Trailer Hitch

By Zach Kolkin

June 13, 2005

It was all happy until the 'fur is murder' people showed up.

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Welcome to Trailer Hitch, your weekly look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. We’ve got a great group of clips to review this week, including some highly intriguing indie flicks, one highly-anticipated Holiday 2005 release, and one not-so-highly-anticipated release for Fall 2006 (yes, that’s a 6).

Who ever thought this was a good idea for a movie?

Supercross


I can’t tell you how much I was expecting to see a “From the producers of The Fast and the Furious” tagline somewhere in this trailer. Alas, Supercross can’t claim a pedigree as impressive as that. Nevertheless, it’s clear that the movie is modeled after such teenage male-targeted fare. Presumably, the studio is hoping that all the loud noises, shiny motorcycles, and superfluous cleavage shots will distract young men from noticing the fact that the film appears, even by Hollywood standards, to be absurdly clichéd. I’m somewhat surprised to see that Supercross is rated PG, actually: I’d imagine it would be much more appealing to its target audience were it rated PG-13. If I were a betting man, I’d put the over/under on time between this film’s theatrical release and its DVD release at about 90 days.

Can you ever just be, like, whelmed?

Open Season


Until this clip, the only preview I had seen for a 2006 release was the teaser for The Da Vinci Code. With a huge blockbuster like that, it makes sense to get the word out way in advance. Still, even the earliest teaser, without a second of actual film footage, came out less than 12 months before the movie’s scheduled release date. It’s a bit odd, then, that this first trailer for Open Season, a picture from Sony Animation that feels nothing like a potential box-office monster, comes a whopping 15 months before the movie is scheduled to be released. It would be one thing if this was the most side-splittingly funny two minutes I’d ever seen; however, it clearly is not. While the concept is good for a chuckle (forest animals getting their revenge on dumb redneck hunters is pretty funny), the film looks extremely derivative Is it a steadfast rule, for example, that every CGI film must have at least one character talking with a Scottish brogue? Even the idea of the two animals talking to each other (and the audience) at the end of the preview is lifted from 2003’s Brother Bear. As with so many computer-animated films these days, it seems that Sony is trying hard here to sell the sizzle, rather than the steak.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

With such an impressive cast (not to mention source material - the film is based on a novel by Thornton Wilder), one would think that a movie like The Bridge of San Luis Rey would be easy to sell. Judging from this trailer, however, that is not the case. The preview is quite muddled, and it was extremely difficult to discern what exactly the film is about. There’s a lot of impassioned yelling and emotive instrumental music, but, unfortunately for the viewer, very little exposition. Perhaps if this was a better-known novel, such vagueness would be more understandable; that is not the case, however, and consequently I imagine most people will simply be left scratching their heads, as I was. Still, the film does feature a talented group of actors, including Robert De Niro, F. Murray Abraham, and Kathy Bates, and thus I would be remiss to dismiss the film simply on the basis of this rather mediocre preview.

OK, I'm intrigued

Four Brothers


For what could turn out to be a pretty standard action thriller, this is definitely a great trailer. The film actually seems somewhat similar in tone and content to Mystic River, although obviously the cast of Four Brothers is not nearly as high profile. The spot does a nice job of teasing the viewer with just enough of the plot’s mystery to pique one’s interest without giving too much away. Although the acting performances look good here, one has to wonder, given the fact that the cast includes two underwear models and a rap star. Still, there are certainly no egregious moments in the clip that take one out of the story; even the potentially eye-rolling “What makes a brother?” theme highlighted here doesn’t seem overly sentimental or out of place. With its talented director, intriguing cast, and well-produced trailer, Four Brothers has definitely grabbed a spot on my list of anticipated summer releases.

I'm already counting down the days

Murderball


Admittedly, we can be pretty cynical here at BOP. However, I’d be lying if I said that I was at all skeptical about the sincerity of the glowing reviews trumpeted in this ad. Indeed, after seeing this trailer, it’s hard to imagine how Murderball could be anything but the “inspirational crowd pleaser” Stephen Holden says it is (and I’m pretty sure he meant that in a good way). The subject of the documentary – the sport of wheelchair rugby, AKA “murderball’, and its fascinating participants – is so compelling that one cannot help but be immediately drawn to it. The trailer itself does a fantastic job of introducing us to the film quickly and efficiently, and again, with such great material, that’s really all it needs to do to get audiences interested. The surge in popularity of documentaries in recent years has allowed some great pictures to find a large audience; one can only hope that Murderball is able to continue that trend.

My Summer of Love

Without any voiceover or expository taglines, this trailer for the British film My Summer of Love manages to clearly set up the movie’s infinitely intriguing love-triangle plot in a way that should make the creators of the large majority of Hollywood’s previews feel ashamed of themselves. After watching these two minutes, the viewer undoubtedly possesses not only a grasp of the basic framework of the storyline, but also a sufficiently piqued curiosity as to what will transpire between the film’s three main characters. The performances from Nathalie Press, Emily Blunt, and Paddy Considine all look fantastic, and it’s easy to believe that this was the BAFTA winner for Best British Film last year. While I don’t expect My Summer of Love to find a great deal of mainstream appeal, it does look like a terrific little film and I certainly hope it finds a relatively sizeable audience in its release later this month.

Rent (Trailer of the Week)

The 2005 Holiday movie season will, interestingly enough, feature two big-time Broadway musicals: the screen-to-stage-to-screen adaptation of The Producers, opening December 23rd, and this long-awaited film version of the venerable '90s musical Rent, opening in mid-November. If this trailer is any indication, the latter adaptation is going to set the bar extremely high. The preview features one of the most famous songs from the musical, Seasons of Love, and highlights many of the film’s actors, including Rosario Dawson and Taye Diggs, as well as original Broadway cast members such as Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp. The clip also pays dutiful homage to the movie’s theatrical roots, at several points showing the cast singing on stage. Given the play’s broad mainstream appeal, it’s likely that many viewers will recognize the trailer immediately upon hearing the featured song, and then proceed to recognize their favorite character in the footage that follows. Fans of Rent will undoubtedly be thrilled to see this trailer, and I imagine even those who have yet to see the musical will, after viewing this ad, find themselves interested in seeing what all the fuss is about. Given the long-simmering anticipation surrounding this film and the wonderful simplicity of the preview itself, it should come as no surprise that this is our Trailer of the Week.


     


 
 

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