As you can probably tell this column is about 24 hours late. Well you see last Thursday I was sitting at my computer surfing the net talking to some people on AIM, then I got up to get a drink and by the time I got back to my seat the monitor screen was pitch black. That’s right, after almost 8 years of dedicated service it went to that big retail store in the sky. So for just under a week I’ve been without internet access and if it weren’t for getting my cousin to lend me a spare monitor this weeks column more than likely wouldn’t be here. And by the time you read this I’ll be out buying a brand spankin’ new monitor.
Now to the trailers.
Starring: Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Marton Csokas, Jonny Lee Miller, Pete Postlethwaite
Release Date: December 2nd, 2005
Plot: In the 25th century, a rampaging virus has forced the remnants of humanity into the seclusion of a final city. There is great political conflict within, however, and this is the story of an acrobatic assassin, Aeon Flux (Theron), whose latest target is the government’s top leader.
Analysis: This is based on an old MTV cartoon show that I think 10 people watched. The plot isn’t anything new, some super agent in a futuristic society that plans on taking down the leader who is oppressing his people. That story has been done for years and this one is no different, it seems to mimic Equilibrium a movie starring Christian Bale that came out back in 2002. The trailer gives away a lot of what to expect and even with spoilers it isn’t giving me much to be excited about.
Overall Rating: 5
Two For the Money
Starring: Al Pacino, Matthew McConaughey, Rene Russo, Armand Assante, Jeremy Piven
Release Date: October 7th, 2005
Plot: Brandon Lane is a former college football star whose uncanny ability to predict the outcome of a game introduces him to an unexpected new career when his gridiron glory is sidelined by a crushing injury. Brandon’s talent makes him a prime candidate for recruitment by Walter Abraham, the head of one of the biggest sports consulting operations in the country. Walter hires the small town ex-athlete and grooms him into a shrewd front man. Brandon soon begins to enjoy his status as a Manhattan golden boy and finds himself growing comfortable with Walter’s high-rolling lifestyle. The surrogate father/surrogate son relationship fattens Walter’s business and personal accounts…until Brandon’s golden touch begins to falter at the same time that Walter’s manipulation of his protege crosses the line. With millions of dollars on the line, Brandon and Walter engage in a deadly game of con versus con, each one trying to maintain the upper hand while everyone in their world, including Walter’s wife, Toni, is drawn into the escalating duel.
Analysis: I know I’ve seen this before but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Oh wait I know why, because Pacino’s already made this movie… twice. In both The Recruit and The Devil’s Advocate he plays an employer who uses an honest and wholesome guy as a puppet to get what he wants. Oh how the mighty have fallen, Al What happened? You were the godfather for crying out loud, and yet you resort to this? I guess he wants to make a trilogy of sorts with that role, but I and many others know he’s better than this. The trailer (and plot description) reveal too much of the story, it basically is giving the whole story away while still holding on to a shred of mystery.
Overall Rating: 4.5
Starring: Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Biel, Judy Greer
Release Date: October 14th, 2005
Plot: After causing the Oregon shoe company he works for to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, Drew Baylor (Bloom) is fired for his mistake, and promptly also dumped by his girlfriend, Ellen (Biel). On the verge of suicide, Drew is oddly given a new purpose in life when he is brought back to his family’s small Kentucky hometown of Elizabethtown following the death of his father, Mitch, as it falls to him to make sure that his dying wishes are fulfilled. On the way home, Drew meets a flight attendant, Claire Colburn (Dunst), with whom he falls in love, in a romance that helps his life get back on track.
Analysis: Now this is a role that Orlando Bloom can be a leading man in and be believable. He isn’t fighting orcs, pirates or leading the Crusades, he’s just an average joe who needs to find himself. Written and directed by Cameron Crowe automatically puts this on my must see list, Vanilla Sky, Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire the man hasn’t done me wrong yet. The trailer is one of the better ones this week and if it were lighter on spoilers it would have received a higher rating.
Overall Rating: 7
The Weather Man
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine, Hope Davis, Gemmenne De la Pena, Nicholas Hoult
Release Date: October 28th, 2005
Plot: Popular Chicago weatherman, Dave Spirtz, has a shot at the big time when a national morning television show calls him for an audition. Professionally, Dave is on top of the world, but his personal life is in complete disarray. Dave’s painful divorce, his dad’s illness and trouble with his kids have him poised on the knife’s edge between stability and disaster. The harder he tries to control events, the more he finds life, like the weather, is completely unpredictable.
Analysis: I would never picture Nicholas Cage in a role like this, but then again he has a very odd way of picking projects I mean after all he is playing Ghost Rider. But small family movies are even rare for him. The trailer doesn’t tell the audience what’s going on at all and that really hurts what has the potential to be a really good movie. For a small flick the cinematography in the trailer is something to take notice of, it’s by the same guy who did cinematography for Sideways and it adds a whole new layer to the trailer. So the plot is really interesting, but the trailer doesn’t do the best job of translating that to the audience.
Overall Rating: 5.5
Flightplan (Trailer 3)
Starring: Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Erika Christensen, Sean Bean, Haley Ramm
Release Date: September 23rd, 2005
Plot: Flying at 40,000 feet in a cavernous, state-of-the-art E-474 aircraft, Kyle Pratt (Foster) faces every mother’s worst nightmare when her six-year-old daughter Julia vanishes without a trace mid-flight from Berlin to New York. Already emotionally devastated by the unexpected death of her husband, Kyle desperately struggles to prove her sanity to the disbelieving flight crew and passengers while facing the very real possibility that she may be losing her mind. While neither the plane’s Captain Rich (Sean Bean), nor Air Marshal Gene Carson (Peter Sarsgaard) want to doubt the bereaved widow, all evidence indicates that her daughter was never on board resulting in paranoia and doubt among the passengers and crew of the plane. Finding herself desperately alone, Kyle can only rely on her own wits to solve the mystery and save her daughter.
Analysis: The concept is interesting, the trailer on the other hand I can’t say the same. It’s really bad, it’s asking us to suspend our disbelief to the point where what’s the point of even watching if it’s so implausible? The thing is so bad I’m having a hard time even describing how bad it is. I mean it has a double decker plane which I know exist but I don’t believe have ever had a single commercial take off yet, only tests. I fly South West because it’s cheap, and I couldn’t get lost on those things if I tried. Now on a double decker plane while it seats over 800 and has extra space it’s still impossible to get lost on one of those things, it isn’t like you can just step out and go somewhere else, your still 30,000 feet in the air your stuck there until landing. So how can you possibly lose someone? You can simple call their name like “Hey Joe where are you?!” “Over here” replies Joe 100 feet down the aisle. Just because the plane’s huge doesn’t mean it’s a labyrinth. And the trailer has fire and gun shots in it… FIRE AND GUN SHOTS!?
Overall Rating: 3
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling, Bob Hoskins, Janeane Garofalo
Release Date: October 21st, 2005
Plot: A reality-bending thriller about a psychologist whose suicidal client makes bizarre predictions that, to the psychologist’s mounting terror, begin to come true. The shrink must race against time to save everything he loves before it disappears.
Analysis: Unique seems like the best word to describe this one, it bounces from one thing to another while never really explaining what’s going on in the first place. The cast, directing and cinematography in the trailer are tremendous but it uses the “plot twist” idea and runs it into the ground. In the trailer alone there are 4 or 5 things that aren’t as they appear, I can only imagine how many times it’ll twist and turn in a two hour full length feature film.
Overall Rating: 5
Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power
Starring: Raquel Alessi, Jewlisa Bermuda,
P. Diddy, Tony Cucci, Onika Day
Release Date: September 27th, 2005 (DVD)
Plot: From the producer of Scarface and Carlito’s Way comes the gritty, urban-action film Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power. Jay Hernandez (Friday Night Lights), Mario Van Peebles (Ali), Luis GuzmÃƒÂ¡n (Carlito’s Way) and Sean Combs (Monster’s Ball) star in the gripping tale of the early years of gangster legend Carlito Brigante. Seduced by the power of the brutal New York underworld, he enters a deadly circle of greed and retribution. Assisted by his two brothers-in-crime, Carlito is on the fast track to becoming Spanish Harlem’s ultimate kingpin. He quickly learns, however, that the only way to survive at the top is through loyalty to his friends and respect for the rules of the street.
Analysis: I never knew the original Carlito’s Way starring Al Pacino was even based on a book, learn something new every day. This is the prequel (or first book of the series) and it looks REALLY good which took me by surprise because I hate prequels. The only thing lingering in my mind after watching the trailer is, why is this movie going direct to video? From the trailer It seems to have enough leg for a decent theatrical release, unless the studio is putting it out on DVD because they don’t believe enough in their cast for it to be a successful draw. Either way, this is one fine trailer.
Overall Rating: 7
Opening this Week :
The Brothers Grimm
Starring: Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Monica Bellucci, Jonathan Pryce, Lena Headey
Release Dates: August 26th, 2005
Plot: Brothers Jake and Will Grimm, renowned collectors of folklore, have made a career out of traveling from village to village pretending to rid them of “enchanted” creatures. Their bluff is called, however, when they are forced by Napoleon’s French government to investigate a haunted forest where girls have been disappearing mysteriously. What they discover leads to a series of adventures involving an actual evil (and immortal) sorceress that mirrors that of mythology and the fables that the Brothers Grimm would eventually become famous for.
Analysis: When ever I watch this trailer online or see the TV spots while channel surfing visions of Van Helsing keep popping in to my head. That’s not a good sign because that movie I still say was one of the worst of ’04. Grimm was originally suppose to come out months ago but director Terry Gilliam and the Weinstein brothers butted heads on so many subjects of the movie that Terry decided to just shelved it for six months. It doesn’t look horrible, in fact the trailer has a lot of funny moments in it, the only gripe I can find with the trailer is that it’s too dark and could have used more lighting. More than likely it’ll wind up being a big let down. IP writer Vince Cutter got a sneak peek at the movie and you can read his review here.
Overall Rating: 6.5
Starring: Morris Chestnut, Eddie Cibrian, Cole Hauser, Piper Perabo, Lena Headey
Release Dates: August 26th, 2005
Plot: A rescue team is sent down into the world’s largest cave system to try to find the spelunkers who first explored its depths. But when the group’s escape route is cut off, they are hunted by the monstrous creatures that live down below.
Analysis: Are there really no original ideas anymore? This thing looks like they took the alien from the Alien series gave it the Predator’s senses and some wings then threw it in a cave with all of the demographic pleasing twenty-something stereotypical characters as fodder. Not a whole lot of spoilers to complain about, but then again you can tell how this movie pans out before the trailer even hits the half way mark. Save your 10 bucks and see something else this week.
Overall Rating: 2
Starring: Pell James, Steven Strait, Kip Pardue, Carrie Fisher, Ashlee Simpson
Release Dates: August 26th, 2005
Plot: An aspiring New York model falls in love with a struggling musician when they suddenly cross paths on a subway train. Having achieved success as a model, she decides to move to L.A. to launch an acting career. With the support of her acerbic agent and sometimes surrogate mom, she lands a spot in a highly sought after acting class where she befriends another would-be actress. While out on the town discovering the music scene, the aspiring model again crosses paths with the struggling musician. The two girls decide to help him and set out to create some L.A. style hype to get him noticed. As his profile rises, so do the demands of his budding new career and they both discover that the price of fame may be higher than anyone expected.
Analysis: Undiscovered will probably get the teen audience to go see it, but as far as mass appeal goes I doubt it. The only familiar face is Ashlee Simpson and when she is the best star power you have, there’s a problem. The acting is nothing to write home about, it isn’t the best, but at the same time not the worst… it’s just kinda there. If the trailer is anything to go by the plot is as cookie cutter as it gets.
Overall Rating: 4
Number One Movie At the Box Office:
The 40 Year Old Virgin
Starring: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, Seth Rogen
Plot: 40-year-old Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) has done quite a few things in his life. He’s got a cushy job stamping invoices at an electronics superstore, a nice apartment with a proud collection of action figures and comic books, good friends, a nice attitude. But there’s just one little thing he hasn’t quite gotten around to doing yet–something most people have done by his age. Andy’s never, ever, ever had sex. His friends at the store consider it their duty to help, but nothing proves effective enough until he meets Trish (Catherine Keener), a 40-year-old mother of three. Andy’s friends are psyched by the possibility that “it” may finally happen…until they hear that Andy and Trish have begun their relationship based on a mutual no-sex policy.
Analysis: “The one thing this trailer has going against it is that there are so many spoilers in it. That’s becoming a very bad trend is comedy trailers these days, cramming every big laugh moment of the film into a two minute trailer in hopes to get a huge draw opening weekend.” That’s what I said last week and I guess the movie got the opening weekend it was hoping for. Still haven’t gotten a chance to see this but all I’ve read online are praises for it. Scott’s review on the movie can be foundhere
Overall rating: 6.5
And that wraps up this week.
All images courtesy of IMPawards.com, Apple.com