Trailer Hitch

By Eric Hughes

January 28, 2009

The revelation of the Great little Buck Howard did not disappoint.

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Welcome to Trailer Hitch, BOP's look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. This week: John Malkovich goes insane, Eric McCormack exposes his affinity towards camp and Jason Statham runs around.

The Great Buck Howard – Opens March 20th

John Malkovich playing a crazy wacko? Does it get any better?! (Well, maybe when Christopher Walken does it, but still). I'm so unbelievably sold on this movie, where the vet actor plays the title character, a professional mentalist who for years toured the country to critical acclaim and lucrative profits. But when his fame and fortune looks to be all but completely gone, Buck Howard devises a way to find his way back into the mainstream. His solution: putting hundreds of people to sleep.

Colin Hanks, who stars as Buck's road manager Troy Gable, apparently narrates the dramedy as a voice of reason behind-the-scenes. Smartly cast as the boy's dad is his real-life father, Tom Hanks.

Grade: A
Also expected to be released on this date: Duplicity; I Love You, Man; Knowing; Sin Nombre

12 Rounds – Opens March 27th

Ashley Scott, who ran around with Dwayne Johnson in Walking Tall back when the big guy regularly battled in the ring as The Rock, saddles up with another popular WWE wrestler in the actioner 12 Rounds. This time it's John Cena, who plays a detective forced into enduring "12 rounds" of dangerous games throughout the streets of New Orleans by an international terrorist (Aidan Gillen). Lasting all 12 rounds earns back the detective's girlfriend (Scott).

It's silly, but what more do you expect from an action film starring the likes of bulldog Cena, who appears built for this type of role? The action sequences in this one are intense, and appear like they'll satisfy the appetizers of moviegoers who like this kind of thing.

Grade: C+
Also expected to be released on this date: Monsters vs. Aliens; Janky Promoters; The Informant; Assassination of a High School President; I Love You, Beth Cooper; The Accidental Husband; Adventureland; Little Ashes

Alien Trespass – Opens April 3rd

We're all familiar with the cliché line, "it's so bad, it's good." But what about, "it's so bad, it's...bad"? Rangeland Productions attempts to do something a little different this year with the release of a new film that pays homage to the great sci-fi movies of the 1950s. (You know, that period of time when the country lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation and communism while its movies – like Invasion of the Body Snatchers – attempted to comment on it by replacing the Soviets with aliens, and so on).

I'm not sure I'm completely sold on the concept. The 90 seconds Rangeland gives us here – where humans are attacked by invaders from another planet – are sloppy, clearly low budget and appear to be trying just a little too hard to make it the type of postmodern movie it's hoping to be. Cast members include Eric McCormack, Jenni Baird, Robert Patrick, Dan Lauria and Jody Thompson.

Grade: C-
Also expected to be released on this date: Fast and Furious, The Ugly Truth


Crank 2: High Voltage – Opens April 17th

Like peanut butter with chocolate. Strawberries with whipped cream. Bacon and eggs. Heck, rum and coke. To the above things-that-go-way-too-well-together list, I'm gonna add Linkin Park with the Crank franchise – while at the same time declaring that whoever originally put the two together deserves an increase in pay. Both are chock full of high-octane energy, especially the rock band's relatively new tune, "Given Up," which is featured prominently in the latter half of the trailer to Crank 2: High Voltage.

For any Jason Statham movie, you basically have to turn your brain off for a few hours. And Crank 2 is no exception. Picking up where Crank left off – Chev Chelios freefalling from a helicopter, landing on a parked car AND surviving to tell about it – the hitman embarks on an electrifying chase through Los Angeles to track down the evil man who stole his nearly indestructible heart in exchange for a battery-powered one. Requiring jolts of electricity to continue functioning, the man grinds up on a number of people in the sneak preview, including an elderly woman and even Linkin Park's front man, Chester Bennington.

Grade: B
Also expected to be released on this date: State of Play, 17 Again

X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Opens May 1st

I end this week with a look at 20th Century Fox's latest installment in its X-Men franchise. Thankfully it isn't a sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand (which was the only one of the bunch I didn't particularly care for), but rather an origins story centered on the series' most popular superhero: Wolverine. Of course, reprising his role from the three previous X-Men films is Hugh Jackman, who later this month you can see performing Ricky Gervais' hosting duties at the Oscars. (I'm bitter).

Being the first of three planned X-Men spinoffs – the others being a Magneto origins story and later a First Class concept – X-Men Origins: Wolverine is set 20 years before the franchise's first film and explores the character's tragic history (death of his father and girlfriend) and his early encounters with William Stryker (Danny Huston). Wolverine's complex relationship with Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber) is also part of the storyline.

The trailer doesn't excite me nearly as much as the other X-Men trailers did. (I blame the disappointing absence of the rest of "the gang"). Even so, the movie looks like your typical summer movie product.

Grade: B-
Also expected to be released on this date: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past



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