09 April 2006

I caught Inside Man last night, which incidentally allowed me to catch up on the trailers for summer movies. (That's why I love going to the movies in April—it reminds you of the drought you've survived for the previous three months.) The trailer for United 93, for example, strikes me as the canniest trailer ever made: instead of focusing on the movie, it focuses on actual interviews with the families of the victims, all of whom apparently agree that the time for the film is right. Shrewdly done. It doesn't exactly seem like my idea of a good time at the movies, though—just watching the trailer made my popcorn turn cold—and it certainly cast a pall over the trailer for Keeping Up With the Steins.

Also very shrewd, in its own way, is the teaser trailer for Mission: Impossible III. It pulls the same sleight-of-hand as the trailer for Collateral, which is to conceal Tom Cruise for as long as possible while focusing on a key supporting player—in this case, Philip Seymour Hoffman—before producing Cruise halfway through the trailer, like the prize in the cereal box. It's a silly trick, but it works, and it does a nice job of side-swiping the Tom-haters in the audience. (Frankly, though, it's unclear what sort of trailer would have convinced me not to see Mission: Impossible III. I guess, in my weird way, I'm its target audience.)

But, I'm embarrassed to say, the trailer that got me the most excited was for The Sentinel. I'm not really sure what this movie is about—something involving Michael Douglas as a Secret Service agent implicated in a plot to assassinate the president. Well, great. But this movie has Kiefer Sutherland in it, and based on the trailer, he's basically doing a riff on Jack Bauer the entire time. The result: I'm going to buy a ticket. That's what movie stardom is all about. If you'd told me five years ago that I'd spend ten dollars just to watch the star of Flatliners and Freeway bark orders for two hours, I'd have told you that you were crazy. But here we are.

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