Today we’re talking about a slew of new trailers that dropped last week. Also we’ll touch on the difference between US and foreign marketing of films. Lastly, we take a few minutes to discuss the big Indy 5 news that recently hit.
Welcome to a new recurring feature where I highlight a lesser known, hard to find, or just generally overlooked film. In this case the 2014 comedy-drama The Skeleton Twins. I was greatly looking forward to this movie during the press cycle but unfortunately it was a limited release and therefore did not run in my area, and presumably many others.
Craig Johnson wrote and directed this film about an estranged brother and sister who are both on the verge of suicide and must work together to rebuild their relationship. Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader are absolutely perfect as the titular twins. Comedians often make wonderful dramatic actors and this is no exception. Their long history working together on SNL coupled with their impeccable comedic timing makes their relationship the strongest and most believable in the entire film. And it has to be. This is a movie that could come off as overly saccharine or cloying but Wiig and Hader keep things incredibly grounded and believable while still managing to show off their significant comedic chops in a few scenes (one of which is unfortunately spoiled by the trailer). Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell also have very good turns as Maggie’s husband and Milo’s former lover respectively. The Skeleton Twins is all about Maggie and Milo but the supporting cast does a wonderful job of inhabiting their world and helping to inform us how and why they have become so damaged and dysfunctional.
The movie is very brisk and tightly paced at 93 minutes but never feels rushed. Oft times I find dramas tend to be over long or paced in such a way that they feel longer than they really are. The Skeleton Twins does not suffer this problem. When the credits rolled I actually found myself wishing we had spent just a bit more time living with these characters. I think wanting a movie to be longer is a pretty solid sign of a movie worth watching.
EW spoke with Peter Jackson last week about The Battle of the Five Armies, the third and final entry in the Hobbit film trilogy. It mentions that the titular battle at the climax of the film will last 45 minutes. Even assuming the film run time is in the 3 hour range, that’s still nearly a third of the movie just for one battle sequence. That’s massive.
The original description of the battle in question is less than 1500 words. You could probably read it in less time that in takes to get through the trailer at the bottom of this post if you really tried.
I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising considering that The Hobbit is a 320 page novel that has now been expanded into 3 films with a running time closing in on close to 9 hours of screen time.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is released on December 17th in the US.
The Age of Ultron trailer leaked so Marvel just said “screw it” and released the official trailer. A good call on their part. There’s a lot to chew on between the first good looks at Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Ultron himself, and that Hulkbuster armor that everybody is so jazzed about.
I’m pretty excited but I hope this one avoids the dreaded bloat that so many sequels, and especially the current crop of comic book movie sequels, succumb to. From the looks of the trailer a lot has to be accomplished; introduce Ultron, turn him bad, introduce Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, turn them bad and then possibly redeem them, Hulk goes on a rampage causing Iron Man to reveal his heretofore unseen Hulk-goes-on-a-rampage contingency. And that’s not even mentioning the still unseen (in motion anyways) Vision.
But hey. In Joss we trust, right?
Oh, and here’s the poster in case you’re interested in that sort of thing.
Fight Club was released 15 years ago today. I’ve mentioned my love for David Fincher previously and Fight Club is the film that started that relationship.
In 1999 I was freshly 16 and working my first ever job as one of those kids in the movie theater with the red vest and bow tie that tears your tickets and cleans up all the popcorn you spill. My Mother had been diagnosed with cancer about a year prior and this was the first of many jobs I would hold over the next several years in order to help with various expenses. I was (and I still am) a nerd. Into comics, books, video games, and cinema in that all too obsessive way; still a decade or so away from the time when all of my passions would suddenly become accepted and mainstream.
Needless to say, Fight Club was aimed squarely at my forehead and boy did it hit its mark. I bought the VHS (I still had a VCR!), then the DVD, the special edition Blu-Ray, the other special edition Blu-Ray. I watched and re-watched endlessly, listened to the commentaries, spouted quotes as though I had written the words. I too was in a transitional phase of my life where everything seemed to be changing and I couldn’t control it. I too wanted more and better for myself but couldn’t figure out why. And yes, I too railed against advertising that told me what a “man” is and how I should look and dress. That this particular diatribe is delivered by Brad Pitt was somewhat lost on my, still developing, filmic sensibilities.
While I no longer have as much to rebel against (“My insurance is changing again?. Ugh. I’ll go beat myself up in the parking lot.”) Fight Club still holds up for me in a big, bad way. It was such a huge cultural milestone in my life in much the same way that Pulp Fiction was 5 years before (Yes, I saw Pulp Fiction in a theater when I was 11. But that’s another post. [Also, Happy 20th Birthday to Pulp Fiction!]) but at a much more important time in my life. I felt like I had so many problems, so much to act out against and here were adults, well one adult and one imaginary friend, that didn’t have it figured out either. They had jobs they hated and Dads that left them just like I did. For all of its absurdity it felt starkly real to me. I hope it still feels real in 15 more years.
Gone Girl is released today.
David Fincher is my favorite director working right now and his films are definitely event movies for me. Fincher has a reputation of being a perfectionist, reportedly going north of fifty takes to get the shot he wants. On the Fight Club commentary he admitted to having a stuntman (wearing a bathrobe and no padding by the way) throw himself down a flight of stairs seventeen times only to use the first take.
This is certainly an extreme and, presumably, very difficult way to work. But when it leads to cinema like this breakdown describes, it all seems worth it.