The clever trailer for Nicole Holofcener’s new movie "Enough Said" – about a middle-aged divorcée who begins dating a man she secretly discovers to be the disliked ex-husband ofher whiny new friend – turns an otherwise simple plot into a witty, wonderful observance ofthe natural awkwardness of relationships, romantic or otherwise.
What We Love: The trailer reveals the film’s fundamental hook without eliminating interest over the outcome; Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) meets her new friend Marianne (Catherine Keener) just seconds before she meets Albert (James Gandolfini - in one of his last roles), and the subsequent montage builds each relationship (a friendship between Eva and Marianne based on complaining about men, and an unlikely romance between Eva and Albert) in a neat trajectory full of cute, pithy moments.
This is nothing new. For over a decade now—this summer and its lineup being the most recent and obvious example—critics, professionals and amateurs alike have locked their hawk–eyed gazes on the biggest fad in Hollywood.
Both a "Pride and Prejudice" adaptation and parody of the fad surrounding the book’s legacy, "Austenland" is about a lovesick, Mr. Darcy-obsessed young woman (Keri Russell) who travels to a British theme park that simulates a fantasy of life in Regency England – complete with a love triangle with a handsome misanthrope and a rakish stable boy.
Almost three years ago, right before I first came to Penn, the "good luck" and "bon voyage" that I had been hearing all summer from friends and other well–wishers turned into “don’t party too hard!” and “remember, school comes first!” I quickly learned that Penn is wildly known as “the Social Ivy:” the Ivy most affiliated with partying.
I have never been a partier, but I was curious to see the fantastic and potentially debauched social establishments for which my school was apparently famous. So, in the beginning of freshman year, my friends and I did as the Romans do: we stood outside frat houses and waited to be invited in.
During the last party we went to that fall, a friend and I left disinterested after only fifteen minutes.
The trailer for Paul Schrader’s neon–lit, lusty and dusty desert melodrama “The Canyons” communicates passion and danger in 21st century Los Angeles and an ancestral history in Hollywood pulp.
What We Love: The dialogue–free trailer boasts granular, sepia–tinted cinematography and the score of a 1940s horror flick.
With the release of her pensive new album, “Red,” Taylor Swift shows off a more mature version of herself. The record's only anti–boy rant is the cutely cranky “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Everything else — such as the dubstep–esque “I Knew You Were Trouble,” and “The Last Time,” a surging duet with Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody — is adult. Both “22” and “Starlight” are about the timelessness of youth. The perky “Stay Stay Stay” mentions groceries and settling down. And “Everything Has Changed,” a raw duet with Ed Sheerhan, is a graduation into the indie coffeehouse jams of the thoughtful twentysomething. She’s still wholesome, lively, and genuine, but she’s older — and she’s seeing anything but red.
Last week saw the premiere of a trailer for perhaps the most culturally relevant film of the year—about an environmental battle for the soul of the small–town American Farm, directed by Gus Van Sant, and titled “Promised Land.” It’s about a kingpin natural gas salesman (Matt Damon) and his assistant (Frances McDormand) who arrive in a farm town to modernize it, only to be met by hesitant residents and an angry farmer determined to fight against his destructive efforts (John Krasinski).
What We Love: The film’s construction crew is tremendous and up to the task — not only is the human–interest-oriented Van Sant at the helm, but the screenplay is by Damon and Krasinski, with a story by Dave Eggers. The cast is great, also featuring Hal Holbrook, whose elderly, gravelly drawl is the best of the voiceovers. The scenery — panoramas of rolling pastures, horses trotting in wooden corrals and a Main Street with awning-ed buildings, miniature models of which would compliment any model train set — is gorgeous. And the plot is thoughtful, topical and passionate.
What We Don’t: Even though there hasn’t been a film that deals so directly with the American conflict between industry and homesteads, the trailer looks fairly cliché. Everyone’s an archetype: Damon is a good–hearted hero with a questionably moral vocation, and Krasinski is a funny, likable antagonist.
As many of the movies released nowadays are bastardizations of old TV shows or children’s books, there are few adaptations less irritating than the refreshingly well–constructed The Hunger Games. Based on the sensational novel about a post–apocalyptic America where children fight to the death in grandiose gladiatorial tournaments, this movie doesn’t try to set itself apart from the book.
Unlike many adaptations, The Hunger Games humbly translates author Suzanne Collins’s beloved characters and gritty tone to the big screen without re–interpreting aesthetics or re–imagining plot.
All I’ve seriously ever wanted from a bus ride is to lean back in my seat, close my eyes and concentrate on hoping no one can hear that I’m listening to the same Simon & Garfunkel song on repeat.
I’m not sure if it’s because no one is ever this lucky, or just that the Gods of Transportation hate my guts, but peaceful bus trips are few and far between.
It’s surprising that Salmon Fishing in the Yemen actually has to do with other things: it's about a depressed ichthyologist, a consultant and a spin–doctor who fund the title’s impossible ecological venture to shroud military disasters in the Middle East (based on a popular political satire of the same name). It’s also got romance, comedy, action, terrorism, transcendentalism and lots of aquatic symbolism — everything, really, except any trace of the scathing, political, “Wag the Fish” indictment it should really have.