Trailer Hitch

By Eric Hughes

November 5, 2008

The woman is blissfully immodest.

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Welcome to Trailer Hitch, BOP's look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. This week: Danny Boyle makes millions, Kate Winslet goes Nazi and Zac Efron distances himself from all that High School Musical business.

Slumdog Millionaire – Opens November 12th

It certainly isn't every day that you hear about a dude going on a game show not for the fame and fortune, but to potentially impress a lady friend watching on her television at home. Yet that's exactly what you have here in Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle's triumphant return to theaters after reteaming with Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later) last year in the sci-fi film Sunshine.

More an extended teaser than actual trailer - maybe this one will prove to be difficult to sell? - the film is based on Vikas Swarup's bestselling novel, Q and A, which has since been translated into 32 languages.

Grade: B-
Also expected to be released on this date: None

A Christmas Tale – Opens November 14th

If Six Feet Under and Arrested Development have taught me anything, it's that I'm a fairly big fan of dysfunctional families. Given that A Christmas Tale revolves around a bunch of related people with strained relationships, I figure I'm in good company with this one.

Here, in a 150-minute French film that was in competition for the Palm d'Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, one such family gathers around the dinner table to celebrate yet another Christmas meal with one another. The problem this year, however, is twofold: not only does the family's matriarch, Junon (Catherine Deneuve), have bone marrow cancer, but her only potential donor is her son, Henri (Mathieu Amalric), who was banished years ago from the family by his sister. Throw in another wild brother for kicks and we've got ourselves a rockin' time.

Grade: A
Also expected to be released on this date: Quantum of Solace

The Reader – Opens December 12th

Based on the brief, albeit best-selling German novel from 1995, The Reader is about a young boy, Michael (David Kross), who enjoys an obsessive affair with a much older woman, Hanna (Kate Winslet). The boy (portrayed by Ralph Fiennes much later in the story) never learns very much about her, and never expects to see her again when one day she mysteriously disappears. However while in law school, Michael sits in on her trial, where Hanna poses as a defendant for a case related to Germany's Nazi past. Here, it becomes undeniably clear that she's guilty of a crime.

The trailer sells itself as promoting something that is chiefly dramatic, with a heavy emphasis on loud booms and fade to blacks. So expect to see a lot of tension in the final product. Admittedly it's also a bit confusing in parts, but it surely gets the job done in peaking the interest of viewers to see the actual movie.

Grade: B
Also expected to be released on this date: The Day the Earth Stood Still, Delgo, Nothing Like the Holidays, Doubt, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, The Kings of Appletown


The Unborn – Opens January 9, 2009

From Rogue Pictures, which earlier this year brought to the big screen perhaps a new horror franchise in The Strangers, comes a new scary movie called The Unborn, due out in January. The project marks fairly new territory for Gary Oldman, who here plays a spiritual advisor to Casey (Odette Yustman), a young girl who is haunted by the soul of her unborn twin, who is determined to use her death as the pathway to his new life.

And I've got to say: this one looks genuinely pretty terrifying, no matter how many special effects are packed into just a few minutes of sneak peek runtime. This is especially true for a moment very early on - though no special effects are necessary - where Casey enters the bedroom of who appears to be her little brother. Once she approaches, he quickly slaps Casey in the head with a toy and informs her that "he wants to be born now." Not gonna lie, that one spooked me a bit. So much so that I definitely had to canvas what was going on behind my back to ensure that I was still the only one in my apartment.

Grade: B+
Also expected to be released on this date: Bride Wars, Inkheart, Hellraiser, Not Easily Broken

17 Again – Opens April 17, 2009

In what looks like Big in slightly new clothing, 17 Again features a non-singing-and-dancing Zac Efron as a 37-year-old trapped in a 17-year-old body.

After working himself into a mess of a life - separation from his wife (Leslie Mann), disrespect from his kids (including Michelle Trachtenberg), career at a standstill - Mike O'Donnell (Matthew Perry) is given a second chance when one day he transforms back into his former 17-year-old self (played by Efron) to potentially correct his oh-so-very wrongs. The catch, because there's always a catch, is how he's supposed to make everything good again when everyone else around him is still the same age.

Surprisingly budgeted at around $50 million, this one doesn't look like anything special, yet it should indeed play well for the Disney crowd, who just a few weeks ago opened High School Musical 3 to over $40 million. Of course, it's always a good thing to see Thomas Lennon as well. Here he plays Ned, best friend to Mike.

Grade: C-
Also expected to be released on this date: State of Play, Crank 2: High Voltage, Mardi Gras



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