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Thursday, June 08, 2006
Movie Trailer Reviews
It's time once again to unfairly judge upcoming films based on how the studio has chosen to advertise them. I know, it's such an unreasonable standard, expecting the people who make the film to give you a reason to spend your money on seeing it, not to mention the hassle of long lines at the box office, the expense of gas and the downright rude and obnoxious behavior of the other patrons. The scale is simple enough. Full Price means that the movie looks like it's worthwhile. A Rental is a film that looks like it's okay, but nothing to get excited about. Cable is short for Dear God, Someone Has Tied Me To A Chair And Is Forcing Me To Watch This Horrible Film On Cable.
Full Price District B13: Oh, this will be gloriously stupid. I can feel it in my bones. But then, I like Euro-action films. They tend to have a sense of style and the absurd that American action films just lack. And really, gangs with nuclear weapons? Dementedly dumb set-up. That there look to be lots of men running around without shirts on is only a bonus.
Lady in the Water: Shymalan's films tend to alternate between "good" and "bad" for me. Trouble is, my feelings on which are his "good" films and which are "bad" are at odds with most other peoples. I thought Signs was one of the stupidest films I'd ever had the misfortune of seeing, but I didn't think The Village was horrible. History has shown that I will hate this film and everyone else will love it, but there looks to be enough of a departure from his previous schtick that this may have an outside chance of being enjoyable. In which case, everyone else will hate it.
Dead Man's Shoes: I've learned to be slightly leery of the more purposefully "arty" thrillers, as they tend to be very long and very slow. But this English revenge drama looks to have potential. If only it didn't appear to have completely bypassed my neck of the woods.
Happy Feet: It's penguins. They sing and dance. Of course I'm going to see it. My only hope is that they keep Robin Williams' role as small as possible.
Superman Returns: The more images from the film I see in action, the more cautiously optimistic I become that the film may actually be good. I still think it looks to be overly devoted to Richard Donner's vision, and I don't think that the rest of the world holds those films in as high esteem as Bryan Singer seems to.
My Super Ex-Girlfriend: It looks like a cute, silly, superficial comedy that isn't pretending to be anything other than it is. I suppose it's interesting that the super-hero movie thing has now become mainstream enough that "original" characters such as the ones featured in Ultraviolet and spoofs of the genre can be taken in stride by audiences (if not warmly embraced, given Ultraviolet's middling box-office), but frankly I'm less interested in that angle than I am in seeing two actors I like in a comedy.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: It looks a bit over the top, doesn't it? Just a tad? As if they're desperate to be more, bigger, other superlatives in comparison to the first film. Ah well, doesn't matter. That the first film had any merit at all, given that it was based on a theme park ride, was remarkable in and of itself, so this will get a look if only because of residual good will.
Rental Ratatouille: Wow, how utterly original. Rodents trying to steal food. Why, I haven't seen that since every single Tom & Jerry cartoon ever made.
The Wicker Man: And this, if nothing else, is proof that the remake mania sweeping the film industry needs to just stop. You can't improve on perfection. All you can do is make people curious about how badly the new film is going to miss the mark. And this one looks to be missing it by about a mile. By swiping the opening of The Changeling to give Nicholas Cage's cop some kind of angst, you miss the whole reasoning behind why he was selected to go to the island. I have no confidence that they'll let the original ending stand, especially as the trailer seems to be implying that Rowan is now his daughter as well.
The Devil Wears Prada: I have no particular interest in fashion or "workplace comedy," so this will move up or down the list based solely on the reviews and word of mouth. There's hints of a vicious sense of humor in the trailer, and that works for me, if nothing else about the film's set-up does.
A Scanner Darkly: What a remarkably ugly looking film. Look, if you're going to make an animated film, make an animated film. If you're going to make a live-action film, make a live-action film. Rotoscoping technology hasn't significantly improved enough to make this kind of hybrid look aesthetically pleasing. I also don't have much hope for the film being, you know, good. So far, Barjo has been the only film based on a Philip K. Dick novel that I thought got the tone and ideas of the book translated accurately to screen.
The Zodiac: I'm just throwing this up there because I have nothing in particular to say about it, other than that it just screams out "rental" to me every time I see it mentioned anywhere. Some films are just like that.
Cable Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning: A prequel? A prequel to the remake of one of the seminal horror films? An utterly unnecessary prequel to the remake of the one of the seminal horror films that works partly because the core concept is so simple and visceral? I'm not even sure there are words in the English language to describe what a stupid idea this film is.
How to Eat Fried Worms: I hated this book, and I hate how dumbed down children's movies have become, so this is pretty much a guaranteed miss.
Cars: A movie about a car that "learns an important lesson about what's really important." I don't like that stupid, lame, hackneyed, tired cliche when it shows up in live-action films, what the hell kind of sense does it make to transport that over-used plot to a movie about cars? Cars that look suspiciously like a certain gas station's advertising mascots at that? I was almost, almost prepared to let this go as a Rental, and then the words "Larry the Cable Guy" flashed across the screen. And now I know that not only will I never see this film, I might have to give serious consideration to not going to see any movies playing at the same cinema that this is playing at, for fear that the sheer terribleness infects another theater.
Ghost Rider: I've mentioned before that the audience I was in when I saw this on a large screen did not react kindly to it. And really, who can blame them. It looks ridiculously self-important. It's a film about a flaming skeleton on a motorcycle. Who sees that image and thinks "big important drama?" They're trying to play it oh so seriously and full of gravitas, but they really should have just gone with the inherent loopiness of the concept.
Flushed Away: I'm not a big fan of CG animation at the best of times. It just looks too blatantly artificial and soulless to me. It doesn't have the character or personality of other types of animation. So for Aardman, a company noted for it's exquisite stop-motion animation, to make a CG film, just seems unspeakably wrong to me.
Peaceful Warrior: So, I'm guessing that Iron John and Who Moved My Cheese? will be the next books adapted to film...
See No Evil: The joke at work used to be that Chaos! Comics had as their target audience people who took wrestling a little too seriously. It's nice to see that same sort of asesthetic return to the market-place of ideas.