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Ahhh, can you smell that? Smells like gold polish, Chanel and sweat -- must be the first whiff of Oscar time here on Player Affinity. We begin off the docket this week with trailers two heavily-tipped contenders: The Coen Brothers' western remake True Grit and the People’s Choice winner at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth. Wild Target finds Emily Blunt and Bill Nighy playing a thief and hitman respectively in the action comedy remake of a French film, and then we take an early peak into the holidays with the live-action adaptation of The Nutcracker. Finally, for a lack of new clips this week we shall take a peak back into the wizarding world with the second trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Grab your quaffles and broomsticks, it’s Trailer Tracker.
Remakes are always approached with trepidation by audience’s theses days, that is unless of course said film is being directed by the Coen brothers and stars Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin. Newcomer Hailee Steinfeld takes her place in the title role as Mattie Ross, a young woman who enlists the help of a U.S. Marshall (Bridges) to track down her father’s killer. The Coen’s are no strangers to remakes having already attacked the dark comedy The Ladykillers with Tom Hanks in 2004 (one of their most underrated works in my opinion). The original True Grit from 1969 is a minor classic starring John Wayne and a younger Robert Duvall and the late Dennis Hopper. The trailer is not the most explanatory, in fact it is quite minimalist, so I will reserve outright glee of any kind until more is revealed, but the talent involved bodes well for this gritty tale of the old west.
The King’s Speech
Can Colin Firth pull off a two-year streak of Best Actor nods at the Oscars? Ask most people and they will tell you not only is he surely a lock, Firth is a favorite to take home the coveted statue. Met with nothing less than glowing reviews at TIFF this year, The King’s Speech took home the coveted People’s Choice Award also tipping co-star Geoffrey Rush and director Tom Hooper for major recognition in the process. This period drama follows a young King George VI (i.e. the father of Queen Elizabeth II for those not caught up on the monarchy) and his bizarre speech coach (Rush) who helps him to overcome a stutter as he is to take the throne. Guy Pearce, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter and Timothy Spall round out the outstanding cast and if the early buzz is at all true, this is crowd-pleasing in quintessence, it will only be a matter of if audiences embrace the artsy-sounding premise.
Were Wild Target to star anyone other than Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt, I assure you this trailer would not make the cut this week. If you think you may have heard the plot of a hitman falling in love on (say it with me) one last job with his intended target before, well, you have … a lot. If the generic plot is not enough to turn you away consider this is a remake of a French film of the same name, why you would have to remake material as clichéd as this is beyond me. But I digress. Rupert Everett and Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint also star so the talent is easily present and if the “Underworld” movies have proved anything it is that Bill Nighy can devour scenery like a termite on acid when given the freedom. Poor early reviews from its UK release do not bode well for this eccentric farce, but like all movies I have nothing but an open mind. I’ll have a copy of A Fish Called Wanda on hand just in case though.
The Nutcracker 3-D
When Tchaikovsky created his epic two-act ballet The Nutcracker in 1892, I cannot help but assume his vision had little to do with flying robots and humanoid rats, but hey, I didn’t know the man. In line with the original script or not, The Nutcracker 3-D will boast all the above and more in the live-action 3-D extravaganza. The basic story at least seems to remain intact with a young prince being frozen in the form of a Nutcracker in the 1920’s. Fast forward to when a young girl is given a mysterious gift by her uncle and the classic adventure to overthrow The Rat King and restore the Prince to power begins. Elle Fanning stars as young Mary, Nathan Lane takes the role of Uncle Albert and John Turturro is the evil rodent overlord. Beware, however if talking dolls, explosions and creepy two-way mirrors are not your thing, as The Nutcracker appears not to be for small children. But if the magic of the play is still intact, that is what will make all the difference come Christmas.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Trailer 2)
Certain to be one of the year's biggest films, the first segment of the two-part conclusion of the “Harry Potter” series is beginning to ramp up its marketing. As is usually the case, the second trailer is bigger, better, louder, creepier and ummm, magic-i-er…For such a complex book with dozens of plot threads left hanging from The Half Blood Prince this is a smart choice, even though it is all about the money in the long-run. This clip reveals Bill Nighy as Minister of Magic, Rufus Scringemore, the attack on Bill and Fleur’s wedding, and hints at the casualty-filled aerial battle which takes place early on in the novel. Have I lost you yet? Fans will eat this one up without doubt, but for them, November is still too far away.