I loved the idea of the righteous dude who ended slavery, killing vampires. I didn't see him hunt zombies, but I'll bet he was righteous about that, too. The box office race between vampires and zombies is a tight one, and for the record I love both. That said, I will never watch, nor review Breaking Wind Also or whatever the new Twilight movie is called. Sorry, I'm well past my teens.
I mentioned this before but the accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln are well documented... not to mention the nickname "honest Abe." The dude is righteous. Among many great deeds and accomplishments, he played an important role in American history during the Civil war. His heroic efforts helped preserve the Union.
Man, could America use a Lincoln right now. But.... look at the turmoil of a country divided that Abe had to deal with. The funny thing is that the state of chaos the Union was in is not unlike the great divide between Democrats and Republicans today. At the core, Americans, regardless of politics, live and die by the constitution. At the core, everyone wants to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Even a common enemy such as Al Qaeda and the war on terror couldn't unite a country. I always thought that if you gave a society a common enemy it would unite them. America needs a Lincoln, right now.
Regardless of who won the Presidential election, the challenges facing the President and Americans are no less daunting than the challenges Abe had.
Wow, the trailer for Lincoln made me angry and sad, and I felt both hopelessness and optimism. It showed struggles and pain and Abe having to do the right things in the face of chaos. A quote just jumped into my head...
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." Albert Einstein.
The trailer for Lincoln had so much going for it. You know Spielberg is a master. Daniel Day Lewis and the rest of the cast are great. And, Abe's story and the impact he had on America and the world are inspiring. Maybe the release of this film is timely, historically speaking.
Maybe I'm being a sentimental sap right now, even though the wife says I have no feelings, but I was moved by this trailer and am eager to see this film on the big screen.
2. Django Unchained
Someone said to me, "have you seen the trailer for Django Unchained?"
I responded, "there's going to be a sequel to that animated lizard movie with Johnny Depp?"
Rango was the animated lizard movie. It's just that it seems like most films today are a sequel, prequel, or terribly unequal to anything remotely original.
Speaking of which, Quentin Tarantino. He's made some pretty great films. And despite the criticisms against him, many of his films seem fresh and original. The Kill Bill movies sucked, but that's an old rant...
Every so often a modern western is made. Usually they are pretty good. Didn't Eastwood's, Unforgiven, even win an Oscar? I don't remember. Rango was a western. Just sayin'
The trailer for Django Unchained tells the story, in the form of a western, of an American slave that is liberated by a bounty hunter to help settle a score. The slave is the only one who has seen the faces of the men being tracked and thus, is made a bounty hunter too.
A potential nominee for best line in a trailer, when asked, "how do you like the bounty hunter business?" Django says, "kill white people... What's not to like?"
During the trailer the words, Life, Liberty, And the pursuit of... Vengeance, appear between scenes. While the vengeance theme is entertaining on film because we all want to see justice in about two hours, I always struggle with how the theme conflicts with Judeo-Christian values. Yes, I've been on this rant before, too. Hollywood, please make some original movies so I can stop sounding like a sequel, prequel or terribly unequal to anything remotely original.
All that to say that the trailer for Django Unchained looked, cool, fun and entertaining despite being longer than 2 minutes. Mr. Tarantino, this looks like a good movie.
I'm sure I will see it.
3. Life of Pi
I like trailers that have no dialogue, but then they aren't eligible for a Beerbohm Award for Best Line in a Trailer. Maybe there should be a category for best silent trailer... or better yet, best trailer that should have been silent...
I never saw Ang Lee's, Brokeback Mountain. Not that there's anything wrong with it. Larry David wrote a funny piece on why he refused to see it. Something to the effect of, he thought he might like it. My goofy side thought that the trailer for Life of Pi was like Brokeback Mountain on the ocean except Jake Gyllenhaall was Pi and Heath Ledger was the tiger. I expressed this to the wife and she smiled and said, "you're such a goof." See?
I'd heard about the book. Several people described it to me and it really did sound interesting and original - wow, I don't often say interesting and original about anything.
The trailer for Life of Pi shows a shipwreck and follows the survivors and their life rafts. The survivors are Pi and a tiger. I think there were others in the book, but I'm not sure.
So, the occupants of brokeback life raft must form a bond in order to survive.
The trailer that I watched was around two minutes and, as I mentioned, it told a story without words. The story was captivating, interesting and yes, seemed original.
As trailers go, The Life of Pi was a winner.
4. Beasts of the Southern Wild
I hadn't heard about this film. I hadn't seen it listed on movie websites, Cinemaclock or any other source I check for that matter. Upon discovery, I heard that it was an independent film. So, the first thought that popped into my head when I saw it listed as an Oscar Best Picture nominee was: Brilliant. The second thought was: how on earth did this film get on the Academy radar - but who cares how because it did. It's brilliant that it did and creates some hope and optimism for all indie film makers.
The trailer focused on a child in an isolated southern community during a pre/post natural disaster situation. It showed poverty, devastation and loss much like the footage we saw from Hurricane Katrina in the deep south. And, it showed how the strength and determination of one small child could inspire everyone touched by her.
Despite the devastation and hopelessness, the trailer left an impression of optimism and inspiration and showed that regardless of situation, life can be beautiful.
Funnily enough, I thought of that Roberto Benigni film, Life is Beautiful (which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film). Not that Beasts of the Southern Wild is that similar, but the theme of a child in a dangerous and seemingly hopeless situation juxtaposed with the same child's wonder, imagination, curiosity, optimism, resolve and resilience is sort of shared.
Judging by the trailer (which is the point of this blog), Beasts of the Southern Wild appears to be the David in a list of Goliath Oscar Best Picture nominees. As this is the story of the underdog, so to is this the story of the underdog film at the Oscars.
I like both stories. I liked the trailer and I will likely see the film before Oscar time.
The Canadian Football League's Toronto team is called the Argonauts. Anywhere in the world, at any given time, some Canadian at a sporting event is screaming, "ARRRRRRRRRRRGOOOOOOOS..." A buddy of mine was at a soccer match in Mexico City and, during a lull in the action, heard someone from across the 100,000+ seat arena scream, "ARRRRRRRRRRRGOOOOOOOS..."
Canadians are a strange and wonderful lot. They have quietly supported both war and peace efforts whose roots were based in freedom and democracy. Unsung heroes, perhaps? Or just trying to do the right thing? Or just as full of shit as everyone else?
Ben Affleck. He's been in some good films and some duds. I often wonder about his strength as an actor because his characters often seem the same - kind of Affleck playing Affleck. Though sometimes it's hard to tell because, more often than not, he's surrounded by strong supporting casts. Hmmm... I guess it doesn't matter if he's a good actor or not because he is clearly very smart for surrounding himself with talent. I guess then, that the Ben Affleck as an actor question is irrelevant. So, what about Argo?
I know there's been much hype about this film, but I've tried not to pay attention so I could view the trailer with as open a mind as I could possibly have...
I don't remember anything about the "true story" but I can say that the trailer was very entertaining. According to Beerbohmtastic, a movie trailer doesn't need to be longer than 1:20. Very few 2:00 minute + trailers are good. The problem is that they just give away too much and then there's no reason to see the film. Argo was an entertaining 2:34.
The trailer for Argo set up the story so well that one didn't need to know the history. It was interesting, exciting and amusing. There was a nice combination of suspense, foreshadowing and what a trailer is supposed to do.... tease, peak interest, and make you want to see the film! And, Affleck was very convincing even though he has a good supporting cast...
When I like a trailer, I will see the movie. I really liked this trailer.
6. Silver Linings Playbook
Sometimes I am even more shallow than simply judging a movie by its trailer. Sometimes I judge a trailer by its actor.
So, I began to judge the trailer for Silver Linings Playbook before viewing it...
I am not sure if I like Bradley Cooper and not even sure if I dislike Bradley Cooper. He's an actor that seems to play the same intense guy in everything. Whether a good guy or not - at least in the few films I've seen him in. I think it has something to do with having all the right acting tools but his eyes seem to betray the emotion of his acting - except intensity - and thus, in every role he seems to have varying levels of asshole-ness. Maybe that's who he is and maybe that's why he is cast in those types of roles. If something works for you, then by all means do it, right? Unless of course, you're hurting someone else...
The wife likes Bradley Cooper. Maybe I'm just jealous of his abs.
The trailer for Silver Linings Playbook opens up on Robert De Niro. Who doesn't like Robert De Niro?
Silver Lining Playbook (SLP): 1
My Judgment (MJ): 0
Bradley Cooper plays the same asshole, but this time there's a sort of reason for it - mental health - and, in the trailer, he shows much more than just the intense asshole he usually plays. In a few clips his eyes actually reflected the emotion he projected.
Jennifer Lawrence was really believable in The Hunger Games, which is the only movie I've seen her in. She was very charming and believable in this trailer.
The story communicated in the trailer is of a man in his 30s dealing with mental health issues, released from an institution (I think), moves in with his parents, meets a girl who is also dealing with mental health issues, all the while trying to connect with life. Then there's this whole dancing thing that kind of threw me off. Like if he wins a dance competition life will be better or something because he will feel a sense of accomplishment.
Up until the dance stuff, I really liked the trailer for Silver Linings Playbook.
This will likely be a date night movie, and like all date night movies, it will be the wife's choice.
The first trailer I watched was in French with no subtitles. I watched the whole 2 minute trailer without really understanding the dialogue, but tried to take in the visuals. My first response was: the Academy will likely not vote for a French film to be Best Picture two years in a row, unless it was silent again. But then this isn't 1925 so back-to-back silent film Oscars aren't likely. Is there a silent film nominated? I wish some films were silent, but I digress.
Whenever I meet someone who has been married for more than 20 years, I always ask the same question: What's the secret to a long and happy marriage? I'm sure you've heard many of these...
"Never go to bed angry."
"Don't sweat the small stuff."
"Pick your battles carefully."
"Happy wife, happy life."
"Ask yourself, do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?"
I then watched the Amour trailer that had subtitles.
The trailer for Amour shows an elderly couple that have had a long and happy marriage - an apparent perfect relationship with much in common. The wife falls ill, terminally it appears, and the husband and daughter are left trying to make sense of it all - or both fall ill and the daughter is left dealing with it. I wasn't sure but didn't want to watch the trailer again.
I have no doubt that the drama will be real and moving. I have no doubt that almost everyone who sees this film will relate because almost everyone has experienced extreme happiness, hardship and tragic loss. And, as I'm sure will be the case in Amour, coming to some sort of understanding followed by some kind of peace or acceptance, will occur.
While I felt compassion watching the trailer and it stirred memories of my father's long illness and subsequent death, by the end of the trailer I didn't want to relate any more.
So while the trailer did a good job of stirring real emotions, they were emotions that we all have felt, or will, so is someone else's story going to make me feel better about mine?
But I'll likely never find out as I have no desire to see this film.
8. Les Misérable
I know that the Victor Hugo classic from 1862 is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th Century.
I know that it has been produced in theatrical form for decades.
I know that there have been films made going back to 1934. There was even a TV movie in 1978 and a TV mini-series in 2000.
So, one would think that I, as an avid reader (well, I used to be) and a lover of (mostly) all film would have read the classic novel or at least viewed one of the many versions of Les Misérables.
I don't even know what it's about. It brings to mind what I heard an old, British woman once say, "how could it be famous if I've never heard of it?"
When I clicked on the trailer I noticed it was only 1:31. That's a good length for a solid teaser.
Given that I don't know anything about Les Misérables and never really paid attention, the trailer told me nothing - and I kind of feel stupid not knowing. I think the trailer makes the assumption that everyone knows the story and another version of it with a solid cast will give both old fans and new fans an opportunity to have the Les Misérables "experience." And generate revenue, of course.
Les Misérables is a musical. The wife will likely rent it at some point and bring it home and ask me nicely to watch it with her. We will sit down with our popcorn and drinks and during the first song I will mock the singing and she will ask that I be quiet or leave the room. I will likely smile, thank her and leave the room.
I really don't care for musicals and I'll be surprised if the 9th remake of Les Misérable wins an Oscar.
9. Zero Dark Thirty
Osama Bin Laden is the face of the evil behind 9-11 and the subject of a manhunt that lasted 10 years and cost billions of dollars.
So, why make Zero Dark Thirty? Is it to remind us that one man was behind the planning of a terrible attack on American soil and killing him will make things right? Not likely.
We know he is eventually found and killed.
So, why make Zero Dark Thirty? Is it to help with closure because the details of the 10 year, billion dollar plan were never shared with the public?
We know that during the 10 years following 9-11, the Al-Qaeda movement hasn't lost momentum. It's still there. It is still organizing. It still has a mandate to destroy the infidels - which is basically everyone.
So, why make Zero Dark Thirty? Is it to show us that it wasn't easy to track down a guy in the desert and there were all sorts of challenges, both political and otherwise and that revenge was finally exacted?
If Al-Qaeda feels justified in committing acts of murder and justifies other actions of violence by calling them retaliation (which is what we call revenge), then won't any act of violence just create more violence in return?
So, why make Zero Dark Thirty? To show that the west has won something?
I can't see any winners here. People continue to die and the trillions of dollars spent on the war on terror should have been spent on preventing and/or helping the people of America keep their homes and jobs: the economic crisis can be linked to a military obsession that, arguably, bankrupted a country.
So, why make Zero Dark Thirty? So talented writers and film makes can paint a perspective of modern history and maybe win an Oscar?
I hope not.
While the trailer was entertaining...in between moments where I was annoyed... I just kept thinking that no story, no matter how compelling can justify such a colossal waste of money... On many fronts, I guess.
I don't care how good this movie is or is supposed to be. I have no desire to see it.