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Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Movie Trailer Reviews, Pre-Summer Batch
It is time, after too long a break, to unfairly evaluate whether or not a film looks worth bothering with based on nothing more substantial than...well, than the primary method the film's producers use to convince an audience that the film is worth bothering with.
As is the usual method, the films are divided into three categories. Those that fill me with an urgent need to see the film are deemed worthy of Full Price Admission. Those that look interesting, or entertaining, but not quite up to the first category are Netflixable. And the rest are the ones where, if you find yourself paralyzed and stuck on your couch with the television tuned to a film-showing cable channel are probably better than Willing Your Head To Explode. Maybe.
Full Price Admission
Chaos Theory: So, even if we discount the beefcake factor of having Ryan Reynolds and Stuart Townsend in the same movie, the story of a man giving his life over to random chance has a strong appeal. I like that Apollonian/Dionysian conflict in my narrative fiction, and so few writers really seem willing to go there.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: There's a horribly over-entitled fanboy buried within me, screaming at the idea of aliens being introduced into his favorite pulp adventure series, even though intellectually he understands that aliens are perfectly thematically appropriate for the period the film takes place in. I'm doing my best to smother him, as I'm fairly certain that I'm not going to give a damn one way or another how good the film is. It's not like it can be worse than Temple of Doom anyway. And damn, when did Shia LeBeouf turn into a hottie?
Speed Racer: Beautiful, gorgeous eye-candy. The film is probably going to prove to be critic proof, as there's simply nothing else out there that looks like it, people will go for the experience. I'm, surprisingly, really looking forward to it. The Warchowski's aren't bad film-makers, but they're more miss than hit, and this time it seems like they've found a property where their aesthetic and approach to film-making actually fits.
The Fall: A meta fictional fantasy about an addict telling a little girl a story in exchange for drugs? The trailer gives us amazing visuals and an evocative setting, and the "real life" drama looks as compelling as the fantasy story sounds brilliant. Now to hope it actually plays somewhere near me.
Mamma Mia!: It's a jukebox musical with Abba songs. I think they revoke my Gay Card if I don't go see it.
Iron Man: It's taken long enough, but it looks like there might finally be a second good Marvel movie. Almost all of this is down to the cast. Downey Jr is almost pitch-perfect casting for Tony Stark. He's oozing charisma in the trailers, and there looks to be lots of appropriate big iron suit action to make any weaknesses in the plot fade away.
Anamorph: I'm so very picky about my serial killer thrillers. I like the idea of the genre, but the actual films tend to bog down in cliche and stereotype, most of them are unwatchable. But the notion of a killer using a little known artistic technique as part of his tableau, well, it's very giallo-esque, so I'm going to have to search this out.
The Incredible Hulk: I'm one of the few people who actually enjoyed the last Hulk movie. Well, the first two-thirds of it or so. And while this doesn't look bad, not really, it also doesn't look like anything to be excited about. I'm informed by Peter, however, that because Edward Norton is in it, we WILL be seeing this. So there's that.
Get Smart: I'm not so jaded that I can't be persuaded by silly, stupid fun. And a good-natured, unambitious comedy with good casting sounds very appealing right about now.
Wall E: I tend to dislike more Pixar films than I like, but this one is oh so very pretty, and there's a real "sensawundah" feel to some of the sequences in the trailer. I cringe, more than a little, at the narration over the trailers, as I was led to understand the film would be mostly dialogue free, and the presence of a narrator suggests either that's been changed, or the studio doesn't want to scare people away from a film without snappy animated thingies saying funny things.
The Visitor: You guys pretty much had me at "from the director of The Station Agent"...
Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanomo Bay: I didn't expect to like the first film, and it turned out to be one of the freshest and most original comedies I'd seen in years, with an actual interesting point of view about race in America without glossing over uncomfortable truths or playing After School Special. And it looks like the follow-up is going to take that same approach to the politics of fear. I'm there. This is stupid comedy for smart people, a rare genre, and one worth paying attention to.
Mister Lonely: A film about a colony of celebrity impersonators and flying nuns? I'm pretty sure I don't need to know the plot; just those little details on their own are enough to convince me that, at some point, I must lay my eyes on this film. It will either be good, or appalling, but it will be sublimely so either way.
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army: I wasn't terribly impressed with the first film, and the original comics are ones that I feel like I should like, but they just leave me cold. And while this looks visually interesting, I've learned the hard lesson the del Toro's films usually look good...and that's about it.
Mongol: A biography of Genghis Khan sounds like one of those objectively good films I should probably see to be a well-rounded and well informed movie viewer. The test will be if my usual boredom with biographical films can be defeated by my curiosity over the subject matter and approach.
Tropic Thunder: I'm pretty sure I've already seen this basic plot (stupid person thinks a real thing is a fake thing) too many times, and there's something still very unsettling about the Robert Downey Jr in black-face role, even though they go to pains to explain it in the trailer, but still, something about this whole thing feels off. Maybe Stiller and Jack Black just need to go away for awhile, and give us a chance to remember why we liked them in the first place. This looks watchable, maybe, but not something I want to be seen going to by anyone I might know.
Deception: A good cast makes a hell of a lot of difference, it can't be said often enough. I've got no interest in "erotic thrillers" at all, as they are always neither, but you put actors of the caliber of Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor in one? And yeah, okay, you got me.
Chapter 27: This has "Jared Leto and Lindsay Lohan are now serious actors" written all over it. And despite the silliness of how that sounds, in this film at least it looks like it might be true. I'm not seeing anything here that compels me to seek the movie out, but it looks like the sort of thing that, again, is worth seeing at least once just to be a well rounded film viewer.
The Tracey Fragments: There's still something to be said for formal experimentation in film, and a film told with split screen has a curiosity value alone. That the story, of a girl looking for her lost brother, maybe, at least that's what she says she's doing, draws me to it as well is a good sign, too. Plus, I'd finally get to see if Ellen Page really is as good as everyone says she is, without having to watch something that feels like it's going to annoy my sense of politics.
Righteous Kill: At what precise moment did Pacino and DeNiro become caricatures of themselves? Because I'm watching this, and it looks like it's a touch cops movie, and then it becomes a serial killer film, about a killer killing people who get away with crimes (shades of Dexter!) and, honestly, I kept waiting for the joke. Because I fully expected this to be a comedy. And no, it's serious. I'm fairly certain that wasn't the reaction they were hoping for.
Wanted: Nice stunts. But even if this turns out to be one of the lousiest films ever made, it'll still be better than that shitty, shitty comic it's based on.
Mister Foe: A semi-Oedipal loner skulks the rooftops of Edinburgh looking for love. I guess. This definitely has the feel of "throw it in the queue, I'll watch it when I'm bored" and still feel like it was a good use of my time.
The Grand: I was just about to say "Dear God, please no more poker movies" and then Werner Herzog strolled onto the screen. So it's a silly thing to make a film watchable, but it does anyway.
The Happening: I'm a little torn here. So far, every other Shyamalan film has been...watchable. Lady in the Water was dreadful. In theory, then, this should be a...watchable film. On the other hand, this looks very, very similar to Signs. Which is one of the very few films I actually hate. With a passionate intensity. My tongue hurts, remembering how hard I was biting it to keep from screaming at the stupid, asinine film I was watching. The only other film that reaches that intensity of loathing in me is The Three Amigos. My tongue hurts watching this trailer...
Amusement: It looks like a torture porn anthology film with the old "spooky asylum" as the framing sequence. I'd have to know more before decided if this is the right rating for the film, or if it should be moved up or down, but oops, the producers don't want to give me any clues whatsoever about what the film is about in the trailer. I see an evil truck and an evil clown, and while I can concoct all kinds of scenarios connecting those elements, I'm getting a Jeepers Creepers vibe off the two mostly, and that's not a good sign.
Not Worth Dying Over
The Strangers: What's this? An R-rated horror movie that seems to build it's scares on atmosphere and dread rather than gore and misogyny? Dare I hope? Oh, wait, it's just psychos in masks and "based on a true story" posturing? AND it has Liv Tyler in it? Never mind then.
Who's Your Monkey: With a title like that, certain expectations are created in me. Not one of those expectations is "over-grown man-children having comic misadventures trying to dispose of a body."
Bangkok Dangerous: Nicholas Cage, in yet another bad wig, playing a hitman with a heart of gold.Yeah, that's skippable.
Zombie Strippers: So, that's one ticket for Chris Sims and? Anyone else? This is the sort of thing you'd watch half of on Up All Night, and hope that it isn't one of those nights Gilbert Gottfried was hosting to screech at you before the commercial. I have a lot of patience for bad horror movies, but there's just no way in hell this is going to be watchable.
The Deal: Shannon Elizabeth playing a hooker seems...really familiar for some reason. But the rest of this just screams "white kid with daddy issues" and no, thank you, we've got too much of that crap in the entertainment industry as it is.
Step Brothers: Will Ferrell needs to go away for a little while now, too. The brain-dead man-child routine has been done just a few times too many now, and it's worn out its welcome.
Pineapple Express: A stoner comedy that's trying far too hard. And, I hate to say it, but Seth Rogen has joined the "go away for awhile" club now as well. Still, at least Rogen has more than one emotive style, that gives me some hope he can still do something worth watching and move beyond the gross-out humor for 18-25 year olds market.
Redbelt: Even if Mamet hadn't gone a bit cuckoo recently, a film about a martial artist trapped in the sinister underbelly of Hollywood, done as a serious drama, wasn't going to interest me at all.
The Love Guru: This shit wasn't funny when Peter Sellers was doing it. And Mike Myers is no Peter Sellers.
The Hammer: Adam Carolla as a loser who becomes a boxer. It's rare that I actually feel embarrassed on behalf of the people in a film...
Postal: I've never actually seen an Uwe Boll movie. I doubt I'm going to start with this. Again, I've got a lot of patience for bad movies sometimes, but this looks like it would tax even my endurance.