The Return Of The Epic? – Ben-Hur (2016)

So a “featurette” focusing largely on the chariot race has been released to promote the upcoming Ben-Hur movie. I’ll admit I’m looking forward to this, largely because I’m curious how Hollywood is going to handle this kind of epic historical film today.

Of course, a big part of what this preview does is make me want to take a look back at some of the earlier incarnations of this film and compare them not only with the new one coming out, but with each other.

For instance, the first adaptation of the novel was released in 1907, runs 10-15 minutes (depending on the cut) and definitely centers around the climax. What makes this version especially interesting is that it was the film that established the concept that movie makers had to pay the original creators for the material they were adapting.

Then there’s the 1925 (or 1926) version which ever so slightly expands the film to a running time of 143 minutes. This still silent version was produced by MGM, directed by Fred Niblo, and stars Ramon Novarro and Francis X. Bushman. Interestingly, though for the most part, the movie is in tinted black and white, there are some scenes (especially those featuring Christ) that were shot in two-color Technicolor, and though those color scenes were considered “lost” for a long time, they were recovered in the 80s and have since been restored to most restoration prints.

Then, of course, there is the most famous adaptation of Lew Wallace’s novel, 1959’s Charlton Heston starring version. Directed by William Wyler, the film garnered 12 Academy Award nominations and took home 11. Shot in CinemaScope, the movie had the largest budget ($15.175 million) as well as the largest sets built of any film produced at the time and reportedly employed more than 10,000 extras. With a running time of 212 minutes, it made over $146 million upon its initial release, against a budget of 15.2 million, and of course has gone on to reach a certain legendary status.

So the question facing the release of the latest version of this classic is actually, I suppose, two-fold: Can Hollywood actually make this kind of epic without resorting to multiple explosions and CGI creatures threatening everyone, and will modern American audiences actually turn out to see such a movie in the kind of numbers that will make it profitable? For my part, I’m hoping the answer to both questions is “yes”.

Want To See At Least Two Slew of Trailers From San Diego Comic-Con? Then Hit The DMM Facebook Page

ww1Yep, it’s that time of year again – San Diego Comic-Con, when all of the studios are fighting to get new trailers and previews to an appreciative audience in order to generate some positive buzz about all of the genre-related (and not just comic-book) films and TV shows they have coming out.

This year, instead of continuously posting the new trailers here, though, I’m putting them up on the Durnmoose Movie Musings Facebook page. So if you want to¬† see things like the (surprisingly better than I expected) new Wonder Woman trailer or footage from the upcoming Justice League movie, or the Lego Batman movie, or Kong: Skull Island, or the new Dr. Strange trailer, or previews for the upcoming Marvel/Netflix collaborations, or Guy Ritchie’s intriguing take on King Arthur, or… well, let’s just say “a whole bunch of other stuff”, then head over there and take a look.

Also, while you’re there, go ahead and give the page a like or a share… it really is the easiest way to keep up with everything that’s going on with the Moose, and is also where I sometimes post things that I might not feel deserve a full post here. Oh, and for that matter I may as well go ahead and mention the Durnmoose twitter feed, which you can find a link to in the sidebar, and which I also use for getting the word out when there is a new post here. You can find the link to that over in the sidebar.

 

Let’s Just Go Ahead And Declare Today Trailer Day – Here’s A Whole Crop Of New Ones

It’s always interesting to just let yourself fall down the rabbit hole of the interwebs and see where you wind up. This time, the first link was a note that I got about The Founder, an upcoming movie starring Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, the guy who… well, he didn’t exactly start McDonalds, but he was responsible for it becoming the fast food behemoth that it is today.

At the same time, I noticed that a new trailer had also been released for the Independence Day sequel. Yeah, te original is problematic and full of plot holes, and the ending makes no sense whatsoever, but it remains just a fun turn your mind off and go with it movie, and if Independence Day: Resurgence can at least come up to that standard, I’ll be happy enough with it.

From there, it was on to another upcoming supposed summer blockbuster, the return of Matt Damon as the titular character in Jason Bourne.

Lights Out is one of those horror movies that looks like it could either be completely terrifying or completely crap. The trailer definitely shows some promise, though, so I think I’m willing to give it a shot.

New Woody Allen movies, it seems, have become an annual tradition, This year’s offering, represented by this international trailer (complete with, for some reason, French subtitles) is Cafe Society.

I’m not sure how Nine Lives snuck in here, except possibly for my love of Kevin Spacey, but here ya go anyway.

The next few caught my eye mostly because of the talent involved with them. First up, The Girl on the Train with Emily Blunt, whose work I’ve really liked lately

Next, The Infiltrator with Byan Cranston and John Lguizamo

And though I don’t like the term modern noir much, that’s the vibe I get from Manhattan Nights with Adrian Brody and Yvonne Strahovsky

I don’t know much about Chevalier, but the premise looks like it could have some promise.

The Last Heist is another one of those movies that seems like it could really go either way. The trailer doesn’t excite me that much, but the premise of one of the gang members actually being a serial killer seems as though it could add at least another level of intensity if it’s played right

Next, a couple of trailers that have me hoping we might see some smart science fiction movies coming out this year. First up, Equals with Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult. I’m not completely sold on this one, because the trailer mostly makes it look like another romance just covered in SF trappings, but maybe.

Then there’s this little oddity called Ickerman

Next, there’s this odd looking gem which features Liam Neeson: A Monster Calls

And to wrap things up, here’s one that, like the Russian movie Guardians which I featured here earlier in the week, shows that America isn’t the only country that can make superhero movies. It’s from Finland as is titled Rendel.

So those are just some of the trailers that have caught my eye recently. If you’ve got some that you want to share, please do so either in the comments section below or over on the Facebook page. I’d love to see what has you guys (and gals) intrigued or excited.

 

Will It Be As Magnificent As Its Predecessors? – Here’s The New Trailer For The Magnificent Seven

seven1Considering that the original was an adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, one of the things that I’m kind of curious about is how much credit will be given to that movie when it comes to this modern remake of John Sturges’s 1960 movie The Magnificent Seven.

Another question that I have is just how much of the epic nature of both of the previous versions of these films this new movie will be able to capture. When you consider that Samurai clocks in at 207 minutes, and the 60s version runs 128, will the new version be given the same chance to breathe and take some time developing its varied cast, or will it be choked down to a shorter running time and simply be another action-filled modern retelling?

There’s obviously no doubting the strength of the cast assembled here, what with Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke headlining in front of the camera, and I trust the skill of Antoine Fuqua to give us great set pieces of action, but I really hope he’ll step a bit beyond what seems to be his comfort zone and really take advantage of the opportunity to give us a newly legendary take on the tale.

Of course, we’re just going to have to wait until the movie actually hits theaters to get the answers to these questions, but in the meantime, I highly recommend while you’re waiting to see this, going back and taking a new look at both of the earlier versions. Especially if you’ve never seen either of them before. You’ll find them both worth the time.

Here’s the trailer:

Did Someone Say “Werebear”?! Oh, Yeah, I’m There! – Here’s The Trailer For Guardians (2017)

rg01During the Cold War, a secret Soviet project created a group of Superheroes. Each of the heroes was meant to represent a different nationality of the USSR and the strengths and traditions of those people. However, with the end of the cold war and the Union on the verge of collapse, it is time for these heroes to come out of hiding and join together against not only threats both internal and eternal, but also supernatural.

That’s the premise of the upcoming Russian superhero movie Zaschitniki – the literal Russian translation is apparently The Defenders, but of course with Marvel/Netflix coming out with their own version of that title next year, that wasn’t going to fly, so for now at least, it’s being referred to in English as Guardians.

That’s right, it’s a Russian superhero movie! And from where I sit, looking at the trailer and a couple of short clips, it looks really good and has quickly flown to the top of my list of most anticipated films of next year. Of course, that’s assuming that we’ll get a chance to actually see it here in the states.

So who are these heroes? Well according to Wikipedia, they include:

rg04Arsus -A type of berserker or werebear, [who] has the ability to transform himself into a large bear, though he can control how much of his body is transformed and can transform partially if he wills it. This transformation ability can allow him to seamlessly alter his size, bulk and musculature and transform himself into a burly humanoid, as well as use his transformations to physically augment himself. He has multiple phases of transformation due to his ability to partially transform. He is armed with minigun in battle, which he carries on his back when fully transformed. He can also use his inhuman physicality to fight, especially when he is full bear form. Desperate, loyal and determined, he is known for his drive to “break the enemy into small pieces”.

rg02Khan – Masterfully skilled with all kinds of blades, as well as with many kinds of martial arts. Along with other blades, he is primarily armed with twin, crescent like blades, each of which resemble a scimitar, scythe or sickle and can be joined at the hilts to form a double bladed weapon. The strong blades, with enough force, can slice through entire cars without going blunt or being damaged. He is also physically augmented, possessing a degree of superhuman strength that allows him to smash through brick walls with a single punch and send men flying through the air with his attacks, as well as superhuman mobility that gives him acrobatic and gymnastic capabilities and the ability to effortlessly dodge and evade attacks, even gunfire at point blank range. He also possesses inhuman speed, enough that he almost appears to teleport. Using his speed requires him first to focus hard, achieving a meditative state that causes his eyes to turn completely white and allowing him to perceive faster than any human can. While in this state, he sees everything as being in slow motion while he himself moves at normal speed, or somewhat faster. Whenever he moves in this state, a black gaseous trail appears behind him outlining his movements. His strength and speed allows him to use his strong blades to slice a car and anyone in it in two.

rg05Ler – He is armed with all forms of earth manipulation abilities, and is able to control stone and soil, collect dust from boulders, stop falling rocks, and move mountains. He can cause the ground to break apart under his enemies feet with great precision in what parts break and what shape the subsequent depression makes. This allows him to form instant craters, canyons, ravines, and sink holes to fight his opponents, though these formations are usually small in scale. Being able to cause quakes and tremors in the ground beneath his opponents, such as making the ground under them erupt and explode. Along with his abilities, he is armed with a small chain with a large rock cemented on its end, which he can use as a type of flail.

and finally,

rg07Xenia – Flexible and agile, to a superhuman degree. She has the ability to move on water as if it were solid ground, as well as to seamlessly floating through it. This gives her higher mobility in water than the fastest, or most maneuverable sea creature. She cannot feel temperature differences and can survive in an airless vacuum, which allows her to survive underwater without any negative effects. She can also transform her body into clear, water like liquid and use it defensively or offensively. This ability allows her to become gelatinous and vicious, allowing her to flow like liquid and physical touch and interact at the same time.

Guardians is scheduled fr a February 2017 release in Russia. No word yet at least not that I’ve seen) on a US release, but I’m hopeful it won’t be long after.

Here’s the trailer:

and here’s a teaser showing Khan in action:

 

Definite Possibilities – Here Are The New Posters and Trailer For Doctor Strange (2016)

Okay, gang, here ya go! Here are the newly released posters for November’s Doctor Strange movie from Marvel:

ds1

ds2

And here’s the new trailer:

Yeah, this really looks like it’s got the “possibility” to be great. Definitely looking forward to it!

Hunh? Wha?! A Cloverfield Sequel In March? Apparently So. – Here’s The Surprise Poster And Trailer For 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

10aDon’t feel bad if you didn’t know there was a sequel to Cloverfield coming out in March. Apparently nobody else did either. According to Wired, J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot crew somehow managed to sneak the filming of 10 Cloverfield Lane under the radar of pretty much everyone. Even with the surprise release of the trailer, there’s not much to go on, except that it stars John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher, Jr., and at least begins in some sort of underground bunker.

What awaits outside? Good question. But it looks like Goodman is about to find out.

Of course, what makes this even more interesting is that Abrams was able to pull this off in this age of pre-casting announcements, internet spies everywhere, leaked footage and trailers causing big-name studios to release trailers like this ahead of time, and years of build-up to even the least movies, so congrats to them on that.

Of course, they also had the advantage of having their involvement with a Certain Other Movie diverting attention away from what they were doing with this.

Anyway, here’s the trailer:

Of course, I suppose this also means I’m going to have to actually sit down and watch the original which I never actually got around to, (I really was not turned on by the “found footage” aspect of it) though from the looks of the new trailer that may not truly be necessary. Still, it has been on my “to watch” list, so I’m just using this as incentive.

And just for good measure, here’s one of the trailers for that one, too.