Category: Trailer

My Top 5 May 2013 Picks

Summer is finally upon us again and the studios are about to unleash their big-budget potential franchises on the public. With each year, I become less and less interested in the studios’ summer offerings, but this summer seems to offer more than its fair share of promising films, with Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, Monsters University, This is the End, and Elysium all looking pretty fantastic. Of the 5 films I have just listed, 3 of them are already generating very positive buzz.

Iron Man 3 (Walt Disney Pictures/Marvel Studios) – Release Date: May 3

Marvel Studios’ Phase 2 begins with the release of Iron Man 3. Many fans were disappointed with the second installment of Iron Man and I would not be surprised if that figured into director John Favreau’s departure from the series. I did not find Iron Man 2 to be nowhere near as disappointing as others did, but I also had an issue with the film’s poorly choreographed action sequences, which also plagued the first film. Enter writer-director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), who is regarded as one of Hollywood’s most talented action writers. Black previously worked with Robert Downey, Jr. on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and developed a friendship with the actor. The buzz on the film has been very positive, especially the reports on the action and the villain, the Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley. The trailers have so far been impressive and it appears that the stakes have been raised significantly.

The Great Gatsby (Warner Bros.) – Release Date: May 10

This is going to be a tough adaptation to pull off. What makes the book so great is not really its plot, but F. Scott Fitzgerald’s style of writing and the picture he paints of that era. The trailers seem to indicate that director Baz Luhrmann completely understands the style over substance nature of the book. If you saw the the director’s Moulin Rouge, then you know The Great Gatsby is perfectly suited to Luhrmann’s style and his taste. This film was originally slated to be released this past Christmas, but it was officially delayed due to an overcrowded release schedule. Hopefully that is the real reason and not that reshoots were needed. The film is going to be shown in 3D, which I think is a stupid idea given how incompatible this gimmicky format is for this type of film, but I guess commerce over art, right?

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (Focus World) – Release Date: May 24 (limited release)

The WikiLeaks scandal is one of the most fascinating news stories in the past decade. The information that was leaked by activist and journalist Julian Assange was eye-opening and if it was not for this footage, the sort of information that was revealed by the news leaks would have otherwise been dismissed as conspiracy theories. Wikileaks sheds light not only on the dirty secrets our governments withhold, but the ineptitude of the mainstream media in gathering important news stories.

Hannah Arendt (Zeitgeist Films) – Release Date: May 29 (limited release)

There have been many films about the Nazis and their capture following the end of World War II. I have not seen all of them, but the only recent one that has impressed me has been Steven Spielberg’s Munich and the reason it did was that Spielberg did not sugarcoat Israel’s motivations and methods for hunting the Nazis (unlike the film, The Debt, which came off as feeling almost like propaganda). The titular character of Hannah Arendt was a German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist, who was assigned to cover the 1961 trial of ex-Nazi Adolf Eichmann for the New Yorker. Arendt’s coverage of the trial and the depiction of Eichmann and the Jewish councils stirred a lot of controversy and criticism of Arendt’s loyalty.

The Kings of Summer (CBS Films) – Release Date: May 31 (limited release)

This film generated a lot of excitement at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and based on the trailer, I cannot wait to see it. It is the perfect summer film to see because its a coming-of-age story set in the summer and its about teenagers who want to be free from their parents’ tyranny so they spend their summer in the woods building a summer house. The humor is hilarious and it reminds me of other great summer coming-of-age films like Stand By Me and last summer’s Moonrise Kingdom.


Hopefully, the fiasco that was the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Summer Olympics did not somehow affect director Danny Boyle’s ability to continue making interesting films. TRANCE is his latest effort and it looks like a return to his SHALLOW GRAVE, TRAINSPOTTING, and A LIFE LESS ORDINARY days. The film is about a art thief (Danny McAvoy) who fucks up a heist and gets amnesia, forgetting where he stashed the loot. Vincent Cassel plays a mobster who hired McAvoy to get the painting. He hires a hypnotist (Rosario Dawson) to help McAvoy remember where he put the painting. The story sounds a bit farfetched and I’m not too big on Rosario Dawson, but I’ll just about watch anything by Danny Boyle so I’m willing to give this a chance. I’m also wondering if McAvoy will become Boyle’s new leading actor for his next few films considering how he looks a bit like Ewan McGregor and his character here is reminiscent of a role McGregor would have played back in his early days collaborating with Boyle. The trailer is linked below.

Quirky documentaries that explore social phenomenons always make for great documentaries. Early last year (2012), a viral video maker named Matthew Bowyer went onto  Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn looking for people around the world named James Bond. Bowyer wanted to find out what life is like for real people named James Bond. Based on the trailer, the stories he’s documented sounds like it must be annoying as all fuck to be named James Bond. To a certain extent I can relate to what these people go through because with a name like Hannibal, I have encountered my own share of THE A-TEAM and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS jokes (funnily enough, people seem to be able to spell ‘Hannibal’ when spelling the movie or the character, but they fuck up the spelling of my own name). Anyway, this THE OTHER FELLOW presents an interesting premise that I hope can sustain itself for a feature-length documentary. Here’s a link:

Prior to 1989, my interest in film didn’t go beyond live-action fare. My exposure to animation was strictly limited to Saturday morning cartoons and the shows I would watch after school such as Transformers and G.I. Joe. The few animated feature films I saw in theaters were pretty good (Transformers: The Movie and An American Tail), but they weren’t impressive enough to get me to develop a passion for animation. This all changed with Disney’s 1989 release of The Little Mermaid. It was the first time I had seen anything animated that in my mind rivaled and even surpassed live-action movies. Little did anyone know, that Mermaid was to be the beginning of a renaissance at Disney Animation. With Mermaid, the Mouse House released a string of blockbuster event pictures that have now become timeless cinematic classics. Films such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King established Disney Animation Studios as one of the most powerful studios in Hollywood and it helped launch many careers. In fact, if it were not for Disney’s success in the early 90s, I don’t believe we would have DreamWorks Animation, Pixar, and the animation industry that we have today.

Waking Sleeping Beauty is a new and acclaimed documentary from the producers of Beauty and the Beast. It covers Disney Animation’s golden age period of the 90’s and based on what I have heard, it is not to be missed by anyone interested in the business of filmmaking. As someone who worked in the feature length animation business, this film is of significant interest to me and I cannot wait to see it. Below is the trailer: