Now that we’re past Harry Potter, there really isn’t that much to look forward to in the summer movie season. I’d walk on my hands on a tightrope over the Grand Canyon before I saw Funny People, I have zero expectations for GI Joe and the negative Cannes buzz on Inglorious Basterds has soured me.
So let’s start looking ahead to the fall movie season, Hollywood’s second-favorite time to release a movie. Although this year, it looks like a dumping ground for movies that weren’t quite good enough to make the cut for summer. Which is a problem to start with, since this year’s crop of summer movies looks like they weren’t quite good enough to make the cut for last summer’s movies. Whether this is all strike-related or not, we don’t know, it just doesn’t look like a good year for movies overall.
We might try to do part 2 of this next week after movies like Wolfman (Nov. 6) and Avatar (Dec. 18) get their debuts at Comic-con this weekend.
Shutter Island (Oct. 2): I don’t know. I just can’t wrap my head around a Martin Scorcese psychological thriller. It sounds like a bad SNL skit. And there is nothing in the trailer to distinguish it from any other looney bin thriller. Really, why would we think it’s any better than the p00pfest known as Gothika? Because Leonardo DiCaprio is in it? I don’t trust him that much. Or maybe you haven’t seen Body of Lies? GRADE: C
Couples Retreat (Oct. 9): So maybe Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau should just separate at this point. Maybe Favreau should just stick to directing Iron Man sequels and Vaughn should stick to the Frat Pack. Counting Rudy, this is their fifth time together, and nothing has even come close to Swingers. It looks like this is Trent and Mikey 15 years later coming to grips with their lost bachelorhood. And it doesn’t look funny. GRADE: C
Whip It (Oct. 9): Let’s start questioning the career path of Ellen Page, shall we? X-Men 3, good. Juno, awesome. Smart People, ick. Now Whip It? Another fish out of water flick with Juno trying to find her way with, of all things, a roller derby team? Questionable. It basically looks like a timid Juno sans the baby bump trying to take up sports. Are we going to get a good trailer for the fall here or what? GRADE: C+
Where the Wild Things Are (Oct. 16): I’ve already gone over this in great detail about how I don’t really think this is an effective trailer (March 26 in the archives). I watched it again, and I’m sticking by that. I’m down with the whole adventure/imagination theme, but I’m not quite sure how it relates, if at all, to the source material. There’s no way it could since it’s impossible to extrapolate a two-hour movie from a 20 page picture book, but It just doesn’t have the same feel the book did. Or maybe I’m just in a bad mood and am giving all these trailers bad grades because the Phillies broke their winning streak yesterday. Who knows. GRADE: C
The Road (Oct. 16): This is the third different release date for the apocalyptic thriller based on the Cormac McCarthy novel. It’s easy to see why it’s been pushed back twice — it looks like a movie suffering from identity crisis. Is it a drama? Action flick? Love story? Zombie movie? It almost looks like a more intense, less campy version of I Am Legend. What’s here is pretty effective, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the studio has no clue about how to market it and it flops. GRADE: B-
2012 (Nov. 13): Art? Creative freedom? Who needs it! Director Roland Emmerich apparently doesn’t. He’s just fine in his comfort zone of making the world end and blowing up worldwide treasures. He’s already annihilated the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, the White House and now he’s moving on to the Vatican. So if I’ve seen it all before — three times, no less — then why am I finding myself interested in his newest version of making the world end? The studio was right to vacate its original release date of two weeks ago so that it didn’t get lost between Tranny 2 and Harry Potter. GRADE: B+
New Moon (Nov. 20): See, the whole Twilight thing to me just looks like a backwoods ripoff of the Buffy and Angel relationship through the first three years of the TV show. So now we’re introducing werewolves into the mix too, that’s great. I know it’s going to be a phenomenon, I know people like my 37-year-old cousin will have Twilight parties to go see it with people even older than her and I’ll roll my eyes, but I like good movies. Neither Twilight nor New Moon seemed like a good movie from the trailer. It looks pretty lazy and weak, actually. GRADE: D
Nine (Nov. 25): OK, I get it. There’s big musical numbers and hot chicks in lingerie. Dually noted. Now, can you please give me some kind of idea as to what the story is all about? As far as I can gather, Daniel Day Lewis is some kind of sleazebag stage director who’s fooling around with Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cottilard, Kate Hudson and maybe even Judie Dench. What a weird, weird visual. Normally you can say, “Hey, just watch the trailer, you’ll understand,” but I can’t recommend that in the slightest. Sometimes a mysterious trailer makes me want to see the movie. This is not one of those sometimes. GRADE: D
Sherlock Holmes (Dec. 25): Now we’re talkin’! Guns! Fights! Explosions! One-liners! Girls in their underwear! It’s everything a trailer should be. How come no one else could do this? I was on the fence about seeing this, but now I’m there and am officially looking forward to it. The career recreation of Robert Downey Jr. is one of the most remarkable things we’ve seen in Hollywood in years and not enough people are making a big enough deal about it. The man was the immortal Derek Lutz, then he was living in a gutter, now he’s Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes. Unbelievable. GRADE: A-
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