Category Archives: Trailers

Trailer Round-Up: Sci-Fi Explosions Edition

Well, it was a big week if you like movies about post-apocalyptic worlds and space and stuff. Here’s a peek at four high-profile sci-fi blockbuster trailers that dropped in the past few days.

Godzilla

Wait…This actually looks…quite good? See, the concept of Aaron Johnson starring in yet another Godzilla movie wasn’t very appealing to me. But I probably should have paid attention to the fact that the cast also includes Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche (!), Sally Hawkins, Ken Watanabe, and David Straithairn. I realize that even respected actors need paychecks and that their presence isn’t an automatic sign of quality. But that’s a lot of good actors. I’d also either forgotten or never known that the movie is directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters), and it looks like he’s bringing lots of mood and even some personality to a pretty tired premise.

Maybe this is an example of a craftily edited trailer designed to make its mediocre movie look good. I mean, I always think the trailers for the Transformers franchise look good, and then the movies themselves turn out to be garbage. But I do actually now have hope that Godzilla will be good. But even if it isn’t, this should stand alone as a really fantastic trailer. I like that it opens with the unbroken scene of the skydive before transitioning into more “standard” sci-fi footage. It’s exciting, it manages to quickly get you invested in the characters, and it doesn’t give too much away.

Interstellar

I mean…it’s okay. It doesn’t really show much of the movie, but that’s kind of the point of a teaser, right? But I just feel like other movies have done the same “cryptic teaser” thing a bit better, such as Super 8 or, well, Inception. For me, the stock footage used here didn’t really evoke too many emotions. McConaughey’s voiceover narration doesn’t mean all that much when you have no context to put it in. Things did pick up when they actually showed McConaughey at the end, though, and I’m definitely intrigued. You certainly couldn’t accuse this trailer of giving too much away, and it does successfully raise lots of questions about what’s to come.

Jupiter Ascending

Ummmm not sure about this one. Is it me, or do Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis seem like really strange choices for the leads in a sci-fi movie like this? Both are effective in certain roles, but I don’t feel like either one seems very comfortable here. (And what on earth is going on with Channing’s look in this movie?) I will give the casting agent props for picking Eddie Redmayne to play a weird alien cyborg, though. But the whole thing just looks overblown and, well, a bit silly. I loved Cloud Atlas, and it seems like they’re going for a similar thing here, but it kind of looks more like it’ll be a mashup of that along with every other movie the Wachowski’s have made…which probably isn’t a good thing.

Edge of Tomorrow

First off, awful title. And while this looks like a competently made movie and I like Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, this trailer just didn’t have anything to draw me in. It looks like we’re just going through Oblivion or Elysium again. They’re really selling the romance aspect, too, which might contribute to the blandness. I don’t know, maybe I’ve just reached my Cruise/sci-fi quota. Or maybe I’m just now unfairly comparing every vehicle he gets to War of the Worlds (which I seem to be in the minority of loving). I mean, Jupiter Ascending looks like a mess, but it seems like there’s enough bizarre stuff going on that it could be interesting, even if it’s not necessarily good. This one just looks like a lifeless snooze.

Trailer Alert: Jude Law Edition

A number of high-profile trailers have been released in the past few days, so it seemed like a fitting time for rundown of what we can expect to see in the coming months. That is, a lot of Jude Law.

Contagion

Release Date: September 9, 2011

Contagion looks a bit different from what I expected. I thought it would be more of a contained story about the scientists trying to stop the disease. But I am totally down for this sweeping, borderline-apocalyptic thriller. Aside from what seems to be a pretty major spoiler about a character death (I’m sure it happens early in the film, but still), I really like the trailer. I’m not a big Soderbergh fan, but this might be the film that turns it around for me. Law and Damon seem to be going “big” with their performances, but I imagine that will fit better in context. And Hawkes looks great, even just from his one line in the trailer. This looks like a good ol’ fashioned thriller with a top-notch cast, and that exactly what I want it to be.

Hugo

Release Date: November 23, 2011

Not to be a complete Negative Nancy, but I can’t help but think that this looks lame. Like, really lame. I know it’s based on a kid’s book and is largely aimed at kids, but I was expecting more from a Scorsese film. Not all of his films have to be The Departed, but I thought this would have a little more heft to it. Instead, it seems overly focused on the special effects, which seem copious. Though I was invested at first (partly thanks to Jude Law’s kindly presence), the trailer quickly became a numbing, frenzied mess of CGI. A little “whimsy” goes a long way for me in movies. And though I normally like Sascha Baron Cohen, his character is already annoying me. It looks like a poor man’s Harry Potter. But hopefully Hugo is better than the trailer looks.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Release Date: December 16, 2011

Even though Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are two of my favourite actors, I was a bit underwhelmed with the first Sherlock Holmes movie. It wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t that…good, either. And it looks like more of the same for the sequel. The trailer doesn’t offer much that is new or interesting (but man, it could sure use some more super slo-mo, right?). I don’t know, it looks okay, I guess, but I just don’t have much to say about it. And are we really reusing the exact same joke again at the end of the trailer? Between this and The Hangover II I’m getting some serious 2009 film-related amnesia this year.

John Carter

Release Date: March 9, 2012

There are a lot of things that I like about Friday Night Lights. But if I had to pick the most watchable aspect of the show, it would definitely be Taylor Kitsch as the brooding, oddly multifaceted ne’er-do-well, Tim Riggins. So it’s fun to see him get a leading role in The Prince of Persia John Carter. That said, I have no idea what to make of this movie. The trailer was interesting, in a bizarre, hard-to-follow kind of way. IMDB tells me the following: “Civil War vet John Carter is transplanted to Mars, where he discovers a lush, wildly diverse planet whose main inhabitants are 12-foot tall green barbarians.” It also tells me that Samantha Morton, Bryan Cranston, Thomas Hayden Chuch, Mark Strong (gee, do you think he’s playing a villain?), and Willem Defoe are in this movie, yet I spotted NONE of them in the trailer. But I’m still very intrigued by this. It could be an incoherent, overly serious mess of CGI, but moments in the trailer seemed legitimately epic and impressive.

ALSO: I just realised that John Carter is the first live-action film by Wall-E and Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton. Those were two of Pixar’s most visually dazzling films, so that kind of explains visual scope that we see here. I am even more hopeful now.

The Thing

Release Date: October 14

Monster movies are always in style, so it makes sense that they would reboot another franchise. This time, it’s The Thing, and it stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom). I’m not a big horror fan, but The Thing actually looks better than I expected. It certainly doesn’t appear to offer anything new, but the whole “who among us isn’t human?” premise is often entertaining. Winstead seems to be a capable leading lady here, and I’m always intrigued by Edgerton (though he didn’t have much to do in the trailer other than look concerned). I won’t be rushing out to see it, but The Thing looks like it could potentially be a cut above the usual horror fare.

Trailer Alert: Horrible Bosses

I don’t love watching trailers for comedy movies, because they often give away a lot of the film’s best jokes (case and point: Due Date). And I kind of get the sense that may be the case with Horrible Bosses, which stars Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day as three dudes with, yes, horrible bosses (played by Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, and Jennifer Aniston).

I really like the three leads, and Sudeikis and Day already proved to have good best-bud chemistry in last year’s underrated Going the Distance. In fact, as much as I like him, Bateman kind of seems like the odd man out in this trio of friends. Even though he’s only about six years older than the other two, somehow Bateman seems much older. However, all actors have funny moments in the trailer, with Day stealing it for me. Farrell also looks hilarious as the balding, bigoted boss of Sudeikis.

Horrible Bosses looks like a fairly rote comedy, and I’m a little bit confused by the storyline (doesn’t murder seem a bit extreme, even for this kind of movie?), but I imagine the cast will help boost the quality. Bateman is a funny and capable of some pretty good acting (while The Switch was mediocre, I thought Bateman was surprisingly good in the film’s more emotional moments), and I’ll probably watch any movie that he’s in. There’s no way this can be worse than Couples Retreat, at least.

Trailer Alert: Another Earth

I’d heard vaguely about Another Earth coming out of Sundance, but it seems like its lack of starpower prevented any massive buzz. But after watching the recently released trailer, I have to say, I am very interested.

Another Earth tells the story an alternate reality where a duplicate planet earth exists. The main character is Rhoda (Brit Marling), an ambitious MIT student, who (by the looks of the trailer) considers visiting this other planet. Marling looks absolutely gorgeous and very ethereal here, and she seems like an interesting actress. Fans of Lost will also recognize William Mathoper, who played the creepy “Other”, Ethan, on that show.

Visually, this film looks stunning. Story-wise, it brought two other films to mind. Melancholia, which is Lars Von Trier’s anticipated upcoming film, also explores the idea of other planets possibly threatening earth. Atmospherically, the two movies even seem kind of similar. I also thought of Rabbit Hole, which I watched recently. The whole “alternate reality” idea was only a small part of Rabbit Hole, but it brought up some very interesting ideas. It looks like Another Earth is exploring those ideas.

I’m not usually a huge sci-fi fan, but so far I am curious about the sci-fi films that 2011 has to offer. As well as Another Earth and Melancholia, there is also Take Shelter (which we’re yet to see a trailer for, but got strong reviews at Sundance), which stars the always unconventional Michael Shannon as a father living through some kind of apocalyptic storm.

Another Earth will get a limited release on July 22.

Trailer Alert: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Elizabeth Olsen was one of the breakout stars of this year’s Sundance festival, and this trailer for her upcoming film, Martha Marcy May Marlene, hit the internet today.

In the film, Olsen plays a young woman fleeing an abusive cult, whose leader is played by John Hawkes. She has difficulty distinguishing between dreams and actual memories, and I like how the trailer plays on the hazy, muddled headspace that she’s in.

This looks like an all-around intriguing film, but I am the most excited to see John Hawkes’ performance here. He was absolutely fantastic in Winter’s Bone, I thought. His character in that film, Teardrop, was one of the most morally ambiguous characters I’ve seen in a long time. Even as you learn that Teardrop’s intentions may not be as dark as they initially seem, Hawkes is still a very sinister onscreen presence. And though he seems to play a more traditional villain in Martha Marcy May Marlene, Hawkes looks equally as deep and magnetic. He’s cornered the market on sinister backwoods dudes in indie films recently, and it’s a type of role that I love for him.

Olsen also looks quite good here, and the whole film seems to have a tense, suspenseful vibe. I guess comparisons to Winter’s Bone are inevitable since both are Sundance favourites that feature young female protagonists in poor American circumstances attempting to deal with John Hawkes. There are definitely differences, too, though, and I am intrigued by Martha/Marcy May’s relationship with who I am assuming is her sister (Sarah Paulson) and her sister’s boyfriend/husband (the always delightful Hugh Dancy). I am now very excited for this one.

Martha Marcy May Marlene is scheduled for limited release on October 7.