Trailer Talk: This Week in Movies - 'The Five-Year Engagement,' 'The Raven' & More
April 23rd, 2012 1:03pm EDT
This week there will be a little something for everyone in theaters. You’ll have the chance to see the Jason Segel relationship comedy “The Five-Year Engagement,” the John Cusack gothic thriller “The Raven,” the swashbuckling animated adventure “The Pirates! Band of Misfits,” the Jason Statham action vehicle “Safe,” the indie drama “Sound of My Voice,” the foreign crime thriller “Headhunters,” the dark dramedy “Bernie,” and the coming-of-age flick “Girl in Progress.”
MY PICK FOR THE WEEK: The Five-Year Engagement
Later in the week, I will be covering IFF Boston, so look out for reviews of the films I’m able to see.
THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT
“The Five-Year Engagement” chronicles the ups and downs of an engaged couple’s (Jason Segel and Emily Blunt) relationship on the road to marriage.
Director/Writer: Nicholas Stoller (“Get Him to the Greek,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”)
Co-Writer: Lead actor Jason Segel (“The Muppets,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”)
Notable Supporting Actors: Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Jacki Weaver, David Paymer, Mimi Kennedy, Jim Piddock
ORIGINALITY RATING: Medium. The trailer for “The Five-Year Engagement” features exactly the kind of charming offbeat humor you would expect from Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller. A perfect example is Chris Pratt’s version of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” which retraces the love life of Segel’s character. Also the trailer does a good job of explaining the reasons why these two spend so long engaged, while showing some of the hilarity that happens along the way like when family members meddle in the wedding plans. I cracked up at when Segel’s character mentioned he kept his yamaka in his “Jewish drawer,” so I’m hopeful the movie keeps me laughing the whole way through.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Viewers who dig R-rated relationship comedies like “Knocked Up” or Nicholas Stoller’s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” If you appreciate Jason Segel’s sense of humor and you like him as a comedic lead, then you should see “The Five-Year Engagement.”
WHEN TO SEE IT: Opening night.
When a psychotic man begins committing disgusting murders inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack), a young detective (Luke Evans) joins forces with Poe to stop the killer from bringing all of the stories to fruition.
Director: James McTeigue (“V for Vendetta,” “Ninja Assassin”)
Co-Writers: Actor Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare (“Loverboy”)
Notable Actors: Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson
ORIGINALITY RATING: Medium. The concept of a murderer using Edgar Allan Poe’s stories as inspiration for killing is a brilliant one, even if it ever so slightly reminds me of the themed murders in “Se7en.” Stylistically this film appears to be a cross between Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” and the Hughes Brothers’ “From Hell,” which I like. As a lifelong John Cusack fan, I’m thrilled that he’s playing Poe, and the trailer makes it seem like the character Poe gets a chance to be pretty badass. Really the only thing that throws me off is the silly Batman-esque scratchy voice that Luke Evans’ character has.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Audiences that want to see a thriller this weekend instead of a comedy like “The Five-Year Engagement.” If you love the idea of Edgar Allan Poe fighting crime and you’ve enjoyed James McTeigue’s other films, then you should watch “The Raven.”
WHEN TO SEE IT: Opening night.
THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS
Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) sets sail on a journey to defeat his rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) for the Pirate of the Year Award. His quest takes Captain and his crew all the way from the beaches of Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London.
Co-Directors: Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt (“Flushed Away,” “Chicken Run”)
Writer: Newcomer Gideon Defoe
Notable Voice Actors: Martin Freeman, David Tennant, Anton Yelchin, Brendan Gleeson, Imelda Staunton, and newscaster Al Roker
ORIGINALITY RATING: Medium. It’s refreshing to see Hugh Grant taking a stab, quite literally, at something as silly as “Pirates! Band of Misfits.” However the pirates themselves are rendered in the same clay format as we’ve seen in “Wallace & Gromit,” “Chicken Run,” and “Flushed Away,” which isn’t terribly original. Probably the strangest thing about the trailer is its use of Quiet Riot’s “Come on Feel the Noise.” There are plenty of tongue-in-cheek moments in the trailer, but nothing that really had me laughing, so I don’t have high hopes for this movie. The presence of so many amusing actors has convinced me that it will be okay at the bare minimum though.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Parents looking for a lighthearted, family-friendly animated film this weekend. If enjoy stop-motion animation in the style of “Wallace & Gromit” then you should seek out “Pirates! Band of Misfits.”
WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait a week so you don’t have to fight the crowds.
A young girl (Catherine Chan) whose memory holds an important numerical code finds herself chased by the Triads, the Russian mob, and a group of corrupt New York City cops all looking to retrieve it. Aiding her is an ex-cop fighter (Jason Statham) who had his life destroyed by the very same gangsters.
Director/Writer: Boaz Yakin (“Death in Love,” “Remember the Titans”)
ORIGINALITY FACTOR: Low. I love Jason Statham as an action star. He’s a badass martial arts master capable of taking down a whole room full of dudes with tons of improvised weapons. He even has some amusing one-liners like in this movie’s trailer where a guy tells him he has big balls, and he remarks “I’m amazed I can even walk.” However, Statham’s movies have premises so similar that they’re starting to blur together in my head, which isn’t a good thing. From what I can tell, Statham plays a similar role to Frank Martin from the “Transporter” series, fighting a one-man battle to keep this little girl safe, just like he would keep his “packages” safe in those films. Given that “Safe” will probably just be mindless action, I suggest waiting until DVD to watch it.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Action junkies with a preference for Jason Statham’s beat ‘em up movies. If enjoy Jason Statham tales like “The Transporter” where he basically plays a one man army, then you should catch “Safe.”
WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait for DVD.
SOUND OF MY VOICE
A journalist and his girlfriend become entangled in a cult while investigating its leader’s claims that she is from the future.
Director/Writer: Newcomer Zal Batmanglij
Co-Writer: Brit Marling (“Another Earth”)
ORIGINALITY FACTOR: High. Like any other cult, the one presented in this trailer definitely seems to have sinister motives based on the gun training and the moment where it seems they’re planning to kidnap a child. The trailer does a fantastic job though of painting a picture of intrigue, where I can’t really tell for sure if the group is evil, or if the cult’s leader really is from the future. Perhaps the most gripping drama is between the journalist and his girlfriend who get in way over their heads, playing a game which has the potential to turn deadly. I really want to see what happens to them and how everything plays out.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Independent film aficionados who appreciate Brit Marling’s other recent movie that she co-wrote “Another Earth.” If like stories where people become embroiled in an investigation which spirals quickly out of control, then you should check out “Sound of My Voice.”
WHEN TO SEE IT: Opening night.
An accomplished recruiter (Askel Hennie) risks it all by turning to a life of crime so that he can steal a valuable painting owned by an ex-mercenary.
Director: Morten Tyldum (“Fallen Angels,” “Buddy”)
Co-Writers: Lars Gudmestad (“Fatso”) and Ulf Ryberg (“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”)
Based On: A novel by Jo Nesbø
ORIGINALITY FACTOR: High. For a trailer that’s not a red band one, there is a surprising amount of male and female nudity here, so beware. Some of the dialogue reads a bit strange with the subtitles, but I think that it has something to do with being translated from Norwegian. There is an incredible amount of violence that I’m not used to seeing in trailers either: stabbing, dogs biting people in the neck, gunshots, car accidents, and blood everywhere. I’m very curious to see this brutal flick, although I’m worried I might be turned off by all of the gore. However it’s possible that the trailer is trying to use shock and awe to suck you in, rather than to prepare you for the worst.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Foreign film connoisseurs who enjoy Scandinavian thrillers like the original “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series. If don’t mind subtitles, and you dig tales where ordinary men are pushed to terrible depravity in order to survive, then “Headhunters” is for you.
WHEN TO SEE IT: On Friday night at IFF Boston if you’re going to be there this weekend or in limited theaters near you.
In a small Texas town, the local mortician (Jack Black) befriends a wealthy widow (Shirley MacLaine), after killing her though; he goes to great lengths to keep up the illusion that she’s alive.
Director/Writer: Richard Linklater (“Me and Orson Welles,” “A Scanner Darkly”)
Co-Writer: Skip Hollandsworth (“Suburban Madness”)
Notable Supporting Actors: Matthew McConaughey
ORIGINALITY FACTOR: Medium. I can’t quite figure out what to make of this movie. Based on the description it seems like a murder mystery or some kind of nod to “Weekend at Bernie’s” especially since the main character’s name is Bernie. When you watch the trailer though, it plays like a messed up reality show debating the guilt/innocence of a guy who befriends a mean old lady and bumps her off out of frustration. I suppose the murder aspect makes it seem like a slightly more lighthearted Cohen Brothers movie, and the fact that everyone hates the old lady reminds me of the way no one feels sorry for Bette Midler after she gets kidnapped in “Ruthless People.”
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: People who like dark comedy in the vein of Cohen Brothers movies. If love the cast of this movie and you think it has solid potential to be good, then you should see “Bernie.”
WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait for DVD.
GIRL IN PROGRESS
As a single mother Grace (Eva Mendes) is trying to juggle her job, her bills, her affair with a married man, and parenting. Meanwhile, her daughter Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez) plans a shortcut to adulthood by using inspiration she finds in the coming-of-age books she is reading for school.
Director: Patricia Riggen (“Under the Same Moon”)
Writer: Hiram Martinez (“Four Dead Batteries”)
Notable Supporting Actors: Patricia Arquette, Matthew Modine, Russell Peters
ORIGINALITY FACTOR: Low. We’ve seen this story umpteen times: an immature single parent is taught how to get their act together by their precocious child. Normally good acting might save a tired theme like this, but in this case I don’t think it will. The trailer really goes out of the way though to show what a crappy, unavailable parent that Eva Mendes’ character is. At a certain point you just want to say, I get it, show me something different. I think the thing that annoyed me the most though was this really upbeat music that was playing over dramatic stuff like when the girl tries to run away, playing through to when things are supposed to get inspirational and happy. It just felt lazy.
WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Latino viewers who like coming-of-age dramedies. If you are looking for something a bit less serious this weekend, but you don’t want something as silly as “Pirates! Band of Misfits,” then give “Girl in Progress” a shot.
WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait for DVD.
Related: Bernie, Brit Marling, Eva Mendes, Five-Year Engagement, Girl in Progress, Headhunters, Hugh Grant, Jack Black, James McTeigue, Jason Segel, Jason Statham, Jeremy Piven, John Cusack, Matthew McConaughey, Nicholas Stoller, Pirates! Band of Misfits, Richard Linklater, Safe, Salma Hayek, Sound of My Voice, The Raven, Starpulse Exclusives, Movies, Movie Trailers, Columns, Weekend Movie Preview
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