Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Trailer Park

My bi-weekly column on new previews.

Property of The Daily Gamecock

Welcome back to the trailer park. As more films pick up distribution deals out of the film festivals, we’ve been on the lookout for the first peeks into many of this year’s hopeful Oscar contenders, while the studios have already begun unfurling the first trailers for their early 2010 releases.

The trailer of the week goes to the dazzling first look at director Tom Ford’s “A Single Man,” which has been racking up praise for star Colin Firth left and right at film festivals the past month.

Adapted from the novel by Christopher Isherwood, the film follows a day in the life of a homosexual English professor trying to get his life back on track after the sudden death of his partner.

The wordless trailer, held together by the ticking of a clock and pulsing violins, features astonishingly intimate portraits of its actors strung in a captivating rhythm. The trailer expertly conveys the complexity of the material, along with the diversity and maturity that has already garnered the film high acclaim.

Jim Carrey’s new comedy, “I Love You Phillip Morris,” has also premiered at both the Sundance and Cannes film festivals this past year but will not be distributed until early 2010.

Carrey stars as Steven Russell, who, after realizing he’s flamingly gay, decides to become a con artist. After his arrest, he strikes up a steamy relationship with Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor) behind bars. The trailer goes for over-the-top and absurdist humor, giving Carrey plenty of space to flail his body, while leaving hints that there will also be a more balanced character study beneath the humor.

Director Lone Scherfig’s “An Education” has been riding waves of acclaim around the festival circuit. Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity,” “About a Boy”) pens the screenplay for this story of a teen girl in early 1960s London who becomes entangled with an older playboy.
Peter Sarsgaard, one of the more diverse and underrated character actors working right now, gets a big chance to shine in the lead role, and with a deft trailer that already promises fine character writing, “An Education” could be one of the fall’s biggest sleeper hits.

Denzel Washington gets down and dirty in post-apocalyptic thriller “The Book of Eli,” teaming with “From Hell” directors The Hughes Brothers. Washington plays Eli, a loner who moves across America protecting a book that holds the secret to saving mankind from destruction, as bad guy Gary Oldman tries to take the book for his own gain.

With dusty, gritty images and more than a handful of big guns and bigger explosions, “The Book of Eli” looks like “Mad Max” on a bigger budget, with Washington’s charisma hopefully providing a solid anchor for the film. The film is set for a January 2010 release.
Producer Michael Bay is back on the horror remake prowl, teaming with music video director Samuel Bayer to remake Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” slated for an early 2010 release.

Jackie Earle Haley (“Watchmen”) will put on the knifed gloves to play Freddy Krueger, a serial killer who murders teens in their dreams. The new teaser trailer does a pretty good job of recreating some of the more iconic images from the 1984 original, but it doesn’t do a good job convincing that this re-boot will be either a complete re-imagining or a competent redesign.

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