Hello folks. It’s been a while. Look for a review of Winnie the Pooh in the coming week. For now, here are some quick trailer assessments.
John Carter – B-: The trailer for John Carter does not look up my alley, but it does boast two things that have me more than willing to see it at some point in my life. The first is that this film is coming from director Andrew Stanton of Wall-E and Finding Nemo; his live-action debut. The second is that this cast is incredible, and while many probably have little more than bit parts, it would inevitably be fun to watch all of these people on screen in the same film.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol – B: I don’t feel that I need another Mission Impossible film in my life. However, this advertisement has me more than willing to give this a chance. More than anything else, this has people stoked because it is the live-action debut of Brad Bird, which has me completely fascinated. Also; Josh Holloway. I miss him a lot so seeing him on the big screen will be rewarding.
Hugo – C+: Hugo may not be in the very top of the list in regards to anticipated Fall films, but it is still one I am largely looking forward to. This trailer disappointed. It had corny music, too much reliance on humor and Nanny McPhee font. No thanks. But I think the film itself has potential. I adored the source material and this is certainly a different project for Scorsese. Since the film has so much plot-wise to do with the magic of film (not to give anything away) this material is actually right up the director’s alley in a weird way. Knowing the story, it is very easy to see why he was drawn to directing the film.
This Must be the Place – C: This film seems to think it is a lot different than it is judging from the ad. A dragged up aged-rocker Sean Penn feels like a gimmick to tell a story that feels very familiar and not very interesting. Reactions at Cannes were very mixed (but when aren’t they?), but I cannot muster up excitement for this. I can muster up excitement for David Byrne performing the song from which the title comes from, This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody), which he does in the film.
The Dark Knight Rises – B: The Dark Knight Rises teaser was just that; a teaser. Enticing material, but I’m simply not going to be a person obsessing over photos, set pics and footage. I’m quite excited for the film, but the Batman movies are my least favorite stuff from Nolan. Love what he does with the genre, but there are plenty of other things for me to be more excited about. It is a wonderfully structured and calculated tease, and functions very well.
Mysteries of Lisbon – A: Clocking in at 270 minutes, Raoul Ruiz’s latest has critics throwing around that ever-so grand word ‘masterpiece”; judging from the trailer, the claims at the very least deserve examination. This looks sweepingly glorious; I do not doubt being captivated by the period detail and spanning character work. Ruiz looks like he is doing a lot with the camera, but just enough as to not distract. I doubt I will get to see this in theaters, but I would like to watch it as soon as I can. It gets a limited release in early August. Hopefully I will be able to track it down in a theater.
The Iron Lady – C: It is not difficult to inspire me to want to see something on some level. I am somewhat more picky about the films I get extremely excited about. Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher inspires more of a “sure I’ll see that. I’m sure she’ll be spectacular” reaction as opposed to an immediate excitement. This teaser looks like it is trying too hard. It knows people are only hooked because of the idea of Streep as Thatcher, suspending her appearance until the final moment (hence a ‘teaser’). The men are speaking about her defining traits, precisely outlining what we see when we look at the former Prime Minister. In short, the teaser is a tease for a performance, not the film. I wonder if the material will be on the same level as Streep; somehow I am skeptical.
Jack and Jill – F: Anyone who has seen this trailer needs no explanation. It is embarrassing. This easily looks like Sandler’s most humiliating project to date. That this is even a film that is coming out is somehow difficult to wrap my mind around. It shouldn’t be but it is. It feels like a fake Sandler film from Funny People. When there was a fake trailer for the film on the recent South Park finale, I thought it was a joke. I has no idea this was a film being made. Oh Al Pacino. What are you doing?
Arthur Christmas – B-: While I do not like the look of the animation at all, this looks cute and harmless enough.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – B: I still have not seen the first film but I mean to at some point. This looks quite entertaining. Downey Jr. and Law look like they work together very well. Jared Harris as Moriarty and Noomi Rapace are the most exciting elements here. I still cannot stand that incessant use of hyper slow-motion, but I hope the film itself is as consistently entertaining as the trailer is.
Arietty – B+: Hayao Miyizaki is credited for the screenplay of this adaptation of The Borrowers, and he personally supervised over the production. So this latest film from Studio Ghibli is high on my anticipation list. While the narration annoyingly tells me everything I am apparently going to feel while watching the film, the footage itself looks about as magical and delightful as one would hope.
Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy – A-: Yet another Fall film I am anxiously awaiting. I think what people are most easily excited about here, besides the outstanding ensemble and it being Tomas Alfredson’s follow-up to Let the Right One In, is that Gary Oldman gets to shine front and center here. Understandably, even people who don’t hold much stock in the Academy Awards are wondering if this will bring the man’s long overdue first Oscar nomination. The prestige of the project, the very respected source material, a killer cast and Alfredson at the helm should be enough to shove Oldman into the race with what will likely be (and many are banking on being) one of the standout performances of the year.
The Tree – C: Even the trailer had trouble keeping my interest. I feel like I know exactly what this would be as a full-length narrative. The Tree has blatant symbolic meaning. So will the tree be cut down or saved? Do I really care? I mean it’s a beautiful tree, but….The tree = dead father dilemma just seems a bit too simple.
Dream House – C+: It seems like In America was ages ago, doesn’t it? Dream House looks like a passable thriller;but completely forgettable and I’d see it mainly for that cast. I’ll probably end up recommending Dream Home instead, which is overall an unsuccessful film, but has such a memorable extreme use of gore as well as an AWESOME Josie Ho and legitimate examination of the competition within Hong Kong housing. The names are so similar, I thought I’d throw a recommendation in there.
In Time – B+: Two words: Andrew Niccol. This trailer is way too long, as it was made for Comic-Con, so in a sense it feels like I have seen the entire film. But I am loving the high-concept, the cast and the filmmaker at the helm. I have been looking forward to this for quite a while. Niccol wrote the fantastic Gattaca as well as The Truman Show, a film I have seen more than almost any. I have yet to see Lord of War, which he also directed, but I trust, and hope, he will also be able to execute his own material well.
Drive – A: This is near the top of my mental Fall Movie Season to-see list. Yet I did not enjoy the book at all, and the one Refn film I have seen, Valhalla Rising, was a film I was unable to make any kind of connection with on any level. Still, this cast (yes, this film is filled with pretty people, but the use of Albert Brooks has me most excited) and the feel of this trailer, as well as the clarity of the director’s talent has so many justifiably anticipating this.
The Amazing Spider-Man – D+: Yikes. This was pretty bad. There is nothing here that could stir up a modicum of interest. Garfield and Stone look like they are sleepwalking from the little we see of them. (500) Days of Summer has not stuck with me well so Marc Webb’s involvement means little to me. I literally just saw this film ten years ago. The existence of reboots makes complete sense and it is ridiculous to argue against them. But there really should be a generation between them; 10 years is just not enough. Plus, I just don’t care about Spider Man. Or Peter Parker. These superhero stories hit so many of the same beats, and unless one really truly is a fan of this genre, it is difficult to get excited for what feels like variations of the same story (to make a sweeping generalization).
Haywire – A-: Two upcoming Soderbergh films and both look great. Soderbergh does with Gina Carano what he did with Sasha Grey and The Girlfriend Experience. In both he essentially built a film around each of them. What Soderbergh and wonderful screenwriter Lem Dobbs (Dark City, The Limey) have done is construct a genre film that will show off what Carano can do. This is the way a lot of Hong Kong action films function; they are built around the actor’s physical abilities. This is not common in the West, so the idea of a female protagonist kicking ass ‘in camera’ is exhilarating. And it looks like the material they have given her is quality as well.
Kill List – A: Anything I have heard about Kill List has been stellar; the film seems to be eliciting strong reactions from all. The trailer does not disappoint. It has an beguiling ambiguity that surely reflects the film atmosphere. I’ve heard its incredibly intense and very shocking, with people strongly urging audiences go in blind. Since this is generally the way I go about things outside of trailer viewing and a general sense of reception, this won’t be a problem, and only further intrigues.