Synopsis: A young teacher discovers her troubled student’s father and younger brother harbor a deadly supernatural secret. Taking the boy into her care, the teacher must fight for their survival against horrors beyond imagination.
Release Date: TBD 2020
Thoughts: Never judge a book by it’s cover and never judge a movie by its title. The first time I heard about a horror film coming out called Antlers, I wrote it off as another nature run amok schlock fest.
Wait though, take a look at that poster. It’s kind of creepy and a little intriguing. Ooo…it’s produced by Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toto (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark)? It’s starring Keri Russell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and Jesse Plemons (Game Night), two interesting actors that seemingly make intelligent, thoughtful choices on their projects? Hey now, you say it’s directed by Scott Cooper, the same guy that gave us Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace and it’s being distributed by indie offshoot Fox Searchlight? Ok, but let’s wait and see about the trailer.
(Watches trailer with its eerie imagery and scant details that give little about the plot away that hasn’t already been provided in the promotional materials.)
Thoughts: I know it’s difficult to do, but even after watching the trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate I’m trying not to jump for joy quite yet. The last time we all got excited for a new Terminator movie we wound up with 2015’s stinkeroo Terminator Genisys. In 2019, the studio is counting on fans turning out not only for the familiar face of Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Expendables 3) but for original creator James Cameron (Titanic) returning as producer and, most very importantly, Linda Hamilton appearance as Sarah Connor. This first teaser doesn’t give us much indication how much Schwarzenegger and Hamilton will be involved in Tim Miller’s (Deadpool) new “day after Judgment Day” Terminator film but with Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049) already impressing as a tough new breed of Terminator and action set-pieces that indicate some jaw-dropping fun…I’m hoping for the best.
Synopsis: Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’ most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs
Release Date: March 25, 2016
Thoughts: As I mentioned in my review of the first teaser for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice I wasn’t a huge fan of Man of Steel and was pretty reticent that we needed another Batman entry so soon after Christopher Nolan’s quite satisfying trilogy wrapped up. Well, an extended trailer released at the 2015 Comic-Con convention in San Diego has got my attention and while I’m still iffy on this sequel to a sub-par Superman reboot there’s a growing kernel of anticipation for this one that I can’t totally ignore. Like the recent preview for Suicide Squad, I was a little taken aback that the trailer was so long but while it shows audiences what they can expect from the March 2016 release, thankfully not every plot development has been laid out for us. Give it a look…I think, like me, you’ll like what you see.
Synopsis: On the heels of the worldwide success of Man of Steel director Zack Snyder is bringing together the two greatest Super Heroes of all time – Batman and Superman for the first time on the big screen.
Release Date: March 25, 2016
Thoughts: I still think 1979’s Superman: The Movie is one of the best all around “comic-book” origin movies to be made and I was more than willing to give director Zack Snyder’s reboot a fair chance. After all, look what Christopher Nolan did with his reinvention of Batman in three films about the caped crusader. Sadly, Superman’s return in 2013 was a glum bummer, and a movie that took way too long to come out (how can a new Star Wars movie be filmed and come out in a little over a year but Snyder takes almost three years for his meal to cook?). Disappointments aside, the film made good on its franchise starter nature at the box office yet it’s a little surprising that Warner Brothers decided that the sequel should merge its flying superhero with The Dark Knight – the poor guy was enjoying a well-deserved retirement. Feeling the heat from Marvel’s unstoppable films, I’m sure that DC Comics was more than happy to bring their Justice League dreams to light…why else would this Superman sequel feature not only the Man of Steel and Batman but Wonder Woman and Aquaman as well? I hope the film isn’t merely a bridge to a bigger idea, but from the looks of this impressive teaser Snyder may be borrowing a page from Nolan and going ultra-dark.
Synopsis: A giant radioactive monsters called Godzilla appears to wreak destruction on mankind.
Release Date: May 16, 2014
Thoughts: Even after the impressive teaser trailer for Warner Bros. big (like really big) budget reboot of Godzilla I remained a tad skeptical. Sure, the preview was edited in such a fashion that kept the title character a mystery until the final shadowy moments but would the movie just be effects-heavy rehash of the famously goofy Godzilla films of the past? Well, the second trailer has arrived and it stirs a greater excitement in this viewer, suggesting an edge of your seat sci-fi action epic as much about the radioactive beast as it is about the havoc he leaves in his wake. Roaring onto the screen at the start of a busy 2014 summer season, Godzilla is quickly moving to highly anticipated status in my little black book.
Synopsis: A giant radioactive monster called Godzilla appears to wreak destruction on mankind.
Release Date: May 16, 2014
Thoughts: Though he first arrived in 1954 in one of the many campy big rubber monster movies, ever since 1998’s Hollywood-ized version of Godzilla belly flopped at the box office that mean ole monster has been keeping a low profile here in the states, retreating to the deep waters from whence he came with his powerful tail between his legs. Warner Brothers is giving the big guy another go in 2014 and this first teaser is a nicely compact taste of what audiences can expect from a new millennium Godzilla.
Synopsis: A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race.
Stars: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Christopher Meloni, Russell Crowe, Michael Kelly, Harry Lennix, Richard Schiff
Review: I love 1978’s Superman: The Movie. I figured I’d get that out of the way off the bat so you know where I’m coming from. Richard Donner’s big budget epic was bolstered by the tagline: “You’ll Believe a Man Can Fly”…and audiences did…in droves. Capturing the all-American charm of one Clark Kent aka Superman, Donner’s film successfully moved characters that had long lived on the pages of comic books and a television show to the silver screen with impressive results.
So perhaps it was a bit too much to hope that 2013’s Man of Steel could provide some of that same magic in kicking off yet another reboot of the superhero with a giant S on his chest. The trouble is that this updated hero is too aloof, too troubled a searching soul to mine any joy out of the proceedings. It’s a chilly film with precious little in the way of true blue charm and moxie. Instead, it’s largely a showcase for director Zack Snyder (Sucker Punch, Watchmen) to puff his special effects chest out and screenwriter David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises) to put a Bruce Wayne-style glum-ness on the picture.
Perhaps that solemnity also comes courtesy of producer Christopher Nolan who successfully reshaped the Batman franchise into a lean and mean money making machine. What worked for Nolan and Goyer on the Batman films unfortunately doesn’t work here and mores the pity because several other key elements of the film are strikingly on point.
Take Henry Cavill for instance. The Brit is possessing of a well toned eight pack to go along with his All-American features and cheekbones that could cut kryptonite. The script never allows him to emerge too far from his gloomy gus hole but there are moments especially near the end where we can see a glint in Cavill’s eye that brings a little Christopher Reeve to mind. In his newly redesigned suit, which does look better than the near neon colors in previous Superman films, Cavill is a convincing hero that has real potential.
I also found a lot to like about Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as refreshingly earthy incarnations of Jonathan and Martha Kent, Superman’s earth bound adoptive parents that provide stability even when his powers threaten to overwhelm their found child. Most of their performances are relegated to flashbacks and much of the film is presented in a non-linear fashion as Clark wanders from job to job, only moving on when his powers put him in danger of being discovered.
Costner has some of the best scenes in the film as he alternatively counsels his son and quietly fears for him if the outside world knew what he can do. I’ve often found Costner to be too mannered of an actor, always holding back what he’s really feeling but here he’s given nice material that helps him shine.
The same can’t be said for poor Amy Adams (The Master) who is terribly miscast as ace reporter Lois Lane. Though it’s well documented she has auditioned/lobbied for this role on three occasions, it’s a shame she didn’t do more with the role when she finally got a crack at it. I missed the plucky verve that Margot Kidder to the role and it’s something I’m disappointed Adams didn’t tap into more – that being said she’s light years more interesting than Kate Bosworth was in 2006’s Superman Returns.
I’m still not totally sure how I feel about Michael Shannon (The Iceman) as Superman’s main nemesis Captain Zod. Talking out of the side of his mouth and sounding like he has a Lifesaver he wants to keep under his tongue, Shannon is an unlikely choice for the role and even wearing a costume that looks like a hand me down from KISS he manages to give the character more depth than was probably necessary. Russell Crowe’s (Les Miserables) Jor-El can’t hold a candle to the “I can’t believe this works as well as it does” casting of Marlon Brando in Donner’s film but there’s a solid whiff of nobility given off by Crowe…and thank the Lord he doesn’t sing in this one.
Snyder is known for putting a rich visual spin on his films and that’s what almost saved his disastrous Sucker Punch from being totally relegated to the waste bin. In Man of Steel the special effects gets the better of him though with too much of the film looking more cartoony than visually impressive. Sure, the flying sequences are solidly entertaining and some of the larger action sequences (including a much too long go-for-broke finale) look mighty fine but it only adds to a strange hollowness to the entire film.
I may be a bigger fan of Superman than any other comic book character so I was very much looking forward to seeing where the next generation of Superman movies will take us. This wasn’t the movie I really wanted to see and that’s a bummer…but then I remember that I wasn’t totally taken with Batman Begins either when I first saw it. Time will tell if Cavill and company will find a way to truly take flight in their next outing but it’s possible that with more focus on the good and less on the glum a better franchise starter will emerge.
Synopsis: An alien infant is raised on Earth, and grows up with superhuman abilities. He sets out to use these abilities to guard his adopted world.
Release Date: June 14, 2013
Thoughts: As a huge fan of the original Superman and a nicely developed origin story, this new trailer for June’s surefire blockbuster delivers the goods with a taste to whet the whistle of rabid Superman fans and even the most casual of movie-goers. After the modest morsel of a teaser, I was already excited for what lies ahead in Man of Steel. I only hope that director Zack Snyder can restrain himself enough to let the story tell itself rather than bombard us with his trademark eye-popping visuals. Not that there isn’t a place for that…but with a Superman reboot I want to see the humanity more than just impressive flying effects. With The Dark Knight Rises director Christopher Nolan on board as a producer, I think we’re in good hands.