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Welcome back to a relatively low-key edition of Trailer Tracker here at Player Affinity where we act as your private investigator, slinking through the shadows of the Internet searching for the newest trailers. First on a quadruple shot of indie trailers is the directorial debut from Phillip Seymore Hoffman, Jack Goes Boating, followed by British director Stephen Fears' latest, Tamara Drewe, starring rising star Gemma Arterton. Rounding off the docket is the sex-and-relationship Sundance release The Freebie and finally the trailer for wrestler John Cena’s big “acting” debut, Legendary.
Jack Goes Boating
Quirky independent comedies have witnessed a boom since the success of films such as Little Miss Sunshine and now, Academy Award winning character actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman takes his shot at the genre. "Jack" marks Hoffman’s directorial debut and he also stars as the titular character, a reticent limo driver who finds himself attracted to a blind date played by Amy Ryan. This film will surely not be for everyone and frankly this kind of low key, eccentric character study seems to only go two ways: tender and honest or idiosyncratically distant. But one must have faith in the strength of the two central actors, Hoffman and Ryan (the latter of which received an Oscar nomination for Gone Baby Gone) even if this first look seems decidedly inert.
Unlike Jack Goes Boating, when first stumbling across the clip for Stephen Fears’ (The Queen, High Fidelity) Tamara Drewe, I was delighted by this off-kilter drama that seems to offer more than a hint of sultry eroticism. The sensuous Drewe is portrayed by Brit Gemma Arterton who is coming off three mega-blockbusters: Quantum of Solace, Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Here she will get a chance to show off her acting chops a bit more thoroughly as well as cement her growing status as an international sex symbol. Tamara Drewe finds Arterton’s character returning to her hometown in the English countryside to sell her childhood home and causes quite a stir amongst its residents. Yet again, not a film everyone will seek out, but my interest is certainly piqued.
Having debuted at Sundance to varying success, The Freebie is an aptly titled independent dramedy about a couple played by Dax Shepard and Katie Aselton (who also directs) that decides to have a “night off,” so to speak -- guilt and consequence free. Marc Duplass (one half of “The Duplass Brothers" directing team, some of the foremost pioneers of the "mumblecore" movement in film) also serves as producer coming off his low-budget hit Cyrus with John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill, so "Freebie" has a slew of indie talent at its core. Like most high-concept comedies, The Freebie will have to face the challenge of overcoming its gimmick and find something new to say about sex, love and relationships. Look for this R-rated film some time later this year in limited release.
Legen … wait for it … formerly titled “Brother’s Keeper,” Legendary stars former wrestler John Cena, Patricia Clarkson and Danny Glover making this ensemble quite the unique assembly of actors. Cena’s Mike agrees to teach his brother Cal (Devon Graye) wrestling in an attempt to reunite their broken family following their father's abandonment years earlier. Cena has some kind of a goofy charm to him (call it "Dwayne Johnson lite") but I am not entirely convinced of an earlier trailer's claim that we will witness “terrific acting by Cena.” I’ll believe it when I see it … dary.