Movie: Drive Angry (February 25th)
Trailer Type: The old “let Nic Cage say stuff in that voice that sounds crazy and then blow a bunch of cars up” routine.
Persons of Interest: Nic Cage playing a felon escaped from hell to rescue his granddaughter is pretty much can’t miss in the newly created movie genre “terrible, terrible movie ideas that you stop laughing at and buy a ticket for once you hear that Nic Cage is in it”. The devil’s “accountant” played by the reliable William Fichtner (I know you’ve never heard of him, but you’ll recognize him) also looks like a fun character.
Moments of Intrigue: Cage being Cage is smattered throughout the trailer’s run time, and it looks like the movie is going to do a nice job of killing some people up pretty good.
Possible Signs o’ Trouble: Nic Cage movies can work at several levels, “being good” in a straightforward sense is rarely one of them.
Anticipation Factor (out of 5): 3Watch it HERE
Movie: Rango (March 4th)
Trailer Type: The old “animated hyperactive sequence comes to a screeching halt which transitions into a genre parody interspliced with the movie’s best gags and one liners” routine.
Persons of Interest: Are you ready for this? Johnny Depp WITHOUT being directed by the increasingly insufferable Tim Burton! And it sounds like he’s lending quite a bit of personality to the title character, which is what we’d expect from him. Timothy Olyphant also lends his interesting voice to the proceedings here, and there’s a lot of other voices you’ll recognize (for those who follow Abigail Breslin’s work closely, anyway).
Moments of Intrigue: The photo-realistic style of the animals that inhabit the town represents something unique and highly interesting as far as animated films go—I keep rewatching this and liking the style of the character designs more and more every time. Besides that, I think this movie will be a blast if it plays with the tropes of the western genre (street standoffs, barroom brawling, larger-than-life heroes and baddies) as playfully as it appears to.
Possible Signs o’ Trouble: The huge-eyed mole (?) girl makes me sick—she’s just gross looking. If she’s supposed to be the movie’s cutie-pie character then we might have a small problem. The trailer also seems to reveal a bit of tonal inconsistency with slapstick grinding against more “serious” western overtones to the story.
Anticipation Factor (out of 5): 4Watch it HERE
Movie: Battle: Los Angeles (March 11th)
Trailer Type: The old “introduce shallowly developed characters with an ominous score and then batter the audience with all of the chaos they’ll face later that same day—man are they in for it and they don’t even know it!” routine.
Persons of Interest: Uh, anybody still into Michelle Rodriguez?
Moments of Intrigue: Though stolen shamelessly from the excellent “District 9”, I like the documentary grain the movie seems to have been filmed in. It lends a look of authenticity to the proceedings here and seems to be especially effective in making the presence of alien ships and creatures seem much more foreboding. Also, the high-angle shots of battle after battle (all, I presume, in Los Angeles) here look uniformly excellent and utilize the depth of field the camera takes in to an impressive extent. The trailer even manages to highlight a couple of genuinely beautiful looking images (in particular the alien ships flying across a bloody sunset through wavering heat).
Possible Signs o’ Trouble: Let’s be clear here: I grew out of liking movies solely for the presence of aliens/explosions/violence/car chases about ten years ago. That’s right, when I was in college—sue me for being a little slow to grow up. But nowadays a movie like this won’t get a pass from me without delivering something more thoughtful or original or clever (consider the afore-mentioned “District 9” with its examination of apartheid through an entirely new lens), and given the cast, date of release, and lack of hype, I doubt this movie is bringing any of those things to the table. It might function better as a trailer than as a film though, as many actioners do.
Anticipation Factor (out of 5): 3Watch it HERE
Movie: The Lincoln Lawyer (March 18th)
Trailer Type: The old “introduce a potential franchise protagonist in a charming off kilter way and then show us just how deep into it this guy is really going to get before he eventually comes out on top…or does he!” routine.
Persons of Interest: Matthew McConaughey once had a chance to become a really great actor—he was good in “A Time to Kill” and actually played Palmer Joss in a very unassuming and likeable way in the under seen “Contact”. While the tone of this film is a bit hard to nail down, if it plays as an intelligent dramatic story with a slightly goofy protagonist, it could mark a desire on MM’s part to reassert himself as an actor who has some chops and wants to be taken seriously. But then, he was in “Two for the Money” not long ago… He seems to nail the balance between “sleazy” and “potentially redeemable” character here, which is promising. Also, William H. Macy deserves a look as a long-haired mustachioed I-don’t-know-what here. John Leguizamo is always reliable, and it’s nice to see Bryan Cranston getting some roles.
Moments of Intrigue: This looks like a by-the-numbers mystery in the vein of Grisham novels (I’m not familiar with the author this movie’s based on), but it looks like an intense one at that. It’s also fun to watch MM shake an envelope with 10 grand in it and then proclaim “I just did” when a biker asks him if he’s going to count it.
Possible Signs o’ Trouble: Like I said, this has the look of a simple-minded mystery story where our hero will learn the truth just in time to stop someone from getting away with a horrible injustice, and it’ll be a good thing, too, because boy is that someone a smarmy little bastard (good job playing that to the hilt here, Ryan Phillipe!).
Anticipation Factor (out of 5): An inexplicable 4 (I don’t know why this trailer makes me want to see this movie as much as it does; I feel like it undermines my credibility completely, but I’m trying to keep this column honest).Watch it HERE
Movie: Rubber (april 1st but apparently available on demand February 25th)
Trailer Type: The old “let ‘em have a good laugh at how silly and funny this whole movie is going to be and then have the newly-sentient tire make a cop’s head explode” routine. Like we haven’t seen THAT one before.
Persons of Interest: I’ll spare you the Michelin Man joke. Actually, I guess in mentioning it I didn’t spare you it after all, so there you go. Seriously, there’s NOBODY of note in this movie. The director, Quentin Dupieux, is apparently a “visionary” but IMDB lists his previous work as the similarly-literally-titled “Steak” and the who-knows-what-this-is-but-damned-if-I’m-clicking-the-link-to-find-out “Nonfilm”.
Moments of Intrigue: I love the, uh, puppeteering? when the tire (Robert) first “wakes up” in the dirt and “looks around”. I love the scene with the tire in the shower too, not to mention his sad (not sure how I’m reading a tire’s emotions) stare as he watches other tires being thrown onto a giant tire fire. This movie just looks all kinds of ridiculous, and I mean that in a good way.
Possible Signs o’ Trouble: I’ll give you one huge one: The director also wrote the soundtrack under his musical name “Mr. Oizo” which suggests that, yeah, he COULD be an awesome director, but he might also just be a hack who sucks in every artistic genre he can get his hands on.
Anticipation Factor (out of 5): 5 (because wouldn’t you rather be able to tell people you HAVE seen a movie about a sentient, murderous tire with telepathic abilities?)Watch it HERE