Friday, December 26, 2008

Valkyrie: So This Thing Called WWII Happened....

Valkyrie: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

...And it provided material for hundreds upon hundreds of movies for years to come! I shudder to think what will happen to the movie industry when the luster of WWII fades from our minds.

Finally the much discussed, controversial, make-or-break picture from United Artists is due to come out. There has been so much talk about this movie over the past year, from the initial reaction to pictures released of the eyepatched' Cruise to news of release date delays its hard to look at it objectively. But that's not what we do here anyway.

Despite his offscreen antics I think that Tom Cruise remains a very good actor. He always brings an intensity to his performances that can't be replaced. Sure he's had some duds but none of them were horrible. Anyway Valkyrie looks like a solid enough thriller, the plot sounds exciting (if predictable), and the acting doesn't look bad. Straight 60%-79%.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Spirit: At Least It Has Samuel L

The Spirit: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

The Spirit: Trailer 2 @ Apple Trailers

The Spirit: Trailer 3 @ Apple Trailers

Frank Miller has had a hand in some of the most influential comics of the past twenty years and it's been great to see a lot of his work realized on the big screen. 300 and Sin City will never be hailed as Oscar material but they at least managed not score in the 'Don't Insult the Viewer' award categories. 'The Spirit' does not look like it's going to be a strong contender in that field...

After seeing the first trailer I was excited since I am a fan of the extreme black and white technique used in Sin City and think it is a very unique visual style. As more trailers came out I started to lose hope that the movie was going to make it through without blowing up in comic book movie ridiculousness. Trailer 2 contains some horrendous acting, some atrocious lines (see: comic book dialogue not meant to be spoken), and far too many closeups. I'm not familiar with the comic, but it looks like the Spirit has some kind of harem of women who he alternately fights and plays with and they are all probably controlled by some guy called the Octopus.

Yeah, Samuel L. Frankly the best part of this movie is probably going to be Samuel L. Jackson. Actually i'm going to predict that will be the only part of this movie which will be worth the $11 ticket.

The Spirit is due out December 24.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Results, Batch 2!

Movies From Week of Dec. 15th:
Apparently I should have gone with my instinct and hated Seven Pounds. It certainly looks like the movie wasn't able to pull of its personal redemption gimmick. Yes Man and The Class were spot on, with the former being crappy and the latter being excellent.

I was surprised by The Brothers Bloom in two respects, one that Metacritic did not have a rating for it and, two, that people actually seemed to like it. Just full of surprises.

Marley & Me: Awww Puppies!

Marley & Me: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

Owen Wilson. Jennifer Aniston. Puppy. Romcom. Most likely the best performance will be the dog. Enough said.

Marley and Me is due out on December 25th.

Bedtime Stories: Sometimes Even Gumball Rain Doesn't Fix a Movie

Bedtime Stories: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

Adam Sandler (see also: Jim Carrey polarization factor). Courtney Cox. Disney kids movie. Enough said.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Class: L'intelligence Dangereux

The Class: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

Quick one today, simply because I know none of the history about the actors or story. The Class is the story of a young French teacher (a teacher in France, not a French language teacher), Mr. Marin, who is handed a classroom full of today's disaffected, sarcastic youngsters. The plot looks to progress predictably enough along the 'Dangerous Minds' route, albeit with less violence.

The movie stands out in its documentary style cinematography and some very genuine performances all around. The kids sound like they do a great job sounding like, well real teenagers, which is harder than most people think. Looks solid.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Brothers Bloom: Channeling Wes Anderson

The Brothers Bloom: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

What an odd movie. The trailer brings to mind some kind of unholy union of Snatch and Ocean's Eleven populated with Wes Anderson personalities. If you, as some kind of writer-director-producer-God were able to pull that combination off i'm sure you would have an excellent movie. Sadly it doesn't look like a good bet that The Brothers Bloom is going to conjure any of that magic.

Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo, the Bloom brothers, are far too uncharismatic to pull off the slick, caper heist rakes being sold by the trailer. The Rachel Weisz character looks slap-dash rather than interesting, and Rinko Kikuchi, unfortunately, looks to be used for nothing else except to dress up the movie with more of the pseudo-Wes Anderson eccentricity they are going for.

It does not look like the actors have the range (or perhaps were not given the leeway) to support the quirkiness the movie is going for. The Brothers Bloom is due out on December 19th.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Watchmen: Prologue

Some Watchmen trailers for you today in case you haven't seen them. I saw the first one in the theater and was quite impressed, particularly with the way the visuals looked. Unfortunately the second one, located at the official movie website, was much less impressive particularly during parts which required acting. :\

I'm withholding judgment until we see more material though, just because its such a highly anticipated flick and is still relatively far away.

Monday, December 15, 2008

First Batch of Results! I can has previctions now?

Results for you today now that I actually have a bunch of predictions to go back and check! I took the scores for the movies from today's totals.

In the future i'll try and do this weekly so that any movies released the previous week/weekend will have score comparisons consistently after their release week. Here we go, presented to you in full color Excel:

Overall, not a terrible set of results. I'm giving myself a 5 point +/- margin of error; that only leaves me with a 1 out of 7 result so far. That 10 point band may be a little ambitious since I doubt that i'm ever going to be that accurate. On a Good/Bad scale (good = 50-100 bad = 0-49) i'm 6 out of 7 though! Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.

So for the sake of keeping it interesting i'll do a "Out of 5" scale from now on. 0-19, 20-39, 40-59, 60-79, 80-100.

'Punisher: WZ' was almost dead on for the RottenTomatoes-MetaCritic Average. I was surprised by my misreading of 'The Reader' as well as for 'The Day the Earth Stood Still'. Note to self: next time take off more points for Keanu Reeves factor. I was very surprised by the Delgo score, apparently it was even worse than I thought. Gran Torino was another interesting turn around with a lot of people loving Eastwood's geriatric, curmudgeoney-ness. Well that just teaches me never to bet against Dirty Harry because remember, it's never, ever your lucky day. Punk.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dragonball Evolution: Chatwin's Hair FTW

Dragonball Evolution: Trailer 1 @ Official Site

Dragonball Evolution: Trailer @

Dragonball Evolution is the long awaited adaptation of the Japanese comic/cartoon/video game/everything series that revolves around the quest of super humans to find and gain control over a bunch of mystical, orange dragon...balls. Dirty thoughts aside, the original series has a large fanbase in both Japan and America which makes it surprising that it took so long to finally bring the adaptation to the big screen.

Watching the trailer, however, makes you believe that perhaps the Dragonball franchise was better off staying in its original territory. The 'Evolution' title is appropriate though as the movie looks like some kind of super hybrid of a WB show and the Sci-Fi channel movie of the week. Surely having the advantageous genes of both the WB (pretty young people) and Sci-Fi (explosions and aliens) will make the offspring better at finding food, seeking mates, and attracting a wider mass audience.

Sadly natural selection doesn't really function in Hollywood and this movie will probably find its way to maturity and spawning other offspring. The CG work is horribly blended with a blaring (not in an acidy trip Speed Racer kind of way, but in a Joel Schumacher kind of way) color palette to boot. Lighting and costume design looks to be a solid step above Mighty Morphin Power Rangers level so you should brace yourself for some rubbery looking villains and good guys. Let's not go into the little 'acting' that was left in there, i've hurt you enough already. Frankly I just feel sorry for Chow Yun Fat having to be involved with this, if only he had told someone he was so desperate for work we could have done something. Anything. Now it's too late.

Critics who actually have to watch and review this will want to put on a look something like Justin Chatwin as Goku. And that would be like you're in the process of passing a kidney stone the size of a golf ball. This trailer actually made my brain hurt.

Yes Man: No Thank You

Yes Man: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

Yes Man: Trailer 2 @ Apple Trailers

Jim Carrey is an actor who elicits extreme opinions, either you adore his antics or he is an oilstain on the parking lot of life. I happen to be one of the former, I justify watching Ace Ventura with the fact that Carrey is a good actor when he wants to be (Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine, etc...). There's nothing wrong with that right? Good with the bad and all that.

Which brings me to the latest movie trailer: "Yes Man'. The epiphany/life changing moment plot doesn't look to be blazing any new ground with some standard romantic interest thrown into the mix. Like many of his earlier movies its up to Jim to carry this by-the-book plot to the finish with his facial and body gyrations which, as mentioned earlier, may not be an entirely bad thing depending on the viewer. Unfortunately I feel many critics are not Carrey-lite fans and will probably (rightly) find nothing interesting in this flick otherwise.

So sadly I must say 'No' to 'Yes Man'.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Seven Pounds: Will Smith, Ninja Santa Claus

Seven Pounds: This is Not Easy Trailer @ Apple Trailers
Seven Pounds: He Eats Tofu Trailer @ Apple Trailers
Seven Pounds: I Need A Favor Trailer @ Apple Trailers
Seven Pounds: Trailer 3 @ Apple Trailers

Will Smith is Ben Thomas, a benevolent IRS agent seeking redemption for a mysterious event in his past by helping deserving people. The trailer is plain enough with some interesting visuals, but most of its allure comes from teasing you to guess exactly why Thomas is going around handing away his world possessions. He's kind of like a Ninja Santa Claus that goes around checking up on whether you need help and then swoops down in disguise and peppers you with goodwill and happiness.

The flick seems a bit gimmicky, and the producers definitely know that the mystery aspect will be what draws the majority of people in to the theater; but it doesn't look all bad in terms of acting. Will Smith is always entertaining and has a proven capacity for serious roles on top of his blockbuster ones. In addition to the theatrical trailer there are several clips where we see Mr. Thomas talking one on one with the different characters he is trying to help. The clips exhibit a patient pace and are generally positive, in particular the dialogue with the (forgotten name) 'Sniper Guy in Saving Private Ryan' is well acted. The sequences between Thomas and what looks to be his love interest are the only instances where it looks a little dry.

Long story short, people will see it but i'm unsure whether it's going to play big with the critics if it can't pull off the gimmicky part of it. I would like to see Will Smith in a ninja movie though.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gran Torino: Clint East wood kicks everyone's ass.

Gran Torino: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

I am a huge Clint Eastwood fan, I think that his is a talent that only comes along once in a blue moon. He has proven himself as an actor countless times and his record as a director is nothing to balk at either. There is no mistaking who that rasping growl belongs to when it comes over the theater speakers, especially after it threatens to kick someone's ass. Clint Eastwood does not sleep. He waits.

So it is with much disappointment that I have to say that Gran Torino seems pretty formulaic and even kind of boring. Eastwood is a stubborn, retired man who appears to be tired of living and cares about little anymore. Asian gangs have recently moved into his neighborhood bringing them into direct conflict with Clint Eastwood's fists and his WWII rifle. Clint Eastwood doesn't go hunting...Clint Eastwood goes KILLING. Inevitably, he begins to care (even to *gasp* love) about his neighbors and decides to take matters into his own hands, regardless of what will happen.

More than anything else it looks like a vehicle for Clint Eastwood to kick some disrespectful young people ass. While that may not be a bad thing, it does not alone a good movie make. Cinematography looks solid enough, I always liked Eastwood's eye for lighting and composing a shot so no complaints there. The acting other than Eastwood's looks a little amateurish unfortunately. Can't be too positive on this one.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Doubt:: Holy Vatican II Batman!

Doubt: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

A short one today.

You could cut the tension in this trailer with a very large butter knife. Philip Seymour Hoffman as a progressive Catholic priest versus Meryl Streep the hardline conservative Sister. Round 1, ding ding! The acting looks superb as two monumental performers go toe to toe in a battle over the future of a Catholic school, and the direction of the Church itself. The movie probably wouldn't seem half as interesting if it didn't involve so much of the real world debate about the Catholic Church, but that's the point I suppose.

Good acting, high tension plot, the Catholic Church, ladies in full length black frocks. What more can you ask for in a drama?

Nothing Like the Holidays: Familiar territory but a chance for a surprise?

Nothing Like the Holidays: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

I never would have thought that the names Debra Messing and John Leguizamo would be in the same movie tagline, but life is about surprises and change. At least that's the message that I got from the trailer of Nothing Like the Holidays. Leguizamo and Messing are a newly engaged couple and visiting his family for the holidays. The rub is that Messing's character is clearly WASP-y and Leguizamo's family is quite Hispanic. It starts out tamely enough on familiar romantic comedy territory and had me thinking it was careening in the direction of a "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner-Lite" remake. I was also expecting copious amounts of "Meet the Parents" style awkwardness and antics, but was pleasantly surprised when it looked like family drama was the focus. The dialogue sounds relatively natural and the characters are a comfortable distance away from the carictures that emerge far too often in rom-com's (I love this mashup) these days, especially ones involving ethnic families.

It doesn't hurt that the cast is quite good, with the often undersold John Leguizamo, Alfred Molina, and Freddy Rodriguez in what looks to be an actually interesting holiday script. I was surprised by the trailer and think that critics will be surprised as well. Of course it could just be well cut holiday schlock, but i'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Delgo: Lizards, Fairies, and Plotpoints. Oh My!

Delgo: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

OMNIMEDIA: that was the first word that came to mind after watching the preview for Delgo. But not in a good 'All Things Considered' kind of way, but a 'Jack-of-all-Trades' kind of way. There are so many plots and different genres packed into the trailer that its hard to find one point to jump off from. The story looks to be a tale of two young...things (I don't know what the creatures are called)...from different species who fall in love and have to overcome their differences to be with each other. On top of that their respective countries/species/hives/etc are about to go to war with each other. On top of THAT it looks like there are internal political squabbles going on in one of the kingdoms between a queen and the good guys of the species. Needless to say it doesn't seem to be lacking in plot layers.

I have to balk at this kind of layering in a Family movie though, I feel the attempt to throw something in the mix for everyone usually ends up mucking up what could be a wonderful story on its own. To pull it off you have to be no less than Pixar-esque in your execution, which many studios are not. From the trailer this looks more like a study in 90s era Disney than anything else.

On the animation front the characters have a plastic feel which doesn't help the case for the seriousness (it really sounds like the evil character is trying to set up a mini-ethnic cleansing...) the movie is trying to convey. Backdrops and character are done in impressive, detail but the stiff movement betrays all that work and throws it squarely back into the cartoon neighborhood. Bottom line, I don't think the movie knows what it is. It's got quite a cast of B+ level voice talent that is sure to attract viewers but I really feel it's trying too hard to be all things, a kids movie, a fantasy tale, and a light hearted animated feature.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Day the Earth Stood Still: Is.....

The Day the Earth Stood Still: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

...the day that Keanu Reeves doesn't look spaced out in a movie. From what I gather Keanu plays some kind of alien or cyborg or something, which is probably perfect given his normal wooden delivery and demeanor. I'm sure he's a nice guy, but his acting ability isn't exactly as wide as the deep blue sea. Roles where the character is clueless (Matrix) serve him well, but I don't think he has the ability to carry a full antagonistic role as he appears to here.

The CG in the trailer looks impressive for the most part with a giant, glowing sphere emerging and hovering ominously and some kind of noxious cloud of evil dismembering buildings and cars. Horribly incorporated CG is a pet peeve of mine and there is a moment in the trailer where the monster rears its head, but overall it looks like pretty safe stuff production wise. A few shots seem kind of hokey with people standing around in too-perfect positions and far too clinical lighting, but its doubtful that's going to make a big difference either.

The Day the Earth Stood Still is a remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic of the same name. This doesn't look set to surprise anyone for its amazing writing or direction but it doesn't look like a bomb either. I'm going to play it safe and sit in the middle here. 50%

The Day the Earth Stood Still is due out on December 12th.

TrailerHound Previction: 50%

The Reader: Fiennes and Dandy

The Reader: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

Another trailer/movie today adapted from another best-selling novel (as is the trend for risk averse producers these days; more on that another time), this time about Post-World War II Germany. The excellent, and still mind bogglingly un-Oscar'd, Ralph Fiennes co-stars with Kate Winslet.

The story looks like it proceeds in a retrospective style with the main character, Fiennes, recounting his struggle as an adolescent to reconcile his love for a woman with the horrible things she did. I'm generally biased to this format when it comes to telling stories that the audience is already familiar with as it just makes for a more interesting narrative. The acting from both Fiennes and Winslet looks superb; a slipup in that department would really surprise me. The muted, washed out colors of the cinematography fit with the theme and some of the stills from the trailer alone look wonderful. The only thing that I could possibly see killing it off is the theme of moral ambivalence that is near the end of the trailer. Not that i'm against complex movies, they're just more difficult to pull off.

I don't think anyone is holding their breath for this to break any box office records, but I expect it to get good critical acclaim.

TrailerHound Previction: 80%

Punisher: War Zone; More Like Poor Zone.

Punisher Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers
Punisher Trailer 2 @ Apple Trailers

Ok, I realize that Punisher:War Zone (hereafter referred to as P:WZ) has already been released, but after seeing the trailers I have to put in my two cents. Plus I promise that I have not yet seen the ratings it's received so my prediction should still be objective.

The modern comic book movie was born during my childhood (Batman 1989) and it holds a special place in my heart, the place filled with scary Michael Keatons' and wacky Jack Nicholsons' dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight....Because of this special childhood bond I am compelled to love the comic book movie genre as there are countless great stories and characters just waiting to find a wider audience. Just look at what Dark Knight did this summer and the potential for great film is clear. However comic book movies also have the same potential (at this point we can say it's a tendency) to deliver poorly written, produced, and directed crap because all those involved know they will make a pile of money anyway. It looks as if P:WZ is going to fit squarely into the latter category.

Frank Castle, aka Punisher, is on a mission. A mission to deliver lines and deliver them with all the conviction of someone trying to open a pickle jar with two Christmas hams duct-taped to his hands. Many writers and producers don't seem to realize that most comic book dialogue is just not meant to be be spoken exactly the way it's written in the comics. (Or maybe they realize that ripping the script straight from comic book writing is a lot cheaper than having someone write a full original script.) There is very little chance that the line, "Sometimes i'd like to get my hands on God." is going to come out of the actor in a non-absurd sounding way.

Bad dialogue aside, the trailers are a visual trainwreck and a half. Between the neon disco lighting, cartoonish set design, and the villain's patchwork makeup it looks like a perfect storm of horrid filming sure to cause many "My God, I actually spent money to watch this. Look my wallet, it's empty and this movie was the thing that took it from me." Oh, and there is a villain that sounds and acts like a messed up Al Pacino a la Scarface.

Sometimes i'd like to get my hands on the time I spent watching this trailer.

TrailerHound Previction: 20%

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Wrestler: Rourketastic

Sometimes a role undeniably belongs to one actor. Whether because of appearance, personality, or history there are great parts which could never be inhabited by any other person. Mickey Rourke looks set to inhabit one of those timeless characters as he fills the lace-up boots of small time wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson with the passion only someone who has been through the ups and downs of a tumultuous career could muster.

We also see another career-rollercoaster-rider, Marisa Tomei, playing an aging stripper who becomes involved with Rourke. Two actors asking for second chances and it looks like we should give it to them.

I watched the trailer off Apple Trailers for The Wrestler. The movie is due out for limited release on Dec. 17th.

TrailerHound Previction: 90%

The Tale of Despereaux:: Little Guy, Big Heart

I watched the teaser and the theatrical trailer of The Tale of Despereaux off the Apple Trailers site. The first thing that struck me was the amazing detail of the character and background animation shown throughout the production. I don't know which 3d studio handled this but the look hews much closer to the crisp, subtle detail of recent Pixar productions rather than the simple cartoony-ness of many other digital 'imitators'.

The story sounds quite well put together with a Small Guy-Big Heart theme wrapped in the middle of a Medieval Kingdom in Crisis (replete with damsel in distress) storyline. That is probably to be expected since the source material is apparently a well loved children's novel, but hey we all know
adaptations that have gone horribly, horribly wrong so let's not take anything for granted.

So it looks like Universal has a winner here with the on spot animation and the heartwarming (if conventional) storyline just in time for the Christmas season. The TrailerHound previction? 85%.

Universal Studios' The Tale of Despereaux is due out in theaters December 19th.

TrailerHound Previction: 85%

Welcome to Trailer Hound!

Welcome to Trailer Hound. This blog is dedicated to viewing trailers of upcoming movies and making predictions on whether those movies turn out to be good or not based only on the previews! Whether it's lots of dialogue scenes or many many many BIG explosions, I have found that what directors and producers decide to highlight (or exclude all together) from trailers tells a lot about the movie itself and can shed light on whether it's heading to the Academy or to the grocery store bargain bin.

After viewing a movie's released trailers I will make a prediction on the average ratings the movie will receive after its first week of release on RottenTomatoes and Metacritic. I will also keep track of my prediction record to see how my TrailerPredictionPowers (Pat.Pending) fare versus the general consensus.

Off we go!