There are times, usually every summer movie season, right about now, when one begins to lose hope for the future of film, when one’s brain begins to feel as if gnawed upon by a number of large, neon badgers weilding sparklers and machine guns, when one wants to fall to one’s knees and scream at the sky above, “For the love of movies, make them stop! MAKE THEM STOP!” Where ‘them’ refers either to the badgers or the crappy filmmakers who’ve loosed them. Or both.
Here at Stand By For Mind Control we never give up on hope. Sure, we might draw a funny mustache on it, maybe poke it in the eyes and jump on its head a bit, but we keep it alive…down in the basement, where it feeds on mice and old boxes of Cheerios. When it learns to behave, it can eat at the table with everyone else. In the meantime, hope tries to get our attention with trailers for movies that, it claims, might be good. We want to trust in hope. We want to believe in hope. We want to take the shackles off of hope’s ankles, gently brush the spiders from its face, and reduce the number of beatings. So for you today, we present four trailers that hope thinks will restore your hope in hope:
The Kings of Summer
(red band trailer, so NSFW languagewise)
It was a hit at Sundance, how bad could it be? Don’t answer that. Still, looks funny, and maybe not too filled with profound messages about the importance of growing up or finding yourself or the power of friendship, etc. I like the deadpan dad. The gardening parents are maybe too cute, but the thrust appears to be a bunch of weird kids building a house and escaping from the world, which we can probably all relate to. Sure, I was more into the notion of building a spaceship and escaping the entire planet, but metaphorically this will do just fine. Hope, you just earned a shiny new nickel! I’ll put it in the jar with the others. You’ll get it when you’re older.
Basically I’m a sucker for Clive Owen, so I’m immediately intrigued, and Irish accents? Sold. Plus this looks like one of those “intelligent thrillers” that might actually be intelligent and thrilling. It’s directed by James Marsh, who made the documentary Man On Wire everyone went nuts for, and which was actually good, too. This is his first narrative feature. It’s based on a book and scripted by the book’s author, which is sometimes a wise thing, and sometimes not. Looks like a slow-burner, with everyone so tense they’re about to explode, until the end, when let’s hope someone explodes. But, you know, tastefully. Intelligently. Hope, we promise to fill your water dish on time this week. Congratulations!
The Act of Killing
Nothing like a good doc about genocidal madmen to break up those monotonous special effects doldrums you’re already wallowing in, and here it’s not even June. This is one weird idea for a doc, you have to admit. Find a onetime genocidal killer (or, it seems, a number of them) who’s now old and kindly and living large, and, per his instructions, re-create his killings in the style of a Hollywood spectacle, including musical numbers. It’s executive produced by documentary masters Werner Herzog and Errol Morris, which says rather a lot. Though any movie that features beautiful women dancing their way out of a giant stone fish is going to get my money. Guess what, hope? Tonight we promise not to sic the iguanas on you.
The World’s End
The third part of the trilogy that began with Shaun of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, The World’s End looks suspiciously like a mash-up of the previous two. Which is fine by me. The other two were hilarious. At least parts of them were. Last time I watched them back to back I thought Hot Fuzz was far more consistent and funnier, whereas Shaun of The Dead, after a brilliant first half, kind of turns into a bland, unfunny zombie flick. But whatever, the point is, these guys (that’s director/writer Edgar Wright, writer/actor Simon Pegg, and actor Nick Frost) are getting funnier. So this should be the best one yet, scientifically speaking. It’s got weird alien robots, anyway, and that counts for plenty. It comes out at the end of August, when we’ll be so desperate for an entertaining flick that this one will appear as a heavenly feather bed on a dank basement floor. That’s a metaphor, hope! For you all I can promise is a bonus five minutes of play-time on your pocket calculator.
And there we are. Four reasons to go on living. Hope springs eternal, my friends. Especially when you’ve duct-taped springs to its feet. Let’s all rejoice that this summer might be salvaged after all.