Snarky's Cinemachine: Five Things I Learned Watching Recent Movie Trailers
1. Katherine Heigl is contractually obligated to play the same character until the end of time.
In the recently released Killers, Heigl plays a single woman with a great career and no life partner. In Life as We Know It (scheduled for release later this year) Heigl plays–you guessed it–a single woman with a great career and no life partner. Only this time she snags Mr. Right by sharing parental duties with him after the child's parents die. Sounds like a heartwarming feminist fairy tale to me.
2. Even female action stars must submit to the Makeover trope.
The trailer for the hotly anticipated Salt finds Angelina Jolie rocking the mess out of a pencil skirt and taupe heels, only later to revamp her exterior with some snug black clothes and Miss Clairol's bluest black. While it certainly makes sense for a person to alter their looks when being chased by the CIA, I'm not sure why the trailer evoked films like Clueless, Pretty Woman and 13 Going on 30. More importantly, it's possible the audience can take for granted that Jolie has altered her appearance without being shown every detail of her transformation. The makeover trope is utilized for men, but often–even in action films–it's played for comedic effect. Harrison Ford might have grimaced his way through an application of Just for Men in 1996's The Fugitive, but it was clearly meant to be an amusing respite from all that heart pounding action. Yet Jolie's transformation feels like a rite of passage rather than a necessary element of survival.
3. Viola Davis is every white woman's magical best friend.
The spectacular privilege notwithstanding, the trailer for Eat. Pray. Love. affords Viola Davis another opportunity to reprise her "sassy black friend" role last seen midwifing another white woman (Diane Lane) through emotional rebirth in Nights in Rodanthe. In addition, the Eat. Pray. Love. trailer also works as an educational film, as the audience is show images of Julia Roberts' character faithfully engaged in every verb in the movie's title.
4. Michael Caine is the new Michael Caine.
Since 2005, Sir Michael Caine has completed ten films and has a big release, Christopher Nolan's Inception, out in July. Ten films is quite a feat for many actors, but this is Michael Caine we're talking about. Ten films is about half of his prolific output in the 80s, when he starred in a staggering 20+ films–12 of which were actually watchable.
5. 3D technology will not make films any more satisfying.
Toy Story 3D will probably be wonderful with or without the gimmick of 3D. How to Train Your Dragon, Clash of the Titans and Shrek Forever After were films whose viewing pleasure was not enhanced (for me) by the addition of 3D. As for upcoming releases The Last Airbender, Cats & Dogs: the Revenge of Kitty Galore and Step Up 3D, their 3D marketing has the same effect on me as tacking, "...On Ice" to the end of their titles. At least in the 80s we got to keep the glasses!
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