It’s December again. You can’t open up a blog without having an avalanche of year-end lists fall out on your head – mine will follow in due course – and awards films and family entertainments are jostling for position in the screens of our local fleapits and shiny multiplexes. It’s a time for traditions, from mince pies to mistletoe and this blog is no different: I present my third annual review of trailers in December with each one accompanied by a reworked seasonal ditty of some variety and dubious quality. If you like, get yourself a reminder of my efforts in 2012 and 2013 to get the idea before embarking on this year’s collection of dodgy poetry and vague puns.
And whatever you get up to in this season of peace and goodwill, whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Saturnalia, the winter solstice or simply worshipping at the altar of the early January sales, may you have a lovely time, ready to come back refreshed for 2015 which features new Bond, Star Wars, Avengers, Terminator, Taken, Ted, Mission: Impossible and pretty much any other franchise you’d care to name. But first, this.
The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies
To the tune of Jona Lewie’s Stop The Cavalry
Hey, Mr. Jackson comes over here
With more Tolkien trilogy,
But it’s going on for far, far too long
Marching round and round pointlessly
Oh, I say it’s tough, I have had enough
Can you stop the hobbits, please?
I have had to fight, almost every night
Just to stay awake through these
Silmarillion? No thanks, Jackson
Can you stop the hobbits, please?
Longer versions seen at home
More appendices shoe-horned in
Wish I could edit them down
To a single film I’d love
Dub a dub a dum dum dub a dub a dum dub a dum dum dub a dub dub a dub a dum
Dub a dub a dum dum dub a dub a dum dub a dum dum dub a dub dub a dub a dum
Can we have some more Bad Taste films?
To the tune of the carol We Three Kings
You can ride the cable car
Up the mountain, then back down again
Quicker than foot by far
O car of wonder, car of light
Car where conversation’s slight
Upward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy temple right
Glorious now behold it arise
Bearing folks of all shapes and size
Men and women, some with goats in
That one’s a big surprise
O car of wonder, car of light
Arty insight or just trite?
Upward leading, but we’re needing
To work out our own insight
Dumb And Dumber To
To the tune of Little Drummer Boy
Come they told me, so dumb a dumb dumb
The brothers Farrelly, so dumb a dumb dumb
Have made a sequel see, so dumb a dumb dumb
We didn’t want really, so dumb a dumb dumb,
dumb a dumb dumb, dumb a dumb dumb,
Daniels and Carrey being really dumb,
Will we come?
Little joy you’ll see, so dumb a dumb dumb
It’s gone a bit nasty, still dumb a dumb dumb
They have no jokes to bring, no sense of fun,
But they’ll still flog this thing to us if we’re dumb,
That makes me glum; I’ll not succumb…
We’ll be spared Dumb 3, so dumb a dumb dumb,
If we don’t come.
To the tune of John Lennon’s Happy Christmas (War Is Over)
So, this is Christmas
And what have you done?
A new film of Annie
Even worse than the last one
And so this is awful
It doesn’t look fun
The cast all look lost here
The old and the young
Doesn’t act well, I fear
Let’s hope that this bad one
Won’t kill her career
And so this is pointless
Just completely wrong
Not one of these actors
Will be winning a gong
So unhappy Christmas
This Annie’s not right
Will Gluck, you’ve gone wrong here,
Your film just looks shite
To the tune of Wizzard’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day
Thanks to Q. Tarantino,
He’s a man we’d like to know
He’s put a great big smile, on everybody’s face
If you need an Austrian friend
Then your casting’s at an end
Open up the doors
You know that sweet Christoph Waltz is on the way
Well I wish it could be Chris Waltz, every day
‘Cos the films he’s in are invariably great **
Oh, I don’t think there’s a role he couldn’t play
Let him be in every film, please
He has quickly made his mark
He can do both light and dark
Now Tim Burton’s gonna let him have his say
Even though he’ll be quite mean
As the real life Walter Keane
We just know he and Amy Adams
Will blow the critics all away
Well I wish it could be Chris Waltz, every day
‘Cos the films he’s in are invariably great
Oh, I wish it could be Chris Waltz, every day
And I bet he will be Blofeld
** I haven’t seen Water For Elephants, but I liked The Green Hornet. So sue me.
Exodus: Gods And Kings
To the tune of White Christmas
I’m dreaming of a white Egypt
Just like the ones I used to know
With old Charlton Heston
And others skin as white as snow,
I’m dreaming of a white Egypt
Someone tell Ridley it’s not right
May your films have casts that look right
And may all your Egypts not be white
December heralds the start of two things: an avalanche of Best Of lists and awards nominations (expect my usual review of the year to appear at the end of December in all its usual multi-faceted glory), and seemingly the first round of promotional material for the onslaught on our senses that cinema of 2015 is shaping up to be. Enjoy the first few months of the year, and the relative originality of offerings like Inherent Vice and Big Hero 6, for once awards season has passed, originality is taking a ten month holiday and you won’t be able to move in your local multiplex foyer for all of the oversized standees boldly proclaiming the umpteenth instalment in that franchise you’d tried to forget about.
From March 20th, when the Divergent sequel converges on us, we’ve got the Fastest, most Furious and possibly most poignant car movie ever made, the maddest Max ever seen in the form of Tom Hardy, another theme park ride-inspired trip to Tomorrowland, the most Insidious horror sequel yet, a Minion-flavoured spin-off, more foul-mouthed bear action with Ted, the end of Marvel’s Phase II with Ant-Man, the origins of Peter Pan, Magic Mike getting XXL, the return of the men from U.N.C.L.E, London going the way of Olympus and falling, the Hungriest Games of all, the most not-actually-impossible Mission and a Peanuts movie. What a nightmare, Charlie Brown! And that’s not even counting a host of other remakes and re-releases.
But I’m not a totally jaded cynic of a blogger; not quite yet, anyways. There are a few marquee names that might still get me excited in 2015, and they’ve been putting their various stakes in the ground over the past couple of weeks. Here’s how excited they’ve managed to make me, expressed as I so often do in the form of a bar graph.
If anybody wants me, I’ll be running around the house with my hands clasped together in a gun shape, running around and bah-bah-BAH-AH-ing the Bond theme as loudly as possible.
UPDATE: It appears I wasn’t the only one asking, and with my momentum adding to the bandwagon, Cambridge Arts Picturehouse happily agreed to move this Friday’s screening to their main screen, Screen 1. A victory for people power and common sense, and a huge thanks to the staff of the Picturehouse, not least marketing manager Jack who I understand moved the seats across this evening in a time-consuming process, and to Keith and his team who will have to call everyone to tell them tomorrow. Thank you all, I owe every one of you that pint next time I see you, which might well be this Friday.
Rejoice, great peoples of Britain, and especially those that live in the vicinity of Cambridge. 2001 returns to cinema screens this Friday, thanks to a science-fiction season from those nice people at the BFI, and for me it’s a particular thrill. As you know, I write a cinema blog based on encouraging people into cinemas, and while I’ve been a big fan of a lot of other Kubrick works, I’ve always struggled to engage with 2001 on the small screen, so I’ve never got much more than half an hour in. This is an opportunity to assess the film in the perfect environment, seeing it on the biggest screen possible; for me, locally, that means screen 1 at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse.
Except it’s not playing in Screen 1. It’s playing every night, which is great, but most nights it will be in Screen 2 and one night it’s bumped all the way down to Screen 3. How can this be, I hear you cry? Well, on the face of it this is a commercially sensible decision. There are not one but two British films in cinemas right now that are causing audiences to queue round the block, and chances are that either The Imitation Game or Mr Turner would sell out whichever screen they were in, where 2001 could struggle to fill one of the smaller screens.
But hang on again. Here’s the seating plan for Friday night’s 20:30 showing, four days before the event.
It’s a third full already. And it’s only Monday. Surely if we all booked for the same night, we could easily fill Screen 1? We’d be happy, and the Arts Picturehouse could cheerfully fill the other screens with British blockbusters.
I know a lot of the staff at the Arts Picturehouse, and they’re all lovely people. I’m sure if we can persuade them that we can fill a screen as easily as Benedict Cumberbatch stammering to victory over the Germans or Timothy Spall frothing at the mouth into his latest artwork, then as long as there’s no projection reason why screen 1 can’t take it, they’d consider bumping it up.
So here’s what I’d like you to do.
- Book a ticket as soon as you can for Screen 2 on Friday night. In fact, stop reading this RIGHT NOW, go here and book and then come back. If you had any plans to see it this week and can make Friday, make this your priority now.
- If it sells out, please contact the cinema via phone or social media to confirm you’d like to attend on Friday night.
- Contact the cinema via social media to ask anyway if they could bump Friday’s showing to Screen 1.
- Keep it friendly – this is just a bit of fun, but also an important exercise in consumer demand. We fought collectively to keep this cinema, now let’s show that we’re willing to turn up for the right films in the right screens.
- If we sell out Friday and that moves to Screen 1, then repeat the process for Saturday.
What I’ll do is if this causes anyone at the Arts Picturehouse any increase in work, I will buy you a pint at the very least next time I see you. I will even come down and usher people to their seats for free on Friday night. I would do that on the other screens and miss the film if it meant that other people got the chance to see this on the biggest screen in the area.
If not, then I might as well wait until December, when I can sit in my favourite cinema seat in the world up the road at the Abbeygate in Bury with screen size comparable to screen 2, but let’s be honest, you know me, I’ll probably do that as well. So what do you say? Are you with me? Let’s bundle on the Arts Picturehouse on Friday night.
It seems everyone wants to grab your attention these days. From double evictions on The X Factor to Lord Sugar firing people before they’ve even got out of bed in this year’s The Apprentice, reality shows are increasingly loading up their casts, then casting them aside like so much dead wood, purely in the hunt for ratings. So how to keep up with the pack in this increasingly cut-throat world? This month I present to you seven trailers, all eager for you to chew heavily processed snack foods loudly while watching them in your nearest cinemaplex. By the end of this post, one of you will be fired.
Once you’ve won an award, your ability to open doors into cinemas increases noticeably. Leviathan follows in the footsteps of We Need To Talk About Kevin, Rust And Bone, A Prophet, Ida and, er, Tulpan as the best film at the London Film Festival, and also has a best screenplay award from Cannes in its trophy cabinet. The danger is that you come to the film judging it purely on reputation, or in this case that you confuse it with an unusual documentary about fishermen and trawlers from a year or two ago.
A documentary about an Italian ring road seems simple enough, but this is a film I’ve already tried to watch twice this year. On both occasions the subtitles malfunctioned, so I now need to decide whether to chance a third trip to the well. I might just take the Italian-English dictionary to be on the safe side.
The Imitation Game
Keira Knightley wins the award for the poshest English accent ever, no contest. Also, next Saturday Bletchley Park will be showing a day’s worth of sci-fi films at their Station X event, including previews, classics and even the Doctor Who finale. What better time to watch a film about the work that took place there at the height of its powers?
Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey
So I was more than a bit sniffy about the sequel, Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger, on Twitter, at which point director Debbie Isitt slapped my wrists via the social media website. I put my money where my mouth was, and can confirm that the David Tennant / Joanna Page sequel lacked the awkward charm of the Martin Freeman / Ashley Jensen original. Hopefully for everyone’s sake this Martin Clunes / Catherine Tate version will restore some of that, and that Marc Wootton will be allowed to hang up the teacher’s assistant parka after this one. Rest assured that I’ll take another one for the team if I feel the need to be sniffy again.
What We Do In The Shadows
Vampire comedy. Two-thirds of Flight Of The Conchords. SOLD!
2001: A Space Odyssey
I have a fairly strained relationship with this Kubrick classic, having tried half a dozen times to watch it on VHS at university and barely even getting to the space bits. This re-release is the ideal opportunity to give this a retry where it should be watched, and this trailer spin on the Avengers sequel’s promo just sweetened the deal.
Stations Of The Cross
My favourite new film shown at the Cambridge Film Festival this year. I’m not sure the title of Best Film According To Local Blogger at the UK’s third oldest film festival carries quite the same cachet as the gongs Leviathan’s picked up, but I’m happy to buy a tiny trophy if it would make a difference.
Sacro Gra, you’ve let me down before, but The Imitation Game you seem to be giving away most of the plot. But Nativity 3, you look like nothing more than an excuse for a jolly to New York, so it is with regret that you, and this tortuous excuse for a framing device, are fired.
It’s been a long summer, full of mutants, monkeys, giant fighty robots, some additional giant fighty monsters and Jon Favreau cooking, but now the nights are drawing in and there’s no better time to be in the cinema. Admittedly I can’t think of a bad time to be in the cinema, but I was never the best role model. Having had a busy summer, followed by a month-long binge on two of the country’s foremost film festivals, this feature has had a rest for the past couple of months but now it’s back,
better than ever largely the same as ever, bringing you the six most tantalising two minute compilations of films released in UK cinemas this calendar month.
If you’re a long time reader, you’ll remember that the first rule of The Half Dozen is that you don’t talk about… no wait, that’s Fight Club. The first – and indeed – only rule of The Half Dozen was that these were trailers for films I hadn’t seen. This was a fairly flexible rule, to the point where one month it was only films that I’d seen. I’ve also not stuck rigidly to six on occasions. So if we’re going to do this again, then there are no rules. Who needs rules anyway! Apart from these being films which will at some point in October be shown in a UK cinema, having not previously been shown in UK cinemas outside of festivals. So there’s a kind of rule. Whatever.
I can offer one improvement on this post over previous efforts – I’ve added release date details on each film! Don’t say I never get you anything. Anyway, on with this month’s not particularly anarchic selection of promos.
Speaking of rules, there used to be a rule that all even-numbered Star Trek films were great and odd-numbered not quite so great. That rule has fallen apart over the years, what with ten and twelve being complete bobbins and three actually not that bad, then eleven was one of the best of the series. A rule you can put much more faith in is that David Fincher saves his best work for his even numbered films: while Alien³, The Game, Panic Room, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo have been various shades of interesting, the films sandwiched in between – Seven, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network and now Gone Girl – are all likely to become established as classic films with a bit of distance. I hope to have a review of Gone Girl up this weekend to explain my reasoning behind that in more detail, but for now rejoice in this surprisingly non-spoilery trailer.
Gone Girl has been on nationwide release since 3rd October, and it’s been rated 18.
I have to confess that most of what occurred in Northern Ireland while I was a child mystified me – TV news had a lot of assumed knowledge, and coming to it as a young child all I knew is that the IRA from time to time blew up either places where the families of people I knew worked or occasionally train stations that I was about to pass through. So it will be interesting to see how this film manages to keep the balance between the action movie it’s clearly trying to be, and the backdrop of the conflict in which it’s set. Casting Jack O’ Connell, so great in the likes of Eden Lake and Starred Up, is a good first step in whatever you’re trying to achieve.
’71 has been on release since 10th October, and is still playing at a reasonable selection of cinemas. It’s a certificate 15.
Having been running this blog for nigh on five years, I get a whole load of e-mails offering me film related opportunities. In five years, barely any of them have actually been worth taking up, but when I was offered a screener for this film I jumped at the chance. The one thing the trailer skips on is the language – this is a proper, rough, Northern with a capital N film (and I’m half Northern by birth, so I can say that, even though my normal speaking voice is Queen’s English with a hint of estuary) but it’s also got one of the best soundtracks of the year.
Northern Soul is out today (17th October), and is on limited release, also rated 15. It is also available to book via OurScreen, an initiative to allow you, the viewer, to decide what ends up in cinemas. You just need to ensure a certain amount of tickets get sold for the cinema to actually show the film. Genius. You’ll see a whole host of Northern Soul screenings on the website if you head over there now. It’s also out on DVD and Blu-ray to buy on Monday.
I saw this at FrightFest, it’s the best film I saw at FrightFest and one of my favourites of the year (currently residing at 11th on my provisional top 40), people were actually screaming, people were even freaked out by the trailer, if you even vaguely like horror movies or just decent films then go see. Put some of that on the poster, but be a good editor. (“People were actually screaming”? “The 11th best film of the year”? Maybe just “Go see”.)
The Babadook is on wide release from next Friday, 24th October, and is also rated 15.
Over the years I’ve taken great pleasure in ticking off some of the names of our finest directors and seeing films of theirs in the cinema for the first time. Since my cinema going reached epic levels after moving to Cambridgeshire, I’ve seen both Happy-Go-Lucky and Another Year, and both were great, so my anticipation levels for Mr. Turner should be described as high. At some point I do need to go back and revisit the rest of Mike Leigh’s forty year career, but I consider that a mere technicality at present.
Mr. Turner is out on October 31st, painting up a storm in art house cinemas near you, and is rated 12A.
Just think, there was a time when none of us knew how to pronounce Gyllenhall. Actually, that’s probably still now, isn’t it?
Nightcrawler is also out on October 31st, and is also rated 15. Seriously, are there no kids’ films out this month?
May is upon us, and with it traditionally comes the avalanche of beautifully rendered pixels and overpaid Hollywood stars. Except the increasing love for, and success of, the Hollywood blockbuster in recent years has caused a swelling of the season. Come next year, by the first day of May we’ll already have had a penguin-themed Madagascar spin-off, the tragically delayed Fast & Furious 7 and the mother of all superhero smackdowns to date in Avengers: Age Of Ultron before a constant stream of often deliberately brainless eye candy and the occasional thoughtful actionfest takes us right through to November and December, with Star Wars 7, Mission: Impossible 5, Hunger Games 3 1/2 and Kung Fu Panda 3. Along the way we’ll get Bond 24, Jurassic Park 4 and Terminator I-lose-count, a tiny Marvel in the shape of Ant Man, a Fantastic Four reboot, a Ted sequel and seriously, doesn’t anyone even make films without something exploding in them any more?
Thankfully a few people have made simpler films this year, so you’ll actually find more than two films playing in most of your multiplexes this year. Who knows if next year we’ll be so lucky?
Next Goal Wins
For those facing the end of the football season, there’s either two options: you’re a football fan and you can’t wait for the World Cup and the excitement of England getting knocked out in the group stages because they can’t cope with either the heat or Luis Suarez and his Uruguayan team mates, or it’s another miserable month of stupid men in shorts running about pointlessly on a field, and it will be on TV every night until nearly the middle of the summer and oh the humanity. Next Goal Wins might appeal to those with a romance in their hearts but who can’t face a daily dose of soccerball for an extended period.
The Wind Rises
I have to confess I’m something of a latecomer to Japanese animation in general and to Miyazaki in particular, so it’s likely I’ll see his movies in a rather strange order. He does hold a fond place in my heart, not least for the fact that my review of Ponyo was the first ever post on this blog, a little over four years ago. Hopefully I’ll get chance to catch a few more of his master works on the big screen in the next few years.
I always get slightly nervous when I see the name Weinstein on a film, not least with the reputation for cutting that Harvey has gotten over the last few years. But this is another film being distributed in this country by Picturehouse Entertainment, and it’s good to see the likes of them and Curzon taking a more active role to get and to keep a wide variety of films in our cinemas. As long as nobody’s got their editing scissors on them too much first.
The Two Faces Of January
It’s amazing what you can find out about people from Wikipedia. Apparently Patricia Highsmith, on whose book of the same name this film is based, was a comic book artist, writing romance comics for Marvel’s predecessors. She was a strong anti-Semite, yet counted notes Jewish people among some of her closer friends. She apparently also liked cats and bred snails. I dread to think what my Wikipedia page would say about me; let’s be thankful I’ll never be that famous.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past
To think there was a time when a Batman sequel came out and we were worried because it had three villains in it. Seems barely credible now, when we can now manage to squeeze in two entire blockbuster casts, some giant fighty robots and the short bloke from Game Of Thrones without even batting an eyelid. There would be less mutants in this film if there were actual mutants in the cast.
Edge Of Tomorrow
And what blockbuster year would feel complete without a Tom Cruise movie? It’s Tom Cruise. Not much more I can say.
Tom Cruise. Mmm.
Another month slips by, another month when I’ve managed to watch films in the cinema but not to do very much about telling you about them, dear reader, so apologies. My ever demanding job has allowed me to see eleven films in the cinema this month, clumped into three or four groups when I could spare the time, and has spanned both a triple bill in Norwich (90 mile round trip) and a late night visit to Ipswich (80 mile round trip) but it’s been a mixture of late screenings, with just one film seen on a midweek evening (when normally I’d manage one a week).
In all that time, I’ve not had time to write any blog posts, which is even more of a shame given that the overall quality of the films I’ve seen in the first four months of the year. The graph below shows my average rating for films in the first four months of the year over the last seven years. This year I’ve managed only 35 films in the first four months (compared to a peak of 51 in 2011 and 39 by this time last year, but the overall average rating – both by me and by all users of IMDb, to prove it’s not just my own personal taste) have reached a satisfying peak.
But sadly I’ve been so busy for work I’ve not had chance to tell you that Under The Skin was completely strange, utterly bamboozling and I’m still thinking about it nearly a month later; I’ve not found the time to tell you that Calvary was a devastating and though provoking follow-up to John Michael McDonagh’s superb The Guard, but with a much darker sensibility. You won’t have heard me say that while Asghar Farhadi’s The Past was more drawn out with a slightly weaker ending than his last three features, it’s still better than the output of the majority of western directors and he’s shown he’s as capable outside Iran as he is within it.
Nor have I been able to tell you how much I thought of Richard Ayoade’s sophomore film The Double, or that The Raid 2 ups the stakes on its predecessor, with something resembling a serviceable plot this time and actions scenes that will blow your mind, the car chase alone worth the price of admission. You could at least find the latest Bums On Seats podcast at Cambridge 105 or on iTunes and hear me rave about Joanna Hogg’s thrilling and slightly eccentric Brit flick Exhibition. But you might have to wait until next month before you get an actual review from me – I’ve got a half written one for Transcendence I hope to share with you, along with my crushing disappointment, very soon.
But despite getting to 11 films this month at odd hours, I’ve still managed to miss out on a few that looked interesting. From the Biblical epic of Darren Aronofsky to the latest from Xavier Dolan and a series of James Dean re-releases (never seen any of them, to my shame), these are the six films I’d love to try to catch either in May or before the year is out.
Tom At The Farm
We Are The Best
Rebel Without A Cause
I guess this month’s selection of trailers is, in its own way, an apology to you, dear reader. The previous post on this blog is dated 2nd March, written to comment on the Oscars, and they now feel an awfully long time ago. Sadly for my film watching habits but wonderfully for my career, I’ve just changed jobs at work and am currently working 20 – 30 hours a week more than usual while I get my new team and position up and running. You’ll have to forgive me if things are a little sparse round here while that happens, but when it gets to the point where I’m hosting Bums On Seats not only because I enjoy it, but because without it I have no excuse to watch the latest films and then I might just not see any at the moment, then you can probably appreciate how busy I am.
So this month’s trailer breakdown arrives with less than an hour left of March. The clocks have gone forward, Spring is resolutely in the air, and this month’s films have been like Douglas Adams’ infamous deadlines, making that lovely whooshing sound as they fly by without me seeing most of them. Hopefully normal service around here will be resumed soon, but in the meantime here’s this month’s half a dozen most interesting looking previews and how close I’ve managed to get to seeing the films that go with them.
Wake In Fright
How close did I get to seeing it? It was showing at my local Picturehouse, but sadly not at a time I could actually make it in to see it. However, I did discover on Googling the trailer that there are at least two copies of the full film available on YouTube. Maybe one for some bedtime viewing.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
How close did I get to seeing it? Actually managed to see it. Actually loved it. Actually just about to buy Alexandre Desplat’s superb score (all over the trailer) from iTunes. Actually in love with Wes Anderson. #HeteroManCrush
Under The Skin
How close did I get to seeing it? Not yet, but it’s still showing at my local Arts for the next few days, so I’ve not given up hope. Work, don’t make me give up hope.
The Zero Theorem
How close did I get to seeing it? It was showing at three Cineworlds which I’ve been to, but all are more than 50 miles from my house and I just couldn’t find a window for a round trip that long. Shame.
28 Feet From Stardom
How close did I get to seeing it? The film which beat my favourite of 2013 to the Best Picture Oscar is currently showing in Norwich, but no nearer to me. My wife’s been to Norwich twice in the last three days, but on neither occasion was I free to catch a lift. There will be one showing at my local Picturehouse in about a month or so. Wish me luck.
How close did I get to seeing it? Only on release this week, I’ve seen the last three films from Asghar Farhadi in the cinema – albeit in reverse order thanks to the Cambridge Film Festival – and very much looking forward to the follow up to Fireworks Wednesday, About Elly and A Separation. Hopefully I can tick off this one.
Is it February already? Wow, this year seems to be disappearing faster than ever. Or maybe that’s just my age. It barely feels yesterday that I started my new film list for the year and put to bed the old one, and already I’ve racked up a dozen trips to the cinema. February is traditionally a month where the last few awards contenders creep out, mixed with the big studio pics that really can’t find an audience anywhere else, but this year feels different: the Oscars have been pushed to March by the Winter Olympics, denying us the traditional catharsis of sparkly dresses and low angle shots of Jack Nicholson looking uncomfortable in a dinner jacket for anther few weeks, and The LEGO Movie has opened huge in the US over the weekend with the second biggest February opening ever.
I’m actually relieved it’ll be different this year: I keep detailed records of what I’ve seen, and last February was the worst month since the blog began. Four of the twelve films I saw (A Good Day To Die Hard, Bullet To The Head, I Give It A Year and This Is 40) ended up in my bottom ten of the year and Hitchcock was a close run thing. So surely this year can’t be anything but an improvement? Anyway, to ease the pain of a lack of gold shiny bald men being dolled out this month, I present my own annual entirely made up awards for trailers.
Dallas Buyers Club
Best Actress Called Jennifer Who Isn’t Also Called Lawrence
Best Actress Who Is 41 And Still Gives Me Hope That You Can Grow Old Gracefully That’s Also Called Jennifer
The Christian Bale Memorial Award In The Field Of Extreme Weight Loss
The “Oh Yeah, Whatever Happened To Him” Award, awarded to Jared Leto
Best Arty Trailer To Make Me Look Like I’m Vaguely Intelligent And Hopefully Not Pretentious
Best Picture Most Likely To Feature A Cameo By Simon Pegg, Probably
Best Effeminate Comedy Character I Probably Shouldn’t Laugh At – Kayvan Novak
The John Barrowman Award For Seemingly Feeling Like He’s In Everything – Chris O’Dowd
Best Use Of A Moustache To Instantly Create A Character – Joaquim Phoenix
Best Female Ensemble Where One Of Them Doesn’t Even Appear On Screen
Best Use Of A Giant Plane That Makes You Wonder If It’s Real Or Visual Effects
Only Lovers Left Alive
Best Use Of Tom Hiddleston To Get All The Marvel Fanboys And Girls To Watch Something Different
Best Use Of A Red Gothic Typeface For A Director’s Name
Most Unlikely Film Being Shown In Cinemas For Valentine’s Day (check your local listings)
The Executive Decision Award For The Most Generic But Probably Still Exciting Plane-Based Thriller
The Sherlock Award For Best Use Of On-Screen Text Messaging
Best Captain Of A Plane Who Makes You Double Take Because He Looks Eerily Like Jon Stewart Off Of The Daily Show
Best Film Most Likely To Feature An Epic And Quotable Speech From Liam Neeson Because Otherwise What’s The Point In Having Him In An Action Movie, He Is 61 After All
On a day somewhat overshadowed by the tragic and untimely death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, once again two American teams played off for the biggest title in American football. Nothing since I slagged off American football last year, or the year before, or the year before that, has changed my opinion on the game: it’s supposed to be sixty minutes of men in excessive padding running at each other and gradually advancing a prolate spheroid made of pigskin one direction or the other over a distance of 110 yards that last night took three hours and twenty two minutes from kick-off to final whistle. More challenging to your sitting muscles than even Blue Is The Warmest Color or The Wolf Of Wall Street, American football is practically the Gone With The Wind of sporting endurance.
What the two hours and twenty-two minutes of not-football do provide is a succession of overpriced and overhyped adverts, including a batch of trailers. There’s a drive in the US to restrict movie trailers to no more than two minutes (typically they run to around two and a half for a full trailer at present), but thanks to the price of advertising they clock in at no more than a minute or so for the Super Bowl, and consequently they have to be rammed to the gills with the most important moments. So let’s see what we’ve learned from this year’s crop.
Transformers: Age Of Extinction
What we learned:
– it’s got giant fighty robots in it again, including my childhood favourite Optimus Prime. I have said previously I’d followed him to Dark Of The Moon and he was now on his own, but we’ll see if my resolve weakens between now and the summer.
– the robots can now turn their heads into giant guns. Hoo-ya!
– You can replace Shia LeBoeuf and Rosie Huntingthingy-Whatsit with Mark Wahlberg and New Generic Blonde, and nobody will really care.
– it’s got robots that look vaguely like dinosaurs, which will be much cooler than robots that look exactly like cars.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
– Apparently the movie will be dialogue free, 60% of it will be in slow motion while another 20% will consist of people turning round while the camera pans in the opposite direction.
– There will be more than one implausible giant flying aircraft carrier at the start of this movie, but there may not be by the end.
– Whoever the Winter Soldier is – oh wait, it’s quite clearly Bucky, are they trying to make this a mystery or not? – he can punch so hard that it makes Steve Rogers wince through his invincible shield.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
– Another silent movie. Since we clearly see people trying to talk, presumably this one will have intertitles.
– Random slo-mo shots of not-electricity are apparently more interesting than much of the film.
– This doesn’t look amazing.
Muppets Most Wanted
– Eighties Robot is back. Yay!
– Five seconds of Ricky Gervais is already testing my endurance.
– They won’t be skimping on the big musical numbers. I look forward to another three months of cheerful earworms.
– It’s basically Gladiator crossed with Dante’s Peak, with less Pierce Brosnan.
– Poor Kit Harrington is going to be typecast in either swords and sandals epics or fantasy (or both) for much of his career.
– It makes no mention of the fact it’s a Paul W.S. Anderson film, just in case you bottle it before the film comes out.
– It’s got George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman and Cate Blanchett in, but you need to be told who these people are as they may not be that famous.
– You don’t need to be told who Jean Dujardin is because he’s not that famous. (See also The Wolf Of Wall Street where he’s in it at least as much as named actor Matthew McConaughey.)
– You also need to be told by Matt Damon what the title of the movie is. At least he gets straight to it.
Need For Speed
– It really wants to be a bit like Drive. I will not be that surprised if Aaron Paul turns out to have a giant tarantula on the back of that jacket.
– It’s not a silent movie! There’s at least one line of dialogue.
– Car. Car. Car. Car. Car. Car. Car. Car. Car. Punch. Car. Car. Dialogue. Wrap. Next!
– Although it’s the untold story – apparently all of the bits that the writer of Genesis didn’t think were important enough – it still has a boat and a flood, so it’s at least in the right area.
– Most of the animals are turning up are more worried about the flood than eating each other, so this is unlikely to get into any of the carnivore / herbivore segregation issues that probably beset the real Noah.
– Apparently Noah has a fiery stick and it’s going to rain fire, so the Bible probably left all of the good bits out.
– After the Matthew McConnaissance, this is the also the year of the Kevin Costback. Or something.
– The guys who do gravelly voices for trailers have had a really lean year.
– Releasing an American football movie in April might not be the best idea ever.
Jaguar British Villains commercial
Somebody get these guys in a movie together.