Herewith, our thoughts on the latest crop of previews:
The Return (a.k.a. How The Grudge Stole Texas, Nov. 10) Sarah Michelle Gellar shows no signs of leaving the safe confines of Horrorville anytime soon — not when she’s having such a good time getting the beejezus scared out of her by restless spirits. Ever wonder what The Ring would look like if shot on the set of The Last Picture Show? Me neither.
Saw III (Oct. 27) If Trent Reznor made a smoothie from the contents of his mind, it would be this trailer. How does that set it apart from previous Saws? Uh, well, this one has weird flash-cuts of teeth! And teeth, to be honest, are creepy. OK, so… fingernails we’ve done… teeth are next… get ready for Saw IV: Back Hair! Supports my theory that the Saws are really just grooming-and-hygiene instructional videos in disguise.
Let’s Go to Prison (Nov. 22) Don’t get me wrong: I’m ready to love anything starring the brilliant Will Arnett, Arrested Development‘s GOB. But the preview for this Shawshank burlesque is marred by a mid-trailer Brokeback Mountain parody that should get it shivved in the funny bone. Combining two tired homophobic jokes (prison rape! tender Brokeback man-love!) does not create a fresh new one. It just makes me wonder how long before Hollywood throws a bullet-time kung-fu fight into the mix and screams, "Look! The Gaytrix! The Brokeback, um, Gaytrix! Funny!" Hollywood, you are demoted to YouTube. YouTube, you are promoted to Hollywood. Now, as Homer said, "Be funny!"
Flags of Our Fathers (Oct.20) and Letters from Iwo Jima (2007) This trailer, pictured, clearly aimed at Asian markets, actually teases two very solemn films: Fathers tells the story of Iwo Jima from the U.S. perspective; Red Sun will depict the same story from the Japanese point of view. The films’ bleached-out colorization recalls Saving Private Ryan, as does a rousing speech by the very blond Neal McDonough about Japan being sacred ground, which sounds an awful lot like the actor’s work in both Band of Brothers and Minority Report (it’s from the "Listen up, men!" school of acting). Ryan Phillippe, Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins) and Jesse Bradford pop up, as do a bunch of Japanese actors that I don’t recognize. Like I said, it’s all very… solemn.