put on your wife-beater and enter the trailer park

The only good part about January in the movie world is that it’s our first chance to start delving into the world of summer movie trailers which have started releasing over the last couple weeks.

The Super Bowl is just two weeks away when we’ll get a couple more, but until then, here are some of the newest trailers you can find for summer movies — and let’s hope they won’t be the last of their kinds, because some of them just aren’t that good:

Iron Man 2 (May 7): There is an upside to resting on your laurels. If you give people the exact same thing in a sequel you know they already loved in the original, then you’re guaranteeing they’ll love the sequel. Or at least they won’t realize they watching the same movie, one or the other. Either way, you make money. That’s what trailers are for, to make sure you get your butt into that theater. So what if the IM2 trailer looks almost 100 percent exactly like the original IM trailer. Isn’t that a good thing? It’s just giving people what they want, right? For 17-year-olds who just want to see things blown up, it’s the best news in the world. But for me, it’s worrisome. It took me a couple weeks to see the original because I didn’t necessarily like the trailer. I was won over by a $5 ticket, a great story and Robert Downey Jr. at his absolute apex. But if director Jon Favreau was this lazy with the trailer, will he be this lazy with the movie? Will it permeate into Downey’s performance? These are the things I worry about whenever I hear AC/DC in a trailer. I can’t help it. GRADE: B

Robin Hood (May 14): It’s pretty simple — you either like Russell Scott or you don’t. so if you can buy him as a 1930s boxer, a famous warrior in ancient Rome or a schizophrenic mathematician, then you can probably dive right in and swallow whole his portrayal of history’s greatest outlaw. Why not, right? Didn’t we already find it utterly believable that Kevin Costner could be Robin Hood? Believing Crowe in the role is child’s play after that. That’s all you have to do to be sold on this movie, nothing else. So it doesn’t matter that you find out absolutely nothing from the trailer. Less than nothing. Is there a less than nothing? If there is, this is it. There’s a bunch of horses, an army storming a beach, a glimpse of Crowe blessing himself and a prolonged shot of Crowe aiming an arrow. Boo-ya! That’s your movie. So why do I actually think it’s cool? GRADE: C+

Shrek Forever After (May 21): Alternate universes! Fat cats! Mistaken identities! It’s Shrek 4! Apparently the final chapter of the Shrek book — believe it when I see it — Shrek is jettisoned into some alternate universe where no one knows who he is and Fiona is a wanted woman. Sounds like lazy storytelling to me. But, your kids will eat it up, I’m sure, and there will probably be just enough laughs to make you somewhat agreeable when you hear the inevitable, “Can we see it again? Can we see it again? Can we see it again?” GRADE: B

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (May 28): Jerry Bruckheimer is the devil. We can all agree on that, right? Good. But as much as I enjoy tearing him deservedly to shreds, the man knows how to make a trailer, he always has. It’s not too outlandish to say it’s his trailer for movies like Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop I and II revolutionized how we watch our previews and made it completely necessary to make it to your movie on time to watch them. There was no more, “Oh, we’ll only miss the previews” talk after his trailers made them must-see material. Prince of Persia is one of his weaker efforts, but it’s still effective. Maybe it’s because I can’t get past Jake Gyllenhaal’s English accent. GRADE: B-

Sex and the City 2 (May 28): Understatement of the year — I’m not in this movie’s target demographic. I’m a guy in my mid 30s who likes baseball, 24, thinks beer is fantastic and didn’t even have HBO at the start of last decade. That’s basically everything this movie isn’t, and that’s fine. But aren’t trailers at least supposed to try to get people to come to see your movie? As far as I can tell, there isn’t one thing in this movie for a man. At least in something like Bride Wars, they made the trailer somewhat funny so that a guy can say to himself, “Maybe I can tell my friends it was as funny as the trailer, then they won’t make fun of me.” But if I so much as hear a whisper that one of my friends went to see this movie, they will never, ever hear the end of it and they will forever be banned from my home at any time that I would be watching a sporting event. The again, for its female fans, this trailer is probably as addictive as crack. GRADE: C-

A-Team (June 11): Can’t … watch … any … more … will … soon … pass … out … whoops, watching the A-Team trailer made me start talking like in seizure-inducing, split-second fade-ins and outs that are nothing more than distractions from the fact that there isn’t much happening in this movie other than explosions and sex. That’s not a bad plan for this movie since it would seem this long-shelved movie project won’t have much going for it other than that. Case in point — the only discernable, understandable dialogue we get through this whole thing is Liam Neeson channeling George Peppard’s famous “I love it when a plan comes together” line. And where’s Jessica Biel? She’s one of the stars of this, and she’s nowhere to be found in this trailer, at least not recognizably. Usually, there’s a reason for that. It … makes … me … sick … that … this … is … even … getting … released. there I go again! On the bright side, the explosions are loud and Bradley Cooper as Face holds fantastic potential. GRADE: D

The Karate Kid (June 11): Forget just for a split second that this whole idea of remaking one the best 80s movies is complete and utter blasphemy. Forget that it holds up so well and is so kid friendly that you can show it to your kids without a problem more than 25 years later to indoctrinate them into what truly represented the ultimate in 80s wannabe status — BMX bikes, soccer, a packed house for the championship of a karate tournament and group Halloween costuming. Forget all that and judge the Karate Kid remake on what you see in this trailer. Jackie Chan beating up some teens — why didn’t it seem as weird when Mr. Miyagi did it? — Will Smith’s kid sounding just like his old man, karate training on the Great Wall of China and 12-year-old love triangles. Take all that and decide — is this something you want to see? Is it something you want to see with your kids? My answer on both counts is no, but be your own judge. GRADE: D

Toy Story 3 (June 18): And here is the complete opposite. I’ve never seen either of the Toy Story movies because, you know, I’m not 12. And when they came out, I didn’t have any kids, so I never bothered. And my stance against all things Pixar precludes me from seeing TS3. But from watching the trailer, I would at least think about it. It’s the perfect premise since it’s been away for this long and it certainly looks like it would make me laugh. But I’ve said that before about Pixar movies and I’m always, always wrong. So I will not be wasting time or money on this, but it certainly seems like if you’re a fan of the franchise or of Pixar movies in general, you’ll be a fan of this movie. GRADE: A-

Knight and Day (July 2): If someone made me read a hundred-word description of this movie, it would take me approximately 15 seconds to say I’ll wait to see it on TNT three years from now. Cruise? Diaz? Former Pennsylvania high school basketball star Marc Blucas in the most reedunkulous mustache since Maurice from Northern Exposure showed up on Drew Carey with handlebars? In an action movie? An action comedy? Pass. Then a funny thing happened — I watched the trailer and started falling for the charm of Tom Cruise and the damsel-in-distress-iness of Cam Diaz hook, line and sinker. For some reason, they seem to make a perfect on-screen pair even though she’s 6 feet tall and he’s an inch away from being scientifically classified as a dwarf. We can all see a mile away where this is going, how it will end, and even how we’ll get there. But it looks like the road there will be just twisty enough to keep us happy and interested. GRADE: A-

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