Is it just my imagination or are the fall trailers coming faster than one can keep up with. Isn't August supposed to be a slow month? You may have seen some of these elsewhere but here they are all collected for your viewing and discussion pleasure
Beowulf emerges from the development waters under the direction of Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) who once made charming 80s films like Romancing the Stone and Who Framed Roger Rabbit and now has a real fetish for stop motion capture. This looks visually arresting but also highly creepy. Exactly how many times can Angelina Jolie look like a plastic videogame character onscreen before she ceases to exist offscreen [sorry. That sounds like the premise of a really bad sci-fi horror film -ed.]? Even creepier is the vision of Robin Wright Penn plasticized... though I couldn't say why exactly. Help me out here in the comments.
Lars and the Real Girl has such a capital Q Quirky premise that one hopes they get the tone exactly right as it plays out in full feature form. In trailer form the premise sits there stubbornly, refusing to be either funny or sad or fascinating or disturbing or, better yet, a collision of multifacted tones. I'm still curious though.
The Kite Runner, based on the well loved novel of the same name, is shepherded to the screen by Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Stranger Than Fiction) whose past work has left me cold because it's trying too hard to warm. Plus there's the bothersome schizo feeling that he both overcooks and underdramatizes his topics. Many people have high hopes for this one come Oscar time and it could be very moving indeed. But it might prove a touch alien for AMPAS' full embrace.
Be Kind Rewind is the new comedy from the ingenious clutter happy Michel Gondry (Science of Sleep) . Watching this trailer one understands that the premise (video clerks recreating famous movies in truncated low budget form) is a complete match with the director's goofy hand-made aesthetic. Question: too much of a good thing or just right?
Gone Baby Gone, directed by Ben Affleck, looks like Mystic River redux but two hours rather than two minutes might give it its own identity once it opens. That earlier film played well with Oscar voters but this is a trickier proposition. Though Oscar loves an actor-turned- director, Affleck doesn't demand automatic respect like Clint Eastwood and his lead is his brother Casey Affleck rather than Great Actor Sean Penn (this is not to knock Casey who has obvious talent...just to point out that prestige is a different commodity). Still it's easy to imagine the jostling for supporting honors (Ed Harris? Amy Madigan? Amy Ryan? Morgan Freeman?) if the film is a critical hit.
Reservation Road On this one, I'm torn. Terry George's follow up to Hotel Rwanda might go the distance but it could just as easily be one of those secondary fall films that gets one or two key nominations but not much else (like Little Children?). One thing seems sure from the trailer: it's a story of two fathers (Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo) at odds. My guess is that they're the leads and their wives (Mira Sorvino and Jennifer Connelly) are the supporting characters. We know however that Oscar don't play like that. Oscar Category Fraud is on its way, mark my words.