We'll start with Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire follow up -- and boy does this trailer not let you forget that this is the follow up -- which is called 127 Hours. In the movie, James Franco plays Aron Ralston who gets pinned under a rock and the rest is, well, his arm is history.
Yes James Franco is on the rise and this could be the movie where he finally proves the extent of his talents. He does have to hold the screen for virtually the full running time. If I've understood the prerelease mumblings correctly, what we're seeing in the trailer is only clips from the first half hour ish of the movie. I'd actually love to have that be the rule for Hollywood. You may not use anything past the 30 minute mark in your trailers. Begone Spoilers! (Not that people don't know what happened in this particular story since it's so easy to sum up and everyone has already been summing online for months.)
Also Moab, Utah is ridiculously beautiful even when shot by cinematographers far less gifted than Oscar winner Anthony Dod Mantle or Enrique Chediak. I know because I once lived in Utah and every photographer, good or un, has a million photographs capturing the rocky beauty of southern half of the state.
No For lost in the desert existential survivalist drama, I'll take something more contemplative like Gus Van Sant's Gerry. Will this be too tricked up to combat those nerves filmmakers so often have about how long they can hold the audiences attention? (Hence the current ridiculous average shot length being under 2 seconds problem.)
Maybe So Even though I wasn't crazy about Slumdog Millionaire -- it's actually my least favorite of his filmography (that I've seen) -- I do think Boyle is an energetic and often interesting filmmaker. My Boyle heirarchy would break down like so.
- Trainspotting ...choose life
- 28 Days Later ...choose the future
- Shallow Grave ...choose a starter home
- Sunshine ...choose a fucking big television
- The Beach ...choose a family
- Slumdog Millionaire ...but why would i want to do a thing like that?
Verdict: I'm a yes all told. I'll see it opening weekend in early November if I somehow miss the critic's screenings.
In Fair Game, Naomi Watts plays CIA Operative Valerie Plame and Sean Penn her husband the journalist in this true story that's already been covered at the cinema in a movie with Kate Beckinsale and Vera Farmiga that nobody went to see called Nothing But the Truth. (It's on that annually expanding list of December Glut Plague victims)
Yes We need to be reminded of stories like this. Particularly since the sins of the past administration are still haunting us. It's definitely a compelling and resonant story about a nation that chucks their integrity and bedrock values for political point scoring (sound familiar? see also: current events).
No On the other hand, do we need to be reminded of it again this quickly? And doesn't the casting of Sean Penn in a liberal political type movie feel a bit too preaching to the choir, a bit too on the nose?
Maybe So I'm intrigued that they choose to end the trailer with Naomi Watt's defiant line reading...
They push you until they find the point at which you break. You can't break me. I don't have a breaking point.(even though the underscore is laughably OTT) because I feel the exact opposite about her as an actress. She often seems so broken before a movie even begins. I think she's Oscar worthy in Mulholland Dr and nomination worthy in The Painted Veil (easily her two best performances) but my principal problem with her intensely pitched work is that she always seems ahead of the character arc, rather than developing it organically towards narrative peaks. I'm hoping she's calm and nuanced her at least before they threaten to break her.
Verdict: I'm a no in terms of desire, but I try to see everything if Oscar buzz becomes involved. So if awards seasons starts calling on Naomi, I'll definitely catch it.
How do these trailers breakdown for you in the yes no maybe so sense? Have at it in the comments. Whether you're pinned under a rock or your dangerous secret has just been outed, nothing is more urgent than blog commenting!