Darling Companion (April 20)
Dan Silver: I want to mock Darling Companion. I want to point out that it’s a film about a lost dog named Freeway (because he was found on the side of a freeway). I want to make snide comments about how the trailer feels like a Cialis commercial and should only air during breaks in Bass Masters or The Ellen Show. I want to say all these things … but I just can’t, because Darling Companion is the latest film from Lawrence Kasdan, the writer of iconic scripts like Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark and writer/director of classics like Body Heat, The Big Chill, Silverado, and The Accidental Tourist. I feel the same hype surrounding a new Terrence Malick film should be equally placed on a new Kasdan film. So, yeah: It’s safe to assume that this film is going to be more than a bunch of near geriatrics trudging through the woods looking for a lost dog. It’s also important to point out that Kasdan had assembled a killer cast — he even was able to convince his male muse Kevin Kline to step back into a leading role. Really looking forward to this one.
Rembert Browne: To quote Daniel Silver, “I want to mock Darling Companion.” That’s where my quoting of Daniel Silver ends. For me, the most telling line of the film is when Kevin Kline frustratedly says, “We haven’t lost a person, we’ve lost a dog,” and his flower-child wife Diane Keaton responds with, “Love is love, it doesn’t matter if it’s a dog.” For 90 percent of the population, they hear this and go, “You tell them, sister girl.” For myself and the other 10 percent, we hear that and go, “Diane, if you don’t shut up with that nonsense and get in the car so we can go home — we have bills to pay. There’s no time to be running through the forest looking for a domesticated wolf. Plenty of dogs find their way home. Wasn’t Lassie home by supper? Also, this is what you get for naming the thing ‘Freeway,’ that’s so stupid. I would have rather taken in Freeway. At least he would have left a trail of demo tapes.”
I’m sorry. I’m heartless. Don’t listen to anything I have to say. There’s a Vick jersey within eyeshot in my room. I’m sorry.
Jeff Who Lives at Home (March 16)
Silver: You can call the following a #humblebrag all you want. I don’t care. But Jeff Who Lives at Home was number 13 on my top 20 films of 2011, as I had the pleasure of seeing the film at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, and have been talking it up ever since. This Jay and Mark Duplass film is an earnest and sincere fable about family, connection, and morality that left me both teary and joyful. The brotherly relationship between Jason Segal and Ed Helms is utterly believable. They show great love for each other, and prove that they’re much more than “comedy guys,” delivering performances both grounded and filled with pathos. With leads like Segal and Helms, it would have been easy to position the film as a straight-up ha-ha fest, but the film lives somewhere between comedy and drama. So I applaud the marketers of Jeff Who Lives at Home for trying to create a trailer that properly represents the film.
As a side note: Last year Helms was in a similar, equally good film called Cedar Rapids. It tanked at the box office. My sincere hope for Jeff Who Lives at Home is that it does not suffer the same fate. We need genuine alternatives to weekend-dominating beasts like Transformers and Twilight. So I plead to whoever is reading this … go see Jeff Who Lives at Home. You won’t be disappointed.
Browne: In my opinion, the best works of film are the ones where your insides simply can’t figure out how to react. The experience is such an emotional roller coaster, it’s hard to figure out when to laugh, when to cry, when to be happy, when to be depressed. By the midway point of this trailer, it became clear that’s the kind of movie Jeff Who Lives at Home could be. I really hope it lives up to its trailer (which, according to Silver, it will), because if so that tearful game-time decision will be two hours long.
Resident Evil: Retribution (September 14)
Silver: Let me start by being yet another faceless online voice expressing disdain for the filmmakers who’ve clearly allowed Sony to use the first :30 of their 1:17 trailer as a de facto commercial to hock its products. It’s so blatant that it goes way past “gob-smack-ness” to just shameful.
But this should not be a surprise as it’s very much true to form when it comes to film’s by über-hack Paul W.S. Anderson — the “writer” of all five Resident Evil films, director of three of them, and auteur of notable schlock-fests like Mortal Combat, Solider, Death Race, and the most recent Three Musketeers. He’s also the guy who almost single-handedly killed the Alien franchise with Alien vs. Predator. Based on this trailer, I can only assume that Resident Evil: Retribution is a film made up of computer-rendered/enhanced shots, with all the live-action footage being in super-slow motion.
Honestly, who buys tickets to these movies?
Browne: In that list of things your BFF Paul W.S. Anderson has done, you forgot to mention the most important one of all, “husband of Milla Jovovich.” How did they meet? The original Resident Evil, obviously. Don’t be so mad at Paul, Brother Silver, he’s just trying to keep his marriage alive with this franchise. He knows it’s doomed the second they don’t get picked up for another movie. Why do you want them to break up, Silver? Why?
Seeking Justice (March 16)
Silver: “It’s a new Nicolas Cage movie.” Presently, that statement elicits thoughts of cheap wigs, modern-day grindhouse action, outlandish one-liner-laden trailers, and, sometimes, even witches. So it’s hard to feel anything but contempt when clicking play on a new trailer starring Mr. Wicker Man. Nevertheless, I can help but get excited for Seeking Justice. I don’t look at this film as a Nicolas Cage movie. To me, it’s a movie that just happens to have Cage in it. As “awesome despite Cage” Kick-Ass was shepherded with a distinct vision by Matthew Vaughn, Seeking Justice is helmed by the always-reliable Roger Donaldson, who for more than a decade has only gotten stronger as a director with films like Thirteen Days, The World’s Fastest Indian, and The Bank Job. So I say ignore your desire to view the film as a sequel to Bannock Dangerous and focus on the glorious pulpy-ness, the appearance of the always awesome Guy Pearce, and the possibility of a potential brutal beat-down of the wooden January Jones (her onscreen reckoning for her portrayal of Emma Frost).
Browne: When you tell Guy Pearce “get the hell out of my life” (as Nic Cage’s character does in this trailer), I guarantee he will do everything in his power to “stay the hell in your life.” This movie is Guy Pearce staying the hell in Nicolas Cage’s life, which means one important fact about this movie: Screen time is somewhat shared between Cage and Pearce. That means sometimes, Cage might not even be on screen. That’s so awesome. This film is definitely getting seen.