Trailer Hitch
By Eric Hughes and Kim Hollis
November 25, 2009

These calculations show the combined box office of my films. Stop talking about The Mummy Returns.

Welcome to Trailer Hitch, BOP's look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. This week: Brendan Fraser does something besides a kid/adventure flick, Nic Cage ruins another big-budget action film, romance abounds, and Angelina Jolie looks hot.

Extraordinary Measures – Opens January 22, 2010

The first film to go into production from CBS Films, Extraordinary Measures stars Brendan Fraser as a father of three who gives up his high-paying corporate gig to buddy up with a brilliant, yet unconventional scientist (Harrison Ford) to develop a drug to save his two youngest children from a fatal disease. Keri Russell rounds out the cast as Fraser's wifey.

The plot sounds a bit too good to be true, but it's actually based on a true story contained in Geeta Anand's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Cure. I wasn't aware of this little nugget before watching the trailer the first time, and as such, cast most of the preview off as slightly implausible. (It even tells you it's inspired by a true story about midway through; I admittedly must have been out to lunch). I'm not certain which parts of the story have been fictionalized, but knowing Extraordinary Measures' source material is derived from fact ushers in a surplus of warmth to the project, and a deeper respect for the trailer moments that are supposed to be read as moving.

I'm not typically a huge fan of Brendan Fraser, yet his role here as a determined father who risks the ability to provide for his family to keep loved ones alive works for me here - how could it not?! - as does Harrison Ford as his brainy scientist colleague. The first half of the trailer feels too setup and stage-y, but the second half really gels. (Eric Hughes/BOP)

Grade: B-

Season of the Witch – Opens March 19, 2010
Ron Perlman? He's bad ass. Not only does he have "the look," but his credits – Hellboy, Hellboy II, FX's Sons of Anarchy – back it up as well. Now, Nic Cage? No. Just, no. Why the Hollywood suits insist on putting him at the helm of saving us from all damnation – National Treasure, Ghost Rider and Knowing, just to name a few – I'll just never, ever understand. I, Eric Hughes, have given up.

Of course, I'm aware of the fact that I tend to hate on Nic Cage a lot, and obviously I'm OK with it. When he's dubbed the hero of a big budget blockbuster, I cringe because he's an awkward fellow who in my opinion shouldn't ever work on anything beyond your average melodrama. The Weather Man? I enjoyed it. Adaptation? Nic Cage was lovely in Adaptation. Teaming up with bad ass Ron Perlman in a 14th century period piece to eradicate his homeland of a witch believed to have caused the Black Plague? Now who's on board with that?

Season of the Witch, not to be confused with George Romero's 1973 film or Halloween's second sequel released in 1982, looks OK at best. But the unfortunate surprise of Nicolas' mug about halfway through really did me in. (Clearly). (Eric Hughes/BOP)

Grade: D

The Last Song – Opens April 2nd, 2010

Blurgh. Here's yet another film based on a book by Nicholas Sparks, and it's destined to be big as long as Miley Cyrus's popularity stays consistent. Now, I admit that I cried when I saw The Notebook, but the ending of that film was just a little bit too close to stuff that had just happened in my own life at the time (and I mean within a week of the time I saw it). The Last Song looks closer to A Walk to Remember, which isn't necessarily bad, just...generic. Cyrus stars as a teenager whose mother (Kelly Preston) has shipped her and her brother to live with her dad (Greg Kinnear) for the summer at his beach house. There, Cyrus finds true love with a Channing Tatum clone and petulantly refuses to go to Julliard even though she has been accepted to the prestigious school.

The only reason that I even give this trailer a C+ is the fact that I love Greg Kinnear, and he's just really charming here. All of the clips make it seem as though he's really rising above the material and taking what could have been a rote role and turning it into something more memorable. And his chemistry with Bobby Coleman, the kid who plays his son, is just off the charts and pretty adorable. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Grade: C+

Letters to Juliet – Opens May 7th, 2010

Well, now that I've seen this trailer, I surely don't need to see the movie. Every single pertinent plot point in the story has been revealed within the short span of the preview. I realize that in a romance such as this one, nothing terribly surprising is going to happen because the audience would revolt, but still. Is it really necessary to show us so much?

The story begins when Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!) goes to a wall in Verona where people leave letters to Juliet. Yes, that Juliet. The one from Romeo and Juliet. They're generally letters asking for advice with their love lives, and Amanda (I have no idea what her character's name is) finds one from a woman who didn't return for her lost love and laments her decision. Amanda writes to the woman (Vanessa Redgrave), whose grandson (Christopher Egan of the short-lived "Kings") brings her back to Verona where they all begin a quest to find "Lorenzo". Naturally, sparks fly between Amanda and Christopher's characters, which is ludicrous since she's engaged in the film to Gael Garcia Bernal, who seems to be following the Giovanni Ribisi in Lost in Translation model of neglecting his significant other even though she is obviously completely, totally awesome! Seriously, though. Who's going to leave Gael Garcia Bernal? He's adorable.

This is a highly, highly manipulative trailer but I think it's entirely possible that the film survives on the charms of Seyfried. But if you're looking for surprises or intrigue, move right along...(Kim Hollis/BOP)


Salt – Opens July 23rd, 2010

Here's where I stand on the sexified action side of Angelina Jolie: I saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I didn't like it. I saw Wanted. I also didn't like it. (Nor will I go see Wanted 2, which reportedly will carry a $150-million budget, or a 100% increase over the 2008 original). Call me crazy, but Salt looks like a winner to me. Am I crazy?

I'm not a fan of Salt's genre to begin with, yet the action sequences they managed to squeeze into the trailer – Jolie jumping from a bridge onto a moving vehicle; Jolie causing an SUV to flip into the air and onto a line of taxis – were titillating and fun for me. Maybe I've turned over a new leaf, or maybe I'm just eagerly looking for a project to wipe the bad taste that movies like The International have left in my mouth. (Save for the museum showdown, what was to like about that thing?).

And thank god Jolie dyes to brunette after starting out in Salt as a blonde. She's infinitely hotter with dark hair. (Eric Hughes/BOP)

Grade: B+