Cloverfield, Mamma Mia! Trailer and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
What: Slacker monster movie.
Why: "I had a good day!" So go the retroactively haunting last words of this weird monster/mumblecore mashup. It splices a cheesy post-9/11 Godzilla movie, including Ed Wood-level effects, with an even cheesier saga of vacuous N.Y.C. bros, dudes and the women who inexplicably love them. Now that the movie's post-Blair Witch hype (and ensuing disappointment) have died down, it plays like an elegy for both pre-9/11 life and pre-adult life, working backward from its mournful last words. It's emblematic of the split sensibility of J.J. Abrams: one part navel-gazing angst, one part histrionic action.
What: Preview of summer musical comedy.
Why: Imagine Katharine Hepburn with her legs up in the air, and you've got a sense of how times have changed for aging movie actresses. More power to Meryl Streep for going out on a limb with this silly, frilly ABBA summer musical, in the same year in which she'll be Oscar-contending for Doubt. Never shy of ambition, always a master of self-reinvention, she's now recast herself at 58 as loose, funny and audience-friendly in a perfect post-Prada bid for a global audience.
What: True story of paralyzed French writer.
Why: Here's another movie that plays better on a small screen. The main gimmick of Julian Schnabel's (over)praised melodrama--about a paralyzed magazine editor who communicates by blinking--puts the camera behind its hero's eyes so we see from his perspective. On a smaller scale, the film feels more intimate and immediate, its emotions less strenuously fought-for. If you liked it in the first place, it's even more affecting; if you always thought it was basically a highbrow TV movie, it's found its true home.