Trailers were all over the place this week, in what was otherwise a rather quiet week in the world of movie news. Marvel unveiled the world of Wakanda for the first time in the initial teaser for Black Panther and Pixar gave us a glimpse of their highly-anticipated Coco – inspired by Mexico’s Day of the Dead festival.
Elsewhere, Sony caused major controversy when it proposed presenting ‘clean’ edits of some of its raunchier films, The Godfather asserted its dominance as one of the greatest movies of all time in a new Empire poll of movie lovers and Tom Cruise showed us some footage from his next all-action collaboration with Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman.
Here’s your movie news round-up…
Boseman shines in Black Panther trailer
For the last few months, director Ryan Coogler has been hard at work on Marvel blockbuster Black Panther, which will introduce us fully to the eponymous hero, played by Chadwick Boseman in Captain America: Civil War. This week, we finally got our first teaser trailer for the film, which shows us a little more of Wakanda and gives us a glimpse of the major players, including Michael B Jordan and Andy Serkis – the latter also reprising his role from a previous MCU appearance. It’s an action-packed teaser that shows protagonist T’Challa in full costume and suggests there might be some sort of power struggle caused by the death of his father.
It’s a really fun, stylish teaser that suggests Coogler is slotting neatly into the MCU aesthetic, while also pushing elements of his own vision. The notion of being able to explore a completely different corner of the Marvel world is an exciting one and will likely be necessary to establish the enormous, universe-spanning tale we are likely to get just a few months after its release when Infinity War comes around. Black Panther is due to arrive in February 2018.
Rogen lashes out over ‘clean’ cuts of films
Sony made some enemies this week when it announced that it was introducing the ability for consumers to view sanitised versions of a selection of its films. Yahoo Movies revealed that its ‘Clean Version’ initiative will enable consumers to watch the TV/airline edit of 24 of its movies, rather than the theatrical cut. Some of the films, like R-rated comedy Step Brothers, are obvious candidates for this treatment, but there are some movies on the list – the entire Spider-Man back catalogue – that are rather head-scratching in their inclusion. Seth Rogen hopped on to Twitter to speak out against the initiative, saying “holy shit, please don’t do this to our movies”.
This, on the face of it, seems like a really bizarre thing for a studio to have come out and said. Sanitised edits of films are very rarely a good thing and simply end up betraying the creativity of the original work. If you want a film to be family friendly, make it as a family friendly movie rather than hacking it to pieces after its release to suit a particular audience. As a creator, Rogen is absolutely right to speak out against something that absolutely should not become the norm.
Pixar unveils Mexico-inspired movie Coco
A new Pixar movie is always a cause for celebration and that goes double when it’s an entirely original property rather than a sequel to one of the studio’s past successes. Therefore, it was encouraging this week to see our first trailer for Coco, which is being directed by Lee Unkrich, based on his original idea. The film follows a Mexican youngster who finds himself transported to the Land of the Dead when he plays a guitar belonging to his idol. He must adventure through the underworld to find his way home.
This is an intriguing central idea and seems like a prime recipe for the sort of adventure that Pixar can turn into something really special. The Mexican Day of the Dead culture got an animated movie twist with The Book of Life a few years back, but that film was somewhat flawed, so hopefully Disney can produce something even better. Coco will be released in January 2018.
Godfather tops Empire movies list again
After a nine-year absence from the top spot of the list, The Godfather is the greatest movie of all time once again, according to readers of Empire. The iconic crime movie displaced Empire Strikes Back, which topped the list last time around in 2014, in order to land in first place. Empire Strikes Back won the second spot, followed by The Dark Knight, The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction rounding off the top five. My favourite movie, Jaws, managed to make it into the top ten – in eighth place. The full list will be in the next issue of the magazine.
I’m no fan of The Godfather, which is a leaden trudge of a story, and I’m certainly baffled at how highly the deeply muddled The Dark Knight always seems to place in these lists. It’s a relatively decent list, though, and I will certainly be interested to see which more recent films get a spot on the full list.
McCarthy is Santa’s wife in Xmas comedy
The quest to find a great new Christmas comedy is set to meet the quest to find a good collaboration between Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone later this year. The husband and wife duo will work together on Margie Claus, according to The Hollywood Reporter, with Falcone directing while McCarthy plays the title role. When Santa goes missing while delivering presents, his wife must step in to find him and save Christmas.
Margie Claus is being conceived as a broad family comedy for the Christmas period in the same vein as something like Elf. We’ve been somewhat lacking in bona fide holiday classics in recent years, so it will be interesting to see if the Falcone/McCarthy double act can bear fruit. Given that their previous collaborations have been Tammy and The Boss, they don’t exactly have a strong track record to draw upon. New Line Cinema is looking to release Margie Claus in November 2019.
Cruise goes smuggling in American Made
Tom Cruise and Doug Liman proved they can work very well together with thoughtful sci-fi movie Edge of Tomorrow. They are collaborating again with American Made, in which Cruise turns up to play a top quality pilot who finds himself embroiled in a major CIA covert operation that brings him into the influence of the Medellin drug cartel. It’s a vehicle for Cruise’s leading man swagger and charm that seems to be light-footed and silly in the way of something like the Mission: Impossible franchise. The first trailer for the film landed online this week.
This is a really fun trailer and one that sets up an interesting film for the second half of the year. Cruise, at this stage, is one of the few bona fide movie stars left in Hollywood and is consistently very entertaining. This is also a film that seems to have emerged out of nowhere just a few months before release, which means it could be a pleasant surprise. American Made is due for UK cinema release at the end of August.
Edgerton to direct gay conversion drama
Joel Edgerton delivered a terrific directorial debut a couple of years ago with the twisty, bleak horror movie The Gift. That was a real statement of intent, so it was great to read in Deadline this week that Edgerton is getting back behind the camera for a new film called Boy Erased. The film will see Lucas Hedges, who was Oscar-nominated for his terrific work in Manchester by the Sea, play a young man in a strictly religious family who is sent for gay conversion therapy when he comes out as homosexual.
This sounds like a really interesting project and the idea of Edgerton writing and directing another film is a promising one after the success of The Gift. Hedges really broke out with his role in Manchester by the Sea earlier in the year and this is another really meaty part for him to get his teeth into. All signs point to this being a very special movie indeed. Boy Erased is due to go in front of cameras in the autumn.
Which of this week’s trailers made you the most excited? Do you agree with Seth Rogen about Sony’s clean movie edits? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.