Category: Trailers

Trailers: Threat Level Gamma

It’s been a while since I last saw fit to comment on any of the trailers I’ve seen, although I should probably point out that the Eragon trailers that I have been seeing for the last few months have uniformly bored me. Well, when I say uniform, I’ve only actually seen one. But I’ve seen it multiple times.

Anyway, A Scanner Darkly was particularly notable for the treasure trove of trailers that accompanied it. It kind of made me think that I hadn’t seen anything even slightly independent for a while – at least the sort of stuff that is preceded by trailers.

The pick of the bunch gets awarded with an embedded version of its trailer.

The Queen

First off the block! The Queen: Helen Mirren’s adventure into looking like Elizabeth Windsor and getting the Hell away with it. It’s easy to forget, when all you’ve seen of the film is Helen Mirren, that this film is about the royal family’s reaction to the death of Princess Diana.
Now call me heartless, but I never much cared for the Queen of Hearts. Quite why Elizabeth Windsor should care that greatly for the death of a woman who brought a great deal of shame to the family is beyond me, but I’m not the British public.

To be honest, I don’t really remember the content of this trailer; all that I know is that I want to see The Queen. Even if I were to summon up YouTube and post the trailer for The Queen right here, I doubt that I’d remember it immediately thereafter.

Stranger Than Fiction

Hooray for metatextuality! Stranger than Fiction is further proof that the quality of Will Ferrell is reliant entirely on the quality of the movie that he’s in. The execrable Wedding Crashers was made even worse by his mercifully brief involvement, but Talladega Nights was wholly inoffensive. Stranger than Fiction is like a triangle of delight: Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman.

Basically Emma Thompson has to write a novel, and she chooses to write it about Will Ferrell, not realising that he is an actual person. Will Ferrell can hear her narration, and he realises that she is trying to kill him off. Through Dustin Hoffman, Ferrell has to find Emma Thompson and convince her to let him live.

The trailer makes it look like an excellent story about a wholly mundane man who realises that, when his life is threatened, he really, really is quite attached to living. The grim clinging to the reality that he has come to inhabit makes this look like a good film indeed.


What’s that, Woody Allen? You say this screwball serial killer comedy starring Scarlett Johansson is your penance for having made me sit through your horrid, grey, misanthropic Match Point? Why, I do believe that I’ll take you up on this offer!
My hideous confession – and this is one of my more hideous – is that, barring Match Point, I have not actually seen a Woody Allen film.
Shortly after I watched that mind numbing, insultingly filmed, thoroughly uninviting tennis movie, I happened upon Woody Allen: Complete Prose. Read it? I devoured it. Allen had presented a collection of comedic curios so exquisite that I vomited with envy (also because books are not designed for internal consumption).

Scoop features Scarlett Johansson, a magician’s assistant and journalist, inveigling herself into a serial killing plot that she suspects is engineered by aristocratic Hugh Jackman. Allen himself is on hand to discourage Johansson from getting herself killed, but journalists refuse to listen to reason!
Also I just realised that, save for Woody Allen in place of Michael Caine, this is exactly the same movie as The Prestige. And I’ll tell you what? I can’t wait.

Post-script: “Hey, buddy,” you may say to me, in your no-doubt affected New York accent (substitute for Boston if I start talking about The Departed). “These movies – they’ve already been and gone! What the hell country do you think you’re living in that you’d be so far out of the loop that this stuff is new to you?”
Yeah, well: Australia. Sometimes we get stuff early, sometimes months past due. If I can live with it, so can you.

Trailers: Threat Level Beta

At An Inconvenient Truth last night, I was subjected to some more trailers that I wasn’t quite expecting, from movies I had only heard of in passing.

The first was The Holiday (YouTube trailer), which I had thought was a book before it was a movie. Apparently not. Anyway, it’s a romantic comedy about switching Britain for America and vice versa, with Cameron Diaz saying “England is so quaint! Look at its old world appeal!” (carefully ignoring the tackiness of modern English culture) and Kate Winslet saying “America is so … American!” (I don’t know how to characterise America in this film).
Cameron Diaz meets Jude Law, and Kate Winslet meets … Jack Black? Jack Black is my hero, so if I can get the requisite girls in line, I might go and see this movie.
As a general rule, you can tell the calibre of film that Black is in by the state of his facial hair.

The other, more eyecatching, and possibly more noteworthy film, was Marie Antoinette:

Bubblegum pink titles? Contemporary music? People speaking with their “natural accents”? This is what we call “post modernism” or similar. I have an interest in the French Revolution fuelled largely by the anime Rose of Versailles, which is a wildly romantic and fairly balanced account of the times of France from Marie Antoinette’s rise to her fall. It was the sort of thing that I could keep people constantly updated on as I came up with new examples of decadence.

Marie Antoinette is, by many (positive) accounts, more of a trifle; A fluffy confection of a film that revises Marie Antoinette’s image. I like the idea that she felt the whole of Versailles was silly, because it was, but the problem in my mind is that in time she came to believe in the silliness and drove France into a ditch of famine, poverty, and, eventually, cycles of bloodshed.

I won’t mind seeing a sympathetic Marie Antoinette, as the Antoinette of Rose of Versailles travelled between extremes of shrewishness and tears. I suppose it may be just like Doctor Who or James Bond: the actor you saw first is the character. Which incarnation of Antoinette will be the one that sticks?
Considering the different tones taken by these films, I may be able to accept both accounts on their own merits. Whatever the case, I’m intrigued: the trailer has done its work.

Post script, ironically written before I finished writing the rest:
Damnit, I just read what Roger Ebert had to say about the film’s reception about Cannes and now I know how it ends. Sure, I know this history reasonably well, but you can never know when a historical recount ends until it stops being told. That article is interesting until the last paragraph, so don’t feel bad about reading it.
It’s also notable that Ebert got the same impression based on a hypothetical that I did from the ending of Rose of Versailles.

Incongruous Trailers: Threat Level Alpha

When I went to DOA, I saw trailers for what will be a buckwild mainstream success (Talladega Nights), a children’s movie with a good cast (Storm Breaker – Bill Nighy!), and what is guaranteed to be purely horrid which, when last I checked, had a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes: The Covenant. (I just checked again: 2% now.)

The calibre of the movie you go to is going to affect the calibre of the trailers you see, with exceptions made for indisputable films that everyone is guaranteed to go and see (except, strangely enough, I can’t remember ever having seen a legitimate full length Dead Man’s Chest trailer, only a couple of teasers).

No other movie I’m going to see in the coming weeks is going to have a trailer for The Covenant, I can guarantee you that.

Talladega Nights, on the other hand, featured a trio of trailers I did not expect to see, plus one trailer that Americans will never see but was a perfect fit for this particular film.

The most understandable was Casino Royale, which is looking pretty damned good. I have my reservations about Judi Dench playing M in a story where M has been in the position longer than Bond has been a double 0 agent, but that’s really a quibbling argument when you consider just how awesome a Dame she is.
As a side note, the Casino Royale theme song, “You know my name”, leaked onto the internet this week: it’ll have to grow on me. I was looking forward to a big title song rather than just a theme song. I mean, who remembers Rita Coolidge’s “All Time High”, from Octopussy? No one, that’s who! (We’ll take on the world and win/So hold on tight/Let the flight/Begin)

Next up was A Good Year, the new comedy type film from Ridley Scott starring Russell Crowe. Beyond the fact that Crowe is box office poison and that Cinderella Man deserved to do much better than it did, do the audience going to Talladega Nights want to see a film about Russell Crowe – using his Antipodean accent, no less – rediscovering what it means not to be a bastard in France? I honestly can not tell you if I’m interested in seeing it, but Crowe does look somewhat personable and does not have to be offset by Renée Zellweger.

The big surprise of the selection was Children of Men, the trailer for which can be found here. (
Or, here’s YouTube (curse your usefulness, demon site!):

Children of Men is a dystopian film based on P.D. James’ novel of the same name. In a future where no children have been born for eighteen years, humanity is dying out and the world is at war. One pregnant woman has been discovered, and she must be delivered to safety.
I think that sounds interesting enough, but then it was revealed that the hero was Clive Owen, who has impressed me in the few movies of his that I have seen (Inside Man was particularly good). Then they cracked out the big guns: Julianne Moore, with whom I have become infatuated after absorbing Far From Heaven into my bloodstream over the last few weeks, and Michael Caine, about whom nothing needs to be said other than that he is awesome.

Children of Men came out last week in the UK, comes out here next month and, for reasons that I’m not going to begin to fathom, December 25 in America. (Boxing Day is the biggest day for movies in Australia; but does anyone actually go on Christmas Day?).

Children of Men, in being promoted at Talladega Nights, caught my attention. Yet it seemed out of place there, being promoted at a movie set in a hermetically sealed fantasy world where nothing bad ever happens – and if it does, it certainly doesn’t stick.

I suppose that the lesson I’ve learned is that a trailer doesn’t always need to fit with the movie that it accompanies: if it can make someone aware of, perhaps even interested in, something that they would otherwise be blissfully ignorant of, I suppose that makes everything worthwhile.

(For the record, the one trailer that made complete sense was that for the new Australian film Boytown, about a boy band reuniting in middle age to sing songs about the issues of the middle aged. It actually looks pretty funny, and is an Australian film that might get audiences in.)