Sometimes the very watching of a trailer is the thing that puts a film on your radar that simply wasn’t there before. This week that is the case for Frontera, which I’ll get to below. Either way, this week’s selections are a little bit lower key, for the most part, but some really interesting stuff can be found within.
ARE YOU HERE
I’m most of the way through Season 5 of Mad Men as of this writing, and the show easily ranks among the greatest I’ve ever seen. The writing is unparalleled, acting is impeccable, and the overall commitment to a vision is thrilling. So when show runner Matthew Weiner writes and directs a film… I’m going to be interested in watching it.
… even if it kind of looks like every other ensemble comedic drama ever. I don’t mean to say the trailer looks bad, but I do mean to say that nothing in the trailer excites me as much as the immutable fact that it was written and directed by Weiner. The cast has some exciting folks in it, but I’ve yet to be convinced that Zach Galifianakis is more than the sum of his Hangover parts. And while I love Owen Wilson, I don’t always love his choice of starring vehicles. There’s a ton of love out there for Amy Poehler these days, but I’ve never really watched any of her stuff, so I don’t have much to add on her involvement.
Does Wiener’s creation of this project guarantee your butt in a seat? Let me know what you think.
You can inherit Are You Here‘s estate in theaters on August 22nd, 2014.
No greater cinematic Catch-22 exists this summer than Hercules. Because in order to properly give up on director Brett Ratner as many fanboys are wont to do, you’d have to skip out on the next lead role of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, which most action fans are… not wont to do. This trailer does little to resolve the dilemma as it promises that The Rock will continue to be awesome, and his film projects aren’t always a guarantee.
There’s some stuff to get excited about here, namely the aforementioned Johnson. I also like that there seem to be plenty of giant, fantastical, mythological monsters. And a little John Hurt and Ian McShane is always welcome. But there’s also just a sense of “sameyness” here that I can’t shake. I hope the film stands out from the pack more than it’s trailer suggests it will.
Hercules fells the theatrical beast on July 25th.
Michael Peña’s performance in End Of Watch was SO good, that it really put this long time character actor onto my personal radar, and bumped him right up into leading man status as well. I haven’t seen Cesar Chavez yet, but I’m really excited for him to have landed such a prestigious role for a major Latin hero. And wow, after this trailer, I couldn’t be more excited for Frontera. Sure, Peña looks to be more a part of an ensemble here, but when the other headliner is Ed Harris, and it appears to be a modern-set Western dealing with immigration issues? I’m super sold.
While it might be a further example of Latin actors not being given a chance to play much of anything beyond villains, cartel members, or illegal immigrants, this trailer hints at a much deeper and soul-searching immigrant role. And anytime Ed Harris has a noble crusade to undertake, I am on high alert.
Frontera bows July 31st on iTunes and September 5th theatrically.
I never really thought of Roger Ebert as a heroic figure, nor did I primarily aspire to be a film critic when I was younger and reading much of his work. But as my love for film grew, my interest in criticism crystalized, and as Ebert himself secured hero status through his incredible handling of his illness and integration of social media into his output, my esteem for him just grew and grew. His loss is saddening and a film about his life brought to the silver screen by documentary royalty Steve James (Hoop Dreams) seems incredibly appropriate.
Naming a doc about a film critic “Life Itself” would seem presumptuous if Ebert weren’t so fully acknowledged as the greatest film critic in history and if his final years weren’t so wrought with a very public heroism that can’t be over appreciated.
And since I’ve not read any of Ebert’s dozens of books, I am very much looking forward to seeing this film, and I’d specifically like to see it on the big screen. How are you all feeling about this one?
You can decide whether you’ll give Life Itself a thumbs up or thumbs down on July 4th across VOD platforms and theatrically.
And I’m Out.