Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

In which Julian Modugno and Jayne O’Connor review the Trailer for Anna Karenina.

JAYNE

Hey Julian.

Well, this is just wonderful. Another romantic period piece centered around a love triangle with Keira Knightley and two attractive men that now look incredibly creepy because of their facial hair. This kind of movie plot only really works if it is set in a period piece with stunning cinematography; if it were set in present day, lets say in a boring Atlanta suburb, no one would care.

Oh, you don’t love your husband, Keira? You cheated on him with one man? Only one man? Whatever. I saw a girl on Maury who had sex with nine men. Nine. And after giving those nine men paternity tests she sill didn’t know who the father of her baby was. Nine men. That, sir, is a scandal. It’s also a small baseball team. I’d like to see the story of that ruined woman accentuated with intricate costumes, beautiful landscape shots, and a couple of finely choreographed dance routines.

Fact: I know someone who has been on Maury three times. He’s one of Maury’s favorite guests.  I’m kind of proud of that fact. (Actually very proud).

JULIAN

I think I can speak for all women (what with me being a white man) when I say that there can be no fate worse than having to be married to Jude Law, seen here filling in for David Hyde Pierce on this week’s episode of Frasier.  What woman wants to spend the rest of her life, shacking up with People‘s Sexiest Man of 2004, forced to gaze into those icy blue eyes, running her fingers over his six-pack abs and that little V of muscle that points directly at what I can (and will) imagine is junk of Fassbenderesque beauty?  Truly, she is a lady unlucky in love.  You can definitely understand why she would struggle against the values and mores of Czarist Russia, rising to become a true hero of the proletariat and leading the Russian people towards sociopolitical revolution.

(Full disclosure: the extent of my knowledge of Soviet history amounts to everything I gleaned from half-heartedly watching this trailer and a European history class I took the semester I discovered weed)

JAYNE

Do you think Jude Law will get an Oscar because he uglied himself up for this role the same way that Charlize Theron did for Monster? It’s a well-known fact when a beautiful actress gains twenty pounds, it’s an automatic Oscar. Does this same truth apply to Jude Law’s ugly hair?

I know less about Soviet history than you do, and I know even less about Tolstoy. Besides being able to connect his name to certain books, like the one this movie is based on; the extent of my knowledge of Tolstoy comes mainly from an English class I took about 8 years ago. We were doing peer presentations for our final project, and a very squirmy, skinny kid presented about Tolstoy. He was so boring and random that it wasn’t until the end of his presentation that I realized that he wasn’t talking about cookies.

The only other knowledge I have about Tolstoy comes from when on of my oldest and dearest friends lectured me on him once. Unfortunately it was after a long night of drinking and dancing; I was lying on her couch, drinking water, (which is a feat that requires a lot of thought) while she waved around War And Peace and lectured me on what an amazing book it is. All I remember is her waving the book in the air exclaiming, “It has everything!”

JULIAN

It is at this moment and never before that I’m realizing that Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky are two separate people and that the Brothers Karamazov are fictional characters rather than Russian playwrights?  Who knew?  The good folks at angelfire.com/russianfunfacts sure did, that’s who. I feel like this trailer really glosses over the most interesting detail of this story: that a train gets totally frozen over with ice yet continues to run down the tracks.  That’s the movie I want to see.  You could just call it Ice Train and people would see it. Throw in John Travolta with a shaved head, signature bad guy goatee, and thick Russian accent as a terrorist who wants to blow up the ice train and you’ve got a film my dad will definitely catch when it comes on HBO some Sunday afternoon.

JAYNE

Ice Train sounds like a great movie. The kind of movie that I would reluctantly turn on Netflix to appease some boy I have absolutely no future with. And who better to star in this gem than everyone’s favorite Sweat Hog (except for me, my favorite Sweat Hog was Horshack). It will surely be Travolta’s best roll since Battlefield Earth.

I think Travolta should play opposite our dear Keira, who sports long hair until the middle of the movie, where in an act of feminist defiance she cuts it off. That’s when you know that Keira is only here to do one thing: kick major ass. She’s no longer a ruined woman; she’s just here to ruin John Travolta’s day.  Her sidekick, played by a sarcastic Christian Slater, will punch up the movie with witty zingers that would have been way more effective coming from Will Smith, but let’s be honest there is no way that the producers of Ice Train could get Will Smith.

I just hope they find a way to still include a finely choreographed dance sequence. It would be such a loss if Mr. Saturday Night Fever himself was in a movie and didn’t dance.

JULIAN

If I’ve learned anything from this trailer, it’s that director Joe Wright insists on including at least one slow-motion dance scene into every film he’s directed (at least this year).  Everything is so lush and opulent, I can’t tell if this is some sort of spiritual successor to Moulin Rouge, a jukebox musical featuring today’s biggest pop hits against the backdrop of Czarist Russia.  At least I hope it’s today’s biggest pop hits and not the biggest pop hits of Czarist Russia.  Nobody wants to see a movie like that, Mr. Wright.  Hell, I can’t listen to more than thirty seconds of Czarist-era music without firing up the ol’ gameboy and playing two hours of Tetris. Kids still say “gameboy,” right?

Anyways, it’s probably a safer bet to just make Ice Train.  Who wouldn’t want to watch a scene where Travolta and Knightley dance the tango (of death?) atop an ice-slicked train, barreling through Siberia as the aurora borealis dances (the tango of death?) in the night sky? That’s one movie that’ll have viewers saying “dasvidaniya, comrade!” to the dollars in their pockets!