Trailer Hitch
By Eric Hughes
June 18, 2008

It's those damned robots in disguise again, and they're on another killing spree.

Welcome to Trailer Hitch, BOP's look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. This week: Angelina Jolie finally puts adopting on hold to star in a summer action flick, Anna Faris steers clear of the Scary Movie franchise and Bill Murray adds a major blemish to an otherwise fine movie track record.

Wanted – Opens June 27th

For a summer actioner with the potential to be something big, why oh why has advertising on Universal's Wanted been so...mum? And pitted against Pixar's sure-to-be-behemoth WALL-E, this Angelina Jolie vehicle looks like it may never get the chance to take off the ground, even if the trailer proves this one could be a breathtaking and fun-to-watch action film. In Wanted, James McAvoy stars as a young man who is given the opportunity to seek revenge for his father's murder by being recruited into his dad's former assassination organization by Sloan (Morgan Freeman) and eventual mentor, Fox (Jolie). Call it a Matrix rip-off if you must - especially in its slow-motion action sequences - but the special effects still look marvelous. And seeing Jolie in a film like this is awfully refreshing. We haven't seen anything similar since 2005's Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

Grade: B-
Also expected to be released on this date: WALL-E, The Last Mistress

Bottle Shock – Opens August 8th

If 2004's Sideways proved that a great movie could be had that makes casual references to a week-long experiment in wine touring, then Bottle Shock assuredly is out there to prove that a film focused entirely on an infamous event in wine's illustrious history can pack the movie houses, too. Based on a true story, Bottle Shock details the moment in 1976 (and the events leading up to it) where a small American winery beat out the best French wines at the famous "Judgment of Paris" tastings, flipping the wine industry on its head and finally putting California wines on the map. Taking a leave from all that Harry Potter business, Alan Rickman plays the British wine shop owner who sponsors the competition, while Bill Pullman portrays a former real estate attorney who tries to hand-craft a perfect chardonnay. All that appears to be missing is Paul Giamatti demanding that he not drink any friggin' Merlot!

Grade: A-
Also expected to be released on this date: The Pineapple Express, Fly Me to the Moon, Elegy

The House Bunny – Opens August 22nd

To follow up life after Legally Blonde - since Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde kind of killed the franchise - scribes Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz literally trade in one blonde, Reese Witherspoon, for another, Anna Faris. The result: The House Bunny, a comedy about a Playboy Bunny who gets booted out of the Playboy Mansion and relocates to a college campus, where the Bunny "educates" a socially clueless sorority in dire need of new recruits. Though the plot sounds like nothing extraordinary, the trailer admittedly makes the film look comical (in the way that Legally Blonde was comical). And kudos to Faris, who is finally doing something that doesn't have Scary Movie in the title.

Grade: C+
Also expected to be released on this date: Death Race 3000, The Longshots, Crossing Over, Bangkok Dangerous, The Accidental Husband, I Served the King of England, Hamlet 2

Eagle Eye – Opens September 26th

At just 87 seconds, Eagle Eye's first-look preview doesn't have a lot of time to hook viewers. But that certainly doesn't mean the feat is impossible, because Eagle Eye's trailer surely wet my thriller appetite. In it, the up-and-coming Shia LaBeouf becomes a mere pawn in some chick's twisted game. However, unlike Jigsaw's concentrated traps in the infamous Saw franchise, the woman's tasks are on a far larger scale. After entering his apartment filled to the brim with guns, ammo and other dangerous equipment, the woman tells LaBeouf to move, or face consequences from the FBI. His inaction leads to a new setting, which is soon destroyed by a large crane. And that leads to LaBeouf standing at the edge of a skyscraper, being told by the woman to either jump or face probable death. So LaBeouf does, and it cuts to black. It's thrilling, it's exciting, and I want to know where it goes.

Grade: A
Also expected to be released on this date: Nights in Rodanthe, Miracle at St. Anna, Choke

The Express – Opens October 3rd

Nowadays, casual sports fans may find it hard to believe that Syracuse University was once a college football powerhouse. With just seven wins in the past three seasons, combined with low Carrier Dome attendance figures, SU football today is nothing more than a headache for head coach Greg Robinson and the school's athletic department. Thus, it seems like the perfect time for Universal to erase the bad with the release of a film focused on the golden years of Syracuse football, and more specifically, a biopic on all-star athlete Ernie Davis, who became the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy in 1961. The Express, however, appears to be about more than Davis' supreme running back skills. It will also chiefly touch upon race and other social issues of the early 1960s, which will bode well for moviegoers who are not so interested in Davis' contributions to football's history.

Grade: B
Also expected to be released on this date: Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Possession, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, What Just Happened, Religulous

City of Ember – Opens October 10th

Has Bill Murray lost his mind? He was working on such a beautiful film resume as of late, including a lead role in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation and his entire Wes Anderson kick, beginning seven years ago with The Royal Tenenbaums. Now, he's playing the mayor of an underground city that may be on the verge of disaster in Gil Kenan's film adaptation of a 2003 novel, and Murray looks both out-of-place and absolutely ridiculous. The whole movie, really, looks just plain bad, even with its commendable cast. (Tim Robbins and Atonement's Saoirse Ronan also have lead roles). Though targeted towards young adults, City of Ember certainly won't be the talk of the fall season.

Grade: F
Also expected to be released on this date: Body of Lies, Sex Drive