a better class of movie, a better class of trailer…

Last week, the lovely , and I all finally bestirred ourselves to go see Zhang Yimou’s epic Hero.

What can I say about the film itself that hasn’t already been said? Visually stunning, sumptiously beautiful, grippingly kinetic, a triumph of the director’s craft, a rare example of Jet Li’s affectlessness being turned to useful narrative effect, a creepy implicit endorsement of hostile modern Chinese imperialist policy in re Tibet, Nepal, Xin Xiang and Taiwan… it’s all of that and more, wrapped up in some of the most gorgeous cinematography ever, and if you haven’t seen it yet… you should.

But of course: apres cinema, le blurbs. Well, actually first were the now-standard 15 minutes of commercials, about which I remember blessedly little save for a stunningly ill-considered spot for Coca-Cola C2, set to Queen’s “I Want To Break Free,” which technically speaking dug up Freddie Mercury’s corpse and repeatedly violated it. But once we’d rinsed out our eyesockets, we were treated to a series of quick teasers for…

After The Sunset — Otherwise known as “Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek file the serial numbers off of ‘Out of Sight’ and hope that no one notices.” But you know what? That’s kinda okay, because Salma is easily twice the actress that Jennifer Lopez is, even slumming, and Pierce Brosnan was George Clooney before George Clooney was. And hey look, they even stole Don Cheadle, which is also good because, duh, more Don Cheadle. Any movie that keeps Don Cheadle in the national consciousness by definition increases the odds of another Easy Rawlins movie getting made and is therefore good. Only cause for concern: directed by Brett “Dude, can you believe they let me remake Manhunter?” Rattner. In fact, it’s “A BRETT RATTNER MOVIE,” suggesting that somewhere, someone somehow thinks that this is a selling point.

The Aviator — Okay, could someone please figure out a way to break whatever occult hold that Leonardo DiCaprio has on otherwise sensible A-list directors? I’m willing to concede that “Gangs of New York” was an honest and well-intentioned misfire (and that as awful as Leo was in it, Cameron Diaz was worse), but there’s no excuse for making the same mistake twice. (Especially since Martin Scorcese is, as far as I know, straight.) But hey, it’s set in the 20s and 30s, so I might go see it just for the costumes.

Silver City — Four years ago, on the occasion of the coronation of George Bush the Second, my friend Satoshi opined that if there were any upside to the whole debacle, it was that punk bands were always better during conservative administrations. And lo and behold: a mostly-not-embarrassing explosion of garage punk bands, and a non-suckass album from Bad Religion. (Where’s our Dead Kennedys reunion though?) Is this relevant? Well, it’s been kind of a while since John Sayles made a movie that I felt compelled to see for any reason other than political solidarity, but this one looks like a corker. Blame Bush? Happily. Bonus: Kris Krisofferson being eeeeevil. No one does eeeevil like Kris.

Alexander — Colin Farrell’s bid for Russell Crowe-style sword-and-toga commercial domination. Well, he’s certainly got the pecs for it, but it takes more than looking good shirtless to survive starring in a late-period Oliver Stone flick: just ask Woody Harrellson. The trailer breathlessly informed us that Alexander of Macedonia was (in order) a: Warrior, King, Lover (cue dewy shots of Angelina Jolie and Rosario Dawson), Seeker, Conqueror, and Savior, but somehow seemed to lose track of the whole Raging Poofter angle, which diminishes my interest in the film significantly.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow — Ten thousand special effects technicans. One omnipresent bluescreen. A first-time director and screenwriter. No discernable script. Multiple obvious telltale Kiss of Death indicators, chief among them the presence of Angelina Jolie and the enthusiasm of Harry Knowles. Will I see it? Duh, it stars Angelina Jolie and Jude Law. I may have to wear headphones in the theatre, but I’ll be there, don’t worry. I am not proud.

Hm. Low general snark level this time. I’ll try harder in the future, I promise.

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