CinemaCon 2014: Sony Presentation Recap

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The Sony Pictures presentation at CinemaCon was packed with a full slate of Sony’s upcoming films. Almost everything the studio mentioned had an extended trailer to go along with it, including 30 minutes of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The films showcased at the event were 22 Jump Street, Deliver Us From Evil, When the Game Stands Tall, Sex Tape, The Equalizer, Think Like a Man Too, The Interview, Fury, Annie, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. In addition, Sony mentioned Hotel Transylvania 2, Smurfs 3, Inferno, Pixels, the next Bond film, and Venom and Sinister Six movies.

22-jump-street-poster (1)Let’s start our coverage with 22 Jump Street. Most of the footage shown can already be seen in the previously released trailers. The new footage began with Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) sitting in a therapy session. Schmidt was complaining about how the two don’t work as partners, and as the session went on, it sounded more and more like marriage counseling. The scene ended with Schmidt holding out his hand for Jenko to reluctantly take it.

The second new scene featured Schmidt getting laid, which came up again later in the trailer. In a meeting with Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) and the rest of the 22 Jump Street unit, the Captain was annoyed because things weren’t going well and the team was essentially doing the same thing they did in 21 Jump Street. Schmidt interrupts to correct the Captain, saying that this time was different because he got laid.

Fast-forward to Schmidt getting into a fist fight with an unknown woman. As the fight progressed and manly (seriously!) punches were thrown by both parties, the two nearly kissed. This caused a fun banter between the two while they continued to claim they didn’t want to kiss, only to have the woman go in for another kiss, followed by Schmidt calling her out on it, then landing the finishing blow.

The final new scene in the 22 Jump Street footage revealed that Schmidt’s new girlfriend was in fact Captain Dickson’s daughter. Jenko and Schmidt are then seen in Captain Dickson’s office, where Jenko jumps around repeatedly yelling about how Schmidt is slamming the Captain’s daughter. It was easily the funniest scene in the new footage, but overall the sequel looks to be stacking up well to the original.

deliver-us-from-evil_t77440_jpg_290x478_upscale_q90Sony went from comedy to horror as the next film was Deliver Us From Evil. It’s based on a true story, or at last the police officer’s account of what happened. The footage began with the Officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana), investigating a strange case of a husband essentially becoming possessed by something. We next see what appears to be his house, where his wife begins to draw their daughter a bath, leaving the child alone in her room. Soon after, the child hears scratching on the floor, the door slams and she begins screaming.

In the next scene, the police officer comes home. When his wife explains what happened, he heads upstairs to investigates his daughter’s room (while she’s sleeping). He checks under the bed, then as he’s standing up, he sees an image of the husband he was just investigating flash in his daughter’s mirror. It’s a startling image to say the least, but that’s where the trailer ended. Deliver Us From Evil seems to offer a new twist on the possession storyline, but we’ll have to see how things play out once more footage is released.

Next up during Sony’s presentation was When the Game Stands Tall, which is based on a true story about a high school football team that held a record 151 straight victories. The entire town is behind the team, but when they finally lose, things start to fall apart. The town begins to turn against the team, and the brother of one of the team members dies in a fatal shooting that looked to be drug or gang-related. It’s an inspirational sports film that felt somewhat similar to The Blind Side in terms of the emotion it induced.

sex-tape-posterThe Cameron Diaz vehicle, Sex Tape, was next up on the roster. The basic premise of the movie was a couple whose sex life had lost its luster. To spice things up, Annie (Cameron Diaz) puts on a tiny crop top that was see-through enough to please any man in the audience, booty shorts, and roller skates. She tells her husband Jay (Jason Segel) that they should film a sex tape. The couple sets up their iPad, take enough shots to get loose, then film three hours of crazy sex positions.

In the morning Annie tells Jay to delete the tape. Unfortunately, the footage it uploaded to the cloud before this can happen. Somehow it gets sent out to every iPad the couple gave out for Christmas. This sends the two on a wild chase to get the iPads back and remove the footage. As they encounter their friends (and even their mailman), it’s clear that securing all the iPads and deleting the footage won’t be s easy as it sounds.

Cameron Diaz fans will be extremely happy with the film as she was looking good throughout most of the footage. From a comedic standpoint, the film seems to deliver more so than other films of a similar nature. It’s made by the same team that brought you Bad Teacher, so if you liked the raunchy laughs in that movie, you should feel the same way about Sex Tape.

elfilm.com-the-equalizer-260225The Equalizer with Denzel Washington was next on the slate. It felt very much like a cross between Taken and Man on Fire. Washington plays Robert McCall, a former black ops commando who faked his own death to live the quiet life in Boston. He encounters Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz) who takes a beating (although we don’t see it).

For unknown reasons, he then goes to the gang’s hideout to buy Teri for $9,800 and save her from getting hurt again. McCall is in a small room surrounded by gang members with assorted weapons. However, the leader allows him to leave safely. When McCall reaches the door, instead of walking out, he closes the door and locks it. He then turns around and we see an analysis of the situation take place in his head.

McCall calculates it will take him 16 seconds to finish off the entire room of thugs. The resulting blood bath was intense, gruesome, and exhilarating, but it ends up taking a total of 28 seconds. He then subtracts the 9 seconds he spent shoving a wine opener through a gang member’s chin, making it visible through his mouth… then holding it there to make sure the gang member understood what just happened.

As if to show the diversity of their lineup, Sony skipped straight to Think Like A Man Too after The Equalizer. Most of the footage shown was just slightly extended looks at everything that’s already been seen in earlier trailers. However, this new cut did make the movie feel more like the first one instead of Think Like A Man: Hangover Edition. This is mainly due to Kevin Hart’s antics throughout the footage, and the reactions of his friends.

Next on the footage reel was The Interview, starring James Franco as talk show host, Dave Skylark. The footage begins showing Kim Jong-Un, dictator of North Korea, then cuts to Skylark’s show. Soon after we discover that Kim Jong-Un is a fan of Skylark’s show, so he sets out on a mission to get an exclusive interview from the dictator. The CIA quickly steps in and asks Skylark to kill the dictator.

The film is done by the same creative team from This Is The End, and it certainly felt like it. However, while Seth Rogen returns, most of the ensemble cast that made This Is The End so special is nowhere to be seen. The Interview feels like it’s trying to tap into the same comedic spy genre that movies like Spies Like Us did so well. Those are big shoes to fill, but Rogen and Franco may just be the team to do it.

fury20131021215554Fury, one of the darkest movies in Sony’s reel, was up next. The movie is about a platoon of men in World War II that operate a Sherman tank. They’re battled-hardened and led by Wardaddy (Brad Pitt). When new recruit Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman) joins the crew, he’s hazed as you would expect. The crew rejects the newbie, but they quickly show him the ropes as he becomes one of them.

This is not a movie that should be taken lightly. It felt like a cross between Saving Private Ryan and Inglorious Basterds. There were plenty of scenes that would make many people cringe like Saving Private Ryan, but the relationship between the troops is easily comparable to that of the Inglorious Basterds. At one point, Wardaddy and Ellison head into the house of several lovely ladies. At first glance it seems as though Wardaddy may rape the women, but instead he offers them some fresh eggs. It’s not long before a romance begins in the midst of the brutal war.

The footage ends with Wardaddy’s troops being sent on what seems to be a suicide mission. As their tank breaks down with the 300 enemy troops about to reach their position, Wardaddy decides to stand and fight, sending his troops home. When the troops try to talk reason into him, he insists he’s going to stay. It’s at this point that the trailer comes to an end.

hr_annie_1Annie may have been the surprise showing of the presentation. As one of the family oriented films Sony showed off, Annie burst on the screen with Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) yelling at the children, followed immediately by a custom rendition of “It’s a Hard Knock Life”. All of the children cleaned the house during the first part of the song, then more of the movie was shown while the song continued to play.

We see Benjamin Stacks (Jamie Foxx) save Annie (Quvenzhane Wallis) from being run over by a car. He quickly falls for the little girl and the scenes that follow show his struggle in trying to adopt her. The extended trailer made the movie feel like everything it needed to be to become a modern version of the classic story. It looked fun and upbeat, with Annie showing enough sass to keep audiences in their seats the entire movie. In fact, the only downfall of the footage was what seemed to be a bit of overacting by Cameron Diaz, but we saw so little of her character that it’s far too early to tell if that’s truly anything to worry about.

SPOILER ALERT

The-Amazing-Spider-Man-2-New-Poster-spider-man-35222096-1024-1421-600x832Sony ended the night with a 30-minute preview of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The footage consisted of three scenes, including the first 10 minutes of the film. It kicks off with Richard Parker (Campbell Scott) killing all of the spiders in his Oscorp laboratory, then attempting to make a run for it. He drops off young Peter Parker at his Aunt’s house, then hops on a private jet with his wife, Mary Parker (Embeth Davidtz).

The scene quickly grows dark as Richard realizes that the plane has been infiltrated by a hired gun, and the pilot is already dead. Luckily Richard was already in the midst of uploading his data files to a remote server. A brutal fight ensues that kills both Parkers and the assassin as the plane plummets toward the ground.

A fiery engine fades into the Spider-Man logo, then zooms out to reveal it’s Peter Parker’s back as he’s soaring through the air. He hears a call over the police band that Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti) in pre-Rhino form has hijacked an Oscorp truck and is fleeing the police, causing havoc. Spider-Man webslings in to save the day with his standard dose of sarcasm and wit, and ends up saving Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) from getting run over. He stops to tell Max that he’s Spider-Man’s eyes and ears, then continues chasing Sytsevich.

In the middle of the chase Parker gets a call from Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) who informs him that he’s going to be late for his own graduation. As Parker struggles to apprehend Sytsevich in a timely manner, Stacy gives her Valedictorian speech. Spider-Man saves a bus full of people before making it to his graduation just as Parker’s name is called. He gives Gwen a deep kiss to end the scene.

The next scene takes place a year later. Parker and Stacy are broken up and haven’t seen each other in some time. Stacy invites Parker to meet up and the two banter back and forth as the sparks of romance fly between them. Meanwhile, the newly created Electro is stumbling toward a row of cars, all with alarms blaring. He drains the power from one, realizing he needs it to regain his strength. He then looks up to see Times Square, the Mecha of electricity.

As Electro heads for Times Square, Stacy informs Parker that she may be moving to England, just as Peter was going in for a kiss. Stunned by the news, Parker’s attention is quickly pulled away as his spider sense tells him that something is going down in Times Square. Spider-Man is off, leaving his civilian clothes with Gwen. When he arrives in Times Square, he finds Electro lost and confused, but inadvertently threatening the lives of everyone around him.

The police have him surrounded, but quickly back off when they see Spider-Man has arrived. Electro talks to Spidey, reminding him of the earlier scene in which Spider-Man told him that he was his eyes and ears. Soon after it seems as though Spider-Man is calming Electro down, until a sniper takes the shot and angers Electro to no end. He goes mad with power and almost kills a gaggle of pedestrians before Spider-Man hoses him down with water to conclude the scene.

As the presentation came to a close, the last scene was of Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), breaking Electro out of his imprisonment. He spends some time trying to convince Electro to help him break into Oscorp. In exchange he will help Electro take down Spider-Man. At first Electro doesn’t trust him, but when the security guards break in and grab Osborn, Harry pleads with Electro, saying he needs him. Electro’s powers escalate as his seemingly disintegrates, then kills all of the guards and rematerializes in the room.

While The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is aimed at a slightly younger audience than most of the other Marvel movies, from the footage shown, it looks as though it’s the best Spider-Man movie yet, and arguably one of the best Marvel movies to date. It’s not quite at the level of Avengers, and we don’t have much information on The Rhino at this point, but so far things are looking up for the webslinger.

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Bryan Dawson
Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.
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