By Kim Hollis
September 9, 2004
This week we look at trailers for some futuristic thrillers with small budgets, a future Book vs. Movie candidate, a highly-anticipated foreign film and a Barbershop knockoff.
1) The Machinist
It says a lot that I think this trailer is white hot despite the fact that Christian Bale, an actor I generally deplore, has the lead role. The tone and mood are reminiscent of Memento, and the premise as laid forth in the preview are phenomenal. Bale plays an industrial worker who hasn't slept in an entire year. His insomnia is literally eating him from the inside out - and Bale's appearance for this film is absolutely ghastly. He is rail thin and the dark circles that are under his eyes certainly appear to be more than the result of makeup. His inability to sleep has caused him to deteriorate so badly that his every waking moment is a living nightmare, but is he insane, or is there something much deeper at work. This dark, stylish trailer should be extremely appealing for fans of this type of psychological thriller.
2) The Final Cut
With Robin Williams in another "serious role," The Final Cut appears to be set in a futuristic world where people are fitted with memory implants. These implants record each individual person's histories, and upon death, are removed so that their loved ones may have a record of their lives. Williams plays a man who edits the various bits and pieces into a "highlight reel" of sorts that presents only the most positive aspects of a person, regardless of whether they were good or evil. He comes across one particular clip that proves haunting for him, and causes him to question the ethicality of what he's doing. The preview is very intriguing and makes the film look thought-provoking and intelligent.
For many reasons, the trailer for Undertow reminds me of the very underrated film Frailty. The first and most obvious reason is that there are two children at the center of the tale, but the music and even the creepy ambience are similar. Other than that, it's not really that easy to glean what the movie is about from the simple preview. The two boys in the film appear to be imperiled and agitated by the arrival of their uncle, but that is about all that is clear.
4) Being Julia
The preview for this film immediately sets out to let viewers know that it has a strong pedigree. Academy Award nominee Annette Bening has the primary role, while starring alongside her is Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons. And for those who seriously follow film, they'll note that the name of another Academy Award winner is noted. Ronald Harwood, who won for his screenplay of The Pianist, is credited on the screen as the writer. The film is based on a book called Theatre by W. Somerset Maugham, and indeed, the movie does look to be very immersed in the world of stage acting. Bening is a star actress who is involved with Jeremy Irons' character. She has a fling with a young stud, whom she soon realizes is having his own affair with the obnoxious blonde girl who played one of the stepsisters in Ella Enchanted. Bening sets out for a little revenge. The film is clearly being positioned as awards bait, but the preview is rather confusing for the most part.
5) Infernal Affairs
I've already seen this film so I know that it's one of the ten best of the year so far. Unfortunately, this preview does little to show potential viewers that this is the case. Despite plenty of footage of the gorgeous Tony Leung, the trailer is convoluted at best, but to be fair, the movie is intentionally enigmatic itself. Miramax takes the approach of noting the numerous awards the film has already won (it picked up the Hong Kong equivalent of Best Picture, beating out Hero), which will probably be enough to entice fans, especially those who like foreign film.
6) Hair Show
I guess I find Mo'Nique really aggravating for the most part, because this trailer did absolutely nothing to make me want to see this film. Set in the world of beauty shops and competitive hair shows, Mo'Nique plays a beautician who is in serious hock with the IRS. She heads out to visit her Beverly Hills sister for assistance, as she has a beauty shop of her own located in the posh L.A. neighborhood. The pair eventually get involved in a hair styling competition that would theoretically give Mo'Nique the money she needs to clear her name. Though the film is obviously trying to be a kindred spirit to the wonderful Barbershop movies, the preview falls terribly flat, with nary a laugh to be found.