First of all, hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. Second of all, I'm officially back after a holiday sabbatical of sorts. So, here's a rundown on a few trailers worth discussing.
Astro Boy (October 23rd, 2009) This is the very definition of a teaser, showing only a token amount of footage. However, it's worth noting that Summit is now considered enough of a player thanks to Twilight (as opposed to the clever and fun, but little-seen P2) that it can now claim release dates well over a year in advance. The press release announcing the October release was put out way back in September. The film is based on an allegedly classic Manga book by Osamu Tezuka (allegedly the 'god of Manga' or 'father of anime', but I'm not your source on such things), which explains how they can release a teaser for a cartoon with barely any footage (it's not like the animation on display is going to blow anyone's doors down). The cartoon is made by Imagi Studios, who also made the visually impressive but stunningly boring TMNT reboot back in March, 2007. I'm not sure if it's good news or bad news that the cast is filled with B-level stars, although the teaser ends with a roll call for Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland, Kristen Bell, Nathan Lane, Bill Nighy and Eugene Levy with Freddie Highmore (as Astro Boy). Anyone out there marking their calendars for this one?
He's Just Not That Into You (February 6th - so they claim) This is quickly becoming the movie that will never be released. The ever-shifting release date does not bode well for quality, but I suppose the week before Valentine's Day is as good as any place (alas, they couldn't use the day before as that's Friday the 13th, occupied by... guess). The inclusion of Jennifer Connelly does bode well for the potential for a climactic mass suicide and/or chainsaw massacre. Seriously, Jennifer Connelly appears in movies that are depressing throughout and/or have miserably unhappy endings as often as Gary Oldman dies (think Requiem For A Dream, Dark City, The Hulk, House Of Sand And Fog, Dark Water, Little Children Reservation Road). I'm starting to wonder if in fact the aliens do annihilate the earth at the end of The Day The Earth Stood Still. Otherwise, we can assume her appearance in these two mainstream pictures is caused by a quick attempt to pay down the college tuition of Stellan, her son by husband Paul Bettany (he's actually named after their pal, actor Stellan Skarsgard).
Star Trek (May 9th, 2009) The same trailer as last month, but with an extra closing shot of Leonard Nimoy as Spock requesting that viewers live for awhile and be prosperous. Not exactly something that's going to pull in the non-fans, but I suppose this was a bone to the Trekkies/Trekkers. Still, if you're going to pitch to the fans, why or why didn't they close the trailer with that Star Trek theme that closes every movie ('space: the final frontier... etc')?
Duplicity (March 20th, 2009) This one looks like good, dumb, adult fun, and just the sort of low-key, low expectations vehicle for Julia Roberts' return to the silver screen. The cast (Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Giamatti, and Tom Wilkinson) is worth the price of admission alone, and the idea of two ex-spies using their skills for a con game of corporate espionage is amusing. The director is Tony Gilroy, who last scored with Michael Clayton, so even if the tone seems a little too frothy, there is reason to hope. You'll know the movie is working if you're not spending the running time trying to guess the climactic twist (I'm assuming there is one).
The Great Buck Howard (May 30th, 2009) John Malkovich in another broad comedy? John Malkovich in a broad comedy that's rated PG? What kind of sorcery is this? Hey, if that's the reason that John Malkovich is hosting Saturday Night Live again this week, I don't care how good or bad this film is (his previous turn in late summer 1993 was a classic). This Magnolia festival pick up (in other words, you'll have to wait for video if you don't live in Chicago, LA, or New York City) concerns the attempted comeback of a once famous magician. Also of note is the solid cast (Ricky James, Emily Blunt, and Steve Zahn). Also of note, Tom Hanks and Colin Hanks star onscreen together (for the first time?), as father and son, natch.
Slumdog Millionaire (now in limited release)
I am not linking to this trailer or embedding this trailer. Consider this a warning. Pretty much everything associated with the marketing of this film is incredibly spoilerific. The official movie stills, the poster, the trailer... avoid them all. They all contain gigantic and all-encompassing spoilers. I was lucky to see this film quite early, and it's pretty darned good. However, I'll admit that I've been turned off by the marketing campaign which makes the movie feel far soapier and syrupy than it actually is (it's actually a pretty dark fable). It's a film worth seeing, but please, go in blind. Not since the second trailer for Red Eye (which gave away the climax, as well as the carrying out and actual outcome of the main evil scheme) has a trailer so ruined a film going experience. So, in the future, if you notice that I use the same one or two stills every time I write about the film, consider it a favor.
Well, it's a pretty slow week for trailers, as everyone seems to be waiting for the next big tent pole (The Day The Earth Stood Still - December 12th).