Trailer Hitch
By Eric Hughes
February 10, 2010

Cloudy with a chance of meatbags.

Welcome to Trailer Hitch, BOP's look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. This week: Russell Crowe aims for the jugular, Amanda Seyfried freaks out Julianne Moore and Summit Entertainment wastes more money.

Robin Hood – Opens May 14th

Though Robin Hood's extended tease, which premiered on national TV during the Super Bowl, may lean towards the generic, it shows off just enough action to prove it's got some muscle. And, given that Super Bowl XLIV is the most-watched program of all time – period – I'm sure Universal can't be anything but pleased that over 100 million pairs of eyeballs at least had a taste of the latest from Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe.

Not sure why I consider Robin Hood a bread and butter role for Crowe. Maybe because I can only imagine he always wears that Gladiator get-up. Whatever the case, both acting parts basically play the same way. So much so that there's a moment about midway through the tease where Crowe rises from water – in slow motion – yelling at the enemy in front of him and swiping at him with his sword. You'd swear it was footage that didn't make Gladiator's final cut. Even what he's wearing in the clip could have easily made its way on set.

What I do like about the spot is its distinct halves. The first half is slow, tranquil, and enriched with blue hues. Once that slow-motion Crowe clip kicks it, all hell breaks lose. Rock music roars and the competing sides tear each other apart. It has a nice balance.

Grade: B

Chloe – March 26th

Chloe is a cleverly plotted drama about a paranoid woman, Catherine (Julianne Moore), who suspects her husband (Liam Neeson) has cheated on her. To find out if her gut speaks the truth, she hires a young woman (Amanda Seyfried) to intentionally meet with her husband outside the home to see if he responds to her flirtatiousness. Over time, Chloe takes advantage of Catherine's vulnerabilities, awakening jealousy and other feelings within Catherine that for too long have been dead.

At first I thought Chloe was a dramatized version of Mike Judge's silly Extract. In both cases, the spouse who suspects their other half of cheating hires help to see if they're right. But then Chloe takes on an Orphan-like sensibility, a thriller verging upon horror. It's an intriguing twist.

Grade: B-

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – Opens April 23rd

It's remarkable that 25% of my Trailer Hitch column this week is devoted to a sequel that no one could have predicted. Back in the day, whoever bet big money on a follow-up to 1987's Wall Street would be a disgustingly rich person right now. A sequel to Wall Street?! Why are we talking about this?

Set, fittingly, 23 years after the first movie, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps follows Gordon Gekko's release from prison and honest attempt at reconnecting with his estranged daughter, Winnie (Carey Mulligan), who blames him for her brother's suicide. At the same time, the mentor (Frank Langella) of a young Wall Street trader (Shia LaBeouf) mysteriously dies; mysterious in that the trader suspects foul play. Gekko offers help. The young man accepts and agrees to get Gekko under his daughter's good graces.

Because the idea of a Wall Street is ridiculous, I can't in good consciousness give the movie a high grade. (Unless, of course, it blew me out of the water... which it didn't). Props to its obvious money shot, though, which delivers serious goods. As Gekko collects his former possessions while exiting jail, he is reunited with his "mobile phone," which is as clunky and gross as you can imagine. It's a good touch.

Grade: C

The Ghost Writer – Opens February 19th

Based on a 2007 novel by Robert Harris called The Ghost, The Ghost Writer stars Ewan McGregor as the titular character who's hired to ghost write the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan). As Ewan's character digs deeper into PM Adam Lang's life, things turn dicey. Not only did the PM's former ghostwriter unexpectedly die – pre-meditated? – but on Ewan's first day on the job, Lang is accused of handing over suspected terrorists to the CIA.

The Ghost Writer deserves nothing short of an F. It's the one of the bunch this week that didn't do its homework. The movie looks embarrassingly bad for a dude like Roman Polanski, who not only was arrested late last year for a 2005 international arrest warrant, but more importantly is notably responsible for movies like Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, Tess, and more recently The Pianist. The acting in The Ghost Writer is dreadful. We may already have frontrunners for next year's Razzies.

The Hurt Locker aside, when is Summit Entertainment planning to use profits from its Twilight cash cow for something decent? This is the same studio that recently distributed movies like P2, Sorority Row, Astro Boy, Push and Knowing. Looking ahead, its 2010 slate also includes movies like Brendan Fraser vehicle Furry Vengeance. So you also have that to look forward to.

Grade: F