, this is only a trailer, and that character – not to mention the film as a whole – may end up being very different, but the trailer is really going for the 21 Jump Street vibe.

Further muddying the waters, the guys behind making this aren’t free of stinkers. The writers were the geniuses behind classics, such as Freddy vs Jason and Shark Tale. The director has a shaky history behind the camera too, so I’m not sure how to feel about this. It’s clearly derivative, and the film makers aren’t the best, but then Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson have proven acting, and comedic chops. If I see more, it could change my mind, but as for now, I’m ambivalent.

 


Well, that’s me done for another week. Not too bad, but not a great week for trailers – but then what do you expect, given the time of year? They don’t call it the ‘January blues’ for nothing y’know.