Trailers Of The Week: ‘John Carter,’ ‘Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter,’Project X’ And More
Every Friday, my film major friend Josh Finkenbinder and I will make a few selections from Apple Movie Trailers. We will watch them, and then write about them.
Muska: So if pretty much anybody else was supposed to be carrying this one, I would have no interest in it. But, before I even saw this trailer I knew Tim Riggins was starring and because of this I had decided I would go see it no matter what. (I have to think now he did the movie as a cash grab, but I don’t know.) Friday Night Lights has been a huge part of my life the past few years, and Taylor Kitsch’s Riggins is one of my favorite television characters of all time. (I’m drinking Shiraz right now from a Dillon Panthers coffee mug embossed with the phrase “CLEAR EYES FULL HEARTS CAN’T LOSE! on it.) It seems like he’ll be shirtless for a pretty substantial amount of the movie, too, which is to be expected—shirtless scenes are probably written into his contracts. That will make me feel guilty for purchasing a large popcorn and drink to supplement the gigantic bag of Skittles and miniature bottles of wine I snuck in via the purse of whichever woman I can convince to go see this movie with me. Said woman will be forever nonplussed by me after seeing Riggins shirtless, but I’m willing to accept that. You have to sacrifice for a man crush.
I’m worried about this movie, though. I think it has potential to do what In The Land of Women did to me re: Adam Brody. I was so excited to see the movie, because I always loved Seth Cohen and the trailer looked promising, and when I saw it and it was one of the worst movies ever, two things happened: 1) I came to the crushing realization that Brody would probably never play a part better or even on par with his character from the OC that I had become such a fan of, and 2) those in the film industry realized the same thing. Last time I saw the dude, he was a deputy in Scream 4 who got killed.
One more thing: How nice is that Peter Gabriel cover of “My Body Is A Cage?”
Fink: Director Andrew Stanton has an impressive list of work under his belt, having directed Best Animated Films Finding Nemo and WALL-E, which is surprising after after viewing this routine action/adventure trailer. John Carter, a character adapted from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series, finds himself on a mysterious planet with it’s inhabitants facing extinction that will extend to Earth next. Rising to the occasion, Carter becomes a leader needed by the planet, facing immeasurable conflict and a cast of gruesome looking creatures. Here we see an expected plethora of slow-motion, special effects, music cues, and gruff one-liners, which are short of character building. The sickeningly cliche question it begs: Can John Carter save the planet, win a girl’s heart, and make it home alive? No surprising speculations here, although I expect to hear the words “destiny” and “honor” too many times if I drag myself to see this one.
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
Fink: The one thing getting me past the fact this is yet another vampire flick amongst a slew of bad ones is that this one features the Man with the Big Hat chopping their shit up with an axe. Historians may disagree, but I’ve always seen Honest Abe as a werewolf guy anyway (judging by his grizzly ass beard). The trailer keeps the plot on hush, and I really hope there’s a decent one here, although admittedly I COULD watch slow motion axe swinging for quite some time . Haven’t read the book, but I’ve heard good things and let’s face it: sometimes men (and ladies) need a little ball-tingling entertainment to enjoy ‘Merican history. I’ll probably check this one out, though it only seems destined for a discount theater night and snuck-in booze. How inebriated you choose to be at this one is up to you, though to quote Mr. Buffy himself, “Four shots and seven beers ago…” or something like that.
Muska: Johnny Cash speaking to an audience creepily from beyond the grave is enough to get my attention, so that was probably a good move trailer-wise. The whole vampire thing is played out, but I read the novel this movie is based on and I dug it. I’m not really sure how similar the film’s going to be, because the trailer wasn’t very indicative. It was almost entirely in slow motion, but you could still glean it’s got all of the Abe Lincoln mythology infused into it—the top hat, busting a motherfucking tree in half with an axe, etc. I’ll probably see this, but I’m not sure I would have if I hadn’t read the book initially. I’m definitely more excited to see Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln.
Fun fact about Benjamin Walker, the guy playing Abe: he starred in a Broadway show as Andrew Jackson. Has any other actor ever professionally played two true-to-life ex-POTUSes? I think that might be unprecedented.
Muska: Woody Harrelson’s cop character beats the shit out of some dude for T-boning his cruiser, and gets taped doing so. I don’t understand why he would do this, and it seems to be the impetus for the movie. It’s one thing if your personal car gets T-Boned, because that’s a huge inconvenience for you that involves renting a car while it gets fixed or buying a new one or dealing with insurance agents. You might want to kick some ass. But if you’re a cop, all you have to do is go back to the precinct and get another car that is bought and paid for by tax payers. I understand he probably has some deep-lying anger issues, but you’ve got to use at least some common sense if you’re going to be a gun-carrying police officer.
Anyway, I don’t really have much interest in this one. I love Harrison, and respect that he probably plays the part of Vietnam vet who is also a dirty, alcoholic and potentially racist cop pretty well, but that shit is pretty heavy. And I’ve already seen Training Day. Also, whose idea was it to make Ice Cube the internal affairs detective? That’s going to probably take away from the serious vibe the movie is obviously going for.
Fink: I sure do love Woody Harrelson, and train-wreck character pieces usually rev my engine in all the right ways but something is holding this one back for me. Maybe we haven’t seen this dirty of a cop on screen before, but then again and more likely, maybe we have, and for that matter who cares? With all of the beatings, drinking, womanizing, racism, and all around assholery, anything short of at least three crying scenes from the Wood-Man himself is gonna have me yawning. So how do we get an audience to be interested in Woody’s demise and possible repentance? Have Ice Cube co-star as his partner? Sorry folks, but it’s hard for me to see him with the badge without thinking of NWA lyrics or Doughboy from Boyz n the Hood. But his career choices are a whole other argument. This flick looks like a Netflixer to me.
Fink: No matter how epic the party may get, it can’t substitute for a lack of plot and characters, which I see no indication of here. The party’s absurdities may reach out to high school kids who don’t get invited to parties just like our protagonist here, but to the rest of us we’ve got a pretty empty trailer here. And to those kids who may not be so high up on the totem pole in school, check out Superbad, and find out how losers can end up on top with a great film.
As for the found footage style of film I ask, why? Seriously, I thought (wished) that something would go really wrong at the party, like in Cloverfield aliens are killing everything, or Feds covering up some kind of monster from the public. You know, something that actually deserves to be documented and then found. Instead we’ve got the party getting ‘a little out of control’ and the kids parents inevitably coming home to ground him and revoke X-Box privileges, etc. The trailer relies on Todd Phillips’ name to bring in that Hangover and Old School loving crowd, but I’m thinking this is more of a flick for a one man wolf pack, so to speak.
Muska:I see clips of this on TV often, and all it seemed like is a Todd Phillips-produced filming of a gigantic fake party. Then I saw the beginning of this trailer, where the party host is making a dramatic and sullen video message addressed to his parents. It seems like one of those ‘If you’re watching this, I am already dead’ kind of deals, which is perplexing, because I can’t fathom why this kid thinks he is going to die. I’m not curious enough about it to want to see this movie.
I think I would’ve been more interested in this early on in high school, when parties weren’t a readily available thing. Now that I’m of age and can go to a bar or party any time I want to, it’s kind of hard to justify paying money to see other people I don’t know have a crazy time. Kind of like how if I had a girlfriend or wife who liked to have sex with me a lot, I probably wouldn’t watch (as much) porn as I do.
One more note: That video at the trailer’s beginning makes me sad. I feel bad that the only way this kid thought he could get noticed by girls was to throw a huge party. I had an easy time in high school, but I know kids who definitely suffered through those years. What I’ve learned from them is, though, that you are better served spending less time trying to change the way young/mostly immature people perceive you and more time doing your thing, whatever that is, so that you can be successful and have a great rest of your life. Because that lasts much longer than childhood.
Muska:Seeing this for sure, probably the day it comes out. I love superhero movies, and this one is full of them. No matter what, I will never grow tired of Robert Downey Jr.’s attitude and swag when he’s playing Tony Stark (or pretty much any other character he has or will play, ever). Iron Man 2 was kind of lame, but still worth seeing just because it’s RDJ.
Really, though, how many people are going to play The Hulk? And how about that little snippet where ScarJo says she’ll convince him to come join The Avengers, even if he doesn’t feel like it. Do you think she fucks his brains out or beats him up or both?
Fink: It’s the real deal, everyone. Even if I weren’t the comic book nerd that I am, we can all agree that the superhero franchise of late is simply doing it right, and the buildup to this one has been pretty epic. I’m pumped to see Joss Whedon directing here, and I hope the ensemble cast all have their chance to shine. Regarding the Hulkster’s change up, I don’t think anybody will mind handsy-boy Mark Ruffalo stepping up to bat. RDJ’s Stark and more SAMUEL L. JACKSON (to be read in his voice) as Nick Fury give this all the style points in the world, with Thor, Cap, Hawkeye, and Black Widow to match. I wish we got to see a little more of Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, but in time I suppose we will. I don’t know many people not excited for this one, so I’ll just go ahead and say it…AVENGERS ASSEMBLE…at your theater May 4th, that is.
Josh is a senior Cinema and Digital Arts major at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pa. Josh loves film, reading, writing, music, and a good beverage. His heroes include Bill Murray and Benjamin Franklin, because he always wondered who would win in a fight. Josh aspires to work in the arts, though he would be quite happy to settle down and open up a snow cone stand, providing there’s plenty of sun. If interested, follow him on Twitter: @jfinkenbinder
Scott is at firstname.lastname@example.org and @scottmuska.
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