Trailer Park: Potter, Aliens, Muppets, and ‘Moneyball’

Welcome to “Trailer Park,” the Friday feature where we collect the week’s new trailers all in one place and do a little “judging a book by its cover,” ranking them from worst to best and taking our best guess at what they may be hiding. This week, we’ve got seven new trailers, ranging from killers (Lucky) to things you want to kill (Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked!) — check ‘em out after the jump.

Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked!

All right everybody, let’s jump in the time machine. Let’s crank it back to, oh, let’s say 1998. I know, long time ago, right? Okay, now, quick, what was the most tired pop culture reference of the day? The one that, if said around your friends, would result in a Full Metal Jacket-style soap-in-a-towel beating, right there in the middle of Chili’s (or Olive Garden, or wherever you were eating in 1998)? Okay, are you locked in on that? You’ve got it? It’s “I’m the king of the world” from Titanic, right? Congratulations, you could be on the marketing team of the altogether unwelcome third Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, a film geared entirely at an audience that was not yet born when Titanic was released. Which says to us that this isn’t even a trailer aimed at them; it’s for the rest of us, a major studio teaser just being a giant asshole. It’s basically a big bully smashing our face in the dirt (in this case, “the dirt” being the mere information that a third Alvin and the Chipmunks movie exists). Blech.

Lucky

Black comedy is a notoriously tricky business; the precarious tone is often easier to convey in a two-minute trailer than it is to put across throughout the entirety of a feature-length film. But what’s interesting here is the cast (not necessarily Colin Hanks, who has yet to exhibit definitive evidence that he’d be fronting major motion pictures if he had a different surname). It’s got the smashing Ari Graynor, who stole Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist and Holy Rollers, and Ann-Margret, crush object since the early ‘60s, and Jeffrey Tambor being, well, Jeffrey Tambor. All in all, this one’s got potential.

Attack the Block

The Twitter machine basically exploded after Joe Cornish’s feature debut premiered at SXSW, and every new screening and trailer is greeted with similar enthusiasm. Screen Gems, the American distributor for this action/horror/comedy in the Shaun of the Dead mold (it’s from the same producers, as the trailer takes pains to point out, and features co-star Nick Frost), has carefully timed the nationwide preview screenings and trailer strategy; this new red-band job features a bit more violence and swears than its predecessor. It looks like a funny, enjoyable movie, though the ads thus far have left us wondering a bit what all the hype is about; this looks like a fairly standard action/comedy trailer (no doubt a calculated move), albeit one with a great line about “Ron’s weed room.” We’re presuming the more distinctive stuff that everyone’s going crazy over is being saved for the movie — and if so, what a nice change that is.

The Muppets

Whoever devised the trailer strategy for the upcoming Muppets reboot deserves a pat on the back and a nice raise. Their latest spoof trailer (following the generic rom-com version and the Hangover Part II take-off) is timed to match up with this week’s release of The Green Lantern, and is a pretty damn good fake-out. On top of that, there’s a meta-teaser angle to this one, with co-star/co-writer Jason Segel asking (not unreasonably) “Why don’t we just show a real trailer? I mean, what’re we hiding? Did we make the movie in Swedish or something?” Aaaaand cue the Swedish Chef. Well played, Muppets. Well played.

Bellflower

If Mad Max was a mumblecore movie, it might look something like writer/director/star Evan Glodell’s Sundance and SXSW hit; the two-minute trailer is a fascinating pastiche of vivid imagery, intimate dialogue, and flame-throwing cars, prompting a response of “I don’t know what that’s about, but I wanna see it.” Which is kind of the perfect reaction to a trailer. The fact that it is being released under the auspices of Oscilloscope Laboratories (the arthouse distributor founded by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch), whose previous films include Wendy and Lucy, Dear Zachary, and Exit Through the Gift Shop, certainly doesn’t hurt.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 2

Well, Muggles, this is it — the final trailer for the final Harry Potter movie, presented with appropriately epic pomp and circumstance (“Every moment he’s lived… has led to this”), complete with old clips and crescendoing choirs and fires and explosions and the whole nine yards. And it looks, well, pretty fantastic — and this is coming from someone who has not always loved these films (I think it’s high time we all come together, every one of us, and admit how putrid those first two Chris Columbus-helmed efforts were — and then the healing can begin). So when even I get the goosebumps… that, friends, is a killer trailer.

Moneyball

This adaptation of Michael Lewis’s 2003 book has had a bit of a long, strange trip to the screen. It was originally green-lit two years ago with Steven Soderbergh directing a screenplay by the great Steven Zaillian (seriously, Searching for Bobby Fischer, see it if you haven’t), but Columbia executives got nervous about Soderbergh’s planned deviations from Zaillian’s script — he wanted to make it a narrative/documentary hybrid, including interviews with the real people involved — and pulled the plug at the last minute. Soderbergh left and Aaron Sorkin was hired for a rewrite; based on the resulting trailer, the studio is pitching it (ha, ha) as something of a follow-up to their previous Sorkin project, The Social Network, with a similar early-fall prestige release date and fast-talking “based on a true story” vibe. The director this go-round is Bennett Miller, back in the chair for the first time since Capote (so yes, that’s Philip Seymour Hoffman, glimpsed briefly as A’s manager Art Howe), and while we’ll never know what Soderbergh’s more experimental take would’ve looked like, we’re very excited by this outstanding trailer. (And bonus points for the Black Keys cue.)

And finally, one more parting clip — not a trailer, but an excellent run-up to this weekend’s release of The Green Lantern, courtesy of the fine folks at the Onion News Network:

Have a great weekend, everybody.