Best Movie and TV Trailers of 2020! So Far!

 

 

 

 

Quick words on a few of the ones above:

GANGS OF LONDON- One of the shows I’m most looking forward to in 2020, just based on this trailer, and that it is by the director of the RAID films.

WITCH:SUBVERSION- Is right up there with GANGS OF LONDON (and DRACULA Netflix/BBC though that may be more 2019 trailer) as my favorite trailer so far of 2020. Again that does not mean it is going to be a good film, but it does mean based on the trailer… it looks FANTASTIC.

6 UNDERGROUND – I really loved the trailer for 6 UNDERGROUND. And this is one I have actually seen, and I have to say. I loved this film. While it is the bandwagon thing to bash on Michael Bay, with the exception of his TRANSFORMERS films (and I like 2 of them), I have been a fan of Michael Bay’s films. I love the two BAD BOY films he did, and I think 13 HOURS is a masterpiece. And 6 UNDERGROUND for me is another Michael Bay home-run. It has one of the best car chase scenes in film, right up there with the best ever done (films like his own BAD BOYS 2, as well as RAID 2, DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY, BOURNE ULTIMATUM, BULLITT to name a few)

WESTWORLD SEASON 3 – As someone who was not interested enough to watch season 1 or 2 of WESTWORLD, I am very intrigued by the trailer for season 3. The production values look cinematic.

EMPEROR- I praised this trailer previously. Awesome trailer.

The trailer for SERGIO looks phenomenal. The kind of political intrigue thriller that directors like Sydney Pollack and Sydney Lumet would have loved. The real selling point is in its star, who was on the show NARCOS, and just was amazing in that series.

ALL THE RIGHT PLACES – I don’t typically go for the romance, coming of age type film. Which tells you how good this trailer was, that it got me a grumpy curmudgeon, actually interested in this.

HOME BEFORE DARK – Another movie, that is not my type of movie, a family drama, this trailer moved me for some inexplicable reason.

 

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DEAL OF THE DAY!

 

Trailer of the Day : Mark Amin’s EMPEROR (2020) and great Black History Month and All Year Long DVD and Blu-Ray Pickups!

Dayo Okeniyi in Emperor (2020)

This trailer came out of nowhere, but I loved it.

I’m not crazy about the poster tag-line, a ‘true legend’, while many true things with time become the stuff of legend, and many legends are stories that have outlived and outlasted the crumbling and burying into dust of all things, even concrete evidence, the putting together of those two words… ‘true legend’ , if not exactly an oxymoron, is just slightly inept marketing. You want to put those two together, try this… ‘in a time of imposed truths, he became in his own lifetime… a galvanizing legend’ .

Took me two seconds to come up with that, and I think it shows more thought than what their marketing department did. Call me guys if you need to fire them and get a better marketing presence, we’ll talk. 🙂 .

But that aside, a very good poster and a GREAT Trailer! If the movie lives up to it, it will be a blast.

As someone who just picked up the 2 season set of UNDERGROUND (almost sold out, so you may want to pick it up while you can, use the attached link) and who is a huge fan of the best in Pan African cinema such as SANKOFA, DARESALAM, HYENAS, GENESIS, I AM CUBA, CAMP DE THIAROYE  (also available courtesy of the attached links) this film definitely goes on my must check out list. Probably along with the WITCH:SUBVERSION one of the best trailers for the Month of February.

 

UNDERGROUND 2 season DVD

SANKOFA – arguably one of the finest, and both savage and beautiful films made, of a true Holocaust. Haile Gerima’s masterpiece. and the fact that this film is out of print, and does not have a Criterion or similar high-scale Blu-ray or DVD release, is only proof that we have a long way yet to go. Get a copy, you will thank me later.

Sankofa

 

 

Daresalam

DARESALAM – This is simply put, cinema at its finest. Get your copy, while you can.

 

I AM CUBAFor years this film was not available in the west, and then when I finally saw it, I think at a film festival, yeas ago, the camera work, in a time way before CGI, blew my mind. As a fan of David Lean, and Hitchcock and Welles and Fritz Lang, geniuses with the camera, this film was like a generational evolution. In an age before Steadicam adoption, the shots were absolutely mind blowing. When it finally was released on a quality DVD boxset, I rushed out and picked it up, and I told all of you to pick it up. For those new to this blog, back in the day, those who listened to me picked it up for $40. It is decidedly more than that, but still worth picking up, if you have the funds. A Masterpiece.

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Quick rant, feel free to bypass this. 🙂

Here’s a tip you should know. Quality  non-hollywood  films about and by people of color, especially politically provocative films, have a tendency of not staying in print. And either dry up entirely on the secondary market, or explode in price before disappearing into private collections rarely to see the light of day.

I am never in a rush to pick up KNIVES OUT or 1917 or AVENGERS ENDGAME, because that is going to be there for decades to come. But when I hear about a THE GREAT WAR or EMPEROR or a DARESALAM or a BROTHER JOHN on dvd or Blu-ray, I can not race fast enough to purchase these movies. Haile Gerima, who I had the pleasure to interview back in the day, understood the importance of retaining positive images, and words, and movies, and music. That is culture.

And when the ability to view or hear or see these sounds and images, is at the mercy and whims of multinationals… culture itself is held hostage. And the people who depend on the reflective power of culture, to help define the width and the breadth of their aspirations, are likewise diminished.

And particularly today when so many are weaned on streaming, physical media is ironically both scarcer and yet more important and arguably esteemed and sought after, than ever before.

Because those in the know, understand streaming giveth and streaming taketh away, based on the uninformed whims of the lynchmob. You want your favorite film, available to watch when you want, and in the cut of the film you remember, there is no replacement for physical media. There just is not.

Here endeth the soap-box interlude. 🙂

You can take it, or you can leave it alone. 🙂
Either way, be well.

 

 

 

STAR WARS : THE RISE OF SKYWALKER – The Final Word Review :)!

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STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER – TO Set the stage for my thoughts on the rise of skywalker, to help you decide if my review is informative, it is helpful to know what informs my viewing experience.

I go into a film having avoided reviews, or special features, or tirades, or predictions, or pontifications or guesses on what it should be. Beyond the first teaser trailer, for a movie I know I am going to see, I avoid all subsequent trailers, there is no need for them, I know I am going to see the movie.

So I go into a film, as much as humanly possible, there to see the film the filmmaker decides to make, and not hoping to see the idea of a film I have made up in my head.

So off the bat, I liked THE RISE OF SKYWALER. My barometer always being at the end of the film… am I glad I saw this film in the theater? Answer? Yes.

And this is coming from someone who saw the film at a Cinebistro, with spacious selected/premium seating, and meals brought to you. For the two of us it came to about a $140 for movie, meals and drink, and tip. Now obviously for a cheapskate like me who prefers $4 matinees, this is not something I am going to indulge in more than 2 or 3 times a year, and only for special movies. At the end of the day, I liked the film and am glad I saw it in the theater, however I did not love the film.

I think a lot of times when people rail against a film, or say they dislike or hate a film ( not a word I would use for a film, hate is a word best left toward things that have raped and pillaged real things in a real world. First worlders using the word hate, for as innocuous a thing as film, have lived a very small life. Applying words out of proportion to the impetus); a lot of times what they are really saying is, that the film is not the film they were expecting, or hoped for, or wanted.

Whether a politician, or a group, or a show, or a book, or a movement, a lot of times, when we choose to dislike a thing it is  less about that thing being good or bad, than it is about that thing not being a reflection of our prejudices. Not wearing our colors, or speaking with our voice, or laughing to our jokes, or sharing our choices.

A lot of it is about something not meeting our expectations.

And in our current always on, and everything preanalyzied, and pontificated on, and second guessed and armchair quarterbacked before it ever comes out, we build up expectations, that fly in the face of actally enjoying the movie.

A lot of times enjoying the movie is about leaving what you want the film to be at the door, and going in just letting the filmmaker tell his story. Allowing them to not be a mindreader and a puppet, and do more than simply regurgitate the fanfiction in your head.

A lot of people confuse nostalgia with quality. “Oh comics today aren’t as good as they were when I was a kid, and movies, and books, and, food, and candy and cartoons”….and as someone who is older than most of you reading this, and have a fond feeling for a lot of things we have deified, the truth is that nostalgia, while comforting to look back on, the past is not necessarily better. I’ll go further, it is not usually better.

The present and the future builds on the past. The 6 minute mile gives way to the 5 minute mile gives way to the 4 minute mile.

We move, in all things, toward a more perfect union. Not all things surely, but as a median, the quality of things have improved in the hundred years from 1920 to 2020.

And in my lifetime, while I love the comic books of Stan and Jack, and Neal Adams and Denny ONeil and Keith Giffen and David Kraft, and some of those books remain masterpieces, as a whole we produce more great books in a month than they cranked out in a year. And yes, our share of bad, but I would argue the general level of craft, of art and storytelling and production is as a whole superior now to then.

And the same goes for film. Nostalgia is fine when we understand it for a feeling and not a formula or a fact, when we understand it is something that is not a barometer of quality, or a map to follow, or to necessarily always steer into.

RISE OF SKYWALKER almost from the first frame is a film that steers into nostalgia and sentiment, and those can be powerful and effective parts of a story when used sparingly, when earned. Here the early parts of the film, feel very… contrived. The humor, and the banter, and the reveal of the big bad, all feels…by the numbers,  and … yes contrived, rather than the natural outgrowth of the story.

You never get a 2nd chance to make a first impression, and RISE OF SKYWALKER starts off with a lot of telling, rather than showing. There is a lot of ‘we are going here because of this’, and ‘must do this because of that’. And while that is part of many films, it felt very obvious and clunky here, it felt like the one thing it should never feel like… it felt like exposition.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker theatrical poster upper portion with Rey, Kylo Ren, and others

I like JJ Abrams as a filmmaker. I loved his first STAR TREK, and while a huge fan of his 2nd STAR TREK film, concede that it was marred by his need to wink and steer into nostalgia, at expense of the story he is telling. Here in RISE OF SKYWALKER It feels like he is at times making fan fiction, playing to nostalgia, rather than actually having his own story to tell.

Rian Johnson’s THE LAST JEDI was met, I think, by a small but vocal group who wanted the film to be only nostalgia, and only their expectations, and only well trod ground, and Rian Johnson told a story that moved the needle, and was about change, and about the end of old things. I wholeheartedly think it is a masterpiece, that will stand the test of time. And people forget in all the social media bs, all the tornado in a teapot, that THE LAST JEDI was a box office success.

But we have become a very reactionary society, where the faceless mob, the agenda driven mob, and arguably the talentless mob, wants to be the tail that wags the dog.

RISE OF SKYWALKER to me, feels like JJ Abram to some extent capitulating and trying to appease the nostalgia crowd, as well as his own nostalgia tropes. I was and am a huge fan of the late Carrie Fisher, and that he wanted to honor her with this film, understandable. However for me, again it felt a lot of the scenes shoehorned in, at the expense of a more compelling story-line. To some extent, again to me, THE LAST JEDI used both those characters more compellingly than how they were used here.

RISE at times, besides feeling very long, feels like a list being checked off. I am not qualified and virtually no one reviewing this… is qualified to call this a bad film, any more than anyone is qualified to call any of the recent batch of STAR WARS films bad films.These are master filmmakers, all of them, and most of the people weighing in with opinions have not made a single film. It’s like someone who is not a painter, saying this painting is bad or this painting is good. You can say that a thing works for you, or does not work for you, but barometers about the quality of a product, from someone outside the industy, ill-informed at best.

So full disclosure, I like all the STAR WARS films, with the exception of the prequels. And even those I do not call bad, they just were not for me. Not everything is geared for everyone. For the intended audience of kids, those rightly may be their favorite films.

As someone who does not see the world with rose-colored glasses, or confuse nostalgia with quality, or have an agenda of hate to defend, I can say that the new films  I have enjoyed for the most part more than the original trilogy. With the exception of EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, which is arguably right up there with THE LAST JEDI as my favorite STAR WARS films.

If you take Nostalgia away from the first STAR WARS film, and compare it warts and all to any of the recent films, the recent films are stronger. They are better shot, better paced, more exciting. And that goes for RISE OF SKYWALKER , which is my least enjoyed of the new films.

 

That said, while the story JJ Abrams ended up telling I found less compelling than the less formulaic story that Rian Johnson was embarking on, there were some things I greatly liked about  RISE OF SKYWALKER. I thought the visuals were stunning. Not as Elegiac and beautiful as THE LAST JEDI, but very close.The battles were stupendous, I liked some of the sentiment, and in moments… it wowed.

So ultimately it was not the movie I would have liked to see, but for what it was, there is a lot of good here, and misgivings about the story-line aside, I overall enjoyed watching it.

Grade: B-.

Movie / TV Trailer of the Day or First Netflix Show I have been excited for in a Long Time!

Dracula_Final_VARIANT.jpg

The poster above is by Jonathan Burton, commissioned by Universal Studios to honor the original 1931 Dracula film, but in spirit it seems perfect to capture this new Netflix distributed DRACULA that is on the horizon. The new trailer looks… AWESOME!!! View it at the link below.

Lets make no mistake Francis Ford Coppola, his questionable stance on current films aside, in his heyday made some phenomenal films. APOCALYPSE NOW, and GODFATHER on anybody’s shortlist of 100 best films.

However, some of his less celebrated movies, are the ones I love the most. TUCKER starring Jeff Bridges, is a masterful film. And his BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, is the last word in the vampire film. I love my Universal Films, I love my Hammer films, PENNY DREADFUL had its moments (a poor third season ruined it for me), but Coppola’s DRACULA has been the undisputed best take on the Dracula myth.

Based on the trailer alone, this new DRACULA, may be a worthy new take on Stoker’s most celebrated tale.

The trailer has me looking forward to it, and excited for it, which is something I have not been for a Netflix property in sometime. So yeah, this one goes on my must watch list. 🙂

 

 

DEALS OF THE DAY

Movie Posters of the Day!

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for The Call of the Wild

Harrison Ford is returning to film, to do a new adaptation of Jack London’s THE CALL OF THE WILD. Not a Jack London fan, and I can take or leave his most well known novel, so whether this adaptation works, will depend on the screenwriter and director. So FAR, the trailer looks charming enough, though i’m still not sold on the cg animals. particularly when you mix live action actors with cgi actors, yes it can be done well, and it is getting better, but you are still clearly aware of the artifice. whether the movie is strong enough to transcend that artifice is DEBATABLE. honestly if they were going to do this having a real dog there, at  for the non action scenes, would i think help have grounded the movie. just in the brief trailer i didn’t buy ford and the dog, in the same scene at the same time. but, hoping for the best.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Movie Poster

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (#6 of 19)

End of the day, THE STAR WARS films have always (at heart) been fun, larger scale tributes to movie serials of old. They are supposed to be fun, people. And whether brilliant or ‘miss the mark’ for you, they all come from a place of filmmakers… trying to entertain.

If it is not for you, don’t go see them.

Stop bitching, stop whining, either shut the heck up and make your own movies,  or watch something else.  Or wait for the next one and hope it will be better. For those of you, virulently hating on the film because it is not the film your ‘no talent’ ass imagined it would be, and therefore all you have to do with your time… is spread bile on the livelihood of working people, and attack and hope the film fails… I with all sincerity think you are a tragic form of life.

It is space battles. Good guys against bad guys. And if you can’t hope for that film to be good, there is something ineffably broken with you.

For my own money. I hope every movie is going to be great. And if it doesn’t work for me, I move on to something else, and hope the next one they make will be better.

But hoping, and going thru all sorts of machinations to make a film be received poorly, again, it makes that person a particularly smarmy, unctuous and sad form of life.

Again, I’m not saying you have to love Star Wars, or any movie. I may not like the new Star Wars film, but honestly disliking , and having an Agenda against something, based on reasons outside the narrative scope of the film… well it is… classless.

Don’t be that person. Do not be subscribed to that person. 🙂 .

Whether they have a youtube channel, or blog or podcast, or website, do not be the one, spreading the mantra of hate and division and conflict. Let today be the day you speak to those people in the language they understand.

Make today the day, you unsubscribe from people who want to tear joyous things down, and try and embrace the sites and people… that want to hope for the great.

Looking forward to THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. I have to tell you, I have enjoyed all of the new STAR WARS films we have been getting; and THE RISE OF SKYWALKER looks like another one that I will enjoy. 

 

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for Knives Out (#14 of 15)

And speaking of STAR WARS; Rian Johnson made one of my favorite STAR WARS  films, so looking forward to this Agatha Christiesque film, KNIVES OUT. The cast looks great. 

 

Hiram A. Murray in The Great War (2019)

 

I don’t love the first poster for THE GREAT WAR, it seems to overlook the strengths of the trailer, also it threw me since the name of the director was either Steven Luke or Luke Schuetzle. However a little research and it appears Steven Luke is the ‘acting name’ of Luke Schuetzle, who directs, produces, and stars in this WWI biopic. However, the trailer… I LOVED. This is a movie I am looking forward to checking out. When it makes it to streaming, or theatrical or bluray/DVD.

 

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for 1917 (#3 of 3)

I have not seen the trailer for 1917 (another WW1 film), but the pedigree of being directed by Sam Mendes of SKYFALL fame, makes me very interested in catching this one as well.

 

Well that is all for this installment, if you enjoyed please give a like, and check out this week’s other posts.

Till next time, be well!

Today’s STREAMING VOD TV Guide Roku Recommendations: Youtube Edition!

Today’s STREAMING VOD TV Guide RECOMMENDATIONS – Youtube EDITION!

 

YOUTUBE:

 

Movie Posters of the Day!

All these posters grabbed my eye this installment.

In terms of the order/interest I have for them it would go:

Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s A WILD PEAR TREE (Istanbul) would probably be the first thing I tried to watch. If not in theaters, at least via streaming or DVD/Bluray. I am a HUGE fan of the Director’s 2006 film CLIMATES (if you have not seen that film, starring the director and his mesmerizing wife Ebru Ceylan, it is a stunning and amazingly beautiful film) and very interested in catching up with his newer, current work.

That would likely be followed up by Bong Joon Ho’s PARASITE (South Korea) given the praise the films is garnering, and my loving the Director’s previous films MEMORIES OF MURDER and THE HOST.

Next in order of my interest level, would be IP MAN 4, followed by BLACK WIDOW, followed by JUDY AND PUNCH, with a female take on (or answer to) the slasher genre film BLACK CHRISTMAS, being a bit of a wait and see for me. (Not really a fan of the slasher genre, so movies like that, if not done exceptionally well, will always be a hard sell for me.)

The remaining films, I need to see a trailer, or more info, to get me interested in seeing them.

 

That is this installment’s MOVIE POSTERS OF THE DAY.

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