Trailers postsSaturday September 22, 2012
Movie Trailers: 42 (2013)
I got a shiver at the beginning of this trailer, but then ... I don't know. If you're a baseball fan, you know most of the lines, apocryphal or not. “You want a player that doesn't have the guts to fight back?” “No, I want a player with the guts NOT to fight back.” Right. The lead, Chadwick Boseman, looks the part but he needs to be solid and immoveable, confident and competitive and angry. He's definitely not doing Jackie's voice, which, let's face it, sounded a bit like a black stand-up comic doing a stereotypical white guy. The homerun is good but we need speed on the basepaths. That was the shocking thing Jackie brought to a staid game. And Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey? Was Philip Seymour Hoffman busy? John Goodman?
Writer-director Brian Hegeland has written some good movies (“L.A. Confidential”; “Mystic River”), a lot of mediocre ones (“Blood Work”; “Man on Fire”; “Robin Hood” (2010)), and a few bombs (“The Postman”), but he's directed nothing of interest (“Payback”; “A Knight's Tale”; “The Order”). The movie looks majestic and false. Somewhere Spike Lee is bitching. Hopefully, in April, I won't be.
Waiting for 'The Master'
It's always a bit of a drag to see trailer that makes you lose interest in the movie you're about to watch. It happened to me all the time during the Winter of 2011 whenever I saw a trailer for Terrence Malick's “The Tree of Life,” which became my favorite movie of the year. It's happening to me again whenever I see a trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson's “The Master,” which just won various awards at the Venice Film Festival, including acting, directing, and best picture. Whoops, wait. New Venice rules prevent one film from dominating too many categories, so the jury, led by Michael Mann, took the best picture award back. Everyone's thought: Why take that one back? Wasn't it obviously best picture?
The film, shockingly, opens next week, limited, and the week after, wide. To me, it looks like a late December release. Not that I'm complaining.
Here's the trailer that keeps distracting me from what I'm about to see:
Trailers: Les Miserables's Got Talent
The trailer for the new musical, “Les Miserables,” is silent but for the bare, stark voice of Anne Hathaway singing “I Dreamed a Dream,” which, of course, is the song Susan Boyle sang on “Britain's Got Talent” a few years back, which, of course, is one of the most watched and talked-about videos in the YouTube era.
You can view the trailer here. (For some reason, they're not letting us embed.)
The musical stars Hugh Jackman (as Jean Valjean) and Russell Crowe (as Javert), two men's men as well as women's men, real Aussies and real actors, so it'll be interesting to see how the movie does at the U.S. box office.
The rest of the world turned “Mamma Mia!” into an international hit a few years back but America., and in particular American men, mostly yawned. “MM” is among the top 100 global box office hits of all time (unadjusted), currently ranked 65th with a $609 million gross, but only $144 million of that, or 23.6%, came from the U.S. Only three movies in the global box office's top 100 managed to get on the list with a lower U.S. percentage. (For the curious, they are: “300,” “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”)
The U.S. just doesn't go to musicals anymore. We watch “American Idol” and “Glee” but can't be bothered to get into a car to hear folks sing.
The last time a live-action musical wound up in the top 10 in the annual U.S. box office was in 2002, with “Chicago,” which finished 10th for the year. The last time a live-action musical finished first in the annual U.S. box office was in 1978, with “Grease.” Andrew Lloyd Webber's “Phantom of the Opera” barely made a dent in 2004, grossing $51 million, and winding up 63rd for the year.
Can Wolverine save “Les Miserables”? Can General Maximus Decimus Meridius? Can Catwoman?
One thing's for sure: If Susan Boyle can't, no one can.
Whew ... 'Neighborhood Watch' is F**ked!
“Whew... Vaughn Meader is fucked.”
--Lenny Bruce, onstage, November 22, 1963
I thought of JFK impersonator Vaughn Meader tonight. I was waiting in line at the movie theater and saw a poster for the upcoming comedy “Neighborhood Watch.” It's about a bunch of suburban dads—Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill (does that dude sleep?)—who band together and create a neighborhood watch group to get away from their families. Apparently, in the process, they uncover a plot to take over the Earth.
Here's the trailer:
In light of recent events in Florida, with the tragic death of Trayvon Martin at the hands of a neighborhood watch volunteer, at the least this trailer is gone. I'm shocked it's still on YouTube. It helps that they have a black guy in the car with them—or at least a Norwegian-Nigerian by way of Britain. But the whole vibe of the thing? And Jonah Hill making his finger like a gun? No go. It's Vaughn Meader all over again. It's Peter Bogdonavich's 1968 film “Targets,” about an assassin, slated for release just after the MLK and JFK assassinations. Neighborhood watches might've been funny last year. Not this year.
Although maybe it'll do well in the South.
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UPDATE: Nearly a week later and the Fox studios are finally waking up to the problem. Apparently they've removed the first teaser poster and trailer but only from Florida, where Trayvon Martin was killed, and which passed the “Stand Your Ground” law that allowed George Zimmerman to walk. A Fox spokesperson released the following, carefully worded statement to The Hollywood Reporter:
“We are very sensitive to the Trayvon Martin case, but our film is a broad alien-invasion comedy and bears absolutely no relation to the tragic events in Florida. The movie, which is not scheduled for release for several months, was made and these initial marketing materials were released before this incident ever came to light. The teaser materials were part of an early phase of our marketing and were never planned for long-term use. Above all else, our thoughts go out to the families touched by this terrible event.”
Above all else.
How 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' Speaks to Our Time
The absurdity of the title is the point of the title but the point of the movie isn't absurdity. From the trailer, it appears to be the usual slow-mo, martial-arts mayhem but with a strong, 19th-century industrial and gadgetry presence. It's “Sherlock Holmes” but in America, and with a real historical (and beloved) character. Plus vampires. The ol' railsplitter is now a vampire-splitter. God save the union.
I'm sure it'll be shite. But it's the tagline at the end that made me post this. It made me laugh out loud. Did you catch it? It says:
ARE YOU A PATRIOT OR A VAMPIRE?
Brilliant. Truly. It lays bare the absurdity of our time: the uncompromising, absolutist, bifurcated vision of our modern politics and media. Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. Because there's no middle ground. America during the Bush years lost its middle class and its middle ground. We've been trying to get both back ever since.
Are you a patriot or a vampire? Someone, somewhere, is laughing their asses off.
Twitter: @ErikLundegaardTweets by @ErikLundegaard