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 five new trailers for your post-turkey consumption this week; check ’em out after the jump.
There aren’t a lot of actresses we’re rooting for as hard as Amanda Seyfried; she’s charming and charismatic and easy on the eyes, and in the right role (Chloe or Jennifer’s Body, say) she’s a fine actress. But this looks like the wrong, wrong, wrong role; she’s best at playing cool, and an is-she-crazy hysterical vigilante seems a spectacularly bad fit. Throw in every trailer cliché and cheeseball rejoinder in the book (“I’ll sleep when he’s dead”? Seriously?) and you’ve got a must-miss vehicle on your hands.
When Madonna’s second directorial effort debuted at the Venice Film Festival, the response was, erm, less than enthusiastic. It was reportedly hauled back into the editing room in an attempt to make it a bit more palpable for awards-season audiences, though to what extent is not yet known. It’s easy to see what drew Madge to the romance between Wallis Simpson and Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor — it’s dramatic, and British, and has a Possession-style modern era framing device for an audience (and, presumably, director) surrogate. The trailer — understandably — doesn’t betray much of the glorious badness we’ve heard so much about. Instead, it looks like a rather earnest period drama. Trouble is, we’d rather see the former than the latter.
We liked Edward Burns’ early directorial efforts (The Brothers McMullen, She’s the One, Sidewalks of New York) but missed several of his films before catching up with 2010’s Nice Guy Johnny — and were startled to find that not only had he not corrected the minor flaws of his earlier pictures (uneven performances, pedestrian visuals, on-the-nose dialogue), but they’d actually worsened. The sole redeeming factor of that mostly-unseen movie was the “wait, who is that?” performance of star Kerry Bishé. Burns is no schmuck — he went and wrote another role for her, and here it is. Bishé is so watchable, and so at ease with Burns’ dialogue (in a way that his actors frequently are not, to the detriment of his films) that we’re willing to give this one a chance, but we’re not sure — based on what we’ve seen — that Burns is showing much room for improvement these days.
It’s not all that surprising that we love documentaries about movies (Hearts of Darkness, A Decade Under the Influence, Not Quite Hollywood, Corman’s World ), considering that we’re sort of the target audience for that kind of thing. So The Rep is right up our alley — though we must note (this being a trailer review and all) that this trailer isn’t exactly a dazzler, running too long and playing too loose. It’s a bit of an amateur job, but that’s okay — The Rep looks like film borne out of the love for cinema, rather than flashy graphics and the like. The subject is the repertory houses that play old movies for new audiences, and the unique communal experience of enjoying a classic film on a big screen with a full audience. We’ve mentioned some of these cinemas before, so it’s a topic of interest; we’ve got high hopes for this one.
We’ve seen Rampart (it’s doing a brief run in New York and LA for Oscar consideration), so we’ll attempt to keep from addressing the problems of the film itself in considering this admittedly terrific trailer. Though the claim that Woody Harrleson is playing “the most corrupt cop you’ve ever seen onscreen” is arguable (Training Day’s Alonzo Harris would certainly give him a run for his money, and Harvey Keitel’s Bad Lieutenant would laugh at his schoolkid antics), it is an outstanding performance, capturing that sense of danger that he always seems, in his best roles, to be struggling to keep at bay — the fire behind his eyes, the tension in his jaw. This trailer hints at the greatness of that performance, while showing an efficiency that would’ve benefitted the film itself.