First Glance: “Dark Waters”

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The new trailer for the Todd Haynes corporate drama “Dark Waters” gives us a good idea of the company it wants to keep. It clearly shoots to be in the vein of the fabulous “Spotlight” and the lesser “The Post”. But something feels off. Perhaps it’s the ominous horror movie score pulsating in the background. Maybe it’s the well-worn ‘noble blue-collar vs. nefarious white-collar’ storyline. I can’t put my finger on it.

Mark Ruffalo plays a corporate defense attorney who has his eyes opened to the shady and life-threatening negligence of DuPont chemicals. This one-time company loyalist turns against his employers to defend a small town which puts his career and potentially his life in danger. The trailer revs up the tension throughout which makes it feel slightly more romanticized than it needs to be. But that could just be the trailer.

“Dark Waters” is set to hit theaters November 22nd. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

 

First Glance: “Doctor Sleep”

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“The Shining” still stands as one of Stanley Kubrick’s most beloved and celebrated films. It was based on but took several liberties with Stephen King’s 1977 best-selling novel. In 2013 King published “Doctor Sleep”, another best-seller and a sequel to “The Shining”. Warner Brothers instantly began putting together a film adaptation but it never came together until now.

Horror filmmaker Mike Flanagan frames his movie as a direct sequel to Kubrick’s “The Shining” and an adaptation of King’s “Doctor Sleep”. King wasn’t keen on much of Kubrick’s creative license and Flanagan sets out to bridge the gaps between the books and the movies. Ewan McGregor plays Dan Torrence, the little boy on the Big Wheel in the 1980 film, now all grown up. He still possesses psychic powers and is still scarred from the horrific events at the Overlook Hotel years earlier.

The new trailer shows Flanagan tapping into some familiar imagery from Kubrick’s film while also adding some new pieces to the mythology. As Dan looks for some semblance of emotional peace, he meets a young girl (Kyliegh Curran) who may possess the same powers he does. We also see Rebecca Ferguson (who I’ll watch in anything) as a creepy cult leader with a pretty unsettling appetite. But how will it all play out? Is it a worthwhile sequel and will it survive the scrutiny of die-hard fans of “The Shining”?

“Doctor Sleep” lands in theaters ‘globally’ October 30th and (for some weird reason) November 8th in North America. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

First Glance: “Jojo Rabbit”

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Several weeks ago Taika Waititi dropped a teaser for his new black comedy/World War II satire “Jojo Rabbit”. It planted several crazy images in my mind and left me anxious to see more. Waititi showed a gutsy willingness to inject his wacky brand of humor into one monstrosity we all (hopefully) can agree is detestable – Naziism.

Finally we get the first full trailer for “Jojo Rabbit” and it does a good job of giving us a clearer sense of what Waititi is going for. The story looks to follow a young German boy (Roman Griffin Davis) growing up under Nazi rule during the Second World War and indoctrinated by blind hate that he doesn’t fully understand. His worldview is shattered when he discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in the walls of their home. She’s played by Thomasin McKenzie who was so great in “Leave No Trace”.

It appears that the story is told from the boys perspective which explains some of the zany imagery and his seemingly buffoonish imaginary friend Adolph Hitler (played by Waititi). This film is certain to stir up some negative feedback but it looks like Waititi has a very strong message at the film’s core – something we may all need to hear.

“Jojo Rabbit” opens up October 18th. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

Starting Tomorrow: Denzel Day!

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Roger Ebert astutely said of Denzel Washington “He can make you believe in almost any character.” There is so much truth in that statement. Denzel has been one of the most consistently great actors of my lifetime. His performances are always a strength of any movie he is in, even the small handful of not-so-great ones. And his decision to always do original movies has always impressed me (He has done one lone sequel in his near 40 year career).

So who better to celebrate than this phenomenal actor. And to do that I’m dedicating every Wednesday for the next three months to the movies from Denzel’s vast filmography. Throughout this run each Wednesday will be known as Denzel Day, a goofy but fitting title for such a series. Each Denzel Day will focus on one of his movies and I hope you will follow along and share your thoughts.

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First Glance: “The King”

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I’ll be honest, I’m still not fully onboard the Timothée Chalamet hype train. He’s a lot like Jennifer Lawrence, a young star who suddenly became the toast of Hollywood and the awards circuits. Don’t get me wrong, like Lawrence he has a ton of talent and it will be fun watching him grow as an actor. But is he really the second coming of (insert your choice of the greatest actor of all time here)? Not quite.

To his credit Chalamet has made some inspired movie choices including his upcoming film “The King”. It’s a Netflix Original based of Shakespeare’s Henry plays and for me the biggest draws may be behind the camera. Australian filmmaker David Michôd directs and co-writes alongside Joel Edgerton (who also sports a supporting role). Other interesting names pop up as supporting players: Robert Pattinson, Ben Mendelsohn, Thomasin McKenzie, and Sean Harris. I’m intrigued.

“The King” premieres at the Venice International Film Festival on September 2nd before hitting Netflix on October 11th. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

First Glance: “Antlers”

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The new supernatural horror film “Antlers” is sure to draw most people’s attention by having Guillermo del Toro’s name attached. Me, I’m more excited to see Scott Cooper directing it. Cooper’s last film “Hostiles” was an underrated and surprisingly deep western. The new trailer for “Antlers” shows him going in a MUCH different direction.

The spooky trailer sets an interesting stage. Keri Russell plays a teacher troubled by the potentially dangerous home environment for one of her students. She convinces her brother and town sheriff (played by Jesse Plemons) to help her investigate. If the trailer is a reflection of what they find, let’s just say it looks to be both gruesome and terrifying.

“Antlers” is set to hit theaters in early 2020. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.