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’s eleven trailers include several peeks at next summer’s blockbusters, which are presumably rolling out in front of the big holiday releases. But there are some smaller (and stranger) titles hiding in there as well; check ’em all out after the jump.
You guys, I don’t even know where to start with this one. Watching this NSFW trailer for legendary giallo director Dario Argento’s 3D take on Nosferatu is an utterly befuddling experience — it leaves so many questions! Is this thing supposed to be serious, or is it some sort of jokey spoof trailer? Is that really a vampire who hisses at his victims? Are those 19th century fake boobs? And, most importantly, who was this trailer intended for? The incomplete visual effects (and insistent “visual effects work in progress” subtitles) would indicated this was some sort of “sizzle reel,” showcasing how awesome the movie will be for potential investors/distributors. Wonder how that went!
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Look, we enjoyed the dumb fun of Crank as much as anybody, but Neveldine/Taylor sure looked like a one-trick pony when they turned out Crank: High Voltage, which was dumb but certainly no fun. However, they had one trick more in them than Ghost Rider, which was one of the worst films of Nicolas Cage’s career — and that’s quite a competition. Engaged to create the sequel absolutely no one was asking for, the flashy duo have cooked up… well, pretty much exactly what you’d think: a mishmash of Nicolas Cage sulking, thoroughly cartoonish effects, dopey dialogue, and utter incoherence (and that’s just in the trailer). And it’s in 3D, of course, because why wouldn’t it be?
GI Joe: Retaliation
Wait, they made a sequel to GI Joe? Somebody asked for that? All right.
And it includes the line “The world ain’t savin’ itself?” Okey dokey.
HOLD ON, and Bruce Willis whored himself out for it? Hey Bruce, that eye-roll the girl does at the end? That’s America. We expect better from John McClane.
Think Like A Man
I sort of love the fact that our friends at Movie Clips have titled the YouTube clip for Think Like a Man “Chris Brown movie,” since Rhianna-beating Mr. Brown is noticeably absent from the posters and end-of-trailer cast rundown. No, the filmmakers would apparently prefer you to consider Think Like a Man a Kevin Hart vehicle, since Hart’s stand-up film Laugh at My Pain was an unexpected sleeper hit this fall. What it looks like is a two-hour commercial for Steve Harvey’s book Act Like a Man, Think Like a Lady, some sort of asinine self-help volume that is part of the plot, or something? At any rate, the whole thing looks like another tired rundown of outmoded sexual stereotypes — and a giant waste of some actors we really like, including Taraji P. Henson, Regina Hall, Michael Ealy, Romany Malco, and Gabrielle Union (who is also in our next title, and thus clearly in need of a better agent).
Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds
Tyler Perry’s trailer for Tyler Perry’s new movie from Tyler Perry Studios, Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds, stars Tyler Perry as Wesley Deeds (GET IT?!?!?), a rich but unhappy business tycoon who finds his life changed by his interactions with a real, poor lady, played by Thandie Newton, whose customary overwrought line readings should make a nice match with Tyler Perry’s customarily on-the-nose dialogue (“You don’t even know!“). Tyler Perry’s movies always bring in Tyler Perry’s audience, so Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds will probably prove successful for Lionsgate and Tyler Perry Studios, but the only thing more irritating than Tyler Perry’s tendency to put Tyler Perry’s name all over everything Tyler Perry does is the experience of actually sitting through a Tyler Perry movie, which Jason Bailey will not be doing.
Rock of Ages
Y’know what, maybe it’s actually entertaining; I don’t recall the trailer for Adam Shankman’s last Broadway musical adaptation, Hairspray, to look all the promising either. But in spite of the presence of reliable folks like Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti, and Catherine Zeta-Jones (who, it must be noted, does not appear to be doing her subtlest work here), Rock of Ages looks about as appealing as the show its based on — not very, except for fans of terrible ’80s music and cheap big-hair jokes.
The Expendables 2
There’s not much to report about this one-minute teaser trailer for the sequel to Stallone’s “old guys can still do action” movie, aside from the fact that, yes, he has added Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme to the ensemble. All we’re really getting here is a brief Stallone-Willis encounter and then a rundown of the cast. What keeps cracking us up, every time we see it on the poster or in the trailer, is this “Also Van Damme.” See, they couldn’t do the “with” thing, because Willis called that, or the “and” thing, because that’s Schwarzenegger’s, so poor JCVD had to settle for “also,” which just looks goofy. What they should have done is to put a similar descriptor in front of everyone’s name — i.e., “Plus Norris,” “Including Statham,” “Don’t Forget Li,” that kinda thing.
After the comparatively underwhelming response to his Borat follow-up Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen appears to have jettisoned the fake-doc style for a more conventional approach to his new comedy about a deposed Gaddafi-style dictator who escapes to New York. Whether he’s suited to it remains to be seen (let’s all pause for a moment and remember Ali G Indahouse), but the interpolation of real news footage is fairly clever, and your author will admit to laughing at the Megan Fox stuff.
Jack the Giant Killer
The whole “dark and sinister twist on a fairy tale” trend (Red Riding Hood, the upcoming Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and Peter Pan stories, the dueling Snow White movies, and TV’s Grimm and Once Upon a Time) is one of the more inexplicable in modern pop culture; well, it can be explained (Alice in Wonderland’s box office), but it’s still a little silly. And there’s an awfully silly vibe to the trailer for director Bryan Singer’s upcoming reimagining of “Jack and the Beanstalk” — at least in the opening moments, with all that scary music and foreboding dialogue about… the magic beans. “They are holy relics… they are born of dark magic!” Uh huh. Still, we’ll give just about anything Singer does its day in court, and it must be said: the idea of a giant just cold throwin’ trees at people is, well, pretty cool.
This is one of those trailers that feels like we’re being shown the entire movie — y’know, your standard boy-meets-girl, girl-gives-boy-infectious-disease-that-strips-away-the-senses-one-by-one story. That complaint aside, there are less attractive couples to spend two hours with than Ewan McGregor and Eva Green, and the Contagion-meets-Children of Men vibe that we’re getting here is promising indeed.
Men in Black III
You can only rail against endless sequels to summer blockbusters for so long, and I’m crying “uncle” on MIB3 for a few reasons. First, the original 1997 was that rarity among big-budget beasts, a tentpole movie with some wit and intelligence and honest-to-goodness laughs. Second, the first sequel, while rather uninspired, wasn’t nearly as terrible as its reviews at the time (people were just disappointed). Third, the notion of introducing a time-travel element is an inspired one, and a way to keep from repeating themselves too blatantly. But finally, the casting of Josh Brolin as the younger version of his No Country for Old Men co-star Tommy Lee Jones? Brilliant. Brilliant. Sign me up. (Even in 3D.)