I woke up yesterday morning to find that late the night before, the first trailer of Martin Scorsese’s new film, The Wolf of Wall Street, had dropped and small, early word was glazed with positivity. I excitedly leapt over to youtube and watched the trailer all the way through…then I watched it again…and then again, and again, and again. I’m not joking. I didn’t yet get my coffee, didn’t yet go to the bathroom, or say good morning to my parents, or even check my email or facebook. For between ten and twelve minutes there was nothing else to concern myself with except for The Wolf of Wall Street, a two-minute and ten second trailer that rocked my world.
Meta is in these days, good luck trying to deny it. It’s been steadily rising through the cinematic subgenric ranks since the end of the 1990’s but has fully exploded into the mainstream over the past few years. Throughout the Naughts, big screen meta – short for metatextual – experiences have ranged from highly self-reflexive content – Spike Jonze’s Adaptation – to suggesting it’s own components or flaws – Brad Pitt pointing to the corner of the film itself to acknowledge that it’s time for a spool change in Fight Club, characters rewinding and fastforwarding through Spaceballs while they’re actually in Spaceballs – and having characters deconstruct and identify the tropes of the genre that the film itself belongs to and trying to outsmart the villain by following what they’ve come to know from the movies – Wes Craven’s how-to-survive-a-slasher-movie, Scream.
Man of Steel is perhaps the most anticipated film of the entire summer and for good reason. It boasts a stellar crew that includes director Zack Snyder, famous for his adaptation of Frank Miller’s 300, screenwriter David S. Goyer, scribe of The Dark Knight Trilogy, and executive producer Christopher Nolan, who also wrote and directed The Dark Knight Trilogy. Clearly, Warner Bros. and DC Comics were very invested in this production, as the previous attempt at rebooting the Superman franchise back in 2006 failed to gain enough box office recognition despite strong critical reception. There is no doubt that Man of Steel will draw in audiences, as the film has been marketed for months now and anticipation for the newest chapter in the Superman anthology is at its peak. However, though I’m sure it will be the blockbuster the studios are hoping for, I don’t believe audiences will be pleased with this effort as, despite an extremely talented and comic-book savvy production team, Man of Steel proves to be nothing more than a stylish origin story that lacks enough character development and is filled with an unrelenting amount of action set pieces.
Put yourself in this situation: you’re at the craziest party you’ve ever been to with all of your best friends, new and old, when out of no where hellfire rains down and the rapture begins. Seems hilarious, right? You may be surprised, but the apocalypse can be pretty funny in fact. This is the End, written, directed, and produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, is perhaps the first film of the summer to really capture my attention and not let go. This ridiculous farce is a lot more than apocalyptic chaos (though it has it’s fair share) – it gives viewers an amazing insight into the friendship of some of the best comedic actors in the industry today.
Since opening in limited release two weekends ago, Zal Batmanglij’s The East has been lighting up the specialty box office with its hypnotic tale of corporate revenge. Written by Batmanglij and lead actress Brit Marling, the film tells the story of an FBI agent (Marling) who goes undercover to expose and root out members of “The East”, an anarchist group pulling revenge schemes on seedy corporations. In our 7/10 review, Mike Murphy writes of the film, “The East is a tightly immersive thriller that will surely entertain, provoke, and enthrall…Duplicity meets Martha Marcy May Marlene with bits of The Constant Gardner and a sprinkling of An Inconvenient Truth, The East questions itself and the audience for all of its 116 minutes. It’s a near-two hours well spent.” With The East finally moving into nationwide release this weekend, we got a chance to participate in a conference call with director Batmanglij, Marling, and co-star Alexander Skarsgård to talk political motives and more about their new eco-thriller; take a look below for the full conversation: