Trailer Mash

Ice, queens and other chilly goods from this week's opening movies

A bunch of cartoon animals doing slapstick are the avatars though which middle-aged celebrities reference movie trivia from decades past. Ice Age: Continental Drift may well have been released a couple weeks ago under the name Madagascar: Europe's Most Wanted. Same principle, anyhow. This time it's Ray Romano regurgitating Daniel Day-Lewis's famous cry, "No matter how long it takes, I will find you." Which movie? Which year? Answer at the bottom of the page.*

Farewell, My Queen sounds like a pitch from a French remake of The Player. Marie Antoinette may have had lesbian relations with some of the women of the court! There's your movie! Filmed on location in the real-life Palace of Versailles, just like Sophia Coppola's 2006 interpretation of the story as a tribute to the early days of MTV, the trailer looks properly glamorous. As the Dauphine, Diane Kruger has the apposite Teuton jaw, and as the objects of her desire, Léa Seydoux and Virginie Ledoyen are full-on French. But on this evidence, it does not look like a challenging night out. Even Coppola didn't give us a scene of someone passing the queen a list of heads to be cut off.

The Obama Effect stars the ever-lovable Charles S. Dutton as an Obama obsessive who gives up his job to support the '08 campaign. Apparently constructed using a budget of love and pocket change, it ends up at some distance from actual propaganda. Meanwhile, Bain is the villain of the new Romney movie.

You have to love a trailer that begins with its own star referring to herself both in the first and third person before telling you her new movie is exciting. The trailer for Red Lights is therefore to be loved. Using a plot seemingly lifted from a 1970s Jess Franco exploiter, Sigourney Weaver is a psychic investigator accompanied by Cillian Murphy's physicist, a man with the ideal physiognomy to reflect mental collapse as everything he believes because of science is torn to shreds by a scary psychic. Portraying the scary psychic in question is great actor Robert De Niro, who mostly looks cross and wears blue contact lenses, just like Hilary Mason in Don't Look Now. You could hang on until this shows up on Netflix, but why wait? Treat yourself to a proper hokey potboiler full of proper movie stars, no spandex, and no undue mental effort. 

Underrated genius Michael Winterbottom has the uncanny and much-desired ability to make anyone look like an intelligent movie actor. After 24 Hour Party People, Steve Coogan can't help working with him. Look at Angelina Jolie in A Mighty Heart. Trishna, his modern version of Tess of the D'Urbervilles relocated to Rajasthan, is no exception. Freida Pinto, it transpires, is an actress. There is scarcely a more attractive human breathing, but Rise of the Planet of the Apes, for example, was one of the movies in which she chose not to draw out the light of her talent from under the substantial bushel of her pulchritude. But in this trailer, your heart is breaking from the moment she casts down her eyes under the gaze of Riz Ahmed as Winterbottom's reversioning of Angel Clare/Alec D'Urberville. Ahmed, by the way, is an utterly brilliant actor, and hard though it is to tell if the whole thing will hang together, what a great coupling.

Remember Mira Sorvino? Oscar winner? Here she is, back again, in a story right off Ed Burns's To-Do list. A (late) thirty-something woman about to get married lives in Union Square NYC, having escaped her family who live in some other lesser place in America. Mira is the embarrassment in human form of a sister who shows up unannounced, and even in these short fragments we can see a character we all recognize: needy, irritating, unreliable, manipulative, but somewhere behind the horror, well meaning. Union Square is a film that will do no business, but it should do Mira some good, at least according to this trailer.

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