Trailer Talk: This Week In Movies - 'The Grey,' 'Man On A Ledge,' & More
January 23rd, 2012 11:00am EST
I loved last week’s Steven Soderbergh movie “Haywire.” It’s a visually stunning picture with cool music, and a strong, sexy female protagonist to boot. For elaboration on my thoughts, check out my review, if you haven’t already.
Dropping into theaters this week is the frosty Liam Neeson thriller “The Grey,” the high-rise standoff “Man on a Ledge,” the Glenn Close period piece “Albert Nobbs,” the Katherine Heigl action comedy “One for the Money,” the historical drama “In Darkness,” and the foreign drama “Declaration of War.”
Look out later this week for my interview with “Man on a Ledge” star Elizabeth Banks. I’ll also try to share my opinion of the film and “The Grey,” which I plan on seeing as well.
MY PICK FOR THE WEEK: The Grey
In Alaska, an oil drilling team fights for survival after a plane crash drops them into the frozen wilderness. To make matters worse, a group of vicious wolves are stalking the men, who they see as trespassers.
Director/Writer: Joe Carnahan (“The A-Team,” “Smokin’ Aces,”)
Co-Writer: Ian McKenzie Jeffers (“Death Sentence”)
Based On: A short story by Jeffers called “Ghost Walker”
Notable Actors: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo
ORIGINALITY RATING: Medium. Just about one year later, Neeson follows up “Unknown” with another thriller, which seems more grounded. With the plane crash element, the film looks like a cross between “Alive” and “Lost” except with less supernatural elements and no cannibalism. The idea of these men trying to fight off a pack of wolves sounds exciting, especially with Neeson leading them. He has a proven track record of playing awesome tough-as-nails characters. I’m fairly certain he won’t disappoint, based on the clip in the trailer of him breaking little bottles and charging a wolf with them in his fist.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: People who love wilderness survival thrillers where the protagonists have the odds stacked against them. If you appreciate actor Liam Neeson, and you can’t get enough of him in action roles, then you should see “The Grey.”
WHEN TO SEE IT: Opening night.
MAN ON A LEDGE
A police negotiator (Elizabeth Banks) frantically tries to talk down a disgraced ex-cop (Sam Worthington) who is threatening to jump off a Manhattan hotel rooftop. What she doesn’t know is that the stunt is merely a smokescreen to hide his true plan: to prove his innocence.
Director: Asger Leth (“Ghosts of Cité Soleil,” “The Five Obstructions”)
Writer: Pablo F. Fenjves (“Trophy Wife,” “The Devil’s Child”)
Notable Supporting Actors: Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, Edward Burns, Anthony Mackie, Titus Welliver
ORIGINALITY RATING: Low. I’ve already seen this film, so it’s hard not to let that affect my commentary on its trailer. If we’re just going off the trailer though, the movie looks like a fast-paced thriller that’s one part police negotiation and another part heist caper. Given the premise and the cast, it should be entertaining. Since I agree not to comment on the film before its release, I will withhold further comment until later this week.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Audiences that enjoy thrillers like “The Negotiator,” which involve the cops trying to talk someone down. If you are interested to see actress Elizabeth Banks break outside of her normal comedic roles to play a cop, then you should watch “Man on a Ledge.”
WHEN TO SEE IT: No comment.
Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) is a woman passing as a man in order to make ends meet in 19th century Ireland. After 30 years in her disguise, she is starting to feel trapped in her lifestyle.
Director: Rodrigo García (“Mother and Child,” “In Treatment”)
Writers: Lead actress Glenn Close (“Damages”), John Banville (“The Last September”), and Grabriella Prekop (“VII. Olivér”)
Based on: George Moore’s short story
Notable Supporting Actors: Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson, Brendan Gleeson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Janet McTeer
ORIGINALITY RATING: Medium. Several movies explore the comic troubles women experience when they pass for men (“Just One of the Guys” and “She’s the Man” to name a couple), but few handle the real trials and tribulations, like this film does. Close’s stage turn as this character originally helped bring the actress into the spotlight 30 years ago. Given that she is a big name in film and television, her willingness to reprise her role and her screenwriting credit on the project, show significant dedication. This is clearly a passion project, so I’m positive she’ll give a powerhouse performance.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Period piece lovers who enjoy films about women battling gender discrimination during the 19th century. If you are a huge fan of Glenn Close, and you originally loved her as the character when she was in Off-Broadway show, then you should catch her in “Albert Nobbs.”
WHEN TO SEE IT: Opening night.
ONE FOR THE MONEY
Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl) is down on her luck. Unemployed and freshly divorced, she takes a job at her cousin’s bail-bond business, where her first job has her tracking down a wanted cop from her romantic past (Jason O’Mara).
Director: Julie Anne Robinson (“The Last Song,” “Grey’s Anatomy”)
Co-Writers: Newcomers Stacy Sherman and Karen Ray, as well as Lix Brixius (“Nurse Jackie”)
Based On: Janet Evanovich’s novels featuring Stephanie Plum
ORIGINALITY FACTOR: Low. Aside from the fact that the character is based on a book series, the trailer doesn’t reveal anything terribly unique about this comedy. There are cheesy lines, romantically uncomfortable circumstances, and humor involving women rather ineptly handling firearms. It basically looks like “The Bounty Hunter” with the roles reversed so that the woman is the bounty hunter and the man is the target. Hopefully there’s more actual personality there than the trailer lets on.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Viewers who like awkward romantic situations mixed in with their action comedies. If you dig Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books and you’re thrilled to see the character in her own film adventure, then you should check out “One for the Money.”
WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait for DVD.
“In Darkness” tells the story of Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz), a man who risks his life to save Jewish refugees in the Nazi-occupied city of Lvov.
Director: Agnieszka Holland (“Olivier, Olivier” “Europa Europa”)
Writer: Newcomer David F. Shamoon
Based On: A novel by Robert Marshall
ORIGINALITY FACTOR: Low. A number of films have examined the various efforts made by common people to help save Jewish people during the Holocaust, the most notable of which being “Schindler’s List.” This movie hopes to concentrate specifically on this one man’s experience and the consequences that come with his attempt to save lives. That’s probably where the most poignant drama will come from.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: History buffs who are fascinated by the risks taken by ordinary citizens during the Holocaust to help save Jewish lives. If you liked last week’s “The Flowers of War,” which is a similar tale about protecting innocent people during wartime, and you don’t mind reading subtitles, then you should seek out “In Darkness.”
WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait a week, so that you don’t have to fight the crowds.
DECLARATION OF WAR
Roméo and Juliette (Valérie Donzelli and Jérémie Elkaïm) are two young lovers who make a ghastly discovery about their young son Adam: he has a malignant brain tumor. So they declare war against illness, death, and despair as they try to cope with their son’s cancer.
Director/Writer: Valérie Donzelli (“The Queen of Hearts”)
Co-Writer: Jérémie Elkaïm (“The Queen of Hearts”)
ORIGINALITY FACTOR: Medium. A number of films of late involve parents grappling with drama related to their children, whether it’s violence (“We Need to Talk about Kevin” and “Beautiful Boy”) or illness/death (“My Sister’s Keeper” and “Rabbit Hole”). Frequently however, the parents involved have a very troubled relationship, which elevates their emotional pain. The parents in this movie though, clearly love one another and seem determined to face their problems together head on. I like the more optimistic approach to handling grief, and I think this tale has serious potential to be good.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Foreign film aficionados who like French language pictures. If you like movies where regular people are challenged by heartbreaking tragedy, then you should see “Declaration of War.”
WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait a week, so you don’t have to fight the crowds in LA and NY.
Related: Albert Nobbs, Declaration of War, Dermot Mulroney, Elizabeth Banks, Frank Grillo, Glenn Close, In Darkness, Katherine Heigl, Liam Neeson, Man On A Ledge, One for the Money, Sam Worthington, The Grey, Starpulse Exclusives, Movies, Movie Reviews, Movie Trailers, Columns, Weekend Movie Preview
Photo Credits: © Open Road Films,© Summit Entertainment,© Lionsgate