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Cinemacon 2015: Warner Bros. panel - Creed, Black Mass, Point Break & more!

04.22.2015

Cinemacon continues it's rollout of presentations this week and yesterday we took a look at Warner Bros. "The Big Picture" presentation, which consisted of a lot of great looks at some upcoming features, including our first look at many of their big ticket items, including HOT PURSUIT, THE GALLOWS, MAX, CREED, BLACK MASS, POINT BREAK, VACATION, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., SAN ANDREAS, PAN, THE INTERN, IN THE HEART OF THE SEA, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, and more. Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara took the stage before the start and announced that Warner Bros. main focus for the next few years rests in three key areas: LEGO, DC, and Fantastic Beasts (the Harry Potter spinoff), although there's still room for films that don't fit that description (such as their megahit AMERICAN SNIPER).

Rather than give a blow-by-blow description, I'm going to give my general feeling about the film's of interest showcased to give you a feel for how they looked before you get to see the trailers for your own eyes. I will say this, though; WB has got a really good-looking slate for the next year and a half and at least a few of these are now on my radar when they weren't before.

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

We got yet another trailer for the film, which was somehow able to be sliced just as awesome as all the previous efforts and once again garner those movie tinglies that let you know you've just seen something truly great. Talking to Tom Hardy on the red carpet I asked if the film was going to be able to live up to the trailer, to which he replied, "Yeah, and more so. It's two-and-a-half plus hours of that." All I needed to hear.

VACATION

I talked to Ed Helms and Christina Applegate just prior to this and they confirmed that this would be an R-rated affair, which both honors the traditional Griswold films, while taking it into its own direction. Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo appear in more than just one scene, so you can expect more from them than just a glorified cameo. So, how does the film look? Honestly, it looks like a lot of fun and with some raunchier comedy that feels right for the next generation of fans. Ed Helms as a grown up Rusty Griswold plays it perfectly awkward as only he can and the supporting cast, including Applegate, Leslie Mann, and Chris Hemsworth look up to task to deliver the Griswold goods. Hemsworth has a great bit where he's walking around in his boxers and wielding a...very large hammer, which prompts a great response from Helms and made me feel like they've captured the spirit of the old films, while finding their own voice. As a fan of all the prior films, I'm optimistic about this one. I'd love to see a new series of Griswold films if they can get it right.

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

One of my most anticipated of the summer, the adaptation of the '60's TV show pits Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer together as government spies out to take down a mysterious criminal organization. The latest trailer was promising and the extended look we got, fleshed out the action and style that makes it feel like a Guy Ritchie film, including some clever camera tricks, badass slow-mo shots, and dizzying energy that really makes the '60's look sexy. It also looks to have that Ritchie edge that's prominent in his earlier works, making this look a little more serious in tone rather than just a playful caper. The chemistry between Cavill and Hammer is strong as well and that makes a world of difference. I think it will have some hurdles for everyday moviegoers, but the fact that it stars Superman and The Lone Ranger may help bring folks in.

BLACK MASS

This was the highlight for me. Scott Cooper's Whitey Bulger biopic starring Johnny Depp looks nothing short of mesmerizing if for only one reason; Johnny Depp. He's taken a lot of shit of late for some of the film's he's put out (and rightly so), but holy shit is he going to win back your faith with this. The icy-blue eyes, the gravely voice, the balding head, and frightening mannerisms; it all comes together and I'd be shocked if Depp isn't nominated for an Oscar for this in 2016. There's a brilliant scene that plays out through the trailer we saw that has Depp questioning one of his men's loyalty and the way it's presented shows the absolute fear that Whitey Bulger can put into someone in just a simple conversation. Once you see this trailer I think you'll be convinced as well and if it's any indication, Depp is going to be back on top after this. Can't wait.

THE INTERN

Director Nancy Meyers returns with another high-concept dramedy, this time featuring Robert De Niro as a "senior" intern who takes a job working for Anne Hathaway's young upstart CEO type. Hijinks ensue, lessons are learned, unlikely friendships are forged, and jokes about old vs. young are plentiful. You'll have a new movie for your parents to see in September and I'll leave it at that.

PAN

Having shifted from summer to fall, Joe Wright's PAN still looks like a great flick and we saw a lot of new footage, including Peter's journey to Neverland where he travels through some really cool visuals through an imaginary space/dimension, arriving at his final destination. It's very much a "chosen one" story, but Wright taps into the deeper emotions, while also allowing the playfulness to shine through. That may throw some for a loop and appear inconsistent, but I think Wright has a good film on his hands. I'm just not sure that it's going to bring folks out in droves. The visuals are great (especially in 3D) and both Hugh Jackman and Levi Miller (Peter Pan) look to be the most compelling of the entire cast. We'll see if the date shift makes a difference, but I think it was always going to be a hard sell.

CREED

This one looks very promising. The ROCKY spinoff flick starring Michael B. Jordan as Apollo Creed's son has got a very personal feel to it, much like the first ROCKY film, and focuses more so on Adonis Creed's journey rather than a simple father-figure journey one might expect seeing as Sylvester Stallone also appears in it. We see Creed training in his basement, punching a brick wall and trying to step out of his father's shadow, while chasing down Rocky to train him. Rocky is reluctant (and still running his restaurant) and it looks like Creed will have to do quite a bit of convincing before we get a proper training montage. There's a lot of quick shots of Adonis dealing with his personal life and it made the film feel like its own, rather than a spinoff flick. Indeed, there is a shot of Rocky in the hospital, so it appears that we'll also be dealing with his mortality as well, which makes me kind of sad, but at the same time gives a hopeful vibe when you see Jordan running in the streets with a group behind him. There's some clever nods to the ROCKY franchise, but this feels like a humble step in the right direction and with the right amount of heart poured into it. I'm officially excited for it.

IN THE HEART OF THE SEA

We've already seen a few trailers for Ron Howard's sea-farring flick that takes on the true story that inspired the legend of Moby Dick and the extended preview we saw really amps things up. I think delaying this film was a smart move and seeing the additional footage it's easy to see why they want this to get in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Visually, this is a feast and some of the new shots we saw were some tremendous POV views of the whale as it attacks the ship. The whole thing just looks intense as hell and having Hemsworth lead the charge makes it that much more compelling. Stylistically and emotionally, Ron Howard looks to have tapped into something special here and I look forward to seeing it play out.

SAN ANDREAS

Thus far, SAN ANDREAS has looked mostly like a serviceable disaster flick, but the extended look we got definitely got my attention. We've seen buildings crumble and fall many times over, but there's some great little details in the footage we viewed, including a sequence where Carla Gugino runs to the roof of a building while the Earthquake shakes the city and sees a wide view of the devastation as it unfolds, panning over to the water in the rooftop pool move as it would during a quake. Very cool stuff. There's also a ton of great "Holy shit" moments, usually reserved for the end of a trailer, but we saw quite a few that led me to believe this would be more than just a forgettable escape flick and something much more intriguing that gives Roland Emmerich a run for his money. I won't say I'm completely won over, but the visuals alone are really astounding and it looks very much like a film you have to see in a theater to get the most out of, much like GRAVITY. I can't imagine this having the same impact for the "wait till video" crowd.

POINT BREAK

Oh, shit, here we go. Remake time. Kathryn Bigelow's 1991 POINT BREAK is absolutely one of my all-time favorite movies and I don't believe you can recreate that kind of magic. Swayze and Reeves were perfectly corny and awesome in their respective roles and the dynamic was perfect. For the remake, director Ericson Core (INVINCIBLE) takes everything to the next level. It's no longer bank-robbing surfers, but extreme athelete robbers. And I mean extreme. Wingsuits, snowboards, and more are abound in this and it's very much the original film put on steroids. Luke Bracey takes on the role of Johnny Utah, the undercover F.B.I. agent, with Edgar Ramirez as Bodhi, the leader of the extreme sports bad guys. There was less focus on story and more focus on the sports aspect in the trailer and extended look we saw, with a lengthy and really cool wingsuit jump that was reminiscent of the parachute jump in the original.

As cool as it all was, I just didn't get a feel for any of the characters. There's a lot of love put into the film in terms of stunt work, but I never felt like the dynamic was there in terms of story. Granted, it's just a trailer and extended look, but I'll need to see much more before I buy in. Visually, it looks strong, but they'll have to work harder to convince those that hold the original near and dear to their adrenaline-fueled hearts. Check out the first two official images from the film below:

BATMAN V SUPERMAN

Sorry, nothing new here. They showed the latest trailer (and not the IMAX one with the extra few seconds), but hey, I won't complain about having to watch it again. I love that shit and can't wait for it to hit theaters.

We'll have more Cinemacon coverage in the coming days, including interviews with many of the stars of the above films, so keep an eye out for that, as well as more panel coverage of exclusive new footage.

CLICK HERE for more of our Cinemacon coverage!

Extra Tidbit: Which WB film are you most anticipating out of this lot (okay, not counting BVS)?
Source: JoBlo.com

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