trailers

Review Of 2016: The Half-Dozen Most Viewed Trailers Of 2016

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Half Dozen Doughnuts
In the olden days, I’d put a suggestive image at the top of each blog post. This is a half dozen doughnuts, and it’s also making me hungry.

Ah, the olden days. I remember when all this was fields, it wasn’t like this when I was a lad, you could get a racehorse and a speedboat for two shillings and sixpence, men were men, boys were small men and women were men with different dangly bits. But most importantly, in the olden days I used to write a film blog.

That, of course, was in the days before I became the regular reviewer on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s drive time show with the esteemed Chris Mann, started writing a column in the Cambridge News and found 1,000,001 other distractions, most of them watching films. In fact, I ended up watching films so much that I didn’t really have time to watch trailers, at least in the cinema.

I also feel that the trailer is becoming a lost art form. The gravelly voice man is now just the province of Honest Trailers, and trailers are now just a window for all of the best bits of the film, desperately trying to recruit you to the cinema where you’ll see them again with lots of boring, superficial context dragging them out to two hours or more.

The rise of internet advertising and the use of the Skip button has also seen another change to trailers when viewed online: the trailer trailer. Not to be confused with the teaser trailer, which is a shorter trailer released before the main trailer, or the trailer preview, where they release part of the trailer a few days before unveiling all of it in an attempt to induce a Pavlovian response from fanboys and girls worldwide, but where you get a trailer in five seconds with lots of rapid cuts in the even that your trailer is being used as an advert; this way, you get to see a trailer even if you click “Skip in…” when it counts down to zero. If you don’t, you get two trailers for the price of one. If you watch a trailer with a trailer trailer attached before watching the film it’s trailing, you can make yourself feel like you’re being sucked into a black hole where time is gradually dilating to the point of infinity. Or you can watch five minutes of a Transformers movie to achieve the same effect. But I digress. (Ah, how I’ve missed digressing in my blog again. But I digress from my digress. A digress digress, if you will. ANYway…)

Traditionally I would at this point pick out my six, or twelve favourite trailers of the year, but they’re all so much of a muchness I’ve struggled to find that many I’d even care about. I will pick out a favourite of the year before this is over, but as I’ve not blogged all year – apart from spewing out two brief flirtations at Oscar time – I think it would be useful to review what you’re actually getting from the big trailers these days.

Let’s take the six biggest trailers of 2016, coincidentally six of the seven biggest trailers ever, and see what we can learn from them about their films, and about the increasingly lost art of the trailer.

6. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (released December 3, 81 million views in 24 hours)

So this trailer is all about reassurance. You liked the first one, because it was very slightly different from all of those other Marvel movies, in that it was funnier and set off Earth and had a tree with a five word vocabulary and a weird throwback soundtrack. So the trailer is designed to reassure you that you’ll be getting all of this again this time round, by showing you a funny scene and some spaceships and the tree being cute and awesome and with a slightly different throwback soundtrack. It doesn’t actually show you any plot, but maybe that’s a good thing?

5. Transformers: The Last Knight (released December 5, 93.6 million views in 24 hours)

*types name of film into YouTube to find official trailer*

*wades through pages and pages of people reposting the trailer, trailer reactions and trailer breakdowns*

*notices that one of the trailer reaction videos has over half a million hits*

*wonders if I’m wasting my life*

*watches trailer*

*wonders why I even bothered asking that previous question when the answer is self-evident*

4. Captain America: Civil War (released March 10, 94.7 million views in 24 hours)

It’s another entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the thirteenth in fact, and the third with Captain America in the title. So this has to fight against the law of diminishing returns and convince you that you have to be sat in the cinema. But, rather than a plot driven trailer, this is all about the stakes. Stakes that bring back Bucky (who we’ve seen before), that show off six Avengers either sitting at tables looking serious or doing cool action sequences (who we’ve seen before), that show a new character that looks like some form of Panther in a black costume (that we don’t know about yet so it’s harder to care), that shows Captain America and Iron Man fighting (we’ve seen Avengers fighting lots of times before), that puts in a cool dialogue reference to the first Captain America movie (seen that before – check) and has an inordinate amount of things blowing up. I’m not even going to say it.

But wait – who’s that wall-crawling web-slinger? We haven’t seen him before, have we? Sigh.

3. Fifty Shades Darker (released September 13, 114 million views in 24 hours)

Fifty things I learned from the Fifty Shades Darker trailer:

  1. There are, apparently, more than fifty shades of grey. Forget your Turtledove Grey or Light French Grey, we’re in Monument Grey and Forest Grey territory here, people.
  2. Jamie Dornan’s back. So despite lots of stories about “disillusionment” and “creative friction”, looks like something called a “paycheck” won out.
  3. So’s Dakota Johnson. Yes, this is the same as point two, I’m trying to make fifty points here, cut me some slack.
  4. This is the official trailer, as opposed to the unofficial trailer. (Well, that trailer doesn’t make me want to watch the film any less, anyway.)
  5. It’s made by Universal, who made $570 million dollars from a $40 million budget on the first one. Bet there were a lot of executives agonising about whether to greenlight this sequel…
  6. It’s coming on Valentine’s Day. Because what could be better than a little bondage and misogyny for the most romantic holiday of them all?
  7. We have to “forget the past”, i.e. “the first one was terrible but this will be better.”
  8. It’s personally disappointing when someone doesn’t follow slipping on a black mask by saying “I’m Batman.”
  9. There’s no way Ana could be Batman, though. Her mask is see-through. What use is that for a crime-fighting superhero?
  10. Well, the characters are back together, so presumably something’s happened since the last film. Or will happen in this one. Guessing is fun.
  11. The way to really tell someone you throw extravagant parties is with someone who breathes fire. Nothing less will do.
  12. Apparently there is no limit to the number of slowed-down cover versions of “Crazy Right Now” you can cut a trailer to.
  13. This trailer is not in order. Or some of it’s from a previous film. Look, I’ve tried really hard to forget it, OK?
  14. If you’re really rich, you can install a shower big enough to host a whole rugby team, just in case you want the dramatic effect of taking your lover against the wall to have more theatre.
  15. There’s fireworks. That’s probably symbolic.
  16. Jamie Dornan can do more chin-ups than me, and by that I mean Jamie Dornan can do a chin-up.
  17. After being stalked repeatedly by Christian, Ana is only mildly surprised when a stranger turns up in her flat unannounced while she’s sleeping, rather than freaking out and throwing things and calling the police.
  18. Oh wait, it was her imagination, which is surely even more disturbing.
  19. There’s another man on the scene, and he seems as much of a depressing manwaste as Christian.
  20. Kim Basinger, if you walk into a room and then hold up your mask, it’s missing the point, we know who you are already.
  21. Either there’s not much footage in this trailer, or Ana is practically living in that silver dress.
  22. There’s a helicopter out of control, which is probably a metaphor as well.
  23. There’s that imaginary woman again. Is this actually a horror movie? (Might be more interesting if it is.)
  24. This version of Crazy In Love is performed by Miguel. That’s lovely. (I barely know who Beyoncé is, never mind Miguel. Getting old.)
  25. It’s coming out on Valentine’s Day 2017, in case you were wondering which year it would be released based on the ambiguous card earlier that said Valentine’s Day but not the year.
  26. James Foley is on directorial duties. He did Glengarry Glen Ross, and nothing else much good. This will go one of two ways.
  27. Which means that Sam Taylor-Johnson has had a lucky escape this time.
  28. Danny Elfman is once again composing. How I would love it if his score was closer to a Tim Burton score. Or just The Simpsons theme on a loop.
  29. The screenplay is by Niall Leonard, who’s also written for Spender, Ballykissangel, Monarch Of The Glen and Wild At Heart. (All of which would have been livened up by some light spanking and dubious sex contracts.)
  30. This also means that E.L. James didn’t get to write the screenplay, so we may be denied some of her usual zingers.
  31. Somewhat unsurprisingly, I didn’t manage to find 50 things to mock in a two minute trailer, so I will complete the list with some of those actual E.L. James zingers from the book. Here’s hoping they make it into the film.
  32. “His eyebrows widen in surprise.”
  33. “I wasn’t aware we were fighting. I thought we were communicating…”
  34. “Just smell that new car smell. This is even better than the Submissive Special … um, the A3.”
  35. “Ah, Mr. Grey, your perpetually twitching palm. What are we going to do with that?”
  36. “He’s like several different people in one body. Isn’t that a symptom of schizophrenia?” (No, it isn’t.)
  37. “Not today. I was late getting in, and my boss is like an angry bear with a sore head and poison ivy up his ass.”
  38. “Sooners rather than laters, baby.”
  39. “My mother had a mantra: musical instrument, foreign language, martial art.”
  40. “I’m talking about the heavy shit, Anastasia. You should see what I can do with a cane or a cat.”
  41. “He smirks and cranks his glorious smile up another notch so it’s in full HD IMAX.”
  42. “Yes, I’ll get wrong sometimes – I’ll make mistakes, but I have to learn.”
  43. “What! Sex in the car? Can’t we just do it on the cool marble of the lobby floor…please?”
  44. “What a time to have a brain-to-mouth filter malfunction.”
  45. “My subconscious has her arms crossed and is wearing Burberry check . . . jeez.”
  46. “You are going to unman me, Ana … You — take me. Ana, touch me … please.”
  47. After a while, he sighs, and in a soft voice he says, “I had a horrific childhood. One of the crack whore’s pimps . . .” His voice trails off, and his body tenses as he recalls some unimaginable horror. “I can remember that,” he whispers, shuddering.
  48. My inner goddess is doing a triple axel dismount off the uneven bars, and abruptly my mouth is dry.
  49. I take a deep breath and head back out into the club. I mean, it’s not as if I haven’t gone panty less before.
  50. Oh! Hesitantly I pull the drawer open, not taking my eyes off his beautiful but rather smug face. Inside there are an assortment of metal items and some clothespins. Clothespins! I pick up a large metal clip-like device. “Genital clamp,” Christian says.

2. Beauty And The Beast (released November 14, 127.6 million views in 24 hours)

So you know that live action Disney film based on Cinderella that made a lot of money that wasn’t all that much like the animated Cinderella? And that live action The Jungle Book film based on The Jungle book that was a lot more like the animated The Jungle Book that made a lot more money? Well here comes a live action Disney film based on Beauty And The Beast which is a tragedy starring Danny De Vito as Beauty and Jennifer Lawrence as the voice of The Beast, who will be portrayed by a sock puppet. Only kidding, its EXACTLY THE SAME as the animated Beauty And The Beast but with added Emma Watson, so it’s probably a bit more modern and feminist. Ker-CHING!

1. The Fate Of The Furious (released December 11, 139 million views in 24 hours)

I would have watched this trailer more closely, but after their amazing F-eight pun I was trying to thing up puns for the inevitable next film. Maybe one with dogs? (The Canine And The Furious, obvs.) One based on proverbs? (A Furious Stitch In Time Saves Nine?) One where the cars give up driving on roads completely and dispense with the laws of physics all together? (On Cloud Nine With The Furious?) Or maybe just The AssiNine And The Furious? Anyway, this has a chase on ice, so apparently we’ve learned nothing from Die Another Day. If this has bad CGI surfers, invisible cars and any kind of reference to Madonna then I’m officially bailing.

Well, that’s it, the best trailers of 2016, as judged by the number of times people with low standards have watched them forty times in the first hour and a half of their upload. Which only leaves me to pick out my favourite trailer of the year.

The Best Trailer Of 2016 – Dunkirk

Simplicity is the key here. Just enough to give you a flavour, and then the construction of the shot where the soldiers react closer to the camera, then further away, felt a world away from the trailers for the generic blockbusters I’ve just been dissecting. After the disappointment of Interstellar, this got me excited for Christopher Nolan’s next immediately, and for its instant power and effect, this gets my vote for the best trailer of 2016.

Previous years:

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2015 WINNER – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2014 WINNER – The Babadook

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2013 WINNER – Gravity

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2012 WINNER – The Imposter

The Dozen Best Trailers Of 2011 WINNER – Submarine

The Half Dozen Best Trailers Of 2010 WINNER – The Social Network

 

Review Of 2015: The 12 Best Trailers Of 2015

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It’s that time of year again: it’s next year. Sorry, been a bit busy to say the least, but I will at least attempt to get my review of 2015 completed for your reading pleasure. Normally this takes a couple of weeks to lovingly craft and compile; this year I’m going to attempt to do it in a day and a bit. Wish me luck.

To start with, when I used to have time to write this blog regularly – something I’m aiming to do again in 2016 – I used to pick out the six trailers each month I was most interested in. Then at this time of year I’d then reflect on the dozen that had left the most lasting impression. Having resolutely failed to do this most months this year, it’s given me a slightly different perspective on the year this year, but I’ve still managed to find the usual handful which intrigued and excited in equal measure.

Best Trailer For A Mediocre Film: SPECTRE

After the triumph of Skyfall, the Bond producers did the only sensible thing they could and brought back Sam Mendes and many of the same team responsible for that triumph. This trailer strongly suggested that they were on course to replicate the success of the earlier film; evidence, if any were needed, that trailers can be somewhat misleading.

Best Action Trailer Of The Year: Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation

The trailer for Spectre promised high octane stunts, intense drama, attractive, empowered women and a good hit of nostalgia and failed on at least two of those counts. The trailer for this fifth incredibly-tricky-but-actually-achievable mission promised high octane stunts, the same brand of spying nonsense the other films have delivered, an attractive, empowered woman and – crucially – fun. It’s fair to say that this trailer did a much better job of delivering commitments that the film could fulfill.

Best Summing Up Of The Film In A Single Scene: Inside Out

The trailer was actually released in December 2014, but my house, my rules. A trailer for 2015’s best animation that perfectly sells the concept of the film without a word of exposition.

Best Documentary Trailer: Amy

This teaser for the slightly uneven but still compelling documentary sells you on the concept in a little over a minute. Efficient.

Best Trailer That Doesn’t Undersell The Weirdness: The Lobster

And a good Colin Farrell movie, reminding us all that they do happen from time to time.

Best Trailer That Completely Missells The Film (And Kind Of Spoils The Ending): Eden

As good as this trailer is, it suggests that a large proportion of the film is in English (it’s not), suggests that it’s generally a lively music movie (when it’s a more reflective, soul-searching film that knows its garage from its trance) and also has a decent clip of the dramatic ending of the movie thrown in for good measure. Way to go, trailer peeps.

Best Aaron Sorkin Movie Trailer: Steve Jobs

Following in the footsteps of my 2010 trailer of the year for The Social Network comes a trailer so finely honed it could have been produced by Apple themselves. Film’s not bad either (spoiler: it’s just missed out on m top 40 of the year by a whisker).

Creepiest Trailer Of The Year: The Witch

That kid going “ba-ba-baaa” is proper freaking me out.

Best (NSFW) Marketing Campaign Of The Year: Deadpool

For this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And so much more.

Most Promising Trailer For Next Year If They Don’t Screw It Up: Suicide Squad

While I am distinctly underwhelmed by the Batman vs Superman trailers and have almost no personal desire to see the film after enduring the gratingly stupid Man Of Steel, this actually looks like it might succeed in being dark but not gloomy. Anyway, the internet melted when it came out so it’ll probably make dump-trucks full of money.

Best Trailer With No Dialogue And Lots Of Star Ratings: Carol

All of the plaudits are correct as seen in this trailer, and you’ll be hearing more about this film before my end of year review is done. A delightful way to summarise the film’s style and tone without needing to use half of the plot and dialogue too.

Best Trailer Of 2015: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

To get audiences back onside, after a decade of CGI meddling and indifferent prequels and a further decade where we all thought “oh well, that’s that then”, Disney needed a marketing campaign to get the hardcore fans back onside and to convince the casual viewer that there was something worth checking out here. For me, the core of the trailer will have sold the casual viewer but it’s the two bookends that sold me on this relaunch: the opening tracking shot which gradually reveals the crashed Star Destroyer, and the final, punch-the-air reveal of Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew, together again after all these years. These two moments have made this particular trailer my favourite of 2015. And yes, I am a little biased, as I type this while wearing odd Star Wars socks. (An R2-D2 and a Yoda, thanks for asking.)

Previous Years:

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2014 WINNER – The Babadook

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2013 WINNER – Gravity

The 12 Best Trailers Of 2012 WINNER – The Imposter

The Dozen Best Trailers Of 2011 WINNER – Submarine

The Half Dozen Best Trailers Of 2010 WINNER – The Social Network

The Half Dozen: 6 Most Interesting Looking Trailers For April 2015

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April’s here, and thankfully the first of the month has been and gone without me falling for too many April Fool jokes. I would like to say I didn’t fall for any, but I am sweet and naive and I cannot tell a lie. That said, if anyone does want to assemble a fake trailer for something for next year, it would be greatly appreciated, as I need anything I can to hook me into the barrage of trailers I’m faced with every month.

I do try to watch as many trailers as possible, but with 65 films scheduled for release in UK cinemas in some form this month and 64 less Movie Evangelists to watch all those trailers, some pruning has to take place before I even fire up the YouTube. This month I took in a total of 28 trailers, and in each one I’m looking for the hook, that indefinable quality which will keep the trailer in my mind once I’ve watched so many that I’m struggling to remember my own name.

So this month, I present my half dozen trailers (plus a buy one, get one free special) with what made the film stand out before I watched the trailer, and then the hook which helped this make the list once I’d seen the respective promo. Not a fast (and furious) car, an Action Keanu or a horde of Avengers in sight, but I’m sure they’ll all be good too.

The Indian-Produced Mexican Film: Broken Horses

Vidhu Vinod Chopra, director of India’s biggest ever box office sensation 3 Idiots as well as a number of critically acclaimed Hindi films, has turned his hand to something completely different, a Western set on the Mexican-US border. Most of the promotional material online is from the Indian wing of Fox’s distribution, and it’s taken some unexpected angles.

You had me at: Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. James Cameron. But of course.

Broken Horses is on limited release from Friday 10th April.

The Not Quite Best Foreign Language Oscar Nominee: Force Majeure

The Oscars are a curious beast, and few awards are more curious than Best Foreign Language Film. Putting aside the fact that four of this year’s nominees that I’ve seen (Ida, Leviathan, Wild Tales, Timbuktu) are a country mile better than half of the actual Best Picture nominations (The Imitation Game, American Sniper, Birdman, The Theory Of Everything), you have to jump through a remarkable number of hoops even to get into the top five.

First, each country must choose one and only film and submit it, leaving the likes of Goodbye To Language and We Are The Best! falling short. The 83 films submitted then get reviewed by a committee who narrow it down to nine, and who this year ruled out Two Days, One Night, Mommy, Winter Sleep and Norte, The End Of History. (Funnily enough, they’re all better than the four Best Pictures nominees I listed as well.) And then, for reasons best known to themselves, they publish the list of nine a week before the full nominations before then cutting it down to five a week later. This year Corn Island, Accused, The Liberator and Force Majeure were the four to face last minute heartbreak.

I dream of a day when awards ceremonies just give prizes to the best films, rather than performing their current bizarre language segregation, but I also know it’s just a dream.

You had me at: Avalanche!

Force Majeure will be in art house cinemas and online at Curzon Home Cinema from Friday 10th April.

The Danish Western Set In Patagonia: Jauja

It’s got Viggo Mortensen and a brief synopsis which reads: “A father and daughter journey from Denmark to an unknown desert that exists in a realm beyond the confines of civilization.” If you’re not sold on that, maybe we shouldn’t be friends any more. No, wait, come back, only kidding! Of course we can watch Transformers again. (Sigh.)

You had me at: You’ve rounded the corners! Just like an old-timey photograph. Crazy.

Jauja is on limited release from Friday 10th April. 

Buy One, Get One Free Special On Danish Westerns: The Salvation

Quite often I’ll make a snap judgement on whether or not a film’s worth a watch based on the quality of its cast. Aside from the Casino Royale reunion of Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green you’ve also got Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jonathan Pryce and the bloke who was Beorn in The Hobbit. That would do me even before…

You had me at: Eric Cantona. I know he’s been in films before, and I’m a Liverpool supporter so shouldn’t like him, but come on, he gets his name in the credits!

The Salvation is on limited release from Friday 17th April.

The Ryan Gosling Film You Wondered If You’d Ever See In A Cinema: Lost River

Another amazing cast list (Saiorse Ronan, Ben Mendelsohn, Christina Hendricks, Eva Mendes, the geeky bloke from Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.), but the big name here was always going to be the director. Sadly Ryan Gosling’s behind-the-camera debut has picked up poor to middling reviews, but most of them claim it to be at least an interesting failure.

You had me at: So that’s what you were keeping under the fez, Doctor. (Yes, I will watch anything with a former Doctor Who in it, what of it?)

Lost River is on limited release from Friday 10th April.

The Thickest Accent In The World Competition: Child 44

Oh, so it’s who’s got the best cast time, is it? Well, I see your Mads Mikkelsen and your Saoirse Ronan and I raise you Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Charles Dance, Vincent Cassel, Jason Clarke, Tara Fitzgerald and Paddy Considine! I believe that’s a full house.

You had me at: The last time I think I heard Russian accents that thick was probably in Muppets Most Wanted.

Child 44 is on general release from Friday 17th April.

In Any Other Month This Would Seem Strange: A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence

If you want me to be all “ooh, Iron Man fighting the Hulk, and lots of other giant fighty robots”, then you’ve come to the wrong place. This trilogy capper from the man that brought you Songs From The Second Floor and You, The Living is what’s getting me most excited come the end of the month. If you’ve never seen either of those films, then go and rectify that now.

You had me at: IN THE NAME OF SANITY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO THAT MONKEY?!?!

A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence is probably the only thing you’ll find in cinemas that isn’t Avengers 2 from Friday 24th April.

The Half Dozen: 6 Most Interesting Looking Trailers For January 2015

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2015 is a year that I fear for having to hunt harder than ever for the true gems of cinema amid the overly scripted neon morass of increasingly formulaic blockbusters that will clog up cinemas of all sizes more than ever before this year. With major film shunting themselves into next year to avoid the crush, it’ll be harder than ever for the smaller films to find sufficient two hour slots in cinemas to be seen before they must disappear, and I fear for quality getting trampled in the rush.

However, we shouldn’t be too disheartened: if January is anything to go by, quality film making is far from a thing of the past, it’s just going to have to work a teensy bit harder to be seen this year than ever before. Based on my first look at the two minute promos for January – for I do try to watch trailers for every single film being released before settling on six each month – then 2015 should at least be a good year for the art form of the trailer, and it’s good to see those involved in promotion stepping up their game to get behind films looking to wrestle their way into cinemas near you.

Here for the first time this year are the six trailers that, for better or worse, caught my eye this month.

National Gallery

As a regular in London for the cinema, and particularly my frequent visits to Leicester Square, I am often conscious that I overlook some of London’s greater treasures in favour of more time at the cinema. Thankfully, documentarian Frederick Wiseman has come up with a way for me to do both. Just a shame that I couldn’t make a preview screening offered in the gallery itself, as watching a film about a place being showing as a film in the place is just delightfully perverse.

National Gallery is on limited release from 9th January.

American Sniper

Normally trailers are just a compilation of often spoiler filled clips from the film, but American Sniper has taken a different route. You might call this a clip rather than a trailer if you were being pedantic – and if you were, I’d of course applaud you – but it would seem to encapsulate enough about the film to help your decision on whether or not to buy a ticket without having to see another second of footage.

American Sniper is on wide release from 16th January. 

Whiplash

You wait ages for a film with massive amounts of drumming and then two come along at once. I hope my Birdman fatigue, some of which related to the incessant jazz drum score which underpinned the film and occasionally broke through the fourth wall, doesn’t diminish my enjoyment this time. I also hope that Miles Teller can redeem himself a little, for despite being one of the better things in last year’s That Awkward Moment, it was still one of 2014’s lowlights for me. The only way is up.

Whiplash is on wide release from 16th January. 

Beyond Clueless

When I started blogging, I tried to read as many other blogs as I could, and three in particular became regular reading. As well as Your Turn Heather and The Incredible Suit, Charlie Lyne’s Ultra Culture became required reading for his style, forthrightness and absolute willingness to pursue his own particular predilections, such as his fondness for the film Eurotrip. He’s now channelled his broader fascination with teen movies into a documentary and the trailer is as distinctive as the voice of his blog (seemingly now retired, at least for the time being, as he’s crossed over into film making).

Beyond Clueless is touring the country before its release on 23rd January.

No Manifesto: A Film About Manic Street Preachers

One of the first things I did this year was to book tickets to see one of my two favourite bands play their most iconic album in full, with the Manic Street Preachers playing The Holy Bible at Cardiff Castle. (Oddly, One Direction are playing at the Millennium Stadium the same night, so Cardiff will be a strange place to be that weekend.) I’ve not only booked my hotel as well as my ticket, but true to form I’ve already checked the release schedule for that weekend, so I may also sample Insidious Chapter 3, Spy or Electric Boogaloo while I’m down, having last been to the cinema in Cardiff nineteen years ago as a student.

No Manifesto will receive some limited cinema screenings from January 30th before being released on DVD in February.

Pelo Malo (Bad Hair)

This is my list of interesting trailers. This trailer looked interesting. Sadly my waffle about it isn’t turning out that way, but you can’t win them all. Look, a puppy! *points in the other direction* *runs away*

Pelo Malo is released in most of the UK on 30th January and in Scotland on 6th February, presumably to give Scotland chance to get over Burns Night the week before or something.

Review Of 2014: The Top 30 Scenes Of 2014

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Sometimes a film isn’t about the combination of script, director, actors, special effects and the host of other contributions, sometimes it’s about the alchemy of a particular moment that lives long in your memory. Other times it’s just about a cheap fart gag or a stupid dance. Either way, no Movie Evangelist Review Of The Year would be complete without me attempting to pick out the 30 best scenes of the year from a collection of legal and illegal clips made available via YouTube, then getting frustrated when I can’t find the clip I had in mind and discovering that half the ones I did find have disappeared within a couple of months. (When I put my top trailers together last week, one of them had been taken down before I even managed to publish the post. Grr.)

Yes, no review of the year of mine would be complete without this, except my review of 2010 because the first time I did this was in 2011. If I had done a list in 2010, the number one would either have been a bunch of monks having dinner (Of Gods And Men) or the audacious stadium chase where the camera seemingly zooms in from somewhere in the next country (The Secret In Their Eyes). Or possibly the end of Toy Story 3. Or Mary And Max. But now we’ll never know. Anyway, that’s the beauty of variety of these lists.

So after having been back to my countdowns of 2011 to 2013, and then reinstated all the clips that have disappeared since this time last year – this year a total of thirteen clips had disappeared from the last three years – I’ve now been through and assembled thirty of my favourite moments from this year’s finest.

WARNING: Viewer discretion advised. This blog post would be rated at least a 15 if I had to submit it to the BBFC, for several instances of strong language, strong violence, bloody injury detail, and dangerous bears. Well, dangerously cute bears, anyway.

30. Manakamana – Two old ladies eating ice cream

The latest film from the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard is really more of an art installation than it is a film – hence nine walkouts when I saw it in Cambridge – but if you allow yourself to be taken over by its precise rhythms there are many pleasures to be had. It consists of a series of cable car rides on a trip to and from a temple, and by the time you’ve seen half a dozen you have a rough idea of the duration. Watching two women attempt to finish their ice creams before they reach their destination becomes a surprising study in tension.

29. Starred Up – Cell invasion

The British prison drama has energy and anger to burn, and there’s no better example than this scene where Jack O’Connell greases up then arms himself ready for trouble.

28. Muppets Most Wanted – I’ll get you what you want

None of the songs in this sequel quite match the original, but this one probably comes closest. Not sure whether my favourite rhyming pair is second pillow / armadillo or diamond ring / thingy-thing.

27. Edge Of Tomorrow – Truck and roll

Edge Of Tomorrow, or Live. Die. Repeat. Or Groundhog Cruise, or whatever it’s calling itself now, had a lot of fun killing Tom Cruise, and this was as much fun as any of the deaths.

26. Lilting – Awkward introductions

You would think having to have almost every scene in the film translated would be a barrier to the drama, but as this early scene proves, it can actually add to the tension and layers of meaning.

25. Mood Indigo – The pianocktail

Very little this year – with the exception of The Grand Budapest Hotel – brought me as much joy from a single film as Mood Indigo, and I would see a pianocktail as being a fine addition to any room or deranged fantasy film.

24. Alleluia – Kitchen sink opera

Just the trailer here for Alleluia, the latest from Fabrice Du Welz, but this means the scene in the kitchen where Lola Dueñas breaks into song will remain resolutely unspoiled for when you see the film.

23. The Grandmaster – Platform altercation

Wong Kar Wei’s much delayed film had problems in the Weinstein-produced version I saw, and I’m not sure that the original cut would have fixed them, but the experience was worth it for scenes such as these.

22. What We Do In The Shadows – Werewolves not swearwolves

It’s all the little moments – like throwing the stick – that still make me think I may have harshly judged WWDITS when I reviewed it earlier in the year.

21. Kajaki: A True Story – Bomb dispersal

The trailer here gives you a flavour of the film, but most of the last hour or so is an exercise in ratcheting tension that had me gripping chunks out of the armrests. Thanks to a dedicated distribution deal with Vue, this wasn’t as widely seen as it might have been, but the scene where one character is leaping blindly across a valley of landmines was as nerve-shredding as anything seen this year.

20. The Babadook – Bedtime stories

So, you start reading a terrifying bedtime story book – at what point would you have stopped reading? Before this? Yeah, me too, probably.

19. 22 Jump Street – Who’s the daddy?

A collection here of the finest scenes, all featuring Ice Cube, from this summer’s meta-sequel that provided a lot of the year’s biggest laughs.

18. Fury – Sherman vs. German

This making of discusses the highlight of the film, a sequence where a German Tiger tank takes on four American tanks and comes off resolutely best.

17. Godzilla – HALO goodbye

You might recognise the music from this sequence if you saw the re-release of 2001 earlier this year, or if indeed you’re a fan of Lygeti’s Requiem (source of the music in question).

16. Blue Ruin – Headshot

Yep, so I didn’t see this coming when I saw it in the cinema. A film full of small, surprising moments and less conventional choices.

15. ’71 – Kicking off

The second appearance of a Jack O’Connell film in this year’s countdown, and the best moments in the film are when O’Connell is separated from the rest of his unit and forced to go on the run. For some reason this film was criminally underseen this year.

14. Night Moves – Dam busters

Couldn’t quite find the scene I wanted, which is the attempt by Jesse Eisenberg, Peter Saarsgard and Dakota Fanning to blow up a hydro-electric dam in a manner that goes about as smoothly as sandpaper covered in splinters. But this scene also shows how the lack of forward planning and Saarsgard’s laissez-faire attitude undermine the plan from the start.

13. The Guest – Brother from another mother

So this scene is when The Guest kicks into a higher gear, as Dan Stevens shows just how to deal with bullies. For my mother if she’s reading, a bonus scene with Dan Stevens. Apparently Downton hasn’t been the same since he was killed off. Can’t think why.

12. Stranger By The Lake – Ready for drowning

This making of discusses the pivotal scene at the heart of the film, which sees a crucial plot development take place in the far distance with the character watching unable to do anything except sit and be horrified.

11. Inside Llewyn Davis – Opening number

Many of these end of year lists feature Please Mr. Kennedy as their scene of choice, but I was hooked when Oscar Isaac was allowed to sing this in full. Despite not being a musical, having every song at its full length worked very much in the film’s favour.

10. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes – Tank whirl

Sadly the full clip showing the tank POV shot as the apes attack the human settlement isn’t on YouTube yet that I can find, so instead watch the Honest Trailer, which has bits of it it, but also made me feel ridiculous about even liking the film. They usually do that.

9. Under The Skin – Surface tension

A film that I originally rated 8/10 and thought would be lucky to break my top 40 this year. Then I couldn’t stop thinking about scenes like this for months.

8. Guardians Of The Galaxy – Prison break

Marvel’s blockbusters may have only been mildly revolutionary – although as it turns out Captain America: The Winter Soldier probably saved Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. from an early grave – but in terms of entertainment value, the raccoon and the tree are hard to beat.

7. The LEGO Movie – SPACESHIP!!!!

Hey, at least I didn’t play you the year’s biggest earworm, Everything Is Awesome. ‘Cos you’re thinking about it already, and I’ve only said the title, haven’t I? Anyway, this is how excited I got when I played with LEGO when I was seven. And also last week with my niece. For five hours. Awesome.

Oh, and that thing about not playing the earworm? I lied, sorry.

6. The Skeleton Twins – Starship troupers

This clip not only captures the special bond between brother and sister that persists well after childhood (it would likely be something from the original Now That’s What I Call Music album for my sister and I), but also the frustration that sometimes you have to just scream into a pillow. I might go sale shopping for some more pillows while I think about it.

5. Paddington – Meet and greet

Spending four years at university, trekking from east Kent to Bath every six weeks or so by train, meant that I spent more hours than I’d care to mention on those platforms. Yet now, I aspire to the middle class lifestyle that this short clip clearly represents. The Lost And Found sign over Paddington’s head is a delight.

4. X-Men: Days Of Future Past – Hi yo (Quick)silver

Remember, of course, that filming this at 200 frames per second means they actually had to do everything really quickly. Nice to see Bryan Singer back on the X-Men films.

3. The Raid 2: Car chase fight

This is just part of a longer sequence, but when you watch it, pay close attention to the part around the 4:23 mark. If you can’t work out how on earth they achieved that camera move, the solution in this video is both simpler and more amazing than you realise.

2. 12 Years A Slave – Hanging in the balance

From the year’s most uncomfortable film, a scene I still can’t watch without grasping at my own throat. Or soul, for that matter.

1. The Wolf Of Wall Street – Higher than an eagle

It’s maybe no surprise to see Martin Scorsese still at the height of his powers after forty years in film making, but Leonardo DiCaprio has continued to mature thanks to his partnership with Marty over the last ten of those. This clip has everything: visual style and trickery from Scorsese, the most hilariously inappropriate voiceover I can remember, and Leo showing a gift for physical comedy that probably no-one expected. Let’s hope the pair can continue to find projects to work on together if they’re as good as this.

Previous years:

The Top 30 Scenes Of 2013 – WINNER: Iron Man Three, the Mandarin reveal

The Top 30 Scenes Of 2012 – WINNER: The Muppets, Man Or Muppet

The Top 30 Scenes Of 2011 – WINNER: Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, Burj Khalifa

The Half Dozen: 6 Most Interesting Looking Trailers For December 2014

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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?

Manakamana

To the tune of the carol We Three Kings

Visit Manakamana
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.

Annie

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

Quevenzhané Wallis
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

Big Eyes

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
Credibility testing,
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

My 2015 Bar Graph Of Excitement

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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.

2015 Excitement

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.