erik lundegaard

Trailers posts

Friday November 28, 2014

'The Nostalgia is Strong With This One': 10 Thoughts on the Teaser for 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

I'm sure you've already seen it by now, but here it is again:

Thoughts as I watched:

  • 00:13: Ah, the sands of Tatooine. But then, “Phantom Menace” began that way, too. (See: this poster.) Doesn't mean the movie will be any good. 
  • 00:15: That's not Morgan Freeman's voice, is it? Please, no. 
  • 00:22: Hey, aren't all stormtroopers clones of Jango Fett? And if this dude's a stormtrooper, and he's scared, well, isn't that good? Or is he a good guy undercover—like Luke and Han in the original?
  • 00:29: A bowling-ball droid. I like the 1970s-era markings. Orange and blue were my high school colors.  
  • 00:39 Cute girl. (Daisy Ridley, it turns out.) And, like Tatooine, playing on our “Star Wars” nostalgia: from what she's wearing, to what she's riding, to the camera movement in on her. It almost feels like a shot-for-shot remake of something in “Return of the Jedi.”
  • 00:44: This plays even more to our “Star Wars” nostalgia: the close-up static shot of the rebel in the X-wing fighter. Slightly different-colored uni but same orange eyeshade. Hey, is that Oscar Isaac? 
  • 00:59: The Dark Side ... has the light? Has delight? And while it looks cool to extend the crackly portion of the light sabre into the guard, creating a cross, does it make it more effective as a weapon? I mean, doesn't it defeat its own purpose? It's supposed to guard your hand, not cut it off.
  • 1:00: The return of the Millennium Falcon and that triumphant “Star Wars” score from John Williams. OK, J.J. Abrams, you just won me over. 
  • 1:20: December 2015? Since when were “Star Wars” movies released in December? (Answer: Never. They've always been released in May. Actually, in a nine-day period in mid-May: May 16-25. So this is the biggest break from tradition in the movie: its release date.)
  • 1:25: The Force Awakens? So ... was it asleep?

For all the corporate calculation in this, think how powerful the “Star Wars” myth is. Over a 40-year period, there have been six movies released in six-year clusters (1977-83 and 1999-2005), and yet only two of them have been good. In fact, we haven't seen a good “Star Wars” movie since 1980. Yet we're still all chomping at the bit to see this one. It's either the myth or the nostalgia, and the nostalgia's powerful with this one. 

Luke Skywalker in an X-wing fighter

Luke

Wedge in an X-wing fighter

Wedge

Oscar Isaac in an X-wing fighter

Llewyn Davis

Posted at 10:10 AM on Nov 28, 2014 in category Trailers
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Friday November 21, 2014

Trailer: The Age of Adaline

This looks awful:

Jeff Wells is right: “Twilight Zone” ran a similar episode in 1960, “Long Live Walter Jameson,” that dealt with the darker aspects of immortality—how we keep making the same mistakes over and over; how we never learn. Basically, those who live through history are doomed to repeat it.

Adaline, played by Blake Lively, doesn't have the centuries of Walter Jameson but she does have a century—a rather monumental century. Born in 1908, she's rendered immortal during a magic-realism car accident in 1935. She's been on the run ever since. Apparently she runs into the arms of men and then away from them again; away from her kids, too. Then into the arms of men again. Modern day, it's a lanky, bearded Brit. I lost all interest in the movie at 1:48 when she drives off in a taxi, he cries, “Wait,” and then, worried, “How do we get in touch?” And this look from our 106-year-old:

Blake Lively Age of Adaline

It's the look of a fucking schoolgirl, not someone who's lived 100 years. There should be wisdom in her eyes. Sadness. Something.

Favorite moment? The actor playing the young Harrison Ford delivering his crooked smile:

Young Harrison Ford

How about Adaline as metaphor for the country? She stays perpetually young and learns nothing. She could help the world but it's all about her. 

Hope she's not a Cubs fan. That would be cruel. 

Posted at 12:56 PM on Nov 21, 2014 in category Trailers
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Wednesday November 19, 2014

What's Wrong with the Peanuts Movie Trailer?

It's the laughter.

First, everyone laughs because Snoopy plugs Woodstock into a socket? And he keeps getting lit up? As if electrocuted?

Then everyone laughs because Charlie Brown dumps a bucket of popcorn on his head? In “Peanuts” of old, yes, everything went wrong for good ol' Charlie Brown; but when the other kids laughed at him, we didn't think it was funny; we didn't identify with the other kids; we identified with Charlie Brown.

Plus the titles are too spread apart. “NEVER STOP” comes at 0:19, “DREAMING BIG” at 0:30. By which point we're wondering, “Wait, what about dreaming big again?”

Christmas 2015, apparently. Directed by Steve Martino, who directed “Horton Hears a Who.”

Really, this just makes me sad. They're obviously try to revive the series with the same sounds for Snoopy and Woodstock, and with the Sopwith Camel, but they miss out on the most essential element.

Posted at 07:19 AM on Nov 19, 2014 in category Trailers
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Saturday November 08, 2014

Trailer: MLK Gets Ready for His Close-Up in 'Selma'

In an MSNBC piece on the actor Jeffrey Wright published nine years ago, I wrote the following about his performance of Dr. Martin Luther King in HBO's film “Boycott”:

When I finally saw the film what blew me away was not just the imitation — that he could do both versions (rousing and everyday) of the public Dr. King — but that he was able to articulate a private Dr. King that felt real. ... The theme of “Boycott” (a good film, if too flashily directed) is that history just doesn’t happen. History is a series of choices, and the filmmakers work hard to show you the choices that began the civil rights movement. To do this they need a human Dr. King who works things through — from simply asking for a more humane bus system to demanding the elimination of segregation itself. It’s not just a great performance; no one will ever do a better Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Let me repeat that: No one will ever do a better Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now we'll see. Now, nine years later, it's David Oyelowo's turn:

Oyelowo impressed in a small part in “Lincoln” and had the thankless role as Forest Whitaker's son in “The Butler,” but he looks and sounds pretty good here. 

Other thoughts:

  • Tom Wilkinson as LBJ and Tim Roth as George Wallace? Are there no Southerners to play Southerners? Do we always have to go across the Atlantic? 
  • I love Wilkinson, but does his LBJ lack ... charm? LBJ oozed. He cajoled. Maybe he was different when dealing with King and Hoover but we need to see some of that. 
  • The march (or marches) in Selma is an interesting choice. Was it the last truly successful moment of the traditional civil rights movement? Before cries of “Black Power!” were heard, and the white middle class began to drift away? Before Chicago and the poor people's campaign and Memphis? Before Nixon's triumph? My immediate thought is: Why not Birmingham? Why not start with Greensboro and end up in Birmingham? 

But I'm glad this is being made. Because if it feels like we get Martin Luther King movies all the time, well, we don't. In fact, this is the first major theatrical film in which King is the central character. Did you get that? It's the first theatrical film in which King is the central character. Paul Winfield played him in a post-“Roots” TV miniseries in 1978, Wright in 2000 on HBO, but this is only the 43rd portayal of King ever, and most of those are bit parts in larger stories, usually on TV, about the Kennedys, or Hoover, or Hover vs. the Kennedys. Because liberal Hollywood. 

New Yorkers and Los Angelenos get “Selma” on Christmas Day. The rest of us, Jan. 9.

Posted at 08:13 AM on Nov 08, 2014 in category Trailers
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Thursday October 23, 2014

The Best Line in the 'Avengers 2' Trailer

“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the sequel to the highest-grossing, non-James Cameron movie of all time, finally relased its trailer and ... what's the phrase? We've seen this movie before. There's the big baddie, a demand for subservience, crowds crying, our heroes in turmoil. Some of the inflection in James Spader's voice even reminds me of Heath Ledger's Joker: “You're all puppets. Tangled in ... strings.” Cf. “To them, you're a freak. Like me.” 

But I liked one line. Here's the trailer:

And here's the line:

You want to protect the world, but you don't want it to change. 

I like it because it's the argument I wanted Bane to make in “The Dark Knight Rises”: Stupid Batman, maintaining the status quo for Wall Street bankers. Beating up the street-corner guys but letting the system remain the same. 

It's also a line that's true for most of us, I think. Most of us want something, something different, but we don't want things to change too much. Because who would we be in that new reality? 

The rest of it? Eh. Broken shield, fallen hammer. But it's Joss Whedon so I have hope. 

“Avengers 2” assembles on May 1, 2015.

Posted at 03:44 AM on Oct 23, 2014 in category Trailers
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