Trailer Park: Coming of Age and Going to War

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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. We’ve got seven new trailers for you this week; check ’em all out after the jump.

Girl in Progress

Eva Mendes is an actress who seldom seems to appear in films as smart or funny as she is; her latest doesn’t look to break that trend. It’s hard to say whether they’re just being self-aware when the writing teacher (Patricia Arquette) pops up to give the definition of a “coming of age story,” but there’s little sign that they’re going to bust that trope here — we can’t shake the feeling that we’ve seen this movie many, many times before, and aren’t burning with desire to see it again.

The Broken Tower

Oh, James Franco. Of course your feature directorial debut is a biopic of a poet who committed suicide at 32, shot in artful black-and-white. Of course it is. Get outta here, you crazy, pretentious kid.

No, seriously. Get outta here.

ATM

One of the best movies you didn’t see in 2010 was Buried, aka the “Ryan Reynolds in a box movie” — which it was, but it took that central gimmick and squeezed it like a head in a vice. Buried screenwriter Chris Sparling is the scribe behind ATM, and his involvement has us more interested in the film than we might have been otherwise; the trailer makes it look like a pretty standard thriller, but if we learned anything from Sparling’s previous film, it’s that this is a guy who can take a “high concept” and wring an audience out with it.

The Front Line

This Private Ryan-flavored look at the Korean War is South Korea’s official entry for Best Foreign Film consideration at this year’s Oscars. It makes for a helluva trailer, full of big battles and moments of despair; it also offers the rare opportunity to see the conflict as told from the other side. The Front Line doesn’t look terribly unique, but we’re intrigued nonetheless.

Friends with Kids

We can’t imagine anyone was more delighted by the robust box office of Bridesmaids than Friends with Kids writer/director/star Jennifer Westfeldt, since her film features so many of that picture’s co-stars (Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Chris O’Dowd) that it can be marketed as a de facto sequel. Westfeldt is a talent we’ve been waiting to break big since her debut in Kissing Jessica Stein a decade ago; instead, her longtime partner Hamm became the superstar and she did a lot of TV (and red carpets). We’re hoping this one hits, though; the premise may be a bit of a stretch, and we’re pretty certain we can guess exactly how it turns out, but that’s a stellar cast and a funny trailer.

Re:Generation

Amir Bar-Lev might not be a name you’re familiar with, but documentary lovers know his films: his last was the brutal, brilliant The Tillman Story, and before that, he helmed the riveting My Kid Could Paint That. Here, he documents a giant music project that pairs five DJ/producers (Skrillex, Mark Ronson, The Crystal Method, Pretty Lights, and DJ Premier) with big names in genres far removed from their wheelhouse. The premise is delicious, and the potential for drama is clearly high (yep, that’s the great Ralph Stanley who would rather do it his way).

Moonrise Kingdom

Several of our fine readers took the trouble to point out omissions of note from our list of 2012’s most anticipated films, but only one exclusion filled your author with shame and self-loathing. To be fair, I somehow didn’t even know that there was a new Wes Anderson movie on the way — much less one with a cast that included Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis, and (of course) Jason Schwartzmann and Bill Murray. Boy, do I have egg on my face. Anyway, here’s the trailer for it, though it takes about a second and a half to ID it as Anderson’s work — and that’s just fine with us. Nothing wrong with a distinctive aesthetic and a specific style, particularly when the results are as consistently delightful as his.