These are not your grandmother’s movie trailers my friends.
Un less of course they have a thing for the undead, weird tentacled beasties from outer space, legendary creatures from the dark woods or talking claymation sheep.
OK maybe that last one is so scary or deeply unsettling but really he’s just there so you don’t get completely and utterly freaked out.
So build your blanket fort, hide behind a wall of pillows, whatever works for you and feast your eyes on movies that, while they may not be Oscar winners or indie darlings, will entertain, enthral and yes scare you just a little.
You may want to put a lid on your popcorn … you know, just in case …
The alien lifeforms which arrived on Earth some years previously via crashed NASA space probe and subsequently colonised and took over half of Mexico, displacing people and the natural ecosystem alike, and from which two young lovers went to hell and back to escape in Gareth Edwards’ 2010 breakout hit Monsters, have now spread to the Middle East where they are creating new variations on their form and hence a whole host of new problems for humanity to handle. Monsters: Dark Continent centres on a group of soldiers charged with dealing with the burgeoning alien threat and most particularly on two men who journey into the heart of one of the Infected Zones to help a friend in peril, discovering along the way that the greatest threats may not be extraterrestrial after all.
Gareth Edwards, as anyone has who watched 2010’s Monsters and this year’s Pacific-spanning, civilisation-stomping re-imagining of Godzilla will tell you, is a very talented man.
Able to invest big concept, epic narratives with intimate explorations of humanity, he is the man who takes movies that should be nothing more than big, bombastic creature flicks and gives them real storytelling heft and emotional impact.
It’s a real gift, and while he is only listed as an executive producer on Monsters: Dark Continent, his focus now primarily on directing the Star Wars stand alone film due in December 2016, and Godzilla 2 in 2018 (mark your calendars!), his creative imprint is all across the new chapter in the tale of humanity vs. Great Bog Bio Threat From the Heavens.
While obviously given a bigger budget to play with, and tilting towards more action than that of its predecessor, Monsters: Dark Continent retains that human touch, focusing in the man on two men on a heroic tale to look after a friend in one of the (now) most dangerous places on Earth – an Infected Zone in the Middle East.
It’s an impression given weigh by Edwards himself who is quoted on SFX as confirming that first time feature film director Tom Green (Misfits) has kept to the spirit of original film:
“Monsters was a very personal film to me, so it’s been a surreal honour to have such talented filmmakers and actors work so hard to create such a beautiful and heartfelt sequel. Tom Green has taken the organic filmmaking spirit of the original and created something very unique and incredibly bold. I think people will be very surprised by the film. It is uncompromising in its storytelling and as a result creates a very realistic and believable world. The visual effects and cinematography are impeccable; there isn’t a bad frame in the movie. This combined with such soulful performances from the main cast, makes for a really impressive debut film… Think I better watch my back!”
All that is enough to have me lining up for a ticket and some popcorn and keeping one eye behind to make sure I am only joined by humans in line and not, um, extremely large tentacled beasties.
Monsters: Dark Continent opens in UK on 28 November 2014 with other countries to follow.
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in the film as Wade, a Midwestern U.S. farmer who stays with his beloved teenage daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin of Little Miss Sunshine, New Year’s Eve) as she slowly turns into a cannibalistic, flesh-eating zombie. (synopsis via First Showing)
Alas Maggie, which debuted as the Toronto International Film Festival this month does not have a trailer just yet.
But by all accounts the movie, whose screenplay by John Scott 3 made the 2011 Hollywood Black List of Best Unproduced Screenplays, is that rare thing in the world of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies – an intimate character drama that touchingly portrays one man’s unwavering love for his slowly zombie-fying daughter.
Infected as part of a worldwide plague that is decimating humanity, a standard trope of this genre but no less frightening an idea for that, Maggie, more than ably acted by the enormously talented Abigal Breslin, is clearly scared of what it is happening to her as anyone in her position would be.
And who would you want by your side if you’re a scared teenager faced the greatest and likely last struggle of your life?
Your dad of course, and though we’re judging purely by photos alone here, he’s a father who’s naturally devastated by the impending loss of his beloved daughter to a horrible de-humanising, life-stealing disease.
Maggie, which represents Henry Hobson’s feature-length directing debut, is much like Signs in that it takes a look at a small very human part of a wider well-trod narrative – in this case the zombie plague as opposed to alien invasion – focusing in on the harrowing experience of one family in an extraordinary situation, and by doing so, gives us a whole new revealing slant on the greater story in a way that World War Z, for all its excellence, simply could not do.
It will be interesting what impression the film leaves when the trailer, along with mainstream release dates, is finally available.
Maggie screened at the just-concluded Toronto International Film Festival but there are no official release dates just yet.
When Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun, he gets a little more action than he bargained for! Shaun’s mischief inadvertently leads to The Farmer being taken away from the farm, to the Big City…
Join Shaun, Bitzer and The Flock on their hilarious, action-packed, big screen adventure as they make plans to rescue the missing Farmer. A story about how we sometimes forget to appreciate the things we have in life, and the people who love us. Shaun the Sheep the Movie introduces us to two new Aardman characters; Trumper, the animal warden who rules the city’s animal shelter with a rod of iron and Slip, an inner city orphan dog who helps Shaun save the day. (synopsis via Hey U Guys)
This, THIS, will be fun!
Gloriously silly, Aardman-esque, visual slapstick-y fun.
What is so enchanting about the films that come from Aardman Productions, who have teamed with Studio Canal to bring us Shaun the Sheep the Movie, is that they don’t prioritise laughs over exquisitely-crafted characters or brilliantly-written dialogue; the humour always comes, as good humour is wont to do, from the interactions between the characters rather than belaboured jokes being set up on after the other, like awkwardly-placed comedic dominos.
And Shaun the Sheep, who first appeared in Wallace and Gromit’s A Close Shave, and was voted the “best BBC children’s TV character of all time in a Radio Times poll” according to The Independent is a very fine character indeed, a beguiling mix of innocent abroad, cheeky child and canny leader of The Flock who has delighted audiences in his television series, and will no doubt do so again on his much-anticipated, fleecy leap onto the big screen.
Shaun the Sheep the Movie opens in UK on 6 February 2015 and Australia on 26 March 2015.
Anton Yelchin plays Max, an L.A. hipster obsessed with Italian horror B-movies. His green-obsessed girlfriend Evelyn, Twilight’s Ashley Greene, blogs about saving the planet and turns their apartment into an OCD earth-friendly haven, at the expense of Yelchin’s most prized horror memorabilia. When he finally gets the nerve to break up with her, she gets hit by a bus. After a new love interest Olivia, played by Alexandra Daddario, shows up, Evelyn rises from the dead to prove to herself that their love really does last forever.
Burying the Ex is a humorous account of the possessive nature of love, showing what happens when a person who is fine in every other way just can’t let go of a bad relationship. (synopsis via Hollywood Reporter)
Ain’t love grand?
Well, most love yeah but not the love of Max and Evelyn; well not as far as Max is concerned.
Fortunately he is spared an awkward, desperately emotional break up by the death of his girlfriend, and in normal circumstances that would be that.
But that would not make for much of an engaging movie would it?
So naturally Evelyn rises from the dead, seemingly indestructible – you should see her new chiropractic moves! Head turning … no really – and wants to go back to what she perceived as happily ever after.
Max, understandable doesn’t, happy now he is with the lovely, far more compatible Olivia but it doesn’t look like Evelyn is really good in the way of boundaries, respecting that her ex has moved on – in her world he’s not her ex; he’s her current boyfriend – or um, staying dead.
This looks like a really clever of examining the way in which two people, who may be just wonderful by themselves, are not always good together. (You can check out what the stars of the film have to stay about toxic love here.)
There’s shade of Life After Beth, which has sadly gone straight to DVD here in Australia, but this looks likes its own very clever cinematic animal and the fact that it stars the awesome Anton Yelchin makes it even more appealing.
Burying the Ex premiered at the Venice Film Festival on 4 September 2014; no wide release dates available just yet.
Exists is directed by Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project) and written by Jamie Nash (writer of a segment in V/H/S/2). For five friends, it was a chance for a summer getaway— a weekend of camping in the Texas Big Thicket. But visions of a carefree vacation are shattered with an accident on a dark and desolate country road. In the wake of the accident, a bloodcurdling force of nature is unleashed—something not exactly human, but not completely animal— an urban legend come to terrifying life and seeking murderous revenge.
(synopsis via First Showing)
I am not usually a Found Footage genre kind of guy.
This is usually because the films of this ilk, which largely consist of “discovered film or video recordings, often left behind by missing or dead protagonists”, are horror movies such as Paranormal Activity, Eyes in the Dark and of course the most well known, though not earliest, member of this often over-used genre, The Blair Witch Project.
And I do not handle horror movies at all, avoiding them wherever humanly possible.
The few exceptions to the rule though such as J. J. Abram’s masterfully-realised Cloverfield and Chronicle have convinced me that, used well, and from what I have read it often isn’t, that it adds a veracity and authenticity to a film not achieved by usual dramatic techniques alone.
Now I know the first thing you’re going to say is that Exists looks suspiciously like the kind of movies I usually avoid, and for the most part, I think you’re right – it is after all directed by Eduardo Sanchez of The Blair Witch Project fame – but as someone who has always found concepts of Bigfoot/Yowie/Abominable Snowman and The Loch Ness Monster more intriguing than terrifying, I am inclined to give this film a slight benefit of the doubt.
Of course whether I will actually go and see it is another thing entirely.
Exists premiered at South by Southwest on 7 March 2014 opening in wider release in USA on 24 October 2014.