Halftime Leisure

Trailer Takes: Rampage, Best F(r)iends, and On Chesil Beach

February 28, 2018


Juliana: I saw this trailer in the movie theaters this week, and I’ll echo my thoughts from then: What even is this movie? It’s like someone took the overused “big monsters destroying big cities” film idea and made it funny. And the weirdest part is that it somehow works. Granted, the storyline doesn’t provide anything unique, and half of the jokes run a bit too cliché. But I think what’s really working for this movie is that it isn’t taking itself too seriously. It’s ridiculous, but it’s perfectly aware of that. As Dwayne Johnson’s character says, “Of course the wolf flies.” Anyways, it’s not a movie I’m counting the days to seeing it hit theaters, but I might eventually end up watching it if it comes to Netflix.

Sienna: I’m getting a little sick of the cliché “this animal used to be my friend, but now something happened to him and he might be dangerous, so I don’t know what to do” plotline. It might have been cool and thought-provoking the first time, posing a moral question about how we value the lives of animals in relation to our own, but at this point it’s just tired and predictable. This movie seems like Planet of the Apes meets King Kong, without the impressive CGI and real emotional depth of the former. It combines so many different cheesy action movie tropes, from the mutated/deranged animal escaping from a zoo and then battling other mutated animals, to the scene where the Rock is literally hanging out of the open end of an airplane. See this movie if you want to see the Rock in his element, firing a machine gun, exchanging mildly flirty quips with (presumably) the film’s only female character with actual lines, and cracking stupid jokes to relieve the non-existent tension. The one bright spot of this trailer was seeing Jeffrey Dean Morgan because I love him on The Walking Dead, but other than that, I don’t think I could be persuaded to watch this movie. Also, I don’t know if this was intentional, but I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that the ape’s name was George. You know, Curious George? I mean, c’mon.

Luis: I do not know how to feel about this movie. The Rock is a likable performer and the film seems fun enough, but overall it just seems disposable. First, the film appears to be some sort of 2014 Godzilla-Jurassic World fusion, i.e. merely another VFX heavy movie, filled with clichés and cheesy dialogue that can either do relatively well at the box-office or bomb. Given the Rock’s success in the below-average, but good-intentioned Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, one could argue the former will be true. However, while nostalgia played a big role for that film’s financial success, Rampage seems to be a flimsy attempt to start a franchise based on a forgotten 80s video game. Besides, if Tom Cruise’s failed venture into Universal’s Dark Universe gives any precedent, it is that the first movie needs to actually be good to successfully launch a franchise.  Overall, Rampage’s trailer did not get me that excited, it did not make me care about any of the characters (the Rock keeps playing himself), made me wince at the look of the main ape and some actions sequences, and had me cringing at the movie’s laughable attempts at gravitas and tension, not to mention the humor. I guess we will have to wait and see, but I certainly do not have my hopes up for this one.


Best F(r)iends https://youtu.be/OTu9N40E_MI

Juliana: I haven’t watched The Room (2003) or The Disaster Artist (2017), so I feel like this trailer would have been much more exciting if I had that context. That being said, the Best F(r)iends trailer gives us so many interesting shots that I think it might be worthwhile watching it just to see how it all fits. A man on fire? A clown in the morgue? Lots of shooting? Fireworks? You could ask me what the storyline is, and I honestly wouldn’t be able to explain it to you with confidence, despite the fact that I have already rewatched this five times. I’m still confused as to how this movie will be released in two volumes (is there a sequel planned?), but the trailer does an excellent job of hooking me in. I’d definitely watch out for this one, even just to see what the story is after all.

Sienna: I feel like this is a sequel to something. I’ve never seen The Disaster Artist, and I’m not sure if I was supposed to recognize the characters when they popped up on screen, but I got that impression. I guess the people who made this trailer thought that that justified its lack of detail or clarification? Eh, that assumption felt kind of pretentious, and the trailer came across as faux-artsy to me. I usually like movies based on true events, but this trailer left me with more questions than answers. What is this movie about? A little bit of crime (possible murder, possible robbery), and a little bit of romance? Dashed dreams? A man on fire and a clown at the morgue? A traffic stop? Missing teeth? Rapid gunfire? And a mysterious visitor at the door? I might be persuaded to watch this movie just to figure out how it all fits together.

Luis: Well this is an interesting trailer. I truly do not know nor understood what the film is about, but at least there are enough set pieces to get one somewhat excited. I do not care much for Tommy Wiseau nor the fact that it comes from the author of The Disaster Artist, but shootouts, car chases, stolen money, and overall criminality seem like a potentially good time at the movies. I did not recognize any of the other actors and the trailer certainly gives Best F(r)iends that indie-film feel, but there are several sequences that speak more to a crime-action thriller than an abstract and incomprehensible tale of two unlikely friends that get caught up in a life of crime. What the final result is remains to be seen, and, though I would not bet on it, if the reviews are good then I may end up checking it out.


On Chesil Beachhttps://youtu.be/nRRBajXoN4M

Juliana: My only problem with this trailer is that I feel like it gave away too much. In less than two minutes, I’ve already fallen in love with Saoirse Ronan’s and Billy Howle’s characters, been given the main conflict, and have pretty much headed straight to the climax of the story. “It’s hopeless.” “Is it?” And really, that’s the only thing left unsaid. The movie itself looks gorgeous with its setting, and Ronan and Howle have more than enough chemistry to sell their characters’ relationship. The real question is whether the story has enough in it to last almost two hours, or if it will feel like an extended version of the trailer with a final fifteen minutes of conclusion.

Sienna: The setting of this film is beautiful, and the fact that Saoirse Ronan plays the female lead has already sold me on it. At first, it seems like a simple, cute love story, but it takes a darker turn when the societal pressures behind Ronan’s relationship with Billy Howle’s character are revealed. Ronan skillfully portrays an incredibly anxious, nervous girl, described as “not as happy as she should be.” At first, I didn’t understand the source of the conflict, but as the trailer unfolds, we learn that Ronan’s anxieties stem from social stigmas and a lack of education surrounding sex, leading to an extreme discomfort about intimacy. At one highly telling point, she reads an excerpt from a book about sex to a female friend—“Women are like doorways, men can enter through them”—highlighting the flawed conceptions of sex and the messages being conveyed to women during this time. I’m not sure exactly what time period it’s supposed to be set in, but it seems like the mid-1900s? Either way, the same themes remain highly relevant today. As a result of this confusion and anxiety, Ronan begins to feel ashamed and blames herself for causing dysfunction in their relationship. Male entitlement to the female body is made clear when Howle’s character yells at Ronan in a moment of anger: “we’re man and wife, that’s what you promised to me!” This line is presumably in response to her reluctance to have sex with him. As her husband, he feels he is now entitled to her body, whenever he wants it. Throughout the entire trailer, Ronan is never once asked for consent, and her trepidation is not validated but instead met with disappointment or frustration. Sadly, this trailer will be more relatable for many women than I think we’d like to admit.

Luis: Saoirse Ronan has risen as one of the finest actresses of her generation in recent years, for which I am always excited to see what she does next. That said, the trailer for On Chesil Beach presents what seems to be a melodramatic romance that will attempt to explore deeper themes about sex, intimacy, and social pressures. I say attempt because from the snippets you see, the film does not seem too concerned with nuance. Here we have a conflicted upper middle-class female protagonist falling for and seemingly marrying a working-class man, all bound to create a tragic chain of events. It will be interesting to see how the movie develops its central conflict and if the quotations from reviews tell us anything is that at least the performances are good. Likewise, one of the great period romance films of the 21st century, Atonement, was also based on an Ian McEwan novel, so there is definitely a shot for success here. The fact that it is set in the sixties and has some nice period costumes adds to what could potentially be an interesting story. The sweeping shots, and thrilling music also help create some excitement, even if they make it seem like just another Nicholas Sparks movie. I hope it is not, but if it is then at least my sisters will enjoy the film.

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