Trailer Hitch

By Eric Hughes

March 3, 2010

They look different than I remember.

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Welcome to Trailer Hitch, BOP's look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. This week: The A-Team's trailer is more casual than expected, David Duchovny wants you to keep up with The Joneses and Christina Ricci plays dead.

The A-Team – Opens June 11th

There's so much awareness for a brand like The A-Team that hardly any effort has to be exerted in its marketing campaign (trailer included) to ensure fans of the ‘80s television series flock to the adaptation. Watch the trailer and you'll see what I'm talking about. A narrator, in a few brief sentences, takes care of the exposition and then Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper (and friends) play cutesy for the rest. Done. The fanboys show up on opening weekend, and we have another franchise on our hands. Rounding out the cast are Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson and UFC fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, who plays the same badass character memorably played by Mr. T.

And actually, had it not been for a spectacular sequence at the end of the trailer, I'd argue the preview is devoid of action altogether. (Or, at least, what you'd expect from a supposed big budget adaptation by 20th Century Fox). Of course, I'm referring to the part where an in-flight plane blows up, a military tank housed inside falls from the sky and Bradley Cooper, who's in the tank, pokes his head out like a prairie dog and fires ammo at the enemy target. It's a sweet scene that'll erase the disappointment that came before it.

Just don't expect much on the screenwriting front. Two-thirds of the movie's writers were responsible for Wanted. Eek indeed.

Grade: C

The Joneses – Opens April 16th

The trailer to The Joneses begins the way you'd expect it to. The Joneses: living the American dream. They're perfect! They're normal! They have a beautiful home in suburbia! Of course, whenever a trailer begins this way, you can bet the family is hiding something. For the Joneses, it's a business. Actually, they're not a family at all; they're marketing partners with an interest in selling things – gadgets, clothing, furniture, whatever "stuff" they have – to their friends and acquaintances. Mom and dad don't sleep with each other. The kids aren't really siblings. David Duchovny and Demi Moore play mom and dad, and Amber Heard and Ben Hollingsworth are their kids.

Though a business like this doesn't exist (I think?), it isn't ridiculous enough to be unbelievable. In fact, a movie like The Joneses feels timely. Even though we're not at a point where something like this is happening, it wouldn't surprise me if we ever got there. Without hesitation, people put work in front of family all the time. Why report to an office when you can cut deals at home?

Points for the cast and for originality. I think this looks fun.

Grade: B+


The Runaways – Opens March 19th

Kristen Stewart, you've done it again! I don't know if anyone else on the planet gets as much enjoyment as I do over her incessant lip biting. But like Judd Apatow, who vowed a couple years ago to include an exposed penis in every feature film, I have taken the liberty to point out when K. Stew licks and/or bites her lip in a movie trailer. For those unfamiliar with the situation, Stewart is the queen of lip biting. (And I guess I fibbed. The creator of that YouTube video is more obsessed than me). For people keeping tabs at home, Stewart resorts to her bread and butter at the teaser's 31-second mark.

As for The Runaways, a biopic on the ‘70s all-girl rock band, we only get 48 seconds worth, even though it premieres in about two weeks. Stewart is Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning plays Cherie Currie. Stella Maeve and Scout Taylor-Compton (Rob Zombie's Halloween) round out the band, and Michael Shannon plays the band's co-founder and producer.

Save for the band's hits – "Cherry Bomb," "Rock ‘n Roll" – I'm regrettably not familiar with anything that may or may not have gone on behind the scenes during The Runaways' brief four-year stint as a band. For what it's worth, Stewart and Fanning look convincing in their respective roles. Their hair and makeup make me believe they could rock.

Grade: B-

After.Life – Opens April 9th

Premiering in April, After.Life has Liam Neeson playing a very special funeral director. Very special in that he has the ability to communicate with the dead. Enter the recently deceased (or is she?) Christina Ricci, who wakes on her deathbed, talks to Neeson and concludes she's very much alive – not transitioning to the afterlife like Neeson promises her. Coming to her aid is her boyfriend (Justin Long), who's suspicious that Neeson isn't really who he appears to be.

After.Life is director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo's first feature film. It shows. The performances we get from Neeson, Ricci and Long – all of whom have proven to be quality actors from prior movies – are horrendously stiff. Though I'm intrigued by After.Life's plot, Wojtowicz-Vosloo's direction will probably prove to be too much of a distraction.

Grade: D



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