If kids' movies have taught us nothing else about scientist parents (and they haven't), it's that eventually those scientists are accidentally going to shrink down their kids and send them on a wild adventure dodging gigantic human feet amid intimidatingly tall blades of grass in what used to be a perfectly normal lawn!!! Science!
Epic, arguably the most lazily titled movie of 2013 since Identity Thief, jumps off from the same inciting event as Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (quick pedantic sidebar: no, you SHRANK the kids), but drops its female lead into a fantasy world where animals talk, tiny humanoids ride hummingbirds, and there's some kind of a war going on between ... tribes, I guess. The movie is chockablock with voice talent your children will adore, from Christoph Waltz to Pitbull! I kid — it's from the creative team behind Ice Age and Rio, so whatever, your children will probably like it fine, and it'll give you something to nap to for 90 minutes or so.
Silver: Because of its blatant recycling of plot points and gags, at one point I considered The Hangover Part II one of the biggest wasted opportunities to hit the big screen. But I’m not gonna lie, I’ve warmed up to it quite a bit. After subsequent (and multiple) cable viewings, I’ve come around and really appreciate Stu’s “there’s a demon in me” story line. It’s a disturbing yet oddly moving comment on the mental state of these three shallow, weak-minded men. More than this, as deplorable as they are, I’ve grown to genuinely like hanging out with these guys. So, like re-watching Inception or Prometheus, with expectations properly set the second time around, I'm at the point where I can also sit back and enjoy The Hangover Part II for what it is. Each time I see the film my enjoyment from spending time with Phil, Stu, and Alan slowly weakens my initial disappointment.
So without even seeing a frame of footage, my enthusiasm for Part III starts with my desire to simply hang with the wolfpack again. Then came this highly entertaining trailer, chock full of mayhem, laughs, and glimpses at a killer supporting cast (John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy, and our returning champions Heather Graham and Ken Jeong). Todd Phillips and his gang of merry men and women look determined to deliver a very different and fresh adventure to cap off this trilogy. I can’t wait.
2012 has been a remarkable year for testing the limits of trailers, with studios often oversaturating the market with four or five previews before a film is actually released, putting out teasers for "official" trailers, and even deploying the much-hated "teaser for the teaser." While this double-tease phenomenon has been the lowlight in the world of movie previews this year, a high point has been the music that has accompanied the trailers.
It's not simply acoustic guitar into electric guitar with a voice-over anymore. Or just "O Fortuna" or "Gimme Shelter" over and over again. (Well, there was Flight, but ...) Major artists are getting involved, new artists are breaking into the mainstream by way of their inclusion in a big movie's trailer and, in many cases, a trailer (and a film) would be nothing without the wise decision to incorporate the perfect song.
In the two weeks since our last post, a glut of trailers flooded the Internet, some good, some bad, some in between. So in an effort to be as thorough as possible and dedicate at least a few words to these cinematic appetizers, we reached way back into our arsenal of gimmicks to bring back the “One-Sentence Trailer Reviews.” Like last time, one of us had an easier time sticking to the plan than the other. (Guess who?)
Rembert and Dan
Now You See Me (June 7)
Silver: I had no idea Now You See Me existed, but after watching the trailer for this Prestige/Ocean’s Eleven/Robin Hood/Social Network/Batman Begins mash-up, it has quickly jumped to the top of my 2013 “must” list.
Browne: The only item on my "things that really don't exist" list that tops zombies and owls is magic. NEXT.
Silver: As a filmmaker, Spike Lee is at his best when he’s not directing a film he wrote. Clockers, 25th Hour, and Inside Man are Spike’s best work because in these films he’s a hired gun, and has no other options but to act as a pure storyteller. His tendency to veer into self-righteousness is kept in check by his producers (Martin Scorsese on Clockers, Edward Norton on 25th Hour, and Brian Grazer on Inside Man). Sure, there are exceptions — films that he’s written and directed like He’s Got Game or even Bamboozled work because it’s evident that Spike has something personal to say and visualized how he’s going to say it, and is not just preaching. Based on the trailer, I believe Red Hook Summer to be one of the exceptions. It feels very “Spike”, with its melodramatic music, flash cuts to handheld 16mm, and shots of forlorn folks looking directly into the camera, but what intrigues me is that Red Hook Summer appears to be a coming-of-age story. It’ll be interesting to see how Spike sees “today” through the eyes of children. I have no doubt that this film will be divisive and in some way filled with controversy (Spike wouldn’t want it any other way), but this one looks like it’ll be worth the time.