Trailer Takes: <i>The Post</i>, <i>The Greatest Showman</i>, and <i>Game Night</i>

Trailer Takes: The Post, The Greatest Showman, and Game Night

By:
11/16/2017

The Post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrXlY6gzTTM

Macy: This trailer drew me in right away with an impressive cast that features many beloved and accomplished actors, including Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Sarah Paulson. As a self-proclaimed Meryl Streep junkie, I cannot wait to see another  honest and moving performance. The compelling premise seems timely, and suggests to me that truly some things never change. Based on a true story, the movie recounts the controversial dispute between the US government and several newspapers over the release of the Pentagon Papers. The trailer introduces the obstacles that Washington Post publisher Kay Graham (played by Streep) must surmount in order to blow the lid off decades of secrets and lies. The resilient protagonists appear to be charismatic and likable; I know I’m already rooting for them.

Clare:  There is a great tradition in Hollywood around making Oscar-bait movies about legendary newspaper/media moments.  The Post doesn’t appear to be in the same class as Spotlight or All The President’s Men, but with an all-star cast including Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, it may be able to follow some pretty big footsteps.  The actual story behind publishing the Pentagon Papers should be enough to fuel serious tension and action—and judging from the trailer, director Spielberg has not wasted the saga’s potential.  However, there is a feeling there could be too much going on for one film to fully cover.  The trailer seems to bounce from conflict to conflict: what’s the government covering up? How can they get access to the hidden information? Can the Post even publish it? One shot from the trailer shows the Supreme Court, and I’m curious to see how much of the legal battle surrounding the papers gets covered.  It’s remarkable that the character of Daniel Ellsberg, who actually leaked the document to the Post, does not, to my knowledge, make an appearance in the trailer.  The Post has the chance to tell a dramatic tale that still shapes the way we write and absorb news today—let’s hope the filmmakers have the space and vision to pull it off.

Eman: I gotta say, I’m a big fan of the first shot of the trailer: a tracking shot following characters that goes into revealing the space. There are loads of directors that would do that same action in three shots (door opening, entering, then establish the space), but Spielberg does it in one shot, much more effective and economical. It’s a small thing, but that’s what I adore about Spielberg and his skill for communicating to the audience with minimal fuss. He’s a master of many things, but the one we take for granted is his ability in the subtle elements of traditional, moral, storytelling. That being said, while I am interested in the story of the Pentagon Papers, The Post is not particularly gripping to me. While I appreciate the filmmaking acumen exhibited in Spielberg’s previous historical film Bridge of Spies, I thought it was a movie that I was fine having seen only once and wouldn’t have missed out on much if I didn’t. I fear that’s the same case here. With Oscar heavyweights Meryl Streep and Tom “Daddy” Hanks, there’s surely to be a lot to showcase. And it certainly feels timely; you’ve got journalists being intimidated for reporting the truth, a powerful woman’s credibility being questioned, and Americans having to question the very institutions that were meant to protect them. Okay, maybe I’m trying to convince myself to like it.

 

The Greatest Showman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jr9QtXwC9vc

Macy: Aptly named, the trailer for The Greatest Showman is immediately eye-catching, displaying whimsical, flashy circus performances, revealing a hint of danger, and promising some Zac Efron screen time.  The movie celebrates eccentricity, featuring a bearded lady and jumping lions, and promises to be a fun and uplifting watch. The movie seems to be entertaining and very family-friendly.

Clare: An uplifting family musical about PT Barnum, starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and Zendaya? Uh, okay.  In all seriousness, the second trailer for The Greatest Showman seems unable to make up its own mind about what it wants to be, jumping from moving family drama to inspirational “it’s on the inside that counts” pablum to… musical? It’s an exuberant blend of bright color and lively songs, but like the original PT Barnum show, all the spectacle seems to be covering for a lack of real substance.  And those CGI lions look hilariously fake.

Eman: Hugh Jackman has spent all of his Wolverine capital here on his passion project musical The Greatest Showman, and I’m currently not seeing the appeal. It’s an original musical that celebrates the life of a man who first taught us that there’s “no business like show business,” and then put a bunch of marginalized individuals on stage for folks to gawk at. I think it’s an awfully positive modern spin on the circus, with P.T. Barnum trying to promote individualism, while he was actually a wily guy known for having said that “there’s a sucker born every minute.” The thing that really depresses me is that the film seems to feature more than its fair share of balls-out, no-shit musical and dance numbers, which I desperately want to have a true comeback because I love musicals, and I want Hugh Jackman to be leading as many musicals as we can throw at the man. That said, with the general side eye from heroically edifying Barnum and the fact that the lyricists from La La Land evidently really need Justin Hurwitz to reel back from the bubblegum pop styling…it’s not looking great. Believe me, I love musicals and I’d get behind a circus musical if it weren’t based on the life of P.T. Barnum (or at least more accurate to the darkness of the situation). I love Hugh Jackman when he gets to work his Broadway chops, too. Unfortunately, he’d be better off making “Wolverine the Musical” than what seems to be this misguided train wreck.

 

Game Night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNtLIcyjsnI

Macy: Originally, I was excited to watch a comedy with Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, and although I admittedly laughed (only once though), this movie fell extremely short of my expectations. Every aspect was predictable and the jokes just did not land. I felt like I had heard every joke before, and watching comedians run around with stuff blowing up in the background doesn’t exactly scream originality.  

Clare: While I usually don’t hold out much hope for this type of couple’s comedy, Game Night appears to have a few decent laughs in it.  Take an engaging premise—a fake murder mystery night turns into a real crime—add in some actors with comedic chops AND chemistry (Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams), and infuse a funny script that seems reminiscent of The Hangover, and you have a film that actually looks promising.  Bateman’s delivery of the line “BLOOD?!” may be worth the admission price alone.

Eman: Hmm, that kind of looked like a comedic spin on David Fincher‘s The Game (1997), and I dig it. And, for what I expected was just going to be some adult comedy, it actually had quite a slick look to it, promising a weird action/comedy hybrid. I like the cast enough. Plus, it’s fun to see a comedy trying to go totally high-concept for once, and blending in legitimate set pieces. I’m intrigued enough to at least keep up with this movie a little more.

Image Credits: IMDb

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