Trailer Hitch

By Michael Bentley

February 22, 2007

One of them could do better. We'll leave it to you to guess which one.

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In this edition of Trailer Hitch, we take a closer look at the movie previews for a variety of 2007 releases, including a ghost story starring John Cusack, a painful comedy starring Larry the Cable Guy, and a romantic comedy from Chris Rock.

1408

Based on a story by Stephen King, John Cusack stars as a man who basically becomes a ghost hunter after his daughter's death. But he has never actually seen one and is about ready to give up until he learns about room 1408 in an old New York City hotel. Every hotel has a ghost story you say? Well room 1408 has had more than 50 deaths in its history, and no one has lasted in the room more than one hour. The trailer works very well to set up the story, with several quick jumps and scares. It has the potential to be a very solid horror movie. With Cusack already a BOP-favorite, throw in Samuel L. Jackson as the hotel manager and I am very interested. A-

Across the Universe

A hippie love story set in the '60s amidst campus protests? Hmm. Doesn't sound very original ... or exciting. But then the second half of the trailer for Across the Universe kicks in. It is very ambiguous about its actual plot, but appears to be a trippy, hippie love story musical. I'm not sure this unusual looking film will appeal to all that many people, but if nothing else it sounds like it will have some pretty groovy music. C+

Delta Farce

The first few seconds of the trailer for Delta Farce start out like one of those lame military recruiting commercials. And then the Police Academy-style hijinks begin. DJ Qualls and Larry the Cable Guy star as a couple moronic doofuses in the Army. They are sent off to Irack - or so they think. Don't ask and don't tell why, but their unit has actually invaded Mexico! Keith David even shows up, playing the role of the Louis Gossett Jr. sergeant. As with many lowbrow comedies, it'll likely walk a very line between haters and those who like it but ...Dios mios! D+

Disturbia

"The quieter the street... the darker the secrets." This teen suspense movie might look pretty good if it weren't a total ripoff of Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece Rear Window. Shia LaBeouf stars as a young man who likes to spy on people out his bedroom window using a pair of binoculars. There is a bad man across the street, though. Blood. Someone goes missing. Scary music. Disturbia won't be winning any screenwriting awards anytime soon. C




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I Think I Love My Wife

Who would ever have thought that comedian Chris Rock would one day be directing well-grounded and mature romantic comedies? Well, I've only seen the trailer but I Think I Love My Wife looks like it could be a pretty solid and smart movie. Rock also stars in this, as a married man with two kids who is beginning to look elsewhere to spice up his sex life. There are some very funny lines here. "My face hurts." "It's not your birthday." Who knows how the finished product will actually be, but this has a lot of potential. A very good preview and the choice for Trailer of the Week. A

Knocked Up

From the director of The 40 Year-Old Virgin (Judd Apatow) comes Knocked Up, a comedy about a man (Seth Rogen) and a woman (Katherine Heigl) who have a one-night stand and soon find themselves having a baby together. It could very well have fallen into the trap of looking like any other interchangeable romantic comedy, but a couple things help it to stand out. One is the music, including "Relax" from Frankie Goes to Hollywood and "End of the Line" from the Traveling Wilburys. Second are several funny clips from the film. My favorite is when Heigl's character and her friend discuss how Rogen's character is funny, as they watch him. But the friend deadpans "he's playing fetch with my kids - he's treating my kids like their dogs." That said, the trailer perhaps gives a little too much away and it's pretty easy to figure out what happens. B

Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew moves to a new town, but of course wherever ever Nancy Drew "goes mystery always follows." This comedy/adventure is clearly aimed at the teen/preteen crowd with its focus on fashion and trying to fit in. The trailer only dances around the whole mystery and junior detective angle, though, which I certainly would have preferred more of. A little more Spy Kids, a little less generic Nickelodeon. C

Penelope

Penelope is a very quirky, adult and modern take on the Beauty and the Beast tale. Christina Ricci is a woman who has been hidden away and sheltered by her mom (Catherine O'Hara) all her life because - wait for it - she was born with a pig-face. James McAvoy (who was so great and mistakenly dissed by most awards group this year in The Last King of Scotland) plays a potential suitor of the misfigured woman. Other familiar faces include Reese Witherspoon and Peter Dinklage. With just the right small doses of humor, fun, and drama the trailer for Penelope does exactly what it was supposed to do. I can already make a pretty good guess on how it ends, but the movie is now on my radar. B+


     


 
 

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