Trailer Hitch
By Michael Bentley
March 7, 2007

Talking bunnies have generally not been good guys in film.

In this super-sized edition of Trailer Hitch, we look at a number of different movies headed to theaters this year, including a cult animated series, a movie about killer sheep, two super smart canine movies, a children's fantasy, and various other action, romance, and drama joints.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters

Okay, this is actually a pretty funny trailer. And I say that as someone who has never seen an episode of this cult hit Adult Swim animated show. It is filled with tongue-in-cheek, randomly ridiculous things such as a flaming chicken and a humorous voiceover that spouts such nothings as "...a cop on edge" ("Where are my frickln' pants?") And proudly proclaims that it is made by "the 1st assistant director of the 2nd unit of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth..." I have little-to-no idea what this movie is about. And what the hell is that title supposed to mean?? But even though it's admittedly (absurdly) funny looking, I'm not sure I want to know. If you aren't already a fan of the show, I can't imagine you'll suddenly be interested in seeing the movie. And if you are a fan of the show, you probably already have your tickets purchased. B

Black Sheep

"Oh my lord!" You said it, old lady. This comic horror movie (not a re-release of the Chris Farley comedy) is about some sort of experiment that went wrong down in New Zealand and now... killer sheep are on the loose. Get ready for the Violence of the Lambs!? Uh, okay. Black Sheep has "Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie" written all over it. I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, mind you. Like many of the Box Office Prophets staff members, I have a special fondness for cheesy horror movies, especially of the animals-eating-people variety. But I like to enjoy them in the comfort of my own home - why would I ever want to see this silliness in a public movie theater? It could very well be a classic like Tremors or Shaun of the Dead. Or it could be MST3K-level quality. One promising thing, though, is that the creature effects were developed by the Weta Workshop (which, I'm sure most of you know, were the brains behind many of the effects in the Lord of the Rings trilogy). I'll keep an open mind. And I'll have my popcorn ready, as soon as it debuts on TV. C-

Blind Dating

For moviegoers who are big fans of the American Pie straight-to-video sequels comes Blind Dating, a "hilarious comedy" about a 22-year-old blind virgin. And, in fact, it even co-stars one of the American Pie actors (Eddie Kaye Thomas). There really isn't a whole lot to add to that, as it looks like your standard mediocre romantic comedy. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cringe, and you'll walk out happy. C

The Condemned

Hunting human beings for sport isn't something that is entirely new to cinema. Think futuristic fare such as The Running Man or Idiocracy, or even the flawed-but-interested cheap indie from a couple years ago, Series 7: The Contenders. But that is very much the premise of The Condemned, where a group of condemned inmates are sold to a TV producer and must fight each other to the death on a reality program. Nine will die and the last man standing is the winner. Wrestling star "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Vinnie Jones headline the movie, which is clearly aiming for a young and hip (mostly male) audience with its Eminem beats and quick cuts and explosions. Could provide a quick summertime diversion, but otherwise ...blah. C+

Firehouse Dog

As Bart Simpson might have said back in the day, ay, caramba! There are really only two possible reactions to seeing the trailer for Firehouse Dog, which is about a super smart dog who adopted by a young boy and they team up to save the local fire station. 1) Hooray! (but only if you are too young to read this); or 2) My gosh, is that going to suck! (most everyone else). I'd rather see Beethoven's 6th. D

First Snow

Here we have a movie that looks like it could be a reasonably interesting thriller, but the marketers don't seem to have a good idea on how to sell it. It shows a little of everything, yet paradoxically shows almost nothing in the way of anything. You're still left wondering what it is all about. I would have started with the fact that it's "rated R for language, some violence and sexuality". And we are told that it is from the makers of Crash and The Illusionist, but why not say that the director (Mark Fergus) was also a writer on Children of Men, a movie whose audience probably has considerable crossover here? And, lastly, what is up with Guy Pearce, who apparently enjoyed The Da Vinci Code a little too much and is now modeling Tom Hanks' atrocious hair from that movie. It looks good, but... hmm. C


Anthony Hopkins, so famous for playing one of the greatest movie villains of all-time, is back in the role of a killer. Recent Academy Award nominee for Best Actor Ryan Gosling is a brilliant young prosecutor. After Hopkins is arrested for murdering his wife, in what appears to be an open and shut case, we soon learn that it's not quite so simple. There isn't too much more to it beyond that, as this looks to be a solid adult drama/thriller. My only concern is how much Hopkins will be able to create a unique psychotic persona from Dr. Hannibal Lecter, though the brief glimpses we get in the trailer appear to allay that concern. B+

The Last Mimzy

There are few things more magical in the world of movies than really good children's movies - the ones that adults can appreciate and enjoy as well. I don't want to set the bar too high, but The Last Mimzy looks like it could be one of them. Two siblings, a boy and a girl, discover a magical box of toys one day and this leads to some amazing and fantastic things. The children soon have incredible brain functioning and special telekinetic-type abilities (such as magically moving sugar from its container into a cereal bowl). Of course the adults realize this and begin to get involved. Seemingly at the heart of all this is a stuffed animal named Mimzy . But what do I know? For all I know kids won't end up having any interest in this. Without knowing more I can't imagine that I'll want to see this in the theater, but a DVD rental is looking pretty likely. The pick for Trailer of the Week. A-

Mr. Brooks

You know what? I don't care what anybody else says... I like Kevin Costner. And I'm not just talking about his baseball movies. Sure, he's had a few duds and had a fairly miserable (and egotistical) stretch in the mid-to-late '90s, but he's also been in some excellent movies and he's turned in some very fine performances too. And now that I've seen the trailer for Mr. Brooks, I have hope that this will also be added to the list. He plays the title character, Mr. Brooks, a successful business man with a loving family. And he is also a cold-blooded killer. A very creepy killer, in a nice turnaround from the good guys that Costner typically plays. There is also a detective (Demi Moore - I wondered where she was) and a photographer in this mysterious story. The trailer devolves a little bit in the final minute, going the standard thriller route of perhaps showing a little too much of the story (or maybe not, you never know). But for knowing very little about this movie before, this does a very good job. Scheduled to be released in early June, this one is now on my summer buzz list. A-

Mr. Woodcock

I love Billy Bob Thornton. He is easily one of the finest actors working today, although he is so good at playing the foul-mouthed, obnoxious, otherwise-unlikeable men that he is pretty much being typecast in those sort of roles now. Either that, or he just really likes doing it. Anyway, in Mr. Woodcock he plays a no-nonsense high-school gym teacher who is engaged to the mother (Susan Sarandon) of a young man (Seann William Scott) who he tortured and berated years before. This effectively leads to war. There are some pretty funny moments in the preview, with my favorite being a brief scene where Woodcock attacks the young man with a bat in the dark. "What about when I said 'it's me, John.'" Thornton retorts with his straight-faced wit, "John's a very common name. There could be a burglar named John." Or how about: "You must like getting spanked Farley; I guess it runs in the family." Good stuff. B+

The Nanny Diaries

Forget the easy-going, Disneyfied lifestyle of princesses. These diaries are about the rough, dog-eat-dog world of nannies in upper class Manhattan. Scarlett Johansson stars in this rather physical-looking comedy about a woman who takes a nanny position with a wealthy family, falls in love, and realizes that being a nanny isn't quite as easy as it might appear. The farce has a fairly impressive supporting cast, including Laura Linney, Alicia Keys, Paul Giamatti (although he isn't actually seen in the trailer), and Chris Evans (Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four). It looks like it might be a decent movie, though I am curious to see how well Johansson can handle this type of role. If nothing else, The Nanny Diaries will be an interesting test of her marketability and general box office potential. Can she play the romantic leading lady in a standard Hollywood-style comedy (i.e., not anything independent or artsy like Lost in Translation or Match Point)? B


Based on a short story by renowned sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, Next stars Nicolas Cage as man who can see into his own future (but nobody else). However, the federal government becomes interested in him when they learn of a possible terrorist threat in Las Vegas (possibly playing a little too much Rainbow Six?). Julianne Moore and the lovely Jessica Biel are among the co-stars. There is plenty of action, gunshots, explosions and Cage is in full-on show-me-the-money mode. It even starts out with a scene straight out of Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. With the cheesy tagline "you may think you know what the future holds, but nothing can prepare you for what happens next," I actually get a Michael Bay-ish vibe from this trailer. B


There are a few shots in the trailer for Skinwalkers that manage to make the horror film look genuinely scary. Alas, there is a fine line, because much of the rest of it is close to being being Uwe Boll-level laughable ("I am *not human... I'm better than that."). Half-man and half-beast, the creatures at the heart of Skinwalkers are werewolves are in the midst of a bloody war. They are addicted to blood. Meanwhile, a young boy is about to be transformed himself, yet he somehow has the "power to end the curse forever." Are you ready for this? Yeah, me neither. Maybe when it shows up on USA or TBS. C

Snow Cake

In the second "snow" movie of the week, Hans Gruber picks up a young female hitchhiker. But in the snowy weather the car flips and the girl dies. Feeling guilty, Gruber (Alan Rickman) seeks out her family, including her mother (Sigourney Weaver, playing an autistic woman, apparently). There is a lot more snow, eating snow, and sex. Including The Matrix' Carrie-Anne Moss being very naughty: "I hate having sex on a full stomach, so can we just skip the main course?" Ho ho ho. It's your standard adult drama. C+


This is almost like a MAD or Saturday Night Live parody. It starts off as if it is a preview for a blockbuster superhero film such as Spider-Man or the X-Men, as we fly through the sky with an operatic choir setting the tone and a voiceover that firmly proclaims "your powers have been given to you for a reason... your wisdom, your patience, your loyalty are far more important than you can ever understand... the world needs a hero..." And then swiftly flying through the sky is Underdog - a flying dog with a cape ("and man needs a best friend"). Yes, it's the second trailer this month featuring a super intelligent dog. And it's a tease, as little of the movie is shown other than that. I can't imagine that this will actually be a good movie (other than for families), but I like their style in introducing it to us. B+