The last few weeks have been flooded with new trailers. A good chunk of them feature ensemble casts likely intended to drive up the box-office numbers. In the fall, we’re getting a comedy heist to tickle your funny bone and a drama to remind how much politics suck. We also have a couple teasers for two war movies coming next year – one sci-fi, the other historical. And one of them comes from the imagination of George Lucas. Can you guess which one?
What I find most interesting about ‘Red Tails’ is that it comes from George Lucas. It’s been over a decade since he last wrote or produced anything outside the ‘Indiana Jones’ or ‘Star Wars‘ franchises. So it’s interesting to see him tackle a historical drama set in WWII, based on the first African-American combat pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen. The movie features a strong cast headed by Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Bryan Cranston. The film also marks the feature debut of director Anthony Hemingway (‘Treme’, ‘The Wire’). Full of aerial combat battles and an emotionally-gripping story, the movie looks quite promising.
‘Tower Heist’ looks like the illegitimate younger, distant cousin of Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Ocean’s Eleven‘, only not as wittily clever or stylishly kitsch, and missing that cool ’60s aesthetic that made Clooney, Pitt and Damon such an entertaining watch. Instead, we have Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick and Eddie Murphy (looking more like Charlie) bumbling a heist job that really seems much simpler than the plot makes it out to be. Admittedly, the movie doesn’t look half bad. It seems to be mild, forgettable, good-humored entertainment. The last scene between Murphy and ‘Precious‘ star Gabourey Sidibe is actually rather funny. I just hope that’s not the movie’s best joke.
A while back, I hinted at a ‘Candyland’ film and said that ‘Real Steel’ looks like ‘Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots: The Movie’. This time, I’m being serious. Peter Berg brings us the teal-infested sci-fi actioner ‘Battleship’, a live-action movie based on the popular board game. Sure, it looks like a large-scale, “Blow ’em up real good” spectacle with loud, thunderous bass. But the thought of watching someone else play a game you can’t touch is ultimately ridiculous. And something about the love-interest subplot feels oddly like a retread of ‘Pearl Harbor‘, or pretty much any silly concoction devised by Michael Bay. When the three opposing ships suddenly line up on either side of the screen, an eyebrow suddenly pops up in amazement. Did the filmmakers actually design aerial shots reminiscent of the board game itself?
‘The Ides of March’
Political dramas can be rather tricky to pull off. Filmmakers have to find that perfect balance of intrigue and emotional crisis with an atmosphere of suspense, without completely feeling artificial or too much like a conspiracy thriller. This trailer makes George Clooney’s latest directorial effort seem as if it might deliver. It’s an adaptation of the Broadway play ‘Farragut North’, which is itself loosely based on Howard Dean’s political campaign of 2004, and the film looks quite gripping. Along with Clooney, we see Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood and Jeffrey Wright. I’ll definitely be watching this.
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