Trailer Park: The End of the World

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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 seven new chunks of varyingly interesting fall fare; check ’em all out after the jump.

The Double

Four thoughts on the trailer for this September action thriller:

1) Any movie that includes the line “We’d like you two to work together” does not promise a surplus of originality. 2) Don’t show me Martin Sheen standing in front of the White House, because it’s just going to remind me that I’d rather be watching an episode of The West Wing. 3) Topher Grace’s people didn’t actually sign off on that poster, did they? 4) I know we were just arguing that people make too big a deal out of spoilers in trailers, but… c’mon.

The Hunger Games

Here’s the problem with going to too many movies and not reading enough books: you only hear about the big publishing sensations when they turn them into movies. So this, ah, Hunger Games, this is a big deal, eh? Here’s the other problem: None of the iconography of a book series like this one makes much sense to the unacquainted viewer, so all someone like me gets out of this clip is that Jennifer Lawrence will be running through the woods and shooting an arrow at a logo. Then again, this is a “teaser,” not a full-on trailer — it’s there to hype up the fans, and to assure everyone that a Hunger Games movie will exist soon. Mission accomplished, I guess?

Fireflies in the Garden

Dennis Lee’s family drama premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival clear back in 2008, and no one seems to be able to explain why a prestige picture with a marquee cast like Julia Roberts, Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Hayden Panettiere, Emily Watson, and Carrie-Ann Moss has been sitting on a shelf for the intervening three years. We’ve got one good guess as to why someone decided now was the time to pull it out: the surprisingly robust box office numbers for Tree of Life, which this story bears a more-than-passing resemblance to (though presumably with a bit less nature photography). We’re in the middle on this one: it’s got a stellar cast and the trailer starts well, but we dare you not to groan when the music shifts to the “uplifting” pop track, promising healing and tears for all.

Straw Dogs

When we first heard about this remake of Sam Peckinpah’s troublesome 1971 thriller, we had the same response as most: “Why?” Now we’ve had a look at the trailer, and we’ll admit to being intrigued: Critic-turned-filmmaker Rob Lurie has done some interesting work (primarily The Contender), James Marsden (while certainly no Hoffman) seems capable enough for the role, Kate Bosworth may very well pull it off, and “creepy, rapey bully” seems well within Alexander Skarksgård’s wheelhouse. The only real problem with this trailer is that it still doesn’t answer our original question.

Janie Jones

This gentle music drama from writer/director David M. Rosenthal was one of our Tribeca favorites — it’s a story that’s been done a million times before, but the warmth of Rosenthal’s storytelling and the ace performances of Alessandro Nivola and Abigail Breslin (in a grown-up, star-making turn) elevate it far above the raw materials. The trouble is, those familiar materials are about all that a two-minute trailer can put across, so this one doesn’t really encapsulate what is so very good about the film. Guess you’ll just have to trust us on this one.

Margaret

If you thought Fireflies in the Garden took its time getting to the screen, that picture’s got nothin’ on writer/director Kenneth Lonergan’s long, long, long-awaited follow-up to You Can Count On Me. Margaret was shot clear back in the fall of 2005 (for perspective’s sake: other films shot around the same time include The Departed, Babel, and The Prestige), and has spent the last six years in a protracted post-production period which literally got to the point of litigation. Most folks blame the perfectionism of Lonergan, whose contract guarantees final cut and apparently took his time getting that cut right. Whatever the case may be, we’re certainly intrigued by the top-notch cast and raw emotion of this trailer; whether it was worth the wait remains to be seen.

Melancholia

The new UK trailer for the latest from cheery ol’ Lars von Trier is mostly oblique with regards to the apocalyptic nature of the story; it unsettles us with repetition, imagery, and a bit of paranoia. The result is a thrillingly mysterious tease, nearly compelling enough to get the more disturbing moments from Antichrist out of our heads. (PUT DOWN THE SCISSORS.)