Trailer Hitch

By Eric Hughes

May 13, 2009

I was expecting someone a lot..taller.

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Welcome to Trailer Hitch, BOP's look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. This week: Woody Allen replaces Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz with Larry David, two dudes get physical with their bromance and Disney (finally!) makes a new movie musical.

Big Man Japan – Opens Friday

What... in the world? Big Man Japan has got to be one of the strangest trailers I've seen in some time. (Though it doesn't really touch that of Tokyo!'s, it comes decently close). The film, whose summary isn't made clear in the least in the trailer, is about a middle-aged slacker who is entrusted with defending Japan from monsters after he learns that shocks of electricity to the body transform him into a several stories-high giant. Even so, public opinion of him isn't very high, considering all the destruction of property he causes.


Better yet, go into the trailer completely blind. I guarantee you'll have a list of questions.

Grade: C-
Also expected to be released on this date: Angels & Demons, The Brothers Bloom

Whatever Works – Opens June 19th

The trailer to Woody Allen's latest – Whatever Works – was released this week, and I have to say the preview does little more than merely whelm the crap out of me. The jokes here fall way flat. So much so that I'm having a hard time believing this is a genuine Woody Allen product. Part of me thinks that between last year's Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Woody's upcoming Naomi Watts/Josh Brolin/Anthony Hopkins/Antonio Banderas/Freida Pinto project, Whatever Works will be hardly anything more than a blip on the radar.

In Whatever Works, Larry David (in his first movie role this decade) plays Boris Yellnikoff, an eccentric New Yorker who leaves behind his normal lifestyle for a more bohemian existence. During his life's shakeup, Boris meets a Southern girl (Evan Rachel Wood) and her family, and entanglements ensue. The film also stars Ed Begley Jr., Patricia Clarkson and Michael McKean.

Grade: C
Also expected to be released on this date: Year One, The Proposal, $9.99

Humpday – Opens July 10th

What's the best way for two guy friends to share their mutual, hetero affection for each other? Having sex with each other, of course. At least that's the premise of Humpday, a Sundance darling about two macho-ish grown men who, on a drunken whim, think it a good idea to enter an amateur porn contest by doing the dirty deed with one another on camera.

How will it work? And who's going to tell the wife of one of the dudes? Like any good episode of The Office, expect lots of awkwardness with a copious amount of humor, too.

The flick is socially relevant, considering the politically-charged speeches (thanks to Milk) at this year's Oscars and the general homophobia in this country (and others) that apparently will never go away (he Miss USA California fiasco being the most recent example).

Grade: B
Also expected to be released on this date: Bruno; I Love You, Beth Cooper; Soul Power


Act of God – Opens October 28th

When I originally read the synopsis a short time ago to Act of God, a documentary about the effects of being struck by lightning, I was intrigued. Who wouldn't want to watch a docu about people's personal stories of being attacked by energy from the sky? Man, that's freakin' rad! Yet the project just doesn't excite me. Perhaps it was a budgeting issue. Or perhaps Act of God just isn't well made.

Whatever the case, this one may not even be worth its rental fee.

Grade: D
Also expected to be released on this date: None

The Princess and the Frog – Opens December 11th

Like Kelly Clarkson's lead single off her new album to any time Amy Winehouse goes back into rehab, I've gotta say it's so, so, so – one more for emphasis - so nice to see Walt Disney harkening back to its bread and butter. Though the Princess and the Frog marks the studio's first traditional animation feature since 2004's Home on the Range, you have to go back way farther than that to find the last time the Mouse House released a Broadway-style musical for the kiddies (a la The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast).

This one, loosely based on E.D. Baker's The Frog Princess, shows what happens when a beautiful princess is influenced into kissing a frog to turn him back into a charming prince. Unfortunately for the princess, the act transforms the princess into a frog herself.

With music by Randy Newman and voices by Ophra Winfrey, John Goodman, Terrence Howard and Anika Noni Rose, I'll willingly put this one on my "must-see" list – and I'm not even an animation diehard like some other contributors to this site.

Grade: A
Also expected to be released on this date: The Lovely Bones



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