Crime After Crime – B+: This documentary has all the makings for an underdog tale. I’d be surprised if her story were not turned into a ‘based on a true story’ narrative at some point, not only because Debbie is fighting forces bigger than herself, but the people defending her are amateurs who are trying their damnedest. Debbie Peagler is just one in countless examples of injustice within the system. Hopefully this documentary will remind people that nothing is black and white. Also, my grad program allows me to always be keeping in mind how important archival research is with fact-based filmmaking, and it adds a new contextual layer to documentaries for me.
A Love Affair of Sorts – F: I really am doling out the F’s lately. I am all for dirt-cheap filmmaking, but this looks like nothing more than a self-serious gimmick laced with hackneyed overtones about communication and technology. The trailer alone was painful to get through.
Jig – B: Jig reminds me of what I wish competitive reality TV actually was. I am truly fascinated by people whose dedication to a hobby takes over their lives. That ambition on people, in this case mainly adolescents, is always going to be of interest to me. Maybe it is why I love Project Runway so much. Take away the drama and the nonsense that is Klum, and you have people who have literally dedicated their lives to fashion; it is everything to them and they are damn talented at their craft. Getting back to the film at hand, I will always be interested in documentaries like Jig.
The Names of Love – C+: I’m a real curmudgeon when it comes to modern romantic comedy. For the most part, I have very little tolerance for it. This does not look bad, but by the time the trailer ended, there was no drive for me to find out more about the couple’s liberal/conservative dynamic. This seems like something that would have been more interesting to make several decades ago but feels very outdated now.
Beats, Rhymes & Life: the Travels of a Tribe Called Quest – A-: Quite honestly, no matter how good or bad this trailer was, it was never going to get anything less than an A-. This is essentially my most anticipated summer doc. ATCQ are one of my favorite bands, seminal artists in East Coast hip-hop, Michael Rapaport’s film giving us an inside look at the relationship between Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and Ali Shaheed has me giddy. Rapaport’s passion for this band represents all of us who love their music, and it is infectiously palpable.
The Vow – C: To be fair, this probably is not going to be terrible for the type of tearjerker romance it is. These kinds of films rarely appeal to me. The trailer knows its demographic, made clear by the way it has The Notebook‘s Rachel McAdams and Dear John‘s Channing Tatum. It is just so very odd that 2012 trailers have already started.
Sarah’s Key – B-: Ahh yes, another World War II based mystery. We clearly need another of those. To be fair, I have been meaning to read this hugely popular book for a while, so I am more than a hypocrite here. Still, the film looks a bit lackluster, unable to stand out from the pack.
Bride Flight – D+: This has got to be one of the worst film titles/trailers for a film that for all intents and purposes might be quite good, but it is impossible to tell from this shoddily put-together trailer. This is so scattered and so steeped in melodrama and broadly epic text that it is hard to take seriously, despite liking the general idea of it.
Breaking Dawn – Part 1 – C-: It is not entirely fair to grade these trailers; I have no investment in the franchise whatsoever. I am mainly interested on how the justifiably controversial sex scene contained in the books (only controversial based on the demographic) is going to be executed (we can see from the trailer it will be a scene). Otherwise, my only passing thought is a complaint; the wedding invitation structure was really corny, like snippets of soap-opera acting or something; just awkward. Oh no; Jacob is not happy about the invitation because he throws in into the mud! Billy Burke looks concerned! Nina from 24 gives a satisfied smirk! Very in-your-face and to-the-point reactions that are not effective.
Finally, I will not review the second Fright Night trailer because it is so similar to the first but let it be known: THANK YOU for actually taking a good 15 seconds to showcase David Tennant’s significant role in the film. I want to see it slightly more now.