Trailer Day

Here’s your first reminder/warning, of which there will be plenty more — another PopRox chat is coming.

We’re all set for Aug. 6 at noon, a week from Friday. I’m gonna lay down some ground rules next week so we don’t get a repeat of the July 2 chat, just so we know what you expect from me and what I expect from posters. Nothing crazy, I just don’t want to spend the whole time answering things like “How come my question isn’t showing up?” when it’s not supposed to and I don’t want to lead a discussion on why Phish may or may not be the best band in the world.

So that’s coming next week. We set a record last time for most comments in a Pocono Record live chat, and I’d love to get even more this time.

I’ve been putting off the PopRox semiannual Trailer Review Day for too long, so dive in:

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS

You know, for something as juvenile as Harry Potter, they sure make some bad-@ss trailers. This is something like three in a row that despite me never reading a word of Harry Potter, have gotten me pretty excited for the upcoming movie. There isn’t one second of this trailer wasted with stupid dialogue or throw-away kisses, corny dialogue or plot hints. Nope, just action, conflict, explosions and creepy words of wisdom from Ralph Fiennes as Voldermort. THIS is how you do a trailer, people. Not that hard. The sad part? It’s a kids’ movie that has showed you all up. One problem — how much of the trailer is in Part I, and how much is in Part II? The trailer goes out of its way to distinguish the two parts of the final book in the series, but that makes it confusing to figure out which of the action is in which part of the movie. If I got to see it in November and don’t get some kind of nasty beatdown scene with Voldermort, I’ll … well, I’ll go to see the next one for the fight scene. But I won’t be happy! Oooo, I have a good punishment. I’ll spoil the ending! I’ll go opening night, see it, and if I’m not pleased, I’ll basically type out the script of the last 15 minutes right here. (Commencing maniacal laugh … NOW!) The trailer is clearly divided into two parts — notice the definitive break at the 1:32 mark — but that doesn’t necessarily mean what happens in the first part of the trailer is contained in the first part of the movie and everything after 1:32 is in the second part of the movie. So that’s a little frustrating. But I’ll be there. GRADE: A-

THE SOCIAL NETWORK

Director David Fincher is a little heavy-handed at times (Se7en), a little preachy at others (Fight Club), and just flat-out boring at others (no way did Zodiac need more than 2.5 hours). No matter what you think of his movies — and I’m a fan, incidentally — the man makes some hall-of-fame-level trailers. Is there a trailer HOF? If there isn’t, there should be, with Spider-Man 2 and Independence Day among the first inductees. Fincher’s latest trailer from The Social Network is just as good as any trailer he’s ever made, maybe better. Jesse Eisenberg is quickly becoming a favorite of mine, I’ve loved him in both Squid and the Whale and Adventureland. As good as he was in those, this has the feel of the movie that’s going to put him on the tongue of every casting agent in Hollywood. Not exactly enthused to see Rashida Jones (age 34) trying to pull off a college girl though. She graduated from Harvard in 1997 — almost 10 years before the Facebook stuff actually happened at Harvard. With any luck, she’ll actually be a professor or adviser or something, but it certainly doesn’t look that way in the trailer. And let’s face it — everyone wants to find out the original reasons behind why we find it necessary to waste hours on end uploading our iPhone photos of us getting loaded with 20 friends at a St. Patrick’s Day parade to our Facebook page. Perfect use of Creep too, sung by a kids’ gospel choir. GRADE: B+

TRON: LEGACY

After the first trailer was a rip-off from the worst part of Phantom Menace — the pod racing — I figured it would have to take The Dude, Walter and a resurrected Donny to get to me to see this movie. It was just plain awful and made no sense. After the latest Comic-Con trailer … I’m weakening. Now there’s a somewhat interesting story mixed with characters we might possibly even care about and some impressive CGI work. I’m still not on board, since I didn’t like the first one 30 years ago. But I’ll at least put it back on the table for consideration. GRADE: B+

DEVIL

Don’t let the trailer or other advertisments fool you for a second — this is NOT an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Not by a longshot. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing is up to you. But for them to tout it as such, I’m calling BS. All Night gets on this is a “story” credit. Essentially, that means he went to the studio with an idea and the studio bought it from him for whatever insane amount they felt like knee-jerk spending that day while Night’s agent said, “I don’t know, we have a meeting at Sony this afternoon …” Then the studio started tweeking, then prodding, then pushing, and before long, the script is unrecognizable to what Night originally conceived and he merely receives story credit. To put that in perspective — Quentin Tarantino wrote the original script for Natural Born Killers, but it was massively changed from his original vision. He asked for his name to be taken off the credits as a writer, but the studio refused since he was the hot “name” in 1995. So instead of being a writer, he’s listed as “Story by Quentin Tarantino.” Not every story credit goes like that, but there’s almost always this kind of behind-the-scenes crap that goes along with it. So to say it’s a Night movie is being intentionally deceptive and reaks of desparation. Not to mention there’s no one even remotely recognizable in this and the people who are in it may not have made it to middle school. And no, I’m not on a first name basis with Night, it’s just a frigg of a lot easier to type and spell than “Shyamalan.” GRADE: F

RANGO

Here’s the bright side. It’s better than the cryptically stupid, stoner-special teaser trailer the studio put out a couple weeks ago that just had the fish swimming in air across the screen.  That teaser is even worse now since it appears that fish has little or nothing to do with the movie. So my judgement is already clouded since that teaser did nothing for me. The new trailer isn’t making up for it by copying off North by Northwest and making cactus jokes. I’m clearly not the person to ask about this because I hated that first teaser so much, but the new edition isn’t the worst thing in the world. It just isn’t that good either. GRADE: C-

THE AMERICAN

It’s impossible to make George Clooney look bad at this point. It just can’t be done, and it’s silly to try. So any trailer he’s going to be in for the foreseeable future is going to look good because, well, George Clooney looks good. But you have to get past that, otherwise you end up seeing The Men Who Stare at Goats for no good reason whatsoever. The American looks OK for the most part, even if we’re treading back into the “one last hit” territory that’s already been covered about a bazillion times. But we’ve got some more false advertising going on here — the “acclaimed director Anton Corbijn” still. Do people think IMDB isn’t available for the next couple months or something? Corbijn is the “acclaimed” director behind one movie, the very good Control from 2007. Before that, it was nothing but music videos. That gets you “acclaimed” status? Can’t we say something more like “U2’s Favorite Director Anton Corbijn” or “Potential One-Hit Wonder Anton Corbijn”? Those are more fitting. That bugged me throughout the whole thing. GRADE: C-

LITTLE FOCKERS

Think you’ve heard every which way to make a joke out of saying “Focker” and getting away with it? Then apparently you’ve never heard a grandmother refer to her granchildren as Little Fockers. I know my mother-in-law always refers to my daughter as that Little Sadowski. What, everyone doesn’t do that? So we’re off to a bad start already. The charm of Meet the Parents was that it didn’t go to conventional, generic comedy places to make jokes. In Meet the Parents, there might be three or four really laugh out loud moments. What made it a classic comedy you watch every time it’s on TV was the little moments of hilarity that put people in everyday uncomfortable situations to watch them get themselves out of it. Some lost luggage. A groggy, late-night mistake. A wrong turn in the dinner table conversation that ends with you milking cats. Those things are funny. But you can only laugh at Robert De Niro’s heavy pronunciation of Focker for so long before it gets boring. Guess what? It just got boring. I thought the same thing about the trailer for Meet the Fockers and liked that a good deal, so perhaps I’m overreacting. But I don’t think so. GRADE: D

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