That Birdman teaser was so mesmerizing that my brain had no room for other new trailers. I was putting my fingers in my ears lalalaicanthearyou when new trailers arrived to maintain the high. High expectations much? (yikes). But it's time to come down from that teasing cloud and do a quick scan of what we've missed this past week.
Herewith three trailers that have dropped with Tom Hardy as a bartender in trouble, Reese Witherspoon as a job counsellor (?) to Sudanese refugees, and two acclaimed Roberts, Duvall and Downey Jr, squaring off as an estranged father/son who are brought together by a funeral and then a murder investigation. The trailers and brief Yes No Maybe So breakdowns are after the jump...
YES - I recommend Bullhead highly if you haven't yet seen that Belgian Oscar nominee. The cinematography looks interesting or at least serious. Bonus points: James Gandolfini in his last (?) role... which will be tough emotionally after how great he was in Enough Said. A showdown between Matthias Schoenaerts and Tom Hardy might be a tough guy dream as both are stellar actors. And it turns out this is the movie that granted us all those amazingly cute photos of Hardy with a puppy!
NO - This seems like the kind of movie that might kill said puppy in which case I will hate it. Also tough guy crime movies often feel enormously derivative just because there's an endless supply of them.
MAYBE SO - Why is everyone doing weird voices? Will this be miserabilism for miserabilism's sake or actually potent drama? Finally: I've tried with Noomi Rapace but I don't get her. Sorry 'bout it.
THE GOOD LIE
YES -Um.... Give me a second... I'm searching... I wildly love Corey Stoll so I'm always happy when he gets work. Reese at her best is magical (not that I'm suspecting this is her best) Is that 'yes' enough?
NO - This story, about a white woman who saves Sudanese refugees and they probably save her in return (emotionally) seems like it could go very very wrong in literally every scene in every conceivable way: racially, politically, narratively. The mix of tones from the violent opening to the happy smiles and inspirational upbeat music and bfish-out-of-water jokes (no lions - you're safe) is... jarring.
MAYBE SO - America/Oscar loves tough talking women played by former romcom firecrackers (think Julia in Erin Brockovich and Sandra in The Blind Side) so who knows. You have to see movies that grab the zeitgeist even if you don't wanna.
YES - It affords us the very rare opportunity to see Robert Downey Jr out of superheroic armor and facing off with a powerhouse actor in Robert Duvall. That might be more than enough if both really bring it. It's so easy to forget that RDJ was once one of the most gifted actors of his generation, before the smug Tony Starkisms became so pervasive. Stories about sons and fathers have lots of potent emotional hooks. And glossy mainstream dramas can be pleasurable if everyone is on their game.
NO - The music in this trailer gives me hives. Please let it only be a temp score and let the movie be more subtle than this. Also: Doesn't this look like a 1990s movie? Like "Moving Courtroom Drama From 1997, Thought Lost, Finally Unearthed. Coming Soon To A Theater Near You." Stories about cocky successful men finally finding their hearts due to family crisis / career shock / new love can be super annoying, as if we're supposed to congratulate them for merely not being a dick.
MAYBE SO - I'm always curious if Vera Farmiga is involved but this looks like one of those roles that exists solely to help the alpha male find his way. (Sigh). It's not impossible to make movies that care about all their characters but it's not a strength of mainstream filmmaking.
Of the three of these I'm Maybe So (The Drop) and leaning No (The Judge & The Good Lie). How about you? Yes, No or Maybe So?