Trailer Hitch

By Michael Bentley

April 5, 2007

This isn't anywhere near as scary as Miranda Priestly.

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Welcome to another edition of Trailer Hitch, where we take a closer look at some recent movie trailers. This week's previews include a John Cusack drama, a Fast and the Furious clone, a zombie sequel, and a ghost movie. Interestingly, in the flip side of last column's solid lineup, we have a fairly lackluster bunch this time around.

Martian Child

BOP favorite John Cusack is a writer who takes an interest in an unusual boy who spends much of his time hiding in a box. Even stranger is the fact that the boy thinks he's from Mars. He ends up bringing the boy into his home and adopting him and we are shown several brief scenes of the silliness that ensues, such as the kid putting soda into a hotdog bun. Eh. Martian Child just doesn't look terribly interesting. I'm sure it's a heart-warming story where everyone will cry in the end, but something doesn't quite click. It seems too adult for children, but yet too childish for most adults (and not in an Adam Sandler-sort of way). If it weren't for Cusack's presence (and his sister Joan) I wouldn't give this a second thought. D+


You might have heard of Redline recently. The movie was in the news because star Eddie Griffin totaled a very rare and expensive Ferrari Enzo (a car owned by one of the producers) during promotions for the film. Set in the world of illegal street racing, Redline will no doubt make people think of the successful Fast and the Furious franchise. In fact, Redline was the working title of the original Fast and the Furious. As you might expect, the trailer shows a lot of quick cut racing, pretty ladies, an explosion, your standard voiceover and little dialogue. Some of it looks like cheeky fun, such as one of the drivers speeding by a parked police car at night. The cop's radar indicates that the driver was going 205 miles per hour; obviously thinking the device is faulty, the officer smacks the radar. Could provide some popcorny goodness, but otherwise nothing you haven't seen before. C+

The TV Set

The TV Set looks like the sort of comedy that I typically enjoy - smart and cynical. David Duchovny (who is graaaadually shaking his image as Fox Mulder from The X-Files) plays a TV writer who has an original idea for a show and then goes through the mind-numbing process of bringing the show to air. He must deal with a variety of folks who seem to be at odds with him, including network executives, actors and production assistants. Some of the lines have great potential. When there is a discussion about a character's suicide, Duchovny reminds everyone that it "has always been kind of the premise for everything that happens." "What if it weren't?" Sigourney Weaver, as an exec, quickly responds in deadpan fashion. Overall, the trailer is rather poorly paced, though, and it even returns back to the suicide concerns a few moments later. It's certainly not a high-budget affair, but the story has potential. I'll be keeping an eye on this. The movie is set for a limited release later this week. B-


28 Weeks Later

This is the sequel to the acclaimed 28 Days Later, Danny Boyle's acclaimed zombiefest that brought us Cillian Murphy. Both are gone now, though, and things don't seem as fresh. There really isn't a whole lot to say, other than that this looks it would be straight-to-video if it weren't the sequel to a relatively popular movie. C-


Keri Russell (Felicity) stars as an unhappy, married pregnant waitress in a small Southern town. She thinks about opening up her own pie shop, and begins to fall for her doctor (Serenity's Nathan Fillion ). Sound quirky? Yes, and it sure looks like it - but in a good way. She comes up with possible names for her pies, such as "Pregnant, Miserable, Self-Pitying Loser Pie... Flambe of course." She gets advice from all sorts of friends and townspeople. And she tries to fend off the doctor, as he invites her out for coffee. "I can't have coffee! It's on the bad food list you gave me. What kind of doctor are you?" This looks like it could be a very good rom-com, though I do wonder how other audiences will react to the quirkiness of the trailer. B+

Wind Chill

The spring and summer movie season isn't typically the time of year when studios unleash their "horror" pictures, but later this month Sony is releasing Wind Chill. Emily Blunt, who made waves with her fine performance in The Devil Wears Prada , plays a college student heading home for break who finds a ride with a fellow student who she doesn't know. In a snowstorm, the car crashes and the pair becomes stranded. The scares soon happen when they realize that the road is plagued with ghosts of others who died there. This is by far the best Trailer of the Week. The editing is swift and helped along by music that does a good job of maintaining your attention. But unlike many other horror movies, it is seemingly able to give us a preview to whet our appetite, without providing a road map for the entire plot. The director (Gregory Jacobs) is mostly an unknown, which is the x-factor, but if the final result is as good as this trailer than Sony made a wise choice. A

Year of the Dog

A woman's (Molly Shannon) dog dies and in her grief she is forced to figure some things out in her life and try to get back on track. I don't know how much of the movie is actually like this, but much of the trailer uses very personal, up-close shots; almost in a pseudo interview-style format. Looks like it may be a good date movie, though I'm not sold on Shannon in the lead role, which is definitely a concern. It is from Mike White, the writer of such diverse films as Chuck and Buck, School of Rock and The Good Girl. The rest of the cast is quite solid including John C. Reilly, Laura Dern, Regina King, and Peter Sarsgaard. C+



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