Also bravo to Michael Giacchino, whose score remains as sweeping and hummable as ever. Rihanna’s end credits single, in contrast, isn’t so bad as to wreck a mediocre movie but is a melodramatic copy of every other pop song ever written by Sia, who should go away forever. Also bravo to the makeup artist for creating whatever alien Jayla is. If not for the contributions of these people, I would have been hopelessly bored throughout the whole affair, but not so bored as to require a Jedi mind meld to wipe this from my memory, which is fortunate, as not even President Barack Hussein Obama knows how to administer one of those.
One change I didn’t take that favorably in the first forty minutes was the decision to kill off Julia Stiles, who’s always been in these movies for the sake of looking hot, so as to make room for young blood in the form of Alicia Vikander, who will theoretically rejuvenate the series with hotness (and smartness) in the next few installments while Matt Damon goes the route of Tom Cruise and doesn’t falter at picking up girls half his age. I took this as a superfluous and rather demeaning way of swapping an attractive woman in her 30s for an equally attractive but demonstrably more popular woman in her 20s. In fact, killing off Stiles just about destroyed the next twenty minutes of the movie for me until I made peace with the presence of Vikander, who used to be a hidden gem for those who saw Ex Machina and has now reached the same unfortunate point of ubiquity as Michael Fassbender, appearing in no fewer than four movies every year. She’s great and subtle in this as usual, as is Tommy Lee Jones, who would be a mustache-twirling villain if he wasn’t clean-shaven. Vincent Cassel kills a bunch of people and made me want to watch a movie like Black Swan again where he actually does some acting.
Now we reach the moment so many people have been anticipating so much more than my apathy towards lame summer movies.
Trailer Reviews through July 2016 (for sake of concision, discounting films already seen or trailers encountered outside the theater, i.e. Wonder Woman and King Kong 4)
Doctor Strange – “Forget every Marvel movie that you think you know,” and also Batman Begins and Inception while you’re at it, because if you don’t, you’re going to have some serious déjà vu. Booming rattle sound effect.
Or go ahead and screw it up. I don’t really care about Assassin’s Creed. Where’s that Peter Jackson Halo movie we were rumored to be getting all those years ago?
This movie sucks.
The Girl on the Train – Note to trailer editors: slowing down originally midtempo Kanye West banger tracks doesn’t make them sound more dramatic or chilling; it just wrecks a decent song and makes you sound like a hack for being the 50th person to unadvisedly jam a Kanye West song into a movie trailer. This looks like Gone Girl without the guiding hand of David Fincher, and nobody talks about Gone Girl anymore in 2016.
The Mechanic: Resurrection – Fighting on a gondola, sticking to the side of skyscraper, and blowing up a ship – I’m sure there will be a Good Parts Version with Jessica Alba available on streaming services in a couple months.
Sully – Why do I feel like this movie was made four years ago with Denzel Washington and 16 years ago with Tom Hanks?
The Accountant – This is the best-edited trailer of the year so far, and I’m not just saying that because of Radiohead. The movie itself will come and go and not be spoken of again within three weeks, but I’ll be damned if the beautiful, sonorous din this sends washing over the aisles doesn’t induce chills for all well-reared 90s kids in the cinemas. I also like that Ben Affleck doesn’t speak words and it doesn’t give the entire story away.
La La Land – I’m calling it now that this is going to be my 3rd-favorite film of the year. You got Emma Stone being adorable again, Ryan Gosling being his hunky self, deep reds and blues, lovely music, and a trailer that calls to mind the advertising of both Blue Valentine and Punch-Drunk Love. It’s also got that dunce John Legend, but I’ll try not to dwell on that too much. Here’s hoping Damien Chazelle keeps his perfect streak running.