Wednesday, March 28, 2007

First Quarter Movie Trailer Wrap-Up

I've been really slow on the media criticism lately, so I though I'd get back in practice, and play some catch-up, by reviewing a bunch of the trailers I've missed over at Apple Trailers. There are a number of interesting things mixed in with all the boring-looking, formulaic crap. I've mentioned some highlights below.

Vacancy - It's probably worth seeing Luke Wilson in a different kind of role, for the same reason we gave Jim Carrey a chance in The Truman Show. This is also a stripped-down horror plot that still seems compelling, and that's hard to manage these days... with movies like Final Destination and The Invisible, and even The Ring, reaching into more elaborate and sketchy dramatic mechanisms, I'm willing to give a shot to a good old locked-in-an-abandoned-room suspense thriller.

Day Watch - You probably haven't seen Night Watch. You should. You don't hear much about, or from, Russia, and they're developing a pretty cool franchise right under your nose.

Nomad - There's something that promises to destroy this movie, if even a few people notice it... a bad coincidence in timing and promotion. All it takes is one word, or geographical reference, linking it to a big film phenomenon with which it would not want to be associated.

Slow Burn - I have to give it credit for combining some interesting thematic elements and stylizations. What do these terms have common? : visibility - light - color - ethnicity - representation - simulation - truth - deception - darkness -

Resident Evil: Extinction - The last couple Resident Evil trailers (including this one) seem to be excuses for visual effects people to mess with reality in masturbatory ways. Somebody had an awesome time modeling Vegas, and all of the planet Earth, as a dystopian wasteland, and they really needed to show it off. There was probably a dude in the next office who was like, "You're doing that? Well, shit... I'm gonna make a fake futuristic commercial for Vegas Tourism, and then I'm gonna have it break up into static and intereference." These are the people that made the first half of the trailer kind of cool. The last half is kind of boring.

Paprika - Sometimes all it takes to sell a movie is a few clips. If that's true of any director, Satoshi Kon is that guy. His other films - Perfect Blue being a personal favorite - are all masterpieces. Of course, this particular trailer has the added bonus of a rad song in the background.

Penelope - Christina Ricci in a role I'm excited about. I was a little disillusioned at her Black Snake Moan role, where she lost all but a booger's worth of waist and got victimized for a couple hours. It looks like a cute movie. I REALLY hope it doesn't blow its "ugly duckling" load and end up with a happy conclusion that involves the protagonist becoming conventionally beautiful. Shrek knew what it was doing on this one.

Jindabyne - Reminiscent of Deliverance, and I hope the existential dread factor is comparable. If you want a preview of the story, which sounds deliciously ambiguous, read the description. If you want a preview of the tone and mood, which is heavy on mysticism and lurking darkness, watch the trailer.

In the Land of Women - Looked like it could be cool for a while... the effect of age in romantic/sexual power dynamics is something worth exploring in a new way. Unfortunately, the big kiss with the music pick-up was an abominable addition to the trailer, and it erased any interest I have in seeing the actual movie.

Wild Tigers I Have Known - This fits in a special category of movies for me: things that look fascinating, and that I should definitely see, but rarely get around to watching. Brothers of the Head is in there, and until recently, all of Almodovar's movies were in that list, as well. The trailer is surreal and beautiful, and the write-up may make you more interested, or less interested, depending on how much a concrete plot summary appeals to you.

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