RIGHTEOUS KILL (Overture Films). September.
Tagline: Pacino. De Niro.
Translation:… And this time they actually have a bunch of scenes together, we swear.
The Verdict: Do you remember how disappointed you were when you watched Heat and Pacino and De Niro shared only one five-minute conversation? So does the Overture Films marketing team, because they positively pack the trailer for this New York cop drama with shots of its stars—walking together, talking together, investigating, firing guns, you name it. Such is Righteous Kill’s devotion to pairing these shouty legends that by the end, we’re surprised we don’t get a glimpse of them at the breakfast table, intensely reading the Times.
IRON MAN (Paramount). May 2.
Tagline: Heroes aren’t born … they’re built.
Translation: Here is our $12. Yes, please.
The Verdict: When we heard that Robert Downey Jr. was playing Tony Stark, millionaire arms developer turned ironclad superhero, we were afraid that Downey’s ever-present smirk might undercut the grandeur of Iron Man. We were wrong; it underlines it, lending some much-needed humanity to a hero who can seem too rich, too entitled, and too encased in metal to relate to. More important, some shit blows up really, really awesomely. Extra credit for the use of “Iron Man” the song, which seems cheesy in concept but works: Sabbath sounds pretty damn good when cranked up to THX levels.
GET SMART (Warner Bros.). June 20.
Tagline: A KAOS agent slips and falls; Steve Carell intones, “I set that up.”
Translation: Steve Carell is the Leslie Nielsen of our generation.
The Verdict: Twenty years ago, a grateful nation laughed as a deadpan doofus stumbled his way through a sharp-witted parody of the police procedural. In 2008, Frank Drebin has been replaced by Maxwell Smart, the cop drama by the espionage techno-thriller, and Priscilla Presley by Anne Hathaway. The absolute idiot confidence of Steve Carell as he stares down danger, though, is timeless. If Get Smart is half as funny as The Naked Gun, it will be twice as funny as we have any right to expect.
Wall-E (Disney Pixar). June 27.
Tagline: From the humans who brought you The Incredibles, Cars, and Finding Nemo.
Translation: Pixar Pixar Pixar Pixar Pixar Pixar!
The Verdict: Wall-E appears to be the last robot on Earth, turned sentient after being abandoned 700 years ago by its human masters. That this unlikeliest of concepts—Short Circuit meets I Am Legend—still seems, from this trailer, utterly charming, inventive, hilarious, and touching suggests that after Ratatouille, the magic-makers at Pixar feel secure in their ability to turn even the least commercial story into an all-ages masterpiece. Look for their next blockbuster, The Black Plague—with a cameo by Remy the Rat—in theaters summer 2009.