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Trailer Reviews for September 20, 2013

BATTLE OF THE YEAR



At first I was watching this trailer thinking: didn’t they make this movie already? Wasn’t it the last Step Up sequel? And then it morphed into the cheer boot camp from Bring it On, but with acrobatic dancing, and I thought: okay, that’s something at least. And then the punchable kid from the Red Dawn remake came on screen and I thought: NOPE. Not even if you paid me.

PRISONERS



Wow, this seems like such a deadly serious movie… until Jake Gyllenhaal shows up with his shirt buttoned dorkily all the way to his neck and announces his name is Detective Loki. ‘Hi guys! Detective Norse God of Mischief here to save the day!’ In all seriousness, though, it’s an excellent trailer. It sets up the drama well but it doesn’t give away the whole thing. I feel like I need to see the movie because I want to know – did Paul Dano take the girls? Where are they? Are they alive? How far is Hugh Jackman going to go?

ADORE



This was me reading the blurb for this movie: “A pair of childhood friends and neighbors fall for each others’s sons….Oh gross! Say it isn’t so!” I was marginally comforted to watch the trailer and find that the sons are in their 20s, but still, I don’t think I’ll go. Apart from the ick factor, it looks kind of boring.

COPPERHEAD



I like war movies and period dramas but this one looks kind of boring too. Not the subject matter. That’s interesting. People fighting with their friends and family over whether they should be fighting against their friends and family. But everyone in the movie seems to be moving around at half speed and talking like they don’t really care what they’re saying. That’s boring.

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Trailer Reviews for September 13, 2013

INSIDIOUS 2



The big twist from Insidious (which they don’t reveal in this trailer, so I won’t say what it is) was so bizarre and unusual that it’s really not possible for them to replicate the feel of that movie in a sequel. Unless they plan on assuming the audience hasn’t seen the first movie, they’ll just have to proceed as if their secrets are being taken as read and move on. Unfortunately there’s nowhere to move on to. They’re pretty much confined to replicating the events from the first movie – this trailer bears that out. It could be the trailer for the first one except the kid in danger is a different one this time. Once was enough for me, so I won’t be seeing it.

THE FAMILY



The title is boring and generic, which will make it difficult for people to get results when Googling it, but the movie looks like it could be okay. It may be a little difficult to like people who blow up grocery stores just because they feel insulted, but the sheer ridiculousness of their overreactions could be funny. I just hope they don’t abandon the comedic premise halfway through and switch to destroying half of France in a giant gun battle. But it seems likely that’s exactly what will happen, given that it’s directed by the guy who did Taken. And the fact that the trailer contains at least three explosions. But if this is the only other thing we’re getting, I guess I’ll take it.

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Trailer Review for September 6, 2013

RIDDICK



Boy, Riddick sure has his own movies pegged. “This ain’t nothin’ new” is right. It’s nothing you haven’t seen in Pitch Black or Chronicles of Riddick or those Riddick video games. Riddick is a criminal, lots of bounty hunters want to take him… somewhere… so they can have a lot of money, but OH NOES some very bad aliens that live in the dark are coming to eat everyone’s faces and Riddick is the ONLY ONE who can save them because he can SEE IN THE DARK! (I guess all the night vision goggles are killed by a night vision goggle plague in the future). So they let him loose and he goes on a rampage, some people get killed, and he ends up going free to make another Riddick movie because he’s just such a do-gooder at heart. No thank you. This movie is an excellent argument for staying in this weekend.

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Trailer Reviews for August 30, 2013

CLOSED CIRCUIT



This movie looks good. We’ve got some Eric Bana, some Julia Stiles (whom I haven’t seen in a movie in like ten years) and a huge dollop of Spooks (MI-5 on this side of the pond). The only problem I can see is that they gave most of it away in the trailer. Let’s review what we know, shall we? There was a terrorist attack. The bomber was caught. Two lawyers are assigned to defend him. With a journalist’s help they discover MI-5 were responsible for getting him into the country and setting him up in a terrorist cell as a double agent. MI-5 uses closed circuit cameras to try and bump them off before the trial brings everything to light. Am I missing anything? Apart from a non-Bana reason to pay $11.50 to see it again, but longer?

GETAWAY



Taken – sorry, Getaway is the story of a guy whose female family member was kidnapped by bad people and who has to wreck a lot of stuff to get her back. Geez, how many times are they going to make this movie? The only things that are different about it are the fact that they also ripped off The Fast and the Furious (the bit where they’re driving around very fast in cool cars to steal things) and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (where he’s got a young punk ass hacker girl helping him). Actually, now that I watch it again, I realize I’m wrong. It’s not a movie, it’s a two hour ad for the Ford Mustang.

THE SPECTACULAR NOW



Yes, enjoy your impulsiveness and popularity now, children, because soon you will have JOBS and STUDENT LOANS and RESPONSIBILITIES and if you try to cling too hard to your youth, you will end up becoming that creepy person who works at Staples, lives in their parents’ basement, and tries to get drunk with high schoolers every night! Bwahahahahahaha!

ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US



No. Just… no. Though I have to say, I did enjoy the graphic of the big red band logo spreading across the world like a hemorrhagic fever.

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Trailer Reviews for August 23, 2013

MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES



I really liked this book, and not just because I read it right after Twilight, when anything that didn’t actively insult my intelligence would have seemed fantastic. I liked that the main character was a girl who got to have powers of her own and that the world had actual details and that there were plenty of battles. I thought it would make a good movie, but now that the movie is here I’m not that thrilled about it. Why? Casting. Lily Collins and Kevin Zegers seem like good picks, but who cast the hero’s big love interest as a scrawny, girly, way-too-old guy? He’s like some sketchbag biker version of one of those androgynous boys from the manga comics. The bizarre casting is enough to push this movie to #2 spot, which means I probably won’t get to it until next week, if at all.

THE WORLD’S END



I love these guys. After they piled Hot Fuzz on top of Shaun of the Dead they earned a free pass for life. It might not have been enough to get them chosen over City of Bones without that movie’s casting fail, though. For some reason the pub crawl doesn’t seem like enough of a goal, even considering the robots. In Shaun of the Dead they were trying to live through a zombie apocalypse, in Hot Fuzz they were trying to save the town, but in this one they’re trying to, well, get drunk. Not exactly enthralling, but it WILL be funny, I can trust in that much.

IN A WORLD



I really want to see this movie, for several reasons. 1) It looks funny. 2) I love it when movies do fake movie trailers for pretend movies (think of all those fake trailers from Tropic Thunder). 3) It’s an inside look at a job I know nothing about. The closest I’ve ever seen to this was in The Holiday when Cameron Diaz and Jack Black were trailer editor/musicians. 4) I was just reading a bunch of articles about sexism in the film industry and I’d be really interested in hearing about sexism in the film spinoff industries too. ALAS (again) it will probably take forever for it to come my way.

YOU’RE NEXT



I don’t understand the point of this movie. It seems to have something to do with hunting or animal revenge, but the people being hunted are just some stupid family who haven’t even done anything to deserve it and the animals are just guys in masks. Plus it would be a lot scarier if they didn’t show the killer so much. If we can see him, we know where he is, and if we know where he is, we’re not twisted up in knots wondering if he’s going to be around the next corner. So no thanks. I prefer horror movies that are actually horrifying.

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Trailer Reviews for August 16, 2013

KICK ASS 2



I think I must be getting old, because I really don’t want to see this movie. I enjoyed Kick Ass well enough, mostly because they actually made a token concession to reality and had the teen superhero-wannabes get their asses handed to them. But this one just seems like a regular superhero movie – a bunch of people inexplicably able to beat up bad guys for the entertainment of the audience. Also, their teen smartassery makes me want to slap them in the face. Okay, maybe that’s just how I feel about Hit Girl. She just has one of those sneering faces you want to slap. So no thank you, Kick Ass 2, I am maxed out on your franchise after one film.

JOBS



I cannot express the depths to which I do not care about Steve Jobs or the overpriced gadgets he markets to ‘the cool kids’, so this movie would have to be pretty damn amazing looking to entice me. It’s not an impossible thing to do – I hate Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg but I still went to see The Social Network, precisely because they didn’t sugarcoat the story to make him look like a saint (actually, he comes across as quite a large douchebag). Steve Jobs was crazy (according to all the people I’ve talked to who read the biography, anyway) and some of it does seem to come across here, but they’re still obviously on the hero worship train. Oh, he’s such a VISIONARY he started a REVOLUTION. He’s being held down by THE MAN. Ugh. No thanks.

PARANOIA



This movie reminds me an awful lot of Cypher, except without the part where it messes with the audience’s head in addition to the main character’s. The premise also seems kind of sketchy. He’s a genius with technology, which would make him desirable to about a million Fortune 500 companies, yet they make it seem like the only job he can get is one that offends his morals (and, incidentally, the law). And then they turn him into Schmoozy McMoneybags because… why? Because technology companies won’t look at him if he wears a plaid shirt? Half of Silicon Valley rocks up to work in cargo shorts and superhero t-shirts. Also, way to give away the entire movie in the trailer. I’ll probably see it anyway, though, because my other options are a two hour Apple ad or a teenage snarkfest.

THE BUTLER



Here’s the movie I REALLY wanted to see this week, but sadly it’s not coming to my town. I’ve never even heard of the White House butlers, though, obviously, they must be there. I can’t imagine the President opening his own front door or carrying his own dinner plate. But that’s why it’s fascinating. Who ARE these people? What must they see in the line of duty? They’d be like Winston Churchill’s secretary, full of amazing stories about key points in history. It’s like Gosford Park, but as a historical epic. Thirty years, eight Presidents, Civil Rights, Vietnam, Watergate… and James Marsden as JFK! Hell yeah! Sign me up. My only real concern is that the movie might have had to sacrifice some cohesiveness to cover such as long period, but I’m perfectly willing to pay money to find out. If only I was able…

BLUE JASMINE



I saw Woody Allen’s name in the blurb and went “oh no…” but then I decided I was going to try and give him a fair shot. Watch the trailer. Treat it like I didn’t know he was involved. And guess what? It still sounded boring. Oh the trailer made it clear the movie at least had a premise – a woman is broke and has to move in with her sister. But then what? Then she complains a lot and people yell at each other and say awkward things that (I guess) are supposed to be funny. So no, I will not be seeing this one either, Woody Allen. Ever.

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Trailers for August 9, 2013

ELYSIUM



I really liked District 9 and this movie looks pretty interesting, even if it does seem to consist of elements taken from District 9, the new Total Recall, and numerous other science fiction movies. I’d go if it didn’t star Matt Damon. He’s like the cardboard vanilla flavor of actors and no matter how action packed the movie got or how apt the socio-political satire, I’d still be annoyed that I wasn’t watching someone else. I’m skipping this one.

PERCY JACKSON AND THE SEA OF MONSTERS



I liked the Percy Jackson books and I didn’t hate the first movie, Lightning Thief, but the big problem I had with that movie remains (and has gotten worse) in this sequel: Percy Jackson and his buddies are much too old. Logan Lerman (Percy) is 21. Alexandra Daddario (Annabeth) is 27. Brandon T. Jackson (Grover) is 30. None of them can pass for less than 17. In the books, Percy and his pals were wise-cracking, trouble-making 13-year-olds. This wouldn’t have been a problem if they’d updated the rest of the material to fit the characters’ new ages, but they didn’t. The characters still look and act like tweenagers, gawping and bumbling their way through a summer camp adventure, and it’s annoying.

WE’RE THE MILLERS



This looks, at best, mildly funny. At worst, I suspect it’s cringe-worthy. Too many instances of vicarious audience embarrassment pass as jokes these days. Also the principle of the film seems flawed. Surely there are dogs hanging around border crossings sniffing for drugs that would make their half-assed plan to pass themselves off as a family pointless?

PLANES



As the lone living adult who actually enjoyed the Cars movie and a lifelong lover of airplanes, when I found out about Disney’s Planes, I felt like they made it just for me. I reserve judgment on the story, however. The flying-creature-with-fear-of-heights thing was done in Rio and the learning-to-be-a-racer story was done in Cars. In fact, other than the fact that it has planes in it, I can’t see ANY way in which this movie is different. That bothers me, but not enough to make me see something else.

THE CONSPIRACY



When I first started watching this trailer I thought I had the wrong one – it looked like one of those Inside Job style documentaries. But it’s a fake documentary style horror movie. It seems kind of cliched to me that the conspiracy theorist should fall victim to a conspiracy theory. I also think I’ve read or seen half a dozen stories about a cabal of shadowy villains who direct the political and financial course of the world by yanking on puppet strings. All in all nothing here that would convince me to see this movie.

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Trailer Reviews for July 26, 2013

THE WOLVERINE



Wolverine was one of my favorite characters in X-Men and X-2 (we do not speak of the atrocity that was X-Men: The Last Stand), largely because he was so sympathetic. He was a broken guy trying hard not to fit in anywhere and failing. I thought X-Men Origins: Wolverine was pretty good but not great, mostly because they covered too much ground time-wise and sacrificed coherency of story. I’d like to see more of Wolverine but I have mixed feelings about this movie for several reasons. 1) They reference the movie that we do not speak of right in the opening seconds of the trailer 2) Despite being more than 2 minutes long the trailer still doesn’t give me much of an idea what the movie is about 3) Giant stupid robot.

THE TO DO LIST



I have major problems with this movie. The poster makes it look like it’s a harmless Judy Moody type tween movie, when in reality it’s brash and dirty enough to have a red band trailer. Hint – that sex list she’s working on contains more than just ‘hickies’ and ‘french kiss.’ It’s supposed to be a high school movie but the leads are 28 (Aubrey Plaza) and 34 (Scott Porter). Also, in said red band trailer, the actress introduces the film as a Valentine’s Day movie (it’s July) in a voice like a bored robot on drugs. The green band trailer also seems to indicate that bored robot on drugs is her standard mode of acting. In fact, I might even go so far as to say that Agent Phil Coulson spoke the only non-stilted line in that whole trailer. Interesting concept, poor execution. Skip!

FRUITVALE STATION



This trailer spends all its time trying to hide what happens at Fruitvale Station. This might have been a more effective tactic if they hadn’t a) outlined the entire plot in the theater website blurb and b) hadn’t based the movie on a true story everyone knows about from a couple of years ago. Hell, YouTube even suggests cell phone videos of the ‘BART Shooting’ after the trailer is finished. However, it seems like a pretty good movie otherwise. One of those: ‘let us move you by showing you the tragic results of senseless errors by persons in positions of authority’ films that film festivals go for.

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Trailer Reviews for July 19, 2013

RED 2



I absolutely loved the first RED. It took me completely by surprise. Obviously the surprise factor will be gone this time but judging from the trailer it’s going to be just as funny. With the Russian connection, missing nuke, and locked up scientist, the plot seems very similar to A Good Day to Die Hard, but I’m going to think of it as this plot’s chance to redeem itself from its terrible showing in Die Hard rather than outright copying. After all, it’s not like Twentieth Century Fox can copyright Russia (though they’ve probably tried). At least you know when this movie gets ridiculous, it’s actually TRYING to be ridiculous rather than totally ignorant of the laws of physics.

R.I.P.D.



Oh, hello again, Mary Louise Parker! That’s two movies for you in one week. If it weren’t for the fact that RED 2 was opening this weekend, I might have gone to see this one. The trailer hooked me as soon as it smashed Ryan Reynolds’s face off the concrete. Ouch! That’s gotta be worth a broken neck. The R.I.P.D. Thing is a little cutesy but funny – in the same way that the angels hell-bent on getting Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz to fall in love in Life Less Ordinary were funny. Though, obviously, there’s a lot more wanton destruction in this movie, probably because they had a lot more money. I’ll wait for the DVD.

Turbo



Oh, hello again, Ryan Reynolds! That’s two movies for you in one week as well! Are we playing a game I’m not aware of? Perhaps One Degree of Separation? I have to thank this movie, because I had no idea that nitrous oxide was capable of giving superpowers molluscs. Since there seems to be a fine line between superpowers and horrible death by poisoning, I’ll know to be careful if I ever decide to douche-up my Honda Civic with happy-gas canisters and little green lights. I was also unaware that cars were optional in the Indy 500. Look at all the new facts I’m learning today! If you need me I’ll be in Indianapolis pedaling madly on my tricycle. Where I will NOT be is in the theater watching this movie.

The Conjuring



Oh, hello again, Patrick Wilson! Sadly, you’ve ruined the game. This movie seems very familiar, probably because found footage films are a dime a dozen these days and there are whole shows devoted to people who wander around old houses with EMF meters trying to talk to ghosts. Sadly none of them are as good as Supernatural, though I suspect this movie won’t be a total waste of money. If it’s anything like Insidious it will take a 90 degree turn into crazytown about two thirds of the way through the movie, so even if you think you know the whole story from watching the trailer there are still a few surprises left. I wish they weren’t so liberal with displaying all the horrors all over the screen, though. Don’t they get that what we CAN’T see is scarier?

Renoir



This movie reminds me a little bit of Ever After, though I couldn’t say why. Maybe because it’s a semi-historical love story that stars a famous painter as the grownup who browbeats the two young lovers into pulling their heads out of their own asses. I’m intrigued by the story and the characters. It looks good, the acting seems solid…. and yet, I suspect it would be boring. Not because it’s foreign and I’d have to read – I like reading. Because they used the slowest, dreariest music they could possibly find for this trailer. That does not bode well for the pace of the film.

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Trailer Reviews for July 12, 2013

PACIFIC RIM



I know a lot of people are really excited for this movie, but I can’t help looking at it and noticing how many similarities there are between it and Transformers (big stupid robots) and Battleship (big stupid sea battles) and Godzilla (giant dinosaur-looking monsters stomping around). They even ripped off the ‘aliens under the ocean’ from The Abyss and Bill Pullman’s speech from Independence Day. I guess when you’re ripping off so many different sources it can be counted as a kind of creativity, but I would have liked to see SOMETHING about Pacific Rim that looked new. I’ll go to the movie and look for it, but only because it’s either this or Grown Ups 2.

GROWN UPS 2



This movie looks absolutely putrid. Clearly the writers of this movie (one of whom is Adam Sandler) have never met an actual child in their lives, because they expect us to believe kids that age (10ish?) wouldn’t know the meaning of the word ‘wasted.’ They have also never lived in a house before, because they expect us to believe that a caribou could a) get into a house b) get through all the doorways between the entrance and the master bedroom and c) live in suburban New England. They also think that animals pissing in people’s mouths is funny and that a 250 lb man jumping off a 25ft cliff directly onto the head of another man wouldn’t result in horrific cranial/spinal injury and/or death. I can only conclude that Adam Sandler is some sort of bizarre alien from a logic-free planet and that the only reason anyone likes his movies is that they are being mind controlled by the additives in movie theater popcorn.

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