Does The "Carrie" Remake Now Have The Stupidest Marketing Campaign Ever?

Pop Quiz, hotshot.

You’ve got a horror movie to sell. It’s a remake of one of the genre’s modern-day classics, a film that damn near everyone has either seen or at least is familiar with the plot and iconic moments thereof. One of the small handful of genuine horror (as opposed to “suspense” or “thriller”) entries alongside “Exorcist” and “Rosemary’s Baby” to be recognized as great, important films even outside their often-disregarded genre. Based on a book by easily the most famous living author of horror or anything else on the planet.

What’s more, said book (and original film) are absolutely loaded with button-pushing themes and imagery about evergreen Important Subjects like female sexuality, bullying, child-abuse and religious extremism.Your cast? Headlined by Julianne Moore, one of the most lauded actresses in the business, and superstar child actress Chloe Grace Moritz on the cusp of her “I intend to still be doing this as an adult!” step into the teen stardom maelstrom. Your director? Kimberly Pierce, best known for the critical and awards darling “Boys Don’t Cry.”

So! Given all that, how would you choose to market this film, which, by all accounts and evidence, is primed to be a serious, perhaps even noteworthy work?

Well, if you answered “Unfunny reference to a tired, ancient Internet Meme,” you might have a future working for MGM/ScreenGems, which has unveiled the below-pictured, head-slappingly stupid “motion poster” for the remake of “Carrie.”


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“Keep Calm And CARRIE On.” Because the prom, and because there’s a crown on that old British WWII poster that was hanging up next to “The Kiss” on every other college dorm wall a decade ago.

I’d love to know what the logic was in deciding that making your own movie into a joke was the best way to sell this; though I suspect it’s something like the resident overpaid Social Media Strategist opining that it would be good for them if Tumblr got on a “Carrie on” viral kick and deciding to start it themselves. Self-meme-ing famously failed to make “Snakes On A Plane” happen at the boxoffice, but at least that was always going to be a throwaway movie. I can’t really see deciding that this was the way to go for something that was previously being pitched as a serious film.

Shazbot!

We cannot stop Robin Williams, we can only contain Robin Williams.

Below, the extended trailer for CBS’s fall sitcom offering “The Crazy Ones,” which appears to compress the entirety of it’s pilot episode into five minutes. The premise? Somebody though “Y’know, people seem to love ‘Mad Men,’ but maybe they’d love it more as a wacky-father/serious-daughter workplace comedy with Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar:”


Something Interesting Is About To Happen In The "Avengers" Biz

So. A week after Joss Whedon surprisingly confirms that X-Men/Avengers shared-custody kids Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are being planned for “Avengers 2,” apparently enabled by a contract loophole that lets them use these specific characters from the X-Men family (the movie rights to which are owned by Fox) so long as nobody says the words “Mutant” or “Magneto” (he’s their dad); Fox and director Bryan Singer have now out-of-nowhere revealed that Evan Peters will be playing Quicksilver in the currently-shooting “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

This is interesting. Maybe.

First things first: Marvel/Disney would have absolutely zero problem with casting a different actor for the part in their movie, so the idea that this automatically means this guy will be showing up in “Avengers 2” is a non-starter to begin with. Besides, “DoFP” is a time-travel movie (supposedly involving lots of time-skipping and alternate-history in the service of cleaning up series continuity and presumably further deleting “Last Stand” and “Origins: Wolverine” from happening) so… yeah, likelihood that we’ll see two different actors play a fast-running guy named Pietro in two different movies? Pretty damn high.

For the record: It also wouldn’t surprise me at all for Quicksilver to have a really, really small walk-on role in “DoFP” – so small, in fact, that you’d think they perhaps very quickly wrote him into the movie once it was announced that he was to be an Avenger so they could benefit from the free-marketing of fan speculation. (Also, I expect they’ll be casting young for the Avengers version of Wanda and Pietro; positioning them as the “unpredictable kid members” of a mostly adult-to-middle-age team.)

That having been said, the logistics of all this are kind of fascinating. My own pet theory (not supported, I stress, by any kind of special “insider info”) is that “The Conversation” between Marvel/Disney and Fox about allowing The Avengers and X-Men to be seen holding hands in public is already taking place on some level (likely in the form of a childish staring-contest, but still). If nothing else, QS & SW are a strange choice for the first-announced new addition to The Avengers lineup, re: they aren’t particularly popular, non-fans have never heard of them, their powersets aren’t all that special and while it’s true it gives the team one more woman it’s still just two more white people on a team everyone seems to agree could use some diversity.

BUT! If they were allowed to be Mutants, with everything that entails? Suddenly it makes some kind of sense. Part 2 of a genre series is typically “the dark one,” where things get complicated and awkward as the post-victory party winds down (“Yay! We blow’d up the Death Star!” “Crap, The Empire is resilient and this universe is actually pretty fractious and complex.”) The sole non-upbeat undercurrent of “Avengers” was the idea that S.H.I.E.L.D. is willing and ready to play dirty as a response to a world “filling up” with superhumans, and it’s important that the big “coming together” of the good guys happens in-tandem with them rejecting working “for” Nick Fury – even though he kinda sorta manipulated them into it, anyway.

If “Avengers 2” was to (or was able to, rather) explicitly say that the “filling up” of problematic individuals includes the “The Mutant Problem?” (They’ve already been floating the idea that Thanos won’t be the “main” antagonist until Part 3, so there’s also that.) Well, that’s a really easy road to a darker scenario – the separation of The Avengers as the “good,” accepted super-beings versus The Mutants as the “bad” ones people are worried about – and suddenly makes Wanda and Pietro interesting for the team.

The thing of it is, this is all on Marvel/Disney. Fox (and everyone else who owns Marvel movie-rights) would likely kill for their franchises to be declared even tangentially part of the Marvel movie-verse. “Avengers” was bigger than a hit, it was (and remains) a world-wide cultural phenomenon. Basically everyone saw it, the reception was overwhelmingly positive and it’s absorption in the common language of pop-culture has been so immediate and all-encompassing that it’s third-tier non-costumed supporting characters can now headline television series. If you’re running a studio making superhero movies and there’s some chance you could connect your movies to this juggernaut in the public eye, it’d be worth almost any price. Fox in particular should be salivating at the idea of being able to knock out a cheapjack X-Men tie-in and score a profitable weekend because it might be part of the “Avengers” story.

The trick of it is, while Fox (or Sony, if we’re talking about Spider-Man) would probably meet any reasonable price to “share” the X-Men, it’s Marvel/Disney that’s in the position to A.) make the offer and B.) say yes or no; and there’s really no (financial) reason for them to not just wait out the clock on the other studios running low on cash and just buying the franchises back wholesale so they don’t have to share anything. The Avengers are, after all, already worth billions with “just” the six guys they already have – it’s not like they stand to lose money if Spider-Man and Wolverine (lets be clear: Wolverine is the only reason the X-Men franchise is worth any money to any studio) aren’t in the lineup.

In any case, it’s a long way to “Avengers 2’s” 2016 projected release date, and Marvel is (in)famous for making a lot of their movies up on the fly while shooting; so there’s plenty of time for the situation to change on this. Right now it’s a game of chicken, Fox saying “We’re using Quicksilver first, so maybe start dealing with us or put up with fansites complaining about an ‘actor switch’ for your movie” and Marvel likely thinking “Yeah, because everyone was soooo mad that Edward Norton wasn’t in Avengers;” but the math probably gets different if “The Wolverine” rescues it’s franchise in a few months: Marvel is all about the money, and they know exactly how much of it a hairy forearm rising into the foreground in front of the assembled Avengers* and popping out claws to a familiar “snikt!” before a hard cut to black would be worth as the last shot of an “Avengers 2” trailer.

*Of course, like everyone else I’d LOVE to see the “Wolverine vs. all the Avengers” fight scene – with the caveat that Captain America ultimately knocks him on his ass, then gives him a hard time about how he remembers him being a lot tougher.

"Don Jon"

Below, the trailer for Joseph Gordon Levitt’s self-written/directed “Don Jon;” which casts him as a pornography addict who falls for Scarlett Johansson as a woman similarly-addicted… to shitty romantic comedies. Because Mars & Venus and reasons.

In all seriousness, though, it looks REALLY good – I am so psyched for the idea of Tony Danza entering an “aging sought-after character actor” career-phase you have NO idea. I’m just going to assume that casting of two of the best looking people in Hollywood as having “addictions” more generally associated with people who look (regardless of gender) more like me is some kind of meta-joke…

"Man of Steel" Trailers, Once Again

I finally know what date I’ll be seeing “Man of Steel,” which is a relief because the anticipation on this one has been killing me: Every new thing seen/heard from it has been alternately thrilling/terrifying: So much that looks like they “got it,” so much that sounds like they might not have and nothing to change my concerns that while Zack Snyder is the perfect person to direct a Superman movie… the Nolan Bros. don’t belong anywhere near the character.

That sense continues with the new trailer, which is more-or-less the “introducing your villains” one. The look and feel of everything is awesome, and Michael Shannon’s Zod seems to be as magnificient as I’d hoped… but I’m also getting a bad feeling:


“Clark becomes Superman to fight off an alien invasion by his own people” is a serviceable enough new spin on the mythos, fine,” but how many Kryptonians is Zod dragging around with him, exactly? The “one of my citizens” line and the “background details” of the other trailers make it seem an awful lot like they’ve switched Krypton from “destroyed” to “conquered” in this version – a pointless, asinine revision that J.J. Abrams’ abominable “Flyby” script also pulled – though he could also be “ruling” a roaming crew of super-nomads, which has interesting potential (it also occurs to me that we don’t even know HOW Kryptonians having super-powers “works” in this version.)

But it’s worrisome that they either seem to be junking (or have simply “missed”) the quintessential “immigrant story” that’s always been underlying this character. Kal-El being one of very few survivors of an advanced, proud culture that’s been destroyed and (literally) scattered to the stars is what made Superman not just The American Immigrant generally but The Jewish-American Immigrant specifically. Not necessarily saying new ideas are bad, but this is big stuff to be doing away with and I remain thoroughly unconvinced that the people behind the writing of this have the understanding/respect for the things their tinkering with to be trusted with a full-scale overhaul.

We’ll see.

Help Me Out Here…

The second half of my “Star Trek Into Darkness” review got into spoiler-territory in order to address what I see as some pretty serious flaws, but there’s one in particular that I didn’t fully discuss – partially because it would’ve taken too much time and the show ran long as it was, but mainly because I’m not 100% sure that I didn’t “miss” some bit of dialogue that would’ve made this not the ginormous, baffling plot hole that it seems to be.

Obviously, EVERYTHING after the jump is spoiler-territory, including the comments. So read/click through only if you’ve seen the film and/or really, really want to…


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Okay. The issue I’m having concerns the film’s big finale action sequence – which, befitting a Star Trek movie, takes the form of a CGI-assisted parkour foot chase in San Fransisco.

Background: Revealed at midpoint of the film, Benedict Cumberbatch’s “John Harrison” owes his superhuman strength, intelligence and healing-factor to the fact that he’s actually Khan Noonian Singh, the villain from “Space Seed” and later “The Wrath of Khan;” the leader of a crew of genetically engineered superhumans who got cryogenically frozen and lost in space after starting a big mess called “The Eugenics Wars” 300 years pre-Starfleet. (In the film, though, it’s only ever mentioned that he and his crew were superhumans – at one point, Spock pulls “Oh, and they were totally genocidal, too!” out of thin air once Admiral Red Herring has been dispatched and it’s time for Khan to be primary antagonist again.) It has also been revealed that Khan’s super-blood has the power to cure death, which the crew becomes aware of when Bones injects some into a dead tribble he happens to have around. Anyway…

The setup: Having driven Khan into a rage and causing him to scuttle his warship on Earth by pretending to kill the 72 remaining still-frozen superhumans (they’re actually safe aboard the Enterprise,) Spock is informed that the ship was only able to re-start because Kirk elected to climb into the warp-core to repair it manually and is now about to die from radiation poisoning. From there, the climax from “Wrath of Khan” is replayed but in-reverse, with Kirk now dying behind the glass and Spock getting to do the angry “KHAAAAAAN!” yell. Discovering that Khan has survived by beaming into the city, the enraged Spock beams himself down to pursue and kill him. BUT! Bones serendipitously catches sight of his test-tribble coming back to life and realizes that Khan’s magical death-curing blood could save the day, meaning that Uhura now has to beam down into the big fight and convince Spock to spare Khan’s life. She does, he does, Kirk is fine, Khan is back in his freeze-pod so he can come back in a sequel, the end.

Here’s my issue: There are 72 other superhumans, frozen, right there on the ship. Why don’t they just use one of them? Why does it need to be Khan? Did they ever specify that having magic death-curing blood is a special thing only for Khan? Because if they did, I missed it. I’ve heard it suggested that it’s possible Khan’s crew are not all supermen in this timeline, but A.) That doesn’t make sense because this timeline is supposed to have been identical to the original up to the moment Nero came through the wormhole and altered history and B.) Khan specifically says that he and his crew are built for deep-space survival during his big “I’m going to win!” bad guy monologue. Seriously, I cannot figure out how this isn’t a massive hole in the story. Anybody?

UPDATE: Someone has pointed out that a throwaway line earlier in the film about not being able to get the bodies out of cryo-sleep without proper codes or somesuch without killing them being an explanation. Good catch, but clearly Bones doesn’t have any big issue with their death/injury from improper-thawing (and you CAN get blood from a recently-dead corpse) since he orders the crew to eject a body from a pod so he can use it to keep Kirk’s body stable.

And while we’re at it… this basically means Starfleet has a cure for death now, right? I mean, they’re going to have to either explain-away or readjust and deal with the fact that nobody should be dying of anything in this universe from here on out, since there are now 72 bodies worth of self-replenishing Cure-It-All safely tucked away wherever, yes? Because otherwise aren’t we going to be wondering why, if people get killed or mortally wounded in the next movie, they don’t just uncork a vial or two of the serum Bones said he made from the blood and get on with life?