Best new trailers:
Serenity (Sept. 30) ”You wanna run this ship?” ”Yes!” ”Well… you can’t.” The second Serenity trailer may look like your standard sci-fi action fare, and it makes pretty clear the drift of the plot (galactic empire pursues rebel ship, left, transporting girl with mysterious powers), but it’s little Joss Whedon-isms like the exchange cited above, little twists on genre conventions that were a hallmark of Buffy and Angel, that promise to elevate Serenity above the norm and lend it some surprise.
Prime (Oct. 28) Hmm, IMDb says this movie was written and directed by Ben Younger (Boiler Room), but I could have sworn by this trailer that it’s a Nora Ephron comedy. The clip spoils the entire plot: Uptight Manhattan shrink (Meryl Streep) learns that her free-spirited patient (Uma Thurman) is dating her son (newcomer Bryan Greenberg); soon all three of them know, leading to squirmy Oedipal high jinks. Not one laugh, except maybe Streep’s unflattering wig.
Oliver Twist (Sept. 23) Finally, a clip for Roman Polanski’s Dickens adaptation that’s not in French. It hits upon the familiar story points (Oliver asks for seconds, gets turned out, falls in with the Artful Dodger and Fagin), but this may be the first of the many screen adaptations of this story that gets the squalor and filth right. The kid looks appropriately pathetic, but so does everyone else. This is not going to be a Jane Austen kind of piece that makes you wish you lived in 19th-century England. But it’ll be fun to visit.
The Legend of Zorro (Oct. 28) I have no idea what the McGuffin is that drives this sequel’s plot, but the clip showed me everything I needed to see: swordplay, stunts, some flirtation between Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and a couple tongue-in-cheek moments. Looks like the film will have everything it needs.