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New Around the Net!

So, holy shit, I am seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens a week from today!  That a new Star Wars film, featuring the cast of the Original Trilogy, is so close to being a real thing that I can see, is incredible.  I expected that someday there would be new Star Wars movies, but I never really thought we’d see any of the original main cast back onscreen in their roles.  Is the film actually going to be good, or will it be a Kingdom of the Crystal Skull level catastrophe that we’re all going to regret?  I’ll know soon!!  I’m very excited.  I’ve been saying for years that I would love to, in my lifetime, get to see another great new Star Wars movie on the big screen.  Let’s see what happens.

In the meanwhile, in Star Wars news, here is a phenomenal short interview with Oscar Isaac, who has become one of my very favorite actors (in killer roles in Inside Llweyn Davis, Ex Machina, A Most Violent Year, and Show Me a Hero) and who plays X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron in the new film.  (I have successfully avoided spoilers in learning anything other than that about the character!)

The first trailer for Captain America: Civil War came out a few weeks ago, but I don’t think I’ve written about it yet.  For a first teaser, it’s a hell of a thing:

I love that trailer, and I am really pumped for this movie which really seems like it could be called The Avengers 3.  But what I love about the trailer is the way that, despite all the huge number of Marvel characters who will be popping up in it, this film really does feel like a Captain America film, with Cap front and center and the Bucky story-line (begun in The Winter Soldier) moving forward.  I love how it looks like they’ve taken Bucky/The Winter Soldier and used him as the crux point for the Civil War storyline (from the terrific Marvel Comics mini-series written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Steve McNiven in which Cap and Iron Man split the Marvel universe heroes over their differing opinions on a law requiring that all superheroes give up their secret identities in order to be trained and regulated by the federal government).  The trailer looks amazing.  It’s yet another way in which we can see the enormous richness and complexity that has developed in the Marvel cinematic universe so many years and movies into it.  I continue to be thankful that this incredible cinematic undertaking — a sprawling universe of interconnected films — exists.  A film like Civil War can exist and (hopefully) work only because we have seen the characters of Steve Rogers and Tony Stark grow and develop over so many films.  Tony’s last line in the trailer is powerful because of the weight of those past stories.  The only thing in the trailer that gives me any worry is that I don’t love the blue-tinged, desaturated tone to the visuals.  There’s a shot late in the trailer of Cap running followed by many other members of The Avengers that doesn’t have the impact it should because instead of everyone’s colorful costumes popping (the way they did so gloriously in Joss Whedon’s underrated Avengers: Age of Ultron) they all sort of blend together into the blue/grey.  I’m hoping these images don’t represent what we’ll see in the final finished film.

Far less successful is this latest trailer for Batman v Superman:

Ugh.  Look, I’m not a DC hater, and I am OK with dark, serious super-hero movies.  The Dark Knight is one of my favorite super-hero movies EVER and you don’t get much darker than that!  I had problems with Man of Steel, but my issues were with the story and the script, not the tone.  I liked the somber/serious tone.  The problem with this terrible, terrible latest trailer for Batman v Superman is not, as many have suggested on-line, its tone.  It’s that:

1.  The trailer is terribly cut together and spoils the entire film, including the moment when Batman and Superman agree to STOP fighting, which is a moment that we all know is coming but that you really DON’T want to show us when your movie is titled Batman v Superman.

2.  That glimpse of a horrible, horrible looking Doomsday — looking like a cross between the Cave Troll from The Fellowship of the Ring and the turtles from the recent CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie. I really don’t need to see Doomsday (a fairly dumb villain) in this already jam-packed-with-characters movie, and if you’re going to include him at least make him look good.

3.  The film has morphed into an awkward attempt to set up the Justice League, as seen by the I-can’t-believe-they-showed-us-that-already scenes at the end of the trailer with Wonder Woman.  I am all for seeing Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman on screen together, but it feels off in a movie titled Batman v Superman and also like a rather pathetic attempt to copy Marvel’s success with The Avengers.

4.  Bruce Wayne is as hard to understand as Bane from The Dark Knight Rises.  What is up with that??  (And I don’t mean Affleck’s Batman voice — I mean the Bruce Wayne dialogue!!)

5.  Whereas the earlier trailers set up an interesting conflict — that Batman has a legitimate reaction against and fear of the alien Superman, who laid waste to an entire city at the end of Man of Steel — this trailer shows us that it’s all just a silly misunderstanding orchestrated by Lex Luthor, which is a plot idea that really really annoys me.

6.  Also, I like Jesse Eisenberg and was intrigued when he was cast as Luthor, but he is terrible in this trailer.

Look, will I go see this movie?  I’m sure I will.  But whereas the early trailers had me excited, this trailer is really depressing.  Maybe it’s just a poorly assembled trailer for an otherwise good movie… but what are the odds of that?

OK, deep breath, moving on…

Ricky Gervais is reprising his role as David Brent for a new feature-length story?  I am intrigued!

I adored Roald Dahl’s book The BFG as a kid.  So am I excited for Steven Spielberg’s adaptation?  You betcha!

Nice to see John Williams back scoring Mr. Spielberg’s film.  (Mr. Williams has scored almost all of Mr. Spielberg’s films, though he was curiously absent from Bridge of Spies.)

Not only is Ralph McQuarrie returning for the sixth Mission: Impossible film (the first director to ever return for a second go-round with the franchise) but now comes news that Rebecca Ferguson (who was tremendous in Rogue Nation) is returning as well?  Phenomenal!  (I’d also love to see Paula Patton, who was so great in Ghost Protocol and, by me, sorely missed in Rogue Nation, back as well.  Here’s hoping!)

Here’s a look at the second season of Powers:

I adore the comic book series by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, though I was very disappointed by the first season of the television adaptation.  Mr. Bendis has been teasing on-line a lot of behind-the-scenes changes for the show that bode well for an improvement in quality in the second season, though nothing in that trailer lights my world on fire.  I’ll watch the second season, with the hope that they can better capture the wonderful tone of the comic.  But so far I don’t have a tremendous amount of hope.  I’d love to be wrong.

Here’s another fascinating sneak peek — a look at Netflix’s Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon sequel, Sword of Destiny:

Can this sequel, made so many years after the original and with a mostly entirely new team involved behind the scenes, actually be any good?  I am a little dubious, but boy wouldn’t it be fun if this sequel is actually good?  I am really interested in this one.

That’s all for today!  I hope to see you all back here soon for my full review of the first season of Jessica Jones, and my thoughts on several new movies!

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