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The dog days of summer are upon us; post summer, pre-Oscar. But fear not, because here at Player Affinity, Trailer Tracker will still manage to scrape up the brand new clips hitting the web like a hobo scrounging for morsels in a dumpster. First in the proverbial bindle is Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle’s latest film 127 Hours starring James Franco. Next is the debut trailer for the creepy sci-fi thriller Vanishing on 7th Street starring Hayden Christensen, followed by director Doug Liman’s spy thriller Fair Game. Rounding out the collection is the long-shelved supernatural horror flick Case 39 with Renee Zellweger and the teaser for the sequel to cult horror film Hatchet.
It’s always exciting to keep tabs on an Oscar-winning director’s follow-up film. For Slumdog Millionaire helmer Danny Boyle, that film is 127 Hours, based on the true story of Aron Ralston, who got his arm stuck under a boulder while out hiking the Moab in Utah and … well the title says the rest. The film stars James Franco as Ralston and co-stars Kate Mara (Transsiberian) and Lizzy Caplan (Starz’ Party Down, HBO’s Tru Blood) and the script was co-written by Boyle and “Slumdog” winner Simon Beaufoy.
The trailer’s only negative aspect is that it flaunts Boyle’s previous work. Certainly it’s all good, but you don’t have to wave it in our faces and take footage from those previous films. The good, however, is overwhelming, because you expect it to have a very foreboding tone. Instead, Franco and friends have a great time for a number of seconds before we’re left with him getting trapped. 127 Hours will premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival and also make an appearance at the London Film Festival in October before getting a limited release in the U.S. on November 5.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets 28 Days Later meets The Happening perhaps? Looks good to me. Director Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Transsiberian) collects a cast of survivors including Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo who awake to an empty city with light fading and a dangerous unseen force threatening their lives. Anderson is a master of suspense and deliberately creepy pacing which bodes well a genre film like this. Newton has stated she expects “Vanishing” to premier at the Toronto International Film Festival which should give us some early buzz as to the movies quality.
Fair Game looks to be the sort of low-key politically-charged thriller in the vein of Nothing but the Truth and The Interpreter (hopefully considerably more like the former) that can stand as a refreshingly intelligent island among a sea of big-budget schlock. Doug Liman christened the “Bourne” trilogy before Paul Greengrass took over for the final two, so he is no stranger to a spy plotline. Fair Game stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn as husband and wife, who find their life upended after Watts’ character, real-life CIA agent Valerie Plame, is exposed in an attempt to discredit her partner’s paper about weapons of mass destruction. These Middle Eastern themed movies tend to flop at the box office so we will have to see if Liman’s good will from The Bourne Identity and the film’s basis in a true story can carry the film to success.
Shot all the way back in 2006, Case 39 was scheduled to be released in August 2008, but it was pushed back to April 2009, and then finally to its current October 1 release date. Christian Alvart (Pandorum) directs the creepy tale of a social worker (Zellweger) who takes in an abused child only to start noticing strange things surrounding the young girl. Bradley Cooper also stars and having already seen the film I can assure any female readers he does indeed take his shirt off. Not to expose any of the plot, but the trailer is somewhat misleading (and spoiler-laden). If you are a fan of dumb low-budget horror you could do far worse than Case 39.
Talk about a pretentious trailer. For a film that only grossed $208,000 worldwide back in 2007, this teaser seems to recall some sort of genre-altering flick three years ago. Hatchet certainly has gained a following of B-movie loving fanatics so we will see if they are as enamoured with this sequel. Director Adam Green was the man behind this years’ Frozen about three friends trapped aboard a chairlift for the weekend. We shall see on October 1 if this is his breakout year.