Trailer Hitch

By Kim Hollis

March 17, 2005

The gang gets a look at Michael Jackson, up close and personal.

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7) Into the Blue

Oh, God. Paul Walker is in this movie.

But it gets worse. Jessica Alba is his primary co-star and love interest. Although she's lovely to look at, the prospect of sitting through a film that involves "acting" by this pair is only marginally more exciting than sitting through repeated viewings of Alexander. The only thing this movie, which seems to center around undersea treasure hunters, has going for it is some really lush and gorgeous scenery.

6) Layer Cake

Despite the fact that I am intrigued by this caper film's indie-friendly cast, the trailer is not nearly as kinetic as I was expecting given that the director was also the producer of such films as Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Daniel Craig, most recently seen in the psychological thriller The Jacket, heads up the group, which is enough to get my attention since I consider him one of the better "unknown" actors out there. There are a couple of funny bits, but it just doesn't *feel* as special as those aforementioned films. Much of that is probably due to the fact that it's not actually Guy Ritchie at the helm but rather Matthew Vaughn, who recently signed to direct X-Men 3. I'm hoping for a better preview at some point in the near future.

5) Crash

David Haggis, who wrote the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby, is the writer and director on this indie project that feels reminiscent of both Mystic River and 21 Grams. Like those earlier films, Crash appears to center on a number of interconnecting plots and characters. The preview is attention grabbing, though, thanks to the remarkable cast. Don Cheadle, Brendan Fraser, Matt Dillon, Sandra Bullock, Thandie Newton, and the criminally underrated William Fichtner are all present, just to name a few. The film feels weighty and serious, qualities that are difficult to make appealing in a short trailer, but for the most part this film looks quite intriguing.

4) Look At Me

I'd been anticipating this French-language film from the time I first read about its performance at Cannes, and this trailer does serve to help serve that interest somewhat. For the most part, the clip relies on quick blurbs that note the critical acclaim the movie has had since its release overseas. The wry story of a girl who is clamoring for the positive attention of her famous father, the preview appeals by featuring a couple of darkly funny jabs that highlight the sort of satire this film is aiming toward. It's not the kind of movie that will appeal to a wide audience, but art house fans should be enticed.

3) Stealth

Oooooh! Shiny!

This action film from the director of The Fast and the Furious and xXx shares a lot in common with those predecessors in that it is loud, full of rapid cuts and hyperactive. The film is set in the world of military pilots and the first portion of the trailer is quite reminiscent of Top Gun with both music and aerial acrobatics. Our heroes, Jamie Foxx, Jessica Biel and that guy from Sweet Home Alabama, are all the best at flying the massively fast Stealth fighters and love what they do. Soon, the tone of the trailer changes, though. A self-reliant, automated Stealth plane is introduced, and although our heroes vociferously protest the wisdom of using such a machine in wartime, they are nonetheless assigned to patrol alongside it. In time, things go terribly wrong as the fighter plane becomes self-aware…and apparently evil. This movie should be huge.

2) Lords of Dogtown

What a pleasant surprise this trailer is. A movie about the emergence of skateboarding in 1970s Venice, California, the movie has a funky vibe and is sure to appeal to the younger demographic as well as enthusiasts of extreme sports. The four leads, Emile Hirsch (The Girl Next Door), Victor Rasuk (Raising Victor Vargas), John Robinson (Elephant) and Heath Ledger, make for a note-perfect cast who feel quite natural in their roles. The preview is accompanied by music from the time that the events portrayed took place, with the lone misstep being a switch to Green Day's Boulevard of Broken Dreams toward the end of the clip. While I love the song, it just isn't appropriate here. It's an engaging look at the film nonetheless.

1) Madagascar

I simply love the look of the animation in this film. Although it is CGI like almost every successful animated movie that rolls into cinemas these days, it has a more artistic feel, setting it apart from other generic-feeling stuff like Robots and Shark Tale. Additionally, the people who cut this trailer are fully aware of the huge appeal in the penguin characters, thereby choosing to start the trailer with some of their hilarious antics. Along with highlighting the penguins, we're also introduced to a tribe of lemurs, who make a New York Giants joke that absolutely kills. The primary voice cast - Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett-Smith - all are matched well with their characters, with Schwimmer in particular getting a great joke. Stiller's Alex the Lion is primarily relegated to pratfalls, of course, but that's okay. This movie should have no trouble drawing animation fans of all ages.



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