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Trailer Talk: This Week In Movies - 'American Reunion,' 'Damsels In Distress,' & More

April 2nd, 2012 1:00pm EDT

American Reunion In addition to interviewing Fran Kranz and Kristen Connolly from “The Cabin in the Woods” last week, I also spoke with author Dana Fredsti about her new zombie book Plague Town, which comes out on Tuesday. We talked about her book, her connection to the cult classic “Army of Darkness,” and about this season of “The Walking Dead.” If you haven’t seen my interview yet, definitely check it out.

This week you’ll have the opportunity to see the “American Pie” gang back together again in “American Reunion,” the college comedy “Damsels in Distress,” the Morgan Spurlock documentary “Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope,” the Willem Dafoe adventure film “Hunter,” and the horror thriller “ATM.”

MY PICK FOR THE WEEK: American Reunion

*I know that James Cameron’s “Titanic” is being re-released in 3D this week, but like “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” I won’t discuss it in favor only of new releases.

AMERICAN REUNION

The original “American Pie” gang returns for the weekend to East Great Falls Michigan to attend their high school reunion, where comical shenanigans ensue as they all get caught up.

Co-Directors/Writers: Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (“Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle,” “Harold and Kumar Escape Guantanamo Bay”)

Notable Actors: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Seann William Scott, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas, John Cho, Natasha Lyonne, Jennifer Coolidge, Eugene Levy

ORIGINALITY RATING: Low. Since this is the fourth film of the main “American Pie” franchise, it doesn’t gain many points for originality. At least they stopped making those terrible looking spin-off movies similar to the “National Lampoon” label though. The idea of bringing everyone back for a high school reunion is actually a pretty reason for a sequel and for some new ridiculous raunchy humor now that people are real adults. There aren’t any overwhelmingly funny lines in the trailer, but hopefully this one will be more hilarious than “American Wedding.”

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Followers of the “American Pie” franchise that are certain humorous situations will occur at this reunion. If you appreciate raunchy comedy and you wouldn’t mind Seann William Scott’s a-hole alter ego Stifler, then you should watch “American Reunion.”

WHEN TO SEE IT: See it opening night.

DAMSELS IN DISTRESS

A trio of women embarks on a quest to change the male-driven environment of Seven Oaks College and to rescue their fellow students from low standards of every kind.

Director/Writer: Whit Stillman (“The Last Days of Disco,” “Barcelona”)

Notable Actors: Greta Gerwig, Adam Brody, Analeigh Tipton, Aubrey Plaza

ORIGINALITY RATING: Medium. For some strange reason when I watch the trailer for this movie, it reminds me of a modern day “Mona Lisa Smile,” where women challenge their gender roles. Where it differs though is that it takes a comedic angle, with seemingly tons of musical numbers and dancing. Not quite sure how those affect the overall tone of the film. As I watch the trailer, I know that lots of these lines are supposed to be funny, but out of context they don’t really make me laugh. I’m thinking that in the story itself the quirky, off-beat humor will make more sense.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Viewers who prefer quirky deadpan humor and strong female protagonists. If you’ve been looking forward to Whit Stillman’s next film for over a decade, then you should see “Damsels in Distress.”

WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait a week, so you don’t have to fight the crowds.

COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE

This documentary takes a behind-the-scenes peek at the thousands of fans who gather every year in San Diego to attend the world’s largest comic book convention: Comic-Con.

Director/Writer: Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me,” “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”)

Co-Writers: Joss Whedon (“Firefly,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and Jeremy Chilnick (“The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”)

Notable Personalities Featured: Seth Rogen, Kevin Smith, Eli Roth, Stan Lee

ORIGINALITY RATING: High. It doesn’t get any more original than real people sharing their life experiences in a documentary. This trailer hooks your interest with two main angles. First it features celebrities like Seth Rogen, Kevin Smith, and Eli Roth sharing their own ridiculous Comic-Con stories, which shows you how much fun it is. You figure, if celebrities can have such a good time at this nerdy event then it has to be good. The second angle they take is to introduce you to three average people who are there with specific goals in mind: securing specific action figures, making it as a comic book artist, or breaking in as a designer. Once you see what their goals are, you feel like you want to see how things play out as they try to accomplish them.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Comic book folk should get a kick out of this inside look into their yearly summit. If you find each and every Morgan Spurlock documentary compelling, then you should seek out “Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope.”

WHEN TO SEE IT: Opening night.

THE HUNTER

A mercenary (Willem Dafoe) is sent from Europe by a shadowy biotech company to the Tasmanian wilderness on a mission to hunt the last Tasmanian tiger.

Director: Television director Daniel Nettheim (“Dance Academy”)

Writer: Alice Addison (“The Silence”)

Based On: A novel by Julia Leigh

Notable Supporting Actors: Sam Neill, Frances O’Connor

ORIGINALITY FACTOR: Medium. Other than the obvious elements: Willem Dafoe hunting this creature in the expansive wilderness, it’s hard to figure out what direction this movie is headed in. There seems to be a hint at some sort of dark murder-mystery and cover-up like in “Winter’s Bone,” however it’s incredibly unclear. We know Dafoe gets into some trouble and has to become aggressive with his weapon. It’s very difficult to tell if this movie will be good or bad overall, though it looks pretty picturesque from a visual standpoint.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Audiences that enjoy watching hardened survivalist types like Rambo exploring dangerous territory. If you love Willem Dafoe no matter what he’s in, then you should catch “The Hunter.”

WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait a week, so you don’t have to fight the crowds.

ATM

After paying a late night visit to the ATM, three co-workers (Alice Eve, Josh Peck, and Brian Geraghty) become involved in a desperate fight for their lives as when they are trapped by an unknown assailant.

Director: Newcomer David Brooks

Writer: Chris Sparling (“Buried”)

ORIGINALITY FACTOR: Low. It’s hard to imagine a horror movie with a stupider premise than this. Three people trapped in an ATM? Yikes. How does the attacker figure out how to turn off the heat in the ATM and flood it? Where the heck would water pipes be in an ATM? The answers to these questions are probably not waiting for you in the film. Most likely you’ll just have more idiotic ones instead. This film looks like it combines the worst parts of people trapped in a small space genre: “Phone Booth,” “Frozen,” and “Devil.”

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Horror junkies that can appreciate awesomely bad movies. If you get a kick out of having a few drinks and watching ridiculous flicks like this one, then you should check out “ATM,” from the comfort of your own home on DVD.

WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait for DVD.

Related: Alyson Hannigan, American Reunion, ATM, Damels in Distress, Eli Roth, Eugene Levy, Greta Gerwig, Hayden Schlossberg, Jason Biggs, Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, Morgan Spurlock, Sam Neill, Seann William Scott, Seth Rogen, Stan Lee, The Hunter, Titanic, Willem Dafoe, Starpulse Exclusives, Movies, Movie Trailers, Columns, Weekend Movie Preview

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Photo Credits: © Universal Pictures, © Magnolia Pictures

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