May is the traditional start of blockbuster season, but it’s the beginning of an equally exciting film trend: yes, the trailers for fall’s prestige season are starting to trickle in! So before you get lost in the BOOM BOOM SMASH SIZZLE BEAM ME UP WOMP WOMP, consider your cultured future.
Probably the biggest success at Sundance, Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” (formerly just “Fruitvale”) is looking to become this year’s indie darling, along the lines of “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Winter’s Bone” or “Precious.” Word is that the film is a big arrival for lead Michael B. Jordan (“Chronicle”) in the real-life case of Oscar Grant. If you don’t know the true story behind the film, it might be best to just let this suspenseful trailer lure you in and go in unenlightened. I’m certainly intrigued, although not salivating just yet…
…as I am for Paul Greengrass’ latest here. The British auteur has his share of critics for introducing the shaky-cam, frantic style of cinematography and editing that has taken over mainstream action filmmaking, but for my part, I think all the copycats are just a sign of how fresh Greengrass’ work on the Bourne franchise was. Then you have “United 93,” a legitimate modern masterpiece in my opinion, and “Green Zone,” a top-notch, underrated thriller. So I’m totally on board (pun!) for his latest, based on the account of the U.S. tanker Alabama, taken hostage by Somali pirates in 2009. And Tom Hanks joining the Liam Neeson Club for middle-aged men guiding a kick-ass action film? Yes please and thank you. I was so excited just to see him working again in “Cloud Atlas” last year that I think that alone might’ve made me notch my rating half a star higher.
Inside Llewyn Davis
This trailer is basically the same as the first one (and if anyone can tell me why this is red-band, please tell me; can we really not even say the word “condom” in green-band trailers, or am I missing something?), but I don’t think I ever properly talked about that first look, or my excitement for this film. The writing is typically Coen-sharp, Bruce Delbonnel’s soft blues and greens work perfectly with the melancholy atmosphere (even if it does mean *sniff* the Coens and Roger Deakins not working together for once), and I think Garrett Hedlund might not speak in the whole film. Which would really just be perfect. Word is that “Inside Llewyn Davis” is even more musical than it’s letting on, too, with original songs composed by T-Bone Burnett (music supervisor on “Crazy Heart” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”) and Mr. Carey Mulligan himself, Marcus Mumford. And after a few non-starter roles (“In Time,” “Trouble with the Curve”), I’m actually excited to see Justin Timberlake get to work with quality filmmakers again – I hope to see “Social Network” levels of talent from him again.
This first look at Alfonso Cuarón’s long-anticipated follow-up to “Children of Men” has me both excited and wary. The action is thrilling, of course – in today’s world of chopped-up editing (again, besides you, Mr. Greengrass), it’s nice to see someone championing the suspense and daring of long, continuous action shots like we see here. It helps it seem like the CGI is just a tool in the director’s kit, not the whole kaboodle. But – surely this is all basically from one scene in the film? I want to know more about what this movie is really about. Where is the suspense really going to come from? Because I’m pretty sure when that much shit goes wrong in space, you’re pretty much screwed.
August: Osage County
Excuse me while I go cry because I have to sit through another Oscar season where we pretend Meryl Streep is good at accents.
On the good side, Sam Shepard. And Ewan McGregor. And Chris Cooper. And BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH. And Julia Roberts doesn’t actually look bad?
The World’s End
OK, not so much with the prestige fare here. But I don’t care. I will follow the Cornetto Flavors gang to the…well, ends of the earth. Apparently. Even the obligatory fence-jumping joke just has a huge smile on my face. It looks like the whole thing is riffing on body-snatching sci-fi films, which seems a perfectly reasonable subject after the zombie apocalypse (“Shaun of the Dead”) and buddy cop flicks (“Hot Fuzz”). In the realm of upcoming celebrity-armageddon films, I would much rather hang out with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman and Paddy Considine than the Franco/Rogen/McBride/Hill whatever-that-movie-is.