Coming Soon Trailers
Tons of trailers this week, including a strange fixation on harming children. Johnny Depp tries desperately to make you forget the last decade of his career by going bald once again as Whitey Bulger, The Maze Runner is still running, and people climb a really big thing “because it’s there” on our wide release list. Independent and VOD fare brings us three films about child murder, from pint-sized zombies to pint-sized demons. Gotta love the lead-up to Halloween, people.
Based on an expose book, Black Mass features Johnny Depp as James “Whitey” Bulger, a well connected Irish mob boss who is approached by the FBI to help take down the Mafia. Bulger uses his new-found governmental immunity to become the top crime boss in the city, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake and sparking a manhunt that lasted decades.
When to See It: I would recommend seeing it in theaters, except I’m done giving Johnny Depp any of my money. How many “return to form” projects has he attempted in the last 5 years? A dozen? Maybe it’s time to admit he’s past his prime. I’m sticking to the book when it comes to this film.
The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
Having escaped the original maze, our band of teenage survivors must now make it through the scorch, uninhabitable ruins from a pre-collapse society, in order to find a band of resistance fighters that may hold the key to defeating the evil organization that exiled the teens into the maze in the first place.
When to See It: Never. The first Maze Runner failed to capture my imagination, and seems like a particularly dull take on the whole young adult post-apocalyptic dystopian trend that is hopefully set to expire as soon as The Hunger Games finally wraps up. Read a blurb about this series is like hitting yourself in the head with the stoopid stick™, as our “Gladers” must cross “the scorch” to find “the right hand” and topple the evil organization, “WCKD.” That is a mess of jargon masquerading as a plot, right there.
Based on a true event, David Oyelowo (Selma) plays Brian Nichols, a man accused of rape who shoots his way out of jail. A city wide manhunt forces him into the home of a recovering meth addict (Kate Mara) and the pair begin to share their experiences as a tense hostage situation forces them into a prolonged stand-off.
When to See It: Rent it. I love Oyelowo from Selma, and Kate Mara is an interesting actress as well. The story is a mixed bag, as the presence of a self-help book looks to turn what should be a riveting character study into a feel-good human interest piece. Will it be drama or melodrama? Wait for some solid reviews before diving into this one.
Two teams of climbers are on Everest, about to summit the peak, when one of the largest blizzards on record forces them into a deadly test of endurance.
When to See It: Netflix. Cinematography looks beautiful, but the story just leaves me cold (heh heh.) People climbing Everest find themselves in danger? You don’t say! That’s exactly the damn point of the exercise, I’m presuming. Like teenagers sailing the globe or balloonists who get blown off course, I have precious little interest or sympathy for glory hounds and thrill seekers who ended up in trouble. You paid your money, you take your chances.
An elementary school is the setting for the zombie apocalypse when tainted chicken nuggets introduce a virus into the school system that turns paste-eaters into brain-eaters. Since the virus only affects children, the staff of teachers and janitors must band together to survive until the dismissal bell. As they battle hordes of rabid ankle biters, they start to warm to the prospect of dishing out a little payback for all of the trouble the children have put them through.
When to See It: VOD. This looks fun, and I enjoy Elijah Wood when he plays odd roles. It remains to be seen if this film has enough quirk to overcome the fact that zombie movies are pretty played out by now, and we’ve already had a slew of “comical takes on the end of the world.” The jokes weren’t amazing in the trailer, but I think the setting is going to lend itself to some nice set pieces.
A young woman gets some very scary news on Halloween: she’s pregnant. This throws her life into chaos, and she opts to stay at home, skipping the yearly ritual of trick or treating. Unfortunately, some tiny terrors have their hearts set on more than candy, and she spends the night under siege in her home, fighting to prevent devil-spawned grade-schoolers from murdering her and her unborn child.
When to See It: Redbox. I like the premise, as it deftly uses a “kids” holiday to highlight the loss of innocence and natural terror a teen would experience learning that they are with child. Unfortunately, the trailer is so focused on standard tropes of the home invasion genre, the film may not have enough brain cells left over to really dive into the psychological aspects of the young woman’s dilemna. It does feature Robert Patrick from Terminator 2…so I could find myself upgrading this to a VOD rental if the early reviews are positive.
In a small town, the disappearance of the local teen trouble maker leads to gossip and a trial in the court of public opinion for the teen’s uncle, a previously respected but reclusive bachelor named John. An outsider returns home from making his fortune in Silicon Valley just as the tensions in the town reach a fever pitch, and gives us a window into the history and peculiarities of this remote slice of America.
When to See It: VOD…if it’s in theaters in your neck of the woods, definitely support it there. This looks gripping, with a thin layer of menace covering many recognizable aspects of life in a small town. The performances look great, especially John Ashton as Uncle John. I’m really excited for this project.