Trailer Hitch for June 5, 2003
By Zach Kolkin
Please, just make it go away.
This new preview for the worst-named film of the summer is just as
unexciting as its predecessors. The biggest problem is obviously the
lack of Vin Diesel. Paul Walker and Tyrese appear to have less charisma
combined than Vin Diesel's big toe. The car scenes in the sequel also
seem quite similar to those of the first movie; it would have been nice
to see something a little different and unique. From the start, this
film has seemed like a pale imitation of the original, and the previews
for the movie have not yet done anything to change that impression.
Coming straight out of the Cast Away school of trailer-making is this
latest preview for the feel-good flick Seabiscuit. Could we possibly
find out any more about this film's plotline in three minutes? Perhaps
the creators felt that since the movie is based on a true story,
it would not be a problem to give away too much of the film, since it's
all history anyway. However, this is not a story well-known to many,
and thus this preview, rather than enticing me to see the full-length
film, leaves me feeling like there's no point. Chris Cooper looks to be
the one high point in this cast, whose performances otherwise appear to
be rather dull and uninspired. For a movie with such potential, this
trailer is a big disappointment.
What is it about high-school football that makes it such a good setting
for heartwarming tearjerkers that are inevitably based on a true story?
Radio follows in the footsteps of such films as Remember the Titans,
casting Cuba Gooding, Jr. as a young mentally-retarded man who is given
an opportunity to play on the football team for his local high school.
I see this movie as nothing more than a load of over-sentimental hooey,
but judging by the huge popularity of earlier films in a similar vein
(again, Remember the Titans is the first thing to spring to mind),
apparently this kind of stuff is big with a lot of folks. With that in
mind, I would imagine that this preview will be quite effective, as it
does do an excellent job of selling its sentimentality.
Heath Ledger stars here in perhaps his first 'grown-up' role, as a
priest investigating a series of mysterious deaths that all seem to have
some sort of religious significance. Religion and the occult have
proven to be quite popular themes for suspense movies in the past few
years, and this film seems to carry on the torch of those movies.
Despite the overly ridiculous tagline and Ledger's Mulder-esque pose at
the end of the trailer, this movie actually looks surprisingly decent.
The mystery of the story is built up appropriately, and the preview
exudes darkness, both literal and figurative, with its visuals and
musical scoring. Though this film is surely not going to interest
everyone, I would imagine that it will get quite a good reaction playing
in front of the numerous horror films being released this summer.
Disney's latest traditionally-animated offering hits theaters this
November, featuring a story that feels a lot more like one of the
classic animated children's movies of decades gone by than many of their
more recent offerings. Whether or not this type of story will appeal to
today's audiences remains to be seen, although Disney appears to be
hedging their bets by adding some humor to the trailer in the form of
two moose with Canadian accents. Although this alone is enough to
elicit a chuckle or two, the banter between the two that closes the ad
is absolutely hysterical. One can only hope that the comic relief in
the actual movie is as good as this. One thing's for certain: whenever
I hear a voiceover that includes the phrase "If you see one movie this
year...", I'm always going to remember these two moose.
Denzel Washington's latest film, a suspenseful thriller in which he
plays a likeably-crooked cop who is framed for murder, is previewed with
surprising effectiveness here. Although the story is certainly not too
original, the trailer sets it up quite nicely, presenting the viewer
with just enough of the plot to whet his appetite, but certainly leaving
enough out to maintain the air of suspense. Washington looks extremely
good in his role, which, despite how it may look on paper, is quite
different from the character he played in Training Day. While I doubt
that this movie will receive the same sort of accolades as Washington's
Oscar-winner, it seems very likely that he will turn in a similarly
Although Will Ferrell's fame to this point has been based around
bathroom humor, if this preview is any indication, it would appear that
the comedian has a pretty solid future in kids' movies. The trailer was
surprisingly funny, with gags like Ferrell's reaction to finding out he
isn't really one of Santa's elves that are sure to amuse moviegoers
everywhere. As with most holiday movies, the biggest selling point for
the film is obviously that it promises to be a fun time at the theater,
something which the ad seems to promote very well. Although it's a
little early for people to be getting excited for the holidays already,
I expect that this spot will get quite a good reaction a little bit
later in the summer.
Do we really have to wait another 17 months for this one? Pixar's next
film tells the story of a family of would-be superheroes, and this very
early preview gives us a look at the presumed patriarch of the family,
Mr. Incredible. The teaser does a fantastic job of setting up the
film's mood in a short time span and limited frame of reference.
Although all we see is a long pan of a wall trumpeting the many feats of
Mr. Incredible, followed by his amusing efforts to fit into his
superhero suit, it is enough to assure us that the film will feature
more of the smart humor we have come to expect from Pixar's efforts.
Obviously we have an excruciatingly long time to wait for this movie to
be released, but at least the next year-and-a-half will be marked by
several more excellent previews for this movie.
This ad is a fantastic example of how to effectively use simplicity to
sell a film. Clint Eastwood does a perfect job on the voiceover, saying
his lines with just the right amount of mystery to really make you
listen to what he's saying instead of just tuning it out. The camera
shot, zooming in on a little house by the river, is also quite
intriguing (not to mention beautiful). The film's outstanding cast
speaks for itself, which is exactly what the trailer does by simply
presenting each actor's name onscreen without special effects or even
fancy script. That the preview manages to create so much mystery with
so little actual content is quite an impressive feat, and it certainly
has made me a good deal more interested in this film.
Fresh off his fantastic double performance in Adaptation, Nicolas Cage
looks to have hit it big again here with this quirky film about two con
men and how their lives change when the long-lost daughter of one of the
crooks (played by Cage) comes back into his life. There is a whole lot
in this trailer to get excited about, but the acting performances of the
three main characters (Cage, Sam Rockwell, and Alison Lohman) look
perhaps the most fantastic. The darkly funny tone of the film appears
absolutely perfect as well. After seeing this trailer, Matchstick Men
has immediately become one of the few summer films about which I am very