Coming Soon Trailers: Star Wars – The Last Jedi, Ferdinand.
Oh, hey, did you hear that there’s a new Star Wars movie coming out this week?
This week we finally get the release of the beloved story about a reluctant hero and a band of misfit companions struggling for freedom and peace. Of course I’m talking about Ferdinand, the animated adaptation of a classic children’s book. Against this juggernaut of cinema, we have a niche science fiction/fantasy story about interstellar conflict and dueling space wizards.
Of course, Disney is positioned to make history once again with the release of its annual Star Wars film. Much like the first Death Star, we have just scant few hours till it rounds the moon and blows up the box office. Luckily our choices this week aren’t just limited to light-sabers and x-wings, as the VOD market has a few interesting choices as well.
Star Wars – The Last Jedi.
With battle lines drawn, both the rebellion and First Order set plans into motion to decide the outcome of the galactic war. Rey trains under exiled Jedi Master Luke Skywalker while Kylo Ren is drawn deeper down the path to the dark side.
See It?: Sure.
I have reservations about Star Wars, mostly because I felt that The Force Awakens was so cynically safe and stale…but I’m not fool enough to think anyone is going to skip seeing this. Star Wars, like Marvel, is now a gala event that not even Disney’s shady business practices can dissuade viewers from attending. One more chance to see Luke and Leia is worth feeding our Mouse Overlord, I guess.
Ferdinand looks like a fierce and fearsome bull, but on the inside he’s a big softy. Taken from his home and headed for the bull fights, he teams up with other misfit animals to gain freedom and return to his family.
See It?: Yes, if you need a kids night.
This is a well-loved kids story that looks mostly faithful to the book. Kids will enjoy it and the animation has enough polish to at least engage your senses as an adult, and all of the cheap gags may earn a chuckle or two.
Video on Demand.
Love and Saucers.
A documentary about David Huggins, an aging artist whose bizarre paintings depict his alleged lifetime of alien contact, including a romance with an ET.
See It?: Wait for it on Netflix.
It’s an interesting story, but the style of this documentary is just a touch too hands off. The trailer seems to lack any counterpoints or wider sources than just one man’s say so. I appreciate that the filmmakers wanted to reserve judgement, but I can’t say one troubled man’s assertions are enough to compel a rental.
One bad trip to the hair dresser lights the fuse for a young girl and her family, who are beset by all manners of troubles and personal foibles.
See It?: Yes.
This film definitely leans into the absurdist slice of life comedies that are ubiquitous, like Parks and Rec, Community and The Office – not surprising since Rain Wilson is involved. A few stand out performances help it over the mediocrity hump. I was charmed enough to want to see this family flail their way to a heartwarming finish.
Killing for Love.
A documentary that posits that Jens Soering, the man convicted of killing his girlfriend’s parents in a grisly case that became a media firestorm, may be innocent and taking the fall for someone else.
See It?: Yes.
This is an interesting documentary and a well-crafted trailer in that it takes a premise I find dubious and makes me want to watch a film about it anyway. The taut pacing, use of mixed media, and the notoriety of the case itself all come together to make a compelling case for my rental money, if not for Jens Soering’s innocence.
A mother and son are living the high life in expectation of a big inheritance. When the sick miser makes a miraculous recovery from a brain tumor, they need to find a way to cover their high-spending tracks.
See It?: No.
The acting in this film is so stilted and forced, it almost rises to the level of aesthetic choice, a la Yorgos Lanthimos’ films like The Lobster. Unfortunately, I don’t think the delivery was intentionally amateurish. The story itself is a fairly standard black comedy set-up with a nasty group of bumblers all trying to off an even nastier central character. I’d normally be interested, but the dialogue and acting point to an unpolished product.