Trailer Park: Murderers, Messengers, and More Muppets

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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 puzzling over what they may be hiding. We’ve got ten new trailers for you to feast your eyes on this week; check ‘em out after the jump.

13

Gela Babluani’s English remake of his own 13 Tzameti has been gathering dust for a little while now, and no wonder; in spite of an intriguing premise, this enterprise looks like a shout-y, overheated mess that wastes some interesting actors. And Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, too. (Please, Fiddy, we’re begging you now. Go back to your day job.)

Weird side note: Jackson shot 13 right around the same time he appeared in a movie called… Twelve. Too bad he wasn’t a star yet when they made Seven, amIright? Hello? Is this thing on?

Premium Rush

So here’s one we’d love to give the benefit of the doubt to, since it stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who pretty much everyone at Flavorwire, male or female, has a little crush on) and the great Micheal Shannon and Aasif Mandvi from The Daily Show. And it’s from writer/director David Koepp, who, yes, has written a lot of crap, but also gets a lifetime pass for writing The Paper, and some of his previous directorial efforts (like The Trigger Effect and Stir of Echoes) were interesting genre pieces. But the trailer for this one looks utterly flaccid and generic, and that January 13th release date is a grim indicator indeed, since the first weeks of the year are traditionally where studios dump the pictures they have the least faith in. We still love ya, JGL, but we’re gonna have to pass on this one.

Goon

Sean William Scott was Kevin Smith’s first choice to star in his final film as a director (which he’s now announced will be two films, Harry Potter and Twilight style), a hockey comedy called Hit Somebody, but this hockey comedy happened first, and so Smith had to find himself a new leading man. The supporting cast (Liev Schreiber, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, Scott’s American Pie co-star Eugene Levy) is promising, and the script is by Baruchel and Seth Rogen’s frequent writing partner Evan Goldberg, so maybe it won’t turn out to be the fairly pedestrian Slap Shot riff that this trailer sells it as.

Red Lights

We would be skeptical about this one, since the trailer (a teaser, admittedly) consists entirely of Robert DeNiro turning around —though it’s scored with musical accompaniment that sounds like it was pulled out of a particularly grisly battle in 300. But a little bit of research is valuable: this is the latest film from Rodrigo Cortés — and in his last picture, Buried, this guy managed to spin unbearable tension and suspense out of Ryan Reynolds in a box for 90 minutes. Is it a good trailer? No, not remotely. But will it be a good movie? We’re betting yes.

The Muppets

The most exciting trailer we’ve seen this week is, unfortunately, not online yet — that would be the extended, eight-minute promo for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo that has unspooled at a few secret screenings. As if sensing a void to be filled, the clever Muppets marketing team have stepped up with yet another parody trailer, and though this one’s modeled on the first, shorter Dragon Tattoo clip, it’s still mighty cute and more than a little funny.

Oranges & Sunshine

Though it contains the phrase “From the producers of…,” which is about the most suspect thing you can put into a trailer —seriously, what the hell does that have to do with anything — this drama from Jim Loach (son of venerable British director Ken) may very well be worth checking out, if for no other reason than that we’ll see damn near anything Emily Watson does. (Hugo Weaving doesn’t hurt either.) The sweeping music and inspired-by-a-true-story vibe sounds some corn alerts, but the Brits usually manage to keep these affairs from getting too maudlin — plus, it’s a genuinely shocking story that could make for compelling cinema.

The Awakening

Nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned ghost movie, and this one’s got the goods — period setting, Gothic vibe, creepy kids, the works. Not to mention a terrific cast: The Wire’s Dominic West, the great British character actress Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter movies), and the wonderful Rebecca Hall, finally tackling a full-on starring role (and getting an opportunity to rock her melodious accent). Sure, it’s a movie you’ve seen before, but a good ghost story can always be retold.

The Raid

Usually, a foreign film trailer that only uses music and visuals is sending a none-too-subtle message: We’re afraid our target audience won’t come see this movie if they know that it’s not in English! But with a stylish action movie like the Indonesian effort The Raid (which is getting raves at Toronto), they’re just playing to the picture’s strengths; this two-minute barrage of gunfights and hand-to-hand combat is fast, bruising, and exhausting. It’s okay, Sony — you can slap on the subtitles, as long as there’s action like this between them.

Burning Man

To our surprise (and maybe disappointment) this Toronto Film Festival selection does not feature Matthew Goode heading out to Black Rock City for Labor Day. Instead, it finds him meeting a woman — well, some women, and… he cooks, and there’s a car wreck, and… well to be honest, we’re not sure what exactly happens, but we do know that it apparently features striking photography and hypnotic music, and Rachel Griffiths, who we’ve missed since Six Feet Under ended. It’s a trailer that shows us a lot without giving us much in the way of information, and frankly (in light of trailers like The Double and Dream House ), we’re totally fine with that.