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Our featured trailer this week is The Muppets, a revival of the beloved Jim Henson creation, but the story isn’t so much the film this teaser showcases, but the brilliance of the clip itself. This is one you don’t want to miss. Alexander Payne, director of the Oscar-nominated Sideways returns with George Clooney in the lead role with the dramedy The Descendants. Finally, since it’s a slow week, two more clips follow for movies that barely deserve mention but ultimately will make (pardon my French) a crap-ton of cash with Zookeeper and Mr. Popper’s Penguins. It may be a zoo out there, but here it’s all Trailer Tracker.
New clips this week:
Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Combining the words marionette and puppet, The Muppets launched in 1954 thanks to Jim Hensen and The Muppet Show, unveiling what would become beloved characters the likes of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and Gonzo to name a very few. Since that time, the lovable bunch of slapstick-purveying creations have gotten the feature-length treatment 10 times (though some were not theatrically released) including children’s classics Muppet Treasure Island and Muppets Take Manhattan. After a lengthy big-screen hiaturs, the simply-titled The Muppets will make a November appearance and looking at the cast and wonderfully creative teaser trailer, there are more reasons to be excited than there are Muppets themselves.
Taking on the role of
human leads are Jason Segel and Amy Adams (chosen in no small part due to their
singing abilities, I’d wager) who in the trailer, begin to play out a standard
order, corny rom-com until Kermit makes an unexpected appearance, thereby slapping
a previously disillusioned audience in the face. This time around it’s up to
the Muppets and gang to stop an evil oil developer (played by Chris Cooper)
from destroying the theatre this group of oddballs call their own by raising
$10 million. A straightforward story, but it’s the characters that give these
movies life. I loved The Muppets as a kid and the style of humour and the
property in general has not grown tired (if anything this is a revival that
needing doing) and is one of the few films this year that already has me
feeling like a kid again.
Self-aware pretension, low-key quirk and dark humour are but a few of the hallmarks of writer/director Alexander Payne, whose efforts include Oscar-nominated property About Schmidt and Sideways. George Clooney teams up with Payne in the dramedy The Descendants about a workaholic father who is forced to bond with his two very different daughters after their mother is injured. Clooney does pensive and charming better than anybody and with a strong screenplay behind him, we have seen what performances can arise (Michael Clayton and Up in the Air are two undeniable examples). Mainstream success is likely not in this movie’s cards unless awards buzz befalls it, and though looking like a thoroughly low-key effort, the quality of the individual pieces that make up The Descendants are hard to ignore.
“Paul Blart: Zoo Cop”? “I
Now Pronounce You Chuck & Gorilla”? Whatever dreadful blend of past works
from the talented Kevin James we could combine, sadly this looks like just
another throwaway in the cannon, a young kid-aimed mess with a slapdash blend
of slapstick and potty humour and brutally fake-looking talking animals that will inevitably result in big bucks for all those involved. The likes of
Rosario Dawson, Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Nick Nolte, John Favreau and
(brace yourself) Judd Apatow lend their services to this feature and sell their
souls in the process. My one hope is that through inflicting such pain on himself, James will gain the clout needed to
seek out better material. Let’s hope that time comes soon.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins
From the pages of a
beloved 1938 children’s book to a big screen near you, Mr Popper’s Penguins plops a proven talent in the form of Jim
Carrey next to dancing CGI penguins and bizarre circumstance. I pray a charming
script (that is not showcased in the trailer by any means) was the reason
Carrey signed on and not unneeded financial compensation because after my
thoughts on Kevin James, the last thing we need is a relapse from a famous
comedian that can demand better. If you have young kids, I’m sure you could do
much worse, but unless this breaks out of the sad-looking cage in which this
effort has locked itself, there won’t be much for anyone else but thoughts to Liar, Liar and a lighter wallet.