Trailer Mash

Sex, spies and videotape: this week's new movies judged solely on their previews

Twilight for those in their twilight years, Hope Springs is seemingly a film about thinking about old people having sex. The old people in question, Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep, have their admirers, some not even from their own generation, but this is still a film about thinking about old people having sex. For those hypnotized by the concept but horrified by the idea of sitting through 90 minutes of thinking about old people having sex, the trailer courteously reveals the entire plot. One of the characters is grumpy about the whole idea but comes around, the other is nervous but determined. Guess which old person plays which? As the old folks' couples counselor, 40-Year-Old Virgin Steve Carrell looks sensitive, and sometimes as though he has sick in his mouth.

An amnesiac secret agent trained by a covert black-ops program slowly recovers memories of spy craft and the body count rises. Yes, it's been 16 years since The Long Kiss Goodnight was released, with Geena Davis as the operative piecing together her old life, but it's also 10 years since we first saw Matt Damon doing the exact same thing in The Bourne Identity. But where Long Kiss director Renny Harlin delivered an agreeable mix of old-fashioned bombast and high comedy (Samuel L. Jackson recently told a magazine it gave him his favorite role), Bourne's Doug Liman created an entirely new template for action movies. Muscular, relentless, realistic and blond, it was picked up and assimilated shamelessly by Eon Productions in its Daniel Craig Bond reboot three years later. (It certainly put the final nail in the coffin of Pierce Brosnan, whose CGI-tarnished Die Another Day was also released in 2002, though at the time the usurper was supposed to be Vin Diesel in XXX.) After a couple of sequels directed by Brit tough guy Paul Greengrass, Damon retired from the role, and after a long search for a new operative, it was concluded that the 5-foot-9 blond option is the part of the template you don't mess with. The trailer for The Bourne Legacy certainly fulfills all the other expectations: Lone spy Jeremy Renner eludes that atention of government agencies while uisng whatever is lying around as murder weapons.

It's an election year, so the Will Ferrell machine sniffs the air, spots an opportunity, and gears up to make another Will Ferrell product. His fellow Funny or Die regular Zach Galifianakis is added to the fun, because they are this decade's George Clooney and Brad Pitt of polished movie humor. While The Campaign can never hope to measure up to the blissful, eye-watering, gut-busting, laugh-out-loud, foot-in-mouth comedy of a Mitt Romney foreign tour, you can be pretty sure you'll get three chuckles out of it, all of which are in this trailer.

There was another election, in 2009, for the presidency of Iran. Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the prime minister in 1989, did not win and now lives under house arrest. As the figurehead of the Green Path of Hope, his presence in upper-level politics is not entirely agreeable to the victorious president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his boss, supreme leader Seyed Ali Khamenei. (Khameini famously only became an Ayatollah to get the gig: Apparently, Ayatollah Khomeini realized toward the end that if he wanted a credible replacement, he was not exactly overloaded with management material among the religious ranks and needed to give an actual secular politician the appropriate seal of approval.) The Green Wave is the story of how regular folks in Iran have tried to introduce actual democracy, and the price they have paid in the process. If you want to know anything about Iran other than that it has a target painted on it by the same people who did such a good job in Iraq, then this is the sort of thing you should see.

Spike Lee teams up with the very great Clarke Peters, aka Lester Freamon, as all fans of The Wire will know, for Red Hook Summer, the story of a young Atlanta boy sent to live with his preacher grandfather in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Apparently addressing Lee's usual concerns of role models and identity, there's a new look to this piece, it seems, a pleasing combo of HD and pseudo Super 8 that gives the movie a timeless feel. Red Hook was also the birthplace of Captain America.

New York is evidently the world's preferred movie destination, and it does seem rather a long time since Green Card delivered French comedy people to town. But with 2 Days in New York, the glorious Julie Delpy seemingly does rather more than that. She's the glamorous French woman living with the cool DJ, played, by Chris Rock, disarmingly unlike his screeching Zebra persona. When her father, sister and sister's boyfriend show up for a visit, country French meets chic Manhattan, and there is a very promising culture clash ahead, "Almost as good as vintage Woody Allen," according to one quoted critic. Cue vintage needle on vintage record player. But the sheer joy taken in the briefest of shots of New York and the unbelievably broad yet scrupulously observed caricatures suggest something even older and no less funny than a '30s screwball comedy, at least according to this trailer.

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