Finch trailer is carefully tailored to push all the right warm, fuzzy buttons

Apple TV+ has dropped the official trailer for Finch, its forthcoming sci-fi film starring Tom Hanks as a robotics engineer who survives an apocalyptic solar flare, then goes on a trek to mountain safety with his trusty dog and robot sidekick. That is so Tom Hanks, amirite? Yes, this is a real movie, not a gag. Based on the trailer—carefully tailored to push all the requisite emotional buttons—the film looks like a strange mix of Cast Away, WALL-E, and Chappie. In the right hands, that unlikely mix just might work.

The title was BIOS when the film was originally announced in 2017. The global pandemic put the planned 2020 theatrical release on hold indefinitely, and Universal Pictures eventually sold the rights to Apple TV, which changed the title to Finch. There are reasons to be cautiously optimistic. The film is directed by Miguel Sapochnik, the mastermind behind several big, battle-centric episodes of Game of Thrones, including “Hardhome,” “The Battle of the Bastards,” “The Long Night,” and the hugely controversial (because of a favorite character’s heel turn) “The Bells.” The spec script by Craig Luck and Ivor Powell made 2017’s “Black List” of favorite unproduced screenplays. And you’ve got the world’s most likable everyman (Hanks) in the lead role.

Per the official synopsis:

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#apple-tv-plus, #entertainment, #film-trailers, #finch, #gaming-culture, #tom-hanks

MGM releases last trailer for No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s final 007 film

One of the first major films to be postponed due to the pandemic was No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007. Originally slated for an April 2020 release, the film was first postponed until November 2020 and then delayed again until April 2021. While some theaters remain closed around the world, MGM is sticking with its latest release dates: a world premiere at Royal Albert Hall in London on September 28, 2021, followed by a general release on September 30 in the UK and October 8 in the US. And the studio has released one last trailer to remind audiences that yes, this premiere is finally happening.

(Spoilers for the 2015 film Spectre below.)

As we’ve reported previously, this 25th installment in the franchise is co-produced by MGM and Eon Productions, with United Artists and Universal serving as distributors in North America and internationally, respectively. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective, Beast of No Nation), the film takes place about five years after the capture of Spectre‘s archvillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), a criminal mastermind and head of the organization SPECTRE. (Ian Fleming’s original character inspired Dr. Evil and his cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, in the Austin Powers film series.)

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#entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #james-bond, #mgm, #no-time-to-die

The long wait is over: Sony drops teaser trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home

Sony Pictures was scrambling over the weekend to quash a leaked teaser trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home. But now the studio has released the official version, announced during CinemaCon in Las Vegas by chairman Tim Rothman. And it’s a doozy: a full three minutes laying out the plot, with shots confirming some of the rumors that have been swirling since the project was announced—including the involvement of Doctor Strange and the return of several classic villains from prior Spider-Man films. Alas, it looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer to see if the rumored appearances by past Spider-Man stars (from the films directed by Sam Raimi and Marc Webb) are true.

(Some spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home and other MCU and DCEU films below.)

In 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter Parker is grieving the loss of his mentor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), who perished in the final battle against Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. What better than a summer field trip to Europe to help him process his grief? Then Nick Fury shows up and enlists Spider-Man’s help in battling a series of Elementals. Peter thinks he’s found a new mentor in Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). But Beck has his own agenda and betrays Peter. The two battle it out, and Beck is killed. But he gets his revenge, sending doctored footage of the climactic battle framing Spider-Man for his death to Jonah Jameson at The Daily Bugle. The footage also reveals Peter’s secret identity as Spider-Man to the world.

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#entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #sony-pictures, #spider-man-no-way-home

Final Eternals trailer is heavy on the exposition, eye-popping visuals

Plot details have been scant to date for Eternals, Marvel’s forthcoming film based on the comic book series of the same name created by Jack Kirby in 1976. We now have the final trailer, and it’s a doozy: nearly three full minutes of mostly new footage, heavy on exposition and the striking CGI-heavy visuals Marvel is known for. The trailer also answers one obvious burning question: just where were these incredibly powerful eternal beings when all the action with Thanos wiping out half of humanity was going down? I mean, humanity really could have used their help.

As I’ve written previously, the comic book storyline tells of alien Celestials who visited Earth a million years ago, creating two divergent races—the Eternals and the Deviants—by way of genetic experiments. Those experiments were also responsible for the rare emergence of mutations in certain humans, giving them super powers. The Eternals protect the human race from the Deviants, and the two races engage in recurrent violent clashes. The Eternals’ immortality and powers come from cosmic energy and their ability to channel it. A new Eternals comic series was launched in January of this year, written by Kieron Gillen with art by Esad Ribić. 

We know the film takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame and that an unexpected tragedy will force the Eternals out of hiding to join forces with humans to fight their ancient enemy, the Deviants. An extended teaser dropped in May, set to a mournful cover of “The End of the World.” The teaser didn’t convey much information in terms of plot, but it did give us glimpses of our primary characters over the course of centuries.

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#entertainment, #eternals, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #marvel-studios, #trailers

Nic Cage chews scenery with gusto in Prisoners of the Ghostland trailer

Nicholas Cage’s unusual artistic choices over the years have been frequently remarked upon by critics, and no doubt he’s been in some pretty bad films over his long and storied career (*cough* The Wicker Man *cough*). But he’s also chosen some truly original, visionary independent projects, most recently 2019’s Lovecraft adaptation Color Out of Space and the bloody horror comedy Willy’s Wonderland earlier this year. He’s currently earning critical raves for his portrayal of a chef turned truffle hunter in search of his stolen truffle pig in Pig. And now we have the official trailer for Cage’s latest film, Prisoners of the Ghostland, a post-apocalyptic thriller that looks like Max Max transported into a surreal samurai Western.

Prisoners is helmed by idiosyncratic auteur Sion Sono. While Sono isn’t a household name in the US, he has enjoyed a fair amount of fame in his native Japan and on the film festival circuit. The Hollywood Reporter once called him “the most subversive director working in Japanese cinema today, with nearly 50 films of various genres—rite-of-passage stories fueled with social transgressions, all-out sex-and-gore thrillers, hip-hop musicals, and warm human drama.” He’s perhaps best known for 2008’s Love Exposure, a four-hour (!) art-house comedy drama inspired by Sono’s own youthful experience with a cult.

Prisoners of the Ghostland is Sono’s English-language debut, and it looks like a good fit for Cage’s colorfully flamboyant, mega-acting style. (Cage himself has called his method “Nouveau Shamanic” or “Western kabuki.”) The film premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival to decidedly mixed reviews, although both Cage’s performance and Sono’s striking visuals received praise.

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#entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #nicolas-cage, #rlje-films, #trailers

New Ghostbusters: Afterlife trailer teases return of lots of familiar faces

We finally have a new trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which was delayed multiple times before landing on its current November release date. This sequel to the iconic Ghostbusters films from the 1980s introduces a new generation to the franchise. So it’s fitting that the film is directed by Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You for Smoking), son of Ivan Reitman, director of the 1980s’ films and one of the producers on Afterlife.

As I’ve written previously, Vanity Fair offered a first look at the latest film in [checks notes] December 2019, featuring several stills—including one showing the tricked-out ambulance from the original Ghostbusters. Per the official synopsis, “A single mother and her two children move to Summerville, Oklahoma, after inheriting property from a previously unknown relative. They discover their family’s legacy to the original Ghostbusters, who have become something of a myth, as many have long since forgotten the events of the ‘Manhattan Crossrip of 1984′”—i.e., the events of the original film. 

Carrie Coon (The Leftovers) plays mom Callie, while Mckenna Grace (The Haunting of Hill House) plays her science-loving daughter Phoebe. Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) plays son Trevor. Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) plays summer school teacher Mr. Grooberson. The cast also includes Logan Kim as Podcast, Celeste O’Connor as Lucky, Oliver Cooper as Elton, Bokeem Woodbine as Sheriff Domingo, Marlon Kazadi as Thickneck, Tracy Letts as Jack, and Sydney Mae Diaz as Swayze.

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#film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #ghostbusters-afterlife

We have our best look yet at supervillain Mandarin in new Shang-Chi trailer

Marvel’s official trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is here, giving us a bit more of the title character’s backstory. It also serves up glimpses of classic villains the Mandarin and Abomination and a supporting (yet crucial) character from 2016’s Doctor Strange.

Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, this is the first Marvel film to feature an Asian lead—Simu Liu, best known for his role as Jung Kim on the sitcom Kim’s Convenience—as well as a predominantly Asian/Asian diaspora cast and crew. Marvel continues to keep plot details tightly under wraps, except to state that the main character gets drawn into the clandestine Ten Rings organization and must confront his past. “Shang-Chi’s main problem in his life is rooted in not knowing who he really is,” Cretton has said. “He has to learn how to own every part of himself. If he doesn’t allow himself to look at all of it—the good, the bad, the light and the dark—and to own it all, he won’t be able to reach his full potential.”

The “ten rings” of the title refers to the Marvel Comics supervillain Mandarin’s Ten Rings of Power (worn on the fingers in the comics, shown as arm bracelets in footage from the Marvel film), each with a different feature: ice blasts, flames, or mind-control, for instance. As we’ve reported previously, Marvel created an entirely new character, Wenwu, who has gone by many names over the years, including the Mandarin, who made an appearance in Iron Man 3—or rather, Ben Kingsley played Trevor Slattery, an imposter posing as the Mandarin.

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#entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #marvel-studios, #mcu-phase-four, #shang-chi

The “loser, B-grade supervillains” are back in new The Suicide Squad trailer

Australian actor Jai Courtney introduces a new “early access” trailer from Warner Bros. for director James Gunn’s forthcoming The Suicide Squad, in which Courtney reprises his role as Captain Boomerang from 2016’s Suicide Squad. It’s got quite bit of new footage and some small additional details (such as why Idris Elba’s Bloodsport is in prison in the first place). Each of the three trailers released so far has been better than the last, so we have high hopes for this film.

As I’ve written previouslyThe Suicide Squad is not a direct sequel to the 2016 film; Gunn has said he wanted to take the franchise in a new direction and introduce new characters. He drew inspiration from writer John Ostrander‘s original 1980s Suicide Squad comics. (Ostrander has a small role in the final film.) Gunn has described his R-rated film as a superhero version of the classic 1967 film The Dirty Dozen, selecting characters he described as “loser, B-grade supervillains.”

Joel Kinnaman and Viola Davis reprise their 2016 roles as Col. Rick Flag and Intelligence Officer Amanda Waller, respectively, with Steve Agee playing John Economos, prison warden and aide to Waller. The squad this time around includes Elba’s Bloodsport, Peacemaker (John Cena), Courtney’s Captain Boomerang, Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), Savant (Michael Rooker), King Shark (voiced by Rooker’s Cliffhanger co-star Sylvester Stallone), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), Javelin (Flula Borg), and everyone’s favorite psycho, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie).

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#dc-universe, #entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #james-gunn, #the-suicide-squad, #warner-bros

Warner Bros. releases trailer for noir-esque sci-fi thriller Reminiscence

Hugh Jackman stars as a man who helps clients recover lost memories in the sci-fi thriller Reminiscence.

A solitary man living in a dystopian near-future helps people recover lost memories and ends up uncovering a violent conspiracy in Reminiscence, a sci-fi thriller that feels like a cross between classic film noir and ambitiously heady fare like Memento and Inception. That’s no surprise, as it’s the feature film directorial debut of Lisa Joy, co-creator (with husband Jonathan Nolan) of HBO’s critically acclaimed series Westworld.

Per the official premise:

Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman), a private investigator of the mind, navigates the darkly alluring world of the past by helping his clients access lost memories. Living on the fringes of the sunken Miami coast, his life is forever changed when he takes on a new client, Mae (Rebecca Ferguson). A simple matter of lost and found becomes a dangerous obsession. As Bannister fights to find the truth about Mae’s disappearance, he uncovers a violent conspiracy and must ultimately answer the question: how far would you go to hold on to the ones you love?

During a virtual event on Wednesday, Joy said she was inspired to make Reminiscence after finding an old photograph among her grandfather’s belongings. The picture was of an unknown woman her grandfather had never mentioned to anyone in the family. “It made me start to think about memory and our lives in general,” she said. “And the moments that maybe pass by, and maybe disappear—they don’t stay with us, those connections necessarily—but that meant something, that changed us and touched us. And how nice it would be able to go back to these memories fully for a moment, to live that life and feel the way you felt when you experienced them.”

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#entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #hugh-jackman, #lisa-joy, #warner-bros

Famed Arthurian tale comes to silver screen in The Green Knight trailer

Dev Patel stars as Sir Gawain in the forthcoming epic medieval fantasy film, The Green Knight.

An ambitious young knight of King Arthur’s Round Table makes an ill-advised bargain and embarks on a personal quest in the new trailer for The Green Knight, a forthcoming film by director David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon, A Ghost Story) adapted from the famous 14th-century medieval poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Originally meant to debut at the 2020 SXSW festival, with a May 2020 theatrical release, the film was shelved in the face of the global pandemic. With theaters slowly reopening around the country (and the world), The Green Knight is finally being released this summer.

(Spoilers for the 14th-century medieval poem below.)

The original poem falls into the chivalric romance genre, relating a well-known story from Arthurian legend. (I highly recommend J.R.R. Tolkien’s translation from 1925 or Simon Armitage’s 2008 translation, recently revised.) On New Year’s Day, King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table gather at Camelot to feast and exchange gifts. A mysterious Green Knight disrupts the festivities and proposes a different kind of exchange: any one of the knights may strike him with one blow with his axe; in return, the Green Knight will come back in a year to return the blow. Sir Gawain, the youngest of the knights and nephew to Arthur, accepts the challenge and beheads the Green Knight. Everyone is shocked when the Green Knight picks up his severed head. He says Gawain must meet him at the Green Chapel one year hence to receive a similar blow, per their bargain.

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#a24-studio, #dev-patel, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #the-green-knight

Marvel drops first teaser for Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings

Simu Liu stars as a martial artist trying to escape his past in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

A young man who once trained as an assassin for a Chinese criminal organization discovers just how hard it can be to escape one’s past in the first teaser for Marvel Studios’ upcoming film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings, part of the MCU’s Phase Four. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, it is the first Marvel film to feature an Asian lead—Simu Liu, best known for his role as Jung Kim on the sitcom Kim’s Convenience—as well as a predominantly Asian/Asian diaspora cast and crew.

The title character first appeared in a Marvel comic in 1973, after the company had tried and failed to acquire the comic book rights for the popular 1970s TV show Kung Fu (starring David Carradine). Modeled in part on Bruce Lee, Shang-Chi was originally the son of Chinese criminal mastermind Dr. Fu Manchu, trained in martial arts since childhood to become an assassin. After Marvel lost the rights to the Fu Manchu character, Shang-Chi’s paternity became murkier, but the international crime lord theme was common—although his father was revealed to be an ancient immortal sorcerer in the Secret Avengers storyline.

Shang-Chi has not traditionally had special superpowers, but his training in multiple styles of martial arts and assorted weaponry makes him a formidable opponent and a useful ally. Plus, he is a master of chi, making him even stronger and faster—fast enough to dodge bullets. When he eventually joins forces with the Avengers in the comics, Tony Stark gives him a pair of bracelets to further focus his chi (as well as some snazzy high-tech nunchaku).

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#entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #marvel-studios, #mcu, #mcu-phase-four

Mercenaries take on heist in zombie-ridden Vegas in Army of the Dead trailer

Dave Bautista stars in the zombie heist film, Army of the Dead, directed by Zack Snyder.

Fresh off the successful release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, we’ll soon be getting the director’s latest project: Army of the Dead, about a group of mercenaries that attempts a heist in a zombie-ridden Las Vegas. In a sense, Snyder has come full circle. His directorial debut was 2008’s Dawn of the Dead, an entertaining reboot of the original George Romero classic from 1978.

Army of the Dead started out as a joint project between Universal Studios and Warner Bros. back in 2007. But like so many films, it got stuck in development hell, until Zack Snyder signed on as director in 2019. Netflix picked up the distribution rights from Warner Bros. soon after.

Per the official premise:

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#army-of-the-dead, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #netflix, #zack-snyder

It’s the Tune Squad vs the Good Squad in Space Jam: A New Legacy trailer

The LA Lakers’ LeBron James stars as himself in Space Jam: A New Legacy, a sequel to the 1996 film Space Jam.

NBA basketball star LeBron James and a team of Looney Tunes animated characters must win a virtual basketball game against the digitized champions of an evil A.I. in Space Jam: A New Legacy, a sequel to the 1996 film, Space Jam. With its blend of live action and animation, the original became one of the most iconic films of the 1990s. The sequel updates the basic concept for the virtual age, to create what looks like a cross between The LEGO Movie (and LEGO Movie 2) and Ready Player One, with a dash of TRON for good measure.

(Some spoilers for the original film below,)

Space Jam is basically a fictional account of NBA superstar Michael Jordan’s return to basketball in 1995 after retiring in 1993 to play baseball. (It was inspired by a couple of Nike commercials.) In the film, Jordan falls into the Looney Tunes animated world to help the so-called “Tune Squad”—all the most popular animated Looney Tunes characters—win a basketball game against a group of enslaved aliens called the Nerdlucks. In addition to Jordan, NBA players Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, and Muggsy Bogues also make cameos. (The aliens steal the latter five’s talents to transform themselves into formidable opponents.)

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#entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #space-jam-a-new-legacy, #trailers, #warner-bros

Harley Quinn has new bad guy allies in The Suicide Squad red band trailer

Idris Elba and Margot Robbie headline an ensemble cast of colorful supervillains recruited for a special military tactical response team in the red band trailer for The Suicide Squad (embedded below). It’s Director James Gunn’s (Guardians of the Galaxy) standalone follow-up to 2016’s Suicide Squad. It’s actually pretty tame as red band trailers go, playing up the jokey camaraderie amid all the explosions, gunfire, and blood spatter. Tonally, Gunn’s film feels like a cross between Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool—in other words, it looks like a lot of fun, and it’s definitely something we’re keen to see when it debuts this summer.

(Some spoilers for prior DCEU films below,)

The original Suicide Squad took place a year after the death of Superman in Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Intelligence Officer Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) receives permission to create Task Force X, a tactical response team to combat “metahuman” threats. The group is composed entirely of criminals and supervillains and is led by Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). The government plants nanite bombs in their necks to keep them reasonably under control, promising to shorten their sentences if their missions are successfully fulfilled. The all-star cast included Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, and Jared Leto as The Joker. 

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#dceu, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #james-gunn, #the-suicide-squad, #trailers

Let them fight! Mortal Kombat red-band trailer gives fans what they want

Warner Bros. has released the red-band trailer for its forthcoming Mortal Kombat reboot, which had long languished in development hell. A Russian-dubbed version of the trailer initially leaked on reddit, according to Eurogamer, before being pulled. It’s basically a nonstop, blood-soaked fighting fest, featuring all the fan favorites from the popular video game franchise.

(Some spoilers for the games and earlier films below.)

Midway Games released the first Mortal Kombat game in 1992, which proved hugely influential for many a teenager who frequented video arcades during that era. There have been 11 main games and multiple spinoffs in the franchise thus far, all set in a fictional universe of eight different realms. The greatest warriors from the various realms must compete in a series of Mortal Kombat tournaments to conquer other realms.

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#entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #mortal-kombat, #warner-bros

Jared Leto’s Joker is back in new trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Happy Valentine’s Day, DCEU fans: HBO Max dropped a new trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

Disappointed DC Extended Universe fans were clamoring for a “Snyder cut” soon after the release of 2017’s Justice League, and Warner Bros. eventually obliged them, announcing it would release the full director’s cut on HBO Max. For Valentine’s Day, the studio dropped a full two-minute-plus trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League to further reward the fandom’s patience. Count me among the skeptics on the question of whether we really needed a “Snyder cut,” but I must admit, based on the full trailer, Snyder’s version does seem markedly different from the theatrical release. Among other changes, the trailer includes a brief glimpse of Jared Leto’s Joker, who didn’t appear at all in the original.

As we’ve reported previously, the original Justice League was the third film in a trilogy that included Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). It brought together Ben Affleck’s Batman and Henry Cavill’s Superman with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). They are on a mission to save the world from arch-villain Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), a “New God” in search of three “Mother Boxes” that will enable him to terraform the Earth into something more hospitable to him and his army of Parademons.

Snyder completed all the principal photography and was well into post-production, but he stepped down as director in May 2017 following the tragic suicide of his daughter, and the studio turned to Joss Whedon (The Avengers) to complete the film. Whedon rewrote the script, adding some 80 pages, and did extensive reshoots, bringing more humor and a brighter tone into the mix. He also cut more than 90 minutes of Snyder’s original footage to accommodate the studio’s requested 120-minute runtime, although Whedon’s version retained the basic story outline. The result was what some critics called a “Frankenstein” film, struggling to incorporate the very different visions of two directors. Reviews were mixed, and while Justice League wound up grossing $657 million, the purported break-even point was around $750 million.

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#dceu, #entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #snyder-cut, #zack-snyder, #zack-snyders-justice-league

Marvel drops action-packed two-minute Falcon and the Winter Soldier trailer

Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their roles as Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes in Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, coming to Disney+ in March.

Marvel Studios did the Super Bowl right by releasing a lengthy two-minute trailer for its upcoming new series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.  Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their roles as Sam Wilson (the Falcon) and Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier) for the Disney+ show, which is set after the events of Avengers: Endgame. The pair will “team up on a global adventure that tests their abilities—and their patience.”

(Some spoilers for prior MCU films below.)

You may recall that after the Avengers and their many allies finally defeated Thanos in Endgame, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) handed over his shield to Sam so he could take on the mantle. But will Sam accept it? That’s part of what The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will explore over the course of its six episodes, and showrunner Malcolm Spellman has said the tone will be similar to Captain America: Winter Soldier. Marvel is purportedly spending in the range of $25 million per episode to ensure a cinematic quality for the series.

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#disney-plus, #entertainment, #falcon-and-the-winter-soldier, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #marvel-cinematic-universe, #marvel-studios, #mcu-phase-four, #trailers

Warrior princess fights to save humanity in Raya and the Last Dragon trailer

Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina star in Disney’s new animated feature Raya and the Last Dragon.

Disney has released the official full trailer for its upcoming animated film, Raya and the Last Dragon, with Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina voicing the titular characters. It has the distinction of being the first Disney animated feature to be remotely developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, working with home equipment and mostly communicating via Zoom. The pandemic also caused the film’s release date to be shifted multiple times. It’s now slated for a March 5 release, both in theaters and on Disney+ with premier access.

Disney first announced the film during its 2019 D23 Expo and presented co-directors Don Hall (Big Hero 6, Moana) and Carlos Lopez Estrada (Frozen II, Blindspotting) at D23 the following year. The fictional fantasy land of Kumandra was inspired by several different Southeast Asian cultures—Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, and the Philippines—and the production team traveled extensively to most of those countries to research the film. A Lao visual anthropologist also reviewed the final designs.

Per the official synopsis:

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#disney-animation, #disney-plus, #entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #raya-and-the-last-dragon, #trailers

Godzilla vs. Kong trailer is a rock ‘em, sock ’em monster mashup

Two powerful forces of nature collide in a battle for the ages in Godzilla vs. Kong, premiering simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max on March 26, 2021.

It’s powerful Titan pitted against Titan in the first trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong, the fourth film released as part of Legendary Picture’s “MonsterVerse” franchise, co-produced and distributed by Warner Bros. Directed by Adam Wingard, the film is not meant to be a remake of the 1962 Japanese classic, King Kong vs. Godzilla; rather, per Wingard, it will directly tie into the events of its 2019 predecessor, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and feature a “more rugged” and aging Kong.

(Some spoilers for some prior films in the MonsterVerse franchise below.)

The MonsterVerse franchise started in 2014 with Godzilla, in which a soldier tries to return to his family while caught in the crossfire of the battle between Godzilla and a pair of parasitic monsters known as MUTOs. The studio followed up three years later with Kong: Skull Island, set in 1973, in which a team of scientists and soldiers travel to the titular Skull Island and encounter Kong, the last survivor of his species. And in 2019, the studio released Godzilla: King of the Monsters, a sequel to the 2014 film, in which Godzilla and Mothra team up to defeat a prehistoric alien named King Ghidorah, who has awakened other ancient creatures (Titans) to destroy the world.

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#film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #godzilla-vs-kong, #hbo-max, #legendary-pictures, #warner-bros

Anthony Mackie plays an android supersoldier in Outside the Wire trailer

Anthony Mackie stars as an android drone pilot in the near future who must track down a doomsday device in Outside the Wire.

A drone pilot is sent into a deadly militarized zone where he finds himself working for an android officer tasked with averting a doomsday scenario in Outside the Wire, the latest high-profile feature film from Netflix. This one stars Anthony Mackie as the android protagonist, fresh off his stunning performance in the sci-fi indie film Synchronic (included in our roundup last month of the best films released in 2020). That, and Netflix’s solid track record with its feature films, are reason enough to be intrigued.

Per the official synopsis:

In 2036, America serves as a peacekeeping force and human troops on both sides are supported by robot combatants called Gumps and drone pilots monitoring skirmishes from thousands of miles away. But after headstrong drone pilot Lieutenant Harp (Damson Idris) disobeys a direct order to intervene in a conflict, the Army deploys him to a military outpost to confront the human costs of his button-pushing.

Harp’s expectations of guarding a fence are upended when his new commanding officer Captain Leo (Anthony Mackie) announces plans to infiltrate the demilitarized zone and apprehend Viktor Koval (Pilou Asbæk), a warlord who intends to launch a network of dormant nuclear weapons. Soon, Harp learns that his theoretical experience as a drone pilot means little out on the battlefield under enemy attack—especially after discovering that Leo is an A.I.-enhanced supersoldier whose strength, speed and demand for results promise to turn his real-world education into a trial by fire.

That pretty much sums it up. The trailer opens with Harp arrives for his reassignment, apparently because he has trouble following the rules—or, as Leo (the classified prototype supersoldier) prefers to think of it, an ability to “think outside the box.” A bit of a buddy-cop vibe separates the two, with Leo teasing his subordinate about the mushy inscription on the back of Harp’s girlfriend’s photo (“Awwww… ‘my gummi bear…. ‘”). We learn that Leo is capable of human emotion despite his extensive combat training (or, er, programming), and he has a neat trick of temporarily removing his tracker when he wants to go off the grid (“Sometimes you got to get dirty to see any real change”). Then the fisticuffs, property damage, and explosions kick in.

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#anthony-mackie, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #netflix, #outside-the-wire, #trailers

Chloë Moretz battles gremlins on a plane in Shadow in the Cloud trailer

Chloë Grace Moretz stars as a tough-as-nails female Women’s Auxiliary Air Force captain who finds herself battling gremlins aboard a B-17 Flying Fortress in Shadow in the Cloud.

Chloë Grace Moretz (Kickass) plays a female WWII pilot on a secret mission who must contend with an evil gremlin attempting to dismantle her B-17 in mid-air in Shadow in the Cloud, a horror/action film that debuted at the Toronto International’s Film Festival in September, and is now coming to VOD on New Year’s Day.  Based on the trailer, it looks like a mashup of Gremlins meets Snakes on a Plane, with some over-the-top Vin Diesel-style action tossed in for good measure.

Set in 1943, the film had a somewhat rocky road on the way to completion. Max Landis—creator of the BBC’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, based on the Douglas Adams novels, and son of Director John Landis—penned the original draft script, and relative newcomer Roseanne Liang was hired to direct. Then Landis was accused of sexual and emotional abuse by eight women and dropped from the project. (In a since-deleted tweet, Director Josh Trank, who worked with Landis on the 2012 low budget superhero movie, Chronicle, said he believed the accusations and had even banned Landis from the set during Chronicle‘s principal photography.)

Liang overhauled the script herself, punching up the female empowerment angle while still maintaining the horror/action thriller sensibility. The film premiered at a Toronto drive-in, and proved hugely popular with festival attendees, even winning the People’s Choice Award for Midnight Madness. (It already holds a 74 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.) All that buzz led to a distribution deal with Vertical Entertainment and Redbox Entertainment, purportedly worth about $5 million—apparently the first “drive-in theater movie” to be so acquired, per Deadline Hollywood.

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#chloe-moretz, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #shadow-in-the-cloud, #trailers

Daisy Ridley, Tom Holland are hunted on distant planet in Chaos Walking trailer

Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley star in Chaos Walking, a film adaptation of the award-wining trilogy by Patrick Ness.

A young man and woman on a distant planet called the New World find themselves on the run from a town of religious fanatics in Chaos Walking, a forthcoming film directed by Doug Limon and based on the award-winning sci-fi trilogy of the same name by Patrick Ness. And the film boasts two megastars: Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey in the most recent Star Wars trilogy, and Tom Holland, the latest incarnation of Spider-Man in the MCEU.

The series consists of three novels—The Knife of Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men—as well as three short stories set in the same fictional universe, intended as companion pieces to the novels. The series takes place on a planet called New World, where we meet Todd, a boy living in a religiously devoted settlement known as Prentisstown, led by the megalomaniac mayor, David Prentiss. There are no women left, and all the men are afflicted by something called the “Noise,” which makes their thoughts audible, driving many of them mad. The same is true for Todd’s little dog, Manchee. This is purportedly the result of biological warfare on the part of a native intelligent species known as Spackle, who resented the arrival of the colonizers. The germ killed all the women and left the men with the Noise.

One day, Todd discovers a patch of silence (a “hole in the Noise”) in a nearby swamp, and when he tells his adoptive parents about it, they insist he has to flee Prentisstown. Back in the swamp, Todd comes face to face with Viola, a young girl who has crash-landed on New World in a small scouting craft, ahead of an incoming ship of new planetary settlers. They are relentlessly pursued by the Mayor, his son Davy, and an evil preacher named Aaron as they seek refuge with other, more peaceful settlements—including a town called Haven that is rumored to have a cure for the Noise—in hopes of finding a way to warn the incoming ship of the potential violence they face.

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#chaos-walking, #daisy-ridley, #doug-liman, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #lionsgate, #patrick-ness, #science-fiction

Bruce Willis returns to space to kick some alien derriere in Breach trailer

Bruce Willis battles an alien life form aboard an interstellar ark  en route to a New Earth in Breach.

An interstellar ark transporting the last humans on Earth to a new home inadvertently brings along a shape-shifting alien stowaway in Breach, a new sci-fi action film starring Bruce Willis and directed by John Suits. The trailer just dropped, and the film looks like a fairly generic mix of elements from Alien, The X-Files, and Event Horizon. But anything that lets Willis “yippee-ki-yay” his gun-toting way to saving humanity from aliens in space is okay by me.

Suits is best known for 2016’s Pandemic, essentially a zombie horror thriller shot entirely from a first person point of view, like a video game. He also directed the recently released short Diehard is Back, a fun Willis-starring commercial for Diehard batteries that pays tongue-in-cheek homage to the franchise, including a few cameos that should delight fans. (“From fighting his way to Advance Auto Parts to racing against the clock to install his new DieHard Battery—McClane will stop at nothing, to start his car again.”) So I’m hopeful that Suits can bring a fitting mix of suspense, action, and humor to Breach, and just let Willis be Willis.

Originally titled Anti-Life, the film’s premise is that a devastating plague has wiped out much of Earth’s population, and the survivors are being evacuated via an interstellar ark to “New Earth.” Willis plays Clay Young, described as a hardened mechanic who is part of the crew selected to stay awake and maintain the ark for the six-month journey. But then he discovers a shapeshifting alien (or “a malevolent cosmic terror,” per the early press materials) has also stowed away on the ark, and it seems to be intent on killing everyone on board.

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#breach, #bruce-willis, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #saban-films, #science-fiction, #trailers

James Corden is a snarky AI that might take out humanity in Superintelligence

An all-powerful AI (James Corden) chooses to study the most average person on Earth, Carol Peters (Melissa McCarthy), to determine if humans are worth saving in Superintelligence.

Let’s face it: this is going to a dismal holiday season for film lovers, with most movie theaters shuttered for the foreseeable future and just one major release—Wonder Woman 1984—left standing after studios shifted all their blockbusters to next year. And even Wonder Woman 1984 is likely to end up getting bumped to next year from its currently planned Christmas Day release date unless we can get this raging pandemic in check quickly.

On the bright side, streaming platforms and VOD are doing their best to fill in the gap, and the dearth of major new releases is giving a lot of smaller indie films a better chance to find an audience. Plus, HBO Max just dropped the official trailer for Superintelligence, an action comedy starring Melissa McCarthy—and directed by her husband, Ben Falcone—that will drop Thanksgiving Weekend.

But the decision to skip the usual broad theatrical release in favor of the streaming platform was made last year—before the pandemic hit. That makes this film an intriguing potential harbinger of what the media ecosystem for films might look like in the future, especially for midbudget films. It was a big marquee acquisition for the fledgling HBO Max, which officially launched in May.

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#ben-falcone, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #melissa-mccarthy

George Clooney is a grizzled Arctic astronomer in The Midnight Sky trailer

George Clooney directs and stars in The Midnight Sky, based on the the novel Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton.

Netflix has bet heavily this year on high-profile feature films starring A-list talent: first with Chris Hemsworth in Extraction, and then with Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron in The Old Guard. That bet has largely paid off. Now the streaming platform has tapped another Oscar winner, George Clooney, to direct and star in the post-apocalyptic science fiction film The Midnight Sky. It’s adapted from the critically acclaimed 2016 debut novel, Good Morning, Midnight, by Lily Brooks-Dalton, which has been compared to Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. The official trailer just dropped, and it’s giving us some strong Away vibes (which, alas, has been canceled by Netflix after just one season).

In the novel, a brilliant astronomer named Augustine is posted to the Arctic, scanning the night sky for clues about the birth of the universe. Then a mysterious global apocalypse occurs, prompting all his fellow scientists to evacuate. But Augustine remains behind, dedicated to continuing his research, even as the airwaves go silent. Meanwhile, a team of astronauts aboard the spaceship Aether is set to return to Earth after a mission to Jupiter. On board is Sully, who sacrificed her marriage and left her daughter behind in order to become one of the first humans to travel so far in our Solar System. The astronauts are unaware of the catastrophe that has befallen Earth, and it falls to Augustine to warn them not to return.

Snow is white, space is black

Clooney’s film adaptation looks like it will hew closely to the novel. Per the official premise: “This post-apocalyptic tale follows Augustine (Clooney, Syriana, Argo), a lonely scientist in the Arctic, as he races to stop Sully (Felicity Jones, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and her fellow astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.” The cast also includes David Oyelowo (Selma, Don’t Let Go) as Commander Tom Adewole, Ethan Peck (Star Trek: Discovery), Sophie Rundle (Peaky Blinders), Kyle Chandler (Bloodline, First Man) as Matthew, Tiffany Boone (The Following) as Maya, Demián Bichir (A Better Life) as Sanchez, and Caoilinn Springall as Iris, a mysterious child that Augustine befriends in the Arctic.

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#entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #george-clooney, #netflix, #science-fiction-television, #streaming-television

Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa take on vicious creatures in Monster Hunter trailer

Milla Jovovich plays Captain Artemis, who must battle monsters after being transported to a hidden world in Monster Hunter.

US soldiers must fight for their lives in a parallel world filed with gigantic, aggressive creatures in Monster Hunter, a forthcoming film adapted from the hugely successful global video game franchise of the same name. Die-hard fans of the games are already noting their displeasure with the trailer, which I get—let’s be honest, the trailer looks a little cheesy. But the film also co-stars martial arts star Tony Jaa of the Ong-Bak franchise, which in my book makes up for a lot of sins. And director Paul W.S. Anderson was the driving creative force behind the wildly popular Resident Evil film franchise.

The Monster Hunter games are Capcom’s second bestselling game series—behind the Resident Evil series—with more than 64 million units sold globally to date across all platforms. Anderson (Mortal Kombat) discovered Monster Hunter while visiting Japan in 2008, and adapting a film from the game world became his new passion project. With the hope of establishing another successful film franchise, he enlisted his own wife, Milla Jovovich (who starred in the Resident Evil films), for the lead role of Captain Natalie Artemis, a US solider who falls into the gaming world via a portal—Anderson’s plot device for introducing cinema audiences to that universe.

In the Monster Hunter role-playing games, players choose a Hunter character, along with custom armor and weapons. The characters don’t have intrinsic abilities, like traditional RPGs; rather, whatever abilities they have derive from the choice of weapons and armor. Those choices are basic at first, and players collect additional resources from their quests to conquer various monsters—including fashioning new assets from parts gleaned from the defeated creatures. In single-player mode, the Hunters are usually accompanied by a Felyne or sentient cat creatures known as Palicos for additional support.

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#entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #monster-hunters, #sony-pictures-entertainment

All we want for Christmas is Mel Gibson’s Bad Santa in the Fatman trailer

Mel Gibson plays a bitter, hard-drinking Chris Cringle in the forthcoming film Fatman.

If you’re one of those people who consider Die Hard and the first Lethal Weapon film a classic Christmas movie double feature, we’ve got good news for you. Mel Gibson plays a broke, embittered, hard-drinking, heavily armed Santa Claus in the forthcoming action/comedy Fatman. The official trailer dropped yesterday, and it looks like an irreverently fun, wild ride.

Written and directed by brothers Eshom and Ian Nelms (Small Town Crime), the film co-stars Walton Goggins (The Righteous Gemstones, Ant-Man and the Wasp) and Oscar-nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets and Lies, Blindspot). Per the official premise:

To save his declining business, Chris Cringle (Gibson), also known as Santa Claus, is forced into a partnership with the U.S. military. Making matters worse, Chris gets locked into a deadly battle of wits against a highly skilled assassin (Goggins), hired by a precocious 12-year-old after receiving a lump of coal in his stocking. ‘Tis the season for Fatman to get even, in the action-comedy that keeps on giving.

“I don’t know what I’m doing wrong—I’ve lost my influence,” we see Gibson’s Cringle mourn to Mrs. Cringle (Jean-Baptiste) about the decline in his business. “Maybe it’s time I retired the coast. Some kids with an air rifle put two holes in the sleigh and one in me. All I have is a loathing for a world that’s forgotten.” So when the US military arrives to “procure” his services, he accepts, with the caveat that it will be a “one-time deal.”

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#entertainment, #fatman, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #mel-gibson, #saban-films

Latest Free Guy trailer is giving us strong Upload vibes

Ryan Reynolds discovers he is a background player in a video game in the epic adventure-comedy Free Guy.

20th Century Studios has dropped a new trailer for Free Guy, the sci-fi comedy starring Ryan Reynolds, currently slated for a December 11 release. But in these pandemic times, all release dates are basically pencilled in until further notice—which is why Reynolds and company also released an amusing teaser in which they debate potential alternate dates for the film’s release.

Per the official premise: “A bank teller who discovers he is actually a background player in an open-world video game decides to become the hero of his own story… one he rewrites himself. Now in a world where there are no limits, he is determined to be the guy who saves his world his way… before it is too late.”

Tonally, the trailer feels like a live-action Wreck-It Ralph with dashes of The Matrix and the Deadpool movies thrown in for good measure. In fact, the new trailer is giving us strong Upload vibes, which can only be a good thing, since Upload was one of our fave new series this year.

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#20th-century-studios, #entertainment, #film-trailers, #free-guy, #gaming-culture, #ryan-reynolds

Beware of sandworms: Dune trailer gives us our first look at an epic world

Timothée Chalamet stars as Paul Atriedes in Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming adaptation of Dune.

Warner Bros. debuted the first trailer today for Dune, director Denis Villeneuve’s ambitious (could it be anything else?) adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sprawling epic novel. It was preceded by a livestreamed event in which Late Show host Stephen Colbert interviewed Villeneuve and several cast members: Timothée Chalamet (who stars as Paul Atreides), Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Jason Momoa, and Sharon Duncan-Brewster.

Dune is set in the distant future and follows the fortunes of various noble houses in what amounts to a feudal interstellar society. Much of the action takes place on the planet Arrakis, where the economy is driven largely by a rare life-extending drug called melange (“the spice”) that also conveys a kind of prescience. There’s faster-than-light space travel, a prophecy concerning a messianic figure, giant sandworms, and lots of battles, as protagonist Paul Atreides (a duke’s son) contends with rival House Harkonnen and strives to defeat the forces of Shaddam IV, Emperor of the Known Universe.

That brief synopsis hardly does justice to the sweep and enormous cultural influence of Herbert’s novel. When it was first published, the Chicago Tribune called it “one of the monuments of modern science fiction.” Astronomers have used the names of fictional planets in Dune to identify various topographical features on Saturn’s moon Titan. Herbert wrote five sequels, and the franchise also includes board games, computer games, and numerous prequels and sequels written by his son, Brian Herbert, with Kevin J. Anderson.

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#denis-villeneuve, #dune, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #timothee-chalamet, #trailers

New No Time To Die trailer showcases everything you’d expect in a Bond film

Daniel Craig plays James Bond for his fifth and final outing in No Time To Die.

Movie theaters are starting to open up again in spots around the globe—basically, anywhere that has gotten coronavirus outbreaks under control. So now is the perfect time to remind frustrated filmgoers about No Time To Die, the next film in the James Bond franchise, starring Daniel Craig in his fifth and final outing as 007. A fresh trailer just dropped, with a scheduled release date of November 12 in the United Kingdom and November 20 in the United States (as always, coronavirus willing).

(Spoilers for the 2015 film Spectre below.)

This 25th installment in the franchise is co-produced by MGM and Eon Productions, with United Artists and Universal serving as distributors in North America and internationally, respectively. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective, Beast of No Nation), the film takes place about five years after the capture of Spectre‘s archvillain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), a criminal mastermind and head of the organization SPECTRE. (Ian Fleming’s original character inspired Dr. Evil and his cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, in the Austin Powers film series.)

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#daniel-craig, #entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #james-bond, #united-artists, #universal-pictures

Robert Pattinson is a broody Caped Crusader in first teaser for The Batman

Robert Pattinson is the latest actor to don the iconic mask and cape in The Batman.

Capping off a long day of sneak peeks, panels, and teaser trailers at DC FanDome this past weekend, Warner Bros. dropped the first teaser for The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson (of High Life and the Twilight franchise) in the title role. It’s directed by Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes), and—surprise, surprise—it’s another dark, gritty take on the classic superhero—this time with more of a film noir/detective story vibe.

There is a long and tangled backstory to this latest incarnation of the classic comic book superhero. We all know that Ben Affleck was cast as Batman for a three-film trilogy in the DCEU: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016), and Justice League (2017), which had its own well-publicized production woes. Warner Bros. announced plans for a standalone Batman film in the fall of 2014, with Affleck set to reprise the role, as well as directing and co-writing the screenplay.

The original plan was to set the film within the DCEU, after the events of Justice League. But as Warner Bros. was rethinking the shared-universe model for its superhero films in favor of standalone films and franchises, Affleck announced he was stepping down as director, and the studio replaced him with Reeves. Affleck would eventually withdraw from the project altogether, following his divorce from Jennifer Garner and a stint in rehab for alcohol abuse.

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#dc-fandome, #dc-universe, #entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #robert-pattinson, #the-batman, #warner-bros

New Wonder Woman 1984 trailer offers first look at Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah

Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) fights crime in the 1980s in Wonder Woman 1984.

Warner Bros. dropped the latest trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 today during the DC Fandome online event, giving us our first real look at Kristen Wiig’s villainous Cheetah. Bonus: we get to see a miraculously revived Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) don parachute pants in an attempt to blend with the times, much to the amusement of Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince.

Inspired by the comic book heroine created by William Moulton Marston in the 1940s for DC Comics, Wonder Woman made her big-screen debut in the DCEU with 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, followed by 2017’s Justice League. As we reported previously, the first fell short of box office expectations; the second bombed outright. So when Jenkins took on Wonder Woman’s origin story, she deliberately departed from the grim humorlessness and dark sensibility of those earlier films, bringing a brighter energy and wit to her tale, along with the usual action. That vision paid off: Wonder Woman went on to gross $821 million worldwide and earned critical raves, making it the most successful of the DCEU films thus far.

Since we’re now in the 1980s, Diana is operating in a Cold War scenario, taking on Pedro Pascal’s villainous Maxwell Lord, a shrewd and powerful businessman. Wiig plays Barbara Ann Minerva, a British archaeologist who will eventually evolve into her arch-nemesis Cheetah.

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#dc-universe, #entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #warner-bros, #wonder-woman-1984

Bill and Ted Face the Music drops final trailer with a new release date

Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter reprise their iconic roles in the final trailer for Bill and Ted Face the Music.

We finally have the official full trailer for Bill and Ted Face the Music, courtesy of Orion Pictures, plus a new release date: September 1, 2020. And for those of us who are skeptical that the majority of theaters will have opened their doors by then, the studio will be releasing the film simultaneously on demand. That’s most excellent news all around.

As we reported last month, in the original 1989 film, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are high school students in danger of flunking history. If that happens, Ted’s father will ship him off to a military academy, thus breaking up their band, Wyld Stallyns. But the band is destined to usher in a future utopia, which is now threatened. With the help of a time machine in the form of a phone booth—provided by Rufus (George Carlin), a messenger from the year 2688—the pair travels through history, meeting Socrates, Billy the Kid, Sigmund Freud, Beethoven, Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc, and Abraham Lincoln, among others.

The movie was a surprise hit, grossing $40.5 million against its modest $6.5 million budget. So naturally it spawned a sequel, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991), in which the boys must defeat their evil robot doubles from the future to preserve the utopian society based on their ideals. Among the highlights: Bill and Ted must play a game against Death in order to free their souls and return to Earth to win the Battle of the Bands. It’s a clear nod to Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957) where a man plays a game of chess in hopes of defeating Death. Bill and Ted challenge the Grim Reaper to Battleship, Clue, and Twister, easily winning every time.

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#bill-and-ted, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #keanu-reeves, #orion-pictures

Rasputin features in all his mad mystic glory in The King’s Man final trailer

Ralph Fiennes stars in The King’s Man, a prequel to the successful Kingsman franchise.

Any trailer that features Rhys Ifans chewing up the scenery as the mad mystic Rasputin is going to be a winner, and that’s just what we get in the final trailer for The King’s Man, Director Matthew Vaughn’s prequel film to his successful Kingsman franchise. It was originally meant to be released on November 15, 2019, then rescheduled for February 14, 2020, before 20th Century Studios moved the film to its current release date: September 18, 2020.

(Spoilers for first two Kingsman films below.)

As I wrote when the first trailer dropped last fall, the Kingsman franchise is based on the Marvel comic series The Secret Service by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons, which spawned two very successful action/comedy spy films. In the first film, Eggsy (Taron Egerton), the young son of a deceased Kingsman agent, is recruited to follow in his father’s footsteps by Harry Hart (Colin Firth), aka Galahad. (All the Kingsman agents take on the monikers of the Knights of the Round Table.)

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#20th-century-studios, #entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #prequel, #the-kings-man, #trailer

Whoa! First teaser for Bill & Ted Face the Music drops, is most excellent

Our favorite time-traveling dynamic duo is back this summer in Bill & Ted Face the Music.

Whoa! Orion Pictures has dropped the first trailer for Bill & Ted Face the Music, the long-awaited sequel to the popular franchise that launched in 1989. There’s a reason the studio chose this particular day: June 9, or 6/9, is the number Bill and Ted were thinking of when they met themselves in front of the Circle K, just over 30 years ago.

(Spoilers for first two Bill & Ted films below.)

In the original 1989 film, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are high school students in danger of flunking history. If that happens, Ted’s father will ship him off to a military academy, thus breaking up their band, Wyld Stallyns. But the band is destined to usher in a future utopia, which is now threatened. With the help of a time machine in the form of a phone booth (provided by a messenger from the year 2688), the pair travels through history, meeting Socrates, Billy the Kid, Sigmund Freud, Beethoven, Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc, and Abraham Lincoln, among others.

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#alex-winter, #be-excellent-to-each-other, #bill-ted, #bill-ted-face-the-music, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #keanu-reeves, #orion-pictures, #trailers

Kevin Bacon is a writer with a dark secret in You Should Have Left trailer

Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried start in the forthcoming psychological horror film You Should Have Left.

Kevin Bacon achieved cult success with 1990’s Tremors, but he also starred in another film that somehow didn’t achieve the same lasting success, despite being one of his strongest performances. That film is Stir of Echoes (1999), an unjustly ignored supernatural thriller adapted from a novel by by Richard Matheson. It had the misfortune to hit theaters the same year as The Sixth Sense and The Blair Witch Project.

Now Bacon is reuniting with Stir of Echoes writer and director David Koepp in You Should Have Left, a forthcoming psychological horror film from Universal, co-produced by Jason Blum and Blumhouse Productions. The official trailer just dropped, and we’re getting some strong The Others meets The Shining vibes from this tale of a haunted house that doesn’t want to let its occupants leave, which bodes well for the final film.

The film is adapted from a 2017 German novella of the same name by bestselling author Daniel Kehlman. It’s written in the first-person style of a diary belonging to an unnamed screenwriter attempting to write a sequel to an earlier hit film. With the studio pressuring him for a draft, he rents a house and takes his wife—an aging actress for whom work is becoming scarce—and four-year-old daughter on a long vacation in hopes of finishing the script.

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#blumhouse-productions, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #horror-films, #kevin-bacon, #trailers, #you-should-have-left

A detective hunts a costumed vigilante in Major Grom: Plague Doctor trailer

Major Grom: Plague Doctor is adapted from the Russian comics of the same name.

A rogue detective who doesn’t always play by the rules hunts a costumed vigilante serial killer in the first English-language trailer (well, subtitled) for a Russian superhero film called Major Grom: Plague Doctor, directed by Oleg Trofim (Ice). There’s some pretty strong The Punisher vibes here, as well as V for Vendetta. The Major Grom comic books, created by Artem Gabrelyanov, have been likened to the early Batman comics in tone, which might explain the Dark Knight overtones as well.

(Some spoilers for the Russian comics below.)

The original Major Grom comics were published between 2012 and 2015, later spawning several spinoffs. The protagonist is Major Igor Grom, a detective in St. Petersburg who has mean martial arts skills and takes part in the occasional amateur boxing competition (aka Russian Fight Club). He has a tendency to bend the rules, which irritates his young rookie partner, Dmitry “Dima” Dubin, who prefers to play things by the book. Grom’s love interest is an investigative reporter named Yulia Pchelkina, whose skill set proves useful in helping solve Grom’s various comic book cases. A billionaire social media mogul named Sergey Razumovsky is Grom’s archnemesis. Razumovsky is a philanthropist by day but murders homeless people by night, all in the name of cleaning up St. Petersburg.

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#bubble-comics, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #trailers

With theaters still closed, Warner Bros. drops latest Tenet trailer in Fortnite

John David Washington and Robert Pattinson star in Christopher Nolan’s forthcoming new film, Tenet.

With cinemas shut down all over the world for months, all eyes have turned to July, when two major studio releases are set to debut: Disney’s Mulan (bumped from its original March release), and Director Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated sci-fi thriller, Tenet. It looks like Warner Bros. is boldly sticking with the latter film’s planned July 17 release date, despite all the pandemic-fueled uncertainty. The studio just dropped a new trailer, which made its debut in an unusual medium: playing every top of the hour in the popular battle royale game Fortnite

We know very little about the film, not even the usual carefully crafted official premise, although the film’s title is a palindrome, meaning it reads the same backward and forward—a subtle clue. Nolan has kept any additional details (including character names) tightly under wraps. It stars John David Washington (Ballers, BlacKkKlansman) and Robert Pattinson (Twilight franchise, The Lighthouse). The film also features Kenneth Branagh (Murder on the Orient Express), Michael Caine (Inception, Interstellar), Clémence Poésy (Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter films), Himesh Patel (Yesterday), Elizabeth Debicki (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), Martin Donovan (Ant-Man), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-ass), and Indian film stars Dimple Kapadia and Denzil Smith.

The first trailer dropped last December. As I wrote at the time, “Fresh off his Oscar-nominated World War II drama, Dunkirk, Nolan seems to be returning to his high-concept sci-fi roots with Tenet.” That trailer opened with a shot of two men rappelling up a building, in seeming defiance of the laws of physics. “We all believe we’d run into the burning building,” a voiceover tells us. “But until we feel that heat, we can never know.”

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Charlize Theron is a badass immortal in action-packed The Old Guard trailer

Charlize Theron stars in the film adaptation of The Old Guard, coming soon to Netflix.

Charlize Theron is one of those actresses whose beauty seems to defy the passage of time, and in The Old Guard, a new blockbuster action movie coming to Netflix, she plays a literal immortal. Just think more mercenary-for-hire than Highlander, although there are likely to be thematic similarities with the latter. The streaming giant seems to be leaning hard into action movies with big-name stars, given this film and last month’s megahit, Extraction, starring Chris Hemsworth.

(Mild spoilers for the comics below.)

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball), the film is an adaptation of the comic of the same name by Eisner-award winning author Greg Rucka (Lazarus, Wonder Woman), with art by Leandro Fernández (Deadpool, Punisher: MAX). The main protagonist is Andromache of Scythia, aka Andy, who is trapped in an immortal life for centuries, for some mysterious reason.

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Chris Hemsworth stars as a ruthless mercenary in trailer for Extraction

Chris Hemsworth stars in the new Netflix movie Extraction, produced by the Russo Brothers.

A ruthless mercenary is hired to save the kidnapped son of an international crime lord in Extraction, a new film debuting later this month on Netflix to further alleviate our sheltering-in-place ennui. It’s produced by the Russo Brothers (Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: End Game), which is probably how they snagged Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, as the star. We can thank Netflix for Stranger Things‘ David Harbour’s welcome appearance.

Joe Russo penned the script, and the duo tapped stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave to make his directorial debut. Hargrave’s stunt work has been featured in several MCU films (Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok, for example), as well as The Hunger Games franchise and Atomic Blonde. So if nothing else, we can definitely look forward to some well-choreographed action sequences with Extraction.

The official premise is short and sweet: “Tyler Rake (Hemsworth) is a fearless black market mercenary who embarks on the deadliest mission of his career when he’s enlisted to rescue the kidnapped son of an international crime lord.” Compounding matters is the fact that Rake has recently lost his own son and is dealing with the grief and depression one might expect from such a tragedy. And the extraction of the crime lord’s son, Ovi (played by newcomer Rudraksh Jaiswal), proves significantly more difficult than originally anticipated.

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Pixar’s Soul trailer treads similar existential ground as Coco, Inside Out

Jamie Foxx voices middle school music teacher Joe Gardner in Pixar’s Soul.

A high school music teacher on the verge of a big break finds himself taking an unexpected detour through the afterlife in Soul, the latest animated feature by Pixar. Based on the trailer, it looks like Soul will have a similar existential emphasis on depicting highly abstract conceptions of human consciousness and the afterlife as Pixar’s Inside Out (2015) and Coco (2017).

Directed by Pete Docter (Inside Out, Up), Soul features the vocal talents of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs, and Questlove. Per the official synopsis:

Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before—a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks, and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22 (Tina Fey), who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions.

Docter told Entertainment Weekly last November that the film is “an exploration of, where should your focus be? What are the things that, at the end of the day, are really going to be the important things that you look back on and go, ‘I spent a worthy amount of my limited time on Earth worrying or focused on that’?”

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Natasha Romanoff faces off against Taskmaster in final Black Widow trailer

Marvel’s Black Widow final trailer.

Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) goes back to her roots to take down a ruthless mercenary recruiting other young women to be combat operatives in the final trailer for Black Widow, Marvel’s long-overdue standalone feature film delving into the mysterious past of the late titular Avenger.

(Some spoilers for Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame below.)

As we wrote last December, we know that the Russian-born Natasha/Black Widow was trained as a spy/assassin in a secretive academy known as the Red Room, which disguised itself as a ballet school. All the “Black Widows” were sterilized, so Natasha is unable to bear children. Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), aka Hawkeye, is sent to take her out but recruits her to S.H.I.E.L.D. instead. The two become fast friends, and both wind up joining the Avengers, giving Natasha a family of sorts. When the group splits in Captain America: Civil War, Natasha initially sides with Tony Stark/Iron Man, even though that pits her against Barton and Steve Rogers. But her loyalties remain divided, and in the battle at Leipzig Airport, she lets Rogers and Bucky Barnes escape.

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We are so on board for Jordan Peele’s clever reinvention of Candyman

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Us, Watchmen) stars as visual artist Anthony McCoy in Candyman, Jordan Peele’s re-imagining of the 1990s horror franchise.

A visual artist inadvertently reawakens a monster from a Chicago urban legend in the first trailer for Candyman. Co-written by Jordan Peele and director Nia DaCosta (best known for her 2019 film Little Woods), it’s technically another sequel to the 1992 film that inspired it rather than a straight-up remake. In fact, it looks to be following the trend of such recent projects as Watchmen and Cobra Kai: honoring the prior storyline(s) while bringing them firmly into the present day.

(Spoilers for original film below.)

Based on the Clive Barker short story “The Forbidden,” the original 1992 Candyman starred Virginia Madsen as a Chicago graduate student in sociology whose thesis deals with urban legends. She hears about a series of murders in the Cabrini-Green public housing project. The killer is rumored to be the ghost of a late 19th-century artist named Daniel Robitaille (Tony Todd) who was lynched because he fathered an illegitimate child with a white woman. The mob cut off his right hand and smeared him with honey to attract bees to sting him before scattering his ashes over what is now the project’s grounds.

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