Trailer Blogger

Milk: Sean Penn Wants Another Oscar

Posted in Drama by Adam on November 25, 2008
Click to watch the Milk trailer at Zuguide.com

Click to watch the Milk trailer at Zuguide.com

Harvey Milk was an influential gay rights leader and the first openly gay elected government official in the US. Though his work for the gay community stands on its own merit, Milk’s murder at the hands of a fellow San Francisco Supervisor makes his story as tragic as it is noteworthy. Fresh on the heels of the passing of California’s Proposition 8, a controversial ballot measure that restricts the definition of marriage in the state to the union of a man and a woman, director Gus Van Sant has cast Sean Penn to portray Milk in a promising biopic that will likely place Penn among the early front runners for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Penn, who has a history of selecting strong, charismatic roles, is no stranger to Oscar nominations, having earned the honor for his work in Dead Man Walking, Sweet and Lowdown, I am Sam, and Mystic River (for which he won the award). The seriousness of Milk’s subject matter should shield Penn from the criticism he faced after I am Sam (a melodramatic Forrest Gump 2, without all the lofty accomplishments and catch phrases) was released, but you have to think that Penn knew that the film would garner the Academy’s consideration when he took the role. I wish him luck, as long as he keeps the Beatles references to a minimum.

Highlights of the Milk trailer include: 1) Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild, Speed Racer) telling Penn that he doesn’t “do losing” when Penn suggests they start a revolution in San Francisco. 2) All the men in Penn’s office showing their surprise when he introduces a woman (Alison Pill) as his campaign manager. 3) Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men, W., American Gangster) condescendingly asking Penn if two men can reproduce and Penn responding, “No, but God knows we keep trying.”  And, 4) Penn giving an emphatic speech in front of a large crowd right after receiving a death threat. My favorite part of the Milk trailer is watching James Franco attempt to morph Saul Silver (Pineapple Express) into a gay man living in the 1970s. Milk opens December 5, 2008. Check out the Milk trailer at Zuguide.com.

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W., or Lame Duck: The Movie

Posted in Biography, Comedy, Drama by Adam on October 24, 2008
Click to watch the W. trailer at Zuguide.com

Click to watch the W. trailer at Zuguide.com

In the trailer for W., director Oliver Stone’s third film inspired by a US president (the others being Nixon and JFK) and first inspired by Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, the story of George W. Bush’s rise to power and the missteps that led to him becoming the least popular president in modern American history are portrayed with all the subtlety you’d expect from the man behind Natural Born Killers. There’s hard drinking, fights with dad, and more than a few hints indicating a severe inferiority complex. Since the film is a satire, imagining Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men, American Gangster), a non-comedian, playing Bush might initially seem like a stretch, but watching him deliver his first line in the trailer (“In history, we’ll all be dead.”) immediately validates the casting decision. If nothing else, the film seems to have a solid set of well-known actors, including Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush, James Cromwell as Big George Bush, Ellen Burstyn as Barbara Bush, Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney, and Toby Jones as Karl Rove. The biggest surprise is seeing how much they made Thandie Newton look like Condoleezza Rice.

Highlights of the W. trailer include: 1) Brolin dancing on a bar with a classy young lady.  2) Brolin running into some trash cans while drunk driving. 3) Brolin chuckling when Dreyfuss describes the use of torture techniques, or “fear scenarios.” And, 4) Brolin sitting on the john talking to Banks about the difficulty of getting out of his father’s shadow. My favorite part of the trailer is when Brolin recreates the moment when W. got a brush burn on the side of his face after choking on a pretzel and passing out.  W. opened October 17, 2008. Check out the W. trailer at Zuguide.com.

Burn After Reading: Sweaty Secrets

Posted in Comedy, Crime, Dark Comedy by Adam on August 21, 2008
Click to watch the Burn After Reading trailer at Zuguide.com

Click to watch the Burn After Reading trailer at Zuguide.com

Even though there might be a few random chuckles to be had in No Country for Old Men, no one would go so far as to call it a comedy. But, for the most part, that’s what the Coen brothers are known for: dark, quirky laugh-out-loud funny movies. Putting aside a few forays into the world of mostly serious, nostalgic crime thrillers (Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, The Man Who Wasn’t There) and a couple of forgettable missteps (The Ladykillers, Intolerable Cruelty), the Coen brothers have made a name for themselves with a string of unusual and beloved films that get their laughs more from situations and characters than from point blank jokes (Raising Arizona, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?).

Hoping to add to that list, the Coen brothers have written and directed Burn After Reading. The story revolves around a CD containing John Malkovich’s CIA memoirs. After Brad Pitt finds the disc in a locker room, he and fellow gym employee Frances McDormand set out to use their newfound leverage to lighten Malkovich’s wallet. The trailer begins with Pitt explaining what he’s found to a few skeptical coworkers. He then sets up a meeting with Malkovich over the phone, and it’s obvious that in the early going both Pitt and McDormand are treating their caper more like a game than an actual crime. When Pitt finally comes face-to-face with Malkovich, he gets a dose of reality and realizes that his plan might not go as smoothly as he once thought. From then on, it’s an all-out battle between the bitter, condescending Malkovich and the flighty, misguided Pitt. Also, somewhere along the way, McDormand gets romantically involved with George Clooney. While it’s not abundantly clear from the trailer what part he plays in the story, apparently Clooney is also sleeping with Tilda Swinton, Malkovich’s ex-wife.

My favorite part of the trailer comes when Pitt meets with Malkovich for the first time. Sitting in Malkovich’s car, Pitt tries to explain that he is merely a “good Samaritan.” But, Malkovich instantly sees through his load of crap and punches Pitt square in the nose to make it perfectly clear that the gym rat is messing with the wrong dude. Burn After Reading opens September 12, 2008. Check out the Burn After Reading trailer at Zuguide.com.