Returning in Full Force
Posted January 14, 2018 6:33 p.m. EST
A look at new and notable trailers that recently hit screens.
“You’re telling me that the king of a Third World country runs around in a bulletproof catsuit?,” a CIA agent (played by Martin Freeman) asks a black-market gun runner (Andy Serkis) in a TV spot for Marvel’s “Black Panther” broadcast during the college football national championship. The 90-second spot features almost as much action as Alabama’s overtime win did, and even includes music by the game’s halftime-show headliner, Kendrick Lamar.
In addition to Chadwick Boseman’s titular superhero, also known as T’Challa, the trailer includes scenes of the primary villain, Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan, who reunited with his “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed” director, Ryan Coogler, for the new movie. “I hope you’re ready, bro,” Killmonger, an expatriate who tries to stage a coup in the fictional African country of Wakanda, warns T’Challa. “I’m just getting started.”
There were also glimpses of Lupita Nyong’o (as T’Challa’s ex-lover, a spy), Danai Gurira (as his chief bodyguard) and Forest Whitaker (as an elder who warns him, “A war is coming”).
“Long live the king,” proclaims the teaser, and Disney executives certainly hope that proves prophetic, as tickets have just gone on sale for “Black Panther.” It opens Feb. 16.
After taking a creative flying leap with director Darren Aronofsky’s divisive “Mother!,” Jennifer Lawrence looks likely to land on safer commercial ground with “Red Sparrow.” The spy thriller reunites the star with Francis Lawrence, who directed the final three installments of her hugely successful “Hunger Games” franchise and puts her back in the action arena where she has scored with a trio of “X-Men” films.
Based on a novel by Jason Matthews, “Red Sparrow” casts Lawrence as Dominika Egorova, a Russian ballerina forced to become a student at the Sparrow School, which trains young people to seduce and betray enemy operatives. When she develops feelings for one of her targets, a CIA agent (Joel Edgerton), she is tempted to become a traitor to Mother Russia.
The new trailer for the film also incorporates footage of Charlotte Rampling as the head of the Sparrow School and Jeremy Irons as a Russian general who informs Dominika: “You are better at this than any of us. Your only problem is you have a soul.”
With echoes of TV series like “Alias” and “The Americans,” as well as a touch of Aronofsky’s film “Black Swan,” “Red Sparrow” seems well timed as both a female-empowerment thriller and a cautionary tale of Russian-government deception. It opens March 2.
During the final days of the Nixon administration in 1974, “Death Wish” became a populist smash as moviegoers cheered a vigilante Charles Bronson taking revenge on the punks who killed his wife and raped his daughter. Now 44 years later, MGM hopes to tap into the Trump era’s similar law-and-disorder mentality with a remake casting “Die Hard” veteran Bruce Willis in the lead role.
The action has been moved from Manhattan to Chicago, and the protagonist, Paul Kersey, is now a doctor rather than an architect. A new trailer begins with statistics meant to build a case for Dr. Kersey giving the perps who invaded his idyllic house a taste of their own medicine, claiming that out of 125 million families in the United States, “one in four will become victims of a crime.” The final sentence says “What if your family was next” The incorrect punctuation seems intentional, as if it’s not meant to be posed as a question.
“The men who did it are out there,” Dr. Kersey growls. “I’m going to hunt them down one by one.” And so he does, killing one grease monkey by pulling out the jack holding up a car he’s working underneath and buying a gun from a busty blonde who winks at him and coos, “You’re cocked, locked and ready to rock.”
Written by Joe Carnahan (“Narc”) and directed by Eli Roth (“Hostel”), the new “Death Wish” co-stars Elisabeth Shue (“Leaving Las Vegas”) as Dr. Kersey’s doomed wife, Vincent D’Onofrio (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”) as his brother, and Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad”) as an ineffectual cop. Originally scheduled for release during Thanksgiving weekend 2017, the film will now open on the less family-friendly March 2.