Friday, February 24, 2012
Trailers of the Week: American Reunion, Struck by Lightning, Cherry, and More
By Rembert Browne and Dan Silver
American Reunion – Trailer No. 2 (April 6)
Silver: Go ahead, mock it. Call American Reunion, an unneeded sequel to a franchise most likely irrelevant to 18-25-year-olds or a blatant money grab from an older audience who would much rather order a film on VOD or go see Ryan Gosling drive a car. All may be appropriate and true but not to this guy (visualize two thumbs pointing back at me). I’m all in on this film. All the American Pie films (sans the straight-to-DVD ones) hold a special place in my heart. For me, the films were frighteningly familiar, and touched upon themes that were immensely important to me as a young adult — as a senior in high school, being afraid to leave the comfort of the present behind, as a returning college student, the understanding that people change and move on, but if you’re willing to do the same, those personal connections can live on, and finally (and probably most simply), we all grow up. Most personal, though, was the depiction of the interactions and articulation of the emotions by all the characters. The theatrical release of each film was almost perfectly spaced to a time in my life when I was feeling nostalgic about the past. For me these films are my American Graffiti (oh, and I mention, these were all really funny movies. Stifler is hilarious).
Browne: Why stop at mocking, Silver? Can I please just shun its very existence? I'm sorry, but this movie isn't a good thing. It almost makes me hate the very idea of nostalgia. Also, Tara Reid is back — why would that be good? My only guess about the decision to make this is that the franchise has been dragging along for so many years, the teenagers that see this will think it's the first installment and then go back and discover all the old ones. Sort of how I did with Guiding Light.
Struck by Lightning (2012 TBD)
Silver: I’ll give Glee’s resident Emmy-winner, Chris Colfer, some credit. He parlayed his success into something actually creative. He wrote a script, hired a director, found financing, and turned his script into a real movie. Regardless of what this movie is, I find this to be a much better option than New Year's Eve-ing it. But to start a trailer with an ostentatious statement like, “I want to be the editor of The New Yorker, and the youngest freelance journalist to be published in the New York Times, LA Times, and the Chicago Tribune. I’ve got to get into Northwestern,” does not in anyway pique my interest, and neither does the rest of this hyperbolic, judgmental, and narration-heavy trailer. I’m not eager to see Struck by Lightning, but it would be much appreciated if someone could just cut all of Allison Janney’s “sad mom” scenes together. Those I’ll watch.
Browne: Does he know print media is dying? Why not go with Gawker and Carleton? Slate and Colby? Buzzfeed and Everest? As much as I happen to think the premise of this movie is pretty awesome, I also couldn't get past that sentence. Also, I'm not so sure how I feel about the Glee alumni network graduating to movie success. It's sort of like Duke basketball in the NBA, but shockingly more annoying.
Marley – U.K. Trailer (April 20)
Silver: Bob Marley was a significant voice and figure in shaping the cultural and musical landscape we find ourselves living with/in today. He led a tragically short, but truly remarkable life, which many people are unaware of. Love his music or hate it, Marley feels like a film that will surprise and enlighten anyone willing to let it in.
Dexterous director Kevin Macdonald (the guy bounces seamlessly from docs to narratives like a mini Scorsese and won an Oscar for his doc One Day in September) appears to have created the definitive look at the iconic artist. What’s more, it’s always nice to see the subject's family fully involved with a film like this, and it’s hard not to get excited about the newly released musical tracks. Really looking forward to this one.
Browne: I'm not convinced that this film will create a new legion of Marley fans, but for those of us that are obsessed and have been for some time, this seems like it is an important piece to the almost complete puzzle that is his legacy. As for the new songs, unreleased material always worries me, but it's another nice touch to the release.
Bully (March 30)
Silver: From what we can see, director Lee Hirsch has constructed a documentary that not only captures the horrors of bullying in verite form, but also spent a significant amount of time with the parents, kids, and academic professionals who are attempting to bring to an end to the torment. This balance is imperative, as too many docs choose to focus on one issue or cause and either don’t show the other side or detail what steps are being taken to resolve the film’s primary issue. But this is a powerful trailer. It does its job so well that I'm both intensely curious about the documentary it’s advertising and equally scared of seeing it.
Browne: I could barely get through this trailer, so I'm not going to have an easy time with a full movie. It's hard (and, I guess, inappropriate) rationalizing my desire to beat up 10-year-old bullies as a 24-year-old, but I can't stand to watch little kids get picked on. My one hope in this film is that they explore (and hopefully break down) the notion of "boys will be boys" and "kids can be cruel." Both were mentioned in the trailer, I hope that becomes a major topic of discussion throughout the film. I'm glad this is being made. I really am.
(FAKE) LOGLINE: Fifteen years after the event of Boogie Nights, Roller Girl (Heather Graham) has taken over the day-to-day operations of Jack Horner’s porn studio and finds herself a young starlet. Meanwhile, Reid Richards’ illegitimate son (James Franco) is doing everything he can from being sucked into the business that took his father’s young life.
Sigh. If that was actual plot of Cherry I might not choose to forget about it after seeing this lackluster and conventional trailer.
Browne: I want to make fun of Dev Patel so much for being so emotional all the time, but in reality he's dating Freida Pinto, his Slumdog Millionaire co-star, and I'm eating a pre-packaged tuna wrap from Starbucks. [Editor's note: Hey, those are delicious! Don't be so down on yourself.] So instead, I'll stick to laughing at Heather Graham's career.
Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope (TBD)
Silver: After I saw Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival (#Humblebrag), I tweeted the following, “@morganspurlock’s COMIC CON will surprise & move audiences. If you ever begged for a toy or created your own Halloween costume go see it.” Five months have passed since I tweeted that, and I still believe it. Comic Con is not 90 minutes of geeks having orgasms after seeing Stan Lee or Bruce Campbell (although that would be totally understandable). At its core, the film is a celebration of passion. It’s by far Morgan Spurlock’s most mature and fully realized film. He removes himself completely — does not appear on-screen, nor does he narrate the film — and simply follows a cast of relatable and sympathetic people on their journey through Comic-Con. Cynicism has infected much of the content we consume, so it’s a real treat when a film feels like a celebration. Oh and there’s some really wacky cosplay.
Browne: As someone that spent his first 24 years not learning anything about "comics" or "cons," after watching this trailer, I now feel like I wasted many of my years playing outside. I can never predict when my emotions are going to erupt from my eyes, but I bet I'm going to weep all over this film. I don't know what it is, but I just want everyone at Comic-Con to be happy. The place seems like the most magical place on Earth.