So, here it is, 111111—or, as some student of binary numbers has no doubt told you by now, 63. And in honor of mystics and fantasists who remain persuaded that today has some association with Armageddon (see 11-11-11 below), we have mashed the two films of the week most concerned with world-changing cataclysms into one: Immortals and Melancholia are now Immelancholia. (See above.)
Do not be fooled into thinking the Immortals trailer will help you with your classics minor. Behind the loincloth, oiled musculature, and aeons of CGI rendering, it's really just the week's big superhero action-flick tease. The Greek mythology is drawn exclusively from God of War video games (as is the aesthetic, though Mickey Rourke's hat owes more to Little Shop of Horrors), and what with all the flaming arrows, gymnastics and portentous shouting, this Certificate 14 film seems to have been designed solely to satisfy your inner 13-year-old twerp. Such is the ideal audience for Frieda Pinto, who displays her entire range as an actress in a single line, while Henry Cavill, as Theseusuperman, reveals the relevant qualifications that led executive producer Zach Snyder to cast his abdomen as the Man of Steel.
Is there a movie made whose trailer would not be improved by the replacement of its music with the prelude to Wagner's Tristan and Isolde? There is not. Not even Rush Hour 2. Lars von Trier recognizes this cornerstone fact of existence and has combined the so-called Tristan chord with a sumptuous-looking Nordic wedding of bitterness, recriminations and self-loathing. He then tops it off with the arrival in the skies of a world-ending planet, the eponymous Melancholia. It was always inevitable, when you think about it.
Clint Eastwood seems to have fallen under the same spell as Martin Scorsese and apparently believes that no matter what movie he's making, it can only be improved by miscasting Leonardo DiCaprio in it. Exhibit A: this trailer for J. Edgar. As the second-best young J. Edgar Hoover of the decade (Billy Crudup in Public Enemies claims the title), Leo does his pinched and troubled face. And as the second-best old J. Edgar Hoover of the last 50 years (Broderick Crawford in The Private Files of… claims that title), Leo does his pinched and troubled face. But this time it's at the center of a giant pumpkin-shaped makeup job. Who knows? Maybe it's like Kabuki, and once the movie starts you ignore the mad makeup, and get drawn into the story. Still, this theory is weakened somewhat by lines like, "All the admiration in the world can't fill the spot where love goes." Spot?
Despite the slightly irritating pun in the title, Cook County looks like a cracking romp through the lives of country meth addicts. The plot seems to be that soap-opera perennial of a reformed father returning home and trying to stop his son from falling into his own bad habits, but with added meth, zinging country tunes, and high-octane performances (not least from the ever-reliable Xander Berekeley). As trailers go, this is a hit. Of meth.
And so, to 11-11-11, which begins quite promisingly, like an American remake of a Spanish horror flick, like the great El Orfanato, but one that has attempted to retain the original aesthetic and location. It is swiftly revealed, however, that the movie is directed by someone behind a few of those Saw movies, and unless you're 13 years old, a chill runs down your spine.
If you want a real horror movie, Werner Herzog is the man to deliver it. The trailer for Into the Abyss is a series of extracts from austere but brilliantly framed interviews with a number of people involved in a death-penalty case. The main subject is Michael Perry, a young man on death row convicted of a triple homicide committed when he attempted to steal a red Camero for a joyride. Overlaid are worshipful comments from critics, as if you don't have the wit to notice that Werner is now the leading film documentarian of our inner lives.
London Boulevard is one of those gangster movies the Brits do quite well every now and then. Gangster leaves jail, wants to go straight, but as Silvio used to say in The Sopranos, "Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in." Here, Ray Winstone is the puller, Colin Farrell, attempting a London accent not quite as good as his American one, is the pulled, and in an Anna Karina wig and eye makeup getup, Keira Knightley plays some sort of movie star McGuffin. Looks gorgeous, but this film is taking no chances, what with the Clash on the soundtrack, every London landmark on display, and even an open-top vintage Roller cruising the city at night. All it needs is a Met Police Officer beating up an Occupy London protestor while taking a backhander from a News International private dick. Still, romantic exchange of the week: "If I fell in love with you, what would you do about it?" "Everything."
The trailer for Jack and Jill should come with a health warning. Watch more than 45 seconds and you may end up like that British lawyer who recently saw Schindler's List, lost all faith in humanity, drank a half bottle of vodka and drowned himself. Seriously, because this is the plot: Adam Sandler plays against himself as his own twin sister who stays over for the holidays. YouTube quote of the week: "This looks like a parody trailer you'll find at the beginning of Tropic Thunder." Or maybe it is an actual harbinger of the apocalypse.
(Trailer mash by Kate Rose.)