Tagged: Edgar Wright

Box Office Democracy: Baby Driver

Go see Baby Driver.  If you saw the trailer and thought it looked cool, it is all that and more and you should go see it.  If you saw the trailer and thought it looked bad go see it, the trailer only scratches the surface of the depth the movie has.  If you love Edgar Wright, you should go see Baby Driver because it is an evolutionary step for him that will take what you’ve liked about him up until now and turn it all up.  If you don’t like Edgar Wright, you should see it because this is a complete departure from the jokey stuff he’s done up until now that I understand people found off-putting.  Baby Driver is the kind of movie I would recommend to anyone that appreciates cinema as a craft.  It’s a lovingly made homage to everything one director thinks is cool and it succeeds with gusto.

The plot doesn’t matter— you’ve seen more than a couple heist movies, you’ll know the first 90% of this movie backwards and forwards (they make an interesting choice at the end, I like it and it isn’t standard).  There are criminals with and without hearts of gold.  There are external pressures and things to be leveraged.  There’s one last score and the calamity that always befalls one last score.  They made a cool movie, though.  The opening car chase is completely mesmerizing, the second is white-knuckle nerve-wracking, the third act is constant forward pressure.  The gimmick of the movie, that Baby (Ansel Elgort) needs to listen to music at all times) means there’s a constant vibe coming off the cool music.  It also means that any scene without music is immediately underlined as important.  It’s a clever device and I don’t envy whoever had to pay for all these songs.

This is the best performance I’ve ever seen from Ansel Elgort, but that might not be saying much.  He has to this point mostly done movies that are very much not for me, and while I might think he’s been coasting on being pretty he has fans who are likely seeing something.  He doesn’t have to do a lot in Baby Driver, he plays a character who doesn’t speak a lot and who constantly wears sunglasses.  He makes it work.  He makes his lines work, he does his best with his reactions.  It helps that he is perpetually surrounded by talented actors.  He primarily works with Kevin Spacey and in his most difficult scenes has at least Jamie Foxx or Jon Hamm to push him through the tough parts.  The very best scene in the movie is Elgort and Lily James dancing around in a laundromat but that might be more choreography than pure acting skill.  It’s such a fun moment though.

Fun is what Baby Driver has more than anything else.  I’ve seen better car chases, I’ve seen more complex crime plots, I’ve seen sweeter love stories, but I haven’t seen so many things I like wrapped in quite such a charming package.  There’s an energy to the movie and it comes from the crisp direction and from the ever-present soundtrack.  This might be the highest density of needle drops I’ve ever seen.  It’s hard to quantify fun or why something is fun, but Baby Driver is fun.  It’s as movie that spreads an infectious smile to your face and refuses to let up.  It’s a movie that begs you to click on it on Netflix; a movie that you trip over yourself to recommend to friends.  It’s a movie you can watch over and over again, a movie to forever be happy whittling away an afternoon.

Marc Alan Fishman: Injustice 2 and The Hype Machine

The very first movie trailer debuted in November, 1913. It showed backstage rehearsal footage of an upcoming production of the musical The Pleasure Seekers. The actual play itself debuted the same month.

In contrast, today you can catch the sneak peak to the first look of the first cut of the promotional trailer of any given movie upwards of a full year before the actual film is released. How starved for content is our culture?

Think now, how literally days into pre-production of a given franchise the hype machine starts a’rollin’. When George Lucas and his menagerie sneezed a bit too loud, Entertainment Weekly and any other number of film blogs lit the net on fire. Speculation then is answered by some unseen specter of a source, second-handed, to an iffy-looking kid with a smartphone. And soon enough, Donald Glover is pitching to be young Lando.

Smash cut to the actual release of the story a year later. Smash cut again when Glover is doing his first costume fitting. Maybe he’ll Instagram his name on a garment bag. It’ll be picked up on TMZ, the AP, AICN, and Perez Hilton — if he’s still a thing. You know, just enough to keep the future film top of mind.

Marketing is an art and a science. Hype is the currency. Hype parlays demand into action. Or so marketing companies want to tell you – ask Edgar Wright how Scott Pilgrim turned out for him when you have a chance.

And it’s not just movies that are guilty of this sin. The day I wrote this very article, the teaser to the full trailer for the upcoming Injustice 2 video game crawled across my Facebook feed. And boy howdy, it worked. Before the predictable (but oh-so-glorious) cut scene footage shown over some narration completed, I was furiously calculating the cost to upgrade my Xbox. When the teaser-to-the-trailer ended, the release date in May whizzed across the screen. I looked over at my second browser window – with open tabs at Amazon, eBay, WalMart, and Best Buy – and I stared off into the middle distance in shame.

The fact is, these days products are bought and sold long before they are ever completed. Pilot season in TV land churns out show after show. Only those with enough hype to garner attention from advertisers ever see the light of day. And even then, if the hype train doesn’t keep chugging down the tracks, the show flies off the rails leaving hundreds of actors and production crew scrambling to do it all again. Maybe with a different script next time.

But who am I to judge? My company’s Kickstarter campaign – itself a bit of a hype machine if you think hard on it – was essentially drumming interest up in a project we’d still not completed inking before we were promoting the crap out of the finished product. Smash cut to over a year later, and only now am I flatting one-half of the book while I finish other pages as they drizzle in. And while I’d be tempted to share my half-completed work on our Facebook page, I’ve relegated it to our “seen by at least four people weekly” Facebook Live show.

The broad question is: When have we reached the event horizon? I think we’re already there. With the ubiquitous nature of technology allowing us to capture content being created live as it’s being fretted over, marketing and promotion is half-button push away. In a world where virality is as important at times as the actual quality of the product, hype is now deeply rooted into the very fabric of creation.

And because of it, Wing Commander made nearly half its lifetime gross its opening weekend. It was a bomb of a film and a financial failure. But it had The Phantom Menace trailer attached to it. We all know how that hype played out.

The Point Radio: Mary McDonnell Gets Back On The Case

Oscar and Emmy nominee, Mary McDonnell is on the case for a third season of the TNT Crime Drama, MAJOR CRIMES. She talks about what’s coming up on the show and the things that took her from BATTLESTAR:GALACTICA to another series. Plus someone’s finally paying attention to Ant Man.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE on ANY mobile device (Apple or Android). Just  get the free app, iNet Radio in The  iTunes App store – and it’s FREE!  The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE  – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

Glenn Hauman: Peyton Reed Is Directing The Wrong Marvel Movie

Ant-ManYou’ve probably heard that over the weekend, Peyton Reed has taken over directing chores for Marvel’s Ant-Man after Edgar Wright left the project over “creative differences.”

While I’m glad to see that Marvel is stampeding forward to avoid blowing any release dates (because Disney runs on a very tight schedule) I admit that when I think of the Marvel movie Peyton Reed should be making, Ant-Man isn’t what comes to mind.

I think the Marvel movie he should be making is the movie of the making of Marvel.


Who Really Wants An “Ant-Man” Movie?

English: Edgar Wright at the 2010 Comic Con in...

English: Edgar Wright at the 2010 Comic Con in San Diego (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…these movies are all so intertwined from a business/perception perspective that Marvel can no longer afford to roll the dice on a hip, genre-subverting superhero film that might not do Winter Soldier numbers on its opening weekend. Letting Wright walk away makes Marvel look bad to film-geek Twitter, but if the box-office headline after Ant-Man opened were anything but ANT-MAN SQUASHES COMPETITION, it would call into question the viability of the whole Movieverse.

via Marvel Grits Teeth, Rolls Forward With Ant-Man Movie Literally Nobody Wants «.

REVIEW: The World’s Endf

THE WORLDS END BD_2DAfter a steady diet of stupid buddy movies, including this summer’s Grown-Ups 2 flop, I welcomed Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s unique take on the concept in The World’s End. After a steady stream of funny and inventive films, this one hewed closer to a traditional premise: five high school buddies reunite for one last blast. However, being from this duo, one could expect something different.

The first forty minutes of the film felt fairly straightforward as the one who refused to grow up gathered his peers, all mired in staid existences, and convinced them to do what they failed to accomplish in their teens. In this case it meant visiting and quaffing a brew at all twelve pubs along the Golden Mile, finishing at the fabled World’s End. We see them struggling to reconnect, all annoyed at their leader for one reason or another. Unlike other films in this manner, the men are archetypal, not caricatures, and you feel the weight of adulthood on their shoulders. Their resentment towards Gary King (Pegg) is also tinged with envy as he has never lost that boyhood spirit, that Can Do attitude that made the next step an adventure.

Then things take an unexpected twist and we’re plunged into an entirely different story that pits these five against an alien threat with the very world’s fate at stake. How they handle this fuels the remainder of the satisfying film, out now on Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Considered the final installment in the Cornetto Trilogy, viewers should be aware it has absolutely no connection to Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. What they do share in common is an ensemble cast and smart, witty writing that never trips over the line into dumb humor or slapstick.

Worlds-EndWright nicely skewers the horror, cop, and science fiction conventions in these films, always taking ordinary people with ordinary problems and sticking them in extraordinary circumstances. Gary King is the boy who never grew up and as an adult, his actions now appear inappropriate but it is his spirit to never give up that forces the others — — Steven Prince (Paddy Considine), Oliver “O-Man” Chamberlain (Martin Freeman), Peter Page (Eddie Marsan) and best friend Andy Knightley (Nick Frost) – into action. The quiet home of Newton Haven is too quiet and the looks the quintet receive from the patrons borders on The Stepford Wives, even their old college professor (Pierce Brosnan) seem s a little off. When King rips the head off a young punk, he discovers the inhabitants have been replaced with robots out to “civilize” humanity.

There’s a tremendous amount of running, fighting, screaming and humor but in the end it all comes down to King and Andy debating the Voice (Bill Nighy) behind it all. As climaxes go, it falls a little flat but is whimsical in a nice way. And there’s even a touch of romance with Oliver’s sister Sam (Rosamund Pike), the sole major female role in the film, a failing on the Bechdel scale.

The-Worlds-EndThe film’s tone is a steady one, despite the rising complications and activity. The performances are strong as one would expect from the cast, who have worked together for many a year, making this one of the strongest and best comedies of the year. Out on a combo disc (Blu-ray, DVD and Ultraviolet digital), the video transfer is fine, matched by sharp audio. Unlike a lot of recent releases, this one comes with an excellent abundance of material staring with Commentary from Wright and Pegg and Wright and director of photography Bill Pope and Pegg with co-stars Frost and Considine. The first is funny and interesting, the second interesting for technical folk, and the third is as hilarious as you would expect.

U-Control Storyboard PiP lets you see the film’s storyboards alongside the film which is interesting for storytellers. Better is Completing the Golden Mile: The Making of The World’s End (48:00) which takes us through the concept to production although you know some of this through the commentaries.

Additionally, there’s Filling in the Blanks: The Stunts and FX of The World’s End (28:00); VFX Breakdown (9:00); Edgar & Simon’s Flip Chart (13:00), a fascinating look at the beat by beat breakdowns writers use to craft screenplays; Director at Work (3:00); Pegg + Frost = Fried Gold (3:00) Friends Reunited (4:00), mostly culled from a press kit; Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (5:00); Animatics (11:00), for two scenes; Hair and Make-Up Tests (4:00); Rehearsal Footage (6:00); Stunt Tapes (9:00); There’s Only One Gary King: Osymyso’s Inibri-8 Megamix (5:00); Music remix montage; Signs & Omens (8:00); Deleted Scene (1 minute); Outtakes (11:00); Alternate Edits (SD, 5 minutes); Bits and Pieces (3:00), additional alternate takes and shots; and, Trailers & TV Spots including the TV Safe Version. Finally, there are Galleries of photographs, concept art, animatronics, prosthetics, theatrical posters and pub signs and a fun Trivia Track.

By all means, check this one out and enjoy the bonus features which enhance the enjoyment.

Edgar Wright Picks His Ant-Man… Meet Jack Black.


Edgar Wright, director of such nerd-worthy hits like Shawn of the Dead, and the recent not-so-blockbusting Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, has come forward with some interesting news on his next flick. The Dorset, England native did a little name dropping to Variety early this morning. “Hollywood knows my track record with the comic-book cultists… but it seems with the less than stellar box office take for Pilgrim meant I’d have to take a real leap in casting my next star. Luckily for me, I had Jack in my back pocket.” And with that, the cat was let out of the bag. For Wright’s soon to be finished script for Marvel’s Ant-Man being pushed into production, he was quick to drop this bit of casting news to help build early buzz.

Wright’s script, utilizing the director’s quick wit, is in his words, “a real tongue in cheek kind of deal.” He went on to comment “I mean, I really didn’t think Hank Pym was movie material, unless we wanted a comedy about beating your tiny wife…”. The near-approved draft will have Jack Black starring as former thief turned superhero Scott Lang.

“I’m just jazzed about getting Jack on board. His range of emotions, his physicality, and his vocal prowess as a rock singer just really vibe with me. There’s so much to work with here. How could I not be excited?” Wright finished up his comments with a little teaser. “Since Jack signed on, I couldn’t help myself… there WILL be a musical number towards the end of the film, that will easily put my Ant-Man teeny heads and shoulders above anything they’re doing on any other superhero flick. I mean, Spider-Man 3 didn’t really gel with the fans until the little dance number they had in the second act, right? I mean that movie was Marvel’s best comedy to date, and I plan on topping it.”

#SDCC: Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour vs. The Fans

#SDCC: Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour vs. The Fans

He may have to fight his way through the seven deadly exes to gain Ramona’s heart, but Scott Pilgrim faced something far worse at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con… the fans! That’s right, film helmer Edgar Wright decided to take on the rabid and crazed Scott Pilgrim fans betwixt a panel of clips, trailers, and other goodness. Just in case you weren’t there to enjoy all the video game references, and hullaballoo… why not take a gander at the YouTubery, eh? You don’t even need to use a save game slot to load it up. We’re nice enough to have it unlocked from the cheat menu below.