Saturday, April 27, 2013


Last week we got our first look at "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" which picks up right where the first film left off. It's immediately clear that a different, and dare I say better suited?, director is behind things. The first film was adequately made (my review) though its cast was more than capable of doing heavier lifting. They all return - well, except for the ones brutally killed - and bring the mighty likes of Philip Seymore Hoffman to the game. Lots of closed-door politics but dirty-world action are on display. Here's hoping for a high step for the franchise on November 22nd.

Still haven't bothered to catch up with "Thor" (though I believe it is currently streaming on Netflix) even though he, as played by Chris Hemsworth, was one of the best characters in last year's extravaganza that was "The Avengers." After next week's "Iron Man 3" this is the next we'll see of any of those caped, shiny or green heroes ("Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is not due until April 4th, 2013 and there's new word yet on a Hulk, Hawkeye or Black Widow film). In "Thor: The Dark World" his girlfriend, played by Natalie Portman, is targeted by warriors of Svartalfheim (a dark world). He looks to be hammering his way to glory! I'm actually a little excited for his return on November 8th.

Now make way for the best-looking superhero film of the year... The latest trailer for "Man of Steel" gives us glimpses of Superman's pre-Earth life (Russel Crowe plays Jor-El)  and a whole minute of action after donning his cape. Amy Adams gets a handful of lines, the incomparable Michael Shannon glowers and the world needs a lot of saving. On June 14th the world will see Zak Snyder's work like never before. 

"The Conjuring" deserved its Lasso of the Week last month for its first trailer, here is its second. If you plan on seeing this horror film on July 19th you may just want to remain spoiled-free and unfortunately this second trailer shows us a plateful of sequences and their attached scares. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson play the Warrens, paranormal investigators who get in way over their heads when they visit the spirit-filled home of the Perron family. From "Insidious" and "Saw" director James Wan this is shaping up to be a solid period terror.

"Pieta" is the next film from South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk. It follows a loan shark who is approached by a woman claiming to be his mother and asking for forgiveness. His is a violent and poor lifestyle and she seems more than prepared to dive in. I've heard how tis one goes some dark and depraved places ultimately to polarizing reactions. It only showed on the big screen in the States at various film festivals but is now available in stores.

A second international trailer for "Only God Forgives" is almost as exhilarating as the first and gives us some additional glimpses in the Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling's latest project. Refn has proven to have as great an hear for music in his movies as Quentin Tarantino guys... July 19th can't come soon enough for those of us who aren't fortunate enough to see it at Cannes.

"Filth" borrows a page from "Bad Lieutenant  but lives up to its name as a pretty filthy comedy in its very red-band trailer. He's a crooked Scottish cop who can't stay away from drugs and sex though wants very much to win back his wife and daughter. The trailer is frenetic and moves as much as "Trance," another James McAvoy vehicle that's currently in theaters. "Filth" releases this Fall in Europe, no word yet for an American release.

Speaking of McAvoy, he's having quite a year! "Trance" and "Filth" has just been discussed, but releasing (albeit limitedly) between the two was "Welcome to the Punch." McAvoy plays a London detective who is now closer than ever to nailing down an ex-criminal after his son is taken in custody. London nights have never looked more blue, from gorgeous aerial coverage to peeks into it city's underbelly. All three of McAvoy's films this year have a charging bull of visual ferocity behind them, though I think I'll be able to stomach this punch more than "Filth."

"R.I.P.D." is an adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name that follows a young police officer (Ryan Reynolds) who is killed in the line of duty and joins the Rest in Peace Department, a group of undead police! I wonder if there's going to be any stakes with a condition like that. The rookie if given a senior deputy in  Jeff Bridges' character, who looks to still be in "True Grit" mode. The plot evokes "Men in Black" (right?) and everything from their partnership, the R.I.P.D. base and the unabashed use of visual effects will bring to mind that Barry Sonnenfeld trilogy. No doubt the studio is hoping for something even half that successful. Will you be supporting these other men in black on July 19th? Maybe after we all see "Only God Forgives" and "The Conjuring."

Keep draggin' that coffin Django, I reckon it's prime time for the Trailer Round-Up Awards!


We've now received a U.S. release teaser trailer for Wong Kar Wai's "The Grandmaster." Lots of slo-mo martial arts in the rain folks and a completely useless English narration. I've been skeptical of this project since I first heard of it. With the "Ip Man" trilogy so fresh in our minds I wondered why we needed another version of the story. I've been hearing there's actually not a lot of action on display in "The Grandmaster" and that it's primarily a love story (Wong is responsible for a loose love trilogy of intimate yet epic proportions if you didn't know). Hearing that has me far more excited than this bland preview. Tony Leung as Yip Man will be kicking down the gates of select cities come August 23rd.


Mads Mikkelsen ladies and gentlemen.. the guy is amazing (see my review for last year's "A Royal Affair"). Currently garnering newfound recognition on TV's "Hannibal" he won the Best Actor award at last year's Festival de Cannes for "The Hunt." Lucas' lonely life is turned upside down when he is accused of child molestation. He must face the townspeople and his own family as he struggles to bring the facts to light. It's a heavy subject but such forces the most riveting performances sometimes. "The Hunt" looks to be a must-see and gets a limited release on July 12th.

And... yes, I'm doing another tie...

"A Hijacking" comes from the writer of "The Hunt" and the director of "R," Tobias Lindholm. A Danish cargo ship is attacked by Somali pirates who hold the crew hostage. Company authorities in Copenhagen must deal with the situation over the phone with all the added pressures of loved ones at home. This looks to be another intense tale from Denmark, one I'm both eager and troubled to sit down to.

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