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Monday, September 15, 2008
Trailer Reviews-Fall Batch
Fall is a dicey time of year for movies. What you basically have to choose from are the films that aren't considered quite good enough money-makers to release in the summer or over Christmas, and the early batches of the Oscar-bait films. Frankly it's a miracle anything worth watching ever comes out between the firsts of September and December.
Full Price Milk: It's horribly Oscar-baitey, but I'll forgive that, given that it's a fantastic cast, a director who, frankly, needs to make a good film again, and a historically important subject that feels particularly relevant in contemporary politics again.
Ghost Town: I have high hopes for this. The reason is simple: I laughed at the trailer despite Ricky Gervais being in it.
Eagle Eye: It looks like dumb action movie stuff with a ridiculously implausible plot. That's what I want from my action movies usually. I'm not necessarily proud of that (or the sick sick sick Shia LaBeouf thing).
Watchmen: I have to admit, my curiosity about what the final product is going to look like has overcome my significant reservations about the ultimate unfilmability of the original comics. I'm not expecting this to be the breakout, maturing of the genre that some expect it to be. I just don't see this going over well with the public at large. For all the film-maker's statements to the contrary, they've crafted a trailer that makes the story look like a super-hero beat-em-up. If the final film is not, the majority of the public that has not read the comic is going to feel cheated. If it is, they'll have missed the point of the source material. So it looks like a lose-lose situation either way.
Quantum of Solace: I'd written off the Bond films a long time ago. Let's face it, the last good one was On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and even that is stretching the definition of "good" to the breaking point. So it took me awhile to get around to seeing Casino Royale. But when I did...man. It was like someone had actually read a Fleming novel and based a film on it, rather than trying to remake In Like Flint. Again. And so, yes, I'll be more than happy to put down my $10 to see a follow-up to that.
Netflix-able Bolt: It's a doggie movie, so I'm intrigued despite myself. I'd really much rather see the Chris Sanders take on the subject, rather than what we're getting.
Rock N Rolla: Guy Ritchie films are usually worth renting, at best. But Dark Castle films are usually worth ignoring entirely. Combine them, and you've got something that might be worth renting, so long as you keep your finger right on the "disc tray open" button so that you can end the film immediately if you need to.
Changeling: Clint Eastwood is an iffy proposition as a director. He tends towards the self-important, if not the downright self-indulgent. But the story here is compelling enough that it's hard to imagine Eastwood going too far off the rails (though scenes of Angelina Jolie in an asylum might suggest otherwise). Now if only I could hear the title without shuddering at the thought of someone remaking the George C. Scott film.
Role Models: It looks utterly horrible and like a rehash of a dozen other films. And that's without getting into the ongoing love affair with man-children that Hollywood seems to be in. But, it's Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott. I'll just turn the volume down real low and stare at them for ninety minutes.
Max Payne: So, it's a movie based on a video game that was a break-through because it incorporated into it's gameplay a cinematic technique that's become played out and cliche in actual films. Gotcha. Pretty, though, and who knows, Marky Mark may take his shirt off.
The Spirit: I'm curious to see it, in a "how bad can it get" sort of way. I mean, I was in the minority in thinking Sin City was lousy (though I get the impression that critical consensus has shifted in my direction on it), and the attempts to replicate that look is not encouraging. But there's been some almost wit in some of the footage that's been shown (and some beefcake), so rental it is.
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: I've been assured that the source material is better than this trailer makes it look, so I'm tentatively overlooking the fact that Michael Cera is in this and I'm willing to give the rental a shot.
Sex Drive: I laughed more than once. For this kind of film, that's the one and only clue that it might be even remotely worth my time to watch.
Australia: Has Baz Luhrman made his second good film, after Strictly Ballroom? Time will tell, but lord knows it can't possibly be as bad as Romeo+Juliet.
Choke: I seem to be one of the few American adult males who didn't think Fight Club was a revelatory work of genius. I don't know, maybe my daddy did love me enough. But I like Sam Rockwell well enough, and there's a darkly comic edge on view here that makes me think I can give the film a shot at least.
Known To Cause Spontaneous Blindness Doubt: Oh, look, it's The Children's Hour with an evil nun instead of a vicious brat. Or is it The Crucible with an evil nun instead of a vicious brat. Or is it Atonement with an evil nun instead of a vicious brat. You know, I'm getting the impression I've seen this kind of film enough times already.
The Soloist: Nothing like a little white liberal guilt sprinkled into your "give me an Oscar" film. But hey, it worked for Crash.
The International: So Hollywood is just now getting the message that banks are evil and people hate them? I'm tempted to say that I admire the restraint the film-makers show in the trailer; after all, they don't show any bankers biting the heads off babies, but it looks so fundamentally stupid a film (first clue on that score, Clive Owen is in it) that I just sigh heavily and move on.
Nights and Weekends: Another "pretty straight white people have romantic issues" movie. Coupled with the least interesting trailer I think I've ever seen in my life.
Madagascar 2: If this is the kind of uninspired garbage that's going to be foisted on the public, I've got no problem banning animation entirely.
Fast and Furious: Well, we've seen the most interesting stunt in the trailer, so there's no reason for anyone to pay money to see the film now. Ah well. I guess Vin Diesel's career won't recover after all.
The Haunting of Molly Hartley: It's looking to be a pretty dire Halloween for horror fans if sub-basic cable level stars in kid-friendly anti-Christ movies are up on offer.
Nothing Like the Holidays: While I respect the efforts to get a family Holiday movie made that doesn't follow the usual "white people with problems" model, the fact that this looks nearly identical to every other "wacky, dysfunctional family hijinx at Christmas" movie ever made is a huge strike against it.
Real Time: I'm pretty fed up with films that ask us to identify and sympathise with people whose troubles are entirely of their own making. And just because every other crime film features, inexplicably, a British actor in the cast, that's no reason to make Randy Quaid speak with a silly accent in your allegedly "quirky" film.
Humboldt County: Having actually lived in Humboldt County, I've met more than my share of pot growers. They're not kooky yet lovable eccentrics. No, they're pretty much just shiftless hippies.
Body of Lies: You can stick as much fake facial hair on him as you want, Leonardo DiCaprio still looks to be about twelve. I just...no, there's no possible way for me to take him seriously.
Appaloosa: I'll start caring about Westerns again when the people making them stop mistaking "hard man" cliches and moral ambiguity for interesting film-making.
High School Musical 3: Senior Year: I've managed to stay blissfully ignorant of the whole "High School Musical" thing, and seeing as how I'm not a pre-teen girl (or Chris Sims), I'm okay with that. This trailer is the most I've ever seen of any iteration of it, and it doesn't look like I'm missing anything.
Yes Man: Bradley Cooper is seriously endangering my fondness for him by appearing in a movie with Jim Carrey. One with an embarrassingly unsubtle Red Bull ad inserted into the trailer at that.
Shiver: Man, when did the European horror directors start making the same sort of tired-looking shlock the Americans are doing?
What Just Happened: Can we please stop making movies about the film industry? Film is a narcissistic and masturbatory business as it is.
Saw V: Fuck me, what's it going to take to get people to stop giving money to the people who make this shit?
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: And the "need to buy a bigger house" phase of Simon Pegg's career officially begins. Gross out comedy with a man-child character...yes, this is exactly the sort of thing we didn't need more of.
W.: I know some people are worried about Stone pulling a Nader with this film, but let's be honest: does anyone actually think people are going to go see an Oliver Stone movie anymore?
Quarantine: I guess Cloverfield made at least enough money for more sub-Blair Witch faux-verite films to get made. And here's the "zombies in an apartment building" film that one guy who still gets excited about zombie movies was clamoring for...
Twilight: Even if I didn't hate vampire movies out of all proportion to their impact on my life, I'd still have to pass on the film version of the books that are all about using them as symbols for sexual repression in teenage girls.
The Day the Earth Stood Still: While I have to admire the sense of humor of whoever cast Keanu Reeves as an emotionless alien, I have to say that the best thing about this movie is that it increases the likelihood of a third Bill and Ted movie getting made.