It's been a busy week for new trailers.
So busy, in fact, that I haven't had a chance to catch up with all the new trailers that are bouncing around the interwebs until this morning. It's a strange blend of stuff, big studio movies and tiny indies, long-delayed troubled projects alongside big mechanical release-date-fodder, horror and comedy and action all represented.
I have a theory that "Jonah Hex" is going to sneak up on people as a commercial force this summer, and for reasons that have little or nothing to do with "Jonah Hex" itself. The other day, when I went to G4 to make an appearance to discuss "Lost," I was in the green room before going on, talking to an eclectic group of people that included me, Devin Faraci, some of the producers of the show, Kevin Pereira, and one of the guys from "Chuck," and we all ended up talking about "Red Dead Redemption," the latest game from Rock Star Studios. If you haven't seen or played it, the game is basically "Grand Theft Leone." It's a sprawling sandbox Western game, and heaps of fun. It is, in the opinion of this casual gamer, an immersive and somewhat amazing experience, and for a lot of kids who don't see many Westerns, it's got to be a bit of a crash course in the joys of this particular genre.
"Jonah Hex" has elements of the supernatural in it, which gives it a slight edge and makes it different than your standard Western. Like "Red Dead Redemption," it's set towards the end of the Western age, and there are modern mechanics involved in both the evil plan of Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich) and the arsenal that Hex uses to fight him. It's a movie that straddles a few different genres, and we'll see if they can pull them all together into a satisfying whole. For now, here's the second trailer for the film which just premiered on IGN:
Very similar to the first, but tighter. It's a gamble, but Warner Bros. may well reap the goodwill of Rock Star's efforts on this one. We'll see.
Meanwhile, Tom Cruise is determined to rebuild the brand name, and "Knight and Day" is looking more and more like a big fat mainstream hit as they keep cutting and recutting trailers. He and Cameron Diaz appear to have actual chemistry, and James Mangold's movie looks bigger and crazier than I initially expected.
I doubt it's going to be a narrative surprise, but it looks like it's got charm to spare.
As their bid to regain control of Miramax stumbled this week, the Weinstein Bros. find themselves in a tough spot. It really does look like they're at the end of this crazy story of theirs, due in no small part to their own hubris. I think part of it is also that they are chasing a business model that doesn't exist anymore, acting like the only game that matters is making high-profile Oscar bait they pay for with Bob's low-budge genre crap. I don't think you can survive in this industry anymore if that's the model you're using, and the fact that they've been sitting on "Shanghai" for two years now shows that they aren't even particularly adept at the Oscar bait that is Harvey's bread and butter:
I like a lot of the people involved in that film, but I can't say that trailer did much for me.
On the other hand, I am surprised by my reaction to the "Morning Glory" trailer. I didn't expect anything from this romantic workplace comedy starring Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams, but in the end, I think it works pretty well. Harrison Ford should be playing grumpy funny Spencer Tracy roles at this point, and "Morning Glory" looks like him embracing that idea.
Until the day I die, I will be a Harrison Ford fan on some level, and seeing him look that awake and that in on the joke is thrilling. I think Roger Michell is an underrated and under-used director, and this is well within his skill set. Let's hope for a slam dunk.
And finally, let's look at "The Last Exorcism," which is a new Lionsgate film that was executive produced by Eli Roth and written by two guys I've liked for a lot of years now, Andrew Gurland and Huck Botko. Bottom line, those two are crazy, so if they're making a horror film, I expect to see something that's going to leave marks on viewers. I don't want to see another safe horror film or another remake... I want something with some danger to it, and this might be that movie:
That's a heck of a trailer, and easily one of the slickest of the found-footage movies so far. I don't think that's going to be all shaky-cam and cocktease, either. It looks like a really good riff on a horror sub-genre that hasn't seen many good movies. Basically, there's "The Exorcist," and then there's everything else. I like the set-up here, and I think they've got a chance at making a really freaky scary little movie.
Interesting batch of stuff.
"Jonah Hex" is in theaters Friday, June 18.
"Knight & Day" opens everywhere a week later, on Friday, June 25.
"Shanghai" is in theaters in China on June 17, but there are no international dates set yet.
"Morning Glory" arrives in theaters Nov. 12, 2010.
"The Last Exorcism" will be released August 27, 2010.
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