Dave Filoni should just own Lucasfilm outright at this point. Give Kathleen Kennedy the boot and let this person who understands how to give a grand, galaxy-spanning, nonsensical franchise the appropriate sense of humanity. His work in Star Wars is easily some of the best in the entire franchise, let alone all of animation.
Whereas Kennedy has given us The Rise of Skywalker, a movie containing six of the worst scenes I’ve witnessed of any film of the past ten years. It is a soulless display of pure, incoherent cowardice. It is artless, irrespective even of where it tries to fit into the larger universe.
And this is while Filoni via The Clone Wars and Rebels series has found a way to explore the nooks and crannies of that lore that is so often taken for granted. (At least post-Expanded Universe purge.) Even more interestingly, the two shows work in concert, making contrasting statements about family and duty. Is it anything less than categorically impressive that someone can make a show about physically identical clones that are the butt of every other joke in some of the biggest films ever made into something genuinely heartfelt and meaningful?
Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season Seven Trailer
It’s been six years since we last left off with The Clone Wars, the animated series from Dave Filoni and Henry Gilroy. Its cancellation wasn’t as unceremonious as some shows have gotten, but it certainly left a lot of threads unresolved, even as Rebels picked up on some of them. So Disney+ getting a seventh and final season to wrap it all up is something of a godsend.
And it has a huge opportunity to play with a lot of the recent expansion of the Star Wars mythos. The tie-ins with The Mandalorian (also produced by Filoni), meshing together the Ahsoka novel and the Rebels entrypoint, and—hey, who knows, maybe we’ll see something from last year’s fantastic Fallen Order story.
The seventh and final season of The Clone Wars will release on Disney+ on February 21, 2020.
Project: MARA – Teaser Trailer
Listen, okay, we don’t know a lot about Ninja Theory’s upcoming title Project: MARA. We don’t know when it’ll come out or what it’s about or why it exists. But what they do say is it will explore “new ways of storytelling” with “a grounded representation of mental terror,” which calls to mind their breakout game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
And we know that the probability of this playing out in a problematic manner is precariously high. They did well with Hellblade, but a lot of the statements they made following that were…not great, especially with how they perceive the proper way to handle “negative” emotions. Are they just milling mental health for content now because yikes.
Nioh 2 – Story Trailer
You know what was a good game but not enough people talk about? Fuckin’ Nioh. Perhaps following five years of Dead or Alive from Team Ninja (and one wayward but enjoyable Hyrule Warriors), to get a non-Ninja Gaiden but also Ninja Gaiden-adjacent title was a bitter pill to swallow for fans. Even though samurai versus demons is forever a delightful aesthetic.
This time around, you are part-demon, setting out to both kill other demons and find a way to control your occasionally uncontrollable yōkai powers. It looks more fantastical this time around with a more casual embedding of the natural and the supernatural. You can actually read the game’s director Tom Lee talk more about over at the PlayStation Blog.
Nioh 2 will release as a PlayStation 4 exclusive on March 13, 2020.
Temtem – Launch Trailer
It’s weird to think that something like Temtem hasn’t existed before. Granted, there were of-the-day genre players like Digimon and some fan projects to turn Pokémon as we know it into proper online, multiplayer experiences, but Temtem is a full-fledged MMO of the pocket monster ilk.
And it’s very obvious that’s exactly the era and aesthetic Temtem is going for, especially with this launch trailer. It screams of the original Pokémon anime intro with the upbeat song that details the story and trainer/monster relationship amidst a journey of glory and friendship. It’d be hilarious if it weren’t also particularly effective. I’m excited to dive into this game and see what it’s all about.
Temtem is out now for PC.
Irresistible – Official Trailer
There’s a good amount of pedigree to this film. Written and directed by Jon Stewart, it follows his debut Rosewater by playing to his political strengths. But it also has Brad Pitt producing and a robust cast including Steve Carrell, Chris Cooper, and Mackenzie Davis. (It’s also exciting to see Topher Grace, Will Sasso, and Natasha Lyonne continue the drama train.)
It’s very timely with its premise (Democrats fail to grasp any meaningful way to connect, Republicans trading in patent and blatant lies, and politically disconnected and economically disenfranchised citizens caught in the middle), but some bits feel painfully on-the-nose. But at least it’ll be nice to see Carrell and Stewart work together again. (I’m also getting some oddly strong Election vibes. Anyone else?)
Irresistible is set to release on May 29, 2020.
Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions – Announcement Trailer
I have no idea why, but the concept of “soccer but make it anime” is exciting me to an irresponsible degree. Actually, I know why; anime and sports mix like chocolate and peanut butter and I’ll take any excuse to hose myself down with such a nectar. To wit: Haikyuu!! and Yuri!!! on Ice and Initial D and and and.
Also, watch Shaolin Soccer if you haven’t. And Kung Fu Hustle. And Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons. Admitted, those movies are barely related (the latter two only connected by the first one), but I just want to make sure you all are watching good stuff.
Captain Tsubasa: Rise of the New Champions will be released for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC sometime this year.
Horse Girl – Official Trailer
I don’t entirely know what’s happening in this trailer other than Alison Brie is lonely and she either might be losing her mind or becoming physically detached from reality and Horse Girl is a great fucking title. Director/co-writer Jeff Baena doesn’t have a great track record for directing, but the major Eternal Sunshine vibes this trailer is putting off is heartening.
(I’ll also throw out there what another journalist described it to me as: “a true Netflix movie,” meaning you don’t have to or want to watch it, but somehow you will end up seeing it all the same. And for what it’s worth, they’re not wrong.)
Horse Girl releases on Netflix on February 7, 2020.
The Rhythm Section – New Trailer
Probably one of the last trailers for this movie that will get released but I think it’s important people remember that it exists because then they’ll remember that Blake Lively should be in more movies. That’s it. That’s all I have to say.
It hits theatres on January 31, 2020.
Vivarium – Official Trailer
This is extraordinarily up my alley. I love this shit. Stories that isolate characters and lock them up in their own mind are some of the most fascinating ones out there, choosing small intimate moments over big bombastic events. You just silo someone off, introduce a chaotic element, and watch them react. It’s as close to science-as-cinema as you can get.
I’m guessing that within this movie about being trapped in suburbia, it’ll also have some commentary about expansionist land development and usage and the faceless dominance of a vague and indescribable American Dream. And that sounds fine, but I wonder how such a big theme will fit within a movie that ostensibly features mostly just two or three people in total.
Vivarium has no release date yet.
Miss Americana – Official Trailer
The people who care about Taylor Swift will watch this no matter what. Which is shocking because all this film can possibly convey is that there’s nothing there to care about.
It’s a decently-made documentary, but it also highlights that there is almost no intrigue about Taylor Swift the person, matching the amount of intrigue surrounding Taylor Swift the artist. It’s more portrait than investigation, showing a person that only ever presents a thing because it seems that below the surface is nothing.
It hits Netflix on January 31, 2020.