By Scott Yager
Welcome back to The Trailer Park, your trashy, over-crowded, technologically inferior living space for all of the newest coming attractions!
Every movie starts as a trailer. Do you remember where you were the first time you saw the trailer for Jarhead? Bom…bom…bom…bom bom bom…’Jesus Walks’ by Kanye West slowly creeping in as powerful images of soldiers marching across flaming oil fields cover the screen, Jamie Foxx yelling “Hoo-raaa!” at the top of his lungs…man did that movie look good. Sure, I don’t actually remember where I was when I saw that trailer, or where I was when I eventually saw the movie for that matter. What I do remember though was how disappointed I was in the movie, not because it was so terrible, but because the trailer was so damn good and thus, so damn misleading. The trailer made the movie seemed like this intense, action packed modern war story when in reality the movie was about how boring and mundane war actually is.
Only about 1 out of every 5 movies lives up to expectations. I’d say about 4 out of every 5 trailers end up being well put together, enjoyable, and for the most part, do a good job of making the movie look better than it actually is. This equation makes it even harder for a movie to ACTUALLY live up to its trailer. Once you realize that coming across a movie that is as good as, or better than its trailer is about as likely as coming across an endangered Panda in Southern Connecticut…it makes you appreciate the trailers themselves more and take them for what they actually are, their own separate art form.
Without further ado…THE TRAILER PARK! (Remember, I grade the trailer separately from the movie itself)
Directed by Tony Scott
This trailer starts off as your typical suspense thriller – formulaic beyond belief. You have the tongue-and-cheek between the youngster and the old timers followed by the problem at hand which forces them to unite. Denzel and Chris Pine team up as railroad workers who attempt to stop a train that will kill a ton of people if it doesn’t stop in time. This seems like a really old school type of action movie, the kind that they stopped making about fifteen years ago. The part that bores me is that in the trailer at least, it doesn’t seem like there is a villain. Sure, the train itself is the antagonist, what they are up against, trying to stop, etc. But what this movie could use is an Andy Garcia or Christopher Walken, some evil guy who is CAUSING the train’s path of carnage in order to achieve some end. Maybe that is in the movie and they are leaving it out of the trailer (stupid move, if so), but assuming it isn’t, this movie will be a testament to two things…One, if this movie does well it will prove than Denzel is a huge star that people just love to watch because there really doesn’t seem like any other reason to see this movie. Two, if this holds up and does fairly well I guess we know that there is still an audience for old school thrillers like this. Technical malfunction and now two good guys have to go save the day. Seems simple enough. Wouldn’t be surprised if they work in some political subplot to explain the whole thing. But either way, Unstoppable doesn’t seem like a movie with too many selling points other than the two studs on the poster and a crowd looking for a 90’s style rollercoaster ride.
MOVIE GRADE: C
Directed by The Coen Brothers
This movie looks awesome. After watching the trailer I realized that Westerns have the tendency to look very bad when cut into three-minute form (that movie Appaloosa looked awesome, too). If this movie is half as good as No Country For Old Men then it is worth seeing in the theaters and there isn’t any reason to believe that it won’t be. The trailer itself doesn’t show too much. We know there is a little girl who teams up with Jeff Bridges to make sure a killer, played by Josh Brolin, is put to death and it looks like Matt Damon is going to come in to play along the way. The trailer has a sense of cockiness to it, sure. There seems to be a “this movie is going to be well received, go see it or be perceived as stupid” vibe to it, with the music, the editing, the whole deal…The Coen Brothers have sort of earned that right, though. Their movies are so loved or hated that there really isn’t any other way to market them. They make overly violent comedies that somehow always seem to be mis-marketed, and then they make these intense, world changing dramas that are shot and directed with such intensity that they rub some people the wrong way while meanwhile captivating everybody else. I know a lot of people who don’t like No Country for Old Men and I can get behind the “they should have shown Brolin die” argument because that is true, they should have shown him die, but the fact that they didn’t have a note of music in the movie caused a lot of dislike of the film as well. Whether these people admit that this is the reason is up to them. True Grit seems like it will be much like No Country. Whether the Brothers Coen have learned from No Country and adjusted with their newest film will remain to be seen. Either way, True Grit will surely be one of the most anticipated movies of the Awards season, not because it is sure to be loved by every single person but because the odds of it being polarizing are much better, indeed.
MOVIE GRADE: A-
Directed by David O. Russell
MOVIE GRADE: B