Trailer Hitch for June 5, 2003

By Zach Kolkin

The Blues Brothers ain't got nothin' on us.

11. Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd

Please, just make it go away.


10. 2 Fast 2 Furious

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.

9. Seabiscuit

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.

8. Radio

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.

7. The Order

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.

6. Brother Bear

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.

5. Out of Time

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 outstanding performance.

4. Elf

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.

3. The Incredibles

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.

2. Mystic River

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.

1. Matchstick Men

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 excited.



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