Trailer Hitch

By Michael Bentley

January 30, 2007

Staff meetings can get so contentious sometimes.

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Welcome to Trailer Hitch, where Box Office Prophets takes a look at the latest movie previews to hit the Internet. This week we look at a wide variety of 2007 releases, including the next Will Ferrell and Bruce Willis movies, a bisexual romantic comedy, several thrillers and a horror movie.

Blades of Glory

He's parodied '70s-era TV newscasters and then NASCAR drivers, and now Will Ferrell is going after competitive figure skaters. In Blades of Glory he stars with Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) as former rivals who decide to team up to become the first male skating pair. Set against overused trailer music like the theme from The Natural and then Def Leppard's Pour Some Sugar on Me, there are a few ridiculously funny moments ("I see you still look like a 15-year-old girl, but not hot."). Unfortunately, Heder is looking more and more like a one-trick pony and I can't see this attracting anyone who isn't already a big fan of Ferrell. C-

Gray Matters

One of this season's romantic comedy hopefuls is Gray Matters, a love story between two best friends (a brother and his sister) and the woman that they both love. Heather Graham (who would ever have thought that Rollergirl would one day be starring in romantic comedies?) and Tom Cavanagh (the guy from Ed) star as the siblings who are very close. One day the brother meets someone and they are soon engaged, but a drunken lesbian encounter throws a curveball into the story. "Just because you're totally gay and in love with my wife doesn't mean we can't work things out." Still reading? I thought so. This fun and quirky-looking movie could be a solid sleeper-hit with adults. B+

Live Free or Die Hard

The Die Hard franchise is perhaps second only to the Indiana Jones saga with regards to struggling to get a fourth film made. But, now it's no longer just a rumor and is definitely the real deal. The first trailer for Live Free or Die Hard - well, more of a teaser trailer - is out and John McClane is back and balder (and more emotionless) than ever. This is a damn fine trailer. It's short and reveals very little, though just enough to have us salivating in anticipation of July 4th. Very little is revealed about the plot, though it appears to take place in the nation's capital. There are explosions, a car chase, a helicopter, and plenty of gun shots. New cast member Justin Long's closing line "Why are you so calm - have you done this kind of stuff before?" seals the deal. It could very well suck, but I'm there. Trailer of the Week. A




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The Lookout

This crime thriller is from Scott Frank, the writer of such films as Out of Sight and Get Shorty, in his directing debut. Joseph Gordon Levitt stars as a young man with a mental disability that leaves him with memory issues. He takes a job at a bank as a janitor and apparently manages to get involved with a heist. The trailer is edited with quick cuts and standard creepy thriller music. Jeff Bridges also stars. It looks interesting enough I guess, but it doesn't seem terribly original and nothing really stands out enough to make me eager to see it. B-

The Reaping

The newest entry into the religious horror genre is The Reaping, featuring a blonde Hilary Swank. She stars as a woman investigating a small town beset by what appears to be Old Testament-type plagues (Water into blood! Frogs! Darkness!). She is there to prove that what has been occurring have scientific bases (kind of like Scully from the X-Files). In an era that is pretty much saturated with horror movies and it is hard to tell some of them apart, I definitely got an Exorcist: Part XII vibe from it at first. But the supernatural and rather creepy images in this trailer give hope that it might be able to stand out. Maybe. B

Shooter

Mark Wahlberg, fresh off his recent Oscar nomination for The Departed, stars in Shooter (though this isn't mentioned in the trailer, as it was obviously made before the nominations were announced). He is a sharp-shooter who is recruited to help stop a planned assassination on the president. Unfortunately for him, it appears to be a setup and he soon finds himself on the run, while also trying to find the real bad guys (very much like The Fugitive). The trailer suffers from the syndrome of showing too much though and really leaves little to the imagination as far as what actually happens in the movie. That said, they push the "from the director of Training Day" (Antoine Fuqua) angle hard here, obviously hoping to interest fans of the Denzel Washington flick. And with plenty of action and suspense, like Training Day, it looks like it will also deliver as a solid popcorn getaway. B-

Sunshine

No time is wasted setting things up. "Our sun is dying. Mankind faces extinction" Cillian Murphy says in a voiceover. From the director of Trainspotting and 28 Days Later (that would be Danny Boyle, for those not in the know), Sunshine is a sci-fi adventure-thriller about a team of men sent to try to reignite the Sun before it is too late. Pretty much the entire trailer is a quick montage of shots from the film. Some of them look downright incredible, with all the makings of being a big blockbuster. It loses major points though by using what has become the most unoriginal and cliched music possible in a movie trailer: the chilling theme music from Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream (from the Kronos Quartet). I mean, if they can't come up with something else that conveys the message just as well, then it gives me some pause and small doubts about the quality of the actual movie. The plot walks dangerously close to the absurd line that was crossed by other space films like Armageddon. Even so, Sunshine has shot quickly up my list of must-see movies. And, after all, that awareness is exactly what a trailer is supposed to do. B


     


 
 

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