By Kim Hollis
September 15, 2004
We've seen a ton of new trailers hit theaters this past week, but we're really just biding time while we wait for the previews of the big 2005 summer blockbusters.
1) Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
This trailer shows a total comprehension of all the things that made the original Bridget Jones's Diary so enjoyable. It shows quick little highlights of all the little Bridget foibles we've come to love, not to mention the swoon-worthiness of Darcy (Colin Firth). And best of all, there's even another Hugh Grant/Colin Firth fight! Frankly, Love Actually could only have been better had Colin Firth's character walked up to Prime Minister Hugh Grant and for no particular reason at all, punched him in the face. I digress, of course. The preview for the Bridget Jones sequel is funny, energetic and will absolutely draw audiences to the theater during the holiday season.
2) Team America: World Police
I saw this newest trailer in a theater audience that laughed uproariously throughout the whole thing. And it is very funny, indeed. This political puppet film from the creators of South Park takes aim at everything from terrorists to actors to politicos to Kim Jong-Il. There's even a hint of naughty puppet sex at one point. Like the humor of South Park, this overt, in-your-face comedy isn't going to be for everyone, but it's definitely for me. I can't wait to see this film.
3) White Noise
Sure, it's not fashionable to admit, but I'm a big Michael Keaton fan and have been going all the way back to his first major film role in Night Shift. So it should come as no surprise that I'm eagerly anticipating this film, where he stars as a man who hears ghostly voices from the netherworld. The preview for White Noise is really pretty clever, centering around EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) and the fact that people who hear voices of the dead are actually being studied in real life. At the end of the trailer, viewers are even pointed to a real Web site that discusses the phenomenon. Setting up the premise by using actual recorded sessions with apparent ghosts is a masterstroke, too.
Will Smith is funny, a trait that is shown in abundance in this trailer. Smith plays a professional matchmaker whose work and assistance with clients such as Kevin James often leads to comic results. He arranges his clients' first three dates and has had pretty substantial success at what he does. When he comes across a delightful young lady played by Eva Mendes, our hero finds himself reevaluating his tactics. What this trailer does really well is bring out the humor, especially in the interchanges between Smith and James, a guy I don't generally find amusing at all. This one looks to have great potential.
I didn't like this second trailer nearly as much as the first one, which was heavier on the chemistry between Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany than this follow-up. The new preview centers more on Bettany himself and his struggles both as a tennis player and his conflicts with those surrounding him. Many of the clever lines highlighted in the original trailer are missing, but the marketers who put this newer one together are still smart enough to emphasize that the film comes from the people behind Notting Hill and Bridget Jones's Diary. I'm still eagerly anticipating the release of this movie tomorrow, but if this had been the first trailer I had seen, that excitement would definitely have been dampened a bit.
I really like Liam Neeson; unfortunately, this trailer is rather lackluster and not at all memorable. Biopics aren't really easy sells in the first place, so the marketing force behind Kinsey is going to have to work extra hard to drum up interest. Basically, the preview gets across the notion that this film is about sexual research pioneer Alfred Kinsey, and does a somewhat decent job of inserting a bit of humor into the situation. Other than that, the trailer appears to be positioning the film as a "serious" contender for the awards season. The movie certainly has an outstanding pedigree. In addition to Neeson as Kinsey, Laura Linney stars as his wife and Peter Sarsgard (critically acclaimed in last year's Shattered Glass) also has a supporting role.
7) Are We There Yet?
Sure, it looks like a dumb family comedy, but at the same time, it seems fun. Ice Cube is always entertaining as the straight man, and this time around he's got two children as his foils. His grumpy nature matches up well against these scheming youngsters, who hate the men their mother dates and are hoping to eliminate him as a prospect. The trailer is comprised of a number of quick shots of Cube getting his comeuppance, with physical and scatalogical humor of all sorts abounding. It should have a great chance to strike a chord as a family film.
Basically, though Alfie is based on the 1966 Michael Caine film by the same name, the trailer makes it look a lot more like About a Boy remade with Jude Law in the starring role. The problem here is that Law simply isn't nearly as likable or roguish as Hugh Grant. His character, a snooty British guy living in New York City, appears to make his way through a number of flings, including one with a single mother (Marisa Tomei). Love means little to him, but he seems to develop a conscience at some point, particularly when a couple of folks tell him that his actions are hurting others. I had always been intrigued by this film, but the trailer unfortunately left me cold.
So the kid from Godsend is back to play a person come back from the dead, only this time he's a re-embodied adult rather than a resurrected child. Either way, it makes for all sorts of creepy. It seems that Nicole Kidman's husband has died at some point, and she's devastated by the loss. She's also got extremely short hair, which makes her look sort of pixie-ish in a gawky way. All of a sudden, Godsend kid shows up on the scene claiming to be this deceased husband, a notion he backs up with all sorts of knowledge of what happened between him and his "wife" in their past. The film has already become quite notorious for a naked bathtub scene with Kidman and the boy, but that enormous ick factor isn't present in the trailer, fortunately. Birth does have a great pedigree, including Academy Award winner Kidman and the still-lovely-at-age-80 Lauren Bacall. It's a trailer that can definitely draw in some fans of the actors if the film's reputation somehow manages not to precede it.
11) Lightning in a Bottle
Although I'm personally looking forward to this documentary, I don't believe this preview is going to do much to draw people who aren't already great fans of the blues. Filmed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) at a one-time only concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, this musical extravaganza features performances from the likes of B.B. King, Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, the Neville Brothers, Chuck D & Fine, Dr. John and numerous others. It looks beautifully shot and incredibly entertaining. Devotees of musical documentary in particular will find this film something to anticipate.