Zach Kolkin's Trailer Hitch
For December 11th

C'mon, let me get that quarter out from behind your ear.

7. The Guru

Well, this looks.interesting. The story apparently is that an Indian man comes to the United States hoping to strike it rich and become a movie star. His dream seems hopeless, until one day he gets a job as a spiritual guru of sorts at a party. He becomes a huge hit, and of course, the trailer assures us that there are many funny moments along the way. It's a pretty good sign that there's something wrong when the funniest thing you can come up with is one that completely relies on another comedy (i.e., the Simpsons joke in this spot). On the whole, I was extremely unimpressed by this preview. Heather Graham seemed horribly out of place (although, then again, when doesn't she seem like that?), and other than that one Apu line, the two minutes were humor- free. This is clearly something of a problem for a film that seems to be trying to market itself as a cute little comedy.

6. Gods and Generals

In many ways, war movies are romantic comedies for guys. You always know what you're getting into when you go see a war movie, you can always expect to be reasonably entertained, and there's always the possibility that a war movie will turn out to be a classic that you'll watch over and over again. Gods and Generals looks somewhere on the more typical side of war movies- it will probably be pretty good, and certainly entertaining, but it's no Saving Private Ryan. The trailer certainly has the requisite amount of dramatic music and over-the-top voiceovers, but I just didn't get the feeling that this was going to be a great movie. Part of this might have been the cast (Jeff Daniels just doesn't belong in a war movie), but beyond that, it has the feeling of a story that has been done before, and probably better (think Glory or Gettysburg). Nevertheless, though, I'm sure Gods and Generals will serve as good entertainment for any guy who just can't get enough of historical war movies.

5. Movern Callar

Samantha Morton (barely recognizable with all her hair after her role as Agatha in Minority Report) stars here as the title character who, after her boyfriend commits suicide, steals the novel he was writing, publishes it as her own, and takes off for a far more exotic locale than her home in Scotland. The movie certainly looks interesting, as it centers on a woman's unique reaction to a tragedy that is quite often dealt with in vastly different ways. I liked the way the preview made the title character's odd name almost into a joke, with her having to spell it over the phone (and to the audience as well). Though overall I did like this spot very much, and appreciated its attempts at subtlety, I felt it could have benefited from a little less disjointedness. Nevertheless, this is certainly an intriguing film to watch for in the next month.

4. Two Weeks Notice

A longer version of the trailer I reviewed last week, this promo for Two Weeks Notice again follows the tried-and-true romantic comedy marketing formula. There's a little physical comedy, some bickering between the two leads, a bunch of romantic situations, a dash of jealousy, and a whole lot of Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant. In my opinion, the ads for this movie are actually quite good, and do a very good job of targeting the right audience. The jokes are funny, there are plenty of pretty faces, and of course we all know how the film will end before we even step into the theater. The movie's ads are most definitely boosting the film's already huge potential.

3. Laurel Canyon

Another intriguing film previewed this week was Laurel Canyon, a story predominantly about sex and sexuality. The premise is that a man (played by Christian Bale) brings his girlfriend (Kate Beckinsdale) home to meet his rock star groupie-esque mother (Frances McDormand), only to have the girlfriend become interested in the mom's wild ways. Bale also finds himself becoming interested in a new woman, and things go from there. Obviously this is a film that is adult in nature, and it is advertised as such. The preview does not leave any doubt about the movie's subject matter, a choice which will probably have the effect of interesting a good deal more people than the movie might have otherwise. Movies that explore sexually-related topics without crossing the line into gratuitousness are few and far between, but Laurel Canyon looks like it has the chance to do just that.

2. Gerry

Here's a trailer that seems to break all the rules- no voiceover, no plot summary, extremely long shots, and virtually no dialogue. For a film like Gerry, though, this was really the only way it could possibly be marketed. The movie itself has only two characters (both named Gerry), and almost no dialogue between them. Obviously, this is not the type of film that is likely to appeal to your average moviegoer who is just looking for a good time. Consequently, Gerry is not marketed as such. Instead, the ad spends its time much as one expects the movie will- slowly, gently presenting a situation and spending most of its time with beautiful panoramic shots of nature. Clearly this movie will only interest a very small number of people, but for those who are intrigued, it looks like they are in for a treat.

1. Identity

Wow. Talk about a teaser. This is an excellent trailer that is sure to have audiences talking everywhere up until the film is released. Boasting a fantastic ensemble cast, Identity looks to be a suspense thriller about a group of people who all share some mysterious connection and not-so- coincidentally all end up trapped in a motel. From that point on, stranger and stranger things begin to happen to them, but what they are we can only guess - the preview only hints at what might be in store for them. I thought John Cusack looked great in the Verbal Kint-like role he seems to have here. Beyond Cusack though, there did seem to be an overall Usual Suspects-like tone here, and that certainly isn't a bad thing, as that film was one of the best of the past ten years in many people's opinions. There is always a fine line between revealing enough of the plot so as to get people interested and revealing too much so that they feel like they've already seen the movie, and luckily for us Identity does a great job of balancing right on that line. I for one cannot wait to see this movie.

     


 
 

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