Trailer Park: Sundance Hits and Action Misses

Welcome to “Trailer Park,” our regular 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 ten new ones — taken as a group, a rather eclectic mix of styles and subjects indicating that the summer movie season is drawing to a close. Check ‘em all out after the jump.

Arena

Okay, are we all agreed that we’ve passed the tipping point with Samuel L. Jackson? There was a time when we were willing to forgive how many bad movies he was in because he continued to balance that out with good ones — like Michael Caine or Gene Hackman in the ‘80s, Jackson is a working actor, and he likes to work, and he does a lot of films (over 100 since 1990). But let’s be honest — he’s mostly doing bad movies now, and what’s worse (and what you couldn’t say about him in, say, the ‘90s), he’s very, very bad in them. As exhibit A, we offer this trailer for Arena, a laughably terrible-looking techno-action disaster with something called a “Kellan Lutz” (ah, I see, he’s a Twilight person. Ignorance is bliss) and, regrettably, Lost’s Daniel Dae Kim. Did the trailer editor have a specific grudge against Mr. Jackson? Because that’s the only way I can explain including his middle-school-drama-production reading of “And I’ll SET’CHA FREEEEEE!,” or that little dance he does at 1:25. Sam: Listen to me now. I’ve been a fan forever. Since Coming to America, for God’s sake. TAKE SOME TIME OFF. You’re not some struggling New York nobody actor anymore. You’re Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson. You can be… what’s the word… selective. (For what it’s worth, Arena is out in October. And — brace yourself for the surprise — it’s going straight to DVD.)