Picking Up The Spare: Justice League, The Florida Project, Coco and More

Justice League

Warner Bros. worked with GIF platform Tenor (a Giphy competitor) on a sponsored Justice League GIF keyboard app takeover, offering exclusive GIFs from the film. That effort was promoted with a social media campaign as well.

justice league poster 31That Superman’s part in the story was now public knowledge also meant the release of a new poster and banner that included him in the team lineup. These used the same artwork as was previously released, just with Superman now filling in a conspicuous gap.

Slightly spoilerish, but here’s a list of scenes from the trailers that didn’t make it into the finished film. Also kind of tipping the hat is a picture shared by Joe Manganiello of him in full Deathstroke gear.

Cavill was finally allowed to speak for himself and talk about Superman’s role in the story, including how the character changed due to the events of Batman v Superman.

justice league gilette twitter adGillette continues to run social media ads for its movie-branded products, with a link to purchase those items at Walmart.

More details on the IMAX virtual reality experience that was offered in select cities here.

Much like Suicide Squad last year, reports are starting to emerge that studio micromanaging heavily influenced the final structure and tone of the film, something that’s been much-discussed by fanboys who believe there’s some magical, unadulterated “Snyder Cut” of the movie sitting in an archive somewhere.

The Florida Project

Another profile of director Sean Baker that presents him as a Hollywood outsider who’s eager to maintain that status and keep making his indie features.


Insights from writer/director Lee Unkrich and others here on how he and the rest of the Pixar team worked hard to make sure the movie was respectful of the culture being portrayed as possible. The same topic is covered here as well.

Actress Natalia Cordova-Buckley shared her thoughts on voicing the late real life artist Frida Kahlo and the experiences that led her to embrace such a challenge.

Lady Bird

Writer/director Greta Gerwig has continued making media appearances like this one to talk about the film and the satisfaction she felt by finally directing.

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Director Dan Gilroy and star Denzel Washington talked here about how the former wrote the part specifically for the latter and how Washington boarded the project, helping to shape the character as filming went on.


Another interview here with writer/director Maggie Betts on the inspiration for the story and how she tackled such sensitive material.

Beauty and the Beast

The movie is returning to theaters in what appears to be not only an attempt to reach holiday audiences but also remind awards season voters of the costume design and more.

Call Me By Your Name

Buzzfeed posted a hit-piece on star Armie Hammer, pegging him as an entitled white guy who gets multiple shots at stardom because of his position while others are quickly discarded after multiple misfires. Hammer reacted to the piece in what is a pretty appropriate manner.

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Director Martin McDonagh spoke here about how he found star Francis McDormand and worked with her to get the story’s tone right.

A new short TV spot hits some of the same beats as were seen in the main campaign but with the addition of plenty of positive critics quotes.

There have also been some new character posters released that show the three leads surrounded by positive quotes praising the movie.

Blade Runner 2049

Director Denis Villeneuve offers some time-enhanced thoughts on making the movie and developing the characters in this interview.

Beach Rats

Director Eliza Hittman talks about the view of masculinity and other topics taken in the film here.

The Disaster Artist

A couple new TV spots have been released by A24, one that shows the enthusiasm of Wiseau in making the movie and one that shows he refuses to accept the negativity of others.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Picking Up The Spare: Last Flag Flying, Detroit, Lady Bird

Last Flag Flying

Another interview with director Richard Linklater about his career, the pivot to a story that’s outside of what he usually tells and more.


The movie is returning to theaters in select markets around the time it hits home video and there’s a new trailer for that release that hits some very different emotional and narrative beats than were seen in the original campaign.

Lady Bird

More conversations with writer/director Greta Gerwig about the path she took to making this movie as well as with the costume and production designers about creating the look of the movie.

Costar Beanie Feldstein, who plays the title character’s friend in the film, is getting more and more attention now that it’s in theaters, including this profile and interview. And Tracy Letts, who plays the out-of-work father, talks here about how quickly he was attracted to the script and to working with Gerwig.

Thor: Ragnarok

Director Taika Waititi talks here about how he got the rights to Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” and thank goodness he did considering how well it plays in the trailer.

Jeff Goldblum explains how he got involved in such a grandiose film and how he worked with Waititi to create a colorful and memorable character.

I don’t think I included this late-breaking trailer in my recap but it’s lots of fun, in no small part because of some cool Valkyrie sequences.

Daddy’s Home 2

Will Ferrell made appearances on late night TV, though as usual those were centered more around his antics than the movie itself.

A great piece here on the fact that Mel Gibson has apparently been totally forgiven by Hollywood (and likely audiences) without really doing anything.


Melissa Leo talks more here about how she took on the role of the Reverend Mother with additional comments from writer/director Maggie Betts on the actress and the character she plays.

Murder on the Orient Express

Not that surprisingly, the costume design for the highly-stylized film has finally received some press attention along with the production design.

Kenneth Branagh talks here about how he updated the story a bit to make it a bit more relevant and accessible for the audience.


Lionsgate worked with Jigsaw, part of the Alphabet network of companies, to create a Chrome extension that finds offensive or inflammatory comments and replaces them with messages of kindness. I’m not quite sure I get how that doesn’t cross over into “creepy censorship,” but whatever.

Julia Roberts spoke here about walking the line of sentimentality in the story.

That Facebook Messenger bot I was unsure of a few days ago was what I expected it to be, a platform for people to message the page and receive an inspirational message in return. You can see a video promoting the chatbot, created by imperson, here.

Justice League

Finally, here’s the kind of profile of Gal Gadot that I was hoping to see earlier in the campaign.

Jeremy Irons did a bit of late-night TV to talk about playing Alfred in such a massive production.

Get Out

Jordan Peele has not only responded in his own way to the movie’s categorization as a comedy by the HFPA but also crashed a college course that was discussing the film.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Picking up the Spare: Sacred Deer, Wonderstruck and More

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

This profile of Colin Farrell frames the actors’ resurgence in the last 10 years to his embracing of small and quirky roles instead of the big-budget nonsense he was leaning toward pre-2006.


Another look here at the casting of Millicent Simmonds, the deaf girl who plays the lead in the movie and how she got to know her costars.

And here’s another profile of director Todd Haynes that focuses on how he took the turn into making a movie about and starring children.

The Meyerowitz Stories

While Stiller and Sandler dominated much of the pre-release press, co-star Elizabeth Marvel, who plays their sister in the movie, is finally getting a moment.

Only the Brave

Michael Phelps at the Chicago Tribune asks the same question I did about movies like this, which is whether audiences are interested in seeing stories that are too damn similar to those dominating the news cycle.


Writer/director Maggie Betts finally got an interview of her own where she talked about developing the story and avoiding certain topics that are too often the central focus of other movies. She also talked here about her long-standing obsession with nuns and how it influenced her and what it was like working on a female-dominated movie set.


Fandango’s MovieClips has offered up the movie’s opening scene as a way to try and reach the last few people who haven’t seen it.

The Florida Project

Another interview with the movie’s young star about how she got ready for such a demanding part and handled the insanity of production.

Novitiate – Marketing Recap

Issues of faith dominate in this week’s new release Novitiate. The title is derived from the term for the time someone is training in a religious order under the Catholic Church before he or she takes their vows. It’s the training period, meant to determine whether someone is truly called by God before making a lifetime commitment.

The story follows Cathleen (Margaret Qualley), a young woman who feels just that sort of call. She enters a convent overseen by a Reverend Mother (Melissa Leo) who comes from the old school of doing things. Unfortunately, the story takes place during the time of Vatican II, when many of those old ways were being rethought and overturned. Cathleen and the Reverend Mother, then, represent the end of one era and the beginning of another.

The Posters

It’s the relationship between Reverend Mother and Cathleen that forms the core of the message conveyed on the theatrical posters. The two are situated one in front of the other as they stand in front of an elaborate stained glass window that, in combination with their habits, clearly establishes the setting of the story. Cathleen is looking in one direction while the older nun is looking in the other, communicating how they find themselves going in opposite directions.

Notable here is the naming of writer/director Maggie Betts. This is Betts’ debut feature, so giving her such prominent placement on the one-sheet is a nice move by Sony Pictures Classics.

The Trailers

The first trailer starts just as Kathleen is explaining she’s decided she’s been called to become a nun. She enters the convent and begins her training in her new life, which is lead by a Mother who is strict and unforgiving and beholden to the old ways. That includes punishments she’s urged to stop handing out. Kathleen struggles through the process just as the Mother struggles with a world that’s changing around her, specifically the changes dictated in Vatican II.

It’s a decently emotional trailer that sells the story as a crisis of identity. While religion, of course, is central to what’s happening it’s not used as a cheap excuse for anything. It’s simply the hook on which the exploration of a changing world and worldview is hung. Leo looks incredible as a woman who doesn’t know who she is without the structure and strictures provided by the system she’s always leaned on.

Online and Social

As you load the movie’s official website the trailer plays, which when closed gives way to the key art as a background to the splash page. At the bottom are links to Sony’s social media profiles, though there is a Facebook page specifically for the movie you’ll find eventually. It seems the studio has been emphasizing other releases recently, especially the upcoming Call Me By Your Name, so this movie hasn’t gotten much love on those brand channels.

As you scroll down the page, the first section you come across is the “Synopsis,” which gives you a brief overview of the movie’s story. You can meet the people who made it in the “Cast” and “Filmmakers” sections. Finally other’s a “Gallery” of stills followed by another link to the “Trailer” and “#Novitiate” link to encourage you to share the site on social media.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing I’ve seen here.

Media and Publicity

While the movie premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, it doesn’t seem to have made much of an impression on those in attendance.

Early on in the promotion cycle there was a profile of Rebecca Dayan, who plays one of the other young women coming to the convent at the same time as Cathleen. There were also a few interviews like this one with Leo where she talked about the movie, how she makes choices about the roles she takes on and more. Qualley and others from the cast also talked here about the story and their own relationship with religion.


I like a lot of things about the campaign, particularly the focus on Leo as the emotional core of the story, even as Qualley’s Cathleen is the “new blood” who represents change. It’s Leo’s Reverend Mother who’s positioned as the one who has the more dramatic arc over the course of the story as she grapples with a world that’s changing too suddenly and in too many ways around her. This could easily have been sold as a youngs-vs-olds story, but that’s thankfully not the angle taken.

That being said, this isn’t an easy story to sell. A period piece set largely in a convent isn’t going to ring too many bells. I also would have liked to have seen Betts, as a black woman, get more of the publicity spotlight since it’s so important to highlight voices like hers. My hope is that more interviews and profiles of her show up in the near future as the movie expands beyond New York and Los Angeles.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

New Trailers This Week: mother!, Death Wish and More

  • There’s a full trailer coming early next week, but for the time being here’s a teaser for mother!
  • The trailer for What Happened To Monday sells a high-concept, action-packed sci-fi story.
  • Religious division and sectarianism are at the heart of this trailer for Viceroy’s House, set at the outset of Indian independence from the British Empire.
  • One more trailer for The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which is just as lighthearted and focused on curse words and over-the-top as the others.
  • More religious turmoil, this time in the setting of a convent during Vatican II, in the trailer for Novitiate.
  • The trailer for Death Wish is goofy enough but gets docked several points for including Mancow.