' ' Cinema Romantico: Trailer Enquiry

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Trailer Enquiry

Warner Bros. announced last week that it was pushing “Dune 2” from a fall 2023 release, at least partly because its stars cannot promote given the ongoing Hollywood labor strike, undoubtedly because while the studios are all in on ChatGPT they have yet to manufacture an assembly line of S1m0nes to walk the red carpet. The much-anticipated epic will now be released in spring 2024. That seems to suggest the powers-that-be assume the strike will be over by then though I fear they underestimate, still, how the WGA and SAG-AFTRA rightly see this labor strike in existential terms, perhaps because the studio bigwigs’ HUD is designed to filter the whole world, human beings included, through the bottom line. What big release will be pushed next, who knows, though it seems to me the industry’s ostensible stewards would be content to put every big release on ice before they give anyone else even the tiniest piece of the pie. As such, while we wait for the movie season to be called on account of greed and stupidity, let’s continue to hone our trailer reviewing skills. 

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3. Though for me, Nia Vardalos will never be better than the comically overenthusiastic way she pronounced “penne arrabbiata” in her one episode of the forgotten, unforgettable turn of the century ABC sitcom “It’s Like, You Know,” yielding a classic Chris Eigeman withering look in return, I have nothing but love for her going back to the “Greek Wedding” well as many times as she damn well pleases. I hope she makes a fourth one even if, like the second, I don’t see it (which I won’t). Speaking of which. Watch trailer here.

Expend4bles. So, let’s see, if you were keeping track, and honestly, I wasn’t, Stallone and Statham and Dolph and Randy Couture are back while Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Antonio Banderas and Jet Li and Terry Crews and Rhonda Rousey and Wesley Snipes are not. That could have been because something happened to those characters, no idea, didn’t watch it. As for this one, casting Megan Fox as the token female is apropos and admittedly even clever, in an if The Expendables designed a virtual woman a la “Weird Science” it would probably look like Megan Fox sort of way. Mostly, I’m just happy to see Andy Garcia, even though my people are still trying to get ahold of his people to star in my own action comedy The Indispensables, for whom we also are happy to have Mr. Snipes if Expend4bles is not. In closing, we can only hope that Expendable5 includes a Hologram George Peppard. Watch trailer here.

Retribution. I apologize for missing this Liam Neeson entry in our annual Middling Thrillers Only movie preview, but I swear - I swear - I saw no information about it back then and am strongly suspicious this was entirely filmed, edited, and released in eight months, evoked in Neeson’s character’s name: Matt Turner. Our Matt Turner is a father ferrying his two kids to school when he gets a call that a bomb is inside his car and will explode if he stops and gets out. It sounds a lot like “Speed,” I know, but for those very few following along at home, it also sounds a lot like Pedal, which I have mentioned before, my quarter-century old screenplay about a bomb strapped to a tricycle that I’m still shopping around. I mean, remember the scene in “Hollywood Homicide” where Harrison Ford is riding around on a kid’s bike? Imagine that, except it’s grizzled Liam Neeson riding around on a trike for 90 minutes. Take the plunge, Netflix; I’d sell Pedal for one pan con bistec at El Mago de las Fritas just to see it. Watch trailer here.

The Retirement Plan. For the annual Maui Invitational early-season college basketball tournament (please consider donations for Maui residents affected by the recent wildfires) the coaches typically opt out of their usual sideline attire for Hawaiian print shirts. It’s a festive and fun touch, if also a funny one, because hey, these are college basketball coaches, volcanic Napoleons all of them, meaning that when their occasionally imperfect players personally slight them by making the wrong pass, or the clearly partisan referees malign them before the eyes of God by making wrong calls (that were probably right), and they blow a gasket and burst a vein, they are doing so in Hawaiian shirts, epitomizing the very antithesis of aloha. And that is how Nicolas Cage comes across in this trailer. Though he appears to be playing a father with a secret, action-packed past brought out of retirement to protect his daughter, I am choosing to read the fury in Cage’s turn as an innate commentary on the difficulty of coordinating the heart and mind within one’s self when present-day America has turned the notion of retirement into something like a pipe dream. In fact, I am reluctant to see the movie so as not to spoil my possibly incorrect reading. Watch trailer here.

Vacation Friends 2. Wait, what? Is this like “Leonard Part 6?” Is this a movie billing itself as a sequel when, in reality, no movie preceded it? Because, reader, I tell you, I swear to you, right here, right now, so help me movie gods, I had and still have no idea about there ever being a first “Vacation Friends.” Watch trailer here.

Bottoms. I confess, I judged this one by its title, imagining something cut from the “American Pie” series, “American Pie Presents: Bottoms” (how low can we go?). But that was partially because I had somehow failed to realize that “Bottoms” was directed by Emma Seligman, who directed 2020’s “Shiva Baby,” which I loved, and starred Rachel Sennott, “Shiva Baby” herself, and Ayo Edebiri, a potential silver screen Vanderquigs, the dreamiest of duos. More than, though, this trailer is infused with some unexpectedly surrealist touches, like the football players wearing their uniforms through the whole movie, apparently, never mind the always welcome presence of Charli XCX on the soundtrack. And while I must wait to, like, you know, see “Bottoms” to render any judgements, I can’t help but wonder if it got the un-prized late August release because the dopes in charge of distribution were too confused by what they saw and gave the order to dump it. Watch trailer here.

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