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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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August 03 2006

(SPOILER) Official trailer for 'Shadow Puppets' goes online. If you didn't already know, the movie stars James Marsters.

I'd love to say something postive right about now.
Well it um...started off good.

It didnt really reach the heights that trailers should, but the film looks better than I thought it would. Granted, I had extremely low expectations, but still. Thats a plus.
I can't get this to play....
It looks like they might have added some stuff to it, but I might be wrong.
You're not missing much, kathylovesspike. It looks like a pretty bad B movie. Parts of the trailer reminded me of "Ghost Lake". Ofcourse, "Ghost Lake" was funny, but that was mostly because of the bad acting, and since James Marsters is no bad actor, it looks like "Shadow Puppets" won't be nearly as enjoyable.
I think if I download it and try to play it will work.

And honestly...I saw the former trailer they offered and thought the movie looked pretty good. It's all in the eye of the beholder I guess, and if James gives his all to this as he has in anything else he's done I think it will be great.

Normally I am not into horror flicks, but that looks like the current rage right now. Lots of folks thought Saw was wonderful. Lots of folks though Grudge was terrible as well as Slither or Lady in the Water(???) I imagine it might just depend on what you like.

I haven't seen any of those though, so I don't feel comfortable critiquing them. All I do know is that I enjoy seeing JM I am looking forward to seeing this. I know my hubby is looking forward to drooling over the Blaalok chick.....heeee.
Thanks, Simon, for the Shadow Puppet trailer link. For me it is the best of two worlds, I love a good thriller and I adore James Marsters. It is like cake and ice cream but better. Like German Chocolate Cake with pasticcio ice cream. Mmmmmm and with what looks like everyone wearing ‘lite’ clothing it’s like having some whipped cream on top.
This trailer makes me fear that James will become an actor who is way too talented for the roles he can get.
Despite the lure of seeing him on the big sreen (and his ability to always shine in some lackluster projects), this movie would have to be much better than its yawn-inducing trailer to make me actually pay to see it.
The trailer is too long, I'd gone with a short trailer full of shocks and close ups on the actors.
I guess it looks like an OK Hollywood movie. Standard US horror movies are not really my cup of tea but...heck, it has JM in it!!
I think he would do fantastic in a UK-styled murder investigation type of show. Someting along the lines of Inspector Morse or Midsummer Murders. What do the rest of you think.

By the way, What about JM and Smalville this fall??
I'd like to see James Marsters in a much more solid movie role. I was watching "Kingdom of Heaven" the other day and kept wondering what he would have done with the Orlando Bloom part. I think he would have added so much to that character.
AncientMagicks...I am right there with you. I would also love to see him opposite Johnny Depp....anyone else think JM would ROCK as Captain Jack's long lost brother????? Man...I would sooooo be into that.

Anyway.....I am not really sure that trailers are a true indication of a movies worth , but I think the trailer(which I finally DID get to play) was fine. Just what I expected for a horror type film and honestly very simialar to all the ones out there currently for other horror films.

I just want to see James on any screen, big, small, DVD...doesn't matter. The man is incredibly talented and I miss seeing him. I wasn't sure how Cool Money would turn out and I ended up loving I am optimistic.
Ah man, that cover is ghastly. But it's nice to see James get top billing in something. Just wish it were something bigger and better. He deserves better than the work he's been getting since Angel ended. I hate seeing far less talented actors having far greater careers.
I think to have this coming out around Halloween (as James said it would be) is excellent timing. The trailer looked intriguing to me. I think Tony Todd is an excellent actor,as well. So my expectations of this (even though it is not usually my favorite genre) is pretty high. I expect to enjoy it immensely,and you know what they say "work begets more work". So maybe this will open up some doors to bigger and better roles. I would certainly agree that James deserves to have great roles because he makes anything he's in better. But I know he doesn't take any work offered and I trust his judgement. If he calls this a "thriller" and Blalock says its in the Hitchcock tradition...that's good enough for me!
I was watching "Kingdom of Heaven" the other day...

On purpose? Ba-duh-dum! Sorry, to say I disliked that movie is to miss an opportunity for hyperbole :) I am in agreement re: wanting to see James in somethign worthy of his gifts. Oh, well, off to watch his speechifying in the church from S7...
Kingdom of Heaven was......long, very long. I cannot begin to understand Hollywood. The Whedonverse actors can't get work in non-Whedon main stream films. In this case JM, an actor with a rawness and edge you don't often see, has had to struggle to get work. Yet we get "Freddie," and another N. Cage movie. Apologies to NC fans, you may disagree with me, but you have to at least admit that he's ubiquitous. OK, I give you Raising Arizona and the one where he ate cockroaches and thought he was a vampire. On the other hand, you should probably give me Peggy Sue Got Married and others where he played an ordinary guy. I just don't seem to be in touch with the mass consciousness, having disliked Tom Cruise before he started to jump on furniture and rave to Matt Lauer. I'm even getting tired of Tom Hanks, who I think is really extraordinarily talented. I will give a virtual ten dollar bill and lollypop to anyone who can explain.
Were there other actors in Shadow Puppets? I was too busy looking at James M. Maybe he's not doing bigger films because he refuses to play the game; i.e. doing a role in a blockbuster-type film so that people who run the studios know who he is. But I don't really worry about him. I think he's going to hit big in something - just a matter of time.

I think Nicolas Cage is a wonderful actor. Unfortunately, he's done some commercial things I didn't like much; Con-Air, to name one. I haven't seen his Scorsese film, Waking the Dead, but I can definitively say that Leaving Las Vegas proved the man is a tightrope walker. He has no fear about where he has to go to do justice to a role. And if you haven't caught The Weather Man, you're doing yourself an injustice. It was marketed in the trailers as some stupid, sappy, weirdo comedy and it's anything but that and I almost didn't see it. Michael Caine plays his father and it's just heartbreaking and excellent. In my estimation.

Tony Todd and James M. are superb actors and if they can make the SP material rise above mediocre then they've done their job. That trailer actually reminds me of another nifty thriller set in an insane asylum, Session 9, so I think the atmosphere looks pretty appropriately creepy.
I'm not a fan of horror movies, mainly because I hate being afraid. However, JM + big screen = I'm there. As mentioned, any chance to see James perform, I'll take. Plus, if the movie does well, it should translate into other, larger, better roles for him (e.g., after the commercial success of The Grudge the number of roles for SMG exploded).

Other roles for JM? I'd love to see him in Deadwood, which has half a season plus two TV movies left. We know he can play a baddie, and I'm sure he'd scruff up well. It'd be great to see him acting with such talented actors and crew. Plus, the show is filmed in LA, so no location restrictions.

Re Smallville, I did read several months ago a spoiler at TV Squad, that he would reprise his Brainiac role in Season 6 but haven't read anything else. I occassionally go to Steve DeKnight's myspace site to see if there's news. Last I checked there were a lot of shipper wars (really makes me appreciate our mods and everyone here) and the fact the SDK is writing the first episode. Given how the finale ended, I'd think that JM would have to be in the season premiere, at the very least.
I think it's hard to tell anything from most trailers these days. I usually end up not getting what I expect, so I don't put much stock in whether it's a sign of how good the movie is or not.

I know the debate previously was whether it's a thriller or a horror movie. It easily could have a twist which makes what appears to be horror, in fact be thriller - the monstor - is really just the imagination of someone - or all of them, based on why they're being experimented on in the first place. It's all on what's reality and what's imagination. And I emphasize, that's just me guessing, I have no clue what it is. I think somewhere James mentioned a twist to the plot. I think it's got to be hard to do a trailer for any movie with any kind of twist, so as to not give it away.
I wish I could say "this will be good" but I can't. And that's not because of acting -- it's because of writing and directing and something called "the plot." I'm glad he's working but this trailer is just ....I hope the movie is better than the trailer because the trailer is slow, unpaced, way too un-suspenseful, too much talking...

I love horror movies and I've seen plenty of them - this, I'd say is a cross between Silent Hill and Hostel.

By the way, shouldn't Orson Scott Card be wondering what would happen if he were to make a Shadow Puppets movie after making his Ender's Game movie?
Here's a link to the trailer on Youtube for anyone who has problems with the download on that site.
I don't see this being the next essential horror (sorry, thriller) movie. But, James is in it, so I'll watch!
I'm not usually into scary films but I'll certainly be checking this one out.
This looks really bad. It does not seem to have the humor that is even needed to turn a bad horror movie into a campy one, like Slither.

Hope all these actors find work that is equal to their skills.
It's great that T'Pol of Nine and Worf's little brother are getting work again... but what's James Marsters doing in this thing?!
I don't think the trailor looks that bad, in fact, I think it looks pretty interesting but then I love thrillers.
I also love NC and as talented as James Marsters is, I don't think it's fair to compare him to established actors such as SMG or NC.
Lets face it, SMG MADE The Grudge a hit. She has hoards of fans that will follow her anywhere. She's a star. She's Joss's Buffy.
James has a huge following from BTVS and likely all his fans will support him showing how popular he is too.
I think James is well on his way and with time, more lead roles and fan support he will get there.
SMG will be in yet another league of her own by then but hey, it isn't a competition. IMO
I definately want to see this movie because I love James and I really like Tony Todd as well. Knowing Tony was going to be in it gave me higher expectations because he usually takes fairly good roles. But I'm not terribly impressed by the trailer. I'm hoping the movie is a lot better than the trailer makes it look and I think it should be redone by someone who really knows how to sell a movie.
James is a struggling actor. That's not a slate on him - I think he brings a real intensity to a role. It's a slate on the business - at the end of the day, he's never going to get cast as a leading role in a proper motion picture unless luck really falls his way.

Being a talented actor in Hollywood is not a good way to make money - a lot of actors have second jobs and such. Wasn't Alan Tudyk about to give up acting and work in a hotel at one point a few years ago? I'm pretty sure he was.

You also need: luck, a great agent, and people to have faith in you. Joss and his casting crew during 1997-2004 were really, really good at finding talent, and commiting to that talent. The fact Joss got behind Nathan Fillion so much, and so publicly, is a testiment to how things should be in Hollywood. The same is also true with Joss and Sarah. It filled me with pride during Buffy's run to see Joss so vocally supportive his lead. You'd kinda expect him to be anyway, but at the same time you knew he also meant it.

Rant over.
It is disheartening to see James in lower-level roles after what he achieved as an actor on Buffy and Angel. I wouldn't call Smallville the lower-echelon of TV shows; it's definitely got a cult following and has enjoyed a lot of success but it isn't the same as being a lead character in an ensemble show. Nor can an actor make a living off the love his fans have for him. I want everyone associated with JW's shows to have fabulous careers. Unfortunately, it isn't an ideal world (why can't it be!).
this would be great if they happened to escape at the end on a plane...with some snakes....
Snakes... why does it always have to be snakes?
This has been an interesting read but I have realized I must be a bit more optimistic.

I am a big fan of James, and I've read enough biographical and critical reviews to know a bit about him. He had been doing his own theater since he was very young with constant rave reviews all along the way in nearly every role he's played.. He's gotten the reputation as "Jimmy 2 time" since when cast on television they always bring him back or at least ask him back. We know for fact that he's turned down offered lead parts because it is impossible for him to be gone from LA area long term..

This man is so talented, I can't see him out of work for long, if indeed this is even the case. Also, if the QUEEN MARY thing is any indication, he's got producers, casting directors and writers on his side, (not to mention fans and the press) which is much more than most actors have. As a huge fan, I want to see him all the time, and I have to believe it's coming if not already or soon than not too far in the future.
Just saw the trailer and I was expecting something really terrible from the comments posted, but I didn't see what a lot of you did, or maybe I just have different taste.

To me, it looked above average for this kind of film. The photography looks very good. The amber/shadow offset gives it a slightly warmer than average feeling for this kind of film. This decision creates an atmosphere that asks us to like these characters...that suggests that the film is going to be on characters side. Cool tones feel a little more emotionally remote and allows for the audience members to distance themselves and here in this trailer, the warm complimentary tones lights everybody beautifully, it compliments and enhances human skin tones. Every lighting desginer and director (or actor for that matter) knows that everbody looks radiant in amber light--so that choice can't be an accident and so suggests that the filmakers might be placing humanity or perhaps humaneness at the center of the film and that's a little different.

And I love the breathless scramble of real fear. That heady heavy breathing of andrenlin rush and stunned dead eyed look is true to life--which I like. The characters are shaking and close to hyperventilating and James' hand is trembling when he shoots the gun, the gunfire is unsteady.

The selection of these shots in a trailer makes a character statement about the film itself and the people who are in this sitch. The film is gonna unfold, it will let us in emotionally and we will be with ordinary folks we can like who will come face to face with something that calls for actions and decisions they have never had to make before.

The leading lady's emotions might look a little obtuse--but I will buy it long enough to see the whole and I think they should have used some close ups to let us in through their eyes, but that's about the extent of my criticism. I really like that they didn't go for the flash dash of super fast editing; using pulsing images to stimulate the senses vs. content. That can sometimes be a parlor trick to hide the acting in a film.

The whole of the thing suggests a slightly different vibe and if JM wasn't in it and I saw the trailer on TV--I'd go see it--just cuz it feels a little different. Warmer, more character friendly maybe and I would absolutley like to see more of that.

Course having them all in thier, um, interesting and maybe (cough) a little in the cheap seats...but hay is for horses.

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