Trailer Roundup

I try to keep up with watching movie trailers over at apple.com, partly because I enjoy seeing movie trailers (seriously, I cry if I get to the theatre too late to see the trailers), and partly because I like to make my movie-going decisions based on actual footage as well as word-of-mouth. Granted, the actual footage is chosen by marketing gurus whose goal in life is to make me want to see the film, but still. One you’ve seen enough of them, you can pretty much pick the good from the bad from the enjoyable from the excruciating.

So without further ado, my current list of must-sees, on-the-fences, and what-the-hell-where-they-thinkings. (These aren’t all the trailers that are up…just the ones that struck me.)

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Top of the list:

Tristram Shandy – playing now
I’m already pretty sure I’m going to love this film, so it better not disappoint me. Basically, Tristram Shandy is an 18th century novel which is often hailed as the first postmodern novel (despite the fact that it was written three hundred years before postmodernism was developed as a concept) because of its style, and it’s generally believed to be unfilmable. Not to be put off, Michael Winterbottom decided to make a film of it, but he’s doing it as a film-within-a-film, and the story also includes the perils and pitfalls of trying to adapt Tristram Shandy to the screen. This is a concept which pretty much cannot lose with me.

Thank You for Smoking – playing now
I intended to write this one off as a probably stupid comedy that satirized things that don’t really need to be satirized (like the tobacco industry), but the trailer had me laughing all the way through it, every time I watched it. I don’t know that I’m really expecting it to be *good*, but I can’t help but feel that it will highly amuse me, and sometimes, that’s all you really need. Plus, it has Katie Holmes, and I still like here even though I think her judgement in men is terrible.

V for Vendetta – playing now
Dude, Natalie Portman! Also, the story looks interesting. I haven’t read the graphic novel, because I don’t really read graphic novels or comic books, but I want to see this. Plus, the poster ad campaign is awesome.

Inside Man – 3/24/06
My jury’s a little bit out on this one, because I love heist films, and I generally trust the project choices of Jodie Foster and Denzel Washington, plus I have a huuuuuge crush on Clive Owen, but I have yet to see a Spike Lee movie that I liked. So I’m somehow sure that he’ll find a way to mess this up for me, despite the cast being awesome and how much I love heist films. But reviews would seem to indicate that this is, indeed a purely enjoyable flick, with no Lee-esque hidden agenda, so I’m there.

Lonesome Jim – 3/24/06
This looks rather Garden State-ish, which bodes well for my enjoyment of it. There’s something very pleasing about the trailer. Ooh! I know what it is! There’s no sappy voice-over guy! Okay, see, I may have to see it just to support the lack of sappy trailer voice-over guy.

L’Enfant – 3/24/06
French films are so awesome. Even the trailers for French films are so much better than trailers for American films. Again, no voiceover, which helps immensely. I vote for an all-out ban on trailer voice-over guy. What do you say? Oh, right, the film. A petty thief sells his infant son on the black market without his girlfriend’s knowledge. That’s about where the trailer leaves it, and I have to know how it turns out!

Brick – 3/31/06
The more I watch this trailer, the more I’m intrigued by it. It looks twisty, dark, noirish, edgy…and I’m totally there for all of those things. Plus Sundance cred, whatever that’s worth.

Lucky Number Slevin – 4/7/06
It’s about time for a good non-serious action film, don’t you think? Of course you can never tell from trailers whether these are actually going to be good, but the trailer’s good, and that’s a place to start. Niiice action cast, good music, and the design of the credits all bode for at least an enjoyable way to kill two hours.

Stick It – 4/21/06
Guilty pleasure movie alert! You’d expect me to ridicule this, and usually I would, but dude! It’s from the same people that made “Bring It On,” which is the best guilty pleasure movie ever. So I’m guility there.

Mission: Impossible III – 5/5/06
I know, I know, Tom Cruise ban. But! Mission Impossible! (Yes, I’m one of those people who actually liked M:I-2…) I’m sorry, I have to go see it. I’ll ban Tom Cruise again after this, I promise.

X-Men: The Last Stand – 5/26/06
I saw the first two, I can’t quit now. :)

Cars – 6/9/06
Not terribly impressed with the first few trailers, but it is Pixar. And Pixar has a history of having trailers that don’t impress me for movies that become my favorites. Pixar wins at life. So I’m there. And the newest trailer is better.

A Scanner Darkly – 7/7/06
My #1 most anticipated movie this year. I’ve been waiting for it through two release date changes (January to March to July), and it better not get pushed back again! It looks gorgeous, the storyline is intriguingly ambiguous…it’s going to be like Waking Life mixed with Minority Report, with a dash of The Matrix, and I can’t think of a more cool combination that that.

Pirates of the Caribbean 2 – 7/7/06
Duh.

Little Miss Sunshine – 7/28/06
Quirky in the good way! Really nice cast, off-beat characters, script seems good so far–and dude, the teenaged son decided not to speak anymore because of Friedrich Nietszche. Now, why that would be, I don’t know. But it’s totally awesome, and I need to see it.

The Fountain – release date unknown
Ooh! It’s either time travel, or maybe multiple interconnected stories, or…something. But I love both of those, so yay! And Rachel Weisz, who I also like. Plus, Darren Arnofsky is directing, and he’s always a trip.

A few I’m less sure about, but still interested:

Friends With Money – 4/7/06
It’s totally a cast thing here…I wouldn’t give the story a second look, but I have a strange soft spot for Jennifer Aniston, despite her tendency to be in chick flicks (a genre I disdain). Throw in Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack and Catherine Keener, and you’ve got an extremely well-rounded chick cast. Now, if only Maggie Gyllenhall were in it! (see below)

The Promise – 5/5/06
This has been on the distributor run-around for a while now, and it’s good to see that Warner Independent picked it up. They’re winning my respect more and more recently, and I’m looking forward to seeing this martial arts/fantasy. Looks like it’s in the vein of Crouching Tiger, with perhaps even more fantasy.

Alpha Dog – 5/12/06
Amanda Seyfried! aka Lilly Kane on Veronica Mars, the best TV show currently on the air. Well, she was last year. She’s not in it this season. But still. And yes, VM alumni are totally enough of a good reason to see a film, especially one which appears to have any other interesting qualities at all, and this one does. (Of course, it’s the type of interesting that could turn out to be really crap, but oh well. That’s what we TV fans put up with following our stars around.)

The Da Vinci Code – 5/19/06
I know, I know. But I gotta see it. It’s like a cultural must. Even though Tom Hanks is horribly miscast (and horribly coiffeured) and I dislike Ron Howard films. Even though the book is a heap of crap. On the other hand, Audrey Tautou is amazing. Anyone else think Dan Brown paid Leigh and Baigent to sue him for copyright violation just to get more publicity for the film?

Click – 6/23/06
See, this has a potentially interesting story…main character gets a remote control that controls life, so he can pause, fast-forward, rewind, etc, his actual life. The downside: the main character is Adam Sandler, and every time I see an Adam Sandler movie I remember that I virtually never like Adam Sandler movies and I promise myself that I won’t see the next one. Then the next one has a potentially interesting story, and I see it, and it’s terrible. But I keep hoping he’ll pull a Jim Carrey/Truman Show, and do something really surprising and great. I’m an optimist.

Superman Returns – 6/30/06
Superman is my least favorite of the major superheros, so I’m not all about seeing his return to the screen, but I do like the visual style they’ve got going on. Faux-1930s is my favorite!

Lady in the Water – 7/21/06
New M. Night Shyamalan is tempting, for sure, even though I was among those who didn’t care for The Village at all. The teaser for this is maddeningly vague, but it does have Paul Giamatti, and I have never seen him either turn in a bad performance or appear in a bad film, so that raises my hopes.

Trust the Man – 8/18/06
Okay, I admit, this probably wouldn’t be on the list at all if Maggie Gyllenhaal weren’t in it. But I would sit and watch her read her laundry list for two hours. She’s that good. (I’ve heard she’s kind of a diva in real life, but she’s an amazing actress and picks good projects.)

Apocalypto – Summer 2006
Truly, this trailer would not have interested me in this film at all, so it’s pretty much just Mel Gibson’s name that’s leading me to consider it at this point. And the fact that the Mayan civilization does interest me to some degree. We’ll keep it at a maybe at least until the full trailer is released.

Marie Antoinette – Fall 2006
I’m a little concerned with Kirsten Dunst’s ability to pull of Marie Antoinette. I like Kirsten, but her range is, shall we say, limited. In the right part (Bring It On, Dick, The Cat’s Meow, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), she’s awesome; but in the wrong (Spiderman, Spiderman 2, Mona Lisa Smile), not so much. This doesn’t seem like the right part for her, but the film is by Sofia Coppola, and I rather trust Sofia to pull out good performances. So I’m staying on the fence for now.

And the dreck, just because it’s fun:

Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector – 3/24/06
Oh. My. Gosh. Who greenlights this crap? The studio didn’t screen the film for critics (that makes sixteen or so this year that haven’t screened for critics, a record number already, and it’s only March!), and it’s not hard to see why. You can tell it’s crap from the trailer, and the worst part is, people will probably go see it, and Hollywood will then make more crap, which people will go see… Sometimes I think people should have to take an intelligence test before they’re allowed to spend their hard-earned cash going to see movies.

RV – 4/28/06
Haven’t we had enough of bathroom-joke-filled “family” movies with stars (Robin Williams) who have proven themselves to be better than this sort of thing?

See No Evil – 5/19/06
Okay. I’ll start by not seeing this film. Oh, how I love it when film titles deconstruct themselves.

Open Season – 9/29/05
I’m not entirely convinced this one is dreck, but I felt the need to vent about it. The teaser trailer was quite amusing, and somewhat promising–after years of being hunted, the forest animals turn the tables on the hunters, Robin Hood style (that’s Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood, when all the Merrie Men swing down from the trees and capture Sir Guy’s entourage, of course). Then the actual trailer came out, and somehow in between, the entire story changed and became one of touchy-feely friendship between a bear and a deer. Note to animators: NOT ALL KIDS’ MOVIES HAVE TO BE TOUCHY-FEELY FRIENDSHIP STORIES! Take a look at Wallace and Gromit, which I watched last night, and which was awesome. The number of animated features has been spiking over the last few years, but by and large the quality is going down the drain.