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Archive for July, 2013


Trailer Watch: 12 Years a Slave theatrical trailer

You know it’s late summer when the trailers for dramatic films start trickling out. Today, thanks to, we’ve got the trailer for Hunger and Shame director Steve McQueen’s latest, 12 Years a Slave. Telling the true story of  Solomon Northup (the always-fantastic Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery. (Before clicking “Play,” the faint of heart among you may want to be assured that this green band trailer doesn’t show anything particularly hard to look at.)

Alongside Ejiofor are is an amazing cast: McQueen mainstay Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alfre Woodard, Michael Kenneth Williams, Sarah Paulson, and Brad Pitt. McQueen directs from a script by John Ridley. The film hits US theaters in October.

Spoiler Zone: Pacific Rim talkback


Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim came out this weekend and made $38.3 million here in the US ($91 million worldwide). It’s the biggest del Toro flick to date, but the film also cost $190 million, so it will need to show some legs to make a profit theatrically. It does seem like it’s in good shape to make a profit eventually, though, which is good for two reasons del Toro’s career and the prospect of actually seeing more original genre films get made, not just sequels and comic book adaptations. It unlikely to spawn a sequel, though. Which is fine.

More importantly, I thought the movie was really fun. The dialogue was cliché-ridden, the characters were relatively thin, and most of the actors are pretty wooden. A notable exception is the girl who plays young Mako (Rinko Kikuchi’s character) in some flashback scenes; that little girl was gifted.

Despite its shortcomings, the pacing is brisk, with only a slight lull in the middle. It’s very funny. The fights are great, particularly the one in the city. (They are sort of slow, but like Jason says in the current strip, I think it’s more because these are gigantic monsters and mecha/Jaegers that could not realistically move as fast as we’ve seen them in the past than because of slow motion. There’s a little slow-mo, too, I think, but mostly the former.)

Spoilers are okay in the comments section here, so if you haven’t seen Pacific Rim yet, you have been warned!

Trailer Watch: How to Train Your Dragon 2 teaser trailer

Okay, if you didn’t watch that yet, watch it. (And since somebody is going to ask, yes, I loved it.)

The reveal at the end, for those of you who haven’t seen promotional images before, is that Hiccup is older. Five years older, in fact.

From the official synopsis: “While Astrid, Snoutlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.”

As writer-director Dean DeBlois explained to Variety earlier this year: “At the end of last film, all these Vikings who were previously somewhat landlocked are now on the backs of dragons so the entire Northern Hemisphere opens up to them. And with that Hiccup’s curiosity increases, the map expands and inevitably they are going to come across new dragons, new cultures.” Hiccup soon “discovers a larger conflict brewing between humans and dragons and he finds himself at the center of it.”

It’s a pretty brave move, to redesign characters from a popular film like this, and I think it’s a good sign that they might actually take some chances with this sequel and give us something original enough to stand next to the original.

Trailer Watch: Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster

Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi star in the “true story” (exaggerated and/or largely fabricated) of Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man, the man best known today as the dude who trained Bruce Lee.

It came out in China back in January, and it’s finally schedule to hit American theaters this August. Check it out: