Monday, January 02, 2006

Trailer Convoy

Miami Vice - I never watched the show. Was it really this serious? Okay, we eventually see a lot of action, and it's hard to take anything too seriously when Colin Farrell's hair looks like that, but that somber tone! Is this Collateral 2?

Thank You For Smoking - I liked this better when it was about guns and Nicolas Cage did the smarmy voice-over and it was called Lord of War. Just kidding. I didn't really like it better. But the bit at the end with Rob Lowe is funny. Do you think people who defend Big Tobacco are bad people? Discuss.

The Ant Bully - Wow, this is really, really unfunny. It's like everything that's terrible about how second-rate computer animated movies pass off lame and obvious pop-culture riffs as all-ages cleverness. And didn't we already do all the computer animated ant movies? It's over. You missed it. Also, this is racist against bugs that aren't red ants.

M:i:III - I like how they changed the rules of their absurd marketing abbreviation since the last sequel. Then, it was M:I-2. That's with a possibly capital I (though in the logo all letters were split with a cool line so who knows, really), a hyphen after the I, and an Arabic numeral 2. Now we've scrapped the hyphen for a second colon, and switched out the Arabic numerals for the epic feel of Roman numerals. Presumably the lowercase "i" was to make the ridiculous number of "i"s in the abbreviation a little less confusing. Hilarious abbreviation, guys. Excellent job. I look forward to seeing what you come up with for Tom Cruise is Perfect and Amazing, Part Four.

And look, it's Michelle Monaghan from Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Thandie Newton didn't work out? And he went through so much trouble for her. Shame.

Look at the restraint here. Sure, it's a teaser, but Philip Seymour Hoffman dominates more than half of it. There's the slow reveal that Cruise is indeed starring in this movie. Thank goodness he cut his hair this time. We also learn there's a big set piece with planes attacking a bridge, like in True Lies, only this one is in Virginia, according to the license plates. Hey, that SUV tumble looks exactly like the one in the X3 teaser. Small world. Back in M:I4 (okay, M:i:III), there's another big set piece with a big Chinese building, falling out the big Chinese building, and possibly the street outside the big Chinese building. Cruise makes out with Monaghan and his shirt disappears. An Asian girl provides kicking. Why does the explosion behind Tom Cruise knock him sideways?

There is some kind of fake head. Will they finally show us how they make those stupid masks?


lyan! said...

"Do you think people who defend Big Tobacco are bad people? Discuss."

Only in the same sense that I think everyone who goes to USC is a bad person. And that's a fact, so there you go.

My question is will the movies that are pushing a heavy load of irony actually succeed, or will it act to wash over the greater points. I feel that the smoking one is easier, since it's overtly a comedy, but the LoW one, that one seems different.
I love thinking of that movie in terms of 9/11 jesus, how many pro-war movies did they pull during that? Crazy. Anyway, America's pro-war these days right? or is it just Hollywood.

Kenny said...

Are you calling Lord of War a pro-war movie? Because it clearly isn't. The intent of the irony is to be anti-war.

I don't think Hollywood has been pro-war since before Vietnam. Certain movies, like Rambo, do come off as pro-war, but those tend to all be the mindless action blockbusters. Anything veering arty or ironic, such as Lord of War, is usually anti-war.

lyan! said...

I realize that it's not pro-war exactly, but from the trailer at least, it looked like it could easily just break into an action movie, thereby glorifying gun-running. And as that is, you're going to get folks going in, watching it, and coming out going, "Damn! I want to do that!" defeating the point when the moral is drowned under action.

And as far as Hollywood being pro/anti- war, I think they're both and neither: whatever sells movie tickets and DVDs.

Steve said...

I'll have to wait until I'm home from work to review the Ant and Smoking trailers. But my reaction upon seeing the Miami Vice one was, "For god's sake, why?" (This was the exact same reaction I had to the preview of Poseidon, which immediately preceded it.)

m-I:i3;I/i looks like a standard, over the top ridiculous action movie. It won't be great, but it will at least be fun. (Better than the last few Bonds)

Kenny said...

M:i:III should, I think, be approached with reservations. After all, M:I-2 could have been an enjoyable over-the-top action movie, but it was so focused on glorifying Cruise and making him absolutely infallible that it lost all sense of stakes and fun.

Zack said...

Ryan's complaint sounds dumb, but he's right. People are dumb, us included. Like Kenny has ironically but correctly said several times, smoking is cool. All publicity is good publicity, except not quite, but pretty much.

People who defend Big Tobacco ... are doing a bad thing for a living. They are not responsible for the bad decisions that their customers make, but they are tempting people with a crutch for an easy and shitty life. I am okay with saying that someone who makes their living preying on the weaknesses of other people is not a good person. I am okay with saying that someone whose primary job is selling devices that kill grandparents before their grandkids can get to know them is a bad person.


I am not a "ban everything" sort of person, honest. People have the right to kill themselves, quickly or slowly. But the dude who knowingly talks them into it is an asshole.

Action movies which are not transparently pro-violence are hypocritical. Discuss.

Tommaso Sciortino said...

I think the pro/anti war dichotomy is a little unfair to the “pro-war” side. I mean, all things being equal, who the hell is in *favor* of war? It’s a wanton destruction of property that is completely unjustified *unless* of course the war is for some greater end (like WWII). It’s like referring to someone who advocates buying a car “pro-giving their money to other people”.

If you do look at it that way then yeah, Rambo and a few mindless war movies are the only honestly “pro-war” films. On the other hand, if you look at war as a bad option which can sometimes be the “least bad option” then movies like Saving Private Ryan and Master and Commander are – to me at least – pretty clearly presenting the positive case for war in certain situations.

Kenny said...

By "transparently pro-violence" I assume you mean "not obliquely anti-violence."

Action movies that are implicitly anti-violence might include the aforementioned Lord of War (haven't seen it, so I'm not sure how much it qualifies as an "action movie," but there certainly appears to be action in it). Another, perhaps, is A History of Violence.

The real question is whether it's possible to make a critical movie about any topic without glamorizing it, whether intentionally or not.

Ryan's question, of whether Lord of War's irony will be lost on some who get wrapped up in the mocking glamour, is one that most satire has to deal with. Whenever you use irony as a tool, you run that risk.

Perhaps the medium of film is implicitly glamorous--it doesn't matter what you do to try to ugly up a topic, because the moment it hits the screen, it is a dreamworld of magic, simply by virtue of being on a screen. Look at the anti-war films that came in the wake of Vietnam, and how the generation of soldiers depicted in Jarhead seems disappointed that war is not like the movies they saw--even though the point of those movies was to be gritty and negative and uncompromising.

Glamorizing the object of your criticism is always a risk, but what is the alternative? To ignore the topic that interests you? Maybe you have to trust in your audience and let the chips fall where they may.

What are some other action movies that are meant to be anti-violent? Does Star Wars count, with its tragic tale of Anakin turning to the dark side, even as the audience cheers his execution of Count Dooku?

How about the Matrix "trilogy," whose violence culminates in self-sacrifice and a horribly unsatisfying detente? Clearly they had a message in mind about how wars should be solved not by force but through tenuous agreements with untrustworthy enemies. But did the movies undermine the message or did the message undermine the movies?

I think we need more examples. My short answer would be: Sometimes. Certain movies really do come off as hypocritical, while others are merely a victim of their glamorous medium.

Kenny said...

Or maybe the Matrix movies just wrote themselves into a corner.

Kenny said...

Tom makes a good point.

Where Ryan lost me was: "I love thinking of that movie in terms of 9/11 jesus, how many pro-war movies did they pull during that? Crazy. Anyway, America's pro-war these days right? or is it just Hollywood." Confusing.

It seems to lump in LOW with 9/11 pro-war movies. I don't know, how many pro-war movies *did* they pull? I don't really remember any. And are we talking "simple" Rambo pro-war or nuanced Private Ryan pro-war?

And saying that Hollywood as an entity is pro-war at this point in time is just silly.

Zack said...

The real question is whether it's possible to make a critical movie about any topic without glamorizing it, whether intentionally or not.

Film might be historically and commercially more prone to glamorization than some other media, but I think it's that you can't tell a properly heroic, larger than life story without glamorizing the villain, too. For the hero to be awesome, the things he overcomes have to be awesome too.

Do you think Supersize Me glamorizes fast food? I think it's a choice to make a movie like Lord Of War so "sexy"* on all fronts. It's not film's fault. It's the film maker's fault.

* As compared to the actual, less thrilling weapons trade. Also, sorry for using that word.

And saying that Hollywood as an entity is pro-war at this point in time is just silly.

Look man, all I know is George Bush doesn't care about black people.

Anonymous said...

HI Herbie!