Trailer Hitch

By Eric Hughes

September 23, 2009

Damn mutie scum.

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Welcome to Trailer Hitch, BOP's look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. This week: Stanley Tucci courts Patricia Clarkson, Philip Seymour Hoffman rocks out on a boat and Zac Efron meets Orson Welles.

Blind Date – Opens September 25th

When Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in cold blood back in 2004, an idea was hatched to remake three of his movies using good ol' American actors. How... American of us. "Hey, let's quash whatever you did using the best that Hollywood has to offer!" Sounds splendid. But before you get the wrong impression of what this unique trilogy is trying to do, know that the Americanized products are anything but Hollywood. In fact they're not even "indie Hollywood". One look at the trailer to Blind Date, based on van Gogh's 1996 film of the same name, and you're bound to think it was made on a miniscule budget. I don't have the figures here, so perhaps it was.

The remake, part two in the redux trilogy, stars Stanley Tucci (who also helmed) and Patricia Clarkson as a couple who lost their five-year-old daughter in a car wreck. To cope (and reconcile their differences), the pair go on faux dates with one another by pretending to be people they aren't based on personal ads they draw up before the date occurs.

The film looks to be as bare bones as movies get. Nearly the entire trailer takes place within the same restaurant, and both Tucci and Clarkson are the only major players. When a movie relies solely on the conversations between people – similar to the Before Sunrise movies that came before it – sometimes that's all you need.

Grade: B-


Astro Boy – Opens October 23rd

From Imagi Animation Studios (behind the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, TMNT, and NBC's Father of the Pride with DreamWorks) comes Astro Boy, based on a hugely successful manga and TV series of the same name in Japan. Stellar voice cast aside – Nic Cage, Kristen Bell, Nathan Lane and Freddie Highmore among them – Astro Boy comes off looking as average as animation gets. It's likely to do the kind of business more on the side of Hoodwinked! than an animated tentpole like Monsters vs. Aliens.

Astro Boy stars Freddie Highmore in the title role, a robotic kid built by – who else – Nic Cage in an attempt by Cage to recreate a boy in the image of the son he lost. Once brought to life, Astro Boy struggles for acceptance, joins a rowdy ground of kids led by Cora (Bell), gets caught up in a dangerous world of robot gladiators (courtesy of Lane's character, Ham Egg) and returns to his home city to reunite with the father who let him go. All in a day's work.

Grade: C-

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