Hi, PopWatchers,

With this week’s big new releases (Babylon A.D., Disaster Movie) looking particularly bleak, we have to turn to previews to remind ourselves that there are better — or at least, other — things on the horizon. This week’s group includes a creepy doomsday thriller (Knowing), a tiny character-driven dramedy (Humboldt County), and a wannabe critics’ darling (The Brothers Bloom). Check out the clips, and let us know if any of them look good enough to chase away your end-of-summer blues!

October 24

Plot: A fraternal pair of con men (Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo) devise a globe-trotting plan to bilk millions from a kooky heiress (Rachel Weisz).

Looks like: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels à la Wes Anderson

Verdict: Despite all the explosions and postcard backdrops, there’s something weirdly small about this trailer. But if anybody can make a lot out of a little, it’s the trio of Weisz, Brody, and Ruffalo, who look like an indie version of the Ocean’s 11 crew (in cute hats, no less).


Plot: When a 50-year-old time capsule is opened, a guy with an eye for codes (Nicolas Cage) uncovers a cypher that has predicted every major tragedy for the past five decades.

Looks like: The Number 23: Times Two (Working Title: “46”)

Verdict: I’m always game for a good end-of-the-world fantasy, but the premise of this one seems thinner than an Olsen twin. Is Hollywood really resorting to grade school number puzzles now to get the apocalyptic ball rolling? And then there’s Cage who, at a taut and well-tufted 48, seems to be turning into a bobblehead doll of himself. He’s rescued noodle-brained blockbusters before (Face/Off, National Treasure), but we’ll have to wait and see if he’s still got what it takes to pull this one off.

September 26

Plot: After his own father fails him in med school, a shy-and-sensitive type (The Happening‘s Jeremy Strong) meets a free spirit (Fairuza Balk), who introduces him to her pot-growing family.

Looks like: The Graduate meets Weeds

Verdict: This trailer takes a pretty sharp swerve when it goes from shlub-com to teary-eyed (and dry-mouthed) family drama in a few quick shots. But if the movie can balance those two parts, it just might have a shot at indie-level success, especially with a great supporting cast that includes Peter Bogdanovich (The Sopranos) and Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under).

Does Humboldt County look buzz-worthy? Will The Brothers Bloom pull of the world’s greatest heist; and if so, does Nic Cage already know about it? What do you think, PopWatchers?