Trailer Hitch

By Eric Hughes

July 29, 2009

It's surprisingly bright and non-snowy for a Tim Burton film.

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Welcome to Trailer Hitch, BOP's look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. This week: Cameron Diaz presses... a button, Denzel hacks some defenseless drones and Johnny Depp steals Carrot Top's look.

Play the Game – Opens August 28th

Play the Game is so much like a TV reunion special that getting through the thing's trailer without becoming distracted is practically impossible. I, for one, failed at this miserably.

Andy Griffith was the easy one (for obvious reasons). Paul Campbell (Battlestar Galactica) I threw out because I'm not familiar – an absolute sin on this Web site, I do realize. Then Jerry's mom from Seinfeld (Liz Sheridan) entered the frame, followed by Doris Roberts, who I was convinced played George's mum on the same show until realizing that I had my blue hairs confused.

The kicker was Marla Sokoloff, love interest of Campbell's character. I for the love of god couldn't remember why her face looked so familiar. I'd like to think I did it all on my own, but IMDb for sure gave me the answer... Full House! Look it up and nostalgia will kick into high gear, my friends.

Anyway, clearly I'm still distracted. End result: Play the Game is cute, but nothing on my radar.

Grade: C-

The Blue Tooth Virgin – Opens September 25th

Meh. Disregard its passable acting and low (or at least low-looking) budget, and what are you left with? Yet another mediocre dramedy that's too Hollywood insider-y for it's own good. (Though here it focuses on one aspect of the entertainment machine that is Southern California: writing).

And it just so happens that one of the dudes' screenplays matches the title – The Blue Tooth Virgin – of the actual movie. So I'm sure there's a bit of doubling going on and other fun (read: gag worthy) stuff that reminds me why I can never take another writing course to save my life because of the utter pomposity on behalf of my classmates.

Grade: D


The Box – Opens October 30th

I'm calling it now. The Box is D.O.A. It'll fail at the box office.

Why? Its concept is shoddy, Frank Langella isn't far enough removed from his brilliant take on Richard Nixon (with or without a huge chunk of his face mysteriously missing), Cameron Diaz has as good a Southern accent as she does a career in karaoke and, amazingly, The Box's trailer USES THE THEME FROM SAW – complete with a shuffled deck of jarring film cuts. Nothing says quality like sampling music from a critically detested franchise like Saw.

For those unfamiliar, Diaz and James Marsden play a couple who are propositioned by Langella's character in deciding whether they'd kindly take a large sum of money ($1 million to be exact) in exchange for killing a person they do not know. The method of voicing their decision? Pressing a button that doesn't look all that unlike a "that was easy" button from Staples.

And I've spoken my peace here.

Grade: F

The Book of Eli – Opens January 15, 2010

As post-apocalyptic drama goes, the trailer to The Book of Eli is too bland for my liking. All we have here is Denzel – who plays his too-cool-for-school self (as per usual) – offering up a monologue on war and destruction and its aftermath before totally kicking the snot out of a bunch of baddies with a sword even Gordon Ramsay would be afraid to weld.

Call me crazy, but I could use a little more than that.

Grade: C

Alice in Wonderland – Opens March 5, 2010

Mention the Mad Hatter, and Tim Burton apparently conjures up a troubled looking goofball who owes much of his physical appearance – namely the big hair – to Carrot Top. Welcome to the wondrous mind of one of our most inventive directors working today. I can only imagine what he'd do to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise if ever given the opportunity to reboot. A Jack Sparrow that looks more Liza Minelli than Keith Richards, perhaps?

Burton's take on Alice in Wonderland didn't blow me off my chair. But what it did do is confirm my suspicions that this one would fit quite snugly in Burton's film canon. It's so Burton-esque it's disgusting. Of course the inclusion of Johnny Depp – the duo have such a bromance! – is a dead giveaway. But even more so, its visuals basically match Sweeney Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the like.

Grade: B



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