I’m not someone who is super knowledgeable on the Predator franchise, but this appears to do the horror/action part of everything fairly well, especially with the pretty over-the-top idea of an Ultimate Predator. The choice to have Sterling K Brown, who I think is one of the best performers we have right now, do most of the dialogue certainly helps pique my interest. Also, I assume that Shane Black (who is returning to the franchise that basically started his career) will add some of his trademark wit to this, so, yeah, I’m onboard.
This looks incredibly heavy as it chronicles the true story of a father watching his son struggle with addiction. Something like this needs a lot to go right, including a strong screenplay and sure-handed direction, which we’ll have to see where this movie lands on those two (the trailer at least seems promising). However, it also needs strong performances, especially from the father and son, and it does seem like we will at the very least get those, with Academy Award nominees Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet taking on those respective roles. Chalamet obviously broke onto the scene in last year’s Call Me By Your Name, and Carell has been consistently proving himself as a strong dramatic force since 2006’s Little Miss Sunshine. Seeing these two play off of each other even in the diner scene that starts this trailer is enough to suggest that both are coming in with everything they have on this movie, which will make it all the more emotionally difficult but essential to see.
I know little about what this movie is about (presumably something of a coming-of-age story), but this is genuinely one of the coolest and most original trailers that I have ever seen, with characters and frames from the movie being used as clippings from magazines and being cut and put back together. It’s easily the most impressive trailer that I’ve seen since I started doing this a few weeks ago, and if the movie has even half of the originality of this trailer, I think we’re in for something truly special.
I mean. Okay. This movie is pretty upfront with what it is, I guess. So like, tone-wise, it has a sarcastic edge to it, I suppose. It just doesn’t do a whole lot for me when I don’t understand what the actual point of the movie is. According to Wikipedia, the movie is about a town that kind of loses its mind after a major data hack. Again, this could go either way, but I’m concerned it will lean more towards just kind of drowning you in all the things it warns us about, instead of about anything resembling a story or characters.
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
This looks like a tremendous amount of fun. You have Jack Black doing his Jack Black thing (which I’m typically a big fan of), and Cate Blanchett having fun as a presumably good witch, and Kyle MacLachlan as a sinister warlock. The effects look charming, and the kid, Owen Vaccaro, seems to be holding his own against some seriously heavy hitters. I’m not a huge Eli Roth fan, but this movie feels so different from what he usually does, almost to the point that I’m willing to push aside the fact that he’s the one directing it. I’ll proceed with cautious optimism because of him, but, y’all, this looks like a wonderfully pleasant trip.
This looks like your standard Mark Whalberg/Peter Berg team-up, and if that’s something that you are interested in, then this trailer is probably everything that you could hope for, with lots of gunfire and explosions and such, all tied together with a relatively simple plot of getting an asset to another location as quickly as possible. The gun violence doesn’t particularly interest me, but the hand-to-hand stuff they set up with Iko Uwais’ character (he’s famous for The Raid action films) does admittedly capture my attention. Hand-to-hand fighting or even the John Wick-ian gun choreography is just more interesting to watch than rapid gunfire because it’s more than just a person moving forward with a big gun. It requires more skill to shoot and choreograph and that added skill makes it just more fun to watch, at least for me. I’m still not sold on the movie, but I’d watch it for those fight scenes.
With few exceptions, romantic comedies don’t really work for me. The main issue seems to be that the characters very rarely feel real to me, and feel more like caricatures of what people could be thrown into a situation, and then they just go through the motions while delivering unimpressive jokes and performing over-the-top sight gags, instead of just being naturally funny. The Big Sick transcended a lot of this last year, although that had the added benefit of being based on the true story of one of its leads, with the other participant of the true couple behind the film’s screenplay. So I’m a little surprised that this movie has me feeling encouraged about what it could be. The situation itself does feel a little movie-ish, with a man being so obsessed with a musician, he totally ignores the person who seems to be his girlfriend, causing her to write a bad review about the musician, who then subsequently asks to meet her. None of that sounds particularly genuine, but the way it seems to be played out here suggests that it could at least feel more real. Add in three strong performers and this could conceivably work.
One-Sentence Summary and Rankings
- Madeline’s Madeline– Revealing basically nothing about the movie itself, this is just one of the most striking and memorable trailers I’ve ever seen, so of course, it was going to be number one.
- Beautiful Boy– Anchored by two strong performances already on display here, this is a movie that will likely get award buzz and has me excited for what promises to be a deeply emotional film.
- The House with a Clock in Its Walls– Eli Roth aside, this looks to be a pleasant romp of a kids movie, and honestly, this world could use more fun in it.
- Juliet, Naked – Although the story itself seems to fall into the “absurd Rom-Com” type, the way it’s portrayed here, combined with three promising-looking performances, makes me think that this could pull something similar (but nowhere near as impressive) to The Big Sick.
- The Predator– The Predator stuff itself looks pretty standard, but I get to see Sterling K. Brown and Keegan Michael Key fight some aliens, so yeah, I’m okay enough with this.
- Mile 22– Fairly standard looking Mark Wahlberg/Peter Berg team-up that doesn’t show enough of Iko Uwais to really make me think this is going to be a worthwhile addition to the action franchise.
- Assassination Nation– Focusing more on its “trigger warnings” than its admittedly interesting/timely plot, this movie looks like it will likely get on my last nerve.
Photo Credit Cover Photo from Madeline's Madeline https://theplaylist.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/HelenaHowardMadelinesMadeline.jpg