Time for a Bale-out

...and I don't mean the kind Bale's already had. That'd be more like a meltdown (and "fucking distracting"). I'm also not talking about a stimulus package or Congressional assistance out of bankruptcy, though perhaps the timing would be good for either of those. No, I'm simply referring to the fact that, in the span of a week, two trailers have debuted that feature Christian Bale rather prominently. And they come packaged with some new posters, too. He's here to save our flailing economy, he is. Color me excited, I relish any opportunity to see new work by him (my favorite actor, after all).

The first to appear online is the fourth installment in the Terminator saga, titled "Terminator: Salvation" with McG ("Charlie's Angels") at the helm (instead of creator James Cameron) and with Bale in the now-adult shoes of the John Connor character which was first played by Edward Furlong in "T2: Judgment Day" and then by Nick Stahl in "T3: Rise of the Machines." Yahoo! Movies has the trailer, which was a huge hit at WonderCon, and this one lays out a bit more than the first trailer did - with some more glimpses into the resistance with shots of Common looking fierce with a rifle as John's right-hand man Barnes, Anton Yelchin as the youthful Kyle Reese (John Connor's father) who was the main character in the first "Terminator," and Bryce Dallas Howard as Kate Connor which was vacated by Claire Danes after her stint in the third movie. It also accentuates the dilemma John Connor faces with Sam Worthington's Marcus Wright, who they discover possesses robotic parts and could be a terminator in Skynet's efforts to produce human-like droids which ultimately produced the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger throughout the original trilogy as well as Robert Patrick in "T2" and Kristanna Loken in "T3." McG kept hinting at the likelihood of Ah-nuld and Linda Hamilton (John Connor's mother, Sarah) making cameo appearances, and I'm holding out hope that it's true. The movie looks intense and very reverent of the mythology created by James Cameron, but if they can get some of the original faces in there (even in voice-form) then that'd be even better. It debuts May 21.

Anne Thompson thinks this one has far better chances at winning audiences than "Watchmen," which is similar to "T4: Salvation" in the way that both are contemporary translations of established lore and imagery, which has been seeing some rather nasty reviews come pouring in, with some rather ecstatic ones sprinkled in as well. (Here's Anthony Lane's acidic yet entertaining pan and Roger Ebert's high praise.) Thus: "As much as my instincts tell me that Watchmen will be a cult hit but a box office disappointment for Warner Bros, this Terminator Salvation trailer tells me that this action sequel is just what the doctor ordered."

Number two is Michael Mann's "Public Enemies" which stars both Johnny Depp and Bale with a rather impressive supporting cast which consists of Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose" and the upcoming "Nine"), Billy Crudup, Giovanni Ribisi, and Channing Tatum. Crudup has been pulling in some great early word with more than a few mentioning Oscar. We'll see how that pans out.

The premise of the film is the real-life story of gangster John Dillinger (Depp) in an episode of his life where, due to his multi-state crime spree during the 1930s which would've made Bonnie and Clyde go into retirement sooner, the US government had no other option but to create the FBI - whose top agent, Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) - was the one assigned to finally track down Dillinger and bring him to justice. Sounds rather basic for a gangster flick (by now), but there are some peculiar twists involved, the state of Indiana providing one of them (to some humor as delivered by Depp, no less) and Marion Cotillard another. Like "Bonnie & Clyde," this seems to have some sardonic humor sewn in (also channels its imagery and cinematography if the poster and trailer are any indication). I fully expect some more flourishes and knots in the narrative, as this is a Michael Mann film after all. The man's built his career studying bad people getting into worse situations at the hands of the law, and career killers and manipulators coming up against hard times because of a lack of restraint (usually at the foot of a beautiful woman or the prospect of a load of money). (Notable Mann flicks - err, man-flicks - are "Heat," "The Insider," "Ali," and "Collateral.") His characters are modern-day Greek figures at the mercy of the inevitable self-inflicted catharsis - only this time it's based on real cops and robbers. You can find the trailer at Apple Trailers (Quicktime) or at JoBlo (flash). Expect it in the late summer, my guesses.

As much a fan as I am of Christian Bale's, I'm not as thoroughly excited about either of these as I have been with his past works, notably his collaborations with Chris Nolan but especially "The Prestige," as well as "The Machinist," and "3:10 to Yuma." While "Public Enemies" does have potential to be a roiling, devilish crime drama with some great dialogue and opportunities galore for Bale to do what he does best - shout and brood (reaffirmed by his meltdown) - it's the action that's the centerpiece here. Hard to fit that in with some "American Psycho"-style monologues and outbursts, which is a shame since that performance was easily the best of 1999 for me and I think he's far overdue for another character of that level in playfulness, bravado and subversion.

Which one are you more excited to see?

IMAGE from: Buzz Focus
IMAGE from: Cinematical

1 comment:

  1. Public Enemies. I'm not too familiar with the Terminator series (I only know the surface of the story). Public Enemies seems like an enjoyable film. When do these movies come out? You forgot to mention them.