Man of the Moment

Sean William Scott

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Monday, December 06, 2004

Holiday Film Trailers Extravaganza 

It's been too long since I did one of my completely unfair assessments of an upcoming film based on nothing except the trailer. And with the winter movie season coming up, that strange time of year in which all the smarmy, self-important "family" films come out, as well as the usual "this concept will make us lots of money" big-event movies and the "please, give us an Oscar" dramas, it seems like a good time to see what will soon be playing at my local multiplex. If you remember, the way I used to catergorize the films was "Pay Full Price," "Pay Matinee Price," and "See It On Cable." Well, it's probably more fair to just lump all films that I'd be willing to see in a theater together into one category, and mark out those more marginal films that I used to "settle" on matinee viewings as the films I'm willing to at least add to my Netflix queue when they appear on video in the hopes that maybe they're not completely awful. As usual, if I say that I'm "waiting for cable" on a film, add silently the addendum "...if I'm sick and bored and have absolutely nothing else to do that might be marginally more interesting, such as watching paint dry."

See It In The Theater
Darkness: I've seen trailers for this before, and it looks like another in this series of horror films emphasizing mood and atmosphere over shock and gore, and I tend to appreciate that style. I'm hoping this will be a good, creepy haunted house flick to take my mind off of the unrelenting holiday cheer around me.

House of Flying Daggers: It certainly looks very pretty. I wish I knew a little more about the plot, especially considering that I'm usually bothered by the political subtext of Yimou's films. It's also worth noting that martial arts films are being increasingly marketed to the art film crowd, and this is yet another example of that.

p.s.: Aw, man...I love Laura Linney, and every once in awhile, not often mind you but every once in awhile, I get drawn into sappy little romances. This looks like the kind I could easily get drawn into.

The Phantom of the Opera: I think they'll confiscate my gay-card if I don't go see this.

The Ring Two: The original (both American and Japanese versions) is one of my favorite horror films, and this is one of the most effective trailers I've ever seen. I'm definitely going to be seeing this one.

I'm Not Scared: I'm a sucker for Euro-thrillers. Even when they're not very good when you remove the European elements (Crimson Rivers anyone?) I'm still interested in them.

Bad Education: It's Pedro Almadovar making an action movie with drag queens. Of course I'm going to go see this, and I'll probably end up loving it.

Constantine: No, it probably won't be any good. And while I do have to say that making Constantine an American, and setting the film in LA, displays a complete misunderstanding of the source material on the part of the film-makers. But the reason it won't be any good won't have anything to do with the fact that it deviates from the source material. So, why am I going to go see it? I've already been told I have to go, for the sake of keeping loved one's happy.

Dark Water: I'm shamelessly a Jennifer Connelly fan, and this looks like a very well done and atmospheric scary movie.

Bewitched: It's Nicole Kidman and Will may be a completely unnecessary remake of an old sitcom, but some strange part of me is looking forward to this.

Batman Begins: Of course I'm going to go see may be the first good Batman movie to be made since, well, ever.

Add It To The NetFlix Queue
The Last Shot: It has an appealing cast of actors I generally like, but I've never been much of a fan of the "mob comedy" so I'm not holding out much hope for this to be anything other than an amusing diversion. (On a related note, I'm also very tired of movies about making's narcisstic to say the least.)

The Merchant of Venice: Well, I have to give them credit for at least trying to film this. It's never been one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and the plot hinges heavily on improbably coincidences and the Clark Kent school of disguise. I'm sure we're going to hear quite a bit about how this film is going to stir up anti-Semitism, regardless of the fact that the kinds of people who are going to think that Shylock is an accurate portrayal of Jews aren't likely to go see a film based on a Shakespearean play in the first place.

The Woodsman: If this is about what I think it's about, it was probably a smart move to not talk about what it's about in the trailer. Could be very good, could be tedious and self-important.

Boogeyman: It looks like it wants to be The Ring, but something tells me it's going to be closer to Darkness Falls.

Ocean's 12: I can never sit through the first one, and I don't quite grasp Brad Pitt's appeal, but Soderbergh is rarely disappointing (well, except for Ocean's 11...)

Hide and Seek: Okay, so I like haunted house movies, and I like horror films that emphasize mood over gore. However, I've also learned that those types of horror films are best when they're not done with big name stars or producers gumming up the works. So this could be very good, or it could be very bad, and I'm not sure I want to pay good money to watch a bad film.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: I'm apparently the only person who doesn't see what the big deal about Wes Anderson (or Owen Wilson) is, but Bill Murray goes a long way with me, and I'm behind any movie about killing a shark out of revenge.

White Noise: I love the hard sell on this film that it's really possible to record the voices of the dead. It's actually a remarkably strong concept to hang a horror film on. Depending on how reviews for this go, this may actually get upgraded to the "See It In The Theater" category.

Mr. And Mrs. Smith: I still fail to see the appeal of either of the leads, and the premise seems very...familiar for some reason. I'm almost positive I'm going to end up getting taken to see it regardless.

Wait For Cable
Flight of the Phoenix: Now with a multi-racial cast and Arab villains! So it's politically correct regardless of your politics! Pass.

Cars: And the Pixar streak of making films people actually likes comes to a thundering conclusion.

Elektra: Oh, good, two hours of "Tee-hee! I'm an assassin!"

The Final Cut: An intriguing premise that appears to have been totally wasted on a generic thriller/conspiracy plot.

Son of the Mask: My browser crashed three times trying to download this trailer. Clearly, it was trying to protect me from the horror that is this film. I think a little piece of my soul died upon seeing this.

Meet the Fockers: I think Meet the Parents had all of a joke in it, so I think this film heartily qualifies for a "Hell, no, I'm not going to go see that garbage!"

Madagascar: Okay, here's my beef with this current vogue for CGI animation: there is nothing about this film that dictated the need to do it in CGI, in fact it probably would have benefited from more traditional animation. It would look less jerky and, well, polygonal. I really can't wait for enough CGI films to bomb that studios start looking at traditional animation techniques again. (That being said, if this film were only about the penguins, I'd probably go see it.)

Sideways: Did we really need another movie about heterosexual men having mid-life angst? (Not that the films about gay men having midlife angst are much better, mind you...)

In Good Company: Oh great, more heterosexual men having mid-life angst! You don't suppose screen-writers and producers are having any aging fears this year, do you?

Fat Albert: Why do I doubt that the target audience for this film has ever even heard of Fat Albert?

A Sound Of Thunder: Speaking of misunderstanding the source material, wasn't the point of the original story that the changes to history were subtle, and undetectable by anyone other than the time travelers? I don't remember a city being besieged by giant monsters in the original story.


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