The most exciting trailers of the last seven days.

Television Tea Leaves

Hello, dear reader, and welcome back.

It’s been a few days; I hope you’re doing well.

In my *very* brief time away from the keyboard, the world of pop-culture exploded into a fervor of speculation and awards-show favorites. Make no mistake, I’m not contributing to that conversation (lest the Oscar’s find a decent host who actually wants the gig); no, I’m here to share my favorite new trailers for movies, television, and games – all released within the last week.

Why ponder over the best stuff of this contemptible year, when we could yearn, eager-eyed and full of wonderment, at the year(s) to come?

So here’s my list in no particular order.

Avengers: Endgame

Sweet Christmas ladies and gentlemen, there’s still reason to get excited about superheroes. Though this isn’t the only superhero trailer on this list, it’s by far and away my most anticipated. Thanos reshaped the universe with a snap of his fingers in the last outing, put simply: the Avengers crew took a loss. What’s most exciting, however, are the appearances of much-demanded Hawkeye and Ant-Man into the fold with other major players. Though, with Marvel’s penchant for misleading its fans to better hype up a film (HBO does the same thing with Game of Thrones), expect a great deal of speculation and little in the way of answers until you’re in the theater. MEANWHILE, there are other superhero outings to look forward to – and to decipher how exactly they fit in with the larger MCU narrative. One of which…

Captain Marvel

FINALLY, we know why Brie Larson so casually decked a sweet old woman in the face. Spoiler: the older woman is of an evil alien race of shape-shifters known as the Skrull, and absolutely deserves to be punched in the face by an academy award winning actress.

The trailer also helps to clear up a bit of what left me so confused after watching the first trailer – how did Carol Danvers wind up fighting these intergalactic beasts, but retains so many earthbound memories? Watch the trailer and see for yourself.

BrightBurn

Although I find it odd that Hollywood is referring to James Gunn as a “visionary director” because he can splash some colors on the screen around his wacky characters, this trailer is worth a watch for one reason alone: It’s a superhero horror movie. Borrowing heavily from the first trailer for Man of Steel, even down to the font and effects used leading up to the reveal, BrightBurn promises a darker, more satirical portrayal of the superhero origin shlock. Oh, your baby fell from the sky, imbued with otherworldly powers? Yeah, that thing is probably dangerous. Cue the scene where a woman, locked in a restaurant walk-in fridge, stares in horror as the child uses heat vision to slice through the door. This could be fun.

Stranger Things 3

The darling Netflix series returns in 2019. While this teaser is nothing more than the iconic synthwave intro sequence and what I assume are the titles of each episode flashing across the screen – it’s still worth getting excited over. Stranger Things has been on hiatus since 2017, presumably to age-up the characters for the next season’s setting of “the summer of 1985.”

Since then, the Russo Brothers have signed off on a Stranger Things video game taking place after season two, David Habour is starring in the next Helboy, Gaten Matarazzo is all over the commercial space, Finn Wolfhard starred in IT, and Millie Bobby Brown is literally taking over the world via social media. It’s time to bring the band back together.

Triple Frontier

Folks, Netflix is at it again. It looks like the wave of interest in cartel-related media is still rolling, though nothing has matched the ferocity and poignancy of Sicario. This film, however, led by an astonishingly talented cast, might be Netflix’s best attempt since the first season of Narcos. With marquee names Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal all directed by A Most Violent Year director J.C. Chandor, this has the makings of a solid effort by the subscription service. Though I should note how often Netflix’s original films fail on their promise (it’s quite often.)

Devil May Cry 5

We’re moving into video game territory now. As some of you may know, The Game Awards 2018 was held just a few nights ago. While the greatest moments of the night came from the stage [READ IT BOY] there were a handful of truly exciting announcements. Such as this, the return of the original Dante after the lackluster Ninja Theory soft franchise reboot DmC. Ninja Theory would go on to make 2017’s most dramatically arresting game, HellBlade: Senua’s Sacrifice, but latter success doesn’t excuse former failure. Aside from the return of Dante’s glistening silver hair, we have Nero returning, as well as a new character named “V” – all playable. Oh, and keeping in line with the confusing-as-fuck-all narrative structure of the franchise, Devil May Cry 5 takes place several years after Devil May Cry 2 – which follows Devil May Cry 4, which follows Devil May Cry 1, which follows Devil May Cry 3. So, if you think about it, Devil May Cry 5 is the only entry in chronological order. Make sense? Moving on.

The Outer Worlds

I don’t have to tell you, reader, that Obsidian Entertainment was royally screwed by Bethesda Softworks despite producing what is arguably the greatest entry in the Fallout franchise with Fallout: New Vegas – while only having eighteen months to do so. Bethesda denied Obsidian employees monetary bonuses by requiring that New Vegas receive an 85 or higher on review aggregate website Metacritic. When the game scored an 84, Bethesda denied the bonuses.

Well, Obsidian is back after a lengthy few years developing [nothing like New Vegas or what fans have been asking for]. Enter, The Outer Worlds, a first-person perspective role-playing game the looks like the beautiful bastard child of Fallout, Bioshock, and Borderlands (God I needed this trailer so badly.) Obsidian has emphasized that player-choice is paramount to their narrative experiences. Enhanced gun-play and mechanics are great, but should the narrative not amount to anything worthwhile (*cough* Fallout 4 *cough* Fallout 76 *cough*) then the game probably won’t resonate as well with the player. The timing of this announcement, a sci-fi RPG with Fallout mechanics, Borderlands zaniness, and Bioshock aesthetics, pulls the rug right out from Bethesda Game Studios’ feet – as their often teased upcoming Starfield, another sci-fi RPG, has had some doubt cast its way after the horrendous launch of Fallout 76 and the scrutiny levied toward Bethesda for watering down their storytelling experiences and relying too heavily on a seriously out-dated game engine. To that point, The Outer Worlds may not have Battlefield V levels of graphical fidelity, but it’s a great deal easier on the eyes than the play-dough abominations Bethesda’s been hawking as character-models.

Keep an eye on The Outer Worlds, it has all the makings of a truly exceptional RPG from a band of reliable, longtime industry veterans.


 

Well, those are the trailers that jumped out at me over the last several days. If there’s a trailer you saw and wished was on this list, I either didn’t see it or didn’t feel as strongly about it as you did.

Either way, have yourself a wonderful day, dear reader. If you’re among those currently snowed-in on the United States East Coast, I am suffering with you. Double up those socks and don’t forget your gloves.

Until next time.

NEWS: An interesting week for Marvel

Well, it’s been an interesting week to say the least. Ignoring the incessant death throes of our democracy, let’s instead turn to acknowledge another of our great American pastimes: Pop escapism!

This week saw the release of two new trailers for Marvel properties. Sony’s Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse and Netflix’s Daredevil series both unleashed onto an unsuspecting, though willing, audience. One is bright and colorful, inviting, while the other is dark and foreboding of the kind of pulpy dread we series-bingers yearn for.

The Spider-Verse trailer looks fun, and funny. The animation is reminiscent of Insomniac Games’ recent Spiderman PS4 exclusive, with warm lighting and playful, Disney-Marvel banter.  Full of homages and references to the web-slinger’s other on-screen outings, this looks like the type of kid-friendly, light-hearted fare that could finally win Sony some much-needed love from fans.

As for the Daredevil season three trailer? God, it’s so good to see Wilson Fisk again. His presence was deeply missed in season two, especially after being (arguably) the greatest aspect of the first season. How he and Matt Murdock do battle remains to be seen, but expect psychological manipulation and long-take tracking-shots of martial arts in the many hallways of Hell’s Kitchen.

No word yet on whether one of these Marvel shows will be able to match the potency of its first season. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage each had fairly solid first outings. The Punisher felt a bit redundant by its eighth episode, and Iron Fist has been a raging dumpster fire from the jump. As far as overall quality, I’d say Jessica Jones’ first season is the high-mark for the Netflix Defenders universe. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Next comes the totally unexpected, couldn’t-have-been-predicted, out of left field realization that Sony’s Venom received poor review scores from critics. Holy shit. Unbelievable. A movie whose protagonist likened his existence to a turd in the wind – IN THE PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL – met a poor critical response. I stand by my box-office prediction from earlier this week – A Star is Born is charming literally everyone, and buzz for Venom never felt more fervent than lukewarm apprehension. We’ll see, I suppose.

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Lastly, Chris Evans took to Twitter to announce that he has wrapped filming for the upcoming Avengers movie. He provided a heartfelt farewell to the character of Captain America, a role he’s played dutifully for the last eight years. One can only assume that he will go back to his day job of being a golden retriever. Oh, and him signing off definitely means he’s going to die. Just saying.

That’s it for Marvel news. At least what I care to talk about.

Stay tuned for more.

Until next time.

 

From Under a Rock: Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman have a new show!

It’s hard to keep up with pop-culture. Things emerge and disappear at such a whiplash pace that any single human-being running a comprehensive media blog might be forgiven for letting some exciting news slip through his fingers. The news in question? The July 31, 2018 release of NBC reality show, Making It. Hosted by none other than Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman.

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Seeing as the show premiered just last night, and the show’s YouTube channel has been up for like, four months or something, this hardly qualifies as “news.” But it’s recent enough for me to gush about it and to count my lucky stars that I even heard about this to begin with.

It looks like another competition-based reality show, but sharing its concept with some of the most popular videos on the internet right now: Arts and Crafts. Crafters are all over YouTube, from tutorials in homemaking to replicas of famous weaponry. Mythbusters alum Adam Savage has earned millions of views on his workshop-based web-show, Tested, where in one now-famous video he modified a nerf-gun to shoot 10,000 rounds of foam ammunition.

Crafting is popular, and there are few more recognized craftsmen than actor Nick Offerman.

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In his role as Ron Swanson on NBC’s own Parks and Rec, Offerman played the character as a government-loathing, hard-work, and self-sustainability championing everyman – whose longing for the outdoors, a stiff glass of scotch, and resentment of all personal vulnerability made him an ideal Hemingway hero.

Though it’s known in real life that Offerman is quite a softy, the handyman he played on TV was a representation of his actual proficiency in woodworking and other crafts.

Enter: Amy Poehler.

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Self-described in the new show’s promotional material as a bit of a layman, her role as co-host seems more to appeal to the audience’s sense of voyeurism. That kind of, “watcha makin’?” approach.

The set itself reminds me of PBS’s The Great British Baking Show. Craft-stations are set up in a smaller, less-industrial environment with soft lighting and brighter colors. The promo also suggests a more friendly and cooperative approach to competition rather than the cutthroat and demoralizing bickering of other, more Ramsey-ish reality television shows.

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All of this seems to act as the contrarian response to the acidity present in the modern social-discourse. Poehler at one point addresses this in the trailer, saying outright that the show is more about bringing people together over a shared love of creativity and artistry – rather than personal gain. In-keeping with the unshakeable optimism from other notable works in Poehler’s career, this might become the reality TV show to watch.

A little togetherness, Poehler says, is exactly what we need right now.

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There’s an audience for crafts online, and people have certainly been pining for more Parks and Rec. This could be a hit, especially considering just how far the show’s cast has launched into the pop-culture spotlight since the show ended. Stars Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones, Rob Lowe, and Adam Scott have all seen success in prominent roles for other shows and feature films.

Anyways, let’s see how this works out for Amy and Nick and their band of professional crafters. I’d be tickled to death if we got at least one scene of our two co-hosts chowing down on waffles at a local diner. Tickled. To. Death.


Making It premiered July 31, and airs every Tuesday at 10/9c after America’s Got Talent, on NBC.

Game of Thrones Returns in ‘First Half’ of 2019

EW reported way back in January that HBO had confirmed the release window for its cash-printing juggernaut of a series, Game of Thrones. A placidly announced “2019”.

How wonderfully vague. This was after EW had reported back in 2017 that GoT might not have anything Thrones-related in 2018. HBO has seen fit to release small morsels of detail regarding the show’s conclusion (while teasing the spinoff already in pre-production), and around every three to five months we get a tasty little carrot dangled in front of us.

We’re biting HBO. Don’t worry.

Well, EW has reported again a clarification of HBO’s timetable for the final season’s release, and a bit more information on the prequel series spinoff.

Casey Bloys, HBO’s programming president, said to reporters that the final season of GoT will release in the “First half” of 2019. And that’s it. First half. 2019. Go apeshit, everybody, because that probably means it will follow a similar release pattern as seasons 1-6, airing in late March or early April as opposed to season 7’s July premier.

Remember, this final season will only be six episodes long, and (if Maisie William’s instagram is to be believed) principal photography has ended. All that’s left to do is for the animators slaving away in HBO’s office-basement to render the dragons, and the armies of the dead, and of the living clashing with those armies in what is sure to be the most extravagant and monumental achievement in television history. Did anyone else just shiver?

Moving on.

EW also makes mention of the prequel series HBO is producing to fill the void left after GoT wraps. You might remember rumors swirling around that HBO ordered five fucking prequel shows. Which is a lot, considering the massive budget of each episode of GoT. Perhaps following a moment of clarity in the afterglow of their hubris, they realized that only one show was necessary. A show, as reported by EW, that Casey Bloys expects to start filming in early 2019.

So, 2019 appears to be the year for all things Game of Thrones. Nothing to do now but create a new email and sign up for another free trial of HBO Now, catch up on Westworld or binge seasons 1-7 of GoT. Hum the theme-song to yourself on the morning commute. It’ll be worth it (hopefully).