Feb 25, 2014
Trailer Park Roundup: What’s Coming Soon To Your Local Cineplex
We recently saw the release of some highly anticipated trailers, including one for the comic epic “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and another for Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” sporting a fresh new Christmas release date, just in time for awards season.
This isn’t really anything that could be called breaking news or hot news. In fact, it’s pretty bland news. But maybe there are some of you out there who are probably living under a rock or in a time before Christ, clueless as to what these movies are about and why you should care.
So here is some assistance.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
This entry into the franchise marks the return of Bryan Singer to the director’s chair, his first since “X-2” way back in the days when X-Men movies weren’t a “hey, this one will be good, I swear it” sort of event. Back when you knew it was something special.
More exciting, though, is the subject matter it’s stabbing into: Days of Future Past. The dystopic tale came from the wild minds of Chris Claremont and John Byrne during their legendary tenure on the original “Uncanny X-Men” book and has always been considered one of the cornerstone stories from the series.
It’s about a future version of the hero Shadowcat, AKA Kitty Pryde, returning back in time to inhabit her younger self and help the X-Men avert the assassination of Senator Kelly and a dark future where mutant hunting Sentinel robots control the United States. So basically a Mitt Romney America in a nutshell.
It’s a nice examination of actual time travel rules that make sense (changing the past in this story does not alter the original future, it only creates a new timeline while the original continues on it’s own path) and also a way to take risks with characters that you’d normally be stuck answering to editors and fans alike about. Wanna kill Wolverine? Give it a whirl!
For the film, they are sending Hugh Jackman back instead of Ellen Page’s Kitty Pryde. Why? Because we’ve seen “Juno” and we don’t need to see her travel through time. Also we want people to see this movie, not shrug it off. And the idea of how we get to this terrible future isn’t clear since the Senator Kelly storyline was already burned off way back in the original “X-Men” movie. But with Peter Dinklage involved as Sentinel creator Bolivar Trask, there can’t be anything but high hopes for this story. It’s the best chance yet we have to right the X-franchise ship following the turds that were “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”
The Wolf of Wall Street
The memoirs of a former Wall Street scumbag is not normally the proper kind of fodder for a holiday movie, but Martin Scorsese is going to change that this Christmas when “The Wolf of Wall Street” hits theaters.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, the stockbroker turned criminal turned motivational speaker whose book provides the basis for this film. Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey and a plethora of other talent round out the cast, but that’s only the tip of what makes it interesting.
Aside from “Boiler Room,” which covers a lot of the same subject matter as “Wolf,” and “Wall Street 2,” which was terrible, we’ve never really had a proper Wall Street movie in this post-economic hellscape we now call home. But now we can see how they lived and how they swindled.
That’s where the book wins and that’s where the movie should be victorious as well. People should get mad. It’s an unwritten part of the movie-going experience, actually hating the characters you see on screen and rooting for them to fail. You always hear about the positives and the painting of hate in a negative light. It’s missing in a world where we cheer meth dealers because they get the best lines (coughBreaking Badcough).
This one probably should’ve found a place on the remakes list from the other day, but honestly you have to keep a wait and see attitude with this one. An update to “Robocop” could be a pleasant surprise given the low quality of the two sequels that followed the original back in 1987.
However, there is no way to top the subversive satire that Paul Verhoeven injected into the original “Robocop.” The same could be said about “Total Recall”and it’s remake that was way off the mark and also too had Colin Farrell, which what?
You have to wait and see because it seems like there is an earnest team involved with this project. Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton are all involved, which is only a bad thing sometimes. Remember “The Spirit?’ Here, the story seems to be a lot more than just a rehash of the original plot. Sergeant Murphy is given a deep connection to his family and the idea of the man inside the machine might be played up more heavily than the Peter Weller version could muster.
Or it could be total shit. That’s always a possibility when dealing with a major franchise reboot. It is also a confusing sign when they are trying to recreate or redo famous lines and scenes from the previous movies. That always screams “paint by numbers” and reeks of slapping on a new, shiny coat to fool the public. We’ll withhold our scornful judgment a little longer.
The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug
Jesus, this is only the second movie of three and “The Hobbit” is only a few hundred pages in book form! I’m beginning to think Peter Jackson is just making shit up, or he has super long extended versions of the extended “Lord of the Rings” movies he’s already released twice.
It’s getting a very Florida vibe in here, like boxes of movie scripts are being hidden under ballots and hanging chads while Al Gore sweats on TV.
Anyway, Martin Freeman returns as Bilbo Baggins and I believe the dwarves have just made it to a forest or a mountain on their way to reclaim their kingdom. I’m not sure, but there’s a dragon named Smaug that’s voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch and Orlando Bloom has finally gotten work, so excitement is all around.
It just seems ridiculous that there would be such a blatant grab at a franchise as to split one book into three movies. And when we say one book, we don’t mean an epic tome or reference guide, I mean a book you could read in a weekend and then throw into the sea defiantly. It just comes off as a cash grab, an effort to milk all the blood from the stone.
And on top of that, why would you see this in the theater when the full uncut version has yet to be released and will be released come 2015? You know more is on the way, so why not wait a little longer. You’ve waited this long.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
And finally the trailer for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” came out, along with a five-minute teaser of sorts, at the beginning of “Thor: The Dark World.” This is a drastic switch in the tone and general outlook for the film series, moving away from the rah-rah, theatrical action and superheroics to focus more on a Jason Bourne influenced Cap’n that is unsure of the country he swore allegiance to so long ago.
It’s nice to see the shift because now they can keep the separate movies in the Marvel Universe privy to their own tones and characteristics, saving the larger than life things for “Avengers 2: Age of Ultron” and beyond. To save the superhero movie from being stale, this has to be done. Has to, people.
Lots of people think “Captain America: The First Avenger” is the weakest of the series to this point, so it makes sense to try to change up the formula as much as they can to try and create a new atmosphere to satisfy different layers of fans.
That’s not to say this isn’t still a superhero movie. There will be enough espionage and intrigue to fill a John Le Carre thriller and they even got Robert Redford involved to “Spy Game” it up with Cap’n on screen. But at the same time we are getting comic book influences all over. There will be superhero superfights going on, being as they are based on the great storylines from Ed Brubaker, but you’ll also get a much more mature feel from it all.
Comics aren’t just for kids anymore. They’re for everyone. So why shouldn’t movies be the same way going forward?
Start planning your holiday viewing now, kids!