Saturday, August 04, 2007

Trailer Fourgy: Rendition, Lions, Things and Darjeeling

Time to check in with new trailers. Only a few weeks of hot weather and sequels remain and then we're in the clear, ready to face the onslaught of SERIOUS films aiming for gold.

Rendition (on your left. October 12th) and Lions for Lambs (right. November 9th) are but two of four (?) fall films dealing with our current political quagmire and the misguided unending war (the other pair are the action-heavy The Kingdom and the Paul Haggis thriller In the Valley of Elah) One assumes from the trailers that the four films will have their own individual identities but it's anyone's guess until they're widely seen which will garner Oscar's favor. It's unfair to judge a film based on 2 minutes of heavily edited footage but then, on the other hand, these are how the studios are presenting said films so, you know, judge away.

Rendition looks like it might work. Three separate tracks: terrorist prisons (Gyllenhaal & Metwalley), political chambers (Streep & Arkin) the homsetead (Witherspoon) all lead toward one assumed destination. Cue the grand collision. That the collision involves a weepy screaming wife might spell more Oscar news for Reese but, then again, it might not. [more on the Best Actress race] For it looks like a true ensemble piece. If you lazily compare it to, say, Syriana (hey why not? That's what pre-fall Oscar analysis is all about) you'll be looking at the tortured central figure (played by Omar Metwally who made a big splash on Broadway a few years back) for your acting kudos and not the other players frantically moving their pieces in this tense puzzle. [Supporting Actor race --I'll have to move Metwally way up the chart]

The trailer for Lions for Lambs improves upon the first teaser which looked hideously shoestring as if it were a straight to DVD release. But the improvements are small. It still looks like an unwieldy pendantic machine that luckily fell on top of three massive stars. They're crushed under the weight of the catchphrase ready dialogue. If you ask me this movie looks terrible but Oscar might feel differently. We'll see.

Things We Lost in the Fire (left) is the latest drama from Danish auteur Susanne Bier who won critical acclaim with her first two films and an Oscar nomination in the foreign film category for her last (After the Wedding). From the looks of the trailer Things... is pitched exactly to her strengths: nuanced emotional drama with complicated human relationships. But, that said, I'm not sure I would have as much faith in this project if I wasn't familiar with her work. Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro, former winners both, could find themselves back on the red carpet if the reviews are kind. Anyway you slice it it's one of those films that screams "actors film" i.e. even if it's well regarded its limited to just a few categories in awards season.

The last trailer The Darjeeling Limited (right) I've included just for fun. Wes Anderson movies usually come out in December but this one is a September release. Still, no Oscar love-in looks likely. Anderson is just too stylized for mainstream love and the Oscars are a mainstream endeavor no matter how much people pretend otherwise whilst bitching about the voters ignoring the latest blockbusters and comedies. Anyway... Anderson isn't making films to win Oscars so good for him. Darjeeling appears to be bringing us a colorful and tasty buffet of his usual treats: witty familial drama, sad-eyed comedy, and amusing widescreen compositions. Some people might find his visual stylizations too affected and thus predictable at this point but I'm so glad someone is using the full rectangle still when they compose their movies. I also love the dialogue exchange halfway through the trailer

"what's wrong with you?"
"let me think about that"

That strikes me as the perfect question and answer response for people who conjecture about the Oscars all year round (like me) and more importantly the perfect banter for a movie artist who just can't be anything other than what he is, god bless. Can't wait to see this one... though I do hope it transcends its style like The Royal Tenenbaums rather than gets smothered by it like The Life Aquatic.

Your thoughts on any of these four? [More on each Oscar race]


Anonymous said...

Am I insane or "Things we lost in the fire" looks like an American remake of Bier's "Brothers"?


you're not insane. it looks very similar. but at least we know that Bier is excellent at making that movie ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm not convinced about the Bier project based on that trailer, but Brodre was a huge surprise.

Lions for Lambs looks bad. Rendition looks a bit too slick for it's own good.

And The Darjeeling Ltd looks a bit too affected, though after Rushmore and The Royal Tennenbaums, W. Anderson pretty much has me for life.

And none come close to the greatness of the 2:14 trailer of Atonement.

Anonymous said...

I'm more interested in Benicio Del Toro's next films Argentine and Guerrilla.

Halle, I hope she can get back on track she seems to have an onslaught of decent roles coming up.

Lions for Lambs looks bad.

Rendition looks okay.

Anonymous said...

"And none come close to the greatness of the 2:14 trailer of Atonement."

You mean the "great" academicism of the 2:14 trailer of Atonement, don't you? And how annoying is Saoirse Ronan's "I see dad people" tone...

Anonymous said...

Reese's shriek at the end of the "Rendition" trailer was all kinds of bad. Even in context that was overdoing it, but I guess she's gunning for that next nomination getting serious again. I'm not buying Jake as an interrogator either. I wonder if he could have stretched himself and played Omar's role instead. Can't wait to see Meryl though. I hope that she channels Nancy Grace a bit in this role, b/c that could be awesome.

I love the vibe of the "Things We Lost in the Fire" trailer. Halle and Benicio look great in it, and both could be looking at nods again under the right circumstances.

Anonymous said...

"And none come close to the greatness of the 2:14 trailer of Atonement."

No arguments here.

The trailer for Lions for Lambs....that movie just looks ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

The only one of these four I would actually pay to see in cinemas (based on what we've seen) is The Darjeeling Ltd.

All these political prestige projects and weepy character dramas custom-tailored to win awards are starting to really, really bore me. It feels like we're stuck in 2005 all over again. Let's move on, shall we, studios?

Anonymous said...

And I agree with everyone on the prospect of "Lions for Lambs". Wow (and not in a good way).

Anonymous said...

I loved how political films were in 2005. If these next batch of films are of that quality, then I'll be a happy camper.

J.D. said...

Oh come on. It's not like they're overly-preachy massive ensembles. Remember, *If it has a Lead, don't yell at it*

Anonymous said...

You have a point there. But thankfully there doesn't seem to be a lot of overtly preachy ensemble films scheduled for release this year... that we know about.

Anonymous said...

from pivo:
You mean the "great" academicism of the 2:14 trailer of Atonement, don't you? And how annoying is Saoirse Ronan's "I see dad people" tone...

No, I just flat out loved it. Knightley, who I wasn't all that impressed with in Pride and Prejudice looks incendiary, James McAvoy looks better than he's ever been, and the duo of Ronan and Garai look like they'll be very potent individually (they're playing the same characters at different ages). Right now, I'd be predicting all four for oscars.

re: political films

Give how often mainstream films ignore politics, it's nice to see a bunch of them tackling it. It'll be disappointing when they tackle them with trite homilies, but maybe there'll be another Munich or Children of Men in the lineup.

Anonymous said...

LIONS FOR LAMBS... myohmy... is there a word of dialogue in that trailer that isn't about 'the issues'?

RENDITION... looks very similar.

Meryl's in a lot of worthy bait this year... more than Cate, even!

Anonymous said...

I mean nominations, not wins (in reference to all four performers in Atonement).

Anonymous said...

Like 2005, this could be another year where the voters will all go for politically based films.

But only 'Rendition' seems to be the only secure film to me.

I've lost faith in 'Things We Lost in the Fire.' I wasn't impressed by the trailer.

'Lions for Lambs' looks like a dud.

'The Darjeeling Limited' seems like another Wes Anderson oddity.