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Trailer Hitch

By Kim Hollis

February 18, 2009

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The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

This is a very slickly produced trailer that is going to get a lot of people interested in this film, I think. For me, though, it's...well, it's a Tony Scott film. The trailer makes that very clear thanks to all the explosions and guns and quick edits back and forth from one character to another. Also, Denzel Washington is here!

A remake of a 1974 film, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 definitely ramps up the action and intensity. The trailer's problems lie in the fact that we're supposed to buy Denzel Washington as an ineffectual schlub who is really up against it when he encounters some bad guys, and also in John Travolta's unbearable over-acting. This is the Travolta of Swordfish, or Face/Off or maybe even Basic. When he plays the heavy, he's just intensely annoying to me. So much so that I'm distracted from trying to decide if the story is engaging or interesting.

Grade: C-

Sin Nombre

Right from the outset of this trailer, things seem a little dubious because of the Generic Trailer Voice Guy narration. Yes, Sin Nombre is a foreign film and yes, it has subtitles. But sometimes I think the people who cut these things don't have enough faith in their viewers - especially people who tend to like art house and foreign films in the first place. We don't see much about the story here, but it feels sort of reminiscent of Slumdog Millionaire in a lot of ways, just set in Mexico. The trailer tells us that Sin Nombre was a winner at Sundance for Excellence in Direction and Cinematography, and also that it was produced by Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal. None of these things really convince me that this is something I'm dying to see, but I'm intrigued enough to keep it in the back of my mind as a rental, perhaps.

Grade: B-




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Inglourious Basterds

Well, it's finally here. The trailer for Quentin Tarantino's hotly anticipated Inglourious Basterds has arrived, and all I can say is that I'm...whelmed. It's mainly comprised of Brad Pitt doing a soliloquy in his best Billy Bob Thornton voice (Angelina must have coached him). He tells us that his name is Aldo Raine, which immediately distracts me because I think that he has said Aldo Ray, and I get to wondering whether Tarantino has named this character after the actor who appeared alongside Humphrey Bogart in a film I liked a lot called We're No Angels. But that's not the case at all.

I'm further distracted as Lieutenant Raine asks for eight volunteers to go fight Germans in occupied France. One of the volunteers is Neal from Freaks and Geeks. And hey! There's Ryan from The Office! Soon, though, things devolve into a Peckinpah-esque mesh of nihilism and violence. For some reason, there's a shot of Hitler near the end that doesn't quite fit, either. I'm pretty sure Tarantino fans are going to be geared up for this, but I'm very dubious about the whole thing. And the misspellings in the title are going to drive me insane until this movie finally gets a release.

Grade: C


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