Trailers postsWednesday October 03, 2012
Movie Trailers: The Lone Ranger (2013)
I like the opening narration here. I like anything in movies that reminds moviegoers how much everyday life changed during the 19th century from the previous, I don't know, 10,000 years. “From the time of Alexander the Great,” we're told, “no man could travel faster than the horse that carried him. Not anymore.” Cut to trains zipping through the west.
The focus is on the star, Johnny Depp, rather than the titular Lone Ranger, played by Armie Hammer, but that makes sense. Hell, it's not even on Depp. It's on the trains. But that makes sense, too. We're just at the teasing phase of the trailer. They can't give us too much or they'll have nothing to give us in the spring.
On the other hand, as great as that opening narration is, a few of the mid-shots are of outlaws on horses catching up to those zippy trains. Kind of undercuts the message, doesn't it?
(If the video above has been pulled try watching it here.)
I still don't know how they're going to do it. What's the story? How do you make the Lone Ranger interesting? How do you not marginalize the Ranger or Tonto? What's the point of the mask, the silver bullet, hi-yo Silver? The most recent incarnation, the disastrous “Legend of the Lone Ranger” from 1981, died a slow, strangulating death answering these very questions.
It doesn't help that the movie team is basically the “Pirates of the Caribbean” team: Depp, director Gore Verbinski, screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. Disney and Bruckheimer. Depp's stoic head wobble riding beneath the train is indicative. It's a whiff of Capt. Jack.
They're going all out, though: $250 million budget and a July 3 release date. Somewhere, Klinton Spilsbury cringes.
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.