Trailer Roulette: Focus, The Lazarus Effect, After the Ball

What movies are coming out this weekend?

by FILMGRAPHS STAFF ON February 26, 2015


CAP: The most positive thing I can say about my expectations for Focus is that it has a nonzero chance of being not terrible.

BEAN: I dunno, Cap. I mean, I watched Jupiter Rising. On purpose! I bet this Will Smith joint is at least better than that. At least we can be fairly certain there won’t be a long scene regarding the failings of bureaucracy and space taxation.

CAP: “I can convince anyone of anything. There’s a science to getting people to trust you.” Is Will Smith talking about his film career? Is that how he got people to go watch I Am Legend?

BEAN: After the majestic Big Willie Style album, I would take a bullet for that man.

CAP: Can you imagine how different his career would have been if he took that offer to play Morpheus in The Matrix? He'd be busy for like a four year period. There would be no Legend of Bagger Vance, no Ali, no Men in Black II, and no Bad Boys II. I’m also going to throw in no I, Robot, since I don’t think he’d want to be typecast as a robot killer. Ali is his biggest box office bomb, and those other four were probably his worst movies pre-2010.

BEAN: It’s probably for the best. If Will Smith were that powerful in Hollywood right now, he probably would have made Jaden Smith a star, and no one wants that. Jaden Smith probably would have been cast in Whiplash instead of Miles Teller and Will Smith would have been JK Simmons, creating the darkest timeline.

CAP: Margot Robbie is here. In the time it took for me to say that, she’s been cast in five more movies.

BEAN: Was she really that good in The Wolf of Wall Street? I don’t think it’s her turn in Pan Am that has kicked down the door to every Hollywood movie being made in the next two years.

CAP: None of the six films she’s attached to look particularly compelling, so yeah, maybe this is an appropriate response.

BEAN: So what is this trailer trying to convey, exactly? So far they’ve had Will Smith say a bunch of nonsense lines. “There’s two kinds of people in this world: hammer or nails.” “There’s no room for heart in this game.” “You never drop the con. You never break.” Are they just trying to hit all the cliches of a con movie? Did they film this movie as a showcase of the back of Will Smith's head?

CAP: I can already see the screenwriter, sitting on the bus to work, thinking up these random lines about essentially nothing, thinking “gee whiz. That would make a great line in a movie”, and then scrambling to get his iPhone to write it down on Pages so he can throw them all, ramshackle, into his screenplay.

BEAN: I’m glad you mentioned the screenwriter, Cap. Turns out, the screenwriter team also doubles as the directors of Focus, and whose other screenwriting effort was about a con man in I Love You, Phillip Morris.

CAP: Well, you know what they say: “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”

BEAN: “We came to Hollywood to chew gum and write con man movies, and we’re out of con man movies!”

BEAN: Does no one else notice how close the title card looks to that of Focus Features? All that separates them is lowercase uppercase.

The Lazarus Effect

BEAN: Donald Glover left Community to be the doomed black guy in this movie?

CAP: We talk about Community an awful lot for the two times we’ve done this.

BEAN: They’re not even pretending that they’re not killing off Donald! It’s in the trailer!

CAP: It’s kind of like why they presented the “Best Supporting Actor” Oscar first this year. We all knew that JK Simmons was going to win, just like the black guy in this horror movie was going to die. Might as well get it out of the way quickly.

CAP: I love that the government or scientific body are confronted with some sort of miracle resurrection drug and, instead of funding the venture with non-electrocuting switch technology, are like “who are we to play God?!” Isn’t the whole point of science to destroy God or something? How did this lady get to the top of this science committee when she is just casually dismissing supernaturally groundbreaking work? I mean, sure she ends up be completely right after Olivia Wilde starts killing Donald Glover and probably the rest of these people, but still.

BEAN: Literally every scientist movie is about their revolutionary project losing its funding, leading to desperate and fun results. Jason Blum ain’t about reinventing the wheel, pally. He’s about selling a million different but very cheap wheels until one of these wheels hits the jackpot.

CAP: They did all this with a team that seems to be composed of a bunch of college interns and Mark Duplass. It makes me feel like I could do science.

After the Ball

CAP: Is this real? Is this a real movie?

BEAN: It’s not on Wikipedia. Its existence is debatable.

CAP: I had to look it up on IMDB to verify this isn’t some elaborate prank. It has the most glorious plot synopsis I’ve ever seen:

BEAN: She saves her deplorable father’s deplorable company? Isn’t he ruining the fashion industry by stealing everyone's ideas? Is he not the bad guy?

CAP: Obviously, Portia Doubleday’s incredible, completely overlooked fashion talent will convince him to sell original designs, starting with her revolutionary last-minute stroke-of-genius  completely overlooked designs, saving the day!

BEAN: "-- and proves that everyone can wear a fabulous dress"... Jesus Christ.

CAP: What are they remaking? Is it part-Cinderella, part-As You Like It? Is there any movie trope as creatively bankrupt as the gender-swap?

BEAN: Look at all these questions we still have. At this point, we'll have to watch this movie just to have them answered, making this the greatest marketing effort in the history of film. And yet I feel like this trailer has already revealed the plot to this entire movie!

CAP: Did they really say "You have to be someone they'll take seriously" and decide to dress Portia up as a man? On a scale of 1 to 10, this rates as a "fucking awful" on the misogyny scale.

BEAN: It's not even a good ruse. They're changing her name from Kate to Nate! If you're trying to fool someone who might recognize you like, I don't know, YOUR FATHER, maybe don't choose an alias that rhymes with your actual name. Also, maybe don't look like a made up goddamn person!

CAP: Never trust someone who has buttons with no apparent function.

BEAN: Speaking of tropes, I feel like I’ve seen this one once every week. The classic "Guy is speechless watching a girl walking into the room".

CAP: What do you expect, Bean? For the guy to fall in love with the girl through something other than physical attraction, like mutual respect or something pertaining to anything else she did in the course of the movie? Hah! You child!