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. We’ve got ten new trailers this week, from biopics to historical epics to documentaries to thrillers; check ’em out after the jump.
So here’s a movie that’s been was shot two years ago, is on its third title, and has yet to secure American distribution (it’s opening in Europe over the fall). Oh, and it stars Nicolas Cage. Yeah, there’s no reason to think it’s a turkey, right?
This man-against-nature survival tale is the latest from Joe Carnahan, whose films have run the gamut from tough and gritty (Narc) to cartoonishly silly (Smoking Aces). We can’t tell, from this trailer, which category this will fall into: we’ve got the frequently-convincing Liam Neeson, and some harrowing plane crash footage; we’ve also got him putting on gloves of broken liquor bottles and punching out wolves. So, yeah, time will tell on this one.
Son of No One
Admittedly, there is a generic “Police Corruption Thriller” vibe to this Sundance entry, which looks to tread into territory that films from Brooklyn’s Finest back to CopLand (with co-star Ray Liotta) clear back to Serpico (ditto Al Pacino) have more than covered. And Channing Tatum is, to put it mildly, not yet a sure-shot as a leading man. What’s got us interested here is the picture’s pedigree: it’s written and directed by Dito Montiel, whose evocative 2006 effort A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints featured Tatum’s best work to date (and Shia LaBeouf’s). Montiel and Tatum’s follow-up, Fighting, didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but it had enough skill and genre-bending to make us cautiously optimistic about their latest collaboration.
Man on a Ledge
Here’s another one that appears to be assembled almost entirely out of recycled parts, with a worrisome January 13 release date and a starring turn by dull-as-whole-wheat-toast Sam Worthington. Oh, and it’s from “the producer of Transformers.” But Man on a Ledge has a supporting cast worth noting: Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, Ed Burns, Kyra Sedgwick, and Ed Harris. That many good actors wouldn’t all sign on to a dog… would they?
As we mentioned last week, a surefire way to tell that a domestic distributor a little scared of frightening away the subtitle-phobic audience is to put together a trailer (usually a short one) with no dialogue at all. So it goes with Jackie Chan’s latest (out in China this week under its original title, the simple 1911), but it’s also a stirring and well-assembled teaser, with the requisite amount of anthemic music and big battle scenes.
Well dammit people, we’re not made of wood.
Gary Hustwit has made something of a specialty of beautifully-photographed documentaries about things we see but do not often consider: his 2007 film Helvetica considered the role of fonts (particularly the titular one) in our lives, while his 2009 film Objectified looked at manmade objects. His latest, Urbanized, is all about cities — how they are designed, how they are implemented, how they are utilized. His films are strikingly crafted and much more fun than they sound; this looks like a worthy addition to that filmography.
Between the presence of Leonardo DiCaprio and the scenes of his character testifying in front of a congressional subcommittee, J. Edgar’s trailer somewhat uncannily recalls Scorsese’s The Aviator, and that’s probably no accident; their shared distributor, Warner Brothers, saw that film bring in over $100 million back in 2004 (and more overseas). As for the film itself, well, the production design is impeccable, the melodrama seems compelling, and DiCaprio looks like he might pull it off (in spite of what looks like some singularly unconvincing old age make-up). If J. Edgar looks a bit pat, well, it’s a Clint Eastwood movie, and even his failures tend to be interesting.
We’re absolutely fascinated by the almost-wordless trailer for this Venice Film Festival effort from Andrea Arnold, which has a Bronte-by-way-of-Terrence-Malick vibe that sounds like a terrible idea, but plays like gangbusters — at least, it does in this small of a portion. At feature length, who knows. But we’d love to see what Arnold (a Best Short Subject Academy Award winner) is up to here.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
That eight-minute trailer for David Fincher’s much-hyped Larsson adaptation that played at a few special screenings last week never made its way online (not permanently, anyway), but this new, extended, four-minute trailer is basically a tightened version of that — giving us an abundance of plot details, moody Fincher visuals, and Trent Reznor’s atmospheric score. And? Let’s just say that we’re not sure if there’s anything this trailer could have shown that would have made us not want to see the movie (a heretofore unknown Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson supporting role, perhaps?), and what is here has increased our excitement by a factor of ten. Jesus, do we seriously have to wait three more months for this thing?