Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Review of the Previews: The Films You Don't Pay To See

Recently I attended the screening of several previews at the Dendy Cinema on Collins Street. The screening of previews, as you know, is usually incidental to the event that you pay to see, the film. Further, the previews are also incidental to the event that they preview. So, you might say our enjoyment of these incidental events is in every way coincidental. In most cases, accidental.
But, such is the way of things, previews are often superior, both to the film they precede, and to the film they preview. And while it is not my intention, dear reader, to suggest that you attend a film merely for the previews, nonetheless, it is true that one can derive a great deal of aesthetic enjoyment from them.
It is therefore in this spirit that I will now set out to review several of these previews for you. A preview review, if you will.



The first preview was not, strictly, a preview for a film, but for the upcoming Melbourne International Film Festival. It featured a pair of glasses sitting on top of a weedy guy in the back of a car, being badgered by two Hollywood film executives (the weedy guy, not the glasses). The preview concluded with a vaguely xenophobic caption: "Melbourne International Film Festival: It's a Long Way From Hollywood."

2 stars: 1/2 star for the weedy guy, 1 and 1/2 stars for his glasses.


PREVIEW 2The second preview featured, in quick succession, an Irish father talking to his son, a guy in a bunny suit jumping up and down, and an Irish boy dressed in drag, all as the background to some piece of pop music or other. It was not clear who was meant to be the star of the film, the man in the bunny suit or the boy in drag; or what they had to do with each other in the first place. Nevertheless, I feel that this preview could have some success alongside other arthouse movie previews and ads for obscure European beverages drunk in expensive Carlton cafes by pale-skinned anaemic Green voters.

1 star


PREVIEW 3The third preview introduced itself with sweeping string soundtrack that sounds suspiciously similar to the sort of sweeping string soundtrack that was playing for the last epic romance film I saw. It featured a camera shot of a young blonde woman sweeping back her hair to this sweeping string music, and helpful explanatory captions: (ie - "A Woman" ... "A Nation" ...) There was a black guy in it at as well.
From what I can gather, the preview (and possibly the film) was basically your normal girl meets guy story, set in the African wilderness.
This preview had everything, except of course a guy in a bunny suit jumping up and down: romance; the African wilderness: the meeting of two souls: wild, passionate, (and not to mention hard-core) rooting ... I was caught up and swept away and ravished and felt like having a cigarette afterwards. There's no way the film could be as good as that.

5 stars


PREVIEW 4Following this, the final preview was rather disappointing. There were a couple of Nazis, played by no-one in particular, and there was also Julia Jentsch. You get the general idea from the preview that Julia Jentsch (or her character) gets tortured in the film, which isn't good at all. Frankly, this preview left me cold, which probably means the film is going to be excellent. Hardly fair, considering I'm probably never going to see it in my life.

No stars!



On the whole, I am disappointing with the style of previews at The Dendy. Certainly, they have multiculturalism, the African Wilderness, sweeping string music, hard-core rooting, and a guy in a bunny suit jumping up and down, but they fail to come up to the standards of multiplex previews - where the films previewed are uniformly awful, and the previews themselves are almost as bad.

1 star


kathrynoh said...

Come on Tim, you were just disappointed cos you thought since you were at an arthouse cinema, you'd see TITS!

TimT said...

Isn't that the point of arthouse cinemas?

Or SBS, for that matter? (I'm sure when they put the idea to the Whitlam Government, the word tits would have featured prominently ...)

Email: timhtrain - at -

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