Call it old age or what have you, sometimes I forget things.
Looking over last week's column, it occurs to me that I may have discussed a couple of new trailers and ads, but I didn't say whether I liked them.
So for the record, the ones for "Fred Claus" and "Enchanted" are improvements on the first round of spots; the revised "Beowulf" trailer (which has a video game look to it) has me a little worried.
And yes, you are correct if you guessed I'm leading into an occasional feature of this column in which I review movie trailers and ads, grading them, in particular, on how well they "sell" the film.So here's my appraisal of a dozen ads and trailers for some upcoming holiday movies, listed from best to worst and alphabetically, of course:
• GRACE IS GONE (tentatively scheduled for release in December). Even the trailer for the acclaimed Iraq war bereavement drama starring John Cusack gets me a little misty-eyed. ****
• NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (Nov. 21 locally). Menace practically drips from the spots for the new Coen brothers thriller, based on Cormac McCarthy's novel. ****
• SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET (Dec. 21). I'm a little concerned because the ads don't really reveal it's a musical, but the look of Tim Burton's latest collaboration with Johnny Depp is wonderfully twisted. *** 1/2
• THE GOLDEN COMPASS (Dec. 7). The digital special effects for this fantasy adventure look spectacular, but the trailer doesn't show too much. ***
• I AM LEGEND (Dec. 14). Will Smith. All alone. Against an army of the undead. The film certainly looks like it has strong potential. ***
• WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY (Dec. 14). I admit that I've grown tired of the musical biography genre, which may explain why the ads for this spoof starring John C. Reilly crack me up. ***
• ALIENS VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM (Dec. 25). Hopefully the film really is nothing more than extraterrestrial critters fighting other extraterrestrial critters, as the trailer implies. ** 1/2
• THE MIST (Nov. 21). As long as they stick to the more mysterious aspects of the Stephen King tale, rather than relying on CGI effects (what is shown in the trailer is unconvincing), they'll be fine. ** 1/2
• THE WATER HORSE: LEGEND OF THE DEEP (Dec. 25). As tempted as I am to write off this family fantasy/adventure as "Free Nessie," the cast (which includes Emily Watson) could save it. ** 1/2
• HITMAN (Nov. 21). The video game-inspired thriller appears to be the same movie as "Shoot 'Em Up," only without a sense of humor. **
• NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS (Dec. 21). And speaking of eerie similarities, this sequel to the Nicolas Cage hit looks a little familiar and derivative.**
• ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS (Dec. 14). It's a sure sign of desperation when the studio shows a doo-doo joke in the trailer. Ugh! *