Tag Archives: trailer review

“Everybody’s Fine” Trailer Review: Can the American Remake Live Up to the High Quality of the Italian Original?

Trailer Review: The ironically titled Everybody’s Fine is a remake of the 1990 Italian film Stanno Tutti Bene directed by Guiseppe Tornatore. The original is a bittersweet charmer of a film packed with plenty of heart and complex emotions, but it remains to be seen whether Kirk Jones’ adaptation will succeed at capturing the refined lyricism of its precursor.

Everybody's FineWith an all-star cast including Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, and Sam Rockwell, Everybody’s Fine is a two-generational drama about a suburban father who embarks on a difficult path of self-awareness while trying to reconnect with his four adult children.

In an uncharacteristically subdued role, De Niro plays the mild-mannered Frank Goode, a recent widower and retired telephone-factory worker who has tirelessly strived to give his kids a better life. But now, as adults, Frank’s children all live miles apart and have become too preoccupied with their personal lives to spend much quality time with their dear old dad.

So, after his wife’s death, Frank elects to reach out to his scattered brood of progeny by inviting them to a weekend family get-together. Unfortunately, Frank’s reconciliation plans are foiled when, one by one, all of his children cancel on him without saying why. This is the point when Frank decides to pack his bags and set out on a grand journey across the country to pay a surprise visit to each of his offspring.

Frank’s first stop is New York City to see his son, David, a struggling artist who does not appear to be home. The trailer shows Frank (who is apparently cellphone-less) forlornly sitting on David’s stoop engaged in a little appendage show-and-tell with a prostitute. After New York, Frank travels to Chicago to see his daughter, Amy (Kate Beckinsale), an advertising executive living a picture-perfect life (or so it seems). Next, Frank is Denver-bound to visit his classical musician son, Robert (Sam Rockwell), who turns out not to be the conductor he led his father to believe he was. And finally, Frank finds himself in Sin City, where his most welcoming of children, daughter Rosie (Drew Barrymore), works as a dancer.

Everybody's FineOver the course of his expedition, it becomes apparent that Frank’s children have a few secrets about their lives, and presumably David’s whereabouts, that they would rather not disclose to their father, given his health and elevated expectations for each of their accomplishments. The trailer makes a point of highlighting this issue by stressing the recurring presence of the telephone wires that Frank ran for a living, which serve as an ironic visual motif for a family with communication difficulties.

As is evidenced in the trailer, Everybody’s Fine presents plenty of lovely moments for each of the children’s characters to shine. But as charming as Beckinsale, Rockwell, and Barrymore appear to be in their roles, the trailer makes it clear that the film’s main focus is on the evolving patriarch, Frank.

It is refreshing to see De Niro in this tenderly crafted and very relatable role, which will no doubt make every audience member want to reach out to their own father to tell him how much he is loved. Yet, as heartwarming and endearing as the trailer portrays the film to be, it also really hams up the cheese factor. As a result, the trailer imparts the impression that the remake of Everybody’s Fine is going to be far more conventional and predictable than the original and will probably leave the audience wishing for a tic-tac to eradicate the film’s schmaltzy aftertaste.

Check out the trailer for Everybody’s Fine. What do you think? 

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“Our Family Wedding” Trailer Review: A High-Flying, Culture Clash Comedy

Our Family WeddingTrailer Review: From Director Rick Famuyiwa comes Our Family Wedding, the story of newly engaged couple, Lucia and Marcus, whose marital bliss is interrupted before it even has a chance to commence by the high-flying tempers and egos of their clashing families. This nuptial comedy stars America Ferrera, Lance Gross, Forest Whitaker, Carlos Mencia, and Regina King.

Lucia and Marcus are young, in love, and engaged. As a twosome, they couldn’t be happier. They are about to find out, however, that when you marry someone, you tie the knot with their entire family.

After returning home from college, the happy couple invites each of their families out to dinner to announce their engagement. What should be a joyous occasion turns out to be a complete disaster as the two highly competitive alpha fathers (Mencia and Whitaker) immediately butt heads. The madcap events that ensue make it anyone’s guess as to whether Lucia and Marcus will be able to survive their engagement long enough to actually make it down the aisle.

With two overbearing dads and a wedding-planning stage-mom, the only sensible one in the mix is Marcus’ dad’s best friend, Angela, who is able to successfully keep a level head even when the you-know-what starts to hit the fan.

Our Family WeddingThe trailer for Our Family Wedding starts off by introducing the audience to both Lucia and Marcus along with each of their families. Right away, it becomes evident that these two groups of relatives are not going to be as much like peas in a pod as they are like lemon juice and paper cuts.

From the trailer, Ferrera, Gross, and King all appear very charismatic, but it is the performances made by Whitaker and Mencia, which serve as brilliant comedic foils for one another, that steal the show.

The trailer for Our Family Wedding does a superb job of setting the stage for this film to have plenty of familial strife layered with a profusion of humor and heart. And if a scene encompassing two machismo father figures dealing with a very frisky, Mexican wedding goat is any indication of this film’s level of hilarity, then audiences should be in for a real tickle-your-funny-bone kind of treat.

Check out the trailer for Our Family Wedding below. What do  you think?

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“Waiting for Armageddon” Trailer Review: Incendiary to Its Core

waiting for armageddonTrailer Review: Together, directors Kate Davis, David Heilbroner and Franco Sacchi form a trinity of award-winning talent, who have recently joined forces to produce the ticklish documentary, Waiting for Armageddon. This intriguing film probes the ethos of 20 million American Evangelicals and the effect that this culture has on American politics and foreign policy in the Middle East.

Waiting for Armageddon exerts part of its narrative from the point of view of three American fundamentalist families who subscribe to the belief that the future of the human race is decreed through Biblical foresight and that Israel and the Jewish populace are integrally involved in Christ’s comeback. These families believe that Israel is the location where the battle of Armageddon will take place, annihilating the Earth and paving the way for Christ to carry out a Garden of Eden do-over.

Waiting for Armageddon then trails a Christian study tour group on its journey to Israel. The members of the group discuss the way that the Dome of the Rock, one of the holiest sites in Islam, must be destroyed in order for Christ to make His return. It is at this point in the film that the potential for a highly volatile association between Evangelical groups and Jews and Muslims becomes apparent.

Waiting for ArmageddonThe trailer for Waiting for Armageddon uses interview clips and archival footage in such a way that it creates a sense of foreboding that builds and builds, like a roller coaster inching its way towards the top of the slope just before that first terrifying plunge. First, excerpts from the film are shown discussing the “rapture,” an event which will allow Evangelicals to be hoisted into the heavens to be at Christ’s side. Next, the trailer emphasizes the potential for real, mass destruction as Armageddon Theology’s addictive interest in war is highlighted. Then, the trailer concludes with the incendiary message that “World War III has started!” The suspense-fostering tactics employed in the trailer are very effective at creating a terrific air of intrigue around the film, justly whetting the viewer’s appetite to see more of Waiting for Armageddon.

Check out the trailer for Waiting for Armageddon below. What do you think?

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“Wonderful World” Trailer Review: A Delightful Dose of Cynicism

Wonderful World Trailer Review: Ben Singer would appreciate this Woody Allen quote: “I don’t see the glass as half empty. I see it as half full—of poison.” For Ben, the protagonist of director Josh Goldin’s debut feature, Wonderful World, life isn’t exactly rainbows and butterflies. Rather, Ben sees the world as a place of “terrorism, atomic bombs and Genocide of mythic proportions.”

Mathew Broderick co-stars with Sanaa Lathan and Philip Baker Hall in this bittersweet comedy about a cynical killjoy who rediscovers his relish for humanity through his family, friends, and tête-à-têtes with his imaginary confidant, “The Man.”

Ben Singer (Broderick) isn’t the kind of guy who’s got the world on a string. He’s a divorced, every-other-weekend dad and a failed children’s folk singer who has recently added unemployed proofreader to his resume of gloom. The only consolations that Ben has in his life are smoking pot by his lonesome and playing chess with his Senegalese roommate, Ibou (Michael Kenneth Williams). That is, however, until Ibou suddenly falls ill. This is the turning point of the film when the plot wheels are really set into motion. At this point, Ben begins a psychedelic relationship with a guru-like being who refers to himself as “The Man” (Baker Hall), and Ibou’s earthily sexy sister (Lathan) arrives from Senegal and moves into Ben’s apartment.

Wonderful WorldInstead of employing narration from a thunder-throated voice-over artist, the trailer for Wonderful World chooses to use the accessible intonation of Matthew Broderick himself to establish personality and premise. This choice, in addition to the subtle and very charming acoustic guitar being played in the background, give the trailer for Wonderful World an inviting, homey quality, much like chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven, which transcend Ben’s paramount pessimism.

Wonderful World appears to be the kind of film that, if it is not careful, could easily slip into a mawkish quagmire of sentimental muck. Yet, based on what is evinced in the trailer, it seems that there may be a few plot twists and turns that will hopefully keep the film grounded so as to prevent the viewer from gagging on too many sugar-coated life lessons. Plus, Matthew Broderick appears set to deliver an altogether captivating performance – eliciting just the right amount of edginess – thus allowing the viewer to empathize with his character without having him be entirely agreeable.

Check out the trailer for Wonderful World below. What do you think?

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Pick or Pan of the Week: “I am Number Four”

I am number fourPAN I am Number FourAn action & adventure film directed by D.J. Caruso and starring Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, and Dianna Agron which tells the rather silly story of an extraordinary young man (he’s an alien) who is forced to conceal his true identity lest his coldblooded adversaries seek him out and destroy him.

First came wizards and warlocks (Harry Potter), then came vampires and werewolves (Twilight), now the latest teeny-bopper fare to be served up in the cinematic cafeteria involves Mogadorian aliens. Who knows, maybe a forbidden love affair between a mermaid and the Easter bunny will be next.

Perhaps, instead of trying to manipulate every flavor-of-the-week, Hollywood heartthrob into a magical creature, money-magnet trend, movie-makers should take a stab at getting back to producing films with more significant substance and value – just a thought.

At any rate, I am Number Four is decidedly not worth a watch.

Read what The Scorecard Review has to say about I am Number Four.

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Filed under Action & Adventure, United States

“Beastly” Teaser Trailer Review: A Modern Take on the Classic “Beauty and the Beast”

Beastly trailer reviewTeaser Trailer Review: From Daniel Barnz, the director of The Cutting Room, comes Beastly, a souped-up retelling of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. The film stars Alex Pettyfer and Disney cash-cow Vanessa Hudgens and is set to be released March 4th 2011.

Pettyfer plays the attractive, smart, well-heeled Kyle Kingson, who sounds like a pretty dreamy fellow until his unadulterated dirt baggery is taken into account. As a guy whose favorite past-time is debasing his more unfortunate looking classmates, Kyle decides to hone his knack for nastiness on a Goth student named Kendra, whom he invites to a school soiree as his date. Kendra accepts Kyle’s offer, but his malevolence is quick to strike, and he ends up blowing her off. What Kyle does not know, however, is that he has just messed with the wrong gotharina. To get back at Kyle, Kendra retaliates by casting a spell that transforms him into…yep, you guessed it…a beast.

Now, the only way for Kyle to break Kendra’s spell is for him to find someone who will love him in spite of his new, hideous appearance. This task is much easier said than done, however, seeing as Kyle’s own father can’t even stand the sight of him and has him exiled to Brooklyn. As Kyle tries to come up with a solution to his ugly predicament, an opportunity arises with a drug addict,  in which Kyle assures freedom and security to him and his daughter, Lindy (Hudgens), in exchange for Lindy’s assent to live with Kyle in Brooklyn.

Beastly trailer reviewThis trailer for Beastly is only a teaser so not a lot of the film is revealed. However, the little bit that is shown is unsuccessful at capturing the viewer’s attention, unless you are a teeny-bopper for whom the universe revolves around cute boys and High School Musical. The teaser trailer starts by presenting a couple of close-up shots of Pettyer’s handsome face, followed by a quick flash of Hudgens’ adorable mug. It then cuts to Pettyer’s transformation from pretty Ken doll to bald, disfigured beast and leaves the viewer with this quote, “Who am I? I’m you at your ugliest, inside out.” In the teaser trailer, no real mood is established, nor is there any significant character elucidation. The only audience that this teaser trailer even has a chance of reaching is the members of the Twilight loving crowd who prefer their male pin-ups a little more blond and tan.

Check out the teaser trailer for Beastly below. What do you think?

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“Off and Running” Trailer Review: An Immensely Gratifying Coming-of-Age Case Study

Off and Running trailer reviewTrailer Review: From director Nicole Opper, Off and Running is an engrossing, coming-of-age documentary about an adopted Brooklyn teen named Avery, who is beginning to question her true identity. The film follows Avery through her turbulent teenage years as she embarks upon a complex journey of racial, familial, and self exploration that ultimately threatens to upset the loving family and life that she has always known.

Avery is 16 years old. She is intelligent, curious, and a gifted track star. Living with her two white, Jewish, lesbian mothers, her mixed-race older brother, and her younger Korean brother, Avery, who is black, is being raised in a highly blended and well-adjusted family. Avery loves her family very much, but at the same time, she feels compelled to connect with her racial roots. Consequently, Avery attempts to get in touch with her birth mother, who has been living in Texas. At first, this seems like a step in the right direction for Avery, but she soon finds herself trudging through a quagmire of adolescent anguish, self-doubt, and self-pity that leads her to venture into risky behaviors, which jeopardize both her familial relations and her shot at getting a track scholarship.

Off and Running trailer reviewThe trailer for Up and Running uses the film’s footage and interview clips in a very effective way which allows the emotional hub of the film to be successfully tapped into and conveyed. The first scenes evinced in the trailer seek to paint an intimate portrait of Avery’s family as being unique and very close-knit. As the accompanying score of violins escalates and intensifies, so does the film’s drama. When asked if she feels black, Avery responds, “I don’t know what that means.” From there, the trailer substantiates the emotional tensions that arise between Avery and her family in a way that is entirely palpable to the viewer. The trailer concludes with a scene of Avery at her most vulnerable, which proves very effectual at spiking the viewer’s interest to see whether or not Avery will be able to get her life back on the track in this probing and immensely gratifying family case study.

Check out the trailer for Off and Running below. What do you think?

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Filed under Documentary, United States