Friday, May 18, 2012
Trailers of the Week: The Good Doctor, The Do-Deca-Pentathalon, Hit and Run, and More
By Rembert Browne and Dan Silver
The Odd Life of Timothy Green (August 15)
[Note to readers: If you can't see the trailers, try a different browser. We didn't forget to include them, we promise.]
Silver: I welcome The Odd Life of Timothy Green to the list of films that are sure to make me cry. You might look at this trailer and feel the film will be nothing more than sentimental foolishness. But then you’d be a person who has an empty chasm in his chest, right in the place a heart should be.
Since Timothy Green is written and directed by Peter Hedges (writer/director of the underrated Dan in Real Life and Pieces of April, and the writer of About a Boy and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape), I believe it will be, despite its fairy tale nature, an earnest and emotionally grounded films. Similar to a film like Pete’s Dragon, an often forgotten live-action classics of Disney. And what movie kid would not want Jennifer Garner as his mother? Besides being stunningly gorgeous, she just exudes maternal vibes. Also, I think I spotted Common as one of Timothy’s teachers.
Browne: Music is amazing. Here's an example. When this trailer started and it became clear the plot was a boy who was birthed from the ground, all I wanted to do was make fun of it. But then, after about 90 seconds of stockpiling my ammo, the trailer launches into "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson. Immediately, I choke up and suddenly just want the boy to be accepted by society in this pseudo-civil rights Disney film. If I can be promised four tracks from Kelly's debut in the film, I'll see this film every day.
The Good Doctor (August 31)
Silver: With The Good Doctor, Orlando Bloom has officially hit the career trajectory reset button, and thus starts his long, and possibly unsuccessful, battle back to the Hollywood middle. Aside from a few tantalizing supporting faces — Michael Pena and J.K. Simmons — this trailer does not excite me in the least. It’s too plot-specific, and since it doesn't appear to be breaking any new narrative ground, I feel I can wager a pretty good guess on how this film will end (even though the film is inexplicably written by Party Down creator John Enbom). Pass.
Browne: I already think doctors are trying to kill me, so seeing this film really isn't going to help that paranoia. I don't know about this film — it's not good creepy. It's creepy creepy. Will probably never see this. Sorry, Legolas.
The Do-Deca-Pentathalon (June 6)
Silver: I’m currently operating under the mind-set that Jay and Mark Duplass (Cyrus and Jeff, Who Lives at Home) can’t do any wrong. So despite this trailer making this appear to be a bland one-joke movie that probably would have been better if made as a 10-minute short film, I’m going to choose to give it (but mostly the Duplasses) the benefit of the doubt.
Browne: My roommate and I have known each other since fifth grade and still have arguments about who was faster, more athletic, and (of course) who had the bigger fall from grace. Seeing this film could either be the thing to bring us closer together or cause us to finally settle these arguments in real time, which will ruin our relationship. Forever. I can't wait for this film; it looks fantastic, even if it's the beginning of the end for my happy living situation.
Hit and Run (August 24)
Silver: I want to see this film. I want to see this film now. The cast is great and the trailer looks hilarious. With its generic B-movie title, it feels like a film that doesn’t intend to do anything but entertain (I’m thinking of it as a modern-day Smokey and the Bandit). My only gripe is that I believe the trailer is too long. It tries too hard to sell this small indie to a broad audience, and in doing so, might have revealed too much. With a cast as good as Hit and Run has, it could have easily built up excitement with a simple plot setup, a few shots of the cast, the promise of Bradley Cooper in dreadlocks, the senior citizen, and prison rape bits. This is the second film from Dax Shepard and his co-directing partner David Palmer, and based on this trailer, it looks to be just as clever and entertaining as their first go-round (2010’s Brother Justice).
Browne: I love loving Bradley Cooper. It's been a minute, but it feels great to be back.
Won't Back Down (September 28)
Silver: I so want to make a snide remark about Won’t Back Down being just another entry in the long line of films where a young Hollywood female ingénue (in this case two) takes on the role of the honorable school teacher battling the system (Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds, Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa Smile, and Hilary Swank in Freedom Writers, to name just a few). Or how, if boiled down and poured into a mold, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis’s characters here probably would harden into an action figure of Joe Clark from Stand by Me (bullhorn included). But why would I say all that? That would just be myopic and potentially mean.
Browne: Silver, I think this film may have figured out the formula, finally. In past films, the white lady never had a co-conspirator. It was always her vs. the system. Adding Viola changes everything. Perhaps. And if it's just more of the same, the next attempt in a few years can be with Natalie Portman, Kerry Washington, and Neil Patrick Harris as single parents in Boston proper who have had enough. This model will get there, eventually. I'm sure of it.
The Possession (August 31)
Silver: To me, there’s nothing more terrifying than a Yiddish monster from Jewish folklore. But unlike the way Sam Raimi has conceived of it, I always pictured a Dybbuk to look more like my drunk Great Aunt Ida after our Passover Seder in 1999 — clothed in a soaking-wet nightgown (after falling in the tub), makeup running down her face, and murderously wielding a hairbrush. Alas, it appears The Possession’s Dybbuk is just a way to camouflage and recycle the same old Hollywood possession demon. I honestly don’t mean to disparage these films; some of them actually are good. But for every Insidious (good), there are two or three The Rite, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, or Amityville II (really bad). This trailer is creepy enough to intrigue me, but not enough for me to purchase a ticket. I’ll wait for VOD.
Browne: I don't really care for scary films, especially ones with children as the demon seeds, but this looks quite awesome. That's all I really can say, however, because I can't get images of the '99 Silver Seder out of my mind. And I'm not mad. Not one bit.
Maniac – Cannes Reel (TBD)
Silver: So this is what happens when a Hobbit combines the Ring of Power with far too much Halfings’ Leaf. (He turns into a deranged stalker/murderer.) Good to know. I guess I need to get rid of all that Pipe Weed (Tolkien term) before my Wizards and Hobbit party tonight.
PS: Maniac looks super creepy and awesome. Seems to have lots of Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom running through its cinematic veins. And it’s nice to see Elijah Wood stretch himself a bit. (No, Sin City did not count.)
Browne: Earlier, I said that The Good Doctor was "creepy creepy," not "good creepy." Maniac is "good creepy." Or better yet, "creepy good." I'm pumped for this. Scared, but pumped.