Film Bites: Jan. 29 – Feb. 4

Sundance happened, but by all accounts, it was a lackluster one. For the second consecutive year, perennial buyer Harvey Weinstein went home empty handed and the two buzziest films – Me & Earl & the Dying Girl and Dope – earned more mixed reviews than raves. Also, I couldn’t go. So fuck ’em.

Game of Thrones and Daredevil trailers premiere

Let’s face it: the weekend of April 10, if you have any appointments like the dentist or your daughter’s funeral, you have to cancel them. For truly, at midnight that Friday, all 13 episodes of the Netflix/Marvel series Daredevil will premiere, followed by the Season 5 premiere of Game of Thrones on Sunday. Obama should call a holiday.

The Game of Thrones trailer was a little underwhelming for me. The music choice didn’t click and this is coming from a guy who still listens to “Seven Devils” by Florence and the Machine and “Feral Love” by Chelsea Wolfe repeatedly after hearing them in the Season 2 and 4 trailers respectively. That said, this is shaping up to be a fascinating season as we prepare to collide head-on with author George R.R. Martin’s books and exhaust all published material. Previously, producers said Season 5 gave them nightmares. If it’s anything compared to previous seasons, that sounds about right.

Meanwhile the Daredevil trailer actually managed to impress me with grittiness. I’ve been doubtful how far into darkness and “reality” this series will go in the cotton-candy universe of Marvel films, but this successfully sells a lot about the character that appeals: his heroism contrasted with moral ambiguity, his faith contrasted with his violent nightlife. He’s Bruce Wayne without the money, a vigilante in dank part of New York City. That sentence carries most of the potential for the show. One thing we can be sure (even if we only glimpse him in the trailer) we will almost certainly be getting a memorable villain as the awesome Vincent D’Onofrio inhabits Wilson Fisk / The Kingpin.

*Bonus tidbits: A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Netflix’s follow-up to Daredevil, has begun casting in earnest after securing its leads Krysten Ritter (the titular heroine) and Mike Colter (love interest/superhero Luke Cage) with David Tennant (Doctor Who), Rachael Taylor (Charlie’s Angels TV reboot), and Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) all joining the series recently.

Trek 3 rumors: Cranston? Women? A Fucking Clue?

Star Trek Into Darkness is terrible. We all know this. So what makes a second sequel in this rebooted series worth talking about? Well, getting Heisenberg to play the villain would be a good start. Bryan Cranston is supposedly wanted and has taken a meeting regarding the villain role, while the report also says that, surprisingly, the studio has learned from past mistakes (i.e. Alice Eve’s boobs overshadowing anything about her character, including her name).

What do you mean this is distracting?

It is casting new female roles including a female captain/foil for Kirk, a female President of the Federation, and Bones’ ex-wife. For a series that has been laser-focused on Kirk and Spock despite, you know, the ensemble, it’s exciting they’re digging into their more-than-capable cast members such as Karl Urban.

Technically, the good start began last month when Justin Lin was hired to direct the film after creative decisions/douchebaggery got Roberto Orci kicked off the project as writer/director. Lin is responsible for the resurrection of the Fast and Furious series as one of the premiere action franchises, now on its seventh film and, despite the November 2013 death of Paul Walker, going strong due a tight ensemble and grade-A car mayhem. The good start became solidified when it was revealed Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) aka Scotty would be co-writing the screenplay.

After going into darkness with this franchise, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Hope against hope for this bitch.

Felicity Jones in Star Wars spinoff

Speaking of the stars, Oscar nominee Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) has been officially announced as the female lead for the very first Star Wars spinoff film, directed by Godzilla’s Gareth Edwards. Rumors persist that it will follow bounty hunters. Or pirates. Regardless, it seems the criminal element of Star Wars is at the heart of this film. Said to be set in between Episodes IV and I, during the Galactic Civil War, Jones is additionally rumored to play Star Wars: Rebels’ character Sabine Wren.

Gareth Edwards’ is the best kind of geek director: an ascended fanboy who nonetheless understands the true mechanics of awe-inspiring storytelling and spectacle. Monsters, his debut feature made on a shoestring, is amazing and his resurrection of Godzilla cemented his status as a filmmaker to look out for, avoiding the sophomore slump suffered by fellow sci-fi wunderkind Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium).

With production gearing up for this year, we’ll be hearing more news sooner than later.

Rose Byrne returns in X-Men: Apocalypse

Continuing a year with positive casting news, particularly for female characters, X-Men: First Class’s Moira MacTaggert, played by America’s favorite Australian Rose Byrne, has been announced by screenwriter Simon Kinberg to return for X-Men: Apocalypse, a trilogy capper for the arcs of the First Class cast (including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Nicholas Hoult among others).

Last we saw her, Xavier wiped her memory with a kiss (apparently Superman and Professor X have the same dating coach) so it will be interesting to see how she re-enters the film, taking place in 80s. Apparently Magneto and Mystique’s relationship will also come to the fore as well, setting the stage for a regular love quadrangle.

Having recently re-watched Days of Future Past, it’s amazing it works as well as it does considering how jam-packed it is. It was emotionally investing and a successful counter on the modern crossover/team-up film a la The Avengers. The real treat of the trilogy is how different all the films are from one another, with First Class earning comparisons to early Bond films, Days of Future Past obviously focusing on time travel, and Apocalypse described by Kinberg as a “disaster film.”

George R.R. Martin adaptation “In the Lost Lands” lands star Milla Jovovich 

Game of Thrones author is hard at work on the sixth novel in that series, but the success of its television adaptation is beginning to open the door to more of the prolific writer’s work ending up on the screen. Resident Evil heroine Milla Jovovich is in final talks and Justin Chatwin is set to star in “In the Lost Lands”  a fantasy-adventure consisting of three, female-centered shorts. Here’s the stories’ descriptions, according the one and only Dark Horizons‘ Garth Franklin.

One follows the desperate queen of a mountain city who hires the sorceress Gray Alys (Jovovich) to travel into the ghostly wasteland called the Lost Lands to obtain the gift of shape-shifting into a werewolf. What she doesn’t realize is that the fulfillment of her wish will come at a terrible price.

The second follows warrior girl Sharra who must fight a dragon that serves as the gatekeeper of seven worlds to reunite with her lost lover Kaydar. On the way she meets the mysterious lord of a deserted castle who seduces her, not realising he is the real gatekeeper.

The final story is a futuristic tale about a young barbarian girl who gets spellbound by a lonely witch in a spacecraft. Th witch shows her beauty and love, but it turns out to be a net of lies and deceit.

People get a myopic view of authors depending on what popular work is out at the moment, but Martin has been writing since the 60s and professionally since the 70s. It’s about time the man got more recognition for his decades of dedication to his art form.

 

About Sam Flynn

Wasting oxygen since 1992, Sam thanks the gods he doesn't believe in everyday his parents didn't discard him as an infant. It would have been the sensible thing to do.
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