Trailer Hitch

By Eric Hughes

February 3, 2010

Who are you calling Losers?

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Welcome to Trailer Hitch, BOP's look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. This week: Ricky Gervais mixes Mad Men with The Office, CGI'd pets take on Kitty Galore (just don't call her Pussy) and classic tale Red Riding Hood gets deadly.

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore 3D – Opens July 30th

I'll admit, in the opening moments of the trailer, I couldn't help but think, "Puppies!" I'm sure that's the point. Like Marley & Me, Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Hotel for Dogs before it, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore 3D will earn back much of its production costs because a majority of its audience wants to re-remember why they like dogs (and cats) so much. (Or, of course, they're simply kids. And kids like practically anything). But once the CGI ridiculousness kicked in – including a cat stripping out of a dog suit or pooches harnessing deadly weaponry – I tapped out. I didn't give the original Cats & Dogs half a glance because it looked pathetic. Its sequel may be even worse. Perhaps the movie's best joke – believe me, there are many in the trailer – is in the name of its antagonist: Kitty Galore. (Bond, James Bond).

In the movie, Kitty sets up a plan for world domination, which forces cats and dogs to not only peacefully coexist, but join forces to take down Kitty. Sure, a lot of the movie is CGI. Yet shooting a movie like Cats & Dogs must be a nightmare for the crew. Working with actual actors is hard enough. But dogs? They don't even know what a "take" is.


Grade: D

Cemetery Junction – Opens April 7th (U.K.)

Described as a cross between The Office and Mad Men – appetizing, eh? – Cemetery Junction is Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's coming-of-age story about uninspired 20-somethings in 1970s Reading (England) who find their work as building society clerks greatly unfulfilling. In an effort to diversify, the young ones look to jump across the border – or something of equal risk – to get where they think they want to be.

Like other projects from Gervais, the funnyman has a role in the movie. But unlike what we've seen before, he (and Merchant) have been relegated to the background, allowing younger people to grab the spotlight. If you ask me, that's pretty uncharacteristic of Gervais, who – whether an act or not – tends to be what one may call an attention whore.

Though I've grown tired of Ricky "I'm a celebrity who hasn't an idea what it means to be modest" Gervais, I am a big fan of his (and Merchant's) stories. The David Brent Office is genius, as was its successor, Extras. Gervais has a tremendous ability to weave comedy with drama, which is true of his television shows and Ghost Town, Gervais' feature film debut. Based on his solid track record, it's tough to bet against Cemetery Junction.

Grade: A-

The Losers – Opens April 9th

We've seen The Losers before. Its logline boils down to a black-ops team going after a CIA dweeb who betrayed and left them for dead. Your classic revenge story. You need not look further than a franchise like Jason Bourne to find something similar. In this case, however, it's a group of special agents seeking justice.

The Losers is an adaptation of Andy Diggle's comic book series, originally published between 2003 and 2006. That series, in fact, is loosely based on a DC Comics war comic book – also named The Losers – from 40 years ago. Yet Diggle swears he never peeked into its pages. Honestly, if making the case that your material isn't based on something from before, don't do the dishonorable thing of calling your material the same name as its supposed predecessor. I'm just sayin'.

I'm a fan of the casting in this one. Most of the principle cast is comprised of promising up and comers. (Or established actors who were due for a breakout role). Besides Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen, TV's Weeds), who appears to be the group's leader, other Losers include Idris Elba (The Wire, season five of The Office) and Zoe Saldana, who was Sam Worthington's love interest in Avatar.

I'm not typically a fan of action movies, but The Losers' trailer looks just as fun as ones for movies like Wanted. Of course, let's hope The Losers turns out better than that.

Grade: B-

Red Riding – Opens Friday

Don't go into Red Riding expecting to find a little girl, a grandmother and a big, bad wolf. Red Riding isn't that story. (Well, maybe in metaphor). Adapted from author David Pearce's Red Riding Quartet (published between 1999 and 2002), Red Riding is a trilogy that originally aired on British television about a year ago. The movies have finally made their way here with a New York premiere this Friday followed by an expected national release. The trilogy clocks in at a hefty 295 minutes, or about 98 minutes per film. One can only hope there will be intermissions built in.

Red Riding revolves around the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper, a real serial killer who went loose on northwest England in the 1970s and ‘80s. The films follow a detective and his handpicked collection of colleagues as they race against time to bring the killer down. I don't know how much of a splash the movies made across the pond, but positive word-of-mouth – based on the trailer, it's possible – may extend the trilogy's life past major U.S. cities.

Red Riding is dark and gruesome, and the trailer relentlessly pushes that without room for much else. Nearly five solid hours of this stuff could very well be a turnoff, especially for the casual moviegoer looking for entertainment when they visit the theater, not the stuff nightmares of made of.

Grade: B



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