November Trailer Park

Across The Universe


We start this month with a multi-themed and multi-layered movie that requires more than a single sentence to summarise it.

Across The Universe is an original musical ‘fantasy’ film directed by Julie Taymor and based on The Beatles songbook (34 compositions from the individual members of The Beatles group), and tells a love story of a Liverpudlian dock worker named Jude who travels to America in the turbulent 1960’s to find his estranged father, and falls in love with Lucy, a privileged young girl who gets caught up in the anti-Vietnam War movement. Other themes that also emerge relate to the struggle for freedom of speech, civil rights, mind exploration and rock n’ roll.

Across the Universe

The trailer begins with Jude (Jim Sturgess) arriving in America and getting acquainted with Max (Joe Anderson), Lucy’s brother. Max drops out of college and they become roommates in a ‘bohemian enclave’ in New York, where they enjoy the rock n’ roll nightlife. Jude meets Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood) and they are instantly infatuated with each other, but things don’t stay rosy for long as Max gets drafted and sent to Vietnam.

Lucy joins the anti-war demonstrations and is angry at Jude for being apolitical, and seemingly caught up in his art, and she leaves him. He goes looking for her and finds her at a demonstration where they are both arrested by police, and he is deported. We also see alot of strange and colourful visuals, relating in part to the ‘mind exploration’ that was prevalent in the ’60’s, including an Uncle Sam poster coming to life, mermaids, strange circus acts and five (count them, five) Salma Hayek nurses.

The story of love and war may be a traditional one, but it is told in an original and visually interesting way, and here the music seems to be integral to the drama that unfolds.

I Am Legend


Next up is an SF-horror film directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Will Smith and based on the novel by Richard Matheson, which tells the story of Robert Neville, the last survivor of a (vampire-esque) pandemic apocalypse and trying to stay alive in Los Angeles in its aftermath. The story has been adapted for the big screen previously, The Last Man on Earth (1964) starring Vincent Price, and The Omega Man (1971) starring Charlton Heston.

I am Legend

This new version of the tale has our protagonist - a former scientist - surviving a man-made virus which wipes out New York City, and perhaps decimates the rest of the world. Living alone for three years, he’s watched by the marauding infected victims whilst desperately trying to create a cure, but time is running out.

The trailer begins with New York City being closed off and Robert Neville recounting what took place: the military trying to control the exodus of people leaving the virus-infected city, and the Brooklyn Bridge destroyed to try to ensure the quarantine.
We see Neville three years on, walking the desolate streets of the city with only a pet dog for company. When the sun sets the city becomes out of bounds, as the infected victims of the virus come out to hunt, and then its all manner of explosions, chases, manly tears and other cg-tomfoolery as Will Smith does his action thing.

The film looks to tick the inevitable action, SF and modern horror boxes, but we also see promises of the psychological trauma and drama that made the novel an interesting read.

Southland Tales


We end as we began with another complicated film, this time from Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly, and starring (among others) Dwayne Johnson as an amnesiac action star, Sarah Michelle Gellar as a former adult film star developing a film project, and Seann William Scott as a police officer who has a neo-marxist twin brother and a secret to a vast conspiracy. Their lives are linked as strange events unfold in the Los Angeles of 2008 - a city on the brink of disaster.


Due to nuclear attacks in Texas, the government has drastically increased national security, as well as further eroding civil liberties. In the midst of a fuel crisis, a german company has developed a new form of energy production - a generator that uses the ocean currents and one that produces vast amounts of energy. The side-effect is that the generator is disrupting space and time threatening the lives of everyone, not just in America, but the entire world.

The trailer shows the idyllic life of americans, narrated by Pilot Abilene (Justin Timberlake), a disfigured Iraq War veteran. This idyllic life is shattered by a nuclear attack, and the escalation in both military activity and national surveillance. We meet the tattooed Boxer Santaros, the amnesiac action film star who ends up crossing paths with the ambitious ex-porn star Krysta Now, and we see them discussing their idea for a near-future crime saga with police officer Ronald Taverner. Finally, we begin to see the strange effects of the new form of energy, with Santaros questioning his own sanity as weirder and weirder events unfold and the world slowly starts to fall apart.

The complex nature of the story will no doubt polarise opinion, perhaps more so than the equally complex Donnie Darko, but with many more social and political questions raised as it does so.

Discuss this topic here.

  • Mo Ali Mo Ali was born in a haunted hospital and has exceeded all expectations and kept breathing. A digital artist, poet and writer, he needs to find some paid work before the inevitable apocalypse. To make matters worse he lives in Berkshire.