Trailer Park: From Karate to Keanu

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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 eight new trailers for you this week from all-star directors and former child stars; check ’em all out after the jump.

Resident Evil: Retribution

So, yeah. They made another one of these. Not sure what else to add.

Except this: It’s distributed by Screen Gems, which is a Sony company. As you might have been able to tell from first half of the trailer.

Sassy Pants

Hey, remember Haley Joel Osment? He hasn’t been in a film in a while (since 2003, to be precise), and you can barely spot him in the trailer to this indie comedy — though good luck recognizing the former child star, who’s grown up (and beefed up) a bit in the intervening years. The movie itself looks fairly pat, but the fact that someone had the good sense to give Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn a leading role is enough to at least pique our interest.

The Woman in the Fifth

There’s a good, Hitchcockian vibe going in the trailer for this French/American thriller from director Pawel Pawlikowski (My Summer of Love). While we’re not quite sure what kind of pseudo-Batman thing Ethan Hawke is doing with his voice, here, we just plain swoon for Kristin Scott Thomas; her and Hawke doing the “no one is what they seem” erotic thriller thing is too good to pass up.

I Am Bruce Lee

Pete McCormack, director of the stylish and enjoyable Muhammad Ali documentary Facing Ali, is back with another look at an iconic fighter. This high-energy teaser tells you about all you need to know: lots of clips, lots of fights, and lots of accolades. The celebrity testimonials range from the expected (our new crush, MMA fighter and Haywire star Gina Carrano) to the, um, someone less expected (Modern Family and Married… with Children star Ed O’Neill? All-righty then). Lee’s story isn’t as well known as it should be — don’t seek out Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story for hard facts — so we’re looking forward to this one.

Detachment

Tony Kaye is a bit of a tough nut to crack. He made an impressive debut with American History X, but got into a famously contentious post-production battle with his studio, his producers, and star Edward Norton; his behavior was so off-the-charts weird that he didn’t get much work after. Instead, he devoted his energies to the harrowing (yet rewarding) abortion documentary Lake of Fire. Detachment is his first narrative film since X, and though its teacher-with-problems narrative seems awfully similar to Half Nelson’s, Kaye has put together an impressive cast and might have chalked up (ha ha) another winner.

The Forgiveness of Blood

Joshua Marston is a director we haven’t heard near enough from since his last feature, the powerful and tense Maria Full of Grace. Some filmmakers would use that picture’s ace reviews and Oscar recognition to propel them into the world of big budgets and big stars; Marston looks to have done the opposite, making a small, difficult morality play set in Albania. Kudos to him for taking on the challenge; we’re looking forward to seeing what he’s come up with here.

Side by Side

Side by Side Official Trailer (2012) from Company Films on Vimeo.

We’ve all had a few laughs at Keanu Reeves’s expense over the years, chuckling about his “whoa” acting range, his laughable accents, his side band, and so forth. So we’re a little surprised that he’s behind this cineaste’s documentary about film, video, and the transition between them. What’s more, narrator/producer Reeves and director Chris Kenneally have rounded up a might impressive roster of experts on the subject: Scorsese, Cameron, Soderbergh, Rodriguez, Nolan, and (apparently) many more. The picture couldn’t be more timely — not only with the phasing out of 35mm film and cameras, but the continuing discussions of 3D’s long-term value and viability. Color us surprised, Mr. Reeves — and in.

FDR: American Badass

Okay, look, if we’re here to rate trailers — not the movies themselves — then honesty must prevail: this may be one of the greatest trailers of all time. It looks like one of the fake ones for Tropic Thunder or Grindhouse: the blood-soaked tale of how FDR’s polio came from the bite of a Nazi werewolf, and how the President took on the Nazi-werewolf army from his wheelchair, the “Delano 2000.” Let’s be clear: we can’t imagine actually sitting through the movie (and it is, according to IMDb, an actual movie). But it makes for one helluva trailer.