Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hit or Shit? 19th March 2011

A semi-regular look at trailers for upcoming movies. The job of said trailers is to advertise the film and persuade us paying idiots to go and see the full thing. Do they succeed or not? Let us poke them with our judgment stick.

Super 8 (J.J. Abrams)


I'll confess I didn't get the whole way through this trailer, but only because it looks so frickin' fantastic. Trailers can give way too much away, so after I got a general idea of the starting plot I quickly flicked this off. Frankly, it looks like the best classic Spielberg (producer here) film Spielberg never made. From the Amblin logo onwards, the trailer gives the suggestion of a nostalgic, small town monster movie, albeit probably a bit darker than what has come before. And the idea of kids making their own movie against this backdrop is great - that distinct sense of adventure many fantastic family adventure films have had. Going by the teasers, trailer (what I've watched, anyway) and Abrams' filmography so far, looks like a HIT.

The Smurfs (Raja Gosnell)

Oh dear. Moving from good nostalgia to bad nostalgia here. The casting of NPH is an admirable attempt to be hip and 'with it' by the studio, but this looks dreadful. Memories of other childhood favourites given the Hollywood 'treatment' spring to mind. Like Alvin and the Chipmunks, superimposing The Smurfs into a real life environment looks like the stuff of car crash cinema. The Smurfs had an interesting world of their own, why ignore that? OK, this stuff is for kids, but kids deserve better than SHIT.

Toy Story Hawaiian Vacation (Gary Rydstrom)

DON'T PANIC. While Toy Story 3 was the best sequel in many years, we probably don't need another given the last was a perfect thematic send-off (would have said the same about TS2 too, though). And the awful above title filled me with fear when I saw it. But the teaser for the short to debut in front of Cars 2 looks like an amusing little diversion. After all, these are beloved characters, will be nice to get reacquainted. Looks like it could be a light-hearted HIT, although as far from the heavy hitting thematic sucker punch of Toy Story 3 as one could imagine. To be honest, I don't know if I could take that kind of emotional torture again anyway.

Cold Weather (Aaron Katz)

Mumblecore detective story? Yes please! Like Beeswax or Baghead, it's nice to see these indie directors doing something fresh while keeping true to their grounded stylings. This has a bit of a budget too, and the trailer suggests it will look very nice indeed. It's just debuted at SXSW, although fuck knows when we non-Americans will get to see it, considering Katz's last two films were never released in Europe (had to import the DVDs personally). HIT.

Transformers 3 (Michael Bay)

Trailer looks and sounds epic, but the presence of Bay and LeBeouf and the fact that it is the sequel to the two most deplorable blockbusters of recent times suggests SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT. Solid TV spot though, yet I hold little confidence that Bay will be able to totally tone down the slapstick humour, casual racism / sexism and general awfulness of the films that preceded it.

Bad Teacher (Jake Kasdan)

Are obscenities funny? Naturally, when handled correctly (see: The Big Lebowski). Bad Teacher, IMO, seems to be trying too hard. Basically Bad Santa with a teacher, the trailer doesn't suggest that the film will probe the really dark comedy that might make this a worthwhile watch. Instead - swear words, and lots of 'em. Obviously, trailers won't be able to capture the more radical humour of black comedy, but this fills me with little enthusiasm that this is going to probe the scathing satirical grounds it could have and will instead make the assumption the audience will find Cameron Diaz saying "Fuck my ass" deeply amusing. A few giggles from the trailer, but a cautious SHIT with the smallest chance of hit.

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