A look at coming attractions in 2019
Let me partially prepare you for the season’s superhero treat. Having taken in a few scenes from “Aquaman, “early word — including mine — categorizes the flick as a spectacular underwater action adventure fantasy on par with “clobbering time” edgy feel of a Marvel Universe entry. It’s a colorful trip with surreal cinematography that keeps the battles and riddles flowing whether led by a burly shirtless Jason Momoa or the impeccable Amber Heard as the fiery Mera.
Opening with a brisk, photogenic frame of a couple kissing by a lighthouse as the sunsets, foreshadowing how a young Arthur Curry will grow to control the underwater kingdom of Atlantis. Much of the story stays submerged surrounding the sunken city. A rivalry pits certain underwater species against surface dwellers, prompting the gilled hero to subvert tidal disasters.
Bubbling, sparkling and muted glitter frame the underwater scenes. There’s a given suspension of disbelief — Aquaman, Mera and others converse and maneuver as if mostly cloaked in orbs that prevent their costumes and hair from retaining a soaked appearance.
Momoa and Heard have exploding chemistry; she handles watch-your-back defenses while the title hero triumphs during one-on-one physical bashings.
Aside from swimming, sharks and conniving villains, routine effects pertain to the watery venue reserving spectacular blasts for critical moments in an adventure reminiscent of “Indiana Jones” coupled with “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
“Mortal Engines” seeks to introduce a new young adult franchise. Set in the far future, depleted earth’s landscape recalls “Mad Max” imagery and the so-called “steampunk” alternative universe (such as Hellboy) where huge steam run machines devour resources. It’s filmed in New Zealand so one could recognize the venue as the team behind “Lord of the Rings” brings this heavy on special effects, light on narration adventure to life. Rolling a full hostile city onto wheels demands a leap of faith. Astounding effects outpace the stars. Empathy, though, is hard to find.
Introducing Spider-Man in an alternate universe, “Into the Spider-Verse” impresses with a hybrid animation which blends CGI and hand-drawn characters. The realistic looking superhero entry scored an A+ from Cinemascore. Already nominated by the Hollywood foreign press for a best animated film Golden Globe, it’s likely to win Oscar buzz too.
This Spidey has favorable marks from families and fanboys alike.
Robert Zemeckis has a curious entry that’s unpreviewed at press time. The “Forrest Gump” and “Back to the Future” director introduces us to Mark (Steve Carell) who has been savagely attacked on the streets. His memory gone, Mark finds ways to heal and be heroic. As he builds an astonishing miniature art installation–a testament to the most powerful women he knows — through his fantasy world, he draws strength to triumph, “Welcome to Marwen” also stars Leslie Mann, Merritt Wever and Janelle Monae.
“Bumblebee” restarts the Transformer franchise in 1980 where a yellow “bug” paves the way for other autobots. “Second Time” has Jennifer Lopez propelled from a mundane big box job to Wall Street guru thanks to a faked Facebook page.
Academy Award-winning director Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity,” “Children of Men,” “Y Tu Mama Tambien”), has “Roma” on the charts. Likely a limited release, it tells of the turbulent 1970s in a middle class neighborhood of Mexico City. The title’s domestic worker faces domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil. Awards buzz is soaring.