October 15, 2004

Closer? Maybe

How do you choose what movies you see? I know that the movie studios think that stars often drive opening weekend attendance, but I can't think of one actor or actress that compels me to hit the multiplex if I'm not attracted by the story or the director.

Trailers used to hook me on occasion, but I hate movie trailers these days, especially for blockbuster releases. I don't want to see the funniest lines of a comedy or the scariest moments of a horror movie before I see the actual film. I want a tease, a suggestion of the rewards to come.

That's why I was so struck by a full one-minute advertisement I saw on the Independent Film Channel for Mike Nichols's forthcoming movie, Closer. You can see a longer version of it at IMDB.

Based on a the play, Closer looks to be one of those downer movies with impossibly beautiful people (Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, and Clive Owen) with the affluence and free time sufficient to batter each other emotionally while playing musical beds. But there are worse things than watching close-ups of gorgeous, charismatic actors, and the sensual camera work makes me want to run to the theater. But the movie doesn't open until early December.

So there's still plenty of time for me to change my mind. There have been plenty of movies I was planning on seeing until bad reviews or word of mouth changed my mind. For example, soon after I saw the trailer for Closer, I decided to see if there were any reviews of the movie on Ain't It Cool News. Of course, there were -- two full, thoughtful reviews by folks who attended previews. Both were appreciative but unenthusiastic. I'm wavering already.

No commercial or trailers can win in an argument against people you trust telling you to save your money. In this case, I don't know the reviewers on AICN from Adam. It must annoy the marketers at the major studios that despite their best efforts, word of mouth rules. But it does.