Joy

Trailer Tuesday – Joy

The first trailer for the new David O. Russel film was already profiled in this space a few months back, it was nominated for Smash Cut Culture’s Trailer of the Year award.  That trailer was more of a teaser as it didn’t divulge much about the story only the promise of something worthy of $15 and 150 minutes of your time.  The full trailer has just landed and simply doubles down on that promise.  Oscar winner, Jennifer Lawrence seems to channel Michael Corleone by the end after opening up the 2 1/2 minute trailer with, “Don’t ever think the world owes you anything.  Because it doesn’t.  The world doesn’t owe you a thing.” Preach it sister.


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Trailer of the Year Awards – The Big Short

It’s Trailer Tuesday here at SCC and also time for another nominee in the Trailer of the Year Awards.  Director Adam McKay (Step Brothers, Anchorman) takes a break from the Will Farrell comedies to take on the rather ludicrous true story of the events leading up to mortgage crisis of 2008 and those characters who predicted it and profited from it.  Adapted from the best-selling book of the same name by Michael Lewis, the film looks to become the definitive answer when best explaining why you and your neighbor lost half the value of your home and watched your 401k vanish. Unfortunately, as Anthony Radanzzo points out in his 2010 review of the book for Reason:

Lewis falsely assumes that the perfect storm of failures at mortgage brokers, rating agencies, Wall Street firms, and regulators is the outcome of free market “hypercapitalism.” But in fact those problems are all symptoms of a government-manipulated market that didn’t allow for failure and had government subsides favoring housing investments over other sectors of the economy. One of The Big Short’s biggest shortfalls is failing to examine how federal policy drove investors to get things wrong while Lippman, Eisman, Burry, and the Cornwall Capital boys managed to get it right.

Still, with an all-star cast made up of Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt and Steve Carrell and McKay behind the lens The Big Short is sure to make a big gains when released this Christmas and heading into Oscar season.

While the trailer an obvious attempt to capture the same audiences that made The Wolf of Wall Street a hit, modeling your trailer after a Scorcese film ain’t a bad thing. It offers up the perfect blend of one-liners, set pieces, and a tone all in sync to the classic Led Zeppelin song “When The Levee Breaks.”  For that alone, it deserves the nod.



2015 Trailer of the Year Award nominees so far:

Mad Max: Fury Road

Black Mass

Cop Car

Joy

Trumbo 

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Trailer Tuesday – Legend

legendThe only thing better than a movie staring Tom Hardy is a movie staring two Tom Hardy’s. Emily Browning is his co-star and narrates this true crime story of London’s notorious Kray brothers. Twin brothers who ruled the world of organized crime in England in 50s and 60s. Their story has already been  told in cinema including the excellent award-winning 1990 film The Krays, staring Gary and Martin Kemp, real life brothers (not twins) who, interestingly enough, were also members of the 80s rock band Spandau Ballet (the one-hit wonder UK band who gave us the song “True“).

This go around, Tom Hardy plays both roles and with today’s visual effects artistry, the magic looks seamless. Let’s hope the story is as good as the terrific The Devil’s Double where you are so caught up in the story of madman Uday Hussein (Saddam’s son, “The Butcher of Baghdad”) and his reluctant double, Latif, both played brilliantly by Dominic Cooper,  you forget that there is only one actor portraying both roles.  Even if the story fails, it’s going to be a great bargain in getting two Tom Hardy performances for the price of one.


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Trailer Tuesday – The Peanuts Movie

In 1950 cartoonist Charles M. Shultz debuted what would become arguably the great American cartoon strip – Peanuts. Gracing the pages of nine different newspapers for the first time on October 2, 1950 was a bald headed boy named Charlie Brown. His faithful beagle, Snoopy, made his appearence just 2 days later. 65 years, and 2,600 newspapers later, Charlie Brown, and the more popular, Snoopy, would make up an marketing empire that could rival the one based on some Mouse. But Peanuts had a far more, albeit subtle, impact on the culture than Disney’s band of animal characters ever would. What Schultz and the comic strip did in the 60s and 70s really helped foster forth an era of a new normal, one that centered readers on what real diversity meant – a melting pot. And like a true melting pot, it was a slow cook.

From Hogan’s Alley

Characters like Franklin, Peppermint Patty, and even Pig-Pen helped acknowledge that race, gender and social status shouldn’t be the focus of societial relationships. Individualism and free association is the best path to achieving a harmonious community – even if Lucy pulls the football every time. It wasn’t all Schultz’s idea though. Like many advancements, sometimes it takes some outside persistance. For instance, Schultz was nudged into introducing the Franklin character by a school teacher who insisted the time was right to introduce a black character that was just as adorable as the others. With literally the stroke of a pen, or many strokes, Schultz agreed and without ever overtly acknowledging such an introduction of a minority character, Franklin appeared and fit right in with the rest of the Peanuts gang.

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Trailer Tuesday – Mississippi Grind

Having been a fan of early Ryan Reynolds comedies, he’s been mostly missing the mark in the past few years due to roles as superheroes, in bad horror films and the occasional indie flick. Judging by the trailer for his latest film Mississippi Grind, Reynolds seems to have finally utilized the secret sauce of comedy (just be honest) for this dramatic turn. It’s refreshing to see the talented filmmaking team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson, Sugar) put their faith in Reynolds and pairing him up with Ben Mendelsohn, an actor who just stole the show on the Netflix series Bloodline. Mendelsohn and Reynolds are an unlikely pairing, which makes this trailer promising of unlikely hit film.


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Trailer Tuesday: Jaws – The 40th Anniversary Edition

It’s officially summer here in the northern hemisphere and to kick it off, this week’s Trailer Tuesday brings us the 40th anniversary of the first ever summer blockbuster movie, Steven Spielberg’s 1975 masterpiece, Jaws.

Courtesy of MovieClips Trailers on YouTube comes a “Modern Recut” trailer for this classic film. Incorporating modern sound effects and editing styles, this trailer gives it the old college try at making the film look as though it may be hitting theaters for the first time ever. Sadly the film’s greatest asset, John Williams brilliant score, is missing throughout. The music that is used over powers the dialogue, feels out of place and for a film 4 decades old and beloved by many, to not even offer a taste of Williams’ classic score is downright criminal.  Ultimately the trailer fails, as the final 15 seconds looks to promise not a bonafide cinematic achievement, but a laughable SyFy midnight movie.  After watching this Modern Recut, go ahead and cleanse the palate with the original  trailer from 1975 just below it and you’ll realize that it’s hard to improve on perfection, even when it comes to marketing.

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Trailer Tuesday: “The Intern”

Don’t click away just yet…this isn’t that aimless, laughless comedy about Google that you’ve probably never seen…or at the very least never remembered.  No, this is something different entirely. Trust me, that’s a good thing!  “The Intern” brings together a very unlikely duo in Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway, which is only the beginning of the genius behind this comical concept!

The first shot sets this “buddy dramedy” up perfectly.  A young, successful interviewer aintern-screenshotsks the dreaded and most contrived interview question of all time, “Where do you see yourself in ten years?”  Sitting opposite him is not another young and hungry interviewee hoping to land a big first job. No, it’s 70-year-old Ben (DeNiro), whom retorts with the best answer…”When I’m 80?”  Hilarious.

Cut to Ben entering his new internship working for Jules Ostin (Hathaway), whose chemistry here is immediately undeniable.  As the two begin working together, we see Ben completely immersed in a world he doesn’t understand with new age millenials running the show.  Jules is the CEO of an online fashion site and although she’s seemingly Ben’s successful superior, her dramatic arc seems to center on the fact that she might not be as experienced and cut-out for the job as she thought.  You’re sure to laugh and cry and be horribly offended at the cross-generational jokes that are understood by some, and over the heads of others.

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Trailer Tuesday: “Fantastic Four”

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What’s invisible, stretchy, rock hard and on fire? This trailer! Or at least the cast is…
Josh Trank’s “Fantastic Four” is about 3 months from theatrical release and with that impending doom (ha!) comes a new full-length trailer.

I’ve tackled this issue before, but to reiterate, I’ve been pretty stoked about this film since I heard Trank was first attached.  “Chronicle” was a great film with a dark edge that I thought would be great for a reboot of Marvel’s first family.  Then all the production nightmare stories started floating around about Trank trashing the set and the cast wanting to back out, etc.  But none of that would have ever crossed my mind having just viewed the second trailer!

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Trailer Tuesday: “San Andreas”

sanandreas-guginoHow many times can one country be destroyed? Well, when it comes to Hollywood, the opportunities are literally endless.  The latest trailer for “San Andreas,” starring Dwayne Johnson, serves as no exception.  We have seen America go anywhere from being blown up by aliens, to being thrust entirely underwater by natural causes.  No wonder we’ve got issues here, we’re obsessed with seeing our homeland get demolished! But that’s another issue for another time.

Although the story is cliche, this trailer was pretty darn cool.  For us Angelenos, we’ll immediately recognize some stock-footage-type videography sweeping over the Griffith Observatory with the massive city of Los Angeles making up the backdrop, all played over an eerie but somehow serene cover of “California Dreamin'” by the Mama’s and the Papa’s. Great song choice for this, by the way.  Our main macho man Ray (Johnson) is seen with a couple of beautiful young women, assumed to be his daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) and wife Emma (Carla Gugino); just a couple of the token action movie hotties whom we’re sure to see hanging from buildings as the hand of The Rock’s mighty grip desperately tries to save them…Tangent complete.

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Trailer Tuesday: “The Voices”

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This week, things get a little bleak.  I’ve been into the indie scene more and more recently, and that brought me across this wonderfully horrific trailer for the dark comedy “The Voices.”

This star-studded indie boasts a cast of A-list proportions, lead by Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick and Jacki Weaver.  Naturally, I was skeptical of anything that has Ryan Reynolds at the forefront, but I gave this one a chance, and I was pleasantly surprised!

The first thing we notice is that Reynolds’ character Jerry is a social outcast, but in a quirky, lovable kind of way.  This was instantly a nice change of pace for Reynolds as an actor since I feel that we typically see him playing douchey characters.  Jerry leads a pretty boring life from the looks of it, with the same routines we’re all used to, consisting of a clock in, clock out, nine-to-five job and…pets.  One dog. One cat. For one man. Hm.

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Trailer Tuesday: “Old Fashioned”

Well, as many of you have probably caught on, I typically reserve “Trailer Tuesday” for whatever hot new blockbuster is about to hit theatres and give it an in-depth, philosophical and life-changing analyzation. (Sarcasm).  However, this week, I’ve decided to give some love to the little guy…because that’s what we all consist of, isn’t it? Little guys (and girls) trying to make it in a big world. Alright that’s enough philosophy.

In an attempt to compete with, or rather pull attention away from, the impending phenomenon that is the “Fifty Shades of Grey” film franchise, this little indie film called “Old Fashioned” does something unique with its’ trailer. I came across this while perusing the Apple trailers page and was surprised to see such small project getting some love from the Apple monster. 50ShadesVsOFSmall There is no dialogue in this trailer, and it makes direct comparisons to the “Fifty Shades of Grey” books and film, in that it prides itself on being the exact opposite.  Title cards and clips of a young love flourishing roll over a nifty, heartfelt soundtrack that these producers probably found on a royalty free website of some sort.  Either way, I applaud their efforts.  They take the stereotypical characters of the “Fifty Shades” series and intentionally draw attention to the fact that these characters are sincere, innocent, realistic people just looking for love in a…well…old fashioned way.

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Trailer Tuesday: “Horns”

Beware, this latest trailer isn’t only a little NSFW, but worse…Harry Potter does an American accent.  That’s right. Daniel Radcliffe is shedding his little boy fame and taking on a much creepier, and much less British role in his latest film “Horns.”

unnamed-4Up until now, I hadn’t known much about this film. Granted this trailer has been out for a while, but I wasn’t all that intrigued by the things I had seen or read on this movie.  Naturally, I didn’t know what to expect going into this trailer for the first time, but if you go in with low expectations, you might just find yourself pleasantly surprised!

The first thing that popped up on my radar was Daniel Radcliffe’s American accent (which actually isn’t that bad, but it does catch you off guard a bit).  He’s in love with a girl and he promises to love her for the rest of his life…but all that she asks is that he loves her for the rest of hers. Aww…cue the stormy night and gruesome murder scene.  The love of his life is naturally killed approximately 2 seconds later while the two are secluded in the middle of the woods together.  The small town is rocked by this and Ig (Daniel Radcliffe) instantly becomes the main suspect.  But he knows he didn’t do it (and I suppose we are to assume the same thing).  He’s enraged by the death of his girlfriend and he wants the head of the man responsible.  So, like any vengeance-fueled boyfriend, he starts to grow horns as some sort of physical manifestation of his anger.  Now I will say this trailer does showcase some great editing and creates a creepy atmosphere.  You really feel Ig’s passion for discovering the true murderer, making you sympathize when he starts to go all unnamed-6demonic and lose his mind.  Cut to a quick, but effective, montage of him terrorizing some locals and screaming at no one in particular about what really happened the night of the murder, all leading up to a final glance at what he’s really turning into, which is some ultra-creepy devil-looking thing.  I’m a fan!

Although this trailer does have its fair share of cliché-ridden plot points, it did offer up enough originality to make me want to check it out.  It looks pretty creepy and the special effects look rather decent for such an indie project.  I’m not sure if Radcliffe’s intention is to try and fully rid himself of the Potter perception, but maybe after seeing the film we’ll finally be able to perceive him as an adult!

This one already hit theatres on Halloween in a limited release, so check it out while you still can.

Trailer Tuesday: “Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife”

You know you’ve been there. We’ve all had that one person (maybe two) that we’d just love to off.

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If you think that’s dark, just wait until you watch this trailer!  Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife puts a delightfully sinister twist on the Buddy Comedy genre.

As the title suggests, there is a guy named Ward, he has a wife, and some people want to kill her.  That’s pretty much the gist of the movie. Opening up on a casual guy’s day on the golf course, three best friends are debating whether or not everyone really “just gets one murder.”  All funny banter…for now.  Cut to, their fourth friend, Ward (Donald Faison), is MIA due to his wife’s inhibiting behavior.  It’s Father’s Day and Ward can’t make it to any of the fun games his friends have planned!  Enter Stacey…the dreaded wife.  She’s throwing things, screaming obscenities, and Ward is clearly intimidated by her.  Keep in mind this is a comedy!

Now Ward’s friends are determined to come to the rescue…but for whose sake, we’re not quite sure.  After witnessing the extremes that this crazy woman has gone to, David (Patrick Wilson), has decided to bring the idea of killing Stacey to the group.  Creatively, this trailer was done well, because as David explains his plan, we see Tom (Scotty Foley) already attacking Stacey, presumably out of anger. He smashes her face into a birthday cake, she slips, falls…and apparently dies from that.  Total accident, but hey, it got the job done!

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The ensuing turn of events plays out hilariously. They strategize how to dispose of the body and discuss the ways that this is going to be a good thing for Ward.
Now I completely realize that reading this sounds like a psycho-thriller, but trust me. The montage with the classical music playing over it makes for some hilariously cringe-worthy entertainment.  Finally, Ward sits around with his friends and exclaims, “This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

This trailer is awesome.  It hits all the right beats and it handles the subject matter in a darkly appropriate way.  You should find yourself saying “Oh, no way!” but also laughing because it’s so hilariously far-fetched.

Between the four main characters, they all balance each other out and the cast here is great.  Mostly B-listers but the talent across the board makes me want to see this film as soon as it’s released!

Anyway, please comment below with your opinions so I don’t sound like a total weirdo for enjoying this trailer!

 

Trailer Tuesday: “Avengers: Age of Ultron”

Let’s be honest, did you expect anything else out of this week’s Trailer Tuesday?  I have personally been dying to write about this one, so bare with my over-dramatic, fanboy antics.  You’ve been warned. unnamedIt was originally announced that the new trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron was supposed to air during the newest episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and would not be released before then.  However, in today’s unpredictable world of technology, the trailer was unexpectedly leaked almost an entire week early. Props to Marvel, as they went with it and shortly thereafter released higher quality versions as opposed to scrambling to rip it off of every major website in cyberspace. I’ll start by saying, there is so much going on in this “teaser” trailer that it’s hard to break it down in a way that wouldn’t take up 30 pages in Microsoft Word, so I’ll give a general overview. As a massive fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and everything Joss Whedon touches), I have been a dedicated follower of this franchise since the beginning.  In the first Avengers film, we were eased into a world that was mostly a fun family film, where all of these superheroes co-exist and ban together to conquer the day.  With this trailer, now we’re not so sure.  From the opening shot, we see a cantered aerial view of what looks like a normal, pretty metropolitan city.  However, when it’s accompanied by a sinister voiceover from the evil robot villain, none other than unnamed-1Ultron (James Spader) himself, we get the hint that things aren’t going to be so lighthearted this time around.  Ultron is a seriously freaky villain.  As we witness the Avengers’ first encounter with him, their peaceful dinner party is interrupted as he enters the room claiming, “You want to save the world but you don’t want it to change.  You’re all puppets, tangled in strings.”  All of this is followed by a series of bleak shots of our lovable Avengers clearly up against a villain that they’re not only unfamiliar with, but that they might not actually be able to stop.  This trailer does a fantastic job of cranking up the stakes from the first film.  Although it clocks in at over 2 minutes, it is less of a revelation of story and more of a glimpse of what to expect in tone and atmosphere.  And it’s looking to be a dark one. Joining the wonderful cast of characters, which originally included Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk among others, we now have two morally ambiguous characters coming in to play.  The Maximoff twins, Quicksilver (Aaron Johnson) and Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) are two troubled young adults with extraordinary gifts.  However, after being held captive and experimented on by some bad, bad people, I think we’ll see them start out as strong opponents of the Avengers, but ultimately end up as powerful allies. unnamed-2With very little dialogue aside from Ultron’s voiceover, what I found to be most effective here was how well the analogy of “puppets and strings” was written and delivered.  One could interpret Ultron’s claim of these strings being the emotions that come with being human, and that give us a moral sense of right and wrong, thereby inhibiting us from doing things that, say, a robot would have no qualms with.  Then we end on one last powerful line from Ultron saying “There are no strings on me.”  Freaky deaky! This dude has zero remorse or emotional capacity, which makes him the perfect adversary for our (mostly) inherently good Avengers. Whew! Got a little winded with this marathon.  But this trailer did nothing but spark my interest to the fullest.  I’m now more excited than ever for May 1, 2015 to roll around so we can see how the Avengers fare against the psycho robot Ultron! Anyone else catching this at a midnight screening!?

Trailer Tuesday: “Focus”

Well in case you were wondering where Will Smith went, we found him! He’s back in the first trailer for his new film “Focus.”  There are too many shameless puns to try with this one, so I’ll get to the trailer itself.

unnamedWill Smith has always been a fun guy to watch with a decent emotional range in my opinion, and his co-star Margot Robbie here is easy on the eyes to say the least.  With these two in the lead, this film immediately had my attention.

When the scene opens with a medium close-up of a profile of a random actor angrily driving a car, it makes one wonder…what is he about to hit? Well he’s aiming for Nicky (Smith) and Jess (Robbie), whom he successfully T-bones in their beautiful sports car.  Judging by the following voiceover from Nicky of “That’s what you get when you hire a con man,” the car was probably stolen anyway.  Right from the start we understand that Nicky and Jess are in the middle of deep stuff, the tone and cinematography leading us to believe we’re in for a serious dramatic story.  However, it’s immediately followed by a scene in which we’ve apparently back tracked to when Nicky first met Jess.  In a hilarious exchange, Jess gives him her best attempt at seduction, to which he says “Does that feel sexy on your face?”  So, a con-dram-edy?  That’s a little confusing.

We soon see Jess in training and Nicky becoming impressed, saying she’s become one of the best.  So now apparently she’s ready for the “big con.”  Well as one may expect in such a dramatic story with two sexy, charismatic characters making a living on making people fall for them, things get sticky when they develop feelings for each other.  To be honest, the trailer wraps up in a bit of a hurry and it’s not clear where the story goes, but it doesn’t seem to end super well…hence the con drama of it all.

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Overall, the only reason I really want to see this film is for the very reason I stated earlier, which is the two leads.  I always like Will Smith and although I have yet to see Robbie in anything, her dramatic and comedic acting chops are portrayed really well in this trailer.  If anything, it feels like more of a vehicle for her than anything.  I also didn’t feel that the comedy meshed well with what feels like it should be a very dark film about a hopeless romance.

Either way, I feel like we’ve seen this before, but hopefully the acting will be able to hold the film rise above the mundane!

Find out next year when “Focus” hits theatres!

Trailer Tuesday: “Tomorrowland”

Whoever once said less is more must have watched this newest trailer for “Tomorrowland.”  Either that, or the creators behind this mysterious project took that ages-old phrase to heart when marketing this puppy.

unnamedLoosely based on the theme park of the same name, “Tomorrowland” is an adventure story of a young girl who can travel to and fro between our world and…well…Tomorrowland.

Opening on a young girl Casey (Britt Robertson) being released from some sort of juvenile detention center, we see she’s obviously been through some stuff. As she collects her belongings before being let go, there’s a small pin left behind, which she adamantly claims does not belong to her.  Without thought, she grabs the pin to bring it to the officer’s attention and in that instant, she is momentarily transported to another world.  So Casey has the natural reaction of one who is instantaneously transported to another world and FLIPS out. When she drops the pin on the ground, she immediately finds herself back in the detention center.  Cue the mystery music and a voiceover from the enchanting George Clooney, who asks us, “What if there was a miraculous place where you could actually change the world?”  All of this plays over some beautiful scenery of Casey once again touching the pin and finding herself in what is assumed to be Tomorrowland.  It’s a “magical” place alright from the looks of it, although she’s seemingly standing in some sort of wheat field. But as we pan around, we see a large city far in the background.  Cut just in time to see a glimpse of Clooney’s character asking an un-seen character if they would “want to go” to this miraculous place. Then,  “TOMORROWLAND” fades into the screen.

Walt Disney World Tomorrowland
Walt Disney World Tomorrowland

Boom. Done. Sold.

This trailer (or teaser rather) was so simple, yet so effective. I wish there were more out there like this.  This is the kind of creativity that will get people to pay the $15 to go see this thing!  Not only is it directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles), but the imagery is stunning to watch and the editing was seamless as Casey jumped between the real world and Tomorrowland.   Maybe I am biased, but if all creative teams would take the understanding that less is more and stop revealing TOO much information months before the release of the film, they might actually see a hike in profit, as people may actually feel the need to see the film instead of feeling like they watched the whole thing in two minutes! Whew, I digress.

Anyway, if any of you Hollywood producers out there end up reading this, you can give me the credit for boosting your ticket sales.
I’ll definitely be catching this one next year. Anyone else!?

Trailer Tuesday: “Inner Demons”

unnamedBefore reading this, you should all “exorcise caution.” Ha! Well, I wish I could take credit for that pun, but it’s the tagline for this week’s trailer.  And I didn’t just choose it because I was a very hard-working (unpaid) PA on the film! For you horror buffs, this one actually has a tinge of originality to it.

If the title didn’t tell you enough already, here we have yet another found-footage demonic ghost story.  However, this one seems to have a bit of a human twist to it.

From the opening sequence, we wouldn’t expect what we are seeing to necessarily be a horror film.  A family holds an intervention for their daughter Carson. They go around and tell her that they love her and that they are concerned for the downward spiral she is on with drug use.  She definitely does not respond well, physically attacks her best friend.  Cut to some strange, haunting music as Carson moves into a rehabilitation center followed by a camera crew.  A young crewmember appears to develop some personal feelings for Carson.  He discovers that she may actually be suffering from demonic possession and has been using the drugs to subdue the “inner demons.”  As Carson’s sponsor and other supporters try to help her get sober, they simply end up letting the demons take control by taking her off the drugs.  Which doesn’t seem to end well for many of the cast members as the trailer ends with a series of shots, including bloody fighting, stabbing, running and screaming.  All the makings for an entertaining demonic thriller!

unnamed-1I’m not a huge fan of the music choice for this trailer and the editing could definitely use some fine-tuning.  I personally prefer fast-paced action-type thrillers (see the trailers for “Scream” or the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” 2003 remake).  However, I do like this element of drug addiction that hasn’t been done before, which looks like it could offer up some great thrills.  With a totally unknown cast and an up-and-coming director, this could easily be one of the indie horror films that accrues a cult following.

Curious if you’ll be one to jump on the bandwagon? Well, head over to amazon.com and you can watch it right this very moment on Amazon Instant!

 

Trailer Tuesday: “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part I”

unnamedA few weeks ago brought about a largely defining moment in many young adults’ lives; a moment that everyone has been waiting for. Okay, maybe not everyone, but a fair chunk of people across the world have been wanting to see this trailer for a very long time.  The first half of the final whole to the “The Hunger Games” trilogy-turned-quadrilogy is released this November.  With that moment rapidly approaching (or not so rapidly depending where you fall on the fan-scale), the final full trailer for “Mockingjay: Part I” has been released!
All joking aside, I am a huge fan of this franchise.  When it was first announced that the third book would be released into two films, it felt more like a gimmick than anything.  I’m sure it still probably is, but seeing as how the third book was the most daunting to get through due to the lack of action, this could actually work to its’ benefit.  See, with book-to-film adaptations, so much of the book has to be cut due to the running time of the film (amongst other reasons, of course).  However, with this story in particular, they can just cut all the boring crap and stretch out those action scenes as much as they need to, while still filling in the gaps with important story and plot details.  That’s my theory of the approach based on this trailer.  DISCLAIMER: I’m about to go full-blown nerd, so if you haven’t read the books or seen the previous films, you may be a little lost by the end of this.

unnamed-1Right off the bat, we are faced with an even darker world than what we’ve seen in the first two films.   A heartstring-pulling voiceover from Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has her confronting the enemy saying she never wanted any of this to happen and that she simply wanted to save her family.  This is especially strong to start off with in this trailer because it reminds us of the simple life that Katniss has come from, and what she’s gone through to get to where she is.  Then, along comes President Snow (Donald Sutherland) saying somethin’ like “You suck, Katniss, we’re gonna kill everyone you love!” (I’m paraphrasing).  Anyway, what we take away most from this trailer is that Katniss really wants to get her lover Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) back from the grips of the evil Capitol, run by Snow.  When she finds out Peeta is alive, after being held captive, she makes it her mission to get him back.  All of this is followed by several shots of Katniss in the newly formed District 13 becoming the symbol of the revolution, known as the “Mockingjay,” taking charge, giving hope to the hopeless and blowing things up with her amped up bow-and-arrow bomb combo thing.  This makes for what should be an action-packed Part I; hence my initial theory of “out with the boring and in with the guns blowing up futuristic aircrafts.”  Overall, it could have been a tad better, as it didn’t quite reach the chill-inducing level that I hoped for.  However, it does ratchet up the stakes and makes for some seriously exciting, thematic entertainment while maintaining human and relatable characters.

Any other “Mockingnerds” out there ready for this to hit theatres like NOW-ish?! Well, we have to wait until November 21st, but it will be worth it!

Trailer Tuesday: “The Skeleton Twins”

Based on the title of this latest trailer, you may be asking yourself “Another cheesy found-footage horror film?” Nope. The opposite. Another indie-daramedy.

unnamedThis one popped up on my radar just recently and it looked intriguing, mostly because of the cast.  Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader play the aforementioned “skeleton twins” Maggie and Milo, respectively.  From the get-go we see that they are being reunited for the first time in ten years.  Although it’s not clearly stated why, one could assume that, based on the following dialogue, Milo is moving in with Maggie and her husband Lance (Luke Wilson) because his dream career of being an actor took a nosedive and he has since left Los Angeles.  As the story unravels, we learn that Maggie has also had her fair share of tribulations, in that she has not been totally loyal to Lance, something that earns her a scolding from her brother.  Despite the heavy and moderately depressing subject matter, the trailer keeps a light tone throughout.  There’s a great scene with Milo making an attempt to cheer up Maggie by lip syncing to an old song, which Maggie reluctantly gives in to, resulting in an odd, but uplifting sibling dance party.

A lot of this film looks like it’s been done before, with the estranged family members coming back together, only to find out that all they’ve really needed all along is each other.  Then voila! They all live happily ever after.  That’s not to say that there isn’t some draw to this movie in the cast, which is really all it has going for it.  Kristen Wiig has made a turn to the indie scene recently, but she’s always watchable in my opinion.  This is also one of Hader’s first leading roles, since he’s mostly known from his SNL days and a few supporting roles. Hopefully he bodes well with such a stellar supporting cast behind him like Wilson and Ty Burrell.

I guess we can all find out for ourselves this Friday, September 12th!  Although it’s a limited release so some of you may have to wait for DVD…sorry if I got your hopes up.  Enjoy!

Trailer Tuesday: Foxcatcher

This one might seem like relatively old news to most of you, but it didn’t “catch” my eye until recently. (Pun shamelessly intended).

unnamedSteve Carell has obviously built his career in the world of comedy, and has become one of the most successful men in Hollywood because of it. Now, he’s taking a pretty dramatic turn with his role as Channing Tatum‘s sociopathic wrestling coach in “Foxcatcher.” I have never been a huge fan of Channing Tatum, but some of his more recent work would suggest that he’s stepped up his game and shown that he’s actually got some talent in the craft.

Admittedly, my knowledge of this true story was even less than that of the actual film, so I had no idea what to expect from this short, mysterious teaser trailer. Immediately going into it, it’s clear that this is a very dark film. With a haunting score to kick things off and a creepy Extreme Close-Up of a very made-up Carell, it couldn’t be more apparent that we’re in for a very dark drama here. As John du Pont (Carell) rattles off a raspy voiceover, he asks Mark Schultz (Tatum), “Do you know who I am?,” suggesting he must be a pretty big deal. We soon learn that du Pont is a wrestling coach, and Schultz is a pretty decent wrestler, so du Pont wants to work with him to become “the best in the world.” Now, if it wasn’t clear from these first introductions that our main characters are a tidbit unhinged, it soon becomes extremely unnamed-1obvious. Du Pont claims that he is a patriot and he wants to see the country “soar” again. This is followed by quick shots of Tatum training in the weight room, du Pont celebrating and shooting guns in a shooting range, du Pont slapping Schultz in the face and Schultz slamming his face into a mirror. This would all heavily suggesting that these characters are willing to go to great lengths to succeed. We finally end on the final shot, with du Pont entering what looks to be a practice gym full of wrestlers, gun in hand, with a voiceover stating “We’re going to do great things, Mark.” Smash to black.

Creepy. Awesome. Not to sound creepy myself, but this trailer got me very excited in no more than 65 seconds! It definitely did not reveal much at all in the short time we were given to experience the story, but we saw just enough to get an idea of the motivations for the characters. All while maintaining a respectable amount of mystery, even though this it’s based on a true story. This trailer pulled off a very difficult feat in doing that.

This is one fox I’ll be catching in the theatres! (Couldn’t help myself). Anybody else?

Trailer Tuesday: “Men, Women, & Children”

Ever wonder what’s going on with Adam Sandler? Yeah, me neither.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of him from his prime, but the poor guy has become pretty irrelevant over the last few years.  But hey, that’s the natural progression of the entertainment culture we all love so much, right?

unnamed-1Anyway, before I become too cynical, the trailer for his new film titled “Men, Women & Children” was recently released, also starring Jennifer Garner, Ansel Elgort and Judy Greer amongst several other talented actors of recent times. First of all, it’s hard to get a good idea of what this movie is really about just from the title.  I have to say, it’s so bland and vague, it almost turned me off from watching the trailer entirely.  But I’m rather glad I stuck with my original plan of sitting in my computer chair and clicking through trailers for hours on end.

We are instantly exposed to the unique but eerily familiar world of “Men, Women & Children” when the first shot opens on a cafeteria full of adolescents with their iPhones and other electronics in hand. As they navigate the halls of the school, the content of every text, email and profile being viewed by these individuals is displayed on-screen as a graphic above their heads, almost like a thought bubble…but less thoughtful.  Transitioning to an older couple, we see Sandler and his wife in bed, each holding what look like iPads or some form of electronic tablets, not making much of any contact whatsoever.  With no dialogue or unnamed-1communication to be had, except for the text displayed on screen, the trailer almost plays out like a two-and-a-half minute montage over chillingly effective music.  Each character is introduced utilizing some form of technology as a means of communication, as opposed to face-to-face communication.  And therein lies the purpose (which is driven home pretty hard from the first five seconds of the trailer).  If you can’t already see where I’m going with this, it’s essentially about the effects that technology has on our lives.  That’s what I gathered, although it did leave me wanting to know more.  Job well done for that.  It also seemed creatively effective to have no dialogue spoken throughout the trailer, perhaps to enforce the overall idea that the film is about a lack of communication between people today.

It didn’t seem to give away too much, and although I hope it doesn’t turn out to be a film that preaches the “dangers of technology,” it does come from Jason Reitman who directed “Up In the Air” and “Juno,” which are two wonderful films in my opinion.  All in all, this trailer felt inventive and got me wondering what it was all adding up to.  The jury is still out on Sandler in this seemingly deep, dramatic role, but I’ll definitely be catching this one in theatres!  How about you?

Trailer Tuesday: “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”

unnamedIt’s been a long time coming. A very, very long time. Ever since the first “Sin City” was released in 2005, there have been talks of a sequel based on the graphic novel franchise, this one subtitled “A Dame to Kill For.”  Early rumors wanted Angelina Jolie in the title role of the “Dame,” but that never came to fruition, which probably explains the near-ten-year dry spell of development hell that this film lingered in.

Now, in 2014, we are finally seeing this anticipated sequel come to life.  I still remember watching the trailer for the first “Sin City” all those years ago and it is still one of my unnamedfavorite trailers to this day.  So, perhaps my expectations were already set at an unrealistic high.  But I must digress for now.  The opening of this trailer sets a familiar tone to its’ predecessor, but as we are introduced to the characters one by one, it is clear that the stakes are rising.  Multiple storylines intersect here, each one centered on revenge.  Marv (Mickey Rourke) and Nancy (Jessica Alba) return as much edgier versions of the previous incarnations, and Josh Brolin takes over the role of Dwight, who was played by Clive Owen the first time around.  These three characters have been wronged oh-so-badly and now they’re seeing red.  Literally. The only colors on screen are black, white and occasionally red, in an attempt to pay homage to the source material.  Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) is somehow at the center of all the wrongdoing and our three anti-heroes must band together to bring him down.  As previously mentioned, Angelina Jolie was sought out for the lead in this, but we have found a suitable replacement in Eva Green, who plays the seductive, yet terrifyingly deceptive dame named Ava.  Green is one of the only things about this trailer that really interested me.  Just in the short time we had with these characters, Ava appeared to have the most dynamic role in the film.  As far as music, well, let’s just say trailer music is vital when making a lasting impact on an audience, and I just didn’t feel it here.  The first “Sin City” had a stellar track that made the action and drama flow.  But here we get some sort of techno mash-up that doesn’t quite fit with the tone or the timing.

Hopefully this trailer was just a fluke, and the real payoff will come when the film hits theatres this Friday!

 

Trailer Tuesday: “Interstellar”

unnamedUnless you’ve been abstaining from all things entertainment for the last decade, you have definitely heard of Christopher Nolan.  His little film franchise called “The Dark Knight” trilogy made a bit of a splash over the last several years.

 

unnamedNow the man is back with what is gearing up to be yet another massively-hyped blockbuster.  The newest trailer for “Interstellar” was released just a couple of weeks ago.  A very vague teaser was released before this two-and-a-half minute party for the eyeballs came out. In true Nolan lore, there has been a very intentional cloud of mystery surrounding “Interstellar.”  Now, we know much more…but…not really.  We open up with a very serious Matthew McConaughey looking out his window onto a desolate and dystopian world that’s definitely seen better days.  Clearly there’s some apocalyptic-y threat going on (but which kind we still don’t know).  Michael Caine chimes in with a voiceover asking Matthew’s character Cooper to trust him. Still nothing is completely understood, but he’s essentially asking him to save all of humanity from extinction on a very dangers mission to outer space, with little-to-no information as to where he would be going or how long he’ll be gone.  Enter the human emotion and the unnamedmassive tug of heart strings as Cooper consoles his young daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy) as she struggles to accept the fact that her father will be leaving her for what could very easily end up being years…or forever.  The sentimentality is extremely touching here and reminds us of the talent that Nolan has for creating relatable characters.  As Cooper reaches the depths of space with his fellow astronaut Brand (Anne Hathaway), we see them confronted with some seriously stellar images (pun partially intended) that I can only describe as being beautifully terrifying.  We end on yet another deep, emotional voiceover from Cooper saying, “We’ll find a way. We always have.”  Wow. This trailer has made me feel a serious rollercoaster of emotion…in less than 3 minutes.  There’s something extremely intriguing, mysterious and overwhelming when thinking about space and time travel.  And that’s a level of mystery that Nolan has succeeded in creating…at least with this trailer.

Here’s to hoping the movie is as good as this visionary eye candy! Oscar bait, anybody?

Trailer Tuesday: “Fifty Shades of Grey”

A wise man once said that we all briefly get to become a film critic when watching the trailers preceding a movie. Actually, that was a stand-up sketch by Dane Cook. But the statement remains true.

unnamed-1Trailers are designed to garner hype and provide a first glimpse of what an audience can expect from the film itself.  Take Comic-Con for example.  Fanboys and girls alike travel from all parts of the world just to see the panels of their favorite upcoming movies or tv shows in hopes of getting at least a little peak of some visuals to feast their eyes on…literally. It’s a smorgasbord for the corneas.

However, in recent times, trailers have become something even more, in that they can be seen as a standalone supplement to the “bigger picture”.  In laymen’s terms, a trailer can be great (well-edited, enthralling music) but the film could easily turn into a snooze-fest.  And vice versa.

Last Thursday, the first trailer for the “Fifty Shades of Grey” adaptation debuted online.  Now, going back to that whole “trailers are standalone supplements” theory, I will refrain from making any judgments on the potential flop-ability of the actual film. I have not read the books (except the Wikipedia summaries just for the sake of finding out if there really was more to this story than the kinky S&M freak show everyone keeps referencing).

unnamedSo, when I went to first view the trailer I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Much to my surprise, I was thoroughly intrigued (not in a creepy way).  As you will see below, the trailer opens with a peculiar and innocent looking Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) who is interviewing the intimidating and darkly charming Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) for her college newspaper.  The sparks and chemistry are instant. Some titillating dialogue is exchanged between the two in their silky, seductive tones, then the “beat drops” if you will.  As Ana and Christian kiss (presumably for the first time) in Christian’s office elevator, the music piques with a uniquely altered version of “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce, which is undoubtedly being used as another marketing ploy for the film.

This trailer has great timing, hits the right marks on cue with the music and really adds some mystery to a situation that, on paper, reads like a pretty one-dimensional storyline.  As we are first introduced to Christian’s “playroom” through Ana’s perspective, we get a realistic sense of what she is experiencing because of the set up. It doesn’t reveal too much, but reveals enough to maintain an intriguing level of curiosity.

 

What do you guys think? Will this trailer get you to drop $15 next Valentine’s Day?