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Trailer can make or break a movie

There really is an art to making a good — or "effective" — movie trailer. After all, a trailer can often make or break a movie, especially in an industry that depends on opening-weekend business.

For example, there's little doubt that the early success of "Daredevil" was spurred by its exciting ads and TV spots. You have to wonder how another big superhero movie, "The Hulk" (due in June), will do, considering that its ad (which debuted during the Super Bowl) was even better.

As some of you may have guessed, this is leading me into a recurring feature, my semi-regular critiques of the latest movie trailers, wherein I sometimes watch and grade trailers — not just for their entertainment value but also to assess how well they sell the movie they're advertising.

So here's my take on ads for some of this spring's releases, and at least one of the early-summer blockbusters:

X2, a k a X-MEN 2 (second trailer)

This one is just so coooooool! Wolverine pop his claws and gets ready to whup butt. And then Colossus starts armoring up. And then Nightcrawler runs on all fours. And then Magneto gets loose. And then. . . . OK, I guess I'm gushing a bit here.

Rating: **** (Due in theaters May 2)

THE CORE

I'd be able to take this one a little more seriously if BYU grad Aaron Eckhart didn't say "nuke-ya-ler" in the trailer. Still, it looks like a cheesy Irwin Allen disaster film. That's praise, by the way.

Rating: *** (March 28)

ANGER MANAGEMENT (second trailer)

Well, I laughed at this one a couple of times, which is a couple more times than I laughed at the first ads for this Adam Sandler-Jack Nicholson comedy.

Rating: ** 1/2 (April 11)

IDENTITY (second trailer)

After watching this one, I'm still convinced I know what's going to happen. But at least there's a slight doubt now.

Rating: ** 1/2 (April 25)

HEAD OF STATE

Chris Rock really can be funny. But nothing he does here is even remotely amusing. The only laughs come from the bits with Bernie Mac.

Rating: ** (March 28)

PHONE BOOTH

About the only thing missing from this too-revealing trailer is the final credits.

Rating: ** (April 4)

WHAT A GIRL WANTS

I could swear I've already seen this movie. And I didn't really care for it when it was called "The Princess Diaries."

Rating: ** (April 4)

HOLES

Thanks to the trailer, I have no idea whether this is a feel-good "Meatballs"-type comedy or a "Tremors" rip-off. I'm slightly intrigued. But I'm more confused.

Rating: * 1/2 (April 18)

A MAN APART

Yawn! I'm sorry. I don't remember much about the spots for this generic-looking Vin Diesel vehicle, except that they nearly put me to sleep.

Rating: * 1/2 (April 4)

VIEW FROM THE TOP

I'm sure the strategy with this one is to show that Mike Myers is in the movie. But his bits are so painfully unfunny that it might actually decrease the chances of anyone going to see it.

Rating: * (March 21)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:"Oh, yeah, sure, there is a dumbing down, but I don't mind the dumbing down, so long as it makes enough money for the company to finance independent movies." — Actor Michael Caine, an Oscar nominee this year for his part in "The Quiet American," on the "dumbing-down" of cinema.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com