Coming Soon Trailers: A Monster Calls, Underworld 5.
The new year is off to a slow start with just one new wide release, but several limited release films gear up for national audiences with a wide expansion.
Our first new movie of 2017 is set to be the latest outing for the long running horror/action series, Underworld. The series, begun in 2003, is unlikely to unseat the current leader, Rogue One, which has been benefiting from the holiday traffic. If Underworld: Blood Wars stays true to form (around 25 million dollars on opening) then it may have trouble even making the top three, as Sing continues to earn comfortably, and many of the Oscar favorites are expanding to nationwide runs.
On the home front, the VOD market is back in swing with three new features…including another gritty crime drama starring Nicholas Cage and John Cusack. Is there some kind of club for washed up leading men? All they need is Adrian Brody to round out the cast of former stars. Anyway, lets get cracking.
Underworld: Blood Wars
The 5th outing for Kate Beckinsale as the leather clad vampire warrior, this film sees the werewolves and vampire clans do battle yet again, this time with both seeking our heroine’s blood as a means of unlocking tremendous power.
See It?: No.
My antipathy for this series is as long running as the franchise, and I still think Kate Beckinsale can’t act her way out of a pleather trench coat. Underworld has coasted domestically, but found a reliable foreign market, so expect them to keep making these awful films…and expect me to keep saying don’t watch them.
A Monster Calls
A young boy with a troubled home life finds solace in a new friend, who happens to be a giant tree monster played by Liam Neeson.
See It?: Yes.
The story has enough novelty to justify interest, and the trailer shows a penchant for some very impressive visuals. I like the aesthetic and the cast, here’s hoping the film lives up to early critical praise.
The true story of the women of color whose work made the Apollo program possible, and their struggles for recognition during the ear of segregation.
See It?: Yes.
The acting in this film looks to be impeccable, and it looks to tell a meaningful story. Hopefully the science writing is as strong as the casting.
A man, separated from his family in India since childhood, heads home with only his vague memories to guide him.
See It?: Rent it.
Another “based on a true story” drama, this film certainly has a strong emotional pitch and a decent cast, but even all of the critical praise for this film has failed to make this movie stand out for me among all of Oscar hopefuls being released this time of year.
Video On Demand
The Bronx Bull
This biopic tells the story of legendary boxer Jake LaMotta, whose early career was the focus of Robert DeNiro’s Oscar winning Raging Bull. This film focuses on LaMotta’s later life, his stormy personal relationships, and his testimony before congress about the involvement of organized crime in professional boxing. Through flashbacks, it also shows his early life and how he began his career in boxing.
See It?: Rent it.
The cast is not quite A list, and the dialogue can be over-heated at times, but this film does feel earnest and has LaMotta’s involvement. It won’t likely rise to the level of Raging Bull, but should be a decent story for fans of boxing dramas.
A group of friends head to an idyllic sea-side resort for a wild weekend, but become trapped in their apartment by a supernatural power that pits them against each other.
See It?: No.
There are a few moments of genuine creepiness in this trailer, but way too many tried and worn horror cliches. The whole whispered exposition while the camera is up the main character’s nose schtick from Blair Witch is the final straw for making me want to stay as far away from this trap as possible.
A young man is drawn into the criminal life of drugs and guns by his wild-card older brother. When his brother crosses the wrong man (Nicholas Cage) and puts their family in danger, he is forced to turn to a shady character (John Cusack) who urges both brothers to use violence to get free of their troubles.
See It?: No, no, no.
No. The first strike is the cast. Cage and Cusack have become so synonymous with crappy action thrillers these days, they must have a distribution deal with Red Box. The second and third strike is the ludicrous action. The films seems to be one part men swinging bats at every pane of glass they can find, one part Cage and Cusack chewing the scenery, and two big parts of men cocking guns over and over. Skip this by a wide margin.