Movie & TV Trailers



   

   My opinion? This may be a fun series to watch, but just because they call it Perry Mason doesn’t make it PERRY MASON.

   An eight-episode adaptation of H.G. Wells’ classic science fiction novel, The War of the Worlds was shown in France last year. The series will make its first appearance in the US next month (February 16th) on Epix.

   The show stars Gabriel Byrne, Elizabeth McGovern, Léa Drucker, Natasha Little, Daisy Edgar Jones, Stéphane Caillard, Adel Bencherif, and Guillaume Gouix.

Coming to Netflix in March:

   Based on the novel by Ross Thomas, Briarpatch, the TV series, will debut on the USA Network in February.

   “Rosario Dawson stars as a determined investigator returning to her hometown to investigate the explosive murder of her sister. From mysterious deaths and corruption, to occasional car explosions and zoo animals on the loose, it’s a wild ride through the town of Saint Disgrace.”


   I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to see both of these:



   I’ve not seen a James Bond movie since Casino Royale, the first one in which Daniel Craig had the starring role. I don’t see anything in this one that appeals to me, either, but there’s plenty of time for me to change my mind about that.

COMMENTS BY JONATHAN LEWIS:

   Marvel Comics’ Ghost Rider (2007) was a box office success, and it’s not difficult to see why. It’s fun, energetic, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Plus, at that time, Nicholas Cage was still a major box office draw and not doing the types of indies and direct to streaming features he is doing now.

   The trailer pretty much gives away the whole story, although not some of the more convoluted parts of the often confusing plot. A guy makes a deal with the devil, becomes a successful stunt motorcycle rider, then has to face a group of bad demons and save the world. Got it? Good. I can’t say it’s a good film because it isn’t. The dialogue is pretty atrocious and the special effects look more silly than they do frightening. But seeing the recently departed Peter Fonda portray The Devil incarnate in a motorcycle movie was still worth the ride.


COMMENTS BY JONATHAN LEWIS:


   The trailer for Just Before Dawn (1981, directed by Jeff Lieberman) suggests that it’s a standard slasher film, one with perhaps some supernatural themes. While it’s true that the movie is undeniably a slasher film and part of that “craze” that swept drive-ins and cheap theaters in the early 1980s, it is also a survival film.

   Think: John Boorman’s Deliverance (1972), which Lieberman credits as a major influence on his work. The trailer decribes the plot pretty well, but it fails to capture how hauntingly atmospheric the movie is. How the natural outdoor setting in the movie – it was filmed on location in Oregon – is as much as a character in the film as are the doomed protagonists.

   But let’s be honest. Just Before Dawn is an exploitation film, designed to appeal to the suburban fear of the backwoods. Just who are those inbred people who live up there, all alone in the mountains? The fun-loving kids in this movie with their fashionable clothes and their love for Blondie and Debbie Harry will soon find out, much as Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight’s characters did in that seminal work of 1970s cinema.

   One final note: for a slasher film, Just Before Dawns is relatively bloodless. There’s some gore, of course, but Lieberman didn’t go for the cheap thrills as much as he did the psychological menace of being chased and hunted in an unfamiliar, dangerous setting.


COMMENTS BY JONATHAN LEWIS:


    Horror House aka The Haunted House of Horror is a strange movie that defies easy categorization. Essentially a British giallo film, this Tigon Productions release from 1969 stars a nearly thirty-year old Frankie Avalon as a hip British teen (!!) who becomes embroiled in a murder mystery outside swinging London.

   The trailer doesn’t do a particularly effective job in conveying just how stylish the movie is, nor how shockingly gory it is in a few particularly sequences. Apparently both David Bowie and Boris Karloff were considered for roles in the movie, with Dennis Price taking the role meant for the latter. I can’t say that the plot, after it unfolds, is all that coherent. But it isn’t easily forgotten.



COMMENTS BY JONATHAN LEWIS:


   This extended July 4th weekend, I decided to revisit one of the few horror movies set during this holiday season, I Know What You Did Last Summer. Based on the eponymous 1973 young adult novel written by Lois Duncan and with a screenplay penned by Kevin Williamson (Scream), the movie is a surprisingly effective, if somewhat vacuous, thriller.

   It’s perfect summer candy. Fun while you enjoy it, but nothing overly memorable. The trailer, with its voice-over narration, gives away the basic plot. Four friends accidentally run a man over and leave him for dead. But that’s not where their story ends. A year later, on Independence Day weekend, the man they thought had died returns with a vengeance.

   The vibe of the trailer is much like the movie: young and hip with a powerful soundtrack. My one complaint is that the trailer doesn’t fully capture how much Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) rather than Jennifer Love Hewitt carries the film. Without her, the movie really wouldn’t have worked.

   For NCIS fans, there is a special treat waiting for you in this one. Muse Watson, who portrayed the gruff Mike Franks on the show, plays the villain in this feature.


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