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« Birdman Conference & Party: Egos, Creative Challenges and "A Critical Presence" | Main | Meet the Contenders: J.K. Simmons "Whiplash" »
Saturday
Oct112014

YNMS: Tomorrowland, American Sniper, Black Sea

Tonight is the "Closing Night" of the New York Film Festival (Birdman and I'm happy to report that it's wondrous) though there are screenings tomorrow making the title only honorary, really. We'll wrap up soon with Inherent Vice and Birdman thoughts and things we learned at the fest. All the screenings and the first wave of Oscar seeking interviews (coming at'cha soon) have left us seriously behind on the matter of movie trailers / teasers so here are three which you may well have seen already but let's discuss in abbreviated Yes No Maybe So fashion.

TOMORROWLAND
Yes - This does what teasers, hell trailers themselves, should do: intrigues but doesn't give the game away. If only full trailers would follow suit. Come on studios: Help moviegoers rediscover a little something called curiousity. 
No - It's not really fair since he's had a couple of low key years but I'm feeling Clooney fatigue for some reason. Was it the wedding?
Maybe So -According to the vague summaries the story, about a futuristic utopia created by technology, is actually led by Britt Robertson (seen here discovering it via a magic pin) with Clooney in co-lead position as a former whiz kid she enlists to help her get back to this magical place and something something. Like I said: Vague. That's the best kind of pre-release info.

 

AMERICAN SNIPER
Yes - Trailers that are essentially one scene clips with flourishes round the edges to convey a movie are big "yes" moments. This scene, a sniper trying to decide whether to kill a woman or child is properly lose-lose upsetting. 
No - that tagline "the most lethal sniper in US history" paired with "12.25.14" is gross. Thanks for the coal in the stocking, Warner Bros! Merry Christmas to you, too.
Maybe So - It's a Clint Eastwood film. As you know his aesthetic is way too dreary for me to fully enjoy (even the recent musical was dreary!) but this kind of film can get away with dreary and probably should. Don't know about the banal easy juxtaposition of "American family life!" shoved aggressively into this Middle Eastern war zone via all those inserts but I like how mundane Bradley Cooper's voice sounds in this context.

BLACK SEA
Yes - Two obvious things. 1) Submarines and ocean settings in general often make for fine thrillers given the claustrophia or 'all alone in the world' madness. And 2) Jude Law, for all of the unevenness of his career, is always watchable. Isn't it great that "he's a liability" is voiced over our glimpse of Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom, The Place Beyond the Pines)? He's anything but a liability in movies but of course he is just that in context since he's so good at playing shifty/dangerous characters. Scoot McNairy is also in it.
No - A cuisinart presentation of the whole movie, albeit without grotesque spoilers just general spoilers that the men turn against each other. But we kinda figured that with the pitch in the first minute. Still, where is the hook to care about this? Or is it assumed we will through that blaring music and fast-cutting.
Maybe So -  Kevin Macdonald. Is the jury still out on him (The Last King of Scotland, The Eagle, State of Play, How I Live Now) or does everyone just expect a range from *shrug* to 'quite watchable' but never great?

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Reader Comments (17)

Tomorrowland - Disney producing it gives me shivers. But Brad Bird is a strong sell. I'm a YES unless reviews are terrible. I get the Clooney fatigue, he's relying too much on his persona nowadays in his performances. I too am a bit tired of him, which I blame Gravity for. He was insufferable in that one. Kept taking me out of the movie. Dude, you're not in a Nespresso ad! You're dying in space!

American Sniper - My only reaction to that was "ZZZZZZZZZ". And that's how I feel with Eastwood nowadays. You have to go back to Letters from Iwo Jima to find a Eastwood movie I liked. And you need to go back to 2003 to get an Eastwood which I really liked. So, after butchering the whole soul of Jersey Boys, I think I'm a MAYBE SO, almost NO (as in, I'll see it if Oscars are in play).

Black Sea - Kevin MacDonald still needs to impress me with his efforts past The Last King of Scotland but his pairing with Jude Law sells it for me. YES.

October 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

I can't wait to read your thoughts on Birdman and Inherent Vice!! Just saying Birdman is wondrous got me all excited to see it!

October 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBensunce

Tomorrowland. I find it hard to believe Disney can deliver a dark drama without either sanitizing it to death or compromising their brand. I'm a NO until I hear otherwise. (The touching the ring and being transporting thing reminded me of The Matrix for some reason.)

Sniper. I like Eastwood, but after Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, I'm a little worn out on the genre. I also have trouble buying Cooper as a dangerous man and believe me, snipers are nothing if not dangerous and disturbed. Maybe to NO.

Black Sea. I feel like I've already seen it. But it's a great cast so I'm not counting it out until after I read some reviews. Maybe So.

October 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

The teaser tells us nothing, but after his last 4 directing credits (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and MI: Ghost Protocol) it seems incredibly foolish to be anything besides a "Yes!" on a Brad Bird picture. Could this be his first big misfire? Of course, but at this point he's earned my trust.

October 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDrewB

Tomorrowland - Yes, seems like my kind of movie - although pending reviews and a bigger trailer (I don't need to see the whole story but I need to see more than that)

American Sniper - BIG Yes. That just looked fantastic.

Black Sea - Maybe. Seems kinda fun, I guess. Probably a rental.

October 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHey

so Birdman is "wondrous" huh?
I still can't get over the ugly CGI bird spewing fire in the trailer, and I hear that there are quite a few fantasy sequences in the movie. Has the CGI at least improved since the trailer hit?
I wanna see the movie for the character work, the virtuoso camera work, not silly (and unconvincing) CGI sequences.

+ AMERICAN SNIPER. YES YES YES for one reason; Sienna Miller. It looks like she's the emotional anchor of the film... Sienna, come and drag me down!

I don't really care for TOMORROWLAND or BLACK SEA, but I'm a yes (I guess) because I see EVERYTHING except animation and kid's movies.

October 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterUlrich

Beefed up Bradley Cooper?!?!? uh, yes. yes, YeS, YESSSSSS!!!!!!!!

October 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

I have the exact opposite reaction regarding Jude Law. I never understood why people thought he was a leading man. His recent projects are only decent if he's appearing in a character part, directed by an A-lister. As for Clooney, he has one of the highest batting averages of any mainstream movie star.

I'll see Tomorrowland, skip Black Sea (and I'm betting the general public is with me on this one).

October 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I had the same reaction to the xmas day release of sniper. I'm not a religious person anymore but that just distasteful. Maybe the "war on Christmas" loons will react. Ha.

October 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMikey67

Tomorrowland - Brad Bird = automatic yes. I also get the Clooney fatigue - he has been stuck in his charming George Clooney rut for a while now. Hopefully Bird gets him to kick it into another gear at some point.

American Sniper - really surprised by all the negatives here. I get this is not the most Eastwood friendly corner of the internet, but I think it's a great teaser, and made me much more excited about the possibility of this actually being a good movie. There are still a million ways this could go wrong, but for now I'm sold.

Black Sea - I've never fully liked a MacDonald film, so I guess this is should be an automatic "maybe so," but I really like the cast and subject matter, so I'm a tentative yes.

October 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Tomorrowland: I'm a yes on Brad Bird, Clooney, and a really intriguing trailer.

American Sniper: I had the same thought about killing Christmas, and it just looks so bleak and soul-searching. No.

Black Sea; Maybe.

October 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

Tomorrowland: + Clooney =Clooney fatigue That wedding was enough Clonney to last a life time so No

American Sniper - My only reaction to that was Yuck! Fat Bradley Cooper killing people at Christmas No

Black Sea : Jude Law + Greed + Gold = I'm There.
So Yes!

October 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkim

LMAO@ Kim. I usually find Cooper attactive so I'm disappointed at how beefy he looks in this. I like my Cooper svelte.

October 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKai

Tomorrowland - I wasn't in love with the teaser like a lot of people but it was definitely effective, so I'm a YES.

American Sniper - I really haven't taken to any of the Eastwood films I've seen in theaters but this looks promising, so YES.

Black Sea - I like Jude Law but that awful accent, the predictable looking plot and the fact that I didn't think much Of The Last King Of Scotland and State Of play makes this a NO for me.

October 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Armour

Black Sea I love submarine movies so this is a Yes

Tomorrowland: Clooney fatigue is in effect No

American Sniper : Fat Cooper killing at Christmas turnoff also Gulf War fatigue ie Hurt Locker, Darky Zero, Jarheads ..... Maybe DVD

October 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjake

American Sniper - Yes for me, but when the trailer came on before Gone Girl and the AS' release date popped up, the audience started howling at how tacky the date seemed. Like, actual guffaws and "are you kidding me?" and stuff like that.

October 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

I enjoyed Kevin MacDonald's HOW I LIVE NOW for the way it portrayed teenagers reacting somewhat realistically to the outbreak of WWIII, but he really should go back to documentary. ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER is still one of the most exhilarating doc's I can recall.

October 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

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