Trailer Mash

As 'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance' meets 'This Means War,' the question is asked: What happened to Reese Witherspoon?

Robot Script Syllogism Number 4022: "There's good and bad in all of us. It doesn't matter how far you run. There are some demons you just can't escape." And so say all of us, but perhaps without the conviction of Nicolas Cage as he ponders the financial decisions that resulted in him having to portray for the third time a superhero whose head is a burning lump of coal. As the movie The Artist has shown, not told, obviously, there is an audience for silence. And if ever a movie could be improved by removing its dialogue, it would seem to be Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, the trailer for which exults in the lead character pissing a thirty-foot streak of flame.


Once upon a time, Reese Witherspoon was an actress of supernatural brilliance. If recent experiences leave you in doubt, then rent the awe-inspiring Freeway, a gleefully perverted update of Red Riding Hood, and check out the moment in the police station when you can see Dan Hedaya all but stumble out of character as he basks in her performance. If Freeway is too weird, try Alexander Payne's Election, arguably the darkest high-school movie of all, in which there is nothing Reese's villainous Tracy Flick will not do, including destroy teacher Matthew Broderick, to become school president. And now what's Reese doing? She's playing the Cameron Diaz role. In a McG bromance. The new Captain Kirk and Bane from the latest Batman movie are two CIA agents in love with the same woman, though less so than they are with each other. Special-ops-enhanced prankstering ensues. This Means War, alright. On McG.

English author Mary Norton discovered that whenever buttons or other small objects disappeared from her home, it turned out they had been borrowed by 6-inch-high people who lived under the floorboards. Her forensic study of the habits of these "Borrowers" resulted in a series of works published between 1952 and 1981. A few TV adaptations followed, and now the story of teenage Arrietty Clock and her parents Pod and Homily have been given the Studio Ghibli treatment in The Secret World of Arrietty. From the trailer you get the usual lush Ghibli camera movements, brimming eye contact, wind in the hair, and the sense of a fully formed, parallel, hand-drawn reality in which Howl's Moving Castle hovers around the beach where Ponyo came ashore in a bucket. People will be watching Ghibli movies centuries from now.

In the absence of an actual English-language trailer for the Bosnian comedy drama Cirkus Colombia, we get a clip showing a woman and man at dinner with his son in a sparse kitchen. Over soup they discuss a cat and a reunion. Attractively shot, well acted and evidently deeply nuanced, this will no doubt deliver a volt of excitement to fans of the book it's based on. For the rest of us, not quite so much.

After Wallander and Stig Larson, one may travel only a little further north to find homicidal entertainments before heading south again. Fortunately, the trailer for On the Ice suggests an opening salvo in the Alaskan murder-mystery genre. Beginning as if it were a documentary-like study of how people who live in subzero temperatures are not unlike those of us inhabiting more clement climes, it then shows they are exactly like us. Someone disappears, someone lies, and cops have to look for clues in the unlikeliest of places. There's a snowmobile sequence, too, but that's not going to work as a substitute for a car chase.

Publish date: February 17, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT