At one time movie studios created theatrical trailers and television ads hoping to entice audiences into seeing their films.
However, the art of creating trailers has deteriorated even more than that of moviemaking. So what we get nowadays are ads that are misleading, or worse, give the whole movie away.Two new films are prime examples of the latter. While one succeeds despite overly revealing TV spots, the other may be spoiled completely for audiences:
- GIVEN HOW BAD all the other remakes of Disney's classics have been (i.e., 1996's "That Darn Cat"), there was no reason to believe a revised version of "The Parent Trap" would be any better.
Perhaps it's because the others were so awful that this smart, gentle comedy comes as such a surprise. In fact, it is marred only by a too-long running time (at 124 minutes, it may test the patience of some young viewers).
Another revelation is young Lindsay Lohan, who stars as twins Hallie Parker and Annie James, preteens who have grown up separately and without knowledge of each other's existence. That's remedied when the two attend the same summer camp.
There, the girls squabble and then become inseparable as they scheme to get their estranged parents, English fashion designer Elizabeth James (Natasha Richardson) and American vineyard owner Nick Parker (Dennis Quaid), back together.
But they face stiff opposition from money-hungry Meredith Blake (Elaine Hendrix), who is planning to marry Nick for his millions, as well as send Hallie away to boarding school.
Lohan, a newcomer, does an unbelievable job of pulling both roles (and an English accent) off. But the writing (by "Father of the Bride" team Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer) and the rest of the cast is equally good.
Quaid and Richardson are appealing and have believable chemistry together. And Hendrix is a real hoot, as are scene-stealers Lisa Ann Walter and Simon Kunz, playing James and Elizabeth's hired help.
Also, there are some nice ties to the original, including some of the music and Joanna Barnes, who reprises her role as Vicki Robinson, seen here as Meredith's mother.
"The Parent Trap" is rated PG for violence (a swordfighting competition), a couple of profanities and one vulgar gag.
- ONE THING "THE NEGOTIATOR" could have used is a way to explain the conspiracy plot that fuels the film.
This uneven, but at-times exciting thriller, based on some real-life events, suffers from ridiculously convoluted plotting and bad scripting. That's a real pity because it has such a talented cast, including actors Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey.
Jackson stars as Danny Roman, a hostage negotiator for the Chicago Police Department, who is forced to become a hostage taker when he is framed for the murder of his partner, as well as embezzlement of police funds.
Desperate to discover who framed him before he is captured or killed, Danny convinces his former colleagues to bring in a mediator, Chris Sabian (Spacey), who serves as the hostage negotiator for another precinct. Chris is initially leery about Danny claims at first but eventually becomes convinced that Danny is telling the truth and tries to defuse this potential powderkeg.
Meanwhile, Danny has to fight off attempts on his life by SWAT team members and tries to get crucial information out internal affairs investigator Niebaum (late character actor J.T. Walsh) before time runs out.
Unfortunately, the plot takes so many twists and turns that it may lose some viewers, and the most compelling of them is already revealed in the TV spots.
To their credit, though, Jackson and Spacey both try to transcend the material - the former bringing some much-needed intensity and energy. And director F. Gary Gray ("Set it Off") makes some otherwise preposterous situations very tense.
"The Negotiator" is rated R for violent gunplay and fistfighting, profanity, gore and some vulgar references and jokes.