Cop Out: Kevin Smith playing director-for-hire doesn’t make much sense at first glance; even moreso than other writer-directors, his voice is in his writing. In fact, I’d be interested to see Smith write his own cop comedy, like maybe a Clerks on the beat, rather than direct a script by some crummy TV writers. But Smith’s point-and-shoot anti-style could, maybe, theoretically bring a certain unpretentious looseness to the buddy-cop genre (and, to be fair, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Jersey Girl, and even Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back did pretty much use “regular” undistinguished but non-distracting camera set-ups; Dogma was the last time he made a movie that felt a little hamstrung by his visual limitations). Supposedly he directed Cop Out as a love-letter to 80s cop movies, which is consistent with the why-not team-up of Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. For actual cliche-subversion, though, I suspect we’ll have to wait for the Ferrell/McKay cop-buddy movie The Other Guys, coming this summer (and anyway, didn’t David Gordon Green already cover this ground sans cops with Pineapple Express?).
The Crazies: Another horror remake, although at least this one is taking on a less iconic Romero movie, rather than pretending to revitalize some 80s slasher cliches by dunking them in loving production design as any fear or spontaneity leaks away. Good lord did that Friday the 13th remake suck. Anyway, last time I saw Timothy Olyphant in a genre movie, it was the neat and overlooked A Perfect Getaway, so I’m kind of feeling this one, even though the last time Breck Eisner (spawn of Michael!) directed a movie, it was Sahara. So at least he has experience with horrors.
The Yellow Handkerchief: This is a road movie with William Hurt, Maria Bello, and Lady Twilight herself, Kristen Stewart. Those Twilight kids may be the first movie stars of a post-star movie world. I know there’s an article roughly twice a year talking about how—wha?!—audiences don’t go to see movies because of stars anymore, but of course it’s more accurate to say audiences don’t go to see movies solely because of stars anymore, and even when they did, that only worked for like, three guys and Julia Roberts. What makes the Twilight gang sort of interesting is that in the context of Twilight (which is to say, in Twilight movies, trailers, and promotional appearances, and maybe on Twitter?) they are superstars capable of whipping their audience into a frenzy of desire. Outside of Twilight, they’re capable of, drumroll, getting a movie that might’ve otherwise gone straight to DVD to play in a few theaters before going to DVD. I’m sure this is probably for the better; some arty movies get a theatrical run, and Twilight fans don’t have to live with the stigma of going to see anything that Taylor Lautner stars in (or so studios will discover circa mid-2011). But as an old person, this new audience’s lack of naivete makes me a little sad, if only because I will see a movie purely because it has Ewan McGregor or Amy Adams or whoever, and these kids might miss out on the perversity of that loyalty.