Trailer Hitch

By Eric Hughes

July 15, 2009

Man, how did you kick all those guys' asses in Taken?

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Welcome to Trailer Hitch, BOP's look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. This week: Liam Neeson follows up Taken with another thriller, Avian Flu makes its mark and Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire play convincing brothers.

A Woman in Berlin – Opens Friday

A Woman In Berlin is the true account of a woman living in Germany in 1945 who's the victim of a number of rapes during the Red Army occupation of her city. She eventually befriends a more civilized officer, who protects her from being raped by others. It's based on a book previously published anonymously to protect the identity of the author. After her death, the author was later identified as Marta Hillers, a propagandist for the Third Reich.

Given the subject matter, the trailer, of course, is not particularly grabbing. Nor does its foreign language (with subtitles) help matters. It's also oddly released in the dead of summer, when audiences are far more concerned about their magic spells and monster robots and 3-D dinosaurs and gay Austrians.

Grade: C

5 Minutes of Heaven – Opens August 1st

"Do I shake his hand...or do I kill him?" That's the question facing Liam Neeson's character in 5 Minutes of Heaven, a movie about a former UVF member who 25 years later has the opportunity to kill the man who murdered his brother – thanks to a meeting arranged by the media.

I couldn't exactly buy Neeson's character (and his motives) in the Taken trailer from earlier this year. But his performance in 5 Minutes of Heaven is a bit more believable – in the couple or so minutes we're given the opportunity to look at here.

In a bit of probable surprise, 5 Minutes of Heaven was actually a TV movie back in the U.K., which is incredible considering it stars someone of Neeson's caliber. That's like Tom Hanks signing on for a role in NBC's Merlin, which, come to think of it, would have been career suicide. But the feature, which garnered mostly positive reviews from critics, gets an international bow in theaters, including an August date on U.S. screens.

Grade: B-


Carriers – Opens September 4th

Carriers is like 28 Days Later but without the zombies. It also largely takes place (in the trailer anyway) in the daytime. Yet that doesn't mean it's any less scary. In fact, Carriers looks devilishly creepy and could very well be that next horror-thriller movie (like The Ring, 28 Days Later and even The Others before it) to break out into something big.

The name of the game here is the Avian Flu, which in the movie has broken out into a global epidemic. People that have it are the "infected." And anyone carrying the deadly label is someone you'll go out of your way to avoid – or with more finality, kill. These people also cough and spit blood on the uninfected.

Seriously, does this not sound like 28 Days Later without the zombies?! Even so, I'll let it slide. Carriers looks like a winner.

Grade: B

Broken Embraces – Opens November 20th

The trailer to Broken Embraces is all kinds of confusing. Honestly, what's going on here? You've got a guy who appears to be imagining things that aren't really happening, and Penelope Cruz in a variety of outfits and wigs so as to appear like similarly looking hot women for the duration of the preview. Oooooookay.

It's Pedro Almodóvar though, so I'll refrain from going off on how upsettingly puzzling this trailer is. Gotta trust this dude knows what he's doing. But his Trailer Hitch grade, at least, will suffer a bit.

Grade: D+

Brothers – Opens December 4th

I had never thought Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal looked anything alike. I mean, look at those two. One's a skinny, geeky-lookin' kid whose skin looks like its never seen the light of day. The other? Lean, muscular and surely a deserved candidate for one of those world's sexiest people list. (I would hope at this point you'd figure out which one is which).

But here, the two actors play brothers, and it's rather uncanny. So props to the casting department for this Lionsgate release. In the story, Maguire's character is believed to be dead. So Gyllenhaal moves in on his wife (Natalie Portman), the brother wakes up and all hell breaks loose.

There's good drama to be had here. And a story that I can't at this time draw a likely ending to. It's based on a 2004 Danish film directed by Susanne Bier.

Grade: A



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