Every Friday here at Flavorwire, we like to gather up the week’s new movie trailers, give them a look-see, and rank them from worst to best — while taking a guess or two about what they might tell us (or hide from us) about the movies they’re promoting. We’ve got eight new trailers for you this week, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Channing Tatum, Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, Colin Farrell, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, Rosario Dawson, Eric Bana, Justin Long, Paul Dano, and more; check ‘em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments.
The Last Stand/Bullet to the Head
In hopes of latching on to the Expendables 2 buzz, Warner Brothers and Lionsgate have released trailers for their upcoming respective Stallone and Schwarzenegger features, and, well, let’s just say we’re gonna stand by what we said yesterday: these guys are past their expiration dates. Schwarzenegger’s Last Stand looks like the better of the two (but barely), a tired formula effort that tries badly for levity by acknowledging that, yes, ha ha, Arnold’s old. (Too old for this shit? It’s left unsaid, shockingly.) Stallone’s Bullet to the Head has the feel of the direct-to-video efforts he kept popping up in post-CopLand: overdone plot (they killed his partner? Really?), exhausted “buddy” byplay, and a star who doesn’t realize that his strangulated readings of lines like “I’m a people person!” and “I just did” have long crossed the line into self-parody. Both trailers are sort of sad and desperate, and are hard to read any other way.
Stallone and Schwarzenegger’s Expendables 2 castmate Chris Hemsworth isn’t doing much better with his latest trailer. The original Red Dawn was one of the most vile and dishonest pieces of Reagan-era military propaganda, and this one isn’t looking any more nuanced (at least with copy like “unaware of the forces that threaten our freedom”). It’s not just about protecting the ol’ red, white, and blue, though — they also “messed with the wrong family!” Yep, they not only put that line in the movie, they put it in the trailer, as a selling point. Hard to resist that kind of brilliant screenwriting, but we’re gonna pass on this one, thanks.
We saw this one at Tribeca a couple of months back, so let us issue an assurance: it’s a lot more interesting movie than you’d think from this trailer, which has all the subtlety and gravitas of a made-for-Cinemax effort. In fact, it’s a quiet, modest crime drama with the occasional action beat, more interested in character than gunplay, boasting several fine performances (particularly from Bana, Wilde, and Kate Mara). We always wonder about a bait-and-switch trailer like this: why turn off the indie drama folks who will like it in favor of an action audience that may come early on, but will disappear once word gets out? Anyway, Deadfall, everybody. Skip the trailer, see the movie.
Channing Tatum co-produced and co-stars in this ensemble comedy/drama, a kind of Altman in miniature, set at a ten-year high school reunion. It premiered at Toronto nearly a year ago, and we can’t help but think it might be getting a push now to piggyback Tatum’s 21 Jump Street and Magic Mike success, but no matter; it’s got a good, solid cast that writer/director Jamie Linden juggles with greater ease than you’d expect from the screenwriter of Dear John and We Are Marshall. It’s a hard movie to encapsulate, though, both due to its large cast and reliance on character (rather than punchline) comedy and low-key (rather than soapy, emotional) drama, and we wish they didn’t show so many key moments here. It won’t spoil it for you completely, though, and (if nothing else) provides some priceless peeks at its cast in their younger years.
We’ve never exactly been charter members of the Paul Dano fan club — too many of his performances, at least in present-day films, are dragged down by his overwhelming mopeyness — but he’s been doing good work lately in films like Being Flynn and Ruby Sparks, and this tiny drama received very good reviews at Sundance. Many of those reviews focused on tone, the single hardest element to put across in a two-minute teaser, but it seems like we get a feel of that here; it’s not looking like a slam-bang night at the movies, but this intimate picture has promise.
Keep the Lights On
This romantic drama from co-writer/director Ira Sachs (based on his relationship with literary agent Bill Clegg, who wrote about it in his book Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man) generated glowing reviews and great buzz at Sundance and Tribeca, but presents something of trick for marketers, who must do their best to frame it as something other than yet another addiction and recovery story. You can feel that struggle in the trailer, a bit, which knows this is a familiar story — but manages to make an impression by highlighting the impressionistic visuals and elegiac tone. It’s perhaps a story we’ve seen before, but we’d like to see what Sachs does with it here.
Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges is one of the great underrated movies of the past several years, a picture that transcended the Pulp Fiction Lite stink of its trailers to become something smart, witty, and altogether unexpected, so we’re happy to see his follow-up reunites him with Colin Farrell (who gave arguably his best performance to date in that film). Also reuniting: Sam Rockwell and Chistopher Walken, who starred in McDonagh’s Broadway play A Behanding in Spokane a couple of years back. The premise is clever, McDonagh’s off-kilter ear for dialogue seems secured… and Woody Harrelson and Tom Waits are in this? Seriously? When can we buy tickets?
That’s what we think of this week’s trailers. What will you be seeing?