First Glance: “Motherless Brooklyn”

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The new trailer for “Motherless Brooklyn” starts off a little shaky but quickly won me over with its period setting and classic noir flavor. The film is adaptation of a 1999 Jonathan Lethem novel and is written by, directed by, and starring Edward Norton. It’s a cool looking crime thriller with some really interesting names attached to it.

Out of the gate I was drawn to the casting of Gugu Mbatha-Raw, a seriously talented but painfully underused actress. It also features the always good Willem Dafoe and even Bruce Willis. But Norton is the lead playing a detective with Tourette syndrome looking for the person who killed his friend and mentor. The potential is there for something really good.

“Motherless Brooklyn” is set to hit theaters November 1st. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

First Glance: “Ordinary Love”

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Movies about loved ones battling illnesses touch on things everyone has or will experience at some point in their lives. At the same time they can often be too manipulative and melodramatic. There’s a fine line to walk but when they get it right these movies can be very affecting.

“Ordinary Love” has the dressings of a run-of-the-mill drama, but the new trailer left me feeling like this one could have some real substance. It starts with the casting. Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville play a loving husband and wife who have their worlds rocked when she discovers she has cancer. The film looks to take an intimate and unvarnished look at their relationship as much if not more so than the illness.

“Ordinary Love” is set to release sometimes before the end of 2019. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

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!

DENZEL Day

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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