The Season Is Coming

Spring 2019 New Movie Preview

It's another season, and that means another round of trailers to watch so we can decide what films are worth hitting in theaters. The "Summer" movie season starts earlier and earlier every year, and now we're basically looking at it encroaching all the way through Spring. We've gonna have to decide quick if we're gonna start buying all the good tickets:

Comes Out: April 4, 2019

This movie is basically on top of us already. It comes out next weekend, there are already reviews out for it, and if you live in the right city you can probably already score early screenings for the film (although we at Asteroid G aren't yet lucky enough to get preview tickets). Essentially you should already know if you're going to see it.

That said, if you're on the fence -- maybe because you don't know who Shazam (ne Captain Marvel) is, or because you don't want to sit through another DC Extended UniverseStarted as DC Comics' answer to the MCU, the early films in the franchise stumbled out of the gates, often mired in grim-dark storytelling and the rushed need to get this franchise started. Eventually, though, the films began to even out, becoming better as they went along. Still, this franchise has a long way to go before it's true completion for Marvel's universe. bore -- let the teaser trailer and full trailer for the film sell you on the concept. Billy Batson is a teenager who, through sheer luck, gains super powers one day. He basically has all the abilities of Superman (and then some) and uses them to be, well, a super-powered teenager.

Although some previous versions of the character has played up the Superman-style angle, this film clearly falls into the fun, teenagers goofing off category. It's about as far-removed in tone and style as it could be from the rest of the DCEU as it could be while still technically being in the same universe (even going so far as to have New Line cinema, a subsidiary of Warner Bros., producing this flick). For many people, that's a strong selling point.

Plus, it just looks fun. Zachary Levi seems perfectly cast as the grown-up (due to his powers) Shazam!, and everyone involved seems to be having a blast in all the footage that's been shown. Early reviews are favorable (even if most do note that the first act is a bit of a slog), and this looks like it could be the right sort of step for the DCEU to make.

Obviously I'm already on board with seeing this film. The question, then, is what are you going to do next weekend?

Pet Sematary
Comes Out: April 5, 2019

I'll go on the record and say that the original, 1989 Pet Sematary is a pretty crappy movie. I thought it was meh back when it came out, and if couldn't scare a young version of me, adult me certainly wasn't going to care about it. Also, it's sequel was even worse, which is pretty impressive considering the low bar set by the original. Needless to say I didn't think a remake was necessary even if, for some reason, the original film did make money.

Having watched the two trailers, I guess I can kind of see why a remake was desired. The trailers certainly make the film seem creepy, although I have to wonder how much of that is the actual movie and how much is just really good editing by the company that made the trailers.

In the film (as with the original) a family moves to a sleepy little town. The dad soon discovers a creepy little landmark: a "Pet Sematary". What he doesn't know, and is explained to him by one of his neighbors (played by the always fantastic John Lithgow in the new film) is that the Pet Sematary can bring things back from the dead. It happens first with the family cat after he buries it there and then, in a moment of grief, the father buries their kid there are well after the child is run over by a semi (in the original it was the younger son but here it seems like it's the elder daughter that gets killed and resurrected). The problem is that the sematary doesn't bring people back properly -- they're broken and evil. And the family pays the price for the father's hubris.

it does seem like the new movie has changed a number of details (beyond which child dies), all seemingly to up the scares. I personally think this is for the best (although I'm sure plenty of fanboys would disagree) since I felt the original movie was awful. I don't know if I'll see this in theaters or just wait until it's out on video (the lingering bad taste of the original has tainted this one for me) but it does at least seem like it's be a decently creepy time whenever I get around to it.

Comes Out: April 12, 2019

Although they were never as successful as I think they should have been, the original Hellboy movies were quite enjoyable. The two films, both directed by Guillermo Del Toro, are feasts for the eyes while, at the same time, giving us plenty of superhero action not tied to two big-name comic companies. Although for a long while there was hope a third movie in the original series (not counting the two animated side-adventures) would be produced, eventually those plans were scrapped in favor of a new movie in a new continuity.

If you can get past the fact that Guillermo Del Toro isn't attached to this film (so it doesn't have his particular sensibility), the new Hellboy does look pretty enjoyable. The two trailers are packed with plenty of action, and laughs, and help set the tone for the movie to come. They may not be as sumptuous as if the original director was still working on the series, but then that was to be expected.

As in the original films, Hellboy (this time played by David Harbour) works for the BPRD, a group of supernatural protectors who regularly save the world. This time around an ancient witch has been reborn and seeks to unmake the world so she can rebuild it as she sees fit. The only person equipped to stop her is the stone-fisted demon from Hell.

If there's any flaw with the material on offer so far it's that the new film seems campier than the original. Maybe it's the music in the trailers, or the bits of dialogue picked out, but right now this Hellboy seems much campier than the original. We'll have to hope this film turns out better than the trailers make it out to be, because why it seems fun it also looks pretty dumb. This could easily turn out to be a bomb, so maybe wait on reviews before you head over to the theater to see it.

High Life
Comes Out: April 12, 2019

Now here's a little oddity, a sci-fi thriller released in the middle of Blockbuster Season as some kind of counter-programming. It's not the kind of movie I'd normally cover on this site and, honestly, were it not for the sci-fi trappings I probably would have passed it by.

From what the trailers tell us, Robert Pattison (the sparkliest vampire) plays one of a number of prisoners trapped on a cargo pod shot out into space. These people were sent there for some kind of scientific experiment, all overseen by a crazy doctor (Juliet Binoche). And, naturally, weird crap starts happening the longer they're up there.

The movie is billed as a thriller although it's hard to tell much about the plot from what's in the trailer. The movie seems interesting enough, playing on the same kind of claustrophobic, low-budget thriller notes of a film like Ex Machina. Whether or not it's any good is harder to judge (I never bother looking at the pull quotes in a trailer even if this one does have a lot). Still, if you're already suffering from superhero fatigue and want something a little different, you could probably do worse than this flick.

Avengers: Endgame
Comes Out: April 26, 2019

Obviously this is the big one this season. Ever since Avengers: Infinity War came out last year, anticipation has been high for it's follow-up. Sure, there are some hipster movie nerds out that that say they won't be going to see this movie because "the Marvel Cinematic UniverseWhen it first began in 2008 with a little film called Iron Man no one suspected the empire that would follow. Superhero movies in the past, especially those not featuring either Batman or Superman, were usually terrible. And yet, Iron Man would lead to a long series of successful films, launching the most successful cinema brand in history: the Marvel Cinematic Universe. is so done, man, so boring now," but let's be honest: everyone is going to go see this movie even if they say otherwise. It's not only the conclusion of Infinity War but also the end of Phase III of the MCU, the swan song for the universe as we know it. After this, the MCU will never be the same again.

The fact of the matter is that the trailers don't even matter for this movie, not the first or second one. Anyone that wanted to see this movie after the third Avengers flick is already primed for it, and those few people that really aren't going to see it (the ones that refuse to watch anything Marvel-related) wouldn't care how good this movie looked. Marvel even seems to know this since we have no clue what's actually going to happen in the movies. Neither trailer really tells us anything beyond a few of the characters that are going to show up in the film. No clue about the plot, no idea what the plan is, nothing.

Does it matter? Not in the least. We're all going to turn up, opening day, no matter what. This film sells itself. What happens to the MCU after this is the question -- maybe it's never as successful again as it's been for these last ten years, or perhaps it grows even bigger after this. The next stage of the MCU is what Marvel will have to sell us on. But this film? If you've stuck around for the last 21 movies over ten years, you're obviously going to this one. It's a no brainer.

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
Comes Out: May 10, 2019

I absolutely had no interest in watching this movie when it was first announced. I am not a Pokemon fan -- nothing against the people that love the series, but it's just never interested me. The thought of a live-action Pokemon movie filled me with indifference. It's a movie, with Pokemon, so why should I care, right?

Then I saw that Ryan Reynolds was going to be in it. And once I saw the first of the two trailers, I was sold. Reynolds is a very funny actor, although honestly he doesn't play anything other than Ryan Reynolds. It usually works quite well, especially when he's hired to do his shtick. Van Wilder and Deadpool both knew exactly how to best use his performance to accentuate the movie, and he's at it again here in Detective Pikachu. And it works, my god does it work.

In the film some kid is looking for his dad, a great detective that went missing years ago. And then a pikachu shows up, and instead of just saying "pika pika" as all pikachus are want to do, this one talks. I mean, obviously they all talk, but it's in their own pikachu language. This one speaks English, or at least the kid can understand it as English. So the two team up -- one, a down on his luck kid; the other the world's greatest electric-rat detective -- to solve the case and save the day.

From everything the trailers have shown us this is a film that knows the exact sensibility it needs to strike. It has Reynolds, and you don't hire him if you want him to play something other than his normal character, but it looks like the entire movie is built around that same kind of sarcastic sensibility that Reynolds always brings. It's like a Deadpool movie, but with Nintendo mascots in it instead. Honestly, I'm just surprised Nintendo was okay with this.

As long as the reviews say the film is exactly like the trailers, I'm in for this one. I'll willingly see it in theaters, which is something I never thought I'd say about a Pokemon movie.

Comes Out: May 10, 2019

I'm not really a big fan of Tolkien's "Middle Earth" series of books. I have read the big four -- The Hobbit in elementary school and all three parts of the Lord of the Rings in junior high -- and I liked them well enough at the time to get through them. Once I was done with the books, though, I never felt the need to go back. It was the same with the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies -- they were fine enough at the time but I've never desired to go back to them. High fantasy really isn't my scene.

But I know plenty of Tolkien nerds are out there, and this movie is made for them. I'm sure there are a few of them that have been itching for an adaptation of his life story, something they can enjoy in between bouts of watching the movies or reading the books. Something else for the old "Middle Earth" pile. And if so, this movie looks perfect for this.

It seems like a well crafted high drama, although one I'm sure that takes plenty of liberties with Tolkien's life to craft a theatrically "appropriate" story (and if the Tolkien estate was at all involved in the production, I'm sure it's been largely sanitized of any of his sins). The two trailers certainly make it look lush and well acted, and Nicolas Holt is usually a dependable actor. There's nothing here to say it'll be anything less than you expect from the usual artist biopic movie.

If you're a fan of Tolkien I'm sure you'll want to give this a try. For everyone else this looks like a digital rental at best.

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
Comes Out: May 10, 2019

When it came out, the first John Wick was quite the surprise. Obviously everyone knew Keanu Reeves had action chops -- he's fantastic in The MatrixA speculative future story with superhero and anime influences, The Matrix not only pushed viewers to think about the nature of their own reality but also expanded what filmmakers could do with action sequences and filming. It then launched a series of movies, games, and comics, creating a franchise still talked about today. movies, which play well to his strength for understated emotion and the his ability to look awesome firing a gun -- but the thought of him anchoring another film probably didn't excite too many people. And then John Wick came out and everyone took notice. This was a resurgence of the kind of Keanu Reeves movie we all loved to see.

And now we come to the third and final chapter of the character's arc (well, final for now -- there's every chance they find a way to bring him back again). In its two trailers Chapter 3 looks to supply everything we want from a John Wick movie: stylized, over-the-top action, Keanu acting like a bad ass, and so much gun-play. The movie doesn't look like it has much of a plot -- John Wick is on the run and every assassin is after him -- but it also doesn't need much of a movie. The first and second films were nothing more than single-target revenge flicks, and this one just has to provide more of that hyper-focused story.

Sure, there are new locales, new characters, and more action set-pieces. All we really needed, though, was to see Keanu holding a gun and we knew we were set. I for one plan to be there opening day.

Comes Out: May 24, 2019

So, back in the day Disney was very guarded about their theatrical properties. Once an animated film came out in theaters, their plan was to never make another theatric sequel to that movie. Direct-to-DVD was fine, for whatever reason, but they wanted to keep the theatrical image of each of their movies pristine no matter what. And then, over the last few years, Disney's tone has changed. it started with Maleficent, a pretty decent remake of Sleeping Beauty that changed the perspective of the movie to that of the "evil witch" who, we find out, was really the protagonist all along. Various other live-action Disney remakes have followed -- Cinderella, Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast -- and people keep going to them so Disney will keep making them.

The thing is, though, that I still don't see much point in these remakes. The Disney classics are classics for a reason, timeless in their style and animation. I'm not certain why we need remakes of Disney films by Disney that don't change all that much. Sure, Maleficent gave us a good twist on the material, but then it kind of had too; on its own Sleeping Beauty is a pretty spare movie so something had to be done to get it to theatrical length. Other, more recent Disney animated films don't need that same treatment, which leads me, naturally, to wonder why we need a remake of Aladdin when the classic still holds up?

The trailer at least makes a case for why the film could be decent. It's not a shot-for-shot remake, thank goodness, and it does seem to have tried to find a new spin on at least some of the material. Will Smith, for instance, does his own take on the Genie (which he basically had to because there's no way he could be Robin Williams) -- it's essentially the exact character you'd expect from Will Smith, but considering the curly shoes he had to fill, I think his version of the character is the right call.

And the film also seems to go further in on the Arabian culture, replete with proper decoration ad dress style (as well as Bollywood dance numbers). And I suppose we should be glad they didn't white-wash the cast for the movie. I still don't know why this film is a necessity but, if they just had to make it, I suppose this is the best version we could hope for. I still don't know if I'm gonna see this movie (I haven't watched any of the live-action films other than Maleficent) but at least this one looks tolerable for the masses.

Comes Out: May 24, 2019

Here's a fun little bit of counter-programming. With all the superhero movies coming out, here's a film that juxtaposes they with the idea of a kid with all the superpowers of a hero but none of the morality. It's a horror movie for the superhero set and I dig it.

The two trailers do a good job of building to the action, giving us a taste of the idyllic Kansas we associate with SupermanThe first big superhero from DC Comics, Superman has survived any number of pretenders to the throne, besting not only other comic titans but even Wolrd War II to remain one of only three comics to continue publishing since the 1940s.. In fact the trailers do a fantastic job of aping the whole DCEU style, right down to the sweeping music and even the font. Anyone that watched enough movies will automatically assume they're getting a Superman flick, and then the twist comes in. Not only is it not a Kryptonian, it's not even a hero. This is Superman, as a boy, without the conscience to keep himself in check.

I dig this idea so much, and I have faith that James Gunn, who helped produce this movie, guided it on the right course. It as a fun, evil, nasty sensibility and I'm primed to watch it. This is my kind of movie, dead to rights.

You gotta think that the guys over at Warner Bros. saw the trailers this film and thought, "wow, if they is what he can do with an off-brand version of our heroes, what could he really do with one of our true villains", which is why they're little him do the next Suicide Squad film. Seems like the kind of decision that would be made in Hollywood.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Comes Out: May 31, 2019

I am not a kaiju. Like anyone else I can certainly enjoy the sight of monsters destroying a city, but I don't go out of my way to watch these films normally (hell, I think I've seen more of them via Mystery Science Theater 3000First aired on the independent TV network KTMA, Mystery Science Theater 3000 grew in popularity when it moved to Comedy Central. Spoofing bad movies, the gang on the show watch the flicks and make jokes about them, entertaining its audience with the same kind of shtick many movies watchers provided on their own (just usually not as funny as the MST3K guys could provide). It became an indelible part of the entertainment landscape from there, and lives on today on Netflix. episodes than kaiju films I purposefully wanted to watch). There are plenty of people that loves these types of movies (regular site contributor Josh Shaffer is one), but I'm just not one of them.

I did see the first of the U.S. Godzilla films in the current MonsterVerse run, and I was unimpressed. I hated the human characters in the movie, I hated how slow the story was, and I absolute hated how little actually monster-action there was in the film. It's a movie that greatly misunderstood why people go to giant monster movies.

The sequel, King of the Monsters at least looks like it rectifies some of those problems; half the footage in the two trailers are of the monsters causing wanton destruction which is really all people really need out a kaiju film. It still seems like there are way too many human characters and that they talk up far too much time in the movie, but at least the ratio seems better from what we've been allowed to watch so far.

Still, it's a kaiju flick so this one isn't for me. If these kinds of movies are your jam then King of the Monsters looks like it'll deliver exactly what you want. I'll wait until it's on Blu-Ray before I bother.

Dark Phoenix
Comes Out: June 7, 2019

We all know that the Fox X-MenLaunched in 1963 and written by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the X-Men featured heroes distinctly different from those featured in the pages of DC Comics. Mutants who didn't ask for their powers (and very often didn't want them), these heroes, who constantly fought against humans who didn't want "muties" around, served as metaphors for oppression and racism. Their powerful stories would form this group into one of the most recognizable superhero teams in comics (and a successful series of movies as well). series is done for. Now that Disney has devoured all of Fox, head and tail, the rights to X-Men have reverted to the House of Mouse. Plans are in motion to somehow merge mutants into the MCU and all previous continuity for the X-Men films were be thrown out. As such anything currently produced for the old Fox series will be the last songs for the franchise. It could very well be that Dark Phoenix is the last thing we see from this continuity (especially if New Mutants is shelved completely, something that's apparently a possibility at this point). And, honestly, I'm okay with that.

I certainly have enjoyed the Fox series of films, and while they haven't all been good (cough X-Men Origins: Wolverine cough), there have been enough bright points in the series that I will remember it fondly. Even still, it has been wildly uneven, with constant ebb and flow to the series when it comes to its quality. Right now we're on a bit of an ebb, with 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse being a bit of a disaster and, by all current accounts, Dark Phoenix is shaping up to be a right clusterfuck.

Anyone that has watched the X-Men film series knows that the third on, X-Men: The Last Stand marked the first real drop-off in quality for the franchise (one that, eventually, the series had to reboot to shake off). That movie was written by Simon Kinberg and was terrible. It totally managed the Dark Phoenix storyline, and while some of the blame rests with Brett Ratner, certainly the script didn't help matters. For the 12th movie in the franchise, the decision was made to revisit the Dark Phoenix but, this time, do it right. To do this, who do they hire to write and direct the picture? Simon Kinberg.

Now, I fully realize Kinberg has been the writer on the main series since the The Last Stand, and he's written some decent flicks in the franchise, but maybe don't give this redo of a bad film to the guy who screwed it up the first time? I mean, I want to be open minded about this, I want to hope that he learned his lesson the first time around and that this version of Dark Phoenix will be better... but then I watch the trailer and I see the film going down the same road. Once again Jean Grey is a troubled girl with powerful abilities, and once again Professor X seals her powers away "for her own good" which seems to work right up until it backfires and Jean Grey starts killing all her teammates. Sure, it looks pretty, and it has a new coat of paint and a new cast playing the mutants, but it still seems like The Last Stand.

I'll watch this movie in theaters because I've seen all the X-Men movies in theaters (yes, even Origins), but I fully understand if, just from the trailer alone, no one else wants to see this. It looks like a total train wreck. I for one welcome our new mouse-eared overlords for a bright and shiny mutant future.

Men In Black: International
Comes Out: June 14, 2019

It's been seven years since we last had a Men in Black movie and while I enjoyed the third one well enough -- it was fun, but stupid, and certainly didn't have the spark of the original -- I certainly wasn't hankering for a fourth movie. Even the proposed 21 Jump Street / Men in Black crossover sounded like a bad idea, and I enjoyed both Jump Street flicks.

And then Sony had to go and hire the two big stars of Thor: Ragnarok and I was suddenly on board. At this point I will watch Chris Hemsworth in just about anything because the dude is delightful to watch. He's a hammy kind of guy, a natural with comedic timing with swagger and bravado to spare. You put him with Tessa Thompson where she can play straight man to his shtick and you have a winning combination.

Sony knows this, too, as the trailer for the film is light on details. It's mostly just the two leads riffing and playing off each other, and that works fine for me. The first movies in the franchise were at their best when it let the two leads play off each other. Obviously, those movies could coast by on the natural charisma of Will Smith, but if you can't get that dude (because he's starring in Aladdin, see above), then Hemsworth is a good substitute.

So yes, this film looks amusing. it's hard to say if it will recapture the magic of the first film all over again, but I'm at least willing to take a bet on it this time around, just to see.

Comes Out: June 14, 2019

Deep down I have a love for Blaxploitation cinema. I realize this probably seems strange as I am pretty damn white, but the genre appeals to me. And, of course, one of the biggest icons of the Blaxploitation era... was Blacula. Oh, and also Shaft (can you dig it?). The character original appeared in three films before moving to CBS television for a further season of made-for-TV movies. In 2000, Samuel L. Jackson continued the franchise with a semi-sequel also called Shaft. And now, 19 years later, we have another semi-sequel with, again, Shaft.

Now, I know this film won't be for everyone. Hell, I don't rightly know who the audience is for this series at this point, a set of films now verging on 50 years old and counting. But the trailer looks amusing, giving the series an action-comedy vibe. At this point this series is a bit of a joke, anyway, with everyone knowing, and mocking, the original theme song. It's nice to see the series playing into that and just going with the joke of it all.

Still, we need more African American-centered cinema, and who better to lead the way that John Shaft? This one might not be a hit, but I'll still enjoy it.

Child's Play
Comes Out: June 21, 2019

I almost don't want to add this one to the list simply because we don't even have a real trailer for it yet. Sure, Orion Pictures is calling a one-minute set of clips that doesn't tell us anything a "trailer", but we all realize it's little more than a teaser. Before I can really decide if I'm going to see a movie I need a little more footage than what Orion is giving us.

Besides which, I still am on the fence about if we even needed a Child's Play reboot. The original series is still going at this point so making a separate movie unrelated to all the rest seems stupid. This smacks of a studio realizing they still own the rights to a character (and just because they financed the first movie in a series) wanting to make a quick buck before the license reverts. None of the original people are involved, and no one that has worked on the previous movies is at all enamored with this new version. It seems like a really terrible idea.

Still, Orion could give us a full trailer and let us judge for ourselves. Until this do, this is locked in my "skip" pile. I'll stick with the original series for now until I know more.

Toy Story 4
Comes Out: June 21, 2019

I love the fact that this movie is coming out on the same day as the Child's Play remake. If Orion Pictures did that on purpose, I'll have to at least give them credit for such a subversive move. Well played in that regard. Oh, and also that film is gonna get crushed by Toy Story 4, because, let's be honest, everyone loves this series so much more than the one about a murderous doll.

That said, I do have to admit that this fourth film in the toy box franchise doesn't seem quite as fresh or original as the previous efforts. The trailer, while adorable in places, doesn't seem to have the spark of previous films in the series. Perhaps that's in part because we've now moved on to a new kid with the same collection of toys, and so we're on kind of a repeat for her life that we already witnessed with Andy. Kid grows up, toys grow disaffected, have to relearn what it means to make a child happy. We saw a similar arc over in Toy Story 2, and while sure the details are different, it's hard to shake the vibe that Woody has already been on this journey once before.

And then we also have to face the fact that the Pixar of today isn't quite as good as they were in the past, especially with their sequels. Monsters University and Incredibles 2 were both lackluster continuations of those franchises, and I really can't remember that last Pixar film I truly cared about. Maybe the company has just lost their spark.

Still, it's hard to be mad at Woody, Buzz, and the gang. This film will get my money simply because I've enjoyed the previous movies in the franchise. When you have a solid track record like that, it's easy to get another round out of me.

And That's It...

hat's another season of movies down. I don't know about you bit it looks like I'm going to be trapped at the theater for some time this Spring...