Category: Movie Watching

Summer Update 5/27/16 – Star Trek Beyond, Ghostbusters, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping; What I’m Watching: Neighbors 2 and more

If you missed me saying it in last week’s podcast, we are on a summer vacation from recording the show. [sadface emoji] But I’m in love with my own opinions too much to go a week without rounding up my thoughts on some new trailers and things I’ve been watching. I mean come on, I’m a white dude with a podcast–albeit one that’s on hiatus.

New Trailers

A handful of trailers released in the last couple of weeks have brightened my outlook on their respective films…

Star Trek Beyond (Paramount Pictures) — in theaters July 22, 2016

Back in January (Trailer Home Podcast: Episode 184) I expressed the same disappointment many other people felt for the teaser trailer for the 13th film installment in the Star Trek franchise. It was heavy on action and light on story, which is antithetical to what Trek has traditionally been in its 50 year history. This new trailer, unveiled at a Paramount fan event last week, is still pretty heavy on action and still prominently displays the fact that Fast & Furious director Justin Lin is at the helm (more on that below). But it also tones down the bro factor at least a little. Coupled with accounts of footage from the movie that was also screened at the event, it makes me more optimistic that Beyond will at least be on par with J.J. Abrams’ previous two installments and not just Fast & Furious in Space.

On a side note, last week was a pretty good one for Star Trek fans. In addition to the new movie trailer and footage, there was CBS’s unveiling of a teaser for next year’s new Star Trek TV series. (Yeah it’s pretty basic, but hey…something I guess!) And there was the announcement that Paramount is dropping a lawsuit against the producers of a fan-made film. That decision was due in part to campaigning by Justin Lin directly to studio heads, which also raises my hopes that Lin may be treating Star Trek Beyond with reverence to the franchise’s hardcore fans–something that some people felt even Abrams’ films were lacking.

Ghostbusters (Sony Pictures) — in theaters July 15, 2016

Ever since it was first announced that Ghostbusters was being rebooted with a core cast that just happened to feature all women (Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones), expressing even just skepticism at their involvement without being labeled a sexist has been a delicate balancing act. Don’t get me wrong: I recognize that there has unquestionably been a LOT of sexism in the criticism of the film’s female cast. My own problem has nothing to do with the fact that the cast are women or even with the fact that they’re remaking Ghostbusters. (At I least I don’t think I’m that dude….) Rather, I’m simply not a fan of McCarthy nor of director Paul Feig.

I missed out on the podcast where the rest of the guys talked about the first trailer back in March (Trailer Home Podcast: Episode 193). Suffice it to say I mostly agreed with their thoughts on it. This new trailer is at least…better. There were a few laughs, the action and ghosts look cool, and it appears to clear up some of the confusion over whether this movie is a separate story from the original movies or a continuation of them. (Melissa McCarthy says it’s the former and that even she wasn’t thrilled with the first trailer.) The new trailer upgrades my outlook on Ghostbusters from “Ugh, this looks really dumb” to “Well, I guess I’ll see it and maybe it will be OK.” I’m working on making those ratings a little more succinct.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (Universal Pictures) — in theaters June 3, 2016

Whereas Star Trek Beyond and Ghostbusters are both movies that I want to like but had initial trailers that just didn’t appeal to me, Popstar is a movie I never really had much interest in to begin with. After watching the first trailer in March (Trailer Home Podcast: Episode 194), I was noncommittal about seeing the Lonely Island comedy starring Andy Samberg as a Bieberesque celebrity punk. The new trailer starts with a rehash of some of the same scenes from the first one, but about 30 seconds in (about the time it takes to get to Mars) the new gags start. And if you didn’t get that last joke, watch this trailer. Oh, and it has Seal and wolves. Seal and wolves, people. I just might go see this in the theater. You’re welcome, Cody.

What I’m Watching

It’s fitting that within the first week after we begin our vacation, my schedule opens wide and allows me to watch a whole bunch of new things. Mostly I’m working on a lot of TV shows (more on those below), but I did get to one movie last week…

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (now in theaters)

Neighbors 2 (Universal Pictures)
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (Universal Pictures)

What surprised me most about this movie is that, for a gross-out/stoner comedy, it’s pretty socially conscious. Not only does it take a unique approach to empowering college-age women by making them as gross and irresponsible as men their age, but it also unexpectedly–and somewhat awkwardly–takes a stab at promoting gay rights by making one of the frat brothers from the first movie suddenly gay. For the most part, the social progressivism unfolds naturally through the plot rather than being telegraphed, and I actually appreciated that. Overall, though, the sequel feels like a collection of less funny jokes and bits that might have been cut out of the first movie, and perhaps the funniest thing in the entire film was a recycling of the airbag prank from the first one.

The Night Manager (AMC)

AMC aired the final episode of this imported British miniseries this week. As I mentioned on last week’s podcast, the spy thriller is a slow burn rather than a punch-a-minute action fest. It ratchets up the tension from episode to episode. By the last half hour of the last installment, I was watching with my jaw clenched waiting to find out what would happen. Based on a book by John Le Carré, it most definitely has the feel of an airport novel, but it’s very entertaining.

Documentary Now 

Cody previously endorsed this IFC mockumentary series from Fred Armisen and Bill Hader, which is now available for streaming on Netflix. The series is masterful in its parody treatment of various documentary styles, from found footage horror to Vice-style edginess to crime stories and others. Each episode is so well done, and the humor sometimes so subtle, that it’s sometimes easy to forget you’re watching something totally made up. It’s difficult to pick a favorite installment. This season is probably one of my favorite seasons of television I’ve watched in a long time, and so is…

Catastrophe – Season 2 

Also previously endorsed by Cody, the second season of this Amazon series (actually another British import) is maybe even better than the first one. Technically a romantic comedy, it’s one of the realest portrayals of relationships I’ve seen on TV. Whereas a typical romantic comedy would have its couple overcome their troubles with jokes and almost invariable schmaltz, Catastrophe proudly displays the flaws of its couple, even after they’ve committed to each other, and leaves you never quite certain whether their decision to stick together is turning out for the best. The season ends on a cliffhanger that makes my heart hurt. Season 3 can’t come soon enough.

Well, that’s what’s up with me. What are your thoughts on the new trailers for Star Trek, Ghostbusters, and Popstar? What movies or TV have you been enjoying? Share in the comments below. Maybe even Andy, Cody, or BK will share what they’re up to. Quite probably they aren’t even reading this, so I can freely say whatever I like about them. I’m not that mean, though. After all, they are the village that makes me look dope.

Oscar Predictions

It’s what everyone has been waiting for! It’s the Oscar predictions for each of the Trailer Home Podcast gang! And it’s in table formatting!

Be sure to listen to this week’s podcast to hear the arguments for our picks! They’re valid and logical! We promise!

Scoring Rules:
1 point for a correct prediction
-1 point for an incorrect prediction
0 points for cowardice/abstaining

Category Andy B.K. Cody Dustin
Original Screenplay Birdman Birdman Boyhood
Adapted Screenplay The Imitation Game Whiplash The Imitation Game
Visual Effects Interstellar Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Sound Mixing Whiplash Birdman
Sound Editing
Makeup and Hairstyling Foxcatcher The Grand Budapest Hotel The Grand Budapest Hotel
Original Song Glory Glory Glory
Original Score
Costume Design The Grand Budapest Hotel
Production Design The Grand Budapest Hotel The Grand Budapest Hotel The Grand Budapest Hotel
Cinematography Birdman Birdman Birdman Birdman
Foreign Language Ida Leviathan
Documentary Feature
Animated Feature Boxtrolls The Tale of Princess Kaguya Big Hero 6
Editing Boyhood Boyhood
Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette Patricia Arquette Patricia Arquette Patricia Arquette
Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons J.K. Simmons J.K. Simmons J.K. Simmons
Actress Rosamund Pike Reese Witherspoon
Actor Eddie Redmayne Bradley Cooper Michael Keaton
Director Alejandro Innaritu Richard Linklater Richard Linklater Richard Linklater
Best Picture Boyhood Birdman Boyhood Boyhood

Shrimp, Romance, and Man of Steel

My girlfriend and I saw Man of Steel last night.  Some of you who listen to the podcast or know me in person know my girlfriend has a name and that name is Neena.  For those of you just clicking over to this page because you saw the notice posted on Facebook or if you just landed on this blog via the randomness of the Internet, her name is still Neena.  So we can all agree that her name is Neena, okay?

cody and kahliga
This is me drinking with my friends. This pic appropriately encapsulates the experience that is bottoming out.

Good; moving on, before going to the movie Neena and I went out to eat.  I had shrimp and a couple of drinks.  For those of you who know and understand me, you know I like to deaden my emotions with a good drink.  For those of you who don’t know and understand me, don’t panic about my enjoyment of a good drink.  Or do panic.  I don’t really care as long as you keep reading.

As for the movie following dinner, both Neena and I were amped for Man of Steel.  Who doesn’t love a good superhero tale and even more tantalizingly, who doesn’t love a good superhero cinema reboot?  Huh?  Man of Steel is yet another Superman reboot following the previous Superman movie in 2006 (which was a reboot of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies from the 1970s and 80s.  The Reeve Superman was a reboot of the 1940s Kirk Alyn Superman, which in turn was a reboot of the real Superman – Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States.  (I think that’s how it goes.  I’m not a Superman historian so I could be wrong.)

Green Screen B Routh
Brandon Routh as Superman in Superman Returns. This pic appropriately encapsulates the experience that was Superman Returns. Source: www.listal.com

Anywho, I distinctly remember two things about that last reboot, Superman Returns:

  1. In the days prior to its release I kept thinking, “I’m pretty excited for the Superman reboot!” and,
  2. As I walked out of the theater having just watched the dismal Superman Returns I thought, “In a few years I’ll be pretty excited for the next Superman reboot!”

And well, a few years turned into 7 years and the Superman reboot I dreamed of after that last Superman reboot has finally arrived!  This time it’s called Man of Steel (that title is way cooler than the last one.  So far, so good for Man of Steel!) and with its return, so, too, did my excitement return!  I was so pumped walking into the movie theater last night that I had nearly completely forgotten the parachute-less dead-fall jump my emotions took during the two-and-one-half-hour duration of Superman Returns, from pre-movie excitement to post-movie ennui!

I asked myself while watching the pre-movie preview commercials (i.e., the commercials the theater plays before the movie previews), “Hollywood can’t screw me twice, can they?”  And I answered, “No way, broseph!  Hollywood is a trusted conglomeration of the best corporations who produce cinematic art and entertainment!  When has Hollywood done me wrong?”

“Who are you talking to?” asked a mysterious voice from inside the movie theater.

“Who said that?” I asked, turning in my seat toward the mysterious voice.

It was Neena.  “Oh,” I answered.  Apparently I was talking aloud.  As an aside, Neena’s voice is not mysterious.  Her voice is the perfect pitch and tone and angelic and totally recognizable.  Totally.  Really, it is.  Always.  Except for this one time.  I’m serious.

photo redacted
The Department of Neena has redacted this pic of Neena playing with her smart phone while in my company. This pic would have appropriately encapsulated date night.

Luckily, Neena accepted my gracious apology and went back to her very important Instagramming work she was doing on her smart phone, allowing me to return to my monologue.  I continued, this time using my ‘For Cody Only Voice,’ thinking when the last reboot was released in 2006 I was sooo young (in fact, I was 26 years young!) and impressionable (in fact, I was still clinging to my hopes and dreams!)!  Now, in 2013, I’m an emotionally hardened (in fact, I’ve developed a drinking problem – for an example, see the second paragraph of this post!) man (in fact, I’m 33 years old – the same age as Superman in Man of Steel!  That’s just a cool coincidence.  That’s all.  In no way do I think of myself as Superman.  That’s foolish.  Well, I don’t think of myself as Superman anymore.  In my younger days, sure.  I thought I was invincible, handsome, and I had the power of flight.  I don’t think that way anymore, though.  Nope.  I’m that emotionally hardened 33 year-old, after all.).

Sure I was disappointed with the last reboot, but that can’t happen again!?  Can it?  Well, you’ll just have to listen to Episode 55 of The Trailer Home Podcast when it is released on June 28 to find out if Man of Steel left me as happy as a wide-eyed 26 year-old dreamer not having seen Superman Returns or as numb as a dead-eyed 33 year-old drunkard having the misfortune of seeing Superman Returns!

Episode 16.5 – BONUS: Taking it meta

Ha! Bet you didn’t expect to see us back so soon. In this bonus episode, special guest Aaron talks with us about why the movies he watches at the theater are almost always in 3D. He also asks Dustin and Andy about the philosophy behind the podcast you all know and love–yes, this one! Well…unless you just happened upon this episode by mistake, in which case, you should check out some of our other episodes, because you’ll love ’em! Really.

NOTE: This episode includes one minor spoiler for Super 8. It’s so minor that I wouldn’t even mention it, except for the fact that we talked about the same spoiler in our review back in Episode 15, and I prefaced that review with a spoiler warning. So consider yourself warned again.

Sequeltology: A tournament of movie sequels

The 32-movie field of sequels from Grantland. Click to see larger image.

The people at Grantland have come up with something they’re calling “Sequeltology,” a tournament to determine the greatest movie sequel of all time. Winners in the week-long tournament of 32 movies will be determined by Facebook votes. (One could ask why they don’t do this in March when, you know, people usually think about tournament brackets, but oh well.)

Some top-of-my-head, way too analytical reactions to the seedings…

  • Lord of the Rings II & III are seeded way too low at 6 and 8, respectively, although one could argue they have an unfair advantage as they were “planned” sequels. The rest of the field, for the most part, are sequels that came about just because the originals were successful and their studios wanted to milk the proverbial cash cows.
  • Maybe the movie is too fresh in my mind for me to be objective, but I think The Dark Knight Rises is also too low at a 6-seed. I’d put it closer to a 3 or a 4.
  • European Vacation (4-seed) and Christmas Vacation (8-seed) should switch seeds. In fact I would argue European Vacation shouldn’t have even made the tournament. It’s a bubble team at best. It must have gotten an automatic bid by winning its mid-major conference tournament or something.
  • If this is a true tournament of movie sequels, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom shouldn’t be in it because it’s a prequel. Come on, Grantland!