This week catch seven of the week's new releases in 60 seconds for your instant viewing pleasure. (Video mashup by Max Blecker)
As the great hope for the future of teen-movie franchises, it is only fitting that The Hunger Games should acknowledge its target audience by quadrupling its own running time in YouTube trailers. Start watching one and the others kick in, until half a day has passed and there is nothing more to learn about the movie that prays it will be the new Star Wars and Harry Potter rolled into one. But for all the future-world chic, the comedy stylings of Woody Harrelson's hair and Wes Bentley's beard, the lashings of adolescent angst and romance, and the bloodless action, the entire enterprise stands or wilts on the shoulders of its central character. Fortunately for Lionsgate, in Jennifer Lawrence they seem to have found a Daniel Radcliffe rather than a Dakota Blue Richards. Yep, you've forgotten already, haven't you? IMDB her.
Abel Ferrara need never make another movie to be remembered always as cinema's devout flagellant, a director motivated solely by his own stripe of Catholic self-loathing. From Driller Killer (opens on Ferrara himself in a Catholic church) via Ms. 45 (a nun with a gun) to the second-best film called Bad Lieutenant (Catholic drug-addled, publicly masturbating copper), Ferrara is all but medieval in the torments he brings down on his lapsed creations. With his latest, he has achieved a personal apotheosis. Having decreed that we are all lapsed, he has accordingly doomed us in 4:44 Last Day on Earth. Willem Dafoe is the artist who knows we were all dead already, Shanyn Leigh and Natasha Lyonne among the women considering their lack of options. Between intimate, beautifully shot scenes of Dafoe & Co. attempting to express what it feels like to know the exact moment of the world's end, Ferrara intersperses apocalyptical found footage of a child playing with a cobra, huge crowds at the Vatican, and so on, in what may be the movie equivalent of the third secret of Fatima.
Speaking of Catholics, there is a decidedly untransparent message running through the trailer for October Baby. Apparently the story of a girl on a road trip to find her birth mother, the usual clips of sunset vistas and heartfelt moments with friends and family are interspersed with a litany of instructions: Choose to Heal, Choose to Love, until finally, Choose Life. Turns out the central character is an abortion survivor. If you remain in the dark as to why anyone would make a feature film out of this story, observe that this is another Provident Films production. Hard to see it opening bigger than Hunger Games.
With a modern remix of "Hernando's Hideaway" as background music, the trailer for Musical Chairs follows a motley group of New Yorkers, some in wheelchairs, some in drag, as they become entranced by ballroom dancing. "From the director of Desperately Seeking Susan," we are told (that would be Susan Seidelman). This was presumably made in the hope of drawing the Dancing with the Stars crowd.
To some, Michael C. Hall is Dexter; to others, a heroic survivor of Hodgkins lymphoma; and to yet others, he will always be remembered for his brilliant, mercurial, heartfelt performance as the gay brother in Six Feet Under. In The Trouble with Bliss, he's one of those home-dwelling schlub thirtysomethings (see last week's Jeff, Who Lives at Home), and because he is such a brilliant actor, he is very good at it. The plot has something to do with him falling for his old school friend's 18-year-old daughter while being pursued by man-eating Lucy Lui and berated by his father, Peter Fonda. It's a Paul Giamatti role, but Hall, as always, is utterly convincing.
Seen Buried? Ryan Reynolds buried alive for 90 minutes? The makers of Brake did, and this trailer is a rather good two-minute short film that tells the whole story of their remix of the same idea. Locked in the boot of a car, Stephen Dorff is evidently some special agent with information about the secret bunker where the president goes in the event of an attack. The Middle East-accented terrorists want to know where it is, they even know its name (Roulette), and unless Dorff tells them, he will continue to be tortured and his nearest and dearest killed. Lot of details for a trailer, right? So, why watch the whole thing? That's the clever bit. Dorff has the perfect face to make this hooey look far more serious than it sounds, and the setup is to leave us guessing if the terrorists are actually Middle Eastern (doubtful); if the location of the bunker is actually called Roulette; if, as YouTuber jaras56 has already surmised, it's all just advanced Secret Service training; and if Dorff gets out alive (likely).
Twenty special-ops cops make their way into a ghastly tower block, presumably to clear out some bad guys. But the big bad-guy crime lord has total surveillance of the building and sends his goons out to stop them. That's it. The cops are the good guys, by the way, because one of them kisses his pregnant wife goodbye before he leaves. Indonesian action flick The Raid: Redemption is probably the greatest action film ever made, at least according to this trailer.