Trailer Hitch for May 10, 2003

By David Mumpower

A wife swapper in action.

7. Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever is another in the recent line of low budget, unknown cast horror flicks. In point of fact, it's not hyperbole to say that this might be the most nameless cast of a potential wide release in 2003. If you don't know who Rider Strong is, you don't know anyone in this slasher. As such, the marketing involves a lot of scary text, voiceovers and fades to black along with quick edits of various endangered sexy teens. Movie trailers don't come any more generic like this. It's one of the worst in recent memory.

6. Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over

Since I am about 20 years too old to be the target audience for this film and most of the people reading this are as well, we might as well have some fun with it. First off, say what you will about the franchise, between From Dusk Till Dawn and Desperado, we know that Robert Rodriguez can make a great action flick. Spy Kids 3-D makes me feel conflicted about the casting. On the one hand, it has Ricardo Montalban, a man who doesn't work anywhere near enough. On the other hand, it has Sylvester Stallone, who probably should have retired after Cop Land, but has been kicked around so much after disasters like D-Tox and Get Carter that he's not even fun to kick around now. With the x-factor being ever-charming Salma Hayek, the tie goes to the runner so we'll give Rodriguez the benefit of the doubt. The film at times looks remarkably like Tron and at other moments painfully similar to a long forgotten Fred Savage movie called The Wizard. This probably sends off danger alarms at the studio in Rodriguez's basement but the shameful confession here is that I saw The Wizard in theaters. Moving along...the 3-D aspect does nothing for me and this looks to be an even campier flick than the last two but I'm sure it will be highly profitable and makes a lot of kids smile so more power to the director on making his pet project so successful.

5. Washington Heights

The clip focuses on the struggles faced by a young artist growing up in the melting pot of New York City. After his father is shot, the man must run the family store and thereby put his dream on the backburner. While I like what I have seen of the Carlos character and have heard nothing but good things about the actual movie (which is being received rather well at film festivals), I must admit that the trailer largely left me cold. There isn't much about the story presented that feels unique or engaging to me.

4. The Last Minute

Hollywood is into the underground scene right now. Dark, dank tunnels are where it's at in this age of Meth Lab Chic, and this film is squarely aimed at the nihilist niche. There are over 120 cuts in this 120 second clip (BOP counts them so that you don't have to!), meaning that you get one more than one shot a second. This makes it virtually impossible to pick up on anything specific involving the film other than its existential examination of the seemy underbelly of this culture. From the cynical intro about the shortness of life to the time altering cuts of varying pace and tone throughout the spot, the point is clear that The Last Minute wants to market itself as a compound of Pulp Fiction and either Trainspotting or Requiem for a Dream. Whether or not that's a good thing is entirely up to you but I am much more intrigued by the title after seeing the footage.

3. Rugrats Go Wild!

I don't mean to paint anyone into an emotional corner here but if you don't like the Rugrats, especially Tommy, you're dead inside. Long a dominant staple of the cable Nielsen ratings, the franchise has had two successful outings in theaters so the return is met with some anticipation along with a "I hope it's not getting stale" fear. To address this concern and hopefully re-invigorate the would-be Wild Thornberrys movie franchise after a mediocre debut, the powers that be at Nickelodeon have unified the two cartoons in this adventure. The trailer cleverly shows how this unlikely turn of events comes to be while also offering a marvelous series of movie send-ups including Titanic, Taxi Driver and the particularly well done The Perfect Storm. It also shows the other benefit of introducing the Rugrats clan to the Thornberrys, the ability to stunt cast the Rugrats dog since he will be able to talk to Eliza Thornberry, the young Dr. Dolittle of the animated set. In this manner, Bruce Willis is able to go back to the glory days (?) of Look Who's Talking. Clever, no? The trailer is just as warm and tender as you would expect anything involving the Rugrats to be.

2. Godsend

The other Lions Gate horror flick released this week is Godsend, a clone wars spin on the Pet Cemetary theme. A happy couple (Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romijin-Stamos) have an idyllic existence with their beloved son, Adam, before tragedy strikes and he is killed. Enter the sinister Robert Deniro, looking as insidiously evil as he did back in the glory days of Angel Heart. This scientist wants to be their Dr. Frankenstein and re-create Adam, but as expected, he comes back a touch monstrous. This trailer is very effective in describing the characters, the moral ambiguity they face and the fallout from their heinous choice. With a story this good, the key is to simply present all the information to the audience, and Godsend succeeds perfectly in this capacity.

1. The Hard Word

Guy Pearce is back as a hood named Dale and he has brought his accent this time. This clip presents us with a No Honor Among Thieves scenario where a couple and few other undergrounders are looking to pull off a heist. It features one of the best lines from a trailer in recent memory, "The object of this exercise is to be rich; we do not want to be famous." The ad plays up the machinations of Dale's wife, Carol (Rachel Griffiths), and her not-so-subtle attempts to play her husband and her boss against each other for her maximum positioning. In just a few seconds, we see that she is in it for herself and that entropic presence makes the film exponentially more interesting for me.



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