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 to show you — everything from new Soderbergh and Clooney movies to, yes, a film adaptation of a board game. Check ‘em all out after the jump.
Jesus, where do we even start with this one? When word got out a year or so back that Hollywood was basing a major motion picture on a board game, it was held up (and rightfully so) as further proof of the absolute bankruptcy of ideas in that city. Now that we have a trailer, we’re starting to get a rough idea of exactly how terrible such a thing could be — since not only is it a movie based on an assemblage of cardboard and plastic, but it is apparently also an all-out Transformers rip-off. Way to aim high, guys! What talented people like Liam Neeson and director Peter Berg are doing involved in this claptrap is anyone’s guess (but we’ve got one, and it involves checks with many zeros on them); this looks like it should be a joke trailer at the beginning of Tropic Thunder.
New Year’s Eve
Imagine, if you will, a movie that combines Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Biel, and Jon Bon Jovi. You got it? You locked on that little nightmare? Now here’s the only phrase that could make us want to see that movie less: “From the people who brought you Valentine’s Day.” Yes, America, you dragged your boyfriends to see that all-star clusterfuck, which only encouraged them to make another one. Hope you’re happy. (P.S. Robert DeNiro, it’s officially over, we mean it this time.)
Happy Feet Two
Hey remember when “SexyBack” came out, four years ago? Happy Feet Two does, and its new trailer has those craaaaazy dancing penguins singing it — only they’re bringing fluffy back, can you imagine such a thing? Still, credit where due: that reference is positively timely compared to the extended “Mama Said Knock You Out” bit. That song came out in 1991, a good decade before the oldest possible voluntary audience for Happy Feet Two was born. Who is this trailer for?
If it is remembered for anything, 2011 will go down in the film history books as the year when we suddenly didn’t know how the hell to title a movie. Bad Teacher, Horrible Bosses, Cowboys and Aliens — if Jaws came out this summer, they’d have called it Big Shark. At any rate, Tower Heist is, unsurprisingly, about a heist in a tower, and we’re not sure what to think of this one. On one hand, the script is by Ocean’s 11 scribe Ted Griffin (who clearly knows how to write an entertaining heist movie) and Catch Me if You Can’s Jeff Nathanson (who clearly knows how to do a caper with some heart). The supporting cast is full of people we like: Alan Alda, Casey Affleck, Téa Leoni, Judd Hirsch, Gabby Sidibe. But the stars are Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller — neither of whom have proven terribly reliable over the past decade or so — and the director is, ugh, Brett Ratner, who has (no exaggeration) never directed a good movie (his credits include X-Men: The Last Stand, Red Dragon, and the Rush Hour trilogy). So, yeah, toss of the coin here.
Here’s another one we’re right in the middle on. The personnel are solid: We’ll see pretty much anything Jason Bateman does, and Ryan Reynolds too (so long as it’s not a comic book movie), and it’s got the wonderful Leslie Mann, and — as the trailers and posters go to great pains to point out—it is from the director of The Wedding Crashers and the writers of The Hangover. But… a body-switching movie? Seriously? What is this, 1988?
Knights of Badassdom
Kudos to the marketing team behind this medieval-roleplay comedy for kicking off their trailer with a parody of trailer voice-overs; “In a world,” intones the solemn narrator, “within our world… they’ve created a world… unlike any other world…” Also, they’ve wisely separated themselves by a good few months from the suspiciously similar-looking (and critically reviled) Your Highness, so well done there as well. This one’s got a geek-friendly cast (including Steve Zahn, True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten, Summer Glau, Peter Dinklage, and Community’s Danny Pudi — who knows from D&D comedy) and a genuinely clever trailer; it looks stupid, sure, but mighty funny.
It was just last week that we were complaining about Hollywood’s shortage of strong, female action heroes; we should have known that Steven Soderbergh was already on the case. He’s assembled a strong supporting cast (including Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton, and Ewan McGregor) to back up MMA-fighter-turned-actress Gina Carano, and if the trailer makes it look like a typical (maybe even cheesy) action picture, fear not; the screenplay is by Lem Dobbs, whose previous collaboration with Soderbergh was the anything-but-typical revenge thriller The Limey.
Can a “based on the true story” account of the current financial crisis make for a nail-biting thriller? If the trailer for J.C. Chandor’s Sundance favorite is any indication, then yes, definitely yes. The number of moviegoers who wanna shell out their green for a blow-by-blow of why they’re so broke may be slim, but Margin Call looks taut, smart, and pressing — and that cast can’t be beat.
The Ides of March
Holy cow. George Clooney directs, co-writes, co-produces, and co-stars in this 21st century riff on The Candidate, with Ryan Gosling in the leading role of the idealistic staffer and a crackerjack ensemble cast filling out the ranks. We’re unabashed Clooney fans around here, and Gosling is on a real hot streak; this intense and thrilling trailer just moved The Ides of March to the top of our fall “must-see” list.