'Plaint of the Playwright

'Plaint of the Playwright

[ Wednesday, August 14, 2002 ]

I love movie trailers. I stopped loving them for a while, because they all started to look the same, but hey, I still like to get to the theater nice and early to check them out. Sometimes, as the saying goes, they're better than the movie.

Here's a bunch.

(A lot of these, by the way, I found through Pete's Movie Page, which I check out every day.)

Eleven Movie Trailers.

1. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever.
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever is apparently this Fall's remake of The Killer.

Or, as Buck put it: "Only this time, they do it."

There's a cool fall stunt in the trailer, and there's just something so right about Lucy Liu firing an M-60.

And, you know, I like Antonio Banderas as an action hero. I'm not ashamed to say it.

So the trailer's fun.

As far as the movie goes...ahem...well...

Okay, next trailer.

2. The Ring.
Recently, on ifilm I found a short film called "An Open Letter." All that ifilm said was that it was a "challenge" to the viewer.

So I watched it, and only after did they tell me that after watching this movie, I WILL DIE IN SEVEN DAYS.

Last week I mentioned this to Anne and Wil Wheaton, and Wil asked me, "What day are you on, now?"

I said I wasn't sure. Gee, that seems like the sort of thing that I should really keep track of.

Anyway, then I see this movie (which is a remake of a Japanese film, by the way), and see--you guessed it--clips from the movie I watched.

Oh, well.

3. Sweet Home Alabama.
So my wife and I saw this before a movie, and had a similar reaction to it.

Reese Witherspoon is a jet-setting go-getter who lives in The City, and is engaged to Patrick Dempsey, a Rich Man.

However, to marry him, she has to divorce her husband, played by Not Matthew McConaughey , who she separated with some time ago, and lives in The Country.

Gosh. I wonder how this movie is going to end.

But, no, the trailer goes on--and just when you think it can't get any more cliché, the trailer uses the song "Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher," by Jackie Wilson, which really has to go on that short list along with "I Feel Good," "Mony Mony," "Bad To The Bone," "I Will Survive," and "Resect," as songs that should never be used in trailers, ever again.

4. $LA$HER$.
This is the trash film I'm looking forward to the most this year.

No fooling.

I just read about this in Fangoria. Here's the basic concept:

"$LA$HER$" is the name for a fictitious Japanese game show (think "Endurance") in which the contestants must survive against a group of demented serial killers with names like "Chainsaw Charlie," who, by the way, narrates the trailer.

The other thing about this movie is that is shot on hi-def video, and it's, like Rope and Running Time, shot as if it's in one continuous take.

Oh, I am so there.

5. I Spy.
Okay, guilty pleasure.

In my last show, FACEvalue, I made a joke about this movie coming out--without knowing that it really was.

I like the choice of casting--Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson seem like a good team, and I don't even mind that they've switched the races around and now made the character of Kelly Robinson an actual athelete and not a life-long spy.

The trailer's okay (I like Wilson's response to an explosion behind them, and Murphy's response to a spy mask he's just put on), as well as a song that I know I've heard before but don't know the name of.

(Potch, help me out--what song is this?)

Again, how will the movie be?

God, who even knows? But the trailer's fun.

6. Jackie Chan: My Stunts.

I tell ya what:


For some asinine reason, Hollywood seems to think that Jackie Chan needs something else--anything else to make his movies more entertaining. Sometimes it's Chris Tucker. Sometimes it's Owen Wilson.

Apparently now, it's Jennifer Love Hewett.

Did I miss a fucking meeting?

Anyway, in light of this, the average moviegoer might forget what makes Jackie so kick-ass.

This is a sort-of "Best Of" album for Jackie Chan, with some recreations of different stunts in there too, to detail how he does what he does.

That may not sound like much, but MAN.

I defy you to not say "OW!!!" once during this trailer.

7. Red Dragon.
I'm torn on this one.

I like the original film (Manhunter) a whole lot, and I find the need for another version of it to be non-existant.

Also, Hannibal blew Chunks.

And Chunks is my dog.

Plus, Brett Ratner, director of Rush Hour and Rush Hour 2 is directing.

Again, did I miss a fucking meeting?

It pisses me off that directors like John Woo can work for over thirty years in Hong Kong and still be considered a "first-time director" in Hollywood, or that Sam Raimi got turned down for both Batman and The Shadow, and Brett Ratner, on the basis of his films gets to do a remake of one of Michael Mann's best films.

That said, the book is still a good book, and it's still a good story, Ted Tally, who adapted Silence Of The Lambs, is adapting this one as well, and finally Edward Norton, while a bit young for the role, is a really good choice to play Will Graham.

It does seem a bit like they packed the movie with really good people to save Ratner's ass, should he need it.

Time will tell if he does, I think.

Another word about the character of Will Graham. I was one of the people who was annoyed with Hannibal because (among other reasons) Will Graham's character was not even mentioned.

For those who didn't read Red Dragon or see Manhunter, FBI Agent Will Graham is the man who caught Hannibal Lecter. He's a terrific character, who has a tendency to get inside the killer's head--mainly because he's pretty much only one jump from being a psychopath himself.

Now, the relationship between Graham and Lecter is very different from the relationship between Lecter and Clarice Starling. Lecter actually kind of respects and likes Starling.

But he really hates Graham.

Now, if you were Clarice Starling, and Hannibal Lecter escaped, and you wanted to find him...wouldn't you go to the man who caught him for advice?

Especially since he's the only other person with a good enough read on how Lecter thinks?

Never mind that if that if Lecter escaped, the first thing that Will Graham would do is come out of retirement, buy huge guns, and find Lecter himself.

Now, how cool a story would that have been?

Why didn't Thomas Harris take any of that into account?

I fear it's because he figured not enough people knew who Will Graham was. Which is stupid, because all you have to do is say "he's the one who caught Lecter," and that's all the audience needs to know.

Never mind the 200-plus pages he wasted on the Italy sub-plot.


My prediction: After this one, people will demand a Starling/Graham team up to catch Lecter...and then they'll do one.

8. Double Tap.
Not to be confused with the bizarre direct-to-video actioner with Heather Locklear as a drug addict cop and Stephen Rea as an American hit man, this Hong Kong outing is more of a response to the gun fetishism of other HK actioners.

Sort of a remake of "Blue Steel," it's about competion shooters, one a cop, one a civilian. During an incident with a crazed gunman, the civilian kills the gunman, becoming a hero--but also becoming dangerously unhinged.

Two things set this concept apart from other HK actioners:

One, this movie suggests that those who own firearms are really only one jump away from being murderers, as opposed to the glorious gunfire action of (lets face it) John Woo, Ringo Lam, and Tsui Hark.

Two, Leslie Cheung is in this film--as the bad guy.

9. The Hulk.
This is one of those non-footage trailers, but it's actually a pretty good one.

Ang Lee, in case you haven't heard is directing this movie version of the Marvel comic, and Eric Bana (who was amazing in a little seen film called Chopper) plays Bruce Banner.

What I like about this one is that it really sets a nice tone--and the monologue nicely establishes Lee's persective on the main character.

10. The Transporter.
As an actoin movie fan, it's interesting to see which new actors are being groomed as action heroes.

I think Hollywood has finally figured out that you can have a successful action movie with someone in good shape who can actually act, as opposed to some Belgian kick-boxing fuck (I don't want to name any names, but I think we all know I'm not talking about Olivier Gruner).

The choice this time is British actor, Jason Statham, and I think it could be a good one. He's a good looking guy, he's a fun actor, and he does seem to be in good shape. He can play lovable, and he can play tough. He apparently can kick, too, if this trailer is any indication.

This movie seems--ahem--"inspired" by BMW Films' wonderful "Driver" series, with Clive Owen. (On a side note, I hear that John Woo is doing one of these next year! Yay!)

Don't know if it's good but the trailer (particularly the bit with the tablecloth) is really fun.

11. The Master Of Disguise.
Okay, so this one...

Okay, this film's already out, I know, but I had to include it because I think it does a great job of letting you know what you're in for.

See, Dana Carvey plays the Master Of Disguise.

He speaks with an Italian accent that's accurate and not at all insulting!

And there's this one scene where he tries--chuckle--to sneak into the place called The Turtle Club...and he--

--Get this--


Hee hee hee!

And just when it can't get any funnier...he says to the guy: "Am I not turtley enough for The Turtle Club?"









(I hope he farts next!)


A turtle!







posted by Rob on 12:23 PM | link



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