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Friday, February 16, 2007
Day Off Trailer Reviews
(Please note, if you think I'm unduly harsh in my assessment of a film, particularly a film you're really looking forward to, that the point of a trailer is to make you want to see it, and these are my reactions to those efforts. Also, if you think I say mean things about these films, you should have seen the trailers I couldn't, in good conscience, inflict upon you.)
Pay Full Price
First Snow: This has a really good, strong cast, and it gives every appearance of breaking out of the usual thriller mode to provide an interesting look at notions of fate and destiny. They're not uncommon themes in the genre, but there's a certain mix of paranoia and self-fulfilling prophecies that promises a better crafted look at the notion than similar films.
The Valet: I will admit, I laughed at this. A poor schmoe forced to live with and pretend to be in love with a beautiful woman in order to hide from the paparazzi a wealthy man's philandering. It's been a good long while since the French put out a decent sex comedy. I'm already almost depressed at the prospect of a terrible American remake. Probably starring Dane Cook.
The Host: A Korean horror-comedy about a horrible mutant monster. It simply looks fantastic, and from what I've seen has only been praised. (Okay, granted Ain't It Cool News is quoted in the trailer, but I won't hold that against the movie).
Zodiac: This is one of the upcoming films I'm most anticipating. It's been too long since Fincher had a good, intelligent film out, and it's getting horrendously rare to find a thriller with a strong cast and a strong visual sense. I'm particularly interested in the approach the film apparently takes that, because this is a mystery with no real solution, it is important to focus on why this case became important to these investigators and such a cultural touchstone.
Hot Fuzz: This is the other film I'm eagerly anticipating. Not just because just about everything Simon Pegg has done has been so good, but the comedic mystery has always been one of my favorite genre mash-ups. That the people who gave us the nigh-definitive horror comedy and the freshest sitcom in decades made it makes me tremendously giddy.
Add to Netflix Queue
Knocked Up: I'm going to set aside the obvious question this trailer raises, because I'm fairly certain that contemporary politics make it impossible to bring up in a comedy. Well, and the other obvious question the trailer raises, because that's even more of a hot-button issue for a comedy. But I trust Apatow. Plus, Paul Rudd.
I Think I Love My Wife: I'm finding myself oddly surprised that Chris Rock is no longer playing the obnoxious, loud-mouthed kid roles. Normally marital infidelity movies don't interest me, and I can't say I find myself particularly compelled by this one either. I'm just lacking the requisite puritanical outrage to be shocked or appalled by the suggestion that sometimes people stray or think of straying.
Amazing Grace: No sarcasm or cynicism here. A film about the English abolitionist movement, even if it wears its heart on its sleeve, is probably long overdue.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: Well, it's not like it could be that much worse than the first one, right? Although, for me, this trailer fails on one fundamental level: it doesn't tell me enough about the movie. Okay, so the Silver Surfer will be in it. And? That's supposed to be enough, I guess. Though, the fact that Pete will make me go see it in the theater makes my opinion as to the trailer's projection of the film's quality a moot point.
Across the Universe: Assembling Beatles songs into a musical? That plan could never fail. It looks pretty, though I often find myself wondering when writers and directors of a certain age are going to get over the Vietnam war. I'm not denying the profound psychic scars it left on the country, and it's been the inspiration for some truly stellar works of art: it's also been used for lots and lots of trite political short-hand.
The Abandoned: Yes! Ride that Russo-horror bandwagon! Follow in Nightwatch's coat-tails. Oh, wait, hardly anyone went to see Nightwatch in this country. This may get a pass just for the haunted house angle.
Nancy Drew: I never liked the Hardy Boys (too white bread) and never even gave Nancy Drew a chance. I sort of skipped over the whole "young adult" phase of books anyway. This looks cute. Silly, somewhat superficial, but cute. It may be a "take the cousins out for a date and give the rest of the family a friggin' break" type of movie.
Sunshine: It's actually quite...refreshing...to see someone even attempting to make a science-fiction film that's actually a science-fiction film. And not an action movie in space. Or a western in space. Or anything other than God-forbid a science-fiction movie. Because, let's face it, the science-fiction audience doesn't want science-fiction, they want an action movie in space.
Seraphim Falls: For some reason, this put me in mind of Ravenous. It doesn't have the horror angle, but that taut, genre-bending mood seems to be the same as in this thriller.
The Lookout: It seems a bit late to me to be mining Memento for plot points for your crime drama, but there you go.
Shooter: Ah, the "Oswald was a patsy" theory translated into a big budget action-thriller. These sorts of things always beg the question with me: if the hero is smart enough to unravel and expose an international conspiracy by himself, how come he couldn't tell he was being set-up?
Blades of Glory: This will make Pete happy, a Will Ferrell movie I won't try to make him see. Largely because I don't care for Jon Heder in the slightest. But also because a broad farce about male figure skaters makes me think I should probably bring along something to keep a tally of the number of gay jokes.
Spider-Man 3: Man, imagine how good these movies would be if anyone who could act was in them. Well, okay, they probably still wouldn't be very good because Spider-Man is a whiny little punk, but surely they'd be better, right?
Let Me Claw My Eyes Out First
Wild Hogs: Ah, is there anything better than a comedy about men playing dress-up and pretending to be bad ass bikers because they're in the midst of a mid-life crisis? Anything is better than that? Even yet another movie about a guy with daddy issues? And this particular trailer ends on a quasi-Brokeback Mountain joke. Because those are still cutting edge.
Mr. Brooks: I can still appreciate the serial-killer genre of thrillers, even if their ubiquity is troublesome. And I can even appreciate the effort of having two different actors play the different personalities of the lead character. Where you lose me, utterly, is Dane Cook. No film, by definition, can be worth watching if Dane Cook is in it.
Surf's Up: Yes, penguins are always cute, but too many assemblies as a child where we were "rewarded" with tedious surfing documentaries has killed any desire in me to ever see any film about surfers. Even cute penguin ones.
Full of It: Ah, a film for children about how your life improves if you lie a lot. Only in Bush's America.
Dead Silence: Now, I'm usually in the mood for a good haunted house/vengeful ghost type of horror story. It's probably darn close to my favorite genre within the genre. And the creepy dolls and prohibition on screaming angles make for both an old favorite and cool new twist, respectively. So I should really want to see this. But, see, where you lose me is this: "From the writers and director and producers of Saw." I hate the torture and gore porn school of horror. I hate that it's come to dominate the horror genre in film (well, that and stupid remakes and sequels). So, no, count me out. Your previous work in the genre leaves me with no confidence that you can make anything worth watching.
Grindhouse: No. Just because you Tarantino and Rodriguez grew up on shitty movies in the seventies is no excuse to make more.
Black Snake Moan: I'm left baffled by this. Is it meant to be some sort of bad taste comedy? Or is it serious and unintentionally funny? Or is someone working out their issues with women on film?
Live Free or Die Hard: Have I ever mentioned how much I intensely dislike the Die Hard franchise? Let's put it this way, the only action movie with Bruce Willis I enjoy is Hudson Hawk. Please note I said "enjoy" not "think is good." It's the All Star Batman of action movies.
Fred Claus: I'm hard pressed to think of which actor has more worn out his welcome, Vaughn or Giametti. The combination of the two of them? Man, I'm feeling slightly nauseous just thinking about it.
The Hills Have Eyes 2: It's probably best to just count-off the reasons why I'll refuse to see it. Torture porn. Sequel to a remake. Female soldiers screaming and panicking.