Hitch your trailer to an Oscar, Hollywood! The bumper crop of awards-bait film previews continues.
Babel (Oct. 27) is the kaleidoscope of the global oversoul that won Alejandro González Iñárritu Best Director at Cannes. This one reportedly has wider ambitions than his earlier experiments in pan-humanity and multipolar storytelling, 21 Grams and Amores Perros; this is confirmed by the border-hopping trailer, which makes Syriana look like Mayberry RFD: an American couple encountering tragedy abroad; armed innocents caught up in a war far beyond their ken; a Japanese teenager running from her father’s dark legacy; a spiraling misunderstanding at the U.S./Mexico border… and a common human language struggling to be heard beneath the violent polyglot. If you’ve experienced Iñárritu’s grim, sometimes manipulative take on magical realism, you’ll be ready to have your heart broken in several tongues.
Fast Food Nation (Oct. 20) Is this a new trailer? Or just the old teaser? Or is it really just the old trailer ("The Big One"), with one interesting alteration: "Illegal immigrants" has been changed to the more P.C. "undocumented workers," perhaps to avoid a surprise endorsement from the Minutemen. (They’re already taking on Big Food — an entanglement with the Giant Mexi-Fence lobby is the last thing the marketers need.) The preview’s chill but damning. One note: "There’s s— in the meat" makes a much better tagline than "Would you like lies with that?" which sits right on the pun-strewn border of Bazooka Joe-istan.
Sherrybaby (Aug. 25) Its excruciating "very important film" narration doesn’t quite get it out of the gritty indie bin and into my must-see cart. However, I would follow Maggie Gyllenhaal into the Gytes of Haal; her performance here as a parolee struggling to be a good mother looks very promising.
The Grudge 2 (Oct. 13), a.k.a. Joan of Darkadia. Amber Tamblyn plays Sarah Michelle Gellar’s sister, who runs to her bedside in a Japanese hospital (haunted, right, if memory serves?) after hearing of her "accident." And then? Well, things get hairy. People get hairy. And hair gets scary. But that little grey-skinned kid gets funnier and funnier, sorry to say. Oh yeah… Buffy? She dead. I mean, you thought she was in G1, but now you really get to see it.
As a bonus for sitting through that whole item, I now present the Best Thing I’ve Seen All Day.