A few months have passed since the last trailer time, and though this issue isn’t what I’d call a bumper crop, I think you’ll find a few items worth your attention below.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" captures the fun, adventure and humor that ignited the hit franchise --this time in Disney Digital 3D(TM). In this action-packed tale of truth, betrayal, youth and demise, Captain Jack Sparrow crosses paths with a woman from his past (Penelope Cruz), and he's not sure if it's love--or if she's a ruthless con artist who's using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn't know who to fear more: Blackbeard or the woman from his past.
Sound and Fury Verdict: Did I just hear a collective groan? I really did like the first POTC. It made pirates interesting and very fun again. The second one jumped the shark, and I never saw the third one. Hmph. I’m not sure I even realized that a third had come out.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides sails into theaters on May 20, 2011.
Water For Elephants
Based on the acclaimed bestseller, Water for Elephants presents an unexpected romance in a uniquely compelling setting. Veterinary school student Jacob meets and falls in love with Marlena, a star performer in a circus of a bygone era. They discover beauty amidst the world of the Big Top, and come together through their compassion for a special elephant. Against all odds -- including the wrath of Marlena's charismatic but dangerous husband, August -- Jacob and Marlena find lifelong love.
Sound and Fury Verdict: This movie seems to have the sensibilities of films like Big Fish and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and which could be bad or good, I suppose. I haven’t read the book, but I’m keeping this on my watch list.
Water For Elephants is due in theaters April 15, 2011.
The title character of this adventure thriller, filmed in Europe, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a teenage girl. Uniquely, she has the strength, the stamina, and the smarts of a soldier; these come from being raised by her father (Eric Bana), an ex-CIA man, in the wilds of Finland. Living a life unlike any other teenager, her upbringing and training have been one and the same, all geared to making her the perfect assassin. The turning point in her adolescence is a sharp one; sent into the world by her father on a mission, Hanna journeys stealthily across Europe while eluding agents dispatched after her by a ruthless intelligence operative with secrets of her own (Cate Blanchett). As she nears her ultimate target, Hanna faces startling revelations about her existence and unexpected questions about her humanity.
Sound and Fury Verdict: Movie trailers are an art form unto themselves. They set the tone and expectation for the final product. I think this trailer fails as a piece of stand alone art, in that sense. The font used at the beginning is so contrary to the images on screen and the ending music is ironic and does not fit with the tone of the piece at all. Whether the irony is intended or not, it just gives the viewer the sense that the film isn’t quite sure what it wants to be. Therefore, it should be a testament to the source material that I still find the film Hannah compelling. I’ll see it and try not to cringe at the terrible Southern accents.
Hannah is out April 8th, 2011.
Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro star in Limitless, an action-thriller about a writer who takes an experimental drug that allows him to use 100 percent of his mind. As one man evolves into the perfect version of himself, forces more corrupt than he can imagine mark him for assassination.
Out-of-work writer Eddie Morra's (Cooper) rejection by girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) confirms his belief that he has zero future. That all vanishes the day an old friend introduces Eddie to MDT, a designer pharmaceutical that makes him laser focused and more confident than any man alive.
Now on an MDT-fueled odyssey, everything Eddie's read, heard or seen is instantly organized and available to him. As the former nobody rises to the top of the financial world, he draws the attention of business mogul Carl Van Loon (De Niro), who sees this enhanced version of Eddie as the tool to make billions.
But brutal side effects jeopardize his meteoric ascent. With a dwindling stash and hit men who will eliminate him to get the MDT, Eddie must stay wired long enough to elude capture and fulfill his destiny. If he can't, he will become just another victim who thought he'd found invincibility in a bottle.
Sound and Fury Verdict: I can’t make up my mind how I feel about Limitless. I don’t much care for Bradley Cooper, but then there’s De Niro. The premise is okay. Not very original, but where they go with it might be interesting. This will probably be relegated to a Netflix night.
Limitless hits theaters on March 18, 2011.
Two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster directs and co-stars with two-time Academy Award winner Mel Gibson in The Beaver – an emotional story about a man on a journey to re-discover his family and re-start his life.
Plagued by his own demons, Walter Black was once a successful toy executive and family man who now suffers from depression. No matter what he tries, Walter can't seem to get himself back on track... until a beaver hand puppet enters his life.
Sound and Fury Verdict: Every time Mel Gibson does something stupid in his personal life (which I could really care less about) that seems to threaten to end his professional one, he miraculously rebounds by reinventing himself. And Hollywood loves a come back story. I suppose, in a way, Gibson’s professional career kind of embodies the historical character of William Wallace he played so famously in Braveheart.
While watching the trailer for The Beaver I had that weird, heavy feeling you get when so many feelings jumble up and crowd together to form a lump in your throat, and you’re seconds away from having a chick moment and crying for absolutely no reason. I can’t explain it, but The Beaver just…moved me. And why not? It’s got funny. It’s got sad. It’s got happy and it’s got mad. Two different kinds of mad, really. I very much look forward to seeing this at The Alamo.
The Beaver does not have a hard release date set yet, but look for it in Spring of 2011.
I Am Number Four
John is an extraordinary teen, masking his true identity and passing as a typical high school student to elude a deadly enemy seeking to destroy him. Three like him have already been killed ... he is Number Four.
Sound and Fury Verdict: I think I just set the record for most yawns during a trailer. I’m not sure I’ll even bother with this on video.
I am Number Four is out in theaters on February 18, 2011.
Kill the Irishman
Over the summer of 1976, thirty-six bombs detonate in the heart of Cleveland while a turf war raged between Irish mobster Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson) and the Italian mafia. Based on a true story, "Kill the Irishman" chronicles Greene's heroic rise from a tough Cleveland neighborhood to become an enforcer in the local mob. Turning the tables on loan shark Shondor Birns (Christopher Walken) and allying himself with gangster John Nardi (Vincent D'Onofrio), Greene stops taking orders from the mafia and pursues his own power. Surviving countless assassination attempts from the mob and killing off anyone who went after him in retaliation, Danny Greene's infamous invincibility and notorious fearlessness eventually led to the collapse of mafia syndicates across the U.S. and also earned him the status of the man the mob couldn't kill.
Sound and Fury Verdict: Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer, and Ray Stephenson. What the hell else do you need to know about it?
Kill the Irishman is slated for a March 11, 2011 release date.
Tree of Life
From Terrence Malick, the acclaimed director of such classic films as Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950's. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick's signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life.
Sound and Fury Verdict: I can’t seem to watch this trailer enough. And it’s got to the point where I’m not sure the actual film could live up to the beauty of this single, short piece of artwork. I admit that I know absolutely nothing about Terrence Malick other than what other people have told me. I skipped The New World because my dad said it was awful, but he said he remembered The Thin Red Line being pretty good. To hear filmmaker Jeff Nichols tell it, Badlands is cinematic perfection. But admits that Malick is a pretty polarizing director. So, yeah, I’ve never seen a single one of his films, but I’ll remedy that soon as Badlands is in route from Netflix as we speak.
I can’t really say what it is about this trailer that chokes me up, but it does. I think it does a good job conveying the sense of loss one feels when you reach adulthood. The innocence and raw beauty of the world is replaced by ugly truth. But it’s really not. It’s up to each and every one of us to see past the harshness of the world, to overcome inner demons and find beauty through the most natural of human emotions: love. At least that’s what I think the film is saying.
A few side notes:
I had the chance to meet Terrence Malick at a screening I went to (thanks Jeff!) for the film The Road (apparently Nichols and Malick share a producer in Sarah Green), but being ignorant of his work I just stayed off to the side while Jeff did his thing. It was interesting, in retrospect, to be that close to a Hollywood legend, and I wish that I’d at least taken the time to meet the man. Ah well. You live and you learn.
Jessica Chastain plays the mother of Sean Penn’s character and she is also in Nichols’ film Take Shelter, which should begin screening at The Sundance Film Festival on January 24th, 2011.
And parts of The Tree of Life were filmed in my hometown, LaGrange, Texas. See? I’m just too invested in this film to miss it.
Tree of Life is due out May 27, 2011.
What didn’t make the cut
These posts take longer to edit together than you might think, and as such I usually weed out stuff that I just don’t feel like talking about. But some of you may be interested in these films and see the trailers for yourselves. In the interest of disclosure I present to you the list of flunk outs. The ones that did not make the cut. Click the links to go straight to a trailer so you can decide for yourselves.
That’s it for Trailer Time for now, folks. But stay tuned. This year is purported by critics and movie people to be a better year for film than last year, and I’ll be following the trailers and adding them as they come out.