Welcome to this edition of Preview Review, necessitated by a slew of new trailers I’d been hearing about.
Twice Born (Release: December 6th, 2013) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyMxUHIMEmE
This movie, about a woman who takes her son to Sarajevo after his father died there in the Bosnian conflict years before, looks like it will be visually beautiful. But I’m concerned about the frenzied quality of this trailer, the fact that this very plot was absent [I had to look it up] in a way that made it hard to understand what I was (or would be) watching, and the many jumps in time back and forth seemed unmotivated and confusing as a result. My other concern is that Emile Hirsch and Penelope Cruz will seem totally mismatched, making the whole story a moot point. From this trailer, it is hard to tell if there is any chemistry because there is so much going on, but if the movie as a whole relies on similar dramatics to cover up this fundamental lack, then it will suffer even more. Consensus: It looks like it has the potential to be a gorgeous and well-acted sprawling drama, but the trailer raises some concerns that I hope the movie disproves when seen in full.
Maleficent (Release May 30th 2014) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=704EXbJ-b5k
Okay, now this is a live-action Disney classic adaptation I can get behind: the visuals look perfect, magical but not too cheesy. And Angelina Jolie seems equally perfect for the role, seeming in her natural place among all the fantasy. I love the idea of giving one of Disney’s evil characters her day in the spotlight, and everything about that process fascinates me: I love the dark tones of this trailer alone. And Elle Fanning will, I’m sure, be equally entrancing to watch. Consensus: As a kind of anti-princess tale, I’m totally in. I hope it is indeed Maleficent’s side of the story in enough of a way where it seems original but respectful. I think it looks pleasantly creepy, a daring move for a studio whose princesses were always the draw; I’m happy to see a potential defiance of that.
The Past (Limited release December 20th, 2013) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLKpTRilMFc
There are moments in life where cliches are simply the best articulations of emotion, and this is one of those times: inevitably, I must say that Asghar Farhadi has done it again (there, I said it). There is something about this trailer that sort of defies explanation; I couldn’t tell you precisely what about it gave me chills. The dialogue we are given, the strained and conflicted human emotion that reminds me so much of his A Separation, with an equally complex and difficult but strong and dynamically beautiful female center, this time in the form of the astounding Berenice Bejo of The Artist fame. The tense humanity and relationships that poke through even during this short trailer are enough to suck us in and keep us there, painfully and poignantly. Consensus: I wouldn’t be surprised if this garnered him another Oscar nod. It looks like an unbelievably honest and pure work.
Noah (Release March 28th, 2014) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qmj5mhDwJQ
I’m convinced that Darren Aronofsky is punking us with this. The end credits will feature Ashton Kutcher in his old trucker cap joined by Aronofsky laughing at us for paying the ticket price. This movie just doesn’t seem like something he’d ever do, nor does it seem like it’s something anyone would ever do for that matter. To me, this trailer played like a fake trailer within a movie or television show, an almost farce of current Hollywood perversions. I have no qualms with the cast, although Crowe looks like even he was phoning in his cheesy-best for this biblical epic, and Hopkins looks like a weathered version of his Thor character, Odin, but that would be mixing up mythologies. Consensus: Like a prehistoric version of Roland Emmerich’s 2012 this film seems like nothing more than a bloated effects-fest for the religiously inclined. I can’t imagine that he would do a bad job, mind you, but the premise and presentation seem a little laughable initially.
Winter’s Tale (Release February 14th, 2014) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBSj1MKwx6A
My opinion on this trailer might be proof that I don’t have an empty hole in my chest where my heart should be. I’m merely more picky about what pulls effectively on its strings, and for some reason, this film seems like it will. Now, whether the film itself will be as good as this trailer was, we’ll have to wait and see. My first impressions are often proven wrong by critical response and box office success. However, I do have high hopes for this fantastical romance. Colin Farrell is amazing, and so is Russell Crowe despite that semi-distracting Irish accent. The sort of time-travel/reincarnation aspect of the plot is something I didn’t see coming, and that was refreshing for a genre whose trailers and films are often predictable, so I kind of like the surrealism here that might help with that predictability (of course there are formula pitfalls even when trying to do something new or different). So I’m definitely intrigued. The song choice and editing were also spot on, albeit a little sentimental but I was sold rather than put off. Consensus: I’m hoping this film is fresh and truly affecting as opposed to the same cyclical love story fodder we are often given around Valentine’s Day. I think the story seems unique, the acting and visuals are breathtaking, and I think any aforementioned sentimentality will be in the films favor if its played genuinely, offsetting any supernatural element the film may also entail.