2008 is almost through, and like everyone else here on the internets, I’ve got lists.  That stuff will kick in on the next post.  But to narrow down the best-of field, I’ve gone to the theater a whole lot recently, and in so doing I’ve seen a shit-ton of trailers.  Trailer-making, it should be said, is an art on its own.  No matter how aware one may be about incoming movies, it falls to the trailers to actually get the excitement up.  Here are 25 [!] trailers that I have seen in the past few weeks, and my humble perspective on how they get that job done:



Doubt – This is a real good trailer.  Meryl Streep leaves me cold, but I guess that’s usually the point.  Philip Seymour Hoffman has established himself firmly as an actor I will watch in absolutely anything, and here he is, in a play that I saw and appreciated on Broadway, adapted to film by the original playwright, John Patrick Shanley, and photographed by Roger Deakins.  Sure to see this.


The Spirit – A creative legend has several options:  They can age gracefully, increasingly out of the public eye, like Paul Newman did.  They can age gracefully while continuing to produce wonderful and vital work, like Eastwood and Spielberg do.  They can continue producing work that, at best, pales dramatically in comparison to that which he is best known for, like George Lucas does.  Or they can go completely apeshit bananas, like comic book genius turned filmmaker Frank Miller has.  I’ll probably get around to The Spirit, because I am always curious about apeshit bananas, and the movie promises one of the simple pleasures of modern movies, which is Eva Mendes walking around saying words.


Revolutionary Road – Now this is a fantastic, classy trailer.  Well acted, artfully composed, smartly costumed and designed, and impeccably edited, all to that incredible Nina Simone rendition of “Wild Is The Wind.”  Problem is, the trailer is so good that it makes the movie, sure to be the bum-out of the season, entirely redundant.  So, I’ll be skipping this one.  Oh, and if Kate Winslet hasn’t yet been featured on that website Stuff White People Like, she ought to be.  White People looooove Kate Winslet.


Not Easily Broken – Speaking of ‘Stuff White People Like,’ I love seeing trailers like this in the theater, when an actor from The Wire shows up and the murmurs start to fly.  This time around it was:  “Avon Barksdale!”  Wood Harris is a good enough actor to shake that label and move on from The Wire, plus this movie stars the ascendant Taraji Henson and is directed by Bill Duke, a successful film director and still-great character actor (Lost) who was Mac in Predator.  Apparently, I’m legally bound to mention Predator wherever I can.


Valkyrie – Nope.  I make no apologies in admitting that I enjoy watching Nazis getting killed in movies.  I hate Nazis almost as much as they hated everybody else.  The Nazis were the worst people who ever lived, and any movie where they get killed, from Raiders Of The Lost Ark to Hellboy, speaks directly to my pleasure center.  I know that it’s vicious wish fulfillment, and I don’t much care.  Just being honest.  So no, I don’t want to see Valkyrie, where Tom Cruise and friends set out to assassinate Hitler, because history tells us that they won’t succeed, and I don’t want to sit through two hours that will culminate in denial.  I want a movie where Nazis get killed by the thousands, and all the better if it’s Jews who get to do the honors.


Defiance – Now this is a little more like it.


Waltz With Bashir – Really want to see this one.  Follow that link to the trailer, and look at the official site here:  http://waltzwithbashir.com/  


Bride Wars – My cousin turned to me during this trailer, said “I’d rather die than see this movie.”  I don’t feel anywhere near that strongly.  I would probably go, but I’d have to be on a date.  And loaded up on snack material.  And I’ve never tried the popcorn trick before, but I’d probably have to make that happen too.  So yeah, there are actually existing conditions where I’d see Bride Wars.


The Unborn – I spent the first half of this trailer trying to figure out if that girl was Megan Fox or Ellen Page.  (Turns out she’s the  girl from Cloverfield.)  Then I spent the second half of this trailer wishing that horror filmmakers would finally realize that kids aren’t scary.  I love kids, very much, kids are great, but I have zero fear of kids.  No fear at all; no matter how much makeup effects and eerie background music get poured on them.  That said, there’s a great supporting cast here, so in a slow month, I’d check it out.


The Ugly Truth – Convoluted and disingenuous premise with a predictable and inevitable ending right there in the trailer?  Yup, it’s a romantic comedy circa 2009.  Back to film school with ya, whoever wrote and directed this piece!  While you’re there, take a look at a similarly titled classic, The Awful Truth, directed by the underrated-by-history Leo McCarey, and starring Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy, and Irene Dunne.


Notorious – I can’t imagine this Notorious B.I.G. biopic turning out as prestigiously as it obviously wants to, but it’s got a shot.  The kid they found to play Big looks enough the part, and you need good actors in the roles of Mrs. Wallace, Puffy, and Tupac, which they do have with Angela Bassett, Derek Luke, and Anthony Mackie.  However it turns out though, one thing’s for sure:  No competing movie will have better music.


Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans – I’ve taken up plenty of blog space whining about the paucity of decent werewolf cinema.  This, a big-budget werewolf-heavy production, should be an opportunity for me to lean in another direction.  Only thing is, for my money (or lack thereof), this franchise is the worst one going today.  I’d sooner see a Twilight movie with that Kate-Winslet-looking kid than another Underworld.  Of course, anything can happen:  Maybe the new Underworld entry will be able to erase the stink of the first two, but from the look of this trailer, it’s supremely doubtful.


My Bloody Valentine 3-D – “Nothing says ‘date movie’ like a 3-D ride to hell!”  That’s the line the announcer growls at the end of this trailer.  And just like that, I might not just be willing to see this movie, I might actually be EXCITED to.   Sometimes I’m an easy sell that way.


The Uninvited – I’ll never see it.  That’s no reflection on the movie itself or the very solid cast.  I just know that there’s not a good chance that this movie and I will be active in the same room.  Put it this way:  Twenty years gone without seeing Fatal Attraction and no sign of that changing.  This genre doesn’t hold much allure for me, and I don’t happen across movies as much as I used to – if it’s not in the theaters or by Netflix, it doesn’t hardly happen.


Obsessed – Same deal.  Probably won’t ever be impelled to see this one, even though the brilliant character actor Bruce McGill (Animal House, The Insider, etc.) is in it.  A question, though:  Can anybody explain the weird sense of shock I felt seeing Beyonce in a flick like this?  Something doesn’t feel right there.  Oh, and when they saw who plays her husband in the movie, all the white people went: “Stringer Bell!”


Taken – Knew nothing beforehand about this flick.  The trailer starts with Liam Neeson seeing his daughter off on a trip.  There, she gets kidnapped.  The kidnappers call him for ransom, and Liam Neeson proceeds to threaten THEM.  This is absolutely a movie that I will see.


He’s Just Not That Into You – Another one that was not made with me in mind.  That’s fine; they don’t all have to be.  But wow:  Whatever my tastes are, this stuff runs exactly to the contrary.


The International – Clive Owen takes on an evil bank, apparently.  I like Clive Owen movies.  I like the idea of an evil bank.  I can get behind that crusade.  This trailer doesn’t excite me in the least though.  Except for the Jack McGee cameo.  That ruled!


Friday The 13th – I don’t know, I’m far from a slasher movie fan and even farther from a fan of this franchise, yet I would actually watch this one I think.  Can’t even articulate why yet, but I think I would.


Madea Goes To Jail – Well I liked Madea Goes To Camp and Madea Saves Christmas, so I figure I will like Madea Goes To Jail.  So I will go see it, just so they will be sure to make Madea Scared Stupid and Slam Dunk Madea.


State of Play – I like that Russell Crowe seems to be portraying my old college buddy Chris Varmus in this movie.  That may not mean anything to you, but it means everything to me.  And speaking of college, I like the idea that this movie supposes, that Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck were once roommates.  This State Of Play looks promising as is, but guaranteed, I’d much rather watch the Crowe-and-Affleck-in-a-college-dorm-together movie.


The Soloist – I’ve now seen that trailer so many times that I want to see this movie.  Usually, it’s the opposite.  Whatever, it works.  I won’t question it.


X-Men Origins: Wolverine – David Benioff script.  Going.  For once, a trailer didn’t even need the explosions to sell me.


Terminator Salvation – The explosions helped.  I’m still very skeptical, but there’s no way I won’t go see this.  I’m that much of a fan of this franchise, and by that I mean the first two Terminators and the interesting idea at the end of the third.  I also am a fan of Christian Bale’s Batman voice, which appears a couple times in this trailer.


Watchmen – Well I’ve read the book four or five times, so I recognize what this trailer is depicting, but I would love to interview someone who is coming to the trailer fresh, to see where their want-to-see meter is pointing.  Me?  The only problem I have with any of the footage I have seen so far on this movie is that it’s not headed to theaters tomorrow.