Keep your eyes peeled at all times my fellow movie-loving amigos!
Such is the torrent, nay, tsunami of movie trailers heading our way at all times that vigilance is a must.
But vigilance can get a little exhausting so I’ve assembled five trailers I am particularly excited about just for you so you can rest those eyes for just a moment.
After you check out the post of course … and grab some popcorn … and soda … and upgrade to comfier seats and …
A floundering college graduate reluctantly takes a job at an upstate New York sex shop while pursuing an opportunity that could help to launch her career as a poet. Wide-eyed Amy (Emma Roberts) may have graduated from college, but lately life seems to be passing her by. An aspiring poet, she still lives with her parents, and longs for independence. In order to earn a paycheck, Amy goes to work at a local sex shop owned by a spirited older couple. With flamboyant transvestite Rubio and charming local boy Alex on staff, life around the store is rarely dull. Still, Amy can’t help but feeling like the future had something better in store for her, and sets out to land an apprenticeship with notoriously withdrawn writer Rat Billings (John Cusack). Meanwhile, inspiration seems to come from the last place Amy ever expected as her professional relationship with Alex takes a surprise turn toward the romantic. (synopsis by Jason Buchanan, Rovi via fandango.com)
Yes I am sucker for quirky, oddly set indie films with protagonists who know what they want but don’t all at once.
There’s something utterly charming about what someone fumble and stumble through all manner of life situations, most likely because it just reminds me of real life.
Granted the situations these indie Don Quixotes, tilting at their rather modest windmills, find themselves in aren’t completely true to life but it’s that extra element of the absurd, the ever so slightly unreal, that hooks me, that makes me want to watch.
And Adult World seems to have all the qualities I love in abundance.
Along with of course John Cusack and Emma Roberts who make any movie better just by being in it.
Adult World opens in limited release in USA and via Video on Demand on 14 February 2014.
Jiro—inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni—dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes. Nearsighted from a young age and thus unable to become a pilot, Jiro joins the aircraft division of a major Japanese engineering company in 1927. His genius is soon recognised, and he grows to become one of the world’s most accomplished airplane designers. The film chronicles much of his life, and depicts key historical events that deeply affected the course of Jiro’s life, including the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the Great Depression, the tuberculosis epidemic and Japan’s plunge into war. He meets and falls in love with Nahoko, and grows and cherishes his friendship with his colleague Honjo. A tremendous innovator, Jiro leads the aviation world into the future. Miyazaki pays tribute to engineer Jiro Horikoshi and author Tatsuo Hori in his creation of the fictional character Jiro—the center of the epic tale of love, perseverance, and the challenges of living and making choices in a turbulent world. (synopsis via metacritic.com)
I fell headlong in love with the work of Hayao Miyazaki somewhere around Spirited Away in 2001.
Granted I was more than a little late to the party (he’s been hard at work since 1979’s The Castle of Cagliostro), an egregious oversight since I had studied Japanese language and culture at uni in the ’80s and should have come across him then if I had bothered to look, but I made up for lost time devouring every Studio Ghibli he directed as fast as he could make them.
And now, very sadly, we have reached the end of the road.
Not so much in terms of Studio Ghibli but Miyazaki himself, who is retiring with this movie, which looks as visually and narratively as rich as anything he has produced.
He is taking a slightly controversial topic in one sense, but I have no doubt it will be handled with the joy, wonder, sensitivity and love for life that has coloured all his movies.
And yes I may just pay $25 to attend the official Australian premiere … if any movie deserves such largesse, it’s a work by Hayao Miyazaki, one of the masters of animation.
The Wind Rises opens in wide release in USA on 21 February 2014 and Australia on 27 February 2014.
Tom Selznick, the mots talented pianist of his generation, stopped performing in public because of his stage fright. Years after a catastrophic performance, he reappears in public in a long awaited concert in Chicago. In a packed theater, in front of the expectant audience, Tom finds a message written on the score: “Play one wrong note and you die.” Without leaving the piano, Tom must discover the anonymous sniper’s motives and look for help without anyone realizing… (synopsis vis starburstmagazine.com)
At first glance the storyline for Grand Piano may sound a little narratively restrictive but if you recall Phone Booth, which starred Colin Farrell as a man pinned down in the one very small place by a sniper, and Buried, in which Ryan Reynolds found himself trapped underground in a suffocatingly small box, these sorts of stories can work and work brilliantly well if executed properly.
Yes the film is restricted to one setting usually with an often unseen antagonist but if you have a well-written script, an actor capable of holding our attention when it’s essentially just them and them alone, and a scrupulously wrought sense of timing, you can end up with the sort of movie that has you glued to your seat for its entirety.
And while I am not overly familiar with the work of Spanish director Eugenio Mira and can’t vouch for his ability to make a movie like this work, I firmly believe that Elijah Wood can make this premise come alive.
The key is of course making it short, sharp, and as much as you can with an outlandish idea like that, believable.
Let the tightly constricted tension begin …
Grand Piano opens in limited release in USA on 7 March 2014.
Jane Adams is Marie, an actress living in a house precariously perched above the beach in Malibu. Her age exempts her from more and more acting opportunities. That’s when her young, aspiring-actress niece arrives for a weekend stay – a weekend filled with confronting fears, burgeoning relationships, and navigating life in the early 21st century. (written by Production via imdb.com)
Oh but how I can relate to this!
Not so much the aspiring actor element but the idea of reaching a point in your life where things are quite working out quite as you planned them to.
You’re pouring your heart and soul into what you do and no one seems to be paying enough notice to get your dream off the ground.
It’s a whole lot of existential angst wrapped up in a glorious bundle of mid life crisis and ripe for expressing in a movie like All the Light in the Sky, starring the wonderful Jane Adams who I have loved in movies as diverse as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Wackness and Restless.
She has co-written the script with “mumblecore” director Joe Swanberg, and while the movie hasn’t received the most emphatically wonderful reviews, I will give it a chance purely because it speaks to where I am right now as an unemployed writer trying to find his next step in life, and because talented voices like Jane Adams should be given a chance to be heard.
All the Light in the Sky opened in USA on 20 December 2013.
From Disney comes “Maleficent”—the untold story of Disney’s most iconicvillain from the 1959 classic “Sleeping Beauty.” A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal—an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom—and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well. (synopsis via disney.co.uk/movies/maleficent)
Disney is leveraging its intellectual property faster than you can say “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”!
The latest movie to have one of its characters spun off in an interesting way is Sleeping Beauty whose antagonist Maleficent is the recipient of her very own movie.
Much like Wicked re-told the story of Elphaba, the green-skinned outcast Wicked Witch of the West who was cast in a far more sympathetic, misunderstood light in the modern re-imagining of her tale.
I can only hope they don’t go too sugary sweet in the tale, something the final part of the official synopsis (above) hints at.
“… and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well.”
There is a fine line between giving a villain some shades of grey, which if done well renders them as a far more engaging character, stripping them of their cartoonish overtones, and neutering them as simply sadly neglected people who, if given some love and attention blossom.
My hope is that Angelina Jolie will keep Malificent on the bad guy end of the spectrum but with perhaps a shade more grey to render her a fully formed three-dimensional antagonist.
Maleficent opens on 30 May 2014 in USA and on 19 June 2014 in Australia.
* In honour of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which was recently observed in USA this year (15 January), the producers of 12 Years a Slave released a special promo which features audio from King’s famous and infinitely stirring speech I Have a Dream.
You can view the promo at insidemovies.ew.com