Yes, there are spoilers herein. If you are planning to see Dunkirk at a theater near you and don’t want to read about how the new Christopher Nolan film treats this historical event then you may be excused. Here’s a trailer of the film below that should serve as a visual break in this Ricochet post before the review begins.
Let me begin by articulating that I am an admirer of Nolan’s work. He breathed new life into the Batman stories and made something that had been targeted previously primarily to adolescent boys something that adults could find entertaining and at times thought provoking, exploring such themes as chaos, evil and nihilism. With Interstellar, he and his screenwriting brother, took the time to explore the actual science of the astrophysics that the film relies upon with renowned physicist Kip Thorne, so it would have an air of authenticity and highly-probable believability (well, the ending was a stretch). If only Ridley Scott had applied Nolan’s same discipline and attention to detail to the laughably unscientific, Prometheus.
Welcome to Smash Cut Culture’s annual Trailer of the Year Award. This is the inaugural year and we are excited to showcase six of the year’s best trailers. It will be up to you to determine which of the six should take home the top prize.
Before we continue, we must address the big elephant in the room, or rather, the big bantha in the room. You will notice that there are a total of zero Star Wars: The Force Awakens nominations. This was done for one reason, it would have been a completely pointless contest because anything Star Wars on the internet, wins. I equate it to long discussions about who was the greatest wide receiver in NFL history, in that there are no long discussions because of Jerry Rice. There are long discussions about who is the second best NFL receiver, but the top spot belongs to Rice.
So to keep this interesting and still interactive, Star Wars trailers are banned from contention. Because for the foreseeable future, there will be a new Star Wars trailer released every year that breaks the internet. That is unless The Force Awakens turns out to suck, then all bets are off.
Now that that is out of the way, on to the nominations of which each will introduced by a top YouTube comment.
The only thing better than a movie staring Tom Hardy is a movie staring two Tom Hardy’s. Emily Browning is his co-star and narrates this true crime story of London’s notorious Kray brothers. Twin brothers who ruled the world of organized crime in England in 50s and 60s. Their story has already been told in cinema including the excellent award-winning 1990 film The Krays, staring Gary and Martin Kemp, real life brothers (not twins) who, interestingly enough, were also members of the 80s rock band Spandau Ballet (the one-hit wonder UK band who gave us the song “True“).
This go around, Tom Hardy plays both roles and with today’s visual effects artistry, the magic looks seamless. Let’s hope the story is as good as the terrific The Devil’s Double where you are so caught up in the story of madman Uday Hussein (Saddam’s son, “The Butcher of Baghdad”) and his reluctant double, Latif, both played brilliantly by Dominic Cooper, you forget that there is only one actor portraying both roles. Even if the story fails, it’s going to be a great bargain in getting two Tom Hardy performances for the price of one.
[Editor’s note: The following is a guest review by Brian Watt originally posted in the members only section at Ricochet. It has been posted here with permission from author.]
Only a handful of theaters around the country are still showing the Ridley Scott-produced and Daniel Espinosa-directed Child 44. It is available for pre-order on Amazon and iTunes now, so should be released for sale or rental within a month. If you search for reviews of the film you’ll find a mix of opinions and several of them negative though IMDB does display an overall rating of 6.4 out of a possible 10, which isn’t that bad. Most critics and moviegoers have complained that as a thriller Child 44 is just not taut or thrilling enough and instead is too dark, brooding, oppressive and ponderous — essentially not akin to other flashier blockbusters in the genre – any of the films in the Bourne series or even more realistic and slow-paced spy thrillers that probably tread more closely to actual spycraft, like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
If you want extreme car chases through the streets of Moscow, motorcycles racing over rooftops, explosions hither and thither or endless and preposterous martial arts fights where good guys and bad guys leap onto walls and do back flips and break each other’s kneecaps, then Child 44 will surely disappoint — though it does have three intense fight scenes, particularly one aboard a train, that all appear much more realistic and chaotic and less choreographed than anything you’ll see in a Bourne or Bond film.
It seems to me that the more salient reason Child 44 will disappoint is because it is not a spy thriller at all and I would argue is not intended to be a thriller but more of a detective story while also a graphic indictment of how dehumanizing communism is when practiced. The film is based on the Tom Rob Smith novel of the same name (which admittedly I’ve yet to read), but which I understand is loosely based on real-life serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo, also referred to as the Butcher of Rostov or the Rostov Ripper, who was active between 1978 and 1990 and who sexually assaulted and brutally murdered 52 women and children that authorities know about in Russia, the Ukraine and the Uzbek regions during the latter years of the Union of Soviet Socialist states.
[Update: Headline was changed to reflect Trailer of the Year Award series]
Not to step on the toes of Patrick Lehe’s Trailer Tuesday, it is Wednesday after all, but when I went to theater this past weekend to contribute to the garagantuan January box office take of American Sniper, I was rewarded with what may have been the most exciting trailer I’ve seen in a decade, Mad Max: Fury Road. I may be a tad late to this party as the trailer was unveiled a month ago, but I hadn’t seen it yet.
Not only is Mad Max back and with the original’s George Miller in the director’s chair, but our hero is portrayed by the great Tom Hardy and he’s brought along the equally talented Charlize Theron. The trailer literally (and I mean literally) had me slack jawed throughout and sporting a childlike grin when I turned to my wife when it ended – as if begging her to allow us to go see it. The visuals are stunning. The editing, music and tone captures the spirit of the madness that permeates this post-apocalytic future. Damn, I love bold filmmakers and this trailer is no exception. It remains to be seen how the plot unfolds and if Miller, who directed the animated Happy Feet movies, will set the stage of this future world as one that failed to enact a global cap & trade system, thus sentencing Earth to death by climate change.
On the news that Disney will be releasing a Star Wars film every year for the foreseeable future bouncing back and forth between various lead characters, Drew Taylor over at Studio System News decided to list 11 characters from big Hollywood franchises that he thinks would make for worthy spin-offs in the never ending struggle to squeeze every last bit of life out of an idea. While a couple of his choices seem worth exploring (Dutch from Predator and Q from the Bond films), I feel he’s reaching on most (The Worms from Men in Black and David from Prometheus) and there is no reason to. There are plenty of much better characters to draw inspiration from.
I think these seven movie characters deserve their shot at the lead role. And as an added bonus, I’ll even use my excellent casting director skills to cast the roles.
1 & 2 – Clemenza and Tessio from The Godfather I & II (1972, 1974)
This might seem sacrilegious as it would be poking fun at one of the most celebrated movie families, but hey it’s the mob – let’s have it. I ain’t out to glorify the mafia so this would be a kind of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead comical thing. The two long-time friends and underbosses to Vito Corleone fend for the family during the same time-frames as Godfather Parts I & II where certain scenes get to overlap. Vincent D’Onofrio as Clemenza and Hugh Laurie as Tessio would make a perfect madcap match.
3 – Quint from Jaws (1975)
A prequel. The young seaman is back from surviving the sinking of the ship that delivered the bomb in WWII and fighting off the sharks that terrorized the survivors. Suffering from PTSD, he retreats to Amity Island to reconcile the demons and begin his revenge against the shark. I’d give this part to Tom Hardy. (more…)