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Trailer Round-Up – July 23, 2016

"Blair Witch, Snowden, Hands of Stone, The Magnificent Seven"

Blair Witch

In Blair Witch, directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett, a group of college students venture into the Black Hills Forest in Maryland to uncover the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of James’ sister who many believe is connected to the legend of the Blair Witch. Slowly, they begin to realize the legend is all too real and more sinister than they could have imagined.

Previously titled The Woods, Blair Witch was revealed to be a sequel to the 1999 found footage horror hit The Blair Witch Project. The trailer is mediocre at best and fails to be scary, disturbing or even atmospheric for the most part. It could just be that the over-saturation of found footage horror movies in the past several years has made the movie’s bag of tricks obsolete. It’s also not a good sign that all of the quotes shown praising the movie are from the exact same writer. At the very least, this does look like a proper sequel to the original Blair Witch Project, as opposed to whatever the hell Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 was.

Lionsgate will release Blair Witch in theaters on September 16 (which happens to be my birthday – thank you, Lionsgate, that was very… considerate)


Written and directed by Oliver Stone (Platoon, JFK), Snowden is based on the true story of Edward Snowden, an American computer professional who shocked the world when he leaked information regarding the NSA’s illegal surveillance activities, sparking a global conversation about government surveillance and oversight. Snowden remains a polarizing figure and the movie aims to tell the story of how and why he did what he did.

Although not as structurally coherent as the first trailer, this is still a pretty solid piece of promotional material. It does a great job of highlighting what appears to be a fantastic lead performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and building a sense of unease. With industry veteran Oliver Stone at the helm, tackling one of the most controversial stories in recent memory, this is certainly a movie worth keeping an eye on.

The cast of Snowden also includes Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Rhys Ifans, Nicolas Cage, Scott Eastwood, Joely Richardson, Timothy Olyphant and Ben Schnetzer.

Open Road Films has set Snowden for a September 16 release, which makes for a much more exciting birthday present than Blair Witch.

Hands of Stone

Hands of Stone, written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, follows the life of Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez), the Panamanian fighter who made his professional debut in 1968 as a 16 year‐old and retired in 2002 at the age of 50. In June 1980, he defeated Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher Raymond) to capture the WBC welterweight title, but shocked the boxing world by returning to his corner in their November rematch, famously saying the words “no mas” (no more.)

With Robert De Niro on board as Roberto Duran’s trainer, it’s impossible not to make a connection between the upcoming Hands of Stone and last year’s Creed, which saw Sylvester Stallone take on the mentor mantle. Obviously, the main difference here is that Hands of Stone is based on a true story, although oddly enough, that may actually be a bit of a downside. Creed was a legacy character and both the narrative and marketing of the movie tapped into the long, storied history of the Rocky franchise. By contrast, Hands of Stone just looks like a possibly very solid boxing movie based on a true story. There’s nothing inherently bad about what’s shown in the trailer, but nothing really sets it apart as well.

The Weinstein Company will release Hands of Stone on August 26.

The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven, directed by Antoine Fuqua, is a remake of the classic 1960 Western of the same name, which, in turn, was inspired by the 1954 film Seven Samurai. This new, modern version stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ethan Hawke, Byung-Hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfr and Martin Sensmeier as the titular Seven, a ragtag group of bounty hunters, outlaws, gamblers and hired guns that band together to protect the town of Rose Creek from industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) and his men.

This was a much more exciting trailer than the debut one, which was basically a premise outline with a roll call for the star-studded cast. There’s an energy to this trailer that sets it apart and it does a better job of fleshing out the titular Seven. The action looks solid and the cast is incredible, so this may vary well turn out to be that rare Hollywood beast, the good remake of a classic film.

Sony Pictures and MGM have scheduled The Magnificent Seven for release on September 23.

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