Hot Trailers

Nate Parker plays Nat Turner (above centre).
Nate Parker plays Nat Turner (above centre).PHOTO: YOUTUBE
Benedict Cumberbatch.
Benedict Cumberbatch.PHOTO: YOUTUBE

THE BIRTH OF A NATION

This is like 12 Years A Slave meets Martin Luther King Jr via Spartacus. Writer-director Nate Parker plays Nat Turner, a real-life early 19th-century African- American slave-turned-activist. He was first a sycophantic preacher for his white master (played by Armie Hammer) before changing his mind after seeing the horrors of slavery up close.

This is a trailer set up to get your righteous goat as Turner cannot avert his eyes from gross injustice - callous white folks eating pristine dinners while subdued black servants are terrorised. Then he goes ballistic, a la Gerard Butler in 300 (2006), and rouses the slaves into violent rebellion.

The original The Birth Of A Nation is a 1915 silent film that portrayed the rise of the Ku Klux Klan as heroes. Kudos to the makers of the new film for appropriating its title to reclaim history.


DOCTOR STRANGE

How strange is this Doctor Strange trailer? It is pretty weird, unless you're a fan of those topsy-turvy fun houses in carnivals or really dig Christopher Nolan's mind-numbing Inception (2010).

"You're a man looking at the world through a keyhole, you spent your life trying to widen it… what if I told you that reality is one of many?" says a bald Tilda Swinton to Benedict Cumberbatch.

Playing a Tibetan guru mistress, the Ancient One, she then chi- energy punches him - the future Dr Strange - into something looking like a Matrix action scene but with cooler, more hallucinatory slo-mo.

But why is Swinton, a Caucasian woman, playing a character that was an Asian man in the Marvel comics? Was Jet Li, Jackie Chan or even actual actor-turned-monk Xie Shaoguang not available?

Anyway, Marvel is going flip-out magical here, casting one of TV's brainiest men, Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes, as the weirdest mystical superhero in the company's stable. What would Sherlock say about all this - "It's not complementary, my dear Watson"?

Tay Yek Keak

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2016, with the headline 'Hot Trailers'. Print Edition | Subscribe