By Kim Hollis
October 3, 2004
This past week saw an incredible number of movie previews make it onto the Web. I worked through a number of trailers yesterday, and today sees part two of my views on the week's offerings.
This trailer is going to have just massive appeal to all ages. The CGI animation looks absolutely terrific – Fox has come a long, long way since Ice Age. Add to that the fact that the preview is chock-full of terrific gags, and you’ve got a great recipe for success. It’s not necessarily that easy to tell that Ewan McGregor is the primary voice here (which is probably a good thing, given that his normal accent consists of a thick Scottish brogue), but the real kicker is Robin Williams as what more or less appears to be the sidekick robot. Williams very memorably voiced one of the great animated characters of recent cinema – the genie in Aladdin – and his presence here somehow just seems to add a positive kick to the whole thing. I hadn’t really been all that excited about Robots, but now it’s right up there near the top of my list for 2005.
2) Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior
This preview was a nice little surprise. It’s a martial arts action film that hearkens back to the days of Bruce Lee, and it looks terrific, at least for fans of the genre. Star Tony Jaa has a sleek look and is quick and athletic. The people who cut the trailer do a great job of drawing the viewer’s attention, too, by setting up a fight club with an unbeatable champion – then the hero arrives. I’m eagerly anticipating this flick.
Though I knew little about this film before actually sitting down and watching the preview, I have to admit I’m intrigued now that I have. It’s a documentary about one man as he chronicles his own life from his teen years through adulthood. Issues such as mental illness and drug addiction are tackled through old Super 8 films and clips of ‘80s pop culture. In the realm of documentaries, Tarnation looks to be an entirely unique entity.
4) The Dust Factory
This indie film is just too strange-looking for words. As far as I can tell, it’s about two teenage friends, a boy and a girl, who go through some sort of traumatic experience that inserts them into another world. Or maybe it’s just the boy. Anyway, it’s a glorious, fanciful place that puts me in mind of Big Fish. It’s the kind of place a kid might want to stay forever – but it’s not real. And so it is that the protagonist of the story must make a decision as to whether to stay or return. It really looks like a solid kid film, and probably has a better chance of finding the right audience on video than it does the big screen.
5) Woman Thou Art Loosed
Since we’ve had so much e-mail about this film, I thought I’d go ahead and take a look at the trailer. In fact, it’s playing at a couple of theaters in my town, so I’ll probably even try to take in the film if I can find a spare couple of hours. What the trailer does well is attract the attention of people who are already familiar with the T.D. Jakes self-help book. Additionally, the presence of Kimberly Elise makes me interested in the film itself, especially since I liked her performance in The Manchurian Candidate this past summer. The preview makes excellent use of music - I’m still humming the hymn that plays throughout it in my head.
This little indie flick looks more or less like your typical coming of age story. A boy loses his parents, then grows to be a teenager and faces all the pains that being such an age entails. In the midst of it all, his uncle teaches him to fly, which affords some gorgeous shots of the scenery where the movie was filmed. Also, Paula Garces (Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle) looks effervescent as the love interest of the protagonist, played here by Ryan Merriman. The preview isn’t quite good enough to get me excited about the film, but it does do an okay job of at least getting me interested.
7) House of Flying Daggers
I have to say, I’m pretty disappointed in this trailer. I’m eagerly anticipating this film, but the preview just doesn’t do a thing to set the film apart from any of the other films from the same genre. At this point, it looks like little more than a rehash of Hero or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Though glowing reviews tell me this probably isn’t the case, the trailer isn’t going to be convincing a general movie-going audience differently.
Here’s the thing. I most emphatically do not love Raymond, so starting a trailer by showing him probably means I’ve turned on it from the get go. They do appease me just a little bit by having Hank Azaria and Zooey Deschanel in the cast, but by the time I see Ray, it’s just too late. Regardless, Eulogy looks like a scattershot comedy about a family that gets together for the funeral of their patriarch. As families are wont to do, they argue, bicker and generally loathe each other. The film doesn’t look particularly funny, and given the fact that it’s been pushed back numerous times, probably isn’t.
9) Dust to Glory
Oh, boy. A documentary about dirt racing in Baja, Mexico. While I am always up for documentaries (they’re quickly becoming a genre unto themselves, and one I really enjoy), this one just doesn’t appeal to me at all. I do think that the people who created the preview made a bad decision to highlight the various people who appear in the film name by name. It goes on too long and it’s not likely that the majority of viewers will have much familiarity with who they are. I sure don’t, other than Mario Andretti.